September 15, 2017
Master Facilities Plan Phase 1 Kicks off at MECC

A cadre of Mason City Schools five, six, and seven-year olds braved the rain to break ground on the first phase of Mason City Schools Master Facilities Plan - an addition to the Mason Early Childhood Center (MECC) that will ensure all o f the district's 2,085 preschool through second graders attend the same school in 2019-2020. Currently, the district's second graders are split between MECC and Western Row Elementary.  

Ground Breaking _ MECC

The Mason City Schools community supported the district's facility needs, and the district is now implementing its Master Facilities Plan that's been in the works since 2000. Learn more about the history of the Mason's facilities planning from former school board member, Marianne Culbertson, who spoke during the September 13 groundbreaking ceremony.  The Master Facilities Plan includes a modest addition to the Mason Early Childhood Center, some renovations inside Mason Intermediate School, and a total renovation of Mason Middle School.

Under the plan that community members liked best, in 2019-2020 the district's preschool through second graders will attend the Mason Early Childhood Center; third through sixth graders will attend Mason Intermediate School; seventh and eighth graders will attend Mason Middle School; and ninth through twelfth graders will attend Mason High School. Western Row Elementary will close in 2019-2020.

Nearly $34 million of the $43 million plan is being paid for with tobacco settlement funds from the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission, and the remaining costs are funded by local business tax abatements. Due to careful planning, this entire project will not require voters to approve a bond-levy.

Read more about the ground breaking.
Record Number of Mason National Merit Semifinalists

Mason City Schools has set a new district record for the number of National Merit Semifinalists. Mason High School celebrates the achievement of 39 of its students who were recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Competition for 2018.

National Merit Semi Finalists

Sudarsana Addepalli, Dariah Ansari, Saagar Chokshi, Lauren Elliott, Anna Estes, Alexander Gao, Wei Gao, Lauren Han, Thomas Hayama, Jeffrey Huang, Natalee Jobert, Arjan Kalra, Preetham Kastury, Mujtaba Khalid, Suraj Komatineni, Sydnie Kong, Ryan Kouche, James Krueger, Jack Li, Terry Luo, Rishi Mehta, Connie Mi, Olivia Min, Rishav Mukherjee, Atneya Nair, Ishani Paul, Ranjani Ramasubramanian, Rahul Ramesh, David Sun, Suraj Suresh, Noah Trenaman, Jenny Wan, Alex Wang, Hengyi Wang, Linda Wang, Ryan Winterhalter, Joyce Wu, Catherine Xu and Peter Zhu all National Merit Semifinalists.  They are among the approximate 16,000 of the nation's top students, less than one percent of high school seniors nationally, who will go on to compete for the prestigious National Merit Scholarships. In February 2018, the Semifinalists will be notified whether they have advanced to Finalist standing. Corporate, college, and National Merit scholarships will then be awarded to finalists between April and July 2018.

Read more about the National Merit Semifinalists.
Mason School Board Hires Shaun Bevan as New Treasurer
Shaun Bevan

The Mason City School District's leadership team will soon have an important new addition.

During its September 12 meeting, the Mason City Schools Board of Education hired Shaun Bevan as the district's chief financial officer. Bevan replaces Ronda Johnson, who was hired last month as the Wyoming Schools Treasurer.

"We are thrilled to welcome Shaun to the team. We're confident that he will hit the ground running because he has deep ties to the community, and has already built strong relationships with Mason and Deerfield Township business leaders and government officials.  We so appreciate that Shaun has a heart for education and doing what's best for our learners and educators," said School Board President Matt Steele.
Bevan, who comes to Mason City Schools with more than 17 years of financial and organizational experience, currently serves as treasurer of Kings Local Schools.

Bevan looks forward to meeting the district's employees and families, and deepening his partnership with local elected officials and business leaders.

Read more about Shaun Bevan.
Mason School District Releases 5th "Quality Profile"

Quality Profile
Mason City Schools joined over 60 school districts throughout Ohio in releasing a robust companion to the state's Local Report Card. Called a  Quality Profile , the report includes additional accountability measures that define a high-quality education.

The Quality Profile helps characterize the overall educational value of public education beyond standardized testing.  This year's report highlights six key areas: academics, diversity, finances, innovation, learning environments, and whole child.

"This is not a 'fluff piece.'  It is an honest look at what is important to our community, and the kind of value Mason City Schools provides to residents.  In Mason, we're not resting on our laurels.  Instead, we are committed to "Growing Greatness Together!" - and the "together" includes our community," said Dr. Gail Kist-Kline, Superintendent.

Read more about the Quality Profile.

What do you think?
Check out Mason's Quality Profile , and let us know what you think. Send an email to .
Dream Lab
A section of the Mason Early Childhood Center's library has been transformed into an exciting Makerspace and innovation lab area. The "Dream Lab" was born out of MECC educators'  desire to create an interactive space that encourages powerful learning across all disciplines and for all types of learners.

The innovative space was made possible through a partnership with the Mason Schools Foundation , which is also working with other Mason school educators to expand innovative spaces through the district's Innovative Catalyst Grants .

Innovative Learning Coach Krissy Hufnagel , who spearheaded the project, said the Dream Lab encourages creativity, critical thinking, communication, and cooperation.   The space includes a variety of zones and tools that allow the school's learners to dream big - including a literacy zone, an engineering zone, a creator zone, a coding zone, a research zone, and a production zone.

Read more about the Dream Lab.
Mason City Schools Committed to Recruiting & Retaining Top Talent: Announces New Leaders to Head Efforts

The Mason City School District will have two experienced leaders heading its efforts to recruit and retain excellent educators during the 2017-2018 school year. Michelle Means-Walker , EdD and Tonya McCall will oversee the district's initiatives to ensure that every student has great teachers and administrators - and the teams who support them. Means-Walker and McCall will share and reshape the district's Human Resources-Talent Management Officer position which became available after Marla Niebling resigned to pursue other opportunities.

"We are thrilled that Dr. Means-Walker and Mrs. McCall have stepped up to lead our talent management efforts this year. These leaders are committed to leveraging our district's most valuable resource - our people," says Dr. Gail Kist-Kline, Superintendent.

Read more about McCall and Means-Walker .
Coach Wheeler Receives Mason Schools Foundation Founder's Award
Coach Wayne Wheeler

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. Three community members were nominated for the prestigious award, which was presented to award recipient Coach Wayne Wheeler  during the Mason Schools Foundation "Small Town Hoedown Gala" on September 9.

Read more about the Coach Wheeler.
Team Venture Laces Up Gym Shoes for Building Blocks for Kids 

Mason Intermediate's sixth grade Team Venture kicked off their year of volunteering on Saturday, August 26 by participating in the 2017 Bubble Blast 5K. 
Team Venture

This marks the eleventh year for the team's community service program.  Team Venture teachers created the group, called Venture Out!, to provide students with service opportunities throughout the year.  "Each year, it is extremely rewarding to see students develop a heart for their community and helping those in need," said Team Venture teacher Dale Moberly .  "They discover that they benefit just as much, or more, than the recipients of their kind efforts.  

17 MI & MMS Musicians Selected for Jr. CYWE 

Congratulations to the 17 Mason Middle School and Mason Intermediate School band students who were selected for this year's Jr. CYWE. Students were selected based on an audition process that included middle school band students throughout the tri-state area. 

According to MMS band director Zach Hinson , this is the largest number of Mason students ever accepted into this prestigious ensemble. The district also has the largest representation in the Jr. CYWE, with about 20% of the ensemble being comprised of Mason students.

Mason Shares "Anxiety 101" Resources for Families

Over 350 Mason parents attended two Anxiety 101 sessions sponsored by Mason City Schools Counselors and the district's Safe & Inviting Schools Committee. Participants learned many important tips , but most of all, were reminded that "never in the history of the world has telling someone to "Stop Worrying" actually helped that person to stop worrying!"
If you missed the sessions, no worries. Watch the Elementary Session of Anxiety 101 and/or the Secondary Session of Anxiety 101 now.
Additionally, check out some of the resources that were shared by our experts:
Sometimes, we tend to idealize childhood. But being a kid is not carefree. Your Mason City Schools educators and school leaders want to partner with you to build resilient children and teens. As a community, we are proud to be having these important conversations. This year we are investigating the role of skills and mindsets that will help our students be difference makers. This list of attributes reflect the enduring qualities students need to adapt and learn, use knowledge in new ways, communicate ideas and plans, and inspire themselves and others.  
High Fives to...

... Mason learners, families & our Transportation Department, who are showing Texas & Florida we have their back in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey & Irma. Each of our schools has been collecting non-perishable food, personal care products, cleaning supplies, paper products, baby & infant supplies and first aid items for Matthew 25 Ministries .

Want to help? Drop off items at any of our schools, or "Stuff the Bus" at any home football game this season!

. ..  Western Row Difference Makers, who are helping their classmates understand compassion, responsibility, citizenship, respect and perseverance through daily announcements, assemblies, and class projects. We love seeing all these wonderful examples of how #MasonShines!

... Mason Cross Country Boosters, Runners & Coaches, who once again hosted the best cross country invitational on the planet! Did you miss the hay bales, or the infamous creek run? No worries - check out the Creek Cam on ICRC-TV !

... MHS sophomore Anushka Mukherjee, whose photo was chosen to be hung in Dr. Gregory Davis's dental office. Dr. Davis was so impressed with his new first edition - and made sure to get Anushka's signature.

... Lily Allum, Anna Aronson, Michelle Crispin, Erica English, Ben Harper, Nick Krueger, Natalie Nye, Ellie Uematsu, Caroline Waller, and Jessica Morse, who were the MHS students behind last year's Kindness Post-It note campaign. This year, they made another "Labor Day of Love" to ensure that every MHS student and staffer knows that they are cared about and important. This is now part of our #CometDNA!  

... the 2017 Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees, who were celebrated for their accomplishments when they wore the green and white. Congratulations to Class of 1986's Jesse Case - Baseball/Basketball, Class of 1987's Jeff Watson - Baseball/Football, Class of 1988's Lori Balough - Track/Soccer, Class of 1992's Jan Rude - Cross Country/Swimming/Track, Class of 1997's Randy Andrews - Baseball, Class of 2000's Matt Swanson - Football/Basketball/Track/Soccer, and Class of 2002's Rachel Minnich - Soccer/Basketball.

... MHS Class of 2017's Adrian Chan, who is living his dream and celebrating his second month working at San Francisco's famed Atelier Crenn. He shares "Recently a magazine, Eater , did an interview with Chef Dominique Crenn and somehow I was in a couple shots. Just lurking haha. Hope that Mason is continuing with the Personal Learning Day program. Without it, I wouldn't be here at this point."  Good news: Mason's first Personal Learning Day  is Nov. 20, 2017. We can't wait to see what passions our learners pursue!

... the Mason Schools Foundation Gala volunteers & attendees, who threw an incredible "Small Town Hoedown" that raised a whole lot of money to take Mason students above & beyond! Nearly $8,000 was raised during the event's paddle call to provide funding for the district's Innovative Catalyst Program which will focus on Project-Based Learning and Genius Hour, STEAM, and Maker Culture. Learn more about the grant from this moving video , and consider donating today !

...  Dr. Gail Kist-Kline, Jonathan Cooper & the Mason City School District, who were all nominated for MADE Chamber Gems of Excellence Awards! We couldn't be more honored to be nominated for the Mason Deerfield Chamber's  Innovative Business of the Yea r - along with MVDconnect & UC Health West Chester Hospital! We're also super proud that our Superintendent Dr. Gail Kist-Kline is nominated for the Pink Diamond Award, and Chief Innovation Officer Jonathan Cooper is nominated for the Rising Star Award & the Excellence in Education Award! We are so lucky to live, learn, and do business in a community served by a Chamber who is actively growing an even stronger and more vibrant Mason/Deerfield!

Singleton Named Kiwanis September Student of the Month

Mason High School senior Bobbie-Jean Singleton was recognized as The Kiwanis Club of Mason's September Student of the Month. Singleton was nominated by MHS receptionist Phyllis Burpo and Specialized Classroom Aide Michaelanne Sauer .

Singleton is an active volunteer for Comets in Action, and is taking a leading role in the school's "Say Something" campaign which takes place October 16-20, 2017. MHS and MMS will join schools around the country in teaching students how to look for warning signs, signals and threats (especially in social media) from a peer who might be planning to hurt themselves or someone else and to say something to a trusted adult to get help and save a life.

Read more about the Kiwanis Student of the Month.
Friday Night Packed with Comet Fun During Tailgate'17

WHAT: Tailgate 2017 - it's where food, fun and family meet!
Booster organizations, student groups, the Mason Schools Foundation, and PTO's will once again sponsor a variety of food booths and activities before the Comet football game. Activities include hair painting, the latest Comet sportswear, music, dunking booths, and more.  Come cheer on your Comets, and take in TAILGATE '17!

WHEN: Friday, September 15        
             4:30pm - 6:30 pm.
A huge crowd of Comet faithful are expected for the contest at Dwire Field at Atrium Stadium with kickoff slated for 7:00 p.m. against Hamilton.

WHERE: Tailgate is held in the adjacent parking lot behind Mason Middle School next to Atrium Stadium.

Mason City Schools  |
For information, email Tracey Carson at