March 3, 2016

March 3, 2016

March 3, 2016

March 3, 2016

Superintendent's Message

Yesterday, our Special Olympics bronze medal-winning unified soccer team traveled to Tallahassee to be recognized by the Florida Senate and Senator John Legg. Click here and fast forward to the 1:24:05 mark. Senator John Legg has also filed Senate Resolution 1780, which honors their achievement. I am very proud of our student-athletes and the way they represented us in Los Angeles and Tallahassee.


Congratulations to our Winning Athletes

J.W. Mitchell High School Ice Hockey

Congratulations to the J.W. Mitchell High School ice hockey team for winning a state championship in Miami! The team also includes students from Land O' Lakes and Sunlake high schools. They will be going to the High School National Championship in Virginia on March 17-21. Good luck and congratulations!

Pasco High School Wrestling

  • Congratulations to our wrestlers! 6 out of our 9 wrestlers qualified for the State Championships, which will be held at Kissimmee Spurs Arena Friday and Saturday!
    • 160 lbs. Class: Angel Hernandez - Regional Champion
    • 126 lbs. Class: John DeAugustiino - Regional Runner-up
    • 170 lbs. Class:  Blake Castillo - 3rd Place
    • 285 lbs. Class: Nick Burt - 3rd Place
    • 106 lbs. Class: Chase Ayers - 4th Place
    • 113 lbs. Class: Bryant Haire - 4th Place

Zephyrhills High School Basketball


Congratulations to the Zephyrhills varsity basketball team for making it to the state semifinals!  We’re proud of your great season.



The School Board has proclaimed March as Believing in Girls month in Pasco County Schools, and next week as Newspaper in Education week. March also is Music in our Schools month, National Middle School Education month, and  Youth Art month. Next week also is, National Foreign Language week, and National School Breakfast week.


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 - CLOSED
  • 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. Check the Pasco Supervisor of Elections website for a list of these. In addition to voting at the polls, there are the options of voting early (Visit the Pasco Supervisor of Elections website 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 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.


Car Show


River Ridge Community Event


10th Annual Long Run at the Ranch

Dr. John Long Middle and Wiregrass Ranch High are hosting the 10th Annual Long Run at the Ranch 10K, 5K & 1 Mile Family Fun Run & Walk on Saturday, April 9. The Long Run at the Ranch will be held at Dr. John Long Middle School beginning at 8:30 a.m. Please click here to register online or visit the Long Run at the Ranch website for a downloadable entry form. All proceeds benefit the athletic departments of both schools. 


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.



Good Afternoon Superintendent Browning, I wanted to take a moment to send my thoughts on what was a very special day for Pasco County this past Saturday. The Elementary All County Chorus and Orff rehearsed at WGES.  Karen Reinhold, Amy Nickerson, and Scott Mitchell were all terrific hosts. Karen and Amy worked tirelessly to make sure we a were all right at home in their school. Adam Lesko dedicated so much time organizing our groups and making sure everyone and every instrument got to the right place. Tom Viking made sure all those who needed, had transportation as well as working out other kinks. Thanks to their hard work we had a very successful day...To see the smiles and the focus of a few hundred students for multiple hours made me very proud. Thank you to everyone who made it possible. We hope you can join us at our concert on 3/12! It is going to be a wonderful experience for Pasco’s music students. -Rich Wohl, Music Specialist, New River Elementary School

Mr. John Abernathy, My name is Jessica Beagle and our daughter transferred to your school in November and is in Ms. Heyman and Mrs. Mahoney’s 3rd grade class.
My husband and I are both teachers in Pasco County and our daughter had previously attended Denham Oaks with me, until I transferred to JLMS...She had a difficult time adjusting to the shift in routines as well as the rigor in which she was expected to learn and perform at. Those two women that you have working in her classrooms deserve medals. They deserve a medal for:

  • Patience - They answer each and every (crazy) email I send and each and every question we have...They are always quick, kind and understanding in their responses.
  • Effort - Getting a student mid-year is difficult for any teacher, but transitioning from a general education class to a gifted environment is much harder. These two ladies put forth so much time and effort into getting our daughter acclimated and adjusted, even when the rest of the class was already there...
  • Greatness - They come to work each and every day and work with their students and go above and beyond what most teachers do...Last week we were watching Shark Tank and our daughter turned to us and told us how the show reminded her of GLOBAL TRADING! She then went into how global trading works, the countries that manufacture/trade certain items and how supply and demand work in conjunction with global trading.

We are so thrilled with the education our daughter is receiving at your school and with these two teachers! We appreciate all of their hard work and efforts and felt that it was important to give them a shout out! -Jessica Beagle

Superintendent Browning, I would like to give Kudos to a wonderful team of people working very hard to serve the students and staff at Calusa Elementary School, led by Kara Merlin and Chrissy Ramriez. Mary Bandini, front office secretary, is always handling multiple situations with a cheerful disposition. The custodial staff has also been phenomenal at responding throughout the day and going above and beyond in the mornings and afternoons to make our learning environments clean, safe, and fresh. Thank you Tom, Paul, Marc, Jeremy, George, and Brandon!! We couldn’t be successful without you. Thank you for having an outlet that we can publicly praise our coworkers for all of their hard work. -Melissa Caruso, Learning Design Specialist, Northwest Regional Team, Office for Teaching & Learning

Superintendent Browning, my name is Bridget Miller and I would like to take this opportunity to share and acknowledge the dedication that Mr. Robert Brown has given to his FFA students and 4-H students in the community. My son attends Woodland Elementary as a 5th grader and this was his first year as a 4-H exhibitor. For his first project he decided to exhibit a hog. Mr. Brown went out of his way to pick up my son's hog on a weekend. I have witnessed first hand how much time and dedication that both the students and Mr. Brown puts forth towards raising agricultural animals...I could not recall a time that he was not at the ag barn helping a student of his or another that was in 4-H. He went out of his way to search for a special feed for my son’s hog going place to place until he found the right one. He is impacting the agricultural generation and for those to come...It was extremely rewarding to see my son place 5th place in his class being a first time hog exhibitor. I was honored to see Mr. Browns hard work and dedication when one of his students, Tiffany, won Reserve Grand Champion...Mr. Brown has impacted my child in such a positive way, that my son is looking forward to next years’ agricultural project. Mr. Brown is an excellent asset to our school and community...-Bridget Miller

Florida Senate President Andy Gardiner met with our Special Olympics bronze medalists in Tallahassee.

The Rufus Show with Superintendent Browning

Special Olympics star Rufus Smith-jones interviews Pasco Superintendent Kurt Browning.

Student Spotlight

Joanna Boivin
River Ridge Middle School
 Unstoppable Goalie

Click here to read her interview.