Brag About Your School: Fort Lauderdale's Floranada Elementary School

Lennon and McCartney would be proud. We watched the ukulele ensemble at Floranada Elementary School play “Let It Be” and they totally killed it.

Creating a ukulele group is one of the unique highlights of the music program at Floranada. It builds a foundation for kids to move on to playing guitar and other instruments.

“So music at the elementary level is the foundation for music through all the grade levels so as a music educator our hope is to spark a passion with these children so by the time they get to middle school, high school, they want to continue being a part of an amazing music program,” said music teacher Jared Doyle.

Debate performance in fifth grade? They’re got it at Floranada, one of 16 clubs at the school. It’s that menu of opportunities that teachers there say makes the school stand out.

“All of our special projects make it different and all of the activities,” said veteran teacher Elyse Friedman-Brunt.

Among the different activities here is the Vex-IQ robotics team. The kids finished 127th in the world this year, out of thousands of teams.

They’re also big on parent involvement at Floranada. The principal says there are parent volunteers at the school every single day. It’s part of the effort to cultivate a welcoming atmosphere, along with options for kids to develop and follow their passions at a young age.

“Academics is one component and having 82% proficiency on the last test was awesome in third grade, but it’s bigger than that, it’s the culture you get when you walk in the front door and everyone wants to say hi to you,” said John Vetter, the principal.

“Floranada’s a family and we’re a creative family, not just a family that argues, we’re a family that plays together and learns together and explores new things together,” added Friedman-Brunt.

The school’s Peer Buddies program matches general education kids with autistic and special needs students. It’s a win-win for everyone.

“It’s an opportunity for them to really get to know one another and to not be afraid of a child who’s a little bit different, as a matter of fact that’s something to celebrate,” Vetter said.

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