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August 08, 2019 | Superintendent’s Back to School Message

For Immediate Release

Contact: Tanya Arja
Office of Communications

Tampa, Fla. – (August 8, 2019) – Hillsborough County Public Schools is gearing up for another exciting school year. On Monday, August 12, more than 200,000 students will fill the hallways at 235 schools across our district.

Superintendent Jeff Eakins will share the exciting new initiatives and district goals for the 2019-2020 school year. Please join the Superintendent, School Board members, district and school staff at the Back to School Message on Friday, August 9, at 10:30 a.m. The event will be held in the Sickles High School media center, located at 7950 Gunn Highway, Tampa.

Hillsborough Schools continues to be a state and national leader in various areas and is a driving force in education.

  • Hillsborough Schools is overcoming a nationwide teacher shortage and has made significant improvements towards our goal of having all classrooms filled with a teacher at the start of school. We accomplished this by:
    • Overhauling how we recruit and hire teachers
    • Offering major new incentives for teachers
  •  Our district was the first large school district to be in full compliance with Florida’s new school safety law. Our staff was able to do this by:
    • Adopting a Mental Health Plan
    • Installing a cutting-edge security system
    • Adding new secure entryways at some high schools
  • Hillsborough Schools tackled 102 Half-Penny Sales Tax projects over the summer. Our district is keeping its Half-Penny Promise to spend taxpayer dollars wisely by:
    • Ensuring teachers and students are coming back to cooler schools on 21 campuses, completing Phase 1 of A/C overhauls.
    • Managing 102 referendum funded projects over the summer including A/C replacements, roof replacements, security upgrades, gym floors, playgrounds, athletic tracks and courts.
    • Responsibly managing revenue of $40 million from the Half-Penny Sales Tax so far.

Other recent district highlights:

Hillsborough Schools is proud to have the Florida Teacher of the Year, Dr. Dre Graham, as an educator in our district. Dr. Graham was announced as the state Teacher of the Year in July. He serves as the Director of Instrumental Studies at King High School and will serve for one year as an education ambassador across the state.

MacFarlane Park Elementary Magnet was ranked the #1 elementary magnet school in the country. MacFarlane Park is an IB World School with a diverse student population. The school was chosen above 4,000 other elementary magnet schools in America to take the top honor.

Hillsborough’s School Board was awarded the 2019 CUBE Annual Award for Urban School Board Excellence. The Council of Urban Boards of Education based their decision on our school board's demonstration of excellence in the areas of school board performance, academic improvement, educational equity and community engagement.

Interested parents, families and community members can watch the Back to School Message live at