Suncoast Community High School

Suncoast Community High School

Infobox Secondary school
name = Suncoast Community High School
picture =
principal =Linda Cartlidge
city = Riviera Beach
state = Florida
country = United States
established = 1955
campus = Suburban
campus= Suburban
type = Public (magnet) secondary
students = 1367
students= 1367
grades = 9–12
grades= 9-12
free_label_2 = Accreditation
free_2 = Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

Florida Department of Education

International Baccalaureate Organization

National Association for College Admission Counseling

Blue Ribbon Schools Program
district = School District of Palm Beach County
mascot = Chargers
colors = Green and Gold color box|#008000color box|#FFD700
publications = "The Legend", newspaper; "Syzygy", literary magazine
yearbook = "Renaissance"
free_label_1 = Band
free_1 = The Chargersonic Sound
website = []

Suncoast Community High School is a public magnet high school (grades 9-12) in Riviera Beach, Florida.

The campus was built in 1955 as Riviera Beach High School. Renamed in 1970, Suncoast became a magnet school in 1989. All students belong to one or two of the school's four magnet programs: International Baccalaureate (IB), Math, Science, and Engineering (MSE), Computer Science (CS), or the Interdisciplinary Program (IDP).


Suncoast's campus was built in 1955 as Riviera Beach High School. During the 1950s and 1960s, Riviera Beach High School was known for both its academics and its athletics. The Riviera Beach High Hornets were particularly strong in men's basketball, with games against rival Palm Beach High School routinely drawing packed crowds.

While Riviera Beach High School had been desegregated during the 1960s (by the end of the decade the school's student population was approximately 15 percent black and 85 percent white), a court order to desegregate all schools in the School District of Palm Beach County resulted in nearby J.F. Kennedy High School, where the student body was almost entirely African-American, being converted to a junior high school, now J.F. Kennedy Middle School. Beginning in 1970, black students who had been going to J.F. Kennedy High School, or who had anticipated going there, were forced to attend what had been the mostly white Riviera Beach High, which had been renamed Suncoast and given the new mascot of the chargers.

Suncoast's first year was marred by major race riots that received national media coverage, with police using tear gas and helicopters to break up rock-throwing and fights between mobs of black and white students. Racial tensions remained high at the school over the next several years, and while there were no more riots on the scale of 1970-71, there was a gradual exodus of white students from Suncoast High as their families either enrolled them in private or parochial schools, or moved. By the late 1980s, the racial makeup of Suncoast's student population was more segregated than it had been 20 years before.

In 1989 Suncoast, along with Atlantic High in Delray Beach and S.D. Spady Elementary School, became a magnet school. The institution of magnet programs was originally opposed by several black organizations and some teacher's unions. [Gienger, Viola. "Choice debate buzzes into county schools." "Palm Beach Post" 28 Aug. 1989.] [Mailander, Jodi. "Magnet school test: Segregation or its solution?" "Palm Beach Post" 27 Aug. 1989.] The principal at the time was Kay Carnes, who remained Suncoast's principal for 15 years before stepping down at the end of the 2004 school year.) Current Suncoast students and prospective students were required to apply in late spring, and minimum GPA and new dress code were adopted. [Tolley, Scott. "Chargers bask in surprising success." "Palm Beach Post" 5 Oct. 1989.] [Schaefer, Maria. "Suncoast off to good start in magnet school program." "Palm Beach Post" 4 Oct. 1989] About 150 former Suncoast students left the school this year and moved to either Palm Beach Gardens or Jupiter high school (which the previous school year had enrollments of more than 2000 compared with Suncoast's 666). About 350 Suncoast students stayed. [Mailander, Jodi. "Magnet school test: Segregation or its solution?" "Palm Beach Post" 27 Aug. 1989.]

The introduction of the IB program improved greatly racial balance at the school; in this year of the introduction of the magnet program 71 percent of Suncoast's students were black (despite improving its racial balance by 19.3 percent that year).Mailander, Jodi. "69% of county schools mostly segregated." "Palm Beach Post". 5. Dec. 1989.] Suncoast was the target of an investigation beginning on June 2, 1987 by the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights. The investigation began after parents complained in a letter-writing campaign to state and federal officials that the School Board and then-Superintendent Tom Mills allowed Suncoast and John F. Kennedy Junior High to become segregated black schools, allowing enrollment to decline and facilities to become run down. [Gienger, Viola. "U.S. agency finds bias in schools; Investigation prompted by Suncoast complaints." "Palm Beach Post" 14 Nov. 1989.] Two years earlier Mills had proposed busing white students from southern Jupiter to integrate Suncoast, but Jupiter parents opposed the plan and it was dropped. [Horine, Don. "School board jumbles busing puzzle." "Palm Beach Post" 6 Nov. 1989. ]


Students apply to Suncoast via the Palm Beach County School District's Magnet and Choice School Application Form. Applicants apply for a specific program or programs and are admitted into the school by a selective lottery after the top 10 percent of applicants (based upon Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) scores, teacher recommendations, and grades) are admitted. Additionally, students who complete the IB Middle Years Programme at an area middle school, such as John F. Kennedy Middle School, are automatically admitted.

Students in the International Baccalaureate program take IB classes. Although the IB program is only the junior and senior years, freshmen and sophomores take "pre-IB" classes. Foreign language is an IB requirement; Suncoast offers three: Spanish, French, and (since the 2005-2006 school year, Mandarin Chinese. Many students dual-enroll with Palm Beach Community College or Florida Atlantic University through the Palm Beach County School District's Dual-Enrollment Program.

The Math, Science, and Engineering Program (MSE) concentrates on mathematics, science (particularly physics), and engineering. Suncoast MSE and MSE/IB dual-enrolled sophomores take AP Physics B, as well as Pre-IB Chemistry and Calculus AB. MSE and MSE/IB juniors take and , as well as an Engineering Research class, and Calculus II/III (half a year of what otherwise would be called "Calculus BC" and half a year of Multivariable Calculus). As Seniors, both MSE and MSE/IB students take a semester of Differential Equations, and a semester of Matrix Theory, taught through the same dual-enrollment program. Students in only the MSE Program take AP Chemistry and AP Biology, those in MSE/IB take IB Higher-Level Physics (Physics III), as well as a semester of further engineering research. All MSE Students are required to complete a Science fair project (many have been selected to compete in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair), and to take two engineering classes at Florida Atlantic University's Engineering Scholars' Program, a Florida Governor's Summer Program of Excellence.

Computer Science (CS) focuses on computer science, mostly computer programming and programming languages (Java and C++).

The Interdisciplinary Program (IDP) is a general college preparatory program.

The College Board named Suncoast the "Exemplary AP Comparative Government and Politics" program among schools with 1000 students or more, with the world's largest percentage of mastery (passing) scores for that AP exam in 2005. ["Advanced Placement Report to the Nation 2005." College Board. 2005. [] ] . AP Comparative Government is no longer offered at Suncoast.

"U.S. News & World Report" ranked Suncoast as #51 in its 2007 list of "America's Best High Schools," with a "College Readiness" score of 70.9 and "Quality-adjusted Exams per Test Taker" at 3.2. [" [ Best High Schools: Gold Medal Schools] ." "U.S. News & World Report 30 November 2007.] The "U.S. News" rankings were determined first by determined whether each school's students performed better than statistically expected for the average student in their state (on reading and math test results for all students on state standardized tests), and then factoring in the percentage of economically-disadvantaged students enrolled at the school to determine which schools performed better than statistically expected. Then the performance of black, Hispanic, and low-income students was analyzed to determine whether these groups were performing better than average for similar students in the state. The third step was a "college readiness index" that weighted the Advanced Placement (AP) participation rate: "the number of 12th-grade students who took at least one AP test before or during their senior year, divided by the number of 12th graders) along with how well the students did on those AP tests or quality-adjusted AP participation (the number of 12th-grade students who took and passed (received an AP score of 3 or higher) at least one AP test before or during their senior year, divided by the number of 12th graders at that school). Quality-adjusted AP participation rates was weighted 75 percent and the simple AP participation rate was weighted 25 percent. Notably, however, 11 states and the District of Columbia were excluded from the rankings because of unavailable or insufficient 2005-2006 school-year state test data, [" [ The Ranking Formula: How we got from 18,790 public schools to the top 100] ." "U.S. News & World Report 29 November 2007.] and IB tests were not included. [" [ Best High Schools: Frequently Asked Questions] ." "U.S. News & World Report 12 December 2007.]

"Newsweek" has listed Suncoast in its annual "Best High Schools in America" list, which ranks public high schools according to their score in the "Challenge Index" developed by "Washington Post" columnist Jay Mathews. The scale is a ratio that divides the number of AP, IB, and Cambridge exams taken by all students at a school, divided by the number of graduating seniors. (The scale does not measure how many students passed the exams and also excludes schools with average SAT scores above 1300 or average ACT scores above 27—these are categorized as "Public Elite" schools). Currently, Suncoast is ranked #3 (index 10.387). ["The Top of the Class: The complete list of the 1,300 top U.S. schools." "Newsweek". [] ]

*"Subs. Lunch" is the percentage of students who qualify for federally-subsidized free or reduced lunch, an indictator of low-income students at the school. [Mathews, Jay. " [ FAQ: Best High Schools: Frequently asked questions about NEWSWEEK's top U.S. high-schools list] ." "Newsweek" 18 May 2008.]
*"E&E" is the "Equity and Excellence," the "Newsweek" name for the percentage of all graduating seniors, who had at least one score of 3 or above on at least one AP test sometime in high school (including those who took an AP test but not an AP course). [Mathews, Jay. " [ FAQ: Best High Schools: Frequently asked questions about NEWSWEEK's top U.S. high-schools list] ." "Newsweek" 18 May 2008.]

Extracurricular activities

Suncoast's National Physics Competition, speech and debate, Academic Games, ["Local students score big in national Academic Games." "Palm Beach Post" 27 June 1999.] FIRST Robotics Competition, Mu Alpha Theta, and Academic WorldQuest [McBroom, Katie. "Suncoast students win Academic WorldQuest." "Palm Beach Post" 6 March 2005.] [McBroom, Katie. "Suncoast vs. the world." In "Lakes tops schools in money raised for MDA benefit." "Palm Beach Post" 8 May 2005.] teams have also won nationally.

The Suncoast marching band, the "Chargersonic Sound," performed at the 2007 New Year's Day Parade in London. [Jefferson, Stebbins. "Help Suncoast band march proudly." "Palm Beach Post" 11 Nov. 2006.] The band also performed in Paris on New Year's Day 2008.

Suncoast also has an outstanding chorus that performed the John Rutter Requiem Mass at Carnegie Hall in New York City, New York on March 29, 2008.


Suncoast is a member of the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA), and competes in the 4-A division. Varsity sports include basketball, baseball, football, tennis, soccer, softball, volleyball, golf, lacrosse, cross-country, track, water polo, and swimming.

In 1981, the football team reached the state finals, but lost to Palatka 42-2. The football team was the district champion in 1984 and 2002.

In the 1980s and 90s Suncoast was frequently regarded as a state basketball powerhouse. The boys' basketball team won state championships in 1984, 1985, and 1990. The 1990 team, led by future NBA point guard Anthony Goldwire, went 36-0.

The boys' cross-country team qualified for the state meet for five consecutive years from 1998-2002. The girls' track team was the state champion for four years in a row from 1999-2002.

In 2006, the girls' varsity volleyball team won the State 4A Championship.

Former wide receiver Anthony Carter was a three-time All-American for the Michigan Wolverines (later inducted into the College Hall of Fame) before starring in the NFL for the Minnesota Vikings and the Detroit Lions.

NFL linebacker Barrett Green played at Suncoast during the mid-1990s, along with future Michigan State and Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Gari Scott.

The Chicago Bears' Pro Bowl kick returner Devin Hester '02 also starred at Suncoast before playing Miami Hurricanes football and moving on to NFL stardom. [Lieser, Jason. "Hester enjoys his spotlight." "Palm Beach Post" 28 Oct. 2007.]

DaJuan Morgan '04 played NC State Wolfpack football and currently plays for the Kansas City Chiefs. His brother DeAndre Morgan '06 plays for NC State. ["DeAndre Morgan #2." [] ]


*Fredeva Nelson (1984-1987) - was removed June 30, 1987 "as the district struggled to overcome bad publicity." Nelson was demoted to an attendance specialist tracking truancy, and her salary dropped more than $20,000, down to $36,131. Nelson filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claiming the reason for her demotion was that she was female, black and was 50 years old. The Commission ruled March 9, 1989, that the school district did not discriminate. ["Principal's transfer ruled not discriminatory." "Palm Beach Post" 6 Apr. 1989.] Nelson later became principal of the Redemptive Life Academy in West Palm Beach. [Date, S.V. "Florida court strikes down vouchers." Cox 6 Jan. 2006. [] ]
*Terry Andrews (1987-1989) - called "Rambo" and "Arnold Schwarzenegger" by students because of his weightlifting and reputation as a "no-nonsense principal" who reduced absenteeism and improved discipline, [Sullivan, Joe. "Terry Andrews." "Palm Beach Post" 19 Mar. 1989.] Andrews, from Gainesville, was transferred to Palm Beach Lakes High School in 1989. [Gienger, Viola. "4 County High Schools Getting New Principals." "Palm Beach Post" 25 May 1989.] In 1989 he was one of 18 principals awarded Education Commissioner Betty Castor's Principal Recognition Award for Outstanding Leadership. [Gienger, Viola. "Ex-Suncoast principal wins state award. "Palm Beach Post" 25 July 1989.] He also was a black belt in Taekwondo. [ Madigan, Nick. "Principal gets his kicks, but not on the job." "Palm Beach Post" 4 June 1989.]
*Kay A. Carnes (1989-2004) - Carnes presided over the first 15 years of magnet programs. Recognized as one of four outstanding Florida high school principals in the state by Education Commissioner Frank Brogan in 1998, ["In School." "Palm Beach Post" 20 June 1998.] Carnes was credited with much of the magnet programs' success. She was also noted for an exceptionally long term as principal of the same school in a district where principal turnover is high. [Desmon, Stephanie. "Principal turnover rate high in district." "Palm Beach Post" 5 July 2000.] Carnes retired at the end of the 2004 school year, having been recognized as an "energetic...pioneering principal." [Shah, Nirvi. "Pioneering principal." "Palm Beach Post" 18 May 2004.]
*Gloria A. Crutchfield (2004-2008) - Crutchfield's tenure was marked by controversy, including a split among administration, students, and parents, [Shah, Nirvi. "Suncoast parents besiege principal at raucous forum." "Palm Beach Post" 15 Mar. 2005.] along with the unexplained firing of school football coach Jimmie Bell. [Dorsey, Steve. "Meeting yields no answers on coach's firing." "Palm Beach Post" 28 Sept. 2005.] Crutchfield was criticized by some for losing support from the community [Rosenburg, Steven P. "Is Johnson just scheming to increase FCAT grades?" "Palm Beach Post" 1 Oct. 2005] and for higher staff turnover. On May 4, 2008, it was announced that Gloria Crutchfield would be leaving Suncoast to the nearby John F. Kennedy Middle School. Superintendent Art Johnson says that the move is "a promotion"; the "Palm Beach Post" wrote that "Crutchfield's departure may be a relief for some faculty members and parents who have described her as a dictatorial figure who rarely returns phone calls, alienates parents and has caused many good veteran teaches to leave. In three years, 37 teachers have left, more than one-third of the staff." [DeNardo, Christina. " [ Criticized principal goes to lagging middle school] ." 4 May 2008 "Palm Beach Post".] Crutchfield was also criticized for "jetting to Canada, California, Nevada, Tennessee, the Bahamas and Paris for school business trips and training seminars" paid for by the school district. [DeNardo.]
*Linda Cartlidge (2008-present). The former West Riviera Elementary School teacher and adjunct professor is the current principal. [DeNardo, Christina. " [ New Suncoast principal named] ." "Palm Beach Post" 13 May 2008.]


*Jeffrey Mart, a Martin County attorney who was disbarred for five years by the Florida Supreme Court in 1989 for mishandling over $1 million from a client's trust fund, became an acclaimed science teacher at Suncoast, being named "Outstanding Teacher of the Year in Student Activities." [Plarski, Pat. "Attorney disbarred five years; Lawyer diverted cash into his family's firm." "Palm Beach Post" 7 Oct. 1989.]


External links

* [ Official website]
* [ Great Schools Review]
* [ Suncoast High School]

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