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The Buzz: October 21, 2016

Can you believe we're already two months into another school year? This time of the year always seems to fly as we get into routines and set the stage for another successful year with our students.

I am energized by the innovation and dedication I see in each building every day. And as we begin to dig into this idea of clearly articulating what makes our school district so unique and special, I want to reiterate the fact that, no matter what your role is in the district, each one of us makes a difference every day in the lives of the children who enter our buildings. This ownership is both empowering and daunting, I know, but the culture of this school district is relentlessly supportive, positive and tenacious, and we are all accountable for continuing this great tradition that IS Mariemont City Schools. Collectively, we all contribute to our students having meaningful experiences both inside and outside the classroom.

Please take some time to read the important information below. This year, we will send out The Buzz on a quarterly basis, and I will then follow up each edition with a visit to each school building to talk more in depth about these issues and ideas. See you soon.

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Buzzworthy Shout Outs 

In each edition, staff who exemplify the district values of tradition, community and innovation will be featured and recognized. What they're doing is inspiring, and hopefully everyone feels the same way! If any of these staff members inspire you, reach out to them, congratulate them and reflect on what you can do to stand out from the crowd.  

Tradition logoTerrace Park Elementary 6th grade teacher Heather Alexander has headed up the school's science fair since the school launched the program years ago. She works with all of the 6th grade winners and their parents as they participate in the regional fair at the University of Cincinnati and attends to support them. Last year, the UC Science and Engineering Expo asked her to be a judge, and this year they asked her to be on the Advisory Council! Heather is helping to enhance student learning through diverse curricular options and enriching experiences that drive deeper understanding and skill development and support global competency. 

Community logoMariemont Elementary School instructional aide Jamie Keyes coordinates the Whiz Kids program, which began last school year. The Village Church of Mariemont partners with Whiz Kids and Mariemont Elementary to bring this literacy-based tutoring and mentoring program to our school. A dozen or so students in grades 1-3 stay after school one day a week to work with volunteers from the church, Kiwanis, Marielders and throughout the community. Jamie is enhancing student learning through instruction and programming that is responsive to assessment results and designed to meet the individual needs of students, and cultivate drive and resiliency.

Innovation logoMariemont Junior High School Language Arts teacher Erica Eppert is "amazingly calm" with her students and uses a relaxation script with them before assessments. Ask her for more information about how you can use this script in your class before a test! Erica is maximizing student learning through the creation of purposeful, safe physical and virtual learning environments for students and staff that promote communication and collaboration.

View the complete 2016-17 District Action Plan here. Congratulations to these staff members for being excellent role models for our students, our community and each other! 

  • Email Guidelines: Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing new email signature guidelines to follow when sending emails from your school district email account. These guidelines will allow us be consistent as a staff, and more importantly, will protect both you and the district from policy violations and unnecessary public records requests.
  • Process for Reimbursements for Purchases: A purchase order must be in place prior to making any purchases. If the exact amount is not known prior to the purchase, estimates can be used. The district is a tax-exempt organization and therefore does not have to pay sales tax. Tax exemption forms are available in the treasurer’s office. The Ohio Ethics Commission advisory opinion 91-010 explicitly prohibits school employees from receiving any personal benefits related to school purchases. Examples of this are frequent flier miles, hotel rewards or any other reward card.
  • New Process for Being Considered for Continuing Contract - We often receive questions from certified staff members regarding the steps to earning a continuing contract. When determining eligibility for a continuing contract, several factors are considered, including: employment history, date of the employee's initial teaching credential, the type of degree held at the time the initial credential was issued and coursework. To help simplify the process, attached is the "Mariemont City School District Continuing Contract Eligibility Worksheet." This form provides each employee with details needed in meeting the eligibility requirements. If you have any questions, contact Lance Hollander. 
  • Award of Excellence: Mariemont City School District is now accepting nominations for the Mariemont City Schools Award of Excellence. This prestigious award was developed to recognize and honor excellent employees in Mariemont City Schools. Students, parents, community members and staff members are invited to nominate a Mariemont City School District employee. All employees are eligible. Click here for more information or to nominate one of your colleagues today
  • 2017/18 & 2018/19 Calendars: Thank you for participating in the calendar survey. Your feedback combined with feedback from our parents were used to create the school calendars for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school year. Both calendars are now posted on our website.
  • MHS Facilities Project Update: Work continues to develop the master facility plan for our high school building. Both the “Community Facility Task Force” and the “Futures Team” are meeting and compiling information and research to develop the final assessment of our current high school building to be completed by January 2017. A big thank you to all the staff members who are volunteering to serve on these committees! There will be plenty of more opportunities to get involved and provide input. Look for the creation of the “Building Team” in the second semester. We are still on track to have the final master facility plan for the high school complete in spring 2018.
  • Strategic Compensation Update: The strategic compensation committee met again on October 11 to continue working on our district’s compensation model. The group discussed the point system, opportunities for earning points and incentive ideas. No final decisions were made; rather, a framework was developed for future work. Look for more information in the coming months.