Making Teachers More Effective

By Doug Eadie

“Our ultimate goal is to dramatically increase student achievement, raise graduation rates, and ensure college and career readiness. The way to do that is to ensure that our teachers are adept and inspired, and have the support they need.”

This is how MaryEllen Elia, superintendent of Florida’s Hillsborough County Public Schools, introduced the district’s bold, long-term partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the community at large. In an op-ed column published in the Tampa Tribune, she outlined how the Gates Foundation has committed $100 million over seven years to help the district dramatically strengthen teacher effectiveness.

We aren’t talking about an old-time strategic plan with thousands of words, pounds of paper, and another one of those lists of unrealistic, unfunded goals. On the contrary, this wide-ranging plan is part of a national effort involving two other school districts -- Memphis, Tenn., and Pittsburgh -- and a coalition of charter schools.

It’s an exciting and ambitious project that also has involved the board from the get-go.

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