Dunbar High School is a magnet school in Fort Myers, Florida which, up until a few years ago, suffered from many of the challenges impacting schools nationwide: decreasing student enrollment, low interest in school, and a risk of minority group isolation. But, new initiatives created a rigorous school curriculum, brought up-to-date equipment to classrooms, galvanized the local business community, and energized students, making learning meaningful, evidenced by performance on statewide assessments. These achievements underscore why Dunbar recently was spotlighted in a report series sponsored by Microsoft Corporation National Career Technical Education Foundation and NCTEF.
Redesigning the High School Experience for College and Career Readiness highlights Dunbar High School’s special feature: Inviting Students to Excellence through Information Technology. Dunbar High School offers 9th-12th grade students an immersive clusters-based curriculum, training them with the skills necessary to achieve multiple industry standard technical certifications for careers such as Technical Specialist, Network Engineering, Web Site Designer and more. Dual enrollment credit and AP courses are also offered for students.
Initiatives such as – the Academy for Technology Excellence Program and the Academy for Digital Excellence — have created a new vision for the school: providing a rigorous curriculum that leads to a variety of IT industry certifications, equipping students to compete in our fast-paced, technically sophisticated economy.
The student response has been amazing–students are learning and practicing 21st century skills in internship experiences with local business and industry partners, and earning industry-recognized credentials through curriculum completion. Partnership with professional associations has proven to be integral to the school’s success. The academy is a certified Microsoft IT Academy; additionally, the CompTIA Education Foundation, Adobe Education, SW Florida Regional Technology Partnership, Association of Information Technology Professionals, SW Florida PC Users Group, and other school districts with IT programs also offer support to the school and are key partners. Testing fees for students are paid for by the School District of Lee County through the Florida Department of Education Perkin’s grant funds.
The Dunbar High School report is fourth in a series produced in collaboration with the NCTEF and Microsoft Corporation’s U.S. Partners in Learning program. The series showcase success stories of high schools that are creating a different kind of learning experience. In these series, Microsoft’s goal is to stimulate positive change in education, and is investing resources to create new 21st century learning communities, help existing schools such as Dunbar High School transform into 21st century learning communities, develop skilled and innovative leaders, and increase adoption of innovative learning solutions through scale.
Take a virtual tour of the Dunbar experience through a video: Real Life Heroes: Dunbar High School Academy for Technology Excellence