Glades Middle School Has a Place for Every Student - NBC 6 South Florida

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Glades Middle School Has a Place for Every Student

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    Glades Middle School Has A Place for Every Student

    Glades Middle students choose between regular, gifted, or the Cambridge program tracks, along with electives such as culinary, self-defense, and robotics. NBC 6's Ari Odzer reports.

    (Published Monday, April 8, 2019)

    Most middle schools don't have jazz bands. Glades Middle School in Kendall has one, and it sounds almost as good as a high school band. It's one of several distinctions this A-rated school enjoys.

    "I'm proud as a principal to see 'em play, they seem like high school students, some of them at college level," principal Cynthia Garcia-Valdes says, talking about the jazz band.

    One unique program here is the self-defense class, taught by a taekwondo black belt.

    "This is the first school to ever have this, as far as I know," said Lysander Alonso, the PE coach and martial arts instructor. "I always tell 'em, this is a life lesson, you never know, you may need this when you're in your 20's, they practice and practice, this is a life lesson."

    Here's another life lesson: it's good to be in the school's culinary room when the students are baking the impossibly gooey, cinnamon-infused treat known as monkey bread. (We had the good fortune of taking some back to the NBC 6 newsroom, where it is currently being devoured.)

    Glades Middle students choose between regular, gifted, or the Cambridge program tracks, along with electives such as culinary, self-defense, and robotics.

    "Every child has a place here at Glades Middle School, whether you have a learning disability, regular student, advanced and gifted, we educate the whole child, students have here a sense of belonging," Garcia-Valdes said.

    Restorative Justice Practices helps kids feel at home. It's a program designed to spark self-expression. A discussion is facilitated by a teacher, and the kids take turns contributing their thoughts. Usually done in a circle format, teachers in every subject area hold RSP sessions several times a month.

    "The purpose of that is so when students come to school they feel welcomed and comfortable at school and they feel like this is a house, it's a place where they belong," said history teacher Jonathan Cid.

    From emotional expression to physical expression, the school just formed a dance club a month ago, yet another outlet for students.

    The principal says her school has it all. She may be right.

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