By Superintendent Addison Davis
Before becoming superintendent of Hillsborough County Public Schools more than two years ago, I made a promise to this community to work diligently to drive student achievement higher than ever. It is no secret we have faced many challenges together. But we are now seeing the positive outcomes that have resulted from the tireless determination of our educators, students, support staff and administrators.
I am proud to share with our community that our students have outperformed their peers nationally on ‘The Nation’s Report Card,’ also known as the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). This is an incredible achievement, truly capturing how our district is performing against other large and diverse districts throughout our nation.
In fact, our fourth grade students placed No. 1 out of the 26 large districts tested in reading and math, signaling that our method of accelerated learning following the pandemic has not only resulted in maintaining performance levels, but our students are also rising above the rest. Other large districts who took this test include Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Miami-Dade, among others.
Roughly 1800 students in both fourth and eighth grade across 80 of our elementary and middle schools took part in the test. HCPS fourth graders took the top spot in reading and math. Last time our students sat for this assessment, they placed No. 3 and No. 5, respectively. This is a monumental achievement, especially considering these tests were taken at the height of the omicron variant in our community.
Eighth graders also outpaced many of their peers in these assessments, placing No. 3 in reading and No. 8 in math nationally. Subgroups such as African American and Hispanic students, students with disabilities and English-language learners also outperformed peers in most other districts.
To be eligible to take part in The Nation’s Report Card, a district’s community population must be more than 250,000 and at least half of the student body must be either African American or Hispanic and eligible for free and reduced lunch at certain percentages.
This exciting development along with our district catapulting to No. 19 in the state in school grades illustrates our district’s determination to bring Hillsborough County Public Schools to the forefront as a premier school district. While we have kept our promise to accelerate student learning, I want everyone to know we have only begun.