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HCPS publishes minutes of School Board meetings after Board approval. Although the online minutes do not include signatures, citizens may arrange to review the official documents by completing a public records request with the Communications Department.

901 E. Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa
Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The School Board of Hillsborough County, Florida, met in workshop session January 13, 2015, at 9 a.m. in the Staff Conference Room, 901 East Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa, with Superintendent MaryEllen Elia and Board Members Doretha W. Edgecomb, April Griffin, Sally Harris, Carol Kurdell, Melissa Snively, Cindy Stuart, and Susan Valdes present. Chair Valdes presided.

Members Absent:

Others present:

School Board Attorney – Jim Porter

Deputy Superintendents – Jeff Eakins and Cathy Valdes

Assistant Superintendents/Division Chiefs:
         Academic Support and Federal Programs – Larry Sykes – absent
         Administration – Lewis Brinson – absent
         Business – Gretchen Saunders - absent
         Curriculum and Instruction – Wynne Tye
         Facilities – Chris Farkas -
         Government Relations – Connie Milito
         Human Resources – Stephanie Woodford - absent
         Information and Technology – Anna Brown
         Student Services – vacant

Communications Officer – Stephen Hegarty
External Communications Manager – Tonya Arja
Assistant Manager of External Communications – Kristin Davis
Senior Administrative Secretary (Recording) – Patti McBride

News Media Representatives:
         Tampa Bay Times –
         Tampa Tribune –

Approximately 25 people were in the audience, including other school district personnel.

Chair Susan L. Valdes called the workshop to order at 9 a.m.

(1)Testing Schedule (Information and Technology Division)

This workshop was held to provide school board members the opportunity to discuss the 2014-15 testing schedule, state mandated assessments, and legislative requirements for testing.

Superintendent Elia made brief remarks regarding the shift in Florida Standards, the Florida Assessments and other changes that have been part of Legislation that is beginning to impact our district now.

Anna Brown made comments regarding how it is important to frame this discussion on "Why we test?”

  • Accountability
  • Formative and Summative
  • Common semester exams have been in our district for decades.
  • District has used formative assessments to guide instruction.
  • We convened our Testing Issues Committee and met in November with approximately 23 district employees, teachers, principals, assistant principals and union representation. Reviewed the testing calendar and how to reduce stress relating to testing.
  • Online testing could be better if everyone had a device.
  • More devices are on the way to elementary schools.
  • Workshop packets include the State mandated assessments, along with correlated legislation.

Chair Susan S. Valdes spoke of the recent Central Florida Coalition meeting regarding testing. We should form a plan of action on how to address testing issue.

There was general discussion by board members and staff – considerations/suggestions included:

  • Florida Association of Test Administrators meet in the fall to share ideas.
  • It is important that districts get together to share problems and/or solutions.
  • FADSS has developed suggested documentation for legislators to review.
  • District is purchasing devices for schools with the greatest needs.
  • Need to reduce stress related to testing on teachers and students.
  • Continue dialogue to improve how we use information gathered from guiding instruction and assessments.
    (administrators, teachers, parents and community)
  • District works closely with all assistant principals responsible for testing to oversee they create a smart testing plan consistently across sites.
  • Implemented small group workshops to guide through entire process of testing plans.
  • Bandwidth has been increased, which reduces chances of systems going down.
  • Screens are monitored through testing cycle and problems can be addressed quickly.
  • Confirming schools are carefully selecting where they will be using wireless devices.
  • Better communication through our school district and parents to instill a level of confidence with testing. This will ease anxiety in students and parents.
  • This year’s assessment is a brand new set of standards and test.
  • Field testing is creating a lot of stress concerning assessment issues with teachers.
  • Field testing is normally performed a year or two beforehand.
  • State could unplug the high stakes 1 to 2 years and give teachers the opportunity to adapt to new standards and assessments.
  • A list of all assessments is online in the testing calendar.
  • District runs data on each exam regarding how a student’s performance looks compared to the actual grades given in class.
  • Replacing teacher’s computers with mobile devices.
  • Explore Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).
  • State assessments and end of year exams are completed.
  • Giving grades will be difficult this year because we do not have growth scores.
  • The Differentiated Accountability System has been identified as not being in place this year. Teachers and parents need to be informed.
  • There is no law to opt out of testing.
  • Every course has a curriculum calendar provided to teachers. This gives a clear picture of the content they are expected to cover in the amount of time students are in the particular course.
  • Good teaching always delivers good assessments.

Consensus reached on the following workshops and dates:

  • Marketing Plan
  • BYOD
March 31, 2015, (1 p.m.)
April 7, 2015, (9 a.m.)

With no further discussion, the workshop adjourned at 10:50 a.m. (Audio recording on file)

HCPS publishes minutes of School Board meetings after Board approval. Although the online minutes do not include signatures, citizens may arrange to review the official documents by completing a public records request with the Communications Department.

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