Grantee Corner | Broward County Public Schools
New River Middle School students in the Engineering and Industry Construction Academy use Z-Space computers, which combine augmented and virtual reality for interactive and multi-sensory learning experiencesPompano Middle School students in the Academy of Communications and Broadcasting engage in video editing and TV production while learning on industry equipment and producing air-quality showsOlsen Middle School students in the Academy of Robotics and Marine Science prepare for careers in STEM and robotics by building and coding VEX robots.South Broward High School students in the Academy of Arts demonstrate their creative ability using recycled material to design sculpturesStranahan High School students in the Academy of Medical Sciences embark on a marine science experience, building on their previous learning from the marine program at their feeder iCAN middle school, New RiverBlanche Ely High School students in the Engineering Academy attend a Career Bound field trip through a partnership with Junior Achievement of South Florida, learning about job opportunities and the importance of math integration while touring MillerShernette Grant, BCPS Project Director
Broward County Public Schools (BCPS), the sixth-largest school district in the nation and the second-largest in Florida, serves approximately 270,000 K-12 students and 175,000 adult students in 241 schools, centers, and technical colleges. As Florida’s first fully accredited school district, BCPS serves a diverse student population that represents 204 different countries and 191 different languages. Mirroring the diversity of South Florida residents, BCPS is home to 79 magnet programs in 55 magnet schools.
As a fiscal year 2018 Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) grantee, BCPS has implemented its Integrated Career and Academic Networks (iCAN) program in six middle and high schools: Pompano Middle School, Blanche Ely High School, New River Middle School, Stranahan High School, Olsen Middle School, and South Broward High School. The iCAN magnet program emphasizes personalized and project-based learning, addresses student social-emotional needs, and makes students college and career ready by capitalizing on the benefits of student choice driven by student interests.
Through implementing iCAN, one school (Olsen Middle) launched its first magnet program, and the other five schools are significantly revising their magnet programs. All six iCAN schools engage all students in magnet career-themed academies that incorporate innovation and emphasize future-ready skills that address industry standards and practices. Students participate in academies such as teacher education, robotics, business and entrepreneurship, tourism, aviation, engineering, marine science, e-sports and athletic sciences, computers, and health sciences.
The iCAN project supports schools as they transform their curricular offerings and enhance physical spaces to support and encourage collaborative learning. As schools embrace the transformative potential of iCAN and expand business and industry partnerships, students engage in internships and experiential learning opportunities that build soft and hard workplace skills.
Teacher professional development is key to accomplishing program goals. BCPS uses MSAP funds to ensure teachers are equipped to facilitate project-based learning and to implement new curricular practices. BCPS partners with Project Lead the Way to deliver its first offering of a district transformation model by facilitating onsite professional learning to minimize cost and maximize teacher participation. In addition, iCAN provides magnet teachers with opportunities to work alongside industry professionals through summer internships.
The iCAN schools have partnered with local colleges and universities, entrepreneurship leaders, and others to deliver exciting programs for students. Among the many accomplishments to date is a partnership with Florida International University that provides the Summer Medina Aquarius Teacher Institute and ongoing student exploration and scientific research, in which students collaborate with Aquanauts. A partnership with Broward College provides the Teacher STEM Education Program, which will culminate in high school seniors earning an A.A. degree simultaneously with a high school diploma. Partner Ohana Solutions made it possible for iCAN students to participate in their annual student-led conference, and Junior Achievement of South Florida helped to host summer institutes.
The district team, led by Dr. Shernette Grant, is crucial for supporting schools. Dr. Grant began her career in BCPS as a magnet teacher and magnet coordinator in one of the iCAN schools. She went on to become an assistant principal and a principal in Broward Magnet Schools. Now, as the Director of Magnet and Innovative Programs, her extensive history in the magnet arena has been key. Dr. Grant embraces the magnet components to help transform and re-design schools so all students have a unique experience while preparing for academic, college, and career success.