March 9, 2017

March 9, 2017

March 9, 2017

March 9, 2017

SET YOUR CLOCKS: Daylight saving time will begin on Sunday, March 12


Superintendent's Message

Teacher Planning, Spring Break, and 3rd grade reading

This is a reminder about spring break, the upcoming teacher planning day, and the 3rd grade reading assessment. Spring break is March 20 through March 24. The teacher planning day is March 17, and it is a day off for students. Grade 3 state reading assessments are scheduled for the week of March 27, the week students and employees return from spring break.

On May 3, 2016, the Pasco School Board approved an amended 2016-2017 Student/Teacher Calendar. This calendar moved a teacher planning day from Monday, March 27, 2017 (the Monday after spring break) to Friday, March 17, 2017 (the Friday prior to Spring Break). The change was made after the Florida Department of Education released the state assessment calendar and notified school districts that there will be decreased scheduling flexibility with the state standardized assessments in the 2016-2017 school year. To allow schools to utilize the entire window for grade 3 reading assessments, the board chose to move the planning day to the Friday before spring break.



2017 Outstanding Seniors


Chasco Middle School Student's Video Wins C-SPAN Contest

Justin Ross, a Chasco Middle School student, recently won C-SPAN's video documentary competition with his production, "Texting and Driving Distracted Drivers." Click here to learn more.


Pasco Art Teacher Published

Sheryl Depp, a Shady Hills Elementary School teacher, had art published in "If Picasso Went on Vacation." It's a book created by 40 art teachers from all over the world, including Ms. Depp, that combines history, geography, international languages, rhyme, and art.  Each artwork is accompanied by a unique poem that tells a bit about the artist, their genre, and the landmark subject. Each poem ends by teaching the reader how to say yes, no, and hello in the local language. Each illustration is accompanied by a globe that indicates where on earth that landmark exists. Ms. Depp is pictured above with the book's author, Eric Gibbons. This publication will initially be available through and several museum bookstores across the USA, and directly from the publisher at You can find out more information by connecting with the publisher's Facebook page, "Firehouse Publications."


Cinderella Ball

We are thrilled to announce that this year's Cinderella Ball is sold out! It will be held on Saturday, March 11. The Cinderella Ball is a black-tie optional fundraising dinner and auction for the Foundation. Proceeds from this event benefit the many programs of the Pasco Education Foundation such as scholarships, creative teaching grants and recognition events for students and district employees. 




Reimbursement Request Deadline: March 15

Employees who contributed to a medical flexible spending account (FSA) in 2016 have until March 15 to submit requests for reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses. Employees must submit a request for reimbursement directly to WageWorks. There are two easy ways to submit a receipt for reimbursement.

  1. Through the WageWorks EZ Receipts® mobile app. Use your mobile device to snap a photo of your receipt and submit it for reimbursement.
  2. Through your WageWorks account.  Log into your account, select the “Pay Me Back” option, upload a digital image of your receipt, and submit your claim.

Important: If you have a balance remaining in your 2016 medical FSA and you do not have receipts to submit for reimbursement, your remaining balance up to $500 will carry over into the 2017 plan year.  You will be able to use your remaining 2016 balance for out-of-pocket expenses incurred during the 2017 plan year.   


Student in Need

Remington Walls is a Land O' Lakes High School student. He has a rare disease that causes him to be allergic to all foods and has had to eat the same thing for every meal for 13 years. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help his family because his medicine is no longer covered under their insurance. Click here to learn more about Remington. 


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.


SeaWorld Orlando's Environmental Scholarship

SeaWorld Orlando’s Environmental Scholarship Program is now accepting applications from Florida high school seniors who share the organization’s passion for protecting and preserving the natural world. If selected, students will receive a one-time award of $5,000 to use at any college or university they plan to attend. Students must have at least a 3.0 GPA and create a short video that demonstrates their commitment to conservation or environmental issues. The video must be uploaded to YouTube and submitted on the SeaWorld website by Friday, March 31. The applications will be evaluated by representatives of SeaWorld’s Education and Conservation Department.  Judges will consider originality, creativity, content, organization, neatness and the general presentation of the application. To learn more and submit an application, interested students are encouraged to 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 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 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, One More Week

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 March 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 Tampa Bay Rays Tickets: Salute to Service Program

As part of the Tampa Bay Rays Salute to Service Program, they are offering all licensed teachers (K-12) free complimentary tickets, as well as other special discounted offers throughout the season. For teachers to be eligible for this program, they have to follow two easy steps:

  1. Click here and sign up for the newsletter.
  2. Sign up with, a third party verification service.


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



Public Information Officer Linda Cobbe, I just talked to Libby Rossman about the volunteer approval process. I am writing up some procedures for field trips for our Internal Accounts manual.  I was never really clear on how the chaperone approval proccess worked. Libby answered all of my questions and was a great help. -Internal Audit Director Mary H. Tillman, CPA, CIA, ARM

Superintendent Kurt Browning, We would like to bring to your attention two incredible administrators in Pasco County: Lacoochee Elementary School principal Latoya Jordan and assistant principal Sherri Dunham. Their dedication to the community, to our school and to the students is unheard of in this day and age. They are available after hours and on weekends for students, families and staff. Some of the things they do include: facilitate multiple small groups with students in ELA and Math, after school and Saturday tutoring, facilitate book/math clubs for students and act as mentors for students.  I can’t tell you how many times I see them meeting, tutoring and encouraging students throughout the day – even during their lunch time.  They are very rarely in their office because they are in classrooms working with students. As far as the staff, they are always willing to help plan with teams and attend PLC's. This school has always maintained an “all hands-on deck” philosophy and these two dedicated Administrators epitomize the phrase. -Lacoochee Elementary School faculty and staff

Superintendent Kurt Browning, I would like to give a big shout out to Principal Kim Davis at Gulf High School for her support of our Anclote High School baseball team. A recent theft resulted in the loss of more than $1200 worth of equipment, uniforms and baseballs for the team. We appreciate Mrs. Davis, and the Buccaneers, for their generous $200 donation, which will be used to assist with replacing these lost items. I would also like to thank Mr. Mark Fox and his staff, including Harvey Doers, for the incredible job they did in creating a secure storage space for our new Cambridge Program. They truly worked as a team to design an efficient space, which allowed AHS to meet all of the mandatory specifications. The customer service from the staff of Maintenance Services is always exceptional! -Michelle Williams, Anclote High School principal

Senator Tom Lee, who represents east Pasco County, shares his support for assessment and accountability reform.

R.B. Cox Elementary School's 90th Anniversary

Student Spotlight

Beau Mercier

Staff Spotlight

Andrea Maltese
2nd Grade Teacher
Moon Lake Elementary School

Click here to read her interview.


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.


Big Brothers Big Sisters Orientations

Are you interested in changing a life? Stop by an upcoming Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) orientation. These orientations will discuss BBBS's mission, goals, positive impact of mentorship, children served, program variety, requirements, commitment, and expectations.

  • Monday, March 13, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
    • Location: Rasmussen College, 18600 Fernview St., in Land O’ Lakes
  • Tuesday, March 28, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
    • Location: Wesley Chapel Honda, 27750 Wesley Chapel Blvd., in Wesley Chapel
  • Saturday, April 1, from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
    • Location: New Port Richey Recreation and Aquatic Center, 6630 Van Buren St., in New Port Richey

For more information, contact Deb Kristol-Irwin, Director of Partnership Development, at 813-997-6881, or visit their website.


Battle of the Belts

Please join Wesley Chapel High School in the 2017 “Battle of the Belts" Campaign! This annual campaign promotes awareness with student drivers and urges them to use their seat belts before driving. The campaign runs from March 13 to March 16, and includes:

  1. Pre and post survey of students observed wearing their safety belts before and after exiting the campus.
  2. 30-second public service announcement promoting safe driving and seatbelt safety.
  3. 500-word essay pertaining to safe and undistracted driving.
  4. Poster competition promoting the campaign.

Help us provide education vital to keeping our kids safe. 


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.


PVMS Incoming Year 1 Parent Night 

On March 28, Pine View Middle School is hosting a parent night for Connerton, Pine View, and Sanders Memorial STEAM Magnet elementary schools at 6:30 p.m. It will be an informational meeting to discuss Year 1 course cards and the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (IB MYP). Click here to learn more about IB MYP.


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!



MyArt/Works is a Pasco County Schools art specialists showcase. The exhibit is May 4 through 20, at the Center for the Arts at Wesley Chapel, and the closing reception is May 20, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Please come out and support these talented teachers! Click here to learn more.


#PascoTogether Summer Learning

There are three summer learning opportunities on the horizon:

  1. Together We Lead
  2. Together We Stand
  3. Together We Learn

Click here for more information.

Important Dates


  • 1-31: Irish American Heritage Month
  • 1-31: Music in Our Schools Month
  • 1-31: National Nutrition Month
  • 1-31: Women's History Month
  • 6-10: National School Breakfast Week
  • 16: End of 3rd Quarter
  • 17: No School - Teacher Planning Day
  • 19-25: No School - Spring Break
  • 19-25: National Poison Prevention Week