Welcome Back! Broward County Students Return for First Day of School Year Tuesday

Broward is the third South Florida county to have students return to class to start the year

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Alarm clocks went off earlier than normal Tuesday morning and the schools buses were rolling down the road as Broward County students return to campus for the first day of the 2022-23 school year.

The new year marks a return of face-to-face learning from day one for the first time since the COVID pandemic for students across the county. BCPS Superintendent Dr. Vickie Cartwright will attend several schools across the county on the first day to evaluate how things go.

Both Broward and Miami-Dade County public schools will serve students lunch and breakfast free of charge for the 2022-23 school year. Broward Schools are providing free meals under the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Community Eligibility Provision. Click here for a list of the 167 schools that are serving free meals under the CEP.

As Broward students are gearing up to head back to school, NBC 6's Ari Odzer sat with Superintendent Vickie Cartwright to talk about her goals and challenges to address for the upcoming year.

The superintendent has a long to-do list. Broward County Public Schools starts the school year with learning gaps to bridge among many students: the district still has a teacher shortage, there are new laws complicating what teachers can discuss in class.

“So the biggest priority right now for this school year is actually two-fold: providing that safe and secure environment while also an engaging and challenging academic environment,” Cartwright said.

After two years of pandemic-influenced learning loss, how does she catch everyone back up to where they should be and how is that process going?

“So one of the things that we do and we have been doing and will continue to do is really taking a look at where some of the gaps that exist for each student individually,” Cartwright replied.

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At that point, she explained, teaching can be tailored to each student’s needs. Assessments show the biggest gaps are in math.

Cartwright said she’s insisting on having a certified teacher in every classroom on the first day, but the district still has about 150 teacher vacancies.

Security teams in Broward County are gearing up for the first days of school. NBC 6's Ari Odzer reports.

Hector Rivera, a security specialist at Western High School in Davie, is just one of the many guards that are ensuring that campuses across the county are safe.

“We make sure the school is safe and everybody feel comfortable in the school,” Rivera said.

Rivera told NBC 6 that it is crucial to build rapport with students since school security depends on using the eyes and ears of everyone on campus. 

“When they feel safe and comfortable with you, they give us the information we need to know what’s going on on campus right now,” Rivera explained.

For an added layer of safety, Broward County Public Schools will continue using hand-held metal detectors to screen backpacks in random classrooms.

Broward is the third South Florida county to have students return to class to start the year. Monroe and Palm Beach students returned to class last Wednesday while Miami-Dade students return to class this Wednesday.

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