john hopkins magnet hosts open house
ST. PETERSBURG — Undecided on a middle school?
Leaders at John Hopkins Middle School invite families of rising fifth-graders to check out the school's 12-year-old fine and performing arts magnet program from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday.
See performances and hear from current students about their experiences in drama, voice, instrumentation, dance, creative writing, journalism and the visual arts.
"The programs we have in place are absolutely top notch," said Michael Vasallo, coordinator for the magnet program. "Our kids are consistently rated the top scores at competition."
The 600-student program includes about 200 eighth-graders every year.
And Vasallo said there is still space.
Schools adjust formula for teacher evals
The Pinellas County School District is still working on a new "teacher evaluation system." But last week the School Board approved an initial proposal for how the four components should be weighted: professional expectations (30 percent); student performance (30 percent); peer review (30 percent); and professional development (10 percent).
It remains to be seen if the Florida Department of Education — which must approve each district's evaluation system — will sign off on the breakdown. State law requires that teacher evaluations be based "primarily" on student performance, and some people seem to view that as 51 percent.
Superintendent Julie Janssen is proposing the new instrument be rolled out this fall as a pilot project, limited to four struggling high schools (Gibbs, Dixie Hollins, Lakewood and Boca Ciega) and their feeders. It would then be modified, if need be, and taken districtwide in 2011-12.
The Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association has concerns and questions. Among those listed in a report of recommendations:
• Is the process reliable, valid and not punitive?
• What is the difference between rating teachers effective and highly effective? Who determines that?
• How do you account for teachers who do not have students taking the FCAT?
The school is at 701 16th St. S in St. Petersburg. For more information, call (727) 893-2400.
Walker's Rising Stars scholarships awarded
The Pinellas Education Foundation on Thursday awarded $65,000 in scholarships during the Walker's Rising Stars performing and visual arts competition at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. More than 200 high school juniors and seniors applied to compete. The winners:
Video Arts ($5,000): Collin Bernard, East Lake High and Nile Madley, Countryside High.
Dance ($7,000): Eva Richardson, Pinellas County Center for the Arts (PCCA) at Gibbs High.
Drama ($7,000): Jacob Stewart, PCCA.
Instrumental ($7,000): Joseph Velez, Tarpon Springs High.
Visual Arts ($7,000): Camille Clark, PCCA.
Vocalist ($7,000): Hannah Zazzaro, Countryside High.
And Alexa Bouchard's vocal talents earned her the most fans on the foundation's website. She won a MacBook.
Walker's Rising Stars was founded in 2003 by Bonati Institute neurosurgeon and Pinellas Education Foundation board member Dr. Jeffrey Walker. For more information go to at pinellaseducation.org.