Skip Navigation

School Board

HCPS publishes minutes of School Board meetings after Board approval. Although the online minutes do not include signatures, citizens may arrange to review the official documents by completing a public records request with the Communications Department.

901 E. Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa
Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The School Board of Hillsborough County, Florida, met in workshop session Tuesday, February 24, 2015, at 9 a.m., in the Staff Conference Room, 901 East Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa, with Board Members Doretha W. Edgecomb, April Griffin, Sally Harris, Carol Kurdell, Melissa Snively, Cindy Stewart, and Susan Valdes. Chair Valdes presided.

Absent: Superintendent MaryEllen Elia

Others present:

Deputy Superintendent – Jeff Eakins and Cathy Valdes (absent)

Assistant Superintendents/Division Chiefs:
     Administration – Lewis Brinson
     Business – Gretchen Saunders - absent
     Curriculum and Instruction – Denny Oest
     Facilities – Chris Farkas
     Governmental Relations – Connie Milito - absent
     Human Resources – Stephanie Woodford - absent
     Information and Technology/Empowering Effective Teachers Grant – Anna Brown
     Instructional Support – Wynne Tye
     Student Services and Federal Programs – Larry Sykes

Communications Officer – Stephen Hegarty
External Communications Manager – Tanya Arja
Senior Administrative Secretary (Recording) – Linda Fernandez

Approximately 10 people were in the audience, including other school district personnel.

Chair Valdes called the workshop to order at 9:09 a.m.

(1) Alliance for Public Schools (APC) (Deputy Superintendent)
Jeff introduced Melissa Erickson and Christine Bramuchi who presented their information.

Presenter: Melissa Erickson and Christine Bramuchi (Orange County) (Brady Cannon intern shared with the district.)

Melissa Erickson said this is the first year of the alliance for pro-public school. She thanked Tracye Brown for her support.

Vision: The Alliance for Public Schools seeks to ensure positive academic outcomes for every child by supporting community engagement in public schools. A PowerPoint Presentation was highlighted.

Mission: The Alliance for Public Schools educates, engages and inspires families and communities to collectively support high quality public schools and the children who attend them.

What the alliance does to help achieve student success:

  1. Programs develop student and teacher voice to build cultures of collaboration.
  2. Draw families and community members to engage in public schools.
  3. Programs work at the local level to develop pro-public school candidates and voters.
  4. Encourages advocacy at the school, community, and state level.
  5. Convenes community through events, social media, and crowd sourcing in order to develop the community’s vision for their public schools.

The Goal of the alliance is to make everyone: aware, interested, inspired, and engaged. Some of their programs and number of events/sessions:

  1. Community Conversations (12 sessions)
  2. Parent University (10 events)
  3. EdChat (Over 68 gatherings)
  4. Student Alliance for Public Schools (4 schools – Armwood, Blake, Durant, and Jefferson high schools)

Have Impacted:

  1. Students – 2,038
  2. Parents – 7,264
  3. Partners – 34
  4. Community – 1,438
  5. Virtual – 1,114

Opportunities and Challenges as they move to the future.

  • Programming in other counties – Pinellas, Orange, and Volusia.
  • Go through the Non-Profit Incubation.
  • Develop a board.
  • Obtain sustainable funding. They are currently being funded by grants.


  • Collaborative grant writing.
  • Community partners – Alliance does not allow vendors.
  • Union has been supportive in funding for Public University.
  • Concerns about middle schools and they need to look differently. Could work to provide parents as the voice of communities.
  • A lot of kids working with the alliance have been identified by the Success Coaches. Having these students identified as a magnet to attract other students is important.
  • Has the alliance looked at developing a business model where they can have a sustainable funding base? They will be asking for donations at GradNation and currently have a small dollar donor campaign.
  • APSs goal is to install a full-working board by fall and establish sustainable funding.
  • Does the Hillsborough Education Foundation and the APS overlap? APS is looking for a board that does regional and national work. For example, PTA works at the school level to engage parents. At the district parents are engaged in a different manner.
  • What was your expectation by having this workshop? To have every one aware of what APS is doing for students.
  • The board needs to develop guidelines to support similar groups.
  • This partnership developed from conversations with Ms. Erickson and Superintendent Elia and we are now getting behind it. We met with community leaders of non-profits as well. United Way agreed that we could be part of them but we wanted it to be more than regional. APS has strong feelings about remaining independent. That is one of our strengths. People feel comfortable to speak so we can tell the district what the parents want to see.
  • Does APS have sustainable funding? We are building the infrastructure and surviving but need to move on to the next phase. The United Way and the union have provided funding. We are planning for next year.
  • Does not want to see sustainable funding affect the work of the alliance. As a board we do not want to lose this program.
  • They discussed a timeline to have a 12-member board in place. They are working with a consultant. They have bylaws and guidelines in place.
  • First step is to have a clear understanding how the alliance is helping students. APS’s independence is appreciated.
  • How can this be mutually beneficial to help kids?
  • Hillsborough County is too large to have a volunteer doing parent involvement.
  • Does the district have a disclaimer of expectation?
  • This needs to be a policy conversation.
  • Supports the independent feeling. How much would be needed to sustain for a year? Just Hillsborough - $15,000 not to include in-kind.

With no further discussion, the workshop adjourned at 10:58 a.m. Audio recording on file.

HCPS publishes minutes of School Board meetings after Board approval. Although the online minutes do not include signatures, citizens may arrange to review the official documents by completing a public records request with the Communications Department.

Search for School
Find a School
School Locator

Locate your attendance area school

School Locator