Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Important Solar Eclipse Information

Solar Eclipse | August 21

A total solar eclipse will occur next Monday, August 21, 2017, in some parts of the country; Pasco County will see between a 60 percent and 80 percent solar eclipse. This eclipse is special because people can only see it from inside the United States. It is the first time that an eclipse like this has happened in nearly 100 years.

Some Pasco County Schools dismiss at 2:50 p.m., the time when looking directly at the eclipse can cause the most damage to the eyes. It is important to talk to students about safety precautions both at school and at home!



No Pasco County elementary schools will have lessons outdoors, but some secondary school activities will be outdoors. All outdoor eclipse lessons will use proper safety procedures. All participants must use solar viewers verified to be compliant with the ISO 12312-2 International Safety Standard. If a viewing activity is organized by a teacher as part of a science lesson, parents must complete a signed parent permission form for each participating student and return it to their teacher by Monday morning, August 21.

Link to Parent Permission Form

Parents who do not want their children to be a part of any outdoor eclipse plan must let their school know in advance.

At this time, all Pasco County Schools will operate on their regular schedules, but some may use rainy day dismissal procedures to ensure students are supervised. If parents want their children to view the eclipse at home, they can pick them up early or keep children at home that day; it will be an excused absence if accompanied by a note from a parent.




The only 100 percent safe way to view the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is on TV or online. Looking directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun can permanently damage your eyes. The only safe way to view the eclipse outdoors is through special-purpose solar filters, such as eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewers. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun. Click here for additional information on safe viewing and reputable safety glasses vendors.

An alternative method for safe viewing of the partially eclipsed sun is with a pinhole projector . With this method, sunlight streams through a small hole – such as a pencil hole in a piece of paper, or even the space between your fingers – onto a makeshift screen, such as a piece of paper or the ground. It’s important to watch the screen, not the sun.


Below is information pulled from the NASA eclipse website: https://goo.gl/ouw9DS.


VIEW THE NASA TV broadcast – Live video streams from locations across the country will be available at:



The 2017 solar eclipse is shaping up to be one of the biggest science events of the digital era. NASA will provide social media updates via the agency’s flagship accounts onFacebook,Twitter,Tumblr,Instagram,Snapchat,Google+, and LinkedIn.

NASA is also providing live streaming coverage during the eclipse via the NASA App and on the following social media streaming sites:

Several more NASA social media accounts will have information about the eclipse.


To view and download NASA eclipse photography on Aug. 21, visit:


All imagery and videos are in the public domain and can be used with the proper credit. For more information, please see NASA’s Media Usage Guidelines at:

​​ https://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/guidelines

For more information on viewing safety, eclipse activities, and observing assets, visit:


Friday, August 11, 2017

Pasco District Recognized as Healthiest Employer in America

Land O’ Lakes, FL – (August 11, 2017) – Pasco County Schools once again has been recognized as a one of the 100 Healthiest Employers in the country.

The school district was ranked 35th on the 100 Healthiest Employers list in 2014. The exact ranking for 2017 will be announced at an exclusive top 100 Healthiest Employers happy hour on Monday, September 18.

In the last five years, Pasco County Schools has won numerous awards for health and wellness for taking proactive steps to employee wellness like eliminating smoking on all district property and opening two additional wellness centers. Other awards include:

  • Platinum and Silver Fit Friendly Workplace awards from the American Heart Association,
  • Organization Health Champion award from the American Diabetes Association, and
  • Florida Healthiest School Districts silver medal from the Florida Coordinated School Health Partnership, Florida Action for Healthy Kids, and Florida Association of District School Superintendents.

Healthiest Employers is an awards program that recognizes organizations that proactively shape the health of their employees. To date, Healthiest Employer has served as a resource to over 8,000 U.S. employers that represent 60 million employees. This program is conducted by Springbuk, a health analytics company. Learn more at www.HealthiestEmployers.com and www.Springbuk.com.

Wesley Chapel High Hosts Kickoff Dinner for Seniors and Their Families

Who: Wesley Chapel High School seniors, their families, and school staff

What: Senior kickoff dinner and meeting

When: 5 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 23

Where: Wesley Chapel High School cafeteria, 30651 Wells Road in Wesley Chapel

Why: This kickoff dinner will offer seniors an enjoyable experience as they plan for the new school year and beyond.

How: Seniors and their families will enjoy a free pasta dinner, and meet with the school principal, assistant principals, school counselors, and career counselors. They will discuss graduation requirements, the college application process, graduation bash information, and other topics regarding their senior year of high school. For more information, contact Kelly McPherson at (813) 794-8802.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

What’s New in Pasco County for the 2017-2018 School Year

Land O’ Lakes, FL – (August 8, 2017) – School starts for Pasco County students on Monday, August 14, and the district has new schools, new programs, and new initiatives to highlight.

Bexley Elementary School, 4380 Ballantrae Boulevard, Land O’ Lakes

  • K – 5 grades
  • Relieves crowding at Odessa and Oakstead elementary schools
  • 878 Capacity (Almost 96,000 square feet)
  • Vicki Wolin, principal
  • Mascot: Bulldogs
  • Academic programs: Part of the Aviation Academy feeder pattern with Rushe Middle and Sunlake High. Will have drones, flight simulators, and robotics. STEM lab in REC center (Research, Engage, and Collaborate) for STEM activities including 3-D Printing and Near Pod Virtual Reality Devices
    • PBIS school (Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports) - goal is to become a PBIS Gold School.
    • Plans to have a chapter of the National Elementary Honor Society in grades 4 and 5.
    • Strong arts program that includes chorus, a physical education club called “The Running of the Bulldogs”, and ORFF and Ukulele performance groups. Students can apply to be a part of Safety Patrol and participate in Sunshine State Readers in grades 2-5.
  • PLACE before- and after-school program
  • Part of 22 school pilot for Acorn, a new student fees payment system.
    • secure, streamlined system replaces SchoolPay.
    • enables parents to add school purchases to their shopping cart for multiple children at different schools, and complete transactions through credit card, debit and e-check.
    • Goal is to transfer all K-12 schools to Acorn by the end of the school year.

Cypress Creek Middle/High School, 8701 Old Pasco Road, Wesley Chapel

  • 6 – 12 grades
  • Relieves crowding at Wiregrass Ranch High School, John Long Middle School
  • Students previously zoned for Wiregrass Ranch, Wesley Chapel, Sunlake high schools; John Long, Thomas E. Weightman, Charles S. Rushe middle schools
  • 1,958 capacity
  • Carin Hetzler-Nettles, principal
  • Mascot: Coyotes (Entrance road is The Coyote Way)
  • Also part of Acorn pilot
  • High school Academics: Business Management, Criminal Justice, Engineering academies; core courses; AP; Honors; law studies, debate, speech, court procedures and law studies, leadership skills, journalism, Spanish, ASL, dance, ballet, chorus, art and digital design, theater, play writing, acting electives
    • Certifications: Microsoft Office, Quickbooks, 911 PST, Private Security Officer, Engineering Core, Autodesk Inventor, Autodesk Revit
  • Middle school Academics: Criminal Justice and Engineering academies; plus core classes; dance, chorus, theater, band, drama, Spanish, ASL, computer applications electives
  • Student government; HS Marching band; M/H cheerleading; MS, JV and varsity football; M/H volleyball; M/H boys & girls basketball; HS boys & girls golf; HS boys & girls cross country; HS boys & girls swimming/diving; M/H girls & boys soccer; HS baseball and softball; HS boys & girls weightlifting; HS boys & girls tennis; HS boys & girls lacrosse; MS boys & girls track; HS wrestling
  • Separating middle and high school students:
    • Two clinic spaces
    • School counselors
    • Separate lunches
  • Same bell schedules -7:25 a.m. to 1:50 p.m.

Expanding Cambridge Education program to San Antonio Elementary, Paul R. Smith Middle, and Anclote High schools.

River Ridge High School – two new academies (fine arts, and business management and analysis), black box theater

Gulf High School – gaming academy will have new animation program, Toon Boom, which is used by companies such as Disney, Pixar, Universal, DreamWorks and Lucasfilm

Zephyrhills High School — New Academy of Building Construction Technology and Public Safety Telecommunications 911 certification for Academy of Criminal Justice

One new charter school – Pasco MycroSchool high school for students at-risk for dropping out. 11 charter schools total.

Fast-fill CNG station and South Transportation garage, 13101 Interlaken Road, Odessa

  • Will house up to 90 CNG buses - 30 CNG buses this year.
  • Committed to purchasing 35 CNG/DSL buses / year for 10 years.
  • The CNG station is capable of dispensing more than 10,500 Gasoline Gallon Equivalent/day.
  • Able to fuel a bus in 3 minutes.
  • Each CNG Bus will reduce C02 emissions by nearly 20,000 lbs. annually.
  • In 2013, the district began purchasing propane-powered buses and liquefied petroleum gas fueling stations, which now serve East Pasco. The use of propane results in up to 20 percent less nitrogen oxide, 60 percent less carbon monoxide and 24 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

Revising crisis plans to give students and staff a better chance to survive an active threat on campus. Sheriff’s office and district staff created online training for all staff and SROs. Notifying parents of new way to respond. Created animated video for elementary students and will have age-appropriate videos for middle and high school students by Aug. 14. The sheriff’s office will coordinate drills, and students and staff will be notified in advance of any drills.

Food and Nutrition Services
New website for meal applications: http://www.pascoschoolmeals.com
New website for on-line menus and menu app: http://schools.mealviewer.com/district/pascocounty

  • New meal prices
    • Current Meal Prices
    • Reduced Price Breakfast: $0.30
    • Reduced Price Lunch: $0.40
    • Full Price Breakfast
    • Elementary: $1.35
    • Secondary: $1.50
    • Charter K-8: $1.50
    • Charter High School: $1.60
    • Full Price Lunch
    • Elementary: $2.50
    • Middle: $3.00
    • High: $3.25
  • New cashiering system and management software for cafeterias for better efficiency

New Teacher Initiatives

  • Teacher meetups for first-year Pasco teachers. The first one is Friday, August 11.
  • Incoming teachers also have a group on Facebook, PCS Incoming Educators 2017-2018. This group is to help new teachers acclimate to the area, meet other teachers, and see when upcoming meetups will be. The group is comprised of incoming teachers and some current teacher leaders.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Pasco Schools and Pasco Sheriff to Hold News Conference on New Active Threat Response Plan

Who: Superintendent Kurt Browning, Sheriff Chris Nocco, and Lt. Troy Fergueson

What: News conference

When: 10 a.m. Monday, August 7

Where: Fivay High School
12115 Chicago Ave., Hudson
(northwest corner of State Road 52 and Chicago Avenue)

Why: To announce major changes to Pasco County Schools crisis response plans.

How: Speakers will discuss the work done this summer by Pasco County Schools and the Sheriff’s Youth Services Division on a training course for all school district employees. The course will train teachers and staff on new response options in the unlikely event of an active shooter on campus. Back-to-school safety also will be discussed.

Media can park along the sidewalk to the north of the school entrance. Enter the school through the administration office and a staff member will escort you to the classroom where the news conference is being held.

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