Kurt S. Browning, Superintendent of Schools
September 28, 2017

Kurt S. Browning, Superintendent of Schools

September 28, 2017

Kurt S. Browning, Superintendent of Schools

September 28, 2017

Kurt S. Browning, Superintendent of Schools

September 28, 2017

Superintendent's Message

In light of recent events, Pasco County Schools believes it is prudent to remind all parents, students, and staff about Florida law (S. 1003.44, Florida Statutes), and by extension, School Board Policy (8800) regarding students standing for and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. In compliance with Florida Statute, School Board Policy provides the expectation that the pledge be recited at the start of each school day, and that staff members are authorized to lead students in this recitation. That being said, both law and policy continue by providing that no student shall be compelled/required to participate in the recitation of the Pledge, and that upon written request by the student’s parent (or guardian), a student shall be excused from reciting the pledge, including standing and placing the right hand over his/her heart. This means that kneeling or other non-disruptive forms of non-participation will generally be considered as permissible alternatives to the traditional recitation of the Pledge, provided that the demonstrating student has provided a written request from his/her parent in advance. Students should be reminded, however, that any conduct that is considered to be vulgar, violent, or disruptive is still subject to normal disciplinary procedures. Although not specifically addressed in policy, peaceful non-participation in the National Anthem will also be considered permissible by school officials.

If you do not want your student to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance, please send a note to his/her principal in advance. The District would like to thank all parents in advance for assisting us in keeping our time, efforts, and resources focused on the provision of quality educational services to the students of Pasco County.


Stay Connected

SMS Alerts

The district's automated dialing system offers a text notification feature for employees. If you would like to receive Pasco Schools announcements via SMS text messaging to your mobile phone, text Y to 67587. Additionally, make sure that the number we have in Employee Self Service is your cell phone number. At any time, you may unsubscribe by texting the word STOP to 67587. Message and data rates may apply. 

Individual and Household Assistance Available

After working closely with FEMA, Rep. Gus Bilirakis announced that Pasco County has been added to the list of counties that will receive Individual Assistance (IA) from FEMA. Residents can now make claims for individual assistance through FEMA by visiting www.disasterassistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362.




Help the FASA Foundation Provide Hurricane Relief

During Hurricane Irma, school principals, district administrators, support staff, and teachers not only took care of their own families, but cared for thousands of others. Staff had to deal and they did so with humility and kindness. The Florida Association of School Administrators (FASA) asks every educator to consider helping raise funds for "back to school" supplies for kids and teaching materials that will not be reimbursed by insurance.

How to Help:

  • Donate Online Today through GoFundMe.
  • Raise $10 or more per person at your school. FASA will recognize contributions in the FASA Friday Facts and school locations with $1,000 or more will get a beautiful certificate for framing.

Please send checks to: 206B S. Monroe St., Tallahassee, FL 32301

The FASA Foundation will distribute 100 percent of the contributions to the four schools based upon need and student enrollment . Your gift is tax deductible and you will receive a receipt from the Foundation.


U.S. Department of Education

The U.S. Department of Education has significantly expanded its Hurricane Help web site.  Originally created in response to Hurricane Harvey, the site now has a page with Hurricane Irma information and a page with general disaster information in both English and Spanish.  The Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma pages have links to federal resources, including the latest information from the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), government-wide activities related to each of the hurricanes (coordinated by the General Services Administration), and other information for those impacted by the storms.  Each of the pages also provides specific resources related to education.  All of these pages are continually updated, so users are urged to regularly check for the latest information.

Pasco County Government

Donations Needed for Disaster Relief

Metropolitan Ministries is accepting donations to assist those affected by Hurricane Irma.  Tens of thousands of our neighbors have been affected by the storm resulting in families being temporarily homeless or in need of the basic necessities.  Countless others have decided to stay in their homes despite the damage, but are still in need.


Debris Pickup

Get rid of Irma debris, and register using MyPasco App. Pasco County will begin picking up debris September 18. Click here to learn more, and here for the county's flyer.


Innovative Classroom Project Applications

Every teacher has creative and innovative ideas to help their students engage in learning.  The Pasco Education Foundation classroom grant program provides teachers across Pasco County the financial resources they need to inspire learning among their students.  The deadline to submit your project idea is Sunday, October 8.  Click here for more information.


Financial Fitness Group

Pasco County Schools has partnered with Financial Fitness group to offer all employees the Financial Fitness program! The Financial Fitness Program is an educational program that includes a financial fitness checkup, financial fitness academy, and financial fitness coach.

All employees are eligible to participate and will have access to a financial fitness coach for 30 days at no cost between September 1, and December 31. Participating employees may:

  • Complete an initial check-up through the financial fitness checkup
  • Access over 80 tutorials through the financial fitness academy
  • Access a personal coach free for 30 days through the financial fitness coach

Tutorials cover information from various topics, including:

  • Personal finance
  • Saving and investing
  • Basics

Covered employees who participate in the financial fitness academy may also earn rewards through the district’s Health and Wellness Incentive (HWI) Program! Click here or visit www.PascoGoHealthy.net to learn more.


2018 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards

This year, the 23rd annual Prudential Spirit of Community Awards are searching for Florida's top youth volunteers. Prudential will be soliciting applications from 5th-12th grade students, and will announce the winners on February 6. Winning students will be brought to Washington April 28, through May 1, for four days of special recognition events, along with the top two applicants from every other state and the District of Columbia. Here is more information:

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program, the nation's largest youth recognition program based exclusively on volunteer community service, has honored more than 120,000 youth volunteers over the past 22 years at the local, state and national level.

Hometown Heroes

Hometown Heroes is an organization designed to give back to those who help make our communities a better place to live by offering real savings from local and national business partners, and real estate professionals. Heroes can find savings for the things they do and use every day. Qualifying heroes are military service members, medical personnel, first responders, non-profits, and educators. Click here to learn more.


Teacher Spotlight

Justin Baggett

Orchestra Director, Wiregrass Ranch High School

Staff Spotlight

Brett Ebert

MTSS/PBIS Coach at Paul R. Smith Middle School

Click here to learn more.

Student Spotlight

Shelter Volunteers
Fivay High School Students


Employee Benefits and Wellness Fair

The annual Employee Benefit and Wellness Fair will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday, September 30, at Sunlake High School. This year’s event will include:

  • Family friendly activities, games, and demonstrations
  • A special performance by Seven Springs Middle School’s Calypso Band
  • Flu shots for employees and eligible retirees.
  • Community partners and representatives of the District’s group health plan, who will be available to answer your specific questions. 
  • Assistance with your 2018 benefit selections. 

Saturday marks the start of the open enrollment period, which ends October 31; we look forward to seeing you at Sunlake High School on Saturday.


Walk/Bike to School Day

Join students, families, school leaders, community partners and mayors around the country on October 4 to celebrate the benefits of walking to school during International Walk to School Day. Click here to learn more.


Out of the Darkness Community Walk

Last week was Suicide Prevention Week, and September is Suicide Prevention Month. This year's Walk to Fight Suicide will take place on Saturday October 28, at Sims Park, on Grand Boulevard and Bank Street, in New Port Richey. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m., and the walk is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, please contact Marie Kelley at 205-370-3908, or view their flyer. Click here to register.


3rd Annual Pasco County All-Star Football Game

The 2017 Pasco County All-Star Game is Thursday, December 7, at 7 p.m. at Sunlake Field, 3023 Sunlake Blvd., in Land O' Lakes. Tickets are $10, and are available here, at all high school front offices, or at the ticket booth the day of the game. Click here to view the event flyer.


Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

This 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

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


Attendance Awareness Month

September is Attendance Awareness Month. Click here for more information, or visit www.attendanceworks.org.



  • 1-31: Crime Prevention Month
  • 1-31: National Bullying Prevention Month
  • 1-31: National Principals Month
  • 2: Child Health Day
  • 4: International Walk to School Day
  • 8-14: Fire Prevention Week
  • 9-13: National School Lunch Week
  • 9: Columbus Day
  • 15-21: National Character Counts Week
  • 16-20: National School Bus Safety Week
  • 16: Boss's Day
  • 23-31: Red Ribbon Week


On Wednesday, September 27, the Youth Services Section/School Resource Officer (YSS/SRO) Unit held a team meeting at Florida Hospital Center Ice. After business, we had a chance to tour the facility. K-9 Dobies played a little hockey, and he also drove the Zamboni. K-9 Dobies was quite excited to play fetch with the pucks on the ice. Special thanks to the facility manager, Mr. Ignatius Tarajos, and the Center Ice Staff for hosting us - great community partners! Was a really "cool" place to meet! -Lt. Troy Ferguson, Pasco Sheriff's Office

Superintendent Browning, In the wake of Hurricane Harvey’s devastation to Houston, Texas; Woodland Elementary School’s National Elementary Honor Society conducted a coin drive to support those impacted by the storm. All proceeds collected were earmarked for the American Red Cross. While Hurricane Irma was threatening our own homes, city, and schools, our Wranglers continued to donate for those in Texas. In three short days, we collected $530 to donate to the American Red Cross. -Amy Drury, Instructional Trainer Coach (ELA), Woodland Elementary

If you would like to recognize someone you work with for a job well done, please click here to email Superintendent Browning.

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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)