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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, May 3, 2016

The School Board of Hillsborough County, Florida, met in workshop session May 3, 2016, at 9 a.m., in the Staff Conference Room, 901 East Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa, with Superintendent Jeff Eakins and Board Members April Griffin, Sally Harris, Carol Kurdell, Melissa Snively, and Susan Valdes present.  Chair Griffin presided.

Members Absent: Doretha Edgecomb and Cindy Stuart

Others present:

General Counsel – Jeff Gibson

School Board Attorney – Jim Porter

Chief of Staff – Alberto Vázquez, Ed.D.

Deputy Superintendent – Van Ayres

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

Assistant Superintendents/Division Chiefs:

            Business – Gretchen Saunders

            Curriculum and Instruction – Denny Oest

            Information and Technology – Anna Brown, Ed.D.

Communications Manager – Jason Pepe, Ed.D.

External Communications Manager – Tanya Arja

Senior Administrative Secretary (Recording) – Patti McBride

News Media Representatives:

            Tampa Bay Times – Marlene Sokol

            Tampa Tribune – Anastacia Dawson                              

Approximately 24 people were in the audience, including other school district personnel.

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


Testing Schedule (Information & Technology)


This workshop was held to provide school board members with an update on testing schedules, state mandated assessments, and an overview of the reduction in mandatory testing for the 2016/2017 school year.


Superintendent Eakins made brief remarks on where we were, where we are now, and changes made. Students’ needs driving student instruction; progress monitored regularly; teachers having ownership – giving schools options on assessments throughout the year – what is best for their school.


Dr. Brown provided an overview of the reduction in mandatory testing for the 2016/2017 school year (Kindergarten – Grade 12). Progress monitoring students is non-negotiable, what is now optional is how you progress monitor; still have some mandatory testing, such as the Florida Standards Assessment.  

A video was shown on "Student Progress Monitoring,” which will be released to the principals to share with their teachers.  A guide to progress monitoring can be found on the IDEAS desktop.

Teachers present at the workshop discussed the benefit of site-based decision, which will allow the teachers/principals to choose which tests to administer, how to use them, and when to schedule.  More flexible option for a teacher to determine if class/student is ready for test – teachers know their students best.


There was general discussion to include:

  • Testing exhaustion
  • Media Centers not available for use, as they become testing labs
  • Testing ties-up school employees who are needed to proctor exams, especially a burden on guidance counselors. Need further conversation on providing assistance to guidance counselors with proctoring of tests.
  • Concern for ELL students and elevate schools – providing more intense system of support and interventions
  • Changes in Professional Development to assist K-5 teachers, especially in reading.
  • Coaching/mentoring process – build strong teachers to be "teacher leaders” to carry on the work of the coach
  • Assistance provided for teachers who may be unsuccessful in moving students forward – data on testing results are almost immediate; area superintendents also assist school administration and teachers.
  • Make effort to track teachers’ planning time, with hope that it gives back some planning time to help teachers with their instructional time (concern of teachers).
  • Is there a cost savings for teachers choosing some tests over others, provide data next year if available
  • Staff is working on communication plan to the parents and community
  • Flexibility and control to the teachers – trust teachers to make right decision for their students; compliments to the Superintendent for making this effort.  We are becoming a "responsive” district instead of "directive” district.


Fiscal Year 2016/2017 Budget Workshop (Business Division)


This workshop was held to discuss what we want for the classroom.  What are the items needed to cost-out, analyze, and work toward achieving, as the budget rolls out for our FY2016/2017 and to begin planning for FY 2017/2018.


Gretchen Saunders distributed a list of items that were previously discussed as priorities, and asked the Board to look over and select their top picks.  List included:  Student Achievement; Communication; Character Development and Conflict Resolution (Frameworks); Technology; Art & Music; Languages; Life Skills:  Health, etc.; Transportation; Community Partnerships; Salary Schedule Review.   List difficult to discuss at this point without a lot of budget information.


There was general discussion to include:


  • Character development, school cultural model, working with partners (i.e. cub scouts, girl scouts, and boy scouts – build strong values)


  • Expectation to stabilize our fund balance June 30
  • Discuss with principals their goals for their school (budget wise) – flexibility to use dollars.


  • The divisions are aligning their Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) with board priorities


  • Must have conversation on conflict resolution, health decisions (children not able to succeed due to a teen pregnancy or STD/STI). Discuss student health and well-being (as an action item) at next School Board meeting (May 10).


  • Leveraging partnerships, so there is no financial impact on certain items


  • Transportation (safety of children on/off the bus – disruptive children – bus drivers can’t discipline and drive a bus) – look at creative ways to have an aide on the bus (maybe every other day)
  • Technology on bus – provide our Transportation Department with the tools they need


  • Salaries (negotiated item) – looking at collapsing salary schedules.  Consider employees who have been with us for a very long time—not honored for their longevity/loyalty. Newer employees coming in to the district make more money in a shorter amount of time.
  • Look into more dual language programs to address student needs due to changing demographics,   
  • PSAT/SAT waivers, cost, helping students achieve certificate of completion

Superintendent Eakins commented he had to leave for another meeting at Mort Elementary School, Mr. Ayres, will represent him at the HASA Forum.

Chair Griffin thanked everyone and reminded board members to turn in their "yellow” forms to Gretchen – budget conversation will continue at afternoon session.

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