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North Fort Myers school earns governor’s ‘Sterling Award’

By Staff | May 4, 2009

TALLAHASSEE – Gov. Charlie Crist and the Florida Sterling Council today announced the four organizations that will receive the prestigious Governor’s Sterling Award for 2009. The Miami-Dade County Park and Recreation Department, St. Johns County Health Department, Sunstar Paramedics (Pinellas County), and Tropic Isle Elementary School, in North Fort Myers, will be honored at the Governor’s Sterling Award Banquet at the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes on May 29.
“I am honored to recognize this year’s Sterling Award recipients,” said Crist in a prepared statement. “This year’s winners have demonstrated their commitment to improving the way they do business. The process of competing for the award alone encourages organizations to pursue excellence and improve service.”
For 17 years, the Governor’s Sterling Award has recognized organizations and businesses in Florida that have successfully achieved performance excellence within their management and operations. This year’s recipients of the coveted award are:

· Tropic Isle Elementary School, North Fort Myers, is an elementary school in the School District of Lee County, Florida. As a Title 1 elementary school, the staff who serve the approximately 925 students in grades PreK-5 are dedicated to excellence in the classroom. In addition to the Sterling Model, the school has also adopted the national Glasser Quality Model and its values that include listening, supporting, encouraging, respecting, trusting, and accepting. The school has added to its values managing by fact, lifelong learning, and continuous improvement to ensure that its culture supports the needs of all students. While continuing to increase student achievement, the school has established an unofficial motto, “Our kids are worth whatever it takes.” Tropic Isle Elementary School is the only Title 1 elementary school in Lee County that has made No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) with 100 percent of its student subgroups for the past four years. With regard to school grade point history, Tropic Isle Elementary School has met or exceeded the best-in-class of the Lee County Title 1 Elementary Schools & Charter Schools for this year. It is only one of two schools in the county that has raised its Grade Point total each year for the past seven years. Grade 4 FCAT Reading met or exceeded the best-in-class of 87 percent and Grade 5 FCAT Math met or exceeded the best-in-class of 78.2 percent. In addition, Tropic Isle Elementary School earned an “A” School Accountability Grade for the past five years. Tropic Isle Elementary School is the first school in Lee County to receive the Governor’s Sterling Award.

· Miami-Dade County Park and Recreation Department (Miami) operates a large urban park system, managing 258 park properties comprised of active and passive parks, as well as protected environmentally sensitive properties. It is one of only 55 park and recreation agencies to be nationally accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies. The Miami-Dade County Park and Recreation Department has a very diverse workforce that includes more than 1,200 employees who serve 2.5 million residents countywide. The department also offers a diverse array of services including auditoriums, museums, cultural art centers, the Deering Estate at Culter and a wide range of programs and services at park facilities offering other numerous recreational experiences. One of the department’s main attractions is the nationally known Miami Metrozoo. Currently, the zoo’s annual attendance exceeds last year’s attendance by 33 percent due to the recent opening of its “Amazon and Beyond” attraction. In addition, Miami Metrozoo was rated among the top ten zoos in the U.S. by Travel & Leisure Magazine. The Miami-Dade County Park and Recreation Department is the first parks and recreation department in the state to receive the Governor’s Sterling Award.

· St. Johns County Health Department (St. Augustine), as part of the Florida Department of Health, provides core public health functions and essential services to the residents and visitors of St. Johns County. With 120 employees, the department’s main services include vital statistics, communicable disease control, prevention/epidemiology, emergency preparedness, environmental health, health care and administration. The visionary senior leaders of St. Johns County Health Department support an environment for performance improvement through a performance excellence system that includes the Sterling/Baldrige Management Model, the 11 Public Health Domains, and the National Healthy People 2010 initiative. This environment ensures the linkage to their mission to promote, protect, and improve the health of all people in St. Johns County and in Florida. Some of the results include the Environmental Health Facilities inspection program, which has a rate of 100 percent of on-time completion compared to the state average of 82 percent. Also, based on statewide measures, 88 percent of all 2-year-olds are fully immunized compared to the statewide average of 84 percent. In addition, 95 percent of one year olds are fully immunized by their verified assessment date. The St. Johns County Health Department is only the second health department to receive the Governor’s Sterling Award.

· Sunstar Paramedics (Pinellas County) is the sole provider of countywide paramedic ambulance services in Pinellas County. With approximately 516 employees, Sunstar Paramedics is a 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week operation that serves 280 square miles and a population of 945,000 with more than four million visitors annually. The main products and services of Sunstar Paramedics are Dispatch services and emergency medical services operations for emergency and non-emergency services. Sunstar Paramedics is one of only two EMS agencies in the world to hold accreditation from all three of the top accreditation agencies: Accreditation Center of Excellence (ACE), Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS) and Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems (CAMTS). It is the first EMS agency to use solar power for its ambulances. In 2007-08, Sunstar Paramedics exceeded their contractual requirement of 92 percent to 93.7 percent of arrival to emergencies within 10 minutes. In addition, 100 percent of the organization’s stroke alert calls were appropriately classified. Due to the need for prompt treatment for stoke patients, it is important to accurately identify the situation and alert hospitals so interventions can begin immediately upon the patient’s arrival. Sunstar Paramedics is the first Emergency Management Ambulance Service provider to receive the Governor’s Sterling Award.

Source: Office of the Governor