April 21, 2017

April 21, 2017

April 21, 2017

April 21, 2017

Superintendent's Message

Legislative Update

There are approximately two weeks left in legislative session, but major policies are still being negotiated between both chambers. Some of the major policies include:

  • Mandatory sharing of local millage revenue with charter schools
  • Assessments and accountability changes
    • Paper/pencil option
    • Elimination of certain end-of-course (EOC) exams
    • Overlapped testing windows
  • Best and Brightest teacher scholarships
  • Turnaround/DA schools
  • Standard, model contract for new charter applications

Next week, we expect both chambers to enter into budget conference. Budget conference involves negotiations on funding silos, like education, and evenutally, the entire budget. It can include everything from funding for local charities to funding tied to major legislation. As session moves toward its conclusion, district staff, the School Board, and I will remain engaged with our lawmakers regarding these and other important education issues.


Attention All Employees

Employees Impacted by Summer Hours

Click here for the 2017 Summer Hours memo that includes dates and other important information about working extended hours, summer dress, and the week of July 4. If you are not impacted by summer hours, please disregard. 


Take Your Sons & Daughters to Work Day

The national Take Your Sons and Daughters to Work day is scheduled for Thursday, April 27.  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 27, 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 Monday, May 22.  Employees also must prearrange their children’s absences with their principals and teachers if they plan to participate on May 22. Schools should use their newsletters and other platforms for communicating with parents to let them know their responsibilities.  We hope this helps you as you work with parents to meet their needs while assuring that your schools are free from disruptions during these important tests.


myPascoConnect Passwords

The Office for Technology and Information Services (OTIS) began expiring all employees' myPascoConnect passwords starting Thursday, March 30, and will continue to do so over a 4-week period. Do not change your password until you are prompted. This only affects employee passwords and not student passwords. This also has not affected your Office 365 or email password. The new passwords now 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.)


Warning - Phishing Scams

Please take a moment to read this District Administration article.  It explains what phishing scams are and how you may be at risk to have your personal data stolen. Please be cautious about opening emails that come from senders that you do not recognize.


Supervision and Support Structures Guide

Click here for our district's Supervision and Support Structures guide. It contains new information about our assistant superintendents' roles and focus areas.


Grand Opening: Surplus Store

On Wednesday, April 26, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Pasco County Schools Surplus Store will have its grand opening at 7301 Land O' Lakes Blvd., Building 1, in Land O' Lakes. The surplus store has a vast inventory of supplies no longer needed by the school district. Stop by to find deals you will not get anywhere else! Click here to learn more.


Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Thousands of people are killed in distraction-affected crashes in the United States every year. Distractions not only endanger drivers—anything that diverts a driver’s attention also puts passengers and everyone else sharing the road at serious risk. The best way to end distracted driving is through education. Please take a moment to learn more about the dangers of distracted driving and don’t let you or your loved ones become another statistic. Distractions while driving include:

  • Texting
  • Using a cell phone or smartphone
  • Eating and drinking
  • Talking to passengers
  • Grooming
  • Reading, including maps
  • Using a navigation system
  • Watching a video

The fight to end distracted driving starts with YOU. Let’s all make a decision to be safer and…Don’t Text and Drive. Click here to download Sprint's DriveFirst technology for your Android smartphone.


Employee Opportunities

Teacher Technology Summer Institute

St. Leo University is accepting applications for their Teacher Technology Summer Institute (TTSI). Applications are available here, and letters of support from principals should be emailed to Holly Atkins. Contact Holly Atkins, associate professor of education, at 352-588-8386 with questions. Click here to view their flyer.


Exceptional Student Education–Extended School Year (ESE-ESY) Employment Interest

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, school districts must provide extended school year (ESY) services if a student requires those services in order to maintain progress during the regular school year.  In an effort to adequately allocate for appropriate extended school year services, we would like to create a database of qualified staff interested in teaching Exceptional Student Education–Extended School Year (ESE-ESY) this summer. If you have an interest in providing ESE-ESY services, please complete the online survey by Friday, April 21.  The information will only assist with identifying potential staff for ESE-ESY.  Please complete the information by clicking here.  Completing this in no way will obligate you at this time.  For questions or assistance, please contact Michael Bailey.


Wanted: Reading Endorsement Course Facilitators

The Office for Teaching and Learning is currently seeking facilitators for our reading endorsement courses. Facilitators should have reading certification or reading endorsement on their teaching certificate, three years of successful ELA or reading classroom teaching experience, as well as the skill set necessary to work with adults in an online or blended course format. Please click here for more information.


Title I Committee of Practitioners Application

The Florida Department of Education is recruiting new members for the Title I Committee of Practitioners (COP). The membership includes: public school principals, teachers, school leaders, local educational agency representatives, administrators, specialized instructional support personnel, paraprofessionals, charter agencies, charter school leaders, career and technical educators, private school representatives, parents and members of local school boards. The appointees will advise the department on carrying out its responsibilities for implementing the provisions of Title I. Click here to learn more about the committee.


Employee Scholarships

The 2017 Pasco Education Foundation Employee Scholarship applications are now open and will be available until Sunday, April 30. Applications must be completed in one session because there is no option to save and continue later.  The application should take 30 minutes to complete. Click here to begin an employee scholarship application. The Pasco Education Foundation believes in supporting efforts to retain the best and brightest staff members in our schools. Its program provides financial assistance to employees who want to further their education to better serve the needs of our students. For further information, or if you have any questions please contact Caitlin Sadler at 813-794-2705.


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:

  • Click here and sign up for the newsletter.
  • Sign up with ID.me, 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 and 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.


St. Leo Prodigy - Free Cultural Arts Program

Prodigy is a year round cultural arts program offered at no cost to Pasco students grades 1-12, and ages 6-18, at various locations throughout Pasco County under a grant administered by St. Leo University. Prodigy's mission is to use art as a means for students to reach within themselves in order to understand and express their inner thoughts, feelings and values. Art becomes a vehicle for self-exploration. Self-expression, through the creation of art, is tied to building interpersonal skills. Ultimately, the Prodigy model seeks to stimulate and promote creativity and cultural expression among youth to ensure that they not only thrive, but prosper within their cultural context. Prodigy has an open enrollment policy, which means that a student may enroll any time throughout the year. Children are not permitted to participate in Prodigy classes until the Prodigy office has confirmed all registration information. Children in the Prodigy Program are expected to participate independently and function in multi-aged, multi-sized groups. See below for:

If you have any other questions or concerns, contact Cheryl Otero at 352-588-7425.


Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week

The National Afterschool Association's Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week is April 24 through April 28. Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week 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. 

How can I thank an afterschool professional?

  • Declare on social media: I appreciate the afterschool professionals who make a difference in the life of a child. #heartofafterschool
  • Give a hand written card from you and/or your child to the afterschool professional in your life.
  • Send an email to an afterschool professional’s supervisor describing why that person is appreciated.
  • Make treats for the staff at your afterschool program.
  • Join the movement by donating your social media influence.

For more information about Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week, click here.


School Volunteer Appreciation Month


Kindergarten Registration


Pasco County Government



PIO Linda Cobbe, I experienced another great example of Pasco school team work. The FNS department was experiencing network drops of their vending sale attempts for credit cards and account sales at SLHS and other schools. Cashless sales (credit card and account) now approximate 50% of all vending machines sales which are projected to exceed $1.2 million this school year. The network drops were starting to have a devastating effect on total vending sales. The FNS team of Maureen Cerreta, FNS finance specialist and Jorge Pejot, FNS vending technician worked with the OTIS team of Tony Scudiero, network analysis, Dustin Lester, network analysis, Chris Contrabasso, technology services specialist and Jose Pujol, technology services technician guided by Josh Nelson, manager technology services along with the vendor for vending technology Cal Bauer, CEO VendNovation. The teams prioritized, collaborated on possible causes, analyzed data-both financial and technical, strategically eliminated  plausible causes, tested a potential solution and then celebrated the fix! The solution is efficient, economical and can be replicated at all cost centers. -Richard P. Kurtz, Consultant

I cannot tell you how excited the NTA students were as they left Hudson Elementary School yesterday. They absolutely loved the day at HES. They also are so inspired to be teachers and coaches. The dialogue when we got back was all about the HES kids. I love when they call them by name and are truly concerned about the kids’ futures. I want to personally applaud HES. My students have worked in 5 elementary schools this year, and I have never seen the degree of grow that has taken place at HES. Being a student at HES is something kids should be very proud of. I believe this school score will go up significantly. The “Magnificent seven” 3rd grade teachers have been such great models for my students this year. Our conversations in the NTA include phrases such as, “Mr. Abrams would do….,” or “Mrs. Weber says…” or, “ I like how Mr. Cashman does…” Thank you all for being exemplary role models for my students...I hope the NTA “inspires the desire to teach” everyday!  -Beth Hess, New Teacher Academy, River Ridge High School

Events and Kudos sections are copied verbatim from their submission, with minimal, if any, alteration.

These Odyssey of the Mind state winning teams will be headed to the world finals at Michigan State University in May.

Richey Elementary School Volunteer

Tracy LaGreco

Student Spotlight

Nick Wrage

Staff Spotlight

Lisa Browning
Cafeteria Manager
Chester W. Taylor Elementary School

Click here to read her interview.


Last Day to Purchase Tickets: The Kennedy Family Benefit

The family of Adam Kennedy, the late principal of Crews Lake Middle School, is holding a benefit in his honor. The benefit will be hosted at the Connerton Clubhouse on Saturday, April 22, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., and will raise funds for his children's future, education, and general expenses. There will be entertainment for the entire family including music, bounce house, balloon artist, giveaways and more! Tickets will not be sold at the door, and must be purchased online here by Friday, April 21. There is also an option to donate to the family's fund.


Drive "Fore" Bulls

The Wiregrass Ranch High School boys basketball team is having a fundraiser, Drive "Fore" Bulls, on Sunday, April 23, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Pebble Creek Golf Club. Registration begins at 10 a.m. The cost per player is $70, or $260 per foursome. Please submit payment directly to WRHS front office. Make checks payable to WRHS Boosters and please include a phone number and address. If you have any questions please contact Denise Nicholas. Click here for more information.


Fivay's LEO Appreciation Night

Fivay High School is hosting a Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) Appreciation Night during the Fivay-Zephyrhills baseball game on Wednesday, April 26, beginning at 7 p.m. Sheriff Chris Nocco and Cpl./SRO Jim Derner will be throwing out the first pitch. If you are interested in donating to help with the event, please contact Cpl. Pedro Leos at 727-246-4000.


Taste of Pasco

Leadership Pasco's Class of 2017 is hosting Taste of Pasco, their annual fundraiser, on Saturday, April 29, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Safety Town Concourse Pavilion. This annual event will feature food from local restaurants, kids' activities, and raffle prizes. Proceeds will benefit Sunrise of Pasco, a rape and domestic violence shelter. Tickets are $25, and children 12 and under are free. If you would like tickets, please contact Christine Pejot at 813-794-2353. For more information, please click here.



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


Special Olympics - Pasco County 19th Annual Golf Tournament

The Special Olympics - Pasco County 19th Annual Golf Tournament and four person scramble is being held at the Fox Hollow Golf Club on Saturday, May 6. Check-in begins at 12:30 p.m. and there is a 1:30 p.m. shotgun start. Tickets are $75/per person (tax deductible) and include green fees, cart, range balls, goody bag, raffle ticket, and buffet dinner. Registration is due May 1. Please click here for more information. If you have questions, contact Valerie Lundin at 727-774-3062.


#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


  • 1-30: National Autism Awareness Month
  • 16-22: National Student Leadership Week
  • 17-21: Public School Volunteer Week
  • 22: Earth Day
  • 23-29: Administrative Professionals Week
  • 26: Administrative Professionals Day
  • 28: Progress Reports