April 7, 2016

April 7, 2016

April 7, 2016

April 7, 2016

Superintendent's Message

The boardroom renovation is complete, and I’d like to thank the amazing, talented Maintenance staff for their quality workmanship.  I’d especially like to recognize the cabinet makers who built the new dais.  Staff from Communications and Government Relations, Construction Services, and OTIS contributed their considerable talents to completing the much needed updates to the aesthetics and technology in the room.  We also added some security measures to the lobby and boardroom areas.  Access to Building 3 will only be through the north door, unless your name badge includes access to that building.  Anyone who invites guests to a board meeting should direct them to enter through the north entrance so they don’t have to walk around the building.  The only access to the boardroom now is through the main entrance on the north side of the room.


Rayann Mitchell

Congratulations to Rayann, Mitchell, our new Office for Teaching and Learning Director! Rayann was approved by the School Board at this week's board meeting. She takes over for Steve Williams, who recently was chosen as principal for Wiregrass Elementary School.

Land O’ Lakes Students Earn Regional Science Award

Colby Tomasello and Clay Kenney, ninth graders at Land O’ Lakes High School, recently won the Toshiba/National Science Teachers Association (NTSA) ExploraVision Regional Award for their “Recharge Roadways” proposed prototype.Colby and Clay joined Joshua Burke from Jesuit High School to form a team that presented “Recharge Roadways” as a renewable energy resource for electric vehicles. Their proposal repurposes roadways to function as a continuous recharging mechanism.Bob Greenhalgh, Toshiba USA Business Solutions president, presented each team’s members, teacher, and mentor with a Toshiba 8GB Excite tablet and a framed certificate. He also presented Principal Ric Mellin with a plaque and a Toshiba laptop. For more information, please click here.

Pasco Students Haul in STEM Awards

Pasco Regional Science and Engineering Fair students won several awards at the 61st Annual State STEM Fair, held from last Thursday and Friday in Lakeland. Out of the district’s 24 state participants, 14, or 58 percent, placed or earned awards provided by regional fairs and event sponsors. Overall, Pasco students were recognized in the following state categories:

  • Mathematics and Computational Sciences
    • First Place: Pranav Warman, Academy at the Lakes
  • Engineering
    • Second Place: Achyudhan Kutuva, Dr. John Long Middle School
    • Third Place: Charles Reedy, Crews Lake Middle School
    • Fourth Place: Alyssa Perez, Centennial Middle School
  • Physics and Astronomy
    • Third Place: Roshan Warman, Academy at the Lakes
    • Fourth Place: Sarah Menard, Charles S. Rushe Middle School
  • Cellular/Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
    • Fourth Place: Anmol Warman, Academy at the Lakes
  • Animal Sciences
    • Fourth Place: Riya Choksi, Seven Springs Middle School
  • Behavioral and Social Science
    • Honorable Mention: Katie McCormick, Academy at the Lakes
  • Biomedical and Health Sciences
    • Recognition Award: Regan McCormick, Academy at the Lakes
  • Chemistry
    • Recognition Award: Drew Burgess, Charles S. Rushe Middle School
  • Earth and Environmental Science
    • Honorable Mention: Madeline Murch, Bishop Larkin Catholic School
  • Special Awards
    • Neto Coulbaly, Wiregrass Ranch High School
      • Suwannee Valley Regional Science and Engineering Fair - $25 Award
    • Achyudhan Kutuva, Dr. John Long Middle School
      • Broadcom Masters Certificate and nominated
    • Madeline Murch, Bishop Larkin Catholic School
      • American Meteorological Association
    • Sarah Menard, Charles S. Rushe Middle School
      • Association for Women Geoscientists Foundation Certificate
    • Viraj Patel, J.W. Mitchell High School
      • Florida Association for Science Supervisors - $50 Award
    • Charles Reedy, Crews Lake Middle School
      • Office of Naval Research Medallion and Certificate
    • Pranav Warman, Academy at the Lakes
      • Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services - $200 Award
      • Intel Excellence in Computer Science - $200 Award
      • Mu Alpha Theta Certificate

For more information on these students' accomplishments, click here.

Calling All R.B. Cox Elementary Alumni

R.B. Cox Elementary School is preparing for their 90th Year Celebration for alumni, current students, families, and the Dade City community, and has requested photos, memories, and alumni interested in being interviewed for a montage video. Founded in 1926 as Dade City Grammar School, the school was renamed after Superintendent and former Principal Rodney B. Cox after he lost his battle with cancer in 1973.The school will have several celebrations throughout the year. Their first event will be the 90th Year Celebration Kickoff on Friday, September 30, at R.B. Cox Elementary School. If you would like to share photos, memories, or be interviewed, please email rbces90@gmail.com. For more information about the 90th Year Celebration, please visit their Facebook page or contact Margaret “Megan” Fortunato at 352-524-5100.


2016 Pasco Education Foundation Employee Scholarships

The employee scholarship application is now open and will be available until Sunday, May 1. Since there is no option to save and continue later, applications must be completed in one session. Click here to submit an Employee Scholarship Application. The Pasco Education Foundation believes that we must support efforts to retain the best and brightest staff members in our schools. Our Employee Scholarship program provides financial assistance to employees who want to further their education to better serve the needs of our students.


Together We Stand Video

This year’s Together We Stand Summit is celebrating Diversity.  We will be acknowledging and showcasing the diversity in Pasco County with a video montage.  We are asking for any interested staff member, student, community member, and/or family member that wants to share their perspective and story about diversity to contact Jenna Sage with questions or to schedule a possible interview.


Take Your Child to Work Day

This post is intended to offer guidance in reference to Take Your Sons & Daughters to Work day.  Site administrators have the final say whether students should miss a day of school to go to work with their parents.  The national Take Your Sons and Daughters to Work day is scheduled for Thursday, April 28. That day falls during state end-of-course exams.  With this in mind, we will use the same process we’ve used the past couple of years for parents who wish to take their children to work with them at their place of employment outside the district.  A principal has the discretion to allow a parent to take his or her son or daughter out of school to participate in the national event if the student does not have a scheduled EOC exam on Thursday, April 28, AND the parent has prearranged the student’s absence with his or her principal and teacher(s).  District employees who wish to bring their son or daughter to work with them may do so on Friday, May 27.  Employees also must prearrange their children’s absences with their principals and teachers if they plan to participate on May 27. They also must get approval from their site administrator. Schools and departments should use their newsletters and other platforms for communicating with parents to let them know their responsibilities.


Library of Congress Announces Two Educational Grant Opportunities

The Library of Congress today announced two grant opportunities in the areas of teaching and professional development:

Coursework, Curriculum and Educational Strategies

Up to $3.2 million will be made available to multiple grantees to conduct at least one of the following:

  • Design and deliver high-quality professional development or academic coursework related to the general inquiry-based use of primary sources;
  • Create, test, revise and publish high-quality curriculum that combines the use of primary sources with accepted pedagogy and standards used to teach in a specific curricular area(s); and
  • Create a training providers’ curriculum by investigating the use of primary sources in K-12 classrooms, and the efficacy of Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) program content, policies and delivery.

The application deadline is May 20. For more information, application requirements, and selection criteria, click here.

Funds Available to Create Apps on Congress and Civics

Additionally, $950,000 will be made available to one or more grantees to support the development of engaging web- and mobile-based applications on the subjects of Congress and civic participation, for use in the classroom. The application deadline is May 24. For more information, application requirements, and selection criteria, click here.



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, and 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.

Special Olympics 5K Fun Run

The Special Olympics 5K Fun Run will be held on Saturday, April 9, at the New Port Richey Recreation and Aquatic Center. Overview:

  • Friday, April 8
    • Packet Pickup: 5:30-7 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 9
    • 5K: 8 a.m.
      • Adult Fees: $30
      • Student (22U) Fees: $20
    • 1 Mile Walk: 8:45 a.m.
      • Fees: $5.00/person or $10/family (max 5)

Waivers will be available at pre-registration or day of the race. Make all checks payable to Special Olympics Florida-Pasco County. For more information, please contact Val Lundin.

3rd Annual Family Fun Cyclone Run

Centennial Middle School's 3rd Annual Family Fun Cyclone Run will be held on Saturday, April 16, at Centinnel Middle School, 38505 Centennial Road, in Dade City. The 5K begins at 8 a.m. and the 1 mile family fun run starts at 9 a.m. All proceeds will be going toward Centinnial Middle School's program and activity fundraising goals. After the races, there will be music, food, drinks, and awards. Click here to register and choose "3rd Annual Family Fun Cyclone Run." For more information, check out the event flyer or visit the event website.

2nd Annual 5K Color Run

Sunray Elementary School's 2nd Annual 5K Color Run will be held on Saturday, April 16, at Gulf High School, 5355 School Road, in New Port Richey. During this color run, only liquid color spray will be used. The participant fee is $25, which includes race bib and t-shirt. However, you must register by April 4 to secure your shirt. Sunray's own Girls Running and the Boys "Run Hard" clubs are scheduled to participate. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and the race starts at 9 a.m. For more information, including registration forms and payment, please visit Sunray Elementary School’s website.

Pasco County Night with the Rowdies

Pasco County Night with the Rowdies will take place on Saturday, April 23 at 7:30 p.m. at Al Lang Stadium in Downtown St. Petersburg. The night includes discounted tickets ($15 sideline upper)*, video board recognition, free postgame autograph session for children, and a Rowdies player appearance for the school with the most tickets sold. $5 from each ticket sold will go to the Pasco Education Foundation. The purchase deadline is April 15. Click here to order tickets. 
*Tickets have a $26 retail value.

Corrected Date: 18th Annual Special Olympics Florida Golf Tournament

The 18th Annual Special Olympics Florida Golf Tournament is a four person scramble and will be held on Saturday, May 14, at the Lexington Oaks Golf Club. The Lexington Oaks Golf Club is located at 26133 Lexington Oaks Blvd., in Wesley Chapel. Check-in begins at 12 p.m. and there is a 1 p.m. shotgun start. The participation fee is $65 and is tax deductible. It also includes green fees, cart, range balls, goody bag, raffle ticket, and a buffet dinner. Registrations must be received by May 6. Please print, complete, and send the registration form, with a check (payable to Special Olympics Florida - Pasco County) to:

Special Olympics Florida - Pasco County
Attn: Judy Brunner
38203 Henry Dr.
Zephyrhills, FL 33541
Phone: 813-794-6476 Fax 813-794-6438



Deer Park Elementary School would like to thank two district maintenance employees, Wayne Chin and Robert Frankowski, for quickly assisting one of our custodians, Frank Vanderhoef, who was hurt at work.  Great job, guys! -DPES Staff and Assistant Principal Megan Hermansen

Superintendent Browning, I wanted to recognize an outstanding OT named Susan Gedney.  She has by far gone above and beyond for one of our students at Chester W. Taylor Elementary School.  The Wednesday before break we received notice that one of our students that we were in the process of evaluating was losing their housing and would be moving over spring break.   After hearing this, she rearranged her schedule and showed up on Friday.  She called the mom, finished the evaluation, and wrote the IEP!!  The whole time she was super professional and gave pointers to me and his other teacher.  Several people have all worked together to try to have this student stay with us at Chester Taylor but it is so nice to know that he will get what he needs wherever he goes.  I have told her thank you but she simply stated "this is her job and no thank you needed". She saw the need and gave her all to help this student without hesitation.  Even though she is only at CWTES a few times a month, she is a wonderful member of our CWTES team and we are thankful to have her work with our students. -Rachell Brown, 2nd grade, Chester W. Taylor Elementary

Dr. Toni Zetzsche, My name is Carli and I am a ninth grader here at River Ridge High School. I am currently in Ms. Busch’s Advanced Placement Human Geography class. I was hoping to inform you of what a magnificent teacher Ms. Busch has been, making my freshman year a whole lot better, in the hope that she may get some well deserved recognition. As you can imagine, transitioning from middle school to high school was pretty scary, not to mention taking an AP class right out of the gate...She provides what I have found to be immensely beneficial, study tips to help you improve your study habits in order to be more successful in an AP level class...In teaching, Ms. Busch is second to none...Being in Ms. Busch’s class has also made me a better student overall. She helps us become better studiers as well as supplying test taking strategies to help us analyze the test and do our very best...She makes our learning seem relevant and fun...I am being completely truthful when I say being 36 days away from the AP Human Geography college board exam, I’m not worried… all thanks to Ms. Busch. She has been the most dedicated, organized, and respectful teacher, I’ve ever had. I would even go as far as saying she is the best teacher Overall, Ms. Busch is extremely hardworking and an incredible teacher, a teacher I consider myself incredibly lucky to have had the privilege of having taught me...I consider her a role model in my life...-Carli, ninth grade student, River Ridge High School

River Ridge Middle School drama students perform as Captain Hook and his pirates.

Unmanned Aerial Systems at Zephyrhills High School

Student Spotlight

Sarah Mann
Zephyrhills High School

Click here to read her interview.