Dade, Broward get millions to fund science magnet programs

South Florida’s public schools are getting a multimillion-dollar assist from the federal government.

The U.S. Department of Education announced the award Thursday of $7.5 million to the Miami-Dade and Broward school boards in the first year of a three-year program to expand school choice options. Together, the two districts applied for a combined $22 million over three years to fund science, technology and engineering themed programs.

“These grants will help students gain access to challenging curricula that will help prepare them for college and 21st century careers,” Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement.

Miami-Dade schools received $3.5 million this year toward a $10 million initiative to establish district-wide high school magnets, one at a restructured Edison Middle and another affiliated with Zoo Miami.

At Edison, technology-focused programs in areas such as geospatial mapping will serve 1,000 students. The district’s Biotech @ Zoo Miami will give 800 high school students the ability study global issues like protecting endangered species, with access to animals at the zoo and research labs at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. The school will be housed primarily at Richmond Heights Middle, which is being converted to a 6 - 12 campus.

In Broward, the $4 million awarded this year will be used to create four new elementary science magnet programs and expand two others. The schools included in the overall $12 million program are Colbert Elementary in Hollywood, Royal Palm and Broward Estates elementaries in Lauderhill, Atlantic West and Liberty elementaries in Margate, and Plantation Elementary.

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