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August 14, 2006

Cathy Schroeder
(850) 245-0413

Education Commissioner Announces Selection of Hillsborough School District for National SES Pilot Program
Hillsborough one of five pilots nationwide

TALLAHASSEE — Education Commissioner John L. Winn today announced that Hillsborough County Public Schools has been chosen by the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) to participate in a pilot program to increase student participation in the tutoring program offered under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. This program, known as "SES" (Supplemental Educational Services), provides tutoring services to economically disadvantaged students who attend schools that do not meet NCLB achievement goals.

As part of the pilot, Hillsborough will be allowed to use a portion of their federal funds to provide tutoring services as a district. In most cases, only private entities are allowed to provide these services. Hillsborough joins Chicago, Boston, Memphis and Anchorage in the second year of this national pilot program.

"The USDOE is going about this the right way by rewarding districts with nationally-recognized outstanding records of success in providing SES," said Commissioner Winn. "Superintendent MaryEllen Elia sought this opportunity for the right reasons — to expand student access to valuable tutoring services."

Across the nation, an average of only 16 percent of eligible students are receiving SES and Florida's statewide record of serving 34 percent of eligible students within the available funds exceeds the national average. However, in Hillsborough 70 percent of eligible students within the available funds are being served, making it one of the most successful large urban areas in the nation in terms of SES implementation.

Supplemental educational services are a component of NCLB, giving low-income parents options for free tutoring and after-school services for their children if their school has failed to make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for three years. During the second year of failing to make AYP, a school is deemed in "need of improvement" and must offer parents the opportunity to send their child to a higher-performing school and provide transportation to that school. In the third year SES is offered.

"It is an honor for Hillsborough to have been selected to be a part of this pilot and I am grateful to the U.S. Department of Education for this opportunity," said Hillsborough County Public Schools Superintendent MaryEllen Elia.

Through the pilots, the USDOE hopes to gain valuable information to be shared with other states and districts to improve the quality and delivery SES. These pilots will ensure that more eligible students receive SES and that better information is provided on the program's effectiveness in improving academic achievement.