Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pasco Schools Earn Solid Marks from State

Today’s report from the Florida Department of Education indicates that the District School Board of Pasco County continues to build upon its rich tradition of academic achievement, with the District earning a total of 520 points.  This equates to an overall districtwide grade of B (525 points is an A), which is an increase from the total number of points earned by the District last year.  “While we acknowledge opportunities for improvement in our continued pursuit of excellence, we must celebrate the positive impact that our dedicated staff is making on the lives of the students we serve,” stated Superintendent Heather Fiorentino.

The District is proud to announce that 67% of the schools in Pasco earned an outstanding grade of A or B this year.  Middle schools in Pasco turned in a particularly impressive performance, with 80% earning an A or B.  In addition to school grades, the Florida Department of Education released information about each school’s Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) designation.  Seven Oaks Elementary, Trinity Elementary, Wesley Chapel Elementary andImagine each earned an A and made AYP this year.  

As the District continues to strive for improvement, it is delighted to announce that 71% of Pasco schools maintained or improved their school grade.   Of special note, Woodland Elementary, Connerton Elementary, Shady Hills Elementary and Imagine each increased their school grades by two letter grades (from a C to an A) this year.  “Our sustained improvement is directly attributable to our team’s collective efforts and their unwavering commitment to ensure that all children reach their highest potential.  These accomplishments are remarkable given the extreme financial adversity the District continues to experience,” Fiorentino added.

High school grades have not yet been released due to the state’s new criteria for calculating high school grades.  However, the state has released the total number of points earned by each high school through the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Tests.  These preliminary data indicate that high schools in Pasco continue to make tremendous progress, with 75% maintaining or increasing the total number of points earned for this section.  Anclote High School saw the greatest gain (81 points), increasing from 392 to 473.  The following schools also saw a substantial gain in the total number of points earned: 

J.W. Mitchell High – from 529 to 548 (19 points), Pasco High – from 472 to 498 (26 points), Ridgewood High  – from 445 to 468 (23 points), River Ridge High – from 488 to 519 (31 points), Sunlake High –  from 483 to 517 (34 points) and Wesley Chapel High – from 470 to 488 (18 points)

The District will continue to analyze these data to make decisions about the needs of students and schools as it allocates resources and provides support as necessary.

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.

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