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Stay iNformed and Connected


Welcome to the first edition of iNews @MDCPS, our latest initiative to showcase the great things happening at Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS). Our goal is to reach the community that extends beyond our schools, to ensure we are connecting with many of you who may not have children in the public school system. We want to share the remarkable achievements of students, educators and the district with YOU: our business leaders, civic groups, faith-based organizations and residents of our community.

In this first issue, we are featuring stories about some of the most significant accomplishments from 2014: M-DCPS' Digital Transformation, new and exciting Choice and Magnet Programs, our Cultural Passport, which brings the arts into the lives of every student, and much more.

We hope that you find this newsletter interesting and exciting. Be sure to share it with family, friends and colleagues...We look forward to staying connected!

Alberto M. Carvalho


Digital Transformation @MDCPS


Remember when teachers used chalk to draw images on chalkboards for art history or biology? Or flashed slides or even worse, had to look at tiny thumbnail pictures in a textbook? Well, in Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS), these items are almost all a thing of the past.

Using the interactive Promethean Boards, which we have in every classroom at M-DCPS, teachers can now display brightly lit images on the whiteboard, which can be manipulated and expanded as much as is needed. Biology teachers don't need to worry about drawing a DNA strand because students can now watch a simulation of DNA replicating, and students with special education needs can use the boards to draw letters and colorful patterns. The large, computerized screens — which allow Internet access, video and audio presentations, digital assessments using remote clickers, and recorded lessons for replaying later—are seen by proponents as an investment in modernizing classrooms to meet the needs of the digital generation.

"We knew our students were "digital natives" – hyper-connected, multitasking, rapid consumers of information," said Schools Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho. "We knew we had to engage them on their terms, so over two years ago, we began our Digital Convergence with the intent to fundamentally transform the structure and environment in our District."

The District's digital transformation is well underway, with a record number of 11,000 Promethean interactive boards installed, and 45 million square feet of high speed Wi-Fi installation completed four years in advance of the national average. More than 100,000 electronic devices, including laptop computers and tablets, will be available to students, providing them access to online textbooks and digital content.

In addition, we are frequently providing professional development for our team to become skilled with the incredible technology tools available for learning. More than 600 educators participated in one of the largest professional training days in district history. Thirty of the District's educational and technology partners, including Discovery Education, McGraw-Hill, Microsoft and Promethean USA came together under one roof to train the District's educators on how to best utilize digital content and technology to maximize student engagement while increasing achievement.

For students without Wi-Fi access at home, we have been working with private Internet providers to eliminate these digital deserts, by offering free or affordable Internet access. Through a new initiative, Jumpstart Connect @ Home, students at targeted schools are handed an electronic device and an Internet card to take home, so learning can continue beyond regular school hours.

The District is also encouraging students to bring their own device to school through the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) program to access various digital instructional materials, online curriculum, and resources. The BYOD also allows parents, staff and guests to use their own technology during the day to enhance the learning experience.

M-DCPS continues to provide its educators and students dynamic digital learning environments, to ensure its graduates are prepared to succeed in the rapidly changing 21st Century global economy.

More Choices Than Ever!


If you have a passion for exploring, researching and conserving biodiversity, you would be a perfect fit for BIOTECH @ Richmond Heights, the latest partnership with Zoo Miami and Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens. This innovative magnet school allows students to take classes on-site at the zoo with staff from the Zoological Society of Florida and includes a digital curriculum offered by Discovery Channel.

On the other hand, if you are technology driven, iTech @ Thomas Edison Educational Center would be a more suitable option for you. Cutting-edge business practices, coding and the collection of information through computer-based analyses and high tech digital mapping are just some of the many skills you can master in your high school years.

These are just two of the brand new 52 choice and magnet programs including AP/Capstone, Cambridge, Science, Mathematics, Information Technology and the Arts that were unveiled this year. There are more than 460 choice programs available at over 100 schools, specifically designed to meet and better serve the needs of Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) students and stakeholders. 

The curriculum available today at M-DCPS reads like a university syllabus list with courses such as coding, dance, all kinds of STEM-related courses, legal, nursing, fashion design, finance, theater, International Language studies, and many others. We offer Advanced Placement classes, International Baccalaureate programs and dual enrollment, where students can begin earning college credits during their high school years. At Cambridge schools, students can also walk out with internationally recognized diplomas.
For more than 50 years, M-DCPS has been at the forefront of the choice movement in education. Some programs are provided in partnership with local colleges and universities, as well as science agencies. An improved magnet application and random selection system will help administrators manage the rapid growth in magnet programs and increase student access with clarity and transparency.

Magnet applications are open until January 15, 2015. Applications are filled out and submitted for admission to the school of choice for the following school year. For more information or to fill out an application, please visit www.yourchoicemiami.org.

Choice programs are a sound investment for the future of our students and for the business workforce needs of tomorrow. Our entire community benefits from the large array of choice options offered by Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Parents have a clear Choice in Miami-Dade County.

Transforming our Schools from Good to Great


Sometimes it just takes the right combination… a varied and state-of-the-art curriculum, first-class educators, a cohesive school board, and a leader at the helm that is blazing a trail of triumphs for Miami-Dade’s students by thinking outside the box.  This unique combination has resulted in several years of abundant successes and achievements for Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS). 

After winning The Broad Prize for Urban Education in 2012, the equivalent of a Nobel Prize in education, it seemed as if the stars had aligned and unlocked a bevy of achievements for the District.

M-DCPS was recognized as a leader in expanding access to Advanced Placement courses and achieving high performance, named as the 2014 College Board’s Advanced Placement District of the Year.  So it‘s no surprise that our high schools surpassed the graduation rate for the state, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

Since the summer, M-DCPS is also the largest school district in the world to be fully accredited by AdvancEd, a global educational entity that conducts rigorous, on-site external reviews of PreK-12 schools and school systems to ensure they are providing quality education to every learner.

With 460 creative Magnet/Choice programs offered by the District, M-DCPS has received more National Magnet Schools of Merit Awards than any other district in the U.S. In 2014, the District won 13 of the 76 coveted Magnet Schools of Excellence Merit Awards that were presented to schools across the nation. 

Nearly a quarter of the Top 100 Florida High Schools are M-DCPS Magnet Schools.  Five schools – Design and Architecture Senior High (DASH), Young Women’s Preparatory Academy, Maritime & Science Technology Academy, Coral Reef and New World School of the Arts- have been ranked in the Top 50 Magnet schools in the Nation; with DASH consistently making the Top 10.

Let’s not forget about M-DCPS students! Some of our best and brightest have been awarded prestigious scholarships including the Gates Millennium Scholarship, Presidential Scholarships, Coca-Cola Scholarships, the Carnival Foundation Scholarship and full athletic rides due to strong performance grades and athletic skills.

M-DCPS will not rest in the shadows of the trophies and awards received, but instead, will focus on moving forward, setting more records, and truly becoming the greatest school district in the nation.

'Cultural Passport' program opens children's minds


When was the first time you went to the ballet?  Or the Opera?  Or strolled through a museum or took in a Broadway play?  For the majority of the population, it was probably as an adult, if at all.  However, that’s changed for all students in Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS). 

The innovative Cultural Passport program was created specifically to enlighten children’s minds by exposing them to a different cultural field experience each school year. Students in grades K-12 will have the opportunity to develop their reading, writing, speaking, listening, divergent-thinking and problem-solving skills through broad exposure to the arts and humanities.

By partnering with South Florida’s finest cultural organizations and venues, the Cultural Passport ensures equal access to arts and culture for every child, many of whom would not otherwise have this breadth of opportunities.  All students will visit museums and art galleries, as well as experience live musical, theatrical, and dance performances throughout the course of their education. All Cultural Passport events are free for the students.

Since its inception, the project has provided over 400,000 opportunities for students to engage in experiential learning with 43 different cultural institutions throughout the community.  Partners include the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Miami Children’s Museum, Fantasy Theatre Factory, Perez Art Museum Miami, Barnacle Historic State Park, Miami International Film Festival, the Holocaust Memorial, GableStage and many more.

We know that when we tie cultural experiences to the instruction that students are receiving in the classroom, a strong link is formed and real learning occurs. Nothing can capture a child’s imagination and transform their life like a day at the theater or opera.

Through live performances and museum visits, coupled with professional development for teachers and interdisciplinary classroom instruction, students make connections between the arts and their work in the classroom. They develop literacy skills, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and by the time they graduate, students will have had high-quality learning experiences in and through a wide variety of art forms. Our hope is to inspire a lifelong passion for arts among these young adults, becoming patrons of, and contributors to, the vibrant arts here in our South Florida community.

The M-DCPS Foundation for New Education Initiatives, a participant in Give Miami Day 2014, funds Cultural Passport through individual and corporate contributions. To learn more about this vibrant program, go to www.giveourstudentstheworld.org

Providing Jobs & Economic Impact In Our Communities


Investments in construction, renovations and infrastructure upgrades to our educational facilities benefit not just our students but the community. When new schools are built or updated, and state-of-the-art technology is installed, there is a domino effect…jobs are created, property values are strengthened, new businesses are encouraged to start, stay or expand the area, and the overall quality of life is enriched.  

Two years ago, Miami-Dade County voters spoke loud and clear by overwhelmingly approving the Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) $1.2 billion General Obligation Bond. The community’s resounding support of the 21st Century Schools Initiative is making it possible for the school district to ensure that all students will experience innovative instruction in safe, modernized school buildings, including technologically-advanced classrooms and upgraded infrastructure.

The bond issue has been structured to ensure that capital improvements can be repaid over time with minimal impact to homeowners in Miami-Dade. Keeping with the School District’s commitment to ‘A Promise Made is a Promise Kept’, the long-term benefits of this 21st Century Schools Initiative will create 9,200 jobs during the first three years of the Bond program and more than 18,000 sustainable jobs over the course of the program’s implementation.

Since passage of the Bond referendum, the District has made great progress towards a speedy and steady implementation of numerous projects. To date, technology upgrades have been implemented at every school and close to 150 capital projects have been initiated, with more than 60 projects well in construction and the balance in design or scoping. While most of the projects under construction consist of facility renovations and new technology, there are two flagship projects currently in construction: Miami Norland Senior High School’s replacement and renovation, and the new 6-12 grade facility at MAST on Virginia Key along with renovations to the existing facility.

Expected to be completed by July 2016, the Miami Norland project is valued at approximately $34 million. The projects at MAST Academy on Virginia Key, totaling close to $24 million, will be completed by August 2015. Not only are the MAST Academy on Virginia Key and the Miami Norland Senior high school bond projects significant to students, parents, and staff, they will also have a major beneficial impact on the local economy, through aggressive local labor participation and strong participation by Small Business Enterprises. All in keeping with the promises made to the community.

The 21st Century Schools Initiative will greatly benefit the future of this community and most importantly, the future of our children. Miami-Dade deserves a world-class workforce educated in first-rate facilities with the ability to use the latest technologies. For more information on the bond, visit www.bondsforschools.dadeschools.net 

iNspiration @MDCPS


Vivian Gonzalez and her family with Lady Antebellum during surprise visit to South Miami K-8 Center. One of the thousands of educators inspiring students every day.

Name: Vivian Gonzalez
Occupation: Music Magnet teacher at South Miami K-8 Center
Accomplishments: Top-Ten Finalist for the Grammy Music Educator of the Year Award, has performed with numerous South Florida orchestras including the Florida Grand Opera, Palm Beach Pops and New World Symphony, featured in a teacher profile for the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.
Fun facts About Vivian:

  • Began studying violin at age five, now a professional violinist
  • Proud product of M-DCPS
  • Performed for heads of state including former President Bill Clinton and  former Vice President Al Gore
  • She was one of the seven winners in the “7 For 7” Lady Antebellum contest. The band surprised her in the classroom, performed with her students, and flew her out to New York City for their album release concert.


image Our Food Truck has served more than 10,000 nutritious student meals at 36 different schools this year.
image Nearly 5,000 people received free CPR training during CPR Day Miami, held in partnership with Jackson Health, UM and other health organizations.
image Since 2010, we have saved $39.4 million due to M-DCPS' energy efficiency efforts such as the Solar for Schools initiative and FPL rate decreases.
image Close to 100,000 users have downloaded the Dadeschools Mobile App since it launched in August.
image The Parent Academy provides more than 70 courses for parents to gain all the resources needed to help their children succeed in school.
image Featuring co-payments as low as $10, the UHealth Medical Center at Miami Jackson Senior is our first-ever medical facility for employees, retirees and dependents.

iChoose M-DCPS




Miami Palmetto Senior High School


"My name is Jeff Bezos and I'm the Founder and CEO of Amazon.com. I'm also a proud 1982 graduate of Palmetto. If you look around, you have fabulous teachers, great administrators, and you have a supportive community. It is what really makes that school work. Go Panthers!"


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