November 15, 2013
Holding On To Our Students
Last night I had the pleasure of attending the awards banquet for our high school golf team. As an educator, I enjoy watching great kids do great things, and the banquet was totally focused on the amazing achievements of our golf team. What a refreshing evening. I know that the field hockey team and cross country team also had their awards banquets last night, but I was not able to attend. I had already accepted the golf team’s invitation, so I had to miss out on the others. But I know that if I could have been there, I would have seen the same thing—great kids, great achievements.
I’ve struggled a bit with writing this week’s article because the subject is somewhat touchy. Being the parents of a sixth grader, our household has seen, for the first time, the inundation of material from area parochial schools as they hold their open houses over the next few weeks. It seems like there is something in the mailbox each day. It used to be that we would lose some students from eighth to ninth grade as they decided to leave Ottawa Hills and attend a private or parochial school. Now, with the parochial schools opening junior high academies, the recruiting starts at a younger age.
Here’s the bottom line: We love our kids and we want them to stay here. We know that is not the reality for every family. We find that when we survey the families of students who leave us for another school in the area, it is because they desire a parochial education and/or because it’s family tradition. Mom or dad attended an area parochial school, so it’s something they also want for their children. We can’t argue with that.
I want to make this perfectly clear—the private and parochial schools in the Toledo area offer a quality educational experience. That’s not what this article is about. What it is
about is that we feel Ottawa Hills offers a public education that is unparalleled by any other schools in the area—public or private. As a small school system, we cannot always compete with the variety of curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular offerings that larger schools can support. However, for a school district of one thousand students, K through 12, I think that the opportunities we provide for our students are hard to beat. I like to call it “large school offerings in a small school setting.” And
we are able to offer such a variety of opportunities because of the support of this community.
We take the loss of our students to other schools very seriously. Annually, Mr. McMurray provides a full report to the Board of Education. In the report, he shares “lessons learned” as we look at the data through the years. Those lessons include:
•There is an ebb and flow to the number of students who withdraw each year. This past year, we lost a high number of students, but it’s not the highest that we’ve ever encountered.
•Each year, we also have students return to Ottawa Hills after attending a parochial school for a period of time.
•The most frequently reported reasons for withdrawing include the “desire for a parochial education,” “athletics,” and “moved from the area.”
But another major lesson that we completely understand is that life for public schools is transitioning. We haven’t typically spent time, energy, and finances in marketing our schools. We’ve preferred to put those resources into activities and materials that directly impact our students in the classroom, and then we’ve let the results speak for themselves. But as area schools become more aggressive in their marketing campaigns in order to ensure long-term viability, we have to make sure that our students and parents know that we value them, and that we are getting the job done
To that end, the annual report on student transfers also includes action steps developed to address the loss of students. There are several action steps, but among them are:
•Analyzing exit surveys filled out by parents and students when students withdraw;
•Spending time with students who might be thinking of withdrawing to promote the benefits of Ottawa Hills;
•Adding curricular offerings, such as AP Chemistry, Computer Programming, and Chinese;
•Focusing on specific actions that help to develop a “junior high identity” for students in 7th and 8th
•Implementing the OH Global laptop one-to-one initiative.
Another realization is that even as a public school system, it is important for us to market our school system and all it has to offer. We’re not in the recruiting business, but we are in the business of making sure that we are doing great things in our schools. We also have to make sure that people know about it. Telling “our story” is is an important piece of drawing people to Ottawa Hills…and keeping them here. To that end, one of the long-term goals chosen for this school year is to implement marketing strategies that include developing a consistency of messaging and consistency of branding through updated district logos and slogans and the creation of informational tools.
So as I end, my struggle is perhaps somewhat clearer to the reader. I could have spent time extolling our ACT, SAT, and AP scores; our number of students honored as National Merit Scholars;
our various league, district, regional, and state athletic titles; the number of students we have move on to play collegiate athletics (see article below); the incredible opportunities our students have in the Arts; our student-teacher ratio; the intimate, small-school setting we provide for our students, resulting in supportive student-teacher relationships; or our college admission rate. These are all things that I hope would be given a very close look by any family as they investigate another institution.
But in the end, all data aside, the message I wanted to make sure was clearly shared was this: we value our students and we want to keep each and every one. And if you’re thinking of following a different educational path, we hope that you will make us part of that process. We’d welcome the opportunity to have that discussion with you.
OHSPA has a new Website!
The OHS Parent Association has a NEW website! Check out http://ohspa.digitalpto.com
. You will find event details, committee chair contact information, financial updates and other news. Please
bookmark, explore and visit often. In addition to their weekly email newsletter, the website will now be the Parent Association's main communication tool.
Toledo Bikes! Collecting Used Bicycles this Sunday
Haul that old used bicycle out from the garage and give it new life! Toledo Bikes! is collecting bikes to recycle into the hands of students and inner city residents without cars who need a bicycle for primary transportation.
Toledo Bikes! will put your old bike through a multi-step refurbishing process to insure the future owner’s safety and provide reliable transportation.
Toledo Bikes! is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the recovery of used bikes, recycling those bikes through our volunteer and educational efforts into the hands of others; and promoting cycling awareness through community outreach, education and maintenance programs, and cycling events.
Your old bike is essential to the success of Toledo Bikes! It provides the raw material for our process and enables us to fulfill our mission.
Toledo Bikes! will be collecting used bicycles this Sunday, November 17. Bicycles can be dropped off at Bark Avenue, 4641 Bancroft, from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m. Bicycles can be picked up at your house from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Pick-up is by appointment only. To make an appointment, call Rich Effler at 419-343-9944.
To learn more about Toledo Bikes!, visit their website at http://www.toledobikes.org.
Signing Day for Three O.H. Student-Athletes
This past Wednesday, three Ottawa Hills Seniors took part in the NCAA's early signing day by signing National Letters of Intent to compete in collegiate athletics. Ben Silverman signed to play golf at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Geoff Beans signed to play basketball at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. RJ Coil, signed to play basketball at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York. Congratulations to our Green Bears, and good luck as you continue your academic and athletic careers at these great institutions!
Ottawa Hills' Mara Horn is a BCSN All-Star
Ottawa Hills Senior, Mara Horn, has been named as BCSN's Fall All-Star winner for Field Hockey. As a winner, Mara will be seen in several commercials airing on the Buckeye CableSystem channels and BCSN All-Star show. In addition, Mara will be featured on promotional posters and in BCSN's 2015 calendar. Congratulations on this great honor, Mara!
Job Search for Odysseus is an Odyssey for Freshmen
Lauren Hurst’s ninth grade English students have been reading Homer’s Odyssey, dissecting the story line, analyzing the characters, learning about
the author, and exploring the world of ancient Greece. As part of the unit, students are asked to write a resume for Odysseus to help him find suitable employment now that his journey has ended. Odysseus’s leadership, critical-thinking, creativity, and problem-solving skills make him a prime candidate for some of the today’s toughest jobs.
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 October include: Caroline Cerilli, Mady McCabe, Catherine Kight, Ben Roller, Rumor Ochoa, Darion Wimmers, Emma Stout, Henry Seifried, Shruthi Varier, Saleh Ahmed, Fiona Arnold, Steven Randall, Connor Pellegrini , Bella Iorio, Eliana Frost, Nolan Freeman, Rahul Bais and Alizeh Hasan. 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.
Last week, students in Kate Hunyor’s Video Production class were using their computer skills to edit b-roll footage that they had videotaped. B-roll is
"generic" footage of an activity or event that students can use to supplement an interview to create a story. It can also be used to create commercials or public service announcements by adding text, music and animation.
Challenged-Based Learning with OH Global
Mr. Miller and Mr. Kinkaid have embraced Challenged-Based Learning in the 7th Grade Reading and Study Skills
classes. Given a broad topic, students set and work to meet challenges toward solving real 7th grade problems. The broad topic currently being explored in Mr. Miller's class is textbooks. How can reading and learning from textbooks be a better experience for 7th graders? The students developed several different challenges. Among them are the following:
- reduce the reading level of a chapter,
- create a digital resource to supplement a chapter,
- create games (e.g. Jeopardy and Bingo) to supplement a chapter,
- make a video representation of part of a chapter, and
- make a textbook chapter thinner by eliminating extraneous pictures and information.
Each challenge requires students to find resources that help to explain the problem, to create the solution, or to support the solution. Using their laptops, the students will present their work to their peers, and share the materials they've created. In this way, they are helping their fellow students and learning a great deal in the process.
Hardly Bothered by Bugs
Jeanine Bailey has proudly displayed the insect collections of her zoology students in the showcase at the end of the sophomore hallway near the multipurpose room. For the last two months, students have been busy in the meadow collecting dozens of specimens. The purpose of the assignment is to help students learn the basics of entomology and classification by learning to identify, label and mount all of the bugs in their collection. The students’ projects will be on display for the next few weeks.
O.H. Tutors Make A Difference at Kids Unlimited
On November 7, several Challenge Crew members volunteered for Kids Unlimited where they provided one-on-one tutoring for students at their new
location on Bancroft. Kids Unlimited is an after-school program for inner-city children in grades 1 through 8. Challenge Crew members who attended included Courtney Hylant, Meridith and Gillian Heckler, Lucy Bogart, Isabella McCluskey, and Margaret Nichols. The Challenge Crew students had a wonderful and meaningful experience and plan to return monthly. Students who are interested in volunteering at Kids Unlimited can email Debbie Dolgin at DDolgin@OttawaHillsSchools.org
or Steve Mitchell at email@example.com
Scavenger Hunt Helps Youth-to-Youth Learn About Healthy Living
On Friday, November 8, 2013 Youth-to-Youth held the annual scavenger hunt in which over 75 junior high students formed teams to solve "picture" clues around the Village. During the evening, students learned about the elements of a healthy lifestyle. Youth-to-Youth is a national organization that is open to all seventh and eighth grade students who have committed to an alcohol, tobacco, and drug-free lifestyle. This Ottawa Hills chapter is a positive peer group that supports each other in this goal while enjoying many fun activities and participating in various community service projects. Y2Y is an organization affiliated with the Ottawa Hills Prevention Advisory Committee. (OHPAC).
Annual Rummage Sale Raises Money for Cultural Exchanges
On Saturday, November 9, hundreds of Toledoans stopped by the multipurpose room for the annual rummage sale. The event is the biggest fundraiser for the International Student Exchange
Association and revenue is used to support Diversity Weekend and a variety of other activities throughout the school year. In addition, the organization provides scholarships for Ottawa Hills students who participate in AFS sponsored cultural exchange programs during the summer. Many thanks to advisor Kate Hunyor, community liaisons Linda Sherry and Edwina Ledgard, and all of the parent and student volunteers that made the rummage sale a huge success.
The Art and Science of the Savory Salad
Students from Julie Visser’s Family and Consumer Science classes had the opportunity to enjoy a salad with nearly a dozen ingredients to choose from. Students used the opportunity to learn about healthy choices and analyzed nutritional information, calculated calories, and learned ways to balance and compliment flavors.
OHES Kids Have Character
The month of OCTOBER was a full month of HONESTY! Students were recognized with pumpkins on our "Giving Tree" all month long for the Core Value of Honesty. The following students were recognized for displaying the character trait of Honesty this past month:
Nora Weaver, Charlotte Ellingson, Kyle Rose, Mia Feeback, Jack Harmon, Hutchinson Carter, Anne-Marie Gable, Caleb Robinson, Olga Isailovic, Carlo Carrubba, Elin Fields, Noah Hamilton, Ellie Stanfield, Mirabel Bridgeman, Christian Craver, Vivian Suhy, Vaughn Mackey, Ethan Green, Catherine Rhegness and Scott Smith ( not pictured).
Congratulations to these "Tip Top Honesty" Kids!
Matthias Weaver, Gabrielle Suhy, Maria Rybarczyk, Zane Gerlach, Alex Rose, Sydney Mack, Isabella Suhy, Lily Sturtz, Ariana Pourazady, Summer Moynihan, Will Mather, Stephen Souder, Bianca Mancini, Campbell Streak-Jensen, Thomas McCarthy, Daniel Williamson, William Bershback, Jack Bolg, Chloe Zawisa, Jack Aiken, Chris Howard, Emma McLean, Sophia Stone, Keefer McClure, Gigi Kanarowski, Scott Davis, Isaac Machon, Rhi Demilt, Veronica Eichbauer, Will Lohmeyer, Josiah Kidd, Claire Denk, and Meghan Rownd.
Help us to celebrate Citizenship throughout the month of November by bringing in non-perishable foods for local organizations. Student Council is running a canned food drive now through November 22 and IF we raise 2,000 cans/food items, Mrs. Zake and Mrs. Browne will ride a tricycle throughout the day on Monday December 3, 2013. Who knows you may even see them look a little different!
OHES Art Students Share Their Work with the World
Move over famous artists! Ottawa Hills Elementary School artists are taking over the spotlight! Cynthia Bodziak, the school's Art Teacher and parent leader Mary Bolg have teamed up with Artsonia, http://www.artsonia.com
-- the world's largest online kid's art museum -- to display the students' artwork.
Anyone can view the school gallery online at: http://www.artsonia.com/schools/school.asp?id=74181
. Visitors can browse the artwork in the school gallery by grade level, or by specific exhibits.
Ottawa Hills Elementary School students join thousands of students from over 130 countries whose artwork is showcased on Artsonia. "This program is a wonderful way to get parents and family members more involved in Art Education," says Mrs. Bodziak.
All of Artsonia's artwork (20 million and counting!) are viewable online, and any teacher or parent can create an online art gallery for their child or school. Artsonia provides several online features such as fan clubs and personal guestbooks, as a way for families to encourage the creativity and imaginations of their young artists. In addition, family members can purchase keepsakes imprinted with the child's artwork, with Artsonia donating 20 percent of their annual product revenue back to school art programs.
Headquartered in Gurnee, Ill., Artsonia was established in 2000 as an online kid's art museum providing free, educational resources for kids, families and schools to create art projects. Since its inception, Artsonia continues to integrate technology in the classroom, develop multi-cultural understanding through art and increase family involvement in children's education.
5th Graders Thank Veterans
In fifth grade social studies classes, students learned about the history and significance of Veterans Day. We discussed the roles and duties of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard. In recognition of Veterans Day, students designed postcards for the Thank-A-Vet program. We hope these positive messages will show our veterans how much we appreciate them!
Scholastic Book Fair to be Held During Conferences
Parent-Teacher conferences are scheduled for next Thursday and Friday, November 21 and 22. During conferences, OHSPA will be hosting the Scholastic Book Fair in the main hall in front of the
office. Please take a few minutes to browse the selection of books on display. Scholastic chooses these books because they are currently popular with our grades K-6 students.
Also, the Bear Cave will be set up in the old gym through conferences. If you or a member of your family are looking for ways to show your school spirit, Bear Cave Spirit Wear is the way to go! Please stop in and take a look around!
OHLS Board Mtg.
8:00 AM –
Elementary School Conferences - Elementary School Closed
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.
Choosing to be positive
and having a grateful attitude
is going to determine how you're
going to live your life.