Frank C. Martin International K-8 Center truly lives up to its name. With students from 50 countries all studying in the International Baccalaureate program, the school is a melting pot of learning. For example, many schools have drama programs, but how many produce puppet shows in French?
"All of our students are expected to take part in performing arts, we have band, we have orchestra, we have theatre, they take art and technology," said principal Felicia Joseph. "And the students are involved in chess club, Scrabble club, sports club and more."
That’s in addition to core classes such as American history. Geoffrey Aladro is an expert in a field that many of you may think doesn’t exist: making history interesting and relevant to middle school students. He’s the teacher the kids will remember when they grow up.
“That’s what historians do, they come up with these incredible ideas, re-interpreting the past and if you can kind of capture that magic and give it to 12-13 year olds, they get really excited about that," Aladro explained.
Ever hear of using a green chroma key screen, the same type used by television meteorologists, to make history more interesting to kids? Mr. Aladro’s using one and his students have embraced it. From making mini-movies about different topics of history to using Legos to learn about classical architecture, Aladro is an innovator. That’s why he was just named Miami-Dade County’s Teacher of the Year.
“Instead of just having students just write essay after essay, they can write a script for a podcast, record it on their iPads, or they can write a script and film it using the green screen,” Aladro said.
He’s shining a light on the past to illuminate the future, and Aladro is doing it at the school he attended as a child. He’s reminded of that every time he looks out his classroom window. He sees three huge trees that he helped his father plant when they were seedlings. Now those trees are bearing witness to Aladro’s own history.
Frank C. Martin K-8 Center is open to any student in Miami-Dade County. It’s located in Richmond Heights, near Zoo Miami.