What is Community Education?
Community Education refers to a way people enhance their lives by learning through programs or classes that help each individual’s growth and development. A common feature is that programs and activities are developed based on the needs of each individual community and participants. The purpose of Community Education is to provide opportunities to all local members of all ages by providing programs and activities that improve their quality of life.
What are Community Schools?
Community Schools are schools that go beyond the traditional school day operations to provide academic, extracurricular, recreational, health and social services, and work force preparation programs for people of all ages. Community Schools build strong communities by meeting educational needs of individuals and families throughout their lives. Community schools have programs and services for all community members that include an array of opportunities depending on each individual’s need.
History of Community Education and Community Schools in Miami-Dade County
- In 1961, as a result of the massive Cuban influx, the first Community Education program started at Ada Merritt Junior High, under the leadership of District Coordinator Mr. Lou Tasse.
- In the 1970’s, through efforts of then Florida Representative Bob Graham and other advocates in the Florida Legislature, the Florida Community School Act was passed. This enabled the State budget to designate a categorical allocation specifically for the support of Community Education.
- In the early part of the 20th Century, immigrants from Europe took their first steps towards becoming American citizens in the “night schools” of this nation. In a sense, these night schools were the community schools of their time. In the last decade of the 20th Century, the School Board of Miami-Dade County recognized the importance of designating its network of adult-vocational-technical centers under the Community Education aegis.
- In the 21st Century, the Community Education Program is and continues to be a very important component of our School System. Despite incredibly difficult economic times and many cuts to Community Education, the existing community schools and adult education centers continue to provide meaningful programming and services to individuals of all ages.
- On a monthly basis, over 20,000 students are provided a safe learning environment at over 250 schools during the crucial before and after school hours.
- Over 23,000 students of all ages participate in enrichment classes through Community Education.
- Community Education has enriched the lives of students of all ages, and will continue to provide a safe and learning environment by offering before and after school programs and classes that will strengthen each individual’s talents.