Broward superintendent prepares for new school year amid new laws, teacher shortage

It has been a year since Vickie L. Cartwright became interim superintendent of Broward County Public Schools. In February, the school board gave her the job permanently.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – It has been a year since Vickie L. Cartwright became interim superintendent of Broward County Public Schools. In February, the school board gave her the job permanently.

Cartwright, who earned a doctorate from the University of Southern Mississippi, took over as superintendent as the measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 disrupted students’ learning.

Cartwright said students’ progress in the subjects of mathematics, science, and English remains her focus.

“By honing in on that and really setting the bar high, we know that our students will rise to those expectations,” Cartwright said.

Preparing for the new 2022/23 school year means focusing on the schools that need improvements. The first day is on Aug. 16 and the last is June 8, 2023.

The Florida Department of Education gave Broward County Public Schools a “B” rating in early July after 45% of traditional public schools remained or improved to an “A” rating and 55% remained or improved to an “A” or “B” rating.

SECURITY IMPROVEMENTS

Cartwright said surveillance cameras at schools are geocoded so that the Broward Sheriff’s Office knows what is happening.

Students from sixth grade to 12th grade will be subjected to random screenings with handheld metal detectors.

The schools are also getting rid of the emergency code systems and teachers and students will be learning procedures for “HOLD,” “SECURE,” “LOCKDOWN,” “EVACUATE” and “SHELTER.”

“Rather than using colors, we literally just say the words hold and they know exactly what they should be doing at that point,” Cartwright said.

FINDING TEACHERS

Making improvements amid a nationwide shortage of teachers is challenging. BCPS has dozens of openings to fill. Cartwright said Florida ranks as one of the states with the lowest funding for teachers’ pay.

“People just don’t want to go into education anymore,” Cartwright said.

New Florida laws related to race and sexual identity could also be dissuading some teachers to step into classrooms.

“There are some teachers that are very nervous about that,” Cartwright said adding, “I want them focused on the curriculum. I want them to be focused on the content that they should be teaching.”

Cartwright said teachers who are members of the LGBTQ+ community need to know they are members of the BCPS family.

“We don’t want you to feel any different,” Cartwright said.

IMPROVEMENT OPPORTUNITIES

Two schools had the lowest grade. There were four schools with a “D,” and 66 schools with a “C.” There were also 14 schools with incomplete grades, and most of them had a “C” history.

Schools with “F” grade

List of four schools with a “D” grade

List of 66 shools with “C” grade

List of 14 schools with Incomplete grade

  1. Anderson, Boyd H. High: It was a “C” from 2015 to 2019.
  2. Coral Springs High: It was a “C” from 2016 to 2019.
  3. Coconut Creek High: It was a “C” in 2019.
  4. Crystal Lake Middle: It was a “C” from 2011 to 2019.
  5. Deerfield Beach High: It was a “C” from 2016 to 2019.
  6. Hollywood Hills High: It was a “C” from 2016 to 2019.
  7. Lauderdale Lakes Middle: It was a “C” from 2017 to 2019.
  8. Monarch High: It was a “B” in 2019 and a “C” in 2018.
  9. Nova Middle: It was a “B” in 2019 and an “A” in 2018.
  10. Pioneer Middle: It was an “A” in 2019 and an “A” in 2018.
  11. Parkway Middle: It was a “C” from 2014 to 2019.
  12. Pasadena Lakes Elementary: It was a “B” in 2019 and a “B” in 2018.
  13. Sawgrass Springs Middle: It was a “B” in 2019 and a “B” in 2018.

Related link: View the BCPS grades


About the Authors:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba. 

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.