January 2020 CommUNITY Connection
Celebrate Mason City Schools Diversity during the 12th Annual "Taste of Mason" on Feb. 5
Don't miss the 12th anniversary of "Taste of Mason" - which showcases our community's diversity!

WHAT:  At the Taste of Mason you can sample a new dish, catch up with old friends, and be mesmerized by incredible talent! Enjoy exciting offerings from many ethnic, and independent Mason restaurants. Watch multicultural acts perform. Children can enjoy a global carnival hosted by MHS World Language Societies, and get their passports stamped while purchasing items at the Comet Zone with global currency from the Comet Savings & Loan 

WHEN:   Wednesday, February 5, 2020
             5:00 pm to 8:00 pm

WHERE:  Mason High School Commons
              6100 Mason-Montgomery Rd.

See more on the Taste of Mason .
Mason Schools Joins OH Districts in Calling for EdChoice Reforms
Superintendent Jonathan Cooper joined education leaders from around the state in advocating for critical changes to Ohio’s EdChoice Voucher program.

EdChoice drains resources from high-performing public schools and diverts scarce education funding to private schools. Districts must make up the difference with property tax levies. The state is creating two separate education systems -- and asking local taxpayers to fund the expansion.

“In Mason, our residents and educators are very worried about the financial impact that the expansion of EdChoice has on our schools and community. We appreciate that Sen. Wilson has expressed his concerns about the extreme effects the voucher deductions are having on school districts - particularly those like Mason who have had flat state funding,” said Cooper. “We strongly believe that the state should directly fund new vouchers by providing a state appropriation to cover the full cost of these vouchers, and that the state’s criteria for deeming a school ‘failing’ needs overhauled.”

Read more about EdChoice Reforms
Mason Staff Transform Transportation Office
Mason City Schools' transportation office has been totally transformed! Bus drivers  Rebecca Bate, Jenny Reed, Theresa Tener,  and  Amy Wilson  wanted to make the entrance that greets guests and staff more cheerful and welcoming. With help from Mason maintenance department's Mark Lewis and Jim Turpin , and transportation mechanic Darryl Marshall, the team created a mock school bus - with working lights and fixtures! All of these talented staffers donated their time and materials.

Read more on the transformation .
District to Host Facebook Live CommUNITY Convo about March 17 Operating Levy
The Mason City School District encourages community members to tune into a lunchtime Facebook Live CommUNITY Conversation about the March 17 operating levy - including what's at stake if it passes or fails. It has been 15 years since Mason City Schools voters passed an operating levy. This levy doesn’t add new people or programs. It keeps what we have.

Facebook LIVE:  Tuesday, February 11, from 12:00pm-1:00pm. Facebook: @masonohschools

WHY:  There's a lot at stake for the Mason Schools community. Join Mason City Schools Superintendent Jonathan Cooper, Treasurer Shaun Bevan, and your neighbors in discussing why Mason is on the ballot, and what happens if the levy passes or fails. 

2020-2021 Mason Kindergarten Registration Drive
The Mason Early Childhood Center’s 2020-2021 kindergarten registration is underway. The Pre-Registration meeting for Kindergarten 2020-2021 will be held on February 19, 2019 at the Mason Early Childhood Center located at 4631 Hickory Woods Drive. Packet sign out will be from 6:00pm-6:45pm followed by a general meeting from 6:45pm-7:30pm. This meeting is for parents only due to limited seating. If you are unable to attend this meeting, please visit the Mason Early Childhood Center at 4631 Hickory Woods Drive or our Central Registrar Office at 211 North East Street AFTER February 19 to sign out a registration packet.
Registration for kindergarten will be held in the MECC Gym on the following dates:
Tuesday, March 10 6:00 - 8:00 pm
Monday, March 16 6:00 - 8:00 pm

**Only parents who register their child at the March 10 or March 16 meeting will be able to preference their child's kindergarten teacher.**

Read more on Kindergarten Registration.    
Business Advisory Committee's Important Role in Evaluating MCS Finances
The Mason City Schools Business Advisory Committee is a volunteer group of MCS residents and business leaders who meet quarterly to review the finances and business operations of the school district. The Committee was formed nearly 10 years ago, long before the state required it. 
The Committee reviews financial reports, five-year forecasts, budgets, audit results, school funding, business practices and other business-related items. The Committee also reviews the need and amount of a new tax levy months before a recommendation is made to the Board of Education, and the issue is placed on the voting ballot.

“There is a direct connection between high quality schools, home values, economic development, and a strong community. Mason City Schools’ March 17th operating levy is an investment that keeps the quality we expect from the Mason City School district. It has been 15 years since voters have passed an operating levy. The district has controlled costs, listened to taxpayers, and made every effort to make this levy request affordable. The district made staffing cuts and cost reductions over the last several years to stretch operating dollars. The schools also funded recent building and facility needs without increasing taxes by utilizing State funds and local business tax abatement revenues. We recognize the high quality education our schools provide, and appreciate the board and administration’s fiscal responsibility.”

Mason School Board Elects New Officers
The Mason City Schools Board of Education reorganized on January 14, 2020 with several members appointed to new positions.

Board members appointed Charles Galvin , who was first elected in 2017, as the new board president.

Board member Connie Yingling was a ppointed  vice president for 2020.

Kevin Wise was appointed as the legislative liaison to the Ohio School Boards Association and Matt Steele was appointed as the student achievement liaison to the Ohio School Boards Association.

March 17 Operating Levy FAQs
Batsche Sworn In as New Mason School Board Member: Wise Also Begins New Term
T he Mason City School Board welcomed its newest member January 14. The mother of two Mason Comets, Desiree Batsche has deep Mason roots. Her in-laws moved to Mason in 1934, and her husband is Mason Municipal Judge Andrew Batsche.

Batsche shared her opinion on the March 17 levy - a key issue facing the school district.

“As a new school board member and a fiscal conservative, the information I have gathered shows that the administration has been good fiscal stewards and diligent in exhausting all options before going to the voters with the levy proposal. The levy is necessary to maintain the current level of services and opportunities for our students. It’s inevitable and necessary for every school district, at some point, to request additional funding because of the manner in which schools are funded.”

Read more about Mrs. Batsche .
THE FULL PICTURE: Raising Teens in an Achievement Driven Culture
What: Kate Fagan, New York Times Best-Selling Author of What Made Maddy Run will share how achievement culture affects teens, as well as the need to increase communication on the transition from high school to college.

When: Thursday, February 27, 2020, 6:30PM

Where: William Mason High School Auditorium
6100 Mason Montgomery Road
Mason, OH 45040

Why: Over the past few years, Mason High School students have increasingly expressed concerns about the negative impact of achievement-driven culture on students’ mental health. Two years ago, the high school launched Hope Squad - a mental health awareness and peer-to-peer suicide prevention group. This year, the district established a new mental wellness team that includes four new mental wellness staffers, and partnerships with outside agencies for additional support for students and families. Students and staff strongly believe that community awareness of teens’ mental health issues is imperative, and the MHS Hope Squad has worked to create a community event where national author, Kate Fagan, will share ways to recognize signs of students at risk, and to reduce stigma around having conversations about mental health.

Read more about Kate Fagan and the event .
Focus on Personalized Learning: Empowering ME & MI Learners
Teachers at Mason Elementary and Mason Intermediate Schools are excited about Personalized Learning. They’ve engaged in their own learning journey this year alongside Learning Experience Designers, Danielle Creamer and Liz Dooley . This learning has prompted them to explore the idea of learning pathways that allow students to achieve learning goals in a variety of ways. 

Read about the different pathways of learning .
37 MHS Students Receive 61 Awards at Regional Art Competition
The Mason High School Visual Art Department is pleased to share that 37 students have collectively received 61 awards at this year's 2020 Scholastics Regional Art Competition. 

Eleven of those students received a total of 14 Gold Key awards and will have their work continue on to the national competition. Gold Key winners include freshmen  Michelle Chen , Rachel Yang , and Tessa Zecchino ,  sophomores  Bron Acosta , Sneha Menon , and Maya Rao , juniors  Summer Cervantes and Ally Guo , and seniors  Damian Sauer , Lauren Stacy , and  Annie Zhang .

"Our students work very hard and to have their work chosen to represent our school in the most prestigious high school art competition in the area is an honor," shared MHS Art Educator  Tina Roberts

Read more about the Regional Art Competition .
9 MMS Students Receive 11 Awards at Scholastic Art and Writing Competition
Nine Mason Middle School students received 11 awards at this year's 2020 Scholastics Regional Art and Writing Competition.

The artwork of Mason Middle School students  Somya Manglore  and  Ava Yungbluth  was accepted into the prestigious 2020 Scholastic Art Awards Exhibition.

“The works of   Somya   and  Ava   captured the attention of the judges this year with their innovative and expressive creations. Both of these exceptional young artists will be honored during an awards ceremony for their outstanding work. Somya and Ava will each receive their first Honorable Mention Award. They should be extremely proud of their accomplishments" shared MMS Art Educator  Rita Shriver-Schehr

Comet Community Rallies Around Hope
Comet Family - Please keep Mason Middle School 8th grader Hope in your heart. Her family shares that after waiting on the transplant list since October, they believe a heart has been located! The family is grateful for your prayers, and any support you can provide for transplant-related expenses.

# MasonMoment
Congratulations to MHS senior Ty Sloan on his Congressional nomination to both the US Naval Academy and the US Air Force Academy. Ty, we're proud of your commitment to serve.

MECC, ME, and Mason Intermediate held their Stunt Days after students met their Mason Schools Foundation Reading Challenge Goals. It was an awesome day full of silliness!

Thanks WCPO-TV for this profile on outstanding MHS point guard Megan Wagner - whose leadership on and off the court while facing adversity is a great example of #CometCulture .

Watch Megan's story .
We love seeing our students pursue their passion! MHS senior Jamie Williams just came back from Belgium after being selected with 8 other elite American junior riders to compete against the best riders in the world.

Read more about Jamie's Cyclocross adventure .
ME 4th graders performed "Harmony Around the World" it was a beautiful display of talent. Thank you Mr. McGinty for leading this performance.

See their performance.

Did you know that Mason students are constantly serving our community behind the scenes? A huge thank you to our MHS Softball and Baseball Athletes for hosting a clinic for our all star athletes!
MMS kicked off their One School, One Book program with staff and students. Their exciting journey begins as they embark upon one teenager's story to courageously STEP UP against injustice & make a difference for others. Join these Comets in reading I Am Malala !

We are so proud of these outstanding student-athletes - Steven Hasbra , Sanjana Reddy and Megan Wagner ! Thanks, Mason Deerfield Lifestyle, for showcasing these seniors!

Read about the student athletes .
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 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!