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Florida International University and Miami Northwestern High School (Miami, Florida)

Just a little over a year ago, JPMorgan Chase bestowed $1 million to fund a university-community school partnership between Florida International University and Miami Northwestern High School in the city’s high-poverty Liberty City neighborhood.
 
In the short time since the inception of the community school strategy, Miami Northwestern’s statewide school grade improved from D to B. Math, science, writing, and reading scores are on the rise, attendance is up and discipline problems are decreasing. 
 
The impetus of Miami’s university-assisted community school partnership was a confluence of a couple of different movements to bring long-term, self-sustaining and impactful improvements to the city. JPMorgan Chase was expanding commercially into South Florida while also looking to bolster its place-based philanthropic efforts. Around the same time, FIU president Mark Rosenberg was returning to the university with the mission of branding the university as a "solution center" and anchor institution in Miami. He set out to forge a better relationship between FIU and the Miami Dade County Public School system.
 
FIU, supported by a planning grant from JPMorgan Chase, explored the development of a community school initiative modeled in part after the university-assisted community schools created by the University of Pennsylvania’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships.
 
What has resulted already since the Education Effect was launched is a culture-shift. Every student is expected to go to college now and more freshmen are entering the high school with an increased eagerness to prepare for college, officials said.
 
Through the partnership, Northwestern students are able to earn college credit through dual enrollment courses facilitated by FIU. Northwestern students learn science, math, and engineering in a new aquaponics laboratory, which cultivates plants and aquatic animals in a symbiotic environment. FIU’s College of Business Administration also brings young students to its campus to learn about financial literacy and investment.
 
Conversely, FIU is able to craft innovative service-learning projects for their students by placing them at Northwestern. The goal, university officials said, is to give FIU students an experiential learning opportunity to understand their role within a democracy.
 
Before the partnership, Miami Northwestern would send only a handful of students to FIU, mainly for athletics (Miami Northwestern has a nationally-acclaimed sports program). This past year, 34 Northwestern students were accepted into FIU, with more than 20  choosing to enroll, several of which on academic scholarship. Even teachers from Miami Northwestern are able to earn professional credentials from FIU, essentially becoming FIU adjunct’s professors.
 
"The presence of a university in a high school makes a huge difference," said Nicole Kaufman Glasgow, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at FIU.
 
FIU and Northwestern’s university community school partnership also means community schools can now be found in the nation’s four largest public school districts – New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and now Miami-Dade.

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