Samuel Broyles III, center director of Hamilton’s Booker T. Washington Community Center, tells Miami University students and faculty about the center as part of the group’s tour of Butler County city. The first-time tour was arranged through a joint effort with Hamilton Schools and include six of the city school system’s schools.

To learn about Hamilton, 100 Miami students and faculty members came to the city. Here’s why.

The reality excursion was designed to give Miami students and teachers from the school’s education department a first-hand look at the total picture that makes up a modern-day city like Hamilton.

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Brian Schultz, department chairman of Miami’s teacher education school, said the day-long tour included six Hamilton Schools, community organizations, youth centers and mental health groups as well as visiting 17 neighborhoods in the Butler County city.

Buses were provided by city schools.

The tour was the first of its kind, but won’t be the last, said Schultz.

“We are trying to have faculty and students … understand the complex issues facing Hamilton Schools and the city and expose them to the multi-faceted, complicated nature of a city,” said Schultz.

For the Miami education students, the day was part of their “field experience and student teaching” requirements to earn a degree.

Schultz said Hamilton, which is also home to one of Miami’s two regional campuses, is ideal for such a tour in large part because it’s a city on rise that is earning recognition for changes to improve the quality of life for its residents.

In 2017, a $1.3 million “Upward Bound” federal grant was awarded to Miami University Hamilton to create a variety of programs at Hamilton schools designed to prepare low-income students for college and careers.

MORE: Miami Hamilton lands one of largest grants in its history to work with Hamilton Schools

“We wanted the students to understand the hopefulness that is happening in Hamilton,” he said.

Joni Copas, spokesperson for the 10,000-student city schools, said “our school district values and appreciates the long-standing partnership we have with Miami University for the betterment of our students and community.”

“They share in our belief of education as a community priority and we look forward to increasing our commitment to each other,” said Copas.

Schultz said he expects the city learning excursions will be offered each semester to students and faculty.

“It was a success but there’s more planning to do for future tours,” he said.

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