alberto_carvalho2_web.jpgMIAMI — Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) Superintendent Alberto Carvalho will be honored for his support toward fighting childhood obesity during Common Threads’ annual World Festival event Oct. 2 at The Moore Building in Miami’s Design District.

The school district has plans to implement an in-school pilot program in partnership with the national nonprofit organization Common Threads, to educate fourth graders on nutrition, physical well-being, and the appreciation of cultural diversity.

Common Threads provides after-school and in-school programming to
children, from predominately low-income households, in various cities including Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington, DC.

Founded by celebrity Chef Art Smith almost ten years ago, the free hands-on cooking classes teach students the importance of healthy food, how to cook wholesome and affordable meals, and foster an appreciation for cultural diversity through cooking.

Each year, Common Threads celebrates its success and showcases the work of the students during the World Festival event. The event brings together celebrity chefs, organization supporters and local residents to celebrate a variety of cultural foods and learn about Common Threads’ mission.

For additional information on Common Threads, or to purchase tickets for this year’s World Festival, visit

According to a recent Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study, the rate of childhood obesity in this country has more than tripled in the past 30 years. Obese children are more likely to become obese adults leading to health risks such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and
ultimately cardiovascular disease.

“In response to this growing public health concern, Common Threads facilitates a series of programs, in partnership with the school district, that teach youth the life-skills to become healthy, productive citizens of the world,” said Linda Novick O’Keefe, Executive Director of Common Threads.


“Miami-Dade County Public Schools has long demonstrated a strong commitment to innovative educational programming, and we look forward to working with Superintendent Carvalho in the expansion of our programs through this in-school pilot.”

The unique pilot program is likely to operate in select schools and consist of a series of 20- to 40-minute interactive lessons which support Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in Math and English.

Officials say “Small Bites” will be incorporated into the regular school day and give teachers a fresh way to support the CCSS while providing students with the tools they need to live longer, healthier lives. Each lesson plan will include background information for the teacher, a list of materials and resources necessary for that lesson, teaching suggestions and preparation tips, and tools for student participation and assessment.


In other district news, Iraida R. Mendez-Cartaya, Miami-Dade County Public Schools' assistant superintendent of Intergovernmental Affairs, Grants Administration, and Community Engagement, will be recognized by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce at its Salute to Miami's Leaders luncheon, Thursday, Sept. 27 at Jungle Island. 

The Salute to Miami's Leaders awards honor Leadership Miami alumni who have excelled in their respective professions and are very involved in the community. 

Mendez-Cartaya, this year's award recipient in the government category, is a 23-year administrator, who oversees intergovernmental relations on the local, state, federal and international levels for the school district as well as grants acquisition and management. Under her leadership, the dollar value of supplemental funding to the school district has increased substantially, to more than $700 million.

Mendez-Cartaya also oversees all community engagement programs, including the school volunteer program, business partnership, parent involvement and other programs that foster student achievement.

District officials say that throughout her career, Mendez-Cartaya has worked closely with many local community leaders and federal and state government officials to ensure that legislation passed at all levels of government directly benefits students' educational experience.