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End of an era for Miami Edison Middle

Ashley Montgomery | 6/12/2014, 9 a.m.

One of the most historic educational institutions in Miami’s Black community will become a thing of the past when Miami Edison Middle School opens its doors in the fall under a different name and curriculum.

The middle school will become iTech @ Thomas A. Edison Educational Center, a magnet high school that will specialize in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

In 2013, Superintendent Alberto Carvalho announced that a $10.7 million project would be funded by the U.S. Department of Education. As the project promised, iTech is expected to provide students opportunities — particularly minorities — that will help them as they prepare for college and careers.

iTech is currently enrolling only ninth-graders through a written application process up until July 15. Principal Sean Gallagan, Ph.D and his staff are expecting to begin with 150 students in its first year of opening.

“No one is being displaced, no one is being pushed off, the eighth-graders that were promoted to the ninth — most of them will end up at Miami Edison Senior High,” Dr. Gallagan said.

iTech has been completely renovated and updated into a state-of-the-art high school supporting the latest technology. The campus includes school-wide Wi-Fi, modern science and technology, an auditorium, gym, as well as labs and high-tech classrooms.

“The only requirements are the students’ interest,” Gallagan said. “We are recommending students interested to be good in math and science, because it is a rigorous program. It is not going to be an easy school.”

Dr. Gallagan is strongly encouraging ninth-grade students who have a strong background in math and computer literacy and are self-motivated, flexible, manage time well and are able to think critically to apply.

“We are looking for the students who have a passion for science and tech — they’re the ones that live on the computer on the weekends,” Gallagan said.

iTech’s staff and administration is expecting to hit the ground running in order to keep up with the growing technologically advancing world that we live in today.

“This won’t be a school that is about making games, we are about supporting big ideas, big businesses,” the principal of iTech said. “We are working with major corporations and we are the school that is preparing these students to work for the government and big businesses.”

Excited and anxious to begin the school year, the “non-traditionalist” Gallagan is looking forward to partnering with businesses around the world to lend hands-on experiences to his incoming students. He is not only an experienced principal, but he is also an experienced pilot.

NEW BEGINNINGS

Miami Edison Middle School had close ties to Miami’s Black community. In 1928, the school was once the home of Miami Edison Senior High School, which moved to a new building just across the street in 1979. Edison Middle, now known as iTech, was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1986.

According to a study found in the June issue of Research in Higher Education, minorities majoring in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) prove to be more profitable in the long run. The study followed more than 1,000 Black, Latino, Asian and Pacific Islander students over nine years in an effort to determine how helpful this would be in bridging the gap of minorities in those fields.