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Engage. Inspire. Educate Hillsborough: Teaching & Learning Day

October 16, 2019 - Partners in Education

Last week the inaugural Educate Hillsborough class spent the day exploring everything that goes into teaching and learning in our district.

Educate Hillsborough is a collaboration between our district and Alliance for Public Schools. The program will connect local business members while learning about the county’s largest employer, transportation organization and food service provider, our school district, and gain a better understanding of the opportunities given to Hillsborough’s children and the challenges the school district faces as its 24,000 employees prepare students for life.

Our Teaching and Learning department gave members an interactive experience at Crestwood Elementary and Leto High School, to help better understand the work that goes into academics and social emotional learning from the start of a student’s educational career to graduation. “What I hope our participants get out of this experience is how amazing our students and teachers are—the creativity and what really makes our students learn and be successful,” said Debbie Cook, Hillsborough Schools’ Chief Academic Officer of Teaching and Learning.

The morning started with Mr. Robert Constable and Mr. Nathaniel Strawbridge displaying their students’ musical talents, with a perfomance by the drum ensemble.  School Board member Steve Cona and guests took turns finding their rhythm on the drums.

Fifth graders taught members how balanced and unbalanced forces impact the motion of an object, and kindergarteners worked in small groups discussing the skills they learned during shared reading time.

Members traveled in a school bus over to Leto High School where they found JROTC students stationed along the drive into campus to show them the way.

At Leto High School, groups rotated classrooms to check out Anatomy and Physiology skills in action— students were identifying parts of the body and determining the age of the bones and cause of death.

Webb Middle School students also came over to display projects they are working on in their Advanced Robotics program, with each group explaining how STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) is used to help build their academic foundation.

“I am absolutely wowed! This is what I wanted to see— I wanted to see how the students are in their natural setting, having the one-on-one experience in the classroom, the diversity, the culture. This is what I wanted to see, what our school is made of, what are our teachers made of, the interaction with the high schooler, verses a middle schooler, verses an elementary schooler,” said Shirley Bhat, Educate Hillsborough member.

The day concluded with a true dining experience with lunch served by Leto’s award-winning culinary students. 

“The struggles are what make the headlines and what we are seeing right now, visiting the schools, is the truth—the dedicated staff, students and community leaders,” said Melissa Erickson, Executive Director of Alliance for Public Schools.

Next month, Educate Hillsborough members will dive into innovation that takes place throughout our district and the work we do with the Florida Aquarium, Mission Tampa Bay and our Career and Technical Education programs. It is a chance to see how our community comes together to inspire students to learn more about STEM education and become leaders in STEM-based careers.

To learn more about the Educate Hillsborough Program, visit

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