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


Ottawa Hills Local Schools

District Newsletter
February 14, 2014

Superintendent's Message
One-to-One: A Mid-Point Look (Part 2)

In November, my wife and I made the transition from our standard cell phones to new iPhones. I started to get embarrassed when I pulled out my “old fashioned” cell phone and had to hit the #2 button three times just to get to “C” when sending a text. Call it adult peer pressure, but we finally caved and upgraded.  
 
Since then, one of the most frequently heard phrases in our house has become, “Can I play your phone?” The boys are enthralled with the various apps—some of them educational (ABC Ninja), some of them just fun (Clash of Clans). But, I have to admit, sometimes it drives my wife and me crazy. We quickly learned that we had to manage the exposure to the cell phones. No phones during the school week. No phones in the restaurant, we prefer face-to-face discussion. It’s a Twenty-first Century challenge that’s not unique to our family, I’m sure.
 
When we talk about the implementation of the one-to-one laptop program, it’s a similar challenge. Science department Chair Mrs. Hafeman notes, “Our department agrees that we see the laptops can be a huge distraction to learning for some students.  They are a powerful, amazing tool but can also have a negative effect.  There are more than a few students who cannot resist searching the internet, playing games, etc, while they should be listening to the teacher or participating in a discussion or lab group.  We also have concerns that our students are developing an attitude that everything they need to know is on the internet, that they no longer need to think because the laptop will do the work for them.  This tends to devalue the classroom learning experience and discourages a strong work ethic.”
 
English department Chair Bill Miller agrees that the challenges of the OH Global program are “mostly behavioral,” but also logistic. He shares, “Younger students are often too tempted by all that their laptops have to offer as diversions. Logistically speaking, seating arrangements in our classrooms are often dictated by who has battery power and who doesn't, and where the power outlets are located. Despite some of our students' best efforts to conserve power--which often includes looking at a dimmed screen all day--their usage seems to outlast the batteries.”
 
Senora Mendez adds, “Students feel the need to always be connected now, and at times, they need to be redirected from the computer to events happening in the classroom.” 
 
The issue of “distractions” was one of our top concerns as we prepared for implementation of the OH Global program. What used to be keeping students from passing notes, has now become engaging students so that what’s happening in the classroom is more important than what’s happening on the screen. There is no policy or guideline to address the best way to address distractions. Instead, we agreed early on that it is an individual classroom management issue, just as screen time regulations are a part of the home environment. It’s an issue that our teachers continue to work on.   
 
Students see the downsides of the one-to-one program in a different light. Seventh grader Preston Smith notes that the program “offers a new and modern way of technology that is very helpful to students. I can use many educational websites for my projects and reports.” Still, Preston would prefer that certain websites “not be blocked” on snow days or conference days. He’d like to have access to websites such as YouTube or other social media sites. (NOTE: Parents are allowed to control the degree of website access that students have beyond the school day.)
 
Junior Abby Wade sees one area of improvement as “additional training and information sessions for students to know the capabilities of the programs available on our machines.” Spencer Colton, a freshman, shares, “While the program works well as a whole, some bugs need to be worked out of the software. Many kids don't have access to programs that were supposed to be activated at the beginning of the year. The filter also blocks some iCloud and Google Drive applications, which I think could be very beneficial to the student body.”
 
However, Abbie notes that the upsides are many: “I think the one-to-one program is an excellent tool.  We are able to have continuous access to the internet and are able to complete assignments in new, quick, and efficient ways.  Information can also be easily shared between students and teachers in new ways with the help of Google Docs, Moodle, and email. Having our own laptops helps us to keep all of our school work in one place and to stay organized. Having our own personal computers at home also allows us to be more productive with our school work, rather than waiting to use the family computer.”  
 
Spencer adds, “I am thrilled with how quickly the computers run. It is very nice to have a level playing field in which we all have the same hardware and software, so we all know that if we make or do something on a school laptop that everyone else will also be able to. Also, we now have the ability to work on a computer any time we want, as we are no longer bound to the computer lab. My school laptop allows me to use software that was previously out of my budget. Now I have access to Photoshop, which has helped me greatly with school projects. I can also access files that the teacher shares with the class via courseShare.”
 
As with the implementation of any new program, the introduction of OH Global has had its challenges, but as District Technology Coordinator Shane Patacca notes, “The one-to-one laptop program has gone well over the past several months, from the rollout to the classroom implementation. The students really enjoy the opportunity to use these machines on a regular basis and have truly taken ownership of these devices. The teachers have also welcomed the new technology into the classroom and continue to integrate the laptops in new and unique ways for instruction. I'm very proud of both the students and teachers as they continue to move forward in Twenty-first Century learning.”
 
Physical Education and Health Department Chair Jenny Gill shares, “The freshman physical education classes were able to use their laptops right in the gymnasium.  Students were assigned a research project in which they needed to write a biomechanical analysis paper for a selected skill of their choice. Because they were in the gymnasium, they were not only able to locate appropriate information, but they could also physically work through the movement, as well.”
 
Ms. Gill adds, “On an individual basis, I have used the laptops to provide quizzes that students could program to have read aloud (with earbuds) to them right in class. This has been especially helpful for those individuals who have this accommodation in their IEP or 504 plans.”
 
The foreign language teachers note that the one-to-one program has provided a variety of opportunities for them and their students. Senora Mendez shares some of those opportunities:
•"E-mail exchanges between students and teachers have greatly increased.  We have e-mailed lesson plans to students when we have been absent which is efficient and paperless.
•We have shared information including review materials on Google Docs with students. The students are able to collaborate by contributing to the document.
• The students have enjoyed virtual immersion experiences by completing challenge-based web activities including shopping, planning a trip, and apartment-hunting in other countries.
• When events have happened in the news, we have been able to view the commentary in target language newspapers and/or television broadcasts.
• Students have used Audacity and Garage Band to record themselves for speaking assessments.”
 
And while the focus to this point has been on the junior high/high school, let’s not forget that the implementation of the one-to-one program included the elementary school, where additional mobile laptop carts were added to give teachers and students more access to technology. When I sent out an email asking elementary teachers to let me know if they were using a mobile cart so that I could stop by to get some pictures, six teachers immediately responded, showing that the carts are being put to good use.
 
The third grade rotates a cart through their classrooms, but students are always able to “borrow” a laptop, even if it isn’t housed in their classroom on that particular day. Mrs. Atherine provides insight into the use of the laptops: “The third graders use the laptops for many different purposes. We are using the Xtramath web site for math fact practice. The students use Biblionasium to log reading minutes and pages, keep track of books they have read, and recommend titles to each other.  We use the Spelling City web site to practice their spelling words for the week and then the students take the test online, as well. We LOVE having the laptop cart to share in our grade level.  The students use them every day.  While we are still able to sign up to use the laptops in the library, the accessibility has increased dramatically.”
 
Mrs. Wolff agrees, and notes, “We absolutely love the mobile carts and don't know what we did without them! Accessibility has improved dramatically as has student comfort level with technology. Students take spelling tests, log reading minutes, recommend books to others, practice math facts, blog, and type assignments that formerly would have been written.  With the mobile carts, we are able to be more creative with our lesson planning.  For instance, this year we are hoping to use a web based program to track each student's spending and earning during our upcoming economics unit.”
 
New second grade teacher Mrs. Powers also shares the advantages of having the mobile laptop carts. “We use the mobile carts in writing, reading and math. Our most recent use had the students completing a fictional trading card with the character, Amelia Bedelia. In my previous district, we did not have mobile carts at our finger tips. I love having them available at OHES. The students love it, too.”
 
In 2004, the Center for Digital Education noted, “If we don’t provide students with Twenty-first Century skills, then we’re doing them a huge disservice. The world our students live in is not the world we grew up in. The world they’re going to work in involves access to technology and it requires these skills to function.”  
 
The OH Global program isn’t perfect—no program is. But it has opened doors to educational opportunities that will better prepare our students for their place in the world.
 
Margaret Mead called it “educating our children in what no one knew yesterday and preparing our school for what no one knows yet.” Our Director of Curriculum and Instruction Rosalice Manlove calls it “An exciting time in the classrooms at Ottawa Hills.”  I agree.
 

District Newsletter Provides Weekly Links

At the bottom of the newsletter each week, we're providing you with links to our Village and to an important support organization for our school system. When you scroll to the bottom of the website, you'll see the link to the Village of Ottawa Hills' website. You can also see that website by clicking here. The Village website is full of important information for village residents and for those who might be considering a move to Ottawa Hills. Important information from the Office of Village Life is also included on the website.

Another link that we're providing, starting this week, is the link to the Ottawa Hills Schools Parent Association. You'll find that link at the bottom of our district newsletter each week. You can also view the OHSPA website by clicking here. The website has important information about OHSPA-related events, volunteer opportunities, and how you can help OHSPA raise funds by taking part in various programs, such as the Kroger Community Rewards Program. The  website also includes a link to OHSPA's weekly newsletter, which is sent out electronically each Sunday during the school year. You can subscribe to the newsletter through OHSPA's website, ensuring that you get the most up-to-date information emailed to you each week.   
 

Flip Over Flapjacks February 21

The Ottawa Hills Annual Pancake Dinner is Friday, February 21, from 5-7 pm in the OHHS Multi-Purpose Room.  Enjoy all-you-can-eat pancakes, sausages, applesauce and more!  See how many pancakes you can catch on your plate. Tickets are $7.50 each and can be purchased from any Ottawa Hills junior student or their parent(s).  Tickets will also be sold at the elementary “Circle” at the end of the school day on February 18-19.

Proceeds from the Pancake Dinner benefit “After Prom,” a drug- and alcohol-free event designed to provide a safe and fun, activity-filled night for students.

Following the Pancake Dinner, be sure to stay and cheer on the OHHS Boys Varsity Basketball team as the Green Bears play Northwood at 7:30pm in the OHHS Gym.   Game tickets are sold separately.

If you have any questions about the 2014 Pancake Dinner or would like to purchase tickets from an OH junior or parent, please contact Julie Boesel (419) 351-3205 or Sonja Baehren (419) 902-6906.  Click here to download a ticket order form.



 

OHJH Dominates TAAC Basketball Championships

The Junior boys and girls basketball teams made a big splash by capturing three titles in The Toledo Area Athletic Conference (TAAC) Tournament. After a delay in tournament action due to weather, the girls' and boys' teams responded well after not playing for over a week.
 
The girls' eighth-grade team advanced to the semi-finals of the TAAC tourney after defeating Kateri in the first round. In semi-final action, the Green Bears fell to Toledo Christian 33- 17, ending their season with an overall record of 8- 9. Congratulations to Coach Stephanie Hunter and the girls on a great season.
 
The seventh-grade girls defeated Danbury in the TAAC Championship game, 26 – 18, to bring home one of three junior high titles. They advanced to the finals by upending Maumee Valley at Toledo Christian. The seventh-grade team finishes the year with an overall record of 13 - 3. "Great job" to Coach Anthony Czerniakowski and the TAAC Champion seventh graders.
 
The seventh-grade boys drew a bye in the first round of the TAAC Tour. In semi-final action, beat Northwood in Northwood's own backyard to advance to the finals. In the championship game, the Green Bears defeated rival Toledo Christian, 29 – 15, to claim Ottawa Hills' second junior high championship. "Hats off" to Coach Brad Britton and our seventh-grade boys' team. They finish the 2013-2014 campaign with a 16-1 record.
 
To cap off the amazing run for the Green Bears, the eighth-grade boys defeated Maumee Valley in the title game, 49 – 39, to make it three championships for OHJH. They defeated Kateri in the semi-finals to advance. The eighth-grade team finishes the season with an overall record of 17-1. To Coach Hardman and the eighth-grade team, we say, "You make us Green Bear proud!"
 
Congratulations goes out to all of our junior high basketball players for an excellent season. Your hard work and dedication has paid off with your accomplishments. A special thanks also goes to the junior high cheerleaders and their advisor, Ariel Duling, for backing our teams this season.
 

Hockey Team in Tourney Action Tonight

The Green Bear hockey team will begin tournament play tonight when they take on Bowling Green. The game begins at 8:00 p.m. at Tam-O-Shanter. Come on out and support the team as they take on B.G. Good luck, Bears!  
 

Students Stand Out at Science Fair  

The Ottawa Hills annual science fair was held this past Thursday, February 6th in the high school library.  Mr. Nixon's Honors biology classes displayed various science research projects that they have been working on since October.  Students were judged in areas such as originality and creativity, knowledge achieved, use of scientific method, and clarity of expression.  All the projects were very well done.  Some of the top scorers were Spencer Colton, Natalia Cortes, Renae Goik, Tony Zhou, Sean Kazmi, and Alicia de la Serna.  Mr. Nixon would like to send a big thank you to the judges for volunteering their time:  retired, former OH teacher Marv Rotondo, and OH community members and parents Robert Steven, Rafael Garcia-Mata, Silvia Goicoechea, Tomer Avidor-Reiss, and Emilio Duran.
 

OH Dance Team Gets the Gold! 

The Ottawa Hills Dance Team performed at the 7th Annual Ohio State University Dance competition at St. Ursula on Saturday evening.  The team earned three high golds in the competition. Congratulations to coach Ariel Duling and to the high school dance team.  Many thanks to the many members of Green Bear Nation who cheered on our team.  Thanks to Crystal Jozsa for wonderful photograph.
 

Choraliers Spread Valentine Cheer; Off to Chicago Next

On Thursday, February 13, the Choraliers continued a long-standing tradition by delivering "Singing Valentines" to several unsuspecting recipients in the Village and throughout the greater Toledo area. In addition to singing two songs at each stop, the Choraliers present flowers and chocolates to their surprised and delighted hosts. The money raised by their Valentine's Day serenading goes to the Toledo area Make-A-Wish Foundation. Thank you, Choraliers, for spreading Valentine's Day joy and for supporting the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The next stop for the Choraliers is Chicago. At 8:00 a.m. on Friday, February 21, the group will board a chartered bus and travel to Chicago to sing, see some sights and enjoy some standard Windy City fare. Their performance opportunities include a choral music sing-off, of sorts, at Pettisville High School, a concert at Fourth Presbyterian Church on Michigan Avenue, a workshop with the Director of Choral Activities at VanderCook College of Music, and an informal performance at The Field Museum. This two-day adventure is filled to the brim with a broad range of experiences, all serving to give our students a substantial taste of working and playing together. 

Director Donna Wipfli notes, "I am excited for our students to take this step toward understanding the many levels upon which music enriches an individual, even as it makes the world a lovelier place. We are extremely grateful to OHSPA, OHMTA and the parents of these singers for making the financial commitment necessary to take a trip like this. We would not be going without their support!"                 
 


 

Third Grade Scientists Become Teachers

Mrs. Wolff’s third grade scientists played the role of tour guides to the Bear Program Kindergarteners last Friday afternoon.  They showed off their knowledge from their animal unit as they taught the children all about the live animals they are caring for in the third grade classrooms, including the Dwarf African frogs, fiddler crabs, millipedes and Mrs. Wolff’s ball python, Lyle!
 

Fifth Graders Go To College

The fifth grade classes attended a fabulous field trip to The University of Toledo on Monday, February 10. After a short bus ride down Bancroft, students found themselves immersed into college life. They rotated through three programs on campus. At the Ritter Planetarium, they enjoyed viewing Oasis in Space and Dynamic Earth. This wonderful experience enriched students' current study of astronomy. Dr. Thompson, Ottawa Hills Village resident and future OH parent, challenged our young mathematicians with theorems, perfect numbers, and Kaprekar’s numbers. The students also learned a real-life math application with the use of prime numbers and credit card encryption.

A strong and lasting message that Dr. Thompson shared is that “mistakes are part of the math process.”  Dr. Geiger, parent of Jacob Geiger, gave an informative, hands-on presentation in the Typography Lab of one of history’s greatest innovations – the printing press.  After learning about the history of books and how the printing press came to be, each student was presented with a custom-printed “Class of 2021” keepsake. How fortunate we are to have such a valuable educational resource in our own backyard!
 

A Note from Mrs. Zake: Bad Weather Doesn't Hamper Fiesta Book Fair

What an amazing book fair week we had last week!  I was amazed to watch students, from kindergarteners to sixth graders make responsible choices as they browsed books and doo-dads. So many volunteers gave their time and energy to set up, support students, run registers, collect and count money, and break down the fair. Rebecca McLean, our very own Library Media Specialist, along with parent volunteer, Michelle Walker put countless hours into the planning and organization of the fair. Planning for the event began weeks before the actual fair. For 4 days, students were surrounded by a reading celebration, and they showed their excitement in many ways.  Here is the break-down…

Totals Sales = $10,891
Total money raised for books to send to Guatemala = $1,771
Top fundraising class = Mr. Siebenaler’s class with $189.99
Highest spirit participation class = Ms. Carroll’s class with 95.2% participation for the week.  Mrs. Barnard’s class was in a close second with 94.6% participation for the week!

OH Happenings

2/14/14 Friday
8:00 AM Waiver Day
SCHOOLS CLOSED
FOR STUDENTS
Elementary, Junior High & High School
4:30 PM
6:00 PM
7:30 PM
Boys Freshman, JV & Varsity Basketball @ Cardinal Stritch HS
2/15/14 Saturday
1:00 PM
2:30 PM
Girls JV & Varsity Basketball vs. Swanton HS
OH HS Gym
6:00 PM
7:30 PM
Boys JV & Varsity Basketball vs. Swanton HS
OH HS Gym
2/17/14 Monday
  Presidents' Day
SCHOOLS CLOSED
Elementary, Junior High & High School
2/18/14 Tuesday
4:30 PM OHLS Board Mtg.
Community Room
6:00 PM
7:30 PM
Boys JV & Varsity Basketball @ Danbury HS
2/19/14 Wednesday
7:00 PM Sophomore Parent College Information
Night
HS LMC Library
 
Village of Ottawa Hills: http://www.ottawahills.org

Ottawa Hills Parent Association: http://ohspa.digitalpto.com
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.

So, fall asleep, love,
loved by me...
for I know love, I am loved by thee.
Robert Browning

Happy Valentine's Day!

 
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Ottawa Hills Local Schools • 3600 Indian Rd. • Ottawa Hills, OH  43606