New data on diversity in the Hillsborough schools
Hillsborough County's school officials are redoubling their efforts to hire minority teachers and administrators, according to a report the School Board received in next week's meeting packet.
The hiring campaign -- which includes recent interview days in Puerto Rico -- is just one of many steps described in the more than 200 page report to the state Department of Education, which monitors progress yearly under the Florida Educational Equity Act.
The report acknowledged some weak spots that the state had flagged: For example, a policy that asked students who had experienced harassment to try and work things out with the other party before filing a complaint. The district said it will take the matter up with its lawyers, to make sure victims of harassment do not think they need to meet with the perpetrators.
The state also said there was little change in minority enrollment in advanced courses, including dual enrollment, Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate, between 2010 and 2015. The district said that, among many remedies, it is now having eighth graders take the PSAT to get an early start in flagging those who appear capable of handling the advanced courses when they reach high school.
Data on staff, meanwhile, showed that "Hispanic and male employees, compared to the student population, are underrepresented in administrative and faculty positions." At last count, 11.4 percent of principals and 8.7 percent of assistant principals were Hispanic, even though that ethnic group accounts for more than a third of Hillsborough students. African Americans held 17 percent of principal and 32 percent of assistant principal positions, though the school district enrollment is only 21 percent black. Seventy five percent of the district's teachers are white, and 80 percent are female. Seventy four percent of district-level administrators are white; 14 percent are black and 11 percent are Hispanic.
But that's changing, the district wrote. Between 2014 and 2015, the number of Hispanic teachers increased by 17 percent and the hiring of Hispanic male teachers increased by 23 percent.