A short guide to schools in Miami

Schools in Miami

Barnes International helps you to understand the particularities of the school system in Florida and Miami and the opportunities it brings (*)
By Elisabeth Gazay, Associate Director Barnes Miami

If the United States has a school system very different from France (for example there is no Baccalaureate to complete schooling), the Miami Dade County also has its own peculiarities within the country. It offers a variety of options, both public and private, with very specific courses based on specializations, such as European languages. So, Miami offers bilingual schools from primary school, where the child follows a complete curriculum in two languages (English first then French, Spanish, Italian or German). At the high school level, specialization can become a predominant subject such as art, science, technology, business ...

Classes / "grades"

  • kindergarten "Kindergarten": from 5 years old (on September 1st of the school year)
  • Primary "Elementary": from 6 years old: 1st grade & #8211; 5th grade
  • Middle School "Middle school" from age 11: 3 years 6, 7, 8 grades
  • High school "High school" or "senior high" from age 15: 4 years course 9, 10, 11, 12 grades

Namely: repetition is an option almost impossible in the United States. Americans prefer to give tutoring to struggling students rather than demote them with students who will be different in maturity. To enter an American class, it will be necessary to give its "transcripts" is the newsletters of last year which show in which class was the child the previous year.

Public Schools: 3 options

There are three kinds of public schools

1 - "boundary schools" that correspond to the school map

These schools accept students as soon as proof of residence is given. The proof of residence must be serious (for example a simple rental contract is not enough, the school will also ask for an electricity bill or a driving license of parents with the correct address). In neighborhoods with particularly well-known schools, checks can be made during the year.

The level of schools can be very variable, with substantial differences in quality. There were ratings (from A - best results to F - important failure rates) that have now disappeared. But we must of course find out.

To find out which school corresponds to a home address: go to the portal of Miami Dade County Public School MDCPS and click on the "find your neighborhood school" tab.

To know : in Miami, the real estate status of the neighborhood is not necessarily in line with the school's ranking located in the geographical map. And we can have strong disparities between primary, high school and high school in the same neighborhood.

Some examples of public schools (boundary) known for the primary

Ruth K Broad in the Bay Harbor Islands area (North Miami)

North Beach Elementary (Miami Beach, 41st Street)

Key Biscayne Elementary (Key Biscayne Island)

Coconut Grove Elementary - bilingual English / French (Coconut Grove)

Pinecrest Elementary (South Miami & #8211; Pinecrest)

2 - Magnet Schools: public schools with a specific program

These schools make the success of Miami because they offer, in the public system, so not paying, advanced courses in particular in foreign languages. Classes are often smaller and the pupil grows up with a great deal of work discipline due to the addition of subjects, beyond the classical common programs.

To register your child, you must submit a file, then the child will have a passing exam, and then, if the number of applicants exceeds the number of free places a lottery will decide the finalists.

The registration and selection process takes place between October and December of the year preceding the year of re-entry. All files must be filed before January 15 for the next fall. It is imperative to respect these deadlines, even if your expatriation project is not yet finalized.

Official website of the "schools of choice" Magnet:

Our advices :
→ Due to the vagaries of the lottery, provide several options "Plan A and Plan B" so as not to be caught out of class.
→ These programs are not linked to the map and some students come from far away. Public school buses serve some neighborhoods, or private minibuses carry out the school bus. Because of the workload of children, and extra-curricular activities very important in the United States, we recommend that you do not live too far from school.
→ Waiting lists being long, if a pupil is not present on the first day of school, his place is assigned to another child after a few days (according to the headmaster) and his entry into the school is then compromised.
→ These schools can "integrate" a student who comes from a foreign country in elementary and middle school, notably through the "ESOL" program which provides support for students whose English is not the original language. However, if the student arrives in High School, integration becomes more difficult because students have already been in the "mold" of this advanced bilingual education. Few of these schools accept an entry in terminal.

Examples of Magnet Schools renowned especially for bilingual education with neighborhoods nearby

Sunset Elementary (Coral Gables neighborhoods / Coconut Grove / South Miami)

Carver Middle School (Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Brickell, South Miami)

Coral Gables High School with the IB (International Baccalaureate) program - a school in the school (in the heart of Coral Gables)

Coral Reef High School (IB International Baccalaureate program - South Miami)

ISPA International Study Preparatory Academy - High School (South Miami neighborhoods, Coral Gables, Pinecrest)

MAST Academy "Cambridge program": middle & high school (Key Biscayne)

3 - Charter Schools: public schools with specialized programs, but managed by private companies

Another peculiarity of the American system is the existence of public schools, approved and recognized, but managed by private companies. It is a "hybrid" system that allows you to quickly add innovative schools in cities with high population growth as is the case in South Florida and Miami.

Example of Charter Schools, Famous for Bilingual Programs

ISCH International Studies Charter High offers a bilingual French / English, Spanish / English, Italian / English course in middle and high school. Classes are limited to 15-20 students, coaching very personalized, the program is recognized for its level of requirement among students.

ISCH is ranked 9th in Florida's charter schools.

This is the only program that leads to the French Baccalaureate today in Miami. Students can go without transition from a French class to an American class and vice versa if they return to France during schooling. Also, the baccalaureate allows students to apply to French universities, in addition to Americans.

To note :
For very sporty students who want to add a sport to their curriculum, ISCH may not be suitable because of the already busy program for both languages.
ISCH does not accept entry in terminal but is the most suitable school for those who arrive in the course of secondary cycle.

Our advices :
→ ISCH is located in the heart of Little Havana, which is not a very residential area. The children come from many different neighborhoods. On average, trips to school are 15 - 30 minutes. If you want to be close to school, we recommend North Coral Gables or Coconut Grove to live in a house, or the Brickell area if you want to live in an apartment / condo. The booming neighborhood of the "roads" south of Brickell is also an interesting option.


Private schools

While Miami Dade County has significantly expanded its offerings over the past decade, this has not always been the case. That's why many private schools have been created since the youngest age of Miami, some of which are of high standing and are among the most famous private institutions in the United States. Secular schools can be expensive because they offer 5-star services, but do not have the least subsidy! According to the "grade" we will be around 30,000 - 36,000 $ per year per child. Each year, they offer a few scholarships for underprivileged students, based on parents' resources and the potential of young people (sports, science, etc.). Faith-based schools may be more affordable because they receive grants.

Here is a selection, not exhaustive.

1 & #8211; Secular private schools primary / elementary

Franco-American School of Miami & #8211; EFAM

A French program, with some English, which has been proven for more than 22 years in South Miami (Coral Gables) and has recently opened a campus in the North Miami Shores.

It meets the educational needs of French, Francophone and Francophile children in the Florida community. It was the first in the state of Florida to provide immersion instruction in accordance with the official instructions of the French Ministry of Education.

Tuition fees are 10,000 to 12,000 $ per year depending on the class.

For the moment, only the primary (from the small section of kindergarten to CM2) is proposed but the Director has announced that a new campus will gradually add middle school and high school classes, which will become the first French high school in Miami.


2 & #8211; Private secular schools: college / middle and high school / high school

Ransom Everglades

A true institution, Ransom trains generations of Miami's influential families with a philosophy and lifestyle reminiscent of the campuses of major American universities. Moreover, Ransom is considered a "prep school" that is to say an institution that prepares the student for entry to the most prestigious American universities. The academic level of Ransom is very high, the type of teaching focused on the ability of synthesis, critical thinking and thinking of students. Extracurricular life is intense with high level sports teams (water polo, swimming, golf, tennis, sailing, rowing, ...), or the encouragement of artistic (photo), scientific (robotics, chemistry) or literary talents (speech and debate teams). Ransom does not offer a bilingual program or IB program, the second or third language (including French or Chinese) are options.

Middle School: The campus is located north of Coconut Grove. The entrance is very selective: interviews, exams, ... many applicants and few elected.

High School: The campus is south of Coconut Grove, at the edge of the bay. It is not easy to enter High School since many children come directly from the middle school. However, Ransom values Carver's program and its academic level. A student who has excellent results can have his chances for entry into High School.

Our advice:
→ contact the school in October for a start the following year. Many requests ... and very few places. Guided tours must be booked every week during the registration period. It is better to have several solutions of relief since all the results arrive at the same time (towards the month of March-April) and that the inscriptions are then already closed everywhere else.


Rival rival, particularly in fierce sports competitions, Gulliver has resources and a campus equally enviable. Gulliver's particularity is to offer an IB Program, that is to say a bilingual International Baccalaureate recognized by universities around the world as "challenging". This IB program was created for families of diplomats and expatriates whose children had to move every 3-4 years around the world. It allowed them to find their bearings from one country to another. It is implemented during the last 3 years of High School. Before this is only a pre-IB that has no official value.

Gulliver has several campuses for middle and high school, all located south of Miami. Gulliver's campuses are large and the school is more flexible in enrolling children during the cycle, including in the upper classes (1st and final).

Our advice:

→ live in the Pinecrest area, south Coral Gables, South Miami in order to make the most of the varied extra-curricular activities (science, arts, sports) and make the most of what the school can offer.

To note : the same IB program is found in Coral Gables High and Coral Reef Public Schools

Miami Country Day

Located in a beautiful campus in Miami Shores, Country Day offers similar features to Ransom and Gulliver but caters to families who live north of Miami. Miami Shores is truly the Coral Gables of the North, with green streets, neat houses and immaculately kept gardens (the city's requirement!).

Miami Country day students also live in Bal Harbor, Miami Beach and in Upper East Side communities : Bay Point, Morningside, Belle Meade, Keystone ... The size of the campus allows more flexibility than in other schools, welcoming students on their entire curriculum: from primary to final! This is a very international school, with families coming from all over the world, sometimes arriving during the year.

Our advice

→ As with all private schools, recognition tours are organized on a regular basis and are essential for understanding expectations, curriculum, philosophy and seeing what is best for the child. It's also the way to get to know the registration team.

The Cushman School

Founded in 1924, Cushman is one of the pioneering schools in Miami, particularly in its desire to offer an innovative and creative school system, which gives children the opportunity to express themselves according to their talents and interests. Family-friendly and warm, the school has classes on a human scale, and offers many extra-curricular activities. Tailor-made programs are also dedicated to students who have specific needs and can not follow the traditional courses. The campus is located on the Upper East Side near the Design District. Until this year Cushman went from kindergarten to college included. A major novelty since September 2017: the opening of a high school program, also innovative.

3 & #8211; Private school from high school to high school, with French program

Located in the North, between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, LFA and ISB offer a French program accredited by the National Education.

The LFA or Franco-American High School of City Cooper goes from the small section of Kindergarten to CM2 (4th grade)

ISB, International School of Broward in Hollywood, offers college and high school classes: 6th grade to 12th grade.

4 & #8211; Denominational private schools

Jewish schools

Lehrman community day school

Located north of Miami Beach, between the islands of Biscayne Point / Normandy Island and the square, this school is from kindergarten to the end of elementary school (5th grade).
From 8,000 to 20,000 $

Schools of Catholic confession

Link to the website diocesan schools

St. Patrick (Pre-school & elementary & #8211; Miami Beach)
Traditional and family school, with small classes.

The room (High School & #8211; Coconut Grove)
Mixed high school, traditional, with a large campus and easier access than other schools. Managed by the archdiocese which proposes reasonable prices.

Columbus (High School - South West Miami Airport)

Carrolton (Middle & High School & #8211; Coconut Grove)
Girls' schools, offering a superb campus, varied extracurricular activities and a recognized level. IB (International Baccalaureate) program in High School.

Belen (High School & #8211; West of Miami Airport)
Jesuit school of boys, renowned for its academic level, discipline and supervision.

See also - useful links

Website of the Consulate of France in Miami: chapter "education"

(*) These school lists are not exhaustive and given as an indication. The author and Barnes International Realty are not responsible for any errors, omissions, or information that may be contained in this article.