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Stay iNformed and Connected


We had much to celebrate at the beginning of this school year, but Hurricane Dorian took center stage in the beginning of September. While, Miami-Dade was thankfully spared from the destruction that this storm caused, our neighbors in the Bahamas unfortunately bared the brunt of the storm’s wrath. Many employees, students, and community partners have strong connections to the country. For some, it is their homeland and they have family and friends there.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools has a rich tradition of goodwill and humanitarianism which extends beyond our community. In the wake of Hurricane Dorian’s devastating impact on the island, we are collaborating with several entities across the community to support relief efforts. We have joined United Way of Miami-Dade, Miami Herald/el Nuevo Herald and Univision 23, as part of Operation Helping Hands, to help raise funds and collect a variety of goods for those affected. These relief efforts will culminate in a benefit concert highlighting student and employee talent that will take place on September 28, 2019, from 6- 8 p.m. at Miami Arts Studio 6-12 @ Zelda Glazer. To buy tickets for the benefit concert, click here.

This community is one defined by a spirit of giving and generosity. We have done it before and now it’s time to do it again. Please join the M-DCPS family in coming together to support those in need. Let’s help lift our friends in the Bahamas. To learn more about how you can help, visit www.dadeschools.net or www.giveourstudentstheworld.org.

Alberto M. Carvalho


M-DCPS Unveils Bold Programs for the 2019-2020 School Year

image Continuing its tradition of cutting-edge practice, Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) is rolling out more than 130 new programs and initiatives designed to continue the innovation, academic rigor, parental engagement, professional development of staff, and increased efficiencies in operations, for which M-DCPS has garnered national recognition. These include an emphasis on sustainable operations, such as installing solar panels and water bottle-filling stations and eliminating plastic straws that will both serve as an example to students and help meet the environmental challenges facing our world. The District is also building partnerships with such noteworthy institutions and businesses as Zoo Miami, Florida International University, Audible (an Amazon Company), Lego, Verizon, and the Miami Dolphins among others.

Additional academic programs and initiatives include:

  • Pre-K and Kindergarten readiness
  • College readiness
  • Expansion of music programs at all elementary schools
  • Climate change education
  • Expansion of our Learn-to-Swim program
  • Partnerships with professional athletic organizations to enhance our elementary and K-8 physical activities
  • Expansion of school choice to include programs in robotics, coding, virtual reality, the arts, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM), Career and Technical Education (CTE), agriculture, biomedical engineering, firefighting, trade and logistics, and even space exploration technology

In response to the many challenges facing young people today, M-DCPS is also focusing on ensuring that families have access to mental health resources. Among the initiative unveiled this year is a Mental Wellness Matters Awareness Campaign that will promote mental health understanding and point students and parents to the many resources available in M-DCPS and the community. Additionally, the Mindful Peer Exchange program will pair Florida International University (FIU) students (those pursuing a degree in a mental health related field) with groups of high school students to cover age-appropriate lessons about mental health.

Building values is a priority at M-DCPS. With this in mind, the Girl-to-Girl Mentoring initiative will tap the strength, energy, and capacity of local community, civic, educational, and professional organizations to provide women mentors to female students, and the Touchdown for Values partnership with the Miami Dolphins for the 2019-2020 Values Matter Campaign will empower our youth to make decisions based on core values, allowing students to make positive and lasting contributions to our community.

New initiatives designed to include and inform parents include the Parent Navigator, an app that will allow parents to track the status of their child’s eligibility for Special Education services (ESE and Gifted). Another, the Parent Academy (TPA) Virtual Campus will expand the depth and width of parent education offerings across the district through no-cost, online resources such as on-demand virtual workshops and webinars in English, Spanish and Haitian-Creole.

And with the entire community in mind, the District will roll out the Citizens Police Academy, which will familiarize citizens with the operations of the police department. The academy is intended to open lines of communication between the community and the police department.

To learn more about this year’s new programs and initiatives, please visit: http://news.dadeschools.net/cmnc/new/29158.

Safety is Paramount at M-DCPS


The call came into the Miami-Dade Schools Police Command Center - dubbed the “PCC” - about a possible armed subject seen entering a school bus full of students near the Nathaniel “Traz” Powell football stadium.

More than a dozen staff members were at their stations facing a large bank of TV screens that spans the entire length of the room. Shift Commander Adrian Chavez called up the camera located at the stadium. The District has 18,000 state-of-the-art cameras, which allow police officers to monitor activity in and around 476 school facilities. A staff member, who operated the camera with his computer keyboard, was able to zoom in across the football field and determine the presence of an armed subject on the bus.

Chavez radioed for a SWAT team giving them the precise location of the vehicle. Seven miles away near the stadium, Officer Miguel Hart was coordinating the operation. Staff and visitors in the center watched with rapt attention as the tactical squad cautiously approached the vehicle from different sides, and in a matter of seconds had boarded the bus, arrested the armed subject and freed the hostages. Disaster averted, the crisis was over...at least for a few minutes while the officers in the field prepared to go again for another exercise with a K-9 team. This whole “scenario” had just been a demonstration during a recent behind-the-scenes tour of the cutting-edge police command center.

“The Police Command Center serves as the nucleus for all safety and security initiatives for the District,” said Miami-Dade Schools Police Chief Edwin Lopez. “It bundles human capital and technology resources into one arena and allows for an efficient, swift, and effective law enforcement response during critical incidents at or near school sites.”

The PCC was created in response to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act. The Miami-Dade Schools Police Department (M-DSPD) designed the command center as the central point for various digital monitoring platforms that enhance safety and security measures for students and staff and increase the response rate of the M-DSPD and local law enforcement.

In addition to the cameras, the PCC includes the Raptor Visitor Management System, which does background checks on all visitors against custom databases that may contain custody alerts and/or banned visitors; the “ShotSpotter,” which is a military grade, gunfire locator or gunshot detection system that detects and conveys the location of weapons fire using a combination of acoustic and optical sensor; and FortifyFL, a free digital app available for smart phones that tracks every school in the state and allows anyone to report anonymously, or directly, a threat, any message or action against anyone or any school in Florida.

Several other initiatives the District implemented include M-DCPSafe, which guarantees a law enforcement presence at every school via partnerships among M-DSPD, Miami-Dade County and various municipalities to ensure the safety and security of Miami-Dade students and faculty. The Virtual Badge for School Volunteers – a mobile-based application integrated with M-DCPS’ portal-based, background-screening platform to validate, manage and monitor school volunteers on our campuses.

“We are blessed to have the resources, technology, capacity, and manpower to have eyes on-site with high-definition cameras that are centrally connected to our Command Center and are simultaneously viewable by Miami-Dade Police,” explained Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho. “Beyond these resources, the most important element in preventing a catastrophe is information.”

#GOBProgress Investments at M-DCPS


Students, staff and the community can once again look forward to the many beautiful new buildings and renovations that await them at Miami-Dade County Public Schools during the 2019-2020 school year. These improvements are made possible with the continued implementation of the General Obligation Bond (GOB) – to renovate, remodel and replace schools; expand student capacity; enhance safety and provide technology upgrades.

Below are some of the projects we will see completed this year:
  • Miami Arts Studio 6-12 at Zelda Glazer – A total investment of $15.3 million, this project includes a 700-seat state-of-the-art theater with theatrical lighting, audio visual equipment, and acoustics, a lobby, ticket booth, concession area, orchestra pit, control booth and dressing rooms. Additionally, the new building includes a dance studio, production studio band, chorus room, supporting spaces, parking expansion and a new basketball court.
  • Cutler Bay Middle School - A total investment of $14.9 million, this project includes a new 3-story building, new administration area, classrooms to provide 615 new student stations, and a music lab in the auditorium. The project also includes resurfacing of existing basketball courts, new parent drop-off, renovations and window replacement of kitchen and cafeteria building, and demolition of existing portables.
  • Norland Middle School – A total investment of $4.1 million, this project includes a new Little Theatre/ Black Box Building, new covered main entrance and plaza, physical education shelter, partial exterior and interior renovations, parking modifications, new fencing, new outdoor dining structure, courtyard, walkway connections and landscaping.
  • Ben Sheppard Elementary School – A total investment of $6.6 million, this project includes portable demolition, new classroom building with 286 student stations, bus drop-off and covered walkway, parking lot improvements, playground and impact surface, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), security alarm, and select lighting improvements, and exterior painting.
  • Southwest Miami Senior High School – A total investment of $16.2 million, this project includes demolition of portables, window replacement; renovation of the media center, HVAC replacement including controls, plumbing fixtures replacement, replacement of gym flooring, bleacher replacement, new drop-off, selective ceiling and flooring replacement, selective lighting replacement, and exterior painting.
This year, $129.4 million in capital improvements are being unveiled as a result of the GOB. To date, GOB expenditures total approximately $733.6M ($92.8M for technology and $640.8M for facilities), with another $74.9M contracted. All completed GOB projects have come in on time and at or under budget.

E(liminate) Cigs Anti-Vaping Campaign


On September 19th, 2019 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced some alarming figures: 530 people in this country have confirmed or suspected cases of lung injury from vaping tobacco, THC, or some combination of the two. The number of cases had increased from 380 reported just the week before. Even more sobering news: seven of these patients have died. One 18-year-old patient, a high school athlete, was described by doctors as “having the lungs of a 70-year-old”.

According to the CDC, e-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among youth. In 2016, more than two million U.S. middle and senior high school students used e-cigarettes. Youth and young adults use e-cigarettes due to curiosity, taste, including the flavors available in e-cigarettes, and the belief that e-cigarettes are less harmful. According to federal health officials, nicotine is highly addictive, and vaping is leading more adolescents to try cigarettes.

The Miami-Dade School Board wisely took a stand against smoking years ago, a move that has helped protect the health and lives of countless of young people and employees. Our School Board policy not only forbids using tobacco and its derivatives, but also devices that imitate smoking. Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ (M-DCPS) ongoing commitment to raising awareness about the health risks of vaping are evident through the E(liminate) Cigs Anti-Vaping Campaign. M-DCPS partnered with the Florida Department of Health and developed this outreach campaign to educate students, parents/guardians, employees, and community members on the dangers of e-cigarettes, which also included a student pledge against vaping. During this initiative, students also organized Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) clubs to empower and bring awareness to their peers about the tactics of Big Tobacco companies and the dangers of using tobacco products. On Monday, September 30, 2019, students and advisors will be participating in the 2019-2020 Annual SWAT Training day.

It is important that our community supports these efforts, to ensure our students are healthy and ready to learn. With your help, we will continue to provide students the eye-opening facts about vaping, so they can take a stand against it.

iNspiration @MDCPS


An admirable example of perseverance and determination, Janet Hernandez is encouraging her peers to get engaged in the world of politics.

Name: Janet Hernandez

School:12th-grade student at School for Advanced Studies- South

Accomplishments: At age 16, Janet started a nonprofit called “We Are Our Future” to engage students from different backgrounds to get involved in the fields of law and politics. She has a partnership with the Village of Palmetto Bay and is working with several other law offices and judges. Last summer, she worked with current and former Congressmembers Donna Shalala, Carlos Curbelo, and Debbie Mucarsell-Powell as well as State Senator Annette Taddeo in providing aid to children who were separated from their families, delivering over 600 toys to the Homestead Detention Center. Janet says she is motivated to get involved and make a difference in other people’s lives due to the horrors her father, Jorge, endured arriving to America. Jorge was a political dissenter and a survivor of the Tugboat Massacre of 1994, where over 20 people died trying to escape Cuba. She says she feels grateful and optimistic about young people getting involved and getting their voices heard, no matter how small they may seem to others.

Fun facts about Janet:

  • Janet volunteers every week at Teen Court South Dade as a teen defense attorney and enjoys listening and advocating for cases.
  • Janet's dream is to one day advocate a case before the Supreme Court or work for the ACLU.
  • Janet has received awards for her nonprofit from the City of Miami Beach two years in a row.

iNspiration @MDCPS


This dedicated, accomplished and hardworking teacher strives to ensure that her students are successful.

Name: Melissa E. Schecter

Occupation: Advanced and Gifted Language Arts and Mawi Teacher at Horace Mann Middle School

Accomplishments: Melissa E. Schecter is an outstanding teacher who is in her 24th year working at Horace Mann Middle School. She focuses on the students’ core reading, comprehension and writing skills, and applies fun techniques for an engaging curriculum. Schecter has presented writing workshops to other teachers who work at her same school. She has been a great support and inspiration to other teachers in her previous leadership roles of team leader, department chair, and Educational Excellence School Advisory Council (EESAC) chair. She also mentors beginning teachers.

Fun facts about Melissa:

  • She has a Bachelors’ degree from Florida State University and a Master’s degree from Nova Southeastern University.
  • She was named Teacher of the Year for Horace Mann Middle in January 2016.
  • She earned the Hector’s Award of Courage and Nobility for her outstanding performance and exceptional commitment to Horace Mann Middle School in January 2019.


image M-DCPS announced a partnership with the Miami Dolphins through Values Matter Miami, a series of initiatives designed to promote education and values among students.
image M-DCPS is financially sound. Recently, Moody’s Investors Service gave the District a Very Strong Rating in meeting financial commitments.
image During the school year, M-DCPS will be highlighting the transformational impact that teachers have in molding and shaping the lives of our students. #RESPECT4TeachersMDCPS
image Vegan chik’n nuggets, vegetarian breakfast sausage patty, and vegetable chow mein are new plant-based entrée items that will be offered this year at M-DCPS schools
image In October, M-DCPS kicks off its annual United Way Campaign. Last year, students and employees raised almost $1.5 million dollars for United Way of Miami-Dade in support of our community’s families.
image By 2023, Future Bound Miami: Every Student Saves will seek to establish universal Children’s Savings Accounts (CSAs) for all kindergarten students. This November, parents/guardians of kindergarten students attending M-DCPS schools located within the City of Miami will be able to open a free Future Bound Miami CSA!

iChoose M-DCPS




Miami Senior High School

Emilio Estefan, internationally-acclaimed music producer and 19-time Grammy Award-winner, as well as filmmaker, author, restaurateur and hotel owner


“At the age of 15, when I moved to Miami by myself, I took a night job at a restaurant playing accordion for tips and also enrolled in Miami Senior High School. The teachers there took extra time with me and helped me learn English. I will never forget that care.”


Miami-Dade County Public Schools
1450 NE 2 Avenue
Miami, Florida 33132

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