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Florida/Hillsborough County Schools Help
Old 03-09-2019, 09:46 PM
 
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I'm hoping to tap into the PT hive mind to get some info on Hillsborough County schools in Florida (South Tampa).

I have a military friend moving there this summer. They will be working at MacDill Air Force Base and are figuring out where they want to live and schools are a big factor. They are coming from overseas and so are having to pick an area sight unseen.

They are looking at elementary schools in South Tampa nearish MacDill Air Force Base. Kids will be 3rd and 1st grade (and preschool) when they arrive. They'll be there 3-4 years, so will cover all of elementary school and possibly 6th grade (not sure if that's middle school or elem there).

Their older 2 are very active boys. They need a lot of movement, good playgrounds/PE/Recess, etc. I don't know the older one as well, but the one going into 1st grade is in my daughter's class and he is above grade level. So they also need a school that does well with differentiating for or enriching higher kids.

She was looking on GreatSchools and I told her it wasn't a great source of info as a school can be great but doesn't get the test scores or other factors bring it down. BUT, she doesn't know how else to figure it out.

They haven't decided between on base or off base. Some of that depends on the schools.

So, my questions for you are:
1) any specific information on elementary schools near MacDill AFB that are great (or ones to really avoid)
2) Any Florida specific websites that give good info on schools that are accurate that would give her information she might need to judge the right school fit?
3) Anyone have experience with Tinker--the on base school?

Thanks a ton!


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Old 03-10-2019, 05:19 AM
 
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I’m not in that area now but it’s relatively close to where I grew up. Most schools here, 6th grade will be middle school. The exception would be a K-8 school though there aren’t many public schools set up that way.

Here is a good list that I found: https://www.niche.com/k12/search/bes...base-tampa-fl/

Florida does have a PE/Recess law where students are required a set amount of time at both each week. Of course, not all schools follow it exactly but most do.

Schooldigger tends to give better information than Great Schools
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Old 03-10-2019, 07:33 AM
 
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I’ve always had pretty good luck in getting info from locals by going to www.city-data.com and then typing in the area or name of the city or town. Sometimes there’s a wealth of info on the threads, and you can also post your questions on the forum for your city or area.
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Old 03-10-2019, 05:06 PM
 
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I'm not in Florida, so no first-hand info. But there are school district and school-specific report cards at this site. https://edudata.fldoe.org/index.html
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Old 03-10-2019, 08:31 PM
 
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For starters, Hillsborough County/Tampa is NOT South Florida. It is central Florida.

Have your friend join a couple of South Tampa and/or Tampa Military Families Groups on Facebook.

As someone who used to teach in HCPS and still has many friends teaching in HCPS, I will say this, the teacher morale in Hillsborough County as a whole is extremely low. The district is plagued with debt, possible corruption, union disputes, an unorthodox pay scale, and aging schools that are not being maintained (especially the AC). I used to teach in HCPS and in the last few years, morale has dropped severely.

Another side note, Hillsborough County has a lot of traffic and the highest sales tax in the state.


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Old 03-13-2019, 12:39 PM
 
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A lot of elementary age children who work at MacDill go to Ballast Point Elementary. See https://www.sdhc.k12.fl.us/schools/0161/ballast-point

It is definitely one of the better elementary schools in the Hillsborough County school system.
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thanks
Old 03-14-2019, 10:15 AM
 
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Thanks for all the input!!
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