February 17, 2017

February 17, 2017

February 17, 2017

February 17, 2017

Superintendent's Message

As Florida approaches the 2017 Legislative Session in March, the district has been monitoring and weighing in on pending legislation during committee weeks. I have encouraged our lawmakers to reduce what I call the “high stakes-ness” of state testing for students and teachers. Currently, there are several assessment and accountability bills filed, and I am letting sponsors know of our desire to:

  • Provide greater efficiency to the assessment process by providing flexibility for districts to utilize paper and pencil assessments.
  • Eliminate state mandated end-of-course (EOC) exams that are not federally required.
  • Provide greater compatibility for students to use their SAT and ACT scores for graduation purposes.
  • Repeal the value added model (VAM) and return teacher and administrator evaluations to districts.

On Wednesday, February 14, I was invited by the House Education Committee to share feedback on turning around low performing schools. I shared the struggles that our students, employees, and families at our 23 D.A. Schools are facing. I also shared what our district is doing about it, and how the Legislature can help. Click here to view testimony and fast forward to the 1:07:39 mark.



Art of Recycling Winners

Anclote High School


Gulf High School


J.W. Mitchell High School


Pasco High School


Ridgewood High School


Sunlake High School


Job Fair


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 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.


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



Good Morning TOES Principal Allison Hoskins, I wanted to email you to share how appreciative I am for the work that Mrs. Evans and Mrs. Cirigliano are doing with my daughter. Since the beginning of the school year, they have been so approachable, and kept me informed of how my daughter was doing in class. They have gone above and beyond to try to help her be successful, and have listened to my concerns and suggestions, brainstorming ways to help motivate her. They accommodate her needs in every way, both with her asthma and with her learning. I can’t thank them enough for the kindness they’ve shown her this year. These are teachers who truly care about their students. Thank you for creating a school community that values its students. I am so proud that my daughter is a part of the TOES family. -Megan Hatfield, parent

The first grade teachers and students want to give a BIG “shout out” to Mindy Johnson! She went above and beyond her duties as our cafeteria manager. She researched and taught our first grade students in small groups about herbs and got them excited to learn more as we began our problem based learning task of “What herbs or vegetables grow best in Florida at this time of the year?” The hands on experience to what the plants look like and smell as they grow and how the look when we eat them was one they will always remember. We truly appreciate your hard work!  Thank you! You are the cream of the crop!! -Tina Porche, 1st Grade Teacher, Pine View Elementary

Heritage Springs Special Olympics Chairperson Ann Poole, I cannot thank the folks at Heritage Springs enough for ALL you do for Special Olympics. It truly does make a difference in the lives of these special students. Thanks again. -Superintendent Kurt Browning

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

Pine View Middle School students volunteered at Metropolitan Ministries in Holiday today to give back to our community.

Student Spotlight: DayAnna Rogers

Gulf Middle School student DayAnna Rogers received the district critics choice award and a superior at state thespians.

Student Spotlight

Joseph Corley

Staff Spotlight

Jeff Morgenstein
Assistant Principal for the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme
Land O’ Lakes High School

Click here to read his 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.


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
  • 17: National PTA Founders Day
  • 20: Presidents' Day
  • 23: FSA Writing Begins