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

Ottawa Hills Local Schools

District Newsletter
March 28, 2014

Superintendent's Message
Mr. McMurray Creates Global Connections

Earlier this year, O.H. Junior/Senior High School principal Ben McMurray was invited by Education First Tours to travel to Shanghai to witness first-hand their annual Global Student Leaders Summit. We had heard many great things about this summit from leaders of other school districts who have students who attend this event. We wanted to investigate the summit to see if it would be a good opportunity for our students in the future.
Since he was going to China, I encouraged Mr. McMurray to also schedule some time at Yiling Senior High School in Yichang City. We have a relationship with Yiling which we want to continue cultivating to open up even more opportunities for our students and staff. Following is Mr. McMurray’s message regarding his trip which he shared with his faculty and staff in his most recent weekly Bulletin.  

My trip to Yiling Senior High School, our “sister school”, in Yichang City proved to be absolutely fascinating. The teachers and administrators from Yiling have fond memories of the last visit from Ottawa Hills and pass on their warmest regards to everyone. (NOTE: In June of 2012, several O.H. staff members visited China and Yiling Senior High School as part of a professional development tour.) I was fortunate to be escorted around the school and city by Yifan “Jade” Cuiyin Li, the Director of the International Department of the school.  Jade has created over 12 international programs for the students at YSHS and has been instrumental in helping the Chinese students learn English.
I couldn’t have asked for a kinder and more gracious host.  Thankfully, she speaks impeccable English and was incredibly patient with my limited Chinese. She has extended a sincere welcome to all of the faculty and staff at Ottawa Hills and will treat you like family if you visit. During the visit, I met with the principal, Mr. Gao, who was very interested in a student exchange program. They have many students who would like to study at Ottawa Hills for part of their high school experience and would welcome our students for any length of time. The trip to Yichang provided me with a chance to see through a small window a fascinating and dynamic culture. As a country, our relationship with China will continue to be significant as the post Cold War era is defined. As a school and community, our relationship with Yichang offers us a tremendous learning opportunity.
The second part of my trip was spent at the Global Student Leaders Summit in Shanghai, sponsored by Education First. Over 500 students from around the world gathered for a two-day summit to examine the link between the new economy and social responsibility. Students heard presentations from a wide range of speakers. They included the former Ambassador to China John Huntsman Jr. and Akanksha Hazari. She was the winner of the $1,000,000 2011 Hult Prize for her work developing m.paani, a socially responsible business designed to address poverty in India. 
During the summit, students were divided into teams of roughly ten and given the following challenge: “How might we design a social business to create solutions to problems in our communities?” Students were asked to focus on four majors areas: universal rights, environment, health and safety, and education. It was impressive to watch the students engage in the design process, collaborate with each other across cultures and languages, and pitch their ideas to judges in what EF called the “innovation village.” The next global summits will occur in Costa Rica in March of 2015 and in Switzerland in June of 2015.  More information about the global summits can be found by clicking here.
Last, I took my first online course as part of the trip and found the experience in conjunction with my experiences on tour to be very rewarding. Primary Source is the company that works with universities to develop professional development opportunities for educators. The course was rich with challenging articles and texts and guided by well-focused essential questions.
I collaborated with fellow travelers from many of our benchmark districts before and during the trip. The staff members of EF were incredibly resourceful as well. I highly recommend the courses as meaningful and substantive professional development. For those of you who have visited Yichang, I look forward to comparing notes. For those of you who haven’t, I hope we find a way to get you there someday. Many thanks to all of you who made it possible for me to go. Thanks to Dana Dunbar of American Frame, Todd Kime of Sight, John Amato of Jupmode, John Day and the Boosters, and Steve Wipfli for helping me secure gifts for our Chinese colleagues and students.

As I met for a debriefing with Mr. McMurray this past week, he reflected on additional insights that he had gained from the trip.
China is a fascinating country and its presence on the world stage for political, economic, and cultural reasons must be acknowledged. Our relationship with China is about defining a new era, and schools will play an important role in defining that relationship because of the importance of education in a global economy.
The leadership at Yiling is very interested in having their students learn English. Their students were knowledgeable and appreciative of our history and culture. They see a need for a partnership with our country. More specifically, Yiling is very interested in exchange opportunities for our students and teachers. They are excited about anyone from OH visiting their school.
As far as the Global Student Leaders Summit, my attendance at this event compels me to more clearly define our global education curriculum. I’d like to continue expanding opportunities for student travel to other countries. We will be taking a good look at the summits which will take place in Costa Rica and Switzerland in 2015. These summits will focus on the environment and education. This is another way to provide a leadership opportunity for our students. Coupled with the service learning opportunity we are offering to students in Kenya, which we hope will become an annual event, it’s a good step forward in creating global awareness for Ottawa Hills students.

Green Bear Ball Draws Near

The Green Bear Ball awaits Villagers after their return from spring break. This year's Ball will be held on Saturday, April 12, from 6:30 p.m. to midnight at the historic Valentine Theatre.

The Ball features a reverse raffle with only 200 tickets being available for $100 each. The winner will receive $5000! Fill out the reverse raffle ticket order form today--don't miss out on your chance to win $5,000!

And finally, don't wait another day to order your GBB tickets. Ticket prices are now $90. If you have not already been contacted by a ticket ambassador and would like to purchase tickets, contact Kathy Lathrop at


Historic Finish at District NHD Competition; Four Headed to States 

In the District 1 competition of National History Day, nine OHHS freshmen and sophomores presented their year-long research project on the theme "Rights and Responsibilities in History." Entry categories include research paper, museum exhibit, documentary, website, and dramatic performance. The entries were judged by Bowling Green State University history professors and graduate students for historical accuracy, synthesis of resources, development and support of a thesis, and clarity in articulating the theme.

Many thanks to history teacher Steve Bobak for guiding students through a rigorous and rewarding research process.The following students were recognized with District awards that qualify them to compete at the state competition on April 26. State competition will take place in Columbus at the Ohio Union of the Ohio State University.

Riley Carson - The American Disability Act: Forgotten People of History (Documentary)
Yiyi Han - Rights and Responsibilities: Women in Islam (Documentary)
Margaret Nichols - Hela Cells:  The Living Legacy that Aroused the Discussion of Consent (Paper)
Audrey Rotman - The Attempted Assassination of Ronald Reagan: The Shot that Impacted Gun Control (Exhibit)

Congratulations to all the students who competed!

Exploring the Human Condition Through Connections

Vocal music director Donna Wipfli assembled her junior and senior high choirs for the annual spring concert last Sunday afternoon. Before the show began, Donna explained to the audience that the selections of music explored the idea of “connections” through themes of love, friendship, family, justice, community, and, of course, music. The junior high choir selections included From A Distance and Seize the Day. The Junior Chorale delighted audiences with Keep Your Lamps and a Shoshone Love Song. The high school choir has come a long way and enthusiastically performed Lean on Me and a rendition of Bastille’s Pompeii. The Choraliers performed some of their Valentine’s Day songs and captivated the audience with several new pieces including I’m Going Up Yonder, We Are, and It Takes a Village. Perhaps the most moving part of the concert was when Ms. Wipfli asked all of the choirs to come up and perform Here’s to Song. It was both uplifting and inspiring!  Bravo! Many thanks to vocal music director Donna Wipfli for her leadership and exceptional teaching.

Concert and Symphonic Bands Show Off New Sounds and Skills

For the last several months, the members of the junior high concert band have focused their efforts on ensemble playing. Playing in an ensemble fosters musical independence, intonation, and collaboration, among other facets. Director Michael Leeds allowed the students to name their ensembles and make their musical selections. “It’s all about finding music the students are passionate about,” said Mr. Leeds. The students premiered their ensembles at the spring concert this past Sunday evening.

Also at the concert, the high school symphonic band presented their 2014 OMEA contest music selections. The three pieces were from the class "C" contest list and were performed for adjudicators last Friday. The students’ hard work and dedication clearly came through in their performance. Mr. Leeds continues to stretch the students and broaden their musical skills. He appreciated the opportunity to participate in the musical competition and stated,  “We've already begun to apply the lessons learned last week to take our playing to the next level.”  The audience was clearly impressed with the performance.   Congratulations! We look forward to the fourth quarter concert.

Sportscasters Encourage Students to Develop Strong Character

As part of the junior high character education program, BCSN’s Tom Cole and Greg Franke addressed students on Friday, March 21 during an assembly fourth period. Using anecdotes from a wide-range of topics, Mr. Cole and Mr. Franke spoke to students about the importance of self-control, patience, acceptance, collaboration, and encouragement (S.P.A.C.E.). Mr. Cole and Mr. Franke have been instrumental in developing BCSN’s programming for high school sports. Over the years, they have interviewed dozens of our student athletes and coaches. They were extremely complimentary about our students and the quality of our athletic and educational programs. We are deeply appreciative of our community partnership with BCSN. Tom Cole and Greg Franke will return later this spring to appear live on our own OH NEWS. They will work with teacher Kate Hunyor and her broadcast journalism students to develop a program to cover our sports line-up to be aired on BCSN next fall. Many thanks to guidance counselor Darcy Browne for making arrangements to bring these two wonderfully inspiring speakers to Ottawa Hills.

Model UN Club Solves World Crises at MAMUN

From March 18 to March 22, twenty-five Ottawa Hills High School students joined over 600 students from 24 high schools to participate in the Mid-American Model United Nations simulation in Kalamazoo, MI. Participating schools were from Ontario, Canada, Michigan, and Ohio.
Countries and their delegates included the People’s Republic of China, represented by seniors Alec Frye, Mara Horn, Noah Johnson, Harrison Leinweber, Brittany Schecht, and Jon Sun, juniors Sara Eskandari, and Liz Navarre, and sophomore Aidan McMurray. The Federative Republic of Brazil was represented by seniors Peter Brown, Courtney Fung, Michael Geisler, Peter Graham, and Kelly Rudolph, and juniors Lauren Jenkins, Quinn Wright, and Stephen Wu. The Italian Republic was represented by seniors Robert O’Connell and Claire Oxford and juniors Muna Abdouni, Kristen Berry, Maddie Freeman, Kathleen Johnson, and sophomores Margaret Nichols and Audrey Rotman.
Topics debated during the conference ranged from the situation in Afghanistan to preventing the acquisition of radioactive sources by terrorists.
Senior Harrison Leinweber, for the second year in a row, earned Highest Honors in the Security Council. Receiving Highest Honors in her  for Crisis Simulation was senior Claire Oxford. Seniors Noah Johnson and Jon Sun earned Second Honors in the Legal Committee and Special Political Committee respectively. Receiving Second Honors for representing the People’s Republic of China in the General Assembly were Alec Frye, Mara Horn, Noah Johnson, Jon Sun, and Aidan McMurray.

Many thanks to the Model United Nations Club advisor and social studies teacher Tom McCarthy for organizing and chaperoning the trip. Congratulations to all of our delegates.


Transitions, Touchpoints, and Transformations--Welcome to the Junior High!

Parents/guardians of current sixth grade students who will be entering seventh grade at Ottawa Hills Junior High in the fall are invited to attend an informational meeting on Wednesday, April 16 at 6:30 pm in the Junior/Senior High School Library. Please use the Osborne Street entrance; the library is on the second floor. We look forward to meeting you. If you have any questions, please call principal Ben McMurray at 419.534.5376 or counselor Darcy Browne at 419.534.5377.

OH 5th Grade Team Keeps the Hardware Coming

Ottawa Hills has enjoyed great success on the basketball court at all levels this year. The fifth grade team added their name to the list of "champions" by capturing the 2014 Christian Athletic League 5th grade tournament title. The Green Bears defeated Hawkins Elementary in the tournament's semi-final game, and then went on to defeat Maumee Valley Country Day School in the championship game on March 13.

Team members were Jack Aiken, Jack Bolg, Lane Colton, Andrew Helgren, Ishan Khare, Sam Kim, Joe Petro, Deen Sari, Ian Schlatter, and Trey Souder. They were coached by Paul Helgren and John Bolg. Congratulations, Bears! 

LEAP Expo 2014

On Monday, March 24, 2014, the LEAP students took part in a LEAP expo. Students presented independent learning projects to family and friends by setting up exhibits and sharing their research. The expo was the final step in the research process. This past winter in the LEAP classroom, students in third through sixth grade were actively engaged in research, using an advanced academic program entitled "Envision." The focus of the Envision program is on developing high-level, critical thinking skills and creativity. The program encourages students to envision how they might achieve their goals for the future. Third grade students chose a pet they might want to own someday, fourth graders planned a trip, fifth graders researched a career, and sixth graders planned for their future. The LEAP students enjoyed expressing their individuality through their projects.

Many thanks to LEAP teacher Mrs. Currens for organizing the LEAP expo.

Make It Rain!

The second graders are learning about air and weather. In a recent investigation, students tried to "make it rain" by simulating precipitation in clouds. Using shaving cream to represent the "clouds" and food coloring to simulate the "water droplets," the young scientists tried to make it rain. As their clouds filled with moisture and grew heavier with precipitation, students were successful in their attempts. It was extra cool to have blue, red, green, and orange rain! Keep an eye on your shaving cream supply since students chanted, "We can't wait to try this at home!"

5th Grade Goes to Challenger Learning Center

On Monday, March 24 through Thursday, March 27, fifth grade students blasted off to the moon at the Challenger Learning Center in Oregon, Ohio. Each homeroom traveled on a different day and spent their time pushing themselves to work as a cohesive team, follow directions, use real-world math and science skills, and develop ways to effectively communicate with one another as they worked through complex mission simulations. Students were either placed in Mission Control or a space shuttle simulator and were assigned jobs that mirror actual NASA job assignments.

Those jobs included verbal communication links through an overhead intercom system, written communication through keyboarding, medical tests of the shuttle crew, life support monitoring, rock and chemical tests using robotic arms, navigation of the shuttle, and construction of lunar probes. After participating in the missions, all students involved found they had a fantastic time and were able to see how the skills they are learning in school will truly benefit them in life and future careers. Way to go fifth grade!

O.H. Wins Toledo Chess Championship--Twice!

Ottawa Hills Elementary School won 2 out of 3 chess titles last Saturday at the 2014 Toledo Elementary Chess Championships held at the Toledo Technology Academy. Over 140 students competed at the K-8 event, representing approximately 30 schools.

In the Grades K - 3 Section, Ottawa Hills won First Place. The top 4 scorers were Ryaan Bhuiyan, Zach Amonett, Sumya Talla and Sevar Mian. All four players won 6 out of 7 rounds. A total of 8 Green Bears among placed among the top 10 players in this section.

Ottawa Hills also won First Place in the Grades 4-5 Section, led by Ishan Khare, who was the undisputed individual City Champion. Jonah Musher-Eizenman and Ra'eed Bhuiyan each contributed 6 points to the winning cause, while Andrew Helgren scored 5 points, including a win over the current state champion from Gesu in the 5th Round. Great Job!

Congratulations to all 21 Ottawa Hills players who participated in Saturday's event. 

OH Happenings

3/31-4/4/14 Monday - Friday
  Spring Break
Elementary, Junior High & High School
Closed for Students & Faculty
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.

The first step toward change
is awareness.
The second step is acceptance.
Nathaniel Branden

Copyright © 2014 Ottawa Hills Local Schools, All rights reserved.
Ottawa Hills Local Schools • 3600 Indian Rd. • Ottawa Hills, OH  43606