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Dade Schools Adopting New Business Models

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MIAMI (CBS4) – Bring a ‘business sense’ to the running of Miami-Dade’s public schools is the key to success.

That’s according to Superintendent Alberto Carvalho who said their latest innovative ideas involve franchising, listen to the consumer and creating a for-profit business model for the school system.

McDonald’s, Burger King and Pollo Tropical became popular because people love them therefore they were turned into franchise success stories. Carvalho feels can’t the same thing be done with the public school system?

That’s why, Tuesday morning, school and county officials broke ground on the new MAST Academy in Homestead. The ground breaking of the new MAST Academy comes after tremendous popularity of the first MAST on Key Biscayne.

MAST-Homestead Principal, Greg Zawyer says, “it’s a phenomenal idea to capitalize on a name, it happens in the corporate world all the time.”

Other franchised schools in Miami Dade County include New World School of the Arts. The first one in downtown Miami was such a success that new New World magnet programs are starting at Hialeah High School and the Arthur & Polly Mays Conservatory of the Arts. Add to that I-Prep, Internet Preparatory, a school where there are no books, just laptops and a chalk-less chalkboard. The original campus is in downtown Miami. Now, it’s expanding to Killian High , North Miami Beach High and Felix Varela High.

In addition to franchising, Carvalho said schools should be demand driven.

“Listen to what your clients are asking for and deliver on it,” said Carvalho.

In the business world, if the customer wants more features on the iPhone, they get it.

In the school world, the parent is the customer, said Carvalho. They say they want a certain type of school in their neighborhood and the school board makes it happen.

Another money-making being implemented is the development of a for-profit division of the public school system. It’s called ‘ED’ which stands for the Enterprise Division. It’s all about using existing resources to turn a profit. For example, school buses that aren’t used after 4pm will be rented out. School cafeterias that sit dormant after school lunch will be leased to caterers and facilities.

Advertising will be sold on property owned by the school district but does not include actual school sites including bus yards.

So whether it’s learning how to turn a profit which would help buy computers for students, to listening to the parents to implementing a franchising plan – all the ideas new ideas will be in place by the next school year in fall of 2012!

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