August 19, 2016
August 19, 2016
August 19, 2016
The start of the 2016-2017 school year has been very smooth. The transportation call center has been busy, but is taking fewer calls than they did the first week of the last two school years. I want to thank the Transportation Department staff and all the volunteers who spent time assisting parents with their school bus questions. I’ve stopped by eight faculty meetings since teachers returned to work, and visited five schools on the first day of school. Everyone is engaged and eager to have a successful year. I have a number of visits scheduled in the coming months and am looking forward to seeing many of you as I call on schools and departments. I hope you’ll send me a note if you’d like me to come out to your classroom or school.
Over the past several months there has been an uptick in reported issues relative to a couple of issues: (1) staff responsiveness to phone calls and e-mails; and (2) employee dress. In general, employees are doing the right thing, so this is meant to serve as a refresher. That being said, I am asking that all employees take a moment to re-orient themselves to these expectations.
With regard to school and community communication with our employees, the general expectation is that calls and e-mails are returned within 1-2 business days. This does not mean issues have to be resolved within that timeframe, just that an acknowledgement of the call or e-mail is provided and an estimated timeline for resolution is given if the matter cannot be immediately addressed. For those departments utilizing voicemail, inboxes should be cleared daily from the evening or weekend before. As a general rule, phones should not be rolling to voicemail during the workday. Out-of-office e-mail auto-replies, e-mail auto-forwarding, and updating of voicemail greetings are all great ways to let people know that we are unavailable for extended periods of time, as well as who can assist in our absences. With the dress code, employees are expected to dress professionally. Decisions regarding whether particular attire is appropriate rests with the employee’s immediate supervisor or department director.
We have wonderful, caring, knowledgeable, patient staff in our schools and administrative offices. Even so, I would like to remind everyone that parents have choices about where they send their children to get their education and it is important that we treat all of them with respect and civility. Also, if you don’t know the answer to a question, or why we are doing something, it’s important to be sure that you find out the correct answer before offering a response.
Thank you, Duke Energy, for two generous contributions benefiting Pasco County Schools students:
Pasco County Schools: $103,280 Energy Rebate Check
Duke Energy is proud to partner with our customers to aide in their energy efficiency endeavors. It is through our relationship with Mark Fox and his team that these rebates were able to come to fruition. The schools that are a part of this incentive include Anclote High, Gulf High, Ridgewood High, Chasco Middle, Seven Springs Elementary, and Pine View Elementary schools. The technologies that were installed include highly efficient HVAC Chiller systems and Demand Control Ventilation systems.
Pasco Education Foundation: $50,000 for Elementary STEM Labs
Duke Energy continues to be an outstanding supporter of the Pasco Education Foundation and its mission to advance student achievement in Pasco’s schools. Because of Duke Energy’s generous contribution of $50,000 to the Foundation, we will be able to transform two additional elementary school classrooms into “STEM labs” that will provide advanced curriculum and allow students to explore their academic abilities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, through creative, hands-on learning experiences. In addition, the Foundation was able to leverage legislative match grant funding totaling nearly $50,000 to help fund the labs at Sunray and West Zephyrhills elementary schools.
This is the second year in a row that Duke Energy has donated $50,000 to help transform education in Pasco. Last year, their contribution helped establish STEM labs at Cypress and Moonlake elementary schools. Together with Duke Energy, the Pasco Education Foundation has contributed nearly $200,000 to help create the best learning environments for thousands of students in Pasco.
This year, we opened Achieve Center at Richey, a school for elementary-aged therapeutic EBD students on the Richey Elementary School campus. We also assumed control over a similar secondary school previously operated by AMI, and named it Achieve Center of Pasco. Both schools provide mental health services and education to the most at-risk children whose educational needs cannot be met in a traditional school setting. Here are some photos and comments from parents whose children attend Achieve Center at Richey.
Every week during the school year, School Matters will provide a "Student Spotlight," highlighting the unique accomplishments and interesting achievements of our student body. If you would like to nominate a student, please email Anna Marquez. Include the student's name, school, and what makes this student special. If chosen, Communications and Government Relations staff will then interview the student, include the content in School Matters, and post the content on our social media pages.
As we approach the 2016 Primary and General Elections, Pasco Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley has prepared a voter guide so you can #BeElectionReady. This guide contains information regarding:
The Pasco Supervisor of Elections Office can be reached at 1-800-851-8754.
PebbleGo is an online research database intended for grades K-3. It covers the topics of Animals, Science, Biographies, Social Studies, Dinosaurs and Animales. Each article has natural voice audio, text-highlighting and a glossary- perfect for at-level or struggling read- ers or ELL students. Over 1,100 articles available be- tween the 6 databases with every article including ci- tations, printable activities, videos, maps, games, teacher resources (lesson plans, reproducibles and national standards) and more!
PebbleGo Next is the next step in re- search intended for grades 3-6. It co- vers the topics of Science and States and American Indian Studies. Like, PebbleGo, each article has natural voice audio, text-highlighting and a glossary. Over 240 articles available between the 2 databases with the same great features as PebbleGo in- cluding teacher resources and more!
Over the last year and a half, the Florida Association of School Administrators (FASA) has developed 166 collections of digital resources on the iTunes U platform for teachers, parents, and students. These collections help transform teaching and learning by providing course resources Aligned to the Florida Standards, Vetted by teachers, and Embraced by students; creating an A.V.E. for Success. These collections also go a step further than most in that they include resources specifically for English Language Learners and Exceptional Student Education students. There are over 22,200 digital resources that have been added to the collections. Click here to download the latest collection, A.V.E. for Success Course: Early Childhood Education 2 on iTunes. Anyone with a free Apple ID is able to access the content though iTunes U on an iOS device or iTunes on a desktop or laptop computer.
Communications and Government Relations Director Cobbe, First of all I would like to wish you and your administration a successful 2016/2017 school year. I would like to bring to your attention and to all parties concerned the outstanding and unparalleled level of assistance from Ms Susan Seibert and Mr Russell Hand of Seven Springs Middle School. My daughter is attending that school and there was a problem with her schedule. I was instructed to email Mr Hand and would have a response within a few days, needless to say the response did not come in two days it came late that evening, which was something unexpected but very much appreciated. What was even more impressive is that those two individuals worked on this diligently until it was resolved to satisfaction and by proof of emails they were working on this at 2:30am, yes a.m., when I was receiving emails from them. This is an example of dedication that I have never seen before in my life here in the United States, or the Bahamas where we are from. This is also partially due to an outstanding leader such as Dr Chris Dunning. I am pleased that my daughter is attending Seven Springs and I know they are in good hands under Dr Dunning and Ms Seibert as I had two children under their leadership before, and now, of course, Mr Hand, by example. -Mike Rousso, Parent
Food and Nutrition Services Director Julie Hedine, I just want to comment of how wonderful it is to have the free meals bus come by the Zephyrhills Park. This is wonderful to have and as a mother I appreciate it. I know my 2yr old loves the free meals us. When she sees it she runs to it and enjoys sitting on the bus. Again thank you for what you guys do. -Anonymous Parent
Superintendent Browning, Huge kudos to George Sybert and Tina DeCaire who agreed to share their thoughts with ABC Action News on how they feel about being part of the Pasco County Schools team. They both did a fantastic job on a moment’s notice….and are proof that we have some of the best employees around! Thank you, George and Tina! -Christine Pejot, Director of Employee Benefits/Human Resources and Educator Quality
Zephyrhills High School
Click here to read her interview.
The 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship will be held in Tampa Bay on January 9, 2017. Join the College Football Playoff Foundation in celebrating teachers across the country! Extra Yard for Teachers (EYFT) Week is September 17-24. It will increase awareness for the EYFT initiative, a program that helps countless teachers, students and classrooms across America. On-campus activation and various community events to be announced soon. To view a recap of 2015 EYFT Awareness Week, click here.
Please join us on Saturday, November 5, for Pasco County's 2nd Annual Out of the Darkness Community Walk! Registration for this event is free. Below is the schedule:
Click here to create your own team/join a team for the Pasco County Out of the Darkness Community Walk.