January 24, 2014
A Time of Transition
Almost a year ago our community was forced to go on a journey we never would have chosen to take when we lost one of our students in a car accident. Alcohol was involved. And because of it, we lost a wonderful, vibrant life in Brian Hoeflinger. Certainly such an event causes us to pause and ask ourselves a lot of questions about what it is that we are doing in the area of drug and alcohol prevention. Last Friday, the Hoeflinger Family had the opportunity to tell their story to the entire nation on the Katie Couric Show. I applaud their courage in using Brian’s story to educate others about the dangers of underage drinking. There is absolutely nothing easy about what they are doing. But lives will be saved, and changed, because of it.
In the early 90’s, the Ottawa Hills Prevention Advisory Council (OHPAC) started as a volunteer group called CHOICE (Choosing Healthy Options is a Community Effort). Since then, many volunteers have served on the board of OHPAC and contributed their time, their attention, and their energy to promote drug and alcohol prevention programs in our Village. What the Hoeflingers have been able to do throughout the region, and now, across the country, OHPAC has been doing locally, at the grass roots level. One thing about prevention programs is this: It’s never truly known how many lives are saved because they’ve been affected by the programs and education provided by groups like OHPAC. But no doubt, OHPAC has impacted our community and school in many positive ways, and it’s been due to the work of committed volunteers.
Another part of that influence has been the work of Drug and Alcohol Prevention Specialist, Debbie Dolgin. In that role since 2000, Debbie has provided drug and alcohol prevention programs for our school district and our community. In our schools, she has done so by focusing on strategies of information dissemination, education, problem identification and referral, and by providing constructive and healthy activities as positive alternatives.
To this point, the position of Drug and Alcohol Prevention Specialist has been a Village position. As of December 31, 2013, the position is no longer a Village position. Also at that time, OHPAC became an independent organization. OHPAC had received 501c3 status in 2005. Because of these changes, we see ourselves in a time of transition in the school district. We are committed to delivering research-based drug and alcohol programming for our students; however, because of the transitions with OHPAC and the Drug and Alcohol Prevention Specialist position, we have to take some time to figure out how to best deliver drug and alcohol programming in the future. So at this time, we are taking a step back to figure out how to best do that.
Currently, OHPAC is not designed or organized in such a way to become an “employer” to the Drug and Alcohol Prevention Specialist position. This could be a possibility, but first OHPAC and the school district must partner together to determine the best course of action for hiring and providing oversight for the position of Drug and Alcohol Prevention Specialist.
Over the next month, the administrative team will work with the Board of Education and OHPAC to discuss various paths that the district could take to provide prevention programs. Our goal is to have a definite course of action outlined by March 1. Until then, we are in a holding pattern. This might be seen like a step backwards when we so desperately need to be moving forward; however, I believe that there is strength and reason in taking some time to reflect on “where we are” and “where we need to go” to ensure we are doing what is needed to effectively provide drug and alcohol prevention services.
The OHPAC Board issues the following statement in relation to our current situation:
While OHPAC, a 501(c)(3), remains intact and has operating funds, it is not currently prepared to incur the costs of hiring accounting services and the necessary insurance to operate without the support of another entity. OHPAC representatives attended the December, 2013 School Board meeting to garner support and request assistance in setting a new course for prevention efforts in the future. The School Board welcomed the challenge and reiterated its commitment to drug and alcohol prevention efforts. To effectively examine all aspects of this endeavor, the School Board will spend a few months formulating a plan that will best address the needs of our students and families in the area of drug and alcohol prevention.
Our community and school is fortunate to have a knowledgeable, committed and experienced resource like Debbie Dolgin backed by an organization of dedicated volunteers. The School Board plans to collaborate with OHPAC throughout the examination phase, as well as once the parameters for this area of focus are set.
During this time of transition, the OHPAC Board has decided to suspend all programming until the School Board makes its recommendation. Therefore, all programs – including Operation Street Smart, the “Not My Kid” Parent Program, Challenge Crew, the YES Program, Grades 8 and 10 drug prevention in Health and the Chew on This Series – are on hold. In addition, Ms. Dolgin will not be holding office hours.
If you have questions or concerns about this situation, you are encouraged to contact Amy Rowe, OHPAC Board President (419-509-3456) or Debbie Dolgin (419-346-7478).
In addition, I encourage you to call my office at 419-536-6371 if you have any questions. You can also email me at email@example.com
. Thank you for your patience as we go through this time of setting new sights for our drug and alcohol prevention programs.
Student Council Presidents Help Honor Board Members
January is designated as School Board Appreciation Month. On hand at this past Tuesday's board meeting were Ottawa Hills Student Council Presidents, who helped to honor our board members by sharing words of appreciation and presenting the board members with certificates of appreciation. Elementary Student Council Co-Presidents David Heuring and Yelia Yu created an acrostic poem to share with the board members. Junior high Student Council President Tessa Koury and high school Student Council President Michael Geisler also shared their thanks with the board members for all they do to put students first and make Ottawa Hills a great school district. Our O.H. board members who were honored are David Arnold, Troy Greeley, Brad Johnson, Gretchen Rohm, and Gary Wilson.
Thank you, board members, for your exceptional service to our school district and our community!
Ottawa Hills Launches New Website
This past week, we our school district's new website debuted. Our goal is to create an online experience for all stakeholders with ease of access to information and communication that
supports the mission of the Ottawa Hills School District. Within the new website are sections devoted exclusively to Parents, Students, and Staff —all of which make it easy to quickly find information. We invite you to browse our new site, be part of the OH Connections community through our online newsletter feature, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. In this technological world, we are always evolving and changing, and we welcome your feedback as we continue to update our website. You may contact us through firstname.lastname@example.org
Kenya Opportunity Sparks Interest
Many O.H. students and parents turned out for a Thursday night presentation by Ottawa Hills alumnus, Fred Roberts ('79) regarding a summer service learning opportunity in Kenya. Fred and his wife are the owners of Batian's View Experiential Center in Kenya. For several years, Fred has been organizing summer trips to Kenya for high school Juniors and Seniors.
Service Learning in Kenya (SLIK) provides Juniors and Seniors the chance to serve as volunteer teachers at public primary schools near the town of Naro Moru. Other trip features include conducting a school improvement project, interacting with Kenyan elders who were part of Kenya's struggle for independence in the 1950's, and experiencing a three-day safari to Samburu Game Reserve to see Kenya's spectacular wildlife. The trip will take place
from June 25 to July 15, but students have the option of extending their trip for a Mt. Kenya hike.
To see an overview of the trip, click here
. Full registration materials and detailed information are also available by clicking here
. The group size is limited to 16 participants and will fill on a first come, first served basis. Questions regarding the trip can be directed to Fred Roberts at email@example.com
or by calling 520-591-1816.
Flying Flapjacks is a February Event
A Pancake Dinner, sponsored by After Prom, will be held on Friday, February 21 (not January 21 as originally reported), from 5:00 - 7:00 PM in the OHHS multi-purpose room. The cost is $7.50
per dinner, and includes all-you-can-eat pancakes, sausage, applesauce, coffee, milk, and orange juice. After dinner, come and cheer on the OH boys’ varsity basketball team in their game against Northwood. Tickets to the pancake dinner will not get you into the game. If you have any questions, please contact Julie Boesel at firstname.lastname@example.org
. Come on out and join the fun while supporting a good cause.
Science Olympiad Off to a Good Start in Centerville
The junior high Science Olympiad team competed at the Magsig invitational in Centerville, Ohio last Saturday. It was the first of four scheduled competitions for the team this year. The team finished 8th
overall out of 30 teams. Freshman Spencer Colton and fifth grader Daniel Liu received a bronze medal in the "Understanding Heredity" event. Many thanks to advisor Brandon Aigner and to the many parents who chaperoned. We look forward to the continued success of our Science Olympiad team.
Swimming Solo, Berry is One Mighty Green Bear
The Board of Education approved Kelsi Berry to represent Ottawa Hills in regional swimming competitions. Most recently, Kelsi swam in the Oak
Harbor High School Invitational and took 6th place overall in the 100 Backstroke and 7th place overall in the 100 Freestyle. She has competed against Division I and II schools, including Notre Dame, Perrysburg, and Northview. Many thanks to her parents, R. L. and Karen Berry, for acting as Kelsi’s official coaches. Kelsi is also a member of the varsity basketball team and excels in the classroom. Nicely done, Kelsi!
District Tournament for Power of the Pen
The Power of the Pen team competed at the District tournament in Tiffin last weekend. Seventh grader Maya Chandar-Kouba finished 11th
overall and will go on to compete at the state level. The team includes the following students: seventh graders Zoe Behnfeldt, Maya Chandar-Kouba, Sarah Abdouni, Shelley McClure, and Neha Kazmi; and eighth graders Meg Muir, Alizeh Hasan, Adam Sari, Joe French, Jan Durst, and Mason Langenderfer. Many thanks to advisor Kristie Stevens and to our parent chaperones.
Meg Muir to Compete in Spelling Bee
We are pleased to announce that 8th grader, Meg Muir, will be representing Ottawa Hills Junior High School in the 2014 Lucas County Area Spelling Bee on February
4. If she is victorious, Meg will go on to compete in The Blade Championship Bee in March, which is the qualifying competition for the national competition in Washington, D.C. Congratulations, Meg!
Mason Masters Geography Bee
Mason Langenderfer placed first in the final round of competition for the junior high Geography Bee. Mason will represent Ottawa Hills in the next round of competition for the National Geographic Geography Bee. If Mason continues to win, he will participate in the state competition in April and the national Geography Bee on May 19-21. More information can be found by clicking here
. Thanks to seventh grade English and social studies teacher Kristie Stevens for organizing the event. Congratulations, Mason!
Creating S.P.A.C.E. for Junior High Students
As part of the S.P.A.C.E. program this year, junior high teachers have recognized students who have exemplified the character traits of self-control, patience,
acceptance, collaboration and encouragement. S.P.A.C.E. students for the month of December include: James Silk, Gabi Thurston, Sam Assi, Ashleigh Smirnov, Nick Durfee, James Becker, Maddie King, Sam Shockey, Will Rand, Mabel Prince, Joy Kim, Addie Eichbauer, Oscar Kasch, and Sari Judis. These students will receive a certificate and a S.P.A.C.E. pencil. In addition, they will be recognized by the OH NEWS during morning announcements.
It’s Cold Out There! A Note From Mrs. Zake
Old Man Winter has certainly visited us this year! Because of the frigid temperatures each day, students have been spending most of the last several weeks indoors. Based on our policy, students will not go outside for recess if the wind chill factor is below 18 degrees. However, students are still outside as they enter and leave school for the day. Please make sure that your children dress for the weather. All students should bring hats, gloves, boots, and warm coats. It is also suggested that they dress in layers. If they plan to play in the snow, they will need snow boots.
You may have noticed fewer crossing guards on duty through these cold patches. We feel it is important to keep all students safe in these sub-freezing temperatures. Though guards may not be posted in all of our standard areas when the temperatures are so cold, we are monitoring all areas and making
sure students are safe as they come to and leave school each day.
One final note about the cold: at 2:40 each afternoon, when wind chills are in the single digits or below, I will round up all students who have not yet been picked up and bring them into the school lobby to wait for their rides. If you do not see your student on the sidewalk, rest assured that he or she is just staying warm inside the school. Please park in a parking space and come into the building to meet your child.
Thank you for your flexibility as we face the second “polar vortex” of this frigid winter.
First Graders Experience Eric Carle at the Valentine
The first graders were delighted with the play, Eric Carle Favorites
, presented by School Days at the Valentine Theater. The Mermaid Theater of Nova Scotia created this play. They used very large puppets for the people and animals. The puppets were painted to look just like the pictures in Eric Carle’s books. Special black lights were used to make the puppets look bright and colorful against the black background. Eric Carle’s stories really “came alive” onstage. After the show, the puppeteers and the stage manager answered questions and showed how the puppets and black lights worked. An enjoyable experience was had by all.
OH Elementary Students Given Another Option to Seek Adult Support
Today, students were taught about a new option to seek help from staff. Mrs. Browne worked to create a basic form that students can fill out and turn in to one of 2
locked mailboxes that will be checked daily by Mrs. Browne and/or Mrs. Zake. Of course, students are welcome to use any piece of paper to request to meet with a staff member, and are always welcome to approach any staff member directly for support, but we feel that by giving students a tool to use, they may feel more comfortable seeking support confidentially, when they are feeling nervous about directly approaching a staff member. Mailboxes are located directly outside of the main office, and just outside of the Library/Media Center.
|Boys JV & Varsity Basketball @ Northwood HS
||Boys Varsity Ice Hockey vs Springfield HS
||Boys 8th Grade Basketball vs.
Emmanuel Christian School- TAAC Tour Game
||Girls 8th Grade Basketball vs. MVCD School - TAAC Tour Game
||Girls 7th Grade Basketball vs. Kateri Catholic Academy - TAAC Tour Game
|Boys Freshman, JV & Varsity Basketball @ Evergreen HS
||Boys Varsity Ice Hockey vs Maumee High School
||Boys Varsity Ice Hockey @ Fremont Ross HS
|Girls JV & Varsity Basketball @ Gibsonburg HS
|Boys JV & Varsity Basketball @ Danbury High School
|Girls JV & Varsity Basketball vs Toledo Christian Schools
OH HS Gym
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.
The purpose of life is to live it,
to taste experience to the utmost,
to reach out eagerly and without fear
for newer and richer experience.