Latin Builders Association charter school accepting applications

Latin Builders Association charter school accepting applications

By Christina Veiga, Posted on Monday, July 16, 2012

The next generation of construction, business and marketing professionals in Hialeah will call themselves the Hammerheads.

That’s the mascot of a new charter high school that the Latin Builders Association, Miami-Dade County Public Schools and the City of Hialeah have teamed up to open.

The Latin Builders Association Construction and Business Management Charter High School, or LBA Academy for short, is already accepting applications for the school year beginning Aug. 20. Students must apply to get
in.

“We are helping our children identify their talents and their interests from a very early age, and this is a prime example of that, and start developing it so that whatever they decide to do, they’re ready by the time they leave our school system,” said school board member Carlos Curbelo.

The school will offer each student an iPad and electronic textbooks, as well as regular and honors courses such as Dual Enrollment and Advanced Placement, which can count for college credit. Courses will focus on the construction, business, marketing and technology industries, with the ultimate goal of providing students with the knowledge they need to eventually start their own businesses.

“This is about education. This is about partnership. This is about improving the community’s quality of life by investing in the youth of today,” said Miami-Dade County Superintendent Alberto Carvalho.

Latin Builders Association members will help provide mentorships, internships, job opportunities, lectures and other “real life business experience,” said the school’s principal, Gyovania Marante.

“You can graduate from here and go to college. You can graduate from here and go to the work force. Or, you can grad from here and own your business,” Marante said.

Marante said Hialeah originally held the charter to create a new school in the city, but handed that permission over to the LBA. The school board will manage the school, she said.

Decked out in the LBA Academy’s colors — blue and yellow — Marante welcomed visitors to the new school. The smell of fresh paint filled the hallways of the school, which used to be a school for troubled boys.

She sought to reassure anyone who might be skeptical about preparing students for careers in the construction industry, which has suffered spectacularly in the recent financial crisis.

“It doesn’t focus on construction,” Marante said of LBA Academy. “Because we do have engineering. We do have web design, and we have marketing. We have business.”

She added: “I really wouldn’t look at it as just construction. The reality is that, if the day you graduated from here, you wanted to be a doctor, you would have the skills to be able to run your business.”

Latin Builders Association President Bernie Navarro said the new school shows the Hispanic community’s commitment to education.

“All of us were told over and over again, ‘The only thing they can’t take from you, is what we have in our brain,’ ”he said. “Now it is our job, the job of the new generation of leaders, to pass the baton to future generations.”

LBA Academy’s inaugural class will open with 125 ninth graders. Students from Miami-Dade and Broward counties can apply, and everyone is expected to be accepted — unless more than students apply then there are slots available. In that case, students will be accepted by a lottery, Marante said.