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Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) is a public school district serving Miami-Dade County, Florida. Founded in 1885, it is the largest school district in Florida and the fourth largest in the United States, with a student enrollment of 380,006 as of July 5, 2010.
The District is managed the School Board of Miami-Dade County, which appoints a Superintendent to head the administrative portions of the district. The current Superintendent is Alberto Carvalho, since September 12, 2008.
The district is also the second-largest minority-majority public school system in the country, with 62% of its students being of Hispanic origin, 26% African American, 9% Non-Hispanic White, 1% Asian or Pacific Islander and less than 2% of other minorities. Miami-Dade County Public Schools is also one of a few public school districts in the United States to offer optional International Studies Programs and bilingual education. Bilingual education is offered in Spanish, Haitian Creole, and Mandarin. MDCPS is the only school district in Florida to offer bilingual education in Mandarin.
The first meeting of school board, then known simply as the Dade County school board, took place in June 1885, eleven years before the city of Miami was created. At the time of this first school board meeting, Dade County encompassed nearly the entire southern part of Florida, from Lake Okeechobee south towards the Florida Keys; its population was reported as being only 400, however, this number probably did not include its native populations.
The county's first school opened in the fall of 1885 in wha is today the town of Palm Beach, Florida, located in what is now Palm Beach County. A year or two later, the first public school within Dade County's current boundaries opened in a palmetto-thatched log house near Dinner Key in Coconut Grove. The school's student enrollment on the first day was only ten.
In 1893 the unincorporated hamlet of Miami was created, and with it came its second school, segregated as per Jim Crow Laws for its black population. The school was also located in present-day Coconut Grove. Between 1885 and the arrival of the railroad in 1896, the school board created and ran a total of fifteen different schools around Southern Florida.
The turn of the century launched Miami and its school system into decades of growth. By 1924, the county lines had shifted with the creation of Broward, Palm Beach, Lee, and Hendry counties. Despite losing jurisdiction over many of its schools in just twenty years, the school system still boasted thirty-three separate schools and a student population of nearly 5,000.
Following the 1926 Miami Hurricane, many schools were destroyed. The hurricane ended the 1920s land boom in Miami, and ushered in the great depression to the area long before the actual market crash occurred in 1929. The crash forced many more schools not destroyed by the hurricane to be closed. Beginning in 1930 the school board faced its first overcrowding and funding problems.
In 1928, Miami Senior High, the district's first secondary school, moved into its fifth and current location. The building cost over $1 million dollars to construct.
In 1939, the original Booker T. Washington Senior High School building opened in what is now the Overtown district. It was the only secondary black high school at the time in South Florida, having students from as far as Broward and Palm Beach counties attending the facilities.
In 1938, George Washington Carver opened in Carol Gables, FL for the black residents of Coconut Grove and Carol Gables area. There were its rival schools such as North Dade High, and Mays High.
World War II brought another population boom for Miami. Between 1945 and 1975, sixteen high schools, thirty middle schools, and forty-five grade schools were opened. Miami Edison Senior High School, the district's second all black secondary school, was expanded.
Miami Northwestern opened in 1951 to replace Dorsey which turned to a Jr. High until schools desegregated, Dade County Public Schools found that it was not operable for school anymore, so it was turned into an adult edu.
There is an elementary school near S.R. 112 and 27th Avenue called Bethune Elementary. This school was especially for the negros in Dade County. After desegregation, it was turned into a head-start school.
In 1957 the position of Security Assistant was established, this would later evolve into the Miami-Dade Public Schools Police Department (Florida).
On the morning of September 7, 1959, twenty-five African-American students stepped onto the grounds of Orchard Villa Elementary School and Air Base Elementary schools officially ending segregation within the school system. By the end of the academic year, nearly half the schools in the county had been desegregated when parents were given the option of enrolling their children in any school in the district, providing the child would have the proper transportation. Despite this law, many schools in Dade County did not become fully integrated until the late 1960s.
In 1961 the school system started a "Spanish for Spanish" program. With help from the Ford Foundation, they modified the program into a full bilingual education curriculum, with a pilot program at Coral Way Elementary School. The program was successful and later paved the way for the Bilingual Education Act of 1968.
Beginning in 1962, Dade County schools began to receive its first influx of Hispanic students, mainly from Cuba. This event was very significant in shaping the school system to what it is today.
In 1975, school boundaries were created, forcing students to attend the schools located within their area. This law allowed for any student to attend the school located closest to them, regardless of race or ethnicity.
School populations had flourished throughout most of the 1960s and 70s, but in the late 70s, a teacher walk-out forced a sudden drop in school population; ending rampant overcrowding, and forcing the closing of 11 schools. The sudden drop didn't last very long, as students that had left the school system for private schools began to return by the mid 1980s.
Throughout the 1980s, the school district received merits for expertly assimilating wave after wave of new immigrants, particularly children from Nicaragua and Haiti, and from Cuba's Mariel Boatlift. It was highly regarded for its handling in displacing students after the 1982 Miami riot, in which 14 schools were badly damaged due to fire and vandalism.
In 1986, the district started the first International Studies Magnet Program at Sunset Elementary School, one of the first International Studies Program in the U.S. and the winner of the prestigious 2008 Goldman Sachs Prize for Excellence in International Education, focusing on implementing a challenging curriculum in Spanish, French, and German, in addition to English. The challenging world language curriculum is fully accredited by the Governments of Spain, France, and Germany, and is implemented through comprehensive agreements between the Ministries of Education of the partner countries and Miami-Dade County Public Schools. The district, through the International Studies Magnet Program at Sunset Elementary School, started to produce bicultural, bilingual and biliterate students in English and a choice of Spanish, French, or German.
Following Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Dade County was commended for its quick action at rebuilding and reopening schools. Most schools had reopened within two weeks of the storm, and students that attended schools that had been completely destroyed were quickly displaced with free and efficient bus transportation. The district also used funding from the disaster to redo its entire curriculum, adding sex education to elementary schools, and foreign language programs to middle schools. It also opened fully funded magnet schools such as Coral Reef High School and Southwood Middle School which take in students from all over the county based on school performance (some schools are partial magnets, which also take in children from surrounding neighborhoods, while some are full magnets that only take in children based on merit). The district also re-opened Coral Way Elementary as its first bilingual school, which teaches its curriculum in both English and Spanish.
In 1996, the school board revamped itself under pressure to boost minority representation, expanding from seven to nine members, all elected for the first time from single member districts. Due to this, the number of black members doubled, and the number of Hispanic members quadrupled. The school board also began a new program to create K-8 Centers as a way of relieving overcrowding in middle schools.
In 1997, Dade County formally changed its name to Miami-Dade County, and the school board subsequently changed its name as well.
The early 2000s was characterized by the widespread adoption of information technology for everyday use by classroom teachers, students, and parents. One noteworthy process was the phased introduction of the Excelsior Software's Electronic Gradebook, Riverdeep software, BrainPOP, TeenBiz, and FCAT Explorer.
School population became a problem yet again in the early 2000s, with schools such as G. Holmes Braddock High School, Barbara Goleman High School, and Miami Springs High School reaching student populations of over 4,500. The sudden influx in student population has forced the school system to build and open nearly 40 new schools in many parts of the county - an ongoing project today.
In October 2001, Deputy Superintendent Henry Fraind retired under pressure after it was discovered that a clique of longtime administrators and powerful outsiders exploited the district's vast resources. Fraind got his Ph.D. from Pacific Western University in 1982, a noted diploma mill.
Beginning April 26, 2004, under then new superintendent Dr. Rudy Crew, the school year was started three weeks earlier in order to synchronize the school district with the rest of the state. Until this point, Miami-Dade County Schools was the only district whose students began school the last week of August rather than the first. This measure was also implemented to allow schools more time to ready themselves for the state's FCAT exam.
In accordance with measures set forth by the State, schools that were graded as a D or F on the FCAT the previous academic year were put on an academic probation by the school board, giving the administration three years to bring the school's grade up to a C or higher before taking drastic measures, such as firing all teachers and administrators or removing funding for extracurricular activities.
In September 2008, the school board bought out Dr. Rudy Crew's contract with the district due to mismanaging the budget and his relations with other board members. He was replaced with Alberto Carvalho, who has been with the school system from being a science teacher to now being its current Superintendent.
The school district is currently being monitored by the Florida Department of Education due to extremely low monetary reserves. Since Alberto Carvalho's appointment reserves have increased from 0.5% to 1.3% of the operating budget, however, this is well below the 5% recommended practice.
Miami-Dade County Public Schools Student Enrollment as of Monday, May 18, 2009 is 379,155 total students. The breakdown of students are shown below.
The district covers a total of 415 institutions, including:
There are 197 elementary schools serving MDCPS. These schools usually teach grades run from Pre-K to 5th or 6th grade.
There are 59 middle schools serving MDCPS. They usually teach grades 6th to 8th, exceptional including 9th grade.
There are 21 Kindergarten-to-8th grade (K-8) Centers serving MDCPS. K-8 Centers are generally setup to serve communities with limited building space for two separate campuses. They are run as both an elementary and middle school out of the same campus with joint administration, staff, and schedules. Middle school-aged students generally have separate buildings dedicated to them.
There are 13 Magnet High Schools serving MDCPS. They normally serve grades 9th to 12th. These schools do not take in students from their area. Instead, students must apply and test into these schools which offer a specific course of study.
There are 23 Adult/Vocational Centers, more commonly referred to as night schools, serving MDCPS. These centers are set up for adults to earn their G.E.D, or for students older than the age of 16 to make-up classes they have failed and have no slots for in their daytime schedules. Some night schools also offer vocational programs and free English classes for non-native speakers. Adult Centers also offer free Citizenship classes. They also offer Saturday classes to accommodate those students who can't attend during the week. They are generally housed at high school campuses with classes taking place in the evening hours.
There are 53 Charter Schools that are set up as publicly funded, but are privately operated in MDCPS. Currently, there are around 19,000 students enrolled in charter schools in the county. Students that attend charter schools do not need to pass an examination before being considered for a spot at the school, but must maintain specific grades and behavioral standards to maintain their enrollment at the school.
There are 16 Alternative Schools serving MDCPS. They are set up for as a last resort for students that constantly have behavioral or extreme academic problems. Also, any child released from a Youth Detention Center must attend an alternative school until he or she is deemed ready to return to normal schools.
There are 5 Specialized Centers serving MDCPS. They are set-up for students that have extreme mental or learning disabilities which would impair them from attending classes with students that do not have such disabilities. It is becoming more and more common for regular schools to set-up their own specialized education (Special Ed) programs.
American · Braddock · Carol City · Central · Coral Gables · Coral Park · Edison · Ferguson · Goleman · Hialeah · Hialeah Gardens · Hialeah-Miami Lakes · Homestead · Jackson · Killian · Krop · Miami · Miami Springs · Mourning · Norland · North Miami · North Miami Beach · Northwestern · Palmetto · Reagan/Doral · South Dade · South Miami · Southridge · Southwest · Sunset · Varela · Washington · Westland
- Adam (William Laird) Elementary
- Alvin Elementary
- Arellanes (Don Juan Bautista) Elementary
- Arellanes Junior High
- Bonita Elementary
- Bruce (Robert) Elementary
- Calvin C. Oakley Elementary
- Miller (Isaac) Elementary
- Liberty Elementary
- George Washington Battles Elementary
- Fesler (Issac) Junior High
- El Camino Junior High
- David J. Sanchez Sr. Elementary
- Tunnell (Martin Luther) Elementary
- Tommie Kunst Junior High
- Taylor (Ida Redmond) Elementary
- Rice (William) Elementary
- Ontiveros (Juan Pacifico) Elementary