It became obvious during a recent Pasco County School Board meeting that some of the district’s most important work occurs outside of its classrooms.
Thanks to the diligence of the school district’s social services coordinator team, 18 children under the age of 11 who had been “missing” have been located, according to Vanessa Hilton, chief academic officer for the school system.
The team began searching in mid-October for 22 students who had been coded W-22, which stands for “whereabouts unknown,” Hilton said.
By mid-November, the team had reduced the list of missing children to four, whom they were still trying to find, as of the Dec. 5 school board meeting.
“The 18 that were found were either re-engaged in Pasco, found enrolled in another county or state, or who have now been connected to Home Ed,” Hilton told board members.
“The success in this task is completely thanks to that team of social service coordinators, who utilized their determination, skills and creativity to look out for the safety of these younger students.
“At the end of the day, this is a huge win for the vulnerable age group for our students,” Hilton said, expressing her appreciation for the team and its leadership for their commitment.
The school district also has been involved in other efforts to engage the community, Hilton said.
“The Office for Career, Technical and Adult Education has been actively working to increase and enhance our business partnerships for school and district programs,” she said.
She cited some specific examples.
Bosco’s Italian Pizza in Wesley Chapel, for instance, demonstrated pizza-making to the students in the culinary program at John Long Middle School.
The owner of Monarch Media Designs in Wisconsin also got involved by sharing the process for wrapping vehicles to commercial arts students at Marchman Technical College. The expert then judged student designs, resulting in what Hilton described as “a very authentic experience.”
Hilton also thanked the “creative director and brand strategist of The Social Artist, who taught Pasco High School marketing students about the importance of creativity, strategy and technical skills, when developing online content.”
During its Dec. 5 meeting, the school board also:
- Redefined the job descriptions for the district’s principals and assistant principals.
- Added the position of civil rights compliance manager. This position reports to the general counsel to the superintendent and is responsible for managing and monitoring equal employment and educational opportunity activities, and ensuring compliance with applicable local, state and federal rules and regulations, including the Equal Opportunity Employment Act, the Florida Educational Equity Act (FEEA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
- Added the position of civil rights compliance investigator. This role is responsible for investigations into charges and/or complaints of unfair employment or educational practices that involve race, sex, color, age, religion, national origin, disability or marital status. It also involves preparing documentation, includes follow-up activities, and is responsible for assisting legal department administrators by preparing written reports, documents, case materials and other data as needed.
- Extended the closing date on a 15-acre property between Interstate 75 and Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, at the end of Dunham Station Road, for a charter school. The closing date on that transaction is now scheduled for Jan. 16.
- Approved an amendment to the purchase of a school site within the Villages of Pasadena Hills, an area that’s located between Dade City, San Antonio and Wesley Chapel. The district is tentatively planning a K-8 school on a parcel that is part of the Evans family property. Closing on the property was expected on Dec. 8 and the amendment was needed, in order for closing to take place on time.
Published December 20, 2023