Pinellas County leaders make little progress with simultaneous teaching discussions

Talks between Pinellas teachers and the district did not bring the sides closer to an agreement on simultaneous teaching.

They met for over two hours on Monday afternoon at district headquarters, and afterwards, did not agree on how far apart they are.

The union head said they were "miles apart," while district leaders said they were “not terribly far apart.” 

The teachers union says they have close to 2,000 teachers who don't approve of simultaneous teaching.
The district has offered to allow teachers to use a second monitor to see remote students, use of ear buds that won't distract in person students, and devices that make it easier for students to see what teachers are writing.
The teachers want more time to plan, to limit class sizes further, and to have assistants in the room to help in person students.

"I think that we can have a working relationship to make this whole district much more successful," said Nancy Velardi, the head of the Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association. "But I am not seeing a lot of movement on their part. They just want to do it their way, and deny deny deny there is a problem."

The first step, teachers say, should be a survey to nail down exactly how many teachers are unhappy.

The district says it will consider that.

"We have different perspectives on what we are hearing from our different constituent groups," said deputy superintendent William Corbett. "They are hearing one thing, we are hearing another thing. When you look at it together, we are not that far apart."

Teachers have also asked the district for a stipend.
Right now 52 percent of Pinellas teachers are teaching both online and in person. The union says they were originally told it was going to be on rare occasions.

"It's not feasible," said Velardi. "Their solutions are not based on reality, how a classroom really functions."

The district says it wants to implement different solutions for classrooms of different ages, subjects and types.

"All of our classrooms are very different," said associate superintendent for human resources Paula Texel. "The needs of our students and needs of our teachers are very different, so one solution will not most likely work for everyone."

The school board will be discussing the idea of doing a survey of teachers at their meeting Tuesday morning.