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Hillsborough County Public Schools Ranks as Top-Rated Large School District in America

April 10, 2018

For Immediate Release

Contact: Tanya Arja
Office of Communications

Tampa, Fla. – (April 10, 2018) – Hillsborough County Public Schools students are outperforming their peers across the country, as Hillsborough County Public Schools is ranked as a top-rated school district in America.

The significant results were announced Tuesday by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Testing by NCES is part of a national initiative commonly known as “The Nation’s Report Card” and rates performance by fourth- and eighth-grade students in 27 large school districts covering communities across the USA from San Diego to Boston.

Leaders in Tampa’s business community are celebrating the success, seeing a clear connection between these results and our area’s power to compete for economic development and growth in the future.

“One of the top selection criteria for companies evaluating Hillsborough County for relocation or expansion is the availability of highly skilled talent and a robust pipeline of well-educated students coming from our local K-12 and higher education systems,” said Craig J. Richard, CEcD, president and CEO of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation.

EDC staff members spotlight three key reasons this news is vital to Tampa Bay’s progress:

  • Talent is the number one concern for companies looking to grow in our area –talent both currently in the workforce and in the pipeline for the future.
  • Tampa is one of the top three destinations in the USA for millennials, and the quality of education is a crucial concern for those young families.
  • Job growth is exceptionally high in Tampa, with the highest number of open STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) jobs in Florida – high-performing students are able to excel in these careers

“This ranking strengthens our region’s competitiveness and helps us to attract the high paying jobs that will ensure our long term economic prosperity,” Richard said.

Overall, Hillsborough’s students maintained a high level of performance, most significantly, 4th graders tied for first place nationally in reading and math, while 8th graders tied for first place in reading and second place in math nationwide. The students continue to outperform public school students in other large school districts.

“I am thrilled for our students, our teachers and staff. These results show our students are excelling in the classroom and can compete with students across the country. Our increased graduation rate and now these significant results show students, from our early learners all the way to our high school students are paving the way to a successful future,” said Superintendent Jeff Eakins.

The Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA) scores released Tuesday, April 10, include reading and math scores from 27 urban school districts around the nation, including Boston, Los Angeles, Austin, Atlanta, Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Houston, Miami-Dade and others.

TUDA is an initiative of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), commonly known as “the Nation’s Report Card.” NAEP serves as a common measure of academic progress for all states because the assessments are administered uniformly across the nation. NAEP results are reported at the state and national level. TUDA results are reported at the district level, and they provide a rare opportunity for select districts to compare their students to their counterparts in districts across the nation.

Earlier this year, the graduation rate for Hillsborough County Public Schools jumped to 82.9%, an all-time record for the district and higher than the state graduation rate. Our district has also been steadily closing the achievement gap, with a graduation rate increase in all key areas over last year, including African American students (up 4.9% percentage points over last year), Hispanic students (up 4.9%), Exceptional Education students (up 6.1%) and English Language Learners (up 8.8%).


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