Many schools have magnet programs in various fields. Few schools, though, can match what Miami Lakes Educational Center offers.
“What’s really unique about this school is that we’re an academy-model school,” said Principal James Parker.
That means students choose one of six academies, such as health professions, culinary arts, and auto mechanics, and they earn a high school diploma in addition to a certification in that field.
“We have the labs here at school where they learn what the skills are and then from there they do internships in the different fields, whether it be a hospital, dental office or the pharmacies,” said Glenda Algaze, a teacher who runs the health professions program. “It’s so super-fantastic. We’re so lucky that Miami-Dade Public Schools has the equipment, and offers these programs to students who might otherwise not be given the chance to learn.”
MLEC is a school of choice, which means any student in Miami-Dade County can go there. It also offers the Cambridge Academy, a multi-disciplinary magnet program which includes award-winning journalism and engineering sections.
The engineering students do their own machine work. They design their own robots and other projects from start to finish using advanced tools such as a 3D printer. MLEC also offers a full complement of AP courses.
“They’re applying what they have learned in their core program immediately, so it has relevance to them,” explains Parker.
The principal is quick to point out that MLEC is not just a technical school. It places students into the best colleges in the nation every year. Early acceptances this year include MIT, Harvard, and Columbia.
Some of the students in the health professions program will go on to become dentists and doctors. Unlike traditional high schools, MLEC has no sports teams. It does have a different feel.