Just one year after opening its newest campus in Doral, the School for Advanced Studies is looking forward to doubling the class size at the campus, while all four other locations continue to do well.
The School for Advanced Studies, initiated from the combined effort of Miami-Dade County Public Schools and Miami Dade College, is a collegiate high school that has been giving students the chance to graduate with both a high school diploma and an associate of arts degree since 1988.
Last fall, the school opened a fifth campus on the college’s west campus in Doral, in addition to the existing locations on the college’s Homestead, Kendall, North and Wolfson campuses.
Since then, “everything has been going according to plan,” said school Principal Omar Monteagudo.
“The students in Doral are doing exceptionally well,” Dr. Monteagudo said. “They are involved in variety of internships and activities with the college.”
The west campus alone will be at its 120-student capacity next school year, he said, which is double its current class size. The school is entering the second year of its five-year strategic plan, which outlines further expansion, both in terms of infrastructure and class size, to a student capacity of 240. Roughly half of the students in the west campus hail from Doral, Dr. Monteagudo said, while the others come from adjacent municipalities.
While the school has already achieved a collective 100% graduation rate, this will be the first year in the school’s history where 100% of graduates will obtain their associate of arts degrees from Miami Dade College as well as their high school diploma.
“This is an outstanding result especially when compared to eight years ago, when only 25% of students were graduating with associate of arts degrees,” Dr. Monteagudo said.
Overall, the School for Advanced Studies will be welcoming 732 students next school year.
“It’s a major shift,” Dr. Monteagudo said. “In a matter of eight years, we’ve gone from 400 students to having 732 next year. All incoming students for next year have already been selected.”
The application process includes taking the Postsecondary Education Readiness Test, which evaluates reading, writing and math skills. The students receive free tuition and fees, free textbooks and materials, and may receive free school bus and Metrorail transportation funded by Miami-Dade County Public Schools.
The students’ college courses are taught by college faculty, meaning that the students take the college classes amongst actual Miami Dade College students. Their high school classes also take place on the college campus but are exclusively for School for Advanced Studies students and are taught by high school faculty. The model is intended to be a two-year program, which is the reason the school accepts only applications from 10th graders who have two years of high school left and can therefore earn a minimum of 36 college credits.