Students take center stage at annual back to school news conference
Superintendent Jeff Eakins asked students, community friends, and employees to assist him with his first annual Back To School news conference by outlining and demonstrating what works in the district. Students from Bowers-Whitley Career Center, Robinson, Sickles, and Leto High School took center stage as they joined community partners and employees to showcase the results of a strong school culture and a caring, positive environment.
Kicking off the press conference Eakins stressed that everyone in the district, no matter what their position, plays a role in the effort to support the vision, Preparing Students for Life. Leto is a shining example of how HCPS is making a commitment to support and prepare students from pre-K through postsecondary with Workforce Connections and resources needed to not only get students to graduation but the day after graduation.
“This is an exciting time of the year where we welcome our students and employees back. All of our employees are ready to go - our buses are ready to go - our teachers are ready to go, and we are ready to support the needs of our students,” emphasized Eakins.
This year’s Back To School news conference was centered around the district's four strategic priorities:
- Increasing graduation rates
- Improving communication with all stakeholders, especially students and families
- Building a Strong School and Workplace Culture
- Working towards a better financial footing, ensuring that we are fiscally responsible
True to his convictions Eakins gave students and community partners the opportunity to share their experiences.
Chad Heidt, IB senior at Robinson High School told the audience how his program gave him the opportunity to accelerate and earn “free” college credits. Advanced Academic programs have saved families across the District over $10 million dollars.
Culinary and Automotive students conveyed how much they value the skills and professional relationships they have gained through participation in their CTE programs. Program partners such as The Rooted Door and Morgan Auto Group enable students to have a real world perspective while inspiring organizations to give back.
Giving back can take many forms, one of which is mentoring. Michael Goicoechea, a senior at Sickles High School and his Take Stock In Children mentor Evan Patterson, a local professional value the mentor program. “He’s more than a mentor he’s my friend,” stated Goicoechea.
District employees are all encouraged to go beyond their positions, not just from a day to day perspective, but to look at the bigger picture of preparing students for life. “I think that is what is key to opening the door moving forward to building a strong school and workplace culture,” stated Diane McKee, Florida Teacher of the Year.
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