Wesley Chapel High (WCH) is celebrating 2012 with the first-ever “A” grade from the Florida Department of Education (FDoE) in its history. And, at the reins at WCH is principal Carin Nettles, named Pasco County Principal of the Year for 2011. WCH has come a long way under Nettles’ leadership — rising from a “D” grade to a phenomenal “A” grade in just two years, which is not an easy task, as the bar gets raised every year.

Schools are graded by the FDoE on a number of criteria split into to two parts. First, the FCAT test results of the sophomore class are graded. Then, the number of Advanced Placement and Dual Enrollment students are combined with both the at-risk graduation rate and actual graduation rate. The two parts are then combined to get a school’s overall grade. Wesley Chapel scored 1,087 points to earn its first-ever “A” this year.

“We’re very excited, and very proud,” says Nettles. The students at Wesley Chapel High also are very proud of their accomplishments, especially the juniors and seniors who have worked the last two years to bring their school to the top. “This proves that hard work pays off,” says Nettles.

Schools that get an “A” or “B” grade from the state are rewarded for the accomplishments of their staff and students. Getting an “A” earned Wesley Chapel $70 per student, totaling $89,000 for the school’s nearly 1,300 students. Nettles knows that having the extra funds is one thing; deciding how to use them is another. The faculty must vote on how the money is spent, and it must be spent by the end of the year. This year, the faculty at Wesley Chapel High has chosen to divide up the funds in faculty bonuses.

Nettles was officially named Pasco’s Principal of the Year for 2011 by the Pasco Education Foundation (PEF) on January 28; the award is voted on by peers and colleagues. She admits that she could not have won the award by herself, giving credit to the entire staff for making WCH the “A” school it is today.

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