TAMPA – The 2012 graduates from 16 of Hillsborough County’s 27 public high schools were more college ready than their peers the previous year, according to the latest results from Florida’s Common Placement Tests.
Robinson High School made one of the biggest improvements, bringing its 79.3 percent readiness rate up to 86.6 percent.
“I was pleased with the results of the report,” Robinson Principal Johnny Bush said. “We want our kids to feel they’ve gotten a quality education and they are ready to take on the world of college.”
Four days per week at Robinson, students can get extra help in an “extended learning period,” where teachers are available to tutor them in subjects they are having a hard time grasping. Students also can attend Saturday school, held a couple of times each month.
Robinson was deemed an A school by the Florida Department of Education in 2012.
Districtwide, the readiness rate for 2012 graduates who attended college in Florida rose to 72.5 percent, an improvement over 69.1 percent in 2011.
That percentage is calculated by the number of students who go on to attend state colleges or community colleges and passed tests measuring their skills in the math, reading and writing. Students who went on to attend out-of-state or private colleges are not included in the percentage.
The college readiness rate in all three subjects for Pinellas County graduates is 70.1 percent, less than one percentage point difference from the previous year. Pasco County’s rate is 68.1 percent, about a one percent increase.
Local students fared better than the state percentage, which is 66.4 percent, up from 64.7 percent the previous year.
“This is great news in a district that is focused on college and career readiness,’’ said Hillsborough School Superintendent MaryEllen Elia, in a news release. “For a high school diploma to be meaningful, you should be able to get into college and be ready to do college-level work. More and more of our students are achieving that goal.”
Plant High School students fared the best in Hillsborough County with 86.8 percent passing all three subjects, which is slightly lower than the previous year. The rate at Tampa Bay Technical High School improved more than seven percentage points, from 67.7 percent to 75.4 percent.
Plant High Principal Robert Nelson attributes the success at his school and throughout the district in part to creating a more challenging environment for students in recent years.
More than half of Plant’s 2,000-plus students take at least one Advanced Placement course in high school, and more than 90 percent of the student body takes an honors course. Additionally, the school, also with an A grade, opened a writing center last school year, where students can work on writing with more depth.
Plant also has done away with regular English and social studies classes in the ninth through 11th grades, and replaced them with honors courses, Nelson said.
“You have to start with building the culture of your school, challenging kids and not letting them accept taking the regular class,” he said. “They are on board.”