The 2021-2022 school year for Miami-Dade County Public Schools is in the books.
It was challenging in several ways — as students were coming off the COVID disruptions of the previous year, many had to reacquaint themselves with being back in the classroom, and the year started with the mask mandate controversies. So adjustments had to be made by students, teachers and parents.
We spoke to parents Wednesday as they picked up their kids at iPrep Academy in Miami, asking them how they perceived the school year.
“It went very well, thank God no incidents like other areas,” said Chris Gustine as he left with his two daughters.
“I think it went great, the kids learned a lot even though all the loss because of COVID, they adjusted from wearing a mask to not wearing a mask, and overall it was a great school year,” said Keyla Castillo, a mom of two.
“It was wonderful despite all the challenges with COVID and the changes with Mr. Carvalho leaving, we had an absolutely wonderful year,” Kim McAdam, who has a child at iPrep, told us.
Teachers saw their students navigating different challenges.
“This year was an especially challenging year in terms of the social anxiety I believe of students,” said Natan Samuels, who teaches physics and astronomy at Booker T. Washington High School in Miami. “All the students knew each other already and knew me and the rest of the teachers, but from online, so being together in the same classroom, we kind of had to learn what it’s like, what school is, what being in a classroom is.”
Tanisha Cidel noticed her students at Norland Middle School had more needs this year.
“Academically they weren’t always there, and they needed more support, emotionally and mentally, and so I’m so glad we were able to do that also, through the arts and the extracurricular activities, those are the things that the students come to school for, we kind of trick them into learning while they’re here, right?” Cidel said.
English teacher Eddie Cruz told us he saw improvement once his students at Jose Marti MAST Academy adjusted to being back in class instead of on Zoom.
“And by the end of the year we’ve come to see more what a typical English classroom should be, where they were talking to each other, sharing ideas, going on field trips, having a prom, having a graduation, overall, it’s been a great year,” Cruz said.
So from the teacher perspective, the school year seemed to get better as it went along.
What about addressing the COVID slide of learning losses? The district is still assessing how it did. The only assessments which have been released so far were the third-grade FSA results. On that measure, Miami-Dade students did better than the statewide average and performed at a higher level than other urban school districts. However, their scores were slightly down from 2021, so that grade is still incomplete.