Superintendent Carvalho Visits Gables Ahead of School Start


Maria Fernandez

Superintendent Carvalho visits Gables to assess readiness for the return of all students to in-person classes. The local press was there to interview him about his position on subjects such as the MDCPS mask mandate.

Sofia Cruz and Massimo Aguila

On his tour of high schools throughout the district, Miami Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho visited Coral Gables Senior High to perform a walk-through of the on-campus renovation. The $26 million renovations included the newly constructed 6000 building, a restoration plan for other buildings and increased covered lunch seating areas.

Carvalho arrived via the recently renovated Riviera Parking lot at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 22 to learn about the new 6000 building and its top-of-the-line facilities. He personally greeted Principal Ullivari as well as the Cavalier representatives from Highlights, CavsConnect and CavsTV, who were present to photograph and document the visit. The Channel 10 News team also followed along closely with cameras and reporters.

“What we’ve accomplished is a high level of readiness. We have new school buildings, improvements, new technology, new educational programs, additional investments in counseling and mental health support, before and after-school programs and extracurricular activities…I think we are better off than we were last year,” Superintendent Carvalho said.

Inside the newly built art classroom, Superintendent Carvalho points at art teacher Mr. Groff’s skeleton model which serves to remind students of the intricacies of the human body. (Maria Fernandez)

Once inside the 6000 building, the superintendent explored the pristine hallways and brand new classrooms like Mr. Groff’s art room, the new Gablettes dance studio, the science lab and the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps headquarters.

After the tour, Carvalho answered questions regarding the start of the school year, mask mandates and COVID-19 procedures for students. After implementing a mask mandate throughout MDCPS despite Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ threats of cutting school officials’ paychecks, the superintendent reiterated that he is willing to pay that price in order to keep students safe.

“With a school so rich in tradition and history, we are very excited to have (the students) back and have them establish their own history and traditions here at Gables,” Principal Ullivarri said.

Principal Ullivarri accompanied the superintendent throughout the walk-through of the newly renovated 6000 building. They discussed safety measures put in place to handle contact tracing and other quarantining procedures as all students return physically to classes. (Maria Fernandez)

Carvalho explained that he believes the mask mandate might be lifted sometime during the school year should case numbers diminish, but in the meantime, there are still two virtual school options available to students. He also stated that the district is currently working with the teachers’ union to develop protocols on how to continue education for students who have been quarantined.

“I actually don’t think it will last for the entire school year…Our protocol requires that on a weekly basis we look at environmental conditions, health conditions, and then we appropriately relax the protocols if conditions improve,” Superintendent Carvalho said.

Listing his goals for the 2021-2022 school year, Carvalho expressed his desire to maintain the district’s A-rating, reduce the effects of COVID-19 and increase graduation rates. The superintendent then reassured parents and students who are nervous about the return to on-campus, physical classes.

“We’re going to be safe, we’re going to be protected, it’s going to be an exciting school year. Anxiety is okay, but we’re not going to allow it to become paralyzing fear. Our students are too brilliant and resilient, our teachers are too great, our leadership is too strong and it’s going to be a great year,” Superintendent Carvalho said.