Grantee Corner  |  Broward County Public Schools

Three male students stand in a classroom in front of a LEGO Robotics sign
Colbert Elementary School students practice for the LEGO Robotics Competition

Three male students sit at a long desk and use iPads.
Atlantic West Elementary School students use IPads in their classes

A male student stands in front of presentation materials while wearing a hat with the Canadian flag
Plantation Elementary School student shares about technology in Canada

Headshot of Leona Miracola
Leona Miracola, BCPS Project Director

Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) is the sixth largest public school system in the United States and the second largest in Florida. BCPS has over 260,000 students and approximately 175,000 adult students in 237 schools, centers and technical colleges, and an additional 100 charter schools. More than 44,000 students are enrolled in magnet programs. BCPS serves a diverse student population: students come from 204 different countries and speak 135 different languages.

BCPS created six whole-school science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) museum magnet elementary schools through the Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) grant. The STEM museum model provides an interactive learning environment that expands beyond the classroom walls to the museums, the community, and the world. The integration of the museum model with STEM curricula offers students at these six schools opportunities to explore, experiment, explain, and exhibit research through engaging, real-world projects.

Every quarter, STEM museum schools hold an exhibition night and invite parents and community residents to view student work featured in a museum style. Attendees tour the school guided by docents, who are actually elementary students in the STEM museum magnet program. The docents discuss the work and answer questions on each project.

At Atlantic West Elementary School, students are engaged and excited as they learn while participating in research and inquiry lessons in preparation for museum exhibits. During a recent exhibit, one of our parents said she could “feel the excitement and energy in the air.” 

Broward Estates Elementary School first-grade students have participated in hands-on activities where they explore and compare building structures using toothpicks and gumdrops. Second-grade students have learned about different ways to tell time by creating salt timers, shadow clocks, and water timers. Fourth-grade students have used the design process to discover how the type of paper used to make a paper glider affects the distance the glider can travel.

At Colbert Elementary School, students compete in programs such as robotics, engineering, and mathematics events. Colbert staff have achieved recognition as national trainers in the Engineering is Elementary curriculum.

Students at Liberty Elementary School have access to 21st century technology in the classroom and the interactive Learning Innovation Lab. The rigorous curriculum is enriched by increased field trips, increased technology opportunities, and quarterly hands-on museum exhibition nights. The school already sees increases in enrollment and student achievement.

At Plantation Elementary School, students deepen their learning as they focus on Connecting Cultures through studies of continents and countries around the world. The exploration begins with climates as STEM museum students “Journey to the Past” in the first semester and “Travel Into the Future” in the second semester. Many STEM adventures take place in the interactive Learning Innovation Lab, the Discovery Science Lab, and in classrooms. Students have opportunities to participate in the Hands-on Math Lab, Southeastern Consortium for Minorities in Engineering Creations Lab, and "Edible" Learning Garden.

At Royal Palm Elementary School, STEM museum magnet students focus on environmental issues as they collaborate with organizations and businesses. Through partnerships and distance learning, students get involved in fun, relevant activities and programs that help them develop awareness and interest in careers and STEM-related fields.

BCPS magnet school teachers continue their professional learning, and school community members all help to bring the STEM museum magnet theme into all areas of the school. BCPS aims to increase enrollment and student achievement, and give students a greater appreciation of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics by using the museum model.

Leona Miracola is the MSAP Project Director. She has worked in public education for 30 years and oversees all the district’s magnet and innovative programs.

See MSAP Grantees page