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Commentary

A New Strategy For Schools

The Tampa Tribune
Published:   |   Updated: June 1, 2013 at 05:47 AM

As high school seniors around the country prepare for graduation, a dark reality hides in the shadows. Too many of these hopeful young people will never graduate from college.

The simple and sad truth is that many of our children aren't being adequately prepared to succeed in college. Of those who enroll in college, 44 percent don't graduate after six years. Half of all college freshmen are taking at least one remedial course. Equally disturbing is that many of the students who never earn college degrees amass significant college loan debt; they're left to repay the debt without the benefit of the salary that comes with a college degree.

To shrink the gap between those who enter college and those who complete a degree, we must target the divide between high school graduation standards and the skills that all students need to be prepared for college success.

The Hillsborough County Public School District has recently taken a giant step in this direction. The school board recently voted unanimously to implement the College Board's EXCELerator™ Schools program in all 70 of its middle and high schools.

The EXCELerator model guarantees rigorous and challenging academic programs; college planning and preparation; extensive training for teachers, administrators and counselors; equity and access in advanced placement course work; and developmental supports that create personalized learning environments for every student. By choosing this model for change, the entire school community is setting an example of fairness, concern and responsibility toward every student in the district.

Hillsborough is the first district in the nation to implement EXCELerator in all of its middle and high schools. The College Board is proud to be a partner in this effort as we continue to seek ways to prepare all students for college success.


Gaston Caperton is president of the College Board, a not-for-profit membership organization whose mission is to connect students to college success and opportunity.

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