Education

Miami-Dade magnets earn top marks in new ranking

Ericka Koenigsberg, 18, of Pinecrest, is a recent graduate of iPrep Academy in Miami, which uses blended learning: a mix of traditional and online teaching. iPrep was ranked No. 119 in “Beating the Odds” schools in a recent Newsweek survey.
Ericka Koenigsberg, 18, of Pinecrest, is a recent graduate of iPrep Academy in Miami, which uses blended learning: a mix of traditional and online teaching. iPrep was ranked No. 119 in “Beating the Odds” schools in a recent Newsweek survey. El Nuevo Herald

The Homestead Medical Academy for Science and Technology is Florida’s best public high school when student poverty is taken into account, according to Newsweek’s annual rankings.

Design & Architecture Senior High School in downtown Miami was ranked second-best in the state.

Together, they were the only two schools in Miami-Dade to crack Newsweek’s top-50 list of America’s “Beating the Odds” high schools, which takes into account whether low-income students perform as well as their higher-income peers. Overall, 500 schools were ranked.

In an emailed statement, Lawrence Feldman, the school board member whose district includes the top school, wrote: “The success of MAST @ Homestead is an example of what can be achieved when opportunity and access is given to students whose proximity to specialized programs has been historically limited.”

There are plenty of skeptics of rankings such as Newsweek’s, which can favor selective schools, and because criteria such as test scores can be heavily influenced by family income. Both MAST and DASH are magnet programs, meaning students have to apply to get in.

Still, Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho called it “a big deal” to have so many local schools on the list. Newsweek considers the data of 21,000 high schools and only 500 make the rankings.

Florida has 23 schools ranked, and more than half of them are Miami-Dade public, magnet and charter schools.

Newsweek’s “America’s Top High Schools” list, which takes into account graduation rates, college enrollment and other factors including standardized test scores, also ranked DASH near the top of the America’s Best High Schools list. It was ranked No. 56 in the country, and second in Florida.

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Other Miami-Dade schools on the list of 500 schools that are “Beating the Odds”

52 Archimedean Upper Conservatory Charter School

119 iPreparatory Academy

149 International Studies Charter High School

162 Miami Springs Senior High

201 Mater Academy East Charter High School

267 Coral Reef Senior High School

274 Somerset Academy Charter High School

288 Miami Coral Park Senior High

385 G. Holmes Braddock Senior High

433 Youth Co-Op Preparatory High School

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