32940 Magazine — 2012-2013
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Community Schools
Maria Sonnenberg

Taking pride in excellence

Public and private schools in the 32940 area consistently earn high grades from parents. Rated "A" for eight years, public schools in Viera and Suntree take pride in excellence.

Viera High School, one of the jewels in the crown of Brevard County public schools, was the first 21st Century Classroom school in the county. FCAT scores for its students place Viera High among the top 20 high schools in the state. The school is one of a handful in the state to earn a distinguished Great Schools Rating by greatschools.Org.

The school thrives from the superior students that progress from Manatee, Quest and Ralph M. Williams, Jr. Elementary Schools. Only a dozen schools in the state and just a little more than 300 in the nation have earned the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program Award, given to Ralph M. Williams, Jr., Elementary in 2009. Both Manatee and Quest Elementary Schools received the 2010 Achievement through Technology and Innovation Award.

Options for education also go well beyond the public schools, for 32940 area schools also offer parents the opportunity to tap onto the benefits of faith-based education for their children. Schools such as Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy, Central Life Academy and Ascension and St. Mary's Catholic Schools emphasize the development of Christian values in an environment that also stresses academic achievement.

Holy Trinity's success as an academic institution is reflected in its students AP pass rate, the highest in the county. At Holy Trinity, 85% of students enroll in AP courses. Compare that to the Florida average of 40% and, even more dramatic, the national average of only 26%. It is not surprising to note that 100% of all Holy Trinity graduates are accepted into college, a journey made easier financially for their parents by the fact that 92% of these graduates earn Bright Futures Scholarships.

Success comes early to many Holy Trinity students. For example, 72% of Holy Trinity's seventh graders qualified for the Duke University Talent Identification Search, an honor that also serves as gauge of outstanding intellectual ability by the school's student body, since elegibility signifies that these students scored in the 95th. Percentile or higher in standardized testing.

Parents of students from all faiths and throughout the county select Holy Trinity because of its reputation for individualized instruction, small classroom size and the experience of its educational staff.

72% of holy Trinity's seventh graders qualified for the Duke University Talent identification Search.

Beyond the classroom, sports and extracurricular activities play an important role in the lives of Holy Trinity students. Physical education classes are a daily part of the schedule and an extensive sports program is offered as early as junior high school. More than 50% of the high school student body participate in varsity athletics.

Dedicated to helping students become proficient and successful in the digital world, the school provides computer labs and multiple laptop labs and iPads. Students in grades six to 12 are encouraged to bring their own mobile computing devices. Upper school courses include computer graphics, 3-D computer programming and robotics.

Naviance, Holy Trinity's web-based college counseling program bridges high school and higher education and careers by providing detailed, personalized college planning.

Holy Trinity, recognized by the Student Exchange and Visitor Program, welcomes international students who are proficient in English and meet academic requirements for admission.

Community service is expected from each student, and they eagerly step up to the plate, spending an average of 133 hours each year in service activities.

Like Holy Trinity, both Ascension and St. Mary's Catholic Schools boast a proud tradition of excellence in education. Both schools utilized the Iowa Diagnostic Skills to measure effectiveness. Unlike the Florida-based FCAT, the Iowa test encompasses academic competence throughout the United States. Students at Ascension and St. Mary's consistently score in the top 10% of the Iowa tests. More than half of all Ascension and St. Mary's fourth graders qualified for the Duke University Talent Identification Search.

"It's quite an achievement for us to score so high," said Ascension principal Doug Workman, who was named Administrator of the Year at the Diocese of Orlando's 21st. Century Catholic Schools Awards.

"It's a superior education academically, but just as important is the forming of values that help develop self-discipline and the ability to do the right thing."

The school's philosophy is that a well-rounded education is based on the spiritual, intellectual, physical, creative, social, psychological and emotional formation of all its students. Ascension students routinely excel in such critical thinking competitions as the Lego Robotics Future City Challenge.

At St. Mary's in Rockledge, the school is a tightly knit community of faculty, administration, parents and students.

"We're about creating a warm, home-like environment where your children are respected and supported on their journey toward self-discovery and finding their place in the world," wrote principal Sandy Basingner as a welcome to parents.

"As a Catholic school we have a strong set of values we impart on our students on a daily basis by teaching the Catholic faith and by modeling how Jesus wants us to treat and care for each other. This is a special place."

St. Mary's rich curriculum boasts excellent academics, arts, athletics and state-of-the-art technology. St. Mary's comprehensive curriculum meets Cambridge International Educational Standards. As part of Florida Virtual School, St. Mary's permits qualifying middle school students to take online classes.

Joining the list of faith-based schools is the "newest kid on the block," Central Life Academy. The school is affiliated with Central Life Church and features a curriculum that emphasizes learning as an interactive process in a nurturing Christian environment that challenges students to understand and utilize the unique gifts God has given each of them.

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world," said Nelson Mandela. At 32940 schools, students will be well armed to become the thoughtful, compassionate leaders of tomorrow.

For more information on Brevard County Public Schools visit www.brevard.k12.fl.us/

For information on the following faith-based schools: Ascension Catholic School, 2950 N. Harbor City Blvd., Melbourne. Call 321-254-1595 or visit www.Ascensioncatholicsch.org

Central Life Academy, 5995 N. Wickham Rd., Melbourne. Call 321-632-2880 or visit www.centrallife.org

Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy Call 321-723-8323 or visit www.htacademy.org

St. Mary's Catholic School 1152 Seminole Dr., Rockledge. Call 321-636-4208 or visit www.stmarys-school.com.

Options for education also go well beyond the public schools, for 32940 area schools also offer parents the opportunity to tap onto the benefits of faithbased education for their children.