October 13, 2016

October 13, 2016

October 13, 2016

October 13, 2016

Superintendent's Message

The District is continuing to investigate its options relative to the third hurricane day that occurred on Friday, October 7. State law requires that students at all grade levels receive a certain amount of instructional seat time each year, or semester at the secondary level. The state has already indicated that it will not be waiving this requirement for lost instructional time due to Hurricane Matthew. Due to the variation in school bell schedules, we have to review the current bell schedules of each of our schools to determine if we need to make-up any instructional time. If time does need to be made-up, we will determine the best way to do so. Either way, we hope to communicate further with parents and staff on this subject no later than next week.


Employee Engagement Survey

On October 10, Gallup sent you an email invitation to participate in the Pasco County Schools Q12 Employee Engagement Survey, which will provide feedback on various aspects of employee engagement. The invitation will include your Access Code and a link to Gallup’s website, where you can complete the online survey. Gallup will keep your individual responses to the survey completely confidential. We are looking for 100 percent participation. Check your Clutter folder if you do not receive the survey in your inbox on Monday. If you do not have the link in your inbox, clutter or junk folders, contact Gallup Client Support by sending an email to q12help@gallupmail.com or by calling 1-800-788-9987. Support is available 24 hours a day from 7:00 p.m. Sunday through 6:00 p.m. Friday, U.S. Eastern Time. Please take five minutes to complete the survey and ensure your opinion is heard.



You have one more day to qualify for the myPascoConnect campaign.  All this week employees and students have been entered into a drawing for each day they log in to myPascoConnect. At the end of the week, one Pasco County employee will be randomly selected to receive a MacBook Air.


Employee Benefits Update

Open Enrollment Begins in October

Open Enrollment began October 1st and ends October 31st. Click here to schedule your appointment with an enroller.

Benefits Update #1

Benefits Update # 1 for the upcoming open enrollment is available online. This issue includes information on:

  • Open Enrollment (October 1 – October 31, 2016)
  • Medical Benefits and the Health Opt Out Plan
  • Behavioral Health and Employee Assistance Program
  • Prescription Drug Plan (Pharmacy)
  • Core and Supplemental Life

Additional information about benefit election options are available online by clicking here.


New Tools to Fight Bullying

Bullying is a pervasive problem in America that has plagued our children for decades. While there have been great efforts to spark change, bullying continues to affect between 25 to 33 percent of children across the country. Shockingly, 70 to 85 percent of bystanders do not take action. Relying on the goodwill of bystanders and teachers is not enough. More than 70 percent of all children will be bullied at least once during their K-12 years. You can take steps to reduce bullying. Be sure to tell your students and parents about The-No-App™ -- the only smartphone app which empowers the victims of bullying and their parents.The-No-App™ is the first anti-bullying app which immediately alerts parents to problem interactions AND creates a record of the person(s) bothering the child. This app helps create peace-of-mind for both the young user and his/her parents. It delivers a clear message to whomever is bothering the child, immediately alerts the victim's parents that something may be wrong, and creates evidence of who was harassing the child. It is also a tool to give parents an excuse to talk to their children about staying safe. Here are some online resources:

Please tell your friends and associates and help us spread the word. Empowering your children is an important step to their mastering the situation and moving past it. For more information, please contact Michael Lissack, Institute for the Study of Coherence and Emergence's executive director at 617-710-9565.


Feeding Pasco's Kids Food Drive

The Pasco Sheriff's Office annual Feeding Pasco's Kids food drive is now accepting both monetary and food donations.  Like last year's event, the proceeds from the Feeding Pasco's Kids food drive will homeless children and students in Pasco County Schools.  Other recipients include the Salvation Army, Sunrise Domestic Violence Shelter in Dade City, God's Food 4 Life in Lacoochee and The Thomas Promise Foundation in Zephyrhills.

Donation boxes have been placed in the lobbies of Pasco Sheriff's Office buildings and a number of area churches.  Monetary donations can be made by check or money order to Pasco Sheriff's Charities, with Food Drive in the "For" line. They can be mailed to Food Drive Donations, Pasco Sheriff's Charities, 8700 Citizen Drive, New Port Richey, FL 34654. All donations must be received by Friday, December 9.

If you would like to donate or have any questions about Feeding Pasco's Kids, please contact the Sheriff's Community Relations Office at 1-727-844-7759, Monday - Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Enter to win FREE college with the Florida Prepaid Scholarship Program

Ten Florida families will win two free years of college from the Florida Prepaid College Foundation, which has launched its Florida Prepaid Scholarship Program. The annual scholarship program runs through October 23, 2016.

We encourage families to use this time to enter the scholarship contest, and to learn about the benefits of saving early for college – from getting more motivated to prepare academically for college, to avoiding the burden of student loan debt.

Parents and grandparents of children ages newborn to 8th grade can register to win one of 10 two-year Florida College Plans here

Don’t miss your opportunity to win two years of free college today! Click here to learn more.


ESE Disability History and Awareness Weeks

Former Governor Charlie Crist signed ESE Disability History and Awareness Instruction, Section 1003.4205, Florida Statutes, into law on June 12, 2008. This instruction expands students' knowledge, understanding and awareness of individuals with disabilities and the history of the Disability Rights Movement. This year, recognition for this event will be held from October 3 through October 14.

The Office for Student Support Programs and Services is promoting this event on the district website with links to resources. These resources include instructional materials, the history of Disability Awareness, as well as general information. Schools are encouraged to include lessons and/or activities in student instruction and school-wide activities.

Please contact Celisa Cook at extension x42841 if you need additional information.


Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay Informational Sessions

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay is hoping that this holiday season people will give of their most precious commodity -- their time.
With more than 50 children in Pasco County on the waiting list for a Big Brother or Big Sister, the nation’s largest youth mentoring organization has streamlined its enrollment process to make becoming a volunteer mentor quicker and easier than ever. Throughout the month and at three locations in the county (New Port Richey, Land O’ Lakes and Wesley Chapel), Big Brothers Big Sisters conducts orientation and training sessions that, when completed, leaves the potential volunteer 90 percent through the enrollment process.

Adult mentors, called “Bigs,” can choose between several programs. There is a school-based program, where the Big visits his or her “Little” one hour a week at their school or afterschool program. Or they can choose the community-based program, sharing a minimum of 8 hours per month with their Little doing fun things like going to the movies, shopping, playing mini-golf or enjoying the many donated sports and theater tickets that BBBS provides for the matches.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay serves children in seven counties and had nearly 3,000 matches in 2015. The success of the program is impressive, with 99 percent of the children in the program last year staying out of the juvenile justice system, and 97 percent being promoted to the next grade level. To learn more about becoming a mentor, please plan to attend one of the following orientation and training events:

  • Monday, October 10, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
    • Rasmussen College - 18600 Fernview Street, in Land O’ Lakes
  • Monday, October 17, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
    • New Port Richey Recreation and Aquatic Center - 6630 Van Buren, in New Port Richey
  • Tuesday, October 18, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
    • Wesley Chapel Honda - 27750 Wesley Chapel Blvd., in Wesley Chapel
  • Saturday, November 5, from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
    • New Port Richey Recreation and Aquatic Center - 6630 Van Buren, in New Port Richey
  • Monday, November 14, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
    • Rasmussen College - 18600 Fernview Street, in Land O’ Lakes
  • Tuesday, November 29, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
    • Wesley Chapel Honda - 27750 Wesley Chapel Blvd., in Wesley Chapel
  • Saturday, December 3, from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
    • New Port Richey Recreation and Aquatic Center - 6630 Van Buren, in New Port Richey
  • Monday, December 12, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
    • Rasmussen College - 18600 Fernview Street, in Land O’ Lakes
  • Tuesday, December 13, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
    • Wesley Chapel Honda -27750 Wesley Chapel Blvd., in Wesley Chapel

For a complete list of orientation dates and locations, click here and follow the “volunteer” links. For more information please contact Deb Kristol-Irwin, Director of Partnership Development for Pasco County at 813-997-6881.


Community Information

Pasco County Government

Pasco Voter Drive

As we approach the 2016 General Elections, Pasco Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley has prepared a voter guide so you can #BeElectionReady. This guide contains information regarding:

  • Bookclosing Dates
  • Election Dates
  • Elections Terminology Definitions

The Pasco Supervisor of Elections Office can be reached at 1-800-851-8754.


Zika Virus

Click here for information about protecting yourself and your family from the Zika virus.  The district is adding links and information to the Health Information page on the Parents portal.



Superintendent Browning, recently our school lost a precious student Manny Orengo-Alvarez a graduate of 2015  who was killed in a car accident. Manny was a kind loving and compassionate young man. We miss Manny so very much. Recently Luis Orengo-ALverez  the brother of Manny paid a visit to Wesley Chapel High School. Luis a graduate of 2014 was also one of our Wonderful Wildcats. I want to acknowledge my principal, Carin Hetzler-Nettles for her love and compassion for our Wildcat students and staff. -Shirley Pantoja, Data Entry, Wesley Chapel High School

Superintendent Browning, I am writing to you this afternoon to show my appreciation for our Onboarding Representative, Margarida Wainraich.  She has been beyond helpful the past few weeks with assisting the Administrative team at Charles S. Rushe MS with ensuring the necessary paperwork was completed accurately when hiring new teachers for our staff.  Ms. Wainraich has been quick to respond to emails, sharing necessary documents to be filled out, and available to talk through concerns or details.  Her time, energy and attention has allowed CSRMS to bring new staff members to our school flawlessly. -Rachel C. Fowler, Assistant Principal, Charles S. Rushe, MS

We are happy to report that the Pasco Education Foundation has provided the department with 5 - $25 Publix Gift Cards to help recognize our staff during School Bus Safety Week this year. Students perform better when we're able to provide them the best transportation service possible. This is achieved when their regular driver or assistant is there to get the job done! Big thanks to the Pasco Education Foundation for their continuous support! -Tad Kledzik, Transportation Operations Supervisor, Transportation Services

MTC Digital Cinema Production students shooting a video with Rooms To Go Vice President Larry Higins.

Student Use of Social Media

A message from Superintendent Browning about the serious consequences of students using social media irresponsibly.

Department Spotlight

Communications and Government Relations

Student Spotlight

Spencer Giordano
Wesley Chapel High School

Click here to read his interview.

Staff Spotlight

Tracy Wilson
Behavior Specialist
Seven Springs Elementary School

Click here to read her interview.


Golfers Needed

Ridgewood High School's annual golf tournament is on Sunday, October 16, beginning at 8 a.m. at Meadow Oaks in Hudson. The tournament is still in need of golfers to support their students. Lunch will be included. Click here to sign up and contact Derek Delgardo, RHS Athletic Director, with questions.


Red Ribbon Week

This year's Red Ribbon Week theme is Y.O.L.O. (You Only Live Once): Be Drug Free™.


2nd Annual Pasco County Out of the Darkness Walk

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:

  • Registration: 9:30 a.m. - 11 a.m.
  • Opening Ceremony: 11 a.m.
  • Walk begins: 11:30 a.m.
  • Closing ceremony: 1 p.m.

Click here to create your own team/join a team for the Pasco County Out of the Darkness Community Walk.


Veterans Day Program

We are creating a tribute again this year to all of our employees who are veterans to show at the district Veterans Day presentation, which is scheduled for Friday, November 11, at the Center for the Arts at River Ridge.  Andy Dunn will be creating a video to honor their service. If you are a veteran, please submit a photo to Andy Dunn by October 21.  If you sent a photo last year, you do not have to resubmit one this year.   You will receive more details about the Veterans Day celebration as the date approaches.


Fred K. Marchman Technical College Rededication Ceremony

The Fred K. Marchman Technical College Rededication Ceremony will take place on November 16, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Fred K. Marchman Technical College. Click here for a copy of the Save the Date card.

Important Dates


  • 1-31: Italian-American Heritage and Culture Month
  • 1-31: National Bullying Prevention Month
  • 1-31: National Principals Month
  • 1-31: Polish-American Heritage Month
  • 14: End of First Quarter
  • 17: Teacher Planning Day (no school for students)
  • 17-21: National School Bus Safety Week
  • 23-31: Red Ribbon Week
  • 24: Report Cards