Superintendents promise improvements in new school year
MIAMI (WSVN) -- As families across South Florida prepare to send their children back to class, school officials assured the community they have resolved the problems that beset Broward and Miami-Dade Counties in the past year.
Parents are keeping a close eye on those school buses, especially in Broward County, where chaos reigned for the first three weeks of school in 2012.
Parents and students expressed their frustration after Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie made a major move to deal with budget issues. "I think you think that we're stupid, uneducated, and I'm telling you now, you need to get it together," said a concerned resident at a Broward County School Board meeting. "Board members, we will be voting you out," she added.
Runcie indicated the debacle from 2012 will not be repeated. "We've learned from those mistakes and remedied these issues," he said. "The problem was ... we were short of drivers last year. It caused a huge problem for us, so we've been recruiting constantly and consistently throughout the school year."
They have also upgraded their software and notified parents earlier than before. In Miami-Dade, Superintendent Alberto Carvalho spoke with transportation workers and shared words of safety for everyone on the roadways. "For the drivers out there, be careful; children are out there," he said. "Respect the traffic lights, respect the flashing lights. Kids are going back to school."
Among the other tips shared:
- Choose a safe place for your child to wait for the bus located away from traffic and the street.
- When exiting the bus, children should walk 10 giant steps away from the bus.
- Wear light colored clothing and reflective material for maximum visibility.
- Children should always walk with a buddy.
- Do not allow your teen to drive while distracted.
Teachers were already in high gear rallying in anticipation of the school year. "As school starts, you have two feelings at the same time: total jitters in your stomach for a new school year, and that's not different in everybody in this room, and an excitement that you're going to make a difference in the lives of children," said a teacher at a recent rally.
Among the initiatives also being focused on are attendance and on-line learning.
Several charter schools are opening this year, including SLAM! Charter Middle and High School in Miami. SLAM! stands for "Sports Leadership and Management," and it welcomes kids from sixth through 12th grade with an interest in sports-oriented professions.
One of SLAM!'s biggest backers is Mister 305, Pitbull, whose own children attend charter schools. "I see how much these teachers care about these kids, I see what these teachers mean to these kids, and I see the change in their lives that they make," he said.
Before you head to the bus stop, tune in to Today in Florida starting at 5 a.m.
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