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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, April 11, 2017

The School Board of Hillsborough County, Florida, met in Workshop Session Tuesday, April 11, 2017, at 2 p.m., in the School Board Auditorium, 901 East Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa, with Superintendent Jeff Eakins, and Board Members Lynn L. Gray, April Griffin (arrived 2:10), Sally Harris, Tamara P. Shamburger, Melissa Snively, Cindy Stuart, and Susan Valdes present. Chair Cindy Stuart presided.

Others Present:

Board Attorney – James Porter

Chief of Staff: Alberto Vazquez, Ed.D.
Deputy Superintendent: Van Ayres
Chief of Schools, Administration: Harrison Peters

Assistant Superintendents/Division Chiefs:
      Academic Support and Federal Programs –Tracye Brown
      Business – Gretchen Saunders
      Educational Leadership and Professional Development – Tricia McManus
      Human Resources – Stephanie Woodford
      Operations – Chris Farkas
      Outreach – Larry Sykes, Ed.D
      Educational Access, Opportunity, and Alternatives – Wynne Tye
      Teaching and Learning – Debbie Cook

Communications and Media Officer – Teresa Peterson
External Communications Manager – Tanya Arja
Administrative Secretary (Recording) – Kandee King

News Media Representatives:
      Tampa Bay Times – Marlene Sokol

Approximately 20 people were in the audience, including other school district personnel.

Chair Stuart called the meeting to order at 2:02 p.m.

     (1) Area Superintendents’ Way of Work (Chief of Schools)

This workshop was held to provide School Board Members with an overview of the Area Superintendents way of work. A power point presentation supported this interactive workshop.

Superintendent Eakins made brief remarks.

Harrison Peters, Chief of Schools, began this interactive workshop thanking the Area Superintendents’ for their work in putting this presentation together.

Michelle Fitzgerald, Area Superintendent, Area 5, began the first activity by dividing the Board and Staff into three groups. Each group was assigned a picture and asked to:

  • Diagnose the ailment
  • Prescribe a treatment
  • Use your treatment kit to serve the patient

Board Member discussion included:

  • Sally Harris’ group was consistent with their diagnosis; however, became a "what if” situation as they got closer to the end of their discussion.
  • April Griffin’s group was good with the diagnosis however, did not feel they had the proper resources for treatment.
  • Susan Valdes’ group felt they did the best they could with the resources they had.
  • Lynn Gray’s group continued to question, what was the best solution?
  • Tamara Shamburger’s group realized there is more than one way to solve a problem.

The role of the Area Superintendent is to diagnose the instructional leadership needs of principal; work collaboratively with site-based leadership team to diagnose needs of the schools; act as partners with schools to determine most effective treatment; engage with divisions/departments for specialized treatment; monitor progress and effectiveness of treatment.

Lisa Yost, Area Superintendent, Area 1, presented the Norms and Beliefs and how they align with the Strategic Plan. The four strategic CORE priorities are:

  • Increased Graduation Rates
  • Communicating with Stakeholders
  • Building Strong Culture and relationships
  • Foundation of Financial Stewardship

Area Superintendents work is urgent and we must remember to be hard on the problem, and soft on the people. We need to work well with the schools and remember the central office plays a very important part in the collaboration.

Core Beliefs are all children want and will demonstrate growth when provided an optimal learning environment; high expectations, rigorous, relevant curriculum and instruction, and appropriate supports, resulting in graduation for all.

It is important for parents to be engaged as partners and advocates in their child’s education.

Area Superintendents and Deputy Directors are instructional leaders who build principal leadership capacity through a systemic approach while engaging and executing the district’s vision of Preparing Students for life.

The principal is the lead learner and ensures equitable outcomes for all students by providing a strong culture where students receive quality instruction in a safe nurturing environment every day.

Instructional leadership teams drive the school improvement process by ensuring that students are receiving data driven instruction through sound pedagogical practices and tiered support.

The role of the central office is to ensure equitable student outcomes by providing differentiated supports to schools in partnership and collaboration with the Area Superintendent.

Owen Young, Area Superintendent, Area 7, took us through the Journey of Thought.

During this Journey observed:

  • Tightly held district curriculum
  • Required common assessments
  • Centralized school supports
  • Compliance driven
  • Equity

During the Journey we heard:

  • Site-based autonomy
  • Principals as instructional leaders (CEO)
  • Flexibility in curriculum resources and pedagogy
  • Flexibility in assessment
  • Equity

Board Members were asked to read a scenario and respond with their thoughts as to what stood out to them. Some responses were:

  • Some things may be cookie cutter
  • Looking over curriculum, currently the same districtwide
  • Curriculum may need to be personalized per school.
  • Every area is significantly different, i.e. English Language Learning differs from Wimauma to Plant City
  • If the principal’s expectations change, a shift needs to happen
  • When we go from Wimauma Elementary to Chiles Elementary learning looks different.

Our Theory of Action is to ensure that each school has a data aligned School Improvement Plan with a system of monitoring, adjusting, and supporting schools, creating cultures with high in expectations and differentiated supports for students and teachers. Partner with leadership development and teaching and learning to strengthen site-based leadership capacity.

With 13 years to graduation, it is important to make sure there is an understanding of the English Language Arts and Math Instructional shifts, the standards, and how the standards align with assessments.

Sharon Morris, Area Superintendent, Area 6, stressed the importance of the Deputy Director’s role in each area office. The Deputy Director play’s an important role, working hand-in-hand with the Area Superintendent

There was general discussion to include:

  • Most everyone is fearful of change. We want to ensure everyone will trust the process?”
  • The role of area superintendent has changed drastically over the last several years. This position has changed, along with responsibilities.
  • There is a fear we are moving too quickly. We need to be sure we have clear concise information and communication
  • Communication is two way and the parents have a right to know what’s going
  • Providing equity means providing equity for all schools. Universal elements would include supporting instructional learning walks; repeat what is working, unpack what’s not; high need schools will receive more help than lower need schools.
  • The difference between having and not having a Deputy Director is the tiered level of support and working together as a team. Areas who currently have Deputy Directors have the advantage of additional knowledge and different personalities to work with the sites.
  • Deputy Directors allow the Area Superintendent the ability to get into the sites. This is additional support that is very much appreciated and needed.
  • Teachers are frustrated with the amount of data they are asked to collect. They are not getting feedback on data submitted. Data should be submitted and analyzed to help make each teacher better and nothing else. Our biggest data collection should be on what students learned today.
  • We need to consider what our employees and the public are thinking when it comes to adding the Deputy Directors to the area offices. In order to create an efficient structure we need this plan in place and there is a cost savings to this plan. After this plan has been shared with the Board it is important to get this information to the Communications office to be shared appropriately.

With no further discussion the workshop was adjourned at 3:39 p.m.

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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