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Metropolitan Ministries and Hillsborough County Partnership School Patricia Sullivan earns its first 'A' grade

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Posted at 6:36 PM, Aug 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-10 05:15:27-04

TAMPA, Fla. — For the first time since joining Hillsborough County Schools, Patricia Sullivan Partnership school is celebrating its first "A" grade.

Metropolitan Ministries President and CEO Tim Marks said the accomplishment speaks to the importance of everyone working together for a common goal.

“The fact that this is an 'A' rated school shows the potential of every child, and I’m so grateful for the commitment and care to these kids,” Marks said.

The school first opened its doors as a charter school in 1998 to 28 kids living in the Metropolitan Ministries homeless shelter. Marks said it opened as the first of its kind nationwide.

“As soon as we opened up that shelter, we knew we needed wrap-around services,” Marks said.

In 2009, Sullivan became a partnership school with Hillsborough County Schools. Each year, standardized test scores showed growth in the students, but never an "'A", up from an 'F' in just four years.

“Over the past four years, our school grade data has progressed and improved every single year. Steady and sustained growth is a process not to be overlooked.”,
said Principal Dave McMeen.

“You’re an 'A' today. You were an 'A' yesterday. You will continue to be an 'A,'” added Nicole Boon, Metropolitan Ministries Associate Vice President of Education.

Boon said what separates Sullivan is its ability to look beyond grades. She said the school is equally focused on students' well-being and mental health. It's also the smallest school in the county, open to only about 74 students.

“Our kids aren’t necessarily just regular kids. They come to us in pain, and we've embraced trauma-enforced care,” Boon said.

Sullivan parent Dorian Landron-Sanchez said that type of care changed her life.

"When I felt I hit rock bottom with my family, I couldn't trust anyone. If it wasn't for them, I truly do not know where we would be," Landron-Sanchez said.

Landron-Sanchez said she even saw a change in her children, Krisjaylii and Francisco.

"I know there were times where it was too hard for them to speak to me. There were counselors here to help them with that. They've opened up a lot," she added.

Metropolitan Ministries said the other key to the students' success comes from help from the Children's Board of Hillsborough County. It funds Sullivan's after-school program, where students are able to get additional help with school.

"They've motivated students, improved mental well-being, involved parents," said Maria Negron, Children's Board of Hillsborough County Director of Programs.

Now CBHC is preparing to launch the program at more schools while fielding questions from other counties about creating their own program.