February 23, 2017

February 23, 2017

February 23, 2017

February 23, 2017

Superintendent's Message

Governor Rick Scott's budget recommendations have been presented to all four Florida House and Senate legislative education appropriations subcommittees, and it's disheartening to see many of these same committees are responding by hosting budget exercises to reduce the education appropriations. Of course, we do not know how the legislative process will end, but I appreciate the fact that he has established a high benchmark for an education funding increase. The governor's budget fully funds student enrollment growth and a 3 percent increase in average per student funding. Pasco is one of Florida's fastest growing districts, and his budget fully funds this growth.

If you would like to share your support for the governor’s recommended budget with legislators, or if you are interested in sharing your thoughts on pending legislation, following is contact information for the Pasco County Legislative Delegation members:

The 2017 Legislative Session begins on Tuesday, March 7.



Florida Green School Award

Don Whitehead, from the Florida Department of Education, presents Pasco County Schools with the Florida Green School Award. The award recognizes, supports and promotes sustainability practices in Florida’s school districts and schools as a strategy to enhance the quality of education while preserving the environment.


Newspaper in Education (NIE) Week

Jodi Pushkin, with the Tampa Bay Times Newspaper in Education program, accepts a School Board proclamation for Newspaper in Education week.


Florida School Nurse of the Year

Click here to view the Florida State Board of Education's recognition of Margaret Polk as Florida's 2017 School Nurse of the Year. At the 40:00 minute mark, Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart recognizes Ms. Polk as an unsung hero. She is the first Florida Association of School Nurses (FASN) School Nurse of the Year to be recognized by the State Board of Education.


Art of Recycling Winners Announced

Pasco County Recycling is thrilled to announce that more than a dozen talented Pasco County high school students turned their artistic ability – into cash!  The winners of the 2017 Art of Recycling contest received their prize money and certificates during special ceremonies at their schools during the week of February 6. The 2017 Art of Recycling contest winner is a repeat winner!  Kylie Rice of Ridgewood High School also won the top prize in last year’s contest.  Click here to see Kylie’s entry this year called Leaping from Industrialization. Nainshari Ortiz of Anclote High School won Most Innovative and the People’s Choice Award with her entry called Looking on the Other Side. Pasco County students started recycling trash into artwork at the beginning of the semester, raising awareness of the Arts and encouraging the practice of recycling. Prizes were awarded in 15 categories. Congratulations to all of this year’s Art of Recycling winners:

  • Kylie Rice - Ridgewood High School, 1st Place $500
  • Julianna Wilkinson - Gulf High School, 2nd Place $300
  • Taylor Moore - Pasco High School, Commissioner's Award $100
  • Kaylin Murphy - J.W. Mitchell High School, Covanta’s Choice $100
  • Breanna Gates - Ridgewood High School, Best Artistic Expression $100
  • Jessica Skrelunas - Anclote High School, Best Use of Printed Material $100
  • Nainshari Ortiz - Anclote High School, Most Innovative $100 and People’s Choice $100
  • Katie Shelley - Sunlake High School, AOR Committee Award $100
  • Brinkley Simpson - Sunlake High School, Best Use of Aluminum $100
  • Sarah Oliva - Pasco High School, Best Use of Plastic $100
  • Darian Proper - Anclote High School, Pasco Arts Council Merit $100
  • Madison Kaylor - Pasco High School, Best Environmental Concept $100

Two 2017 Art of Recycling $750 college scholarships are still to be awarded. The public is invited to see all these impressive pieces of recycled art at the West Pasco Government Center at 8731 Citizens Drive, New Port Richey through February 24. The 15 winning pieces will then be on display at the District School Board of Pasco County through March 31.


Job Fair Today


School Choice Open Enrollment


Student Dental Care

Gulfside Elementary School is a Community Partnership School that offers affordable, premium dental care to students throughout the school year to Gulfside Elementary, Paul R. Smith Middle, and Anclote High school students. To take advantage of this service, click here.


Traffic Updates During Spring Break Travel

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) 511 Traveler Information System is the state’s official source for traffic and travel information. It provides free and real-time information on crashes, construction, congestion, travel times, severe weather, AMBER Alerts and more. Florida 511 offers five convenient ways for motorists to receive traffic updates:

  • Download the free Florida 511 mobile app from the Google Play or Apple App Store.
  • Visit FL511.com for interactive roadway maps showing traffic congestion and crashes, travel times and traffic camera views with information available in English and Spanish.
  • Sign up for a “My Florida 511” account at FL511.com to create custom routes and register for email or text alerts.
  • Call 511 toll-free for updates.
  • Use the FL511 Toolkit.
  • Follow one or more of the statewide, regional or roadway-specific Twitter feeds (#FL511).


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 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

Hometown Heroes

Hometown Heroes is an organization designed to give back to those who help make our communities a better place to live by offering real savings from local and national business partners, and real estate professionals. Heroes can find savings for the things they do and use every day. New savings are being added often and there is never a cost to heroes! Heroes are those faithful men and women who serve our communities & our nation:

  • Military Service Members (past/present)
  • Medical Personnel (Nurses, Doctors)
  • First Responders (Police, Fire, EMT)
  • Non-Profits (Charities, Churches)
  • Educators and School Employees (ISD, College)

Click here to learn more about Hometown Heroes.


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.


Pasco County Government



Career and Technical Education Director Aunchman, I am a member of the health academy at Ridgewood High School taught by Mrs.Zajid. I wanted to take the time and inform you I more than greatly appreciate your approval to pay for our academy's CNA written practice test! There is a majority of students with financial struggles and this just really meant a lot. It wasn't only helpful financially but knowledge wise as well, it was a good preperation for the real exam. Thanks again! -Selena, Ridgewood High School student

Superintendent Browning, I wanted to let you know what an amazing job our assistant principle Clara Craig is doing. This Saturday, Clara participated in the Thomas Promise Hunger Walk.  This alone is nothing special, but what is special is that Clara does not live close to Zephyrhills, also she signed up and walked for Woodland alone. Anyone that is willing to drive 40 minutes, on a Saturday and walk alone because she cares about our school and students is amazing!!! I want you to know Clara is a special person. She has the heart and compassion that is necessary for the elementary level. She is always available to listen or to talk to. She cares about our students, faculty and staff. Thank you for assigning Clara to our school, she is exactly what we need. -Jennifer Trebour, Woodland Elementary School

Tara Nixon, It was truly a pleasure meeting you yesterday and it has given me a peace of mind to have reviewed with you regarding Raptor. I will have the girls fill out the forms and I will send them over to you. Once again, thank you for all you do as well as Libby. -Adriana Danwing, Sunray Elementary School

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

Reading is exciting! A Pine View Middle School student reads with R.B. Cox Elementary School first graders.

School Choice Message from Superintendent Browning

Fixing a Plane at Hudson High School

Tampa Bay Regional Aeronautics Academy students get hands-on experience during their instructional time.

Staff Spotlight

Kathy Wild
Assistant Principal
Bayonet Point STEM Middle Magnet School

Click here to read her interview.

Student Spotlight

Karissa Brosnan
10th Grade
Fivay High 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.


Special Olympics Bowl-A-Thon Fundraiser

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.


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.


Special Olympics 5K Fun Run Fundraiser

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.


RRHS Royal Relief Race

River Ridge High School Air Force JROTC and National Honor Society (NHS) students organized a race on April 1, at Crews Lake Wilderness Park, to benefit communities in Florida impacted by recent hurricanes. Click here to register and learn more.


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
  • 23: FSA Writing Begins