PURPOSEFUL EDUCATION: CAREER ACADEMIES AT MIAMI DADE COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
In an intense six-month assignment, Renee Sacks was retained by Dr. Rudolph J. Crew, Superintendent of Schools for Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the fourth largest school district in the Un
ited States with over 30,000 employees and 360,000 students. The goal of the assignment was to assess the district’s career education programs, matching educational offerings with current labor market demands.
Sacks conducted a comprehensive evaluation that involved interviews and meetings with over 100 administrators and educators to identify and evaluate the relevancy of current offerings as they met current and future labor demands in the south Florida region. In addition, Sacks completed a comprehensive analysis of job growth and top occupation demand data to complement the district study.
Once research and evaluations were completed, Sacks designed a template of 15 different career academy programs that would provide portable and replicable career education programs within the district. Following that design which was endorsed by the Superintendent and the Deputy Superintendent, she developed an Action Plan to create a centralized Clearinghouse for College and Careers that would be served by an online databank.
Miami Dade County Public Schools adopted much of Sacks’ work and today includes 15 career academies that are linked to economic growth. According to recent reports, since 2006, the public school system has experienced a significant increase in graduation rates from the 52% to over 75%