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Back To School Down To The Wire In South Florida

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Parents prepare for their kids to head back to school (Source: CBS4)

Parents prepare for their kids to head back to school (Source: CBS4)

David-Sutta-600x450 David Sutta
David Sutta joined the CBS4 news team in April of 2007. As S...
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Summer Guide

MIAMI (CBS4) – Monday will be a historical day for Miami-Dade County’s nearly 400 schools.

When students arrive they may find themselves connected for the first time.

Most of Miami-Dade schools received Wi-Fi over the summer.

If your child’s school doesn’t have it yet it will in next few months.

It’s just the beginning of changes students and parents can expect Monday as nearly 600,000 students in Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties head back to the classroom.

Sunday night Miami-Dade’s School Superintendent did a final walk through of his prized iPrep Academy, a school he is also principal.

“Students will have access to digital content, digital devices, excellent teachers and inviting environments just like this one,” said Alberto Carvalho, Miami-Dade Superintendent.

Carvalho is proud of the model program now being rolled out at every middle school in Miami-Dade county Monday morning.

“We’ll take care of reading, writing and arithmetic.  Parents should take care of respect, responsibility and restraint in conversation,” Carvalho added.

With just hours before the start of the new school year, parents and students could be seen wandering stores with supply lists in hand, Sunday.

“I’ve got sanitizer, soap,” said parent Will Croce as he tried to fulfill the last-minute list.

Teresa Welch had three pages of items her kindergartner needs for class.

“It is torture,” Welch said laughing while speaking to CBS4’s David Sutta.

Besides the crowds, parents complained about the number of items and the amount of money they’re spending for their children to go back to school.

“When I was in school you didn’t need this long list.  It’s a lot longer than when I was a kid,” Cindy Nieves told Sutta as she shopped to fill her fourth grader’s back pack.

Among the items needed this year, surprisingly the back to school rush ‘hot’ item is paper.

Alex Pierce has been challenged with keeping the shelves stocked with it.

“It’s our warm up season for Christmas; it’s practice,” said Pierce.

By the numbers the start of school is big.

In Miami-Dade county nearly 350,000 students are headed back to class with 20,000 teachers at 392 schools.

In Broward County, 260,000 students will join 14,000 teachers at 315 schools.

Monday is going to be a busy day – at school and on the road.

And if you are one of those parents with a full list to fill, last minute pros said it’s better to go alone and leave the students to rest up at home before the first day of school.

“Yeah, that way he’s not oh I want this, I want that!” said Will Croce.

While students will be well prepared, Florida starts the new school year with a temporary education commissioner, just as it did last year.

Three weeks ago Tony Bennett, embroiled in a grade-fixing scandal at his previous post in Indiana simply walked.

Bennett’s departure came as the curriculum and Florida’s long standing F-CAT testing system is being replaced.

Recent test scores downgraded a majority of South Florida schools.

“Show up tomorrow (Monday) ready to learn.  Let us worry about the politics.  Let me shoulder the politics of the state and the county,” said Superintendent Carvalho.

In addition, Carvalho said he will have a heavy hand in the making recommendations to the state so schools won’t see a repeat of testing scores dropping.

If you are a parent who still has questions about Monday, perhaps about dress codes, free or reduced lunch, or maybe your child is one of the 100,000 students taking the bus, click here to have many of your questions answered.

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