Grantee Corner  |  Brevard Public Schools

Seven male students in purple shirts and gold crowns stand in a row behind a table with their robot on it.
Stone Magnet Middle School students in the SPAM Challenge Tournament, a robotics competition

A male student sits in front of a music stand and plays the cello.
Stone Magnet Middle School student plays the cello in class.

Two male students sit at a desk and use an iPad
Stone Magnet Middle School students conduct research on an iPad

Four students stand outside and use iPads to photograph posters laying on the ground
Stone Magnet Middle School students use iPads to photograph posters they designed for their digital art portfolio

Two female students sit at a desk and paint posters.
Stone Magnet Middle School students design posters promoting the arts

A female student sits at a music stand and holds a violin
Stone Magnet Middle School student plays the violin in class

Photo of two women.
Stephanie Archer, BPS Director of School Choice, and Cari Kupec, BPS Project Director

Brevard Public Schools (BPS) serves more than 72,000 students, making it the 10th largest of 67 school districts in Florida and the 48th largest district in the United States. Brevard County, located on the central east coast of Florida, is nearly equal to the landmass of the state of Rhode Island. It is home to the Kennedy Space Center and, while unemployment has recently risen, the county has a vibrant economy that combines high-tech with tourism and agriculture. Guided by its strategic plan vision, BPS strives to serve every student with excellence as the standard.

Brevard Public Magnet Schools are Generating STEAM for College and Career Readiness in attainment of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematical (STEAM) skills. The Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) grant will enable BPS to create unique STEAM programs at one elementary school, two middle schools, and one high school with high percentages of minority group isolation. These programs will serve as model schools as the district transforms its educational delivery model to ensure every child has the skills to successfully contribute to their community and the nation as a whole. STEAM magnet programs offer a way for students to participate in engaging, innovative academic programs.

The magnet program benefits teachers by providing professional development in the areas of STEAM and Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) teaching strategies, highly effective teaching, cultural competency, and practices that have been proven effective with diverse student populations. Each school was designed based on input from students, parents, and staff.

Golfview Elementary Magnet School STEAM Academy is a revised magnet school prepared to unite, ignite, and inspire students to develop skills essential for their success in a global society. As a result of a district school closure decision, a new faculty was created by merging the existing staffs from two schools into one. The school will be the first elementary STEAM academy (with STEAM-certified teachers) in the district and the first to offer the AVID Elementary Program for career and college readiness. In addition, the school is the first to launch an Aviation & Aeronautics Lab, which offers a unique and amazing experience for students in an enhanced, rigorous curriculum focusing on all elements of STEAM. In addition, the established, award-winning Performing Arts Magnet has already begun to expand to incorporate the art of writing, the art of speaking, and the art of presenting, which will foster well-rounded and polished individuals.

Building on a foundation of successful existing programs, most notably the Science Research and AVID programs, Stone STEAM Magnet Middle School looks forward to utilizing cutting-edge technology, adding high-interest electives, and implementing the STEAM curriculum through the MSAP grant. Stone will be the first and only BPS school to have a full-scale, 1:1 digital learning initiative—every student will be assigned a MacBook Air for use while at the school. Stone rolled out the first stage of this initiative for teachers in spring 2014 and will implement it for students during the 2014-15 school year. This initiative embodies what Stone Magnet Middle School represents: "Hands on, minds on; technology access for all."

The new STEAM magnet for McNair Magnet Middle School will focus on Touching the World Through Inspiration and Invention. Students have opportunities to engage in innovative and creative coursework in engineering, green technologies (gardening and hydroponics), and sustainability. This grant enables the school to offer new engineering courses, introduce new computer technology, update science labs and lab equipment, bring new technology to the performing arts program, offer a before-school enrichment program, and create more outdoor spaces for classes and visitors. McNair’s revised magnet program includes a systemic focus on modifying the delivery of instruction to help students compete in a global market in the 21st century.
Palm Bay High Magnet School provides high-quality, innovative instructional programs for a diverse ethnic and academic population. In an effort to raise academic standards, high-interest, STEAM-related programs are being infused into all classes. This focus engages and prepares the students for college and career readiness. The first and only magnet high school in BPS, Palm Bay has two distinct academies: The Academy of Engineering and Computer Science, and The Academy of Health and Public Affairs. These pathways provide various academic, elective, and Career Technical courses for students to explore their interests.

Cari Kupec, MSAP Project Director, holds a bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Central Florida and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University. Kupec has served 18 years with BPS and previously held positions as Race to the Top Project Director, Assistant Principal, and Coordinating Teacher under MSAP funding. She has worked with students from diverse backgrounds as a classroom teacher, and enjoys the challenge of magnet school reform.