MIAMI (CBS4) – At a time when money is scarce throughout the Miami-Dade County Public School system due to budget cutbacks, there is some good news for a South Florida high school.
On Wednesday, Former Florida senator and top JPMorgan executive Mel Martinez presented Miami Northwestern Senior High with a $1 million grant.
It will be administered over three years in a partnership with FIU and Miami Dade County Public Schools to encourage more students to set their sights on college. The partnership is dubbed The Education Effect.
“JPMorgan Chase consistently looks to act as a catalyst for meaningful, positive and sustainable change within communities we serve across the globe. This public/private partnership reflects those values and only enhances our longstanding commitment to the Liberty City community,” said Mel Martinez of the JPMorgan Chase Foundation. “We are pleased to offer this grant to FIU and Miami Northwestern Senior High School and are hopeful that others will join us to maximize its long term success.”
The three-year grant will fund a variety of academic programs aimed at creating a college-going culture at Northwestern and its feeder schools including the creation of an aquaponics garden, financial literacy classes for students and parents, and overall exposure to university life.
“It’s an amazing opportunity for students these days,” said student Eugenie Elie.
Approximately 47-percent of Liberty City residents have a high school education, 3-percent hold a bachelor’s degree, and about a quarter of Northwestern students never graduate.
This program is designed to change those statistics.
Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho has already brought in FIU professors over the last two years to teach some classes. He said the grant will enable the school to provide 22 dual-enrollment courses on-site for qualified students which is more than double the number offered by any other high school under the district’s Education Transformation Office.
“As an anchor institution in South Florida, we believe it is FIU’s responsibility as a public university to become engaged with our community,” said FIU President Mark. B. Rosenberg. “Miami Northwestern High School is the heart of the Liberty City community, and it is there that we can make a real difference. Along with our partners JPMorgan Chase and Miami-Dade County Public Schools, we’re making an investment in this community, this school and its students because we believe they deserve an opportunity to realize their dreams.”
This university-assisted community school model is part of a larger plan that not only educates and engages students, but ultimately empowers the community.
“Our goal is to graduate students who are ready to contribute to our 21st century society,” said Superintendent of Schools Alberto M. Carvalho. “This grant will assist our school system in furthering our aim of creating the citizens of tomorrow.”
And Eugenie said the program is already inspiring her to bigger and better goals.
“I feel like a college student and I am still in high school,’ Elie said. “I am graduating; I am happy; I am in class and I can’t wait for the rest of it.”