Kurt S. Browning, Superintendent of Schools
February 9, 2018

Kurt S. Browning, Superintendent of Schools

February 9, 2018

Kurt S. Browning, Superintendent of Schools

February 9, 2018

Kurt S. Browning, Superintendent of Schools

February 9, 2018

Superintendent's Message

On Wednesday, I had the pleasure of attending the Pasco Sheriff’s Office awards and induction ceremony.  Two PSO employees who work with our schools were recognized for what they do to keep our students and staff safe.  I was proud to help present the awards to these two individuals.


Don Niles, a crossing guard for Double Branch Elementary School, was recognized by the sheriff and the Florida Department of Transportation for being named Florida’s School Crossing Guard of the Year!  He is known as “Mr. Don” to the Double Branch students, who know he is always willing to listen and give them good advice.


Lt. Troy Fergueson, who manages our SROs, received the Pasco Sheriff’s Office Incentive Award.  Lt. Fergueson received the award for leading the revision of the district’s Active Threat Plan, writing video scripts and overseeing the production of the ATP training videos, and organizing and conducting (with the help of his SROs and sergeants) every school’s barricade drill. 

Congratulations, gentlemen, and thank you for what you do every day to protect the students and staff in this district!

Tweets by @pascoschools

2019 GRAMMY Music Educator Award

The GRAMMY Music Educator Award recognizes public school and private school educators, who have made a significant and lasting contribution to music education, and demonstrated a commitment to maintaining music education in schools. Winners of this program are awarded a $10,000 personal honorarium, a matching school grant of the same amount, and a trip to the 2019 GRAMMY Awards. Click here and here to learn more about the program and nomination process.


Florida Department of Health in Pasco County Celebrates Children's Dental Health Month

The Florida Department of Health in Pasco County is offering free dental checkups and cleanings throughout February for those ages 20 years and younger. Click here to learn more.


Head Start Now Accepting Applications

Head Start is now accepting applications for services, such as full-day educational programs, and health and nutrition screenings, to expectant mothers, newborns, and children ages one to four years old. Click here to learn more and apply.


School Choice Application Period Now Open

Pasco County Schools school choice application window is now open. The application window is the same for employees and non-employees. Employee preference will be considered if the employee is at the requested work site or its feeder pattern for the upcoming school year. Refer to the current Instructional Master Contract for additional details. Click here and here to learn more. 


Win an Edible School Garden

Attention all school garden enthusiasts! Are you maintaining or starting up a new edible school garden at your school site? Then you may be eligible for the Edible School Garden Mini-Grant. All applications must be submitted on the student wellness website by Feb. 16, in order to be considered for the Edible School Garden Mini-Grant. Click here to learn more.


Grant Program Provides Jobs to Residents to Assist with Hurricane Irma Recovery

The Florida Labor Department reports that the state lost 127,000 jobs in September 2017, mostly in hotels, restaurants and retail stores, after Hurricane Irma flooded much of the state. While many of these job losses were temporary, some people permanently lost their jobs. 

Fortunately, a program that provides well-paying jobs for those who became unemployed due to Hurricane Irma, or that have experienced long-term unemployment, is now available in Pasco and Hernando counties. The program is part of the Disaster Dislocated Worker Grant program and it offers eligible applicants work in the area of disaster clean up, recovery and humanitarian efforts. Hourly wages are guaranteed at a minimum of $13 an hour.

To learn more about the Disaster Dislocated Worker Grant program, visit www.eckerd.org/Irma. To apply for the program, contact Mary Louise Foy at (352) 667-3590 or mfoy@careersourcepascohernando.com.


Wendell Krinn Technical High School Application Period Closes Tonight

Today is the final day to submit Wendell Krinn Technical High School enrollment applications. Click here to learn more.

Barnes & Noble My Favorite Teacher Contest

Barnes & Noble encourages students to nominate their favorite teacher, who will have a chance to win prizes. Click here to learn how to nominate your teacher and here to learn the contest rules. 


Florida Flu Review

Flu activity is high this season and continues to increase. Click here to learn more about flu immunizations, prevention and more. 


Vaccine-Preventable Disease Surveillance Report - January

This month's report includes summaries on pertussis, varicella, and mumps activity.  Click here view the report.


2018 Gifted Articulations

It is time for gifted teachers to compile the information needed for second-, fifth-, and eighth-grade gifted students' articulation to the next curriculum level. Click here to learn more about the articulation process and what is needed. Click here for parent and student input forms, and the required articulation forms.


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Pasco County Schools Coaching Pool

The Pasco County Schools Coaching Pool application period will run Feb. 5, through Feb. 14, and interviews will be held Feb. 19, and Feb. 20. Any staff member interested in becoming a learning design coach, ITC-math coach, and/or ITC-literacy coach must first be accepted into the pool to become eligible for coaching positions. The online application will be posted here beginning Feb. 5. Click here to view the flier. 


Core Professional Development Sessions

The Office for Professional Development and School Supports is hosting training sessions throughout February. Human growth and development (HGD) curriculum training will be available Feb. 22 and March 1 for fourth- through eighth-grade teachers who have never received the certification. Teachers who have attended this training course at any grade level in Pasco County will not need to attend this training again. Teachers will need to go online and register for one session through MyPGS. If you have questions or concerns, please call Maria Emerick at extension 42317. For a complete list of HGD training times and to view the full training calendar, click here.


Mortgage Assistance Program Available to Pasco Schools Employees

Are you overwhelmed by the process of buying a home? Debt Management Credit Counseling (DMCC) offers credit report review, loan application assistance, and more. Click here to learn more. 


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Student Spotlight

Emma Skantze, a senior at Land O' Lakes High School, is a Prudential Spirit of Community Awards finalist. The program honors middle school and high school students for outstanding service to others at the local, state and national level. Click here to read about Emma’s accomplishments.


Pasco County Schools Employees of the Year

Staff Spotlight

Don Niles, Florida's 2017 School Crossing Guard of the Year, Double Branch Elementary School. Click here for more information. 


Mark Thomas, Richey Elementary School first-grade teacher. Click here to learn more.

Regional Preliminary History Fairs

From February 5 to February 8, we will host four regional history fairs for middle school students, who will have a chance to participate in the final county fair on Saturday, March 10, at Charles S. Rushe Middle School. Please see the regional fair schedule below:

Central: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Monday, Feb. 5, Pine View Middle School
Northwest: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 6,  Bayonet Point Middle School
East: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 7, Thomas E. Weightman Middle School
Southwest: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 8, River Ridge Middle School


Saint Leo University Hosts Autism Awareness Night

Saint Leo University will host a men's basketball game to celebrate Pasco County residents with autism. The game is at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 10, at the Saint Leo University Marion Bowman Activities Center, 33701 State Road 52 in Saint Leo. Click here for more information.


West Pasco Special Olympics Summer Games

Come out to River Ridge High School at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 22, and cheer on more than 650 west Pasco athletes as they compete in track and field, bocce, cycling, soccer and tennis. The event features free admission and parking, and a concession stand where attendees can purchase lunch and snacks. For more information, contact Valerie Lundin at (727) 774-3062. Click here for more information. 


East Pasco Special Olympics Summer Games

Come out to Wesley Chapel High School at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 23, and cheer on more than 600 east and central Pasco athletes as they compete in track and field, bocce, cycling, soccer and tennis. The event features free admission and parking, and a concession stand where attendees can purchase lunch and snacks. For more information and to become a volunteer, contact Valerie Lundin at (727) 774-3062. Click here for more information.


Voting Now Open for Turnaround Awards

The Turnaround Awards are an opportunity for instructors to recognize and award middle school and high school students who have made significant strides toward success both academically and personally. Nominations for the school's turnaround student are due by Friday, March 15. Click here to learn more and vote. The Turnaround Awards Ceremony details are below. 

When: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesday, May 2

Where: Tampa Bay Golf  and Country Club, 10641 Old Tampa Bay Drive in San Antonio, Fl


Help Us Celebrate Phyllis Wilson's Retirement

After years of hard work, Phyllis (Cricket) Wilson will take a much-needed vacation into retirement. Click here to RSVP for her retirement celebration at 4:15 p.m. on Friday, February 16, at Chester W. Taylor Elementary School.


Instructional Job Fair

Do you have a passion for sharing your knowledge and inspiring others? Want to become a teacher but not sure how to get started with earning certification? We’ve got you covered!

Attend one of our teacher certification information sessions at Pasco County Schools' instructional job fair to learn what steps you need to take to earn state certification and begin your teaching career. Let us help you take the guesswork out of navigating the process on your own by following our expert advice. Sessions will be held on March 1, at Dr. John Long Middle School. Click here for more information and to register. Be sure to share this information with any friends or family members who are interested in pursuing a teaching career.

Secondary Science and Engineering Fair

February 10, 2018

Public Viewing:  12:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Awards Ceremony:  3 p.m.

Center for the Arts at River Ridge


One Community Now Hunger Walk

The One Community Now Hunger Walk will be held Saturday, April 7, at Gulf High School to help raise funds for Pack A Sack Food 4 Kids.

All proceeds from the walk go toward feeding children through the One Community Now Pack A Sack 4 Kids program to help address chronic hunger among school aged children. You will also enjoy a fun, family festival atmosphere that includes free activities, games, and entertainment.

Click here for the a sponsorship form and here for a sponsor letter.  For more information and to register click here



Tweets by @pascoschools

Mark Fox, We, as an admin team, wanted to share our appreciation for the hard work and effort of Greg Rittenberry, Gray Hoaglan, and Rick Keller. All three gentlemen have been extremely professional and flexible with meeting the needs of our school during the time they have spent painting it. They truly have been a pleasure to have on our campus for the past six months. Whether he knows it or not, Greg, who has been here throughout the project, has become a member of the CougarNation. Thank you and your staff for continuing to make Hudson Middle School a facility that is pleasant for students and staff. — Joe Musselman


Dr. Zetzsche, I wanted to let you know how grateful I am that your staff member, Samuel McAmis, and student volunteer, John Schneider, assisted us in creating our first Lego Robotics Team. I saw your Robotics Team at a few local events, and it sparked an idea to pilot one here at Trinity Oaks Elementary. I emailed Sam and he was willing to guide me through the process of getting it off the ground. He was instrumental in getting us a grant for materials and he also recruited John to help. We had no prior experience in this area whatsoever. Their support and experience helped my parent volunteer get things going, and we even were able to participate in our first competition a few weeks ago. John spends many afternoons after school on our campus coaching our 5thgraders on the team. Without the two of them we would not have had a club. This spring we are hoping to bring some fourth graders in to learn from our outgoing fifth grade students who competed. I am sure as a result of their mentorship and gained knowledge we will have more students that are now thinking of computer, math and science careers for their future.
It is so nice to see that we can work together, even if it’s outside our feeder pattern, to provide these awesome learning experiences for our students. Both Sam and John should be commended. — Allison Hoskins


Linda Cobbe, My name is Vivian Jenson. My daughter is Charlotte Rivera and she attends Anclote Elementary School. She has Ms. Beam who is the Head Start teacher there. I just wanted to take time to send out a letter stating just how wonderful Ms Beam has been and how much she has helped Charlotte grow and change over the course of the school year. 
When Charlotte first started the school year, she had very high anxiety levels. Separation anxiety is an understatement. Most kids at her age experience that but for Charlotte it was different and much more elevated. Charlotte and our family have experienced high levels of trauma. Her father passed away when she was two years old and was with me when I found him deceased. It has caused behavior patterns in her at such a tender age that could only be repaired through counseling services. She also developed some neurological issues which I believe are stemmed from the trauma as well. Last year Charlotte was diagnosed with Tourette's or a tic disorder that causes her body to twitch uncontrollably and have involuntary vocal grunts, especially when there is excitement. And to top it all off, having a delayed speech pattern and hearing issues all caused me as a parent to have very high levels of concern for her development.
After many doctors appointments and Specialists, medication management, surgeries for the ears, counseling sessions, speech therapy ,and a tremendous amount of love and patience, Charlotte has gained victory over her physical, mental, and neurological hindrances and I want to attribute most of that towards the love, concern, and support that Ms. Beam provides. Four out of my five children are all of school age and never have I met a teacher as profoundly dedicated as Ms. Beam. One cannot be in her presence without feeling the connections that she has with her students. We will be home on the weekend enjoying our family time together and Charlotte will randomly express how much she misses her teacher and wants to go back to school.  I should also note that when we started at Anclote Elementary School that we lived in the New Port Richey area. But we moved to Hudson in September. Because Ms Beam is such a wonderful teacher,  we drive roughly 30 miles round trip 5 days a week to make sure that Charlotte stays at Anclote. 
To find a teacher who loves your child as much as you love them as a mother is a rarity. I could not be more grateful for the teacher that she is and I wish that I could shout from the mountaintops just how much of a positive influence she has. She is such a hard worker and invests her time into changing lives. This needs to be known. I wish we could award her with the highest honor like "teacher of the century"! It is well deserved. She is truly an angel on earth. — Vivian Jenson

Share Your Kudos

If you know a Pasco Schools employee who deserves a shoutout for exemplary performance, we want to hear about it. Please email your kudos to Mark.

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School Matters is Superintendent Browning’s weekly newsletter to employees and is published by the Communications and Government Relations Department. It is an employee’s one-stop source for District news, events, and instructional videos.
Pasco County Schools does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex/gender, religion, national origin, marital status, disability, age or genetic information in its educational programs, services or activities, or in its hiring and employment practices. (read more)