January 26, 2016
Welcome to Mason City Schools' e-Newsletter that highlights happenings in   Logo the Mason City School District.

For information, email Tracey Carson at carsont@masonohioschools.com.
Quality Profile: Focus on Innovation

Watch Marty Fish, Mason Middle School Coding & Robotics Lab Teacher, present the first video in the district's Quality Profile Series - Focus on Innovation.
In September, Mason City Schools released its third Quality Profile. The Quality Profile helps characterize the overall educational value of public education beyond standardized testing. It goes beyond the State Report Card, which while somewhat informative, offers just one snapshot of the complex and important work that is happening in our classrooms each day.  

MCS Board Swears in Members, Keeps Officers; Sets 2016 Meeting Dates

On January 12, the Mason City Schools Board of Education met for the first time in the New Year for its annual budget hearing and organizational meeting. The Board set its regular meetings for 2016 - which will now include some Wednesday meetings, as well as Tuesday meetings. All meeting dates, times, and locations will be posted on the calendar of www.masonohioschools.com.

Courtney Allen and Kevin Wise, re-elected in November, were sworn in and began their new four-year terms. In addition, the 5-member board unanimously re-elected Allen as President and Matt Steele as Vice President for 2016. 

The board also reappointed Wise as the legislative liaison to the Ohio School Boards Association, and reappointed Allen as the student achievement liaison to the Ohio School Boards Association.
State Report Card Data Incomplete, Irrelevant:
Mason City Schools Calls on Ohio to Move to Fed Minimums

Ohio recently released the first portion of results for the 2015 Ohio School Report Cards. Last year there was an intense amount of testing, and even though Ohio moved away from the PARCC assessment this year, the state is still going beyond what is required by the federal Department of Education.

Read Dr. Kist-Kline's comments in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

This year's Report Card uses data from the PARCC test - which was dumped after a woeful first year that included technology glitches and taking up too much administrative and instructional time. The data that has been released is not useful for educators to make instructional decisions, and is unreliable since it counts as zeros the scores of students whose families opted out of the tests.

The Mason City School District believes in accountability, and uses data from ACT and Advanced Placement as important benchmarks to assess students' preparation for college. The state now includes ACT, SAT and AP data in its Prepared for Success Measures. The Mason City School District advocates that Ohio end state-mandated end-of-course exams, and instead shift to utilizing the nationally-normed ACT as its high school assessment.  

Read more about the State Report Card.
Students' Art on Display Jan. 22-Feb 5
 for Scholastics

Mason High School visual art students put on an outstanding performance in this year's Regional Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.  This was an extremely successful year for MHS as 25 percent of its entries made it into the Regional show. Forty-six MHS students won a grand total of 60 awards in this year's competition.
Eleven of Mason's student artists were awarded a total of 12 Gold Keys in their individual categories.  Winners of the Gold Key, amounting to top honors in a particular art category, include: Avery Abraham, Conner Blumberg, Zack Boutwell, Heidi Cervantes, Lauren Fournier, Jenny Hong, Taylor Kling (Who won two Gold Keys), Kate Madigan, Taylor McSwain, Emma Morrissey and Cole Tibbs.

MHS also had 19 Silver Key winning artworks and 29 honorable mentions. The Silvers and Honorable Mentions will be joining the Gold Key winners in being displayed at the Art Academy of Cincinnati. The exhibition will run January 22 - February 5.

View the Complete List of MHS award winners and their categories.
MMS Artists Win Prestigious Awards at Scholastics

Mason Middle School students Kimberly Dinh, Kobi Morgan, Ridham Raval, Olivia Rui, Raina Skidmore, Vanessa Stroud, Tiya Yempati, and Annie Zhang had their artwork accepted into the prestigious 2016 Scholastic Art Awards Exhibition. Together, these MMS students earned 10 prestigious art awards. This very competitive show encompasses work from grades 7-12.

Both Yempati and Zhang s earned the Gold Key Award, which is the highest level of achievement that a student can be awarded at the regional level. As Gold Key Award winners this year, Yempati and Zhang's outstanding works will also be considered for national-level recognition during the national competition in New York City.

All eight MMS students will be honored for their outstanding accomplishments during an awards ceremony on January 29th at the School for the Creative and Performing Arts in Cincinnati.  Their works can be viewed at the 2016 Scholastic Art Awards Exhibition.  This exhibit will be on display from January 22nd until February 5th, at the Art Academy of Cincinnati.

Read more about the MMS Scholastics Winners
MMS Students Hear from Holocaust Survivor


Today's students will be the last generation to hear the firsthand experiences of those who survived the Holocaust. Mason Middle School eighth graders had the opportunity to learn from survivor Dr. Henry Fenichel - thanks to MMS teachers Hayley Kennedy, Becky Gallimore and Laura Reed, and their connection through the Center for Holocaust Humanity Education.
"By giving our students this firsthand account of the Holocaust, it is our hope that their secondhand accounts will be used to raise awareness of this tragic time in our world's history so that such great injustice is prevented," shared Reed.

Fenichel's presentation connected with the eighth grade Language Arts unit called Heart of the Matter, in which the central text is Night by Elie Wiesel, who was also a survivor of the Holocaust.
"We are honored to have the privilege of giving our students this opportunity. We hope that the lessons learned from the speakers are lifelong lessons that are used to stop injustice and promote tolerance," said Reed.

Read more about Dr. Fenichel's presentation .
Swamy Wins MI Geo Bee


On December 19, Mason Intermediate School held its annual National Geographic Geography Bee sponsored by Google. The elementary school's social studies teachers held their own preliminary and qualifying rounds earlier in the year.  Out of the school's over 2,500 fourth, fifth and sixth graders, 96 students participated in the school-wide bee representing their classes. 

After many intense rounds, two contestants were narrowed down to two championship finalists: fourth grader Varun Sathyajeeth and sixth grader Sanjay Swamy.  After a long and intense final round, Sanjay Swamy from Team Quest won!  

Read more about the MI Geo Bee.

Sweitzer Earns MMS Geo Bee Title


MMS eighth grader Noah Sweitzer won the school level competition of the National Geographic Bee on December 21, and a chance at a $25,000 college scholarship.  Roshan Dahale, Christopher Mann, Sruthi Parthasarathi, Zachary Schultz, William Sullivan, Sweitzer, and Emily Yu also competed in the nationwide geography competition designed to encourage the teaching and study of geography.
All of the students qualified to participate in the school-level competition by missing no more than one question on the qualifying test.  Sweitzer will now take a written test in an attempt to qualify for the state level Bee.

Read more about the MMS Geo Bee.

Eight MHS Creative Artists' Talent Recognized by Overture Awards

Eight MHS students were named semifinalists at the Overture Awards Scholarship Regional Competition on January 9, the region's largest solo arts competition for high school students. These talented MHS students include Noah Bradford (Visual Art), Brandon Cole (Theater), Sanjana Datla (Dance), Kedi Hu (Visual Art), Jocelyn Kang (Instrumental), Danielle Morey (Vocal), J essica Sommerville J  (Creative Writing), and Lauren Zell (Creative Writing).
This competition ranges beyond the visual arts, including Creative Writing, Dance, Instrumental and Vocal Music, and Theatre. The Overtures entries for the entire high school were coordinated by MHS visual arts teacher Tina Roberts.

Read more about the Overture Awards.

High Fives to... 

... the INCREDIBLE student talent on display at the 2016 MHS Talent Show, hosted by National Honor Society. The event raised $5200 for the school's LLS Pasta for Pennies campaign, and showed the diverse range of skills and flair that make MHS #CometStrong! Check out the CSPN's coverage.

... MMS's Power of the Pen team,  who took third place in seventh and eighth grade at the district tournament on Saturday at Summit Country Day School.  21 schools and nearly 300 writers competed in the tournament.  Individual award winners included Lily Geiser, who won third place, and Gillian Alexander, who won an honorable mention, in eighth grade. In seventh grade, Mariah Norman placed 10th, Ann Vettikkhal placed 13th, and Katie Maier placed 14th.  Seventh grade writers Nandini Likki, Sankhya Rajan, Abraham Sturgill, Pranav Yenugu, and Faye Cuasay, as well as eighth graders Nina Kisanga, Connor Telford, Aran Saijan, Leah Lorenz, and Megan Li all contributed to Mason's third place wins. Way to go, Comets!

...all the readers at MECC, Western Row and Mason Intermediate, who crushed their 2016 Reading Challenge reading goals! MECC students read 30,179 BOOKS, Western Row students read 269,172 MINUTES, and MI students read 535,628 MINUTES! This week, don't forget to turn in your money so we can break Mason Schools Foundation  fundraising records, too!


Soliman Named Kiwanis January Student of the Month

Mason High School senior Mariam Soliman was recognized as The Kiwanis Club of Mason's January Student of the Month. Soliman was nominated by MHS Sports Medicine teacher Mark Sullivan.

Soliman plans on attending the Ohio State University in the fall, and hopes to become a physician's assistant. She is the team manager for the girls' varsity basketball team, and an active member of the newly formed Med Club. Watch a clip of Soliman's performance at the January 25 Talent Show, hosted by the National Honor Society.
On January 21, the Kiwanis Club presented Soliman with $50 and a certificate commemorating her achievement. Soliman's father, Ashraf Soliman , assistant principal Kevin Mays, and nominating teacher Sullivan joined the Kiwanians in recognizing Soliman's accomplishments. The Mason Kiwanis Club meets weekly at noon at the Houston Restaurant in Mason.

Read more about the Kiwanis Student of the Month.
MMS January Students of the Month
Mason Middle School is proud to announce the January Students of the Month. They are: Laalitya Acharya, Priya Bandaru, Dominic Bennett, Sarah Burwinkel, Lauren Dreyer, Langston Hilst, Ethan Heinlein, Emily Holcombe, David Jashari, Hafsah Malik, Aadit Mukherjee, Ishika Mukherjee, Lane Sanders, Ishika Sharma, Erika Smith, Nyla Spencer, Jordyn Wagner, and Sawmya Yaddanapudi.
About Mason Middle School Students of the Month
Students of the Month are selected for showing good character. This month's students are from House Luminosity and the character spotlight was Citizenship.  Students celebrate their accomplishment with their teachers, principals and parents during a breakfast in their honor that is sponsored by the Mason Kiwanis Club.

Celebrate Mason City Schools Diversity at "Taste of Mason"
WHAT:  At the Taste of Mason you can sample a new dish, catch up with old friends, and be mesmerized by incredible talent! The whole family will enjoy exciting offerings from many ethnic, and independent local restaurants. Watch multicultural acts perform. Children can learn about international currency by "purchasing" Mason Comet Zone items (including global candy) with their cash, and get their passports stamped at each continent as they take their trip around a global carnival hosted by MHS World Language Honor Societies -- right here in Mason!
WHEN:        Wednesday, February 3, 2016
                  5:00 pm to 8:00 pm
WHERE:       Mason High School Commons (Natatorium or Theater Entrance)
                   6100 Mason-Montgomery Rd.

Mason City Schools' Diversity Council Vision
Continue to build an equitable learning community which values and respects the dignity and uniqueness of all students, staff, and members of the community, empowers diverse learners' achievement, and enhances growth and development.



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