• The Pasco and Hernando County region of Odyssey of the Mind will have its annual regional tournament for middle and high school students from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Charles S. Rushe Middle School in Land O'Lakes. The regional tournament for elementary students will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 4 at Thomas E. Weightman Middle School in Wesley Chapel.
Odyssey of the Mind emphasizes creative thinking, teamwork, performing skills and self-reliance as all solutions are built, written and performed solely by members of the teams. Thousands of students throughout Florida will compete for the right to advance to state finals in April in Orlando. Teams that finish in the top two positions there will advance to World Finals in May at Michigan State University.
• Anclote High School and Paul R. Smith Middle School have scheduled parent meetings to share information about the Cambridge Programme with west Pasco families.
The Cambridge Programme, offered beginning in the 2017-18 school year, is a comprehensive approach to teaching and learning with an international curriculum model that provides students a rigorous educational experience. Students will develop critical skills in core subjects that will prepare them for success beyond high school. Students who earn the Cambridge diploma qualify for a Florida Bright Futures scholarship to attend a Florida college or university. Sessions will be at 6 p.m. Feb. 22 at Chasco Middle, 7702 Ridge Road, Port Richey, and at 6 p.m. Feb 28 at Anclote High, 1540 Sweetbriar Drive, Holiday. For information, call Anclote High at (727) 246-3000, Paul R. Smith Middle at (727) 246-3200 or go to pascoschools.org/cambridge.
• Wesley Chapel High will have a College Night from 6 to 8 p.m. Feb. 27 in the school gymnasium, 30651 Wells Road, Wesley Chapel. All high school students — particularly 11th-graders — and their parents are welcome, regardless of which high school they attend or the county where they live. There will be information about various programs; admission requirements; including SAT/ACT/ASVAB testing; tuition; financial aid; scholarship availability, and future career opportunities. Representatives from state universities, public and private colleges and universities from Florida and other states, and the military will be present to share information and answer questions. For information, contact Timothy W. Durling, Wesley Chapel High career specialist, at email@example.com or (813) 794-8733.
• The Pasco County School District's school choice application window is open through March 1. Those who applied for a magnet school may also submit a school choice application for a traditional Pasco school.
School choice applications may be accessed by going to the district website — pascoschools.org — and clicking on the "school choice" banner at the top. If a student currently is attending a school on school choice, parents do not need to reapply unless: their address changed after initial approval, they reside outside of Pasco County, their school was affected by boundary changes, or the student will be moving to the next school level (for instance, elementary to middle or middle to high).
Families who live in another county and wish to request student assignment to a Pasco County school must submit a release from their home county within the open enrollment period. Students who reside in Pasco will be given first consideration for school choice enrollment. Applications that have not been completed in their entirety will not be considered. Families requesting choice enrollment for more than one child need to complete separate applications for each.
• Students in grades 6 to 8 are welcome to enter Clerk and Comptroller Paula O'Neil's Constitutional Officers Essay Contest. The competition begins March 1 and runs through 5 p.m. March 31. In 500 words or less, students will answer the question: "How do you, as a middle school student, benefit from taxes your family, friends and neighbors pay?" Entries will be judged by a panel of directors from the Pasco County Tax Collector's Office according to how well the student communicates his/her response to the question as well as overall essay structure, appearance and readability. Each entry should include the student's name, school, grade and contact information. The winner of the essay contest will be notified by telephone no later than April 17.
Students in public/charter schools should submit essays to their principal, who will forward them to the Tax Collector's Office. Students in private, non-public or home schools should send essays to: Greg Giordano, Assistant Tax Collector, Pasco County Tax Collector's Office, 8731 Citizens Drive, Room 120, New Port Richey, FL 34654, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For information, contact Giordano at (727) 847-8179.
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