February 2, 2017

February 2, 2017

February 2, 2017

February 2, 2017

Superintendent's Message

S.T.A.R. Awards Winners

Last week, our district gathered to celebrate employees at the Pasco Education Foundation's annual S.T.A.R. Awards. It was truly amazing to see so many outstanding professionals and learn more about their accomplishments. Congratulations to our S.T.A.R. Award winners! 


Tomorrow: National Wear Red Day

Friday, February 3, is National Wear Red Day, which supports the American Heart Association's Go Red For Women program. Click here for more information.



State Reviews – FNS and Transportation

Pasco County Schools recently received kudos and positive feedback from state reviews of both the Food and Nutrition Services and Transportation departments. The FNS state review involved site visits to ten schools and an extensive review of department procedures and adherence to federal and state regulations. The Transportation audit involved a review of the department’s testing facilities and staff certified to conduct State of Florida Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) examinations. Many transportation new hires/trainees have only a permit, and the Transportation department assists with the entire process of obtaining a CDL, including the actual CDL test. Here are a couple examples of the feedback received:

  • FNS – The reviewer said that it is apparent that the department’s focus is student centered. The auditor also called the review results “impressive."
  • Transportation - “All good on the audit.”

Congratulations to both departments!


Attendance Recognition - Quarter 2

The following schools are recognized for having the highest percentage of students on-track for attendance during the second quarter. At the end of each quarter, the district Attendance Committee recognizes the schools, by region and level, that had the highest on track attendance percentage for the quarter.

Congratulations to:

Region Level School
East Elementary VES
  Middle TEWMS
  High WCHS
Central Elementary DBES
  Middle SSMS
  High JWMHS
Northwest Elementary CHES
  Middle CLMS
  High RHS
Southwest Elementary AES
  Middle PRSMS
  High GHS

Members of the Attendance Committee will be reaching out to each of the schools and providing them with a letter of congratulations and a certificate.  In addition, committee members will be surveying the schools to see what best practices have been working, which will be shared with the rest of our schools.


Superb Musician

This week, VSA Florida announced Wesley Chapel High School graduate, James Williams, is one the winners of their 10th Annual 2017 VSA Florida Young Soloist Competition. He is one of two Florida representatives in the VSA International Competition in Washington, D.C. later this year. The 2017 VSA Florida Young Soloist Competition was facilitated by University of South Florida and Hillsborough Community College music professors. 


Florida's 2017 School Nurse of the Year


Florida Blue Insurance ID Cards

You may have noticed that you received two sets of Florida Blue insurance ID cards. There was an error on the first round of cards; they did not have the proper pharmacy information on the back of the card listed, stating "Envision." Please properly discard the first set, and only use the second set of ID cards.  


Employee Toolkit

Human Resources and Educator Quality (HREQ) is excited to launch the New Employee Toolkit!  This tool kit provides quick and easy to access information that helps new employees be successful and confident in their new careers from day one.  New employees will receive instructions to follow a link to the Toolkit after completing their onboarding forms.  Prospective employees may also be directed to the site during the hiring process if they have questions about our benefits or other commonly asked questions.


School Choice Open Enrollment


One Book, One Community

Charles S. Rushe Middle School is participating in a One Book, One Community whole school reading program January 23 through March 16. They selected I Will Always Write Back-How One Letter Changed Two Lives by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda to read to our students.  This is a true story of an all-American girl and a boy from Zimbabwe and the letter that changed both of their lives forever. As part of school and community outreach, their book committee is requesting district staff to volunteer to read to their students from 2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m. on each of these days:

  • February 6, 10, 13, 17, 20, 24
  • March 3, 6, 16

Please contact David Salerno or Dawn Gilliland if you are interested in being a volunteer reader, or would like more information.

They are also collecting new and gently used picture books (elementary-appropriate) for students January 23 through February 17. Books can be dropped at off at the front office to the attention of Jessenia Rodriguez. Staff will be translating these books into Spanish for the children in the Dominion Republic. If you are a translator and are interested in helping, please contact Jessenia Rodriguez.


Employee Opportunities

Free Tax Prep for Pasco County Residents

Since 2004, United Way of Pasco County, in partnership with the Internal Revenue Service VITA Program and AARP Tax Aide Foundation, has sponsored Free Income Tax Preparation sites for low and moderate-income taxpayers in Pasco County. In 2016, approximately $1.23 million dollars were saved in preparation fees. For our more independent and computer comfortable clients or those who prefer filing their own tax returns, MyFreeTaxes is offered through the United Way of Pasco County website. If people need help, there is online help available as they prepare their own taxes.

In 2016, the United Way's IRS-certified volunteers prepared more than 9,000 free tax returns and generated approximately $10 million in refunds for eligible filers.  According to their exit survey, the top uses of refunds issued to our clients are routinely used to pay monthly bills, buy groceries, and pay down debt. Other uses were paying medical bills, save for car, and home repairs. For those without a bank account, they have a list of financial institutions who work with people to provide free or low-cost accounts to even the most financially challenged individuals to encourage people from utilizing check cash locations that charge exorbitant usury fees. All of their tax preparers are trained and IRS Certified to help Pasco residents with filing their taxes. If you have any questions about our program please contact Kelly Steen, Prosperity Campaign Resource Manager, at 727-835-2023. Click here to learn more.


2017 NIE Teacher of the Year Contest

Entries are now being accepted for the 2017 Tampa Bay Times Newspapers in Education (NIE) Teacher of the Year award. This award recognizes K-12 educators in Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, and Pinellas counties who use the Tampa Bay Times in their classrooms in an innovative, meaningful manner. The following factors will be considered:

  • Use the Tampa Bay Times to enhance student learning and the learning environment.
  • Employ innovative newspaper-based lessons, strategies or projects to develop students’ literacy skills.
  • Integrate the close reading of news into classroom instruction.

The winning educator will be honored at an award reception in May, and will receive a $100 cash prize, a grand prize plaque, a Tampa Bay Times prize pack, and an invitation to present at the Florida Press Educational Services conference  in August at the Ritz-Carlton in Naples. Reimbursement is provided for conference lodging and travel. Entries will be accepted until March 31. Click here for more information.


VFW Teacher of the Year Award Contest

The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is accepting nominations for the 2017 VFW Smart/Maher National Citizenship Education Teacher Award. Nominations can be submitted by fellow teachers, supervisors, or other interested individuals.  Self nominations are not eligible. The annual award contest recognizes three exceptional teachers for their outstanding commitment to teaching Americanism and patriotism to their students. Each year, a classroom elementary, junior high, and high school teacher whose curriculum focuses on citizenship education topics, for at least half the school day in a classroom environment, can be nominated. Winners will receive:

  • A $1,000 award for professional development expenses
  • A $1,000 award for his/her school
  • Two award plaques (one for the teacher and one for his/her school)
  • An all-expenses-paid trip to a VFW conference to receive their award.

Teachers who promote civic responsibility, flag etiquette, and patriotism are ideal candidates for the award. If you know a teacher who plans field trips to city hall, organizes community volunteer projects or invites local veterans to speak in class, anything to help students develop a better understanding of democratic values and beliefs, this award is for them. For more information, visit the VFW website for complete program guidelines and application instructions. The deadline is February 15.


Marine Educators Workshop

Seacamp Association, Inc. is a private, non-profit organization, in operation since 1966, providing marine and environmental education programs to visiting school groups from across the country on Big Pine Key in the beautiful Florida Keys.  Each year, they host more than 100 school groups, 4th grade through college, and more than 5,000 participants. They are hosting their annual Marine Educators Workshop at their facility on Friday, April 7, at 8 p.m. through Sunday, April 9, at 5 p.m. Click here to register and here for more information. If you have any questions, contact Chuck Brand, Director of Marketing, at 305-951-7430.


Pasco County Government

Lake Myrtle Elementary School first grade students dress up like they are 100 years old for the 100th day of school!

Cypress Elementary Girl Empower Night

Student Spotlight

Zachary Vanlangendonck - River Ridge High School

Department Spotlight

Office for Professional Development and School Supports

Click here to read their interview.


2017 Together We Stand Virtual 5K

The 2017 Together We Stand Virtual 5K continues through February 28, 2017, and registration is now open. The Annual Together We Stand Virtual 5K Run for Safe Schools supports our student leaders who are preventing bullying by making their schools safer and more inclusive. Click here to register and here for more information.


BPMS Rededication


PHS Cambridge Program Usher Awareness Fundraiser

The Pasco High School Cambridge Program is hosting an Usher Awareness Fundraiser on February 10, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the PHS Donald McBath Activity Center. This event will showcase a St. Leo University-PHS basketball game and raise awareness for Usher syndrome. Usher syndrome is an inherited condition characterized by hearing impairment and progressive vision loss. Linnea, a PHS Cambridge student, was born legally deaf because of Usher syndrome, and is experiencing vision loss symptoms. She is a hard-working, amazing student, and this event celebrates her accomplishments. There will be an art auction, food, music, a photo booth, raffle prizes, and a presentation by Linnea and her family. Tickets are $5 in advance. Click here to learn more.


Hunger Walk

In Pasco County, more than 68,000 families (15%) struggle with having enough food for their families. During the school year, The Thomas Promise Foundation packs more than 1,000 backpacks with food for East Pasco County students in need. Their Hunger Walk is on Saturday, February 11, at Zephyrhills High School, and will feature a fun, family atmosphere. You can help by:

Click here for more information and here for a pledge sheet.


District to Host Spring Instructional Job Fair

Pasco County Schools is hosting the Spring Instructional Job Fair on Thursday, February 23, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Wesley Chapel High School gymnasium. WCHS is located on 30651 Wells Road, in Wesley Chapel. This job fair is for teachers and student services employees. Positions are available at the elementary, middle, and high school levels in various areas, including: reading, math, science, emotional and behavioral disorders/autism spectrum disorder (EBD/ASD), school nurse, and behavioral analysts. Applicants can get on-the-spot interviews and prizes for participating. For more information, visit www.pascoschools.org and click the Job Fair banner at the top of the page, or contact human capital partner Lori Perreault at (813) 794-2845.



Due to inadequate ticket sales, all “Nunsense” performances have been canceled.


Family-Friendly Summer Camp Expo

Family-Friendly Tampa Bay is hosting their Summer Camp Expo on Saturday, April 8, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Florida Hospital Center Ice. The Summer Camp Expo is a free event that will include live entertainment, workshops, sports clinics, a pamper parents lounge, and much more! Free tickets are available via online registration. Florida Hospital Center Ice is located at 3173 Cypress Ridge Rd., in Wesley Chapel. Click here for more information.


Learning Symposium

Save the date for the Pasco County Schools Learning Symposium, July 24 through 27! The Learning Symposium is a week of free professional development for Pasco teachers. Click here for more information.

Important Dates


  • 1-28: National African American History Month
  • 6-10: National School Counseling Week
  • 6-10: FTE Survey Week
  • 10: Progress Reports
  • 17: National PTA Founders Day
  • 20: Presidents' Day
  • 23: FSA Writing Begins