May 16, 2016
Welcome to Mason City Schools' e-Newsletter that highlights happenings in   Logo the Mason City School District.

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Mason Honors Students' Commitment to Serving Country in Blue Star Ceremony

Eleven members of the William Mason High School Class of 2016 were honored for their decision to serve their country during a Blue Star Ceremony in the school's auditorium on May 13.

"We are so proud of each one of you," shared Dr. Gail Kist-Kline, superintendent during her opening remarks to the students and their families and classmates.  "Thank you, on behalf of everyone here, for your dedication, commitment and willingness to serve your country to protect our freedoms."

Students honored at the ceremony included: Andrew Davidson (Army), Tyler Henry (Marines Reserves), Garrett Johnson (Army), Cole Kinser (Army ROTC Purdue), Jared Lucke (Marines) Quinn Long (Air Force ROTC Miami University), Connor McNulty (Marines), Adam Manning (Air Force),  James Oden (Army), Jake Tracy (Air Force), and Tucker Welsh (Marines).

Read more about the Blue Star Ceremony.
MECC Students Join in School-Wide Dance: Event Supports Cincinnati Ballet's CincyDance! in Washington Park

Mason Early Childhood Center students are busting a move - for a great cause.  On a recent Tuesday, kindergartners were mashing up classical and contemporary dance moves and music - going from ballet's third position to the whip! All of MECC's 1,900 three, four, five, six and seven year olds have been learning the same choreographed dance and will perform it at school on May 19, as part of the Cincinnati Ballet's CincyDance! program, through the generous support of ArtsWave.

CincyDance! typically goes to schools where nearly all the students receive free breakfast, lunch and sometimes food to take home for the weekend. However, MECC was included at no charge because MECC teachers have been a friend to the Ballet and wanted to not only bring this opportunity to the children of Mason, but create an outreach experience that will bring an important experience to children who would not otherwise have this opportunity.

Cincinnati Ballet will present CincyDance! in Washington Park on May 18 at 12:00pm.  Over  1,200 local third grade students from Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky schools will learn a dance and share in a memorable, once-in-a-lifetime collaborative community experience. Learn more about   CincyDance! in Washington Park.

"We want all of Mason to help support the CincyDance! in Washington Park this year," says Pam Wainscott , MECC first grade teacher. "We are such a lucky community and our children are so lucky!  But, just 15-20 miles down the road, kids are less fortunate."

Read more about CincyDance! at MECC.

MHS Female Computer Scientists Win Awards, Act as Role Models

"Bro-grammer" culture gets a lot of air time in movies and TV shows like
Silicon Valley .  What's missing? Powerful  stories that celebrate the women who code - like Rachel, Ria and Rhadika.  That's one of the reasons why the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) is encouraging talented girls like Mason High School students Sydney Braine, Ria Datla, Rachel Hunter-Renderle, Nidhi Iyanna, Sydnie Kong, Rhadika Upadhye,  Jenny Wan, Emily Wang and Shirley Yang.   These nine  students recently received the NCWIT's Award for Aspirations in Computing from the Ohio affiliate. This award recognizes high school young women for their computing-related aspirations as well as leadership ability, academic history, and plans for post-secondary education. Wang was also selected as a national runner-up.

Mason High School helps students build their IT aptitude through a range of computer programming courses, including AP Computer Science.

Computer Programming teacher Gregg Kummer is proud of the girls' achievement and appreciates how the opportunity reflects their hard work. "These awards open a lot of doors for them in terms of internships and long-term opportunities and scholarships. Not only does this promote their learning, it helps others learn about Information Technology, too."

Ohio's Chance to Make State Tests More Meaningful 

In December 2015, both Chambers of the U.S. Congress passed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) - which replaced the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law.  By this fall, states must submit implementation plans for approval in order to get federal funding under this newly enacted education policy. 

The ESSA narrows the United States federal government's role in elementary and secondary education. While ESSA retains some of the annual standardized testing requirements of NCLB, it shifts the law's federal accountability provisions to states. Consequently, this is a pivotal time for Ohioans who care about local control to make their voices heard!

As a founding member of the Greater Cincinnati School Advocacy Network, Mason City Schools joins with other educators throughout the region in strongly urging that Ohio address the following important considerations from educators and families:
  • Stop the State Driven Over-Testing of Children
    ESSA requires "high quality student assessments in math, reading/language arts, and science" but there is a lot of room for reducing the onerous amount of testing that results in curriculum shrinkage, test prep, and less innovation and creativity in the classroom.
    Recommendation: Ohio should engage in the minimum amount of testing required under ESSA. This includes eliminating end-of-course exams in favor of other options such as the ACT at high school, eliminating state social studies tests, and eliminating the 3rd Grade Reading Guarantee.
  • Ensure that the State Tests Give Timely, Meaningful Feedback
    Ohio's state tests are mostly used to rank and sort districts and schools - rather than sharing information to improve a student's academic achievement. Ohio's assessment system does not provide assessment results in a format that allows teachers and building administrators to easily analyze the data.
    Recommendation: Ohio should ensure that the new assessment system allows educators to use the data more efficiently and effectively to ensure high impact learning.  
If you are interested in sharing your concerns about Ohio's ESSA implementation, please consider sending a quick message to our elected officials.
MEA Honors Student Leaders

On May 3, the Mason Education Association presented the "Shining Lights of Leadership" awards of distinction to outstanding Mason City School students.  Awards were given to 19 Mason Early Childhood Center, Western Row Elementary, Mason Intermediate School, and Mason Middle School students who were nominated by their teachers and selected by a committee for having excelled as leaders and good citizens.  

Students in the top five percent of the MHS Class of 2016 were also recognized by their teachers for their high academic success and intellectual prowess.  MEA officers and members expressed gratitude to the seniors for inspiring their peers and teachers alike. In-between the awards of distinction, the MEA Future Educator Memorial Scholarship was awarded to  Cara Severson .

The MEA Shining Lights are: Preschooler
Aiden Moore nominated by Rachel Yesso ; Kindergarteners Kamola Hikmatulloeva nominated by Ruth Harriger , and Elise Apewokin nominated by Soroya Smith ;  1st graders Samantha Chance nominated by Monica Johnston , and Molly Benham nominated by Rachel Shearer ; 2nd graders Ryan Koporc nominated by Heather Luebbehusen , and Kate Ryder nominated by Kathy Goebel & Sarah Flohr ; 3rd graders Ronit Raj nominated by Jan Willig and Jill Hartsock , and Kelly Barto nominated by Jan Willig and Jill Hartsock ; 4th graders Maya Kirzner nominated by Amy Hammond, and Liza Borow nominated by Michelle Kling Alissa Mahoney ; 5th graders  Grace McKay nominated by Chelsea Wirtz & Michelle Hugenberg and Deepak Susarla nominated by Katrina Philpot, Monique King & Nikki Hillman ; 6th graders Erik Nowak nominated by Team Innovation: Amy Boynton, Lindsey Colvin, Leslie Feld, Mary Lee & Allison Pearson ; 7th graders   Riley Johansen nominated by Bethany Jones and Grace Bagadiong nominated by Renee McKinney-McCord ; and 8th graders Emmy Saunders nominated by Roni Carpenter , and Jonathan Davis nominated by Colleen Johansen .

Read more about the MEA Student Leaders.
Students' Art Chosen for Year-Long Display in MCS District Offices

Several Mason City Schools students' masterpieces were recently designated a part of the Mason Central art collection that will be displayed throughout the 2016-2017 school year.

Superintendent Dr. Gail Kist-Kline invited each artist and his or her family to a special reception in the students' honor on May 10.

Kist-Kline also thanked the district's art instructors for expanding the students' talents and creativity. "We have very talented students who are supported and encouraged by their very talented and dedicated teachers!"

Students whose artwork will be displayed during the 2016-2017 school year include: Calleigh Bonnell, Hailey Brinkman, Avery Brown, Michelle Chen, Ben Cimini, Emma Conyers, Ira Cuasay, Allison Dagenback, Aron Dornhecker, Nolan Duvelius, Tyler Friesen, Kathryn Gross, Kaitlyn Hawthorne, Linda Hua, Tessa Joseph, Fatimah Kadhim, Taylor Kling, Sydney Maines, Nadia Myrie, Reva Reddy, Mikayla Schehr, Sarah Senne, Lucia Smith, McKenzie Snyder, Cole Tibbs, Grace Wang, Ben Wang and Payton Wood.

Read more about the Mason Central art collection.
Two Mason DI Teams Headed for Globals 

Two Mason Intermediate School "Destination Imagination" teams won their divisions at the 2016 state tournament, qualifying for the Global Finals to be held May 25-28 in Knoxville, Tennessee.

The two Mason DI Teams who qualified for Globals are:

Team: The Critters of Creo , fourth and fifth grade
Coach: Eric Stevens
Team members: Samvit Das, Neel Goodbole, Richa Jha, Hannah Stevens

Team: Mason Innovative Peeps , sixth grade
Coaches: Steve and Jennifer Hodge
Team Members: Ben Crane, Neha Gunda, Samuel Hall, Anna Hodge, Sarah Lyons, Rohan Mahajani, SaiRangarajan Sathishkumar
Team Mason Innovative Peeps also won the Renaissance Award .

"We are very proud of these innovative and creative problem-solvers, and wish then luck at Globals," said Greg Sears , Mason Intermediate School Principal. Lisa Fish is the Mason City Schools Destination Imagination coordinator.

Read more about Destination Imagination.
Cast and Crew of Mason High School Theater's Theophilus North Garner 16 Cappies Nominations

Mason High School Theater's fall production of
Theophilus North garnered 16 nominations for excellence awards from the Greater Cincinnati Cappies - the critics and awards program for high school theater.

Because Theophilus North is nominated for Best Play, MHS students will perform a cutting from the production during the Cappies Gala, where winners will also be announced, on May 27 at the Aronoff Center in Cincinnati.

"Tennyson's great quote in TheophilusNorth 'I am part of all that I have met' rings so true for the 25 Mason High School students who will be honored at this year's Cappies Awards. They left a great mark on our theater-goers, and we're excited to see the region respond as well," said Allen Young, MHS Theater Director.

See who is nominated for a Cappie.
Lions Club Honors Mason Students

The Mason Lions Club recognized four Mason City Schools students and a St. Susanna student at its annual Citizenship Awards Night on May 9.  Following a dinner in the students' honor, each child received a plaque and $50.
This year's recipients included Mason High School's Gina Deaton and Lauren Wise , Mason Middle School's Leah Lorenz , Mason Intermediate's Neev Gupta and St. Susanna's Darvy McAneny .  The Lions Club worked with school counselors throughout the selection process, and the honored students each selected a teacher to introduce them and share why they were chosen to receive the award. Dale Conner presented Deaton with her award, Barb Shuba presented Wise with her award, Katie Lin presented Lorenz with her award,   Amy Boynton and Lindsey Colvin presented Gupta with his award, and Christine Lauer presented McAneny with her award.

Read more about the Lions Club Citizenship Awards.
MMS Teacher Selected for Prestigious Workshop

Congratulations to Mason Middle School Social Studies teacher Jennifer Page who was selected to attend the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Landmarks workshop titled "Demon Times: Temperance, Immigration, and Progressivism in an American City" to be held in Columbus from July 24-29.

"I am so excited to get to work with educators around the country this summer to learn more about the conflicting interests of the Temperance Movement and German immigrant brewers in Columbus, Ohio where the founders of the Anti-Saloon League directly conflicted with the industry in immigrant neighborhoods like the German Village," shared Page.

NEH Landmarks workshops are offered twice in one summer, accommodate 36 teachers in each one-week session, and involve the teachers in collaboration with core faculty and visiting scholars. Participants benefit by gaining a sense of the importance of historical and cultural places by making connections between the workshop content and what they teach, and by developing individual teaching and/or research materials.

Read more about the NEH Landmarks workshop.
MI Students Receive Awards in City-Wide Challenge 

Mason Intermediate School fifth graders in Gifted Intervention Specialist Vicki Chappell and Lynne Hutchinson's nine classes recently designed a Learning Space for their school as part of a city-wide Design LAB Challenge.  The chosen projects from this learning 
activity represented MI in the 2016 Design Lab Challenge held April 30-May7.  The Architectural Foundation of Cincinnati will display these projects for the next month.

More than 100 schools and 2,000 student participated in
this year's architecture competition.  Students presented their work to professionals in the architectural field, explaining their thinking through the design process.

Two of MI's eleven projects received awards based on judging from local architects and designers.

Honorable Mention for the Judge's Choice Award: Jessica Bamford,  Marisa Crociata,  Sheren Mirib,  Sophie Sievking

Sustainability Surveyor's Award: Lakshmi Avanthsa,  Michelle Chen,  Joanne Ramesh
Value-Conscious Consumers Should Heed MI ACT Students' Recommendations 

Mason Intermediate fourth grade gifted students in Amy Hammond's class shared recommendations for brands that held the most value  during the Mason Consumer Products Fair April 26.

The students shared the results of their product testing to demonstrate which brands can save consumers money. Attendees of the fair were also able to participate in their own testing, and learn if higher cost means higher quality when it comes to items like glue sticks, spray cleaners, toilet paper and more.

"This culminating Consumer Fair showcases all their hard work. From research and fact finding to being scientists in the classroom and finally to master editors, we wanted our display boards and our product tests to show the high standard we held ourselves to," said Hammond. "With this kind of effort comes some pride, and it was written all over their faces!"

Read more about the Consumer Products Fair
High Fives to... 

...  Mason's School Lunch Heroes , who make sure that our students have healthy, delicious meals every day!



... the incredible student athletes honored at the inaugural MHS ESPY awards, AND the MHS Athletic Department & the all the students who took lead roles in making this new event such a tremendous success - including the MHS Integrated Media students who took lead roles in  producing the videos and promotion for the event, and the MHS Studio students who even designed the awards! Missed the ESPYs? Relive the whole thing in all its glory. Or, check out the intro video that kind of says it all!

 ... Riddhi Chopra, Michael Darby, Allegra Delman, Neil Giridharan, Catherine Gong, Grace Huang, Divya Manoharan, Nia Myrie, and Ashwin Rajgopal who each were awarded $1,500 GE Star Scholarships. As part of the awards program, the GE foundation also granted $500 to an MHS teacher in each student's honor!

... all our Comet Moms! There aren't enough hours in the day to keep up with you, or words in the dictionary to describe what a difference you make for our children. All we can say is ... THANK YOU!

... all of our amazing Mason City Schools Nurses, who stand at the front lines of our schools and keep our students healthy and happy! 

Re-enroll your Kroger Card to Support Mason Schools Foundation

Mason Schools Foundation supporters must re-enroll their Kroger cards in the Kroger Community Rewards program each spring.  Kroger divides charitable donations to non-profit organizations based on each group's participant spending.

The Mason Schools Foundation earned over $10,000 from the Kroger Community Rewards program in 2015 with only 150 families participating!  Kroger's donation helped fund grants for students from kindergarten through high school including funding for elementary STEM labs, the new Robotics Lab at the middle school and many other grants which allow Mason teachers to take our students Above and Beyond!

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