February 10, 2017

February 10, 2017

February 10, 2017

February 10, 2017

Superintendent's Message

As you probably noticed, we’re in the middle of cold and flu season.  We continue to see students and staff with flu symptoms, so the Florida Department of Health in Pasco has provided us with information to share with parents and employees.  To access the letter and get helpful links, please visit the district website, www.pascoschools.org, any school webpage, or the district Facebook page, PascoSchools.  If you or your child has flu-like symptoms, please stay home, rest, and contact your health care provider to get directions for treatment.



Governor's Shine Award

Congratulations, Susan Rodriguez [center, standing], a fifth grade English and Language Arts teacher at Pasco Elementary School, for receiving the Governor’s Shine Award from Governor Scott! This week, during a meeting of the Florida Cabinet, Governor Rick Scott recognized Susan, one of eight outstanding educators, with the Governor’s Shine Award. The Shine Award is presented to teachers and administrators in Florida who make significant contributions to the field of education. The teachers were recognized for their commitment to student success. 


Girls Weightlifting 1A State Champions

Congratulations to the River Ridge High School Girls Weightlifting team for winning the 1A State Championship!


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 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

United Way of Pasco County, in partnership with the Internal Revenue Service VITA Program and AARP Tax Aide Foundation, is sponsoring free income tax preparation sites for low and moderate-income taxpayers in Pasco County. All tax preparers are trained and IRS Certified to help Pasco residents with filing their taxes. For 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.  If you have any questions about the 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.


Upcoming Special Olympics Florida Fundraisers


Come out on Saturday, March 11, from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. to support Special Olympics Florida - Pasco County at Royal Lanes. Teams of four are $100 and individual tickets are $25. Royal Lanes is located at 1927 Brinson Road, in Lutz. Please contact Phyllis Crain or click here for more information.


5K Fun Run

On Saturday, April 1, the New Port Richey Recreation and Aquatic Center is hosting the Special Olympics Florida 5K Fun Run. The 5K starts at 8 a.m. and the 1 mile walk starts at 8:45 a.m. The New Port Richey Recreation and Aquatic Center is located at 6630 Van Buren Street, in New Port Richey. Click here for more information, including registration.


Pasco County Government



Superintendent Browning, I would like to give a huge shout out to Wesley Penteado. While working at RBCES and SAES, he has been amazing. Being at two schools is always a challenge, but Wesley has been amazing.  His commitment to our students in preparing them for performances and heading up several school events is unheard of. He comes in early or stays late, works with kids during their lunch time and always checks in with the teachers. He is an excellent asset to our school(s), and I am honored to work with him. I am so thankful for his ability to make a student feel important just by having his 4 H's. I am floored by how well this works because we all know...EVERYONE needs either a Hug, High five, Hello or Hi. Kudos to you Wesley, you have made music class a place where ALL of our kiddos what to be. Thank you for your commitment and crazy laugh. We love you. -Cathy Wheeler, Leader In Training, RBCES

Dr. Toni  Zetzsche, I just wanted to take a minute to let you know how absolutely amazing plant manager Pete Pinizzotto and his staff are (as if you didn’t already know). In just a matter of weeks they have done every little and big task I have asked for, no matter what it was, to get this portable looking virtually brand new. Our kids are so excited about all the changes they’ve seen take place, and today was the icing on the cake. We all came in this morning to floors that are cleaner than I’ve ever seen school floors in my life. I wish there was more I could do, but I will be making them a home cooked meal next week to show my humble appreciation. -Adrian Mittermayr, ESE/IND, River Ridge High School

Andy Dunn, I just want to tell you thanks for all your efforts yesterday and today. Could not have captured those engaging career academies and programs without you! -Mike Macchiarola

Events and Kudos sections are copied verbatim from their submission, with minimal, if any, alteration.

Fivay High School Criminal Justice Academy students investigate a mock crime scene during class.

River Ridge Middle and River Ridge High School from the Air

Student Spotlight: Linnea Haga

Staff Spotlight

Chante Trudel
Kindergarten Teacher
Veterans Elementary School

Click here to read her 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.


PHS Cambridge Program Usher Awareness Fundraiser - Tomorrow

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.


Guys and Dolls - Tomorrow

The Center for the Arts at River Ridge is hosting Guys and Dolls tomorrow night, February 10, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets are $10. The Center for the Arts at River Ridge is located at 1646 Town Center Road, in New Port Richey. Click here for more information.


Hunger Walk - Saturday

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.


PVMS Great Week of Service - Seeks Donated Items

The Middle Years Programme encourages giving back to the community, while allowing for time to learn and reflect from those experiences. As a result, they are hosting their 1st Annual Great Week of Service from February 13 through 17. During the Great Week of Service, PVMS students are hosting a car wash benefiting first responders, making tug toys, and collecting treats for Pasco County Animal Services animals. They are seeking the following donation items:

  • Clean, old towels and t-shirts
  • Pupperoni and/or Milkbone dog treats
  • Temptations cat treats
  • Car wash soap (Turtle Wax, Rain-X, etc.)
  • Sponges
  • Scrub brushes for tires

For more information, please contact PVMS Principal Jennifer Warren, at 813-794-4800.


Cambridge Parent Information Nights

The Cambridge Programme is coming to Anclote High School and Paul R. Smith Middle School. The Cambridge Programme information nights will be held on:

  • February 21 - Seven Springs Middle School
  • February 22 - Chasco Middle School
  • February 28 - Anclote High School

Each event will begin at 6 p.m. If you would like more information or would like to apply for entrance into the program, visit our Cambridge Programme webpage


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.


US Marine Corps Band Concert

On Sunday, March 26, The Historic Dade City Court House will be hosting the USMC Band at 3 p.m. for an outstanding presentation. Click here for more information.


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. Dress warmly!


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