September 25, 2015

September 25, 2015

September 25, 2015

September 25, 2015

Message from the Superintendent

Concerns About FSA Validity

On September 1st, the Florida Department of Education released the Florida Standards Assessment validity study, conducted by Alpine Testing Solutions and edCount.  The DOE press release announcing results of the study contained this headline: “Independent Review Confirms Florida Standards Assessment is Valid.”

I have tried, but I can’t find any reasonable interpretation of this study that would lead me to that conclusion.  There were too many concerns noted in the report for me to accept that the review concluded the test was valid.  In fact, the executive summary explicitly states that “it is not feasible to arrive at a simple Yes/No decision when it comes to the question ‘Is the test score valid?’” 

I firmly believe in accountability.  Students should be tested on their mastery of standards and student performance should be a factor in teacher evaluations.  It is equally important that school boards and superintendents should be held accountable for the performance of their students and staff.  I also want it to be clear that we do not support students opting out of the exam, and we have no intention of ignoring Florida’s laws related to the Florida Standards or the Florida Standards Assessment.

What I don’t support is using the results of an exam to grade schools and evaluate teachers that an independent review deemed “should not be used as a sole determinant in decisions such as the prevention of advancement to the next grade, graduation eligibility, or placement into a remedial course.”  Even when addressing the use of scores on an aggregate level (school grades and teacher evaluations), the reviewers were not definitive, saying “it is likely that aggregate level use would be appropriate.” 

The review of the test’s administration concludes:  “The precise magnitude of the problems is difficult to gauge with 100% accuracy, but the evaluation team can reasonably state that the spring 2015 administration of the FSA did not meet the normal rigor and standardization expected with a high stakes assessment program like the FSA.”

In Pasco, we had students who were prepared to take the exam but couldn’t log on.  Others were logged out while taking the exam and could not log back in to complete the exam until much later.  Some completed it on another day, which was unfair to them and to other students.

Furthermore, the review stated all of the following:

  1. The exam contained questions that “focused on slightly different content within the same anchor standards,” which did not align with the intended standards as evidenced by content experts statewide. 
  2. The reviewers did not have adequate documentation to determine if item development met industry standards because “much of the documentation about test development came from that other state [Utah].” 
  3. The evidence of the “process FLDOE undertook to adapt the blueprints and to select from the pool of available items reflects what would have been expected during a fast adaptation process.”   
  4. The “lack of any cognitive complexity expectations in the blueprints mean that test forms could potentially include items that do not reflect the cognitive complexity in the standards and could vary in cognitive complexity across forms, thus allowing for variation across students, sites, and time.”

These are the reasons that I have little confidence in this year’s FSA results and the corresponding school grades that will be released this fall.  Regardless of our students’ performance results, there is too much uncertainty about the test and its administration for me to feel comfortable with the use of the results for any high-stakes reason. 

Until the DOE performs all of the adjustments necessary for a truly valid and reliable FSA that properly assesses students’ grasp of the Florida Standards, I encourage you to use caution in reacting to this year’s test scores and school grades. 

I’ve been asked if I would consider removing student FSA scores as a factor in teacher evaluations, but as I mentioned earlier, the School Board and I are committed to following state law.  Section 1012.34(b), Florida Statutes, requires districts to “measure student learning growth using the formulas approved by the [DOE] commissioner under paragraph (a) and the standards for performance levels adopted by the state board under subsection (8) for courses associated with the statewide, standardized assessments.”

The School Board and I remain committed to working with the Florida Legislature to further strengthen our accountability system. Florida’s future depends on an accountability system and assessment that accurately measure student mastery of standards and determine whether teachers are adequately preparing them for success. These steps will renew the public’s and my confidence in Florida’s system of public school accountability.



Employee Benefits and Wellness Fair

Annual Open Enrollment for Benefits period begins this Saturday, September 26th and closes on Sunday, October 25th.  All benefit eligible employees must sign-up for benefits during open enrollment.  Current choices will not carry over into 2016.  To kick-off open enrollment, the District is hosting an Employee Benefit & Wellness Fair this Saturday at Land O’ Lakes High School from 9:00 am to 2:30 pm.

  • Free flu shots
  • Community partners and group health plan representatives will be available to answer your specific questions. 
  • Wellness demonstrations and benefit presentations will be given throughout the day.
  • Sunbelt enrollers will be available to assist you with employees’ 2016 benefit selections. 

We hope to see you at this informative event!  For more information, go to the district website, and click on the Employees tab.


Professional Development myPGS Video Tutorials

Professional Development has created a new, comprehensive list of video tutorials for the new myPGS website. This YouTube location will be updated frequently. Click the image above to view the complete tutorials. The following tutorials are related to Pasco County’s myPGS website:

  1. Basic Walk Through of the myPGS interface
  2. The creation of a DP Plan (new evaluation system)
  3. Domain 1, 2, 3, 4 Scoring
  4. How to Assign Teachers to Administrators
  5. Summative Scoring Tutorial
  6. 2015 - 2016 Evaluation System Explained
  7. Completing Assessment Observations
  8. Completing Peer Observations
  9. Completing Survey and Accessing Transcripts
  10. Creating a Course
  11. Taking Attendance and Changing Rosters


Reasonable Suspicion Drug Testing Program Training

This video is an update to an already established Employee Relations Drug and Alcohol Testing Policy for Pasco County Schools employees. If you have any questions, please email Betsy Kuhn, Employee Relations Director.


Pasco County Citizens' Academy

Pasco County is now accepting applications from the public to attend the Citizens’ Academy Class starting in the fall of 2015. The next class will be the fourth Citizens Academy Class and is expected to start on October 22. The class will graduate in January 2016. Applications will be taken until Wednesday, September 30. The program will include ten sessions to be held between October and January. Citizens will learn about all aspects of County Government and the County’s constitutional offices. Some of the Citizen Academy Classes include the following subjects: Overview of County Government, Emergency Management, Clerk of Court & Comptroller, Fire Rescue, Supervisor of Elections, Internal Services, Property Appraiser, Libraries, Sheriff, Management and Budget, School Board, Parks and Recreation, Tax Collector, Planning and Development, Building, Public Safety, Code Enforcement, Public Services, Community Services, Public Works, Development Services and Utilities.

Citizens who would like additional information about the Citizens’ Academy, view class topics or to apply for the upcoming Citizens’ Academy class, log on to the Pasco County Citizens’ Academy website. For questions, email Ms. Laura Aprile or call County Administration at (727) 847-8115.


World Heart Day

School Nurses in Pasco are also CPR instructors with the American Heart Association (AHA).  In support of World Heart Day (September 29), the AHA, and the Florida Department of Health, we invite all Pasco employees to learn about Hands-only CPR through the video below. World Heart Day serves as a reminder to everyone that heart disease and stroke are the world’s leading causes of death. This year, the theme is creating heart-healthy environments and the Florida Department of Health is working to ensure all Floridians have the tools needed to save a life using cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Research has shown that early CPR can make a difference in survival rates of heart attack victims.  This year, we are going to focus our World Heart Day efforts on engaging our community in Hands-Only CPR.  To learn more about Hands-Only CPR, click here for more videos or email Jeanmarie Batto, RN.




It's Worth a Shot

CareHere will be providing flu vaccinations at designated Pasco County schools during the months of October and November! The flu clinics are offered at no cost to all insured and non-insured employees. Flu vaccinations will be provided, beginning October 14, on a first-come, first-served basis. Schedule is subject to change. The Health and Wellness Centers will begin offering appointments for the flu shots in November, after the on-campus flu clinics have concluded. For more information, please email Barbara Long, or call her at (813) 794-2366.

Dates Day Time Location
10/13/15 Tuesday   District Office
10/14/15 Wednesday 7:40 - 9:40 a.m. Lacoochee Elementary School
10/14/15 Wednesday   San Antonio Elementary School
10/20/15 Tuesday 7:30 - 9:30 a.m. Raymond B. Stewart Middle School
10/20/15 Tuesday 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Pasco Middle School
10/20/15 Tuesday   Centennial Elementary School
10/21/15 Wednesday 8 - 10 a.m. Chester W. Taylor Elementary School
10/21/15 Wednesday   Double Branch Elementary School
10/21/15 Wednesday 3:30 - 4:30 p.m. New River Elementary School
10/27/15 Tuesday   Thomas E. Weightman Middle School
10/27/15 Tuesday 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Veterans Elementary School
10/28/15 Wednesday 7 - 9 a.m. Dr. John Long Middle School
10/28/15 Wednesday 1 - 3 p.m. Denham Oaks Elementary School
11/03/15 Tuesday 7:30 - 9:30 p.m. Charles S. Rushe Middle School
11/03/15 Tuesday   Sanders Memorial Elementary School
11/04/15 Wednesday 11:10 a.m. - 1:10 p.m. Odessa Elementary School
11/04/15 Wednesday 7:30 - 9:30 a.m. Seven Springs Middle School
11/10/15 Tuesday 7:30 - 9:30 a.m. Paul R. Smith Middle School
11/10/15 Tuesday 11 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Sunray Elementary School
11/10/15 Tuesday   Mittye P. Locke Elementary School
11/11/15 Wednesday 2 - 5 p.m. Gulf Middle School
11/11/15 Wednesday   River Ridge Middle School
11/17/15 Tuesday   Chasco Middle School
11/17/15 Tuesday   Schrader Elementary School
11/17/15 Tuesday 11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. Moon Lake Elementary School
11/18/15 Wednesday   Hudson Middle School
11/18/15 Wednesday   Shady Hills Elementary School
11/18/15 Wednesday 3:30 - 5:30 p.m. Mary Giella Elementary School


Pasco Education Foundation Golf Classic



Debbie Smith, the original sign logo looks great. I also took the logo and had a wrap made for a window in our front office. It looks so cute! Thanks for all your help throughout the re-opening of our school. It has been wonderful to have your support! -Tracy Bonnett, Assistant Principal, Shady Hills Elementary

Fred K. Marchman Technical College (MTC) would like to thank Joann Glenn for assisting with the development of online GED classes to offer more flexibility to our adult students. Her knowledge regarding online instruction was invaluable to our administrative team and new online GED instructor.  We look forward to continuing to work with her on the development of this course via the Canvas.  We are also excited to work with Pasco eSchool to explore ways to compliment our master schedule by offering online academic courses in order to provide flexibility as well as maximum opportunities at MTC to students while completing their high school graduation requirements.  -Rob Aguis, Fred K. Marchman Technical College Principal, and Kim Dunn

This student plays football with one of the Pasco Special Olympics Flag Football teams.

Technology/Design Class at Pine View Middle School

See how Pine View Middle School students are learning about aviation and engineering in their technology/design class.

New Evaluation System: My PGS Walkthrough