Panther Press

From the Desk of Dr. Cady:

 

Dear Panthers!

We are just about at the end of the year, but there is so much left to celebrate. First, I’d like to acknowledge our students in grades 4 through 8 for working hard to master the elements of the essay to score high on the BEST Writing assessment. We will not see these results until July, but if the outcomes equal all the effort students have put in, we will see lots of great scores. Fortunately, we have instant access to the FAST Reading progression assessment for grades 3-8, given three times a year. Students are thrilled, and certainly parents as well, with the great success. Unlike the Writing assessment given once at the end of each year, Reading shows a clear progress through the year. And if for any reason we do not see growth, or if we see regression, we are able to see exactly what skills needs attention, and provide that help in the student’s classroom studies. End of Course Exams (EOC's) for Geometry, Algebra, Biology and Civics are likewise stellar. We tend to trend an average of 10 to 20% higher than the state and district, and that Brevard score is among the highest in the state, so our Panthers really are amazing!

Warmest Regards,
Dr. Julie Cady


 

VCS Again Named School of Excellence

The Florida Board of Education has recognized Viera Charter School as a School of Excellence, among 26 schools in Brevard to earn the distinction for outstanding educational performance. A school is honored with the title of School of Excellence only if it has consistently earned a high percentage of possible points in its school grade calculation, placing it in the 80th percentile or higher for schools of the same grade groupings (elementary, middle, high, and combination) for at least two of the last three school years. In 2022-2023, 783 schools were designated as a School of Excellence in Florida. Viera Charter School has received an A grade from the Florida Department of Education each year from its very first year to the present.

Principal Dr. Cady took the opportunity to thank and reward each lead teacher for their role in setting and reaching high standards during the April faculty and staff meeting.

"We choose our leads very carefully," Dr. Cady said. "That teacher already needs to be a model teacher, but once they accept that position of lead teacher, they know they are responsible for doing all they can to help their team members succeed." In elementary school, teams are arranged according to grade level. In middle school, teams are arranged around subject matter. "It feels good to know your efforts and willingness to go above and beyond are appreciated," said Mrs. Kountz, lead teacher for fourth grade.


 

APRIL HIGHLIGHTS:

Art Fundraiser Restocks Supplies

Budding artists in grades K-5 sold their beautifully framed original artwork to their biggest patrons from home: their parents, grandparents or guardians. The result was not only a perfect sentimental keepsake, but a total of $3,500 dollars in proceeds that will be used for art supplies and activities for the students. "This was a major, major fundraiser for us," said Mrs. Hirsche, assistant teacher to elementary art teacher Mrs. Burley, who added. "It will really add some great resources for even greater student enrichment."

Solar Eclipse Bring Us Together

Students were not able to go outside to view the solar eclipse on April 8 due to safety reasons, so, many teachers organized celebrations in the classrooms. "We made solar eclipse snacks using moon pies, yellow icing and Oreo cookies," said second grade teacher Mrs. Wilbur. "We also had Sunny D to drink because it was definitely a sunny day!" Families were permitted to take their children out of school for an excused absence to enjoy the event together. A few teachers and other staff members donned protective eclipse glasses and stepped outside for a peek. "It was definitely a very exciting event that brings us all together as a community with the shared experience," said Mr. Ley, assistant facility manager for the school. For those of us who missed looking at the eclipse with the correct eye protection, Mr. Ley captured it for us in a great photo by putting the protective eye wear over his camera lens. 


 

Assessments are Vital for Students' Futures

April is the start of our annual end-of-year exams and progress assessments that continued through early May. Some assessments are available immediately from homeroom teachers, such as the Reading FAST (Florida Assessment of Student Thinking) and Civics, and Math, or Algebra or Geometry for advanced students. The granddaddy of them all is the Writing BEST (Benchmarks for Student Thinking), the results for which will not be available until July.

"I am relieved, not just because the tests are done, but because we have been working really hard in English Language Arts and Global Perspectives (Reading) to do really well on the assessments," said seventh grader Caylin Roebuck. "It's been stressful, but worth it. The exams are really important to me because I am an advanced student, and I want to remain an advanced student, so I have to do well. Doing well on these exams gives me more options on what I can do in the future, even my choice of high school after next year."

For Giovanni Germano, seventh grade, the advanced class of Algebra is high on his radar for a number of reasons. "I want to be in Advanced Science, Algebra, which is Advanced Math, and of course, I want to stay in Advanced ELA," Giovanni said. "Being in advanced classes now is key to me being able to pursue that career I want after my school career. Plus, I can earn high school credit for some of my advanced classes while I'm in middle school."

Eighth Graders: Thanks for the Memories

Eighth graders enjoyed their last dance of their VCS career April 26, the fancy event likened to a senior prom. The dance was held at the Suntree Country Club, and most students dressed fully formal: sparkling, flowing gowns, tuxedos and suits. "Senior" class members enjoyed delicious dishes while the sun set over the Champion golf course, followed by an energetic evening of music. And dancing. So much dancing.

"The dance was amazing and so fun," said Addison Nollar. "I loved dancing with my bestie, Seraphina Lucero, so much! I wish the year didn't have to end so quickly." Like Addison and Seraphina, no one waited to be asked to dance, boys or girls. They grouped up and danced their hearts out with friends they have gone to school with for the past nine years, including kindergarten.

"I had a great time with all my friends, and it was a great last dance with some of them," Peyton Mathis said. Many Viera Charter School students are zoned for Viera High School. However, as VCS is a school of choice, students are led by their interests and allowed to pursue them, with enrichment opportunities, advanced classes available to get them qualified to pursue any school of choice for high school.

Students enjoyed a photo booth or just plain snapping selfies with besties and buds. "The dance was so worth it," Seraphina said. "I had so much fun dancing and taking photos with my friends."


 

Eighth Grade Gets Last Awards

This last year of middle school has been bittersweet in so many ways, as students who have been here for nine years, including  kindergarten, experience their "lasts." Last dance, last annual assessments, last awards ceremony.

"That's a tough one," said Principal Dr. Cady, who personally gave these eighth graders their quarterly awards all through elementary school. "We are big believers in rewarding students for their hard work and good choices, such as perfect attendance, A-B Honor Roll and A Honor Roll, and very importantly, good character qualities. So, it's no wonder I get misty eyed just thinking about their last awards." Middle school Dean Mrs. Hoffman gave out the awards to eighth graders as Registrar Mrs. Cooper read out names and Assistant Principal Mrs. Goizueta ushered students to the stage. 

For Solomon Wolfe, a frequent flyer across the awards stages through the years, it's definitely a motivator. "Who's to say for sure whether I would still come to school every day and try my best, but I do appreciate that all these qualities are valued and rewarded. It definitely makes me happy that my efforts are truly held in high regard, that's for sure. And it's always even more meaningful that our parents are invited and watching from the audience. It's a big deal, and I never wanted to miss out on it."

Book Fair Pays Big Bonuses

Our second and final Book Fair of the year in April is one for the books, and many more great things are coming our way because of it. Proceeds from past Book Fairs have purchased foldable heavy-duty carts for each grade level lead teacher, and spares for others throughout the school to use as needed. We also have "purchased" many new books from the Scholastic catalog with proceeds, ready to be placed on the shelves of the new Media Center, which will be in the adjoining rooms 306 and 308. We also ordered shelving for the Media Center. We have purchased colorful, educational rugs for lower-grade students to sit on for whole-class learning, which will also be used for the Media Center.

"We were able to use Scholastic Dollars and "ALL FOR BOOKS Funds," donated funds when parents round up their totals at checkout,  to purchase hundreds of books and book series for all grade levels to enjoy," said Mrs. Rost, president of the PTSO, which runs the Book Fair. The fair is organized by first-grade lead teacher Mrs. Power, and run with the help of many volunteers.

"I love seeing how excited and happy the kids are when they walk into the book fair," said Mrs. Hendry, VCS Book Fair volunteer. "Most of the time, it’s their first time ever! The excitement of finding a book they love, and then they can't wait to take home what they picked out, is adorable. The pure joy and smile on their sweet faces is worth every minute there."  


 

Stop, Drop, and Read, DEAR

April 12 is National Drop Everything and Read Day, so that's just what many classes did. Mrs. Wyatt hosted a picnic of books on the lawn in the courtyard, and invited her class' Book Buddies to join them. Mrs. Sanders' Intensive Reading Classes came to join kindergarten students and read alongside them and do other activities together.

"We just love our Book Buddies and wanted them to know how special they are to the kids. They are big brothers and sisters to their Book Buddies," Mrs. Wyatt said.

Many teachers love DEAR so much that they incorporate the activity in their lesson plans through the year. "We want to give students time to pick out a title that they enjoy and experience the joy of getting lost in a good book," said Mrs. Elwell, seventh grade English Language Arts teacher. "Enjoying reading what interests you on your own time is key to strong literacy."

Principal Dr. Cady, who started as a media specialist, is a champion of reading for pleasure. "It will be so great for our children to go into the Media Center, hone in on a book or series they are interested in, and take that book home to Drop Everything and Read."

What Would We Do without Our Wonderful Volunteers?

What would we do without our wonderful volunteers? We never want to find out! We made sure to let them know they are appreciated and loved April 30 at a special breakfast with lots of love from students, who literally sang their praises. Kindergarten, second grade, and middle school each serenaded volunteers with a special private show.

"We would not be able to do what we do for our students without our dedicated volunteers," Principal Dr. Cady said. "They make our school a beautifully decorated home away from home. They raise money to enhance what we are able to do. They are the arms and legs of our school that allow teachers to remain focused on students in the classroom."

PTSO members voted in a new slate of leaders, many of whom have been mentored by longer-serving members, and some who are brand new who will themselves be mentored. PTSO leaders received special volunteer awards.


 

Dress Down Race is Space by a Light Year

We are a uniform school with a strict dress code, and research says this is good for students in so many ways. However, a few times each month we have the opportunity to dress down in street clothes and even dress according to a fun theme. It's likely no mystery that space is our students' and faculty's favorite dress down theme. Many of our families choose to live in the Viera/Suntree area and work at Kennedy Space Center or L3Harris in Palm Bay. There are no shortage of NASA shirts and lanyards to choose from at home because so many of our students' parents work directly for NASA, for space and defense contractors, or at the Patrick and Cape Canaveral Space Force bases. Enjoy these photos and the sheer joy on children's faces.

Olympic Dreams are Becoming a Reality

Our alumna, Natalie Norcross, has continued to pursue her Olympic dreams, traveling abroad to Bordeaux France in late April. Her team came home with silver medals, taking second place in their category at the Nations Cup.  She has skated competitively solo and with the Space Coast Theatre on Ice team since she was 4 and throughout her time at VCS from kindergarten to eighth grade.  Her dedication every day for two hours before school shows her commitment and love of the sport of Figure Skating. She has continued this commitment into high school where she is completing her first year at Rockledge High.

"It makes my heart sing with happiness when I get to share the great news about our VCS alumni," Principal Dr. Cady said in her weekly email to all staff. Natalie and her family, which includes her mom who is our VCS business manager, Mrs. Norcross, traveled to Bordeaux France with Natalie's team, the Space Coast Hurricanes Theatre on Ice, to represent the United States Figure Skating Theatre on Ice at the Nations Cup, an Olympic Event. Her team is one of 20 teams chosen from all over the nation to represent the United States of America, and the only Florida team.

Natalie joins a growing list of alumni who have gone on to advance in their sports careers through high school, receiving full ride scholarships to college, and closing in on professional careers in their sports. Competitive sports start as early as kindergarten at Viera Charter School because sports are such a key part of preparing for academic and life success.


 

Advanced Math Scores Major Win, Students Seek to Inspire Others

Geometry students have been posting weekly math challenges on the middle school math bulletin boards, gym, and cafeteria under the guidance of their teacher, Mrs. Sen. "The attempt has been quite successful as we are getting many entries from middle and even elementary school students, who of course also use the gym and cafeteria," Ms. Sen said. 

Ms. Sen's Geometry students recently won the District Math Bowl Tournament. "We had two teams of four students each (Geometry and Algebra 1) represent Viera Charter School in the district math tournament this year. The geometry team won third place in the district out of 25-plus teams," Principal Dr. Cady said. "Congratulations to eighth graders Anna Nelson, Lilly Carpenter, Andrew Power, Guy Goepfert, and their coach Ms. Sen. Our advanced Math courses are some of the brightest jewels in our school's crown."


 

Governing Board Liaison

Per F.S.S. 1022.33(9)(p)2. Each charter school’s governing board must appoint a representative to facilitate parental involvement, provide access to information, assist parents and others with questions and concerns, and resolve disputes. Viera Charter School, Inc., the governing board for Viera Charter School has appointed Steve Muzzy as the representative for your student’s school.  The governing board representative for Viera Charter School may be reached at Liaison@vieracharterschool.com.


 


 

PTSO

 

Visit the Viera Charter School PTSO website where you can sign up for their monthly newsletter, shop for spirit gear, find their calendar of events, volunteer information and much more. Scan the QR code below to view the latest issue of the PTSO Paw Print Newsletter.

 


 

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