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The Buzz: March 10, 2017

We are just about one quarter away from wrapping up yet another successful school year here at Mariemont City Schools. As always, I am grateful for your hard work and dedication to our students and to each other. Every year I’m amazed by the wonderful things our students accomplish with your support, and this school year will be no exception. I look forward to the opportunities to showcase and celebrate these successes over the next twelve weeks.

Please take some time to read the important information below. 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 logoWe have a tradition of excellent writing here at Mariemont City Schools, but for the first time in the district's history, we hosted the district Power of the Pen competition.  Leslie Jordan did an incredible job as a host and as a Power of the Pen coach for our junior high students. Out of nearly 100 7th grade writers from 19 schools, five Mariemont Junior High School students placed in the top 15 and one student was named the 7th grade champion. Two students also had individual pieces recognized as "Best of Round" winners. And out of nearly 100 8th grade students, one MJHS student took home the 8th grade champion trophy. Promoting communication and collaboration in safe learning spaces has always been a top priority for Leslie, and we are appreciative of all of her efforts and commitment to our students. 

Community logoFor the first time in the district's history, the College Board named the Mariemont City School District as one of the top school districts in the United States and Canada and has placed the district on the 7th annual AP District Honor Roll. The honor roll consists of the 433 school districts in the U.S. and Canada that simultaneously achieved increases in access to AP courses for a broader number of students and also maintained or improved the rate at which their AP students earned scores of 3 or higher on an AP Exam. Mariemont High School teachers Michael Becksfort, Elizabeth Briggs, David Colaw, Kevin Ferry, Mike Hanley, MaryBeth Khamis, Amy Leatherwood, Bruce Miller, Jeff Radloff, Kim Richardson, Carolina Timmerding, Erik Vanags, David Wainscott, Eric Weiss, Luke Wiseman and David Wolfford are enhancing student learning through instruction and programming that is responsive to assessment results, designed to meet the individual needs of students, and cultivates drive and resiliency 

Innovation logoTami Croll has done a great job in her role as dean of students at Mariemont Elementary, working closely with students, teachers and parents. She is visible in classrooms, always has a smile on her face and has done an outstanding job as the leader of our Warriors BEyond and Explorations programs at the elementary level. She works tirelessly on ensuring that students have fun and engaging enrichment activities after school and collaborates closely with our special area team to coordinate and plan for learning opportunities that spark the interests of our 5th and 6th graders during their Monday Explorations. Even with all of this, she has still found time to play the bongos during the holiday chorus concert and the piano most recently during the 5th grade performance at the Strings Extravaganza. Tami Croll embodies our district objective that student learning will be maximized through the implementation of 21st century instructional practices that that stimulate student interests and foster inspiration and passion.

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!

News & Notes    

  • Monday, April 17 Mariemont Academy Day: We will begin with a staff breakfast at 7:45am, recognitions for years of service, this year's retirees and the 2017 Award of Excellence recipient, and then we will have a full day of professional development focusing on global and cultural perspectives. The location is still TBD but we will be communicating all of the details shortly. 
  • Staff Retirement Dinner: Mark your calendars! The staff retirement dinner celebration is scheduled for Wednesday, May 10 at 6pm at Montgomery Inn in Montgomery.
  • Friend of the School Award: Last school year, we launched the Marie Huenefeld Friend of the School 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 an even better school district. We are now accepting nominations for the 2017 honoree, to be named at the May Mariemont Board of Education meeting. If you know of an individual who you believe should be considered for this award, please submit your nomination by Thursday, April 6.
  • What We're Watching at the State Level: There are three big things we’re keeping our eye on. First, we're monitoring possible changes to OTES and how they would influence us. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed into federal law on Dec. 10, 2015, replacing the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). For the past year, ODE has been working to gain insight and feedback from stakeholders so that they can develop a state plan. ESSA requires states to develop plans that address standards, assessments, school and district accountability, and special help for struggling schools. The Department will submit the final plan to the US Department of Education on April 3. ESSA gives states more flexibility in defining excellent educators; specifically it does away with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) flexibility waiver requirement that states have evaluation systems linked to student growth. The state superintendent has tasked the Educator Standards Board with reviewing and identifying opportunities to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the existing Ohio Teacher Evaluation System. We will keep you up to date on specific changes to OTES/OPES as decisions are made. Click here for a full look at Ohio's plan. Second, Governor John Kasich's proposed state budget that would require all Ohio teachers to complete a "work experience" with a local chamber of commerce or business as a requirement for license renewal. Finally, the Ohio Board of Education is currently evaluating the 18-point graduation requirement for the class of 2018 and beyond. A work group has been formed and is developing recommendations to present to the state board no later than the April meeting. The group is considering several options, including reducing the minimum required points to 15 for the class of 2018 and the class of 2019, with a transition to a minimum of 18 points for the class of 2022. With all of these items, no final decisions have been made, and, as usual, much will likely change or even go away before being finalized. We’ll keep you posted!
  • Strategic Compensation Update: The Strategic Compensation committee has finalized the model and moved forward a recommendation to the Mariemont Board of Education for consideration. Steve will be sharing the model with staff over the next couple of weeks. In general, little changed from the model that was shared last spring, as staff feedback was very favorable and supportive to the proposals at that time.
  • MHS Facilities Project Update: Design Team Workshops begin March 20! Everyone is invited to participate in these workshops, where we will discuss possible solutions for the challenges we know we face with our high school facility. These workshops will be held at Mariemont High School at 7pm. The other two are scheduled for April 12 and April 24 at 7pm at the high school. No need to RSVP - just stop by! 
  • Building Visits: Steve will be visiting each building later this month to meet with staff to talk more in depth about the issues and ideas presented above or anything else you would like to discuss. He will be visiting Mariemont Junior High during lunch bells on Wednesday, March 15; Terrace Park Elementary from 7:45-8:30am on Thursday, March 16; Mariemont Elementary from 7:45-8:30am on Friday, March 17; and Mariemont High School during lunch bells on Monday, March 20. See you there!