Kurt S. Browning, Superintendent of Schools
October 20, 2017

Kurt S. Browning, Superintendent of Schools

October 20, 2017

Kurt S. Browning, Superintendent of Schools

October 20, 2017

Kurt S. Browning, Superintendent of Schools

October 20, 2017

Superintendent's Message

Ridgewood High School’s Exciting Future

During last Tuesday’s school board meeting, I notified board members of my intent to present a plan to move forward with transitioning Ridgewood High School to a technical high school beginning in the 2018-19 school year. I want the very best for each of the students we serve. This program promotes college affordability by allowing students to take college-credit-earning courses in high school at no charge. It is my desire to build the Ridgewood concept into a model technical high school program and generate a greater number of career-ready students.

Since Ridgewood High School is on the state’s differentiated accountability list for school improvement, our district faces an urgent timeline to forge solutions. There are issues that must be properly evaluated moving forward. I remain committed to working with staff to ensure that proper supports are established for students rezoned from Ridgewood High School. I also believe there should be a balance of technical offerings in east Pasco, and we are discussing the best avenue for establishing an east Pasco program. I am confident that principals Chris Dunning and Rob Aguis and the staff who are working with them will continue to vet these issues to develop solutions.

Thank you for all you do to improve the lives of our students and families. I look forward to sharing more with you on November 7.

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.




Constitution Essay Winners Announced

The Pasco County Clerk & Comptroller's office has announced the winners of their fifth-annual Constitution Essay Contest. Congratulations to the following students:

  • 1st Place: Bailey Keyes, Trinity Elementary School
  • 2nd Place: Ryleigh McQueen, Woodland Elementary School
  • 3rd Place: Nathan Grimes, Trinity Elementary School


Open Enrollment


Flu Shot Schedule

Click here to view the schedule for flu shots throughout our district.


Quarterly Surplus Store Opening

This quarter, the surplus store will be open Wednesday, October 25 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Building 1, 7301 Land O’ Lakes Blvd. in Land O’ Lakes. Click here for more information. 


FASA Membership for Administrators

The district has purchased basic level Florida Association of School Administrators (FASA) membership for district administrators. You should expect communication, unless you have not already, detailing your personal username and login information. FASA is a great organization that provides strong professional learning, great networking opportunities throughout the state as well as a wealth of resources for every type of district administrator. With your district level membership you are able to access the vast majority of their resources and tools (with exception of legal support).  Please feel free to visit their website to take a look around. FASA's partnership provides benefits such as leadership kick-off and celebration, reading materials, and legislative information for members.

Additionally, we are excited for the return of our local administrative group, PCASA. Both organizations are dedicated to administrators and their growth, development, support and collaboration and we are hopeful to create a strong network of Pasco administrators within both of these organizations. Please be on the lookout for info from FASA to come your way and stay tuned for additional opportunities to engage in work with FASA throughout the year. If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact Lea Mitchell at 813-794-2256. Listed below are the differences between the basic membership and other FASA membership packages:

Basic Membership

  • "FASA Friday Facts" and the "Florida Education Calendar" publications
  • Pin and certificate
  • Special updates and notices
  • Committee membership

Additional Packages

  1. Full Service  $223
    • All publications: "FASA Friday Facts," daily "News Tracker" clips, "Legalese, "Advocate," the "Florida Education Calendar," and all future publications
    • Legal Defense, special updates, and notices
    • Discounts at all conferences, drive-ins and professional development
    • Voting and holding office
    • Pin and certificate
    • Committee membership
  2. Publications Membership $119
    • All publications: weekly "FASA Friday Facts," daily "News Tracker" clips, "Legalese," "Advocate," the "Florida Education Calendar," and future publications.

You can upgrade your account by logging into www.fasa.net using the credentials below and clicking on the link to "Upgrade Your Membership" on the left.


Fivay High School Puerto Rico Disaster Relief Drive

Please consider donating the following critical need items to the Puerto Rico Relief Drive. For the safety of our students, all items should be new and turned in before school to tables located in the front of the cafeteria each morning during the month of October. Fivay has teamed up with Agape Flights, a nonprofit group, to deliver these much-needed supplies directly to the hardest hit areas of Puerto Rico.

Disaster Relief Items

  • heavy duty extension cords • work gloves
  • tarps
  • ropes
  • safety glasses

Humanitarian Relief Items

  • baby wipes
  • hand sanitizer
  • baby formula
  • mosquito repellant
  • first-aid kits

We have already collected pallets of emergency meals and have businesses donating electrical generators and chainsaws; however, we included some smaller items on the list that we will palletize so that individual students and families can also support the relief effort. Fivay’s efforts have already been approved by the Governor of Puerto Rico to fly critical needs items to the island. There the items we send will be distributed to the hardest hit side of the island. One teacher will also be accompanying the donated supplies to Puerto Rico to document the distribution of supplies and bring back images and video to share with our student body. Fivay will also be partnering with a local Puerto Rican Orphanage and School. Thank you for supporting our effort to help these resilient American citizens in their time of greatest need.


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.


Newspapers in Education: Literacy Times

Click here to read the Tampa Bay Times Literacy Times webpage. 


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.


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 fifth-twelfth 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.


Gen Nano

The National Science Foundation and the National Nanotechnology Initiative are sending up the signal and asking for your help!  Gear up and compete in this year's Generation Nano: Superheroes Inspired by Science challenge. Sixth through twelfth grade students will compete for scholarship money and a trip to Washington, D.C. to attend the 2018 USA Science and Engineering Festival. There will be an honorarium for teacher(s) involved with the winning teams. Students may compete as individuals or as members of a two- to three-person team. They must create a superhero using science or tell their story in a short comic or video. The contest closes on January 8, 2018, at 11:59 p.m. Click here to learn more. If you have questions, email the Gen Nano Team.


Your Vote Is Your Voice Contest

Pasco Seventh Grade Students can enter the Pasco Supervisor of Elections video contest. The contest deadline is November 3, and students must create a video showing:

  • How your vote is your voice
  • How we affect change and make a difference together
  • Importance of participating in the democratic process

Click here to access more information on the contest flyer.


Volunteer Spotlight

Brianna Riddle

12th Grade Student, Gulf High School

Staff Spotlight

Beth Hess

New Teacher AcademyRiver Ridge High School

Click here to learn more.


RRHS Trick or Treat Around the Track

River Ridge High School is hosting this year's Trick or Treat Around the Track on October 24, from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Jim Valentine Stadium. The stadium is located at 11646 Town Center Road, in New Port Richey. Dress up in your school-appropriate costume and visit booths for tasty treats! Don't forget to bring canned goods for those in need. For more information, click here, email sgrim@pasco.k12.fl.us, or call 727-774-7200.


Ann Altman's Retirement Party

Ann Altman is retiring after 35 years of service to Pasco County Schools. She will be celebrating her retirement on Friday, October 27, at 2 p.m., in the Purchasing Department, Building 4. Click here for more information.


WCHS Trick or Treat Around the Track

Wesley Chapel High School is hosting their Trick or Treat Around the Track event on Friday, October 27, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Dress up in your school-appropriate costume and join the Wildcats in a movie on the big screen! This event is open to the community.


Out of the Darkness Community Walk

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.


CCMHS Safe Zone

Cypress Creek Middle/High School is hosting their first Safe Zone on Saturday, October 28, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. The Pasco Sheriff's Office will be on site providing a safe, fun atmosphere for families. There will be a kid's costume contest, trick or treating, games, a movie, crafts, and more! Click here for more information.


Head Start Awareness Month

October is Head Start Awareness Month. Click here to read the original presentation by President Ronald Reagan. According to the proclamation, a primary focus for Head Start programs is volunteers. Last year we had a total of 1042 volunteers! Please contact Angela Porterfield at 727-774-2730 if you would like more information.


Veterans Elementary Veterans Day BBQ

Veterans Elementary School is hosting a barbeque, in honor of veterans, on Friday, November 10, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. If you are a veteran or know a neighbor, community member, or family member who is, please call 813-346-1400 to RSVP or email Sharon Zurita by November 3. Click here for more information.


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.



  • 1-31: Head Start Awareness Month
  • 1-31: Crime Prevention Month
  • 1-31: National Bullying Prevention Month
  • 1-31: National Principals Month
  • 15-21: National Character Counts Week
  • 16-20: National School Bus Safety Week
  • 23-31: Red Ribbon Week


Superintendent Browning, I would very much like to recognize the professionalism, caring and compassion of our speech pathologist, Ms. Heather Story. Her work with our students is wonderful, and I appreciate all that she does! -Mrs. Lisa Sakser-Fiske, BS, RN, Health Occupations Educator, Ridgewood High School

Superintendent Browning, I would like to give kudos to Mrs. Lawrence, a kindergarten teacher at Seven Springs Elementary School. She is committed to making sure her students get the most out of their school day by using every minute of her day for instruction. It’s even the small things; her class spells their sight words out loud when turn O-F-F the lights, when they turn them O-N, when they look U-P, and any other opportunity she can find to make sure she is squeezing learning into everything they do. She also makes sure that the classroom is a family atmosphere by finding the perfect book to read when someone has a change in their life like getting new glasses. I love coming into her room and listening to her kindergarteners sing their routines for independent reading and lining up to leave the room. Her students are happy, love coming to school, and are getting an amazing start to their education in Pasco County Schools. -Jessica Maus, ITC Literacy, Seven Spring Elementary

Superintendent Browning, I am in the middle of doing my Practicum for Education Leadership and want to bring your attention to the amazing job Donna College is doing as my mentor. She is fantastic! Her organizational skills and the relationships she has built with staff and students is unlike anything I have ever witnessed before in education. I am honored to be learning from her. If there is someone I can write to and let the know about what a phenomenal job she is doing in preparing me for leadership in our district, I would love to have that contact information. She truly deserves to be recognized for her service. -Sharon Swonger

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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)