Hillsborough County Public Schools superintendent Jeff Eakins announced a push this week to send central office workers out to schools that need assistance during the state testing season.
He's calling it "All Hands On Deck" and it is aimed at many of the 24 schools that are in state-ordered turnaround programs this year.
"We want to make sure we have a laser focus on all of our schools, especially those in the greatest need," Eakins said Monday.
Principals last week were asked to pull together wish lists for their area superintendents. They might need help covering lunch, bus ramp duty, or more expertise in math and reading.
The area superintendents forwarded those lists downtown, where district leaders have spent the early part of this week organizing the temporary deployments.
Booker T. Washington Elementary, an F school that is trying to improve to a C to avoid having to call in an outside operator, wants the ability to work with students in small groups on their math skills, chief of schools Harrison Peters said.
District resource teachers are needed to help sharpen student skills at Sligh Middle, a D-rated magnet school.
The administrators and specialists might find themselves supervising classes as they use the media center so the teachers can work with small group of kids who need extra help.
"Or we might need someone who can walk a kid out of class so he can calm down," Harrison said. "We want to keep our experts in front of the children as much as possible."
The operation will last 40 days.
Not all schools need this outside assistance, Eakins said. He is especially concerned about those with gaps in their staffing, or have hired new teachers who might yet be fully secure in their jobs.
Hillsborough has seven longtime D and F schools, including Washington, that the state targeted for drastic intervention if they do not improve to at least a C. Another 17 D-rated schools had planned to spend the current year formulating their improvement plans. But, due to a change in state law, those improvement plans began immediately when the school year began.
Addressing the School Board last week, Eakins said he wants to "quiet the noise" about under-performing schools by helping each school earn at least a C.
Florida Standards Assessment testing begins at the end of this month with retakes of the high school writing exams. It continues through March and April.
A side benefit to Operation All Hands on Deck, as the district continues to trim down its central operations and push more resources into the schools, is that the experts will get to spend time back in the classroom.
"We all have to remember why we got into this," Eakins said. "This will bring people back to their roots."
Do I have to apply to my attendance area school?
Families do not need to complete a Hillsborough Choice application for their child to attend their attendance area school. Please contact the school directly for registration information.
When can I apply for a magnet program or School Choice?
Applications are accepted during specific applications windows. Click here for application period dates.
How can I learn about magnet programs and School Choice?
There are several events (district and school-based) that are held throughout the year. Visit our calendar of events and look for an event that is convenient for you. You may also contact a school directly about program information.
Is there any advantage to applying early in the application period for a magnet program?
No. Applications are not processed on a first-come first-served basis. All elementary and middle school magnet applications received during the application period are entered into the computer lottery. All magnet high school applications are entered into a database for each program. Parents or guardians may submit an application at any time during open application periods.
Is there any advantage to applying early in the application period for a School Choice or Career & Technical Education program?
No. Applications are not processed on a first-come first-served basis. All Career & Technical Education applications and School Choice applications received during the application period are entered into the computer lottery. Parents or guardians may submit an application at any time during open application periods.
If my child is at his current school on a Magnet or School Choice placement and I want him to continue attending this school, do we have to reapply?
No. Families do not have to reapply for a Magnet or School Choice placement each year.
What is the difference between Hillsborough Choice and School Choice?
Hillsborough Choice includes all choice options. School Choice provides parents and legal guardians with children entering grades K-11 the opportunity to apply to up to three non-magnet schools or Career & Technical Education programs. Parents may choose from a list of schools with space available.
Can my child automatically attend the elementary or middle magnet school in my neighborhood?
No. All incoming students must apply for admission to a magnet school.
What age does my child have to be to enter kindergarten?
Children who are five years of age on or before September 1, 2018, may apply for kindergarten School Choice.
If my child is in Headstart and will be attending kindergarten next year, can I apply for a School Choice online?
Yes. You can apply directly online.
Can families apply to both a magnet program and School Choice?
Yes, however, once a student accepts a seat at a school, all other options become invalid.
Can I apply to a school that is out of the region in which I live?
Yes. Hillsborough Choice Options allows families the flexibility to choose schools throughout the district with space available. However, transportation is not provided to schools outside of one's region.
Who can apply for a Magnet School for 2018-2019?
- Families living in Hillsborough County
- All students entering kindergarten through ninth grade
- Entering 9th and 10th grade students may apply for some magnet high school programs.
Can I apply to a school that is overcrowded?
No, Schools that are projected to be over 100% capacity do not accept applications.
Can incoming 12th graders apply for School Choice?
No. Incoming seniors must apply through Choice Hardship.
Can families apply for a magnet program, School Choice, and Choice Hardship?
No. If School Choice and magnet selections are made, a Choice Hardship will not be reviewed.
How do I apply for a magnet program or School Choice?
All families should apply directly online. Visit our website during an open application period to apply. Click here for specific application period dates.
How are magnet students selected?
Selection for elementary or middle magnet schools is done via computer lottery. High school magnet programs require criteria specific to each school and include grades, test scores, and/or auditions.
How will I be notified of my child's assignment?
You will receive notification via email and/or phone message. If you are offered a seat at one of your choices, you will have the opportunity to accept or decline the offer. Click here to view the application timeline.
Do I have to confirm my magnet or School Choice offer?
Yes. Failure to accept the offer will result in losing the seat offered.
How can I accept or decline my magnet or School Choice offer?
You can accept or decline by responding online or calling the Choice Information Line at (813) 272-4692.
Can ESE students participate in Hillsborough Choice options?
Yes. ESE students can participate in Hillsborough Choice Options during each application period.
What are my transportation options for School Choice?
Transportation may be provided to some options. Transportation Locator
Is transportation provided to magnet schools?
Transportation is provided to all magnet themes, with the following exceptions:
- Kindergarten students must be accompanied by an older sibling, who lives at the same address and attends the same school, to be eligible for magnet transportation
- Transportation is not provided to Rampello Downtown Partnership k-8 School
- Transportation is not provided if the student lives within two miles of the school
- In some cases, transportation may be limited
Are Active Duty military families who transition outside an application window eligible for Hillsborough Choice?
Yes. Please contact the Choice Information Line (813) 272-4692, identify yourself as an active duty transitioning military family, and staff will assist you.