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Indo US Chamber of Commerce- The State of Education in Hillsborough County

December 1, 2020

This year has tested businesses, but it has also posed many challenges to school leaders, staff, and students. On November 18th, the US Indo Chamber of Commerce hosted an event with special guests Addison Davis, Superintendent of Hillsborough County’s Public Schools, and Dr. Ken Atwater, President of the Hillsborough Community College (HCC). Aakash Patel, CEO of Elevate Inc. asked Addison and Dr. Ken a series of questions to give listeners a better understanding of the impact COVID-19 has had on education in Hillsborough County, and how far we have come by the end of the year.

Superintendent Addison Davis was not put in an easy situation—after just being announced as Superintendent of Hillsborough County Public Schools around 8 months ago, he led the school system through financial battles as well as health battles with COVID-19. Once the schools announced remote learning, schools ensured that additional laptops were ordered to assist with the transition to online courses. During this time, teachers had to think about new and thoughtful ways to conduct their lessons remotely, which has been keeping students engaged and working hard. Despite this change in learning style, Addison believes students are now learning self-initiative, and have a greater connectivity with different learning methods. While it has been a long road already, schools are consistently learning new lessons and opportunities to grow from them by identifying issues, and strategically moving forward.

President Dr. Ken Atwater has been in charge of many educational changes as well in higher-education. Prior to the pandemic, roughly 25% of the college offered remote/online classes. With the number of online courses rising to over 70% after the pandemic, it was essential to maintain education quality for students while remote learning. The most important initiative throughout Dr. Atwater’s COVID-19 plan was to ensure the safety of faculty and staff, while creating the “Returning to the Nest” plan. One way to combat challenges that some students had with connecting to the internet while off-campus, is that HCC created hotspots in the parking lots on campus, allowing students to park in their cars and complete coursework while staying healthy and socially distancing. Dr. Atwater does not see a significant decrease in internship and apprentice numbers, nor enrollment, which has only slightly gone down since the start of the pandemic.

With a hopeful future ahead, both leaders of education in Hillsborough County understand the future is still unknown. But, both are willing to step up to whatever challenges come their way to ensure the best education for K-12 students, as well as those perusing higher education. To stay up-to-date on Hillsborough County Public Schools, visit: To learn more about Hillsborough Community College’s initiatives and “Returning to the Nest” plan, visit

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This post was written by Elevate, Inc.

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