Miami-Dade's Approach to Reopen Schools and Keep Students on Track

Posted at 5:55 PM, May 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-14 17:55:01-04

As counties across Florida continue to adjust their “reopen” plans, many are wondering what does the future hold for our students.

Distance learning has been going on for about two months and both parents and teachers are concerned students are falling behind.

Today, we speak to Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Schools, Alberto Carvalho, and discuss the county’s approach to help students rebound and stay on track.

“It was career day and everything was going great, then the superintendent went on and said that we had to just start [virtual learning] on Monday, so it was pretty hard at first,” said Jennivielle.

South Florida school districts closed their doors March 16th in response to the growing Coronavirus outbreak, forcing students to learn online.

"To have their focus, especially in 4th grade, and having so much to do. You're home at the end of the day. They're home and they have access to be playing videogames, to be doing TikToks, and I have seen it. It's not something that we don't see either. But what can we do if we're just behind a screen," said Jennivielle.

Jenivielle Chavez is a 4th grade teacher at iMater Elementary School in Hialeah. She says her students have been struggling to pay attention during Zoom classes.

“Wat you can do in an hour and 45 minutes, you can’t do in an hour. For example, you have to teach a chapter, it would take me a week [in person], we’re now taking two weeks,” said Jenivielle.

There are several factors to consider before students can head back to the classroom full-time in August or September.

A big concern the academic slide some students may have experienced during distance learning, summer virtual classes. An early start to the new school year and adding one additional hour of instruction where it’s needed are what Carvalho says will help students get back on track.

“In addition, we’re going to assign all of these students a virtual mentor and tutor. We believe that this redundant approach, even if they miss one opportunity, there will be a number of opportunities for expanded recover available to them. Our goal is to reach academic stabilization in the middle of this crisis,” said Carvalho.

Students that fit into these programs are identified based on their individual performance profile.

“We have to give in a list of names of students who have not turned in assignments, or that we feel that need that extra push," said Jenivielle.

Carvalho says students and parents are going to have to adjust to the new normal.

“Social distancing will be mandatory, class sizes will be smaller, meals will be taken to the classroom, mandatory temperature measuring out front… with all of that, there may be some students/parents saying they really thrived in this distancing learning environment. Then we will have an A/B model, where 13 students will be physically present in the classroom and 13 on zoom, then they flip. So we’re preparing for as many as options and choices for parents as we examine all the possible scenarios that may unfold between now and August,” said Carvalho.

Carvalho says he does expect the school year to being in August and if you any concerns or questions, you can reach his office, click here.