A Miami-Dade County charter school is reaching out to students in unique ways, from hostage simulations to military-style fitness drills, reports The Miami Herald. Hialeah Educational Academy preps students for careers in law enforcement and fire rescue, one of dozens of public vocational academies cropping up across Florida.
“Career academies give students a niche,” said Gene Bottoms, vice president of the Southern Regional Education Board. “They connect them to a group of teachers, to a career focus. It’s very beneficial for the students who have not been able to find a place for themselves in high school.”
The students at Hialeah—made up of 98 freshmen, split evenly between girls and boys—get a mixed curriculum of public service work and traditional high school classes. But even in math class, students’ word problems use crime scenes and arson investigations as examples.
''In a way, we're growing our own police officers,'' said Hialeah Police Chief Mark Overton, who sits on the school's academic committee. "We're mentoring them.''