January 22, 2016

January 22, 2016

January 22, 2016

January 22, 2016

Superintendent's Message

This week concludes the second week of the 2016 Legislative Session in Tallahassee. Please see below for an update on some pieces of legislation that staff and I have been following:

House of Representatives

  • Education Appropriations Subcommittee
    • HB 305 – Procurement Procedures by Educational Institutions by Drake – Passed
  • K-12 Subcommittee
    • HJR 759 – Charter Schools by Diaz – Amended and Passed
    • HB 887 – Computer Coding Instruction by Adkins – Amended and Passed
    • HB 693 – Education/Biliteracy by Fresen – Amended and Passed
    • HB 705 – Interpreters/Hearing Impaired by Berman – Amended and Passed
  • Choice & Innovation Subcommittee
    • HB 669 – Educational Choice by Sprowls – Amended and Passed
  • Education Committee
    • HB 229 – Bullying and Harassment Policies by Geller – Passed
    • HB 241 – Children and Youth Cabinet by Harrell – Passed
    • HB 443 – Education/AICE Funding by Plasencia – Passed
    • HB 4013 – Blended Learning Courses by Diaz – Passed
    • HB 7029 – School Choice by Choice and Innovation – Amended and Passed
  • Appropriations Committee
    • HB 249 – Culinary Education Programs by Moskowitz – Passed
    • HB 253 – Highway Safety by Passidomo – Passed
    • HJR 7015 – Property Tax Assessment by Finance and Tax - Passed


  • Education Pre-K-12 Committee
    • SB 290 – STEM Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program by Smith – Passed
    • SB 432 – STEM Teachers Pilot Program by Hutson – Amended and Passed
    • SB 500 – Children and Youth Cabinet by Montford – Passed
    • SB 806 – Homebound and Hospitalized Students by Legg – Passed
    • SB 884 – Youth Suicide Awareness by Benacquisto – Passed
    • SB 886 – Parent and Student Rights by Benacquisto – Passed
    • SB 894 – Education Personnel by Detert – Amended and Passed
    • SB 978 – Public School Teachers by Legg – Amended and Passed
    • SB 1060 – Career and Adult Education by Legg – Passed
    • SB 1064 – Special Facility Construction Account by Flores – Passed
    • SB 1634 – School Choice by Legg – Passed
    • SB 1714 – Competency-based Education by Brandes – Amended and Passed
  • Education Appropriations
    • SB 962 – Vocational Rehabilitation by Gaetz – Passed
    • SB 7036 – School District Purchasing by Governmental Oversight – Temporarily Postponed



Pasco County Schools began utilizing myPascoConnect (ClassLink) as a Single Sign On (SSO) solution called PascoSSO for all employees on Tuesday.  myPascoConnect, which can be accessed here, will provide a way for all district employees to login one time and access all of their apps through their individualized Launchpad.  Your PascoSSO account credentials are the same as your eSembler/myPGS/Munis Employee Self-Service login username and password.  Students may start utilizing myPascoConnect as well, but the full implementation for students will be pushed out at the beginning of the 2016/2017 school year.  If you have concerns or questions please submit a ticket to the Web Help Desk.


Vote for Veterans Elementary School

Vote for Veterans Elementary School in the Scotties Trees Rock video contest.  Winners of the $10,000 prize will be chosen by voters across America who can watch the top videos and vote for their favorite from January 11th through February 7th online.  The winners in both categories will be announced on Feb 15th and winner events will be celebrated in spring 2016.


Saint Leo University's Education 3.0 Conference

Saint Leo University’s School of Education and Social Services is presenting the Education 3.0 Conference with Dr. Jeff Borden, chief innovation officer at Saint Leo, from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m., Saturday, January 23, 2016, in Ocala. This highly interactive session will “Do, Show, Tell, Review, and Ask.” Participants will engage in pattern recognition, craft problems prior to solving them, collaborate in real-time to promote social learning, and employ immediately usable techniques for the classroom. The conference is free to all Saint Leo University education students, faculty, adjuncts, cooperating teachers, and school administrators. Elementary and middle school education majors receive professional development credit for graduation. Borden’s presentation will focus on ways to create multi-nodal and multi-modal connections based on effective practices from education practitioners around the globe, which can be categorized as Education 3.0. The conference will look at web assets and learning experiences that promote: social learning, transformative learning, game-based learning, and learning based on cognitive science. Multiple resources such as learning games, web tools, apps, and illustrations will be explored. Participants will be able to take this back to their classrooms and immediately use the information. Admission to the conference is free, but “ticket purchase” is required. Register by January 18. The seminar will be at the Harvey R. Klein Conference Center at the College of Central Florida, 3001 S.W. College Road, Ocala, FL 34474. For information, email Dr. Joanne Roberts.


"Re-use Factory" Event

Join Recycling and Education to Save Our Resources for a Clean Environment (R.E.S.O.R.C.E) Recycling Club Inc. in conjunction with North Trinity Self Storage for their “Re-use Factory” Event. This event will be held on Saturday, January 30, from 8 a.m. to noon and is open to all teachers who need gently used supplies for their classroom. Teachers can also schedule a time to pick up supplies by calling North Trinity Self Storage at 727-375-0222. North Trinity Self Storage is located at 4234 Little Road, Trinity, FL 34655.


Student Services Week

February 1-5 is Student Services Week.  Please take a few minutes to recognize your Student Services staff and team (school counselors, school nurses, school social workers, and school psychologists).


Final Deadline For Free Books For Read Across America Day

The final deadline for Free Books For Read Across America Day is February 14th, 2016. The Literacy Empowerment Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, invites your school or other literacy project to apply for FREE books for Read Across America Day. During the past year, LEF has distributed over 3,000,000 books to schools all across the country for Read Across America Day and other literacy projects. These books are free. Educators only pay shipping and handling. Resources are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Orders must be received by February 14th, 2016. If you have questions, please email: info@lefbooks.org.


The Hunger Walk for Pasco County

Local organizations are coming together to fight hunger in Pasco County.  The One Community Now Hunger Walk is a collaborative effort to promote hunger awareness and raise funds for hunger relief in children and families in Pasco County. Thousands of children and families are going to bed hungry every night. In Pasco County, more than 36,000 kids live in households that struggle to put food on the table. The Hunger walk will raise awareness about the hunger problems in our county and raise funds to fight these problems.  This year's Hunger Walk will take place on Saturday, March 12 at Gulf High School. The walkers' check in is at 9 a.m. and the opening ceremony begins at 10 a.m. All money raised will be given to food related programs like Pack-A-Sack 4 Kids and Metropolitan Ministries whose missions are to provide meals for food insecure children, families and individuals in Pasco County. Register online to participate in the following ways:

  1. Become an individual walker
  2. Create a team of walkers with your co-workers, family, etc. or join a team already established
  3. Become a business sponsor (see the different sponsorship levels available to you online)

By participating in the Hunger Walk you will help raise funds that will provide healthy meals for many families that are going hungry. You will also enjoy a fun, family festival atmosphere that includes activities, games, vendors, food and entertainment.  Together, we can make a difference for those facing hunger in our community! For more information, contact Patti Templeton at 727-375-8801 ext. 2232.


Land O' Lakes Future Business Leaders Take Home Awards

On December 16, 2015, over 40 Land O' Lakes High School Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) students were recognized for their achievements at the District FBLA Awards Ceremony. The students performed scenes, songs, and present technical theater designs. There were 17 first place, eight second place, six third place, one fourth place, and two fifth place awards across 33 competitive events. Some events were comprised of teams and some individuals, as listed below:

  • First place:
    • Banking and Financial Systems: Tiger Nguyen, Anthony Lam, Han Lam
    • Business Communications: Grace Alexander
    • Business Ethics: Izzie Brown, Alex Normandia
    • Business Financial Plan: Josh Arandia, Thomas Yi, Madeleine Rabi
    • Client Service: Liz May
    • Electronic Career Portfolio: Madison Jimenez
    • Entrepreneurship: Max Keenan, Nikhil Dutt, Angela Fadil
    • Global Business: Saloni Mehra, Daniella Turbessi, Meera Navadia
    • Impromptu Speaking: Alyssa Nguyen
    • Insurance and Risk Management: Gabrielle Scolaro
    • Introduction to Business: Deah Bhojani
    • Management Decision Making: Mi Le, Albert Brotgandel, Jeffrey Gu
    • Management Information Systems: Frankie Pineda, Lawrence Cai,Christian Porrello
    • Marketing: David Morris, Lucas Mendez, Fernando J. Romagosa
    • Networking Concepts: Emily Hernandez
    • Social Media Campaign: Jordyn Garves, Cherry Lawrence
    • Sports and Entertainment Management: Sarah Renee, Jack McClure
  • Second place:
    • Accounting I: Stutee Acharya
    • Agribusiness: Joseph Santos
    • Business Plan: Stacey Moonjeli, Aaron Facio-Cortes
    • Emerging Business Issues: Edward Brotgandel, Armen Brotgandel, Louis M
    • FBLA Principles and Procedures: Adam Hahn
    • Future Business Leader: Ormond Derr
    • Public Service Announcement: Nikole Parrilla
    • Publication Design: Grace Park, Emily Luo
  • Third place:
    • Business Law: Alex Schuler
    • Computer Applications: Ashtyn Smith
    • Cyber Security: Cindy Long
    • Introduction to Parliamentary Procedure: Kaival Patel
    • Sales Presentation: Isabelle Langner
    • Securities and Investments: Shannon Joyce
  • Fourth place:
    • Public Speaking I: Endora Ankrah
  • Fifth place:
    • Economics: Sidhvi S. Nekkanti
    • Hospitality Management: Josiah Pineda, Joseph Pineda, Mostafa Zayed



Good Evening, I am writing this email to offer my appreciation and give accolades to several of your staff members. Every parent worries when their child makes the move to middle [school]. I am no different. Yet my worries have been continually met and put to rest with every interaction I have with the exemplary staff of Paul R. Smith Middle School. I would like to take the time to make you aware of the individuals that exceeded my expectations with the hope that they can receive recognition from administration for being ambassadors for the school and advocates for the students.

My first accolade goes to the ladies of the InfinityAcademy. We were blessed to have [my son] accepted to Infinity because we knew it would be a great program. However, we never realized the huge positive impacts it would have on our son. Corbin has expressed emotions and feelings I have never heard in his first 6 years of school. He recently told me that Infinity is “like a family” and he “finally fits in and has friends that accept him”. This is AMAZING for any kid to say. Now Imagine how full my heart was as I heard this coming from my child that struggles in this area as a result of being on the Autism spectrum. I cannot recount the many times the Infinity ladies have gone the extra mile to make sure he received a message from me, heard my concerns and met them with amazing accommodation for his needs, and most recently,  made sure his first time riding a bus was anxiety free.

My next accolade goes to Mr. Cruz. Wow. What an amazing man! He has been a great bridge for [my son] as he became acclimated to middle school. He listened to [my son's] anxieties and worries and met each of them with a calming manner and solutions that worked. [My son] has remarked about how nice he was and that he felt like he could really talk to him...I would also like to add that Mr. Cruz is timely in his responses and thorough in his follow up. These behaviors show his care for the students and helps to make a parent feel like their child’s needs are valued.

A third accolade goes to Mrs. Dolin. [My son] recently had to start riding the bus. This was a major anxiety for him which led to lost sleep for a few days prior to its occurrence. Mrs. Dolin took the time to take him out to the bus loop and talk him through the process a few days prior to him riding. This was done on her own accord as I did not request such treatment for my son. She followed up my request to get him tagged by offering to bring him to the loop on his first day. Amazing lady!!

Finally, my last accolade is for Mr. Rodriguez. Jimmy is an amazing man that validated my concerns about an advanced math placement for [my son] and quickly moved him to basic per my request. He was quick to respond to my son's need and followed up with me after the change of placement occurred. I am proud to say that my son is experiencing academic success in this class as a result of his change of placement and feels confident as a result of Mrs. Martin’s caring nature and connection with him as a student...I cannot begin to find all the words necessary to express my gratitude to your staff for the extra care they have shown for my family but I wanted to make sure to send an email anyway...I hope this email validates your choice of making the aforementioned people part of the Paul R. family because they will forever be important to the Schuster Family. -Heather and Chris Schuster

District Teacher of the Year finalist Jena Ferry works with her students at Gulf High School.

Victorian Ball at J.W. Mitchell High School

J.W. Mitchell High School AP Literature students learn to waltz after studying the book, The Importance of Being Earnest.

Student Spotlight

Spencer Brass
Wesley Chapel High School
2015 House Messenger for State Representative Danny Burgess (L)