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There is still time to register for the HCPS 90BY20 team in the Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic 5K Run/Walk.

HCPS forms team to bring awareness to district's goal of increasing grad rates

February 13, 2017

The HCPS 90BY20 5K Team demonstrate their tenacity in accomplishing the goal of crossing both the finish line and the graduation stage.

Hillsborough County Public Schools and the Full Service Centers Department are creating a (HCPS 90BY20) District Team to participate in the 2017 Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic 5K Run/Walk. District leaders hope the team’s participation will bring awareness to closing the achievement gap and increasing our overall graduation rate to 90% by the year 2020.

Increasing Hillsborough County Public Schools graduation rate is one of the four strategic priorities in the District Strategic Plan along with the key performance indicators such as attendance, behavior, and academic performance.

The District’s 2016 graduation rate increased 3-percentage points from the prior year to 79.1%, up and remains a top priority of Superintendent Jeff Eakins and the School Board.

"The School Board and I have set high goals for the district including reaching a graduation rate of 90% by 2020. Our goal in the district in to connect our students to their future through an engaging curriculum. It is wonderful to see these runners taking our message out to the community because it will take all of us in this district and across the community to reach this goal," Eakins said.

Team membership is open to all students, parents, staff and community members. They will have an opportunity to pledge their support to Going for the Gold 90BY20 during the Gasparilla Distance Classic expo at the HCPS 90BY20 table.

In preparation for the event, Lynn Gray a member of the Hillsborough County School Board and an avid runner herself, hosted four “Walk to Run” clinics offering knowledge, techniques and motivation to people from novices all the way to advanced marathoners.

The runner’s ages spanned from as young as eight all the way to obviously impolite to ask, and included people from all backgrounds: students, coaches, district personnel and parents. In other words this was a very diverse group and Gray’s more than 33 years in the classroom were evident as she capitalized on this learning moment.

In the post-run huddle at Al Lopez Park, Gray seamlessly turned a lesson on running into one on diversity of the group. “We are integrating diversity. If we have diversity, then we need a unifier. Both music and sports are big equalizers. Walking or running, we turn into one big family with a common goal,” said Gray. Register online at tampabayrun.com Select “HCPS 90BY20” Team. Pick-up your Gasparilla 5K packet/bid at the Tampa Bay Convention Center in the designated area. Everyone must have a bid to participant (adults and children).

Please visit the Gasparilla website for times, dates, location of packet/bids of the Expo and additional information about the race. The district's staff will be on site with a booth/table on Friday, February 24 for support, pick-up for your 90BY20 T-shirt and opportunity to pledge 90BY20 commitment.

“Is should always feel better at the end than when you start. That’s the hook. It works for kids; it works for us,” Lynn concluded.

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