The couple sat in on classes, talked with teachers and ate lunch in the cafeteria at Tampa's Jefferson High School Wednesday to evaluate the progress of reform at the school, The St. Petersburg Times reported
"The sense of progress, the sense of improvement is really phenomenal, and I do believe this is how it should be done nationwide," said Bill Gates.
Hillsborough County received the $100 million from the Gates Foundation in 2009 to change the way schools recruit, train and retain high quality teachers. The school district, home to 193,000 students, is now in the second year of its project, having already completed the first round of teacher evaluations.
The Gates foundation has sent representatives to the school before, but Wednesday was the first visit made the couple to evaluate the project. They spoke with teachers about the advantages and disadvantages of the project.
Gates "wanted to hear our feedback," said math teacher Allyson Vail, who was one of four teachers selected to talk with the couple. "He took extensive notes the whole time."
The county got the grant as part of a $335 million investment the Gates Foundation made in a handful of school districts across the country. The Gateses also gave money to Memphis, Pittsburgh and several charter schools in Los Angeles.