UF, Pinellas schools partnership wins statewide award

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—The University of Florida Lastinger Center for Learning and Pinellas County Schools (PCS) have won a prestigious, statewide award for their groundbreaking professional development partnership.

Sylvia Boynton

The Florida Association of Staff Development (FASD) presented the 2011 Outstanding Professional Development Practices Award Sept. 20 at its Fall Leadership Conference in St. Pete Beach.

“This award recognizes the remarkable collaboration between Pinellas and Lastinger in establishing a professional culture across a large and complex school district,” said Sylvia Boynton, a UF Lastinger Center-affiliated professor-in-residence in Pinellas County. The Lastinger Center is part of UF’s College of Education.

The district greatly values this partnership, including its academic cornerstone, inquiry, which guides Pinellas educators to identify challenges in their classrooms and schools and study and test possible solutions, said PCS Professional Development Director Lisa Grant.

“A key element of the partnership is the connection between research and practice,” Grant said. “The inquiry stance enables teachers and administrators to continually improve.”

The Pinellas educators’ inquiry projects target “real problems of practice, often focused on students who struggle, on curriculum that isn’t quite working or on educator strategies that need refinement,” noted Alyson Adams, UF assistant professor of education and the Lastinger’s Center’s associate director.

More than 800 educators recently presented their inquiry project findings at the Lastinger-staged Pinellas County Learning Showcase & Inquiry Celebration held recently in Clearwater.

The FASD professional development award, Boynton said, “reflects the profound respect that the district and Lastinger have for the knowledge generated by those who work with students every day – teachers and administrators.”


SOURCE:Alyson Adams, associate director, UF Lastinger Center for Learning, 352-273-4107, adamsa@coe.ufl.edu