Education on 6: Nova Middle School

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Nova Middle School in Davie has all the traditional stuff you would expect to find in a school of nearly 1,500 students.

Cheerleaders, sports teams, a large music program with an orchestra, jazz band, and a chorus.

Nova also has unique offerings like Brandsmart.

No, the Brandsmart here is not a popular electronics and appliance store. It’s a class which focuses on personal branding, teaching kids the dangers of social media. It could hardly be more relevant.

“This class is all about teaching students how to manage their reputation online and offline, as we all know, social media is growing so it’s another way to teach our students how to communicate in this technology digital age,” said Michelle Ortiz, who teaches the elective class.

Nova also places a priority on STEM courses.

“We try to give ‘em 21st century skills, preparing for jobs that we don’t even know exist,” said principal Rayner Garranchan.

For example, a class called Campus CEO. The students in this elective design, create, and market their own apps.

“When I walk in any class I look and listen to what the students are talking about and I understand but I walk into that class, I have no idea what they’re saying,” Garranchan said with a laugh.

Nova Middle’s commitment to the arts is part of the reason it draws students from all corners of Broward County. It’s a lottery school, which means the kids have to be chosen in the lottery to attend.

Once admitted, one of the most popular courses is Kristin Murphy’s law program. On this day, the students were taking the bar exam. The bar exam in 7th grade?

“Well it’s a real mock bar exam,” Murphy explained. “In the real world, lawyers who want to practice law have to pass a bar exam, and so if we’re simulating the real world, I want my students to pass a mock bar exam before they can be mock attorneys in our courtroom, whether they want to be attorneys or any career, they’re learning speaking skills, analytical and logical reasoning, it’s a good course for whatever career they choose.”

Most students here stay on the same campus and attend Nova High School. This was a 6-12 before that concept even became a thing, and they’re still aiming high at Nova Middle School.

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