Education

Renaissance Charter Middle School students attend class at The Hilton

Beneath the elaborate white ribbons from Saturday night's wedding reception, hundreds of parents and students packed the Miami Airport Hilton hotel ballroom Sunday afternoon.

It's an unusual place for the first day of school. But that is exactly where the students of Renaissance Charter Middle School will attend classes starting August 23, Monday morning.

They were supposed to be beginning school in a new building on the campus of Renaissance Charter Middle School in Doral, but construction delays have forced administrators to find an alternate site for the first month of school.

"So instead of cancelling school and sending kids back to the other schools they didn't want to go to, we came together with the Hilton hotel and came up with a plan that was safe and secure," said Jon Hage, President and CEO of Charter Schools USA.

Students and parents learned the details of the new venue at a special open house Sunday.

"I'm really excited about this school," said 6th grader Ryan Acosta. "I don't know it's like a new experience, like I'm used to going to normal schools but not a school in a hotel."

His mother shared his excitement but like most parents had safety concerns. "What most concerns me would be probably like the bathrooms, when they go to the bathrooms," said Maria Acosta.

Principal Ana Cordal reassured parents that students will always be accompanied by an adult. She told the crowd extra security has been hired and no one will have access to the area of the hotel where the students will be, not even hotel staff.

"It's really a perfect situation for an imperfect problem," said Hage.

Hotel conference rooms already have been transformed into classrooms with overhead projectors books, posters and more. It is a transformation designed to foster learning in a change of environment.

Students will still be able to participate in after school extra curricular activities, and gym at an alternate location. Every student will be bused-in from the Power Tumble Gym. That is where parents will drop off and pick up their children every day.

After construction on the new building is complete in four weeks, middle schoolers will return to the building that currently houses elementary students and the elementary students will move into the new constructed building.

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