Hillsborough County Public Schools

Hillsborough County Public Schools

Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS), the eighth-largest school system in the country, received a $100 million Gates Foundation Empowering Effective Teachers Grant in 2009. This grant recognized and enhanced the long history of collaboration and pay-for-performance programs in HCPS. According to Hillsborough County Teachers Association (HCTA) President Jean Clements, the HCPS teacher compensation plan will be regarded as "reliable, valid, fair, and easy to understand."

The HCTA, administration, and community have been recognized for their collaboration. In a Boston Consulting Group survey of more than 6,000 teachers and 500 school administrators, HCPS demonstrated extraordinary levels of employee engagement, with scores in the top quartile of all benchmark organizations. Both teachers and administrators attribute their success as a district to a high degree of trust, collaboration, and engagement.

HCPS is in the midst of a seven-year initiative focused and driven by a student outcome goal: 90 percent or more of students in HCPS will be ready for college or a career upon graduating. Recognizing that teachers are essential to this goal, HCPS has implemented:

  • An intensive two-year induction program with expert mentors on full-release to mentor and evaluate new teachers;
  • An evaluation, developed with educational consultant Charlotte Danielson, that is developmental in that it helps professionals continuously improve. Teachers are formally observed three to 12 times per year. Teachers' evaluations are based on multiple measures:
    • 30 percent on a mentor/peer rating;
    • 30 percent on a principal rating;
    • 40 percent on student learning gains;
  • A new value-added measure developed with the University of Wisconsin, based on state assessments and semester exams.

Performance based on student learning and multiple evaluations, in addition to advanced roles for teachers, will determine tenure decisions, compensation, and support. HCPS will frequently extend the non-tenured "apprentice" period for teachers from three to four years to establish at least three years of student learning data. Additionally, all teachers will have the ability to earn higher salaries much earlier in their careers. After three to five years, exceptional new teachers will be able to earn as much as teachers in their 20th year currently earn.

In a September 26, 2010, opinion piece in the Tampa Tribune, HCPS Superintendent MaryEllen Elia explained what her administration is attempting to do with teachers. "(We are) designing a comprehensive plan that makes increased student achievement the centerpiece of everything we do."

student achievement graph

Data at a glance:
Total students 206,841
Total certified teachers15,162
Total full-time staff25,170
Number of schools250
Enrollment, by race/ethnicity
—White: 40%
—Black: 21%
—Asian: 3%
Students eligible for free and reduced-price meals57%
English learners12%
Graduation rate 82.2%


Stephanie Baxter-Jenkins, Executive Director, Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association
Jean Clements, President, Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association
MaryEllen Elia, Superintendent, Hillsborough County Public Schools
Carol W. Kurdell, School Board Member, Hillsborough County Public Schools Daniel J. Valdez, Deputy Superintendent, Hillsborough County Public Schools


District Website: http://www.sdhc.k12.fl.us/
District Contract: http://www.sdhc.k12.fl.us/humanresources/Documents/ContractsAgreements.asp