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.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Project Wild Weekend, Environmental Program Sponsored Event

Pasco County Schools’ Environmental Programs would like to extend a huge thank you to all the participants of our annual Project Wild Weekend that occurred April 8th-10th, 2011.

Elementary through high school teachers from schools and environmental centers all over the district spent the weekend reconnecting with nature.  More importantly, they learned how to connect their students with nature through a variety of hands-on activities and presentations.

On friday night, participants learned about Project Learning Tree, Fire in Florida’s Ecosystems, and the Flying WILD Programs.  The teachers learned about the Pasco Audubon Society and were treated to a presentation on predatory birds. We followed things up with a night hike and a huge campfire.

On Saturday, the teachers had an early breakfast and learned about the trees and ecosystems around Starkey Park and the Pithlachascotee River.  They were then whisked to the Energy & Marine Center were they participated in a kayaking adventure, exploring the different behaviors of birds and other bird related activities.  Upon returning to Starkey Park, teachers had dinner and were given a presentation on Pasco County Environmental Lands by Katie MacMillan of Pasco ELAMP.

Sunday started early with breakfast.  Following breakfast, teachers learned about FIRE in Florida’s Ecosystems with local forester Arthur Clothier.  Teachers then learned about dendrochronology, using tree rings to learn about the life history of a tree.  The weekend ended with a geocaching course through one of Starkey Park’s recent burn sites to learn how ecosystems and organism adapt to fire.

Activities and Events Included:
Project Flying WILD
Project Learning Tree
Fire in Florida’s Ecosystems
Guided Nature Hike and Geocaching
Kayaking at the Energy and Marine Center
Night Hike and Campfire Circle
Live Musical performance by Dale Crider
Presentations by local and state professionals.

Overall, both teachers and facilitators had a great time learning more about their local environments, ultimately allowing them to share their experiences and new found knowledge with their students.



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