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Stay iNformed and Connected


The holidays are the perfect time to contemplate the many relationships and experiences for which we are thankful. It’s an occasion to reflect on our lives and to fully embrace the principles of gratitude and appreciation.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools continues to extend its long legacy as a thriving educational system committed to instructional excellence, equity and access. Once again, we are an A-rated school district. Our children are outperforming their counterparts in urban areas and even suburban school districts. For the third year in a row, there are no ‘F’ traditional schools. We have truly lived up to our motto of “giving our students the world”, and our team of world-class professionals is to be commended for their dedication to all students.

As always, these great achievements would not be possible without the support of our community. On behalf of the School Board, I want to thank you for your commitment to public education and for all that you do for our children. May you, your family, and your loved ones enjoy the holiday season honoring timeless traditions and creating new memories. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Kwanza!

Alberto M. Carvalho


Helping Those in Our Community without Homes

image During the holiday season, a time of giving and celebration, we must remember the less fortunate in our community, and that it is the perfect time to lend a hand. Unfortunately, homelessness continues to be a reality for more than 1,100 individuals who are living on the streets of Miami, and the approximately 10,000 students experiencing unstable housing in Miami-Dade County. In just four years, homelessness among the elderly has doubled to more than 700 men and women. And it is important to note that nearly 60 percent of people who are homeless are not mentally ill or on drugs. They just fell on hard times.

Project UP-START, the Homeless Education Program of Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS), assists schools with the identification, enrollment, and attendance of students living with unstable housing. This program serves children and youth who have been displaced from their homes by ensuring that they are assisted with school placement, registration, transportation services, an after-school tutorial program at select homeless shelters, and support for post-secondary education. Project UP-START works in collaboration with the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust to promote homeless awareness activities for students, school-based personnel, and community groups. The core of the program is to prevent children and youth who are in transition from being stigmatized, separated, segregated, or isolated on the basis of their status of where they sleep at night. Multiple efforts have been developed to ensure the equity of all Project UP-START students. Additionally, Project UP-START has a Homeless Education Campaign through a Sensitivity, Awareness, and Prevention curriculum, which was developed in collaboration with the Homeless Trust to provide students with a sense of pride and respect to all.

During the month of November, M-DCPS, in collaboration with the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust, observed National Homeless Awareness Month. Schools were encouraged to participate in a Homeless Awareness Rally on November 7th which was Homeless Awareness Day, as well as activities such as a “Bench Meet Up” to remind people how hard living on the streets can be physically or hanging “Socks on a String” as a visual reminder that the individuals in our community are in need of your help for the basics that make life livable.

So how can the community help? Drives are a great way to support our program. Project UP-START is always accepting non-expired non-perishable food (cereal, granola/nutrition bars), new kitchenware, new school supplies, toiletries, new clothing, new undergarment and socks, new toys and children’s books, especially during the holiday season.

If you have additional ideas on how you can help, contact Project UP-START at (305) 995-7318, via email at projectupstart@dadeschools.net or follow them on social media @ProjectUPSTART.

Exploring Later Start Times for Schools


Public health officials and the medical community at large have declared that a public health crisis of epidemic proportions is affecting adolescents. Most adolescents do not get enough sleep, leading to a host of mental, behavioral, and physical effects, as well as public safety concerns. Adolescent sleep needs are driven by a temporary biological shift in sleep onset and wake times that occur concurrently with the onset of puberty and ends in early adulthood. Early school start times run counter to this biological condition and can contribute substantially to adolescent sleep deprivation. Shifting bell times for adolescents to start school at 8:30am or later has been endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association, the National Association of School Nurses/Society of Pediatric Nurses, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the Society of Behavioral Medicine, the American Sleep Association, the National Parent Teacher Association, and the National Education Association.

In November, The Miami-Dade School Board voted to explore options for creating a bell schedule that will both consider the health needs of all students while increasing transportation access to high-demand choice programs across Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS).

Currently, M-DCPS start times run from 7:20 a.m. for high schools, to 9:10 a.m. for middle schools. Elementary schools have two start times: 8:20 a.m. for Pre-K to first grade; and 8:35 a.m. for elementary and K-8 Centers. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that middle and high schools start no earlier than 8:30 a.m.

Potential bell schedule alternatives will include options for starting all grade levels no earlier than 8 a.m. and allow for expanded transportation operations.

District staff has solicited feedback through small focus groups of parents, school leaders, and teachers on viable alternatives. More input will be requested from several stakeholder groups through various vehicles. A Twitter Townhall is taking place on January 9, 2020 from 4-5 p.m. to answer questions and accept comments and a district-wide survey to gather input on potential bell times will be released the first week in January. Stay tuned for dates of town hall meetings and visit our website at belltimes.dadeschools.net for the latest information regarding this initiative.

After all feedback is taken into consideration and all research is analyzed, the Superintendent will bring a recommendation to the Board by spring 2020 for potential implementation for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Success Starts With Savings


An early start is key when it comes to saving for children’s success. The Future Bound Miami Children’s Savings Account (CSA) program is a free savings tool with reward incentives, available to eligible kindergarten students attending Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS).

It can be a challenge to save for college, but starting early can make all the difference in a child’s future. Research shows that children with savings accounts with as little as $1 are more likely to enroll in college. Children who have between at least $1 and $499 in savings are three times more likely to enroll in postsecondary education and are four times more likely to graduate. Additionally, children who have a savings account in their name are six times more likely to go to college compared to those with no savings.

This is why a consortium of community nonprofits launched the Future Bound Miami CSA program in partnership with M-DCPS. Future Bound Miami is a savings initiative designed to make postsecondary education more accessible and advance economic opportunities for families and children in Miami-Dade County.

Beginning this school year, each kindergarten student attending M-DCPS elementary schools located within the City of Miami will have an initial amount – a “seed” incentive reward provided by The City of Miami – of $25 or $50 deposited into an account for them to receive upon graduating from a M-DCPS high school. Parents must activate the free accounts and will subsequently receive information about additional incentives students can earn throughout the academic year. They will also be able to deposit funds and interest will accrue so when children are ready to begin their post-secondary studies, they will be ready. The South Florida Educational Federal Credit Union is facilitating the financial logistics by allowing their branches to house and administer the accounts without charge.

The idea for CSA started back in 2017, when Catalyst Miami, in partnership with Sant La Haitian Neighborhood Center, led a group of public and private stakeholders to explore an opportunity to create the program for the children and families of Miami-Dade County. With initial funding from Citi, The Children’s Trust and United Way, the group developed a universal CSA program to invest in our community’s children. Now with more than a dozen partners including: The Miami Foundation, The Children’s Movement, Health Foundation of South Florida, and Junior Achievement, our CSA program provides a tool for expanding educational and economic opportunities for youth and their families. The goal is to expand this initiative across the county within the next five years.

Schools Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho praised the investors, “You plant the seed early on, and the tree of opportunity will continue to grow. This is just the beginning of a program that will be expanded to reach all zip codes in Miami-Dade. We are making the right investment, at the right time, for absolutely the right people.”

Future Bound Miami is looking for additional partners and investors to ensure this initiative expands county-wide. For information on how to get involved, visit https://futureboundmiami.org/.

Save the Date! The Foundation for New Education Initiatives hosts annual Gala and Superintendent’s 5K Race


Are you ready to support our efforts to give every student the world? If yes, these are two events you should not miss!

The annual Foundation for New Education Initiatives, Inc. (FNEI) For the Love of Learning Gala will take place on Saturday, February 22, 2020, at the JW Marriott Marquis located at 255 Biscayne Blvd Way. This charitable event raises funds for public education initiatives, recognizes student achievement as well as honors the new Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) Alumni Hall of Fame inductees. Proceeds from this worthwhile event provide our most vulnerable students with an opportunity to succeed in the classroom and beyond through the funding and support of critical programs.

Additionally, the 5th Superintendent’s 5K Challenge - a Race for Education - benefiting Miami-Dade public schools is taking place on March 7, 2020. FNEI will donate a percentage of race proceeds to participating schools based on the number of participants each school team registers. Adults may register as a Runner/Walker with a $30.00 + $2.50 registration fee. Students have three options to choose from: 5K, 1-mile Run, and the Kid’s Dash for children ages 2-9. Registration for each student option is $10.00 + $2.00 registration fee. To buy a ticket or a table for the gala, to become a sponsor or to register for the race, visit www.giveourstudentstheworld.org.

The Foundation for New Education Initiatives, Inc. is the philanthropic organization dedicated to enhancing student achievement and community engagement. It supports the educational initiatives of M-DCPS and promotes the values of excellence, equity, innovation and accountability.

Miami-Dade Fourth-graders #1 in the Country in Math and Reading


M-DCPS students once again achieved remarkable results, as revealed by National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results released October 30th. More than 6,800 students in 183 Miami-Dade County schools participated in the 2019 grades 4 and 8 NAEP administration. NAEP is the gold standard and compares M-DCPS students’ performance to the Nation and other large urban districts.

Following are highlights from the results:
  • M-DCPS fourth graders’ NAEP scale scores ranked #1 in both Reading and Mathematics among all TUDA districts.
  • M-DCPS’ NAEP scores were significantly higher than public schools nationwide in Grade 4 Reading and Mathematics.
  • M-DCPS eighth graders’ NAEP scale scores ranked #2 in Reading and #6 in Mathematics on the 2019 NAEP assessments, up from rankings of 5th and 10th respectively on the 2017 administration.
  • Subgroup analyses also revealed that M-DCPS students fared well in comparison to their counterparts nationwide.
  • Hispanic students in M-DCPS continued their outstanding performance on NAEP, again achieving higher Reading and Mathematics scores in all tested grade levels than both the National Public school and Large City samples.
  • Black students in M-DCPS achieved higher mean scores than the National Public schools and Large City samples in Grade 4 Reading and Mathematics and higher than the Large City sample in Grade 8 Reading.
  • M-DCPS Students with Disabilities also achieved higher mean scale scores than their counterparts in the National Public school sample in Grade 4 Reading and Mathematics, and Grade 8 Reading. These students also scored higher than the Large City sample in all grades and content areas tested.
  • In addition, where nearly 70 percent of our students are eligible for the free/reduced price lunch program, those eligible students outscored their counterparts in both the National Public and Large City school samples in both grade levels and content areas tested.
  • While the three Florida districts that participate in the TUDA program scored among the top districts nationwide, M-DCPS met or exceeded the mean scale scores received in both Hillsborough and Duval Counties across all four grade-level/content areas.
“The Miami-Dade County schools continued to see progress on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, building on its track record as one of the fastest improving urban school districts in the nation,” said Michael Casserly, the Executive Director of the Council of the Great City Schools.” Despite a national regression in 4th grade, Miami-Dade continued to lead TUDA in both reading and mathematics, while also elevating results for eighth graders on the country’s toughest test. Kudos to the excellent progress Miami-Dade has made over the years.”

NAEP provides an essential measurement of student achievement in the United States. In mathematics and reading, student achievement is reported for selected urban districts as well as for the nation and the states.

iNspiration @MDCPS


Fun-loving, witty, kind-hearted, and charismatic young lady who is eager to be active in school.

Name: Mya Duncan

School: 5th grade student at Gertrude K. Edelman Sabal Palm (GKESP) Elementary

Accomplishments: In a short period of time, Mya has racked up many accomplishments. She serves as the K-Kids president at GKESP and is also a member of the SECME/STEM club. She participates in Cheerleading and is a safety patrol. Mya developed a love for dance early and began ballet training. She brings the same determination and intensity to the dance floor that she has for school. Since starting ballet, she has been selected for several performances including parts in "The Nutcracker."

In October, Mya was honored by M-DCPS’ Values Matter Miami initiative, for responsibility. Mya continues to strive for excellence, making both Principal's and Honor Roll consecutively since 1st grade. Her future goal is to become a brain surgeon.

Fun facts about Maya:

  • She is a food connoisseur and enjoys the "burst of flavor" she gets with every taste of something new.
  • Mya is an avid animal-lover and is currently teaching her parrot "Pepper" how to talk.

iNspiration @MDCPS


This inspiring educator is unifying a school community by breaking barriers and bridging the gap.

Name: Kaitlyn Casanas

Occupation: Special Education Teacher at Southwest Miami Senior High

Accomplishments:Kaitlyn Casanas has been named Rookie Teacher of the Year for two consecutive years at Southwest Miami Senior High School. Casanas works tirelessly for her students who have intellectual disabilities. Together with her students, she developed a plan to create a business that sells smoothies to the student body at school. Her students will be leading the business in a partnership with the Future Educators of America club at the University of Miami this upcoming January. Casanas and a team of dedicated individuals have also partnered with the Special Olympics Unified Cheerleading Team, which brings together athletes with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team. They are currently in the process of becoming a Special Olympics Unified Champion School, combining Unified Sports, Whole School Engagement and Inclusive Student Leadership, to create a more inclusive and accepting campus. The goal is to create an environment that empowers all abilities to overcome the barriers placed upon them by society.

Fun facts about Kaitlyn:

  • She taught students with special needs in Chennai, India.
  • Within 2 months, she traveled in an airplane for an approximately 66 hours, where she visited 5 different countries.


image M-DCPS is raising awareness of the consequences associated with making statements of any kind that imply an intent to harm others – whether credible or intended as a hoax – through the #ItsNoJokeMDCPS initiative.
image There are more than 100 Magnet schools across Miami-Dade! The deadline for applications for the 2020-2021 school year is January 15, 2020.
image Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho was reappointed by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to serve as a member of the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB). He has served on the NAGB since 2015 and was the only Board member to have been reappointed.
image As part of the #ValuesMatterMiami partnership, Miami Dolphins Defensive Tackle Christian Wilkins surprised Healy Barrientos from West Miami Middle, who won the district-wide cleat design contest for #MyCauseMyCleats.
image M-DCPS held a Bahamas Benefit Concert in September at the newly renamed José Milton Center for the Performing Arts. M-DCPS, through The Foundation for New Education Initiatives, Inc. (FNEI), raised more than $70,000 for Operation Helping Hands to support hurricane relief efforts in the Bahamas.
image Thousands of M-DCPS students received digital devices this year as part of the national Verizon Innovative Learning school initiative.

iChoose M-DCPS




Miami Edison Senior High School

Nat Moore, Senior Vice President of Special Projects and Alumni Relations for the Miami Dolphins and former Miami Dolphins player


“Growing up in Miami and going to Miami-Dade County Public Schools was a great experience that challenged me and helped make me the man I am today. I was surrounded by excellent teachers and role models such as math teacher Eddie Snow and Bill Lee, who coached me in multiple sports when I was in junior high school. In addition, the schools had a great speaker program where people such as then-Dolphins cornerback Jimmy Warren would talk to our class. That experience left a lasting impression on me.”


Miami-Dade County Public Schools
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Miami, Florida 33132

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