February 23, 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.
Quality Profile: Focus on Academics
Jonathan Cooper
 
Watch Jonathan Cooper , Innovative Learning Officer, present
 the fourth video in the district's   Quality Profile Series - Focus on Academics .

"The cornerstone of our value has always been in the excellence of our academics... Our goal is to expand innovative classroom practices that personalize learning for all students.  This will allow every child to get the type of attention he or she needs to be successful after graduation."

Read more about the Quality Profile.
MHS Rubik's Cube Master Breaks Records Sreeram Venkatarao


Mason High School junior
Sreeram Venkatarao set a new U.S. and North American Continental record for 3x3 Rubik's Cube Blindfolded at the Dixon Winter 2016 Rubik's Cube competition held on February 6 in Dixon, Illinois. This competition is recognized as an official World Cube Association competition.

In the three attempts he made, Venkatarao solved the puzzle in 25.84, 25.19 and 29.16 seconds. Since he was successful in all his three tries, he also broke the U.S. and North American continental 3x3 Blindfolded Average record with a time of 26.73 - which is the average of his three successful completions. Watch Venkatarao master the Single Solve and Average Solve .


Read more about Sreeram Venkatarao's accomplishment.
Lots of Love for Western Row Elementary's STEAM Night

Over 200 Western Row Elementary families showed their love for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics during the school's first STEAM Night on February 16. Families created pop-up Valentines that featured an LED light. "You Light Up My Life!" "Shine On, Valentine!" and "You Make My Heart Glow!" were some of the loving messages students shared with their siblings, friends and parents.

After a snow day canceled the original event, event organizers (art teachers Kerry Kronenberger and Michelle Sodano and STEM teacher Karen Vome) remained undaunted.

The rescheduled event was a hit with families who loved seeing where art meets science. STEAM is more than just a trend in education. Educators understand that the world is not sectioned off into subject specific experiences.

Read more about the STEAM Night.  
Master Facilities Plan Considers Enrollment Projections

In December, the Mason City School Board approved a resolution to keep our district in the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission's Expedited Local Partnership program. This resolution confirmed the district's intention to use Expedited Local Partnership Credit, and to share how Mason anticipates using those funds.

"When we were growing by hundreds of students each year, our board adopted a just-in-time philosophy for adding new schools just when they were needed. Now, as enrollment stabilizes, we are trying to apply the same principle - so that we match enrollment to school capacity in a fiscally responsible way," explained Courtney Allen, School Board President.


Mason City Schools Enrollment MCS Enrollment
In 2010-11, Mason educated 11,013 students. Today, the district educates 10,697 students. Some of the things the district uses to project enrollment trends include examining residential economic development and closely monitoring birth rates.

In August 2015, Mason projected enrollment decreases at its elementary schools, and aligned staffing accordingly. The district also projected increases at Mason High School, and consequently adjusted staffing. In response to an unexpected increase of 112 more English Language Learners this school year, the district added 4.5 long-term substitute teachers to support those students, their educators, and their classmates.

This year - for the first time in five years - Mason City Schools actually had a small increase in enrollment. As of February 1, 2016, Mason educates 41 more students than in 2014-15. This increase is more significant because the district anticipated 149 fewer students.


The fact that enrollment did not decrease in the same way that it has for several years caused class sizes to be higher than projected - and higher than preferred. Mason will use today's actual enrollment (rather than recent projections of declining enrollment) when developing 2016-17 staffing - which should alleviate some of the pressure.


MI's Black History Bowl Celebrates African American History

Mason Intermediate School's 10th Annual Black History Bowl proved to be a fun, competitive educational event for the fifth grade class-organized and facilitated by fifth grade teachers,  Jocelyn Berlew and  Nick Washington.

The competition started in November when students took a qualifying test to earn a spot on the Black History Bowl team for their class.  Students then took their personal time, lunch and recess to study for the competition.  In January, the sixteen teams began competing in bracket play and narrowed down to two teams competing in the Black History Bowl Final on February 10.

The final competition opened with assistant principal, Terry Wooten, singing "Lift Every Voice and Sing," a song long revered as the Black National Anthem.  In between rounds of competition, students were treated to some live entertainment. 

Special congratulations to Camilla Bergset, Matt Koester, Grey Montgomery, Davin Sivertson, Vinaya Sivakumar, and Joseph Washington on Team Imagination, the 2016 Black History Bowl Winners.  Congratulations also to second place Team Pioneers #2, which included Will Murphy, Hannah Stevens, Jonathan Luo, Carson Hurrle, Kiley Eckert and Emily Keith.

Read more about MI's Black History Bowl.
MCS 2014-15 State Report Card Results

There are significant changes in the release of Ohio's School Report Cards this year because of recent implementation of new state tests and accountability measures. Under Ohio law, there will not be an overall grade for a district or school until 2018. All of this year's report card measures will receive A-F grades with the exception of one new measure, Prepared for Success.

Read about the State Reports Card Measurements and what they mean for Mason.
MHS Students On a Mission for Spike's K9 Fund

Mason High School juniors
Rachel Cutter and Adele Igney are on a mission to raise awareness of the sacrifice service working dogs make for our communities through their work with Spike's K9 Fund, a nonprofit founded by James Hatch, a retired Special Warfare Operator.

Cutter and Igney enlisted the Mason High School Comets Ice Hockey Club Team to assist with a fundraiser to vest City of Mason Police K9s with ballistic vests - stab proof, bullet proof and individually fitted for comfort and agility - to keep the K9s safe while protecting our community.  The officers rely on donations to outfit their K9 partners properly.

Senior Goalie Max Harper has taken the lead for the team to both organize and spread the word about this event at the Cincinnati Cyclones Game and Wiener Dog Races on Saturday, March 12.  Retired Navy SEAL and Founder of Spike's K9 Fund, James Hatch , will be present and honored for his Service by the Cincinnati Cyclones at the game, which begins at 7:30 pm at U.S. Bank Arena.

Read more about Mission for Spike's K9 Fund
MHS Academic Quiz Team Earns Back-to-Back GMC Titles 


The Mason High School Academic Quiz Team finished the school's first 18-0 undefeated GMC season.

"We are now 35-1 in the GMC over the past two years, and back-to-back GMC champions," said third year captain George Valcarcel .

The MHS Academic Quiz Team is not one to rest on its laurels though. On Wednesday February 17, the Quiz Team participated in the Student v. Staff quiz bowl match. This epic showdown of knowledge was held in the MHS Kiva, while MBC Sports Radio captured the play-by-play action.

The Academic Team is coached by Thurman Allen and Mark Wyatt .

Read more about the  Academic Team.
High Fives to... 


... MHS MAASC (Mason African American Students for Change) Club, who organized an incredible Black History Month Lecture series all month that inspires attendees!









... MHS boys and girls swim teams, who are headed to State! Good luck also to the following individual swimmers who will compete: Preston Bailey, Ethan Devyak, Ashley Volpenhien, Allison Bloebaum, Lauren Thomas, Jordan Decker, Abby Esler, Caroline Wolf, Gabby Marinelli, Camille Nguyen and Diver Allen Feng. Read the Cincinnati Enquirer's coverage of   Ashley Volpenhein shattering her own state record at last weekend's district meet!


...
MECC PTO, who brought giggles and squeals to the Early Childhood Center with a family night with the Cool Critters Guy!   Our schools would be filled with a lot less hands-on learning, fun (and in this case, fewer critters!) without our hard-working PTOs! Many thanks to the families who volunteer and donate to make events like this happen at MECC, WR, MI and MMS!









...MHS SIBS and the MMS ABC's (Anti-Bullying Club) who led school-wide efforts  to  reinforce our collective responsibility to care for each other by #StartingwithHello and making sure that #NoOneEatsAlone!

 





... MHS 2012 Alum Joe Spencer, who was recently recognized for his commitment to community service. The Illini' center is featured in this wonderful article for using his platform for good!






Matar Named Kiwanis Feb. Student of the Month
 

  
Mason High School senior Daniel Matar was recognized as The Kiwanis Club of Mason's February Student of theMonth. Matar was nominated by MHS Science Teachers DeeDee Messer, Barb Shuba and Academic Advisor Anne Toohey .

Matar is the founder of Elements LLC, an app development company that has for-profit clients and does benefit projects like the Pennies for Pasta app. The humble entrepreneur who loves learning plans to study engineering in the fall.

On February 16, the Kiwanis Club presented Matar with $50 and a certificate commemorating his achievement. Daniel's parents, Wassim Matar and Miranda Faragen, teachers, and Principal Dave Hyatt joined the Kiwanians in recognizing Matar's accomplishments. The Mason Kiwanis Club meets weekly at noon at the Houston Restaurant in Mason.

Read more about the Kiwanis Student of the Month.
MHS Recognizes February Rotary Royalty 

Congratulations to the 75 Mason High School students who were recognized as February'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. Emma Baillie 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 full list of February Rotary Royalty nominees.
Big Band Bash March 19 

The Mason Band Boosters are hosting the Second Annual Band Bash March 19 at the Marriott Northeast.  The BigBand theme this year is reminiscent of the Big Band era and celebrates Mason's great big band.  Proceeds will support all the district's band programs in grades 6-12.    

The evening will feature music, dancing, dinner by-the-bite, drinks, silent and live auctions, raffles and more.   Director Avious Jackson is the evening's host and will auction off a day with Mr. & Mrs. Bass, the opportunity to conduct the band and much more. More information is available at MasonBandBash.com and tickets for the event are available online at masonbandbash@eventbrite.com .
Nominate a Mason Educator for Project Excellence    

Don't miss your chance to nominate one of our OUTSTANDING Mason teachers for Warren County Project Excellence Teacher of the Year! 

Application can be completed online , and deadline is coming up quickly - February 26, 2016.

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