Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Odessa Elementary Tops 15 Pasco Elementary Schools in “A Bag’s Life” Challenge

Odessa Elementary Collects More Than a Ton of Plastic, Tops 15 Pasco Elementary Schools in “A Bag’s Life” Challenge

Land O’ Lakes, FL – (December 5, 2017) – On Monday, Odessa Elementary School 5th graders accepted a bench made out of recycled plastic bags from contest sponsor, Trex, Inc., as the school’s prize for recycling almost 2,500 pounds of plastic bags between Aug. 31 and Nov. 15.

Odessa Elementary principal Teresa Love¹ kicked off the awards presentation, followed by Superintendent Kurt Browning², who presented the bench to the students and encouraged them to continue their recycling efforts.

Browning was followed by Matt Seaholm³, executive director of the nonprofit Plastics Industry Association. He taught students about plastics manufacturing and recycling.

The event “wrapped up” with the district’s recycling coordinator, Salinda Strandberg4, teaching the students how everything associated with gift-giving, from the shopping bag to wrapping paper, can be recycled (except for the ribbon).

Before going back to class, students autographed A Bag’s Life banner5.

For a 30-second video from the Odessa Elementary presentation, click here. The video follows the above sequence of speakers/activities (1 through 5). For more information about the recycling initiative and other winners, click here. To watch the gift recycling lesson, click here.

Friday, December 01, 2017

District Seeks Public Input on Technical High School Name

Land O’ Lakes, FL – (December 1, 2017) – The District School Board of Pasco County is accepting public input on a name for the technical high school that will be opening in New Port Richey in August 2018.

The district is pursuing the transition of Ridgewood High School to a technical high school to provide opportunities for students to identify their interests and aptitudes, begin focusing on a career pathway, and fulfill the need of the local economy and workforce. Students will have the opportunity to pursue industry certification and workforce-ready skills that lead to employment directly after high school as well as rigorous programs of study that include Dual Enrollment, Advanced Placement, Honors, and the pursuit of an AA or AS degree.

School Board policy encourages community members, educators, and students to provide suggestions for school names.  The Board prefers to name schools after the general location, features of the area, or historical information about the school’s location, and the suggested name must be descriptive and brief.

If submitting the name of an individual, the name should be of a person of prominence recognized for his or her outstanding civic or educational contribution. The Board will only consider naming a school after an elected official or School Board employee if he or she has been deceased for two or more years or left public office or employment in the district two or more years ago.  The name, once adopted by the Board, is considered permanent unless the facility or its use changes.

Please submit your suggestions with a brief explanation for each school name by December 12, 2017.  Email submissions to, and type “Technical High School” in the subject line.  Submissions also can be faxed to 813-794-2716, or mailed to:

Deborah Hebert
Pasco County Schools
Communications & Government Relations Dept.
7227 Land O’ Lakes Blvd.
Land O’ Lakes, FL 34638

Friday, November 17, 2017

Pasco Elementary Schools Collect Tons of Bags for America Recycles Day

Land O’ Lakes, FL – (November 16, 2017) – Fifteen schools participated in Pasco County Schools’ A Bag’s Life plastic bag recycling challenge, but Odessa Elementary School emerged as the clear victor when the contest closed Wednesday, Nov. 15, in honor of America Recycles Day.

Odessa Elementary School ran away with first place after amassing more than 2,494 pounds of plastics bags. Gulf Trace Elementary School collected 823 pounds of bags and Bexley Elementary School collected 725 pounds of bags in a close battle for second place. Odessa Elementary School also collected the most bags per capita with more than three pounds per student. A Bag’s Life visits different school districts throughout the country each year and challenges elementary schools to recycle as many plastic bags as possible.

For winning A Bag’s Life, Odessa Elementary School will receive a bench made of recycled plastic bags from contest-sponsor Trex during a closing celebration. The presentation is at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 4 at Odessa Elementary School, 12810 Interlaken Road in New Port Richey.

In addition to the main contest, A Bag’s Life included two other challenges — a race to collect the most plastic bags by Halloween and an art contest that challenged schools to design their plastic bag collection boxes. Odessa and Gulf Trace elementary schools each won a $100 Walmart gift card for collecting the most bags by Halloween. Lacoochee Elementary School won first place in the box design contest, while Odessa Elementary School took second place; Gulf Trace Elementary School took third place; and Lake Myrtle Elementary School took fourth place. Each of the top three schools will receive a $100 Walmart gift card.

Anclote, Chasco, Double Branch, Denham Oaks, New River, Oakstead, Rodney B. Cox, San Antonio, Sand Pine, and Watergrass elementary schools also participated in the three-month-long contest. Combined, the 15 participating schools collected almost three tons of plastic bags, or more than 300,000 individual bags.

To see the monthly count of bags collected by school, click here.  To see the winning box design, click here.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

River Ridge Student is Pasco Schools Outstanding Senior

Land O’ Lakes, FL – (November 15, 2017) –River Ridge High School student Connor Beckman has been named Pasco County Schools 2018 Outstanding Senior.
Connor is the school’s Air Force JROTC- Corps commander, and has served as executive officer, orienteering team commander, and president of Kitty Hawk Air Society. He has earned multiple awards for his distinguished service. He also is involved in Boy Scouts of America, where he has served as a junior assistant scoutmaster, senior patrol leader, and Eagle Scout mentor. He was junior vice president and president of National Honor Society, and is serving his third year as captain of the swim team, for which he has earned two varsity letters.

In addition to his leadership activities, Connor also devotes time to serving others. He planned and organized the 1st annual Royal Relief Race, which raised $4,000 for the American Red Cross’ Natural Disaster Relief Fund, and is planning the 2nd annual race. He has earned close to 300 community service hours in a variety of settings, such as the Pasco Environmental Adventure Camp Experience, where he teaches elementary age students about Florida’s ecosystems. He also built garden boxes and rain barrels for Longleaf Elementary School teachers and students.
Connor has maintained excellent grades, taking rigorous Honors and Advanced Placement classes, while participating in multiple extracurricular activities. He was inducted into National Honor Society his sophomore year in high school. He hopes for an appointment to one of the U.S. service academies, Texas A & M University, University of Florida, or Florida State University.

The Pasco County Outstanding Senior was selected by a panel of community leaders, including Dr. Paula S. O'Neil, Ph.D., Pasco clerk and comptroller; Dr. Tim Beard, president of Pasco-Hernando State College; Captain William Davis, Pasco Sheriff’s Office; Stacey Capogrosso, executive director, Pasco Education Foundation; and Wendy Beard, program coordinator, Career and Technical Education.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Renowned Anti-Bullying Speaker Visit is Postponed

Who: Gulfside Elementary School students and staff, and Lizzie Sider

What: Lizzie Sider’s Bully Prevention Assembly

When: 2:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 17
2:30 p.m. Monday, November 27

Where: Gulfside Elementary School cafeteria, 2329 Anclote Blvd. in Holiday

Why: Pasco County Schools strives to prevent bullying in its schools, and uses multiple resources to reinforce with stakeholders that all students and staff should be treated with civility and respect.

How: Renowned anti-bullying speaker Lizzie Sider, who has performed at more than 400 schools across the country, will bring her high-energy, inspirational message to Gulfside Elementary School students. Having endured the anguish of bullying as an elementary school student, recording artist Lizzie Sider created her own Bully Prevention Assembly, where she shares her personal experiences with elementary and middle school students. Gulfside Elementary School will have the honor of hosting this empowering performance, and students will gain a greater understanding of compassion and community. For more information, call Gulfside Elementary School at (727) 774-6000.

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