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Middle School – High Ambitions

Middle school is no longer that awkward period between being a child and being almost grown-up.

Middle school sets the stage for high school success. And choosing the right middle school—and the right classes in middle school—is extremely important.

No pressure, right?

Did you know that more than 2,400 middle school students received an industry certification during the 2019-2020 school year? These middle school students got involved early in Career and Technical Education courses.

Students who earn these digital tool certifications receive industry-recognized credentials for 21st-century knowledge and skills.

“Our CTE classes should be points of pride for our schools with the very best in technology toys and tools,” says Jereme Monette, HCPS supervisor of Career, Technical and Adult Education. “The fact that we continue to increase the number of schools and teachers who successfully complete industry certifications shows how incredible our middle school CTE programs and teachers are.”

The most popular of these certifications, ICT Cyber Security Essentials, demonstrate student understanding of:

  • network functions and internet connections
  • fundamentals of effective communications in a technological society
  • strategies and techniques for efficient web searching
  • issues related to online safety and privacy
  • strategies for creating effective website content and more

“It is imperative that our middle school students learn the dangers, opportunities and realities of living in an online world,” Monette says. “These certifications show that our students have the skills necessary to succeed in the 21st century.”

Each student who earns a digital tool certification also earns additional state funding for their classrooms. Due to this increase in certifications, these classrooms will receive additional funding for these accomplishments.

“Funding from industry certifications allows classrooms to do exciting things like building out creative maker spaces for students to explore everything from 3D printers to programmable robots,” Monette explains.

These industry certifications are a springboard to advanced programs and opportunities in high school. Students who earn a certification feel a sense of accomplishment, have a competitive edge upon graduation and become more marketable in their career.

Find out more about Hillsborough County Public Schools middle school industry certifications and our Career and Technical Education programs at

Originally published in April 2021

Laura Cross
Laura Cross
Hillsborough County Public Schools.

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