By Superintendent Addison Davis

It has never been more evident how community partnerships can enhance the lives of our children, teachers, staff and families. The pandemic has shined a light on a number of critical issues facing our educational system, including learning loss, the digital divide and food insecurity. While it is our responsibility as school leaders to ensure learners have the tools they need to succeed both academically and emotionally, our district and others across the country cannot achieve our goals in isolation.

We are blessed to have a caring community in Tampa Bay where it is clear that positively impacting the lives of children is a top priority. Hillsborough County Public Schools has benefitted from generous donations of both time and money that help our children reach their maximum potential. When we work together, we collectively create magical moments for learners that will have a tremendous impact beyond the classroom.

One incredible program that illustrates the spirit of community engagement is CEOs in Schools, which will launch its third session on Friday, November 5 in conjunction with Hillsborough Education Foundation and Vistra Communications. This initiative pairs each one of our elementary school principals with a chief executive officer from the local community. This endeavor provides CEOs with a firsthand look at the challenges facing our educational system and offers an opportunity to create meaningful connections that inspire change. Our principals and students are afforded the opportunity to meet and learn from business leaders who will ideally become part of the fabric of that school beyond the first day of volunteering.

CEOs in Schools has created long-lasting relationships on many of our campuses where business leaders see an educational need and fill the gap with their expertise and resources. But you don’t have to be a CEO to affect change within Hillsborough County Public Schools. We have marvelous volunteers who donate their time to help mentor students who benefit from having an additional positive role model in their lives. Our district also receives generous donations from local restaurants who sponsor anything from a teacher luncheon to PTA night. Every minute, every dollar, every gesture builds a stronger foundation for our learners, strengthening not only our schools but our community as a whole. I am deeply appreciative of each one of our community partners and look forward to an even stronger future for Hillsborough County Public Schools.

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