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School district listens as people react to plan
The strategic and long-term proposal is the subject of five meetings.
By JEFFERY S. SOLOCHEK, Times Staff Writer
Published November 28, 2007
LAND O'LAKES - The Pasco school district has operated for years with a guiding vision "to create a community which works together so all Pasco County students will reach their highest potential."
The district always has had ways to measure progress.
"But we never really did it in an organized fashion, and we never really looked ahead," board member Marge Whaley told a group of about 30 parents and educators gathered Tuesday in the Land O'Lakes High School media center. "If you don't know where you're going, how do you know if you get there?"
So the district staff prepared a draft proposal of a strategic plan to take the school system forward. And then it turned to the community for its reaction.
Tuesday's meeting was the third of five designed to gather feedback on the plan.
"What we most want to do tonight is hear from you," said David Scanga of the elementary education division, who is overseeing the effort. "We will have discussions tonight ... mainly about Pasco County schools, where they are and where they will be in the future."
The people who attended took advantage of the opportunity.
Rebecca and Greg Hile, who serve on the Sunlake High school advisory committee, said they liked the goal of ensuring that the district makes its education relevant.
"Are the teachers getting special instructions on how? Because that's where it really comes from, the teachers," Greg Hile said.
Amye Cox, who chairs the Rushe Middle School advisory committee, asked to add the word "all" to the goal of investigating extended day and year programs. That way, the programs would not just focus on students who need improvement, but also on those who want to enrich themselves.
Michael Moran, a Wiregrass Ranch High School student, gave that idea a thumbs-up.
"I know that there are certain classes I would like to take, but I am limited in the number of periods I can take" in a day, he said.
Karen O'Neal, a Pasco Elementary teacher who has children at Pine View Middle, said she wished the district would have more discussions like this one. "It opens up a whole new avenue," O'Neal said. "It lets not just the administrators have input. ... It's very rare you see a group like this together."
After the group discussions, Whaley thanked the group and said the event went just as planned.
Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 813 909-4614. For more education news, visit the Gradebook at blogs.tampabay.com/schools.
If you go
Two more meetings
The district will have two more town hall meetings on its strategic plan. They are scheduled for 6 p.m. today at Bayonet Point Middle School, 11125 Little Road, New Port Richey, and 6 p.m. Thursday at Paul R. Smith Middle School, 410 Sweetbriar Drive, Holiday.
To learn more about the strategic plan, visit the district's Web site at http://pcsbstrategy.wordpress.com.