Ҵý



January 2024 Family and Community Newsletter


Superintendent's Message

I hope this message finds you well and that you had a restful and joyful winter break surrounded by family and friends. As we start 2024, I want to extend a welcome back to all our students, families, and community members.

The start of second semester is always an exciting time, filled with many opportunities for new learning and engaging student experiences. Our dedicated educators and staff are energized and ready to continue providing a safe and supportive environment for our students.  You can only do well academically, when you consistently show up each and every school day, ready to learn.  Our attendance as a district has been improving, so let’s keep up the momentum! 

We are continuing our Race to Read initiative through the end of the year, and we are on track to meet our district goal of reading 15 million minutes this year. Challenge yourself to increase the time you spend reading each week, and don’t forget to log each minute, so we can exceed this goal together. 

We have some exciting events planned to showcase our student talents in the next few months. We invite community members and business partners to follow the calendar page on our website /calendar, as well as stay connected though our News page  /news, to find ways to get involved. In addition, we will also be launching our Superintendent Family Forums at schools around the district. Stay tuned for more information on topics, dates and locations. We look forward to connecting with you!

Together, we can continue to make Ҵý a world class district where each student thrives and succeeds.

Featured Story


Inspiring Minds, Shaping Futures: Ҵý County’s Teacher of the Year Finalists Revealed

Ҵý is proud to announce the three outstanding finalists for the 2024 Teacher of the Year award. These exceptional educators have been selected for their dedication, innovation, and the profound impact...

Ҵý is proud to announce the three outstanding finalists for the 2024 Teacher of the Year award. These exceptional educators have been selected for their dedication, innovation, and the profound impact they have had on their students and the community. The winner will be announced at the prestigious Star Dinner in January.

Stephanie Bertig – Kirkland Ranch Academy of Innovation

Stephanie Bertig, a digital media educator with 13 years of experience, is transforming the way students engage with technology. At Kirkland Ranch Academy of Innovation, she has developed a dynamic learning environment where students excel in digital literacy and creativity. Her students' impressive 95% pass rate in Adobe certification exams is a testament to her effective teaching methods. Stephanie's leadership extends beyond the classroom, significantly contributing to curriculum development and professional development initiatives.

William Rutherford – Gulf High School

William Rutherford, a music educator with 30 years of experience, has been instrumental in fostering a love for music among students at Gulf High School. Under his leadership, the Gulf High Band & Color Guard have achieved top ratings, reflecting his commitment to excellence. Rutherford's influence goes beyond music education, as he instills life skills such as teamwork and discipline in his students. His contributions to the Florida Bandmasters Association and community initiatives like 'Band Buddies' highlight his dedication to the broader educational landscape.

LeAnne John – Zephyrhills High School

LeAnne John, an Agricultural Science and CTE educator with 20 years of experience, has been a guiding force at Zephyrhills High School. Her empathetic and innovative approach to teaching has made a significant impact on her students. LeAnne's leadership in the Agriculture Career Academy has enabled students to gain industry certifications and practical experience. Her involvement in professional development and community projects through the National FFA Organization showcases her commitment to enhancing educational and community engagement.

Celebrating Excellence in Education

These educators represent the diverse and dynamic nature of teaching, each bringing unique skills and perspectives to their classrooms. From integrating technology and digital media to fostering a love for music and agriculture, they have enriched their students' learning experiences and set a benchmark for educational excellence in Ҵý County.

Their nominations also reflect the collaborative and supportive environment within Ҵý, where teachers are encouraged to innovate, share knowledge, and grow professionally. The district's commitment to professional development and continuous learning ensures that our educators are equipped with the latest tools and techniques to provide the best education possible.

About the Star Dinner

The Star Dinner, scheduled for January 25, 2023, is an annual event celebrating educational excellence in Ҵý County. The event will culminate in the announcement of the 2023 Teacher of the Year, honoring the best in teaching and commitment to student success.

Show more Show less

World Class Opportunities


Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) Now Accepting Applications for the 2024-2025 School Year

Early Childhood Programs will begin accepting VPK enrollment requests for the 2024-2025 school year: January 8, 2024 through January 19, 2024.  Space is limited to the first 9 applicants at Inclusion sites, all other applicants will be placed on a waitlist. Waitlist applicants will be contacted if a vacancy occurs during the school year.  Click "Show More" for more details!

Space is limited to the first 9 applicants at Inclusion sites, all other applicants will be placed on a waitlist. Waitlist applicants will be contacted if a vacancy occurs during the school year. Additional opportunities to apply will be offered in the spring for school sites with vacancies remaining.  

Ҵý VPK Sites for the 2024-2025 School Year:

*VPK Site (VPK Students Only) **VPK Inclusion Site (VPK & ESE Students)

  • Bexley Elementary**
  • Centennial Elementary**
  • Chester W. Taylor Elementary** Connerton Elementary**
  • Denham Oaks Elementary**
  • Double Branch Elementary**
  • Gulf Highlands Elementary**
  • Gulf Trace Elementary**
  • Hudson Primary Academy**
  • James M. Marlowe Elementary**
  • Kirkland Ranch K-8*
  • Lake Myrtle Elementary**
  • Longleaf Elementary**
  • Mittye P. Locke Early Learning Academy*
  • Oakstead Elementary**
  • Odessa Elementary**
  • Quail Hollow Elementary**
  • San Antonio Elementary*
  • Schrader Elementary
  • Seven Oaks Elementary**
  • Seven Springs Elementary**
  • Trinity Elementary*
  • Veterans Elementary*
  • Watergrass Elementary**
***Submission of a hardship application will not change your waitlist number.

The VPK Program offers 3 free hours of instruction; on Monday through Friday at select school sites. Extended hours are available for an additional fee of $125 per week. VPK extended hours will follow the school site’s regular bell schedule. Partial day VPK will be held the first 3 hours of the school day.

To be eligible to participate in the VPK program, children must be 4 years old on or before September 1, 2024. A Certificate of Eligibility/voucher must be obtained from the Early Learning Coalition of Ҵý and Hernando prior to completing the Ҵý VPK application.

For additional information, please contact:
Mikesha Hayes, VPK Coordinator at (813) 794-2730
or email to pascovpk@pasco.k12.fl.us

Show more Show less

Career Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs)

A Career Technical Student Organization (CTSO) is a student-led group that provides opportunities for individuals to develop leadership skills and enhance their technical and career-specific competencies. These organizations are often associated with career and technical education (CTE) programs in schools and colleges...

A Career Technical Student Organization (CTSO) is a student-led group that provides opportunities for individuals to develop leadership skills and enhance their technical and career-specific competencies. These organizations are often associated with career and technical education (CTE) programs in schools and colleges.

The benefits of joining a CTSO are quite diverse. They offer a platform for students to apply and reinforce the skills they are learning in their CTE courses in a real-world context. Through competitions, workshops, and other activities, members can showcase their talents and gain recognition for their achievements. This is the time of the year when many of our Ҵý County CTE students are participating in district and regional CTSO competitions. 

CTSOs also foster a sense of community and camaraderie among like-minded individuals. Students can network with peers who share similar interests and career aspirations, creating valuable connections that may be beneficial in the future. 

Leadership development is another key advantage. Members often have the opportunity to take on leadership roles within the organization, organizing events, managing projects, and developing their teamwork and communication skills. 

Furthermore, CTSOs frequently provide access to industry professionals and experts. This exposure can be instrumental in helping students explore potential career paths, gain insights into industry trends, and even secure internships or mentorship opportunities. 

Overall, joining a CTSO can be a rewarding experience that not only complements academic learning but also prepares students for success in their chosen careers. 

These are the active CTSOs in Ҵý and the programs and school that offer them.  

Click on each CTSO's acronym to visit their national or Florida website: 

 – Future Business Leaders of America 

  • Business at AAI (grades 6-12), CCHS, HHS, JWMHS, LOLHS, PHS, WCHS, WRHS, ZHS 
  • Accounting at SLHS 
  • Marketing at RRHS 

 – Family, Career and Community Leaders of America 

  • Culinary Arts at WRHS 

 – Future Farmers of America 

  • Agriculture (required by FLDOE standards) at CENMS, HAC, HHS, PMS, PHS, PVMS, RBSMS, TEWMS, WCHS, ZHS 

 – Florida Future Educators of America 

  • Principles of Teaching @ Ҵý eSchool and RRHS 

 – Florida Public Service Association 

  • Criminal Justice @ CCHS, FHS, ZHS 

 – Health Occupations Students of America 

  • Middle School Health Science courses at JLMS 
  • Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) at GHS, JWMHS, SLHS, WRHS 
  • Patient Care Technician (PCT) at KRAI, MTC, WKTHS 
  • Biomedical Sciences at WKTHS 
  • LOLHS – no Health Sciences programs – independent CTSO 

 

  • Culinary Arts at LOLHS, MTC 

Show more Show less

Social Studies Adoption Update

Ҵý is engaging in a K-12 Social Studies adoption process for instructional materials to be implemented in the 24-25 school year. The resources have been narrowed and schools will spend the month of January and February...

Ҵý is engaging in a K-12 Social Studies adoption process for instructional materials to be implemented in the 24-25 school year. The resources have been narrowed and schools will spend the month of January and February trying the resources within the classroom and voting on the resource they recommend to move forward for School Board approval. We are seeking parent input on the resources narrowed. Please visit /oll_documents/current-adoption where you will find the narrowed resources and digital access login information. Additionally, you will find an input form to provide your feedback by February 20th. We also, invite you to attend the Social Studies Vendor Night on February 1st from 5-7:30 p.m. To RSVP to attend, . 

Opportunity to Review Social Studies Textbooks 

In the months of January and February, we invite stakeholders to participate in the review of textbooks that are being considered for adoption for a number of social studies courses.  Digital access to resources is provided for families and community members who would like to review the options. Please access the textbook adoption website  for resource access and information on how to submit your input for consideration.  

 

Show more Show less

Celebrate Literacy Week 2024

January 22 - January 26, 2024

Believe In Your "Shelf"!  The Just Read, Florida! Office and the Florida Department of Education (FDOE), in partnership with school districts are highlighting Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida! 2024...

January 22 - January 26, 2024

Believe In Your "Shelf"!  The Just Read, Florida! Office and the Florida Department of Education (FDOE), in partnership with school districts are highlighting Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida! 2024.

Events and festivities to celebrate literacy are scheduled for the week of January 22-26, 2024, so be on the lookout from your school sites for more information. 

The goal of this year’s Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida! is to promote resiliency through literacy and excellent reading habits for our students.

Show more Show less

Ҵý Pathways School Choice Application Window

The Ҵý Pathways school choice application window for the 2024-2025 school year is now open...

The Ҵý Pathways school choice application window for the 2024-2025 school year is now open.

This application window is for all grade levels, programs, and school choice options, including STEM and STEAM magnets, Kirkland Ranch Academy of Innovation, Wendell Krinn Technical High School, International Baccalaureate (IB), the Cambridge Programme, Angeline Academy of Innovation, and the new Kirkland Ranch K-8.

Applications can be accessed via myStudent. If you have not established a parent portal in myStudent you will need to create an account to access the school choice application. To establish a myStudent account, please .

Apply now at . The application window closes on January 19, at 4:30 p.m.

If you have any questions, please .

Show more Show less

New Videos for Middle and High School Parents

We are excited to share a new feature within our Ҵý Parent Page. Within the Navigating High School and Middle Schools pages you will have access to informational videos by grade level to support in planning for each student's transition...

We are excited to share a new feature within our Ҵý Parent Page. Within the Navigating High School and Middle Schools pages you will have access to informational videos by grade level to support in planning for each student's transition into that grade level. Check out the videos directly at the links below.   

Show more Show less

Family Information and Support


Tips to Keep in Mind as We Return From Winter Break

Winter break and the associated holidays—like Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa—inject some fun and rest into our end of calendar year. But when the festivities end in the new year, students often struggle with the transition back to routine, rules, and homework...

Winter break and the associated holidays—like Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa—inject some fun and rest into our end of calendar year. But when the festivities end in the new year, students often struggle with the transition back to routine, rules, and homework.  

So how can you help your whole family get back into the swing of things? Follow these tips to support your children as they begin a new calendar year at school. 

  • Return to bedtime routines a few days before the winter break ends. 
  • Let your kids know how many days are left before they are due back at school. 
  • Talk with them about the second semester and the things they want to accomplish over the third and fourth quarter. 
  • Celebrate the return to school and its benefits. 
  • Have some fun replenishing school supplies or testing a few new items. 
  • Rely on the routines that were successful for your family during semester 1 and bring those back to life for the second semester. 
  • Listen to your children...  Whether they are excited, anxious, or both, their feelings and perceptions are very real to them.  Validate them and help them plan forward. 
Show more Show less

Premier Mobile Dental Van Program

The following services are offered on the Mobile Dental Van: 

  • Cleanings 
  • Fluoride treatments 
  • Sealants 

The dental health services are provided to KG through 5th-grade students...

The following services are offered on the Mobile Dental Van: 

  • Cleanings 
  • Fluoride treatments 
  • Sealants 

The dental health services are provided to KG through 5th-grade students. If you would like your student to be seen, please complete the . Upon completion of the Mach form, Premier will send you a consent form for dental services which will enable your student to be seen on the dental bus. Complete the Mach form and the electronic consent as soon as possible so your student can be scheduled for this important health service. Students must have a completed consent form to be seen on the Premier Dental Van. Paper consent will be available in your student's school clinic if needed. The

All students may be seen regardless of insurance status and in accordance with their insurance plans. For more information call Mobile Manager at 352-518-2000 ext. 9753.  

Show more Show less

Reconnect and Refresh for the New Year!

As we begin this new year together, we hope your Winter break was filled with joy, relaxation, and cherished moments with loved ones. January marks a fresh start—a time to re-energize and reconnect as we embark on the remainder of the school year. As we resume classes, we encourage you to take advantage of the resources available to you, including the myStudent Parent Portal and the myStudent Community Mobile App...

As we begin this new year together, we hope your Winter break was filled with joy, relaxation, and cherished moments with loved ones. January marks a fresh start—a time to re-energize and reconnect as we embark on the remainder of the school year. 

We extend our heartfelt appreciation for your ongoing support and dedication to your child's education. Your involvement remains instrumental in our shared commitment to academic excellence and success.

As we resume classes, we encourage you to take advantage of the resources available to you, including the myStudent Parent Portal and the myStudent Community Mobile App. These tools continue to serve as bridges between home and school, providing real-time updates on your child's academic progress, attendance, and school-related communications. 

QR Code for myStudent app on iPhone
QR Code for myStudent app on Android

The start of a new year brings opportunities for growth and new beginnings. Let's work together to ensure a prosperous and fulfilling educational journey for every student in our community. 

Should you have any questions or need assistance navigating our digital platforms, our dedicated staff are here to support you every step of the way. Please take advantage of our FAQ section right .

Your active participation is vital, and we are here to help make this year a successful one for your child. 

We look forward to continuing this journey alongside you and your family. Here's to a successful and enriching new year filled with learning, growth, and shared accomplishments. 

Thank you for being part of the Ҵý family. 

Show more Show less

Employment Opportunities


The Ҵý Instructional Job Fair is Coming

Plan ahead!  Please join us from 5 - 7 pm on March 13 at Gulf High School to meet with leaders from schools throughout the county about their instructional (teaching) roles! Our school leaders are looking for dynamic educators to join their teams for the 2024-25 school year...

Plan ahead!  Please join us from 5 - 7 pm on March 13 to meet with leaders from schools throughout the county about their instructional (teaching) roles! Our school leaders are looking for dynamic educators to join their teams for the 2024-25 school year, please

Did you know you are eligible to teach with just a Bachelor's degree? Inquire with one of our recruiters below for more information! 

Gulf High School is located at 5355 School Road, New Port Richey, FL 34652

Show more Show less

PLACE is Looking to Hire Teachers to Tutor

ASEP has some exciting news! We are looking for teachers to tutor our PLACE students before and/or after school. Each of our PLACE programs has two hours a day to offer to two teachers at each school. These teachers will be helping students with their homework and any area where they may need some extra assistance. We hope these teachers can start in mid-January. We are looking forward to serving your students in 2024. Contact your school's PLACE Program for more information.

Important Safety Tips


Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is a pervasive and heinous crime that plagues our world, exploiting millions of individuals each year. With an estimated 27.6 million victims worldwide at any given time, human traffickers’ prey on people of all ages...

Human trafficking is a pervasive and heinous crime that plagues our world, exploiting millions of individuals each year. With an estimated 27.6 million victims worldwide at any given time, human traffickers’ prey on people of all ages, backgrounds, and nationalities, exploiting them for their own profit.

In the United States, traffickers compel victims to work in both legal and illicit industries and sectors, including in hospitality, traveling sales crews, agriculture, janitorial services, construction, landscaping, restaurants, factories, care for persons with disabilities, salon services, massage parlors, retail services, fairs and carnivals, peddling and begging, drug smuggling and distribution, religious institutions, childcare, and domestic work.

Human Trafficking in Tampa

The presence of human trafficking in Tampa, Florida is a stark reality that demands attention and urgent action. Examining specific statistics on human trafficking in the region provides a glimpse into the extent of this crime and highlights the need for comprehensive efforts to combat it. Here are some key statistics that shed light on the issue:

  1. Reported Cases: In 2021, there were a total of 234 reported cases of human trafficking in the Tampa Bay area, according to data compiled by local law enforcement agencies and anti-trafficking organizations. This figure represents a distressing reality of individuals who have fallen victim to exploitation and serves as a call to action to address this pervasive issue.
  2. Age of Victims: Human trafficking affects individuals of various ages, including minors. Shockingly, approximately 30% of human trafficking victims in Tampa are minors.
  3. Online Exploitation: The rise of the digital age has brought about new challenges in combating human trafficking. Online platforms have become a breeding ground for traffickers to advertise and exploit victims.
  4. Labor Trafficking: Industries such as agriculture, construction, hospitality, and domestic work have reported cases of labor exploitation. It is estimated that approximately 25% of human trafficking cases in Tampa involve labor exploitation.

Here are some tips to our Ҵý County parents that can help keep your children safe from trafficking:

  • Build and maintain healthy relationships with your children. Spend quality time together and check in often. Many victims of trafficking are vulnerable because they are lonely, depressed and isolated.
  • Talk to children early and often about healthy relationships. Use resources like the Teen Safety Card from Futures Without Violence or the dating violence prevention site com to start the conversation.

· Be vigilant about online safety. Traffickers are on every popular app kids love. Know exactly what your child is doing online and give them guidelines for what types of information are OK and not OK to post, who to chat with (known friends only) and who to block. Make sure you and your children turn off location services when posting on social media. Do not post photos that show what school they go to or what neighborhood you live in. Do not post photos of kids in swimwear, underwear or in the bath. Consider whether to use their name online and make sure social media accounts are private.

Here are some signs that may indicate that trafficking may be occurring.

  • Withdrawing
  • New onset of anxiety or depression
  • Self-harm
  • Eating disorders
  • Sudden change in grades or engagement in school
  • New friend group or controlling romantic relationship.
  • New expensive gifts or unexplained sums of money
  • Unexplained aches and pains

By raising awareness, strengthening collaborations, and supporting organizations dedicated to anti-trafficking efforts, we can work towards eradicating human trafficking and ensuring a safer and more just community for all.

Safety and Security Department

References:

Show more Show less

Ҵý: We exist to provide a World Class Education.

Important Links