Ottawa Hills Local Schools District Newsletter
3600 Indian Rd., Toledo, Ohio  43606

Ottawa Hills Local Schools

District Newsletter
June 6, 2014

Superintendent's Message
What Are Your Summer Plans?

Summer brings thoughts of sleeping in, days at the pool, family vacations, leisurely walks, and trips to the ballpark. But for our faculty members, summer is a good opportunity to enrich their knowledge and skills. They are already thinking about next school year, and they use the next three months to take part in various educationally-related activities. Following is a sampling of our teachers’ summer plans.
• Angie Parker, Heidi Morris, SueAnn Peete, Rebecca McLean, Cheri Palko, Noreen Hanlon and Judy Haudan will be attending “Rock Star Teacher Camp” this summer. This is a three day technology conference covering topics such as Google Docs, Tips and Tricks, Apps, iBooks, iTunes, Blended/Flipped classrooms, Augmented Reality, Minecraft, Blogging, and more.
•Kate Hunyor will be participating in a teacher study tour in Turkey, sponsored by the Turkish Cultural Foundation. She will also be spending a week in June and a week in July at Cleveland State University preparing to implement the new Principles of Computer Science course which she will be teaching next year.
•Two of our teachers will be continuing their work toward earning their doctorates. Lauren Hurst will be formulating a proposal for her dissertation and beginning the literature review for her topic. Bill Miller has collected the necessary data on a study of professional development of teachers and the use of research articles in teachers’ practices. He will be working on writing his dissertation this summer.
•Nicolle Smith and Jenny Powers are at the halfway mark in earning their Master’s in Reading. They will continue their coursework through the summer, which will culminate in the development of their Capstone Projects.
•Jeremy Nixon will be spending his summer preparing for the new AP Biology course offered at OHHS next year. He will be spending a week at The Indiana Academy AP Summer Institute on the campus of Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.  He will join other AP teachers from across the United States learning about the new AP Biology curriculum and test format. He will be also completing all the new inquiry-based labs that are a mandatory requirement of the course. In addition, Mr. Nixon will be spending valuable time with actual AP test writers and readers to learn about the expectations and grading rubrics for the test.  
•And that’s not all for Mr. Nixon. Last summer Mr. Nixon spent two weeks on the campus of  BGSU learning about the process of teaching science through modeling with an emphasis on Physics and Chemistry. The modeling initiative is a part of Bowling Green's STAMPS program, which stands for Science Teaching Advancement through Modeling Physical Science.  After completing the mandatory physical science first year modeling course last summer, Mr. Nixon is permitted to take the Biology second year modeling class this summer.  For two weeks in July, Mr. Nixon will be learning how to apply the modeling strategies and basic framework he learned last summer to his Biology curriculum.  
•Tony Torio is getting ready to teach AP Statistics, which will be a new course offering next year. Thus, he will attend an AP Institute this summer in Indianapolis. At the institute, Mr. Torio will receive help writing the curriculum and get it approved by the AP College Board. This will help him lay the groundwork for the AP Statistics course as he embarks on his first experience teaching this new course.  
•Allyson Brunner will not be giving herself too much time off, as next week she will be attending the OCALI Tech Conference in Powell, Ohio. This conference will focus on iPad and technology use with students with disabilities. She will also be attending the Summer Behavior Institute for two days at the end of June. This institute will take place at the University of Toledo and will focus on strategies to work with students with behavioral needs.
• During late June, Mr. Adkins will attend a four-day workshop in Columbus on the new AP Physics curriculum. Afterwards, he will be finishing course redesign for next year's AP / Honors Physics offerings.
 •Mary Kate Hafemann will be co-leading a Physical Science Modeling Workshop at Perrysburg HS from July 14-25. The workshop is a 3 graduate credit hour class offered through BGSU. This summer workshop focuses on a new approach to science instruction which incorporates best practices in education. Mrs. Hafemann teaches the chemistry portion of the workshop. Mrs. Hafemann explains, "This summer we have expanded to run three workshops simultaneously. There will be an Advanced Modeling Instruction Workshop and a Biology Modeling Instruction Workshop.  I am only involved in the Physical Science Workshop, but our own Jeremy Nixon is signed up for the Biology Modeling Workshop."
• Tim Hood plans on enriching his knowledge of his subject area and taking time to expand his mind. Part of the Agora trip deals with the life of Miguel de Cervantes and his work “Don Quijote de la Mancha”.  While Mr. Hood took a graduate class many years ago in that work, he plans to re-read the novel this summer to be able to give a fresh perspective to the students who will participate in Agora while in Spain.

Mr. Hood also plans on reading and studying two other Spanish figures that have a prominent role in Spanish civilization: Ignatius of Loyola and Saint Teresa of Ávila.  This past year he came upon some more of their writings and they have inspired Mr. Hood to continue getting to know them better.
•Nicole Silvers is attending an OOGEEP (Ohio Oil  and Gas Energy Education Program) workshop for 3 days in Marietta, Ohio to learn more about
the science and technology, development, and production of oil and gas in Ohio. The goal of the workshop is to help foster energy education by connecting science education to the energy industry. During the workshop, each teacher will receive resource materials, classroom supplies, lesson plans, posters, DVDs, maps, and more.

•New teacher Patty Dowd will be doing a lot of training this summer as she prepares to lead our new STEM courses. She will leave on Sunday for three weeks of training in Dayton. Mrs. Dowd will receive training to help her prepare the curriculum for the new Modeling and Simulation course being offered. She will also attend a general STEM summer institute before taking part in two weeks of training with Project Lead the Way’s Gateway to Technology program. This training will provide mastery of the curriculum for the STEM for Junior High courses she will teach. Then in August, Mrs. Dowd will have training for the Robotics course that she will be teaching.
The old joke goes, “I have three good reasons for teaching: June, July, and August.” But as you can see, our teachers don’t look at summer as time “off.” Instead, they use their summer vacations to hone their skills as educators and prepare for the new school year. They could very easily rest on their laurels, but they don’t. This is just a sampling of the various plans that our faculty members have for the summer of 2014, but it’s representative of how they invest their time and efforts to continue growing in their expertise. That’s the sign of a great educator.

O.H. Bids a Fond Farewell to Beloved Staff Members

Junior high math and science teacher, Brandon Aigner, will be leaving Ottawa Hills to teach at Lake Ridge Academy, a small private school on the west side of Cleveland.
Reflecting on his time here, Mr. Aigner says, “My time at Ottawa Hills has been full of excitement, learning, and great friendships. It was only my second year of teaching when I started at Ottawa Hills and I came in with such excitement to be chosen to work at one of the area's best schools. Upon my arrival, I was greeted with kindness and was welcomed into a great network of colleagues who soon became good friends. Over the past five years, I have been honored to work with the most amazing kids I have ever encountered. I have probably learned as much myself as I have taught them. I have confidence that I have grown as an educator and am grateful for the lessons I have learned. I am looking forward to taking what I have learned at Ottawa Hills and expanding on it in my new position at Lake Ridge Academy.”
Gloria Heigel has been in education for almost 50 years. She came to Ottawa Hills in 2006 as a reading intervention teacher for kindergarten, shortly after her husband passed away.  She knew she had to keep going and doing something that made a difference; teaching was her calling.
Long before she landed here, Mrs. Heigel piloted the Head Start program at Toledo Public Schools and was then hired to work at Lincoln Elementary. She left TPS to teach 1st and 5th grades for 30 years at Washington Local.
Now, in her well-earned retirement, she plans to relax with her three children and two grandchildren. Her oldest daughter Jennifer is a nurse in Indiana; second daughter Julie is a marketing director at Franklin Park Mall; and son David is an English/Language Arts teacher and coach at Jefferson Junior High in Washington Local.
Mrs. Heigel is currently planning to purchase or build a lake house at Lake Diane in Camden, Michigan for the family to enjoy. She is pictured above with Mrs. O'Connor, Mrs. Puffenberger, and Mrs. Jankowski.
Allison Lohse, our speech and language pathologist for the last two years, is leaving Ottawa Hills as she moves to Michigan. Her fiancé, Nate Head, works for GM in Warren, Michigan. After their June 21 wedding, they will be residing in Livonia.
Best wishes Mr. Aigner, Mrs. Heigel, and Miss Lohse, as you begin wonderful new chapters in your lives. Thank you for your dedicated service to the students and families of Ottawa Hills Schools.

Office of Village Life Provides Summer Offerings

You don't have to travel far from home to find fun and engaging learning opportunities for both children and adults. The Ottawa Hills Office of Village Life provides plenty of camps right here in the Village. There is a great variety of classes being offered for the summer of 2014--everything from sports to art and more. To see the list of classes, see the information sheet here. You can also visit the Office of Village Life's webpage by visiting the community website at

Waiver Days Set for 2014-2015

The school district will take advantage of three waiver days to provide professional development for faculty and staff in the 2014-2015 school year. Please mark your calendars for the following dates which have been approved by the Board of Education:

•Tuesday, August 26, 2014--this means that the first day of school for students will be Wednesday, August 27.

•Monday, November 3, 2014--coupled with the professional development day already scheduled for Election Day on Tuesday, November 4, this provides a four-day fall break for families who may wish to travel out of town from Saturday through Tuesday.

•Friday, February 13, 2015--coupled with Presidents Day on Monday, February 16, this provides a four-day winter break for families who may wish to travel out of town from Friday through Monday.

Congratulations to our 2014 Gradutes

The Members of the 74th graduating class of Ottawa Hills Schools received their diplomas at the commencement ceremony held last evening in the high school gymnasium. Principal Ben McMurray welcomed the 67 graduates and the several guests who were in attendance. Student speakers were Mara Horn and Michael Geisler. Congratulations to our newest alumni! (Photos provided by The Village Voice.)


O.H. Students Take Part in State Science Fair

On Saturday, May 10, three O.H. freshmen Honors Biology students traveled to The Ohio State University for the state science fair. Alicia de la Serna (left), Natalia Cortes, and Renae Goik (below) made the trip to Columbus with their Northwest Ohio district superior rated science fair projects.

Alicia, with her project titled "The Effect of Vitamins on Melanocytes that are Exposed to Ultraviolet Radiation," earned a superior rating at the state level. Natalia and Renae, with their project titled "The Role of Factor H from Various Species in the Protection of Red Blood Cells from the Complement System,"  earned an excellent rating.

Congratulations, ladies!

May Day 2014 Activities

On Friday, May 31, students dressed in their Battle of the Classes colors and enjoyed a half-day filled with fun activities and competition as they observed their annual May Day event. Thanks to members of Student Council for all of their hard work.  Also, thanks to faculty advisors Steve Bobak, Kristie Stevens, and Dan Feuerstein for making it a fun and safe day for the students.  A thank you is also extended to the many parents who volunteered to run many of the junior high activities. Thanks to alumni Shruti Nanda and Molly Veh for helping out with refreshments in the stadium.

O.H. Choral Program Presents: Walt Disney!

Led by vocal music teacher Donna Wipfli, the junior high school choir, junior chorale, high school choir, and the Choraliers brought the wonderful world of Disney to life during the last concert of the year on Wednesday, May 28. The audience especially enjoyed listening to the combined choirs sing “Circle of Life” from the Lion King andYou’ve Got a Friend in Me" from Toy Story. We are fortunate to have Donna Wipfli on faculty at the junior/senior high school. She has been a wonderful addition to both the music and theater programs. Bravo!

"Leed-ing" the Band Program to a New Level

Led by band director Michael Leeds, Ottawa Hills students ranging from 5th to 12th grades performed their final concert of the year to a packed auditorium. The Fifth Grade Band, Sixth Grade Band, Concert Band and Symphonic Band filled the auditorium with a beautiful collection of music.  Six years ago there were 33 students in the band program.  Next year the enrollment will exceed 133. Not only has the program grown in sheer numbers, but the students also play more complex musical arrangements and compete in regional and state competitions. 

The audience was delighted to hear the fifth graders’ rendition of  “Montego Bay” and the sixth graders’ performance of the “Eye of the Tiger."  Audience favorites included the junior high concert band’s “Empire Strikes Back Medley” and the high school concert band's rendition of “Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition”.  Congratulations to our young musicians and to director Michael Leeds on another successful year!

Challenge Crew Members Address Peer Pressure

Members of the Challenge Crew spoke to fifth graders about the negative effects of peer pressure as part of the Ottawa Hills Prevention Advisory Council’s annual YES Program. The panelists suggested various strategies for avoiding uncomfortable situations and answered questions from the younger students. Panelists included Julie Hoeflinger, Haidar Bin Hamid, Kendall Kropp, Taylor Thees, and Kelsi and Kristen Berry.

Eighth Graders Celebrate a Rite of Passage

On Friday, May 30, eighth graders participated in a special rite of passage where they were acknowledged for their academic success and extracurricular involvement at the eighth grade recognition ceremony. Maddie McCabe, Will Koury, and Abby Hauck delivered beautiful speeches that were full of great advice for their fellow classmates.  Many thanks to vocal music teacher Donna Wipfli and the Junior Chorale for singing the National Anthem.  A special thanks to Diane Drabek, Kristie Stevens, Darcy Browne, Brandon Aigner, Dan Feurestein, Sean Mercer, Tina Cambal, and Dennis Clere for helping make the eighth grade recognition ceremony a success. 

Seventh Graders Enjoy a Trip to Outer Space

Seventh grade students had an amazing time on their field trip to Ritter Planetarium at the University of Toledo. Students enjoyed a presentation by former Ottawa Hills student teacher Steve Soloman. His presentation included a look at the spring time constellations as seen now in Toledo, a program about the carbon cycle and climate change, and a high-resolution visualization of the creation of Black Holes. Many thanks to parent chaperones Mrs. Stout, Mrs. Hoeflinger, Mrs. Whitehead, Mrs. Muse, Mrs. Wimmers, Mr. Sigler, Mr. Cummins, and Mrs. Lyon. Also, thank you to Ms. Gill, Mr. Miller, Mrs. Silvers, and Mr. Soloman for making this field trip a success! 

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream!

Students in Julie Visser’s Family and Consumer Science classes decided they weren’t going to let last week’s heat wave get the best of them, so they decided to make homemade ice cream. With a simple recipe and little hard work, they made a tasty treat to cool them down.  If you’re interested in getting the recipe, email Mrs. Visser at

Ismail Wins Defensive Player of the Year

Congratulations to Jaafer Ismail who was named defensive player of the year in the club division for boys lacrosse. Although the boys were taken out of tournament competition in a close game against Cincinnati Anderson, they had a successful season.


Sixth Graders are On Their Way!

Wednesday was a day of celebration for Ottawa Hills Elementary as 67 sixth graders graduated Parents and teachers planned an amazing and memorable evening for students, commencing with a lovely ceremony and finishing with dancing, ping-pong and feasting in the new gym. Our sixth grade class was a wonderful group of students and we will miss them all dearly as they move on to a new chapter in their lives as junior high students.

Many thanks to the sixth grade teachers--Mrs. Sterling, Mrs. Barnard, and Mrs. Palko--and all of the parents who had a hand in planning the graduation and party for the sixth graders.

Field Day Enjoyed By All

Mr. McKee put together an awesome field day for our elementary students. There was running, jumping, laughing, and memories made. Yesterday was a fantastic opportunity to sit with kids in a different capacity than the rest of the year. We ate on the lawn and kids relaxed and enjoyed each other. What a great way to end the year!

Miss Bright's Foot Notes

OHSPA has supported our school and so many ways this year.  We would like to thank them for their generosity and enthusiasm in making Ottawa Hills schools even better than they already are. One purchase made for our elementary school was a "Foot Notes" rug for use in music class.
In this photo, students are reviewing the note names of the Treble Clef Staff by playing a round of Treble Clef Twister. In this team game, students work to be the first person to stand on the correct letter on the staff. If it’s a tie, they redo and have to add an extra letter, using both feet and hands and even their heads to touch all of the letters as quickly as they can! It’s tons of fun and helps them have the note names down without having to think about it.
Thank you OHSPA for helping us give students these amazing experiences!!!

Elementary Students Have Integrity

The month of May was the month we celebrated integrity. Students worked hard to show how acting with integrity made OHES a better place to be  The following students showed exceptional integrity during the month of May:
K-3rd grade students:
Trace Douglas, Jonathan Sun, Samantha Scarborough, Shelby DeCocker, Ryan Mather, Evan West, Kendra Angell, Alex Laser, Harley Talbott, Charlie Estes, Eire Ratcliffe, Samantha Brandstatter, Zara Sediqe, Isabella Suhy, Carson Mackey, Elle Hopkins, Tyler Wood, Annika Padhye, Anthony Adduci, Uzair Hashmi, Oliver Duenas-McClain, Noah Hamilton, Jack Perozek, Zoe Cooper, Ruiyang Bai, Scott Smith, Stella Stout, Molly Rybarczyk, and Ken Liu.
4-6 students:
Jack O'Brien, John Kight, Ellie Kieser, Owen Green, Sergei Federov, Andrew Helgren, Ellie Seifried, Trey Souder, Danielle Sun, Maahum Bokhari, Joseph Gears, Anish Agarwal, Hope Schaefer, Nick Rowe, Will Bales, Cielo Ochoa, Finn Jones, William Peseckis, Drew Gustine, Tarun Paramasamy,  and Isaac Tavtigian.

A Note from Mrs. Zake

It is hard to believe the year is over. And what an amazing year it has been! I am so honored to have been able to be your principal this year, and look forward to an even better year next year.
Thank you so much, parents, for all of your support this year. What a pleasure it was to get to know each and every one of you. Your children have made such a positive impact on my life. I love to get up and go to work in the morning.
Thank you for giving me this opportunity to lead Ottawa Hills Elementary School this year. Have a great summer, and I will see you in the fall.

Village of Ottawa Hills:

Ottawa Hills Parent Association:
In partnership with our community,
Ottawa Hills Local Schools
will challenge and inspire each student
to realize his or her unique potential;
to embrace learning as a lifelong process;

and to become an active, responsible citizen.

There is no real ending.
It's just the place where you stop the story.
Frank Herbert
Copyright © 2014 Ottawa Hills Local Schools, All rights reserved.
Ottawa Hills Local Schools • 3600 Indian Rd. • Ottawa Hills, OH  43606