Kurt S. Browning, Superintendent of Schools
June 21, 2017

Kurt S. Browning, Superintendent of Schools

June 21, 2017

Kurt S. Browning, Superintendent of Schools

June 21, 2017

Kurt S. Browning, Superintendent of Schools

June 21, 2017

Superintendent's Sound Bite

End of the Year Message


Welcome to the newly updated School Matters newsletter!  This preview of the new site uses content from the May 2017 edtion of School Matters, and will display correctly on every screen size.  Thank you for checking out this preview - we very much appreciate it!

The Communications Department

Tweets by @pascoschools


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.


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.


Pasco County Government

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.

#Pasco Learns Twitter Chats

The @PascoLiteracy Team has recently introduced #PascoLearns Twitter chats. 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 will end on Friday, 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.


Recent Graduates

Congratulations to our many elementary, middle, and high school students who have just graduated. This ceremony is a culmination of hard work and dedication.


Odyssey of the Mind Championship

Wesley Chapel Elementary School’s Odyssey of the Mind team outperformed 55 other teams to win the Division 1 World Championship for their solution to the Catch Us if You Can problem! All four Pasco County Schools Odyssey of the Mind teams competing in the World Finals at Michigan State University this past weekend finished in the top 25 in the world in their problems and divisions. The team from Seven Springs Middle School placed sixth in Division 2 of To Be Continued: A Superhero Cliffhanger.  Mittye P. Locke Elementary School’s team placed 23rd in the same category and division as Wesley Chapel.  Dayspring Academy placed 14th in Catch Us if You Can, Division 2. Click here for more information on these outstanding students.


Annie Jr.

Teacher Spotlight

Stacie Dunmire


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.

#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, 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.


Dr. Monica Ilse, Mrs. Loretta Richey called to praise Pasco Elementary School's staff. Her son’s grandmother passed away and she was afraid to tell him about her passing alone (dad was out of town). The staff at PES assembled a small group and supported her when telling her son. Mrs. Richey can’t say enough about how much she appreciates the way Mrs. Gocsik handled the situation, and even took over when mom broke down. Mr. Kent, Ms. Carmin and the rest of the staff handled the situation with “complete love and support.”

Superintendent Browning, My son has attended prekindergarten classes in Pasco County since he was 2 1/2 years old.  He started at Longleaf Elementary School and currently attends a prekindergarten class at Mittye P. Locke Elementary School. He will be starting kindergarten in the fall of 2017. He is truly an early intervention/pre-k success story due to the dedicated teachers and speech-language pathologists he has had along the way. The persistent efforts of Ms. Janice Whittaker and Ms. Alma Loaiza have helped my son make tremendous progress in the area of communication. Ms. Mari Miyashiro's caring manner early on helped him establish a love of school. Ms. Heather Goldstein saw past the difficulties he was having and recognized his need to be challenged...Ms. Kristi LePage has employed unique strategies to help my son continue to advance in his social, communication, and academic skills. The support and encouragement of Ms. Pam Ramsay have helped my son build up confidence and a sense of pride in himself. All of these devoted educators have played a very important part in helping him develop and maintain the many skills he will need to be successful in kindergarten and beyond. -Amy, parent

Andy Dunn and Anna Marquez, I just wanted to thank you again for all you did to support us at TEDxPascoCountySchools.  The videos look great and I’m already receiving emails from parents who are so appreciative to have the link to their student’s speech. Thanks for your dedication, commitment, and effort—we couldn’t do it without you! -Rachel Hatten, Senior Instructional Specialist, Office for Teaching and Learning

Superintendent Browning, I am writing to tell you about a special teacher's assistant Maria Garcia. Maria is a wonderful teacher's aide and has helped my grandson tremendously. He has been through alot and is a sensitive child. He lost his mother when he turned six and has been struggling dealing with his loss and school. Maria, who I met at West Pasco Baseball League offered to help my grandson by tutoring him in the mornings. His teachers, Miss. Romero and Miss Ennis, are both wonderful as well. So, with the extra tutoring from Maria and the after school reading...he passed the FSA and will be promoted to 4th grade...If not for the dedication of these three teachers, but especially Maria, I do not think he would have passed. So I want you to know that Maria is an asset to the school district and especially Cotee River...She is truly an awesome caring and loving person. -Donna Bryan, grandparent


Tweets by @pascoschools
School Matters is Superintendent Browning’s weekly newsletter to employees and is published by the Communications and Government Relations Department. It is an employee’s one-stop source for District news, events, and instructional videos.
Pasco County Schools does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex/gender, religion, national origin, marital status, disability, age or genetic information in its educational programs, services or activities, or in its hiring and employment practices. (read more)