Kurt S. Browning, Superintendent of Schools
August 31, 2017

Kurt S. Browning, Superintendent of Schools

August 31, 2017

Kurt S. Browning, Superintendent of Schools

August 31, 2017

Kurt S. Browning, Superintendent of Schools

August 31, 2017

Superintendent's Message

Hurricane Harvey

Gulf High School's Supply Drive
Red Cross
Houston Food Bank
Houston Flood Relief Fund - J.J. Watt, Houston Texans

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Teacher Evaluation Agreement Reached

The United School Employees of Pasco and Pasco County Schools have signed a revised agreement for 2017-2018 teacher evaluations. The one-year agreement is the result of joint efforts to improve evaluations, so that greater emphasis is placed on professional coaching and growth. The procedural revisions are expected to reduce or eliminate much of the concern previously reported as a byproduct of the evaluation process and allow for a more collaborative approach. Click here for more detailed information.


Ridgewood, Marchman to Explore Technical High School Option

Ridgewood High School, which received two consecutive D grades from the state in 2016 and 2017, is exploring converting to a technical high school and entering into a dual enrollment agreement with Fred K. Marchman Technical College. The two schools sit next to each other in New Port Richey, making a merger convenient. A technical high school specializes in skilled trades, applied sciences, modern technologies, and career preparation.  Students can learn relevant skills that make them marketable right out of the high school.

The technical high school concept would include standards-based instruction, but also courses that will prepare students for careers, through industry certification, and college.  Some courses that are being considered include welding, plumbing, cybersecurity, Java development and programming, legal administrative specialist, administrative office specialist, neurodiagnostic technician, optometric specialist, electrocardiograph technology, commercial driving, and heavy equipment operator. The primary goal for all students would be a post-secondary education articulation program of study leading to an Associate of Science (A.S.) degree, acceptance into a four-year university, and/or certification in a high-wage, high-demand technical area.

Ridgewood High School would no longer be a boundaried school, and current RHS students would be rezoned to nearby high schools.  If the plan is implemented in 2018 – 2019, seniors would be able to continue at the school, along with students who are accepted into the technical high school through school choice.  Entrance requirements would include a minimum GPA and Florida Standards Assessment performance criteria. The eventual enrollment in the technical high school would be around 600 students.  The goal would be to extend the school day by 30 minutes, within a 7-period block schedule.

The proposal will be the topic of a School Board workshop scheduled for Tuesday, September 5, immediately following the board meeting scheduled that morning at 9:30 a.m. Rob Aguis, Fred K. Marchman Technical College principal and Dr. Chris Dunning, Ridgewood High School principal, discussed this proposal with Ridgewood faculty and staff earlier on Wednesday, August 30.


Extended Hours During Week of Labor Day - 245 Employees Only

This year’s calendar requires that all year-round employees (245 day) are scheduled to work extended hours during the week of September 4. Labor Day, Monday, September 4, is a non-work day, and no employees are scheduled for work. Tuesday, September 5, through Friday, September 8, will be extended work days, and employees must satisfy their required weekly hours over the four day period. In lieu of working extended hours, employees may request to use a vacation day, subject to supervisor approval. In that case, employees will work their regularly scheduled hours on Tuesday through Friday, while using one vacation day to satisfy the weekly hours requirement. If you have questions, please contact your supervisor.

New Substitute Management System

Our new substitute management system, SmartFindExpress, debuted on August 1. SmartFindExpress functions very similarly to AESOP; Human Resources is providing updates to keep you informed through the implementation process.  Keep an eye out for a future upgrade, called SmartFind Next Generation. This upgrade provides a mobile app for all users (substitutes, teachers, and administrators), as well as advanced analytics that can further strengthen our overall substitute system. SmartFind is part of the PeopleAdmin umbrella of products, which includes a new application and onboarding system that are tentatively scheduled to be added in January.

Please remember that if your teachers and/or staff have any pre-planned absences that already exist in AESOP, those absences will need to be recreated in SmartFindExpress. If you have questions, please contact Tom Topping, Human Capital Partner, at 813-794-2061.


PeopleAdmin Contest

PeopleAdmin, our new substitute and applicant tracking software, is hosting a contest for educators! Educators who submit inspirational stories can win $1,000 of professional development and another $1,000 for the district. Click here for more information or to submit your story.


Pasco County Government

Classroom Opportunities

LEAD Aspiring Leaders Program

On Wednesday, September 20, Pasco County Schools is hosting the LEAD Aspiring Leaders Kick-off and Information Session. If you are interested in this professional development opportunity, please click here to sign into Office 365 and complete the form. If you have questions, please contact Rebecca Younglove at 813-794-2710.


Grant Funding: Protecting Drinking Water Sources in the Tampa Bay Area

Tampa Bay Water is looking for groups who share the goal of protecting the waters of our region. Tampa Bay Water is seeking partnerships to prevent pollution, clean local waterways and protect our drinking water sources. They are offering mini-grants between $2,000 and $10,000 available to community groups, non-profits, schools and universities. The Tampa Bay region depends on groundwater, rivers and desalinated seawater for its drinking water. Tampa Bay Water, the regional water utility, works with the community to protect those sources. Mini-grant projects are ideal opportunities for scouts to earn merit badges, students to fulfill volunteer hour requirements, and service clubs and organizations to get involved in supporting public health and safety. The projects are also great for educators looking to combine STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) concepts and lessons with hands-on experience to supplement classroom learning. To qualify for a grant, applicants should submit an event or project plan related to source water protection in Tampa Bay Water’s service area that includes Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties.

Here's how to apply:

  • Download an application
  • Provide a plan for events or projects such as river cleanups, litter prevention projects, public education campaigns and conservation outreach events in Tampa Bay Water’s service area.
  • Submit applications by Nov. 15, 2017, at 5 p.m. to Marq Caughell

All mini-grant applications will be reviewed and screened against the program’s selection criteria. Organizations receiving a mini-grant will be notified in December and funds will be granted in 2018. Tampa Bay Water is the largest wholesale water supplier in Florida, providing high-quality drinking water to its members, who in turn, supply water to more than 2.4 million residents of the Tampa Bay area. Tampa Bay Water member governments include the cities of New Port Richey, St. Petersburg and Tampa, and the counties of Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas. Click here for more information.


McDonald's Classroom FUNds Contest

McDonald's is celebrating the back-to-school season by showing their appreciation for teachers and what they do for our students. McDonald's of Tampa Bay will host their fourth annual Classroom FUNds Contest for teachers, with a chance to win $1,000 for their classrooms. Now through September 22, classroom teachers can enter by submitting a video, letter, or student artwork to highlight how they are making an educational impact and how they would apply the prize money toward their classroom. McDonald's judges panel will select four teachers based on their creativity and how they are furthering their students’ education. The links below provide helpful information for teachers:

If you have questions, please email McDContest@FKQ.com. Click here for more information.

Hispanic Heritage Month Contests

Florida Governor Rick Scott and First Lady Ann Scott have invited all Florida students to participate in the annual Hispanic Heritage Month art and essay contests, which are centered around the theme, "A Recognition of the Role of Hispanic-Americans in Shaping Florida Today." These contests will award three students in grades 4-12 with a 4-Year Florida Prepaid College Scholarship and two K-3 students will earn cash prizes. Additionally, three educators will be honored with the Hispanic Heritage Month Excellence in Education Award. The deadline for all submissions is 5 p.m. on Friday, September 12. Click the following links for more information on the contests in English and Spanish:

More information about Florida’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebration and contests is available online.


Pasco Students Improve Performance on AP Exams, Equal or Outperform Peers Across the Globe

In 2017, more Pasco County students scored the highest level on their AP exams than any previous year, and they equaled or exceeded their peers’ performance in the state, nation, and globally on seven subject area exams. These achievements occurred while Pasco County increased the number of students taking AP exams – 4,174 students took 7,281 exams – which was a 2.9 percent increase from the previous year (7,077 exams taken in 2016). 

District-wide, 54 percent of the tests taken resulted in a score of three or better, matching the district’s previous record high from 2014. AP exam scores of 3, 4, or 5 are considered to reflect proficiency at the college level. For the fourth year in a row, more Pasco students scored a level 5, the highest possible passing score, than the prior year.

The number of Level 4 and Level 5 scores either exceeded or matched the district’s best performances. Compared to state averages, Pasco County matched the number of Level 5 scores (9.6 percent) and exceeded the number of Level 3 and 4 scores (25.1 percent compared to 24.9 percent and 25.7 percent compared to 25.3 percent, respectively). Pasco also had fewer Level 1 scores (20.7 percent) than the state (23.1 percent).

Below are graphs detailing the comparisons.

Pasco County Levels Over the 5 Year Period


2017 District/Florida % of Levels

Student Spotlight

Sign the Pledge


A Bag’s Life Kickoff

Earlier today, Pasco County Schools officials, Gulf Trace Elementary School, local and state officials, Keep Pasco Beautiful, Walmart, and Trex hosted A Bag's Life, a national educational campaign about plastic bags and wraps. Students from 23 district schools will learn about environmental stewardship and will compete for prizes based on their recycling efforts.


National Guard to Visit Hudson High School JROTC

The National Guard will visit the Hudson High School JROTC on Tuesday, September 26, at 7:30 a.m. They will bring a military Humvee and howitzer artillery gun, and fire blank rounds from the canon at the beginning of the first, second, third and sixth periods. The National Guard also will provide meals, ready-to-eat (MREs) and talk with students about the careers that its Florida force offers. For more information, contact Maj. Timothy Root, senior army instructor of JROTC, at (727) 774-4255.



Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Next month is Childhood Cancer Awareness month. Click here for information about childhood cancer. If you are interested, click here to learn more about what you can do to help.


Suicide Awareness Month

Next month is also Suicide Awareness Month. Click here for more information.


Professional Learning Center (Building 2) Open House

On behalf of the Offices for Professional Development and School Supports and Maintenance Services, click here for an invitation to the new Professional Learning Center (Building 2) before the building officially opens on September 5.

The Center for the Arts at River Ridge

Click here to view the 2017-2018 flyers for upcoming shows for Pre-K – 12 students and the public.


The Center for the Arts at Wesley Chapel

Click here to view the 2017-2018 flyers for upcoming shows for Pre-K – 12 students and the public.


Retirement Celebration

Joan Incaudo

A retirement party is being held in honor of Joan Incaudo on Friday, September 8, at 5 p.m. at The Loop, located at 3338 Land O' Lakes Blvd., in Land O' Lakes. Click here to learn more. If you would like additional information, please contact Tina Sammartino at 813-794-2594.


Linda Cobbe, I have been here at gulf highlands elementary for three years and I have never seen anything like this before. Our first week of school is going so well that I cannot even describe it. I know that it takes a team to accomplish this. But I must also tell you that Judy Cosh has inspired us all. Her leadership skills are going to take gulf highlands to a new level this year! She has been bragging about how well our team is doing. I thought I would brag to you about how inspiring she is to us! -Larry Kuhn

We would like to send a KUDOS to Natalie Wannamaker, Chris Jackson and Mike Campoamor for supporting the Student Services Division with their expertise and technical assistance!  Natalie, Chris and Mike always go above and beyond to assist us individually and as a group with learning new systems (with patience and professionalism).  They consistently demonstrate enthusiasm when working with us and find ways to utilize and infuse new technology that makes sense with the work of student services.  It’s great to know that we can always count on them to problem solve an issue or refine a system.  They are such valuable assets to Pasco County Schools and we appreciate them!! -Alyssa Lipinski, Program Coordinator, Office for Student Support Programs and Services

Everyone at Centennial Middle S.T.E.M. Magnet school wanted to say thank you to Dennis Maclean (Maintenance Crew Chief) and his entire crew for their quick and outstanding service to our school. This was especially evident recently when our chiller went down and we were without air conditioning. Dennis came right out and was able to quickly get us back up and running. We appreciate the prompt and outstanding service of our maintenance department and on this particular day our entire school thanks Maintenance Crew Chief Dennis Maclean for coming to help us. -Rick R. Saylor, Ed.D., Principal, Centennial Middle School

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

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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)