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BTW students boosted by The Education Effect

FIU and local high school team up for a big transformation

Ashley Montgomery | 3/27/2014, 9 a.m.
FIU and The Lennar Foundation partner to expand The Education Effect to Booker T. Washington High School in Overtown. Amy Ellis

The Education Effect has taken off since it began at Miami Northwestern Senior High School campus three years ago. Now, The Education Effect in partnership with Florida International University has plans to serve one of the most historic high schools in the county — Booker T. Washington Senior High. 

The Education Effect aligns university expertise and resources to improve student achievements. Congresswoman Frederica Wilson joined Mark B. Rosenberg and William Aristide, principal of Booker T. Washington last Tuesday morning in Overtown for the launch. 

Funded by a $1 million seed investment from The Lennar Foundation, The Education Effect at Booker T. Washington will focus on achieving a 100 percent graduation rate and improving college and career readiness. Educators are also dedicated to increasing parental involvement and community awareness in the program at the Booker T. Washington. 

In 2011, the Education Effect started at Miami Northwestern Senior High School and has helped the school achieve its first “A” grade and an 80 percent graduation rate, a 64 percent increase from last year. Through this collaboration, many achievements have come about — from the Aquaponics Lab, the Bull Investors Financial Literacy and Investment Program, expanding opportunities for MNW taking college-level courses through Dual Enrollment, Service Learning and more. 

“You had so many choices and you chose Booker T. Washington,” Aristide said. “We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

Booker T. Washington Principal William Aristide the brother of Wallace Aristide, principal at Miami Northwestern. 

The kickoff celebration on Tuesday in Booker T. High’s auditorium with many notable public figures in attendance.

The school’s jazz band and Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Color Guard performed. 

“The Education Effect is the most transformational force of education reform in America today,” Alberto Carvalho, Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent said.

“As Frederick Douglass said, ‘it is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.’” 

In addition to improving graduation rates at Booker T.Washington program at Booker T. Washington, the investment aims to boost college and career readiness by increasing participation among parents and the community. A special emphasis will be placed on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), including enhancing on the school’s existing Engineering academy. 

According to a recent report, the U.S. workforce could employ as many as 140,000 additional Blacks and Hispanic college graduates in STEM fields annually if the gap in college completion in STEM by Blacks and Hispanic closed to roughly match that of their White and Asian-American STEM counterparts. 

“Increasing the number of Black and Hispanic college graduates in science and engineering fields to their overall proportion in the U.S. population would result in more than 60,000 new STEM graduates annually,” according to the  Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.

“Growing economic inequality promises to have deleterious impacts on our society if left unaddressed,” the report warns. 

Rosenberg is looking forward to what is to come from this new initiative. 

“This is an anchor institution and that still has a destiny to fulfill,” Ronsenberg said. “We are thrilled to be here and we want to continue to raise the bar of academic excellence that you all have set.” 

M-DCPS School Board member and FIU alumnua, Dorothy Bednross-Mindingall grew in Overtown and Liberty City. 

“Booker T. Washington has been the beacon for as long as I can remember,” she said. “This partnership with FIU, M-DCPS and Lennar will bring additional hope to our children.”