William Turner Technical Arts High School maximizes students' potential
NBCMiami.com. Ari Odzer. May 06, 2019.

They have a philosophy at Miami's William Turner Technical Arts High School.

"We believe in maximizing the potential of all our students, and I think we do a great job of changing the trajectory of students' lives," said Uwezo Frazier, the principal.

Turner Tech is a Title 1 school, with 90% of its students on free or reduced lunch, yet its graduation rate is 99% and 83% will go on to college.

It's an all-magnet school with 8 academies, which prepare kids for careers and college, and it also offers 13 AP courses and dual enrollment opportunities with FIU and Miami-Dade College.

"So we marry the two, we're very big on academics, we're very big on the technical side, it gives our kids a leg up," Frazier said.

The school's agriscience program is huge. Literally huge, with multiple stables housing cows, sheep, pigs and goats, along with coops holding chickens, rabbits, even peacocks. It's a full-farm environment, with greenhouses for its horticultural component.

"Most of the kids that graduate here, after four years, many of them become vet techs, vet assistants," said agriscience teacher Evral Miller, who pointed out four of his graduates have gone on to become veterinarians.

Turner Tech is slowly adding arts to its curriculum. There's a new drama club, with plans to add fine arts classes.

The finance academy students run the school's credit union, a real bank on campus. In the process, they become financially literate.

"It's probably one of the number one problems of millennials, the lack of financial literacy," said the academy director, Michael McBride, a former corporate accountant. "Additionally, we're training them for careers in financial management, going on Wall Street, becoming stock brokers, CPA's and so forth."

In most schools, students who want to exercise their musical creativity do it in the band or the orchestra. Turner Tech doesn't have a traditional music program, but it has a recording studio, something very few schools have.

It's simultaneously an outlet for creativity and career inspiration.

"Millenials are going that way, you know, I think we're raised to work the 9 to 5 and punch the clock, and they're very innovative and the spirit they have, the social media and the different platforms, it lends itself to these type of opportunities and we just want to nurture that," Frazier said.


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