News Archives

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Congratulations to Pasco’s Fifty-Three Five Star Award Schools!

We are proud to announce that fifty-three Pasco County schools will be recognized by the Florida Department of Education as 2010-2011 Five Star Schools.  This prestigious award is the Florida Department of Education’s highest for community and parent involvement.  The Florida Commissioner's Community Involvement Council developed the award as a comprehensive program aimed at increasing community involvement in Florida schools.  Both the letter and spirit of school improvement and accountability legislation are built upon the active involvement of parents, families, businesses, and communities in efforts to improve Florida’s schools. 

In order to qualify for the award, a school must have earned a grade of “C” or above and achieve 100% of the required criteria. These include Business Partnerships, Family Involvement, Volunteers, Student Community Service, and School Advisory Councils.  Schools must also create a comprehensive portfolio that documents the achievement of each criterion.  This portfolio is reviewed at the District level to ensure compliance.  Earning the award requires a school-wide, year-long effort coupled with parent and community commitment.  Five Star Award portfolios are available for public review at each school.

Research shows a strong correlation between schools with strong parent and community involvement and higher student academic achievement.  Schools that earn the Five Star award are working to create a school culture that supports the District’s mission to help all students reach their highest potential.  This year’s fifty-three winners represent an increase of nineteen Five Star schools in the last three years!  Way to go, Pasco!

First Year Winners:  Connerton Elementary School, Odessa Elementary School, Sunlake High School, Woodland Elementary School, Zephyrhills High School

Two Year Winners:R. B. Cox Elementary School, James W. Mitchell High School, Watergrass Elementary School, Wesley Chapel High School

Three Year Winners:Mary Giella Elementary School, Gulf Highlands Elementary School, Oakstead Elementary School, River Ridge High School, Charles S. Rushe Middle School, Veterans Elementary School

Four Year Winners:Double Branch Elementary School, Gulf Trace Elementary School, New River Elementary School, Trinity Oaks Elementary School

Five Year Winners:Chester W. Taylor Elementary School, Wiregrass Ranch High School

Six Year Winners:Longleaf Elementary School, Pine View Elementary School, Seven Oaks Elementary School

Seven Year Winners:Moon Lake Elementary School, Wesley Chapel Elementary School

Eight Year Winners:Gulf Middle School, Lake Myrtle Elementary School, Shady Hills Elementary School

Nine Year Winners:Hudson Middle School, Pasco Elementary School, Pine View Middle School, Quail Hollow Elementary School, Richey Elementary School, San Antonio Elementary School, Sunray Elementary School, Trinity Elementary School, West Zephyrhills Elementary School

Ten Year Winners: Calusa Elementary School,Centennial Elementary School, Chasco Elementary School, Hudson Elementary School

Eleven Year Winners:Cotee River Elementary School, Cypress Elementary School, Fox Hollow Elementary School, James M. Marlowe Elementary School, Northwest Elementary School, Schrader Elementary School, Seven Springs Elementary School

Twelve Year Winners: Deer Park Elementary School, Mittye P. Locke Elementary School

Fifteen Year Winners:Anclote Elementary School, Gulfside Elementary School

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Pasco County Scientists Recognized at Intel International Science and Engineering Fair

The District School Board of Pasco County is proud of the achievements of students in the area of science. We have increased student participation at both the elementary Young Scientists Fair and the Secondary Regional Science and Engineering Fair.  We had twenty-four students participate in the state competition held in Orlando in April.  Eleven of the students were recognized with special awards and category place awards.  This year we had two students compete in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair that was held in Los Angeles, California.  There were more than 65 countries that came together to recognize the accomplishments of student scientists as they competed globally. The caliber of the projects and the level of excitement for science was demonstrated throughout the week. Science fair provides us with another opportunity to focus on all of the areas of STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics - which is critical in ensuring our students are prepared for the needs of the 21st century global marketplace.

There were two students from Pasco County who represented Florida. Sophia Sokolowski from Academy at the Lakes and Aubrey Jones from J.W. Mitchell High School both stood out among the 1,400 other participants. In Sophia’s project titled, “Audio Perception: Plotting the Pathway of the BK Channel,” she investigated proteins in the sensory cells of the inner ear to obtain a better understanding of the role that they play in hearing loss.  Aubrey completed her scientific research on  “Why Diabetics Need to Know the Complexity of Carbohydrates.”  This is the first time in more than fifteen years that we have had a student receive an award at the International Science Fair.   Sophia also brought home two special awards from the Army and Navy worth almost $5,000.

We would like to join the other districts, states, and countries in recognizing the achievements of these two scientists. We would also like to recognize their teachers, Dr. Amy Jordan (AATL) and Edwin Braddy (JWMHS) for the countless hours of support they give their students in the area of science.

“When we consider the role that science and technology have played throughout history, it is clear that students with a deep understanding of scientific thinking are well prepared to lead the way forward,”said Superintendent Heather Fiorentino.  “Competing and being recognized for excellence at the regional and International Science Fairs is an admirable achievement for Pasco’s 21st century learners,” she added.

For more information on Science programs, please contact Laura Hill at lhill@pasco.k12.fl.usor phone (727)774-2257.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Title I Technology Summer Camp

We are excited to announce the return of the nationally recognized Title I Summer Technology Camp.  This exciting program will give students the opportunity to work one-on-one with state of the art technology, including SMART Boards, MacBook laptops, iPod Nanos, and iPod Touches.  Students will use this technology to produce and edit his or her very own video podcast.  Integrating this technology with writing standards will help to increase academic proficiency. 

The Title I Summer Technology Camps are offered to our economically neediest students throughout the 24 Title I Schools, which now includes Bayonet Point Middle School and Anclote High School.  These camps will follow the regular summer school schedule from June 15th – June 30th, 2011.

The Title I Summer Technology Camp was recently awarded the 2011 Grand Prize Magna Award by the National School Board Association in recognition of outstanding programs that advance student learning.  The Title I Summer Technology Camp will once again be both a rewarding and educational experience that will help children gain a better understanding of the use of modern technology.

For information about the Title I Summer Technology Camps contact the District Office at (727) 774-2324, (813) 794-2324, (352) 524-2324.

Pasco Offers Nationally-Recognized Program of Excellence to Neediest Students

We are excited to announce the return of our nationally recognized Title I Pasco Environmental Adventure Camp Experience (PEACE) for the 2011 summer program.  This science themed camp will give students the opportunity to study the environment through a variety of engaging, hands-on activities while visiting 4 wonderful locations:  the Energy and Marine Center (EMC), Starkey Environmental Education Center, and Crystal Springs Preserve.

A culminating activity will be visit to the Florida Aquarium.  Secondary students will visit Dames Caves.  While at these sites, students participate in a series of rotations designed to incorporate critical thinking skills into real world situations. 

The Title I PEACE  Camps are offered our economically neediest students throughout the 24 Title I Schools, which now includes Bayonet Point Middle School and Anclote High School.  These full-day, action packed camps run from 7:30a – 3:30p for four different weeks over the summer. 

The Title I PEACE Camp was recently awarded the 2011 Grand Prize Magna Award by the National School Board Association in recognition of outstanding programs that advance student learning.  The Title I PEACE Camp will be both a rewarding and educational experience that will help children gain a better understanding of our environment while integrating adventure into their summers!

For information about the PEACE Summer Science Camp, contact the District Office at (727) 774-2312, (813) 794-2312, (352) 524-2312.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Pasco’s Students Perform on Par with Peers

The state released FCAT results today for grades 4 through 11.   As expected, due to the state’s equi-percentile method of measurement, Pasco’s students performed in-line with their peers from around the state.  There were some notable highlights including the fact that Pasco’s students met or exceeded the state average in grades 4-9 in reading.  When combined with the Pasco’s impressive writing scores released earlier this year, it is evident that Pasco’s emphasis on developing 21st Century Literacy Skills among all students has been a success.  “Literacy is a fundamental skill that permeates all aspects of learning,” stated Superintendent Heather Fiorentino.  “We are delighted that our scores indicate progress is being made in this important area,” she added. 

Another significant area of progress reflected in this year’s results is in science.  This year, 47% of 5th grade students, 47% of 8th grade students and 40% of 11th grade students in Pasco achieved proficiency in science. This reflects an increase at each grade level from the District’s performance last year.  The District has been focused on the integration of the state’s new science standards and teaching a greater depth of knowledge throughout each grade level. Science is an area in which our students have the opportunity to refine their critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.  These results indicate that we are moving in a positive direction as we work to help all students prepare for the challenges of developing innovative solutions to the problems of tomorrow,” Fiorentino added. 

In mathematics, Pasco’s 10th grade students outperformed the state percentage of students scoring at a proficient level.  The District is particularly proud of the improvement made at Ridgewood High School in tenth grade mathematics (an increase of six percentage points).  Additionally, the District is especially proud of the following schools who maintained or increased their percentage of students achieving proficiency in all subject areas (reading, mathematics and science) and in all grade levels tested.  Title I Schools are noted in italics.   

Connerton, Rodney B. Cox, Trinity and West Zephyrhills Elementary Schools
River Ridge Middle School
Land O’ Lakes, Pasco and River Ridge High Schools

“The state released a great deal of data today and we will continue to use it, within the context of the state’s new scoring methodology, to analyze the needs of our students and direct resources appropriately.  Overall, I am very proud of the efforts of our students and the team of highly-skilled educators that work to ensure all students reach their highest potential.  We will continue to make targeted improvements to ensure even greater levels of student success in the future,” Fiorentino noted.

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Kurt S. Browning, Superintendent of Schools
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