February 25, 2016

February 25, 2016

February 25, 2016

February 25, 2016

Superintendent's Message

Principal Mellin Appointed to FDOE Professional Practices Commission

Congratulations to Land O’ Lakes High School Principal Ric Mellin for his appointment to the Florida Department of Education Professional Practices Commission.  He was approved as an administrator member at last Thursday’s State Board of Education meeting. Click here for a copy of a Tampa Bay Time articles covering his appointment.

Special Olympics Garners Community Support

According to Ann Poole, Heritage Springs matched their donation to Special Olympics from last year, enabling us to raise $25,500.00 again this year. This brings our total donations from the past 15 years to $244,428.00. Thank you to Heritage Springs and everyone else who has contributed to our student-athletes' success!

Revised 1095-C Forms
A revised 1095-C (Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage) form reflecting the correct Employer Identification Number (EIN) 59-6000792 is available online in Employee Self Service (ESS).  The 1095-C form is located in the “Pay/Tax Information” section.  Employees needing a copy of their 1095-C form may log into ESS to download and print additional copies.  


Upcoming Voting Definitions & Deadlines

Please see below for important information shared with our office by Pasco Supervisor of Elections Brian E. Corley:

Bookclosing Dates 2016

  • Presidential Preference Primary: February 16
  • Primary: August 1
  • General: October 11

What is Bookclosing?

  • Deadline to register if a first-time voter in the state of Florida.
  • Deadline to change party affiliation. Party MAY NOT be changed at the polls. Check your information card to confirm your party, or call the elections’ office. Pursuant to Florida Statutes 101.021, Florida is a closed primary state. Voters vote their registered party in the primaries.

Election Dates 2016

  • Presidential Preference Primary: March 15
  • Primary: August 30
  • General: November 8

You are statutorily required to show photo and signature ID at the polls, or you will be required to vote a provisional ballot. Your driver license or Florida ID card meet this requirement, but there are other acceptable forms of identification. See pascovotes.com for a list of these. In addition to voting at the polls, there are the options of voting early (visit pascovotes.com for sites, days, times and wait times at each location) or request a vote-by-mail ballot. Call, write, or email the elections’ office at least six (6) days prior to the election. Order early to allow time to receive your ballot and return it by mail.

What is the Presidential Preference Primary?
The Presidential Preference Primary (PPP) on March 15, 2016, marks the beginning of the 2016 election cycle, and is the first elimination race for the presidential candidates. In the PPP, the majority winners from both political parties become the state delegate nominees to the national convention. The outcome of the national convention ultimately determines the presidential candidates that will be on the November General Election ballot. In the state of Florida, the PPP and ALL primaries are closed primaries.

What is a Closed Primary?
Simply stated, a closed primary means that the candidate choices on your ballot will be only candidates that are the same party affiliation as your voter registration. In Florida, the parties elect their own candidates.

How does this affect me?
Unlike many states, party changes on Election Day are statutorily prohibited in the state of Florida, and voting a “split ticket” is not an option. Changing party affiliation in order to vote for a particular candidate is permissible; however, it must be done 29 days prior to the election date when the registration books close. Take a moment now to insure that your voter registration reflects the same party as the candidate of your choice. If not, the registration books close to party changes on February 16, 2016.

What else do I need to know?

  1. Review your sample ballot before voting.
  2. Save time by updating your address on-line or by telephone prior to Election Day.
  3. Check your registration status on-line prior to Election Day.
  4. Know your polling location.
  5. Check pascovotes.com for answers to many of your questions, and as always, feel free to call 1-800-851-8754 for assistance.

If you have questions, please contact the Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Office at 1-800-851-8754, or visit their website.


Center for the Arts Priority Scheduling

District School Board Administrators: The Center for the Arts at River Ridge and the Center for the Arts at Wesley Chapel are now in the process of scheduling events for presentation in the theatre for the 2016/2017 school year.  An opportunity for priority scheduling is extended at this time to all District Administrators.  Invitations to School Principals and teachers for event reservations will be extended in one week. Please pass this information along to any District employee that may be in charge of planning District-wide meetings, ceremonies, band events, etc. To make a reservation for the Center for the Arts at Wesley Chapel, please send a letter of request via email to BOTH Sharon K. Strubbe AND Cathleen Noble.  To make a reservation for the Center for the Arts at River Ridge, please send a letter of request via email to Rick D'Onofrio.  In your request, please include the following:

  1. Department and Name of person making the reservation.
  2. Arrival and exit times as well as the start time of the event.
  3. Two alternative preferred dates.
  4. Rehearsal dates (if needed) and arrival and exit times for that event.
  5. Special requests.
  6. Name, phone number, and email of contact individual for your event.

Please schedule as early as possible.  If you have questions or are in need of further clarification, feel free to contact us at the email addresses provided above.

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. Visit Florida’s 2016 Severe Weather Awareness Week for more information.


Today - 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!


Florida Prepaid College Board

As part of our commitment to your child’s education, I 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. I know you entrust us with your child’s academic success, and to that end, I want to help families bridge the path between a K-12 education and a postsecondary one. I 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.

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


Car Show


River Ridge Community Event


Together We Stand 2016

Together We Stand 2016 will commence on Wednesday, June 15, at Wesley Chapel High School. I'm requesting that all elementary, middle, and high school principals register and attend this event.  In addition, principals are asked to consider including a school counselor, teacher, or other school-based team member who will continue to help support a safe and inclusive school climate throughout the year. When identifying student leaders to participate, I recommend selecting participants who are representative of the diversity in your school, and are willing to engage in ongoing activities throughout the year.

This year's theme is diversity: Different Individuals Valuing Each-other Regardless of Skin, Intellect, Talents or Years

  • High school principals, please select a group of 3 students to attend the summit and ensure that each student and staff member attending completes registration (this includes students participating on the Summit Planning Committee).  Please consider diversity of grade level representation.
  • Middle school principals, please select 3 students to attend and ensure that they complete registration.  Please include at least one incoming 9th grader.
  • Elementary school principals may consider selecting 2 intermediate grade level students to attend and ensure that they complete registration.
  • Community partners are invited to register and host information booths/poster sessions during the summit.

The registration deadline is March 15, 2016. Click here to register. For more information, please contact Jenna Sage, PhD, BCBA, Program Coordinator, Prevention and Intervention Supports, at (727) 774-2442.



Fred K. Marchman Technical College Staff, I'd like to take a minute and thank the Adult Ed teachers. If it wasn't for them I would of given up and not received my diploma. I truly can't even begin to describe how grateful I am for them. I started September 28, 2015 and passed the GED January 11, 2016. Every day I drove an hour to get there and I'm thankful for such great inspirational teachers. Being 36yrs old and hadn't been in school since 1998 starting back was really hard specially in math. Mrs. Carson, Mrs. Sams, Mr. Butler, and Mr. Mochner were knowledgeable and helpful in my journey to getting an education. They all have seen me smile, cry, learn, struggle, and push forward until I passed all 4 parts of the GED. I'm now enrolled in a nursing program and I can't wait for this new chapter in my life. I'd also like to thank Mrs. Davis. She was the first staff member I met at Marchman during orientation, she always had a smile on her face and always took the time to stop and chat. I know from the first day I was at the right school. Thank you so much, Marchman staff. -Virginia Hocking

Superintendent Browning, my name is Kris Madley and I’m a Behavior Specialist at Lake Myrtle Elementary…I’m in my 12th year at Lake Myrtle.  I started out as a classroom teacher of EH/SED; which has since changed to EBD and now SBP.  I took over as behavior specialist in 2013 and I absolutely love it! I know that many [people] do not fully understand the scope of what working in an SBP unit entails.  In my opinion, it is likely the most difficult position in the public school system.  I can speak for the elementary level in saying so.  In the past 2 school years (2014-2015 & 2015-2016) we have had one of our EBD/SBP classroom teachers be elected Teacher of the Year and School Related Personnel of the Year.  Most of our staff has been here for at least 6 years or more.  This year, especially, has been extremely challenging. We have received an influx of very challenging students along with the day-to-day challenges that come with the position.  Every single member of our team is willing to do whatever it takes for the betterment of our students.  We receive students from up to 8 other schools in our SBP program.  There are students from very diverse backgrounds.  We have many single-parent kiddos, kids whom live with a relative, foster children, etc.  Along with such a diverse group, comes very different behaviors.  Each day brings something different.  Just yesterday, I had a 1st grade student (whom is in foster care) tell me that he was confused because he wasn’t sure if he’d see his family again.  This is just a small example of what we hear on a daily basis.  I just wanted to take a moment to let you know how thankful I am to have a VERY dedicated team that has a do whatever it takes mentality.  The administration has been extremely supportive and trusting in our abilities as well.  It is, TRULY, a team effort.  It is like having a second family.  I’d like to recognize each person on the team.

  • SPB Teachers: Andy Morey, Susan Crossley, and Stephanie Knight
  • Instructional Assistants: Charlette Darby, Sarah Ludwick, Staci Reardon, and Yamile Richardson
  • Administration: Principal Jessica Clements and Assistant Principal Michelle Hartman

-Kristian Madley, Behavior Specialist, Lake Myrtle Elementary

Superintendent Browning, I have subbed for numerous years in Pasco County and have never seen the ALL IN atmosphere that has been created at Fox Hollow Elementary.  I arrived to sub in a fifth grade classroom and was told that supports would be in the room majority of the day and to assist with whatever needs to be done.  When I arrived in the room I overheard Mrs. Scilex planning the other fifth grade teachers.  Then when children arrived Mrs. Scilex greeted them at the door and began teaching.  She held conferences one on one and seemed to know each of them by name and their levels. Then she did an engaging whole group lesson.  I had no idea that a principal would care so much about her students to the point that she would teach them.  This has occurred day after day this week.  In my book, she should be commended for the work that she does every day at Fox Hollow.  This school is a loving, nurturing place and has a principal who goes above what any expectation could ask. -Anonymous Substitute Teacher

Sanders students take to their canvases during SMES Painting Night.

Learning STEM with Tynker and Sphero

Students learning science, technology, engineering, and math in the STEM Lab at Northwest Elementary.

Student Spotlight

Jace Hohenthaner
Land O' Lakes High School
Reserve Grand Champion - Pasco County Fair

Click here to read his interview.