Miami Killian Senior High School is unleashing the Cougar — Cougar Pride, that is — as four new academies and an innovative new vision are putting Killian High back in the educational spotlight.
Miami Killian always has ranked high among area schools for academics, sports and extracurricular activities. But, according to its principal, Magda Pereira, as more and more students are being drawn to other programs and charter schools, Killian has seen a shift in demographics.
“So as a community school, we must adapt in order to be successful, by introducing a very innovative approach to secondary education — a new Career & Technical Academy program. And we are super excited about it,” Pereira said.
Miami Killian, of course, will continue offering its highly popular collegiate programs, including the iPrep Academy, the Cambridge Diploma program, and the International Law Studies Academy, but it is implementing a new vision that reflects the introduction of four new Career & Technical Academies scheduled to start in fall 2016:
Emergency Medical Technician Academy (EMTA) is for students who are drawn to the chance to save lives and make a real difference in their community. Program includes such classes as Health Science Foundations, Anatomy & Physiology, and courses that will lead to certifications for Emergency Medical Responder, and Electrocardiograph Technician.
Digital Communications Academy (DCA) is geared toward furthering education and careers in Arts, A/V Technology, and Communications. It includes classes such as Journalism, Digital Design, and Industrial Communications and will also provide students with the opportunity for industry certificates in web design and Microsoft applications.
Culinary Arts Academy is for students interested in entering the ever-demanding field of food service and restaurant industry sales. It includes a sequence of four Culinary Arts modules leading to a ServSafe Industry Certificate.
Game Simulation & Design Academy (GSDA) prepares students for further education and careers in the high-demand field of game simulation design & programming, and software development — where there are an estimated one million current job openings.
Finally, all academies will offer an optional a course in Business/Entrepreneurial Principles, leading up to an additional certificate option in Microsoft applications and providing students with exposure to business notions and concepts.
To be an “Academy Completer,” a student would need to remain with one of the four chosen programs for three years.
“But even if they just take one class in an offering, they can take that single certificate with them and into the workforce,” Pereira said.
With this new approach, Miami Killian will not only continue preparing students for post-secondary education, but will now also prepare them for immediate entry into the workforce.
“In doing so, we’re bringing the best of both worlds to the students of our community,” said Pereira, who is finishing her first year as principal at Miami Killian.
“This has been both a personal challenge as well as an exciting professional opportunity,” said the Palmetto Bay resident.
Pereira comes to Killian after serving as principal at Irving & Beatrice Peskoe K-8 Center in Homestead and at Southwood Middle School between 2012 and 2015.
“I feel blessed and honored to be here as the first female principal of Miami Killian, especially as we approach our 50th anniversary year,” she added.
Pereira said the day she was appointed to her new position, her first thought was “Cougar pride, you’re coming back,” referring to the school’s ferocious mascot.
It was June of 2015 when she arrived at her new post at Miami Killian High School, 10655 SW 97 Ave.
“What stood out most were the bare walls — and a great opportunity. I was immediately inspired to bring back the spirit.”
After approaching a group of student alumni, Pereira commissioned a series of enormous K-Nation murals to be painted in bold and bright colors throughout the campus.
“We’re instilling pride again in this amazing school — and reminding everyone that we still ‘Bleed Green and Gold.’”
Founded in 1965, Miami Killian High School presently serves 2,100 students with more than 100 staff and faculty. It has traditionally been a well-rounded community-based school with 75 percent of the student body living within the school’s assigned boundaries.
Along with the introduction of the four new academies, a new mission statement has been created: The mission of Miami Killian Senior High School is to prepare students to reach their optimum potential in an ever-changing, highly technical, global world. To accomplish this mission, we will provide students with a clean and safe learning environment, a challenging and diverse curriculum, superior classroom instruction a full range of positive support services, and a variety of athletic and other student activities.
A promotional roll-out of the four new academies and the new mission statement took place in mid-February. Informational assemblies were conducted to allow students to ask questions before engaging in subject selection.
“With any big change, it is natural to see some resistance, criticism, and concern among people who are taken out of their comfort zone,” Pereira said. “But at the end of this major transition, I am confident the faculty will clearly see the fruit of our labor – and be very proud to be part of this amazing new approach.”
Expect to see a full complement of academic flags in the front vestibule at the entrance of Miami Killian High, as banners representing the four new Career & Technical Academies are now proudly being installed.