Earlier this month, I was honored to give remarks at a street naming ceremony for the late Fletcher Paschal, an accomplished and beloved educator who dedicated his life to the service of our youth and country.
This month, as we celebrate top Black educators like Mr. Paschal, who dedicated their lives to the betterment of our youth, now is our time to reaffirm the shared commitment of Miami-Dade County and our public school system to increase the access and quality of our education system.
In addition to accelerating the digital revolution that will come to define the 21st century, the COVID-19 pandemic also unveiled the deep-seated social inequities that are rooted in our institutions, including our schools. We urgently need to drive innovation in how we deliver education to our youth, and Miami-Dade County is moving forward with key initiatives to accomplish this goal and empower educators throughout our community.
This past March, I had the pleasure of joining Miami Foundation CEO Rebecca Fishman Lipsey and Achieve Miami Executive Director Sarah Emmons to announce the launch of Miami Connected, a highly ambitious effort to bring free broadband connectivity, digital literacy, and career opportunities in technology to more than 100,000 Miami-Dade County Public School students. In addition to preparing our youth for the jobs of the future, this investment will also expand the reach of our teachers by providing them with more resources to assist in the development of their students.
With summer vacation now upon us, it is also critical that we provide our students with opportunities to continue developing in a safe, structured, and fun environment. I’m working to ensure the county invests in these efforts through my proposed Peace and Prosperity plan, which was presented to the Board of County Commissioners last month.
This historic $90 million investment over 19 years would expand our successful Fit2Lead program to serve 1,100 more youth in our community, providing them with critical engagement opportunities and guidance through the summer months and year-round. Additionally, if approved, the Peace and Prosperity plan will fund a summer athletic league with MDPD and summer youth internship program, which will serve 500 students.
In order to set our children and teens up for success, it is critical that we expand our view of education to include programs like these, which compliment the incredible hard work of our teachers by ensuring that our students can develop and grow year-round.
All of these investments will help to buttress the work of Miami-Dade County Public Schools and help our community build an ever stronger educational system – one that is focused on holistic development and success.
Of course, none of this would be possible without the dedicated and selfless educators in our community who work so hard every day to ensure the next generations of Miami-Dade County residents are equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in this new era.
Daniella Levine Cava is the mayor of Miami-Dade County.