December 8, 2016

December 8, 2016

December 8, 2016

December 8, 2016

Superintendent's Message

We have a long-standing relationship with the Gallup organization, and believe that their engagement resources can help us achieve our vision of preparing all students for success in college, career and life.  This week we received the results of our Gallup polls for employee and student engagement.  Overall, the grandmean for employee engagement is the same this year as it was last year, with one percent increase in the percentage of employees classified as “engaged.” It’s important to use data to reflect on practice, because data provides opportunity for reflection and improvement. We encourage leaders to discuss your results with your teams, and we look forward to meeting with you and talking about what we can do to keep this district moving forward. To see all the results, visit the Accountability, Research and Measurement website.




Governor's Shine Award Recipients

On Tuesday, December 6, Governor Rick Scott presented Land O' Lakes High School Assistant Principal Jeff Morgenstein (pictured third from the left) and Cotee River Elementary School Principal Sharon Slusser (pictured sixth from the left) with the Governor's Shine Award. They were invited to Tallahassee to attend his Florida Cabinet meeting, and were lauded for their efforts in education.


Highest Percentage of Students On-track for Attendance - Quarter 1

The District Attendance Committee is focused on continuing to find what works in the area of improving overall attendance in our schools.  Toward this end, the committee is examining school data on a quarterly basis and recognizing those schools that have the highest percentage of students on-track for attendance.  At the end of quarter the Committee will recognize the elementary, middle and high schools in each region that had the highest percentage. Congratulations to our 1st quarter winners:

Region Level School
East Elementary Veterans Elementary School
  Middle Thomas E. Weightman Middle School
  High Wesley Chapel High School
Central Elementary Sanders Memorial STEAM Elementary School
  Middle Pine View Middle School
  High J. W. Mitchell High School
Northwest Elementary Calusa Elementary School
  Middle Crews Lake Middle School
  High Ridgewood High School
Southwest Elementary Deer Park Elementary School
  Middle Paul R. Smith Middle School
  High Gulf High School

Members of the Attendance Committee reached out to each of the schools to provide them with a certificate.  In addition, committee members will be surveying the schools to see what has been working to improve attendance, and will share best practices with other schools.


Bexley Elementary School I.D. Number

The Florida Department of Education recently notified Pasco County Schools that their School Approval Committee reviewed and approved our request for a new school number for Bexley Elementary School. It's Master School Identification (MSID) number is 0125.


New/Renovated School Dedications

Wiregrass Elementary School

Thank you to those who attended the Wiregrass Elementary School ribbon cutting on Thursday, December 1. 


Bayonet Point Middle School

Bayonet Point Middle School's rededication ceremony will commence on Tuesday, February 7, 2017, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.


Canvas Parent App

Canvas now has a new Parent App available. According to Instructure, it is a "first-of-its-kind mobile app for parents." Parents can view assignment descriptions, assignment grades, course grades and course announcements, and set reminders for assignments and alerts for specific grade activity, which they receive as push notifications on their mobile devices. The Canvas Parent app empowers parents to take a greater role in overseeing their children's academic work. It offers peace of mind that students are meeting expectations and insights into what teachers are scheduling in the near future. Finally, the app gives parents the opportunity to view pertinent, real-time data and information on their children's performance and participation in school. Click here for detailed instructions on how to download the Canvas Parent App.


Did You Know?

As a Pasco County Schools employee, you have access to CareHere healthcare centers. You can schedule appointments with a nurse or physician, receive prescription medication, and attain health assessment information, all for free with no co-pay. Click here to learn more and schedule an appointment.


Volunteers Needed

Volunteers are an important part of Pasco County Schools.  Last year, we had almost 17,000 approved volunteers who logged more than 234,000 hours of volunteer service.  We appreciate and are always looking for good volunteers, but we also want to make sure student and staff safety come first. As required by section 943.04351, Florida Statutes, the District Volunteer Programs office screens all applicants through the state’s Sexual Offenders and Predators database.  In addition to this screening, we also complete a statewide criminal records search.  Once an application is submitted and approved the applicant can volunteer at a school or school-sponsored event.

Each school should have an assigned Volunteer Coordinator to ensure that all visitors and volunteers have been approved and are properly verified, prior to any interaction with students. This includes activities on campus or participating in approved off-campus activities.  Each school should also use the Raptor system to rescreen and check in/check out each visitor/volunteer. Raptor checks that national sexual offender and predator database, and it is imperative that every visitor and volunteer is checked-in using Raptor so that we are not allowing registered sexual offenders on campus with children.  It also is the system the district uses to track volunteerism at our schools for reporting on the Success Plan scorecard.

There are many exciting and rewarding opportunities for Pasco County parents, students and retirees in our schools.  Anyone wanting to volunteer, whether it’s helping in the classroom, being a field trip chaperone or helping at afterhours events, must complete the online volunteer application.  District employees who volunteer at their children’s schools also are encouraged to complete the online application in order to track their volunteer hours. For more information, visit the Volunteer Programs webpage.


School Holiday Events

We want to share our schools' holiday events!  The Communications and Government Relations Department photographers are looking for classroom stories to tell through video.  If you have an exciting or interesting hands-on event planned, please call the department at 813-794-2717 or email Andy Dunn at least two days in advance and we will make every effort to come to your school. Be sure to send us descriptions, including the days and times, so we can share with media.


Ends Tomorrow! Feeding Pasco's Kids Food Drive

The Pasco Sheriff's Office annual Feeding Pasco's Kids food drive ends next Friday, December 9, and is accepting both monetary and food donations.  The proceeds from the Feeding Pasco's Kids food drive will help homeless children and students in Pasco County Schools. Donation boxes are 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. 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.


Volunteer Teaching Opportunity: China, Summer 2017

The Sino-American Bridge for Education and Health (SABEH) is seeking enthusiastic and experienced teachers to participate in a professional development opportunity. Selected educators will participate in several online workshops hosted by Bryant University between March and June. They will travel to China in July for two to four weeks (depending on program site) and share conversational English, student-centric, and multi-modal education methods with Chinese teachers. Upon completion, American teachers will be provided a week of complimentary travel within China. Ideal candidates are teachers who are native English speakers, have at least three years teaching experience, an adventurous spirit and the desire to experience a different culture. Teachers of all subject areas and all grade levels are encouraged to apply. Click here for more information. Applications must be received by January 15, 2017. Jennifer Dixon, a Gulf High School teacher, has traveled to China with SABEH the summers of 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016.  If you have any questions about this volunteer program, you may contact Ms. Dixon at 727-364-1808.


Pasco County Government


USF Education Specialist Program

The USF College of Education’s Educational Specialist Program, with an emphasis in Turnaround School Leadership, prepares educators to become effective school leaders skilled to address turnaround and underperforming school contexts. Click here for more information, or contact Associate Professor William. R. Black, Ph.D., Program Coordinator of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies at the USF College of Education at 813-974-6097.


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, 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.


VFW Teacher of the Year Award Contest

The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is accepting nominations for the 2017 VFW Smart/Maher National Citizenship Education Teacher Award. Nominations can be submitted by fellow teachers, supervisors, or other interested individuals.  Self nominations are not eligible. The annual award contest recognizes three exceptional teachers for their outstanding commitment to teaching Americanism and patriotism to their students. Each year, a classroom elementary, junior high, and high school teacher whose curriculum focuses on citizenship education topics -for at least half the school day in a classroom environment can be nominated. Winners will receive:

  • A $1,000 award for professional development expenses
  • A $1,000 award for his/her school
  • Two award plaques (one for the teacher and one for his/her school)
  • An all-expenses-paid trip to a VFW conference to receive their award.

Teachers who promote civic responsibility, flag etiquette, and patriotism are ideal candidates for the award. If you know a teacher who plans field trips to city hall, organizes community volunteer projects or invites local veterans to speak in class, anything to help students develop a better understanding of democratic values and beliefs, this award is for them. For more information, visit the VFW website for complete program guidelines and application instructions. The deadline is February 15, 2017.



Principal Rob Aguis, on behalf of Rooms To Go, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you and Fred K. Marchman Technical College for the outstanding assistance we received from instructor Robert Mateja and students David and Roberto on our recent sales training video project. The completed videos were recently viewed in our regional managers meeting and were very well received. While working with these gentlemen,  I observed how well trained and prepared they are to enter the workforce in their respective field. This is a direct result of the level of education, training, and expertise that your students are exposed to while attending your technical college. I cannot praise these individual gentlemen enough for their efforts, hard work, professionalism, and dedication to this project.  Mr. Mateja and David were especially helpful and made an otherwise difficult process enjoyable and quite simple for us. You should be very proud of your staff and students in the video production department, as they are exceptional. Thank you again for allowing Rooms To Go and myself the opportunity to work with Marchman on this project. -Mark Liotto

Superintendent Browning, I wanted to commend Debbie Smith, Senior Graphic Design Specialist, for her excellent work with Team ELA this past week.  We asked for her assistance in creating a team logo, and she was happy to help, quick in her reply, and produced a great logo for us.  We appreciated working with her and wanted you to know! -Rachel Hatten, Senior Instructional Specialist, Office for Teaching and Learning

Events and Kudos sections are copied verbatim from their submission, with minimal, if any, alteration.

A Hudson High School student uses a flight simulator to take off and land at the St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport.

Outstanding Senior Volunteer of the Year: Will Neubauer

Can't Stop the Feeling

Wiregrass Elementary iPad Band

Staff Spotlight

Christina Hellwig
4th Grade STEM Teacher and Yearbook Advisor
Woodland Elementary School

Click here to read her interview.

Student Spotlight

Logan Beatty
9th Grade
Land O’ Lakes High School

Click here to read his interview.

Department Spotlight

Internal Audit

Click here to read their interview.


Flapjack 5K

The Central Pasco Chamber of Commerce is hosting the 23rd Annual Flapjack 5K and 1-mile Run on Sunday, December 11, at 8 a.m. at the Land O' Lakes Recreational Complex. It is being held in memory of former Land O' Lakes High School track and field coach, Kris Keppel. Register today by clicking here. If you would like more information, please click here to view the event flier.


Pasco County Schools Spirit Day

On Sunday, December 11, at 4:25 p.m., the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrate Pasco County Schools Spirit Day as they take on the New Orleans Saints. For more information, or to purchase tickets, click here.


2017 Together We Stand Virtual 5K

The 2017 Together We Stand Virtual 5K will be held from January 9, 2017, through February 28, 2017, and registration is now open. The Annual Together We Stand Virtual 5K Run for Safe Schools supports our student leaders who are preventing bullying by making their schools safer and more inclusive. Click here to register and here for more information.


Thomas Promise Hunger Walk

The Thomas Promise program is in 24 Pasco County schools and provides more than 1,000 students with weekend backpacks filled with food. On February 11, 2017, The Thomas Promise's Hunger Walk will take place at Zephryhills High School at 8 a.m. The Hunger Walk is Thomas Promise's annual fundraiser to purchase the food that fills the backpacks. Click here to learn more.

Important Dates


  • 22: End of 2nd Quarter and 1st Semester
  • 23: Teacher Planning Day
  • 23-January 8: Winter Break