Story by Tamas Mondovics

Area Schools To Host Final Set Of Financial Aid Night

Hillsborough County Public Schools have hosted a series of Financial Aid Workshops for seniors and their families, leaving two more events now scheduled for the first week of December.
The six previous workshops were held at area high school locations, among them Armwood and Plant City and Riverview, and have provided an overview on how to apply for postsecondary financial aid conducted by a university or college financial aid expert.

The workshops covered the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), deadlines, state scholarships and Bright Futures Scholarships.

According HCPS officials the district, in collaboration with LEAP – Hillsborough College Access Network, Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay, Hillsborough Community College and United Way Suncoast, is also participating in a series of FAFSA Labs where students and families can get support from college representatives and trained community volunteers.

Families can get information on the labs through their school or after attending the financial aid workshops.

For more information about HCPS, please visit

HCPS Students Taking And Excelling On AP Exams

Speaking highly of teachers throughout the nation, President Barack Obama was quoted, “We recently learned that America’s high school graduation rate went up to 83 percent…the highest on record.” Obama added, “Teachers deserve more than our gratitude, they deserve our full support.”

Of course, higher graduation rates are not the only way to measure success on the part of students and teachers.

In a recent report, Hillsborough County Public Schools officials were pleased to announce that the number of HCPS students taking Advanced Placement (AP) exams and scoring at a pass rate of 3, 4, or 5 continues to increase, giving students more opportunities for higher education.

By the numbers, district officials said that the number of HCPS students taking AP exams increased by 7 percentage points from last year. In addition, the number of students earning a pass rate of 3, 4, or 5 increased by 4 percentage points.

The district is especially proud of the results from its Hispanic and African American students.
The number of Hispanic students taking AP exams increased by 18 percentage points over the last year while maintaining a 44 percent pass rate.

African American students scoring a 3, 4, or 5 went from 18 percent two years ago to 28% this past year, a 10 percentage point gain.

“We continue to push for open access into our Advanced Placement classes at our high schools. These results show our students are looking for more opportunities and our teachers and staff are giving them the support they need,” said Hillsborough County Public Schools Superintendent Jeff Eakins.

School officials said that taking AP courses and passing the related exams gives students more opportunity to be accepted into a four-year university and allows them to earn college credits, for their major or as an elective, eliminating the need to take the classes in college which saves them money and time.

The graphic shows the increase over the years in the number of AP exams where students scored a 3, 4, or 5. For information, visit

FL-ALAS Honors Hillsborough County Public School’s Chief Of Staff Alberto Vazquez    

Hillsborough County Public Schools’ Chief of Staff, Alberto Vazquez, was honored this month as the recipient of the Latino Excellence in Education Award.

The Florida Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (FL-ALAS) celebrated Vazquez, with the Wings of Inspiration Award, for his commitment and work with Latino students who make up 35 percent of the total student population in Hillsborough County Public Schools.

“Dr. Vazquez has dedicated his career to educating children,” said Superintendent Jeff Eakins. “I am proud of the way he embraces diversity and empowers the growing Hispanic community,”
Vazquez joined Hillsborough County Public Schools in July, 2015, and previously, served as the Superintendent of the Diocese of St. Petersburg.

Vazquez has been the Associate Superintendent of Schools for Queens North in Brooklyn, New York and was a Principal in Bronx, New York. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor for higher education institutions including Notre Dame University, Fordham University, and Ana G. Mendez University System.

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