Student safety is the number one priority in Pasco County Schools, and the presence of a qualified school safety professional in every school is the most important step toward enhancing student and staff safety. I appreciate the efforts of the Florida Legislature to enhance school safety, but the funding provided in SB 7026 is not sufficient to hire enough school resource officers to have one in every school, which is our preference among the choices in the law. Pasco County Schools currently has 37 SROs and needs 47 additional SROs in order to staff every school. Our total estimated cost to place an SRO in every school is $5,233,147, and we received a total allocation of $3,525,606, leaving a funding shortfall of $1,707,541. More funding is absolutely necessary, and my colleagues across Florida and I have asked the legislative leaders and Governor Scott to reallocate to districts for school safety the $64 million in funds the governor vetoed from the budget, if there is a special session. The lack of adequate funding, or clarity in what steps will be acceptable to meet the law’s requirements for securing schools, makes it difficult for us to move forward in planning for our children’s and staff’s safety. We are working on a plan, nevertheless, but there is nothing more important than keeping our schools safe, and I urge the legislature to do what is necessary so that school districts can put well-trained, qualified school safety professionals in every school. We will present more information about our options at a School Board workshop on Tuesday.
A ThoughtExchange program was launched on Monday April 2, for all stakeholders in Pasco County Schools. ThoughtExchange was built for people to share and rate ideas that increase stakeholder engagement and inform decisions. A ThoughtExchange allows participants to share thoughts and ideas with others and then rate thoughts and ideas that others share based on a five-star scale.
The ThoughtExchange will ask for thoughts and ideas in three areas: what you appreciate about Pasco County public schools, where schools can improve, and what programs best prepare students for future success. You should have received an email on Monday with the link and are able to access ThoughtExchange on your computer or mobile device. Participation in this exchange will be open until Friday, April 13. Click here to participate.
The national Take Your Sons and Daughters to Work day is scheduled for Thursday, April 26. As you know, that day falls during state testing.
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 on Thursday, April 26, AND the parent has prearranged the student’s absence with his or her principal and teacher(s). The age appropriateness of students participating is grades 1st through 8th.
District employees who wish to bring their son or daughter to work with them may do so on Monday, May 21. Employees also must prearrange their children’s absences with their principals and teachers if they plan to participate on May 21.
Help shape Pasco County’s future! The annual Pasco County citizen survey is officially opened and will be available through May 18. The citizen survey, first launched in 2009, is conducted every year to collect feedback on a variety of topics related to the future of Pasco County. Pasco County receives thousands of responses to the online citizen survey each year, which is intended to help the Pasco Board of County Commissioners with planning discussions and decision-making. To complete the survey click here. Results from previous citizen surveys are available here.
The Educator Passport program was established to connect you with local businesses that have generously agreed to offer special discounts to Pasco County Schools employees. To receive the discount or special offer from a participating business, simply show your employee ID badge. Is there a business you frequent and would like to see listed on the Educator Passport Program? Contact Debbie Hebert to request a business be added. New businesses are added regularlly, so check back often. Click here to see a list of current of offers.
Are you interested in improving your classroom skills and better managing your classroom? Do you want to branch out into new areas of expertise and enrich your students’ experiences? Florida Southern College is offering summer workshops that are designed to help you strengthen your delivery methods as well as your content knowledge. To register or for more information, click here.
Apex Training will be offered for high school teachers in need of professional development with the resource. The courses are available in myPGS (course #2035, section #12137). High school Apex training will be held on June 08, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. If you have questions, please contact Ramon Suarez.
Voya Unsung Heroes could help turn great ideas into reality for students. Each year, 100 finalists are selected to receive a $2,000 grant, payable to both the winning teacher and his or her school. Of the 100 finalists, three are selected for additional financial awards: $25,000 for first place; $10,000 for second place; and $5,000 for third place. The application deadline is April 30. Click here for more information and to apply.
Join Florida Southern College at one of their information sessions. Attendees will learn about bachelor's, master's, and doctorate degree programs in education. Click here for more information. If you are interested in attending, please RSVP here.
Florida State University (FSU) is offering an exciting opportunity for teachers to become school leaders by enrolling in a nationally recognized, fully online educational leadership program. FSU offers three levels: master’s (M.S.), specialist (Ed.S.), and certificate (non-degree seeking). Teachers can complete a state-approved program in two years, while they continue to teach full time. FSU students are top performers when compared with other educational leadership programs in Florida. The application deadline for the fall 2018 semester is June 1, so now is the perfect time to apply. Click here to apply and view other program details.
The April Grants Watch newsletter includes more than 25 grant opportunities in the areas of STEM, Literacy, Teaching Practice, Humanities, and other subject areas. Click here for a listing of grants, their requirements and deadlines.
Gulf Middle School presents "The Sound of Music"
Click here for performance times and locations.
Congratulations to Shyann Flagg and Logan Shipley from Pasco Middle School for being selected as the students of the week. They are both recipients of the Teen Trendsetters Excellence in Leadership and Service Award for being outstanding mentors to students at Pasco Elementary School.
The very talented Gulf Middle School theatre students will be performing the iconic "The Sound of Music". Performances will be at the Center for the Arts at River Ridge:
Click here to see a preview.
The Dr. John Long Middle School Best Buddies Chapter invites you to attend the Best Buddies Friendship Walk on April 21. The Best Buddies Friendship Walk is the number one walk in the country raising awareness and funds to support inclusion for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). When you walk with Best Buddies, you can expect to dance, laugh and smile and make a new friend. It will be one big party! But the best part? You’ll be growing your local Best Buddies programs dedicated to one-to-one friendships, leadership development, and integrated job opportunities for individuals with IDD. The walk will be at Contanchobee Fort Brooke Park, 601 Old Water Street, Tampa, FL. Check in will begin at 8 a.m. and the walk begins at 9 a.m. If you have questions, please contact Andi Walker. Click here to register.
Join Lacoochee Elementary School on Saturday, April 21, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., for their 5K Unity Color Run, a community wide family event celebrating diversity, good health and nutrition. Lacoochee Elementary is a small school with a BIG heart with its amazing Initiatives to help community families, promoting parental involvement in education. Participants will enjoy music, food, family friendly games, and lots of educational and interactive booths. The proceeds of this event will help support early college exposure for our students through college field trips, other activities that support educational opportunities, and incentives for staff and students. Contact Wanda DeLaRosa (813) 447-7981 for more information.
The Pasco County Schools PLACE program is joining with the National AfterSchool Association (NAA) to celebrate the professionals that are at the heart of afterschool programs. Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week begins April 23, and is a joint effort of community partners, afterschool programs, youth and child care workers, and individuals who have committed to dedicating time to recognize and appreciate those who work with youth during out-of-school hours. The week is marked by celebrations and public relations efforts to encourage people to thank afterschool professionals serving children in programs and organizations across the nation.
River Ridge Middle and High schools have colaborated to present the classic musical "Oliver!". Performances will be at the Center for the Arts at River Ridge:
Click here for more information.
Between preparing healthy meals, adhering to strict nutrition standards, navigating student food allergies, and offering service with a smile, school nutrition professionals are true heroes. On Friday, May 4, we will kick off School Nutrition Employee Week (May 7-11) with a bang, as we celebrate the 6th Annual School Lunch Hero Day! This day is to recognize and celebrate the hardworking professionals in your cafeteria, who fuel our emerging future leaders with the healthy meals that make a difference in their success.
Marjorie's Hope is all about giving hope to children through their back to school backpack program and clothes donation program. Marjorie's Hope is having their 2nd annual Quarter Auction on Saturday, May 5. The auction will be held at Seven Springs Golf & Country Club at 7 p.m. This is the last fundraising event before they fill backpacks in August. Their goal this year is to fill 4,000 backpacks. Donations for raffle baskets and business sponsorships will be accepted. Click here for information on the auction and here to learn more about Majorie's Hope.
Superintendent Browning, On April 3rd the Knights of Columbus, Council 8104, donated approximately $4,560, $1,140 each, to four of the schools in the district. The funds are designated for use by the special needs students in the four schools. We have done this is prior years, but this is the first time that someone from the district coordinated the entire morning. Michael Bailey, not only coordinated the entire process but traveled from school to school and ensured a very smooth process. You should be thankful that you have a dedicated staff member working for the district. The Knights of Columbus are glad that we have such a dedicated person working in the district. - Dick Loar
Superintendent Browning, The Early Childhood Program would like to thank George Papaemanual and his wonderful staff for hosting our School Readiness committee. This committee consisted of parents of incoming Kindergarten students and of community leaders. Mr. Papaemanual led a tour through Kindergarten classes. He also answered readiness questions and provided lunch for our committee. His office staff was very welcoming and our members had nothing but wonderful things to stay about the entire staff. Thank you MGES for making a difference in the lives of children. - Wendy Lane
Superintendent Browning, I would like to thank the fast-acting cafeteria staff and plant manager at West Zephyrhills Elementary who responded to a serious health issue yesterday during third grade lunch. From what I understand, a third grade student was choking on the yolk of an egg during her lunch. She was apparently observed by cafeteria staff who alerted David Whaley. Mr. Whaley had recently completed a CPR/AED class, and he observed that the child “had a red face and was having trouble breathing.” He then gave one abdominal thrust that did not seem to help. He repeated this, and “the egg yolk popped out.” The child was referred to the school clinic and assessed by the school nurse (RN). It was deemed that emergency services were not required. The parent was notified immediately, and, as a precaution, mother took her home for observation and to notify the pediatrician of the event.
I appreciate the alert and willing staff who likely saved the life of this child while in the course of their regular duties during the school day. KUDOS! - Kathy Browning
Superintendent Browning, As the parent of a current sixth grade gifted student and an incoming 6th grade gifted student next year I would like to share with you my desire for both of my children to remain at RRMS. We had the choice to "school choice to SSMS for gifted self-contained services but we chose to go to RRMS for our children to remain with their neighborhood peers. Sadly, many of our neighbors ended up electing school choice and our development was split.
We absolutely love Mrs. Murphy and the rest of the faculty and staff at RRMS. We have been welcomed with open arms and feel strongly that if the other residents in the neighborhood did the same, they too would be happy with school. The curriculum and experience have been very good.
The only problem we parents who sent our children to RRMS encountered all year was a terrible bus that broke down more than 3 times and we never had a permanent bus driver until this week. We and our children were very unhappy with this situation especially because the bus that took students to SSMS had both A/C and a permanent bus driver.
I am pleased to inform you that as a result of the our complaints that the district listened and acted in our favor to resolve the awful bus situation we dealt with for the majority of the year and changed our bus and bus driver. A special thank you to Elizabeth Kuhn, the Assistant Superintendent for Support Services, who put the ball in motion to help us get a permanent bus and route. It has made all the difference and we hope that if we are zoned to RRMS next year we will be granted this nice air conditioned bus and permanent bus driver again. Thank you for all that you do and for taking the time to hear from your constituents. - Monica Stanton