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Press Release

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

“What’s Working” Meeting Series Kicks off with Valuable Input from Stakeholders

~ Online comment period for next meeting in the series is now open ~

TALLAHASSEE – The first in a series of five “What’s Working in Effective Teaching and Leadership” meetings kicked off in Panama City Beach Monday. The event featured an engaged crowd of teachers and other education stakeholders eager to learn and ask questions about “Value Added Measures in Education.” The State Board of Education and the Department of Education have partnered to host the “What’s Working” series throughout the fall, which provides an open forum for educators throughout Florida to share their ideas and concerns on critical issues affecting them such as instructional practices, leadership, professional development and teacher quality.

“I was very pleased by the wonderful turnout we had at this first meeting and the thoughtful way our audience members approached the complex topic of value added evaluations,” said Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith. “Stakeholder feedback is absolutely essential in the process of education reform and I’m looking forward to hearing from as many Floridians as we can, as we explore new ways to increase student achievement through this series.”

Monday’s meeting began with a short presentation by Dr. George Noell, Executive Director for Strategic Research and Analysis at the Louisiana Department of Education. He provided a look at how Louisiana has used a “value added model” for assessing teacher and student performance and its role in improving teacher preparation programs through the use of this valuable information. The remainder of the two-hour meeting was devoted to audience member questions and comments about the topic.

The next “What’s Working” meeting will take place Sept. 28 in Jacksonville, Florida, and will feature Andy Ford, President of the Florida Education Association. Similar to the first meeting, an online comment form is now available at to give interested stakeholders an opportunity to submit questions in advance of the discussion. Feedback provided through the online form will be given to each session’s keynote speaker to help facilitate the group dialogue occurring at each meeting. Additional questions and comments will also be encouraged during the meeting.

The remaining workshop schedule is as follows:

  • Sept. 28, 2010 – Florida State College at Jacksonville in Jacksonville, Fla.
    Keynote Speaker: Andy Ford, President, Florida Education Association
    Topic: Florida Education Association’s Vision and Strategies to Support Teachers

  • Oct. 6, 2010 – Hillsborough Community College, Dale Mabry Campus in Tampa, Fla.
    Keynote Speaker: Speaker Dan Weisberg, Vice President of Policy, The New Teacher Project
    Topic: Teacher Evaluations and Support for Effective Instruction

  • Oct. 7, 2010 – Urban League of Greater Miami in Miami, Fla.
    Keynote Speaker: Brian Dassler, Principal, Principal, Renaissance High School, Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP)
    Topic: How to Turnaround Low Performing Schools

  • October 2010 – Orlando, Fla.
    Keynote Speaker: Jon Schnur, Co-Founder, New Leaders for New Schools
    Topic: Preparing Outstanding School Leaders

All workshops will take place from 4-6 p.m. local time. Additional details regarding each individual workshop, its topic, featured speaker and other information can be found by visiting