Whether traditional classes, a magnet program, or a private school is right for your child, Hillsborough County has the options to fit your needs. The eighth largest school district in the nation, Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) offer residents excellent, advanced education options through its variety of elementary, middle, and high schools. Earning some of the top honors in the nation, HCPS helps students prepare for their future through education, the arts, and unique community partnerships.
More than half of the high schools in the district earned an “A” in school ranking. All of Hillsborough County’s high schools were listed on The Washington Post’s America’s Most Challenging High Schools list, and Newsweek-Daily Beast’s annual America’s Best High Schools list regularly includes multiple local high schools.
When it comes to how we stack up against students across the country, we rank among the best of them. The school system led the state of Florida in National Merit Semifinalists, with 60 students earning the honor. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests 4th and 8th graders in reading and science, and our students scored the highest in reading and in the top three in math, among all of the 22 districts tested. AP exam participation has increased more than 100 percent over the past six years, and the number of students earning mid-to-high scores (3, 4 and 5) has also risen.
The variety and quality of magnet and choice attractor programs add to HCPS’ reputation. From magnet programs like International Baccalaureate (IB) and Maritime and Marine Environmental Science Honors Academy to choice attractor programs in aerospace engineering, pharmacy, and visual and performing arts, students are able to follow a track of interest in preparation for their futures. Magnet Schools of America recently recognized 22 local magnet schools as Magnet Schools of Excellence or Magnet Schools of Distinction.
HCPS holds unique partnerships with local businesses and corporations with a presence in Tampa. In January 2014, Bristol-Myers Squibb donated $50,000 to the Biomedical Science program at Middleton High School to improve the laboratories, develop the STEM curriculum, and enhance teacher development.
Rather than simply being assigned to a school by location, HCPS allows parents and their children to make a choice of where they’d like the child to attend. Parents and their children can elect to enroll in a choice attractor program or a traditional school, or to apply for a magnet program. So if your child wants to focus on developing his or her talents in the arts or he or she will thrive best in a traditional setting, HCPS permits you to pick what’s best for your child. Local schools also allow for parents and perspective students to tour and shadow schools they are interested in, providing them with a better sense of where the student will succeed and be happy.
Hillsborough County also offers a variety of private schools for students of all ages, including religious-affiliated, preparatory, Montessori, and independent schools.
The University of South Florida, University of Tampa, Saint Leo University, Hillsborough Community College, as well as several other higher education institutions round out the educational offerings of Hillsborough County.