Miami ‘Zone’ Gives Schools Intensive Help
Some of the lowest-performing schools in the Miami-Dade County, Fla., district could soon be weaned from three years of strategic support. Will they be able to sustain their progress?
Miami Jackson High School has long been one of Florida’s worst-performing schools. But optimism is tiptoeing down its peelingpaint hallways. For two of the last three years, it has brought its state grade up from an F to a D.
Staff members credit the intensive academic therapy their school has received as part of the School Improvement Zone, a nearly 3-year-old initiative aimed at resuscitating 39 of the Miami-Dade County school district’s most troubled schools. Those schools have a longer school day and year, an intensive curriculum, extra teacher training and instructional coaches, and their own distinct support structure at district headquarters.
But now the initiative, known locally as “the zone”—one of the nation’s most ambitious campaigns to improve urban schools—is in its final year. No one knows yet what special supports, if any, those schools will continue to get, and some worry that their...
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