Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Students Eat Farm Fresh Kumquats and Strawberries

“What is that and how do I eat it?” was the question asked by almost 600 Wesley Chapel Elementary students as they were greeted in the school cafeteria with a Farmer’s Market displaying baskets full of kumquats, strawberries, apples, blood oranges, bok Choy, beets, and other fresh fruits and vegetables. 

The Food and Nutrition Services Department for Pasco County Schools partnered with Fresh Point Produce and the Kumquat Growers of Dade City to offer students a taste of locally grown Dade City Kumquats and Plant City Strawberries as part of the district’s Farm 2 School Program. The food service staffed dressed as farmers and handed each student a sample cup containing a fresh kumquat and strawberry. 

The students’ facial expressions were priceless as they bit into their first kumquat.  Many didn’t realize they could eat the skin, so to help reduce the fear of the unknown, food service employees challenged the students to a “let’s do it together” race.  Students chanted “Just keep chewing, just keep chewing” as they experienced the inside out sweet and sour taste of fresh kumquats.

Students loved the bright red and juicy sweet strawberries, and many enjoyed the unique sweet and sour taste of the fresh kumquats. 

In February, the Food and Nutrition Services Department will feature fresh Plant City Strawberries on school menus in all Pasco County schools.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Task Force Seeks Input on 4 Day School Week Option

The Task Force exploring the possibility of a four (4) day school week in Pasco County will be hosting a series of public forums designed to gather feedback from the community on this concept.  Stakeholders are encouraged to attend in order to learn more about the District’s ongoing budget crisis and to share their; views about the possible implementation of this cost-saving measure.  Information about each of the forums is below:

February 9, 2012: Pasco Middle School Auditorium - 6:30 p.m.

February 15, 2012: Charles S. Rushe Middle School Cafeteria - 6:30 p.m.

February 16, 2012: River Ridge Performing Arts Center - 6:30 p.m.

“In order to find creative solutions to our funding needs without jeopardizing the availability of programs and services for students, our Task Force has spent a great deal of time researching the implications of a possible four day school week,”  said Task Force Chairman Steve Luikart.  “We believe it is important to stay open minded, so that we can make the best possible decisions for our students.  Our Task Force is eager to have community input and has gathered feedback via an online survey.  These forums are one more way to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to weigh in on this important topic, he added. 

For more information about the public forums, please contact the District’s Communications Department at 813-794-2717

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Please complete the District’s Elementary Magnet School Survey

The District School Board of Pasco County invites you to participate in its online survey to obtain family and community input about elementary magnet schools. The District is exploring this exciting development for children in kindergarten through fifth grade. Magnet schools across the nation offer unique opportunities for students to grow their abilities in specific areas of interest.  To help the District in better understanding what most appeals to students and families about the magnet school concept, please take a few moments to share your ideas with us.

The survey can be found at the following link:

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Student Art Needed

Effective 2012, the Division of Food, Nutrition and Wellness in Tallahassee at the Florida Department of Agriculture is now administering Child Nutrition Programs for the state of Florida.

They were formally called the Division of Food and Nutrition Management and were under the Florida Department of Education.  They are now in their new offices and would love to have student artwork featuring fruits, vegetables, and a fresh produce message to decorate their blank walls.  

All students are invited to submit a poster or photograph to decorate the walls of the Division of Food, Nutrition and Wellness in Tallahassee with a fruit and vegetable message. Examples could be: students working in a school garden, eating their favorite fruit or vegetable, or farm to school efforts. Be creative!

Photographs and posters must be a standard size of 11x15 up to 17x21. Use crayons, paint, markers, colored pencil, chalk, watercolor, etc. Please include the school’s name and grade level (if applicable).  Artwork is due Wednesday, February 29, 2012. Posters and photographs can besent to: 

Katie Rainka, Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program Coordinator

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Division of Food, Nutrition and Wellness

600 S. Calhoun St., Suite 120

Tallahassee, FL 32399

Monday, January 09, 2012

High Schools in Pasco Earn High Marks

The District School Board of Pasco County is proud to report that 85% (11 out of 13) of its high schools earned an outstanding grade of A or B under the state formula for high school grades.  This year, the state of Florida utilized a comprehensive approach when evaluating the performance of high schools, encompassing a variety of student achievement indicators, including assessment data, participation in accelerated courses and graduation rates.  Under this formula, 83% (10 out of 12) of the high schools in Pasco that received grades last year maintained or improved their school grade, with two schools showing dramatic improvement:

Anclote High School – (from F to A)

Hudson High School (from D to B)

The District is delighted that six schools in Pasco earned an A (Pasco, Wesley Chapel, J.W. Mitchell, Wiregrass Ranch, River Ridge and Anclote High Schools).   Ridgewood High School has also shown continued steady growth, moving from a C to a B this year.

These improved results are a reflection of the dedication and commitment of each member of our entire team,” said Superintendent Heather Fiorentino.  “We are extremely proud of our schools that have made significant progress in ensuring that all students graduate prepared for success.  Our schools continue to excel in the face of adversity, which is a testament to the resilience, hard work and skill level of our amazing team of educators.  They truly are our most valuable resource, and they should be commended for a job well done,” she added.    

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