A 600-student population is small for a public middle school in South Florida. That’s why the teachers at Country Club Middle School in the far northwest corner of Miami-Dade County know their students so well, including the kids in the biomed magnet program. They’re learning how to be first responders and everything they need to know to potentially save a life in an emergency situation.
“They take vitals, they learn CPR, they learn about diseases and conditions,” said their teacher, Tammy Jones-Smalls, who is a firefighter in her other job.
The biomed students in her class are exposed to careers in health care, from being a doctor or nurse to a paramedic or physical therapist.
“Even if they don’t want to become something in the medical field, they have learned or have experienced things that they can use in their own personal lives,” said Jones-Smalls.
County Club started a dance team this year, filling a need in the community.
“The students are taking dance within their school schedule so it’s allowing students that for whatever reason, they don’t have the opportunity after school, we’re giving that opportunity now and it’s all about giving students choices and opportunity,” said the school’s principal, Cynthia Prado.
Here’s another choice: the forensic science magnet program, in which kids can unleash their inner Sherlock Holmes. They learn all about using scientific evidence to solve crimes. The school is also a fertile place to learn about agriculture and aquaculture. They’re growing veggies and raising tilapia to use in the kitchen of the culinary arts academy. They learn basic cooking techniques, follow recipes, and make their fellow students jealous.
“Because they smell the aroma in the building and everybody’s knocking on our door just to get a piece of this, that or the next thing, they’re so excited about being a part of this class,” said the culinary teacher, Monique Brunson.
It’s precisely the elective programs like cooking and art and dance that get kids excited.
“It’s allowing the students to be enthused about coming to school other than for math, social studies, science and language arts,” said Prado.
At Country Club Middle School, they’ve got choices and opportunities. The rest is up to the students.