Friday, Sept. 27, 2013

CONTACT: John Schuster
Miami-Dade County Public Schools


A $10.7 million project that will provide new magnet school choice opportunities for Miami-Dade students received its first year of grant funding from the U.S. Department of Education, Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho announced.

“These funds will serve our community by providing students opportunities to study specialized course material that will help them as they prepare for college and careers,” said Carvalho.
Miami-Dade County Public Schools will create two new non-boundary, district-wide magnet high schools—BioTech @ Zoo Miami and iTech @ Edison—that will promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education in the District and increase school choice options for parents and students.

With the support of the $10.7 million grant, these schools will be part of STEM: Increasing Rigor and Relevance (STIRR), a three-year project that will feature innovative, educational methods and practices that address student needs and interests, and are designed to improve academic achievement for all students.

Biotech @ Zoo Miami (grades 9-12) will build upon the success of the Zoo Magnet Program at Richmond Heights Middle to create a STEM magnet high school with a focus on Conservation Biology. Students will study issues related to resource conservation and ecosystem management in an interdisciplinary learning environment. Through experiential and project-based learning activities in the field, students will work at Zoo Miami’s 290 acre science classroom with more than 1200 exotic animals, and at Fairchild Tropical Gardens, with its state-of-the-art research labs. Students will research and evaluate global issues and concerns related to the human impact on biological diversity (genetic, species, and ecosystems) from excessive rates of extinction. The school will serve 800 students.

iTech @ Edison (grades 9 - 12) will focus on technology to provide students with the opportunity to conduct field studies and complete projects in an environment similar to one found in a business infrastructure. The program will offer a sequence of courses that provides coherent and rigorous content, aligned with challenging and relevant technical knowledge and skills, needed to prepare students for careers in Geospatial Information Studies (GIS), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and Microsoft Applications/Systems Engineer (iCode) Information Technology career cluster. In addition to an aligned curriculum with Miami Dade College, academy students will have the opportunity to earn industry certifications and shadow and work alongside identified technicians who will serve as mentors. The school will serve 1,000 students.

Some of the STIRR school features include: project-based learning, career and college readiness, an extended-period day, and Summer Bridgea two-week summer program offered to incoming ninth-graders to mitigate the challenges of transition to high school, as well as offer them strategies for success in the rigorous and challenging STEM programs.



About the Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP)
The U.S. Department of Education sponsors the Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP), a Federal grants program to provide students with equity and choice in public school education. Magnet school grants provide funding to districts for up to three years. The Magnet Schools Assistance Program is authorized under Title V, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Act and is administered by the Office of Innovation and Improvement.


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