May 26, 2016

May 26, 2016

May 26, 2016

May 26, 2016

Superintendent's Message

Memorial Day

On Monday, Pasco County Schools will join the rest of the United States in observing Memorial Day.  I know many will take advantage of the extra-long weekend to get some rest, see family and friends, bar-b-que or go to the beach.  Some families will take the time to visit the graves of their loved ones and leave flowers and decorations as memorials to their service to this nation.  I hope you also will take a moment to remember the thousands of military members who have died on our behalf, and the families they left behind.  There is no greater sacrifice one can make than to give their life for their country, and I am grateful to each and every one of them.



Pasco’s Class of 2016 Offered $23M+ in Scholarships

Pasco County Schools will graduate more than 4,300 students who have earned in excess of $23 million in scholarships. Graduation ceremonies will take place Thursday, June 2, through Sunday, June 5, except for Fred K. Marchman Technical College’s, which was on Wednesday, May 25. Comlete information regarding Pasco high school graduations including valedictorians, salutatorians, scholarships, and graduation speakers, can be found by clicking here.  For a quick reference guide to graduation ceremony information, visit our graduation page.


Pasco Athletes Return to Special Olympics Florida Championships


Fox Hollow Art Teacher Recreates “A Walk in Monet’s Garden”

Fox Hollow Elementary School’s art teacher, Gayle Ratza, was awarded a $5,500 Lowe’s Toolbox Grant. She desired places for Fox Hollow students to decompress and enjoy the beauty of nature. Francesca Crespi’s “A Walk in Monet’s Garden” is the source of her inspiration; she is using the grant proceeds to beautify the school’s courtyard in a similar manner. Ms. Ratza, school staff, and volunteers are working throughout this week to complete the project. For more information, contact Fox Hollow Elementary School Principal Karyn Kinzie at 727-774-7601.


JLMS Junior Statesman of America

See the inaugural debate night featuring the Dr. John Long Middle School Debate Team. The teachers are Dorothy Perez, Nicole Vazquez, and Scott Nonnemaker.


Leadership Pasco

Last night, Spencer Pylant, Communications and Government Relations Liaison, and Nicole Westmoreland, Purchasing Agent, graduated Leadership Pasco after a year of class participation. According to their website, Leadership Pasco's mission "to identify and recruit current or potential leaders of Pasco County, facilitate the development and interaction of those leaders, and to foster an issues-oriented learning environment for these leaders and the citizens of Pasco County in order to encourage an exchange of ideas and generate enthusiasm for community growth and development." Spencer, Nicole, and the rest of their class raised more than $29,000 and provided "sweat equity" for Pasco Kids First, The Angelus, and PACE Center for Girls.


Submit Your Story Ideas

The Communications and Government Relations Department is always looking for story ideas to pitch to reporters, so they created an online form to make it easy for teachers, staff, and administrators to send in items of interest. Click here to access the form.

Retirement Celebrations

Barbara Jackson

30.5 years of service

Today, May 26, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Beef O' Brady's
7040 Land O Lakes Blvd. #108
Land O' Lakes, FL 34638 United States 


Dr. Saybra Chapman

EAP Supervisor
25 years of service

Thursday, June 9, from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Pasco County Schools District Office Complex
Building #3 South
Training Room C


Summer CPR/First Aid/AED Training

CPR/First Aid/AED Training will be held during the summer on Tuesday, June 14 (Training Room C, Bldg. 3 South); Monday, July 25 (Portable 8A); and Thursday, July 28 (Portable 8A).  All trainings will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. If you are interested in attending, please complete the attached registration form and send to Linda Graham in Student Support Programs and Services before June 10.. No stipends will be paid or inservice points awarded for these trainings.  If you have any questions please contact Linda Graham at x42360.


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


Bus Drivers Needed

If you know someone who would be interested in driving for Pasco County Schools, please let them know that we are accepting applications.



Ramon Suarez, Thomas Brochu, Lynn Young, and Molly Blair, I hope you don’t mind me writing to tell you (as if you don’t already know this) that Jessica Williams and Krystle Woehlk are AMAZING!!!!!  They recently went above and beyond to help a foster care child who has many, many challenges.  Their warmth, flexibility and commitment to help one of our most vulnerable students is a true reflection of their character and dedication to the profession. I wish there was more that I could do to communicate how appreciated they are and thought letting you know would be the very least of it. -Kelly Davey, Ed.D., Foster Care Counselor

Career and Technical Education Director Terry Aunchman, On behalf of the USF Stavros Center, I want to thank you for inviting us to work with you on this exciting entrepreneurship course and professional development. Paula and I were very impressed with the dedication, passion, and enthusiasm your teachers exhibited throughout the workshop. We feel very fortunate to have such wonderful connections with Pasco County School District. Over the years, we have partnered in many professional development opportunities and look forward to many more. Terry, working with you is an absolute pleasure. Your passion for business education and entrepreneurship was evident as the teachers joined a collective of engaged learners, ready to create the best program possible for their students. Thanks once again for inviting Paula and I to work with you on this valuable first step toward a thriving program. We look forward to continued work on this endeavor. This summer, I will be putting together some additional lessons and would love to get together with your teachers at another workshop to help embed the lessons throughout their curriculum. We look forward to working with you and your teachers again! -Paula Lesko and Deborah Kozdras, Ph.D., Associate Director and Chief Creative Officer, Stavros Center, University of South Florida

Mr. Zondor, Mrs. Heller, Mr. Ivancic, Mr. Jarke, Mrs. VanHelden, Ms. Maniscalco, Mrs. Shanks, Mrs. Smith, Mr. Maust, Corporal Cross, Mrs. Martin, Mrs. Stone, and our administrators: Big Jay and I want to offer our sincere gratitude for so much more than educational opportunities.  Our last kiddo is exiting Weightman Middle.  This is the last of our 6 years in what I consider to be a sanctuary, not just a school. Each one of you have offered something unique, specific, necessary, and divine in the building of her education.  In my child's three years of middle school, she has reached every goal she set on her Life Plan.  She has become more courageous, more brave, more self confident, made more friends, and learned to integrate strategies for learning, and for well being into her everyday practices. She could not and would not have achieved all that she has, and be ready to transition into high school without each of you...We will be preparing goodies for you all in a few weeks, but did not want this week to go by without reminding you of how wonderful you all are. It is both a great sadness to leave Weightman, but a great joy to have had the privilege to equip our children with your help all these years. -Big Jay and Tami Baker, Weightman Middle School parents

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

Tampa Bay Regional Aeronautics Academy students prepare for their Unmanned Aerospace Systems (UAS) certification exam.

Marine surprises his mom

USMC Sergeant Paul Riggs returned home and surprised his mother, Paula Riggs, a Schrader Elementary 3rd grade teacher.

Student Spotlight: Kiley Griggs

Cerebral palsy doesn't stop first grader Kiley Griggs from excelling in all aspects of school. Cotee River Elementary.

Staff Spotlight

Elizabeth “Beth” Brewster
Deer Park Elementary School

Click here to read her interview.


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


  • 30: No School - Memorial Day 


  • 2-5: Graduation Ceremonies
  • 5: World Environment Day
  • 8: Student's Last Day of School
  • 9-10: Teacher Planning Days
  • 14: Flag Day
  • 15: Report Cards
  • 19: Fathers' Day