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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, February 23, 2016

The School Board of Hillsborough County, Florida, met in workshop session February 23, 2016, at 9 a.m., in the Board Auditorium, 901 East Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa, with Superintendent Jeff Eakins and Board Members Doretha W. Edgecomb, April Griffin, Carol Kurdell, Sally Harris, Melissa Snively, Cindy Stuart, and Susan Valdes present.  Chair Griffin presided.

Others present:

School Board Attorney – Jim Porter

Chief of Schools, Administration – Larry Sykes, Ed.D.

Chief of Staff – Alberto Vázquez, Ed.D.

Deputy Superintendent – Van Ayres

Assistant Superintendents/Division Chiefs:

            Academic Support and Federal Programs – Tracye Brown

            Curriculum and Instruction – Denny Oest

Diversity – Lewis Brinson, Ed.D.         

            Human Resources – Stephanie Woodford

            Information and Technology – Anna Brown, Ed.D.                           

External Communications Manager – Tonya Arja

Senior Administrative Secretary (Recording) – Patti McBride

News Media Representatives:

            Tampa Bay Times – Marlene Sokol

            Tampa Tribune – Anastacia Dawson

            Bay News 9                               

Approximately 34 people were in the audience, including other school district personnel.

Chair Griffin called the workshop to order at 9:03 a.m.


Discipline Behavior Dashboard  (Chief of Schools, Administration)


 This workshop was held to provide the School Board and district staff the opportunity to review semester discipline data, and for principals to share strategies and interventions that are making a difference.


Superintendent Eakins made brief remarks regarding discipline, school culture, the Strategic Plan and our progress at this time.


Mr. Ayres discussed priority areas around the Strategic Plan (leading indicators) and tracking data – 94 percent of our students have zero suspensions;  looking at strategies schools are using to keep students in school (not losing instructional time).


Dr. Sykes provided a Power Point presentation discussing strategies and interventions that support student success.


Mr. Marcos Murillo, Area Superintendent – Area VIII, discussed secondary schools’ best practices and intervention strategies, incentive celebrations for behavior and attendance -- support of students for each other.   The following principals and students were introduced:

  • Jesse Salters, Principal – Blake High School
  • Michael Bobo, Principal – Giunta Middle School
  • Olayinka Alege, Principal – Greco Middle School
  • Michael Rowan, Principal – King High School
  • Mary Freitas, Principal – Lennard High School
  • Bradley Woods, Principal – Wharton High School
  • Nadine Johnson, Principal – Young Middle School
  • Eddie Williams IV (8th Grade) – Greco Middle School
  • Charvacia Harris (12th Grade) – Lennard High School


Mr. Alege (Greco) and Ms. Freitas (Lennard) discussed incident referrals by disciplinary action/ethnicity for their schools, along with what their schools were doing to decrease referrals and turn-around students (expectations/success/interventions/academic success), whole village approach.

Parent involvement – parents may not be able to be involved at school as much as they would like due to work, etc. – hold more events in community.

Other principals in attendance discussed everyone at the school has a role to play (educating whole child-mental awareness); interactions that are positive for students; use of Edsby; teacher support;  regular team meetings with school administrators, counselors, teachers, etc. to discuss struggling students.  Discussed relationship (conversation/connection) between feeder schools – elementary to middle, middle to high school; principals visiting other schools (what works at one school may need more tailoring at another). 


Lennard High School student - Charvacia Harris, and Greco Middle School student – Eddie Williams shared their story of success. Board members encouraged students to share their success stories with other students.


Dr. Sykes and Mr. Murillo continued presentation discussing computer dashboard, which allows principals to track students’ data in real time; cultural sensitivity training, small group meetings for principals to share strategies; and "next steps” in reducing racial disparity in discipline. 


There was general discussion to include:

  • Segregating minor incidents – digging deeper into specific incident types to develop strategies around individual challenges


  • City/County Civil Citations data


  • Numbers are still high regarding African American students (data presented not broken down by gender/grades).  The district is addressing racial disparities raised by the U. S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights.


  • Systemic changes taking place in schools


  • Leveraging resources to provide assistance to counselors during testing


  • In moving forward, look into underlying issues of poor behavior due to hunger, poverty, etc.


  • Board members are hearing from teachers they don’t feel supported (continuously disruptive students – don’t call office, don’t submit referrals – will affect evaluations, etc.); teachers are asked, "what are you doing” instead of "how can we help you.”  


  • High number of bus referrals


  • Parents should be part of the discipline conversation; survey teachers around the district on discipline.


  • Lack of parent/community support is a challenge principals still have (being on the same page).   Need more mentorships. Small percentage of students have not made connection on how their behavior affects their education/life down the road.  Support has to be constant on all levels.


  • Have discussion on Saturday schools to help students who are behind.


  • School leaders becoming known in their community.  Build strong school culture, create great systems, and support for teachers.  Know student population and build relationships. Parents/students need to understand – a student’s "job” is to go to school.


  • Schedule follow-up workshop for later in the year (possibly August) on this topic (include info on parental support).

Chair Griffin and the Superintendent thanked students, principals, and staff for attending the workshop and sharing of information. 

With no further discussion, the workshop adjourned at 11:21 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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