Hillsborough County Public Schools along with 59 other big-city public school districts across the country pledge to improve the academic and social outcomes for African-American and Hispanic males.
Superintendent MaryEllen Elia, along with School Board members Doretha Edgecomb and Candy Olson, are in Washington D.C. for the announcement with President Obama.
In a call to action by the Council of the Great City Schools, the primary coalition of the nation’s urban schools, each of the school systems support boosting efforts to prepare African-American and Hispanic males for college and careers, to reduce the disproportionate number who drop out of school or who are suspended, and to help them succeed.
“Hillsborough County Public Schools is committed to this pledge. We are working with our administrators and teachers to guarantee full opportunities for student success,” said Superintendent MaryEllen Elia. “The district is also focused and committed to address early intervention and supports, as a way to reduce the dropout rate and support student success.”
This year, the district will roll out a new initiative with student success specialists. These student success specialists, at each high school and 24 middle schools, will work with students who have attendance, behavior or academic issues. A team at the school made up of an administrator, counselor, ESE staff member, and ELL (English Language Learners) instructor will work towards the goal of improving the graduation rate and helping the students succeed.
In “A Pledge by America’s Great City Schools,” each of the 60 urban school systems committed to carrying out 11 specific actions, which include:
- Ensuring that pre-school efforts better serve African-American and Hispanic males and their academic and social development;
- Adopting and implementing elementary and middle school efforts to increase “the pipeline” of African-American and Hispanic males who are on track to succeed in high school, and increasing the numbers participating in advanced placement, honors, and gifted and talented programs;
- Keeping data and establishing protocols to monitor the progress and intervene at the earliest warning signs of problems;
- Reducing the disproportionate number of African-American and Hispanic males who are absent, suspended, expelled, or placed inappropriately in special education classes; and
- Working to transform high schools with low graduation rates and striving to increase the numbers of African-American and Hispanic males and others who complete the FAFSA forms for college aid.
There is also a partnership to increase the number of African-American and Hispanic males participating and succeeding in Advanced Placement (AP) classes.
This year, Hillsborough County Public Schools was recognized for the district’s work in significantly increasing the number of minority students who are achieving a passing rate on the AP exam. Since 2007, the district had a 142% increase in the number of AP exams earning a 3 or higher among African-American students and a 169% increase in the number of AP exams earning a 3 or higher among Hispanic students.