Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Pasco eSchool Student Selected as Outstanding Senior

 Land O’ Lakes, FL – (January 6, 2015) – Alexander Walker, a Pasco eSchool student, has been selected as Pasco County Schools 2014-2015 Outstanding Senior.

The Outstanding Senior award is earned based on academic record, service, leadership, citizenship, and evidence of commitment to school and community.  Students considered for this prestigious award are nominated by their school’s student body, principal, faculty, and staff. The nominees from each high school are interviewed by a panel of administrators who ultimately make the difficult decision of narrowing the selection to one student to represent Pasco County Schools.

Like his peers nominated for this award, Alex came highly recommended by his principal. Commitments to academics and leadership responsibilities have not kept Alex from joining other clubs or participating in his community. He has volunteered countless hours at the local food bank, Special Olympics, youth ministry leadership programs, and homeless shelters.  His nomination is attached.

“Making sure that he lends a hand and makes his community a better place is very important to Alex,” said Joanne Glenn, Principal of Pasco eSchool.

A list of each high school’s outstanding senior is below.  The district is creating a web page for each one with their accomplishments and a video interview that will go live in the second semester.


Student Name High School
Jessica Babcock  River Ridge
Maeghan Eaton Fivay
Lauren Sookey  Wesley Chapel
Alexander Walker eSchool
Jordan Wheeler Land O’ Lakes
Antonio Medina  Wiregrass Ranch
Mackenzie Marques  Gulf
Matthew Csontos  Sun Lake
Kelsey Bishop  Zephyrhills
Thomas Moschner  Ridgewood
Paige Charlick  Pasco
Christien Thomas Hudson
Madison Schafer  J.W. Mitchell
Mikaela Simcox  Anclote


Thursday, December 18, 2014

More Pasco High Schools Earn A and B Grades; Graduation Rate Increases to 79.4%

Land O’ Lakes, FL – (December 18, 2014) – Almost 70 percent of Pasco County’s public high schools earned an A or B grade, and none received a D or F for the 2013-2014 school year, despite an increase in the grading scale.

The state also released graduation rates for the 2013-2014 school year.  Pasco’s graduation rate increased to 79.4 percent, up from 75.9 percent in 2013.  The Florida graduation rate is 76.1 percent.

Altogether, five schools were graded A, four were graded B, and four were graded C.  Two schools improved their letter grade (Land O’ Lakes from B to A and Fivay from C to B), nine schools maintained their grades, and two schools saw their grades fall (Gulf and Pasco each fell from A to B).

“I’m ecstatic about the significant increase in our graduation rate,” said Superintendent Kurt Browning. “I can also say that I’m pleased that most of our schools either maintained or raised their grades, especially when the bar was set higher this year, but I’d still caution anyone from reading too much into these grades,” he added.


School Name Preliminary Grade 2014 Grade 2013


Pasco School Board Designates First Technical College

Land O’ Lakes, FL – (December 17, 2014) – At Tuesday’s board meeting, the District School Board of Pasco County renamed Fred K. Marchman Technical Education Center to Pasco Technical College - Marchman Campus, following a trend for Florida technical schools.

Renaming Marchman is designed to increase student access, interest and enrollment in the district’s instructional programs for both secondary and postsecondary students. Changing the name also should aid in recruiting industry and economic development while attracting students to the district’s public institutions.  Students who enroll in technical colleges incur less debt burden than those who enroll in private and proprietary institutions.

“While the name changes, the mission remains the same; the new name just more accurately reflects the post-secondary training we provide at Marchman” said Superintendent Kurt Browning.  “The mission also will not change, nor will the current governance or operating structure,” he added.

The change from Marchman Technical Education Center to Pasco Technical College is authorized and approved by the Council on Occupational Education (COE), the school’s accreditation agency.

The Florida Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA) presented a report to the Florida Legislature last January in reference to renaming Florida’s technical centers to technical colleges. OPPAGA reported that 37 states have public sub-baccalaureate technical institutions. Tennessee and Utah recently changed their entire state system of technical centers to technical colleges. Both states reported enrollment increases between 15 percent and 25 percent after the name change.

The renaming is part of a three-year improvement plan for Marchman, which includes offering dual enrollment to secondary students; redesigning master schedules and realigning calendars; increasing business partnerships; and increasing industry certification opportunities, among other things.

The staff, students and community are already buzzing about the name change, according to Principal Rob Aguis.  “The change has already boosted pride and self-esteem among the students and staff,” he said.  “Students on campus are already asking with excitement, ‘Are we really a college, Mr. Aguis?’ and I reply with that same excitement and pride, ‘Yes, we are really a college, Pasco Technical College – Marchman Campus!”

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Pasco School District, Union Reach Contract Settlement

Land O’ Lakes, FL – (December 10, 2014) – Just in time for the holidays, Pasco County Schools and the United School Employees of Pasco reached agreement on teacher and school related personnel contracts that include an average 3 percent raise for all employees.

“I want to thank the district’s negotiating teams, led by Betsy Kuhn (instructional) and Tom Neesham (non-instructional), for diligently representing the wishes of the School Board and negotiating meaningful raises for all of our hard-working employees,” said Superintendent Kurt Browning.

The contracts include:

  1. An overall salary increase worth $6,409,463.40 for instructional employees, what amounts to an average 3 percent raise to instructional salaries. Half of this amount will be spent for the grandfathered pay plan (for professional services contract and continuing contract teachers who elect not to opt into the performance pay plan) and the performance pay plan required by law.  The other half of this amount – the maximum allowed under the law – will be used to provide a 1 ½ percent cost of living increase to all instructional employees. School related personnel also will receive an overall salary increase of 3 percent, totaling approximately $1,713,582.50.
  2. Closing the district’s Early Retirement Program to new entrants, effective June 30, 2018.
  3. Ending smoking on all district property, effective July 1, 2016.
  4. Establishing a Compensation Task Force to discuss mutually agreed upon issues and proposed changes to compensation procedures, including selection of one of the following options for instructional paychecks: 20 paychecks to be paid during the 10 month teacher work year with five checks paid on the last teacher work day and one check two weeks later, or 26 equal paychecks to be paid every two weeks year round, including the summer months.
  5. Providing 150 minutes of uninterrupted planning time to teachers – an increase from the 100 minutes currently provided by the contract.
  6. The district covering a combined $1,436,779 worth of increased Florida Retirement System contributions for all employees.
  7. The district covering a combined $1,175,000 for increases to employee health insurance programs for the 2015 calendar year.

All together, the district is providing almost $12 million of new funding toward employee compensation and benefits for the 2014-2015 school year.  The contracts are expected to go to the School Board for ratification at the January 20, 2015 Board meeting, after employees have voted on them.  Provided the settlement is ratified by the employees and School Board on January 20, the salary increases and any applicable retroactive pay should be reflected in paychecks by the end of February.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Pasco District Press Conference (Video) for 1st Magnet School Application Period

Land O’ Lakes, FL – (December 1, 2014) – Pasco County Schools today announced the first day of the application period for Sanders Memorial Elementary STEAM Magnet School at a press conference that included several interested parents (15 seconds).

Superintendent Kurt Browning kicked off today’s press conference by discussing the district’s efforts to expand parental choice options and to add programs to compete for students.  Sanders Principal Jason Petry shared his vision for the district’s first magnet school, which will focus on science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. (Still photo at 19 seconds with parent who submitted application at 12:01 a.m. on first day to apply (l), and Senior Supervisor of Innovative Programs Darrell Huling (r); also, speaking at 52 seconds.)

Ted Williamson from Williamson Dacar Associates architects described how his team designed the school to encourage collaboration among students and between classes.  Classrooms will have sliding glass doors that open up to merge multiple classrooms into one collaboration area. Watch the virtual tour to see the open classrooms and multiple classroom video monitors. Students also will have plenty of outdoor learning spaces, such as the wetlands boardwalk for hands-on science lessons and the arts patio.

At the conclusion of the press conference, parents, staff, School Board Member Cynthia Armstrong, and media toured the school, led by Ted Williamson (57 seconds) and Jeff Wright, the project manager for Ajax Building Corporation.

The magnet school application period runs through January 15, 2015.   Applications are available online by going to http://www.pascoschools.org and clicking on the Sanders “Apply Now” banner. The Land O’ Lakes school will open in August 2015.

Click here to see the video from today's press conference.

Video credit:  Andrew Dunn, Pasco County Schools.

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