Photos and story by Tamas Mondavics

Newsome High School Leads Graduation Rate as Hillsborough County Claims Increase in Student Success

The Florida Department of Education released high school graduation rates last month showing the positive news for Hillsborough County Public Schools, including a three-percentage point increase over the previous year.

According to the report, the District, managed increase its graduation rate from 76 percent in 2014-2015 to 79.1 percent in 2015-2016.

The graduate rate includes all schools that fall under the umbrella of Hillsborough County Public Schools, including charter, career centers and alternative schools.
While HCPS’ 27 traditional high schools are at a graduation rate of 86.2 percent, Newsome High has managed to lead the way at 97.5 percent.

Armwood High is now boasting of increasing its graduation rate by eight percentage points to 72.5, while Middleton High increased its graduation rate by nine percentage points to 74.7.

School officials said the increase means that students have more opportunities for post-secondary education, more opportunities for better jobs with higher wages, and more opportunities to support a family in the future. This benefits the entire community by growing our economy.

Superintendent Jeff Eakins said that working together with the School Board he has created a District Strategic Plan where raising the graduation rate continues to be a top priority.

“Our graduation rate shows me we care about each child. It shows me we are not going to stop. It shows me we are going to get to every child and make sure they have every opportunity to receive a standard diploma,” Eakins said.

School officials were also pleased with the report showing the District’s success of closing the achievement gap between its African American, Hispanic and white students.
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New Members Sworn in to Hillsborough County School Board

The Hillsborough County School Board welcomed two new school board members and two returning school board members during the swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday, November 22.

Lynn Gray was sworn in to represent District 7 Countywide.

Gray was a teacher and instructional leader for 26 years in Hillsborough County and has been a local business owner for 16 years.

Gray was elected in the November General Election representing all of Hillsborough County.

The school board also welcomed Tamara Shamburger, who was also elected in the November General Election and sworn in to represent District 5.

Shamburger, born and raised in Tampa, is a graduate of Bloomingdale High School and received her Master of Business Administration from St. Leo University.

Shamburger has worked in the insurance industry for 19 years and as a Mortgage Broker.

The third member on the list was Susan Valdes, who represents District 1 and was re-elected in the Primary election in August.

Valdes was first elected to the School Board in 2004.

The second returning board member is Cindy Stuart represents District 3. Stuart was first elected to the School Board in 2012, and also re-elected in the Primary election in August.

To complete the official’s ceremony, the Hillsborough County School Board elected Stuart a new School Board chair.

Sally Harris was selected as vice chair.

For more information about Hillsborough County Public Schools, please visit www.sdhc.k12.fl.

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