December 19, 2016
Western Row Holds Annual Senior Citizen Holiday Luncheon
WR Senior Citizen Lunch

Over 100 area senior citizens braved the cold to celebrate the holidays with their neighbors at Western Row Elementary on December 13.
"This is one of the very best events we do," said Eric Messer, Principal. "It is an honor for us to share a meal with these very special members of our community."

This year's event was even more special since it included a new tradition. Each guest received a heart-shaped wind chime that second graders made in art teacher Jeanetta Noble and STEM Lab teacher Kim Peters' classes.  The STEAM outreach project utilized 3D printing, and clay. Students also shared a video showcasing what they imagined second grade was like for their great-grandparents, and how technology has impacted the world.

Following lunch, a third grade chorus led by Western Row Music teachers Caitlin Lindermuth  and   Marylee Vennemeyer , performed several holiday songs, ending with "The Twelve Days of Christmas."  

Read more about the annual holiday luncheon.
MECC Preschool Earns OH 5 Star 'Step Up to Quality' Award
5 Star Award

Mason City Schools announced that the Mason Early Childhood Center's preschool program received Ohio's Five-Star Step Up To Quality Award for providing the highest level of quality for young children. Through an extensive application and review process, MECC earned the highest rating possible.

"We are so proud of the hard work and efforts of our MECC staff who make our preschool such a joyful place to learn. We love working with our students and families and preparing our youngest Comets for their transition to kindergarten," said Melissa Bly, MECC Principal.

Step Up To Quality is Ohio's rating system that awards one to five stars to learning and development programs that go above and beyond minimum licensing standards.

Read more about the Five-Star rating and MECC's Preschool Program.
Mason School Board Approves Financial Forecast

Five Year Forecast
The Mason City Schools Board of Education recently approved the high-performing school district's five year financial forecast. View Treasurer  Ronda Johnson's presentation to the School Board.

Ohio's elimination of the Tangible Personal Property tax reimbursement significantly reduces the district's funding - a $1.7 million loss each year until the reimbursements are completely eliminated in 2020.  

District Relying on Cash Reserves, Cost Reductions
Every biennium budget cycle brings a great deal of uncertainty to public school funding. Mason's Five Year Forecast projects deficit spending beginning in FY17.  Current cash balance will cover the deficits.  Mason has cash balance available due to cost reductions that have been made since 2010.  However, those cash reserves will be depleted within the next five years and the district will need additional local revenue and/or additional expenditure reductions.  

Fortunately, the district began making cost reductions in 2005; the last time voters approved a tax increase. These cost reductions helped the district prepare for reduced revenue. Today, the district is relying on its cash reserves. By June 2019, the district projects it will have approximately $25 million remaining - enough to operate schools for just over two months.

Schools Will Need More Revenue in Future
Ohio's school funding system provides funds for a "basic education" to schools that have a low tax base. Because Mason has a higher tax base, and because our community expects that its students receive more than a basic education, only about 34 percent of Mason City Schools operating budget is funded by the state. The remainder comes from locally raised revenues. Under Ohio law, levies are the only tool school districts can use to generate ongoing revenue to fund education.   The Mason City School District has not passed an operating levy since 2005.

Read more about the Five Year Forecast.
MCS Winter Weather Protocols

Weather Protocols
With winter finally here, check out the handy-dandy  Mason Schools Delay Schedule. In addition, here's how Mason City Schools Superintendent Dr. Gail Kist-Kline makes the decision to have school, delay or close.

The decision process starts early. School officials monitor multiple forecasting tools, travel the roads, and check the actual conditions. The City of Mason and Deerfield Township provide great service in clearing and maintaining our community's streets.

Read more about MCS weather protocols and how the decision is communicated.
Buddy Bench

"At MECC, we take care of others!"

This was the rallying cry from Mason Early Childhood Center Students when talking about their newest playground addition: the Buddy Bench!

View  the Buddy Bench video.

MECC first grade teachers Holly Burgess, Michelle Jarmon, B.J. Smallwood, and Erin Smith came up with the concept of the Buddy Bench when discussing just how important it is to teach children social skills that will last a lifetime.

Read more about how the Buddy Benches ensure that all members of the MECC learning community have an easy way to signal that they are looking for a playmate at recess.
MI Students Use STEM to Help Kids in Need

Jump Ropes
Fourth grade students at Mason Intermediate are 'jumping' at the chance to use their STEM skills to help children a world away - while also helping the planet!  Students in Sherry Michalak's fourth grade technology class constructed jump ropes out of recycled materials as a STEM activity that will also bring joy to children living in poverty in Central America.

Read more about the STEM activity.
Mason School District, Mason Intermediate School Awarded for Academic Progress

SOAR Award
The Mason City School District and the district's intermediate school that educates students in grades 4-6 are recipients of 2016 SOAR Awards for High Progress.

The annual awards are presented to Ohio schools and districts participating in SOAR, Battelle for Kids' school improvement collaborative. The recipients are being recognized for achieving above average academic growth in multiple grade levels and subjects over the 2015-16 school year.

Read more about the 2016 SOAR Award.
Chronicle receives All-American ranking with five marks of distinction

The National Scholastic Press Association awarded its highest All-American ranking to the Chronicle staff for work in the 2015-16 school year. The staff received marks of distinction in each area of critique: two marks for coverage and content, and one each for text, visuals, and presentation.

NSPA judge M. Watters said the Chronicle's excellence comes from its depth of coverage.

Read more about the Chronicle's All-American ranking.
MMS Inducts 82 NJHS Members 

Mason Middle School is proud to announce 82 2016-2017 National Junior Honor Society inductees.  

Advisors are MMS teachers Katie Lin and Lauren Richardson.

View the complete list of inductees.

The group has already assembled over 2,000 lei's for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Light the Night walk, has served at the Broken Bus Ministry by packing snacks and clothes for the homeless, partnered with Hands Against Hunger by packaging high protein foods for the people of Haiti, and raised over $1,500 for the Pulsera Project that provides fair trade jobs and educational opportunities for Nicaraguans and Guatemalans. In November, NJHS members worked with NHS to pack shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child to send to needy children around the world.
640 MHS Students Earn Perfect Attendance: 12 MHS Students Awarded GCCU Cash
Perfect Attendance

During MHS's first semester, 640 students were at school every day and earned a chance to win cash from the Greater Cincinna ti Credit Union.  This marks the tenth year that GCCU has sponsored the Perfect Attendance Progra m at MHS.   Russ Henry from GCCU presented $100 to each of the honorees. Th e company donates $1,200 each semester for twelve students who maintain perfect attendance. GCCU also provides lunch to the winners and their guests during the awards ceremony, which was held on Tuesday, December 6.

View the 12 students who were recognized at this semester's luncheon.
High Fives to...

... MHS STUGO ,  who packed two moving trucks full of gifts headed to 130 Cincinnati Children's Hospital patients. For more than 20 years, MHS students have been ensuring that terminally-ill children have gifts at the holidays. This is a wonderful example of how our students and staff are #GrowingGreatnessTogether!


MHS Class of 20
13's Peeyush Shrivastava,
whose innovation,  hard-work, and gratitude for his Mason roots were  recently featured in this terrific Cincinnati Enquirer article about his biotech company,   Genetesis . Peeyush and  his co-founders, MHS Class of 2014's Vineet Erasala & Manny Setegn , make us all so very, very proud!

... MI 4th grader Kelly Barto, who sold her "must have" holiday toy, the coveted Hatchimal,  in order to donate proceeds to The Dragonfly Foundation. Watch this moving WLWT piece where Kelly reminds us about #WhatReallyMatters!

... MHS Football Team 55, who made a historic win in the playoffs. Our football continues to build a tradition of excellence, and it is thrilling to see members of the #LongGreenLine on the national stage! We were particularly proud of MHS Class of 2014's Matt Allgor & Matt Stewart who faced each other in this year's Army/Navy game!  Watch WCPO's coverage.

...  the 31 MHS orchestra and band students who were accepted into the   prestigious Southwest Regional Orchestra: Harmon Byerly, Leon Chang, Victor Chen, Amanda Cheng, Megan Cui, Arnav Divekar, EM-J Galang, Lauren Han, Chris Huggins, Eisuke Imaizumi, Justin Kim, Peyton Marion, Connie Mi, Katherine Moseley, Hannah Small, Kevin Song, Allan Tian, Vicky Tran, Annie Wang, Megan Wang, Joyce Wu, Fiona Xie, Catherine Xu, Allen Yang, Mei Yuan, Emily Yu, Rachel Zhan, Jennifer Zhu, Kevin Zhu, Wenhan Zhu, and Grace Zhang .

... MCS students, staff, & families, whose dedication and commitment to being #ConsistentlyGreat make Mason a vibrant place to learn - and why our district ranks 5th in the state in this 2017 analysis by Niche!

Satterthwaite Named Kiwanis Dec. Student of the Month

Mason High School senior Maggie Satterthwaite was recognized as The Kiwanis Club of Mason's December Student of the Month. Satterthwaite was nominated by MHS Intervention Specialist Shannon Branciforte .

"I am so proud of Maggie and thrilled that she was selected to be MHS' Student of the Month! "Because Maggie is so involved in so many things, she knows people everywhere and everybody knows Maggie. She is loved by so many people throughout school and in the community because of her positive, encouraging, and supportive personality. Maggie can easily brighten someone's day with a smile, a kind word, or an encouraging shout-out on social media," shared Branciforte.

Read more about the Kiwanis December Student of the Month.
MMS November Students of the Month

Mason Middle School is proud to announce the November Students of the Month.

They are: Dhruv Agrawal, Ryan Arp, Nicholas Baker, Bella Beck, Zach Belegrin, Amy Bergset, Emma Bischoff, Haarika Bondalapati, Shane Brown, Justin Cook, Kate Cooper, Riley Cosimi, Evan Davis, Lowri Dunkirk, Avy Fimiani, Allison Fries, Emilia Geren, Kyley Gigliotti, Audrey Gill, Brooke Harris, Jenna Harter, Anna Hodge, Sean Huggins, Emily Hyden, Kayla Jackey, Riley Johansen, Sarah King, Jaysa Kleiber, Kaitlyn Koszewski, Jacob Kraimer, Connor Kranson, Emma Mason, Dylan Materni, William McDonald, Anna McNulty, Emily Meadows, Anh Ngo, Brooke Paciolla, Shravani Page, Elaine Palmer, Jared Rayburn, Sydni Reeling, Kaylee rennekamp, Sydney Richards, Ashley Robey, Jake Sapp, Nikara Schehr, Jenna Skidmore, Lauren Stone, Ben Stuart, Daniel Vennemeyer, Adam Weaver, Caroline Wilkinson, Emily Yang, Callie Zellner and Catherine Zhang.

Read more about Mason Middle School Students of the Month.
MHS Recognizes December Rotary Royalty

Congratulations to the 74 Mason High School students who were recognized as December's Rotary Royalty by the Mason Deerfield Rotary Club.  Four times a year, MHS teachers nominate students who demonstrate one or more of the following criteria: positive attitude and enthusiasm; determination and effort; good attendance; and strong decision-making and choices.  All nominees are recognized by Rotary members and presented with a certificate, and one student is randomly selected to attend a Rotary breakfast and receive a $25 Amazon gift card. Brookelyn Conwell  was this quarter's recipient of the $25 Amazon gift card. At the end of the school year, one student will be named the Rotary Student of the Year and receive a $50 Amazon gift card.

View the list of students nominated for December Rotary Royalty.

Want to get in the holiday spirit?  Watch these MHS Choral students under the direction of Jason McKee present "An Elegant Holiday!"
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