Position: Physical Education Teacher
School: Earlington Heights Elementary
School District: Miami-Dade County Public Schools
City, State: Brownsville, Florida
About the Nominee: Ana Rubio was nominated by Stephen Young, a member of her community. Ms. Rubio began teaching more than 16 years ago with a mission to make a difference in every students’ life. As a single mother with three sons, she is aware of the effect public education and school involvement has on the lives of young people. She realized that students who enjoyed learning, both inside and outside the classroom, were more successful than their less interested peers. Ms. Rubio has enriched the lives of many disadvantaged students throughout South Florida through sparking their interest in education.
Ms. Rubio founded a non-profit called Streamline Miami to help underprivileged students stay active and healthy after school. The organization can be summarized by its motto: “Breaking Barriers by Supporting Education; Because Every Child Deserves a Chance.” Streamline Miami started off as a baseball program for students. The group consisted of three teams that would travel across Florida and compete against other local baseball teams. Coaches taught children respect for others, how to work towards a common goal and fair play. Ms. Rubio’s dedication to the students paid off, as six of the program’s participants received college baseball scholarships. Streamline Miami provides underprivileged students a healthy and productive outlet for their energy outside school.
The success of Streamline Miami’s baseball program allowed Ms. Rubio to expand the reach of the organization. It evolved into a group that would provide underprivileged students with local cultural experiences, such as attending South Florida art museums and music festivals. Streamline Miami also began raising money from the local community for more books and teaching instruments inside the classroom. The group has purchased Kindles for students to read during class and has provided schools with pencils, pens and notebooks. Ms. Rubio’s motto is “Every student deserves access to high quality education.” Through Streamline Miami, she is ensuring that underprivileged students do not fall through the cracks.
Another of Ms. Rubio’s goals is to make sure students are prepared for higher education. “Too many underprivileged students see graduating high school as the end of education,” she once said. “We try to show them that college is the next step towards success.” Ms. Rubio makes children interested in higher education by taking them to local universities such as the University of Miami and Florida International University. Students can experience first-hand life on a college campus. They see the sports teams, the school pageantry and the independence of college students. These college visits have a profound impact on children in Streamline Miami.
Streamline Miami continues to evolve and reach more students in South Florida. Its positive impact on the lives of young Miami-Dade students has been noticed throughout the community. Ms. Rubio has raised money for the organization through crowd funding, individual family donations and by getting other Earlington Heights Elementary teachers involved. Streamline Miami has even been able to court major corporate sponsors, including Winn Dixie, Finish Line Youth Foundation, Florida International University, University of Miami, Butler Center for Student Services and Leadership, Office Depot and National Children’s Theatre. Ms. Rubio has been adamant about giving credit to Earlington Heights Elementary School’s principal, Mr. Jackson Nicolas, as well as the school’s administration. “Without the support of my principal and my school, I do not know if Streamline Miami would have been possible.”
Ms. Rubio’s work in Miami-Dade County Public Schools and Streamline Miami continues to help underprivileged students across South Florida. Her work is not over until every student has the opportunity to realize their full potential.