When Rodney Jones and Tremain McCreary walked to school on Tuesday morning, the brothers were headed to the same classrooms, to sit next to the same students, in a building with the same façade it had on Monday.
But it was not the same school they had gone to the day before.
“It’s a relief to me to know the school name had changed. I was thinking about it: How do we have a KKK leader’s name for our school?” Jones says.
“Things are changing around this school,” says McCreary.
It is college-application season, which means high-school seniors across the country are scrambling to write personal statements, list all their extracurricular activities and take the SATs.
Sierra DuBose is one of those seniors, enrolled at Miami Edison Senior High, but she is also one of almost 7,000 kids in the Miami-Dade public-school system who are homeless. That's about 2 percent of the student population.
Sierra currently lives in a shelter for women called Lotus House, on the edge of Overtown.
When Allison Rojas looks at a painting by Alice Neel, the high-school junior sees more than a seated woman in a purple sari.
“She uses very bold lines as you can see,” says Rojas. “Very fleshy paintings.”
Rojas has an eye that’s been trained in fine-arts classes at Miami’s Design and Architecture Senior High. DASH is an arts magnet — consistently ranked among the country’s top public schools — and every year, Rojas and her classmates take a field trip with the school to Art Basel, where she gets to see works like Neel’s "Woman."
Uzelea Evans, right, and Cynthia Williams, left, talk with GED teacher Travis McGinnis at Metropolitan Ministries. The GED is changing in January, and McGinnis said his students have been planning since September whether to take the old test or the new GED.
Miami-Dade County Public Libraries have a big financial hole to fill. In order to stave off closing branches and laying off dozens of employees, the Miami-Dade County Commission this year raided the library's reserve fund. That will leave an estimated $20 million deficit in the next fiscal year. In order to generate ideas for the library of the future, library director Raymond Santiago has gathered together a task force with "everything on the table." That means the possibility of higher taxes to support public libraries.
To get into Florida colleges and universities you have to have studied — or be able to speak — a second language. But Florida students don’t have to take foreign language classes to graduate from high school.
So in a part of the state where most families already speak a second language, Immokalee Community School is leaning on parents to make sure their children stay bilingual. As a condition of their children attending the school, every parent has signed a contract to speak Spanish with their kids for at least 30 minutes a day, most days of the week.
Improving STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education is widely considered critical for today’s students. They’ll face challenges of urban life some contemporary leaders are just beginning to understand.
The "E" in STEM is a key component of Future City, a national contest that challenges students to imagine, design and build cities of the future. A team of 11 seventh graders at St. Thomas the Apostle School in Miami is preparing for their local competition.