Educators Celebrate $100 Million Gates Grant for Teacher Training

Students play steel drums at a celebration of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grant to Hillsborough County Schools.
Tampa (2009-12-11) -

Hundreds of Hillsborough County teachers, administrators, and students gathered Thursday night to officially accept a $100 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The county beat out several others in the U.S. to win the largest teacher training grant from the Gates Foundation.

Gates Foundation Education Director Vicki Phillips flew in from Seattle to celebrate the newly formed partnership with Hillsborough School District.

“It is no small feat to win a $100 million investment from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,” Phillips said.

The foundation will supply the money and Hillsborough educators and administrators working together will develop a teacher mentoring program and a model to measure teacher effectiveness.

“One thing that really stood out Hillsborough was the strong collaboration and the good will between the district and the CTA,” Phillips said.

The Classroom Teachers Association in Hillsborough helped secure the grant and will have an active role in designing teacher training and assessment programs over the next seven years.

The money will fund developing new methods to train and evaluate Hillsborough teachers.

Randi Weingarten is president of the American Federation of Teachers and says the national teachers union supports total reform.

“All too often, attempts to improve quality teaching up until now have been add-on programs that only scratch the surface or are isolated random acts of reform worse there’s the fad of the moment,” Weingarten said.

Finding ongoing funding is another part of the hard work ahead. Local lawmakers presented a proclamation of support.

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