Business Schools


It was bound to happen. First, men went to the office. Then women started going to the office. Now, in Miami, children are going to the office.

Two companies and a community college have opened public-school classrooms on their premises, and nine more companies have applied to join the program. Called satellite learning centers, the classes serve kindergarten to second-grade students.

Dade County School Superintendent Joseph A. Fernandez first suggested the program as a way to alleviate overcrowding in Miami schools. The school district supplies teachers, books, and equipment, while the company provides room. About 80 students are currently enrolled in satellite learning centers.

Fernandez also hopes the program will help desegregate the schools. "The workplaces of Dade County are more integrated than the residential areas," explains school district spokeswoman Lynn Shenkman.

Everyone benefits from the program. The school district saves the average $216,000 it costs to build an elementary school classroom. Some employees like to spend their lunch hours volunteering in the classroom or talking with teachers. And the companies benefit from happier employees.

At American Bankers Insurance Group, the first company to enter the program, absenteeism by employees with children in the school is down by 25 percent; tardiness is almost nonexistent; and the turnover rate is down to 4.5 percent (from an overall company average of 15.9 percent). Says American Bankers Senior Vice President Philip J. Sharkey, "It's a working couple's dream come true."