El futuro de la educación
en Miami
Fiti edikasyon nan miyami

Our journey

Vwayaj nou an

Nestled between the lush flora of Everglades National Park and the world’s most vibrant beaches, you’ll find The Magic City—a land of diversity, beauty and hustle. Look closer, beneath our hot pink sunsets, our mural-lined buildings and our aromatic mango trees. You’ll find the most majestic feature of our bustling international city is not its glittering skyline or oceanside landscape, but the infinite potential of each Miami child. Our students, teachers, families and community leaders are reimagining what’s possible in the city and its public schools. Together, let’s embark on a voyage into the future of education in Miami. We’ll travel an educational path and discover the ways to ensure that every child in Miami thrives.

Our journey begins with a look at our past and present. In the last decade, Miami-Dade County has made notable strides toward great schools for all:

➊  We have fewer “F-rated” schools than ever before.1,2

➋  Our graduation rates are higher than ever.3

➌  More children are enrolling in advanced middle and high school courses.4

➍  Our students have made steady gains in math and reading proficiency.5

Still, we haven’t reached our destination: a future in which kids from any neighborhood, any zip code and any economic status have fair access to an excellent education. Our vision is that we will get there, and our school system will set a world-class standard. To achieve our ambitious goals, we must think beyond old learning models that lag behind the pace of change in our world. Let’s prove that our bustling city can keep up—that together, we can chart a new path forward.

1 Florida Department of Education, “Florida School Accountability: Florida School Grades – 2017”, accessed June 4, 2018.
2 Kyra Gurney, “Miami-Dade school grades mark a milestone: no F schools”, Miami Herald, June 28, 2017.
3 Florida Department of Education, “Florida’s High School Cohort 2016–17 Graduation Rate”, January 2018.
4 Florida Department of Education, “Florida’s PK-12 Education Information Portal” District Grades – Acceleration, accessed June 4, 2018.
5 The Nation’s Repozrt Card, “2017|NAEP Mathematics & Reading Assessments”, accessed June 4, 2018.

Our voices

Vwa nou yo

Before our travels began, we set out to listen to the voices of our community. We spoke with hundreds of students, teachers, parents and community leaders. Here is what we heard about how we can better serve the children of Miami.

Ryan Pontier

“As both a parent and professor of bilingual education, I insist the education that any student receives be excellent. All children deserve quality care and education, so we must ask ourselves: ‘What are we doing to support children’s learning?’ This means that everything from our teacher preparation programs to professional development, support for administrators, home-school relationships and instruction must be nothing short of spectacular. Anything less is a foreclosure of talent, skill and rich experience.”

Ryan Pontier is a visiting assistant professor in the School of Education & Human Development at Florida International University. He provides on-site support to teachers, plans and implements strategic workshops for various educational organizations and engages in research around teachers’ instructional practices with bilingual students. Ryan is also a parent of two daughters.

Karen Veras

“Equitable education does not mean that every child receives the same resources but rather that every child is given the resources and experiences necessary to guarantee their individual success. To deceive our-selves into thinking that we can replicate what works for one school district—with little regard for our unique social constructs—has proven costly to our most fragile populations. As a parent and educator, it is my greatest hope that equity in public education will soon be the rule and not the exception.”

Karen Veras is a parent and teacher leader with P.S. 305. Karen was raised in a public housing project, where she witnessed her mother’s struggles. Due to this experience, Karen vowed to achieve her dream of graduating from college and becoming a teacher. She graduated from Florida International University and has taught in Miami-Dade schools for almost 15 years.

Elmise Sawyer-Brown

“Empowerment means that our schools provide kids and families true independence and agency in order to enjoy a fair and just life. Today’s schools bear very little relevance to the demands of kids’ lives. Far too many of our children graduate without the skills needed to succeed in the current job market. As a mom, I want to ensure my children are being taught in a way that is relevant to them. I want to be able to make the choices I feel and know my children need to succeed.”

Elmise Sawyer-Brown is a wife, mother of three sons and P.S. 305 parent leader. She is actively involved in her children’s education while supporting other parents—especially in the Haitian community. She is passionate about children’s welfare and development. This propels her to seek more knowledge, so she can apply herself to the benefit of all children in society.

Nicole Crooks

“How liberating would it be for each of our children to know they can show up authentically as themselves? To know their own voice, beauty, culture, experiences, ideas, interests, unique gifts and talents will be valued, nurtured—even wholeheartedly celebrated? Our learning environments must embrace the diversity and identity of every child. We must ensure every child knows with confidence—at the core of who they are—they can pioneer a lifetime journey of learning, serving, leading and growing.”

Nicole Crooks is a single mother of three children and believes every child, regardless of race, socioeconomic status or background, deserves security, respect and access to a world-class education. Nicole is a family care coordinator at the University of Miami Early Discovery Program. She served on the Overtown Community Oversight Board and works actively to elevate her community.

Our guiding stars

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To navigate our journey to the future of education, we must stay pointed in the right direction. Four guiding stars will light the way as we set goals and reach milestones in our travels.


All children deserve an excellent education, regardless of where they were born, their cultural background, their gender, their socioeconomic status or their zip code. No two children are the same. The education system of the future has great unmatched potential—and responsibility—to right the wrongs of the inequities upon which our school system stands. It must reimagine itself to embrace the unlimited potential in every child.

To reach this destination, schools must know and respond to students’ real lives, creating rich educational experiences within and beyond school walls. That means funding a student’s education based on their actual needs. Students need agency in their learning and classrooms that promote their unique strengths. Families need access to culturally-relevant opportunities that foster a child’s educational success.


Our world is more connected every day, and opportunities will abound for well-rounded, well-prepared students to lead and listen in diverse environments. Over 90 per-cent of Miami students are children and teenagers of color. At home, they speak Spanish, Creole, Portuguese and more. They represent all socioeconomic backgrounds and a rich, global community of nationalities. Miami’s diversity can provide students with unparalleled advantages.

To reach this destination, schools of tomorrow must embody inclusion. They must recognize, embrace and nurture student diversity. We must combine cultural competence, student-centered instruction and innovation through technology to give our children an edge as leaders of tomorrow. We will expose students to lessons relevant to their lives and grounded in the vibrant cultures that make up our city.


The bar for excellence in education keeps rising. In Miami, we must recognize this challenge as an oppor-tunity to position every child to initiate change as teenagers and adults. The first step: believing that all students can reach the bar we set for them. By aiming high, we can ensure that excellence is woven through all our educational endeavors.

To reach this destination, we will embrace rigor in all our subjects, meaning students can learn through practice in complex, real- world scenarios. We will reject a one-size-fits-all approach to learning, so every child has the support they need to be successful. We will celebrate, compensate and elevate educators as the individuals and professionals they are.


The most sustainable, relevant education systems are built in partnership with informed community members. That means families are empowered to choose the right educational path for their children, students are empowered in class, principals are empowered to make the right decisions for their schools and teachers are empowered to create successful learning environments.

To reach this destination, we will ensure all families have access to the information they need to make strong school choices. We will ensure that all public schools are accessible to every student in Miami. We will ensure policy decisions about our schools are made with the whole community. We will create conditions that ensure the people working in our schools can make decisions in the best interest of all learners.

Our vision

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We won’t rest until every Miami child has access to an education that brings their wildest dreams within reach. We envision a Miami where our children learn to become leaders with broad and diverse horizons. Our graduates use the knowledge they gain in our schools, along with the uplifted, collective experiences of our people, to create a better future for the whole city.

From the original South Floridians, like the Tequesta and Miccosukee peoples; to technological pioneers like Jeff Bezos and Sheryl Sandberg; cultural icons like Barry Jenkins, Pitbull and Celia Cruz; and business and government leaders like D.A. Dorsey, Janet Reno and Maxine Clark; our city is defined by our chispa. People from all around the world make a home on Miami’s shores. If we challenge ourselves to understand and harness our unique strengths, we can define meaningful new ways for schools to support the growth of our students’ individual and collective identities.

We are charting the path to a future where:

➊  Students are at the center of all education decisions.

➋  Families are empowered to craft educational journeys that respect and maximize the agency, identity and potential of their students.

➌  Schools set an exceptionally high bar for excellence, providing rigorous and relevant educational experiences to students to ensure that they will thrive and lead in our diverse communities, economies and the world.

➍  Every teacher and school leader is celebrated and supported with the tools and flexibility to effectively guide their schools and classrooms to excellence.

A student’s educational journey

Vwayaj yon etidyan nan sistÈm edikasyon an

How could a family move through Miami’s school system of the future? Follow Jessica and her family as they navigate the dynamic choices of tomorrow.


Jessica is born into a family of modest means in the neighborhood of Allapattah.

Early Head Start

Jessica’s family chooses from three early childhood options. Jessica attends an Early Head Start program when she is 3 years old.

Montessori VPK

Jessica’s family enrolls her in a state-funded voluntary pre-K (VPK) Montessori program until she is 5 years old.

Neighborhood elementary school

From kindergarten through fifth grade, Jessica attends her neighborhood school. She learns Haitian Creole through school’s global language magnet program.

Extended learning program

Jessica’s teacher sees that she’s struggling with literacy. Her parents enroll her in an extended-day reading program where she receives one-on-one support.

Exchange program to Haiti

At age 10, Jessica attends a cultural exchange program where she lives with a local family for the summer.

STEAM charter middle school

Jessica’s experience in Haiti inspires her to enroll in a free, open enrollment charter middle school near her home. She walks to school with her grandmother every day and learns to make digital art through coding.

Field trip to the PAMM

In seventh grade, Jessica spends a day at the iconic Pérez Art Museum Miami where she meets Caribbean artists from her community who are changing the way people think about art and technology.

College prep high school

Jessica decides to attend a prestigious college prep high school where she builds a 3D printer. She uses this 3D printer to create sculptures for her school’s community garden.

Local tech start-up

As part of her junior year coursework, Jessica gets a full-time job at a local tech start-up. She builds an app to help people discover Miami’s underground black, Latin and Caribbean art scene.

After-school volunteering

Jessica wants other young girls to have access to the incredible computer science skills she developed through her education. She volunteers at an after-school program that supports elementary students in learning to code.

College in New York

Jessica receives a full scholarship to attend college in New York City and studies mechanical engineering and visual art.

Lives abroad

Jessica spends a year living and working on each continent, creating art from each of these experiences.

Founder of Fortune 500 Company

After years of learning and growing all over the world, Jessica returns home to Miami and develops a multimillion dollar technology company that democratizes technical and artistic creation.

20,736 options

Jessica and her family could have navigated this map 20,736 different ways to customize her education. The map represents only a small fraction of the total choices available to them.

Measures of success

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We hope our journey will inspire, with a vision for tomorrow and guiding stars to get there. The “Miami Model” could serve as an example for diverse communities and countries around the world—so as we follow the guiding stars that shine a light on Miami schools, we must also track our progress against other communities. To do so, we will use 50CAN: The 50-State Campaign for Achievement Now’s four dimensions of a healthy and dynamic learning system:

Community → Effective, sustainable policy change requires strong relationships, real-time feedback and long-term ownership by the people served.
Competition → Greater responsiveness and better outcomes are more likely when people have the power to choose among multiple options to meet their needs.
Performance → Success requires both the flexibility to pursue excellence and rigorous standards to ensure those serving the public are held accountable for their results.
Pluralism → Diverse populations are better served by dynamic systems that support lots of paths to success and embrace different traditions, values and beliefs.

Below you’ll see how we currently rate ourselves in each dimension. These ratings use 50CAN’s four-point scale. We also outline next steps for our future progress.


(2 point out of 4)

We have committed to building strong relationships between our schools and their communities. Additionally, teacher diversity continues to be one of our greatest assets. We can do far more, however, to ensure we’re elevating community voices and investing in meaningful engagement strategies.


(1 point out of 4)
Miami offers a variety of education opportunities including traditional, charter, magnet and private schools. We must make schools and information easily accessible to families in their own neighborhoods, in addition to guaranteeing that transportation is provided to all students in the choice system.


(2 points out of 4)
Our standardized assessments are aligned to our rigorous and accessible learning standards and are administered to all students. We should strive to increase school leader autonomy and develop stronger and accessible accountability systems that report assessment results for all student subgroups.


(2 points out of 4)
We have made significant advancements in providing alternative education approaches and augmented our definition of student educational success. Yet, there is more work to be done to strengthen education investments made by diverse providers and community groups.

Click here for an in-depth look at these measures of success, and to track our progress along our journey.

How to get involved

Eske ou pare

Founded in 2016, P.S. 305 is a non-profit organization committed to ensuring that all children in Miami receive an excellent and equitable education. We’re parents, teachers, students and community members joined in the belief that every child in Miami has limitless potential—and can realize that potential in a just school system. Our mission is to inform, activate and empower the Miami community into a strong voice for great schools. P.S. 305 is an affiliate of 50CAN: The 50-State Campaign for Achievement Now.

Guided by that belief, we elevate community voices to advocate for a great school for every child, in every neighborhood. Here’s how you can join us:

→ Continue your journey online. Want to learn more about education in Miami? Visit ps305.org, and sign up for our emails to stay in the know.
→ Start the conversation. We would love to hear from you and talk more about how we can work together. Email us at hello@ps305.org.
→ Share your ideas. How can Miami aim high in education? Share a post on social media with the hashtag #PS305Family.
→ Join a campaign. We would love to help you get involved. Text “MIAMI” to 52886 to sign up for action alerts for upcoming campaigns.

Together, we can build an education system worthy of the immense potential of all our children.