Miami-Dade County Public Schools

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

For the first time in the 61-year history of the Miami-Dade County school district police department, no cops were absent on the first day of school.

C.M. GUERRERO / Miami Herald

Miami-Dade County’s 389 public schools opened their doors Monday morning to welcome about 350,000 students for the first day of the new school year.

And at each school, a sworn police officer was there to greet them.

Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said Monday morning that employee attendance was higher than usual and that had not heard of a single issue regarding police deployment across the district. Operations at high schools, the first to open, were very smooth, he said.

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

In an annual back-to-school address, the leader of Miami-Dade County Public Schools highlighted the district's star teachers and students.

Like Lois Kirns, an 80-year-old physical education teacher at New World School of the Arts, who has been in the classroom for more than a half century. And Ethan Levy, an budding scientist and student at Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School.

Marsha Halper / Miami Herald Archive

As an orthodontist in Miami Beach and Northeast Miami-Dade for decades, Dr. Michael Krop made it a habit to not only straighten teeth, but to know his patients.

Most of his patients were kids.

So after years of listening to their problems — many concerning schools in Miami-Dade County — he decided to run for the Dade County School Board.

Krop, who maintained his practice while serving on the board for 24 years and even had a school named after him, died Tuesday from heart disease at 88. He died in his Bal Harbour home.

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

Property owners in Miami-Dade County are one step closer to absorbing a tax increase that would pay for public school teachers and campus police officers.

NALEO Education Fund

The last time the federal government asked about citizenship status on the U.S. census was 1950. Now federal officials plan to do it again in 2020.

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

They include a veteran art teacher who decided to protect classrooms, a former undercover narcotics detective who came out of retirement, and an early-career cop who wanted to help after the shooting that left 17 dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

Three South Florida school districts earned “A” grades for the academic year that just ended.

The Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Monroe county school districts all saw their grades increase from “B” to “A” for 2017-18. Broward County Public Schools kept its “B” from previous years. The Florida Department of Education released the newest ratings on Wednesday.

DATABASE: Check out the grades for all Florida schools

Miami Herald Archive

Fed up with lack of funding from Tallahassee and under pressure from a frustrated teacher corps that can't keep up with skyrocketing costs of living, the Miami-Dade County school district may soon turn to voters for help.

At a special board meeting Wednesday, the School Board unanimously voted to direct district staff to develop language for a referendum to be placed on the November ballot. It would ask voters if they would pay more in property taxes to supplement educator salaries and fund school safety personnel.

NALEO Educational Fund

A Miami-Dade school board member will lead a national effort to convince the federal government to remove a controversial question about citizenship from the 2020 U.S. Census.

Lubby Navarro was appointed co-chair of a national commission that will hold hearings around the country and then release a report on how to get the most accurate count of Latinos in the census.

As far as Navarro is concerned, that means not asking about immigration status, which federal officials plan to do in 2020 for the first time in decades.

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN News

Half of the percussion section is lined up along a classroom wall, with whiteboards to their backs. Each young boy is shaking a shekere — a West African instrument made from a dried gourd and covered with a colorful beaded netting.

The rest of the musicians are sitting nearby in blue plastic chairs with djun djun and djembe drums at their feet. They bang on the instruments with one or two wooden sticks — or just their hands.

They’re laying down the beat for the girls, who are jumping and moving their bodies like waves to the music.

C.M. Guerrero / Miami Herald

Alberto Carvalho is miffed.

Breaking from its usual practice, the federal government sent more than 1,000 immigrant kids to a shelter in southern Miami-Dade County and didn't tell him.

As superintendent of Miami-Dade public schools, it's Carvalho's responsibility to provide an education to all youths within his jurisdiction. He cited that part of the Florida Constitution in a letter he sent to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen asking her what the district should do to educate those children.

Archive / Miami Herald

Miami-Dade County schools superintendent Alberto Carvalho hopes better academic performance will mean more money from the state legislature.

Carvalho and school board members highlighted the district’s improving state test scores during a press conference Friday at the school board building. Students in Miami-Dade are outperforming their peers in other urban school districts across the state.

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN News

More students locally and across Florida are passing state exams.

Statewide, students’ pass rates on the annual English and Math tests increased slightly from last year. But South Florida’s large school districts made bigger gains of 2 or 3 percent.

Pages