November 22, 2016
Happy Thanksgiving

Thanks for being part of our Mason City Schools family! We're thankful for our dedicated staff, hard-working students, engaged families, & supportive community - who make Mason a wonderful place to learn and grow. We wish you and your loved ones a Happy Thanksgiving.

Watch this video of our students and staff sharing what they are thankful for this holiday season.
Mason City Schools Celebrate & Honor Veterans

Veteran_s Day
Students and staff throughout 
the Mason City School District  celebrated and honored Veterans with parades, letters, breakfasts, songs, and more on November 11.

Read more about the different Veteran's Day activities that took place throughout the district.

MHS Marching Band Finishes 3rd in Nation, Reaches New Program Heights

Improving on greatness is a difficult task, but the William Mason High School Marching Band has just completed yet another historic season.

At the 2016 Bands of America Grand National Championships November 10-12 in Indianapolis, Mason reached new program heights, finishing  third  place in the nation, and earning their highest BOA score ever with a 96.55. For the first time in program history, the band placed in the Class AAAA top three during Semi-Finals competition, and won a first-ever caption award for Outstanding Visual Performance. Mason also retained its title as the top-finishing Ohio band for the sixth straight year and was the only band from Ohio that advanced to Finals.

Competing against 100 top marching bands from across the country, Mason intrigued spectators and judges with their show entitled "World out of Balance," which featured 50 inflatable, four-foot clear globes, earning the hashtag, #thatbubbleband.

MCS Leaders Call on State Board of Ed to Bring Back Local Control for Grad Requirements

Grad Requirements
Mason Superintendent Dr. Gail Kist-Kline and a team of district leaders joined a protest of hundreds of state school leaders in Columbus last week to advocate for more local control of high school graduation requirements. "We continue to be concerned about the erosion of our local school board's authority - and the dismissal of our professional educators' voices when it comes to important issues impacting our students' lives," said Gail Kist-Kline, Mason City Schools Superintendent.

Over 30 percent Ohio high school students are at risk of not receiving diplomas because of strict graduation requirements that are in effect for the class of 2018, and Kist-Kline expressed concerns that about 15 percent of MHS students are not on track to graduate.

The problem stems from three years with three different tests - and new end-of-course exams that replaced the Ohio Graduation Test. Students now must earn 18 out of a possible 35 points on seven end-of-course exams taken during high school, receive an industry credential in a career field or get a "remediation-free" scores in English language arts and mathematics sections of a college-entrance exam.

Read more about advocating for changes to graduation requirements.

Mitroff Receives MSF Founder's Award 

Laurie Mitroff
In an effort to recognize the accomplishments and efforts of a community contributor who goes "above and beyond," the Mason Schools Foundation established the Campbell Family Founder's Award in honor of Ken and Joan Campbell - whose generosity, innovation and vision led to the creation of the Mason Schools Foundation. 

Two community members were nominated for the prestigious award, which was presented to award recipient Laurie Mitroff during the Mason Schools Foundation "Tales as Olde as Time" Gala on November 5. 

All of the nominees were honored for their enormous contributions on behalf of Mason City Schools students.

MECC Students Tackle Tricky Words with Help from MHS Football 

Tackling Tricky Words
First graders in
Holly Burgess, Michelle Jarmon, Monica Johnston, BJ Smallwood, Erin Smith and Rachel Shearer's classes are tackling tricky words - which recently earned the MECC students a "Football Frenzy Party" with their friends and families.

On October 28, students clad in their favorite football jerseys staged a "performance" that highlighted some of the reading strategies they were mastering. Each student then read a book he or she tackled to a special adult. Students ended the reading celebration with a super bowl (lollipop) ring ceremony, and they watched a video featuring Bengals football players who encouraged students to read!

AP Physics Mechanics Class Creates Catapults

AP Physics Mechanics Catapults
Dedication. Perseverance. Innovation. Those were the three main qualities displayed by students in Mason High School science teacher
Dee Dee Messer's AP Physics C: Mechanics class during a recent experiment.

"Every fall I have had a project where the students must design a machine to launch an object. I have had students launch, basketballs, softballs, and even pumpkins one year! Last year we decided to bring a little SW Ohio culture into the class and I asked the students to design machines to launch corn hole bags," explained Messer. "We added some excitement by asking George Elias' classes to make us our own corn hole boards with unique dimensions relative to this project and added the tournament for extra credit. The students' grades were based on four attempts to hit the board and/or go into the hole. At the same time,we were keeping score using corn hole rules, and the winning team after four throws moved on to the next round."

Read more about creating catapults and the winning machine.
MI Broadcasters Get Tips from Channel 12 Pros

Channel 12 Pros
Mason Intermediate students in Shawna
 Bender and Heather Nagel's team don't just get to create news - they also get to learn directly from those in the business! On November 18, several WKRC Local 12 storytellers shared their insights with the fourth grader writers. Morning anchors Sheila Gray and John Lomax and producer Caitlin O'Neil answered students' questions about what it takes to put together a news show, and gave advice to students about exploring passions and tapping into their own curiosity.

Nagel and Benders' students create biweekly newscasts called Live at MI 45, which was a grant funded during the 2014-2015 school year by the Mason Schools Foundation. This year the broadcast partnered with Liz Dooley , an ACT teacher at MI, to help students write the best scripts possible.

Read more about Live at MI 45
WR Third Graders Celebrate 'Friendship Fridays'

Friendship Friday_s
Fridays in Western Row teachers
Whitney Young and Corri Doenckec's classrooms are dubbed 'Friendship Fridays' to help students when social and emotional issues arise. On Friday, November 4, students of Young's shared about Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset, which they learned all about in the ACT classroom.

"The students wanted to help their classmates think positively," said Doenecke. "All the kids were amazing and shared posters, cards, and third grader Rachel Sweeney made a model to share with the class."

After the presentation, Doenecke  received a text from Rachel's mom, Christine Sweeney, to let her know how excited her daughter was about this mission.

Read more about Rachel's acts of friendship.
MHS Sophomore Wins National Music Competition

Olivia Gittens
Mason High School sophomore
Olivia Gittens won her first ever live music competition in February, and took home $500 plus the chance to perform twice as a soloist with the Paducah Symphony Orchestra on November 4.

Gittens participated in the Paducah Symphony Orchestra Concerto competition. During the first semi-final round of the competition, prospective instrumentalists from across the United States submitted CDs showcasing them playing the solo part of one movement of a concerto with a piano accompanist. 

In December 2015, Gittens submitted a CD with a recording of her playing the solo part of Shostakovich's Piano Concerto No. 2 with an accompanist who played the orchestra reduction. Gittens was one of three finalists chosen to move onto the finalist round. The other two finalists were a harpist and a cellist.

MECC Speech Therapist Earns Awards for Children's Books
The Adventures of Bubba Jones

Mason Early Childhood Center second grade speech therapist Jeff Alt wrote two books that placed as award-winning finalists in the USA Book News "Best Books" Awards.

The Adventures of Bubba Jones: Time Traveling Through the Great Smoky Mountain, is an award-winning finalist in the Children's Educational category, and The Adventures of Bubba Jones: Time Traveling Through Shenandoah National Park, is an award-winning finalist in the Children's Fiction category.
"I've shared the writing process for these books with all Mason second graders for the last two years, and I've presented these books to various Mason fourth and fifth grade classes by request," shared Alt.

Alt is now writing the third book in The Adventures of Bubba Jones book series, based in the Acadia National Park. Alt has also wrote Get Your Kids Hiking, a family guide to inspiring families to 'take a hike', and A Walk for Sunshine, Alt's Appalachian Trail book that has won six national awards including a gold medal in the Fore Word Book of the Year awards.
High Fives to...

...  Mason High School , who celebrated being named Ohio's only 2016 National Blue Ribbon public high school with a school-wide #MannequinChallenge! Check out what 3500 students doing this at lunch at Ohio's largest public high school looks like in this awesome video  that was produced by MBC students!

... WR PTO , who made the elementary school's annual Wacky Carnival a huge success. One of the not-so-secret secrets to our thriving schools is that we have amazing families! We are so grateful for all that you do!

... MHS Athletics, who helped make MHS the number one school in Ohio for athletes according to Niche.

... MHS Key Club, MMS Builder's Club, MI K-Kids and Mason Kiwanis, whose 58th annual Kiwanis Pancake Day raised funds that benefit Mason youth while continuing to be an important event that knits our community together!

the Mason Schools Foundation Gala volunteers & attendees, who threw an incredible event that raised a whole lot of money to take Mason students above & beyond! Nearly $3,000 was raised during the event's paddle call to provide additional mental health support for students who need programming that is outside the scope of the district's budget, but can have a big impact on the lives of vulnerable children.

... the MHS International Club, who once again hosted their delicious multi-cultural thanksgiving feast celebrating the delicious diversity in our district!

... Mason students , who embraced the district's first Personal Learning Day! We can't wait to see all the things that #MasonLearns and shares! Learn more about the  Personal Learning Days  at .

Hood Named Kiwanis November Student of the Month

Jaimen Hood
Mason High School senior
Jaimen Hood was recognized as The Kiwanis Club of Mason's November Student of the Month. Hood was nominated by MHS business teacher Craig Murnan .

" Jaimen's personal strength is leadership, problem solving, work ethic, and time management. His leadership is evident as he serves as a role model to his adopted siblings and foster-care brothers. His work ethic is demonstrated through his financial contributions to a household led by a single mother," shared Murnan. "Jaimen has worked outside the home since the age of 14 to help support the family. He has done all this while actively participating in volunteer opportunities, competing at state level competitions, and maintaining above a 4.0 GPA."

Attend The Nutcracker to Support MHS After Prom

The Nutcracker
The season of giving is upon us and
Bobbi Wyatt , owner of Mason Dance Center, knows that first hand.

For the past 14 years, her dance studio has put on a heart-warming production of the Nutcracker - All Jazzed Up! All the ticket proceeds go directly to helping fund The Mason High School After Prom. To date, the Mason Dance Center has donated over $75,000 to the event, which allows Mason students to extend their Prom experience in a safe and fun environment.

The fifteenth year of the show will be held on December 11, and you can help in the giving by attending a performance. Tickets are only $10 with show times at 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm at the Mason High School Theater.

Not only will you help support a great cause, but you will be wonderfully entertained by the cast, which includes over 100 Mason students from all five schools. A few of the Mason cast members include MHS junior Abby Stephenson who is the 'Dew Drop Fairy', MMS eighth grader Santi Contreras will be this year's 'Flowers Cavalier,' MI fourth grader Maria Contreras will also be a part of the performance, as will WR third grader Maya Leezer who will be a ginger snap, and MECC second grader Alexander Hodges who will play a baker. You will even see Mason Intermediate Assistant Principal Tom Doerflein in the party scene this year!

For tickets go to and click on the Nutcracker - All Jazzed Up banner in the center of the page.  Reserved seating is new this year, so pick your seat today!
Mason City Schools  |
For information, email Tracey Carson at