February 2020 CommUNITY Connection
March 17 Operating Levy Update
On March 17, 2020 Mason City Schools will be on the ballot with a critical operating levy. Mason has not received new operating levy funds in 15 years. The revenue we are asking voters for is needed to maintain the Mason Quality that exists today. If we fail, this will be the second consecutive levy failure in a decade and our quality and reputation will change. 

Please watch this video  of Superintendent Jonathan Cooper sharing the  specific cost structure changes and program reductions   should the levy fail.

"As Mason's Superintendent and CEO, there is no harder task than developing the plan for what happens if the operating levy does not pass. Let me be clear, there are no easy options. These cost structure changes and program reductions will change Mason. Every decision will make an impact that changes who we are as a district, and what we can do for kids and their families," said Cooper.

Watch this LOCAL 12, WKRC-TV piece and hear County Auditor Matt Nolan confirm the district's math for calculating the levy increase.

“There is a 20% increase in millage, but it’s also got a decrease in millage. There is no point in saying there is a 20% increase. Nobody’s taxes are ever going up by 20%” Nolan said.
New Intern "Lucy" Joining ME/MI
Mason’s newest intern loves kids and learning. Lucy, a yellow Labrador retriever, is the district’s therapy dog for students in grades 3-6. She will stay with her handler, Mason Intermediate School Counselor Sara Kranson

“My family and I are so excited to welcome Lucy into our home, but more importantly I cannot wait to see how Lucy can emotionally support our Comet Family. The love and support a dog can bring to someone is endless and I am certain that our staff and students will be affected by her in a positive way. I feel so lucky that our school district is so passionate about mental health and wellness. I am looking forward to our new four legged staff member,” said Kranson.

More Dogs Coming
Last summer, the Mason community raised enough money to purchase a special service dog that will provide therapy and reading support to all 2200 Mason Early Childhood students. Gibson honors Sable Gibson - a fourth grade Comet who passed away in 2019. Gibson will work in the MECC library on a daily basis - giving love and no judgement to all of Mason’s youngest readers.

The district hopes to eventually have at least one therapy dog at every school as part of its mental wellness program.

Superintendent Jonathan Cooper Testified in Front of H.B. 9 Conference Committee
On February 18 Superintendent Jonathan Cooper testified in front of the H.B. 9 Conference Committee about our community's concerns that EdChoice paints high-quality public schools as failing, and shifts public school funding to private schools. Please keep contacting Senate President Larry Obhof, Sen. Wilson, Rep. Don Jones, Rep. Zeltwanger, and Governor Dewine.

21 MHS Students Earn a Perfect 36 on ACT
On January 28, the Mason City Schools Board of Education recognized 21 Mason High School students who earned a perfect score of 36 on the ACT, a standardized test used for college admission.

Priya Bandaru , Ryan Caplinger , Leon Chang , Pranav Cherukuri , Siddarth Dasari , Naomie Gao , Lily Geiser , Claire Hu , Justin Huang , Keshav Iyengar , Lisa Li , Tanushri Madichetti ,  Mullika Pandit , Kevin Ren , Ayanav Roy , Vedarsh Shah , Michael Sivertson , Lucas Volpenhein , Jessica Wang , Alexander Ye , and Christopher Zhang all scored a perfect 36. The ACT consists of tests in English, mathematics, reading and science - each scored on a scale of 1–36. A student's composite score is the average of the four test scores.

During the meeting, the students shared their favorite #MasonMoment . Read more about how their Mason Moments demonstrate the very best of #CometCulture .
Cultural Diversity Celebrated at Taste of Mason
The 12th annual Taste of Mason was held at Mason High School on February 5. The Mason community came together and celebrated its diversity by enjoying food from many ethnic and independent local restaurants, while watching incredible multicultural performances, and enjoying a global carnival hosted by MHS World Language Societies and the Comet Zone and Comet Savings & Loan.

Participating local food vendors included Adesso Cafe, Chan's Asian Wok, Divine Appetite Cafe, El Vaquero Mexican Cuisine, Kung Fu Tea, L'Crepe, Le Macaron French Pastries, Little Pastry Boutique, Soho Japanese Bistro, Sweet's Zone Bakery, The Mason Grill, Tony's Pizzeria, Two Cities Pizza, Zoup! and 20 Mile Deli.

Learn more about the performers and View the Facebook album .
Hope Squad Brings Best-Selling Author to Mason to Show Full Picture of Achievement Culture
In her book,  What Made Maddy Run , sports writer and ESPN commentator Kate Fagan recounts Holleran’s story and explores the struggles with mental illness many young people experience today. On February 27, Fagan shared with a packed crowd in Mason High School's Auditorium what she’d learned about some of the cultural, technological and mental health causes for teen and young adults' increasing suicide rates.

Fagan's visit was a result of efforts from Mason High School's Hope Squad - a peer-to-peer suicide prevention group. The students of Hope Squad felt strongly that Fagan’s messages would resonate with the student body as they work to raise mental health awareness and reduce the stigma that surrounds those conversations. 

"Achievement and success do not equal happiness. Things aren’t always as they seem. There's a challenge of living in a world filled with comparison and pursuit of more... more success...better grades...improved athletic performance - it's a mythical perfection. Take time to find and do what you love," said Fagan. 

Learn more about the Full Picture presentation .
30 MHS Students Named National Merit Scholarship Finalists
The National Merit Scholarship Program has announced its Finalists to be considered for National Merit Scholarships offered in 2020. The program has determined who of the 16,000 Semifinalists named in September 2019 have met all requirements to advance to the next stage of the competition.
The following Mason City Schools students were named Finalists in the 2020 competition: Priya Bandaru, Emma Bishop,Pranav Cherukuri, Nicholas Comatas, Siddarth Dasari, Yash Deshpande, Eric Enouen, Ishana Galgali, Naomie Gao, Lily Geiser, Jack Gerus, Christine Giberson, Shreya Gundavarpu, Andrea Hefferan, Claire Hu, Nina Kisanga, Jacquelyn Kraimer, Alexandra Madaras, Tanushri Madichetti, Grace Marten, Maanasa Mendu, Sruthi Parthasarathi, Ashka Shah, Lucas Shen, Eric Sun, Anusha Vadlamani, Sai Soumya Vytla, Jessica Wang, Christopher Zhang, Grace Zhang.

Read more on the finalists .
MI's Sahana Srikanth Wins School Spelling Bee
With a careful c-o-m-m-o-d-o-r-e, Mason Intermediate sixth grader Sahana Srikanth clinched first place in the Mason Intermediate Spelling Bee this winter.
This is her second year in a row serving as our school wide spelling bee champion.
Sahana outlasted 5 other spellers through 22 rounds to earn the title. “We are so proud of Sahana. Not only does she work hard to become a better speller, but she demonstrated humility when she won the final round of the Spelling Bee. She truly exemplifies what it means to be MI Strong!” stated Mary Chappell, 5th grade gifted intervention specialist.

Sahana will complete the online portion of the Scripps National Spelling with the hope of qualifying for the Region II Bee in March.
March 17 Operating Levy FAQs
MI's Black History Bowl Celebrates African-American History
Mason Intermediate School’s 14th Annual Black History Bowl, organized and facilitated by fifth grade teachers, Nick Washington and Kim Rader , set records for energy and enthusiasm! The competition started in November when students took a qualifying test to earn a spot in the Black History Bowl competition for their team. 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 12.
"It’s so gratifying to see the passion and commitment students have for this important part of American history. They spend much of their free time and getting together outside of school to study. It’s amazing to see the amount of information they can absorb and quickly recall,” said Washington.

Read more on the Black History Bowl.
MHS Girls Tennis Team Honored at State House
On February 12 State Senator Steve Wilson honored the Mason High School Tennis team with a resolution celebrating the team’s 2019 Ohio Tennis Coaches Association Division I State Championship. This is the third consecutive season they have won the OTCA Division I tournament.

"I am honored to recognize the achievements of this impressive group of young women, and I congratulate them on another State Championship,” Wilson said. “This team has showcased their talents on and off the court and their hard work has made our whole community very proud.”

The tennis team ended the season with a remarkable 21-0 record.
MECC Learners Join Global Movement to Prioritize Play
This month, MECC students participated in Global School Play Day 2020. Staff committed to giving their students a full day of unstructured play. The students were able to communicate, collaborate, and create without interference from adults. For one full day of school, staff handed the reins over to the students and simply sat back and observed.
Through much research and the study of Purposeful Pla y by Kristine Mraz, MECC educators are preaching the direct correlation between the rise of anxiety and depression and the decline of play that Dr. Peter Grey speaks of in his TedX talk.

Read more on the Global Day of Play .
MHS Speech & Debate Team State Qualifiers; Members Qualify for Nationals
Members of the Mason High School Speech & Debate Team competed at the Greater Miami Valley District Tournament on February 1 at Centerville High School. The Comets achieved 38 state qualifiers to the Ohio Speech and Debate Association's State Tournament that will be held in Wooster, OH March 6-7.

Read more about the qualifiers .
Heather Nagle is WARM 98.5 Teacher of the Week
WARM 98.5’s Amanda Orlando recognized fourth grade teacher Heather Nagle as WARM 98.5’s teacher of the week. Mrs. Nagle was nominated by student Carson Wall along with his mom Stacey.

“My son, Carson, and I nominate Mrs. Heather Nagle for teacher of the week. Mrs. Nagle is so energetic and absolutely loves her students. Mrs. Nagle team teaches with Mrs. Shawna Bender and they have been together for many years. As a team they have it together. They are so well organized and keep the parents involved in the teaching process. My son actually likes learning now. It’s nice when teachers can teach outside of the box. She makes learning fun and the long day go by quicker for a 9-10 year old child who is expected to do so much more in today’s society. We need more Mrs. Nagles!”

See more about Mrs. Nagle .
Mason Robotics Team Advances to State Tournaments
Mason Team 8719 Quantum Leap advanced to 3 state tournaments in Ohio, Virginia, and Maryland. FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a non-profit organization that introduces families and children of all ages to the world of STEM. FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) is one of four robotics programs offered to kids ages 6 to 18: FIRST Robotics Challenge, FIRST Tech Challenge, FIRST Lego League, and Jr. FIRST Lego League. With each new season comes a new set of obstacles and gameplay mechanisms. Every team builds and programs robots in response to the challenge, then competes in several high-energy tournaments. In addition to building and programming, students learn to work as a team, develop Gracious Professionalism (good sportsmanship), hone their business skills, and become adept at the presentation of their ideas.

Read more on the Robotics team .
Mason City Schools Seek Substitute Teachers
The Mason City School District Human Resources department seeks substitute teachers at the Mason Early Childhood Center (grades PK-2), Mason Elementary (grades 3-4), Mason Intermediate School (grades 5-6), Mason Middle School (grades 7-8) and Mason High School (grades 9-12).
Daily substitute teachers earn $85 a day, and enjoy a flexible schedule. Long-term subs start at $100 after 20 days in a consecutive assignment and increase again if the assignment lasts longer than 60 days. 

Requirements to become a substitute teacher:
  • a college degree.
  • willing to apply for an Ohio substitute teaching license. We will help you with the application process.
  • Complete a required BCI and FBI background checks. This is done in the Human Resources Department, the cost is $50, payable by cash or check. The background check is valid for five years.

# MasonMoment
Our Comet Community continues to be inspired by the Gibson family, and the impact they are having as more and more of us try to #ShineLike Sable.
Our entire Comet Family is grieving the loss of Mason High School Class of 2019's Ben Tavella . On February 18 Ben passed away in his residence hall at the University of Dayton. Ben was a fiercely independent, witty, bright young man, who had defied many odds and was pursuing engineering. Please keep Ben's family and friends in your hearts and prayers.
We are grateful for a community of educators who show up when it is most needed. Watch this beautiful  WLWT  story about MHS educator and coach Rob Matula and the impact he had on another outstanding educator (and Mason grad) Wyoming’s Adam Jones. Never xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx underestimate your impact on others.
Join us in congratulating these 33 Comets who have made the decision to continue their academic and athletic career at the collegiate level! We can't wait to continue cheering you on in college. Just remember... once a Comet, always a Comet!
These Comets are FAST and OH Division 1 State Champs! Join us in congratulating MHS senior Adam Cheney and MHS junior Kiara Anchrum . Adam broke his own state record when he won the 50-yard freestyle in a final time of 19.62. He also won the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 43.93, just shy of his own state record of 43.27, which he set last season. Kiara won the 100-yard butterfly with a final time of 54.48.

On Thursday, February 6 MECC PTO held their annual Sweetheart Dance. Many thanks to the volunteers for making this event so sweet! Check out more photos in our Facebook album .
February 14 was a Personal Learning Day in Mason City Schools - which meant our teachers were learning more about our Big Rock 3:  #PersonalizedLearning   work, and our students were pursuing their passion. Great job to all of the students and families who shared what they were excited to learn on this day!
Hope Weaver is doing well and encourages everyone to become an organ donor! Our heart is full!

Watch Fox19's coverage of Hope's story.
2,657 MHS Students Named to 1st Semester Honor Roll
Click here to see the full list.
1,377 MMS Students Named to 1st Semester Honor Roll
Click here to see the full list.
With Mason City Schools new school hours this year, we thought we'd share the schedule for a 2-hour delay, closing, and early dismissal. Stay warm!

Please read our  Winter Weather Guidelines
Listen  to our #YourStoryMatters podcast.

Your Story Matters brings Mason's rich culture to life through story. You'll hear stories from staff, students, and community members designed to celebrate diversity, passion, and purpose. Our stories weave our commUNITY together - let's listen and connect!