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HCPS Honored as Exemplary School District for the Teaching of African American History

October 16, 2017

For Immediate Release

Contact: Tanya Arja
Office of Communications
813-272-4060

Tampa, Fla. – (October 16, 2017) – Hillsborough County Public Schools is honored to announce the district has received the distinction of Exemplary Status for the Teaching of African American History. On Wednesday, October 18, at 10 a.m., Superintendent Jeff Eakins and School Board members will host a press conference and reception at Middleton High School. 

After the press conference, representatives from the media will be able to visit a classroom and listen in to a lesson and discussion associated with African American History. Middleton High School is located at 4801 North 22nd Street, Tampa. 

In October, 2014, the School Board approved the district’s pursuit of obtaining Exemplary Status, as awarded by the Florida Department of Education’s Commissioner of Education African American History Task Force. The initiative was first introduced by the Hillsborough County NAACP and their members have been important partners through the entire process. 

To achieve Exemplary Status in African American History Education, a district much show they have:

  • Developed plans for infusing African and African American Studies across the curriculum in grades Pre-K through 12
  • Provided ongoing professional development to teachers in strategies to teach African and African American Studies
  • Worked in partnership with community groups and universities, such as the Hillsborough NAACP and the University of South Florida, toward the goal of achieving Exemplary Status

The process has included training of more than sixty teachers in the development of African and African American Studies curriculum and resources, as well as training for district staff and all elementary, middle and high school principals. Additionally, more than 1,000 middle and high schools social studies teachers participated in workshops related to African American Studies at Blake High School in August of 2015.

Dr. Patrick Coggins, from Stetson University, has been a consultant with the district during the project. In July of 2016, Dr. Coggins trained more than 300 representatives from all schools in the district to serve as African and African American Studies liaisons for their sites.

While the teaching of African American History is part of required instruction under Florida State Statute, this initiative is designed to go beyond the legal requirement and provide a level of instruction that will ensure all students learn more about African and African American History and culture.

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