Survey data released by the Hillsborough County school district this month confirms what a lot of people probably assume -- it's hard to work at a high-poverty school.
Scanning the teacher responses at the district's more than 200 schools, you can find schools in South Tampa and the suburbs where virtually everyone is happy (Claywell Elementary, Grady Elementary, Lithia Springs Elementary). In these settings, teachers answered positively to questions about work conditions, leadership, community involvement and student behavior more than 90 percent of the time. That compares to 79.8 percent for the district as a whole....
TAMPA -- The Hillsborough County School Board will consider expanding its ranks to include at least one non-voting student.
Member Cindy Stuart suggested the change during Tuesday's board meeting and asked Acting Superintendent Jeff Eakins to research the issue. With unanimous support of the board, Eakins agreed to report back to the board in July. A workshop is planned in September.
While Stuart suggested adding one student member, some wonder if that is enough, given the size of the district....
In keeping with the mantra of students first, Hillsborough County might add a student -- or more than one -- to the school board.
Member Cindy Stuart raised the idea near the end of Tuesday's board meeting. The new member would not have a vote, but would bring a student perspective to district decisionmaking, she said.
Chairwoman Susan Valdes said the district is so large, "I almost think that we should each have a student rep."...
TAMPA — When they voted last week to let a middle school teacher keep his job, Hillsborough County School Board members did not discuss the most shocking aspect of the case — an allegation that his half-brother had a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old student at his house.
The allegation did not result in an arrest, and lawyers agreed it should not be discussed.
By a 4-3 vote, the board ended an effort by district administrators to fire Adam Reynolds, 43, from his job teaching physical education at Ben Hill Middle School in Carrollwood....
The Hillsborough County school district thought it had a strong case against Ben Hill Middle School gym teacher Adam Reynolds.
But, in an unusual move, the School Board voted 4-3 last week to reinstate him.
TAMPA — They test kids and test kids. But a growing number of Hillsborough County teachers say the results aren't ready in time to help them do a better job.
The problem is most pronounced for state test results, according to this year's anonymous survey of the county's public school teachers.
Only 57 percent of teachers agreed that "state assessment data are available in time to impact instructional practices." That's a seven-point drop from last year's results. When the same question was asked about local test results, 80 percent agreed, a six-point drop from 2014....
They test kids and test kids. But a growing number of Hillsborough teachers say the results aren't ready in time to help them do a better job.
The problem is especially severe for state test results, according to this year's anonymous teacher survey. Only 57 percent of teachers agreed that "state assessment data are available in time to impact instructional practices." That's a seven point drop over last year's results. When the same question was asked about local assessment data, 80 percent agreed, a six point drop over the 2014 response....
The growing trend of Florida school districts eliminating hundreds of local year-end tests has yet to hit Hillsborough and Pasco counties.
Pasco officials said Tuesday that they'd like to provide relief to students, as their Pinellas County counterparts announced plans to do this week. But they're hung up on how to handle teacher evaluations, which must include a way to measure student performance....
TAMPA — Middle school — and how to fix it — has become a priority for the Hillsborough County school superintendent and some members of the School Board.
At a workshop Tuesday, board members discussed a number of possibilities, from extending elementary schools through sixth grade to converting more schools to a K-8 format.
"Middle school is where we're seeing kids exit," said board member Cindy Stuart, who is concerned about the high number of families choosing charter schools instead. One clear reason, she said, is that "all of a sudden (middle school students) are being asked to do a lot more, when they were very hand-held in elementary school."...
TAMPA — Trying to improve Hillsborough County's lagging graduation rate, acting superintendent Jeff Eakins started with a question: What is keeping kids off the stage?
He pulled data on the 26.5 percent of students who were high school freshmen in 2010 but did not get diplomas in 2014 — everything from state test scores to how many times they were suspended.
Among the findings: Holding students back a year doesn't work. Sixth-grade reading scores are a bellwether for success. And your grade-point average in ninth grade is a pretty good indicator of whether you will go the distance. ...
Hillsborough acting superintendent Jeff Eakins pulled these statistics recently while analyzing possible barriers to high school graduation.
Retention (for all students from the cohort enrolled in HCPS in 2001-02)...
TEMPLE TERRACE — A student at Greco Middle School was caught with a loaded gun Monday, police said.
No one was injured in the incident shortly after noon. Another student tipped off school personnel about the gun, and the school security officer called the Temple Terrace Police Department, said police spokesman Michael Dunn. Officials confiscated the .22 caliber revolver, which had one bullet, and arrested the 14-year-old student after a brief struggle. The police are not naming the student....
The Hillsborough County Public Schools announced their National Merit, National Achievement and National Hispanic finalists on Friday. They will be honored at a School Board recognition meeting on May 12.
In all, there were 79 scholars named:
Blake High School: Derek A. Roura (National Hispanic)
Bloomingdale: Tanner K. Chastain, Joseph P. Gallagher, Sean P. Monaghan (National Merit)...
TAMPA — Years of conflict — in the board room, on the campaign trail and behind closed doors at school district headquarters — officially came to a close Tuesday as the Hillsborough County School Board named Jeff Eakins as its next superintendent.
Eakins, just shy of his 50th birthday, signed a two-year contract that will pay him $225,000 annually to start.
"It's a win-win situation for the community and the taxpayers," said board chairwoman Susan Valdes, who clashed with Eakins' predecessor, longtime schools chief MaryEllen Elia....
The Hillsborough County School Board named these new principals at its meeting Tuesday:
Blake High School: Jesse Salters, 43, was Blake's assistant principal. A district employee since 2009, he also worked as student intervention specialist at Sligh Middle School.
Hill Middle School: Ronald Mason. 44, is now assistant principal at Smith Middle School. Before that he was a teacher at Town & Country, Carrollwood and Pizzo Elementary; a guidance counselor at B.T. Washington Elementary and Martinez Middle. He joined the district in 1994....