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The Buzz: January 21, 2016

Welcome to second semester! It’s hard to believe we are already into the second half of the school year. We have so much to celebrate!

I am so proud of the work our elementary staff is doing with literacy and mathematics this school year. We have made so much progress in implementing best practices, using new resources and assessments and meeting the individual needs of students. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year will bring.

Some of this great work was showcased in our district’s first “Family Math Fun Night” on January 13. This was a special night, and the attendance by students and parents was tremendous. A big thank you to all of our staff who volunteered their time to participate -- and a special thank you to Karen Haller for all she did to coordinate this event.

As always, our Mariemont Academy day made me smile. It’s always great to see staff collaborating to create an even better experience for our students. For me, what made this Academy day so special was seeing many teachers leading professional development for their colleagues. I saw our high school department chairs introduce colleagues to the “Growth Mindset” and discuss implications for students. I saw junior high teachers share “take aways” from sessions they attended at the national middle school conference and ideas for implementing practices in Mariemont. I saw elementary teachers working together to continue their great work in math and literacy. Thank you for your leadership!

Important information is below. Have a great day!

Steven's signature


News & Notes

  • We held our annual State of the Schools event on Tuesday evening. Thanks to all staff who attended!  If you would like to watch this event, it will be available on Warrior Watch soon. This was a great opportunity to share our great work with community members. Here were the key messages shared:
    - Our schools are performing well, and our students and staff are getting the results that our community expects.
    - Even though our children are entering an uncertain and undefined future, the Mariemont City School District is positioned to meet the ever-changing needs of today’s students.
    - Thanks to conservative fiscal operations and the support of our community, our schools are in solid financial shape. This means that our schools can focus on education and academics.
    - Learning is happening everywhere, and the student experience in our school district sets us apart from most.
  • As we begin second semester, this is a great time to update your website profile! If you need assistance, contact Josephine for help.
  • Steve will be visiting each building in the next two weeks with doughnuts and cookies. Please plan to stop by and say “hi,” ask questions, share concerns, etc. There will be no agenda; just informal conversation.
    o Mariemont Junior High – Monday, February 1 – during lunch periods
    o Mariemont High School – Tuesday, February 2 – during lunch periods
    o Mariemont Elementary – Friday, January 29 – 7:45 a.m. – 8:15 a.m.
    o Terrace Park Elementary – Thursday, January 28 – 7:45 a.m. – 8:15 a.m.
  • A couple notes for the February Academy day: Part-time special education aides will NOT attend the February Mariemont Academy day and will instead break up that time to be used throughout the rest of the year. Aides will work with their intervention specialists on the best use of the time. Full-time special education aides will work in classrooms on the February Mariemont Academy day. Instructional aides will follow their grade level/teacher schedule. 

District Action Plan Progress

  • As was shared last week, we have several strategic compensation update meetings scheduled. These will be opportunities for staff to review plans and offer feedback:
    o February 3 – Update meeting #1 (3:15 & 3:50 – HS c20) **
    o February 17 – Update meeting #2 (3:15 & 3:50 – HS c20)
    o March 9 – Update meeting #3 (3:15 & 3:50 – HS c20)
    o April 5 – Update meeting #4 (3:15 & 3:50 – HS c20)

    ** Note the change in date due to the snow day on January 20.

    The following staff members are serving on the design team: Steve Estepp, Tom Golinar, Lance Hollander, Tricia Buchert, Jim Renner, Linda Lee, Debi Yee, Mike Hanley, Val Kennedy, Emily Hunt, Patti Saxton, Melissa Mathis and Coleen Volgelgesang. 
    (objective 2, action step 6).
  • The Warriors BEyond program continues to be a huge success. New elementary enrichment courses are underway: Musical Theatre, Art, Better Babysitters, Home Alone, Guitar, Piano and Engineering. Beginning in February, the World Language Department will be offering Spanish, Mandarin and Latin enrichment classes to our elementary students. We have recently hosted parent/student meetings for families interested in our travel opportunities. Meetings were held for the Latin trip, Spanish trip and Global Leadership Summit to begin signing students up for 2017 spring break and summer trips. The response was extremetly positive.
    (objective 1, action step 2)
  • Our partnership with Child Focus to provide additional mental health services to our students continues to go well. Nicole Woolery, our therapist at the junior high and high school, will be moving from three days/week to full time once Child Focus has transitioned her from her cases at Turpin High School. Additionally, Kelly Lean has accepted the position to work at Mariemont Elementary and Terrace Park Elementary beginning January 25 as our additional therapist. She will begin with 3 days/week (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday). We are thrilled to have Kelly join our team! We already have multiple referrals at the elementary level waiting, with more being completed. As a reminder, this comes at no cost to the school district, as the therapists are paid by parents, insurance and/or Medicaid.
    (objective 3, action step 7)
  • We are launching digital report cards at the high school with the release of 2nd quarter grades. This is a new feature of our student achievement dashboard. At the end of 3rd quarter, all buildings and grade levels will be switched to digital report cards. This will be a time and money saver for our school district. It will also be a great tool for parents to have longitudinal access to their children’s report cards.
    (objective 3, action step 4)

    Click here to review the full 2015-2016 District Action Plan.

Policy Watch

  • Please be reminded of our new personal day policy this school year. Personal leave days on the first day of the semester, the last day before a vacation, holiday or school break OR the first working day after a vacation, holiday or school break period may be granted, but the personal day will count as two (2) days. Please contact your principal or Lance Hollander if you have any questions.
  • We have had a few questions about attendance at funerals. Sick leave can be used to attend the funeral of immediate family members. Personal days should be used to attend the funeral of distant family (i.e., uncles, aunts, cousins, etc.) and friends. Please contact your principal or Lance Hollander if you have any questions.