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Pasco County Schools (PCS) in Florida opened its first Cambridge school in 2014 with the goals of offering an alternative, supportive pathway to advanced academic success in high school, increasing academic rigor overall, improving graduation rates and college attendance, and increasing equity for all its students.
VIDEO: Clips from Pasco County Schools for FASA.
Pasco County Schools offer high-interest, student-centric Cambridge Pathway curricula and assessments to engage and motivate its students and teachers. Cambridge courses are designed to build students’ skills and help them develop Cambridge learner attributes: Cambridge students are confident, responsible, reflective, innovative, and engaged intellectually and socially.
Pasco County Schools have benefited from Cambridge International’s emphasis on professional development and preparing teachers, which facilitated easy adoption and rollout of Cambridge programs at schools. Superintendent Kurt Browning appreciates the high-quality Cambridge professional development they’re able to bring to their schools.
We've been really lucky to be able to bring Cambridge training right to Pasco County on multiple occasions. Having the training here has just been incredible. –Superintendent Kurt Browning
With Cambridge Advanced, PCS gives its high school students the opportunity to try college-level coursework while in high school. Students can take Cambridge International AS & A Level courses and exams, for which they may earn college credit, advanced placement, or both at many colleges and universities worldwide.
Florida students who earn the Cambridge AICE Diploma and complete community service hours, can receive a Florida Bright Futures Scholarship that covers tuition at Florida public institutions. Students earn the Cambridge Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) Diploma program by passing a combination of AS & A Level exams, with at least one course coming from each of three subject groups, as well as the core component, AS Level Global Perspectives & Research. Pasco students appreciate the flexibility they have in choosing the advanced courses within each subject area that interest them and best suit their future plans.
All Pasco County 11th graders take Cambridge International AS Level English General Paper, ensuring that all students are exposed to rigorous, college-level work, regardless of their college or career goals. In the class, students also get a chance to develop foundational writing skills they can use in state exams and in their further education.
We want students to experience a college-level course. We don't think all of our students have to go to college to be successful, but we do want to make sure they have the opportunity to go to college. – CAO Vanessa Hilton
Pasco County has increased the number of middle and elementary schools using Cambridge Primary and Lower Secondary curriculum, to start preparing students in lower grades for advanced coursework. In addition, several Pasco County schools use Cambridge Checkpoint exams in 5th and 8th grades to identify students with the potential to succeed in advanced courses. Pasco Middle School encourages students with promising results on Checkpoint exams to pursue Cambridge coursework in middle school and high school. The district increases participation among students who may not have applied to or been aware of the Cambridge program, thus helping to increase equity for its students.
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US schools can use ESSER funds for Cambridge International programs, resources, and assessments.
Cambridge International and ESSER funds