Hillsborough County Public Schools Curriculum and Instruction
Information Item

DATE: Tuesday, November 3, 2009
TO: School Board Members
FROM: MaryEllen Elia, Superintendent


The Urban Teaching Academy (UTA) Interdisciplinary Project (Magnet Schools and Programs-Curriculum and Instruction Division)


Initiative: The Urban Teaching Academy (UTA) is a rigorous high-school magnet program for students aspiring to become educators. All magnet programs emphasize engaging student-centered instruction and integrated curriculum, but the UTA in particular is intended to model best practices in 21st century learning environment. The Tampa Treasures project was initially created by Teresa Winston, Fine Arts Magnet Lead Teacher at Blake High School. Ms. Winston, and Gwen Williams, UTA Teacher, then collaborated to fuse Tampa history, photography, and the writing process together in a way that models interdisciplinary instructional practice as a way to improve student engagement and achievement.

Goals: The goals of the Tampa Treasures project were to: demonstrate interdisciplinary student-based instructional practices; improve students’ historical knowledge; and improve appreciation, critical analysis and writing skills. These skills are imperative for college readiness and success. Gaining awareness of local history and geography also helps UTA students better understand themselves and their future students. In addition, because these students are pre-service teachers, they must understand the rigorous, high level classroom practices that are necessary for all students in the 21st century.

Targeted Population: Interdisciplinary and collaborative projects are part of academic rigor for all magnet students.

Timeline: UTA students learned about local history and historic sites in Tampa. A professional photographer visited the UTA classes to teach photographic techniques. The students practiced, using digital cameras provided through private grant-funding. Students then visited the sites they researched. They visited Sacred Heart Church, University of Tampa, the Columbia Restaurant, and other local sites. At each site, a resident expert gave them additional information. Each student focused on a particular site to photograph and used journaling to chronicle their observations. Journal entries were edited and finalized with the assistance of the magnet office personnel and Blake English teachers. The photos were professionally matted and framed. An exhibition of the photos and the journal entries was displayed publicly in the John Germany library and the project was featured in the Tampa Tribune.

Continued on attachment.


* Demonstrate consistent and effective teaching methods, * Motivate students to become responsible learners, * Challenge and support all students with an appropriate curriculum, * Recruit, develop, and retain a highly effective, diverse workforce


The project was funded through the Magnet Schools Assistance Grant (MSAP) as well as through a private grant funded by JP Morgan Chase.


Federal Magnet Schools Assistance Grant (MSAP) Evaluation


Susan King
Supervisor, Magnet Schools and Programs
(813) 272-4811
Wynne A. Tye
Assistant Superintendent, Curriculum and Instruction
(813) 272-4221
B 01
Hillsborough County Public Schools (Florida) * Mtg.#20091103_364 * Section B Item# 01