March 16, 2017

March 16, 2017

March 16, 2017

March 16, 2017

Spring Break is the week of March 20-24. There is no school for students on Friday, March 17th. It is a Teacher Planning Day.


Superintendent's Message

Legislative Update

I have been in Tallahassee this week to share Pasco's legislative priorities with our state leaders. There has been a greater focus on higher education issues this year, but there are still some K-12 issues worth engaging. Here are a few of the issues that have been moving recently:

Attention All Employees

To comply with the state auditor's requirements, The Office for Technology and Information Services (OTIS) will be expiring all employees' myPascoConnect passwords starting Thursday, March 30, and continuing over a 4-week period. This will only affect employee passwords and not student passwords. This will also not be affecting your Office 365 or email password. The new passwords will have a 90-day life and will need to be changed every 90 days.

Your new password must be at least 8 characters long and cannot be the same password you currently have. Your new password must also contain at least 3 of the following:

  • Uppercase characters
  • Lowercase characters
  • Digits 0-9
  • Special characters (! @ # $ etc.)


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).


U.S. Marine Corps Band Concert

The U.S. Marine Corps Band is required to visit each United States quadrant on an annual basis. Pasco County was chosen for the southeast quadrant at the request of Congressman Gus Bilirakis. They will perform in front of the Dade City Historic Courthouse, where students can ask the musicians questions or request marches to be played. Attendees can bring blankets to sit on the grass and lawn chairs to sit on the sidewalk and street, which will be closed.  After the concert, the Marines will mingle with attendees. The band also will be featured in the Chasco Street Parade on March 25, followed by a concert in Sims Park that is open to the public. Prior to the parade, they will perform a private concert for school bands, JROTC units, and student groups. Attached is a flyer for the Dade City concert. Click here for more information.


Employee Opportunities

UWF Meeting Annoucement

Pasco County educators are invited to register for an upcoming University of West Florida (UWF) online informational meeting to learn more their regionally and NCATE-accredited online degrees. Their programs are provided at reduced rates, including district partner tuition rates. The session will take place on Wednesday, March 29, at 4:30 p.m. and will review UWF's degree programs, GRE waiver, admission requirements, financial aid, and loan forgiveness options. The following programs will be offered:

  • M.Ed. in Educational Leadership
    • Shortest online Ed Leadership program in the state
  • M.Ed. in Instructional Design & Technology
    • No teaching certificate required
  • Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) in Curriculum & Instruction
    • Three specialization options
  • Doctorate (Ed.D.) in Curriculum & Instruction/Curriculum & Assessment
    • Only FL state university to offer a fully 100% online doctoral degree

If you cannot join the online meeting, but would like more information, please contact Casey Berman at 727-515-3607. Click here to register.


New EdD Program at USF

The University of South Florida has a new education doctorate (EdD) program specializing in Educational Innovation. It has been very popular with Pinellas educators, and applications will be accepted for the upcoming fall cohort until May 15. If you have questions, please contact J. Howard Johnston, Ph.D., Department of Teaching and Learning and Program Coordinator, at 813-240-2620, or visit the program's website. Click here to view their program flyer.


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.



PIO Linda Cobbe, I just wanted to share how much I value Andy Dunn’s work to capture and share the positive life of GMS and Pasco County students.  He is truly a valued member of our school community. -Principal Jason Joens, Gulf Middle School

Superintendent Kurt Browning, I just have to send a bragging email to you about your wife [Kathy Browning], on how wonderful she has been, which I know you already know this smile.  Since last year Kathy has been coming to Cotee to mentor our new nurses and has stepped in this year while our nurse is on  maternity.  Kathy works tirelessly to help us out and other schools in order to make sure our students get the proper care they need.  Regardless of the time of day, Kathy is there to respond to any questions, clarifications or concerns.  We truly appreciate her commitment to our students and could not have managed the past couple of years without her help! -Principal Sharon Sacco Slusser, Cotee River Elementary

PIO Linda Cobbe, I would like to give a shout out to Ms. Dana Levy a teacher and Odyssey of the Mind School Coordinator and Mr. Jason Joens, Principal at Gulf Middle School.  They are both dedicated to the students. Ms. Levy volunteers a lot of her time in assisting the school and helping to run the OotM program and Mr. Joens showed his dedication and support to the students by taking time on the weekend to attend the teams performance.  The students were honored to have him there the parents we were touched by his dedication and commitment to the school and students.   They are both reasons we love Gulf Middle School! -Andrea Morrow, Parent Involvement Coordinator, Mittye P. Locke Elementary School

James M. Marlowe Elementary students enjoyed their day at the One Community Hunger Walk at Gulf High School.

Tour of Rodney B. Cox Elementary

Student Spotlight

Kelvine Moyers

Staff Spotlight

Christina Moser
Field Service Specialist
Transportation Central

Click here to read her interview.


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.

  • 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.


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:

  • Together We Lead
  • Together We Stand
  • 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
  • 16: End of 3rd Quarter
  • 17: No School - Teacher Planning Day
  • 19-25: No School - Spring Break
  • 19-25: National Poison Prevention Week