News Archives

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Students entering 7th grade can get a free Tdap vaccination on May 22, 2014

The State of Florida requires students to submit proof of Tdap (Tetanus-Diphtheria-Acellular-Pertussis) vaccination before the start of 7th grade.

This year, Tdap vaccinations will be available FREE-OF-CHARGE for current 6th grade students at all Pasco County middle schools.  

Florida Department of Health in Pasco County will provide Tdap vaccinations at your child’s school, for any 6th grader with parents’ permission, on May 22, 2014.  Click here to see the hours for each school.

Interested parents should review the vaccination information sheet and sign the permission form which can be found by clicking here. Please return this form to school by May 1, 2014.

If you have any questions please call:

The Florida Department of Health In Pasco County
727-861-5250 ext. 268 or 224


School Health Services

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Eckerd Partners with Pasco County Schools to bring Educational Success to Foster Youth

CLEARWATER, Fla. – (April 8, 2014) – Eckerd and Pasco County Public Schools have partnered together on an initiative called Fostering Education to bring specialized guidance counselors into local high schools and middle schools that are trained in child welfare issues to work with students in the foster care system with the primary goal of increasing graduation rates.

“Eckerd is confident a focused commitment to continuing the work of the specialized guidance counselors will continue to lead to increased education and well-being outcomes for children in foster care,” said Lorita Shirley Chief of Eckerd Community Alternatives.

Fostering Education began in Hillsborough County in 2010, and has since been expanded with approximately 400 middle and high school students in the Tampa Bay area, including Pasco County where high school senior Mark attends. Mark has been in foster care since 2007.  His involvement in the Fostering Education program has deeply impacted him on a personal and an academic level. When Mark turned 18 in December, he literally had nowhere to live. A school secretary agreed to be his mentor and generously opened her home to him. Fostering Education is a support system for both her and Mark to best support his academic progress. Mark’s guidance counselor through the program has coordinated math tutoring, provided an opportunity to visit Pasco-Hernando State College and monitors his academic progress.  Most notably, Mark expects to graduate with his class.

“The community partnership we have with Eckerd is essential to helping foster youth graduate high school as educated, productive citizens who have the social and emotional tools to succeed in life, college, and careers,” said Superintendent Kurt Browning.

Guidance counselors are co-funded in a cooperative effort between Eckerd and the school system. Eckerd provides office space for them where counselors are readily accessible to case management organizations to address the individual needs of the student. As school district employees, the counselors have the required skills and school-based access to meet with students and support staff at the students’ assigned school. All guidance counselors have in-depth child welfare experience in addition to their educational guidance expertise.

The Department of Children and Families publishes monthly scorecards that measure the 20 community based care lead agencies based on a series of performance indicators in child safety, permanency and well-being. Each scorecard has an educational component as part of the ranking system.  Eckerd regularly places in the top 5 of the 20 Florida lead agencies and is currently in the top 3. Eckerd’s score is more than 80 percent, far exceeding the state goal of 65 percent success in the area of education.

“A top priority for the Department is educational success of our foster youth since that is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty and abuse,” said Mike Carroll, SunCoast Regional Director for the Department of Children and Families. 

About Eckerd: 
Eckerd is a national nonprofit organization headquartered in Clearwater, Florida, that has given much-needed second chances to more than 150,000 children and families since its founding by Jack and Ruth Eckerd in 1968.  Eckerd serves over 14,000 children and their families each year through a full continuum of life-changing behavioral health, juvenile justice and child welfare programs in seven states.  Eckerd’s mission is to provide and share solutions that promote the well-being of children and families in need of a second chance.  To learn more visit

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Pasco High Teacher 1 of 8 in U.S. Going on South Korea Ag Tour

Land O’ Lakes, FL – (April 2, 2014) – Kelli Hamilton, a Pasco High School agribusiness and natural resources teacher, will spend a month in South Korea this summer learning about their agriculture programs through a University of Florida / Penn State program for undergraduate, graduate, and K-12 teachers.

Kelli joins three K-12 teachers from Florida, four from Pennsylvania and Connecticut, eight students from Penn State, and four faculty members from the two universities.  The group will travel to see South Korea’s FFK program (based on FFA), and the various levels of education and agriculture.  South Korea is one of the few countries that have a youth agriculture organization and higher education for agriculture educators. The trip will take place June 14 through July 13.

Kelli will teach a lesson to students in a college of agriculture education class and in a local high school. In preparation, she is teaching a Global Agriculture unit this week and next in her 4th period class (9:45 a.m. to 10:35 a.m.) at PHS.  The lesson focuses on global agriculture and the connection to Pasco County and Dade City.

Pasco High School is located at 36850 State Road 52 in Dade City.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Pasco District Sets Kindergarten Pre-Registration, Head Start/Early Head Start Application Date

Land O’ Lakes, FL – (April 2, 2014) – Parents can pre-register children for kindergarten at any Pasco County public elementary school, and submit applications for Head Start/Early Head Start at select elementary schools, on May 5.

            Any child who turns 5 years old on or before Sept. 1, 2014, is eligible to enter kindergarten in the 2014-2015 school year.

Documents required for pre-registration:
·         Child’s birth certificate or other proof of birth date
·         Health examination – HRS Form 3040
·         HRS Certificate of Immunization
·         Proof of Florida residency such as: current utility bill (i.e. electric, water, etc.), lease agreement, or driver’s license.

            For information about kindergarten pre-registration, parents can call the appropriate school or Courtney Lough, K-1 Specialist, Office for Teaching and Learning, at (727) 774-2780, (813) 794-2780, or (352) 524-2780.

Head Start/Early Head Start application requirements:
            Expectant mothers and parents/guardians may submit applications for infants, toddlers, and children through age 5.  Preference for Head Start is given to children who turn 4 on or before Sept. 1, 2014, and families must meet income eligibility requirements.

            Required documentation:
·         Certified birth certificate or other state approved document
·         Child’s Social Security card or number (if available)
·         Child’s health card (Medicaid, Kid Care or private insurance)
·         Documentation of four to six weeks of most current household income, or 2013 W-2s/1040 Tax Form
·         Proof of Florida residency within the last 3 months (driver’s license, utility bill, etc.)
·         Proof of child support (if applicable)
·         IF APPLICABLE:  Protective Services and/or foster care verification; documentation of parent or guardian attending school; documentation of disability for child, parent and/or guardian.

            For information about Head Start/Early Head Start, parents may call Alexis Russell, Social Services Coordinator, Early Childhood Programs, at (727) 774-2236, (813) 794-2236, (352) 524-2236.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Pasco District Responds to Release of Teacher VAM Data

Land O’ Lakes, FL – (February 24, 2014) – In response to the Florida Department of Education’s release of individual teacher VAM (value-added model) data, Superintendent Kurt Browning cautioned parents not to jump to conclusions about the quality of their children’s teachers.

“The VAM formula is a complex statistical model based on 4th through 10th grade student FCAT math and reading performance, as well as 9th graders’ algebra end-of-course exam scores,” said Browning.  “Easily half of Pasco’s teachers are being evaluated using different data sources,” he added.

District administrators, the Pasco School Board, and the United School Employees of Pasco are concerned that the data are not easily understood and want parents to know that much more goes in to evaluating a teacher’s effectiveness in the classroom than the numbers being released today.

Depending on the type and number of students a teacher serves, the district may have used a different data source than what the state is reporting.  Teachers of students in kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 11th, and 12th grades are not included in the VAM calculations, neither are teachers who teach subjects other than those tested on FCAT in grades 4-10.  The district used school-wide or district-wide calculations for those teachers as well as for teachers who did not teach enough students to generate a meaningful VAM calculation.

The state’s VAM data include the percentage of students meeting expectation and the VAM Estimate by teacher.  Pasco uses the percentage meeting expectation in calculating a teacher’s student growth portion of the evaluation.

“We have great teachers in Pasco, and I don’t want this release to impact our teacher/principal relationships, or lead to a misunderstanding about an individual teacher’s performance,” Browning stated.  “We will do what we can to assure that the teacher evaluation process is meaningful and is used to inform teachers about their strengths and opportunities for growth,” he concluded.

School Board Chairman Alison Crumbley added, “We don’t shy away from accountability, but our system of teacher accountability must be based on multiple measures and must not compromise the trust between teachers and principals.”

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The District School Board of Pasco County is System Accredited by AdvancED/Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Kurt S. Browning, Superintendent of Schools
Unless otherwise noted, content copyright ©2010 Pasco County Schools. All rights reserved.