"FOCUSED ON STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT"
Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ (M-DCPS) pregnant adolescents are eligible to attend Continuing Opportunities for Purposeful Education (COPE) Center North which provides middle school through high school level education for pregnant and parenting teenagers. This alternative education center is a school of choice where students elect to attend instead of staying in their home schools during pregnancy and after the birth of their children.
COPE Center North is located within an area called West Little River and sits directly across from William H. Turner Technical High School and slightly north of Miami Central Senior High on NW 19th Avenue and 103rd Street. The building has forty classrooms, a library, cafeteria, courtyard and play area, and a fully functioning medical clinic.
COPE has a rolling admission’s policy throughout the academic year for adolescents with newly diagnosed pregnancy or teenage parents. The average enrollment is 150 students and 108 babies, with a capacity of 300 enrollees. The student body is comprised of 52% Blacks, 45% Hispanics, and 3% Whites. Class size usually ranges from 10 to 25 students and the daily attendance ranges from 70% to 89%.
During the 2012-2013 school-year, there were a total of 64 students who gave birth and one of these students delivered a set of twins. All of the teens who attend this school setting are permitted to remain until they graduate. The duration of a student’s enrollment at COPE may vary from as little as a few months up to the time the student’s child reaches the age of four years.
Students enrolled in this public school setting are bused from anywhere between North County Line Road to Miami’s Southwest 8th Street.
FACULTY AND STAFF
This alternative school provides both traditional academic studies as well as specialized services such as parenting classes, health care, and daycare facilities. The faculty and staff are trained professionals in different academic disciplines and Nationally Board Certified in Childcare and Parenting. Staff consists of one administrator, two counselors, 12 instructional staff, 34 paraprofessionals, three security monitors and three custodians. The clinic is staffed by two registered nurse practitioners and two medical assistants; this team provides prenatal, pediatric, and gynecological services. During non-school time, students access medical services at three affiliated off-site clinics.
Many of the students who attend COPE Center North have experienced significant disruptions to their schooling and therefore, they are in many cases over-aged and not on track to graduate with their high-school cohort. Hence, COPE has an eight-period day that allows students to get back on track by making up missing credits. Students take not only required courses but also, courses in credit recovery, intensive mathematics or reading, virtual school, and career and technical education (CTE). There is a STEM CTE track that prepares students for a career in allied health fields and they are eligible to be industry certified as assistants for medical, nursing, and EKG.
COPE North Nurturing Center has been accredited by The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Commission since 2004. NAEYC Accreditation of programs for young children represents the mark of quality in early childhood education and the Center participates in a rigorous annual self-study in order to achieve re-accreditation in 2008 and 2012. The early childhood experiences that COPE provides have an enormous impact on children’s lifelong learning and positively contribute to their health and development. This early childhood education benefits our children with greater readiness for and success in school.
AREAS OF FOCUS
COPE Center North will strive to increase student attendance and graduation rates through the following:
- Mentoring Program - There will be a focus on personalizing the learning environment through the development of a student mentoring program so that all students can experience a positive relationship with at least one significant adult who will be available to guide and support them through both social and academic endeavors.
- Academic Program – Students will have personalized schedules to meet the unique needs of teenage pregnancy and this value-added facet will assist in increasing graduation rates because students will stay in school to take advantage of both the nurturing care facilities as well as the additional training regarding parenting and early childhood education.
- Community Outreach Program: Outside agencies and staff from the Nurturing Center will provide monthly “Mommy and Me” classes on age appropriate strategies for caring and educating their children. The curriculum will include identifying developmental stages and benchmarks as well as age appropriate learning games. In addition, there are special intensive sessions to prepare pregnant teens for their imminent delivery and postpartum care.
In order to increase students’ success, the following community-based organizations/outside agencies provide additional services to enhance their educational and social-emotional experiences at COPE Center North:
- Concerned African Women
- Switchboard of Miami
- Family Learning Partnership
- Miami-Biscayne Bay Chapter of the Links. Inc.
- South Florida Youth Foundation
- Healthy Start
- Phi Delta Kappa, Alpha Delta Chapter
- War on Poverty
- Abstinence Between Strong Teens International
- Re-Capturing the Vision
- Miami-Dade College
- Florida Memorial University