Thursday, May 07, 2009

First Post: Removing the Curtain

Hello, and welcome to your new Pasco County Schools web site! We have been working very hard behind the scenes to bring you an exciting new experience, and we are very proud to finally have a chance to show you the results. Allow me to take a moment to tell you about some of the more important changes. Starting with the most obvious, the look of the new site is meant to be friendly and inviting. The content and page elements have been carefully styled to make navigation and reading much easier. The design was created with an eye towards modern web standards and uses modern technologies such as CSS (cascading style sheets) to guarantee a consistent look throughout. The site should look great in the latest release of every major browser. Older browsers, such as Internet Explorer 6, will not be able to display every element as intended, but our use of the aforementioned standards guarantees that all of the site’s content will be available to every visitor, no matter which browser they use. Now for some detail on the pieces that make up that new design. First is one you’ve definitely noticed: the persistent menu bar. We’ve selected a number of useful shortcuts for our various visitors and made them constantly available at the top of the browser window. This should make for some very quick navigation between the various parts of our site. Also found on every page, right at the bottom, is a new footer that contains more links, shortcuts to our school and department sites, and our general contact information. We think you’ll find it nearly as useful as the menu bar, so “don’t forget the footer!” Our home page has been upgraded to an online newsroom, complete with featured stories (in the box at the top of the page), shorter articles from our departments (in the two leftmost columns), and links to major press coverage and our media releases (in the rightmost column). Beneath the central area you will find a number of important links, most transferred from our old home page. The shorter news stories will also be subdivided on the various department sites, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to keep up-to-date on District happenings. Note that the layout of the home page may change slightly in the coming weeks as we figure out what works best for our visitors, but the content should not. We are committed to using our new site to tell you all about all the great things happening in our school system, and encourage you to visit often. Interestingly enough, the largest and most important change is one you can’t really see at all. The new site is built using a piece of software called a content management system (CMS for short); this software allows us to utilize additional employees in the roles of author, editor and publisher. With multiple employees submitting news and events we will be able to present more information, and that in a more timely manner. The CMS has also brought major changes to the way we manage all of our web content, from staff contacts to our Educator Passport listings. As you can imagine, a major transition such as this can not be finished overnight. There is still much to do. Instead of trying to manage content on two sites however, we decided to launch today with our primary pages and the ESE and Communications Department sites completed. The rest of the department sites will be moved over to the new system and new look over the next several months, and will continue to use the older design until they are finished. There will undoubtedly be some small speed bumps and growing pains as we implement the new look throughout. Please bear with us during this transition. We promise to get them all ironed out. We hope you are as excited as we are about the new direction for our site. Check this section in the future for the latest news regarding the progress of our transition. In addition, I will also be posting quick tips about site features as they are added. In return, why not take a moment to let us know what you think about the new look? It's quick, easy, and we really want to hear from you!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

May 2009 - Great Things Happening in Pasco

As part of our ongoing effort to keep you informed about all of the great things happening in Pasco schools, the Communications Department has started to compile an easy-to-reference preview of upcoming school events. For more information on any particular event in the list, please call the school directly. Look for new updates every month!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

New Online Meal Application

Healthy eating habits are an essential part of learning. The Food and Nutrition Services Department is proud to offer Pasco County students low-cost, nutritionally-balanced meals throughout the school year. Our meals meet national Nutrition Standards for eight essential nutrients and help introduce students to a variety of fruits and vegetables. Families whose income is below the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines may qualify for free or reduced-priced meal benefits. New 2009-2010 Free and Reduced-price Meal Applications will be available in the school cafeteria or the school’s administration office after July 1, 2009. A family MUST submit a new application at the start of each new school year. New for the 2009-2010 school year, parents may have the option of applying for free and reduced-priced meals online. The Food and Nutrition Services Department is actively working to provide a more convenient and error-proof way for families to apply for meal benefits. Traditionally, the free and reduced-price meal application was only available in hard copy. The online registration process will not provide families with immediate notification as to their child’s eligibility status, but will ensure that the application is completed correctly; thus, speeding up the approval process at the District Office. “We want to help as many families as we can. By providing a convenient and more error-proof option for families, we are hoping more families will complete the application and benefit from the school lunch and breakfast programs,” stated Richard Kurtz, Food and Nutrition Services Director. The 2008-2009 meal eligibility status will expire on September 4, 2009. Any student who received free or reduced-price meal benefits at the end of the 2008-2009 school year and does not submit a new application and been approved by the expiration date, will be required to pay full price for all meals until a new 2009-2010 Free and Reduced-Price Meal Application is received and approved by the Food and Nutrition Services Department. Once a completed application is submitted, the approval process can take five business days. For more information or questions, please contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), FNS Finance Coordinator at (813) 794-2438, (727) 774-2438, or (352) 524-2438.

Boundary Process Begins for High School “EEE”

With the opening of the new "EEE" High School at S.R. 52 and Chicago Avenue in the Hudson area comes the need for developing the attendance boundary for the school. The boundary process began on April 30th with the initial meeting of the boundary committee. The committee is tasked with carving out an attendance boundary from the existing boundaries of Hudson High School, Ridgewood High School and River Ridge High School. The committee consists of principals, parents, administrators and representatives from the Exceptional Student Education, Transportation and Planning Departments. In addition, boundary committees will meet this coming summer to look at adjusting all west-side high school and west-side middle school attendance boundaries due to the opening of High School "EEE" and for the purpose of balancing student populations at each of these schools. A proposal for boundary changes is expected to be complete by the fall and at that time will be presented to the public for comment and questions. Ultimately, all proposed boundary changes will go to the School Board for approval.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

2009-2010 Head Start Application

Parents, Head Start and Early Head Start applications for the 2009-2010 school year are now being accepted! If you think you might be interested in enrolling your child for the upcoming session, we encourage you to submit your application right away, as space is limited. Please note the following: Preference for Head Start is given to children who turn 4 years old on or before September 1 of the current school year; Eligibility is based on family need and income; Total household income must be within federal poverty guidelines; Completing an application does NOT guarantee a child’s eligibility for services. Children who are turning 3 years old on or before September 1 of the current school year may also apply. Early Head Start serves expectant mothers, infants, and toddlers through age 3. Transportation for children is provided according to the District School Board of Pasco County transportation guidelines. Documents needed to complete an application:
  1. Child’s CERTIFIED Birth Certificate (Not hospital copy).
  2. Child’s Health Card (Medicaid, Kid Care or Private Insurance) if applicable.
  3. Documentation of 4-6 WEEKS of the most current household income (pay stubs, SSI/SSD, W-2(s), employer letter, and/or 1040 tax form).
  4. Proof of Child Support for all children in home, if applicable.
  5. Proof of current residency (utility bill, FL ID/Driver's License, etc.).
Additional documents if applicable:
  1. Child’s Social Security Card or number.
  2. Information for other family members in the home (Social Security numbers and dates of birth).
  3. TCA or WAGES Verification (Career Central), or Subsidized Child Care, Protective Services and/or Foster Care Verification.
  4. Bring copies of recent medical bills exceeding $300.
  5. Documentation of parent/guardian attending school.
  6. Documentation of disability or suspected disability in the home for child, parent and/or guardian.
For full details, please download a copy of our helpful Head Start flyer. Thank you!

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