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The Buzz: March 11, 2016

Just a couple more weeks until spring break! I think we can make it!

I hope the second half of the school year has been a great one for you. Very soon, the rush of end-of-year activities will begin with the final quarter of the school year. For me, that’s hard to believe.

This past week, we had two important events for our school district – the FAB Affair and the annual Sports Stag. Both raise substantial dollars for support organizations that directly support our students and our work. As I attended both of these events, I was reminded of how fortunate we are to be a part of this great school district and community. There aren’t many places that get the kind of support that we get – it does, indeed, make our work much easier.

A big thank you to district parent and Board of Education member Kelli Neville for coordinating the FAB Affair. Another thank you to Tom Nerl for his work organizing the Sports Stag. This work is above and beyond, but truly allows our students to have a terrific experience!

Important information is below. Have a great day!

Steven's signature

News & Notes

  • Earlier this school year, we launched the Marie Huenefeld Friend of the Schools Award to recognize individuals in our community who make significant contributions to our school district with their time, service and/or expertise to create a better experience for our students and make us a better school district. As the namesake, Marie Huenefeld was the 2015 recipient, and now we are ready to select our 2016 honoree to be named at the May Board of Education meeting. If you know of an individual who you believe should be considered for this award, please send the name with a brief nomination to Josephine McKenrick by Thursday, March 24.
  • Thanks for all of your great work creating and revising report card comments and behaviors to reflect our characteristics of engaged students. The revised comments and behaviors will provide our students and parents with much more valuable feedback.

    We are in the process of compiling your work from February. In mid March, you will receive the first draft of the revised comments and behaviors. Please have that draft near you when you are working on third quarter grades. Although we cannot use them yet, it will be beneficial for you to refer to them while you are in the mode of thinking about end of quarter comments and behaviors to help determine if we have covered all the bases.

    If you see the need for any changes, additions, etc., please let your grade band leaders know. We plan to try and finalize the comments and behaviors during our April Mariemont Academy day.
  • As we have gone through the year, you should have been enrolling in and creating your various professional development activities in mAcademy. If you have not, please take the time to go in and enroll in/create the events so you are able to get credit for the CEUs you have earned.

    Remember, you must have a current IPDP in the system to be able to record your professional development CEUs. Every hour of professional development counts for .1 CEU. If you have any questions about how to enroll in or create PD events, please contact Shannon Kromer.
  • Here are a few OTES reminders:
    For staff going through full evaluation process only:
    Complete final evaluation by March 31. Explanation/Evidence needs to be provided when selecting a "4" for any indicator.
    All staff:
    Complete reflection of professional goals by March 31.

    Evaluators will give you your SLO folders when you return from Spring Break. SLO post assessments should be completed by April 15. Complete SLO scoring template and give final rating (1-5) for each SLO based on the state scale. Give complete SLO folder/documents to your evaluator by April 22.

District Action Plan Progress

  • Thank you to everyone who has been attending strategic compensation update meetings and providing the design team with feedback. The work is progressing as expected, and we should have a tentative model ready by mid-April. At that time, we will be talking about timelines and phase-in opportunities over the next several years.

    We will hold meetings on April 12 with staff to share the model and provide a compensation update. More details to come.

    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 work of our Safety Task Force is coming to a close. All year, the group, consisting of staff, parents and community members, has been studying four topics: (1) school resource officers; (2) secondary locking devices on classroom doors; (3) building visitor check-in procedures; and (4) volunteer background checks.

    The task force will present its findings to the Mariemont Board of Education on Monday, March 21st. The Board will determine next steps at that time.
    (objective 2, action step 9)

  • The work of our district Global & Cultural Perspectives committee, consisting of staff, students and parents, continues. This group has met several times this school year and has developed new policy and guideline language for the Board to consider dealing with the topics of religious and cultural expression.

    We are anticipating that the committee will also be identifying programs and activities for the school district to consider in deepening the cultural and global competence of our students and staff.
    (objective 1, action step 1)
  • Digital report cards were successfully launched 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)
  • The school district has partnered with the Oaks to launch Project Lead the Way in grades 7-12 next school year. Project Lead the Way is a world-class program we have spent a long time working to bring to Mariemont Junior High School and Mariemont High School.

    The students will use the same 3D design and modeling software and engineering design used by most college engineering programs and the world’s leading companies. This course empowers students in grades 7-12 to step into the role of an engineer, adopt a problem-solving mindset and make the leap from dreamers to doers.
    (objective 1, action step 5)

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

Policy Watch

  • On the legislative front, we are watching several pieces of legislation that could impact our work. These include HB 113 (requiring instruction in CPR and the use of an AED as a graduation requirement), HB 146 (requiring instruction of cursive handwriting in grades K-5), HB 212 (eliminates the common core, OTES, and OPES), HB 410 (increased requirements for school district to deal with student truancy, and HB4 45 (adjustments to the college credit plus guidelines). Of course, none of these are law yet, and may never be, but we are monitoring.
  • Please be reminded of Board policy regarding staff use of social media (7540.04): An employee’s personal or private use of social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, blogs, etc., may have unintended consequences. While the Board respects its employees' First Amendment rights, those rights do not include permission to post inflammatory comments that could compromise the District's mission, undermine staff relationships, or cause a substantial disruption to the school environment. This warning includes staff members’ online conduct that occurs off school property including from the employee’s private computer. Postings to social media should be done in a manner sensitive to the staff member’s professional responsibilities.