M-DCPS: A Legacy of Choice

For more than 60 years, Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) has been at the forefront of the choice movement in education, having established Henry S. West Laboratory School in 1954, as an experimental school of choice associated with the School of Education at the University of Miami. This initiative was followed in 1963 by the development and implementation of a dual-language program at Coral Way Elementary School. Magnet programs began in M-DCPS in 1973 with the opening of a center for the Expressive Arts in the heart of the inner city at Dr. Charles R. Drew Elementary School. Since then, M-DCPS has implemented a broad variety of Magnet programs now totaling 113 schools with 376 programs, and 1200 Choice programs (Magnet and non-Magnet) district wide. As of the 2020-2021 school year, more than 75% of Pre-K through 12th grade students in M-DCPS have made an active choice in the school or program in which they are enrolled.

Magnet Programs

The School Choice & Parental Options office of Miami-Dade County Public Schools facilitates a wide variety of Magnet programs that provide unique and enhanced educational opportunities that appeal to students with diverse backgrounds, special talents, and similar interests. These programs offer specialized courses of study that satisfy student educational interest and mandated learning goals while promoting diversity. Some programs accept all interested students; other programs have specific entrance criteria. When the number of eligible students exceeds the number of available seats in non-audition-based or language-tested Magnet programs, a random selection procedure is utilized to admit students. These uniquely designed Magnet programs are categorized under one of the following five themes of study:


  • International Programs
  • Liberal Arts
  • STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics & Medical)
  • Virtual Options
  • Visual & Performing Arts

Choice Programs (Non-Magnet)

Miami-Dade County Public Schools continues to strive to offer flexibility and variety in school choice by providing specialized non-Magnet Programs that give parents and students exceptional additional options in their educational decisions. Choice programs offer a broad variety of specialty programs from grades K – 12 at a variety of schools throughout the district. Choice programs are different from Magnet programs in that Choice programs are designed for and first offered to students who are assigned to the school site boundary. Once boundary students are placed, any open seats are then made available to out-of-boundary students through the Region transfer process. Choice programs are thematic, curriculum-based programs offered at all grade levels and implemented during the regular school day; after-school programs are not delineated as part of the Choice options.


School Board Policy 2370

 Anti-Discrimination/Harassment (Students)School Board Policies 1362, 3362, 4362, and 5517

Prohibit harassment and/or discrimination against students, employees, or applicants on the basis of sex, race, color, ethnic or national origin, religion, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, political beliefs, sexual orientation, gender, gender identification, social and family background, linguistic preference, pregnancy, citizenship status, and any other legally prohibited basis. Retaliation for engaging in a protected activity is also prohibited.

Questions, complaints or requests for additional information regarding discrimination or harassment may be sent to: Executive Director, Civil Rights Compliance Office, 155 NE 15 Street, Suite P-104E, Miami, Florida 33132; PH: 305-995-1580 or e-mail address: crc@dadeschools.net.

Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act of 2002 – no public school shall deny equal access to, or a fair opportunity for groups to meet on school premises or in school facilities before or after school hours, or discriminate against any group officially affiliated with Boy Scouts of America or any other youth or community group listed in Title 36 (as a patriotic society).


To be the recognized leader in the achievement of academic excellence through educational choice.


To create and implement innovative educational programs to give parents and students an active voice in choosing learning opportunities that foster student diversity, academic excellence, school-to-career pathways, and real-world learning.

Core Value

We deliver the highest quality services and support within an environment of open communication, professionalism, dedication, and commitment to integrity.

Contact Us

School Choice & Parental Options

1450 NE 2nd Avenue, Suite 352
Miami, Florida 33132


Office Hours:
Monday – Friday 8:00 A.M. – 4:30 P.M. EST
(Closed on Legal Holidays)

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