MAST Academy
Question & Answers


1. What makes the MAST Academy different from a traditional high school?

Established in September 1991 and accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, MAST is the only maritime and science technology magnet high school in the Miami-Dade County Public School system. The school is staffed by a principal, one lead teacher, and 46 full and part-time faculty members of whom approximately 75% hold advanced degrees. The student-teacher ratio is 23:1.

MAST has 550 students in grades 9-12. The school includes a pool, boathouse and docks, fitness center, high-tech auditorium, and a media center with over 18,500 print and non-print items. Classes are equipped with the latest subject-appropriate equipment. Computers are available throughout the school.

The MAST Academy offers a unique and rigorous marine-theme curriculum and superb facilities with access to the local Biscayne Bay ecosystem. The small size of the school, low student-teacher ratio, and parent, community and corporate involvement contribute to the success of the MAST Academy as an educational institution.

2. What special academic programs does MAST feature?

MAST students complete 29 credits for graduation (five more than the district requirement). Students earn a major in Oceanic and Atmospheric Science Technology, Marine Studies and Culture, or Maritime Related Industries. MAST Academy requires students to complete four years of both mathematics and science. The school provides a wide array of course offerings: sixteen AP courses, film studies, dual enrollment courses in engineering, CAD, science, geology, hospitality, and culinary arts, and the only Coast Guard JROTC program in the nation. Students also complete an internship requirement in settings ranging from Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and the Southeast Fisheries to the University of Miami’s Rosensteil School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.

3. What recognition has MAST received?

The U.S. Department of Education named the MAST Academy a New American High School Showcase Site in 2000. We have also been recognized as a State of Florida High-Performing School, a Magnet School of Merit (1996, 1998), and were featured in Redbook and Business Week magazines. For the past three years, the school has received an “A” rating from the Florida Department of Education. In 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008 Newsweek included MAST Academy in its list of the top 100 schools in the nation. In 1996 and 2006, the USDOE named MAST Academy a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.

4. What clubs and activities are available to students?

The MAST Academy offers numerous opportunities for student participation. Clubs and honor societies include National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, French Honor Society, Social Studies Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta (a math honor society), Key Club International, Ecology Club, Gay/Straight Alliance, Interact, Future Teachers of America, and numerous others. School publications include our award winning newspaper and yearbook. We also produce a creative writing magazine, Spilt Milk.

5. How do parents access school technology?

Parents may contact the student services secretary at 305-365-6278 to schedule computer time in the Parent Information Center. MAST also maintains a webpage at . The Parent and Families Portal icon will take visitors to a virtual resource page.

6. How do I contact my child’s teacher?

Faculty e-mail addresses and contact information are available on our webpage ( or by contacting the school’s main office at (305) 365-6278. We also urge parents to take advantage of the District-sponsored parent-teacher conference days/evenings. See the M-DCPS 2008-2009 calendar for those dates.

7. What schools and colleges have accepted MAST students for undergraduate studies?

Since 1994, college acceptances have come from Amherst, Auburn, Boston University, Brown, CalTech, Clark, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, Georgia Tech, Grinnell, Harvard, Haverford, Holy Cross, Howard, Johns Hopkins, Mt. Holyoke, MIT, Oberlin, Princeton, Reed, Rollins, Rutgers, Smith, Stetson, Swarthmore, Tulane, University of Chicago, University of Miami, University of Pennsylvania, Vassar, Webb Institute of Naval Architecture, Wellesley, Wesleyan, West Point, Williams, Vassar, Yale, and schools throughout the Florida state university system.

8. If my child is accepted at MAST, will they receive transportation?

Accepted students who live more than two miles from the school will be provided transportation. Some students will travel to and from MAST by direct bus; others by a combination of bus, Metrorail, and shuttle (from the Vizcaya station).

9. Where can I get information about MAST’s curriculum?

Three ways: 1) visit and click on “Publications” and then “Curriculum Bulletin”; 2) for a more compact presentation review Charting a Course (also available on the website); and 3) tour the School any Tuesday at 10:00 A.M. to learn about our unique program.

10. When will I know whether my child has been accepted at MAST?

Depending on the arrival of the random selection lists, we will begin notifying students and their families on or about March 15th of each year.

11. How are students entered into the random selection process?

Students who qualify to attend MAST are entered into random selection. (See #12.)

12. How is my child’s application to MAST evaluated?

We will review academic and conduct grades along with attendance. The application review is a quantified process and thus points are assigned for each component. Stronger grades and attendance increase a child’s chances of being entered into lottery. The school requires that students applying for 9th grade be enrolled in Algebra 1 and Earth/Space Science. Students applying for 10th grade must be enrolled in Geometry and Biology. Students must have an A or B in these required courses—and no grade lower than a B in conduct in any course. We look closely at attendance. Students who go to lottery will have no more than four absences in the first semester. Absences above four must be explained.

13. Why does MAST Academy recommend that interested students get their applications in by the winter break?

We recommend that students submit their applications as early as possible so that we can work more closely with families in the event documents—such as official grades from private or parochial school students-- are missing from a child’s file. If you wait until the middle of January to submit your application and you are missing items, you will certainly lose points--and possibly an opportunity to attend MAST.

14. When must all applications be submitted?

Applications must be submitted to Schools of Choice by January 15th. No exceptions.

15. What if something is missing from my child’s application?

Our admissions staff will make every effort to place one call or send one email to notify parents/guardians of what is missing. In the main, these calls will go out to private and parochial school parents who must send us current year grades. We document these contacts. All applications must be submitted by January 15th. No exceptions. It is the parent’s responsibility to call us and ensure their child’s application is complete.

16. What does a “typical” ninth grade schedule look like?

The schedules of ninth graders are quite varied and may include: English 1(Honors), Geometry (Regular or Honors), World History (Regular or Honors), Biology (Regular or Honors), Health/Personal Fitness, and two electives. The electives open to ninth graders are Engineering, CG JROTC, Chorus, Food Production, French, Materials and Processes Technology, Solar Energy, Spanish, Spanish for Spanish Speakers, Steel Drum Band.

17. What sports are available at MAST?

Water Sports: Crew, Water Polo, Swimming, Sailing

Field or Court Sports: Volleyball, Basketball, Softball, Soccer, Cheerleading

18. Does MAST offer summer school?

Yes, MAST does offer summer school, pending School Board approval. Ninth graders are required to take two courses: Technology in the Classroom and Critical Thinking/Study Skills. Both courses are graduation requirements at MAST.

19. How does MAST serve gifted students?

Through the gifted consultative model. The school’s gifted consult teacher meets with students and parents to review the students’ goals and educational responsibilities during their time at MAST. Our curriculum is already geared toward advanced studies. Instead of gifted courses we have developed a rigorous college-preparatory program with Advanced Placement and dual enrollment courses.

20. Is Coast Guard JROTC required at MAST?

No, JROTC is not required. The four-year sequence in maritime science constitutes an elective option for students. Students with an interest in leadership, navigation, and military protocol will want to consider CG JROTC as one of their elective options.

21. Does MAST offer guidance for college?

Absolutely! We have a strong and innovative college advisement program. We encourage you to visit the college advisement section of our website:—click on “College Information.”

22. What kinds of special opportunities does MAST offer students?

Special opportunities abound at MAST: curriculum-related and enrichment travel (national and international [when permitted]), club activities, internships, independent study, scholarships, leadership experiences, marine-theme core and elective courses, weekly meetings with the principal in the form of a “Captain’s Call,” a full menu of Advanced Placement, dual enrollment, and honors courses, a technology-rich environment, academic and career colloquia, and numerous field research experiences.

23. Do siblings of current MAST students gain any advantage in the application process?

Qualified applicants seeking admission to MAST with siblings who will be continuing their enrollment at the school during the next school year are guaranteed admission. Do keep in mind that the applying sibling must qualify for the school first.

Questions about any of the information here? Please contact Dr. Margaret Haun at or at 305-365-6278, ext. 2250.

Revised (9/08 by meh)