Brandon High Principal Jeremy Klein, with Dr. Christine Van Cott (center), chief medical officer at HCA Florida Brandon, and Anna Corman, interim CEO of the Hillsborough Education Foundation.

A new facility for the Student Center of Postsecondary Exploration (SCOPE) has been announced, with Brandon High School now the second location for the SCOPE initiative.

Initially launched in the fall of 2022 at King High School in Tampa, SCOPE reportedly has gained a good track record for providing students with crucial one-on-one college and career planning. Students through SCOPE can get help with admission and financial aid applications and with alternative postsecondary pathways, such as technical colleges and trade schools.

The occasion of a second SCOPE location was marked with a ribbon-cutting at Brandon High on March 6, where Principal Jeremy Klein said educators were “excited to have this opportunity for our kiddos.”

He noted that this year’s senior class, the first graduating class since he became principal four years ago, were freshmen during the start of the coronavirus pandemic. “So, for them to come out of it and see where they are now, and already taking advantage of [SCOPE] two weeks in, it’s a nice culmination” to their Brandon High journey, Klein said.

Looking ahead, and working in concert with district and community partners, plans are to expand the SCOPE presence to other Hillsborough County high schools, according to Anna Corman, interim CEO of the Hillsborough Education Foundation (HEF).

“By recognizing and removing barriers in college and career navigation, we want to ensure that every student in the county has the opportunity for postsecondary success,” Corman said in prepared remarks. “The expansion of SCOPE addresses a critical community need by offering teens personalized counseling and support, helping to drive upward mobility for all students and keeping Tampa Bay’s workforce skilled and competitive.”

According to program officials, nearly half of King High School’s students had exposure to, or interacted with, SCOPE during the 2022-23 school year. The program was launched in the fall of 2022. Eighty-nine percent of the students reported making progress on career readiness and postsecondary planning.

Educators, sponsors and at the ribbon-cutting included representatives from Suncoast Credit Union and HCA Florida Healthcare; Marcos Murillo, the school district’s chief of innovation and strategic planning; deputy superintendent Shaylia McRae; and Dr. Christine Van Cott, chief medical officer at HCA Florida Brandon.

In his prepared remarks, Superintendent Van Ayres thanked the Hillsborough Education Foundation for its partnership support. According to an HEF report, the aim is to bring SCOPE to five additional public high schools by 2026.

Ayres noted the support students through SCOPE will have for applying for scholarships and student aid, filling out university applications and obtaining study materials for required tests, as well as for exploring career and workforce options. In a nod to Brandon High, he added that SCOPE resources will help prepare students “for the next chapter of their lives once they graduate from the Nest.”

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