May 17, 2019
Don't miss the opportunity to say GOODBYE to Western Row Elementary!
Western Row Elementary CommUNITY Carnival
Sat. May, 18, 2019
Games, Food, Face Painting, Bounce Houses! The best of every carnival in Western Row’s history. 
Food from food trucks and carnival treats for sale. Rides and games are free.
Parking at Christ Church with Shuttle, or at the Sri SaiBaba Temple. (Parking not available at the Masonic Lodge.)
MCS in the News
  • Wm. Mason High School - Best High Schools in America, US News & World Report
  • Best high schools: Walnut Hills, Highlands, Wyoming, Indian Hill and Mason make the list, Cincinnati Enquirer
  • Mason lacrosse player beats the odds to play his senior year, WCPO Channel 9
  • Mason High School to start new block schedule for better student health, WLWT Channel 5
  • Mason baseball’s most important number is 45040, Cincinnati Enquirer
  • ACT test: It’s not just Walnut Hills High School. Perfect scores are soaring everywhere, Cincinnati Enquirer
  • Talking about suicide: Schools are getting involved, hoping to turn the tide, WLWT Channel 5
  • Ohio school district defends removing valedictorian, salutatorian honors in effort to improve mental health, Fox News
  • Mason High seniors walk back in time before graduation, WLWT Channel 5
To Lower Student Stress, MHS Changes GPA Scale
In an effort to reduce student stress, Mason High School is changing the way it calculates grade point averages (GPAs).

Beginning with the Class of 2020, Mason High School will transition from a 4.0 grading scale with “add-on” weights to a 5.0 weighted credit scale. The changes are designed to encourage students to take the classes that interest them instead of loading up on Advanced Placement and College Credit Plus courses to enhance their academic standing.

Discussions with MHS students and community members during this year’s CommUNITY Conversations and ReImagine Learning sessions included feedback about concerns for students’ social and emotional health. District and school leaders have seen more students with anxiety disorders and heard from more teens mentioning thoughts of suicide. The GPA change is part of a series of moves that the Mason City School District is making to improve students’ mental health.

R ead more about the GPA Scale change .
Mason Moves Away from Val, Sal Recognition
Beginning with the Class of 2020, Mason High School students will no longer vie for valedictorian and salutatorian distinctions. After a year-long study and focus groups with students, staff, and families, MHS officials made the announcement as part of an effort to improve students’ mental wellness.

Students graduating in the class of 2020 and beyond will continue to be recognized for their academic performance using the Latin honors system. Mason High School students with a GPA of 4.00 and above will be designated summa cum laude. MHS Students with a GPA between 3.75 and 3.99 will be designated magna cum laude. MHS students with a GPA between 3.51 to 3.74 will be designated cum laude.

R ead more about the move away from Val, Sal Recognition .
Powell Named Mason Elementary School Principal
Next year, Mason City Schools third and fourth graders will attend the newly formed Mason Elementary School - located on the Mason Intermediate campus. Javaris Powell will lead Mason Elementary School as its first principal.
Mason Elementary School students and staff have the opportunity to build something new, together. Superintendent Jonathan Cooper expressed confidence in Powell’s ability to make strong connections. “As a former fourth grade teacher who is deeply steeped in Responsive Classroom - an approach that lifts up the whole child and has been used at MECC for over a decade - I am very excited to see our learners’ experiences become even more aligned under Javaris’ leadership,” explains Cooper.

The district's third and fourth graders attended school at Western Row Elementary this year. Western Row (which was built in 1962) will close in June as part of the district’s Master Facilities Plan . Closing Western Row saves approximately $500,000 in operating costs annually, and $14 million in capital investments that would be needed to bring Western Row up to OSFC standards.

R ead more about the new Mason Elementary Principal .
MECC Students Connect Kindness to Choosing Local: Police Partnership Guides Walking Field Trip to Two Cities
Last week, some of Mason’s youngest learners got a great lesson in entrepreneurship and empathy - all while walking to a local neighborhood restaurant.

First graders in Monica Johnston , Stacie Price and Pam Wainscott’s classes have been learning about their local community, and identifying their personal strengths and the activities that bring them joy as they follow their dreams. 

Johnston reached out to Zach Greaves and Sean Spurlock , the owners of Two Cities Pizza, to ask if they would be willing to talk to the students about being entrepreneurs, following their dreams, and supporting the local community.  Greaves and Spurlock quickly agreed and invited the classes to meet them at Two Cities, where they would share how they got their start.  

In order to accomplish this, the teachers needed to find a way to get the students to Two Cities, which is 1.8 miles- walking distance from MECC.  They collaborated with Mason Police Officer Jamie VanWagner to create a safe plan for the walk. Officer VanWagner also enlisted the support of Officer Aaron Shaffer to ride alongside the classes as they traveled to Two Cities. 

Mason School Board Approves 2-Year Agreement with Teachers
During its April 23 meeting, the Mason City Schools Board of Education unanimously approved a two-year agreement with the Mason Education Association (MEA). The contract was overwhelmingly ratified on April 10 by the MEA, which represents about 625 Mason educators. 

The agreement calls for a 2.5 percent increase in salaries for each year of the two-year contract covering the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years. Teachers who are eligible will receive step increases. 

MCS Restructures Administrative Roles: Adds Supports for Mental Wellness, Personalized Learning
Mason City Schools is restructuring its administrative and leadership staff to better support educators, students, and families.
On April 23, the Board of Education unanimously approved hiring Laura Martin as the PK-6 Mental Wellness Coordinator, Michelle Dorsey as the 7-12 Mental Wellness Coordinator, Amy Brennan as the new Deputy Superintendent, Krissy Hufnagel as the PK-6 Learning Experience Coordinator, and Shanna Bumiller as the 7-12 Learning Experience Coordinator. 

During the 2017-2018 school year, there were 46 Mason City Schools administrators supporting staff, students, families and community. In 2019-2020, there remain 46 Mason City Schools administrators, but the district will reorganize roles to better support Comet learners. According to the Ohio Department of Education, Mason City Schools has significantly fewer administrators per student than similar districts, and the state average.

MHS Moves to Modified Block Schedule for 2019: One More Small Move to Reduce Student Stress, Improve Opportunities for Connection
Five years ago, Mason High School ditched its trimester schedule for a more traditional, 7-bell semester schedule. The switch saved $750,000 each year - but also left many students reporting feelings of additional stress and anxiety, and teachers sharing concerns about the lack of flexibility and time needed for deeper lessons and project-based learning. Next year, MHS students will still be able to take seven classes each semester, but will have four, 70-minute bells on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and seven, 47-minute bells on Monday and Friday. There are no additional costs with the new schedule. 

R ead more about the MHS modified block schedule .
MHS Students, Staff, Parents Envision What School's Media Center Can Be
Mason High School's Media Center has already gone through several evolutions. When the school was built in 2002, staff knew it needed to be a library, but also needed to have lots of access to computer labs and printers. Over the years, it has also become the home for the school's peer tutoring programs and a Writing Center. But, students have struggled to find the "just right" space to create and practice presentations, work on group projects, and ideate and create, and study after school. With support from the Mason Schools Foundation , MHS and district leaders brought in experienced educator/designer David Jakes to help develop and refine MHS's vision for creative and innovative spaces. Jakes' focus was on raising the bar in the MHS Media Center to a space that supports all learners in creative endeavors of all types. Jakes also explored classrooms, hallways, and athletic facilities as a reminder that every space a student ventures is a space for learning.

R ead more about the MHS Media Center vision .
MI Students 'Save the Bees!' Using Drones
Students in Mason Intermediate fourth grade Team Grit's Math and Science teacher Jamie Dicks' classroom are working to 'save the bees!'

"I wrote and received a Mason Foundation Grant for more than $900 to fund "Team Grit Saves the Bees," shared Dicks. "I explained the beneficial and harmful effects of changes on plants and animals in an ecosystem, and I created a challenge-based lesson on how we can save the bees, because they are starting to disappear as an effect on the entire ecosystem of the bees."

R ead more about how MI plans to 'Save the Bees!'
MECC Students, Staff Blow Bubbles for Autism Awareness
To support National Autism Awareness Month, Mason Early Childhood Center teachers and students joined together on April 18 to spread awareness and acceptance for those on the autism spectrum. The school hosted a Bubbles for Autism Day where students and staff waved bubble wands in the air and blew boatloads of bubbles!
Teachers brought their classes outside for bubble blowing - providing students time to meet new friends from other classes. 

R ead more about Bubbles for Autism .
WR Fourth Grader Wins 2018 Fire Prevention Week Poster Contest
Western Row fourth grader Jimmy Shettigar was recognized as a winner of the 2018 Fire Prevention Week Poster Contest. State Fire Marshal Fire Life Safety Educator Jenni Snyder presented Shettigar with a certificate of recognition on April 2 at Western Row, along with the City of Mason Fire Department representatives.

Twelve elementary school students throughout Ohio received the special recognition for their entries this spring by the State Fire Marshal’s office. 

R ead more about the poster contest winner .
WR Third Grader's 'Kindness Box' is a Positive Culture Builder
When students come up with a great idea, it can quickly expand into a school-wide initiative! 
Western Row third grader Penny Hastings' idea for spreading kindness came from the heart.
"I just came up with an idea to help spread kindness," shared Hastings. "Oh... and I had nothing to do that night so I thought it would be fun!" 
Hastings' idea was immediately supported by her teacher and principal. 
"Penny came into school one day with a Kleenex box and said, 'Look Mrs. Gholz I made a kindness box yesterday!" shared WR third grader teacher Kelly Gholz . "I was so impressed that Penny took an idea that she had and put it into action."

Read more about WR's 'Kindness Box.'
MECC Kind Kids Club Makes a Difference for MHS Comet with Cancer
Mason Early Childhood Center second graders in second graders in Nicole Elsasser, Jessica Mullen, Kathy Goebel, and Sarah Florh's classrooms are members of the Kind Kids Club - a class showcasing students' hard work, dedication and kind hearts. The Kind Kids Club are creating the experiences that we want to lift up as part of our #CometCulture.
The Kind Kids Club set up cafes in MECC classrooms to raise money for good causes. In the cafes, the students sell popsicles, popcorn, cookies, and more. Recently, the Kind Kids Club raised $1,847.26 for Blake Glover - a fifteen year old Mason High School student who was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma in November. The money was donated toward Blake's treatment costs .

Read more about the MECC Kind Kids Club .
MHS Science Olympiad Headed to Nationals for 2nd Time in Program History
The Mason High School Science Olympiad Team is preparing for a back-to-back nationals appearance. The team had another successful year and finished second in the State competition at The Ohio State University on Saturday, April 27. This qualified the team for the opportunity to compete at nationals.  
This is just their second year ever qualifying for nationals in the program’s 17 year history. The 2019 Science Olympiad National Tournament will be held at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York on June 1. 

MHS's HOSA Club Compete at State; 38 Biomed Students Qualify for International Leadership Competitions
Thirty-eight Mason High School HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America) members qualified to compete at the HOSA International Leadership Conference after taking top honors in the state competition. HOSA is a school-sponsored organization geared for students interested in the health professions and committed to community service. 

This year's HOSA International Leadership Conference will take place this June at the Disney's Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, FL. Seventy-three MHS Biomed students qualified to compete at the Ohio State HOSA Competition held April 9 and 10 in Columbus. They competed against 2,000 other Ohio high school students in different healthcare competitions. 

Read more about MHS's HOSA Club at State .
Hurks Named Kiwanis April Students of the Month
Mason High School senior Kennedy Hurks was recognized as The Kiwanis Club of Mason's April Student of the Month. Hurks was nominated by MHS teacher Pat George .

“In November, she was a guest speaker at a whole-day meeting of the district's Inclusive Excellence teams; a colleague told me that she had the audience hanging on her every honest word," shared George. 

R ead more about April's SOM .
Mason Kiwanis Honors 33 MHS Students Who Make a Difference
On April 30, Red Robin was filled with Mason High School students who are making a difference. The Kiwanis of Mason, in cooperation with Mason City Schools, held its triennial "Making a Difference" lunch to honor students who may not be consistently recognized, but who have shown leadership and academic excellence.

"Making a Difference" rewards students who show initiative and resolve by improving their class performance through outstanding attitude and effort. Students who serve as role models to others by displaying persistence, fortitude, and courtesy are chosen for this award and receive lunch courtesy of Kiwanis.

427 MHS Students Earn Perfect Attendance: 12 MHS Students Awarded GCCU Cash
During Mason High School’s second semester, 427 students were at school every day and earned a chance to win cash from the Greater Cincinnati Credit Union. This marks the twelfth year that GCCU has sponsored the Perfect Attendance Program at MHS. Russ Henry from GCCU presented $100 to each of the honorees. The 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, April 30.