Hillsborough County high schools have banner school performance in 2012-2013

12/18/13 Janelle Irwin
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Tags: eduation, Hillsborough County Schools, Mary Ellen Elia, school grades


Hillsborough County Schools Superintendent Mary Ellen Elia touts high-performing high schools

photo by Janelle Irwin

The Florida Department of Education released high school grades for the 2012-2013 school year Wednesday. Pinellas County Schools fared well with no high schools earning less than a B. Hillsborough County scored higher overall than ever before. During a press conference Wednesday, Superintendent Mary Ellen Elia applauded principals for their work in either improving or maintaining their school performance.

“More than half of Hillsborough County’s traditional high schools earned an A grade. Some of you who cover us often may be aware we have 27 high schools. That’s a large number. So, when you look at it more than half – fourteen of our high schools had A grades. That’s the most we’ve ever had. We had nine B grades and we had four C grades. None of our traditional high schools had a D or an F grade. So, A, Bs or Cs. The highest number, obviously, we had 14 A grades and the highest we’ve ever had.”

Elia also attributed some of the success with high school grades to a more complex formula for calculating scores that includes more criteria than how elementary and middle schools are judged. Hillsborough County is part of a national scoring program called TUDA – the Trial Urban District Assessment. Compared to 20 other cities, Hillsborough County ranked first in 4th and 8th grade reading and tied for second in average overall math scores. Elia says that success is shared among students in all demographics.

“If you look at how our African-American students, Hispanic students, students with disabilities and English language learners – that is those sub-groups that make up the whole – our 4th graders in reading scored higher than or statistically equivalent to the national average to large cities, the sate of Florida and Miami-Dade. In mathematics, those same sub-groups, our 4th grade scores were greater than or statistically equivalent to national large city, state of Florida and Miami-Dade. And the performance of each sub-group is important because it means that all of our students are contributing to our success. So, let me give you an example of that. If you had very high scores that those sub-group scores were depressed than it would mean that those particular sub-groups weren’t scoring as well, but that other students – probably white students would have been scoring higher. But when you look at our scores, you see that across the board, our sub-groups are contributing to the success by being in a high position relative to all of the other states and those other cities.”

The national scoring program looks at 20 categories. Hillsborough County was either the top score or statistically equivalent to it in 16 of those. During its meeting today, the Hillsborough County School Board is also discussing whether to have armed security guards in elementary schools.

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