May 19, 2016

May 19, 2016

May 19, 2016

May 19, 2016

Superintendent's Message

Last Friday, I joined district and community/business leaders on a career center tour organized by CTE Director Terry Aunchman and his staff as part of the Ford Motor Company’s Ford Next Generation Learning (Ford NGL) education project.  My group toured the New Media & Communications and Engineering academies at River Ridge High School.  Another group visited the Automotive Technology and Digital Media (TV) Production academies at Wesley Chapel High School, and the third group visited the Aeronautics, Robotics, Finance, and Health academies at Sunlake High School.  Ford NGL is a community-driven learning program that gives young people work-based experience during high school to prepare them to graduate career- and college-ready.  These tours completed Pasco County Schools’ second phase of this innovative learning program.  In phase 3 we will begin implementation, which will involve developing a master plan for achieving our community-driven vision for transforming our career preparation programs and strengthening our systems, structures, processes and competencies to successfully implement the plan and guide continuous improvement.


Career and Technical Education (CTE) Students of the Year

Each year, secondary schools are invited to nominate an outstanding student. Criteria include overall grade point average and grade point average within the CTE program, participation in the co-curriculat Career and Technical Student Organization as well as achievements in CTSO competitions and officer positions. Students complete an essay discussing their career goals and the role of CTE in achieving their goals.  The supervisors of CTE interview student finalists and a final selection is made. The middle school winner is Camryn Farquhar, Thomas E. Weightman Middle School. The high school winner is Christopher Brown, Zephyrhills High School.


Family and Community Involvement Awards

Each year, Pasco County Schools select one elementary school and one secondary school that demonstrates exemplary practices in the area of family and community engagement.  These award winners are then entered into the Florida Dept. of Education Family & Community Engagement contest. The Pasco Parent Involvement Award and the Florida Department of Education/Florida Parent Teacher Association Family and Community Involvement Award is recognizing regional winners:

  • Fox Hollow Elementary - Hollow Diner
  • Zephyrhills High School - Weekend Backpack Program and Bulldog Boutique


Florida Arts Model School

The Florida Alliance for Arts Education (FAAE) recently recognized 14 Florida public schools as Florida Arts Model Schools. Longleaf Elementary School was named a Florida Arts Model School in both art and music for offering Mini Majors, which is an exploratory arts wheel.


Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) Awards

The School Board recognized Pasco student athletes who were named state champions for the 2015-2016 school year. Individual and team sports have had a successful season in Pasco schools.  The Board recognizes athletes who excel at the state level and honors the student athletes for their achievements.


Florida's Learn to Save Challenge

It's never to early to start saving for the future. Florida's "Learn to Save" Challenge encourages students to show how financial literacy is important to them. Students were asked to submit a public service announcement video that outlines show financial literacy impacts them.  James Jacobs, regional representative for Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, presented plaques to first-place winners Wiregrass High School students Jordan Hanna (l) and Kobe Peralta.


Florida's Positive Behavior Support Project - Model School Awards

Florida’s Positive Behavior Support Project recognizes Model Schools at the Bronze, Silver, and Gold levels.  Schools may choose to apply for any level award. Each Model School receives a certificate and recognition on Florida’s Positive Behavior Support Project web site.  New model schools also receive a banner to display their award status, and returning model schools receive a sticker to add to their existing banner. 

The following schools have been selected as PBS:MTSS Model Schools for 2014-2015:

  • New River Elementary (Gold)
  • Cypress Elementary (Gold)
  • Oakstead Elementary (Gold)


Attention: 198-day Employees

An alert employee noticed that the calendar posted on the Calendar website included incorrect information about 2016-2017 pre-planning days for 198-day employees.  Pre-planning is August 8 to 12, and students return to school on August 15.


National Mental Health Awareness Month



Good Morning Centennial Middle School (CENMS) Educators, I wanted to take a moment to express our appreciation on behalf of the Mack family for your leadership and guidance throughout the year our son has attended CENMS. This was our first year with CENMS and it has lived up to its mission! As the school year draws to a close I thought it was important to let you know that CENMS is very fortunate to employ educators like you. During this school year each of you within your respective roles has demonstrated consistently professionalism, guidance and support to our son and family, and for that we appreciate all you do. -The Mack Family

Transportation Services Director Gary Sawyer, it certainly is a busy time of year in school, but I wanted to make time to send an email of appreciation regarding the driver of bus C347.  Each morning I leave my house in Wesley Chapel and attempt to leave my neighborhood and arrive at work on time.  My son is a high school student and rides with me to school each day at ZHS.  On numerous occasions my son and I have talked about how awesome it is that the bus driver of C347 always pulls off on the side of the road to let the traffic pass. In addition, this bus is always on time! I just wanted to take a minute and ask you to let the driver know their kindness has not gone unappreciated! Moreover, please let that driver know they have made a positive impact on my teenage son and displayed true respect and courtesy towards others! -Sharon L. Morris, Assistant Principal, Zephyrhills High School

Food and Nutrition Services Director Julie Hedine, I am a teacher at Double Branch Elementary School and I want to give a “SHOUT OUT” to Mary Vullo and her crew.  Our cafeteria is one of the best managed cafeterias I have ever seen.  Mary and her staff keep everything spotless and cheer up the environment with holiday decorations.  They go above and beyond to serve us delicious food each and every day.  In addition, they help us with staff mingles, our fifth grade celebration and fundraiser, and much more.  The entire staff is friendly and most importantly they are respectful to students, parents, and staff.  Mary goes out of her way to make sure each child’s account is up-to-date and paid so that no one get the cheese sandwich.  I am so grateful for Mary Vullo, Pat, Denise, Leticia, Lisa, and Katie and all of their hard work.  They help to make Double Branch a pleasant place to work. -Deborah Torres, Fifth Grade Teacher, Double Branch Elementary School

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

Our future high school, "GGG," is really taking shape!

"I was that child" - Principal Latoya Jordan

Lacoochee Elementary principal Latoya Jordan shares her story of grouping up in Lacoochee.

Teacher Spotlight: Elvira Szwast

Learn about Lacoochee Elementary teacher Elvira Szwast's childhood as a migrant and how she helps her students in similar circum

Staff Spotlight

Kathy Kinsman
Connerton Elementary School

Click here to read her interview.

Student Spotlight

Nolan Martinez
Pasco High School

Click here to read his interview.


Spring Football Jamboree

J.W. Mitchell High School is hosting their Spring Football Jamboree and carnival on Thursday, May 19. The carnival will begin at 6:30 p.m. and the football game against Fivay High School starts at 7 p.m. Some of the carnival activities are covered by the price of admission, but others will require payment to participate. Vendors will be at the jamboree with food, snacks, and drinks for purchase. This event's proceeds will go toward campus improvements. If you have questions, please email JWMHS Principal Jessica Schultz.

Saint Leo University Adult Education Center Info Sessions

Saint Leo University’s Adult Education Center at University Campus will host information sessions for adult learners at the Pasco County School Board offices. Employees of the school district and area residents are invited to attend information sessions from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Thursday, May 19, at the school board offices, 20425 Gator Lane, Portable 8-A, Land O’ Lakes, FL 34638; or 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., Saturday, May 21, at Saint Leo University, 33701 State Road 52, TECO Hall in the School of Business building, St. Leo, FL 33574. Saint Leo University’s Adult Education Center offers evening, weekend, and online programs and career-focused education. A 10 percent discount is offered for all bachelor’s degree programs through the Pasco County School Board corporate partnership with Saint Leo University. Click here to RSVP. For information, contact the Adult Education Center at 352-588-7544.

“What’s Past is Prologue,” but What’s Present is Pasco Drama

Pasco High School’s Drama Club takes the stage and performs “The Tempest” for Shakespeare in the Park on Friday, May 20, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, May 21, at 7:30 p.m. The event will take place at Agnes Lamb Park on Meridian Avenue and Ninth Street in Dade City. There will be concessions available to patrons for purchase, but admission is free. For more information, contact Sharon Swonger at 352-277-1530.  

Step Up to the Tee for Cotee River Elementary

Cotee River Elementary School is hosting a 4-person scramble golf tournament on Saturday, May 21, at 1 p.m., to improve their technology resources. The tournament will take place at River Ridge Golf Course, 11022 Tee Time Cir., in New Port Richey, and participation costs $35 for individuals or $160 for a foursome. Sponsorships are also available for $35. All proceeds benefit the school’s technology department. Please make checks payable to CRES, and write two phone numbers and your driver’s license on the check. Team information and payment must be submitted by May 13. For more information contact Steve Loveless at 727-774-3000.

JLMS 1st Annual Debate Team Parent Night

The Dr. John Long Middle School Debate Team is hosting a parent night to display their debate expertise on Tuesday, May 24, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., in their school's cafeteria. At the beginning of the 2016-17 school year, this team will be recognized as the only middle school chapter of the Junior Statesman of America in the Southeastern United States. Dr. John Long Middle School is located at 2025 Mansfield Blvd., in Wesley Chapel. For more information, please contact Dorrie Perez.

Back to School Bash

The Back to School Bash for the Ridgewood High School feeder pattern needs community partners to register for the Provider Fair.  This is a highlight of the event, where families can connect with community agencies that support healthy family living in the New Port Richey area.   If you know of a business or community organization that could help ensure that our future citizens are receiving all of the necessary supports to be college, career and life ready, please contact Calusa Elementary School Principal Kara Merlin at 727-774-3700.  The event will be held at RHS from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday, August 6.

Important Dates


  • 2-20: Spring EOCs
  • 25: Senior's Last Day
  • 30: No School - Memorial Day