Friday, November 05, 2010

2010 Great American Teach-In: You Make The Difference!

Visit a Pasco County school during National Education Week, November 15-19, 2010, and especially on Thursday, November 18 for the Great American Teach-In (GATI), and you are likely to see a myriad of visitors mesmerizing students with their careers, hobbies, and talents.  Firefighters, chemists, electricians, actors, magicians, dog trainers, medical personnel, soldiers, bakers and commercial fishermen are only a few of the community and parent volunteers who have shared their talents and stories with students.

This is the twelfth year Progress Energy and the District School Board of Pasco County have partnered to present GATI, part of Pasco County Schools’ annual American Education Week celebration.  It’s a special opportunity for parents and community members to visit the public school of their choice and share talents and skills with a new generation.  Your story can spark the imagination of students and excite them to explore new possibilities!

This year’s GATI event is scheduled for Thursday, November 18, 2010.  Opportunities are available during the school day.  Volunteers can stay for an hour or for the whole day!  The amount of time is determined by the volunteers’ schedule and what teachers want to accomplish.  Whatever the length of the visit, volunteers make a difference!  Thousands of previous Teach-In participants have discovered the experience to be truly rewarding.

Here are some Teach-In Tips:

  • Plan for 20-25 students per classroom.
  • Consider wearing attire appropriate to the occupation, hobby or topic you plan to discuss.
  • Keep the students’ average attention span in mind: 10-15 minutes for elementary grades and 20-30 minutes for secondary grades.
  • When you arrive at the school, please check in at the front office to pick up your name tag.  Someone will greet you and accompany you to the classroom.
  • If you plan to bring printed or audiovisual materials, please check with the teacher or school Teach-In Coordinator in advance.
  • Do not ask students for personal information, including telephone numbers, email addresses or home addresses.

To get involved and register, please contact a school of your choice as soon as possible.  School names, locations, and contact information can be found on the District School Board of Pasco County website.  School personnel will be happy to help you have a wonderful GATI Day!  For general information, contact Randee Williams, Supervisor, Volunteer Programs, at or 727-774-2203, 813-794-2203 or 352-524-2203.

Please plan to join us for GATI. The kids will love you for it!  Thank you in advance for your generous contribution of talent and time to help make Pasco’s GATI 2010 the best ever!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Celebrate Literacy Week Public Service Announcement Contest

The Florida Department of Education’s Just Read, Florida! Office encourages all students in grades K-12 to create a 26-second public service announcement on the topic “Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida! – Champions Read, Readers Lead.” The contest is part of 2011 Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida,! a week-long salute that celebrates and promotes the importance of literacy in Florida. Entries should be created with a combination of video and audio effects, must include credits and may not include any copyrighted music, footage or images. Complete contest details can be found at If you have any questions, send an e-mail to or contact Kevin Smith at (850) 245-0503.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Congratulations to Pasco’s Forty-Eight Five Star Award Schools!

We are proud to announce that forty-eight Pasco County schools have been recognized by the Florida Department of Education as 2009-2010 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, guardians, business people, and other community members 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 lengthy 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 forty-eight winners represent an increase of fourteen Five Star schools in the last three years!  Way to go, Pasco!

First Year Winners:  Anclote High School, R. B. Cox Elementary School, James W. Mitchell High School, Watergrass Elementary School

Second Year Winners:Mary Giella Elementary School, Oakstead Elementary School, River Ridge High School, Charles S. Rushe Middle School, Paul R. Smith Middle School, Veterans Elementary School

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

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

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

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

Seventh Year Winners:Gulf Middle School, Shady Hills Elementary School

Eighth 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

Ninth Year Winners:Centennial Elementary School, Chasco Elementary School, Hudson Elementary School, Sanders Memorial Elementary School

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

Eleventh Year:Deer Park Elementary School, Mittye P. Locke Elementary School, Sand Pine Elementary School

Fourteenth Year Winners:Anclote Elementary School, Gulfside Elementary School

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Boundary Process Begins for East Side Middle and High Schools

Due to the overcrowding situations at both Dr. John Long Middle School and Wiregrass Ranch High School in East Pasco County, a boundary committee has been tasked with creating new middle and high school boundaries to better balance student populations. The process began on October 18th with the initial meeting of the committee to look over data and to develop several potential scenarios. The middle schools that may be affected include Centennial Middle, Dr. John Long Middle, Pasco Middle, R.B. Stewart Middle, and Thomas E. Weightman Middle. The high schools that may be affected include Pasco High, Wesley Chapel High, Wiregrass Ranch High, and Zephyrhills High.  The committee consists of principals, parents, administrators, and representatives from the Exceptional Student Education, Transportation, and Planning Departments.

The committee did not yet complete any final boundary scenarios, but will continue to discuss the data and maps at the next committee meeting scheduled for November 1 at Wiregrass Ranch High School.

A link to the packet of data and maps provided for the first committee meeting is included here:

Committee Packet

An information packet that will include a boundary map will be sent home with students when a final decision is reached by the committee and will include the dates of upcoming parent meetings. These meetings will be conducted to review and receive input on all proposed boundary changes. Ultimately, all changes will go to the School Board for approval. Any changes would take effect beginning with the 2011-2012 school year. Current Juniors would remain at their current school for their Senior year.

For more information, please contact the Planning Department.

Coca-Cola Supports Sustainability

Sustainability, now this is a term that you hear a lot lately.  The District School Board of Pasco County has empowered its students and employees to be environmentally conscious through its environmental education centers, recycling, energy management and water conservation efforts.

Recently, the students at Seven Springs Middle School had an opportunity to participate in the Coca-Cola Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (CRS) Day.  Students competed within their school to create projects that featured air quality and water conservation themes.  The winning students from Mrs. Tehan and Mrs. Ulrich’s class were invited to attend a special Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Day sponsored by Coca-Cola.  John Soler, Energy Coordinator and Karen Bryant, Recycling Coordinator served as chaperones.  The day featured guest speakers from the Southwest Florida Management District, the Tampa Beautification Program, and the Environmental Protection Commission (EPC) of Hillsborough County.

Select students were selected to travel to the Tampa Coca-Cola bottling plant to demonstrate their projects and learn about other air quality and water conservation measures.  The following students participated in the event: Paige Farina, Jillian Martin, Kiana Mohr, Storm Schenk, Zach Anderson, Olivia Batshon, Alyx Depagter, Julie Cavallaro, Michelle Ordax, Melanie Mercado, Phillip Phillips, Cason Murdoch, Celena Heesch, and Madison Shafer.  The students were given front row seats to hear all of the guest presentations.  When it was their turn, each group of 2-3 students presented their projects to the audience.  The projects were amazing and imaginative, such as dehumidifying plants, water collection systems, the water cycle, and more.  Some were hands-on demonstrations, videos, and posters.  The students were very professional and knowledgeable and even answered audience questions.

The day concluded with a unique tour of the bottling plant.  It was so interesting to see the several varieties of products being made.  It made the students appreciate all of the hard work that goes into making their favorite Coca-Cola products.  The facility uses high-efficiency lighting, skylights, and some hybrid vehicles to distribute products, so the students were able to see actual energy-efficiency measures that have been taken at the facility.

The Coca-Cola CRS Day gave the Seven Springs MS students a chance to learn about major companies in their local community that are involved in energy management, water conservation, and protecting our resources.  Seven Springs Middle School is proud to help educate young minds on the importance of sustainability.

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