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

Ottawa Hills Local Schools

District Newsletter
January 17, 2014

Superintendent's Message
From Gutenberg to Kindle

I didn’t ask for it. I didn’t really want one. But I can be a hard person to buy for because I’m pretty sure that I could live the rest of my life without adding one more “thing” to my cadre of “stuff.” So my sister-in-law, Cheryl, who had the dubious honor of drawing my name in the annual Christmas exchange was a bit stuck as to what to buy for her brother-in-law who, when asked “What do you want for Christmas?” shrugged his shoulders and proposed, “How about a shirt?”
Instead of a shirt, Cheryl got creative, and under the tree for me on Christmas Eve was a brand new Kindle. Hmmm….a Kindle. Of course I expressed my pleasure, but deep down, I was skeptical. As much as I embrace technology and all that it does to create connections, provide information, and make our lives easier, I was still in the camp of those who would say, “I want the book in my hand. I want to turn the pages. I want to feel what I’m reading. I want it to be a tactile experience. An emotional experience. I want a book. A good, old fashioned book.” After all, it's been good enough for millions and millions since Gutenberg invented the printing press in 1440. Why change a good thing?
So there I was—blindsided. What little part of me remained in “the good ‘ole days” was pushed from behind into the Twenty-first Century. Forced to cross the chasm and hold an “e-book.” No page turning, No book marks. No dust cover. It didn’t help that all eyes were on me because sons Yale and Collin also received Kindles from their Aunt Cheryl. Keeping up with the younger generation. Curses.
The Kindles were set up and linked to our family’s iCloud account. It was actually pretty easy to do. Somehow, these devices know that we old-timers offer excuses of “I can’t figure it out,” so they walk you through every step. We signed up for Amazon Prime, which gave us instantaneous access to over 750,000 books that we can borrow. In no time, Collin had the fifth Harry Potter book downloaded onto his Kindle and Yale downloaded a book called Who Could That Be At This Hour? to read for sixth grade English. Me? I waited.
Until a few days later, when I received a notice from Amazon notifying me that Cheryl had also purchased an electronic copy of John Grisham’s Sycamore Row for me. She knows I’ve read every book he’s written, so she wanted time with Grisham to be my first experience on the Kindle. Irritating. It was time to move forward. Time to leave Johannes and his printing press behind. Five hundred seventy years of page turning, gone. With a few clicks, my first Kindle download was complete. And my new adventure began.
I started to read, and at first, I found myself squinting because the font was too small. Headaches. Didn’t get those with books. I knew I wouldn’t like this. But a brief exploration of the Kindle menu showed how I could increase the font. Oh. That’s kind of nice. Problem solved.
Instead of turning pages, I pushed a button down to go to the next page. Instead of a visual of how many pages I’d read and how many I had left to go, I could see the percentage completed at the bottom of the screen. Instead of holding a several-hundred page novel, I had it all on a 4 ½ by 6 ½ inch tool. It actually fit in the pocket of my coat.
The holidays provide precious time to read for enjoyment—something I don’t get to do very often. Within a few days, I had knocked out Sycamore Row. Maybe it’s not Grisham’s best (it’s hard to beat his earliest books), but a good read nonetheless.  And as I read it, I realized that I was just as engrossed in the story as if it had been on printed page (my wife reminds me that I totally ignore the rest of the world when I’m reading a good book). I envisioned the characters and events just as if I had been reading a hardbound book. I couldn’t wait to push the button down to get to the next page. I still stayed up too late, telling myself, “Just one more chapter.” Other than the tool which held the story’s contents, my reading experience was every bit as enjoyable as if I had a $25 hardbound copy of the book in front of me.
My second read during the break was The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom. It was a “real” book with a special twist. As a Christmas gift, my assistant, Karen Mayfield, stood in line for two hours last fall to get Albom to sign the book. He even added some encouraging words. They were words uniquely and especially written for me inside the front cover of the book. I guess you can’t do that with a Kindle. I loved holding the book. I loved turning the pages. I enjoyed, again, the pleasure of placing myself in a story from beginning to end. Imagining the setting and the characters. Coming out on the other end with a little different perspective of the world.      
So the lesson for me is this: Life marches on. Progress happens. And as far as reading, I guess for me it doesn’t matter if it’s on an e-reader, on an iPad, on a laptop, or within the pages of a book. One day, we might see less books on the shelves and more books housed “in the Cloud”. Maybe that’s hard for us Baby Boomers to envision, but I don’t think it will be a big deal for future generations.
I remember “wash day” when I was (very) young. My mom would have to get out the wringer-washer, use a hose to fill it with water, and spend the entire day getting clothes washed to hang on the clothesline. Once she had a modern washer and dryer, wild horses couldn’t drag her back to “the good ‘ole days.”
When I was in high school and college, and even when I first began teaching, students had to use the Reader’s Guide to Periodic Literature to search and search for articles that would support their research, fill out a slip, then take it to the librarian, just hoping that the magazine or journal was in the library’s collection. If not, the next step was filling out an inter-library loan request, going to the microfiche files, or just giving up on finding the resource. Today, a seemingly infinite supply of information is at our fingertips with a few strokes of the keyboard. I hope I never see another Reader’s Guide to Periodic Literature in my life.
Dishwasher? We’ll keep ours. High Definition TV with DVR and remote control? Won’t give mine up. Light bulbs, automobiles, cell phones, toilet paper, supermarkets, sunscreen, air conditioning, automatic fuel injection, double pane windows, microwaves, lawn mowers, computers…I’m not sure what progressive inventions and developments we’d give up to go back to the way it used to be.
One day, books with pages where you can turn down the corner to mark your spot may become museum artifacts. I have no idea what life might look like 10, 20, or 40 years from now. I do know this—we have a typewriter in our Treasurer’s Office and we’ve had kids ask, “What is that?”
It’s natural to think that we want to hang on to the things that are familiar, and therefore comforting to us. But it’s also exciting to experience all the new and wonderful ways in which our world evolves. Sometimes I yearn for the “good ‘ole days,” because in my mind, they were simpler. Maybe the pace was slower. Yet I’m not sure what convenience of my current reality I would give up to go back there. So my Kindle---I guess I’ll keep it.       

"Oliver!" Auditions Set

The theater department will be presenting the beloved musical, Oliver!, for the spring musical. The musical will be presented April 25 to April 27. Darrin Broadway, artistic director, is excited about the choice and will begin auditions next week. First round auditions will be held on Wednesday, January 22 and Thursday, January 23 with call-backs on January 25 and 26. More information about auditions and the musical, along with many important forms and the auditions songs, can be found at by clicking here.

You'll Flip Over Flapjacks

A Pancake Dinner, sponsored by After Prom, will be held on Friday, January 21, 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 Come on out and join in the fun while supporting a good cause.

Kenya Informational Meeting is Next Thursday

Earlier this year, we shared through the district newsletter the adventures of three Ottawa Hills students, Jimmy Brunner, Jack Hylant, and Ben Bogart, as they went to Kenya in the Summer of 2013 as part of a service learning experience. You can see Part I of the two articles by clicking here. In Kenya, the O.H. students served as volunteer teachers at rural primary schools near the town of Naro Moru. Their trip was arranged through Fred Roberts, a 1979 Ottawa Hills graduate. Fred and his wife, Elizabeth Goodwin, lived in Kenya from 1986 – 2000 and own Batian’s View Experiential Education Center in Kenya, where our Ottawa Hills students stayed while there. Annually, Fred organizes trips for students to come to Kenya for a cultural experience that provides the opportunity to serve the children of Kenya while also exploring the wonders of the country.

We are now pleased to offer an opportunity for Ottawa Hills students who will be entering their Junior or Senior year in 2014-2015 to take part in a similar service learning trip to Kenya in the summer of 2014, specifically from June 25 to July 26, 2014. The trip will be organized and overseen by Fred Roberts, who has an abundance of experience in hosting students at Batian's View. An overview of the trip can be seen by clicking here.

For those interested in learning more about this trip, much more information will be shared at a student/parent meeting that will take place next Thursday, January 23 at 7:00 p.m. in the junior/senior high school's library media center. Fred Roberts will be there in person to share specifics about the trip and to answer any questions that parents or students might have as they consider this trip for the Summer of 2014.

Consider Kenya in the Summer of 2014. We have three students who will tell you that it will be a life-changing experience.  


Not Surprising, Students Love Acting Out!

Over 50 students signed up for the new elementary and junior high theater program. Acting Out is led by OH teachers Kimberly Bright and Darrin Broadway, Director Irena Zaurov, Fall Dramatics Director Lance Makeel, and former student Hope Quinn. The opening day workshop focused on discipline, paralinguistics, imagination, and truthfulness. The remaining workshops will consist of four integral parts of performance: Expressive Speaking, Acting and Movement, Vocal Performance, and Technical Theatre. Many thanks to Jenny Berschback, Rob Gnepper, Stephanie Harmon and the Ottawa Hills Music Theater Association for bringing this wonderful opportunity to our school and community. More photos of the workshop by Kathleen Clayton are available by clicking here.

Learning Through Inquiry and Investigation

On Friday, January 10, biology students in Jeremy Nixon’s classes conducted a laboratory investigation about diffusion and osmosis using dialysis tubing, water, glucose, starch, IKI and test strips. Students put a glucose and starch solution in the tubing and then placed the tubing in a cup with an IKI and water mixture. The students made predictions, and gathered various qualitative observations before, during, and after the experiment. The dialysis tubing is a great model of the selectively permeable cell membrane found in living things. This activity helps to illustrate the concept of cellular transport of chemicals into and out of the cell. 

Stunning Images from the Scanning Electron Microscope

On Monday, December 16, Mr. Nixon's honor's biology class had a great experience with Dr. Kristin Kirschbaum, Cassandra Pittman, and Pannee Burckel from the University of Toledo. OHHS students had the opportunity to remotely control a SEM (scanning electron microscope) from a laptop in Mr. Nixon's classroom. Students interacted with the scientists both in the classroom and at the University of Toledo. Some of the things that students observed were bacteria, insect eyes and wings, pollen, and leaves. In picture the picture on the right, freshman honors biology student Nolan Greeley and UT Scientist Pannee Burckel are shown on the screen interacting with each other and the SEM.


Information Being Collected for 2014-2015 Kindergarten Registration

If your child will be five years old by August 1, and planning to start kindergarten at Ottawa Hills Elementary in the fall of 2013, please call the school office (419-536-8329) as soon as possible with your student information. Once your name is on file, you will receive mailings about kindergarten registration, orientation meetings and kindergarten screening. Please notice that the cut-off date for kindergarten is transitioning from September 30 to August 1 for the 2014-2015 school year. 

Hola!  ¿Estás listo para la Feria del libro?

Or Hello – Are you ready for the Book Fair? The OHES Spring Book Fair is in just a few weeks, from February 3 – February 7 and it’s going to be a “Fiesta” good time! Before you visit the Book Fair, be sure to download the free Book Fairs App to help you find the right fit books for your child. And if you’re all booked up during Book Fair week be sure to visit the Book Fair online here.

We will have several special events during the Book Fair.

Coin Challenge & Spirit Days – Get those coins ready because every cent we collect will help us buy new Spanish language books for kids in Guatemala. And to show our enthusiasm for the Book Fair, a different Spirit Day will occur during Book Fair week including everything from mustaches to crazy hats to PJs. Prizes will be given to the classrooms who bring in the most change and who have the highest participation rate during Spirit Days. A detailed flyer will be sent home the prior week.
Family Night is Wednesday, February 5, from 6:00-8:00. Join us at the OHES Library for chips & salsa, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Spanish dance lessons, and mariachi music.
Kindergarten Luncheon – All Kindergarten students are invited to have lunch in the OHES Old Gym with their special someone (mom, dad, grandparent, aunt, uncle, neighbor) and then attend the Book Fair on Tuesday, February 4, from 11:00 to 11:30 a.m. Bring your own lunch – drinks and dessert will be provided. There will also be a special appearance by Clifford the Big Red Dog. Invites will come home with your child.
And to make our Book Fair a success we need several volunteers. Please consider donating 1 or 2 hours to help set up, run book sales, or tear down. Register online at Sign Up Genius.

Spring Book Fair Hours
Monday          February 3                8 – 3:30 pm
Tuesday         February 4                8:00 – 3:30 pm        
        *Kindergarten Luncheon         11:00-11:30 am
Wednesday    February 5                8:00 – 3:30 pm        
        *Family Night                        6:00-8:00 pm
Thursday       February 6                8:00 – 3:30 pm
Friday            February 7               8:00 – 3:00 pm

We Are Programming!

Third through sixth grade students are using an online program called to learn the fundamentals of coding in Mrs. Peete's Technology class. “Under the hood” it is actually the Java language, but our students are coding with drop and drag blocks called blockly.  The students are learning loops, if – then statements and more.  Students can continue to log in at the site: with their school username and their password: gogreen.

It is estimated from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that “there were 913,000 computer programmer jobs in 2010. That number is expected to jump 30% from 2010 to 2020.”  Computers are a tool that we use everyday and understanding how they work is going to be a huge part of that.
Timmy Wiemer said, “I just programmed 55 lines of code! Maybe I will be a video game programmer when I grow up.”  Evan Muse said, “Mrs. Peete, this is really fun!”  
Studentswill continue to use code in all grade levels throughout the school year. Mrs. Peete is planning many great things with and other programming websites. Computer Science is a critical component of our students’ future. Our goal is to do all that we can to prepare and motivate students for all opportunities that await them.

OH Happenings

1/17/14 Friday
8:10 AM JH/HS Exams
4:30 PM
6:00 PM
7:30 PM
Boys Freshman, JV & Varsity Basketball vs Cardinal Stritch
1/18/14 Saturday
10:00 AM
11:00 AM
Boys 7th & 8th Grade Basketball vs Emmanuel Christian
10:00 AM
11:00 AM
Girls 7th & 8th Grade Basketball @ Emmanuel Christian
1/19/14 Sunday
1:30 PM Boys Varsity Ice Hockey vs. Anthony Wayne HS
Bowling Green Start University
1/20/14 Monday
  Martin Luther King Day - Schools Closed
1/21/14 Tuesday
4:30 PM OHLS Board Mtg.
Community Room
5:00 PM
6:00 PM
Boys 7th & 8th Grade Basketball @ Danbury
5:00 PM
6:00 PM
Girls 7th & 8th Grade Basketball vs Danbury
OH Elementary Gym
1/23/14 Thursday
6:00 PM
7:30 PM
Girls JV & Varsity Basketball vs Gibsonburg HS
Village of Ottawa Hills:

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.

It is by acts and not by ideas
that people live.
Anatole France
Copyright © 2014 Ottawa Hills Local Schools, All rights reserved.
Ottawa Hills Local Schools • 3600 Indian Rd. • Toledo, OH  43606