Kurt S. Browning, Superintendent of Schools
October 27, 2017

Kurt S. Browning, Superintendent of Schools

October 27, 2017

Kurt S. Browning, Superintendent of Schools

October 27, 2017

Kurt S. Browning, Superintendent of Schools

October 27, 2017

Superintendent's Message

Government in the Sunshine

As public employees, we all are subject to Florida’s Government in the Sunshine Law.  This law covers both public meetings and public records.  The public meetings law applies to public boards and to committees created by public boards that make recommendations for a board’s action.  The law applies to a gathering of two or more members of the same board (or advisory committee) to discuss any matter that will foreseeably come before that board for action.

The public records law applies to every document, including emails, created by a public employee in their official capacity, unless there is a specific exemption in Florida law.  It’s wise to always be mindful that what you write could be released in response to a public records request.  Student records are not public records, but student “directory information” can be made public.  “Directory information” consists of a student’s name, address, phone number, school, date and place of birth; participation in officially-recognized activities and sports; height and weight, if a member of an athletic team; dates of attendance; date of graduation or program completion; awards received; and photograph(s).  At the beginning of each year, parents receive a form they can sign to prevent their student’s directory information from being made public.  If you have questions, or are looking for further information, please contact the Communications and Government Relations Department.

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.



Gallup Employee Engagement Survey Extended

The Gallup Q12 Staff Engagement survey has been underway since Monday, October 9th.  Our response rate goal is 70% or better and we are currently at just under 62%.  Therefore, we will extend the window to November 3, to provide those who would like to participate more time to complete the survey.  Gallup will send the invitation again to employees who have not completed the survey.  Please note that neither your principal nor the district can forward an invitation, because they are unique to you.  If you are not able to locate your invitation (check junk/clutter), you may call Gallup Support at 1-800-788-9987.

Gallup has identified definitive employee attitudes that correspond with the most successful workplaces in the world.  Employee engagement—involvement with and enthusiasm for work—is measured by Gallup in a 12-question employee survey. An employee’s level of engagement links to important school outcomes including employee retention, parent engagement, student retention, and student achievement. The engagement items are based on a 5-point scale (strong disagree to strongly agree) and the GrandMean is the average of the 12 Gallup Q12 items.  Results are provided for the District as a whole as well as each site permitting your school or site to identify areas of focus related to Engagement.    
Gallup guarantees that your individual responses will remain confidential. The district only will receive group level data, which ensures individual employee confidentiality.

Gallup will collect all the responses and aggregate the data from the staff survey and the Gallup Student Poll. Gallup will compile a series of reports for us overall and for individual schools. We expect results in early December.

This initiative will give us a wealth of specific and actionable information that will help us lead our schools. Thank you for your participation!


Open Enrollment

Open enrollment ends on October 31.

Pasco County Government

Holiday Toy Drive

Pasco County Board of County Commissioners Chairman Mike Moore is partnering with the Pasco County District School Board to collect new toys for Pasco County children.  The inaugural Holiday Toy Drive will be held November 1, through November 27. All toys will be donated to students through Pasco County District Schools.  More than 38 thousand Pasco County students are considered to be living at or below the poverty level. Chairman Moore is inviting anyone who would like to donate new, unwrapped toys for children ages 5 to 13, to drop them off at one of the following locations by November 27, 2017:

  • West Pasco Government Center: 8731 Citizens Dr., in New Port Richey
  • Pasco County Historic Courthouse: 37918 Meridian Ave., in Dade City
  • New River Branch Library: 34043 State Rd. 54, in Zephyrhills

Several Pasco County community partners are also accepting toy donations. Click here for a full list of participating locations.


PCASA Administrator of the Year Nominations

There will be two stages in the selection of this award:

  1. Nomination. Nominations are due November 2 and can be made here. You may nominate a total of three administrators from the list provided here. Please nominate colleagues who promote the success of all students by ensuring management of the organization, operation and resources for a safe, efficient and effective learning environment. Nominations will be accepted only if accompanied by a brief statement indicating the reason for the nomination.
  2. Voting. Voting will conclude on November 9. During this stage each administrator will cast two votes for the nominees. The three highest vote recipients will become finalists. The administrator receiving the most votes will be the district’s Administrator of the Year. The three finalists will be invited to attend the Education Celebration on January 26, 2018 at River Ridge High School Center for the Arts.


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.


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.


School Spotlight

Sensory Area, Pine View Elementary School

School Nutrition Feature

Congratulations to Kim Smith's Woodland Elementary School class for being featured in School Nutrition magazine! Her class always makes cards and brings treats to FNS staff on National Lunch Lady Super Hero Day!


Florida's FLPBIS

Each school year, Florida’s PBIS (FLPBIS) Project’s Model School program identifies and recognizes schools that:

  • Demonstrate improved student outcomes, as well as equitable student outcomes, as a result of PBIS implementation
  • Exemplify high levels of PBIS implementation fidelity
  • Agree to serve as demonstration sites highlighted in video, webinars or other FLPBIS social media stories
  • Agree to share resources and artifacts that showcase best practices.  

Congratulations to the following schools have met the above criteria and have received model school status:                      

  • Silver Level: CRES, CYES, NRES
  • Gold Level: NWES, OES, SES

Staff Spotlight

Lauren Pukylo

Crews Lake Middle School

Click here to learn more.


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.


Pasco Schools Invite Their Communities to Trick or Treat

Elementary and high schools throughout Pasco County are offering students a safe place to trick or treat this Halloween. Click here for a list of elementary events, and here for high school events.


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.


Community Career Exploration Night

River Ridge and J.W. Mitchell high schools are co-sponsoring this event on Wednesday, November 1, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. to give community members the edge on their career goals. Guests will learn about industry certification options, education requirements for various occupations, careers in high demand, and wage-earning potential across various career pathways. For more information, contact Laurie Peterson at (727) 774-7142. Click here for more.


Veterans Day Ceremony

Superintendent Kurt S. Browning, the District School Board of Pasco County, and Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley cordially invite you to this year’s Pasco County Schools’ Veterans Day Ceremony. This year’s ceremony will take place at the Center for the Arts at River Ridge on Friday, November 10, at 9 a.m. The Center for the Arts at River Ridge is located at 11646 Town Center Road, in New Port Richey.  Our keynote speaker will be Representative Danny Burgess. After the ceremony concludes, Supervisor Corley and his staff will conduct "Vote in Honor of a Veteran," their annual student voter registration drive, at each high school. Click here to learn more.


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.


Fantastical Times Award Presentation and Reading

Please join the Tampa Bay Times Newspaper in Education (NIE) program in celebrating Tampa Bay's best young authors! This event will be hosted at USF St. Petersburg, Davis Hall Room 105 on Saturday, November 11, from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. It will feature several Pasco student authors, including Wiregrass Ranch High School's Mindy Do, the 2016-17 grand prize winner! Click here for more.


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.


Florida Southern College - Information Sessions

Join Florida Southern College throughout the fall and winter at one of their information sessions! Attendees will learn about bachelor's, master's, and doctorate degree programs in education. Click here for more. If you are interested in attending, please RSVP here.


  • 1-31: Head Start Awareness Month
  • 1-31: Crime Prevention Month
  • 1-31: National Bullying Prevention Month
  • 1-31: National Principals Month
  • 23-31: Red Ribbon Week

Puerto Rico - Lunch and Learn

Sunlake High School is hosting a lunch and learn on November 9, at noon, for new students from Puerto Rico who have been displaced by hurricanes. Parents and guardians are welcome. The school will have music, food, school supplies, peer mentors, psychologists, social workers, and supports for ESOL and ESE students. There will also be English and Spanish presentations regarding school policies, procedures, and community resources. Donations are welcome. Contact Adrian Anthony, if you need more information.


Superintendent Browning, As a parent of a kindergartener who was at Gulf Highlands Elementary School last Thursday during the shooting incident, I want to relay how thankful we are for Mrs. Cosh, the GHES faculty and staff that kept our children safe. I  also want to make sure the District knows we are thankful for the measures taken to train school staff and our children on active shooting drills. Our son is on the Autism Spectrum and we were terrified that he would be freaking out. The teachers did a wonderful job keeping the students calm, reassured and focused on what they needed to do to remain safe. He did well and had trouble sleeping which was to be expected but despite the incident, he feels safe at his school. A direct result of how GHES responded. -Patty Crist, parent

Superintendent Browning, I am writing you today in hopes that you will recognize the staff of Dr. Mary Giella Elementary school. We have been a proud MGES family since the year 2010. I believe a year or so later Mr. Papa joined the team which was the best thing that could have ever happened to the school. Immediately, you we able to see improvements in the staff, from small things such as acknowledging parents as they walked their children to the classrooms in the mornings to life changing moments like volunteering to stay an hour after school to give your child one on one lessons. He's uplifted the staff and has made everyone feel as if we ARE truly a community and are taking part of an important role which is our childrens' education. In the past several years, I have had minor issues that needed to be addressed and/or requests and Mr. Papa was very attentive to our needs and always delivered with quick results. As you walk down the halls of MGES you can't help but notice him welcoming every parent and acknowledging every child by name! It's amazing to see how the children get off the bus and the first thing they look forward to is to greet their principal. That alone speaks volumes! During school events such as skate nights you can expect to see Mr. Papa and a few other teachers on skates and that really just sets the tone and excites the children! So awesome!...My children have had the best teachers from Pasco county! Each teacher genuinely cares for the children's well being and education. They have set the foundation for my children to excel in the future and I will forever be in debt to these amazing teachers. My son is in his second year at PVMS and has been an honors student both years and I owe it all to MGES staff!! -Ivis E. Ferreira, parent

Superintendent Browning, On behalf of the students and myself, I would like to take a moment to share our awesome experience with one special Pasco County school employee. The students of JWMHS Band and I had the pleasure of having bus driver, Sonia Manchester drive bus " #2"  from JWMHS to Ocala for the band competitions yesterday (10/21/17). Sonia met all of us with a smile, welcoming and compassionate. She put safety first and made our long ride comfortable and enjoyable. She made all of us feel comfortable and safe with her expertise and awesome driving. All of these awesome students recognized and thanked Sonia for her outstanding service. Please take a moment to recognize Sonia for all she does for our schools, parents, and children! Sonia is a Gem! -Kathleen Keating and Annette Marchant

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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)