News Archives

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Zephyrhills Cafeteria Manager Earns Statewide Recognition

Zephyrhills, Florida – (May 21, 2015) – Suellen Smith, the Cafeteria Manager at Zephyrhills High School, received the Community Humanitarian Award from the Florida School Nutrition Association (FSNA) this past weekend at the 2015 FSNA Annual Conference in Daytona Beach.

The Community Humanitarian Award recognizes an individual who has applied his or her knowledge and expertise to help others within their community in a humanitarian effort. Pasco County Schools’ Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) Director Julie Hedine nominated Smith.

Throughout the year, Smith conducts several volunteer efforts. She collects clothing and accessories for students who cannot afford prom and homecoming attire. In addition, she organizes the collection and distribution of new backpacks filled with toiletries, food, and basic school supplies, while still finding time to serve as Zephyrhills High’s homecoming coordinator. Smith’s latest project is a student-mentoring program, but her service is not limited to her school; last year, she raised $3,500 for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

According to their website, the FSNA’s mission is “serving members to better serve customers.” For more information about their objectives, visit the FSNA’s website.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Some Anclote High School End-of-Course Exams Invalidated


Land O’ Lakes, FL  (May 19, 2015) – Today, the Florida Department of Education (DOE) notified Pasco County Schools that all Anclote High School Algebra 1 (FSA), Algebra 2, and Geometry end-of-course (EOC) exams have been invalidated due to use of unapproved calculators. 

Students whose Algebra 2 and Geometry EOC exams were invalidated will not be impacted by this decision.  They will not have to retake those exams because the DOE declared on Monday, May 18, that those results will not be used as 30 percent of students’ final course grades because the validity of those tests has not been independently verified.

The invalidation should not affect any senior’s graduation eligibility.  Those students took the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards version of the Algebra 1 EOC exam.

Only about 240 students whose Algebra 1 (FSA) EOC exams were invalidated will be impacted.  They will have to retake the exam as a graduation requirement.

“This is disappointing news, and my biggest concern is for the students who have to re-take the exams,” said Superintendent Kurt Browning.

Students are allowed to use hand-held four-function and scientific calculators that meet state requirements on both paper-based and computer-based FSA Math EOCs in session 2 only.  The calculators in question are scientific calculators but show two lines of information and also perform more functions than are allowed for taking these exams. Calculators are built-in to the testing platform on the computerized tests, but the DOE allowed students to use hand-held calculators this year.

Students whose Algebra 1 FSA EOC exams have been invalidated will have their first opportunity to retake the exam during the July 13 through July 24 summer EOC administration window.  They have until the end of their senior year to pass the exam for graduation purposes.


Monday, May 18, 2015

River Ridge High Student Motors to Germany

New Port Richey, Florida – (May 15, 2015) – Austin Gable, a River Ridge High School Engineering Academy student, has been awarded a summer internship with Daimler in their factory in Wörth, Germany for two weeks during the month of June.

            about operational activities and see training first hand. In the workshop he will be able to learn about the various areas of the technical professions.  He also will be able to explore typical professional work alongside Daimler employees, and learn from their expertise.

“I am looking forward to expanding my knowledge of German and engineering,” he said. “I am also excited to possibly find an area in engineering I want to pursue.”

Germany’s leadership in practicum provides students a career preview before they begin training. It also affords Daimler a chance to field qualified students for their apprenticeships. Upon arrival in Germany, he can select his areas of interest. For more information, please contact River Ridge High School Principal Maria Swanson at

According to their website, Daimler’s internship provides an opportunity to learn firsthand through their training workshop. For more information about their exciting summer internship programs, visit Daimler’s student internship page.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Statement from Superintendent Kurt Browning in Reference to District End-of-Course Exams

After much consideration, I have decided that for the 2014-2015 school year, district EOCs (including 2nd and 5th grade art, music, and PE) will not be required.  However, in accordance with expectations, each teacher must administer a standards-based assessment in each class in all grade levels.  To provide greater flexibility to our schools, teachers have the option of selecting a teacher-developed and principal-approved instrument, or they may administer the district-developed EOC. The principal must certify that any teacher-developed exam measures the Florida Standards for that course.

Because we expect teachers to teach standards and students to master standards, for the 2015-2016 school year, district staff will work to ensure that there is a consistent measure of student progress for each course as part of a balanced assessment system.  Moving forward, we will continue to work on a plan that assures students will be assessed on their mastery of standards in courses for which there isn’t already a state assessment.

Some details still need to be finalized, and staff is developing a technical assistance paper to address anticipated questions.

I realize that this decision may not meet everyone’s needs, but it alleviates the pressure associated with the current end-of-course assessments and allows our district time to develop a more reliable and balanced system of student assessment.

I made this decision after extensive conversations with district staff and secondary principals across the district.  It has been a very difficult decision to make based on doing what’s right for our kids while fulfilling the requirements of Florida law.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

District Administrator Named Florida School Health Supervisor of the Year

Land O’ Lakes, FL – (April 23, 2015) – Lisa Kern, Pasco County Schools supervisor of school health services, has been named Florida School Health Association 2015 Supervisor of the Year.  Mrs. Kern was recognized for:

  • managing the school health program through collaborative practices with the Department of Health, Department of Education, and various area community agencies;
  • supervising approximately 40 school nurses and overseeing training, processes, and procedures for more than 80 clinic programs and nearly 20 LPN service programs for students with special needs; 
  • her recent election by the Florida Association of School Nurses to serve as Florida director for the National Association of School Nurses (2016-2020);
  • serving on state committees and boards to hone and develop integrated student service models that include school nursing as an integral component of the school problem-solving process;
  • connecting school nurses with professional development and mentors with a continual focus on building capacity within the school health program; and,
  • seeking collaboration with district departments to design professional development and create and/or revise processes and procedures to improve learning and implementation of school health practices for all students.

Mrs. Kern has worked for Pasco County Schools since 2000.  Superintendent Kurt
Browning surprised her with news of her award during Tuesday’s school board meeting (photo attached), which was attended by her husband, children, granddaughter, and several school nurses.  One nurse in attendance, Kathy Browning, was named the Florida Association of School Nurses 2015 Florida School Nurse of the Year in January.

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Kurt S. Browning, Superintendent of Schools
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