Monday, December 06, 2010

Congratulations to our 2010-2011 Outstanding Volunteers of the Year!

Each year the Florida Department of Education sponsors the statewide Outstanding School Volunteer Award competition.  This year Pasco schools nominated 90 volunteers for the honor, significantly more than in past years.  There were so many great nominees; the judges had a difficult time selecting the top three winners! In the end, however, after a very difficult voting process, the panel elected Shelby Thompson, Kim Clark, and Margaret Francis this school year’s Youth, Adult and Senior Volunteers of the Year, respectively. Read on for a summation of each winner's achievements.

Youth Category: Shelby Thompson, nominated by Watergrass Elementary School
Wesley Chapel High School junior, Shelby Thompson, started “volunteering” in kindergarten when her mother was a school volunteer at Sand Pine Elementary.  Over the years, Shelby has volunteered at several Pasco schools. This year she volunteers three days a week at Watergrass Elementary School with second and fifth grade classes as well as with the music classes.  Her creative academic enrichment projects are a big hit with students. For example, because the school mascot is an owl, she baked edible owl “pellets” for the students to eat, and then after had the students dissect an owl pellet.  Last year Shelby helped in the autistic classes and helped to prepare the students for the Special Olympics.  She was also instrumental in getting a trampoline donated to the school to enhance their sensory input.  Shelby volunteers in her community with the American Cancer Society, Pasco County Autism, Toys for Tots, Hospice and Unicef.  In addition to her extensive volunteer activities, she takes Honors and Advanced Placement classes and maintains a 4.21 Grade Point Average.  She is a member of the National Honor Society, President of the Interact Club and volunteers as a teacher assistant at Wesley Chapel High School and Thomas E. Weightman Middle School.  “Students and teachers love, respect and appreciate her hard work.  Shelby truly has a volunteer heart,” says Marianne Mackey-Smith, Watergrass Elementary School Volunteer Coordinator.

Adult Category: Kim Clarke, nominated by Sand Pine Elementary School
Sand Pine Elementary School (SPES) considers Kim Clarke part of the school team.  She began volunteering seven years ago when her child was in kindergarten.  Not only has she volunteered regularly in classrooms for seven years, but she has also served on the PTA Board as Hospitality Chairperson, Second Vice President, First Vice President, President, Historian and Treasurer.  She averages 20 hours a week volunteering at the school on top of a 25-hour a week part-time job.  Kim is always available for special classroom events and gladly steps up to the plate when needed.  Once she conducted an activity with children teaching them how to read and make a salsa recipe.  She made sure the class had all the supplies needed ahead of time, and when the day ended, she took the kitchen bowls and utensils home and cleaned them. Kim also leads a student book club that models not only the joy of reading, but also comprehension through the discussions she has with students about what they have read.  “Kim is always available to help wherever and whenever needed and is dedicated to helping teachers and students.  She is most deserving of this award,” reports Belinda Pope, School Volunteer Coordinator.   

Senior Category: Margaret Francis, nominated by Fox Hollow Elementary School
Eighty-nine years young, Margaret has been a vital part of Fox Hollow Elementary School’s volunteer program for 19 years. She comes to school nearly every day and each time puts in more than a full day’s worth of work.  “I’m a former PE teacher,” she says. “I like to stay active.”  She acts as a media assistant through overseeing the circulation desk, helping children find the “perfect” book, and processing and shelving books.  She tutors students and assists them with their class work and homework.  She mentors children through her frequent words of encouragement.  Finally, she coordinates special projects such as picture day, book fair and student of the month celebrations.  Her dedication, energy and dependability have greatly impacted the school and community.  “Margaret is an inspiration to all who know her. The entire school feels it is an honor to work with her.  Fox Hollow Elementary School would not be the same without Margaret,” says Marylynn Cultreri, Volunteer Coordinator. 

Friday, December 03, 2010

Focus on Pasco Tech Star Joan Becker

San Antonio Elementary School music teacher Joan Becker has skillfully integrated technology into her classroom through the use of a SMARTBoard. The following video demonstrates her exciting use of music and technology.

Friday, November 12, 2010

New Boundaries Proposed For East Side Middle and High Schools

The attendance boundary committee has developed proposed attendance boundaries for the east side middle and high schools,  The intent of these boundaries is to help relieve the overcrowding at Dr. John Long Middle School and Wiregrass Ranch High School and to balance the student populations at the east side middle and high schools. The middle schools affected by this proposal include Dr. John Long Middle, Pasco Middle, Raymond B. Stewart Middle, and Thomas E. Weightman Middle. The high schools affected include Pasco High, Wiregrass Ranch High, and Wesley Chapel High. The committee did not recommend changing the boundaries for Centennial Middle and Zephyrhills High. Links to maps showing these proposed changes can be found below. Larger, more detailed maps will be posted in the lobby of each affected school.

Proposed 2011-2012 Middle School Boundaries Map

Proposed 2011-2012 High School Boundaries Map

Proposed 2011-2012 School Boundaries Map - Areas of Change

If approved, these boundaries will take effect beginning August of 2011. Next year’s Seniors will remain at their current school.

Parent meetings will be conducted to review and receive input on all of the proposed boundary changes. These meetings will be held at Wesley Chapel High School on November 30th at 6:30 pm and at Raymond B. Stewart Middle School on December 7th at 6:30 pm. The content will be the same for both of these meetings.

The First Reading of these proposed boundaries will be heard by the School Board on December 21st, 2010.  The Second Reading and Board Action will be on January 18th, 2011.

For additional information, please contact the Planning Department.

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 rcwillia@pasco.k12.fl.us 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 http://www.justreadflorida.com/literacyweek.asp. If you have any questions, send an e-mail to justread@fldoe.org or contact Kevin Smith at (850) 245-0503.

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