September 14, 2018
CommUNITY Conversations Update

Since April, superintendent Jonathan Cooper and leaders from the City of Mason and Deerfield Township have joined over 250 MCS residents for nearly 30 CommUNITY Conversations. Each conversation has been a little bit different, but several key themes have emerged: embracing equity & inclusion, supporting mental wellness, addressing social media, and strengthening school safety.
Watch this video of Mr. Cooper sharing what we're hearing and doing.

Many thanks to the following residents for being such gracious hosts: Shakila Ahmad, Joy Bennett, Chris Centofanti, Emily Cohen, Danita Enouen, Rachel Gaspar'raj, Rebecca Heimbuch, Amy Iten, Brenda Hefferan, Doaa Jasim, Laurie Lupinetti, Tracy Johnson, Aimee Kirzner, Lesley Krimpenfort, Amy Mercer, Lina Patel, Mindy Patton, Jackie Quigley, Dr. Karthik Raghavan, Kim Rupert, Erin Schmidt, Lindsey Sodano, and Grace Yek. If you would like to host a CommUNITY Conversation, call 513-398-0474, ext. 24004.
28 MHS Students Named National Merit Semifinalists

Twenty-eight Mason High School students have been named National Merit Semifinalists through the sixty-fourth annual National Merit Scholarship Competition for 2019.

Kara Alexander, Andrew Carter, Dalton Craven, Megan Cui, Emily Fang, Amanda Harper, Jennifer Hong, Jacob Kandell, Praneeth Kanna, Ji Seok Kim, Allyson Kouche, Anagh Kulkarni, Daniel Li, Richard Liu, Ian Logan, Andrew McKee, Rishi Mishra, Hannah Parsons, Kaavya Ramachandhran, Scott Shepherd, Kevin Song, Pranav Viswanathan, Eric Xu, Allen Yang, Juliana Zacher, Jason Zhang, Jennifer Zhu, and Kevin Zhu are 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. 

MHS Principal Bobby Dodd congratulated the students on their accomplishment. "We are so very proud of these bright students' accomplishments, and join their families, educators, and community in celebrating this important achievement that will open additional doors for them in the future."

The students will be recognized by the Board of Education on October 23.

OH Report Card Release Illuminates Need for State Testing/ Reporting Reform

Our schools reflect what our community values. These community values set a standard far higher than any Report Card grade. We measure academic success in many ways, and carefully monitor our students level of preparation for further learning, meaningful work, and engaged citizenship.

While Ohio's report grade itself seems simple (A-F), over 30 different calculations used to arrive at each grade makes them anything but straightforward. 

"In Mason, we know that a high quality education includes a lot more than what is measured on state tests and report card grades. That's why we released our sixth annual Quality Profile this week," said Jonathan Cooper, Superintendent.

Read more about State Testing / Reporting Reform.
3 Big Rocks

The 2018-19 school year began with a defining moment. All Mason City Schools staff came together to celebrate at the annual opening day convocation. But, for the first time in Mason history, Mason closed its buildings so that ALL staff could join the opening day kickoff.

"I believe it is critical that everyone in our organization is included in our celebration," explained MCS Superintendent Jonathan Cooper. "We all know that Mason is only great because of the people."

Cooper introduced 3 Big Rocks that are important goal areas Mason City Schools will remain committed to over the next 3-5 years.

#Rock1: Culture = beliefs that drive behaviors which shape experiences.

#Rock2: Inclusive Excellence = celebrate diversity, embrace equity and justice, and live out authentic inclusion

#Rock3: Personalized Learning/Experience = learner-driven design and learner-driven solutions

MI ESA is Host Site for Team Building Courses

The Mason Intermediate Environmental Study Area (ESA) is the perfect host site for team building activities.

Mason High School student Tommy Marquart is in the process of getting his Eagle Scout Award, and the Team Building Course was his final project to earn the title and award he's been working toward.

"Tommy has built a Whale Watch, TeePee Shuffle, Spiders Web, and an All Aboard Elevated Platform," shared MI fifth grade math teacher on Team Inspire, Maddy Rossetti. "Not only can we hold science lessons outside in the ESA, but we can also do team building activities there now, too."

Team building activities develop those interpersonal skills in students, such as communication, conflict resolution, leadership, trust, and problem solving.

MCS Revises 19-20 Calendar

Construction Timeline Now Allows for Spring Break, Last Day of School in May 

On August 14, the Mason City Schools Board of Education approved a significant revision to the 2019-2020 calendar that includes two full weeks of Winter Break and ensures first semester exams occur before break, a week-long Spring Break rather than a 3-day weekend, and school ending in May instead of June.

The revisions are possible because the Mason Middle School construction project's timeline is now better defined than when the 2019-2020 calendar was initially approved in July 2017. The construction company has confirmed that the school's total renovation will be finished by August 2019- making the post-Labor Day start unnecessary.

"One of the first priorities and responsibilities that I had coming in as the new superintendent was to get a more comprehensive understanding of our Mason Middle School facilities project. This included the construction timeline and deadline for occupancy. After several meetings with the construction company, our architecture firm, [Chief Operations Officer] Todd Petrey and his team, and our MEA President Maria Mueller, we determined that we are able to revise the 2019-2020 calendar," explained Jonathan Cooper, Superintendent/CEO.

Team Venture Gives Back through Bubble Blast

Seventy-six kids and family members from Mason Intermediate sixth grade Team Venture participated in the 2018 Bubble Blast at Corwin Nixon Park on Saturday, August 26 to benefit Building Blocks for Kids. Everyone had lots of "good clean fun" running through bubbles and playing in a super sudsy bubble pit for this great cause.

"Each month the teachers on Team Venture provide students with the opportunity to participate in after school "Venture Outs" - service opportunities in the community," explained Team Venture sixth grade Language Arts and Social Studies teacher, Tina Orlando. "We were thrilled with the number of kids, siblings, parents, strollers, and even dogs that came out, especially since people had to commit to this event long before the first day of school. We love that our families have such a heart for service. What a great start to the year!"

School Board Approves Safety Investments

Last month, the Mason City Schools Board of Education expanded the district's partnership with the City of Mason to increase school safety. Three years ago, the City had an innovative vision to create a Campus Safety District. Today, that vision is a reality and means that our schools go from having two law enforcement officers in 17-18 to having 13 Campus Safety Team members (which includes eight law enforcement officers, three security specialists, and two firefighter/paramedics.) 

"The insight that led us to where we are today is that we looked at what we call the campus - initially that was the geographic area from the municipal center, the community center, the high school, the intermediate school, middle school, the parks - and when you look at that area that is really the heart of the City, but also the heartbeats that are in that campus. That insight led us to think differently, and it gave us an opportunity to do things better," said Eric Hansen, City Manager.

MHS Hack Club Hosts Hack Camp 2018

learn. code. connect.

This is the tagline for Mason High School's' Hack Club, a computer programming student-led club that is dedicated to fostering the 'hacker culture' in high schools.

Over the summer, Hack Club hosted Hack Camp 2018. This was their second summer camp in partnership with Cengage Tech, and the camp was hosted at the Cengage office in Mason. The high school members of the Hack Club devised a theme, organized the daily schedule, recruited campers, purchased and provided food, and volunteered their time and skills.

"It was great to see how fast these kids picked up on a very advanced JavaScript coding concept and applied it to their projects. I am immensely proud of them and thankful for Cengage's support!" shared Cengage's own Customer Platforms Operations Manager and MHS Hack Club parent advisor, Mike Heinen.


... our fall sports teams are off to a great start. But nothing makes us prouder than seeing great sportsmanship from Comets who are leaders on and off the field. Thanks for this powerful #MasonMoment, Carter Womack!

... our MHS SIBS are an important part of creating a culture where "EVERYBODY feels like somebody!" Check out this piece that aired on WCPO.  

... the incredible, muddy, awesome, wet Mason Cross Country Invitational. Many thanks to all the volunteers, parents, and coaches who ensured that this year's event was legendary. 

... MMS 7th grade science classes began utilizing their knowledge of moon phases & tides last week with an exciting "top secret mission" that connected directly to history-- the invasion of Normandy during WWII. Check out this website created by MMS teachers!

... Grades 3 & 4 School counselors are bringing Mindful Music Moments to Western Row.  Each day students begin school with four minutes of mindful music as a way to model self-care and built the classroom culture and community.  This is a great opportunity to reduce stress, increase happiness, focus and memory. 

... the MHS Kindness Post-It Crew struck again - spreading love, hope & kindness to their classmates and staff by hand-writing encouraging notes and placing on every locker and door. 

... MECC students in Haley Glandorff's classes recently shared personal stories about a time they got hurt. "Building our classroom community and displaying empathy has been a great #MasonMoment in room 511!" says Mrs. Glandorff.

... MI's Team Inspire are making blankets to sell to raise money for the Make a Wish Foundation.  Purchase your blankets at the football game on Friday!

... Superintendent Jonathan Cooper and Lakota Superintendent Matt Miller showing that we're all on the same team when it comes to suicide prevention. Watch the video to see these leaders take on the Whip Cream Challenge to support the MHS Hope Squad and Lakota East Hope Squad.

... our teachers making sure that a generation of children born after September 11, 2001 will #NeverForget.

Tech Sharks Place in Competition at OSU

The Tech Sharks Underwater Robotics team placed second and won an award for Best Design at the Underwater Robotics Buckeye Regional Competition. The event took place at the Ohio State McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion on the Ohio State University campus on May 5.

Mason High School seniors Ryan Doerrer, Juan Carlos Gaudiano, and junior Michael Vacarcel made up the team.

"Two years ago I made the best decision to start an underwater robotics team. After inspiration from the movie Spare Parts, I did not only start a robotics team, but a family," explained Gaudiano.

Read more about the Tech Sharks.
Mason Graduate Publishes Book

Mason High School Class of 2013's Chase Lovett recently published Grocery Store Politics: How Political Brands Manipulate Voters.

"This book dives deeper into the spectacle of political branding, exploring its origins, precise elements, and defining the necessary components of a powerful brand," explained Lovett. "This theoretical foundation is translated to real-world scenarios.  Most importantly, this book explains branding's adverse effects on the electorate."

Read more about Grocery Store Politics.

Waldon Named Kiwanis August Student of the Month

Mason High School senior Emily Waldon was recognized as The Kiwanis Club of Mason's August Student of the Month. Waldon was nominated by Director of Bands Ed Protzman and Color Guard Director Johnnie Green.

On August 23, the Kiwanis Club presented Waldon with $100, a Kiwanis bell, and a certificate commemorating her achievement. Emily's parents, Wade and Jill Waldon, principal Bobby Dodd, assistant principal Amy Hull, superintendent Jonathan Cooper, and nominator Green joined the Kiwanians in recognizing Emily's accomplishments. The Mason Kiwanis Club meets weekly at noon at the Houston Restaurant in Mason.

Read more about the August SOM.
Hope to See You at the Heritage Parade 
Saturday at 10:00am!

College Fair 2018

On  Thursday, September 20, from 6-8 p.m. , Mason High School will host our annual College Fair with more than 160 schools from around the country, and abroad.

This is a great chance for all students to learn more about prospective schools and start the college search.  It is also a great opportunity for seniors to ask more specific questions about schools they may be considering.
Mason City Schools  |
For information, email Tracey Carson at