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It takes a team: MacDill, HCSD win Pete Taylor partnership award

Members of Team MacDill pause for a photo while receiving the Pete Taylor community partnership award.

Members of Team MacDill pause for a photo while receiving the Pete Taylor community partnership award. MacDill and the Hillsborough County School District worked together to help military families navigate challenges they might face throughout the school district. (Courtesy photo)

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

Team MacDill won the 2018 Pete Taylor Partnership of Excellence Award in the community K-12 category for their outstanding collaboration with Hillsborough County School District.

The award is based off LTG (Ret) Pete Taylor’s long-held belief that goodness happens at the local level. It encourages and applauds the outstanding partnerships formed between military installations and school districts that serve military children.

The award was won based on the strong partnership between Hillsborough County schools and MacDill, with the establishment of the MacDill Council for Educational Excellence in January 2015 being the catalyst to success.

“We are committed to ensuring positive educational outcomes for our military connected students,” said Nelly Richards, a school liaison officer at MacDill. “We have put systems in place to ensure military families and their children can communicate and navigate successfully through HCPS district with confidence that their educational needs will be met.”

The MCEE aims to ease transitions and help military families navigate and provide an avenue to address unique challenges military children face in the school district.

“We want our military families and our students to feel less anxiety,” said Jeff Eakins, superintendent of HCSD. “We know they have important work to do to protect our country.”

Tampa Bay serves about 4,500 military students spread out across 182 schools that may have unique experiences from parents deploying to regular moves.  

The MCEE resolved 44 issues in the three years since its formation, making it a benchmark program for the Air Force.

One issue resolved was students moving to the area having to complete an algebra end of course exam in order to graduate even though they had already completed similar courses.

The MCEE worked with the state's Department of Education to grant military students who completed the SAT or ACT with a certain score in the math area to use that in lieu of the algebra test.

“Our collaboration with the MCEE has allowed us to resolve the unique situations that these students may have so they can receive the best education possible,” said Eakins.