<![CDATA[NBC 6 South Florida - ]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcmiami.com/feature/education-on-6 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC+6+LOGO+GOOGLE.png NBC 6 South Florida http://www.nbcmiami.comen-usMon, 23 Jan 2017 18:10:56 -0500Mon, 23 Jan 2017 18:10:56 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[SWAG On 6: Coral Reef High's Sophia Aime]]> Fri, 20 Jan 2017 20:30:45 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/012017+Sophia+Aime.jpg

At first glance, it looks like any other coloring book, albeit with French and Creole wording. Sophia Aime’s creation is much more than something you could buy in a store. This senior at Coral Reef High School designed the book to inspire orphans in Haiti, children who often end up as child laborers.

"I created coloring books in their French and Haitian Creole language to you know, encourage these kids, boost their spirits," Sophia explained.

Sophia delivered dozens of her vocational coloring books, along with crayons, to an orphanage in Haiti last summer. Each page features a man or a woman engaged in some sort of occupation, from doctor to baker to engineer and many more.

"And I explained to them what these books mean and how they’re supposed to empower them and how they’re supposed to inspire them to become greater," Sophia said, explaining how she presented the books to the kids.

The coloring books are a marriage of Sophia’s passion for art and activism.

"She’s one of those kids who feels she has a mission, that she is here for a reason," said chemistry teacher Hemisha Barkow, one of Sophia’s mentors at school.

Her classmates notice the same quality in Sophia.

"She strives to do good for other people and she’s such an empowering woman," said fellow senior Mahek Lalani.

Sophia’s road has been challenging, to say the least. A few months ago, she lost her father. After his death, the family lost its home, sometimes the electricity bills went unpaid, yet throughout it all, Sophia continued her straight-A academic performance in the challenging International Baccalaureate curriculum.

"It just shows your strength, that if you’re able to overcome this, you’re able to overcome anything," Sophia said.

That perseverance and determination awes her friends at school.

"And she just continues to have this confidence and she just powered through it and that’s what truly inspires me because if I had to go through that I know I wouldn’t be able to make it," said classmate Sarah Alkhwlani.

Sophia won a full scholarship through the Questbridge program to Macalester College in Minneapolis. Eventually, she wants to become a civil rights attorney.

"You know, give a voice to those who are discriminated against, those who are mistreated, those who had injustice in their lives," Sophia said.

So her desire to help society is at the heart of her ambitions. What else would you expect from someone whose name means "love" in French?

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Kendall School Has Special Program for Hearing Impaired]]> Wed, 18 Jan 2017 19:24:46 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/011817+hearing+impaired.jpg

Walk into the class, and it looks like any other in an elementary school, until you look a little closer. You will notice all the kids are either wearing hearing aids or they have cochlear implants, because this is a special program for kids who have hearing deficiencies.

"The object is to open perception so that they can learn any language in the world, and that’s what we want them to do, to learn everything," said Marie Mazzara, a speech language pathologist who leads the program.

It’s not a new fad, Mazzara started the verbal-tonal instruction model program at Kenwood K-8 Center in Kendall back in 1984.

"We add rhymes and rhythms, all the speech sounds that we work on are immediately driven into a word, gone into a phrase so it becomes something meaningful," Mazzara said. "We use role playing and we make it a lot of fun for the kids."

One goal is to raise the communication skills and the confidence of hearing-impaired students.

"I learned a lot of words here and it helped me communicate better," said 6th-grader Emily Fuerte.

8th grader Jared Martinez transferred into Kenwood’s program.

"I’m from another school I went to, I didn’t learn very much, then I went here, it helped me a lot," Jared explained.

The teachers wear microphones so that everything they say as they teach their classes is amplified by speakers, or wirelessly goes directly into the hearing aids worn by the students.

So how does one judge the effectiveness of a program like this? Of course, there are analytic measures, such as test scores over the years. Or you can simply ask a parent.

"He has been able to go from being completely non-verbal to speaking without any issue," gushes Amy Stetson about her son, Cody. "He read a book to us last night which was unbelievable, so it’s just been a miracle."

The program is also a bonding experience for the 61 students in it at the moment. They understand each other because they all they know what it’s like to rely on hearing aids, they all have similar issues, and hopefully, unlimited futures.

"That they get to choose what world they want to walk in, what community they want to be a part of so that they’re not limited in this world, the world is open to them," Mazzara said.

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[SWAG on 6: Student Helping Classmates With Life's Stresses]]> Fri, 13 Jan 2017 18:53:02 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/011317+swag+on+6+hope.jpg

From worrying about grades, their appearance, boyfriends and girlfriends, high school students navigate through stress mine fields every day.

A student at one Broward high school started a club just to help his stressed-out classmates.

Students in the Hope Club volunteer their time to simply listen and encourage their stressed-out peers.

It started because one student lost a friend to suicide, couldn’t stand that pain and decided to something about it. That’s why Derek Sheinberg founded the club here at Cypress Bay High School.

“We just established something here that I think will last a long time and that’s because of Derek,” said teacher and club mentor David Deller.

“Just to be here and let them know that we’re here for them, they’re able to come here and talk to us about any issues that they have,” said Sheinberg.

Sheinberg is only a sophomore. He started the club last year, and says students at his school have issues you’d find anywhere, in every school.

“It’s pressure to perform well, it’s anxiety, OCD, there’s plenty of bullying going on in this school,” he said. “That’s really a big problem, and stress and anxiety, those are very big, depression, I could go on and on about that.”

From a handful of kids, Derek’s club has grown to 35 volunteers, all of whom say they can relate to the stress issues they hear from their classmate - who need a sympathetic ear.

“Since the things I’ve been through as well you know it’s good to know I’m not alone and helping people makes me feel a lot better,” said club member Camila Corrales.

“It’s not only helping other people, it’s helping me as well,” Derek said. “I’ve really grown, my perspective about people and issues have grown tremendously.”

“I think he’s the main reason why there are so many people coming to this club,” said member Nikki Rubinsztain.

If they find serious issues, the school’s social worker is called in. But just by showing concern, the club provides hope for kids who feel desperate.

“Our first year here, we actually had some letters sent back from parents describing how their children have gotten better from these issues,” Derek said.

The experience has transformed Derek, who’s hoping the hope club concept spreads to every high school and every student who needs someone to talk to.

<![CDATA[Miami-Dade Schools Offers Unique Veterinary Magnet Program]]> Wed, 11 Jan 2017 19:20:50 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/011117+miami-dade+vet+magnet+program.jpg

Consider this your wake-up call. Any student interested in joining a magnet program in Miami-Dade Public Schools for next school year needs to act quickly to get in on the action. The deadline is January 15th. That’s this Sunday.

"Talk to your child, make sure that they know what they’re getting themselves into and that they’re going to love what they do, but with all the choices that we have, there’s going to be something for everyone," said Rafael Villalobos, principal at Ferguson High School in Kendall.

Miami-Dade Public Schools has more than 500 choice and magnet programs spread throughout its grade levels.

Ferguson High has one of the more unique offerings, a veterinary sciences program which teaches students how much hard work goes into taking care of animals. They’ve practically got a farm on the campus.

"The animals teach them something, they teach the animals things, it’s a symbiotic relationship, it’s a beautiful thing, they work really hard, they get in the ring with the animal," said teacher Erin Abramoff.

The kids in the program learn all aspects of animal husbandry, from milking goats to grooming cattle to feeding everything. They are responsible for the overall health and well-being of the animals, they learn from real veterinarians who periodically visit, and they bring the animals to FFA competitions.

"What I really like about this program is everything is hands-on, everything is student-run," said student Nicholas Herdocia.

"Everybody thinks, ok, agriculture, it’s animals, but it’s much more than that," added student Jessica Casarreal.

Her colleague, Bernie Forteza, explains that the veterinary program provides skills that are useful in every class.

"It really develops their public speaking skills and actually adding more work to our schoolwork, it helps us manage our time," Bernie said.

You could say the program grooms students for college and careers beyond the veterinary world.

"A lot of our students are able to go to amazing universities and really do flourish because they’ve had this experience," Abramoff said.

Ferguson isn’t the only school with a veterinary program. The point is, students have lots of choices these days, so it’s time to break out of the herd mentality and investigate the options.

Note: the deadline for magnet and choice applications in Broward County Public Schools is February 8th.

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Norland Middle Kids Star in Golden Globe-Winning 'Moonlight']]> Tue, 10 Jan 2017 19:10:15 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/172*120/Norland+Moonlight+Students.PNG

They say they’re just average seventh-graders in every way. Good luck trying to persuade their classmates at Norland Middle School that Alex Hibbert and Jaden Piner are run-of-the-mill kids, especially now that Moonlight just won Best Picture at the Golden Globe Awards Sunday night.

Alex plays the main character in the movie as a child, and his real-life buddy, Jaden, plays his best friend in the film.

"It was amazing, beautiful really. In our neighborhood, you're probably known for basketball or football, but this time, people don’t even believe that I'm in a movie," Jaden said.

For Jaden and Alex, this was a full-immersion experience into the world of movie-making. Suddenly, these kids were surrounded by pros.

"I'm just like this small little kid, but they were good, they were great, they gave me a lot of tips and tricks on how to act," Alex said. "I really don’t like watching myself because every time I watch myself I always feel like I could do better."

Norland Middle has a performing arts magnet program that attracts kids like Alex and Jaden, so it wasn’t like they just walked off the street onto the movie set. The boys already had some acting training.

"The very first thing we teach is discipline, you have to have discipline in the arts, so I think that really helped them on the set because as I always tell them, you can be talented all you want, but are you employable?" said their drama teacher, Tanisha Cidel.

"Words cannot express how proud I am of them."

Moonlight is a coming-of-age movie that takes place in the projects of Liberty City. As kids can do, they distill the film’s mature themes to their core messages.

"It makes people feel like they can overcome their fears, and face their obstacles in life," Jaden said.

"It teaches you a big lesson on how to like, not judge people or be mean to anybody, 'cause you don't know what their struggles are or what they're going through at home," Alex explained.

Did I mention the boys' teacher is also in the film? Tanisha Cidel plays the school principal, so Alex and Jaden have a built-in role model at Norland. Both of them say they want careers in acting, and judging by Moonlight, they’re already on their way to the spotlight. 

<![CDATA[SWAG on 6: Ferguson High School's Abraham Cardenas]]> Fri, 23 Dec 2016 18:50:41 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/122316+Abraham+Cardenas.jpg

Whether it’s shooting pictures or video, Ferguson High School senior Abraham "AJ" Cardenas has a knack for it.

"Anything that revolves around the camera is my speciality, it’s my passion," AJ said.

When the Miami-Dade school district needed a video to promote its contest to design a new logo, it turned to AJ to make it. Take it from us television pros, AJ’s video looks totally professional. He’s such a wiz with editing and shooting, he inspires his film class teacher.

"I don’t mind saying 'ok, I don’t know how to do this, let’s ask AJ,” said teacher Juan Moreno. “He puts a lot of himself into his work.”

There’s no question that AJ is tremendously skilled at shooting and editing video but to get to his level of achievement, he had to overcome something most students don’t have to deal with: AJ has autism.

"I feel like everyone goes through obstacles in life, as me with autism," AJ explained. "It used to be a hardship to me because when you’re little you are clueless about it."

Through years of working on socialization skills, AJ has learned things most of us take for granted, such as understanding non-verbal cues and making small talk. He says for much of his life, he would just freeze and say nothing at all for fear of saying the wrong thing in conversations.

"I would have social issues, making friends," AJ said.

Those days are behind him. AJ is an admires student at Ferguson.

"Everybody looks up to him," said classmate Gonzalo Fuenmayor, "because he's very courageous."

His film teacher, Juan Moreno, said when he found out AJ was on the autism spectrum, it made him appreciate his work even more.

"Other than just the artistic intelligence that he has, he also has an emotional intelligence that’s unlike anybody else, really, his age," said classmate Humberto Mendez.

AJ’s mother actually went back to college to earn a degree in child psychology so she could provide therapy at home for her son. AJ says battling through the effects of his disorder allows him to see those who have more severe levels of autism through a more understanding lens.

"I feel like I can communicate with them better because when it comes to an autistic person you gotta remember they are a completely normal human in a physical prison," said AJ.

So does this young man want to become a Spielberg or a Scorsese? AJ has his own idea of success, which is using his film-making ability to one day help the Autism community.

"With these skills that I have I can go and use them and not only help those but give hope to the parents of children with autism," AJ said, explaining that he’s a role model for other kids on the spectrum.

He hopes using a camera to break out of his shell may be a path others can follow, too.

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[NBC 6 Brag About Your School - Miami Edison High School]]> Mon, 19 Dec 2016 19:01:30 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Brag+About+Your+School+THUMBNAIL+Website.jpg

It’s one of South Florida’s originals. We now know it as Edison High School in Miami, but it started out as Dade County Agricultural High School in 1915. They changed the name to honor the inventor of the light bulb in 1931.

So there’s lots of history at Edison High, but schools can’t survive by looking backward. They need new programs, they need to innovate, and Edison is doing just that.

"We are a major advocate of rigor in the classroom and again, just preparing our students for life after high school, and our goal here is just to make sure that students have several options,” said principal Try Diggs.

One of those options is Edison’s magnet academy of finance. It’s a real credit union branch, actual banking takes place there, and the students run the place.

"The students get a chance to actually work on transactions, do deposits, open up accounts and actually see what it is and how it is,” said lead magnet teacher Yolette Mezadieu, explaining that teaching financial literacy is vital. “We start off early, in ninth grade."

The school’s culinary program provides an avenue for students looking to work in the hospitality industry after high school.

"We do have students who are not college bound, they don’t want to go to college, so we want to make sure they’re ready for the real world with career readiness,” Mezadieu said.

Edison also has the Cambridge magnet program for kids preparing for college-level work, and a health sciences program which trains students to be emergency medical technicians, gets them ready for health studies in college, and more.

"It prepares them for real-life scenarios, I've had two students so far this year that have been able to intervene in family emergencies and had a successful outcome because of this course, it make me very proud of them,” said teacher Virgil Rodriguez, who is a trained EMT.

The students in his program ride with him on actual ambulance calls as part of the course.

They’re proud of their Marching Red Raiders band at Edison, which is noticeably smaller than most high school bands. That’s because the school only has 800 students, and sometimes, as the principal says, less is more.

"It’s a very small atmosphere so the students know us and we know them and it’s a very personalized atmosphere so we can insure that we can go above and beyond with regard to our students,” Diggs said, saying smaller class sizes and individualized instruction are the norm in her school.

That’s especially helpful in a school in which many students are not native English speakers. Diggs says in five years, the graduation rate at Edison has jumped 20 percent, about 80 percent now.

Smaller classes, more personal attention. It’s another Edison bright idea.

<![CDATA[SWAG ON 6: Kaitlyn Coyne Helps Students Dress For Success]]> Fri, 16 Dec 2016 20:19:22 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_000000027048431_1200x675_835345987752.jpg

When we met, Kaitlyn Coyne was folding dress pants and shorts, hanging them up on clothing racks. This junior at Coral Glades High School in Coral Springs doesn’t work in a boutique. The racks were in the principal’s office, temporary storage space for Kaitlyn’s project, called “Suit Up With Kaitlyn.” She saw a need and did something about it, which is no surprise to those who know her.

“She’s a very strong-willed person in terms of wanting to make this world a better place, she sees a problem, she thinks about what she can do to fix it, and then she’s very proactive in achieving it,” said teacher Staycee Lehrman, who has helped Kaitlyn organize her efforts.

Kaitlyn is on the debate team, and she noticed that some kids can’t afford business clothing to look professional when they go to debate tournament. So she started a crusade to solicit donations.

“I’ve been absolutely astonished by the response, it’s been completely overwhelming, the amount of clothing I’ve received,” Kaitlyn said.

Dress for success was only a concept for some kids, until Kaitlyn handed them donated men’s and women’s suits, ties, and jackets.

“And you kinda see almost a spark in their eye, this confidence just builds up because they know I look nice and the audience and the judge knows I look nice so it really adds a confidence boost, absolutely,” said Kaitlyn.

“Suit Up With Kaitlyn” is even having an impact of kids who don’t need donated clothing. Kaitlyn has inspired her friends.

“It’s pretty impressive, I’m inspired by it to want to do more to help her out with it as much as I can because it’s a cool thing, it’s a really great cause,” said classmate Alexa Babinec.

“I think it’s a really good idea and it’s really gonna benefit a lot of the kids in this school who can’t get the type of business clothes they need for DECA and National Honor Society,” added Frankie Gaynor, another of Kaitlyn’s friends.

Last week, a school board member met with Kaitlyn to discuss ways to implement her program district-wide. She already has a room full of clothing, but they can always use more. The need is great, and Kaitlyn’s project may be the solution.

“I never expected it to take off this much at all, it’s been kind of spectacular,” Kaitlyn said with a grin.

Now this straight-A student with Ivy League ambitions is hoping her idea will help other kids realize their ambitions as well.

<![CDATA[Blind, Sighted Kids Learn Value of Inclusion in Pre-K Class]]> Wed, 14 Dec 2016 20:26:53 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/121416+miami+lighthouse+for+the+blind.jpg

It may look like any Pre-K program and that’s the idea, but this classroom at the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind is breaking new ground.

The center has launched a pilot program this year which schools students on the value of inclusion. The center has a classroom which includes visually impaired children, learning alongside their sighted classmates.

Miami Lighthouse worked with Miami-Dade Public Schools to help visually impaired students prepare for mainstream public school. “By the children beginning now with daily Braille skills they should be good Braille readers,” said Virginia Jacko, who works at Miami Lighthouse.

In addition to Braille, the blind kids get a boost in confidence.

Monique Reid’s son, who is visually impaired, has been attending the class. She says the program has helped him to feel accepted and one with the other kids. “I think that he’ll notice at some point that his vision is not as good as everyone else. But, because he sees himself as great, when he sees someone else with a disability, he’ll accept them,” said Reid.

The students use a modified version of high-scope curriculum which prepares them for kindergarten and gets them ready to interact with people who may be different from them.

Annie Larosa’s son is not visually impaired. She says the program will allow him to know that people with disabilities may need extra help but should be treated equally. “They’re no less or no greater than you,” said Larosa.

Kids in the program will take that spirit of acceptance and tolerance with them for years to come.

<![CDATA[NBC 6 Brag About Your School: Monarch High]]> Mon, 12 Dec 2016 20:58:00 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/121216+brag+about+monarch+high.jpg

Even though it’s 14 years old, Monarch High School in Coconut Creek is the new kid on the block among North Broward high schools. With fresh paint and a design that evokes a college campus, complete with a hilly, tree-shaded courtyard, Monarch still feels like it just opened.

The school distinguishes itself by offering innovative programs and with a marching band that just brought home the third-place trophy in the statewide band competition. The music director says that kind of experience goes beyond just playing their instruments. It teaches kids the same skills they’ll need for job interviews.

“It’s a lot of nerves involved when you have to get out there and perform, you have to make sure you’re ready to go with everything and you have to be well-prepared,” said band director Darrell Haynes.

Monarch is a traditional, full-service high school with a heart. They integrate special needs kids into regular classes whenever possible, and they’re created a mentoring group called Latinos in Action to counsel and help students who are in the process of learning English. The Latinos in Action frequently go to neighboring elementary schools to serve as role models for the younger kids.

“The younger kids down really, really love the fact that their peers come to speak to them in their native language,” said Principal James Neer, explaining how the Latinos in Action inspire their younger counterparts.

The school offers special courses in engineering, tourism and hospitality, and early childhood development.

“Of course, the core academics is what we’re here for but those special programs really attract kids to come to monarch and they’re very proud to be part of the school,” Neer said.

They’re also proud to have the AP Computer Science Principles class. This is the first year the College Board is offering the class anywhere in the nation. Monarch had a flood of kids wanting to take it, knowing the jobs of the future are in the high tech sector.

“So they’ve had a huge push about computer science and programming and trying to develop it, creating apps like they’re doing here make it more fun,” said teacher Lori Fuller.

The kids are wired, and so is their school.

“We have thousands and thousands of computers, as you can see in this lab, it’s a fully functional mac lab, we have six other p-c labs, so the opportunity to utilize technology anywhere a student needs to, it’s available to them,” Neer explained.

The band members aren’t the only Knights striving for excellence at Monarch High.

<![CDATA[Twin Sisters Share Pain and Pride at FIU Graduation]]> Mon, 12 Dec 2016 20:57:34 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/121216+tiffany+eileen+gomez+fiu+grads.jpg

It's a season of celebration at college campuses across South Florida as students mark their academic accomplishments. The moment of pride shared with loved ones, friends and professors. For twin sisters Tiffany and Eileen Gomez, it's a moment of triumph after years of trials and tribulations.

In the sea of navy blue caps at Monday's commencement ceremony at Florida International University, Tiffany and Eileen stand out because of their story of struggle.

Overwhelmed with emotion, the twin sisters walked across the FIU stage together, both with heavy hearts knowing their mom and dad could not cheer them on from the crowd. The sisters' mother passed away when they were only four years old. They were raised by their father, Vito. Sadly, a terminal illness took his life two years ago. The sisters had to take over their father's business, Vito's Bakery, while continuing their studies. "Today was significant for me because aside from graduating for my father and myself, I was walking for my sister as well because she was not able to walk for her graduation," said Tiffany.

She received the resignation of the "Worlds Ahead" graduate - which is awarded by FIU to individuals with strong leadership qualities, a desire to change lives and a record of academic achievement.

Tiffany's twin sister, Eileen, graduated in 2013, but she wasn't able to walk across the stage because at the time, their father had fallen ill. FIU's faculty made sure Monday's ceremony was extra special for the twins. "The twins became bakers, business owners and caretakers at the same time they continued pursuing their degrees," said FIU President Dr. Mark Rosenberg.

The sisters say they know their parents are watching from above as they marked the major milestone. After graduation, the twins plan to continue running their dad's bakery.

<![CDATA[NBC 6 Brag About Your School - Monarch High School]]> Mon, 12 Dec 2016 12:11:34 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Brag+About+Your+School+THUMBNAIL+Website.jpg

NBC 6 is bragging about another South Florida school Monday – this time, we’re heading to Monarch High School in Coconut Creek.

Home of the Knights, the school boasts one of the top marching bands in the entire state, recently placing third in the Florida Marching Band Coalition 2016 Championships held in St. Petersburg.

The school, which opened just 14 years ago, also kicked off a new program being implemented at several Broward County schools called Latinos in Action – a program where students work with kids in elementary schools who are learning English and helping them to adjust to their new environments.

Join Ari Odzer live starting at 11 AM on NBC 6 as we brag about Monarch High School!

<![CDATA[SWAG On 6: Madison Chamizo]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 18:48:22 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/120916+Madison+Chamizo.jpg

Most high school kids spend their free time having fun. Madison Chamizo likes to monkey around, too. Literally. Madison has volunteered more than 2,000 hours at Monkey Jungle’s DuMond Conservancy.

“They don’t have a voice so we basically need to speak for them and we need to help them out,” Madison said, referring to the primates with which she works.

They are owl monkeys, named because their big, round eyes make them look like furry owls. The ones Madison cares for are retired from bio-medical research. Some are blind, some are missing internal organs. These monkeys helped humanity, now Madison is helping them. This high school senior has been volunteering at the conservancy since she was in middle school.

“All of us at the DuMond Conservancy are in awe of Madison, not only for her enormous commitment and dedication to helping us care for these wonderful monkeys but also for her humanitarian concerns,” said Dr. Sian Evans, the conservancy’s director.

Evans is talking about Madison’s efforts to recruit other teenagers to join the conservancy’s project to use the monkeys to help disabled teens.

“They basically learn how to do independent and employability skills, they cut fruit, they clean their cages, basically things that they need in their everyday life that we can teach ‘em here,” Madison explained.

At Southwest Miami High School, Madison is an academic achiever. She’s in the top 1 percent of her class, taking all AP and dual enrollment classes. One of those classes is AP Art. Her artwork was recently selected to be displayed in a gallery show. Madison is also a star on the school’s championship badminton team. Is there anything this kid can’t do?

"I don’t think so, anything she puts her mind into, she’s gonna succeed,” said her coach, Marta Guinea.

Madison’s classmates say her love for wildlife conservation rubs off on everyone.

"And she’s very passionate about it and she’s really made me more conscientious about the environment and what we need to do to conserve it,” said Emily Diaz, one of Madison’s friends.

Another friend described Madison as the kid everyone turns to for help.

"And she’s gotten me involved in thinking of nature and how i can make it better,” said Kristen Gandon.

The way Madison sees it, spreading environmental awareness is a mission.

"A lot of this stuff isn’t really taught in schools, so I try to teach them what I know so they can help the environment as much as they can,” Madison said.

In many ways, Madison Chamizo is just getting started. She plans on studying zoology in college. The monkeys have taught her how rewarding a career dedicated to wildlife conservation can be.

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[PAMM Teaching Students About Contemporary Art]]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 19:43:39 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/120716+pamm.jpg

Sometimes, it’s good to get kids out of the classroom, especially if you want them to have a hands-on, eyes-on experience. That’s why school buses line up outside the Perez Art Museum Miami every day. More than 45,000 students have toured the PAMM in the last two years, guided and taught by artists-in-residence at the museum.

"There really is no substitution for seeing art in person, to see the textures, to experience work that’s sometimes interactive, to walk through art, it’s just a whole other type of learning experience that you really can’t do sitting at a desk in a classroom and it contributes to the classroom experience,” said PAMM education director Marie Vickles.

We watched a large group of fourth graders from Myrtle Grove K-8 Center in Miami Gardens soak in all the museum has to offer.

"It is an exciting day because it’s something that many of them have never had the chance or the opportunity to come and see," said one of their teachers, Carla Williams. "Paper and pencil, yes, that’s great but sometimes you need that outlet where you can do other things."

The kids are learning not just what it takes to be an artist, but to appreciate art, too. It’s one of the primary missions of the museum.

“I think it helps to foster critical thinking, it helps to connect the dots across many different subject areas,” Vickles said, talking about the benefits of the experience students get on these field trips.

The kids didn’t expect to learn lessons in science, math, and social studies at the art museum, but they did. They also got a boost in confidence, with several students saying they were looking forward to making their own art works.

At this age, the fourth graders are like a blank canvas. The experience they had at the PAMM can certainly help fill in the picture.

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Brag About Arthur and Polly Mays Conservatory of the Arts]]> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 20:47:43 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*120/BRAG+Arthur+Polly+Mays+Conservatory+%284%29.JPG ]]> <![CDATA[Brag About Your School - Mays Conservatory of The Arts]]> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 20:08:34 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Brag+About+Your+School+THUMBNAIL+Website.jpg

Picture the high school from the movie "Fame" and you have an idea of what Arthur and Polly Mays Conservatory of the Arts is like. It’s a school full of virtuoso talents, so it’s not surprising that its orchestra has been invited to play at Carnegie Hall.

“Most of them, a lot of them, rather, are in orchestra and choir so they get to be part of two ensembles and we’ve also had opportunities to go into the recording studio so they get some life lessons and real-life music experience here at Mays," said music director Sarah Ruff.

Mays Conservatory is a public, all-magnet school which includes grades 6 through 12. Every student auditions to get in, and striving for excellence is expected from every student, in every field.

"We expect effort, that’s what we ask for from any kid coming here is that they wanna be here, that they try hard because we know that we can teach them and we can get them far," said lead magnet teacher Kristina Beard.

The school has only 620 students spread across seven grades, which means lots of individual attention in all classes, and opportunities to, for example, nail down a starring role in the school play.

"We know each and every one of them and it helps us because we kind of teach to their ability," Beard said.

Because it’s a 6 through 12 school, middle school kids can punch above their weight and participate in high school level activities.

"If you're in middle school we try to treat you like you’re in high school and we try to accelerate your learning like high school, and if you’re in high school we try to accelerate your learning like you’re in college in both the artistic side and the academic side," said principal Martin Reid, who was recently named the national magnet school principal of the year.

Reid says it’s unusual for a public school to offer such a small-school, tailored environment.

"We’re small and we have the best teachers, teachers who can teach the most talented kids as well as the beginners," Reid said.

While every student must audition in either performance arts, visual arts, or communicative arts, Reid says the school saves a few spots for younger kids who show tremendous ambition and desire and admits them on a probationary level. He says one such student came in as a sixth grader barely able to play an instrument and now, as a senior, is one of the best musicians in the school. It’s all about practice and the willingness to work hard.

Mays Conservatory has a television production course, a creative writing course, and of course, it wouldn’t be a conservatory without dance. They offer ballet, modern, ballroom, hiphop, Latin, all kinds of dance classes to get students moving at a school which is most certainly moving its way up.

Even though it’s way down south in Goulds, students from as far away as North Miami attend Arthur and Polly Mays Conservatory of the Arts.

<![CDATA[Brag About McNicol Middle School]]> Mon, 28 Nov 2016 16:25:23 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*120/112816+brag+mcnicole+middle+9+%2812%29.JPG NBC 6's Ari Odzer goes to McNicol Middle School to explore the magnet programs that are helping students prepare for high school and beyond. ]]> <![CDATA[NBC 6 Brag About Your School - McNicol Middle School]]> Mon, 28 Nov 2016 18:30:01 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Brag+About+Your+School+THUMBNAIL+Website.jpg

It’s a STEM school, which means they integrate science, technology, engineering and math into all areas of the curriculum, but McNicol Middle School in Hollywood takes that concept a step further.

"So our science, technology, engineering, mathematics programs in our school offer our students opportunities to apply what they learn in the classroom to real-life experiences," said principal Melissa Gurreonero.

The school has two magnet programs, including a science and pre-engineering course of study that allows kids to design creations and see them emerge on the 3D printer, study rockets by launching them, and learn to fly drones like a pro.

"Instead of being stuck with just your core curriculum, with PE and maybe some music, these kids get to explore something they have a high level of interest in," said Phillip Shaver, the school’s magnet programs coordinator.

McNicol has its own team competing in the First Lego League robotics tournament, and a course called phytostematics, which teaches kids to grow exotic fruits, vegetables, and to cultivate a butterfly garden.

"It's totally cool, we live in a very subtropical area where a lot of things in the northern area and southern area come together so we get to see a lot of different species of butterflies unique to our area," said Richard Torres, the phytostematics teacher.

Students learn to identify the various caterpillars, butterflies, and the plants that attract them.

In the school’s international affairs and business magnet, students are immersed in foreign cultures, from language to food to government structures in those countries.

"Our vision is to create the high-school ready, college-bound student, so when you talk to our students, they're able to articulate that to you, they're accountable learners," said Gurreonero, explaining that from the sixth grade, her students are encouraged to already begin scouting which high school options are best for them.

"They get a vision of their own futures from this program," Shaver said.

So whether that future is in agriculture, high-tech, or even veterinary medicine, the McNicol Hawks are ready to fly.

<![CDATA[SoFla Youth Symphony Invited to Presidential Inauguration]]> Wed, 23 Nov 2016 16:07:35 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/112316+South+Florida+Youth+Symphony.jpg

Education doesn’t stop when kids leave the schoolhouse. Many dedicated student musicians, for example, learn to play in orchestras by spending their spare time after school rehearsing with non-profit groups like the South Florida Youth Symphony. Their parents move heaven and earth to give their kids that opportunity.

"Because they realize the benefits for the whole child, not just for musical development, for every skill level that they have," said Marjorie Hahn, musical director for the SFYS.

The South Florida Youth Symphony has been around for 52 years, taking all students regardless of family income. Now the group has been invited to play in a prestigious festival in Washington, D.C., and to attend the presidential inauguration.

"Everyone’s really excited, it’s something that everyone’s going to be tuning in to watch and the fact that we get to be there to perform, it’s quite a big deal," said Reina Suarez, a percussionist in the orchestra.

"We have the passion for music, we have the eagerness to learn, and this would be a learning opportunity for everyone in this orchestra," said cellist Benjamin Bush.

They sound terrific in rehearsals, but that alone isn’t going to get them to Washington. Many of the kids can’t afford the trip, so the symphony needs to raise money.

"Well yeah, it’s a very expensive thing, you know, so not many people have the money to do these things," said violinist Yosvani Rodriguez.

They have a proud tradition of churning out musicians from low-income neighborhoods, and this trip to D.C. is out of the financial reach of most of their families.

"Most of them are low-income, multi-child, single-parent families," Hahn said. "Many of them don’t get out of Dade County."

As of now, they’re about $20,000 short of their fundraising goal. If you’d like to be a patron of the arts and help young musicians live out their dreams, go to www.sfys.net and click on the Go Fund Me link.

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[NBC 6 Brag About Your School - Miami Sunset Senior High]]> Mon, 21 Nov 2016 19:39:41 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/CxzA0IoUQAAaY6L.jpg

NBC 6 is bragging about another school Monday – this time, we explored Miami Sunset Senior High School.

When a school produces excellence in the arts, sciences, and technology, you know it’s doing something right.

Sunset High School in Kendall is home to three magnet programs plus the two-time defending national champion dance team, Soul Street.

There’s a lot to brag about, says the principal, starting with two principles.

“First, that our students are career and college ready when they leave here and second, we offer a traditional, rigorous program where our students are successful,” said Principal John Lux.

The three magnet programs at the school are medical, communications, and engineering. Students in the engineering magnet learn how to build and program robots, they can learn to fly on flight simulators with an instructor from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, and they’re just started to teach drone piloting and programming. The kids are exposed to different disciplines so they can figure out if they want to become civil, mechanical, aerospace, or digital engineers. All of those fields involved problem solving.

“It’s training for anything, it’s to get them to think, to think things out and do it in a rational way,” said Charlie Redlund, the lead engineering teacher.

The medical magnet program gives students the foundation to become first responders, athletic trainers, physical therapists, or doctors and nurses. We watched a class learning CPR as the classic Beegee’s song “Staying Alive” blared from a speaker. Turns out the beat of the music is a teaching tool.

“Because if I say you want to do a hundred compressions per minute, what is that? How do you do a hundred compressions? But if I say go to the beat of staying alive, you can know what a hundred compressions looks like,” said teacher Olga Malkin.

The communications magnet is fresh off the presses, starting up this school year. Students in the program learn print and broadcast journalism, website and magazine design, and how to write a blog.

Sunset High also has a robust dual-enrollment program.

“We actually send students each and every day on a bus to Miami-Dade College to take two classes a semester, so they come here in the morning, take a few classes, go to Miami Dade, take two classes over there and then come back to school and finish the day,” Lux said.

It’s always a busy day at the home of the Knights.

<![CDATA[SWAG on 6: HS Senior Uses Disability to Educate Classmates]]> Fri, 18 Nov 2016 19:24:08 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/111816+swag+michael+hadler.jpg

A wheelchair and cerebral palsy can’t prevent Michael Hadler from being a big man on campus at Flanagan High School in Pembroke Pines. His classmates just voted him one of their “Senior Superlatives.”

“I thought, wow, they really respect me for who I am,” Michael said.

This is who Michael Hadler is: the leader of his school’s Best Buddies club, a branch of an organization dedicated to ending the isolation of people with developmental disabilities.

“Seeing that people with disabilities can do as much as non-people with disabilities and that they can intermingle and enjoy life together,” Michael said, explaining the club’s mission.

Michael is a roving ambassador. He gives speeches at different high schools, and sometimes reads his poetry. He’s also a member of his school’s poetry club.

“You know how there’s a lot of bad stuff going on, i can make the world seem a little bit better through my poetry,” Michael said. “Poetry gives kids confidence to engage their feelings to the outside world.”



His creative writing teacher, Kristy Modia, has had Michael in her class for three years. She calls him a “beacon of light” in the classroom, saying he’s always involved in the conversation, and that he always makes everyone else feel good about their work. Modia says Michael is tearing down perceptions of the disabled.

“i think he shocks everybody, so even at the poetry jam last year, he decided to perform and every single person had tears in their eyes,” Modia said.

Michael read one of his poems to us.

“It’s called beyond the chair. Don’t just look at the chair and feel sorrow, look beyond the chair and you might be surprised, I’m just like you,” Michael said, reciting his own work.

“He’s bigger than life, his personality is more than anything you could ever ask for from anyone,” said one of his friends, Cheyenne Ferrin.

Michael says he has a goal while he’s in high school.

“I’m hoping to inspire people to love a little bit more,” he said. “We need more love, we have too much hate.”

There’s never a shortage of students willing to help Michael wheel around campus, but the truth it, he helps them just as much. His friends say he inspires them to be better people, and to appreciate life.

“If you’re in a class with Michael or if you’re in the same room, it’s not possible to be in a bad mood, he brightens your mood,” said Emily Dolce, who has known Michael since the second grade.

“Look beyond the chair and see my positive attitude with everything I do,” Michael said, as he continue to read his poem.

That positive attitude rubs off on everyone. Michael is getting good grades, taking honors and AP courses, and he wants to study history in college, with a goal of possibly becoming a history professor or a motivational speaker. This is young man clearly not defined by a disorder, in fact, Michael likes to think he’s putting a new spin on what it means to be disabled.

“I don’t have a disability,” he said. “I have a different ability, so I just use my different ability to help people, to be kind to people.”

Michael continued to read his poem. This is how “Look Beyond the Chair” ends:

“Don’t just look at the wheelchair, make sure you look at me, because I am more than just a wheelchair, thank you!” Michael said, with an emphatic, triumphant flourish. 

<![CDATA[NBC 6 Brag About Your School - Coconut Creek High School]]> Mon, 14 Nov 2016 18:30:18 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Brag+About+Your+School+THUMBNAIL+Website.jpg

The marching band at Coconut Creek High School produces a joyous cacophony of sound, music to the ears of anyone who hears it.

The raucous noise in the school’s auto shop is also a sweet mix of sounds for students in Bob Lowery’s automobile technicians program. He trains students to take jobs in the auto industry, plentiful jobs with good pay, for kids who can hack it.

"You can make a very good career for the rest of your life, and it is a high tech career now, it is no longer the grease monkey that we used to think it was, highly computerized, highly, highly technical," Lowery said.

Coconut Creek High has been an icon in North Broward for more than 40 years, a traditional, comprehensive high school which now has a brand-new magnet program. It’s called the Creek Technical Academy.

"Every high school’s graduating kids and you have to set yourself apart as a student when you’re going to college and have something that other students don’t have and our technical academy is gonna give kids that advantage," said principal Scott Fiske. "The intent is to go to college, we’re not trying to usurp college in any way."

The CAT is designed to give students college credit plus an industry certification while they’re in high school, so they can work in their field of interest while they’re in college.

"For example," Fiske said, "Someone who wants to go to law school, we can hand them a certificate as a court reporter coming out of high school, they can be in a courtroom around judges and lawyers while they’re in college studying."

The CAT includes 30 academic areas, from computer engineering to nursing to culinary arts and much more.

"It’s brought a whole new excitement to the school," said magnet program coordinator Jill Ridinger. "The magnet program offers so many opportunities for the kids, first of all it’s a small environment, so it’s a lot more nurturing, we only take a hundred and fifty students per school year."

There’s something for every type of student at the home of the Cougars, whether they’re destined for the Ivy League or a NASCAR pit crew.

<![CDATA[SWAG on 6: Student Uses Family Life to Teach About Autism]]> Fri, 11 Nov 2016 19:54:04 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/11116+swag+on+6+alexis+borges.jpg

The School for Advanced Studies is a public high school in which every student earns an AA degree along with a diploma at graduation. It’s academically intense. So all the students at SAS are high achievers. In that environment, Alexia Borges considers herself one of the crowd.

“That’s what she likes to be called, ordinary, but we know she’s extraordinary because of the things she’s done and how compassionate she is,” said Arlene Martinez, the school’s counselor.

A senior, Alexia founded a club at her school called the Disability Awareness Bureau, called to action because her older brother, Damion, has autism.

“I think it’s really important because autism is such a pandemic globally that other people need to be aware of it,” Alexia said.

Alexia also writes a blog about her experiences with Damion, at www.alexiaborges.com . Her next project is writing a book to highlight her point of view: being a sibling to someone who’s autistic, often being his caretaker.



“Well I’ve definitely had to mature a lot faster than people my age,” said Alexia.

As she explains it to her friends, Alexia learns as much from Damion as he learns from her.

“Patience, understanding, loving, how to view the world through a different lens, he’s always so happy, so full of joy,” Alexia said. “I think he adds to my life more than he takes away.”

Through the blog she writes and the club she founded at school, all the work Alexia does at home with her brother is impacting her classmates as well.

“It really makes me feel like oh, she’s making a change, maybe I should, too,” said David Overholt, one of Alexia’s best friends.

“I find it pretty impressive to have the courage of what she’s doing, one, it takes a lot, and to have the willpower to keep on going every day,” said fellow senior Jandrice Nacier.

Alexia keeps on going, acing most of her classes. She wants to become a physician one day, but says her mission of changing society’s perception of autistic people will be her life’s passion.

“So it’ll definitely be something that’s close to my heart and something that I’m always going to want to keep pursuing,” Alexia explained.

From home to school to the world, Alexia Borges is just getting started.

<![CDATA[NBC 6 Brag About Your School - North Miami Senior High]]> Mon, 07 Nov 2016 20:17:21 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Brag+About+Your+School+THUMBNAIL+Website.jpg

NBC 6 is bragging about another school Monday – this time heading to North Miami Senior High School!

North Miami High School has the rarest of identities. It is both a traditional high school and an all-magnet school. That means it has not only sports and band and clubs, it has magnet programs such as culinary arts, fine arts, engineering, a health sciences academy and the International Baccalaureate program. The school is open to all students in Miami-Dade County, but still has an intensely local impact.

“This school is the centerpiece of the City of North Miami, everything that happens in North Miami kind of revolves around the school, so as our students go, so does the city,” said Daryl Branton, the principal.

Branton says there’s a program for every type of student at North Miami High.

The school’s HOSA program, which stands for Health Occupations Students of America, has produced nurses, two doctors, and many first responders for South Florida over the years.

“Every time we call 911 we see our own alumni jumping off the trucks because we have so many paramedics and firefighters that have come from this program in the past 18 years,” said lead teacher Lauren Zeniker.

The North Miami Pioneers have been a fixture in Northeast Miami-Dade for decades, but in 2009, the school moved into a gorgeous new building. Students from the fine arts program decorate the pillars and walls with murals. It has the feel of a college campus.

There’s even a restaurant on campus, which teachers frequent, called the Pioneer Grill and Café. Students do all the cooking and serving as part of the culinary program, and they learn every aspect of the restaurant business.

“Oh yes, I teach everything from food cost to safety and sanitation to Italian cuisine to world cuisine to French cuisine, everything that involves culinary arts,” said Andre Franks, who runs the culinary program and is temporarily doing double duty as the band director.

The principal says Franks is an example of what he calls the most dedicated staff of teachers anywhere. They teach more than 2,000 students in so many programs, there’s something for every interest at North Miami High School.

<![CDATA[SWAG on 6: Stranahan High Senior Truly Involved On Campus]]> Fri, 04 Nov 2016 18:39:18 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/110416+swag+on+6.jpg

If you go to Stranahan High School in Fort Lauderdale, you might run into a young woman who struts around campus like she owns the place, a young woman who’s involved in just about every activity that goes on at this historic school. Her name is Miriam Canales, and it wasn’t always like this.

“I was a very shy person then, I just blossomed now!’ Miriam said, laughing at herself.

She definitely did blossom. Miriam went from an ultra-shy wallflower to president of the senior class. She has an entourage now, surrounded by admiring friends and classmates.

“I mean, words can’t express how proud I am of this child,” said teacher Corey Legrand. “I mean at first she was such an introverted student, she was the type where you’d call attendance and she wouldn’t even say here.”

Miriam credits Legrand’s encouragement for her metamorphosis.

“As a freshman I was very antisocial, I didn’t want to talk to anybody, I didn’t want to do anything, I would always be in the house, never did anything,” Miriam said.

Now she’s the gunnery sergeant in the J.R.O.T.C. program, captain of the volleyball team, and she was a Miami Dolphins Student of the Week for South Florida. Miriam is president of the Spirit Club and president of the Spanish Club. She went from introvert to extrovert, inspiring her peers along the way.

“She’s very dedicated to being involved in the school and like making the school a better place,” said classmate Uchenna Ezewike.

“What makes her special?” Asks best friend Elizabteh Fuentes? “Everything makes her special, she actually inspires people to do everything.”

Alnesha Brown, another classmate, says Miriam is a motivator.

“Her thing is, just put your mind to it and you can do anything, don’t give up,” Alnesha said.

Miriam sees leadership as a calling now.

<![CDATA[Coconut Grove 12-Year-Old a World Chess Champion]]> Thu, 03 Nov 2016 18:03:34 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/110316+Nikhil+Kumar.jpg

He looks like any other eighth grader at Ransom Everglades School, fitting right into the orchestra’s violin section, part of the big picture. It’s at the chess board where Nikhil Kumar stands out.

"I really wasn’t expecting that from myself, but like when I won it was a good feeling," said Nikhil.

What did he win? Nikhil took home first place in the World Chess Championship last week in the Republic of Georgia, beating kids from 36 nations to win his age group. He draped an American flag over his shoulders as he accepted the first place medal and trophy.

"I was proud of myself, and happy to be representing the country, like in such a good way," Nikhil said, saying he felt like an Olympic athlete winning a gold medal.

His classmates and teachers at the Coconut Grove school knew he was gone for a couple of weeks, but most didn’t know why.

"And he won, he brought home the gold," said Head of School Rachel Rodriguez. "And I’m sure he’s as humble about his winning as he is every day on our campus."

Taking chess to such a high level, Nikhil is an extreme example, but the game is great training for any student in any subject.

"Like, chess involves a lot of thinking and staying focused so whenever I’m taking a test or something like that, I stay focused,” Nikhil explained.

Speaking of being focused, the young man is eyeing his next challenge.

"Become the best in the world in any age, that’s my goal,” Nikhil said.

Once you get the gold, nothing else will do.

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Brag About Hollywood Hills High School]]> Mon, 31 Oct 2016 19:11:07 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/103116+brag+about+hollywood+hills+high.jpg

They start every class in the military academy magnet program at Hollywood Hills High School with students standing at attention, reciting a mantra about respect and hard work and honor. Similar to what they do in Junior ROTC programs, except this one infuses business leadership skills for the 21st century along with the military-style discipline. It's the only program like this in Broward County.

"At best, you and I learned how to write a check, today these kids don't know what a check is, but they know what electronic banking is, they understand you can make electronic deposits, they know all that sort of stuff," said teacher John Cejka.

The magnet program takes students on a four-year journey through business principles.

"In each course, in their English courses, their social studies courses, they're learning the leadership skills and also how to segue that into business and entrepreneurship," said assistant principal Erin Brown.

Hollywood Hills High has an award-winning Mary in grand, the Spartan Pride, and the school has no shortage of pride as it celebrates its 50th anniversary. The science and engineering students in the SECME club beat every high school in Broward last year, public and private, in the annual competition. So it's a full-service high school, with all the usual AP classes and dual enrollment options, including AP Capstone, but Hollywood Hills is gaining a reputation as a school that gets down to business.

The Virtual Enterprise Institute is another interesting offering at the school. It's a classroom which has been converted into a fictional corporation. Students come up with a type of business, a product they're going to sell, and run every aspect of the company, from website design to marketing to quality control to human resources.

"They're being groomed at an early age, they're learning college readiness skills as well as everyday workforce skills," said teacher Kimberly Saunders.

The school also has a nationally-recognized service club, the Latinos in Action. It was formed to help newly-arrived immigrants adjust and thrive in an American high school environment, and it's grown beyond that original intent.

"The mission of Latinos in Action is to empower our youth to be career ready and college ready and we do this many ways and it's such a pleasure to see my kids go off to college and do great things," said Meivys Reyes, who teaches the Latinos in Action elective and is an alumnus of Hollywood Hills.

One of the club members represented the state of Florida at the White House last summer, meeting First Lady Michelle Obama at the Beating the Odds Summit.

"It was just amazing because she gave a great speech about how to continue our education and that nothing is impossible in life," said student Jonathan De Cruz.

You could say the school's mantra has the same message.

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Brag About Your School - Hollywood Hills High School]]> Mon, 31 Oct 2016 11:06:18 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Brag+About+Your+School+THUMBNAIL+Website.jpg

NBC 6 is bragging about another school Monday – this time, we’re heading to Hollywood Hills High School!

Rated as one of the top high schools in America by Newsweek’s 2015-16 World Report, the Spartans feature several top programs for their students.

The Latinos in Action program started last year and is featured in just six schools across Broward County. The program teaches students leadership skills and making their community better – including tutoring local elementary schools students.

The Entrepreneurship and Leadership Military Academy is not your average ROTC program – focusing on building business leadership skills to go along with the military curriculum. It is the only such program offered in South Florida.

Students also participate in the school’s Virtual Enterprise classrooms, learning to run their own business and manage departments like finance and marketing.

<![CDATA[SWAG On 6: Krop High's Sabrina Dillon]]> Fri, 28 Oct 2016 18:05:47 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/102816+sabrina+dillon.jpg

Sabrina Dillon is always busy, whether it’s school work, or one of many student activity clubs, or sorting donated goods for Haiti relief. Her passion rubs off on her friends, too.

“I think what’s made me most proud is being able to involve my whole community, my school, my neighborhood, my friends and family in my service project for Haiti,” Sabrina said.

In four years at Michael Krop High School in northeast Miami-Dade County, Sabrina has raised more than $10,000 for an orphanage in Haiti.

“It’s very difficult because you look at all the kids here in Miami then you look at the kids there and you think, what a stark contrast,” Sabrina explained.

Through her church, Sabrina has volunteered at the orphanage, located in a remote area of northwest Haiti, three times. At Krop High, she’s leading the effort to raise money and goods for Hurricane Matthew victims.

“I think the most astounding thing about her is she just does what she does for no recognition, but at the same time, she’s done amazing things,” said Michelle Russell, the school’s activities director.

Russell says Sabrina’s work, inside and outside of school, inspires her classmates, and they agree.

“Whenever you see her, you wanna follow her, you know, like whenever you see what she’s doing, you look at her and say 'wow, I wanna do the same thing,'" said classmate Carlos Solis.

“Everything she does is just to help other people, really, so selfless, which is like so amazing,” said Alexis Fried, another one of Sabrina’s friends. “She is so humble, which I love about her, and she doesn’t make a big deal out of her achievements.”

Sabrina is also a straight-A, AP Capstone student, in the top three percent of her senior class. She’s hitting the books with an eye on a future directly influenced by the indelible experiences she has had in Haiti.

“It’s mind-blowing, and I show people the pictures and the videos of the children and they’re like, how do they live like that? And I actually want to study to be a pediatrician so I can go back to places just like Haiti and help children just like them,” Sabrina said.

In the meantime, she’s acting locally and thinking globally.

<![CDATA[SWAG on 6 Returns Friday!]]> Fri, 28 Oct 2016 14:20:42 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/102816+sabrina+dillon.jpg

SWAG on 6 is back!

SWAG - Students Working At Greatness - is NBC 6's way of highlighting students who rise against all odds and continue to succeed.

This week's SWAG on 6 focuses on Sabrina Dillon, a Michael Krop Senior High School student whose service project gathers donations and ships them to an orphanage in Haiti.

Check it out, Friday at 6 p.m. on NBC 6.

<![CDATA[Broward Students Learning Through Augmented Reality]]> Wed, 26 Oct 2016 17:37:26 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/102616+augmented+reality+broward.jpg

We hear about technology’s impact on education all the time. Usually, that means computers, new apps, or 3D printers. Now there’s a new tool that has the promise of revolution, the potential for creating a new paradigm in how students learn. It’s called augmented reality.

"This is one of the most exciting things I’ve ever seen in education, really has the ability to be a game changer in how we engage students, and their ability to develop their skills," said Broward Schools superintendent Robert Runcie, after trying the system.

Made by Microsoft, the Hololens augmented reality system is basically a pair of goggles with powerful computing ability built-in. Unlike virtual reality goggles, the Hololens sees everything the wearer sees and projects interactive holograms into your environment. For example, a student can be in the middle of a crime scene, or can examine a 3D hologram of a human body from all sides.

"Cardiovascular system, respiratory system, nervous system, I can go throughout the parts and see how they look inside the body," explained one student as he was using the system.

Ronald Holley’s computer science class at Pompano Beach High School applied with Microsoft to be developers of the Hololens project. Microsoft said yes, sent the class four goggles plus software, and now the kids are writing code, figuring out different ways to use the product.

"I’d like to be a software engineer, it’s really cool to be able to get this head start and get into it now," said Olivia Stack, a senior at the school. She was wearing a shirt with the phrase, "I code, therefore I am."

"Really this is the way of the future, the way I see it, right now everything in history has been you’re watching videos or you’re reading a book, but why not actually go there, be immersed in the battle that happened, the strategies that took place, why not? Well now you can," explained teacher Ronald Holley.

The technology has almost unlimited potential to take students where they would not normally be able to go. Destinations now include ancient Rome, Machu Picchu in Peru, and eventually, just about anywhere. The images can be seen on a screen in the classroom, so discussion can engage everyone.

"There’s like endless amount of educational purposes and usefulness," said student Diego Guedez.

For students interested in game design or 3D imaging, the Hololens is a unique platform in which to work and learn. In one game already built-in, flying robots come bursting through the walls of whatever room the user is in, shooting flame balls you have to dodge to survive. In coming years, there will be no escaping augmented reality. It’s bound to make a huge impact in our schools.

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Brag About Barbara Goleman High School]]> Mon, 24 Oct 2016 17:55:19 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/102416+brag+about+goleman.jpg

A good school can make an enormous impact on a neighborhood. When Barbara Goleman High School opened in Miami Lakes in 1995, its students got to work on a campaign to build a bridge over I-75 on 87th Avenue, and they got it done. That began the school’s tradition of community service.

"That’s probably one of the most satisfying, one of the proudest things that I love about this school, how our students, it’s not just take, it’s go ahead and let me see what I can do for the community and for others," said principal Joaquin Hernandez, who started at Goleman as a teacher and is now running the place.

The school has a variety of magnet and choice programs, including the AP Capstone. It attracts the highest level students, the ones who aspire to attend the nation’s most selective colleges. However, Goleman does something unique: it admits a select group of students into the Capstone program who show ambition but don’t have the grades to otherwise be accepted. The idea is to give those kids a chance to excel and rise to the level of their peers, and Hernandez says it’s working, and mainly because the higher achieving students tend to help them along.

The newest program at Goleman is called National Security Intelligence. It’s a full-scale criminal justice program led by a former career FBI agent. Students hone their critical and analytical thinking skills as they learn to investigate crimes, working collaboratively like real detectives do.

So what’s it like for former FBI veteran Nelson Barbosa to go from tracking down kidnappers in the Colombian jungle to teaching high school kids in Miami Lakes?

"I think it’s thrilling in the sense that it gives me the opportunity to kind of pass to a new generation of students that I’m hoping will one day consider similar fields, like becoming an FBI agent or law school or whatever they feel is related to criminal justice," said Barbosa.

The biggest industry in the state of Florida is tourism. That’s why the magnet program in Tourism and Hospitality management is so popular. It’s a four-year program in which the kids can get college credit. They do a summer internship in the field, and they do field trips to learn the industry from all sides.

“We call them experiential learning activities, we’ve gone anywhere from New York City to the Miami Seaquarium to the Intercontinental in Downtown Miami, we tend to do one or two every quarter to get them out in the industry,” said teacher Laura Diaz-Rodriguez.

There’s a lot going on at the home of the Goleman Gators, which are, by the way, maybe the only Gators who wear garnet and gold.

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Miami-Dade Schools' Harmony Project Spreading Music to Kids]]> Wed, 19 Oct 2016 18:41:00 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/101916+harmony+project.jpg

Band, orchestra, chorus, jazz band, they're all popular programs in public schools. For some students, those electives are the incentive that makes school exciting every day.

For others, music opens doors to college and careers. These programs, however, are expensive. At Norland Middle School, for instance, the band uses instruments that are decades old. Drums with torn skins, horns with broken valves, these are common sights in many school band rooms, especially for schools in the inner city.

So imagine how excited the kids at Norland Middle were when they walked into their band room and saw a huge pile of boxes in the middle of the room. It was Christmas in October: the boxes were filled with brand-new instruments, and the kids dove into the pile, pulling out shiny new trombones, tubas, trumpets, drums, and clarinets. $72,000 worth of musical equipment, delivered in one day.

This was the first installment of the Harmony Project, the brainchild of Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho.

"All kids should have the same, equal access to greatness, and music is part of that greatness," Carvalho said, explaining the basis for the Project.

Carvalho carved out $500,000 from the budget to spread music to schools in disadvantaged areas. Right now, seven schools in two feeder patterns, those of Norland High School and Northwestern High School, are receiving the musical infusion. These are schools in which many students can't afford their own instruments, and there are no wealthy PTSA groups to raise money for the band.

"I think the more you invest in your children, the return on that investment is something that you cannot put a price tag on," said Ronald Redmon, the principal at Norland Middle.

It's not just new instruments. The schools are also getting new sheet music and laptop computers loaded with Smart Music software which helps students learn to play.

"If you look at these kids now and you see the excitement that they have, they can’t wait to play the instruments, so it’s gonna help the program in the long run," said Dr. Damon Richardson, band director at Norland Middle.

For many kids, this will be the first time they'll be able to take instruments home with which to practice their skills. Carvalho says in addition to becoming better musicians, research shows that students who play music tend to do better in other academic areas as well. So there are plenty of benefits to justify the investment in music. That's why Carvalho is planning on expanding the Harmony Project to other schools in coming years.

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Broward College Helps Math Teacher Fulfill Dream]]> Wed, 12 Oct 2016 21:23:09 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/mathteacher.jpg

Motivated and determined, Tikysha Parrott says her dreams of becoming an educator have come true.

“It's what I wanted to do since I was a kid. I went home and played school to be a teacher,” said Parrot.

She recently joined Broward County Public Schools as a fourth and fifth grade math teacher at Collins Elementary. Math is a subject which is in dire need of teachers.

“Math is everywhere my students we go out we walk around and find math on the basketball court, in the parking lot. We find math in the grocery stores.”

Ms. Parrott says her journey to become a teacher wasn’t that easy and her path led her to Broward College.

She said she faced personal obstacles and financial setbacks until she decided to give her hometown college a try.

Parrot explained, “Broward College not only did they give me more financial aid but they gave me the best exposure and placed me in the perfect schools. I was so prepared to go into my school.”

Broward College says last school year the county had 77 teachers working outside their field of certification in math and science. This prompted the college to take on an effort to help their community fill the void of stem teacher shortages.

“All of our Teacher Ed programs are designed to meet the critical need here in the county so the large amount of graduates in exceptional student education program,” said Jeffrey Nasse, Dean of Education Pathway Community.

Students can enter the teacher education program and earn their Bachelors in education.

“I always tell my students we're ahead of this and as long as you try, we're okay,” said Parrot.

<![CDATA[Miami-Dade College School of Justice]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 20:08:32 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_000000025713923_1200x675_774312003764.jpg At look at Miami-Dade College's School of Justice during NBC 6's College Week.]]> <![CDATA[NBC 6 College Week - Miami-Dade College]]> Tue, 27 Sep 2016 20:07:23 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_000000025706974_1200x675_774056003572.jpg NBC 6's Sheli Muniz is at Miami-Dade College as part of College Week.]]> <![CDATA[College Week: FIU's Latino Public Opinion Forum]]> Mon, 26 Sep 2016 19:37:48 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/274*120/FIU+Latino+Opinion+Forum.jpg

Latino students at Florida International University are weighing in on this year's presidential election the university's online-based Latino Public Opinion Forum.

"It's mobile advertising. We essentially send a banner ad to a database of 32 million Latinos," explained Prof. Eduaro Gamarra, FIU Politics & International Relations.

The poll systematically and scientifically tracks public opinion trends of the major Latino groups in the United States with an emphasis on Florida.

Over the last 24 weeks, the focus has been tracking the Latino vote.

"We have found that Mrs. Clinton in particular has kind of an iron-clad grip on the Latino vote," said Gamarra.

FIU scholars have studied public opinion for two decades, starting with the Cuba Poll.

The survey is the longest running research project tracking the opinions of Cuban Americans in Miami-Dade.

"We have a core set of questions that are always asked, with the designed purpose to trace the changes in the community," explained Prof. Guillermo Grenier, FIU Dept of Global & Sociocultural Studies.

The recently released 2016 poll found a majority of Cuban American residents in the county support the re-establishment of diplomatic ties between the United States and Cuba.

A majority of people polled also oppose continuing the embargo

"We noticed that the newer arrivals ans younger generations have a totally different view of what the US should be doing," said Grenier.

<![CDATA[High School Preparing Students for Law Enforcement Careers]]> Wed, 21 Sep 2016 19:05:26 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/092116+law+enforcement+high+school.jpg

This might be one of the best-kept secrets in South Florida: at a time when police officers have been getting lots of bad publicity nationwide, a public school dedicated to law enforcement is one of the most popular magnet programs in Miami-Dade County.

It’s called Law Enforcement Officers Memorial High School, located next-door to the Miami Police Department.

"It’s just a great opportunity for students to be exposed to areas where they would not normally be exposed,” explains principal David Ladd.

Students here choose one of three academies: law, forensics, or homeland security.

The forensics science class emphasizes all laboratory sciences, to prepare kids for any career involving lab techniques or for college work. Students may come into it thinking it’s like the crime lab in shows like “CSI: Miami,” but they soon learn how intricate and detailed real-world forensic science is.

"They leave with a soundness of the science, that science goes beyond the glitz and glamour on television, it’s a real respect that they’re gaining,” said Marcia Chisholm, forensics teacher.

The principal says that’s the point, that every core class feels current.

"Everything that we do here, we like to make it relevant, a real-world application," Ladd said.

Students in the law academy perform in mock trials as they learn the intricacies of the court system. The school has its own courtroom, which looks real in every detail.

The homeland security academy is similar to a real police academy. Students learn how to gather evidence, like fingerprints, and they learn the basics of defensive tactics.

There’s a 911 call center in which the kids see first-hand how difficult the job of police dispatcher can be.

Students graduate with an AA degree and certificates in their chosen disciplines, ready for college of to further their studies for law enforcement careers.

"Not only just law enforcement but also in the area of if they wanted to be a judge, if they wanted to be an attorney, if they wanted to be a crime scene investigator,” explained Tangela Ramos, one of the school’s administrators.

Open to any student in Miami-Dade County, Law Enforcement Officers Memorial High School is small, with fewer than 500 students who have all chosen to be there. That principal thinks that creates an atmosphere of collegiality through the interests the students share. Even though the school doesn’t have sports teams, there’s plenty of teamwork among the student body.

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Brag About Crystal Lake Middle School]]> Mon, 19 Sep 2016 17:51:28 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/091916+brag+about+crystal+lake+middle.jpg

It’s known as a STEM school, with an emphasis on science, so why did principal Sabine Phillips start a chorus program this year at Crystal Lake Middle School in Pompano Beach?

"I think that our kids need that in their lives, especially in middle school," Phillips said. "If they’re excited about one of their arts classes, then that keeps them motivated to come to school."

Arts are important even at a science magnet school. Crystal Lake has long had an engineering program and new for this year, they’ve added environmental science to the menu.

"They do a lot of project-based learning, which means they learn the curriculum then they perform experiments and create projects based on what they’re learned," Phillips said.

The idea is to get students to think deeply and critically about problems.

"The kids love it, you hear them talking about that stuff all the time," said STEM Coordinator Josh Weber. "They’re actually like, 'are we still working on this?' or they’re rushing to class saying 'I want to get on the computers, I want to do the 3-D printer today' or 'I want to be the one on the flight simulators.'"

The students in the Civil Air Patrol elective learn all about aerospace engineering, including how to design aircraft. They even fly airplanes as part of the class.

"They actually get to fly real planes, the pilot will take off and land but once they’re up in the air, the children get to do the flying,” said Traci Cohen, who teaches the CAP class.

Crystal Lake is the only middle school in Florida that offers students this class, sponsored by the Civil Air Patrol.

"It opens up a whole slew of doors for them and opportunities that they would not normally have,” explained Cohen, who says some of her students are inspired to pursue aviation careers.

The school also has an International Affairs and Business magnet program, which emphasizes foreign languages. Students can choose from French, Spanish, or Chinese. The kids in the Chinese class are actually going to China later this year. That’s one incredible field trip!

The engineering kids will be going on field trips closer to home, as the school is partnering with local firms to give students exposure to engineering careers.

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Broward Kindergartners Learning Coding]]> Wed, 14 Sep 2016 18:24:48 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/091416+broward+kindergarten+coding.jpg

All 34 public high schools in Broward County already offer extensive computer science courses. Now the district is emphasizing the early grades, starting the basics of coding in kindergarten, giving it the importance of reading and writing English.

"We are making it a fundamental, foundational skill and component, we believe there’s a dual literacy opportunity here for our students," explained Superintendent Robert Runcie. "We have to make sure our students are writing and reading and comprehending at a proficient level by third grade, but we also need to insure that there’s digital literacy."

NBC 6 observed a third-grade class at Indian Trace Elementary School in Weston. The kids were learning to write algorithms which they would then turn into symbols for the computer to understand.

"Teaching students to read and write code is just as important as teaching them to read and write stories, it’s the future," said principal Amy Winder. "It’s tricky at first but the students are really engaged and they’re interested and they’re determined to get it right."

This is part of Broward’s effort to integrate computer coding into all academic subject areas.

"And within the last three years we’ve really moved the needle, so to speak,"said Christine Semisch, one of the district’s architects of the policy. "We have close to 50,000 students this year that will be exploring computer science in their studies."

Semisch and one of her colleagues, Lisa Milenkovic, was invited to speak at the Summit on Computer Science For All at the White House, to share their strategy on coding for every grade level.

"We’re going to share that story, so how we’ve infused it in the curriculum from elementary school all the way up through high school, so it becomes part of the day, not an addition to the day," Milenkovic said.

As an example, we saw fifth graders combining history with coding. Their task was to program their computers to recreate the routes of famous explorers. The district is actually researching the extent to which learning coding skills helps in other subjects.

"The types of skills that our students need to utilize in dealing with computer science translates into their critical thinking abilities in other courses,” Runcie said.

The superintendent jumped on the coding train in 2013, making Broward Public Schools one of the first school districts in the nation to partner with Code.org to highlight the importance of coding. Why is this so important?

"There’s going to be a shortage of over a million computer jobs in the next few years and we’re either going to fill them with our kids that are here in the United States and prepare them to take those jobs, or they’re going overseas somewhere," Runcie said.

<![CDATA[Brag About Shadowlawn Elementary School]]> Mon, 12 Sep 2016 18:03:36 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/091216+Brag+About+Shadowlawn+Elementary+School.jpg

When schools go up even one letter grade in Florida’s ratings system for public schools, it’s a big deal and cause for celebration. So the achievement of Shadowlawn Elementary School in Miami is simply extraordinary. The Little Haiti school soared from an "F" grade all the way up to a "B" in one school year.

"Oh, I feel elated, I'm ecstatic!" said reading coach Tewana Reddick.

The entire school is basking in the achievement.

"I’m extremely proud of my students because it took a lot of perseverance and working hard from them, coming to school every single day, it was extremely hard,” said math teacher Ruth Mesadieu.

It feels like there’s an air of confidence at Shadowlawn, as if the entire student body’s self-esteem has been dramatically raised. The Miami Heat noticed the improvement and rewarded the kids with a rally on the first day of school. Now the students are settled in, and everyone knows achievement is possible.

"We made learning very fun for our students here as well as very serious, so this is a fantastic moment here at Shadowlawn Elementary and i’m just so very proud of all of the hard work,” said principal Gwendolyn Haynes-Evans.

There’s no magic formula to explain the school’s leap from F to B. It took a lot of hard work, and a reliance on analytics.

Students, teachers, and parents bought in to the program, and it was all data-driven: figuring out what each student’s weaknesses were, and then attacking the issues in reading and math.

"Everything went into it, we sat down weekly and planned, we analyzed that data,” explained Reddick, the head reading coach. “We identify every student, we knew exactly what they needed, how many points they needed, we knew if they needed to go to tutorials, we did every single thing to get these kids to be proficient and to make learning gains."

Then they set up before and after school tutoring sessions, small group instruction models in class, Saturday school, basically, they threw the kitchen sink at the problem and it worked. Now they have another challenge.

"We have the challenge of getting the 'A,' and we have tremendous faith that we’re gonna get an 'A' school because we have all the same teachers, they’re very hard-working, we have the plan in place, the systems in place,” said Haynes-Evans.

Perhaps most importantly, they have a motivated group of kids who have tasted success, and are hungry for more.

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Miami-Dade School District Cuts Testing Again]]> Wed, 07 Sep 2016 21:16:02 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/183*120/school+test+generic.JPG

So you think your kids are over-tested, with too many high-stakes assessments at school? The Miami-Dade School District agrees with you.

For the third time in the past three school years, the Superintendent has picked up his axe to whack off a few more assessments.

“It is important to know how and how well children are learning. How well they can demonstrate proficiency, but that should not come at the expense of overburdening teacher, students and parents,” said Alberto Carvalho, Superintendent of Miami-Dade Public Schools, at a news conference Wednesday morning.

“This is the right move at the right time for absolutely the right reason.”

The district is eliminating 12 mid-year assessments, impacting students in grades 3 through 8.

The tests cover language arts and mathematics.

Carvalho says the testing was redundant, and front-line educators agree.

“There’s so many different tests that the boys and girls take that even if we eliminated some of them, they’re still assessed so much that the criteria and data that produces for us is actually enough for us to know where the students belong,” said Melanie Fishman, principal of South Pointe Elementary School in Miami Beach.

The superintendent says he’s responding to complaints from parents about over-testing, continuing his pattern of cutting back on high-stakes assessments.

“We ought to continue to reduce the amount of testing while emphasizing and elevating the quality of teaching in our schools,” Carvalho said.

“And what we’re saying is, there are better and more teacher and student-friendly ways of progress monitoring students’ progress without maintaining duplicative exams.”

By cutting a dozen assessments, the district returns 185 hours of class time to students and teachers. The teacher’s union loves the move.

“To really explore things that can’t be tested and to really have that autonomy and to have the academic freedom to do the things we want to do with our kids,” said United Teachers of Dade president Karla Hernadez-Mats.

Eliminating 12 tests this year doesn’t compare to the more than 300 assessments cut in 2014, when there was more fat to cut, but it does reduce a lot of stress for students. The superintendent says he’s keeping his axe handy as the staff looks for other assessments to eliminate.

Photo Credit: Chris Hondros/Newsmakers]]>
<![CDATA[Florida Memorial University Offers Help to ITT Tech Students]]> Tue, 06 Sep 2016 22:22:22 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/textbook-GettyImages-543195795.jpg

Florida Memorial University is lending a helping hand to South Florida students impacted by the nationwide shutter of ITT Technical Institute.

The university will open special advising for ITT Tech students beginning Wednesday. There are two ITT Tech campuses in South Florida.

FMU said it has dedicated phone lines and staff to advise affected students on the upcoming "Session B", which begins Oct. 12th.

“When we learned of the closing of ITT-Tech today, our academic and enrollment began working immediately to develop solutions to help these students continue their educational and professional career paths,” Howard-Vital stated. “We have staff and faculty prepared to advise students on registration, enrollment and course curriculum,” said Dr. Michelle Howard-Vital, Executive VP and Provost of FMU.

The company that runs ITT Technical Institute announced Tuesday that "with profound regret" it was shutting down academic operations at all of its campuses and thousands of its employees will lose their jobs.

The move comes after the federal government banned the Carmel, Indiana-based for-profit chain last month from enrolling students who use federal loans to pay for classes.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Blend Images]]>
<![CDATA[Falcon Cove Middle School in Weston Reinvents Library]]> Wed, 31 Aug 2016 18:06:50 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/083116+the+nest.jpg

Here’s something you will never hear said inside the new media center at Falcon Cove Middle School in Weston: "Shhh, you’re in the library!"

Instead, there’s a buzz in the room, and that’s just what the principal wanted when he and his team redesigned the library. They call it The Nest, and it just might shatter your preconceptions of what a school library can be.

"What we have here in The Nest is an area where kids can congregate and the number one thing we want them to be talking about is learning," said Dr. Mark Kaplan, Falcon Cove’s principal. “We believe that if students are in here interacting with each other, they’re going to talk about the work that they have."

With input from students and teachers, Kaplan and his team re-imagined the library as a place where students can collaborate and share ideas at work stations designed for group brainstorming. The days of using the media center only for solitary studying are long gone.

"The library is not the shush place, you’re not gonna get shushed here, but we do want students working on their group projects and assignments, but when you collaborate, there’s noise, when you talk and you critically think, challenge each other, there’s gonna be noise,” said Stacey Farmer, the media specialist, which we used to call the “librarian.”

Technology is all over the place inside The Nest. Students can check out laptop computers or iPads to work in groups or alone. The work stations have big monitors that allow kids to show each other what’s on their personal screens. Kids love it, and so do their parents.

“I do think it’s awesome, it really is, it looks very modern, it’s appealing for the kids, so I think it’s gonna be a huge success,” said Adriana Ashley, one of several parents who were touring The Nest when we were there.

Dr. Kaplan says it’s like a Starbucks without the coffee, a place that naturally fosters conversation.

"Students that interact with each other tend to learn more from each other and that’s really what we want them to do is interact,” Kaplan said.

The teachers say it’s easier to encourage creativity and critical thinking in this hip, cool environment and that’s why they think this model should be copied by other schools.

“This is crazy, this is so crazy and amazing and wonderful,” Farmer said, obviously enthused by her new workplace.

Did we mention books? Yes, The Nest still has books, and students are encouraged to check them out and read. However, Dr. Kaplan knows the reality is that today’s students love technology, so he’s using it to improve the learning environment.

When his students leave The Nest, they’ll be ready to fly on their own to high school.

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Education on 6: Brag About Your School]]> Thu, 17 Nov 2016 15:26:14 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/Brag+About+Your+School+THUMBNAIL+Website.jpg

Why is your child's school so special? NBC 6 wants to know and feature incredible schools in South Florida. Each week we’ll feature one of these special schools and go live from the school during the NBC 6 News at 11 a.m.

Education on 6 reporter Ari Odzer will do a story on the school for his report on the 6 p.m. news.

Parents, teachers and administrators can submit up to a 200-word essay to describe why their school or their child's school is so incredible. Please provide a detailed description. Is it a certain teacher that’s making learning fun in an innovative way? A successful school program? Your school or your child's school has raised test scores? What makes the school special? Tell us why NBC 6 should showcase your school.

Email us your submission to: bragaboutyourschool@nbc6.com

Include your essay and the following information:


Email address:

Are you a teacher, parent or administrator?

If a parent:

  • Child's Age and Grade

School Name:

School Address:

Principal’s Name:

Your essay or your child's essay bragging about your school:


Terms of Submission

NBC 6 South Florida, an NBCUniversal Media, LLC company (“NBC 6”) located at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112, invites you to join in on the fun with Education on 6: Brag About Your School (the “Station Program”) by giving you the opportunity to submit your own two hundred (200) word essay on why your school is so special (the “Submission”). Your Submission should be original and not infringe on any third party rights, including without limitation, copyright, trademark, or patent, or create claims for idea misappropriation or breach of contract. You must have the permission of any person who appears in your Submission or who you identify or otherwise refer to in your Submission. In order to participate, you must be at least thirteen (13) years old. If you are under the age of eighteen (18) years old, you must obtain prior permission from your parent or legal guardian before submitting your Submission.

You understand that although you may believe your Submission to be unique and novel, there may be pre-existing ideas, concepts, or proposals that are similar to your Submission. By submitting your Submission, you recognize that other persons, including NBC 6’s own employees, may have submitted to NBC 6 or others, or made public, or may in the future originate and submit or make public, similar or identical ideas, concepts, or proposals that NBC 6 may have the right to use, and you understand that you will not be entitled to any compensation because of NBC 6’s use of such similar or identical ideas, concepts, or proposals in any manner. You understand and agree that NBC 6’s use of material containing features or elements similar or identical to those contained in your Submission will not obligate NBC 6 to negotiate with you or entitle you to any compensation if NBC 6 determines that it has an independent legal right to use that other material for any reason (for example, because the features or elements are not new or novel, were not originated by you, or were or may hereafter be independently created and submitted by other persons, including your employees).

By submitting your Submission, you agree that your Submission may be broadcast on-air, on the Station’s website located at http://www.nbc6.com (the “Website”) and in advertising for the Station on-air and off-air and on the Website (together, the “Materials”), and you grant NBC 6, its licensees, successors and assigns the non-exclusive, royalty-free, and irrevocable rights to use, reproduce, copy, publish, display, distribute, perform, translate, adapt, modify, and otherwise exploit your Submission and to incorporate your Submission in the Materials and any other works in any and all markets and media now known or hereafter devised, throughout the world in perpetuity, without additional notification, permission, approval, or compensation. You warrant that you have the sole and exclusive right to grant such rights to NBC6, its licensees, successors and assigns and that the reproduction, publishing, displaying, and/or other use of your Submission by NBC 6, its licensees, successors and assigns will not infringe on any rights of third parties, including, without limitation, copyright, trademark, patent, privacy, or publicity, or create claims for defamation, false light, idea misappropriation, intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress, or breach of contract.

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<![CDATA[Broward Schools Trying New Approach and New Programs]]> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 13:42:02 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_000000025182531_1200x675_750991427513.jpg NBC 6's Michael Spears take a look at the new approaches and new programs being offered at some schools in the county]]> <![CDATA[Family Promoting EKG Tests For Students After Tragic Loss]]> Thu, 25 Aug 2016 18:08:36 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/EKG.jpg

Samuel is a fourth-grader who plays soccer. On the day we met, he was lying on an examination table at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital with a mass of wires connected to his body.

"It's measuring your heart right now," explains Dr. Anthony Rossi to the boy, who just keeps smiling.

Samuel is having an electrocardiogram test, or EKG, to make sure he can play sports safely. Doctors estimate Sudden Cardiac Death kills a child every three days in this country.

"No question about it, there are many tragic events we read about in the newspapers or on the Internet or see on TV that could be prevented with an EKG," said Dr. Rossi.

One of those nightmare incidents claimed the life of 18-year-old Dwayne Mitchell last year. Now his parents are trying to raise awareness about SCD.

"If I can somehow save another parent from going down the road that I went down, I've accomplished my mission," said Christopher Mitchell, Dwayne’s dad.

"And if one life is saved, that's one family that doesn't have to go through what we went through," explained Shantell Mitchell, Dwayne’s stepmother.

The Mitchell’s are living under a cloud of tragedy. Their son died just before he would’ve graduated from Braddock High School. Dwayne played football, he had no symptoms, but his heart just stopped beating one day while he was watching television. No one knew he had a congenital heart disorder called Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome.

“Here's what makes this even more tragic, it's 100 percent curable, we can do procedures in the hospital that take a couple of hours and cure you and your risk is completely eliminated," said Dr. Rossi.

Curing WFP, of course, depends on diagnosing the condition. The simple EKG, which only takes five minutes, would’ve detected Dwayne’s heart abnormality.

"An EKG would've shown us that he was at risk," said Dr. Rossi.

So now the Mitchell’s, who are both detectives at the Miami Beach Police Department, are getting the word out through their “Dwayne Have a Heart Foundation.” They want every student-athlete to have an EKG before they play any sport. The test is not required by the Broward or Miami-Dade public school districts, but Nicklaus Children’s Hospital is doing them free of charge for student athletes.

Just call 1-855-624-EKGS and make an appointment at the main hospital or one of its outpatient clinics, two of which are in Broward County. You don’t need even need health insurance.

"Five minutes can save your life," said Chris Mitchell.

WPW syndrome, which killed Dwayne, is not the only worry. There are many more congenital heart disorders, most of which show no symptoms at all, that can kill a teenager. The EKG detects them before they kill.

"I've gotten phone calls from relatives who said I took my son in to get an EKG screening and the doctor detected something that would've been potentially life-threatening and because of Dwayne, his life is saved," said Shantell Mitchell.

The Mitchell’s found a purpose in their grief, knowing their son’s death is saving lives now.

“I know he's waiting for dad one day and I'll see him again , and that helps me get through these challenges every day,” Chris Mitchell said.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[School for Advanced Studies Getting Results]]> Wed, 24 Aug 2016 17:48:45 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/082416+sas.jpg

It has small classes full of academic achievers and strivers, but it’s not an elite private academy. The School for Advanced Studies, or SAS, gets the results of a Ransom Everglades or Pine Crest School, with no tuition.

"This is not for the faint of heart, this is a program that requires individuals to be courageous in being able to leave their home school and also to be resilient,” explained Omar Monteagudo, the SAS principal.

SAS has five campuses, all of which are inside Miami-Dade College buildings. The newest SAS location is Doral, within the Miami-Dade College West Campus. It’s strictly for juniors and seniors, who earn an associate’s degree and a high school diploma simultaneously. The first two years of college, essentially, are tuition-free, which amounts to about a $90,000 savings at most private universities.

700 students, spread out over the five campuses, make up the SAS student body. It takes a certain type of kid to succeed here.

"These are individuals that don’t have a problem being able to collaborate with adults, being able to be in a classroom, and also not be intimidated by the fact that they’re being addressed by a college professor or by other students,” Monteagudo said.

One of the most impressive features of SAS is that it’s graduates really do go on to the best colleges. Every Ivy League school, Stanford, Duke, MIT, Georgia Tech, and Johns Hopkins all have SAS alumni currently attending. It’s one of the biggest attractions for students to transfer into the program.

“When I graduate I want to attend MIT, so to provide a great opportunity for my dream to come true, I came to SAS,” said SAS student Jevens Mompoint.

Obviously, it’s not a traditional high school. There is a prom, but SAS doesn’t have sports teams or a marching band. Athletes can go to SAS and play for their home schools. What this place offers is high-level opportunity.

“After you graduate from SAS, you’re much more marketable to other ivy league schools and universities,” said Camila Valle, a SAS student.

They call SAS “the dream factory” for a reason.

“This is a game changer, these are students that are not only earning their AA’s, but are also walking the halls of Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, Yale, Columbia,” said Monteagudo.

Fifty-nine percent of SAS graduates go on to one of the country’s top 50 universities, and many of them are the first in their families to go to college. You could say academic dreams do come true here.

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Chef Transforming School Lunches in Broward]]> Tue, 23 Aug 2016 17:47:20 -0500 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/082316+chef+rudy+Rudolph+Poindexter.jpg

Square pizza, tater tots, greenish hot dogs, rubber chicken, dry burgers. For generations, these were the staple ingredients of school cafeterias. It’s time to forget everything you think you know about high school lunches.

"Fresh vegetables, fresh herbs, fresh spices, this is what we’re doing every day now," said Rudolph Poindexter. "We’re going away from fried food."

Blasphemy! OK, but in a very tasty way. The Broward County School District brought in Chef Rudy, an alumnus from the Food Network show, "Chopped," to freshen up the high school lunch experience. He’s not taking the assignment lightly.

"At some of our schools, these are the only meals that these kids get, so these need to be really good meals, we need to make sure they’re nutritious and the food is good," Poindexter said.

We watched Chef Rudy steam up the cafeteria at Everglades High School in Miramar with a huge batch of jambalaya. He makes it with chicken, Andouille sausage, peppers, onions, and Cajun spices. Served over brown rice, it smells luscious and tastes like something you’d get in New Orleans.

The Chef is going to every high school in Broward, teaching the cafeteria ladies how to make his creations fresh from scratch. He started the process last spring, coming up with new dishes and using students to taste-test them. Now it’s time for the rollout of all the new menu items.

"You’re looking at four different salads that we have, one that I’m really proud about is our vegan salad, we have a vegan option that we offer every day for our students, an Asian kale salad, and a hummus and roasted vegetable wrap," said Poindexter.

Chef Rudy is also making sure he spices his creations to appeal to the various cultures represented at Broward’s schools. For instance, the hummus wrap is made three different ways.

"We have a jerk seasoning for one, we have a cumin seasoning for another one, and then we have a curry seasoning so we tried to hit all the different ethnic backgrounds," Poindexter explained.

So how did the jambalaya go over with the lunch crowd?

"This is amazing, I really like the jambalaya that they brought," said student Ayanna Stark. "Definitely an upgrade."

Her classmate agreed, as he ate his third helping.

"It’s definitely an upgrade, you know, the other stuff wasn’t as good as this,” said Lamar Spencer. "I like the spicy kick."

Sizzling feedback like that is music to Chef Rudy’s ears. He knows teenagers can be ultra-harsh critics.

"These judges here are a lot tougher than the judges on 'Chopped,' that’s for sure!” said Poindexter.

Some of the old staples, like pizza, aren’t going away. It’s all about quality and variety to keep the students satisfied.

"Food fuels the mind, it fuels the brain, I think all of those things in part produces really good students, everything happens around food,” Poindexter said.

All the more reason, he says, to make every meal worthwhile.

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>