BIG CYPRESS — Having recently completed 35 years as a teacher and an administrator with Broward County Public Schools, Ahfachkee School’s new principal Dorothy Cain is well prepared for her new job.
Cain is filled with ideas to improve attendance, align curriculums with state standards, increase academic quality and bring back athletics. She also plans to offer more electives, restart the student council and form an active parent-teacher student organization.
“A lot of Tribal students go to surrounding schools,” Cain said. “We’d like to keep them here, but we need to be competitive to do that.”
Cain plans to concentrate on the Florida Standards, which were designed to ensure students graduate high school with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in college, careers and life. The standards enforce what students should master every year from kindergarten through 12th grade.
“We have very strong teachers, but not a lot of training in the standards,” Cain said.
Ahfachkee’s teachers will be trained in the standards through training sessions, experts and professional development throughout the academic year.
In addition to her responsibilities as a school administrator, Cain has extensive experience in student achievement, curriculum development and as a mentor to teachers and administrators. She earned a Master of Science in Administration and Supervision K-12 from Florida Atlantic University and a Bachelor of Science in Exceptional Student Education from Barry University.
Cain has expertise in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education and loves new technology. She spent many years at struggling schools and is confident she can improve Ahfachkee.
“There is a lot of room for opportunity and growth here,” she said. “I can do so much to help the kids.”
Programming is important for high school students, and Cain wants the school to offer interesting electives to keep them at Ahfachkee. She believes when students take classes they are passionate about, it keeps them in school and keeps their grades up.
College will be on the horizon for many high school students, therefore, Cain wants to foster relationships with universities. She also wants to create a work study program for students at Tribal departments.
“Kids have to be academically prepared; that’s why the state standards are so important,” she said.
Cain realizes there is a lot of work to do at Ahfachkee but sees it as an opportunity to move the school forward for the benefit of the students and the Tribe. She comes to school early every day so she can greet the students as they come in.
“Kids want to take the quickest and easiest way out, but in the long run they are being cheated out of a good education,” Cain said. “They don’t see it when they are in high school, but they’ll look back and thank us for making them learn.”