Though many high schools in Hillsborough County have been using SpringBoard, an advanced curriculum created by the College Board, Strawberry Crest High School has excelled among them and is now used as an example for schools around the country that are interested in the program.
SpringBoard is used throughout the United States in certain math and English classes, for grades six through 12. Through its own textbooks and assignments, it gives students a head-start on material that will reappear in Advanced Placement classes, through which students can earn college credit.
“The whole idea is to get them ready to take AP classes or take college classes,” SCHS principal David Brown said. “And I’m not saying every student is headed to college, but you never know … it definitely prepares them.”
Hillsborough County Public Schools introduced SpringBoard to four high schools in 2007. More schools in the district started using the curriculum, and this year, all Hillsborough high schools used SpringBoard math.
Strawberry Crest first used SpringBoard language arts four years ago, and the 2014-15 school year was its first year for SpringBoard math. Brown said the faculty was enthusiastic from the start.
“They took this curriculum and owned it, and said, ‘This is going to be good for kids, and I can see this having a positive influence,’” Brown said.
SCHS was so successful with SpringBoard that the College Board selected it as a national demonstration school this year, along with just four other schools located in Pennsylvania and Washington.
School district officials, teachers and administrators from around the country have been coming to visit SCHS to learn more about SpringBoard, some as far as Las Vegas and Chicago.
These education professionals have sat in on SpringBoard classes, talked to instructors and students, and asked questions about the challenges and advantages of SpringBoard.
“Nobody likes the unknown, so whenever you’re making a change, you want to know, what are some bumps in the road that you might face?” Brown said.
“Students benefit from coherence, rigor and a consistent culture of high expectations,” SCHS assistant principal for curriculum Christine Raburn said. “They work toward clear learning targets and know why the skills they’re developing matter. (SpringBoard) is not a sit-and-get curriculum — it forces them to be engaged.”
Contact Catherine Sinclair at firstname.lastname@example.org.