Suncoast Community High School

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Suncoast Community High School (abbreviated SHS) is a public magnet high school (grades 9–12) in Riviera Beach, Florida. The school's campus was built in 1955 as Riviera Beach High School. It was desegregated in the 1960s and renamed in 1970. It became a magnet school in 1989 and has selective admissions.

Suncoast Community High School
Suncoast High School Logo
Suncoast High School is located in Florida
Suncoast High School
Suncoast High School
Suncoast High School is located in the United States
Suncoast High School
Suncoast High School
1717 Avenue S

, ,

Coordinates26°46′44″N 80°04′55″W / 26.778778°N 80.081891°W / 26.778778; -80.081891Coordinates: 26°46′44″N 80°04′55″W / 26.778778°N 80.081891°W / 26.778778; -80.081891
Other nameSHS
School typePublic, Magnet high school
Motto"We Are The World"
School districtPalm Beach County School District
CEEB code101466
PrincipalKathryn Koerner[1]
Teaching staff124[2]
Enrollment1609[3] (2019-20)
Schedule typeBlock
Campus size294,344 sq. ft[4]
Color(s)     Green
MascotLance the Charger
AccreditationsSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Florida Department of Education, International Baccalaureate, National Association for College Admission Counseling, Blue Ribbon Schools Program
USNWR ranking#61[5]
PublicationSyzygy, literary magazine
NewspaperThe Legend
Budget$12,545,593 (2016-17)[2]
BandChargersonic Sound

Students at Suncoast belong to one or more of the school's four magnet programs: Math, Science, and Engineering (MSE), Computer Science (CS), International Baccalaureate (IB), or Innovative Interactive Technology (IIT). The school's teams compete as the Chargers.


The school's campus was built in 1955 as Riviera Beach High School.[7] During the 1950s and 1960s, Riviera Beach High School was known for both its academics and its athletics.[citation needed] The Riviera Beach High Hornets were particularly strong in men's basketball, with games against rival Palm Beach High School routinely drawing packed crowds.[citation needed]

Conversion to a magnet schoolEdit

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 teachers' unions.[8][9] 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.[citation needed]

Suncoast students and prospective students were required to apply in late spring, and minimum GPA and new dress code were adopted.[10][11]

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.[9]

The introduction of the IB program greatly improved 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).[12]

Suncoast was the target of an investigation beginning 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 allegedly allowed Suncoast and John F. Kennedy Junior High to become segregated black schools, allowing enrollment to decline and facilities to become run down.[13] 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.[14]

New CampusEdit

Starting in fall of the 2010-11 academic year, Suncoast Community High School moved to a new campus located at 1717 Avenue S. The campus cost the school district 80 million dollars.[15] The new campus consists of five main buildings: the office, the gym, the cafeteria, the auditorium, and the main student building; an open court; as well as a new football field. The main building is three stories high.[citation needed]


Students apply to Suncoast via the Palm Beach County School District's Magnet and Choice School Application Form.[16] 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 Standards Assessments (FSA) 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.[17]


Math, Science, & EngineeringEdit

The Math, Science, and Engineering Program (MSE) concentrates on mathematics, science — particularly physics — and engineering. Physics courses taken are AP Physics 1, AP Physics 2, AP Physics C: Mechanics, AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism and, for MSE/IB students, IB Physics HL. Dual enrollment math courses taken are Calculus II/III, Discrete Mathematics, Linear Algebra, and Differential Equations. A unique course taken by MSE students is Digital Electronics, which centers on science and engineering applications using the MATLAB programming language.[18]

In their sophomore-junior summer and their junior-senior summer, MSE students are required to either go into an internship or take engineering courses at Florida Atlantic University through their Engineering Scholars Program. To participate in ESP, students must meet certain academic requirements and submit an application before attending. MSE students complete a science fair project in their junior year, with some moving up to the state science fair and even the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF).[19][20][21]

Students wishing to enter the MSE program are required to have a 3.0 GPA and math up to and including Algebra 2 Honors completed, with a minimum of a "B" final grade in said courses.[22]

International Baccalaureate ProgramEdit

The International Baccalaureate (IB) program was adopted for junior and senior years. Students must take "MYP" (Middle Years Programme) classes in their freshman and sophomore years. Foreign language is an IB requirement; Many students dual-enroll with Palm Beach Community College or Florida Atlantic University through the Palm Beach County School District's Dual-Enrollment Program. Regardless of their program, all students participate in MYP classes, giving them the option of switching into IB classes their last two years of high school.[23]

Computer ScienceEdit

The Computer Science (CS) program is designed for students who wish to major in the fields of computer science or computer engineering. It aims to teach students skills essential to the aforementioned disciplines; skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking skills, and object oriented design. Core computer science courses include study in the areas of: database design, object-oriented programming, algorithms, data structures, abstraction, program analysis, graphical user interfaces, and applications of computer science to the real world. Through the program, students learn mainly Java and T-SQL, as well as Node.js, JavaScript, and C++ to some extent.[24]

The computer science courses that CS students take are: AP Computer Science Principles, AP Computer Science, Java Database Programming, and IB Computer Studies HL.[25] Students have the opportunity to take the MTA Database Fundamentals certification exam in the Java Database Programming class.

Students wishing to enter the CS program are required to have a 3.0 GPA and Algebra 1 as well as Geometry Honors completed, with a minimum of a "B" final grade in said courses.[26]

Comprehensive Coding ProjectsEdit

In their junior and senior years, CS students are required to complete a junior project and senior project, respectively.

The junior project requires juniors to seek out a client and develop a program that solves the problem the client presents.[27] The project should represent the culmination of three years of learning in the CS program. Organizational prerequisites tasks such as a product backlog, sprint backlog, and UML diagram are required to be completed before starting the project. They are also expected to make and adhere to a sprint plan and have regularly scheduled meetings with their client to get feedback on their progress.[24] This project serves as the Internal Assessment for their IB Computer Studies HL class.

The senior project requires seniors to work in teams of 3-5 on a project of their own personal choice; however, it must be of sufficient complexity. Prerequisite tasks required are the same as the junior project's tasks. Unlike the junior project's partial adaptation of the Agile Scrum development model, the senior project features it fully. As a result of this, the team must make burn down charts and evaluate their performance; modification of the remaining sprints may be necessary. At the end, the projects are presented to and judged by a panel consisting of members from the local industry, business, and educational community.[24]

Innovative Interactive Technology ProgramEdit

The new career focus of the Innovative Interactive Technology Program (IIT) is designed to feature three technology based pathways in areas of technology that are highly sought after in industry: Game, Simulation and Animation Programming, Commercial Digital Photography, and Drafting and Design Technology. Each of these pathways is designed to offer students a marketable skill set and a rigorous academic curriculum that is shared across all three pathways. Graduates from this program can choose to enter industry directly from high school or continue their studies at the college level.[17]

Shared Academics for Each ProgramEdit

While each Suncoast program have their own special focuses, some programs share the same focus is several areas. Each program offers their students to choose between MYP/Honors and AP social studies classes. Advanced Computer Science students (advanced in mathematics) share an almost-identical math lineup with the Math Science and Engineering program's students. All students take AICE English General Paper in their freshman years, AP English Language and Composition as sophomores, and AP English Literature and Composition as Juniors, for their English classes. CS, MSE, and IIT students also have an option to take college-level British Literature Before/After 1800, offered by Palm Beach State College. Lastly, anyone who was accepted outside of the IB program has an option to add it to their diploma.

Awards and RecognitionEdit

U.S. News looked at the top 500 public high schools to identify the best in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.[28][29]

Suncoast moved to seventh from ninth on the 2011 High School Challenge rankings of American high schools. The national list, which has been compiled by education columnist Jay Mathews since 1998, takes the total number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests given at a school each year and divides it by the number of seniors who graduated in May or June. The Challenge Index formula is meant to serve not as a measure of the overall quality of a school, but of how effectively a school prepares its students for college, according to The Washington Post website.[30][31]

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.[32]

U.S. News & World Report ranked Suncoast as number 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.[33] 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.[34]

After this, 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, [35] and IB tests were not included.[36]

Year Ranking Index Subs. Lunch* E&E*
2010 #9 9.431 15 87.1
2009 #7 9.113 15 87
2008 #3 10.387 15 85
2007 #5 8.395 17 77
2006 #7 7.532 37 --

"Subs. Lunch" is the percentage of students who qualify for federally-subsidized free or reduced lunch, an indicator of low-income students at the school.[37]

"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).[37]

In 2013, The Daily Beast released its list of America's best public high schools and ranked Suncoast 9th in the country.[38]

Extracurricular activitiesEdit


Suncoast's National Physics Competition, Computer Programming Team,[39] Speech and Debate, Academic Games,[40] FIRST Robotics Competition (179)[41], Mu Alpha Theta, Academic WorldQuest,[42][43] and Future Business Leaders of America teams have won competitions at state and national levels.


The Suncoast marching band, the "Chargersonic Sound," performed at the 2007 New Year's Day Parade in London.[44] The band also performed in Paris on New Year's Day 2008. Currently, students may participate in the Suncoast Concert Chorus, Women's Chorus or the elite a cappella group, The Suncoast Voices. Under the direction of Stephanie Nixdorf, the Choral and Theatre programs have grown to include hundreds of students participating in fully staged musicals and singing events throughout the year.

In 2012-13, the choruses received superior marks at their Music Performance Assessments and the Theater Department was awarded five Cappies at the South Florida Cappies Gala. The Cappies is a theatre critic training program that features an awards gala at the end of the year.[citation needed]


Suncoast is a member of the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA), and currently competes in the 2-A division. Varsity sports include Competitive Cheerleading, basketball, baseball, football, tennis, soccer, softball, bowling, volleyball, golf, lacrosse, cross-country, track, water polo, wrestling, and swimming.[45]


In 1981, the football team reached the state finals, but lost to Palatka 42-2. The football team was the district champion in 1984, 2002, and 2015. Devin Hester, a famous NFL kick returner, played for the Suncoast Chargers.


In the 1980s and 1990s Suncoast was frequently regarded as a state basketball perennial power. The boys' basketball team won state championships in 1984, 1985, and 1990. The girls' basketball team won a state championship in 1998, with a 32-2 record, only the second girls' basketball team to win a state championship from Palm Beach County according to FHSAA records.[46]


The boys' cross-country team qualified for the state meet in 1995, and then for five consecutive years from 1998-2002. Then again in 2014. The girls' team won the county meet in 2015. Most recently, the boys' cross-country team qualified for the state meet in 2019.

Track and FieldEdit

The girls' track team won their first state championship in 1995. They were also state champions for four years in a row from 1999-2002.[47] The boys' track team was state runner-up in 2001.[48]


In 1997, the boys' Varsity volleyball team won the Palm Beach County Championship. In 2006, the girls' Varsity volleyball team won the State 4A Championship. In 2014 and 2015, the boys' Varsity volleyball team were the district runner-ups. In 2016, the boy's Varsity volleyball team won the district championship and regional championship but lost in the semi-finals of the state tournament.


In 2002 and 2003, the boys varsity swimming team won the Palm Beach County Championship.[49] Also, in 2002 the boys and girls varsity swimming teams won the district championship.[50] The Suncoast varsity girls swimming team in 2014 won the district championship and placed second at the regional and state championships.[citation needed]


The boys Lacrosse team achieved their highest state ranking in 2019 at 77, with an 8-5 record. [51]

Notable alumniEdit


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  2. ^ a b "FY17-School-Financial-Report-All-Files-Combined.pdf" (PDF). SchoolMessenger Presence. Palm Beach School District. April 11, 2018. p. 20. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 24, 2019. Retrieved April 24, 2019.
  3. ^ "School Information - Suncoast High". Suncoast High School. Palm Beach School District. October 31, 2018. Retrieved December 13, 2019.
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  5. ^ "Suncoast Community High School". US News Best High School. U.S. News & World Report L.P. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
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  10. ^ Tolley, Scott. "Chargers bask in surprising success." Palm Beach Post, October 5, 1989.
  11. ^ Schaefer, Maria. "Suncoast off to good start in magnet school program." Palm Beach Post, October 4, 1989.
  12. ^ Mailander, Jodi. "69% of county schools mostly segregated", Palm Beach Post, December 5, 1989.
  13. ^ Gienger, Viola. "U.S. agency finds bias in schools; Investigation prompted by Suncoast complaints", Palm Beach Post, November 14, 1989.
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  15. ^ Thompson, Kevin (June 3, 2010). "Suncoast High School in Riviera Beach closes the books on a storied past as it prepares move to a new campus". Palm Beach Post. Retrieved October 19, 2011.
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  41. ^ "FRC Event Web : Team 179". Retrieved December 13, 2019.
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  48. ^ "Boys Track & Field 2014-15 Championship Records" (PDF). Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  49. ^ Suncoast Wins Again - Sun Sentinel. (October 5, 2003); retrieved October 5, 2013.
  50. ^ Suncoast Boys', Girls' Teams Win District Titles - Sun Sentinel. (November 16, 2002); retrieved October 5, 2013.
  51. ^,fl)/lacrosse-spring-19/schedule.htm

External linksEdit