Pitbull looks to open charter school in Arizona

Mr. Worldwide may become Mr. Education in Arizona.

Rapper Pitbull announced Thursday that he plans to open a charter school specializing in sports management in Arizona, according to Shelly Murphy, CEO for Woz U Foundation.

Pitbull, whose real name is Armando Perez, made the announcement at Woz U’s DesTechAZ, a consortium of technology leaders, entrepreneurs and government officials that gathered in Paradise Valley on Thursday at the JW Marriott Camelback Inn.

No date or location for the proposed school was announced.

Perez opened his first public charter school, called Sports Leadership and Management (SLAM), in Miami in 2013.

Ten SLAM schools now operate in four states: seven in Florida, one in Nevada, one in Texas and one in Georgia.

“Arizona is a national leader in public education choice programs,” said Millie Sanchez, chief administrative officer for the SLAM Foundation. “Interested Arizona students could benefit from SLAM’s innovative model.”

Sanchez said several charter school authorizers have reached out to explore the possibility of having a SLAM school among the educational options in Arizona.

The school uses Common Core Standards and sports-related themes to prepare students for careers in sports medicine, sports media production and sports marketing.

The original Miami location earned a D rating from the Florida Department of Education in 2018. Before that, the school earned a C rating every year from 2014-2017.

Approximately 98 percent of students who attend the school were minority students, while 94 percent of students were considered economically disadvantaged.

Two other locations in Palm Beach and Miami earned C ratings for 2018. Grades for the Texas, Nevada and Georgia locations were not available.

Sanchez said the school had a 100 percent graduation rate last year.

“The vast majority of graduates attend colleges and universities,” Sanchez said. “Although the school focuses on the world of sports and the arts, students are equipped to pursue careers in any field.”

Reach the reporter at Lorraine.Longhi@gannett.com. Follow her on Twitter: @lolonghi.

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