February 11, 2016

February 11, 2016

February 11, 2016

February 11, 2016

Monday, February 15, is a holiday for students and teachers in observance of Presidents Day.


Superintendent's Message

In last week's School Matters, I explained how some members of the Florida House Appropriations Committee accused school districts of out-of-control spending on building construction during their January 21 meeting. On Tuesday, I testified before the committee on behalf of Pasco County Schools and state superintendents. Click here and fast forward to the 44:10 mark to view my remarks. As I informed the committeee, capital funding for educational facilities is a huge challenge for both traditional public & charter schools. I will be working diligently with our members of the Legislature on this issue.


Boardroom and Building 3 Maintenance Update

Maintenance has begun renovating the Boardroom and lobby in Building 3 North at the district office complex.  For safety reasons, staff and professional development participants will have to enter through the south entrance for the time being.  Be mindful that the sidewalk is under construction in front of the gazebo by the pond, so unfortunately, if you park in the parking lot north of building 3, you will have to walk through the grass on the east side of the building to get to the south entrance.  We apologize for the inconvenience.


Pasco PLACE Souper Bowl Challenge Food Drive

As part of our Super Bowl IGNITE curriculum, our PLACE programs competed in a “Souper” Bowl Challenge. Twenty-nine of our sites participated in the canned food drive collecting more than 4,500 food items! These food items weighed in at more than 6,000 pounds and were donated to The Volunteer Way in New Port Richey. Thank you to our dedicated PLACE staff and our amazing kids and families for participating in this event and doing something great for the community!


Florida Prepaid College Board

As part of our commitment to your child’s education, we want to share with you information about the Florida Prepaid College Board’s Open Enrollment Period that ends February 29. College might seem like a long way off for some of you, but before we know it, your child will be looking at college options. We know you entrust us with your child’s academic success, and to that end, we want to help families bridge the path between a K-12 education and a postsecondary one. We want to equip you with information to make sound decisions about starting to save now so that your child’s tuition is covered when they need it. All Florida Prepaid College Plans are guaranteed by the State of Florida. The five Florida Prepaid Tuition Plans offer a variety of options starting at just $46 a month. The younger your child, the more years you have to save, and the lower the monthly payments for a Florida Prepaid Plan. Multiple studies have found that students with college savings are more likely to attend and finish college, and that having a degree greatly improves lifetime earning potential. Consider the benefits of a Prepaid Plan:

  • It protects: Every Prepaid Plan is guaranteed by the State of Florida, so a family will never lose their investment.
  • It travels: Even if a child attends an out-of-state or private college, the plan will pay the same amount as it would pay at a public college or university in Florida.
  • It works together: If a child receives a scholarship, the family’s refund is actually the full value of the purchased plan, not just what was paid in. Or, the child can use the funds for tuition and fees not covered by the scholarship.
  • It waits: A child has up to 10 years after the year of projected enrollment to use the plan. Open Enrollment ends February 29, 2016.

Click here to learn more. Enter promo code SUP1516 for free gift with purchase of Prepaid Plan by February 29!


Dinosaurs in Motion Preview Tonight

MOSI is excited to provide Pasco County Schools teachers with the opportunity to preview our newest exhibit and educational film in the IMAX Dome Theatre. The Educator Preview for the Dinosaurs in Motion exhibit and National Parks Adventure IMAX film is scheduled for Thursday, February 11 from 4 – 7 p.m. at MOSI. Teachers attending the event have the opportunity to experience this new exhibit and IMAX film free of charge and learn how it can complement their curriculum. They will also have the opportunity to complete the application for the free individual MOSI membership that we are continuing to offer to the district personnel and learn about other education program opportunities at MOSI. The preview is open to all teachers at any level and discipline. Please be sure to RSVP & bring your school I.D. If you have questions, please contact Jeanette Ethier.

MOSI (Museum of Science & Industry)
4801 E. Fowler Avenue
Tampa, Fl 33617


Always…Patsy Cline


Florida Severe Weather Awareness Week

The Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) has announced the 15th Annual Severe Weather Awareness Week statewide education campaign to be held February 22-26, 2016. Severe Weather Awareness Week is an opportunity for FDEM to collaborate with elementary, middle and high schools throughout Florida to educate students about all types of severe weather that may occur. The annual event includes a statewide tornado drill, a poster contest for elementary students, and a video contest for middle and high school students.

Annual Poster Contest

Teachers are encouraged to spend the week of February 22-26, teaching the types of severe weather that Florida experiences. During the week, teachers may have students create a poster on what severe weather means to them. FDEM can provide Severe Weather Awareness Week activity books for teachers interested in using them during the week to teach the different types of severe weather seen in Florida. Poster submissions must be postmarked by March 10, and mailed to the Capital Area Chapter of the American Red Cross in Tallahassee. A contest entry form is required for each submission. Contest forms and additional details can be found on FDEM’s website. Winning entries will be announced Friday, March 18, 2016. During the week of April 11-15, FDEM will host an event with Professor Tinkermeister at the school of the poster contest winner in each of the seven regions. FDEM’s External Affairs Office will contact the winning school the week of March 21-25, to finalize details of the event.

Annual Video PSA Contest

The objective  of  the  video  contest  is  to educate  students  on  natural  hazards  that Floridians  may  face  and  to  encourage  them  to  become  part  of  the preparedness process. To participate, middle and high school students may work in groups of up to four students to create a 30-second public service announcement (PSA) video pertaining to one of three topics related to FDEM’s public education campaign. Students should develop an original message that incorporates safety or preparedness relating to flood safety, rip current safety or storm surge zone. Information on the topics can be found on FDEM’s website. Entries must be uploaded to the official website no later than midnight on Thursday, March 10. The top three finalists for middle and high school will be announced on Friday, March 18, 2016. Online voting through the Kids Get a Plan Facebook page will be open from March 18, until April 15. The winners will be announced the week of April 25. Additional details on the contest can be found here. A contest entry form and a parent waiver form are required for each submission for each group member. The winning videos will be professionally re-produced and used by FDEM in the statewide public awareness campaign. These contests are part of an annual public awareness campaign that also includes the coordination of a statewide tornado drill conducted by the National Weather Service offices in Florida. Florida’s statewide tornado drill is tentatively scheduled for 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time (9:00 a.m. Central Time), on Wednesday, February 24. A full list of contest rules can be found on FDEM’s educational program website under the contest tab. Visit Florida’s 2016 Severe Weather Awareness Week for more information.


Spring Instructional Job Fair

Principals will be present to interview candidates for positions in language arts, math, science, social studies, special education areas, school psychologists, school social workers, and school counselors.  This job fair is not just for education majors, so those with or seeking degrees in other subjects are encouraged to attend.  Through the district’s Professional Development Certification program, individuals who possess a bachelor’s degree, and who qualify for a temporary teaching certificate under Florida law, receive professional preparation and experience required to earn the Florida Professional Certificate. In addition, USF and PHSC will have booths with information about their new partnership with the school district that establishes a part time education degree program. This program provides a unique opportunity for interested employees who have successfully completed 60 college credit hours to work toward their bachelor’s degree in Education. Share this information with your family members and friends who might be interested in working for Pasco County Schools!


2016 Florida Forestry Teacher's Tour

Get a first-hand look at the role Florida’s forestry industry plays in your every day life, from your bed to your cell phone, all while earning 30 CEU hours. The Florida Forestry Teachers’ Tour brings 45 teachers from across the state to Fernandina Beach each June to see how forestry works in Florida. This four-day event demonstrates to educators that sustainability is the key to responsible forestry. Participating teachers experience all aspects of forestry practices from the planting and growing processes to the mills and end products. They also learn about chemical by-products created in the process of making paper. In short, they see the industry’s many efforts to maximize the effective and efficient use of resources. All lodging, meals and tour transportation are provided, free-of-charge, thanks to private donations and forestry sponsorships. Dates for the 2016 Tour are June 21-24. Applications will be accepted January 29-March 9. Click here to learn more about the Florida Forestry Teachers’ Tour.


Making a Difference

As part of their semester-long, elementary “Making a Difference in My Community” theme, Pasco eSchool is hosting a Garden Day at Crews Lake Middle School (CLMS) on Saturday, March 12, beginning at 10 a.m. The garden currently consists of 50 vertical garden towers with a full irrigation and fertilization system. Students will put new soil in the towers, which each consist of five garden pots. Our elementary students will transplant vegetables they grew from seeds into the new soil. The produce can be used in school lunches, sent home with students and their families, and used in community programs, such as food pantries. If you’d like to join us, please bring a picnic lunch and gloves and wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty! Below is a photo of what a vertical garden looks like. This garden belongs to Jill Bopp, the teacher who originally received the grant to establish the CLMS garden.



Superintendent Browning, I want to write you about the wonderful and caring Social Worker Diane Clukey Chinard at Ridgewood High School. I have known Diane from working with her at different schools in the past. This year my mother passed away on Halloween day and the staff at RHS has been very supportive, caring and kind. Diane invited me to join her “grief group” that she does every year with students who have lost loved ones. I thought it would be helpful for me and for me to share my mom with her and others at RHS. These grief group meetings have truly been a blessing and I look forward to them every week. I have come to know students at RHS that I would not have otherwise known and their personal stories. We have this little family now that only us know each other’s loved one that we lost. Diane truly takes time to listen to every single one of us and is really helping young kids learn to deal with loss. These students may have not known how to deal with it until this group with Diane. Every week we do activities about our loved ones and she gives the whole group keepsakes so we remember each other in the group and our loved ones. I just wanted you to know you have one social worker at RHS that goes above and beyond for her students AND staff and takes pride in what she does! She really is an inspiration and a positive person I look up to. Thank you Diane for all you do for RHS, and especially for me in my time of need right now. You are appreciated!!
-Jodi Casale, Reading Teacher, RHS

Principal Barbara Kleinsorge is excited to see the progress being made at Anclote Elementary.

Land O' Lakes High - Track & Field

Student Spotlight

Allysa Allen
River Ridge High School
Robotics Co-Captain

Click here to read her interview.