Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Ana Rodriguez Soto - Florida Catholic newspaper
Photography: ANA RODRIGUEZ-SOTO | FC
PEMBROKE PINES | Hugs and selfies abounded as archdiocesan school teachers — nearly 3,000 strong — returned to work for the 2017-18 school year.
Their first day of class, so to speak, coincided with the feast of the Assumption, and began with a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Thomas Wenski. (Click here to read his homily.)
Afterward they heard from keynote speaker Ann Anzalone, who spoke about “The Brain Rewired: Teaching at its Best.”
The massive gathering took place at the Pembroke Pines City Center. In past years, it has taken place at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium on Flagler Street. Before that, the teachers were split into groups in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.
“It took us a while to find a venue big enough,” said Kim Pryzbylski, archdiocesan superintendent of schools and director of the Secretariat for Education.
“We’re a community of schools and we come together once a year to celebrate our community,” she added. “We all share the same mission.”
The most recent statistics, compiled for the 2016-17 school year, show the Archdiocese of Miami has 2,813 teachers, administrators and counselors, of whom 2,760 are lay and 53 are religious or clergy. Total enrollment last year was 33,884 students.
The Archdiocese this year has a total of 61 schools: 48 elementary schools (including the Marian Center for the developmentally disabled), 12 secondary schools and one virtual school. Four of the secondary schools are owned and operated by religious orders.
The archdiocesan Department of Schools added a new staff position this year. Marcey Ayers has been named coordinator of special programs. Her primary emphasis, Pryzbylski said, will be “helping schools with Step Up and McKay.”
Those are the scholarship programs offered by the state of Florida for students who qualify due to low household income or special educational needs.
Prior to working with the archdiocese, Ayers was an exceptional student education teacher with Miami-Dade Public Schools, a substitute teacher for Msgr. Edward Pace High School in Miami Gardens, and a private tutor.
Archdiocesan students will return to school Aug. 21 but be dismissed early, at 11:30 a.m., due to the solar eclipse. One school, Marianist-run Chaminade-Madonna College Prep in Hollywood, has announced that it will dismiss students at the regular time, 2:45 p.m., in keeping with the Broward County Public Schools schedule.