Miami-Dade Public Schools named A-rated district for first time

MIAMI (WSVN) - The Miami-Dade County Public Schools district has been given an A rating for the first time in its history.

Superintendent Alberto Carvalho announced the historic achievement Wednesday on Twitter.

“Not only did our school district earn an A rating for the first time ever, but for the second year in a row, there were NO F-rated traditional schools,” Carvalho noted.

Several schools made significant leaps, such as Caribbean K-8 Center, earning a B rating for the first time, and John A. Ferguson Senior High School, which went from a B rating to an A rating. Lake Stevens Elementary School in Opa-locka also earned an A rating for the first time in 12 years.

The Florida Department of Education on Wednesday released district and school grades for the 2017-2018 school year for all public schools in the Sunshine State. The department calculates school grades annually based on multiple factors, including student achievement and learning gains on statewide, standardized assessments and high school graduation rate.

“This historic, record-setting news is a testament to the fortitude and focus of students, teachers, school and District leaders, support staff and every member of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools team,” Carvalho said. “We are fortunate to have the support and visionary leadership of our School Board and a group of talented professionals who I consider the best instructional staff in the nation – our teachers. They believe in the ability, potential, and learning capacity of every child. Today is a great day to celebrate in Miami-Dade.”

The school district is the fourth-largest school system in the country with 392 schools and over 345,000 students.

“All school types: elementary, middle, senior high school, as well as combination schools like K-8s, outperformed the state, and outperformed all other large urban districts,” Carvalho said in a Thursday morning press conference. “This is fantastic news, not only for our community. It is fantastic news for the state and amazing news for everyone who believes in public education.”

Following the good news, Carvalho now hopes to reward teachers for their efforts in making the A rating possible.

“This justifies it,” said Carvalho. “They are A-rated teachers. They deserve far better than mediocre pay.”

Carvalho said the school district plans to ask for the community’s help with a proposed pay raise for teachers on the Nov. 6 general election ballot.

“Now is the time for us as a community to compensate them adequately in recognition of their efforts and their results,” said Carvalho.

If the item makes it to the November ballot and is passed, the raise for teachers would be funded through an increase in property taxes.

Broward County Schools also fared well in the ratings. Narrowly missing the A ranking, Broward instead earned a B. However, 96 percent of the schools in Broward received an A, B or C grade with 84 percent maintaining or increasing their scores.

Students in Broward participated in state testing just two months after the district was rocked by the mass shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School.

“I just want to commend our entire student body, our teachers, our employees and community for the resilience they showed in maintaining our progress,” said Broward County Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie.

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