The Miami-Dade school district has announced plans to significantly expand a partnership with the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom to bring a rigorous curriculum into more classrooms.
Over the next three years, Miami-Dade and Cambridge International Examinations, a nonprofit which is part of the renowned British university, will expand the curriculum from 16 schools to 86.
The 345,000-student Miami-Dade system is the first major school district in the United States to enter into this type of partnership with Cambridge International.
The programs will be offered to students from elementary school, with the Cambridge Primary Program, through high school, where students can work towards either the Cambridge International General Certification of Secondary Education or the Cambridge Advanced International Certificate of Education.
“We recognize that the high school diploma [my generation] received is no longer adequate to meet the needs of a global economy,” said Helen Blanche, Miami-Dade’s assistant superintendent for innovation and school choice.
In addition to expanding the offerings available to students, the partnership will bring professional development programs for teachers directly to the schools.
The program is somewhat similar to the International Baccalaureate program or the College Board’s Advanced Placement program, though it starts in elementary school. It is a loosely framed course of study in which students can choose to focus on one of a variety of areas, including math and science, languages, and arts and humanities. The Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) exams give students the opportunity to earn university credits.
Cambridge International Examinations are in schools around the world and are recognized by colleges and universities both in and outside the U.S.
“To me, the most valuable thing we can provide for students is a diploma that is recognizable around the world, regardless of which college or university they apply to,” Blanche said. “That’s why we worked so hard to expand the program in Miami.”
A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.