Quarterly report in Hillsborough spotlights successful schools
McLane Middle School has good news this semester. The Brandon area school, which buses many students from East Tampa and has struggled over the years with behavior issues, is one of three schools that were highlighted Tuesday evening in a quarterly report that looks at how closely the district has lived up to its strategic plan.
Specifically: The number of McLane students with no suspensions rose from 74 to 81 percent when this year's second quarter was measured against the same quarter in 2015. First quarter result also improved, from 90 to 91 percent.
In addition to mentoring programs, "we have our parents on campus and they shadow often," principal Dina Langston said. "But I think honestly most importantly, our faculty and staff makes it all happen."
The district also spotlighted West Tampa Elementary School for its improved attendance rates (83 to 91 percent in second quarter, 85 to 90 percent in first quarter) and Hillsborough High for a cumulative seven point increase in grade point averages.
West Tampa principal Louis Murphy described an elaborate system of notifying parents when there are too many absences, and celebrating improved attendance. "The plan is everywhere," Murphy said, although he insisted it's working because children enjoy being with the teachers.
At Hillsborough, principal Gary Brady said he's beefed up the information he sends out to parents, both in English and Spanish. Assemblies that stress the importance of a grade point average over 2.0 have also helped. "It is really important for them to understand how important the 2.0 is."
Districtwide, the report shows the greatest improvement in reading and math skills among middle and high school students. The results are fairly flat in elementary school, and even down by a point when it comes to reading readiness in kindergarten.