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Miami-Dade County Public Schools
1450 NE 2nd Ave., Suite 912, Miami, Florida
United States
District information
MottoGiving our students the world.
GradesPre K-12
EstablishedJuly 9, 1885; 138 years ago (1885-07-09)
SuperintendentJose Dotres
Schools522 (2021-22)[1]
Budget$7 billion (2022-23)[1]
NCES District ID1200390[2]
Students and staff
Students328,589 (2021-22)[1] (4th-largest in U.S.)
Teachers17,365 (on an FTE basis) (2021-22)[1]
Student–teacher ratio18.92
Other information
Teachers' unionsFlorida Education Association

Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) is the public school district serving Miami-Dade County in the U.S. state of Florida. Founded in 1885, it is the largest school district in Florida, the largest in the Southeastern United States, and the third-largest[3] in the United States[4] with a student enrollment of 356,589 as of August 30, 2021.[1]

The district includes all of Miami-Dade County.[5] It is managed by the School Board of Miami-Dade County, which appoints a superintendent to head the administrative portions of the district.[6] Dr. Jose Dotres has been Superintendent since February 2022.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools is one of a few public school districts in the U.S. to offer optional international studies programs and bilingual education. Bilingual education is offered in Spanish, French, German, Haitian Creole, and Mandarin Chinese. M-DCPS is the only school district in Florida to offer bilingual education in Mandarin.

As of 2014 35% of MDCPS teachers are graduates of Florida International University.[7]


First Coconut Grove Schoolhouse on the grounds of Plymouth Congregational Church in Coconut Grove, Florida
Booker T. Washington High School in Overtown, founded in 1926

Beginnings (1800s)

The Board of Education for Dade County first met in Miami on June 27, 1885.[8] Those present at the first Board of Education meeting were Superintendent C.H. Lumm, and members of the board, W.H. Benest, Joseph F. Frow, and Adam C. Richards.[9] The main order of business consisted of dividing the county, which at the time included all of what are now Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Martin counties, into districts.[9] The board divided Dade County into four districts. The area around Lake Worth was declared District #1, while Miami became known as District #2.[9] Coconut Grove fell within the boundaries of District #3, with Elliott Key, and all other islands or keys, comprising District #4.[9]

The First Coconut Grove School, built in 1887, served as both the religious and educational center of the pioneer community.[10] In 1889, the building was rented to the School Board for the purpose of servicing children in District #3.[9] The first teachers at the First Coconut Grove Schoolhouse included C.L. Trapp and Flora McFarlane.[10] The first students in attendance included Annie and Harry Peacock; John, James, Trinni, and Mary Pent; and Lillian, Grace, Charlie, and Joseph Frow.[9]

The First Coconut Grove Schoolhouse is a one-story, one-room, rectangular structure with a wood frame and a gable roof covered with shingles.[10] In 1970, the schoolhouse was moved from its original location to its current home on the grounds of the Plymouth Congregational Church, at 3429 Devon Road, Coconut Grove, Florida, 33133.[9] The school was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.[10]

1900s to 1930s

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The turn of the 20th 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 33 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 of 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 to construct.

In 1926, 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, enrolling students from as far away as Broward and Palm Beach counties.

In 1938, George Washington Carver Sr. High opened in Coral Gables for the black residents of the Coconut Grove and Coral Gables area.

1940s to 1970s

Hialeah-Miami Lakes Senior High School in Hialeah, founded in 1971
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In 1936, Mr. Hopkins (Lindsey Hopkins Jr.) and his father (Lindsey Hopkins Sr.) acquired the skeleton of the bankrupt, unfinished Roosevelt Hotel at 1410 NE Second Ave. at public auction for $38,000. They spent a million dollars fixing it up. In 1941, four years after the elder Lindsey Hopkins' death, Mr. Hopkins sold the building to the School Board for $225,000 as a memorial to his father.[11][12]

World War II brought another population boom for Miami. Between 1945 and 1975, 16 high schools, 30 middle schools, and 45 grade schools were opened.

Miami Northwestern opened in 1951 to replace D.A. Dorsey, which was converted into a junior high until schools were desegregated. Dade County Public Schools found that it was not operable anymore as a secondary school, so it was turned into an adult educational center.

In 1957, North Dade Jr./Sr. High School opened for grades seven through tenth grades. As the years progressed, the grades went higher, until North Dade graduated its first class in 1960. After the class of 1966, it became a junior high school, and it has remained so since junior high schools were phased out. Also in this year, Miami Dade Schools established the position of Security Assistant, which would evolve into the Miami-Dade Public Schools Police Department.

On the morning of September 7, 1959, 25 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 they had 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, the program was modified into a full bilingual education curriculum, with a pilot program at Coral Way Elementary School. The program was successful and paved the way for the Bilingual Education Act of 1968.

Beginning in 1962, Dade County schools began to receive their first influx of Hispanic students, mainly from Cuba. This was significant in shaping the school system into what it is today.

In 1975, school boundaries were created, forcing students to attend the schools located within their respective areas. This law allowed for any student to attend the closest school, 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 who had left the school system for private schools began to return by the mid-1980s.

1980s to 1990s

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Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School in Ives Estates, founded in 1998

Throughout the 1980s, the school district was recognized 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 of displaced students after the 1982 Miami riot, in which 14 schools were badly damaged due to fire and vandalism.[citation needed] The Haitian students who came during the 1980s and 1990s were mostly low income, and high school-aged students generally attended Miami Edison High School.[13]

In 1986, the district started the first International Studies Magnet Program at Sunset Elementary School, one of the first such programs in the U.S. This program won the prestigious 2008 Goldman Sachs Prize for Excellence in International Education. It focuses on implementing a challenging curriculum in Spanish, French, and German, in addition to English. This 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 their choice of Spanish, French, or German.

Following Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Dade County was commended for its speed at rebuilding and reopening schools. Most schools reopened within two weeks of the storm, and students who 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 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 enroll students from surrounding neighborhoods, while some are full magnets that only take students 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, its number of black members doubled, and its Hispanic members quadrupled. The 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.

2000s to 2010s

José Martí MAST 6-12 Academy in Hialeah expanded to become a magnet school in 2011.
Coral Gables Senior High School in Coral Gables, founded in 1950

The early 21st century 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 Excelsior Software's Electronic Gradebook,[14] Riverdeep software,[15] BrainPOP, TeenBiz and FCAT Explorer. During the 2010s, Edmodo was also phased into the classrooms of Miami-Dade.[16]

School population became a problem again in the early 21st century,[17] with 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.[citation needed]

In October 2001, Deputy Superintendent Henry Fraind retired under pressure after it was discovered that a clique of longtime administrators and powerful outsiders had exploited the district's vast resources.[18] Fraind had received his Ph.D. from Pacific Western University (Hawaii) in 1982, a noted diploma mill.[18]

Beginning April 26, 2004, under then new superintendent Dr. Rudy Crew, the school year was begun three weeks earlier in order to synchronize the school district with the rest of the state.[19] 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.[20]

In accordance with measures set forth by the state, any school that had been 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.[citation needed]

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.[21] He was replaced by Alberto Carvalho, who was previously a science teacher in this school system.[citation needed]

The school district is currently being monitored by the Florida Department of Education due to having extremely low monetary reserves. Since 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.[citation needed]

After the 2010 Haiti earthquake the district leadership anticipated that there would be thousands of survivors arriving, that most students arriving would be poor, and that most high school-aged students would be going to Miami Edison High School. The district planned to establish housing for refugees at a Baptist hospital in Homestead. By January 2011, there were 1,403 survivors from that earthquake enrolled at M-DCPS, which was below the predicted number, and most of them were in the middle and upper classes. The hospital was never needed. The largest number of high school-aged students, 88, enrolled at North Miami High School. 51 enrolled at Felix Varela High School, and only six enrolled at Miami Edison. MDCPS had the highest number of 2010 Haiti earthquake survivors of any U.S. school district.[13]

In the early 2010s, a larger emphasis was placed on advanced education and magnet programs. New magnet schools and programs were opened.[22] Schools that were already opened also made the decision to introduce magnet programs within the school, such as HML's iPrep Academy, and some schools decided to rebrand themselves as full-on magnet schools, such as José Martí Middle becoming José Martí MAST 6-12 Academy.[23] In 2013, 100 new programs, including 49 iPrep Academies, were opened.[22]

In 2013, the state of Florida announced it would replace the FCAT statewide with Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exams.[24] The PARCC exams were planned for introduction during the 2014–2015 school year.[25] Concerns over PARCC include longer testing times. In comparison to the FCAT's 12-day testing window, PARCC would be spread out over 20 days.[26] There were concerns over the fact that PARCC had not yet, as of 2013, been "developed, designed, nor tested."[26]


In 2023, Bob Graham Education Center in Miami Lakes within the Miami-Dade system banned the inaugural poem of Amanda Gorman, following the complaint of a parent that allegedly opposed "non-white voices" in the school curriculum; the parent was able to ban the book thanks to the policies of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.[27]

Superintendent of schools

School board members

Student Advisor to the School Board

The Student Advisor is elected by the Miami-Dade County District Student Government Association and sits as an advisor to the Board during Board meetings as a representative of the organization and speaks and responds to questions from the Board on student-related issues.[29]

Student enrollment

The total student enrollment of Miami-Dade County Public Schools as of August 30, 2016 was 370,656.[30]

The breakdown of students is shown below.

Pre-K: 1,533
Kindergarten: 23,555
Grade 1: 25,014
Grade 2: 26,423
Grade 3: 28,679
Grade 4: 26,056
Grade 5: 27,110
Grade 6: 25,784
Grade 7: 26,053
Grade 8: 26,654
Grade 9: 27,211
Grade 10: 27,740
Grade 11: 27,341
Grade 12: 26,392

The district is the second-largest minority-majority public school system in the country. As of 2012, 62% of MDCPS students were of Hispanic origin (of any race), 25% Black, 10% Non-Hispanic White, 3% other and multiracial. Of the students enrolled in MDCPS, 54% spoke Spanish at home, 5% spoke Haitian Creole, and less than 1% spoke French and Portuguese at home. 45% of students were enrolled in bilingual Spanish language programs, and an additional 23% were enrolled in other bilingual programs in French, German, Italian, Mandarin, Portuguese, and Haitian Creole.[31]


MAST Academy on Virginia Key, founded in 1990

As of 2006 most newly named schools received names after people working for or involved with M-DCPS, and district rules allow schools to be named after people who are still alive. Relatively few schools were named after highly famous people.[32]


Main article: List of Miami-Dade County Public Schools

School rankings

U.S. News & World Report

The following MDCPS high schools were ranked in U.S. News & World Report's annual "America's Best High Schools" rankings:[33]

National ranking Top 200 public high schools in the United States[34]
2012 2009 School Enrollment Location
16 15 Design and Architecture Senior High School (DASH) 483 Design District, Miami
26 NR Young Women's Preparatory Academy 304 Little Havana, Miami
50 NR International Studies Charter High School 304 Little Havana, Miami
73 66 Maritime and Science Tech High School (MAST) 550 Virginia Key, Miami
131 95 Coral Reef Senior High School 3,007 Richmond Heights, Unincorporated Miami-Dade County
183 NR Doral Performing Arts and Entertainment Academy 104 Doral
186 82 New World School of the Arts 489 Downtown, Miami
Florida ranking[34] Top 50 public high schools in Florida
2012 School Location
1 Design and Architecture Senior High School (DASH) Design District, Miami
2 Young Women's Preparatory Academy Little Havana, Miami
7 International Studies Charter High School Little Havana, Miami
11 Maritime and Science Tech High School (MAST) Virginia Key, Miami
15 Coral Reef Senior High School Richmond Heights, Unincorporated Miami-Dade County
16 Doral Performing Arts and Entertainment Academy Doral
17 New World School of the Arts Downtown Miami
28 Miami Beach Senior High School South Beach, Miami Beach
43 Mater Academy East High School Little Havana, Miami
47 Doral Academy High School Doral
National ranking Top 10 U.S. magnet high schools Location
2 (2009) Design and Architecture Senior High School (DASH) Design District, Miami


In 2011, Newsweek's rankings of the 500 Best High Schools in America, eight MDCPS schools were ranked:

National ranking School Enrollment Location
28. (4th in Florida) School for Advanced Studies 525 North, South, Wolfson and Homestead campuses, at Miami Dade College, Miami-Dade County
46. (7th in Florida) Maritime and Science Tech High School (MAST) 550 Virginia Key, Miami
53. Coral Reef Senior High School 3,007 Richmond Heights, Unincorporated Miami-Dade County
251. Miami Palmetto Senior High School 4,093 Pinecrest
374. Doctors Charter School of Miami Shores 525 Miami Shores
404. Mater Academy Charter School 4,000 Hialeah Gardens
427. Mater Academy Lakes High School 2,000 Unincorporated Miami-Dade County
456. Doral Academy Charter High School 2,000 Doral


MDCPS owns and operates WLRN-TV (Channel 17), a PBS member television station, and WLRN-FM (91.3 FM), an NPR member radio station.

Notable employees

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e ((cite web)): Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ "Search for Public School Districts – District Detail for Miami-Dade County Public Schools". National Center for Education Statistics. Institute of Education Sciences.
  3. ^ "Miami-Dade surpasses Chicago as the nation's third largest school district - at least for now". WLRN. October 3, 2022. Retrieved April 20, 2023.
  4. ^ "Selected statistics on enrollment, teachers, dropouts, and graduates in public school districts enrolling more than 15,000 students, by state: 1990, 2000, 2003-04, 2004-05, and 2005". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  5. ^ "2020 CENSUS - SCHOOL DISTRICT REFERENCE MAP: Miami-Dade County, FL" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 22, 2022. - Text list - As "Dade County School District"
  6. ^ a b "M-DCPS School Board". Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  7. ^ "Rankings & Facts". Florida International University. Archived from the original on February 3, 2014. Retrieved January 30, 2014.
  8. ^ "School Board Information". Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Kent, Gertrude. "The Coconut Grove School" (PDF). Tequesta. History Miami. Retrieved September 21, 2013.
  10. ^ a b c d "First Coconut Grove Schoolhouse: Designation Report" (PDF). Historic Preservation Miami. The City of Miami. Retrieved September 27, 2013.
  11. ^ Nevins, Buddy (January 8, 1988). "The End of an Era". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  12. ^ FINANCIER LINDSEY HOPKINS JR. DIES - Miami Herald, The (FL) - February 16, 1986 - page 1B[full citation needed]
  13. ^ a b Winerip, Michael. "New Influx of Haitians, but Not Who Was Expected" (Archive). The New York Times. January 15, 2011. Retrieved on February 24, 2016. In print as: "New Influx Of Haitians, But Not Who Was Expected" - January 16, 2011, p. A17.
  14. ^ "Logon". Retrieved April 1, 2012.
  15. ^ "Riverdeep/Houghton Mifflin Learning Technology". Retrieved April 1, 2013.
  16. ^ "Edmodo". Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  17. ^ "3 COUNTIES JOINING ON SCHOOL ISSUES (full article requires purchase)". Miami Herald. September 26, 2000. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  18. ^ a b Savage, Charles. (April 12, 2002) Miami Herald Board's "big happy family" is run on mutual favors. Front section, page 1A.
  19. ^ "TEACHING AND LEARNING ARE PART OF DADE SCHOOLS CHIEF'S FIRST DAY (full article requires purchase)". Miami Herald. August 17, 2004. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  20. ^ "Timeline: Rudy Crew". Miami Herald. September 10, 2008. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  21. ^ Eddy Ramírez (September 15, 2008). "Rudy Crew, Miami's School Chief, Is Ousted". US News. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  22. ^ a b Maria Camila Bernal (August 19, 2013). "Miami-Dade County Public Schools Begin Year With New Programs". NBC Miami. Retrieved September 1, 2013.
  23. ^ Ari Odzer (August 21, 2013). "Magnet School Options in South Florida". NBC Miami. Retrieved September 1, 2013.
  24. ^ Leslie Postal (May 15, 2013). "What tests will replace FCAT? Florida to decide by June". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved September 1, 2013.
  25. ^ "Your Questions, Answered Here!". Florida Path to Success. Retrieved September 1, 2013.
  26. ^ a b Anastasia Dawson (July 29, 2013). "Florida weighing questions over FCAT replacement". The Tampa Tribune. Retrieved September 1, 2013.
  27. ^ "Amanda Gorman's inauguration poem banned by Florida school". PBS NewsHour. May 24, 2023. Retrieved September 19, 2023.
  28. ^ "Office of the Superintendent". Retrieved February 14, 2022.
  30. ^ "Student Enrollment". Retrieved August 30, 2016.
  31. ^ "Statistical Highlights 2010-2011" (PDF). Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  32. ^ Pinzur, Matthew I. "WHAT'S IN A NAME?" Miami Herald. April 4, 2006. Section Metro & State p. 1B. Available from NewsBank, Record # 0604060114.
  33. ^ "Best High Schools". US News. Archived from the original on December 18, 2008. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  34. ^ a b "Florida High Schools". US News. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  35. ^ "Tombi Bell Bio". Gator Zone. Archived from the original on October 15, 2013. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
  36. ^ "Minnesota Lynx Draft History". Women's National Basketball Association. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
  37. ^ "Electives". Archived from the original on February 24, 2015. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
  38. ^ Daniel Chang (February 18, 2007). "Jay W. Jensen, 75, taught the stars" (PDF). University of Miami School of Education & Human Development. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 21, 2012. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
  39. ^ Hank Tester (September 23, 2010). "All Grown Up: The Face of the Cuban Rafter Crisis". NBC Miami. Retrieved April 22, 2013.
  40. ^ Myriam Marquez (November 7, 1994). "Cuban Refugees At Guantanamo Caught In Web Of Hopelessness". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved August 22, 2013.

25°47′19.82″N 80°11′27.95″W / 25.7888389°N 80.1910972°W / 25.7888389; -80.1910972