April 27, 2017

April 27, 2017

April 27, 2017

April 27, 2017

Superintendent's Message

Administrative Professionals' Week

Happy Administrative Professionals' Week! Thank you to our amazing staff who work in our schools and departments each and every day.


Union Contract Settlement Joint Statement

The District School Board of Pasco County and USEP are pleased to announce that we have agreed to settle the 2016-2017 contract.  Economic agreements have been signed for both the Instructional and Non-Instructional bargaining units. In addition, Leaves of Absence language was signed for the Non-Instructional bargaining unit. By redirecting the raise funds forfeited by the approximately 1100 employees who have left employment with the District prior to or during the 2016/2017 school year, the District was able to increase the total raise percentage for the remaining eligible employees to approximately 3.0%, retroactive to July 1, 2016. Also included in the proposed settlement are funds to provide a smaller cost-of-living adjustment for those teachers and SRP who did not earn a year of service credit during the 2015-2016 school year, and who are therefore not eligible for a full salary increase. The payment and increases outlined above will be provided retroactively to July 1, 2016, for current bargaining unit members employed on the date of Board ratification. However, such increases will not be provided to bargaining unit members who left the District prior to full ratification for any reason other than retirement. Information regarding the timelines and dates for employee ratification, as well as the dates when salary adjustments and retroactive payments will be paid will be made available in the coming days. The District and USEP agree that that the signed agreements represent what is in the best interest of all employees.


Legislative Update

We are in the waning days of the 2017 Legislative Session, but the House and Senate have yet to agree on a budget. Yesterday, Senate President Joe Negron announced that he and House Speaker Richard Corcoran had reached a budget deal, in principle. With respect to education, he indicated that:

  • $200 million would be allocated to "schools of hope," a program incentivizing out-of-state charter schools to expand in Florida in low-performing areas.
  • $200 million would be allocated to the "best and brightest" teacher scholarship program.
  • The required local effort (RLE) rate would be rolled back.
    • New construction has caused property values to increase. Instead of investing the increased revenue into K-12 public education, lawmakers would like to reduce the RLE rate as a property tax savings.
  • The Senate will take the House position on K-12 policy and budget issues.

I will provide a more detailed explanation of education policy and funding agreements after the legislative session adjourns, which is scheduled to be next Friday, May 5.


Teacher Appreciation Week

Teacher Appreciation Week is May 7 through May 13.  Click here to read the School Board proclamation from the April 18 board meeting. 


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 school-aged 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.



New Principals

Congratulations to the new principals and their new schools:

  1. Mr. Scott Atkins is accepting the West Zephyrhills Elementary principal position.
  2. Mrs. Christine Twardosz is recommended to move from Centennial Elementary to Sand Pine Elementary.
  3. Mrs. Gretchen Rudolph-Fladd is recommended to move from Veterans Elementary to Centennial Elementary.

These moves will happen at the end of May/beginning of June, pending school board approval, so that principals can finish out the school year in their current schools.


Outstanding Senior - Fivay High School

Congratulations to Ryan Savoldy, Fivay High School's Outstanding Senior!


Pasco Young Entrepreneurs Competition

‪Congratulations to the Pasco Young Entrepreneurs Competition winners:

Timothy Hernandez, First Place


Hannah White, Second Place


Jackson Rossi-Brij, Third Place


River Ridge High School - Royal Robotics Team

Congratulations to the River Ridge High School Royal Robotics Team, who took home the following awards this year:

  • Creativity Award - World Championships
  • Industrial Design Award - Lone Star North Regional Championship
  • Excellence in Engineering Award - Rocket City Regional Championship

The Royal Robotics team won 3 out of 5 possible awards. Incredible work for a team in only their second year!


Customer Appreciation Warehouse Sale

Scholastic Book Fairs is hosting a Big Event Warehouse Book Sale May 16 through May 17 at the Tampa Events Banquet Hall and Conference Center. The center is located at 13507 N. Nebraska Avenue, in Tampa. Here are the times the sale is available:

  • Tuesday, May 16: 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday, May 17: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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.


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.


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



Superintendent Browning, I would like send kudos to the entire kindergarten team at Veteran’s Elementary School and especially my granddaughter’s teacher, Ms. Trudel. I have watched my granddaughter grow both academically and socially this year. As a former kindergarten teacher, I am inspired by everything this wonderful group of teachers is sharing with their students. From watching cocoons turn into butterflies, planting seeds, dressing up like Dr. Seuss, celebrating Earth Day, having the leprechauns visit (and tying up Ms. Trudel), etc. to the standards based connections that are very evident in the learning taking place, I commend each and every one of you for keeping kindergarten the fun place that it should be in our children’s lives!  Thank you so much!! -Dawn Gilliland, Learning Design Coach, Charles S. Rushe Middle School

Help desk operators, thank you so much for your patience and help over the past few days.  The teachers at Watergrass have given me so much positive feedback about the efficiency and professionality of the help desk operators.  We appreciate you so much! -Julie Saez, Learning Design Coach, Watergrass Elementary School

Andrea Neff, thank you so much for this email and acknowledging the commitment of Vanessa Lefan Podkomorski.  Wiregrass Ranch High School and Pasco County Schools is really lucky to have her.  I will pass this along so that she can be recognized further. Thank you for all of your support and noticing her efforts. Teaching itself is a huge commitment, yet putting additional time in to organize such an Earth Day event and involve businesses and the community is an additional challenge.  How rewarding for those that were able to participate! -Laura Rulison-Lange, Program Coordinator-Science

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

The Wiregrass Ranch High Earth Club poses for a photo during their Earth Day event.

Longleaf Elementary School Volunteer

Brooke Byers

Student Spotlight

Bridget Berry

Staff Spotlight

Lisa Harris
1st Grade Teacher
Chester W. Taylor Elementary School

Click here to read her interview.


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
  • 23-29: Administrative Professionals Week
  • 28: Progress Reports


  • 7-13: National Teacher Appreciation Week
  • 9: National Teacher Day
  • 10: National Bike to School Day
  • 10: National School Nurse Day
  • 25-28: Graduation
  • 26: Students' Last Day
  • 29: Memorial Day - Closed
  • 30-31: Teacher Planning Days