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Five Straight Years of Gains As Hillsborough County Public Schools’ Graduation Rate Continues to Climb

January 09, 2020

For Immediate Release

Contact: Tanya Arja
Office of Communications

Superintendent Eakins is available for media interviews today

Tampa, Fla. – (January 9, 2020) – Students in Hillsborough County Public Schools are continuing to get better jobs, with higher wages, after graduation – by earning high school diplomas at a record rate for five straight years.

Today, the state released graduation rates and Hillsborough students showed gains – for the fifth year in a row – pushing our district’s graduation rate to 86.2%, an increase from the prior year and an all-time record high.

Five Facts about Five Years of Growth:

  • Our district’s graduation rate has risen 12.7 percentage points over five years
  • Middleton High School students have increased their graduation rate by more than 29 percentage points over five years – an astounding figure
  • Our district’s achievement gaps continue to close – ensuring more students have access to post-secondary opportunities such as universities, technical colleges and the workforce
  • Our African American students have increased their graduation rate to 79.8%, up 19.8 percentage points since 2014
  • 893 more students than last year earned a high school diploma – contributing to five straight years of steady growth in the number of diplomas awarded by our district

This increase also benefits our community and local businesses. Students who graduate with a high school diploma earn $380,000 more during their lifetimes compared to students who do not graduate – translating to a $2.5 billion dollar boost to our local community over the past five years.

Our 27 traditional high schools have a graduation rate of 91.3%, an 11.7 percentage point increase from 79.6% five years ago (this number excludes alternative schools, charter schools and career centers). This is the 3rd consecutive year all of our traditional high schools have an 80% or higher graduation rate.

Some of the more notable highlights of the 2019 graduation rate include:

  • Newsome High School has our district’s highest graduation rate at 98.7%
  • Plant City High School had the highest one-year graduation rate increase in 2019, jumping 3.6 percentage points to 96.8%
  • Hillsborough High School increased its graduation rate by 3.1 percentage points to 90.2% – the highest ever for this school

“I am so proud of our students, teachers and staff for their determination, which has now led to increasing our graduation rate for the fifth time in as many years,” said Superintendent Jeff Eakins. “What is amazing is that our dedicated staff is making it happen with more students coming through our doors. Just five years ago, our district was graduating about 10,000 students a year. This past year, our district graduated 14,231 students, putting them on a path for a bright future.”

Graduation rates continue to be a top priority for our School Board. Since Superintendent Jeff Eakins took the helm of Hillsborough County Public Schools, the graduation rate has steadily climbed from 73.5% in 2013-2014, to 76% in 2014-2015, to 79.1% in 2015-2016, to 82.9% in 2016-2017, 85.8% in 2017-2018 and now 86.2% in 2018-2019.

As the 7th largest school district in the nation and the largest employer in Hillsborough County, our more than 24,000 employees work together to fulfill our district’s vision of Preparing Students for Life – supporting and guiding our students toward graduation.


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