November 2018 | Superintendent News
" Gratitude is something that you give when you show kindness to people. It is when you thank the people that are good to you. " ~ Valentina, 2nd Grade
Dear Kenston Families,

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

These words by author, Melody Beattie, bring our November PEAK character trait, Gratitude, to the forefront as we enter this Thanksgiving holiday. In our busy lives, it’s easy to think about what we want that we don’t have, what we wish we could do that we aren’t, how quickly we can accomplish 10 tasks in a day.

But, it’s important to stop, take the moment in, and acknowledge the beauty in front of us. Find gratitude in the simple things around you, and find ways to express the gratitude you feel for what others bring into your life. This Thanksgiving, I wish all our Kenston families the opportunity to enjoy one another’s company and enjoy a delicious meal alongside loved ones. I invite you to join us on Friday to cheer on the Bomber Football team as they compete in the state Division III Semi Final action against Columbus Eastmoor Academy. I am grateful for this Kenston family of ours, and I wish you a very happy holiday!

Nancy R. Santilli
Thank you to Jim Adams, CEO of the Geauga County Board of Mental Health and Recovery Services and Dr. Katie Poe, Assistant Superintendent for presenting at the PTO Parent Engagement Series: Mental Health… It’s Time to Talk About “It.” 

Here is a list of resources that were at the presentation and available to the community.
DVDs of the Speaker Series are currently available at the Bainbridge Library. I will be posted to the District and PTO website when a link is available.

We appreciate PTO hosting these forums, the next event will be Tuesday, February 19th , 7pm in KHS Auditorium - Technology - "Learning how to navigate the plethora of technology available within Kenston for your student and YOU!"
We recognize that student growth is incumbent upon the intellectual AND emotional development of our students...we know the content of what we teach is as important as the context in which we teach it. 

We are proactive in creating a culture of emotional wellness for our students, including efforts to eliminate incidents of bullying and social isolation. We also have frameworks in place to support individual students with specific mental health needs.

Our school counselors provide both direct and indirect services to students, faculty and parents. They provide targeted intervention to assist students with very specific needs- while working with the entire faculty to more effectively embed proactive social-emotional lessons into classroom curriculum and culture. Their required focus areas are: academic supports, college and career guidance and social-emotional learning. 

If you have a concern about your child - do not hesitate to contact your principal. The administrators have been an active part of district training and are well equipped to guide parents in the next step in supporting their child. If your child is receiving special education services, please contact the special education administrator.
Active planning for the 2019-20 school year is underway. Administrators are already meeting to discuss course offerings, master schedules, and personnel needs. These discussions are intended to guide our decision-making and ensure our plans continue to align with our student needs and our district goal of increased student engagement.

One example is the discussion regarding college credit opportunities for our students, either through the College Credit Plus program or the Advanced Placement course offerings.  For the latter, we currently offer 22 AP courses. This number exceeds or is in line with AP offerings at like districts.

College Board Spring results are shared with AP educators and administrators in early Fall to prompt discussion about student performance, existing AP resources, course alignment and professional development needs for teachers due to College Board shifts in AP curriculum. This fall, many of our AP teachers attended network meetings with other area school districts to share ideas and resources. For next year, we are discussing the addition of two more AP offerings. One especially unique option for our students is a two-semester AP capstone project which mirrors the research and writing of a college thesis. If added to our offerings, this capstone course would have a special notation on the high school transcript as it is recognized by many colleges for its rigor.

A second area of focus as we plan for the next school year is the K-5 math curriculum and the necessary resources. Elementary math team leaders and administrators are beginning the work of textbook evaluation. Inquiries to other districts, attendance at math workshops and networks and collaboration amongst building math teams is focused on understanding our students as mathematicians and better defining what skills and competencies are students need in this content area to be successful in their K-12 academic experience, but also beyond Kenston as critical thinkers and problem solvers. The goal of the teacher leader team is to review and select resources for the 2019-20 school year. The selection process has many components, including a review by an established parent curriculum committee.

A third area of focus involves technology enhancements. Our district Technology Integration team is planning for an updated device for our high school students for the 2019-20 school year. Our current 1:1 iPads at the high school are nearing the end of their life cycle. The software uses, cost variables, and instructional needs are guiding the team as we research device replacements for our staff and students. Our experience this year as we introduced a 1:1 device program at the Middle School has been helpful as we plan for the roll-out process at the high school.
Kenston Local Schools and Chagrin Falls Exempted Village Schools, in partnership with Alex Gertsburg of Gertsburg Law Firm, and Molly Gebler of the Chagrin Falls Chamber of Commerce, presented at Ohio School Boards Associations’ 2018 Capital Conference and Trade Show was held November 11th-13th in Columbus. Their session showcased the partnership created by the We Solve Problems Essay Contest when schools and the community work together to provide engaging learning opportunities for students.

As part of the essay contest, students select a relevant real-world problem, present a logical and practical solution to that problem, support it with evidence, and communicate it all clearly and effectively to a panel of local business leaders. The program brings community leaders in contact with schools, their students, and future leaders. It trains students and incentivizes them to optimize two sets of skills, problem-solving and persuasive communication, which relies on different cognitive abilities. It facilitates productive, friendly competition to teach students goal-setting and achievement and raises funds for the school by matching the student award with an award to each school.

The goal was to share this initiative with other districts to both grow the program as well as assist other schools throughout Ohio in creating their own similar model for success.  
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Katie Poe and I recently participated in the Schlechty Superintendents’ Leadership Network series. The theme of the institute is Customization in an Era of Standardization.  We were inspired by Morgan’s Wonderland in San Antonio Texas. It is the first fully inclusive amusement park, inspired by the founder’s daughter. He wanted to build a family destination where all children are included bringing together those with and without special needs in a safe, colorful, barrier-free environment for family fun and, to gain a better understanding of each other. Every guest with special needs enjoys free admission. I encourage you to find out more about this amazing program.
How is the decision made to cancel school?
Many factors are carefully analyzed when deciding to remain open or close schools in bad weather, such as:
  • Information on road conditions from township road departments, local law enforcement and our transportation department. (Even if your street looks clear, dangerous road conditions may exist within the 54 square miles encompassed by the district.)
  • Amount of snow and ice accumulated
  • Whether or not the precipitation will continue throughout the day
  • Temperature and wind chill
  • Weather predictions (including those from the weather alert service)
  • Storm timing
  • Building conditions (such as whether they have electricity, heat or water)
  • Parking lot conditions

When is the decision made?
The decision to close will generally be made by 5:30am or earlier. Notifications will be delivered via our automated calling and text system, local TV stations, district and high school home pages of the website, Twitter @KenstonSchools or by calling the School Closing Hotline at 440- 564 -2134.

Link to Video Conversation with students about Snow Days.
Regular Meeting - Monday, December 17 - TES - 7pm

Kenston Local Schools | l
17419 Snyder Rd, Chagrin Falls, OH 44023 l 440-543-9677