May 26, 2017

May 26, 2017

May 26, 2017

May 26, 2017

Reminder: All schools and the District Office Complex will be closed Monday, May 29, in observation of Memorial Day

Superintendent's Message


Congratulations to our many elementary, middle, and high school students who have just graduated, or will graduate in the coming days. This ceremony is a culmination of hard work and dedication. However, they did not do this alone. Their success is a testament to our many diligent parents, teachers, administrators, and employees who made today possible. Thank you for your encouraging words, insight, and commitment to academic excellence.

Graduation is my favorite time of the year; it is a rewarding time of reflection and student achievement. Every ceremony I attend is an honor and a privilege. Tonight, I am especially honored to present a posthumous diploma to a World War II veteran. He served our country with honor and distinction, and tonight, our district will ensure he is enshrined as a Pasco County Schools graduate.



District Office Employee Recognition Awards - Spring 2017

  • Outstanding Customer Service Awards
    • Lindsay D’Ascenzio, Professional Standards Investigator, Office for Employee Relations
    • Denise Mosher, Finance Assistant, Finance Services
    • Aimee Starkey, Senior Associate, Food and Nutrition Services
    • Donna Traub, Secretary/Bookkeeper, PLACE
    • Nicole Betegh-Edelmann, Compliance Specialist, Office for Student Support Programs and Services
    • Theresa Springer, Secretary II, Office for Teaching and Learning
    • Linda Brunner, Systems Analyst, Office for Technology and Information Services
  • Exemplary Performance Awards
    • Stephanie Green, Supervisor, Office for Accountability, Research, and Measurement
    • Barbara Donaghy, Program Coordinator, Career and Technical Education
    • Tara Nixon, Parent Involvement Assistant, Communications and Government Relations
    • Jon Shepherd, Educational Facility Inspector, Construction Services
    • Carol Jugan, Bookkeeping Coordinator, Finance Services
    • Carol Jones, Administrative Assistant, Office for Human Resources and Educator Quality
    • Mike Woodall, Facilities Operations Safety Manager, Maintenance Services
    • Lauren Weber, Buyer, Purchasing Services
    • Lynn Hollingsworth, Compliance Specialist, Office for Student Support Programs and Services
    • Tracy Miller, Curriculum Specialist, Office for Teaching and Learning
    • Christopher Contrabasso, Technology Services Specialist, Office for Technology and Information Services
    • Daniel Denker, Mechanic I, Transportation Services
  • Excellence in Innovation Award
    • Wendy Lane, Supervisor, Early Childhood Programs
  • Superintendent’s Teamwork Award
    • District Crisis Intervention Team: Melissa Musselwhite, Molly Blair, Scott Leu, David Chamberlin, Wendy Belfield, Jackie Jackson-Dean, Nicole Betegh-Edelmann, Sarah Quispe, Charity Cornett, Amy Ponce, Linda Hedstrom, Lynn Young, Linda Hughes, Meredith Ward, Josephine Morales, Marc Shanberg, Pat Beahon, Denise Wilkinson, Lauren Moore, Marcia Brooks, Pearl Lamourt, Kristi Hernandez, Camille Randle, Alyssa Lipinski, Roseann Agnello-Sellers, Lauren Brewerton, Julie Lovett, Jan Haniford, Nicole Hart, Lewis Mazzone, Jayme Jones, Emily Gilbert, Danica Cockrell, Vicki Papaemanuel, Melba Hoover, Dawn Daniels Hahn, Melissa Wienhold, Whitney Batista, Lynn Goettel, Lindsay Hoxie, Marsha Watkins, Holly Nagy, JJ Smith, Katie Mitchell-Gregory, and Justine Connolly.

Congratulations to all of this semester's winners!


#PascoMath Middle School Video Challenge 2017

Congratulations and thanks to all of the schools, teachers and students who participated in the 2017 #PascoMath Middle School Video Challenge! The new structure allowed better alignment with our goal for all Pasco students to:

  • build strong content knowledge and apply their learning to new contexts,
  • think critically to understand and solve real-world problems,
  • take ownership for their learning and reflect on their learning progress,
  • utilize a variety of tools and resources to enhance their learning, and
  • collaborate and communicate to learn within and outside their school community.

Each winner received a school plaque, individual student medals, and a gift card. Their teacher also received a small token of appreciation. Listed below are each grade level's winners:

Grade 6 Math: Hannah’s Slushie Problem

Pasco Middle School
Teacher: Mrs. Herndon
Students: Hannah Heinrich, Maggie Mashke, and Adalyn Pickett





Grade 7 Math: The Funky Monkeys

Paul R. Smith Middle School
Teacher: Mrs. Crosby
Students: Mace Jellings, Aidan Ehrsam, and Isabella Voveris





Algebra 1 Honors: Solving Quadratic Equations

Paul R. Smith Middle School
Teacher: Mr. Curtis
Students: Lyah Persaud, Cierra Greenfield and Natalie Ruiz






Geometry Honors: The Great Pyramid

Seven Springs Middle School
Teacher: Mrs. Carter
Students: Lauryn Lee, Kara Pugliese and Sharron Warrior






Thanks for making #PascoMath more awesome!


Florida Green School and District Recognition Program - Bronze Level Award

The Florida Green School Network is a state collaboration advocating for green school issues and recognizing excellence among Florida schools and districts.  The annual statewide Florida Green School Awards was created as a response to 2008 legislation (FL Statute 1000.08) to recognize, support and promote sustainability practices in Florida’s school districts and schools as a strategy to enhance the quality of education while preserving the environment.  Through the green school approach, Pasco County Schools embraced strategies during the 2015-16 school year to reduce student barriers to learning and improve conditions for a work environment that supports academic achievement.  Specific strategies included the installation of timers for outdoor lighting and air conditioning units, irrigation water sensors, low flow toilets and updated chillers, which reduced energy and water consumption.  Solid waste was also reduced by increasing the recycling rate by 13% and increasing the surplus furniture that is re-used by 28%.


C-SPAN's StudentCam Competition

Congratulations to Chasco Middle School's Justin Ross, a 7th grade winner of C-SPAN's "Your Message to Washington" national competition! Click here to view Justin's entry, "Texting and Driving Distracted Drivers."





River Ridge High School AJROTC

Congratulations to the River Ridge High School Air Force JROTC for being designated a Distinguished Unit for the 15th year in a row! Additionally, congratulations to Master Sergeant Robert King for receiving the Outstanding Instructor Award.





National Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and each of us has the power to foster progress in this area.  We have learned much about mental illness and addiction in the recent past, but in regards to stigma, we still have work to do. Stigma often results in isolation, which is a tremendous barrier to improvement for someone struggling with mental health or addiction issues.  Each of us can help reduce stigma by becoming more informed and by reaching out.  Please click here to find some language you can employ to reach out to someone who may be struggling.  If you’ve been experiencing mental health, alcohol or substance use stressors and are ready to reach out for help, please contact your Employee Assistance Program at 1-800-624-5544 for New Directions Behavioral Health, or dial 813-794-2366 to reach EAP Clinical Coordinator Scott Leu.


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.


Disaster Prep Sales Tax Holiday

Florida residents can prepare for hurricane season by purchasing qualifying sales tax exempt disaster preparedness supplies. The 2017 Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. Friday, June 2 and ends at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, June 4. Click here for the full list of qualifying items.


Water Conservation Tips

As everyone knows, we are in a severe drought.  Although we have seen rain lately, it hasn’t been enough to replace all the water lost over the last six months of drought, so the Southwest Florida Water Management District is enforcing new water restrictions.  To help employees who wish to take action to conserve water, we are sharing these conservation tips.


Domestic water use accounts for an average 24% of the water use in most schools.

  • Repair Leaks! A leaking toilet can waste more than 50 gallons of water each day, and a dripping faucet or showerhead can waste up to 1,000 gallons per week!
  • Showerheads, faucets and toilets that must be replaced due to normal wear-and-tear should be replaced with low-volume models, which are widely available.
  • Low-volume showerheads use only 2 gallons of water each minute; older models may use as much as 3 gallons per minute.
  • Replace faucets that use as much as 2.5 gallons per minute with those which use only 1.5. In most cases, low-volume faucet aerators can be installed when the entire faucet does not need replacing.


An average of 6% of the water used in schools is used in the kitchen areas.

  • Turn off the continuous flow used to wash the drain trays of the coffee/milk/soda beverage island. Clean thoroughly as needed.
  • Adjust ice machines to dispense less ice if ice is being wasted.
  • Presoak utensils and dishes in basins of water, rather than in running water.
  • Replace automatic shut-off spray nozzles, which can use as much as 4.5 gallons of water each minute, with low-volume nozzles using 2.0 gallons per minute.
  • Turn off food preparation faucets that are not in use. Consider installing foot triggers.
  • Do not allow water to flow unnecessarily. Consider using automatic shut-off faucets at bar sinks.


#PascoLearns Twitter Chats

The @PascoLiteracy Team will be introducing #PascoLearns Twitter chats next week. These chats are online discussions covering topics followed by the specific hashtag: #PascoLearns. These conversations represent a community for Pasco educators to engage and learn with each other. All Pasco educators are invited to participate. These topics are designed to fuel interest and discussion for site-based and district-based personnel. The first topic for the #PascoLearns chat is "Transformation Begins with Reflection: How Was Your Year?" This Twitter chat began on May 22, and end on June 2. There are no study requirements for any of these chats; instead, participants should take the time to connect and share within this chat forum. Additional topics are Growth Mindset, Visual Tools for Transforming Knowledge, Every Child a Super Reader, Teach and Lead for Excellence, Who’s Doing the Work Mindsets and Moves, Reflecting of Goals and Growth, Writing for Understanding, Opening a World of Possible, Teaching to Exceed the LAFS, Racial Equity in Schools, and The Power of Positive Leadership.

Future Twitter chats will be scheduled for Mondays at 7 p.m., in an hour-long, moderated, question-and-answer format. There will be giveaways, which include Pasco swag, high-quality professional learning materials, and more. The most valuable resource educators have is each other. Growth is limited to our own perspectives without collaboration. The #PascoLearns collaboration was created to more tightly align goals and more positively impact teachers and students. For more information, please contact any member of the Pasco Literacy Team via Twitter @PascoLiteracy, or email Rachel Hatten, Cassie Hernandez, Courtney Lough, Erin Senior, Evette Striblen, Danielle Varcardipone, or Emily White. Each topic will utilize the above graphic.

For more support with engaging in a Twitter chat, explore the following links: 5 Tips on How to Join the Conversation and Twitter for Educators. Accountability is a foundational key to being successful when making and celebrating your goals. As we reflect, feel free to tag someone who can help support your action steps towards this success.


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.


Pasco County Government



Bargaining Team Members, the ratification process is complete and our contracts for the 2016-2017 school years have been ratified by the Board and our employees. Tom Neesham and I want to thank you for your time, efforts and input during this long procedure. We truly do appreciate all of you. Before long, we will be reaching out as we begin to plan for the bargaining process to resume again. -Kathy Scalise, Director, Office for Employee Relations

OTIS Senior Manager Craig Coile, I wanted to let you guys know that Robert Pattermann gave me what I consider outstanding assistance today with a technical problem that I was having, and I really, really appreciated it.  We all think very highly of Robert over here in Communications.  -Richard MacLemale, District Website Coordinator, Communications and Government Relations

Food and Nutrition Services Director Julie Hedine, I work at Schrader Elementary in Food and Nutrition Services.  My manager is JoAnn Schmidt. I came to this school with a dream of someday becoming a teacher. The support I have received from JoAnn has been astronomical.  She has encouraged me, accommodated my professional development needs and put an incredible effort in making my dream become a reality.  She advised me, put me in touch with the right people, and advocated for me. I will now be a second grade teacher at Schrader Elementary next year. I owe JoAnn a debt of gratitude.  She is an amazing positive, professional manager.  JoAnn is extremely knowledgeable in food and nutrition, and so many other areas. She is a mentor, a leader an asset to Pasco County. I would not have been able to accomplish this without her support. -Joanne Staples, Schrader Elementary School

Superintendent Browning, I would like to send Kudos to the staff at Centennial Middle and Centennial Elementary schools. For the last six weeks, I have had the privilege of working with some amazing folks. Our students in the job preparation program have witnessed teamwork first hand. Their daily operation appears seamless as they work together to get the job done. I can teach those skills all day, but this experience really impacts them with their understanding of the team concept and the importance of teamwork. I really appreciate the job I get to do for these students everyday. This experience has made me appreciate the professionalism that I have witnessed among these two schools. What a wonderful opportunity our students in the transition education program have here in Pasco County. -Mary Lou Jordan, Job Placement/Transition Specialist, Zephyrhills High School

Ridgewood High School Lunch Ladies/Men, I would like to say thank you for everything. Feeding over a thousand students can't be an easy task. And yet, without fail, everyday we are fed. Even when someone forgets their lunch money, they are privileged enough to still get PB and J. Not only do you work hard to feed us, you do it with a smile. I know I for one am not a morning person, and yet I still receive a "good morning" every day. What you do for us students may seem small, but we understand how huge a job it can be. I greatly appreciate it. So, thank you again, for everything you've done for me and everything you've done for Ridgewood High School. -Allura, RHS student

Superintendent Browning, I wanted to reach out to you to offer praise for the front office/desk ladies at Rushe Middle School. Ms. Laura and Ms. Brenda are fabulous at greeting each individual, parents and students alike, with a warm smile and genuine care. They are exactly what Rushe needs and a shining light to those who enter it's doors. Well done, Laura and Brenda! -Sally Miller

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

Congratulations to the Land O' Lakes High School Softball 6A State Champions!

FFA and Agriscience at Weightman Middle School

Happy Retirement - John McIntyre

Staff Spotlight

Stephanie Hodges
Learning Design Coach
Wiregrass Elementary School

Click here to read her interview.

Student Spotlight

Kassandra Hernandez
Seven Springs Middle School

Click here to read her interview.

Employee Opportunities

Mental Health First Aid Courses

Saint Leo University is offering free, mental health first aid courses in June and July. The courses are designed to help those who are around someone experiencing panic attacks, suicidal behaviors, acute psychosis, or reaction to trauma. Youth Mental First Aid is scheduled for Monday, June 5, in Kirk Hall, and covers covered include anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders including Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, and eating disorders. Adult Mental First Aid is scheduled for Monday, July 17, in the Student Community Center Greenfelder-Denlinger Boardroom C and covers anxiety, depression, psychosis, and addictions. Both sessions will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and will be held at Saint Leo University, 33701 State Road 52, in St. Leo. Free parking is available in surface lots and in the campus garage. Click here to register for Youth Mental First Aid, and here to register for Adult Mental First Aid. There is a minimum of 15 registered participants necessary for the class to be held.


Autism Awareness Class

The University of West Florida is hosting a summer continuing education online Autism Awareness course. The non-credit course may be completed in five weeks, beginning June 6. This course is certified by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) to provide 16 CEUs towards the Certified Autism Specialist or Autism Certificate programs.  There is an Autism certification discount available for qualifying students. Participants will read chapters in Dr. Temple Grandin's book, The Autistic Brain: Thinking Beyond the Spectrum, take five weekly quizzes, and participate in class discussions. After completing the final quiz, a Certificate of Completion will be mailed to qualifying students. Click here to register for the UWF Autism Awareness course, or call 850-473-7468. Class tuition is $119. If you have questions, or require more information, contact Dr. Carlene Thornton at 850-934-5827.


Teacher Courses and Information Sessions

  • Teaching Students with Disabilities Renewal Course

Florida Southern College (FSC)​ offers “Teaching Students with Disabilities” renewal course. Florida professional certificate holders can satisfy this certification requirement by taking EDU 2210 – Foundations of Special Education online. Please click here to view the schedule.

  • Undergraduate and Graduate Programs Information Sessions

The following are upcoming progam information sessions:

  • Thursday, June 1, at 6 p.m.  – Grillsmith Restaurant at Lakeside Village, Lakeland, FL
  • Saturday, June 17, at 10 a.m. – Becker Business Building, Florida Southern College Campus, Lakeland, FL

Click here to register and learn more. If you have questions, please contact Kelly Curtis.


Title I Committee of Practitioners

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.


#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.


Big Brothers/Big Sisters Orientation Sessions

Make lots of memories that will last forever and sign up to volunteer. Here are the upcoming orientation dates and locations:

  • Tuesday, May 30, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
    • Wesley Chapel Honda, 27750 Wesley Chapel Blvd., in Wesley Chapel
  • Saturday, June 3, from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
    • New Port Richey Recreation and Aquatic Center, 6630 Van Buren, in New Port Richey
  • Monday, June 12, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
    • Rasmussen College, 18600 Fernview Street, in Land O’ Lakes
  • Tuesday, June 27, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
    • Wesley Chapel Honda, 27750 Wesley Chapel Blvd., in Wesley Chapel
  • Saturday, July 1, from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
    • New Port Richey Public Library, 5939 Main Street, in New Port Richey
  • Monday, July 10, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
    • WellCare, 5113 US Highway 19, in New Port Richey
  • Tuesday, July 25, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
    • Wesley Chapel Honda, 27750 Wesley Chapel Blvd., in Wesley Chapel
  • Saturday, August 5, from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
    • New Port Richey Public Library, 5939 Main Street, in New Port Richey
  • Monday, August 14, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
    • WellCare, 5113 US Highway 19, in New Port Richey
  • Tuesday, August 29, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
    • Wesley Chapel Honda, 27750 Wesley Chapel Blvd., in Wesley Chapel

Click here for more information, or contact Deb Kristol-Irwin, Director of Partnership Development, at 813-997-6881.


Summer Feeding Program

Pasco County Schools Food and Nutrition Services Department will once again provide the summer feeding program to all children under age 18 at various sites across the county from Monday, June 5 until Friday, August 4. Meals will be served free of charge at 42 school locations and 45 additional locations around the county to anyone under the age of 18. Click here to find serving locations. Families without internet can find the nearest location by calling 813-794-2480. Click here to view the Summer Lunch Bus schedule.


Rap River Run

The Rap River Run 10 Year Celebration is on Saturday, June 10, at Sims Park. Here is the event schedule:

  • 6:30 a.m.: 10K run
  • 7:30 a.m.: 5K walk/run
  • 9 a.m.: Kid's adventure obstacle course

Click here to register and here for more information.


Tampa Bay Rays Pasco Spirit Day

The Tampa Bay Rays are celebrating Pasco County Schools on Sunday, June 11, at 1:10 p.m. at Tropicana Field, in St. Petersburg. The deadline to order tickets is Thursday, June 1, and the top-selling elementary school receives a visit to their school from Raymond and the Rays baseball team during the 2017 calendar year. Click here for more information, and here for ticket information.


Back to School Bash

The Pasco-Hernando Early Learning Coalition's Back to School Bash is Friday, July 28, from 10 a.m. through 12:30 p.m. in the WellCare/StayWell Office. The WellCare/StayWell Office is located at 5113 US Highway 19, in New Port Richey. There will be free school supplies, family fun, and community resources. Limited quanities are available; RSVP by calling 727-834-2301. Click here to learn more.


Special Olympics Craft Show

Special Olympics Florida - Pasco County is hosting a Holiday Arts and Crafts Festival and is looking for participants. It will be held on Saturday, December 9 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 14744 Nottingham Trail, in Hudson. Click here to learn more.

Important Dates


  • 1-31: National Mental Health Awareness Month
  • 25-28: Graduation
  • 26: Students' Last Day
  • 29: Memorial Day - Closed
  • 30-31: Teacher Planning Days


  • 2: Leadership Day
  • 2-4: Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday
  • 5: Together We Stand
  • 6-8: Together We Lead Learning Conference
  • 12-16: FTE Survey Week
  • 18: Fathers Day