April 27, 2016
Welcome to Mason City Schools' e-Newsletter that highlights happenings in   Logo the Mason City School District.

For information, email Tracey Carson at carsont@masonohioschools.com.
Vietnam Vet Finally Gets His Wm. Mason High School Diploma

In 1969, 18-year old Steve Mullins left the halls of Mason High School two courses shy of his high school diploma and enlisted in the U.S. Army. While he never regretted his service, that missing space on his wall where the high school diploma should have hung haunted him ever since.

Watch WLWT Channel 5's coverage.

So, when MHS Media Center Aide Jim Fox (and fellow MHS classmate) sent Mullins a link to the  MHS Lip Dub  kicking off the school's fundraising campaign for LLS, Mullins responded and shared how much he would like to close that chapter in his personal history.

Fox shared that email with MHS Principal Dave Hyatt , and Hyatt shared the email with Superintendent Dr. Gail Kist-Kline . The result? During the April 26 school board meeting in front of a packed house of MHS students, Steve Mullins was awarded his William Mason High School Diploma.

"This has been at the top of the bucket list for a long time. I'm just very grateful," shared Mullins, who drove the 19-hour journey to Mason from his home in Colorado.

Read more about Mullins' High School Diploma.
New 3-Year Mason Teacher Contract Also Includes Changes to School Calendar Beginning 16-17 

The Mason City Schools Board of Education and the Mason Education Association (MEA) have reached an agreement on a new three-year contract for the district's 630 certificated staff members. The MEA ratified the agreement on April 19, 2016, and the Board unanimously approved the agreement on April 26, 2016.

The agreement calls for a 2.5 percent increase in salaries for each year of the three-year contract covering the 2016-2017, 2017-2018, and 2018-2019 school years. Teachers who are eligible will receive step increases.  In addition, the school board and teachers will create a Salary Study Committee (similar to the Mason City Schools Health Care Committee) who will work collaboratively to make recommendations to future negotiations teams.

District and teacher negotiators also agreed to increase the teacher's health insurance premium costs. For the first two years of the contract, teachers will pay eight percent of their health care premiums, and in 2018-2019 teachers will pay 10 percent.

Calendar Changes
As a part of negotiations, some modifications were suggested to the calendar.  Some of the most notable changes are students will now have two "Personal Learning Days" and teachers' professional development time will nearly triple - from 7.5 hours to 21 hours each year. Mason City Schools will now have 179 student days and 184 teacher days. View the 2016-2017 school calendar.

In addition, there are now more opportunities for parent-teacher conferences during the day on November 21 for grades 1-12 and on February 17 for Kindergarten.  There will still be evening conferences as scheduled by the individual teachers as well.

The change in the school calendar will result in starting the school year one day earlier. The school year will now begin on Monday, August 15, 2016 and end on Thursday, May 25, 2017.

Zhu Qualifies for USA Junior Math Olympiad

Mason High School sophomore Peter Zhu has qualified for the USA Junior Math Olympiad (USAJMO).

Zhu is the first MHS student to do so since Tong Zhan, who graduated from Mason in 2009. Qualifying for the USAJMO is an amazing feat. There are only about 500 American students who earned the honor of taking this year's test. Grading of the exam takes place April 30-May 2.

The USAJMO consists of a six question, two day, 9 hour essay/proof exam.  Zhu had four and a half hours to answer three questions on April 19, and then again on April 20. The top performers will be invited to the Mathematical Olympiad Summer Program (MOSP or MOP), and then six elite students will represent the USA at the annual International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO), the toughest math competition for high school students.

Mason City Schools Board of Education members recognized Zhu for his accomplishment at the April 13 school board meeting.

"You're doing this on your own time for more than just fun - but also for fun - and it's pretty incredible and inspiring," said BOE Vice President Matt Steele.

MHS Students Receive Gold and Silver Medals at Scholastic

Mason High School is proud to announce that two of its students won recognition at the 2016 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.  

Sophomore Emma Morrissey received a Gold Key for her Digital Art piece "Metamorphosis," which was MHS' first Gold in Digital Art, and fellow sophomore Heidi Cervantes received a Silver Medal for her Digital Art piece "The Mango Parrot."

'Morrissey's piece will be displayed in a gallery in New York, and she has been invited to attend the National Ceremony at Carnegie Hall on June 2 to be honored for her piece.

MHS's HOSA Club Wins 12 Events at State, Biomed Students Qualify for International Leadership Conference

This first-year club is busy setting records - and building a legacy. This year, Mason High School students organized a new school-sponsored organization geared for students interested in the health professions and committed to community service.  Some of the MHS Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) club's activities includes participating in competitions.

Thirty-two Mason High School biomed students joined more than 1,750 students from around Ohio at the State Competition on April 5 and 6.

MHS won 12 out of the 23 events, and many MHS students qualified for HOSA's International Leadership Conference on June 22-25 at the Opry Land Resort in Nashville. More than 9,000 students are expected to participate in this international event.

Sophomore Kayla Cornwell competed for Ohio State Officer, and received the position of Historian. Cornwell will represent Ohio as Historian for the 2016-2017 calendar year.

Read more about the MHS Hosa Club.
Mason Students Go Full-STEAM Ahead with Water Conservation Art Project

Students from the Mason Early Childhood Center, Western Row Elementary and Mason Intermediate School were selected to paint rain barrels as part of the fourth annual Rain Barrel Art Project, an initiative designed to educate the community about water conservation and pollution caused by storm water runoff. The classrooms of MECC art teacher Sarah Varda, Western Row art teachers Kerry Kronenberger and Michelle Sodano, and Mason Intermediate art teachers Shara Kreissl and Amy Pierce painted the rain barrels.

The Rain Barrel Art Project is a joint effort of SaveLocalWaters.org and the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. As part of this initiative, students and other community members throughout the Ohio River Valley submitted artistic designs to beautify otherwise dull rain barrels. Fifty of those designs were selected, and the submitting artists now are painting them on rain barrels that will be displayed at the Cincinnati Zoo's Go Green Garden. The painted rain barrels will be auctioned off on April 28, 2016, during the zoo's Party for the Planet event, with proceeds benefiting conservation education in the Ohio River Valley.

Read more about the MCS Painted Rain Barrels.
MMS Power of the Pen Team Earns Respect at Regionals: Writers Headed to State 
Mason Middle School's seventh and eighth grade Power of the Pen teams continued their season at the Regional Power of the Pen Tournament on March 19.  MMS was honored to send five seventh grade writers to regionals, Faye Cuasay, Katie Maier, Mariah Norman, Abraham Sturgill, and Ann Vettikkal, and four eighth grade writers including Lily Geiser, Megan Li, Leah Lorenz, and Aranpreet Sajjan.

"We are so proud of not only the nine writers who qualified for this year's Regionals, but the entire Mason Middle School Power of the Pen team," shared Coaches Rachel Young and Jillian Denman. "We are excited to be bring several writers to States at the College of Wooster in late May.

Read more about MMS' Power of the Pen Team.
MHS Scientists Win Big at UC Science Expo 

Eight Mason Middle School students' science research scored among the best of the best to qualify to compete at State Science Day hosted by The Ohio State University on May 14. These scientists brought in over $7,000 in awards at the University of Cincinnati Regional Science Fair.

Nineteen Mason High School students presented their projects during the 2016 UC Science and Engineering Expo on March 19, and earned $10,960 in prizes and scholarship awards.

Students from school districts across southwest Ohio competed for over $60,000 in scholarships and cash awards.  Mason Middle School and Mason High School students who earned a superior rating at the January 29 Mason Science Fair were eligible to attend the UC Expo. A "superior" is the best rating a student can get on a project.

Nine MMS students won over $7,000, and these MHS students won scholarships and awards.

Read more about MHS at the UC Science Expo.
ACT Students Design MI Learning Space as Part of City-wide Design LAB Challenge

Mason Intermediate School fifth graders in Gifted Intervention Specialist Vicki Chappell and Lynne Hutchinson's nine classes are designing a Learning Space for their school as part of a city-wide Design LAB Challenge.

This year's Design Lab theme asked students to look around their school and determine what learning space is needed, or a space that needs redesigned to better meet the needs of students and staff. 

The students brainstormed ideas and developed a list of questions to ask their "clients," also known as fellow students in grades 4-6. Each design group interviewed clients from each of the three grade levels to offer a variety of perspectives based on the age of the client. This feedback along with the students' own critical thinking, helped shape the design.

Both of Chappell's volunteers from last year, Danielle Henry and Gerald Stanley returned this year. Stanley is with VSWC architects in Mason, the firm that also designed all of Mason City Schools' buildings. According to Chappell, not only did Stanley give students the site plans for Mason Intermediate, he also gave students the "inside scoop on why certain design elements were included."

Students also worked with Gulen Cevick , a doctoral candidate in architecture and a professor at Miami University.  Hutchinsons' professional volunteers include Jaipal Singh , who works with FRCH Design Worldwide and who helped with the morning classes. The afternoon classes were assisted by Leigha Carman , a Mason High School and UC DAAP program graduate who now works as a designer for The Kroger Co.

Read more about the Design LAB Challenge.
MCS Fencing Club Takes 2nd Place at SOHFA Tournament: Bischoff Wins 2nd at State

"En garde!" Mason City Schools' Fencers are at the height of their game - earning top honors at the state and regional level. Both of Mason's Division 1 and Division 2 Foil Fencing teams took second place at the Southwest Ohio High School Fencing Association League Tournament on March 12. Lydia Bischoff, a Division 1 Foil competitor, took second place in the Women's Foil event at the Ohio High School Fencing Championship Tournament on April 2 in Columbus. Bischoff is an MHS freshman who has been fencing for about four years and began her career by taking an after school fencing enrichment class held at Mason Intermediate.

Mason Middle School and Mason High Schools students who participated in the SOHFA Tournament on March 12 included seventh graders Emma Bischoff and Matthew Hahn , eighth grader Oliver Soper , freshman  Bischoff , sophomore Andrew Hahn , and senior Danielle Morey .

Read more about the MCS Fencing Club.
MHS, MMS Science Olympiad Teams Celebrate Fantastic Season

The Mason High School and Mason Middle School Science Olympiad teams just completed a fantastic season. The MHS team placed fourth and the MMS team finished ninth at the state competition held Saturday, April 9 at the Ohio State University. Many of the high school Science Olympiad members coach the middle school members - which embodies the district's commitment to "Growing Greatness Together!"

"As Ohio is one of the most competitive states for Science Olympiad, placing fourth is an impressive accomplishment!" shared MHS Science teacher and Science Olympiad advisor Aimee Hansen . The captains of the team are seniors, Dennison Min, Kedi Hu and Anthony Wang and junior, Matthew Liao .  

Read more about the MCS Science Olympiad Teams.
High Fives to... 

... the MHS STUGO leaders, who threw an amazing Prom with seniors at Cedar Village. Check out this great coverage from WCPO Channel 9.

...  the 1st print edition of Mason In the Middle! At the beginning of the 15-16 school year, The Chronicle partnered with MMS journalists to create Mason in the Middle - a news source for MMS by MMS students. Check out  this great example of #GrowingGreatnessTogether!

...  MECC students, who are busy filling each other's buckets by being kind! These students have amazing ideas for spreading their Bucket Filling movement that started on April 13. Watch their  INCREDIBLE kick off video!

... MHS Basketball Coaches Rob Matula & Greg Richards, who were both named as the Ohio Girls and Boys Coaches of the Year by the Greater Cincinnati Basketball Hall of Fame. Coach Richards led his team to one of boys basketballs best records ever at 22-2 in 2015-16.  Richards and Matula will be honored at the Greater Cincinnati Basketball Hall of Fame Banquet and Induction Ceremony on Wednesday, May 4th. 

Tramontin Named Kiwanis April Student of the Month

Mason High School senior Juan Tramontin was recognized as The Kiwanis Club of Mason's April Student of the Month. Tramontin was nominated by MHS business teacher Cindy Donnely.

"It is an honor to recommend Juan Tramontin for the Kiwanis April Student of the Month. Juan is such a special person who has brought a whole new level of leadership, commitment and happiness to Mason High School. No matter what event is going on at school, you will most likely see Juan cheering, organizing, planning, and most of all enjoying every minute of it. His leadership has impacted students in so many ways, whether it's getting the freshmen to feel comfortable enough to cheer on their classmates, to welcoming new members to clubs, to standing in front of 3500 students for two hours leading our Fall Pep Assembly. In such a large school, Juan has definitely made a difference!" shared Donnely.

Read more about the Kiwanis Student of the Month .
MMS April Students of the Month
Mason Middle School is proud to announce the April Students of the Month.

They are: Lynn Ataya, Anwesa Basa, Lindsey Bills, DeRon Brooks, Shane Brown, Maddie Clark, Aspyn Collins, Kennedy Eckerty, Jason Fish, Ellen Frame, Owen Gerdes, Anna Geyer, Steven Habra, David Hardy, Andrea Hefferan, Leah Herbert, Adam Hill, Kayla Jackey, Sahan Kansakar, Anna Kerby, Camden Kirzner, Kaitlyn Koszewski, Leah Lorenz, Blake Mahoney, Mary Catherine Marron, Anabella Mordino, Ahn Ngo, Nimi Oyelese, Aparna Prabu, Carleen Rafey, Meera Rajeev, Nathaniel Sanford, Sahaana Shanker, Ty Sloan, Heaven Smith, Diane Thomas, Maddie Ullom, Sofia Vivas and Marjorie Walter.

About Mason Middle School Students of the Month
Students of the Month are selected for showing good character. This month's character spotlights were Integrity and Respect. Students celebrate their accomplishment with their teachers, principals and parents during a breakfast in their honor that is sponsored by the Mason Kiwanis Club.
MHS Students "Tapped" for  National Honor Society Membership  

Mason High School had 121 sophomore and junior students  "tapped" for National Honor Society membership on Friday, April 15.

These new members were chosen for their hard work and dedication to scholarship, service, leadership, and character.

Nominations Open for Mason Schools Foundation's "Above & Beyond" Teacher Recognition

Celebrate National Teacher Appreciation Week (May 2-6, 2016) by nominating a teacher for the Mason Schools Foundation Teacher Recognition.

Parents, students, and staff are invited to nominate a Mason City Schools teacher who makes a difference in the lives of children.  If there is someone you feel deserves special recognition, please submit a nomination and tell us how that teacher takes his or her students "above and beyond!" Nomination forms must be submitted no later than May 13.

Award recipients will be recognized at a special ceremony in front of their peers at the end of the year staff breakfast, and will receive a $200 grant for their classroom for the 2016-2017 school year. An elementary teacher (grades PK-6) and a secondary teacher (7-12) will each be honored.
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