Friday, January 20, 2017

Statement from Pasco County Schools on the Death of Adam Kennedy

The entire Pasco County Schools family is deeply saddened at the news of the tragic death of Crews Lake Middle School Principal Adam Kennedy.  He was an incredible human being and an amazing administrator.

We have crisis team members at the school, and at Weightman Middle School, where Adam was a social studies teacher and tech specialist for 10 years.  He was appointed assistant principal at Crews Lake in 2009, and became principal on January 20, 2015.

Crisis team members are counseling teachers, staff, and students at both Crews Lake and Weightman middle schools.  They also are available for district staff members at the district office complex campus, and to administrators and teachers throughout the district, to help them cope with the loss.

“I am devastated,” said Superintendent Kurt Browning, who called School Board members to share the news this morning.  “I don’t know why things like this happen.  Adam was such a tremendous person.”

Mr. Kennedy was married to a district teacher, and they have two elementary-aged children.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Pasco School Nurse is Florida School Nurse of the Year

Land O’ Lakes, FL – (Jan. 19, 2017) – The Florida Association of School Nurses (FASN) has selected Pasco County Schools school nurse Margaret Polk as Florida’s 2017 School Nurse of the Year.

Margaret is the school nurse at Pasco High School and James Irvin Education Center.  She has worked for Pasco County Schools since 1991.  This morning, her colleagues and friends surprised her with cake, balloons, flowers, and lots of congratulatory hugs (photos attached).

The FASN Florida School Nurse of the Year award recognizes a Florida school nurse who has demonstrated excellence in both school nursing and leadership in school health.  Specific criteria include quality of care, performance appraisal and ethics, educational standards, collegiality, collaboration, research, resource utilization, communication, program management, and health education.        

Margaret was chosen for her volunteer work coordinating student services teams and advocating for the migrant families in the Dade City community.  She has helped coordinate outreach services for students with community partners who donate free services and financial support to help medically needy students.  In addition to her work helping her community, she has volunteered her expertise on district, state, and national committees.

In a letter accompanying Margaret’s nomination, Supervisor of Student Health Services Lisa Kern, wrote, “When I think of Margaret, I think of a superhero – she is in constant motion; it is likely that she never sleeps and she can probably leap tall buildings in a single bound! All kidding aside – she has an amazing work ethic and is genuinely devoted to children and school health.”

The association will honor Margaret during their annual conference in Orlando on Friday, Jan. 27.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Aeronautics Academy SWAT Partnership Van Debut and Tour to Precede Pasco Delegation Meeting

Who: Pasco County Legislative Delegation, Pasco County School Board members, Superintendent Kurt Browning, Pasco Sheriff’s Office, and Sunlake High School staff and students

What: Tampa Bay Regional Aeronautics Academy at Sunlake High School Tour

When: 11 a.m., Wednesday, January 18

Where: Sunlake High School, 3023 Sunlake Blvd., in Land O’ Lakes

Why: To debut the new Tampa Bay Regional Aeronautics Academy’s UAV van and the Tampa Bay Regional Aeronautics Academy at Sunlake High School to the Pasco County Legislative Delegation before the annual Delegation public meeting. Since the 2014 Legislative Session, Pasco lawmakers led the charge to fund a regional aeronautics academy program serving students in Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas counties. The delegation meeting will begin at 1 p.m.

How: Attendees will be the first to view the new mobile UAV command/control operation center van, which will be used to further the learning experience of students utilizing unmanned systems. The vehicle has multiple flight stations with large screen monitors, interactive smart board, fully self-contained generator system, network access and livestream capabilities. The vehicle was built by leading UAV technology company FLYMOTION Unmanned Systems based in Tampa. Members also will tour the academy, hear staff and student perspectives, and experience the technology that powers this innovative program. Staff will explain how Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s curriculum, combined with partnerships with Tampa International Airport and the Pasco Sheriff’s Office, generate aeronautics expertise. The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office Unified SWAT Team will be training students for emergency situation response using the van. For more information, contact Terry Aunchman, Career and Technical Education Director, at 813-794-2204.

Three Pasco Schools Approved to Offer Prestigious Cambridge Program

Land O’ Lakes, FL – (January 17, 2017) – Anclote High School, Paul R. Smith Middle School, and San Antonio Elementary School have been notified of their acceptance into the Cambridge Education program.

Each school will begin offering the Cambridge program in the 2017-2018 school year. Anclote will offer the program to ninth- and 10th-grade students the first year. Paul R. Smith will provide it in all three grade levels, and will offer advanced electives to match with core academics. San Antonio will offer the primary curriculum at each grade level, beginning with kindergarten.

Pasco County Schools launched the Cambridge Education program at Pasco Middle School and Pasco High School in 2014. San Antonio Elementary feeds students into those two schools, so putting the primary framework there will prepare students for the challenging academic program.

The Cambridge curriculum and assessments are designed with the five Cambridge attributes in mind: confident, responsible, reflective, innovative and engaged. The rigorous curriculum can be compared to Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate curricula. Students in the high school program can earn college credits and an international diploma. Those who earn the diploma also qualify for a Florida Prepaid College scholarship.

“The idea of placing high rigor programs at Anclote High School and Paul R. Smith Middle School is one of our top priorities,” said Superintendent Kurt Browning. “The addition of SAES will provide for the Cambridge curriculum to be in the entire Pasco High School feeder pattern. This is great news for these schools and the students they serve.”

“Anclote High School is honored to join the Cambridge International family of schools in offering the Cambridge Secondary 2 and Advanced programs to students in west Pasco County,” said Anclote High Principal Michelle Williams. “We look forward to providing students with the opportunity to experience this rigorous, yet flexible, college preparatory curriculum.”

“Paul R. Smith Middle School, along with our community, is very excited and honored to join with Cambridge International to bring this advanced academic program to the west Pasco community,” said Paul R. Smith Middle School Principal Joel DiVincent.” “This partnership will provide amazing opportunities for our students as we continue the work to provide a world class education for all students.”

“I look forward to implementing the Cambridge Primary Program at San Antonio Elementary,” said San Antonio Elementary Principal Kim Anderson. “The proven success of the Cambridge programs at Pasco Middle and Pasco High School makes it so exciting to expand it to this feeder school.”

The schools will schedule parent information meetings in late January and early February. They also will have a separate application period than the district’s school choice open enrollment period, which runs February 1 through March 1. All details will be announced in the near future.

Airplane Touches Down in Zephyrhills for Maintenance Instruction

Who: Zephyrhills High School staff and students

What: Rockwell Aero Commander 100 Delivery

When: 9 a.m., Tuesday, January 17

Where: Zephyrhills High School, 6335 12th St., in Zephyrhills

Why: For the past three years, Pasco County Schools has partnered with Hillsborough and Pinellas school districts as a part of the Tampa Bay Regional Aeronautics Academy program. This rigorous program has been funded through a legislative appropriation. Zephyrhills High School, one of the Pasco aeronautics sites, provides aviation maintenance coursework for academy students.

How: A team of aircraft mechanics, transportation specialists, and a safety observer are traveling to Treasure Coast International Airport on Friday, January 13, to disassemble a Rockwell Aero Commander 100 airplane. On Tuesday, January 17, the plane will arrive at Zephryhills High School for Aviation Maintenance Science (AMS) program students to use for hands-on maintenance training. For more information, contact Brian Sawyer, Aviation Academy Manager, at 813-794-2372.

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