Miami-Dade Schools Expanding Choice, Magnet Programs for Upcoming Year

All you have to do is look at schools like Jose De Diego Middle to see that art is a valued subject. As Miami-Dade Schools announce new programs for the upcoming year, the arts are prominently featured.

The sounds of kids making music together will be heard at more schools this year, with new choice programs and a new initiative called The Harmony Project. Its goal is to expand music education and they're rolling out 59 new choice or magnet programs.

"What we're doing differently this year is not just creating choice that attracts students,” said Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho. “We are strategically embedding choice in neighborhood schools yet again to keep students closer to where they live and not gut the intellectual capital in some zip codes."

For instance, a new computer coding magnet at Horace Mann Middle School, and a performing arts partnership with FIU to take advantage of the university's willingness to help local kids.

They're also expanding the gang reduction education program, hoping to double it this year.

"This program is about delinquency prevention, gang prevention and setting goals for these young people,” said Miami-Dade Schools Police Chief Ian Moffett.

Students at Norland High School come back to a brand-new building, with state of the art facilities for its cambridge, sports medicine and forensic science programs, which are also expanding this year to other schools as well.

New magnet programs include:

  • Design, Animation & Gaming at Miami Southridge Senior High
  • Cybersecurity at Barbara Goleman Senior High
  • Sports Medicine and Sports Management at Miami Norland Senior High
  • Entertainment Technology at William H. Turner Technical Arts High
  • Medical Health Sciences at Rubén Darío Middle
  • DASH/Visual Arts at John A. Ferguson Senior High
  • STEM: Coding at Horace Mann Middle
  • Botany & Zoology at Pine Lake Elementary
  • Forensic Science at Country Club Middle

Non-magnet choice programs coming to several schools include:

  • International Supply Chain Management at Miami Killian Senior High
  • Legal Studies at Myrtle Grove K-8 Center
  • .Net Application Development and Programming at Southwest Miami Senior High
  • iPrep Academy at Miami Northwestern Senior High
  • Music at Nautilus Middle, Brownsville Middle, Andover Middle and Pine Villa Elementary

Non-magnet choice enhancement programs in STEM Robotics at the following schools:

  • Elementary Years - Lakeview Elementary, Van E. Blanton Elementary, Lenora B. Smith Elementary, Lillie C. Evans K-8 Center, Crestview Elementary, and North County K-8 Center

  • Middle Years - Madison Middle, Georgia Jones-Ayers Middle, Lillie C. Evans K-8 Center, North County K-8 Center, Lake Stevens Middle

New initiatives include:

Digital Convergence - The District is deploying an additional 35,000 mobile devices, bringing the total number to nearly 140,000. This year, the new devices will be used in 6th-grade U.S. History, 7th-grade language arts, and 11th-grade language arts and U.S. History. Additionally, 900 Interactive White Boards and 8,000 teacher desktop computers will be added to replace aging equipment in classrooms throughout the District. 

Digital Convergence ClassFlow App - Promotes student achievement through an all-in-one teaching tool that creates and orchestrates interactive multi-media lessons across a connected learning environment. Using this app, students receive and annotate lesson materials on their devices, respond to questions, create original material, and even capture photos to send back to the teacher from their mobile device.

Digital Citizenship - Students will be provided with strategies and resources that will allow them to utilize technology for mastery of academic content and make them aware of, and responsible for, their digital footprint. Schools will be provided with resources and guidance on how to join the Common Sense Digital Citizenship Certified Schools movement and redefine the way our students interact with technology.

Diploma Pathways - Motivates and inspires students to strive for higher academic achievement through an awareness campaign that informs them about high school diploma designations. This initiative allows students to plan their academic trajectory, preparing them for college and career success. Diploma designations include: Superintendent’s Diploma of Distinction, Scholar designation, Merit designation, Seal of Biliteracy and IB, AICE, AP Capstone Diplomas.

Pathways to Biliteracy - Highlights the need to ensure a K-12 continuum of foreign language is available for our students so that they can become bilingual, bi-literate, and productive members of our society.  The initiative provides for five distinct pathways to meet the diverse linguistic needs of M-DCPS students: iWorld, ELL (English Language Learners) Acquisition and Acceleration, World Language Program, Label FrancÉducation, and the Seal of Biliteracy.

SLI Second Language Immersion - Supports family engagement and empowerment by providing adult learners the opportunity to learn a second language in a stress-free environment.  Through The Parent Academy classes at select Technical Education Colleges and Neighborhood Resource Centers, participants will learn conversational strategies that will assist in removing existing barriers of employability in zip codes plagued by high unemployment.

The Harmony Project: A Blueprint for Music Education - Recognizing that music education is an essential component of a well-rounded education and has been documented to improve math achievement and boost reading and English language arts skills, this program increases music opportunities and strengthens performing arts programs in the urban core.

Performing Arts Panther Partnership - Creates post-secondary pathways for middle and high school students through an educational partnership between Miami Arts Studio 6-12 at Zelda Glazer and Florida International University that offers Band, Chorus/Vocal, Dance, Orchestra, Theatre, Technical Production and Entertainment Law within a state-of-the-art facility.

M-DCPS Teacher LEADership Academy - Designed to challenge and support teacher leaders across the District in developing the knowledge, content expertise, and facilitative leadership skills needed to guide instructional improvements in schools. Teacher leaders will participate in sustained, systemic professional development to become certified as school-based leaders. They will facilitate job-embedded professional learning and growth, support new and early career teachers, transform instructional coaching, and promote digital innovation for teaching and learning.

Miami Norland Senior High School, A GOB Highlight - The $42 million transformation of the last remaining 1950s era high school in the urban core represents the District’s single largest General Obligation Bond program investment. In addition to Norland, construction and renovation projects at more than 100 schools also will have been completed by opening day 2016 and a new K-8 center will open in northwest Miami-Dade to serve students from ongoing residential development west of I-75.

Parents Helping Parents - Increases meaningful parental involvement by enhancing parents’ understanding of the federal, state, and District policies impacting their children; perfects their advocacy skills on behalf of their children; and teaches them to effectively share information and support with other parents at the school.  Parents Helping Parents will expand the parent outreach and support services provided by the newly established Department of Family Support Services.

Early Childhood Jumpstart - To ensure teachers, administrators, and parents have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to help all children across the PreK-2 learning continuum achieve their full potential, this program will integrate early education practices through second-grade curriculum and instruction. Early Childhood Jumpstart will support social, cross-cultural, critical thinking and problem solving competencies in early learners.

iTransition - Provides 6th- and 9th-grade students a multi-faceted support system as they transition between elementary and middle school, and middle and senior high school through increased access to on-site academic and motivational services. M-DCPS will partner with Motivational Coaches for America (MCUSA) to provide a solutions-oriented approach to helping students overcome academic and behavioral challenges.

Middle School Redesign - To meet the ever-changing demands of 21st century teaching and learning, and enhance the middle school student experience, this initiative will evaluate current organizational structures and redefine expectations, in order to improve student achievement outcomes and create more effective transitions between elementary and senior high school.

Summer Youth Internship Program - Expands learning beyond the confines of a traditional classroom and allows students to be engaged in both project and community-based learning experiences. The District has aligned its Career and Technical Education programs to the One Community One Goal-targeted industry recommendations and will expand its summer internship opportunities to 1,432 high school students working with 565 businesses through a partnership with The Children’s’ Trust and Miami-Dade County.

G.R.E.A.T. Expansion - An effective gang and violence prevention program built around school-based, law enforcement officer-instructed classroom curricula will now reach twice the amount of students as last year. Intended as an immunization against delinquency, youth violence, and gang membership, the program supports children in the years immediately before the prime ages for introduction into gangs and delinquent behavior. The program also strengthens the relationship between law enforcement and our youth.

Schools Police Explorers Expansion - Provides middle and high school students an opportunity to gain an insight into a career in law enforcement through the nationally recognized “Learning for Life” Police Explorer Program.  Each student will learn how to assume responsible leadership positions, work hard within a diverse team, and about the importance of finishing what they start.

Cultivating Civic Engagement - Connects teachers, students, and parents to decision-makers at the State Capitol. Students will be able to interact with members of the Miami-Dade Delegation and discuss current education issues through live online sessions from Tallahassee. This initiative seeks to increase student knowledge of current affairs and teacher access to government, while improving citizen engagement.

Values Matter Miami - This expanded, yearlong District-wide campaign promotes a positive school culture by addressing the social/emotional needs of all students, leading to increased school safety and student achievement. This comprehensive framework will be aligned with curricula and will include resources available including community-based organizations and Student Services support personnel.

Online School Care Payment System - Creates convenience and flexibility by allowing parents to pay for Before/After-School Care services using credit cards. This is an expansion of the new electronic School Accounting System (eSAS) implemented last school year.

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