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Teacher to be suspended indefinitely

By KELLY RYAN

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 29, 2000


LARGO -- The Pinellas School Board suspended a Clearview Avenue Elementary School teacher without pay Tuesday amid allegations that she cheated on the district's practice FCAT.

Superintendent Howard Hinesley had recommended the firing of Helen Hoss, a Pinellas County teacher since 1987. But Hoss and her lawyer are appealing and have requested an administrative hearing.

Hoss will remain on suspension until the matter is resolved.

The accusations involve a test called the PR-FCAT, or the Parallel Reading FCAT.

It helps students practice for the FCAT, helps determine which students will be promoted to the next grade and indicates which students need to attend summer school. The test is given three times a year.

Hoss was accused in January of telling her students to write more on their tests, and of writing in an answer for a student who left a question blank.

She initially denied the accusations but later admitted to them, district officials said.

Hoss also is accused of trying to disguise her writing and adding more answers on the tests two weeks later.

While suspended, Hoss will miss out on $225.26 per day. Her annual salary is $44,150.

Hoss' teaching career began in 1967 in Georgia, and she has been a Pinellas County teacher since 1987.

A second teacher, who works at Brooker Creek Elementary School, is being investigated for cheating on the state's real Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.

- Times staff writer Stephen Hegarty contributed to this report.

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