August 2023 Monthly Family and Community Newsletter
Together, we can ensure Pasco County Schools are World Class.
The 2023-24 school year is well underway, and we are having a great start! As with any school year, there are issues that we continually work through to better serve our students. Thank you for your patience.
As Superintendent, I and the District want the very best for your student. We value the partnership we have with our parents. Our teachers, administrators, and staff are eager to make sure this is the very best year for your student. Because of our commitment to you and your family, I am asking that you help support our mission of providing a World Class Education. Our mission requires that every student be in attendance every day and ready to learn. Our research shows, and not surprisingly, that the more school a student misses, the further behind they become, and they do not perform as well on assessments. This can be avoided by ensuring that students come to school every day. Please support your student by insisting they attend school every day.
We look forward to great things this school year! Thank you for the opportunity to be your first choice to educate your student!
Early Release Days
This year, Pasco County Schools will have eight early release days for students. This is a great time to schedule doctor appointments, haircuts, and special family time. Mark your calendar now for these Wednesdays! Schools will release two hours earlier than usual. Check your school's website for more details.
- September 6, 2023
- October 4, 2023
- November 1, 2023
- December 6, 2023
- January 10, 2024
- February 14, 2024
- March 13, 2024
- April 10, 2024
Back to School Reminders!
School Health Update
Go to this link for your student's immunization and physical requirements and resources to assist you in obtaining these.
Help Your Child Succeed in School: Build the Habit of Good Attendance Early
Did you know:
- Students should miss no more than 10 days of school each year to stay on track to graduation.
- Absences can be a sign that a student is losing interest in school, struggling with school work, dealing with mistreatment or facing other serious problems.
- By 6th grade, absenteeism is a sign that a student may drop out of high school.
Students can be chronically absent even if they only miss a day or two every few weeks.
Attendance is an important life skill that will help your child graduate from college and keep a job.
What you can do:
- Make school attendance a priority.
- Talk about the importance of showing up to school every day. Help your child maintain daily routines, such as finishing homework and getting a good night’s sleep.
- Help your child maintain daily routines, such as finishing homework and getting a good night’s sleep.
- Try not to schedule dental and medical appointments during the school day.
- Don’t let your child stay home unless truly sick. Complaints of headaches or stomachaches may be signs of anxiety.
- Help your child stay engaged.
- Find out if your child feels engaged by his classes and feels safe from mistreatment. Make sure he/she is not missing class because of behavioral issues and school discipline policies. If any of these are problems, work with your school.
- Stay on top of academic progress and seek help from teachers or tutors if necessary. Make sure teachers know how to contact you.
- Stay on top of your child’s social contacts. Peer pressure can lead to skipping school, while students without many friends can feel isolated.
- Communicate with the school.
- Know the school’s attendance policy.
- Talk to teachers if you notice sudden changes in behavior. These could be tied to something going on at school.
- Check on your child's attendance to be sure absences are not piling up.
- Ask for help from school officials, afterschool programs, other parents or community agencies if you’re having trouble getting your child to school.
The myStudent Parent Portal - Your One Stop Shop!
Did you know that the myStudent parent portal has more than important beginning of the year forms and required updates for your child? With your account, you can see your child's schedule, attendance, and for secondary students, even grades. This is also where you can find important communication from your child's teachers and their school. Log on today!
For a directions on creating a parent portal, please visit the Enrollment Services webpage.
Navigating School this Year
Get started with all things back-to-school with Pasco's Navigating school links below to learn more about what to expect, curriculum information, enrichment opportunities, and more!
What is CTE?
Career and Technical Education (CTE) prepares students for the workforce across a wide range of industries and occupations.
Every middle school and high school in Pasco County offers CTE courses. High schools also offer multi-year CTE program pathways that provide students with a solid career foundation. Students have the opportunity to earn industry certifications or state licenses in every pathway, from Agriculture to Arts, A/V Tech and Communications, to Business Management and Health Services, and Information Technology to Transportation.
Click HERE to learn more about our CTE courses and pathways!
Early Childhood Opportunities
Early Childhood Programs is currently accepting waitlist applications for Head Start and the Voluntary Prekindergarten Program for the 2023-24 school year. Parents can submit a waitlist application request for select schools on the Early Childhood Programs website, www.pascoschools.org/ecp.
*Applications are being accepted for immediate enrollment at the new Mittye P. Locke Early Learning Academy for the upcoming school year!
District wide Reading Challenge!
Introducing R.A.C.E. to Read, Pasco!
Pasco County Schools is excited to announce the upcoming launch of a district-wide, PreK-12 reading challenge for the 2023-2024 school year. All students and staff are invited to participate! The challenge is to collectively read 15 million minutes from August 10, 2023 – May 24, 2024. Minutes will be logged via Beanstack, and celebrations will be school based.
Get ready to Read Across the County Everyday!!
Parent and Family Information Sessions
FDLRS (Florida Diagnostic and Learning Resources System) is offering various informational sessions for Parents/Guardians/Caregivers. Here are brief summaries of each:
- Helping Manage Children’s Behaviors- Introduction of behavior basics and reasons why children exhibit challenging behaviors. Proactive and positive strategies will be discussed which you will be able to implement immediately!
- Homework Help- Tips and tricks to assist learners at home with study strategies and assisting with homework completion.
- Sensory Island for Parents- Training designed to be a tool to help families understand the sensory systems and discuss briefly how to manage hyperactivity or hyposensitivity.
- Technology Tools for Families- Introduction to the various Microsoft accessibility tools which can allow the computer to electronically read documents and website content as well as dictate information onto a Word document.
Please Click Here to go to FDLRS Gulfcoast’s Parent Page for more information.
Welcome Back Everyone! Excitement filled the air as students and their parents gathered at their schools for the much-awaited first day of the new 2023/24 academic year. It was gratifying to watch our students return to school to embark on their new educational journey.
Throughout the Summer, the Human Resources Team was working hard to get all of our applicants hired and set up for the new school year. We had several successful hiring events on both the east and west sides of our county. The diversity and talent showcased by the applicants were truly impressive. We had the privilege of meeting individuals with diverse backgrounds, skill sets, and experiences, all of whom demonstrated a passion for teaching.
On July 31st, Pasco County Schools welcomed over 400 new teachers at a “Kickoff Experience” organized by the Office of Leading and Learning. Recruitment's next initiative is creating a hiring event for our non-instructional positions.
At Pasco County Schools, we believe in providing diverse work opportunities, excellent incentives and great benefits. Are you interested in working here? Please reach out to any of the Recruiters below for more information.
All Elementary Schools inquiries
Kaley Aguilera, firstname.lastname@example.org
All Secondary Schools inquiries
Kelly Smith, email@example.com
All School Related Personnel Positions inquiries
Leslie Collazo, firstname.lastname@example.org
George Papaemanuel- email@example.com
Great news – Bus Drivers Pay Raises!
As part of our ongoing commitment to recognize and reward the hard work and dedication of all our Bus Drivers, we are pleased to inform you that we have implemented a pay rate increase of $17.18 for drivers and $18.18 for Relief Bus Drivers. With this increase, we are expecting to be able to fill the current vacancies. Are you interested in becoming a driver to help our students to get to their destination safely? If so, apply at https://pasco.tedk12.com/hire/index.aspx
Before/After Care Opportunities
Important Safety Tips
Student Device Safety Tips
Are you wondering about safe ways to protect your child and monitor their device use?
It is important that you establish a regular routine of checking your child's devices to review contacts, messages and app usage. Many applications can add extra stress to their daily lives. As a reminder, Pasco County Schools has also restricted student use of personal devices while attending school to reduce distractions and increase instructional focus. You can do this at home as well.
It’s no secret that kids love electronic devices, whether they’re playing games, texting friends, or checking out the latest viral video, they’re constantly connected. This leaves parents with the unenviable task of setting limits on device use to protect their children from inappropriate content and excessive screen time. Parental controls for smartphones can help with that. There are simple ways to limit screen time and purchases, control access to the content your child views, monitor your child’s activities, and preserve family privacy. You just locate and activate those features right on their device.
Google has a free app that parents can download to help manage Android devices, and Apple has built-in parental controls for any iPhone or iPad running iOS 12 and above. To help you find and master the parental controls on your child’s smartphone, we’ve assembled a basic guide. Here are some options.
Control Access to Apps and Content
For Android phone users: The Android operating system makes life a little easier for parents by permitting them to set up multiple user accounts on a smartphone. This lets you share the phone with a child, while keeping your apps separate from the child’s. To put true parental controls on a child’s phone, download the free Google Family Link app onto your own phone from the Google Play store.
For iPhone users: Sharing an iPhone with your 8-year-old just isn’t as convenient as it is with an Android device. You can’t toggle back and forth between accounts without logging in and out of iCloud, so things are much simpler if you each have your own device. To get started, add your child to your family group under Settings > Screen Time. If the child doesn’t have an iCloud account, the phone will walk you through the setup process.Once you’ve done that, you can use your own phone or your childs to set various limits.
Limit Screen Time
For Android phone users: The Family Link app also lets you create a time limit for your child’s daily usage as well as a “bedtime” period when your child is prevented from using the device. If your children want more time, they can send a request to your phone.
For iPhone users: In the Screen Time settings, you can set daily time limits for gaming, entertainment, social media, and other apps. The child can send requests for more time to your phone. You can also set up a “downtime” period, like Google’s “bedtime,” when your child is restricted to the apps and functions you select.These parental controls are under Settings > Screen Time > Downtime and Setting > Screen Time > App Limits.
Protect Your Child's Privacy
In a world where adults and kids love to post details of their lives on social media, keeping your child’s personal information private can be tough. But Apple and Google both offer parental controls to help you with that.
For Android phone users: With the Family Link app, you can prevent your child from sharing Google Photos and limit Google’s ability to save information about your child’s web searches, voice commands, and other activities. You can also block access to most social media apps by selecting the appropriate App and Games setting.
For iPhone users: The Content & Privacy Restrictions tab in the Screen Time settings menu offers a slew of privacy controls that you can use to, say, turn off a phone’s location services—as well as the access individual apps have to your child’s location. You also can use those settings to cut off app access to the photos stored on the phone, restrict the use of the device’s microphone, and prevent apps for fitness trackers and other services from sharing your child’s data via a Bluetooth connection.
Tips for Protecting Your Child Online
- You can set up age limits on your child's device. The 2013 Pew Research Center survey found that 40 percent of teens say that they have used a different birthday to gain access to a site or create an account, so restricting kids' access to apps by age rating is a wise move. You cannot join every site or app and monitor your child's every move online, and teens will always find a new platform that their parents do not know about yet. Rather than hovering or completely barring your child from downloading every social media app, sit down and go over some general rules to keep him smart and safe online.
- Make a rule that your child must ask for permission before downloading any apps — even free ones — just so you're aware of them. When your child wants to join a new social media platform, go through the security settings together to choose the ones you're most comfortable with. Advise your child not to share passwords with anyone, including best friends, boyfriends, or girlfriends. Not all apps are dangerous, however, there's plenty that are free, educational, and much loved by kids!
Recently an App called "Saturn" has been gaining popularity amongst students. It is a scheduling social application that allows students to upload their class schedules into the system along with other personal information. It also requests to capture their student email address in the application. This is then cross referenced with other students so they can connect. The larger issue is the ability for anyone to create a fictitious account to gain access to your students' information. Pasco County Schools became aware of the application and blocked it from their network as there is too much risk for students. We caution that you monitor your student's phone and caution them if they use this application while off campus.
Below are additional Apps that have been identified by the Pasco Sheriff’s Office that should be on your watch list.
Ready for college applications? Planning next steps?
Check out K-12 Scholarship Opportunities here.
Families of English Language Learners