Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) has become well-known across our nation for success in student achievement.
We rely on several factors, including innovative instruction, rigorous curriculum and cutting-edge technology. M-DCPS students are leading the state and even the nation in many key performance indicators of student achievement, due to a systematic, strategic approach toward reaching the singular goal.
This strategic planning process orchestrates the efforts of teachers, administrators and other employees. Together we strive continually to increase student achievement through new, innovative methods in order to provide students with the best education possible.
How does the district go about creating world-class education programs and designing the most effective schools that will offer the best learning environments for students? It takes a lot of input, from parents, community members, teachers, administrators, safety specialists, architects with experience building schools, and our students. All of this input helps shape a plan that takes into account those who will be spending a good portion of their lives in our school buildings.
I am exceptionally proud of our school district, including the leadership of our school board, our superintendent of schools, our staff in the Office of School Facilities and the General Obligation Bond Advisory Committee members, who have taken on the monumental task of ensuring that the $1.2 billion General Obligation Bond, overwhelmingly passed by voters in November 2012, is used in the most efficient and impactful manner to benefit our students directly in every one of our Miami-Dade County public schools.
The bond was passed with the ultimate goal of renovating schools, building new capacity in areas of high-growth in our community, and providing cutting-edge technology in every one of our schools.
On Jan. 31, we held the ribbon-cutting ceremony for one of the most important school facilities projects in District 7, opening the first phase of the new K-8 Center now named Kendall Square K-8, located at SW 167th Avenue and 95th Street. This new school is the first school to be built in West Kendall in over a decade. This K-8 school model is one that I as a parent selected for my daughter and is also a favorite with many parents in our community, as it provides school choice within the school boundary feeder pattern for their children.
K-8 Centers also provide a continuum of education from Kindergarten all the way to 8th grade with only one transition to high school. The K-8 experience offers a longer stay at the child’s first school, and benefits may include strong relationships between students and teachers and higher academic outcomes because students feel invested in their school community.
Phase 1, completed in November 2018, provides for 750 K through 5th grade student stations, with instructional classrooms, music and art rooms, and a technology-rich media center to enhance student learning.
Phase 2, which is fully funded to start in fiscal year 2020-21, will include a second building for approximately 450 students in grades 6 through 8. At full completion, board investment in the project will be approximately $26 million, most of which was allocated from the GOB. This K-8 center is a state-of-the-art facility that will be thoroughly enjoyed by all its students and faculty and be a pillar for our new growing communities in West Kendall.
In terms of the General Obligation Bond in general, the program has passed the half-way mark, with nearly $700 million invested in our community. Most of the projects at schools include the replacement of air conditioning/heating/ventilation systems, installing hurricane-resistant impact windows, roofing, painting, and safety-to-life enhancements including public address system, security camera and fire alarm system upgrades. Where needed, schools receive new playgrounds, which provide for healthy activity and exercise, social skill development and a very fun time for the children who use them.
We can easily see the result of all this work throughout our entire community: comfortable, safe, well-lit learning environments that stimulate students to do their best at their assignments in updated schools across the district.
“Giving Our Students the World” is more than just a motto, it’s our mission at Miami-Dade County Public Schools, one that our employees take on each day with students in mind and student achievement as our goal.
Lubby Navarro os the Miami-Dade County School Board member, representing District 7, serving areas of unincorporated Miami-Dade County, Kendall and South Dade.