Staff Report

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. – Chances are you have seen the billboards and ads promoting the XQ Super School Bus and its invitation to rethink America’s high schools. South Florida has gotten involved and will have a chance to engage with the innovative project when several local high school students and community leaders head to Miami on Friday, June 24, to meet the bus that is on a multi-city national tour.

The XQ Super School Bus is traveling from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., and thanks to Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs, a contest inviting communities to rethink America’s high schools will result in several being awarded millions of dollars to implement their out-of-the-box ideas.

Bayfront Park is one of 14 scheduled stops where they are engaging with   community members about how they think high schools could be reinvented, said Keisha Harrington, a Boynton Beach educator who is part of a local team that submitted an application to Jobs’ XQ Super School Challenge. Miami-Dade Public Schools also submitted an application and is in the running for one of the grants.

“The bus tour is designed to encourage students, parents, teachers and community members to explore innovative ways to improve high schools in an age of innovation,” said Harrington, who is a finalist in the largest open call for public high school redesign in American history.

“It also will be an opportunity for the community to connect with us, and hear directly from us why we engaged in the challenge as well as some of the innovative ideas that we have for rethinking high school in South Florida,” she added.

The bus is customized with touchable iPads, a video booth and an interactive wall displaying testimonials from educators and students along the way.

In September 2015, the Emerson Collective, an organization run by Powell Jobs, launched the competition to ask communities and people everywhere to rethink and redesign what high school could and should look like.

More than 1,000 ideas, including the one from the Delray Beach-based Visioneering Centre for Global Innovation and Communication, flowed in. So far, the proposals have been whittled down to 385, and at least five of those will receive $10 million grants. Winners will be announced in early August.

The vCentre plans to use the grant, which would be awarded over five years, to build a state of the art facility that will focus on project-based learning in science, technology, engineering, arts and math as well as cutting edge technology.

Students, educators and the community came up with the idea over several months of meetings, said C. Ron Allen, a local community servant who operates a mentoring program in the community.

“As soon as we learned of this opportunity to create a revolutionary school for our local students, we jumped on it full force,” said Allen, who spearheaded the project.