Viera Charter earns Governor’s Schools of Excellence award



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Viera Charter School Principal Dr. Julie Cady, left, and assistant principals Tom Armstrong and Dr. Lynn Spadaccini break out the new banner celebrating the Schools of Excellence award.

Linda Wiggins

Viera Charter School was awarded its first-ever Schools of Excellence designation from the Florida Department of Education, keeping good company with all other schools in Viera and Suntree that provide public school education.

Opening in August, 2013, Viera Charter earned an “A” rating for its first school year in operation, and each year thereafter, a rarity, according to the DOE. The school maintained the A rating for three years in a row, which is the minimum time frame required by the DOE to earn the award. Schools with an A or B rating may qualify, as long as the grade does not drop during the three years.

“The credit really goes to our leadership and board, our teachers, students, of course, and above all, our parents, who support our rigorous educational goals in the home and volunteer at the school,” VCS Principal Dr. Julie Cady said. The school’s STEAM focus – Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics — also helps attract the best and the brightest of the partnering community and business leaders as volunteers and sponsors, Cady added.

Both an elementary and middle school, VCS was one of only four “combination” schools in Brevard to earn the award. Two of the others — Edgewood Jr./Sr. High and West Shore Jr./Sr. High — also serve Viera and Suntree students, as a school of choice in those respective zones.

The fourth is Cocoa Beach Jr./Sr. High. Only 84 combination schools in the state were selected.

Elementary schools in Viera/Suntree to earn Schools of Excellence status include Suntree, Manatee, Quest and Ralph Williams. While there are no middle schools in Viera or Suntree besides VCS, two of four schools zoned for students residing here won the award: DeLaura and Kennedy middle schools. Viera High School also earned the award.

In addition to maintaining an A or B grade in each of the past three years, Schools of Excellence must be in the 80th percentile or higher for possible points earned in its school-grade calculation for at least two of the last three school years. Schools retain the designation for up to three years, and can apply for renewal after that time.

The Schools of Excellence Program provides administrative flexibility to the state’s top schools so instructional personnel and administrative staff can continue to serve their communities and increase student-learning to the best of their professional ability.

For example, principals control instructional personnel selection and can deploy financial resources to school programs. Schools of Excellence are not limited to operating hours set by the school district, and have flexibility with class size, as well. Also, instructional personnel can earn 20 in-service points for each school year of employment, up to 60 points in a five-year cycle.

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