A lot of change is in store for Pasco County Schools during the 2015-2016 school year.
Students arriving at Sanders Memorial Elementary STEAM Magnet School will find not only a new campus, but a new way of learning, too.
They’ll be attending classes in the Pasco school district’s first magnet school program, with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics.
Students arriving at Quail Hollow Elementary School, will find a school that’s undergone a massive makeover — replacing the formerly “open” space with traditional classrooms, with doors and windows.
The school’s makeover isn’t entirely complete, but district officials don’t expect the work that’s yet to be done to disrupt the opening of school.
At Pine View Middle, students and staff will be embarking on a quest to become the first school in the district to be designated as a Middle Years Programme by the International Baccalaureate Organization.
It typically takes a candidate school about three years to meet the requirements to receive the designation.
Across the United States, there are 45 private and 538 public MYP programmes, including 65 in Florida and four in the Tampa area, including Carrollwood Day School and Corbett Preparatory School of IDS.
At Wiregrass Ranch High School, the school district is using a 10-period day to cope with soaring enrollment.
The school was built for 1,675 students, and its projected enrollment in 2015-2016 is 2,438.
To alleviate crowding, the district is having students arrive and depart from campus in two shifts.
Sophomores through seniors will begin and end the school day at the same time they do now, 7:25 a.m. and 1:56 p.m., respectively. Freshmen will begin at 10:25 a.m., and end at 4:50 p.m.
All of the school’s students will be on campus for three periods each day, but that is manageable because roughly 500 kids are at lunch at any given time, according to Robyn White, the school’s principal.
Wiregrass Ranch has had four lunch periods each day, but is adding a fifth one because of the anticipated enrollment increase.
Besides changes in facilities and programming at some schools, students also will be greeting new administrators at several Pasco schools.
Jason Petry is leading Sanders Elementary in Land O’ Lakes, and Kara Smucker is the principal at Quail Hollow in Wesley Chapel.
Angie Stone, the new leader at Zephyrhills High, is returning to the place where she began her career in Pasco County Schools.
Students attending Pasco Middle School in Dade City will be greeted by Principal Jeff Wolff, and those arriving at San Antonio Elementary School will be welcomed by Principal Kim Anderson.
In another big change, district employees will be heading into a new school year with a settled contract.
The contract, which has not yet been ratified, calls for an average 3 percent raise for district employees.
While details are still being finalized, the district’s plan is for district employees to receive their raise in their paychecks beginning Sept. 4, which is the first pay date for teachers.
The contract also calls for no increases in the employee contribution in the single employee health plan. The district is one of the few districts in Florida that offers a fully paid single employee health option.
A new benefit in this year’s contract is a Voluntary Sick Leave Donation program, set to begin in October. This program allows district employees to donate their sick leave to other district employees who are experiencing a documented major medical emergency, illness, accident or injury (or whose spouse, minor child, or dependent child under legal guardianship has a document major medical emergency, illness, accident or injury).
Pasco County Schools has set up a special Transportation Call Center during the first week of school.
If you have a problem, call the numbers listed below, on Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., and from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
(813) 794-2500; (727) 774-2500; or (352) 524-2500
Want to buy breakfast or lunch?
The current meal prices are:
Reduced price breakfast: 30 cents
Reduced price lunch: 40 cents
Full price breakfast: $1.35 (elementary) and $1.50 (secondary)
Full price lunch: $2.25 (elementary) and $2.60 (secondary)
Want to register?
Students entering a Florida public school for the first time need:
- Current immunization records
- Proof of a physical examination, dated and signed by a licensed health professional within the last 12 months
- Evidence of age, such as a birth certificate
- Social Security Number, if available
- Proof of Florida residency, such as a water bill, electric bill, gas bill, or an executed lease agreement
- A copy of the student’s last report card, if applicable
- Legal guardianship records, if applicable
Note: Students entering kindergarten for the first time must be 5 years old on or before Sept. 1 to attend kindergarten. Pre-Kindergarten and Head Start/Early Start programs are available to students who will not make the deadline.
Published August 19, 2015