By Patricia Z. Salahuddin, Ed.D.
MIAMI, Fla. – Clara Muhammed School of Miami Florida, Inc. has been and continues to be a cornerstone for education and an adhesive element for the Miami community.
Beginning as the Muhammed University of Islam in 1967, now Clara Mohammed School (CMS), this institution of education has educated thousands of children in Miami. Today with our principal, Nia Jackson, the school serves many Muslim and non-Muslim students from pre-school to 8th grade, who live in and around the Liberty City township of Miami.
Our mission to offer a curriculum that is influenced by the Qur’an and Sunnah is evident in the integration of Islamic principles and knowledge throughout the curriculum.
Whether it is math, science, social studies or reading, our teachers make every effort to infuse Qur’an and Sunnah in all subjects as well as in the disciplinary practices. Whether eating, playing or studying, our students are reminded of Islamic adhab (Islamic etiquette and manners).
For example, Fatima Bahmad, who teaches lower elementary students, encourages her students to make wudu when they become angry. She says, “Now, instead of reacting in a negative way in their moment of anger, students ask to go and make wudu so that they can calm down and reflect.”
Islamic principles are implemented in every aspect of the curriculum by all involved in the students’ daily learning experience, including our beloved custodian, Bro. Alphonso Shaheed.
Identity and scholarship are other important aspects of the curriculum. Students learn about great leaders in Islamic history as well as historical African American leaders.
With a diverse staff, Clara Mohammed school offers an inclusive curriculum and an environment that respects and honors Islamic culture. Students can identify with people who look like them and share their experiences, regardless of national origin.
In January, to cultivate a sense of self, students completed a family history project and presented it along with their science projects. Students shared their scientific experiments and their family histories with family and community.
The Principal, Ms. Jackson, says that students are also learning about the rich history of Masjid Al-Ansar, the oldest Masjid in the state of Florida. She says, “The goal is to create an archive that tells the story of the oldest South Florida Muslim community from the students’ perspective, insha Allah.”
During the month of February, students studied the history of African Americans and their contributions to this country and the world. The culminating activity for this project was a brain bowl competition.
Student teams, comprised of different grade levels, collaborated to answer questions regarding African Americans in Academic, Business, Community Activists, Sports and Service.
Parents and the community cheered them on as they exhibited knowledge of African American history. Although awards were given to first, second and third place winners, from the excitement and enthusiasm of the participants and the audience, everyone was a winner in this event
Another engaging learning experience was a camping retreat also in February. Over the course of three days and two nights, 15 students, their teachers and parents participated in the annual Imam Khalid A. Salahuddin Family Ta’alim sponsored by Masjid Al-Ansar.
Under the guidance of their teachers, students explored nature, played games, took a hayride, and enjoyed preparing S’mores around the campfire. The camp program for the 12-17 age group is provided each year by Baiyina Khalil from Kamp Khalil, Inc.
A highlight on Saturday evening was the sing-along with Bro. Wilmore Sadiki. Young voices filled the meeting hall with their favorite melodies, such as I’m a Little Muslim Child, Allah Did, and ABC Song. This is CMS third year attending this annual community event; it’s becoming a tradition.
At CMS of Miami, students are given the opportunity to connect to Allah’s creation as emphasized by Imam W.D. Mohammed, documented in the book Education: A Sacred Matter. In addition to camping and other nature-related activities, currently the school has partnered with Florida International University (FIU) to start a vegetable/herb garden.
Although they are currently away from their physical school garden, in wake of COVID-19, they continue to receive gardening and science instructions from FIU, via Zoom.
“They are growing seeds from plastic bags in their homes and apartments,” says one of the teachers. Growing a vegetable garden incorporates all disciplines, plus students learn the art of growing their own food and exploring nature as they get acquainted with Allah’s creation.
The success of Clara Mohammed School comes from Allah. As with any success, we play a role. Believers are doing their part through the 100@$50 fundraising initiative. For the month of March 2020, the 100@$50 initiative supported Clara Mohammed School of Miami.
We are grateful to Allah (SWT) for the support of the local and national communities. Through the leadership of Imam Adam Beyah and Sis. Binah Muhammad, to date, CMS has received $8,953 from the 100@$50 fundraising campaign.
These funds have been used to purchase books, equipment and classroom supplies. We are grateful for the Believers who sacrifice each month to contribute $50 or more to a selected school in the Clara Mohammed School system.
Due to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on schools and families, we need your support even more. Our school buildings are empty, but learning continues online with committed teachers providing engaging lessons and moral support to their students.
May Allah continue to reward the efforts of the Believers who donate to 100@$50 in support of educating our own. For the sake of Allah, continue to invest in Clara Mohammed Schools locally and nationally.
May Allah reward and protect you and may He protect our schools, students, parents and educators. Ameen.
For more information, contact Clara Mohammed School of Miami, 5245 NW 7th Ave., Miami, Fla. 33127; phone 305-759-9145; website https://claramohammedschool.org.