Celebrating Achievements of Hispanic Students in Orange County Public Schools, Orlando, FL
Author: Superintendent Barbara Jenkins, Ed.D.May 10, 2017
In this graduation season, the achievements of our Hispanic students deserve mention. The Hispanic graduation rate in Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) at 80.8 percent is higher than the state overall graduation rate for all students. Since 2013, that is an increase of 6.1 percentage points.
As superintendent, I have focused on student exposure to rigorous coursework. It is through that rigor we have seen our Hispanic students excelling. In our Advanced Placement (AP) classes, since 2011-12, we have realized a 119 percent jump in Hispanic students taking AP classes. Hispanic student participation has grown nearly twice as quickly as the district average. The results of exposure to AP classes and the subsequent tests are even more promising. Since 2011-12, there has been a 101 percent increase in the number of Hispanic students scoring 3 or higher in at least one AP course.
Such progress has gained us national recognition as a Hispanic-Serving District from the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS). I was honored to accept the Hispanic-Serving School District Superintendent of the Year Award on April 27, 2017. Education professionals, members of Congress, and business leaders gathered in Washington, D.C. to celebrate best practices in public education, particularly in serving Hispanic populations.
We clearly know the importance of early education on a student’s success later in life. We are excited to announce, based on the success of the Helios VPK Two-Way Dual Language Program, OCPS will expand the program at six schools. In addition, we will open a new VPK Two-Way Dual Language program at Union Park ES and Washington Shores Primary Learning Center. The goal of this evidence-based program is for students to learn to speak, read, and write in both languages, helping students to become bilingual and bi-literate.
Our mission is to lead students to success with the support and involvement of families and the community. Through our partnership with Helios, and Orange County Public Schools’ commitment to growth among all students, we are assuring that mission is becoming a reality.