February 2018
Woodbury Geography Bee winner Kellen Young (center, holding certificate) poses with this year's Bee finalists.  
The Shaker Schools Connection

A Message from the Superintendent
Now that February has arrived, we're officially into the second half of the academic year. My gratitude to our phenomenal faculty and staff for their continued dedication to the District's aspirations of excellence, equity and exploration. I'd also like to recognize our students for their efforts both in and outside the classroom. Let's keep moving forward!

As you know, this year the District's theme is Shaker Has Heart. We've taken an inclusive approach to what that means: showing compassion for our students, exercising our minds and bodies for mental and physical health, and engaging as active members of our community here in Shaker and around the world. In this month's newsletter, you'll see lots of evidence that Shaker Has Heart---from the upcoming Sweetheart Dance to recent visits from the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile and from a successful MLK Day of Service to Fernway School's Snack Attack program. Indeed, there is so much to celebrate in our Shaker Schools community.

Also, Shaker Schools has partnered with the American Heart Association (AHA) to help guide us in taking care of our personal health. And there's no better time than February---which is American Heart Month---to commit to a healthier lifestyle. Students may participate in an AHA fundraiser this month (if they choose), but better still, they will continue to receive the IB-focused PE instruction that promotes healthy living, good nutritional choices and the importance of a strong body.

This month, we also join the rest of the nation in celebrating African American History Month. On a personal level, it's important for me to dedicate time to reflect on the the accomplishments and the atrocities that my ancestors endured. I carry their legacies with me as a proud African American who lives each day advocating for all young people and striving to lead by example for the next generation of leaders. As an educator, I know that today, race is still at the heart many of our challenges in public education. As the first African American Superintendent of the Shaker Heights City Schools, this knowledge informs the work I do every day to foster a more compassionate, accepting and equitable world for all of our students.

Finally, a reminder that there is no school on Friday, February 16 for a Grades K-6 Conference/Grades 7-12 Professional Day or on Monday, February 19. Best wishes to you all for a heart-filled and heart-healthy February and beyond.


Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools

Board Policies 101
Each quarter, the seven-member Board of Education Policy Committee meets to discuss the Board Policy Manual , which identifies District policies and serves as a reference for the Board, administrators, teachers and the broader school community. The most recent Board Policy Manual was adopted on December 7, 2015, though it is regularly updated based on recommendations from the Ohio School Boards Association.

All Board Policy Committee meetings are open to the public. Members of the Committee include:
  • Superintendent Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr.
  • Chief of Staff Dr. Marla Robinson
  • Assistant Superintendent of Business and Operations Dr. Stephen Wilkins
  • Treasurer Bryan Christman
  • Executive Director of Communications and Public Relations Scott Stephens
  • Board of Education member Ayesha Bell Hardaway
  • Board of Education member Lisa Cremer
To learn more about proposed changes to the Board Policy Manual, visit Board Docs, click on the Meetings tab, select a meeting date and then view the agenda for that meeting. Any proposed changes to Board policies will be included under "Action Items-Board of Education."
Tonight: Parent Information and Dialogue about Gifted Education
Learn more about the District's progress in developing a Gifted Education policy and plan at 7 p.m. tonight at the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Community Building, 3450 Lee Road. Chair of the Gifted Workgroup Alex Liston Dykema and Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Terri Breeden will facilitate a Skype meeting with S. David Brazer, Ph.D., an Associate Professor at Stanford University Graduate School of Education and a co-author of the 2016 book, Striving for Equity: District Leadership for Narrowing Opportunity and Achievement Gaps. The District has selected Dr. Brazer to guide Shaker Schools in our development of a gifted education plan. Dr. Brazer will provide updates from his work with the District's Gifted Education Workgroup and answer questions from parents and community members.
HeartShaker Partners with the American Heart Association to Raise Money for Heart Health and Research
This month, Shaker students in grades K-6 have the opportunity to support the work of the American Heart Association through several fundraising efforts.

Students at all five elementary schools and at Woodbury Elementary will participate in Jump Rope for Heart, a fundraising event that builds students' skills and fitness through jumping rope, provides heart-healthy education for students and their families and raises money for the American Heart Association (participation in fundraising is optional). Kickoff events for Jump Rope for Heart took place in late January at Lomond, Mercer and Boulevard Elementary Schools. Fernway launches its program at 10 a.m. on February 1, Onaway at 2:30 p.m. on February 22 and Woodbury will kick off the program in PE classes on March 2.

The District's goal this year is to engage as many staff, students and families as possible in learning more about heart-healthy living and to make an impact on the community's heart health. Learn more about how you improve your own heart health in this American Heart Association Newsletter
AAhistoryAfrican American History Month Events and Information 
Watch the 2016 Four-Part Series "Roots" at the High School
The Shaker Heights High School NAACP Youth Council is hosting the four-episode series of the 2016 History Channel production of Roots, a reboot of the original film by the same name that first aired 40 years ago.  Roots chronicles the history of an African man sold into slavery in America and his descendants. Viewers journey through our nation's dark history to ultimately discover the triumph of generations of African Americans. 

The series will begin after school on Thursday, February 1 from 3:15-4:45 p.m. and run each of the following three Thursdays. All are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Roots viewing schedule:
Part I: Feb. 1, 3:15-4:45 p.m.
Part 2: Feb. 8,3:15-4:45 p.m.
Part 3: Feb. 15, 3:15-4:45 p.m.
Part 4: Feb. 22, 3:15-4:45 p.m.  
Resources to Learn More About African American History 
  • Learn more about African American history, view images and watch videos online at this Web portal, a collaborative project of the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.
  • Common Sense Media maintains a list of Best African American History Apps and Websites.
  • Explore a timeline of African American History at history.com
  • Read more about African American Firsts in STEM at biography.com
  • Read about Nancy Abu-Bonsrah, the first black female neurosurgeon resident at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.
SweetheartShaker's PreK-4 Sweetheart Dance is Friday, February 16
All girls in grades PreK-4 are invited to Shaker's Sweetheart Dance from 6-8 p.m. on Friday, February 16 at Shaker Heights Middle School. The dance, now in its fifth year, is the brainchild of Lomond parents and District Family Liaison Billie Morgan. In the beginning, the dance was just for Lomond families, but since then, it's been opened up to girls District-wide. Last year, a crowd of 600 little girls and their dates took to the dance floor.

Girls are welcomed to attend with their fathers, stepfathers, grandfathers, uncles, male cousins, family friends or any other adult special male. Tickets are $20/couple and $10 for each additional child. Photographs and corsages can be purchased for an additional fee. The price includes pizza, drinks, ice cream, cookies and a small party favor.

Read more about the Sweetheart Dance and download the registration form.
GeoBeeFifth-Grade Student Kellen Young Wins Woodbury Geo Bee
Kellen Young poses with his winner's certificate.
Kellen Young wore a gold medal and a broad smile after the Woodbury fifth-grade student won the school's Geography Bee on January 25. Young Kellen says he's never won anything like the Geo Bee before, but this was no fluke. "I studied online and on an app," Kellen said. "I was a little nervous, but this was fun. I feel great."

Kellen advanced to the final round of the Geo Bee after beating out a field of 62 fifth- and sixth-grade students, who were nominated after winning a mini-Bee in each of their classrooms. A total of 15 students competed in the Geo Bee finals, with four students advancing to the final round. Kellen was the only student to answer all three final round questions correctly.

Sixth-grade teacher and Woodbury Geo Bee coordinator Jessica Stephens says that Kellen will take a state qualifying test online to determine whether he will advance to the State Bee. If he does and performs well, then he could go on to the National Geographic Bee.

Kellen's teachers Sherrie Jarvie and Aquita Shepherd were so pleased for him. "He loves to engage in learning experiences and learn new things," Mrs. Jarvie said. Mrs. Shepherd added, "I think Kellen's success shows what a growth mindset and a willingness to step outside of your comfort zone can do. I couldn't be happier for him."
Student Spotlight: Six SHHS students selected for 11th Congressional District Youth Council
Seniors Zachary Nosanchuk and Gabe Sekeres; Juniors Melise Baltan-Brunet, Pawarisa Bunsophak, 
Christos Ioannou and Kevin LaMonica.
Congratulations to Shaker Heights High School Seniors Zachary Nosanchuk and Gabe Sekeres, and Juniors Melise Baltan-Brunet, Pawarisa Bunsophak, Christos Ioannou, and Kevin LaMonica, who were selected for Congresswoman Marcia Fudge's 11th Congressional District Youth Advisory Council.

The Youth Advisory Council provides high school students in Ohio's 11th Congressional District the opportunity to share insight about issues relevant to them and their possible solutions with the Congresswoman. Rep. Fudge, a Shaker High School Alum, created the Youth Advisory Council to promote civic engagement amongst the next generation of future leaders. Officials from her office said the student selections were based on an internal rubric.

Zachary Nosanchuk, who has volunteered on national campaigns and been engaged in local government, says that he was thrilled to be accepted to the council. He looks forward to working with the group of teens to develop the nation's political future. "As a council, we will be contributing to Congresswoman Fudge's views concerning youth on education, agriculture, economics, and more," he says. "With her position as an upstanding leader in the Ohio and US political worlds, I am proud to serve on her Youth Advisory Council."
Employee Spotlight: Beth Day, Boulevard Elementary School Administrative Assistant
Ring the buzzer to enter Boulevard Elementary School and Beth Day is the likely the first friendly face you'll see at the school office. For the past three years, she's been the school's administrative assistant and she's also a Shaker Schools parent, with students at Woodbury and Boulevard. Mrs. Day---who holds bachelor's degree in psychology, a master's in experimental psychology and is ABD in educational psychology---says the work is a shift from her days teaching at John Carroll, but that it's been just as rewarding. 

Read our Q&A with Mrs. Day.
Hanna Perkins Partnership with Shaker Schools Teaches our Youngest Students about Bullying

Students in Shaker's First Class
Over the next three months, students in Shaker's First Class and in the PreK Early Intervention Program will learn how to express their feelings of frustration and anger with words, not actions, thanks to the anti-bullying program "My Mad Feelings." The program, presented by Hanna Perkins Center for Child Development, is taught over the course of 12 sessions and involves small-group discussion, handouts for parents and ongoing reinforcement in school and at home.

My Mad Feelings was developed by Victoria Todd, a child and adult psychoanalyst who wanted to prevent bullying by working with children as young as four years old to understand their emotions and appropriately express themselves. "Parents want their children to be kind and well-liked. But it's also important that they are able to stick up for themselves. Mad Feelings save us from those who wish to harm or take advantage of us," says Ms. Todd. "Children who are not permitted to be mad are being set up to become victims. But children need help learning how to verbally express their mad feelings in an appropriate way."

Learn more about My Mad Feelings.
SnackIB in Action: Fernway Snack Attack
Fernway second graders preparing for Snack Attack. 
Over the past seven years, Snack Attack has become one of Fernway School's most anticipated student events. On the surface, it looks like a basic lesson in economics: second-grade students make their own snack mix, take orders and payment from students school-wide and then fulfill those on Snack Attack day. 

But the learning that culminates with Snack Attack goes much deeper, says second-grade teacher Matt Zucca. "This comes out of our IB unit on how we organize ourselves," he explains. "We have a two-fold goal: teach the students about basic economics, good and services, and wants versus needs, but then we take it further and ask them what their responsibility is with their economic choices. They begin to understand the idea of doing good with money and making an impact with money." 

Each of the school's second grade classes, taught by Jamie Harden, Andree Hassell and Mr. Zucca, begins the unit by reading the book Beatrice's Goat, the true story of nine-year-old Beatrice, who lives in a remote Ugandan village. Her family receives a goat from the nonprofit Heifer International and, within months, is able to sell the goat's milk and save enough money to afford a luxury for young Beatrice: her education. (Learn more about Beatrice  online.)

Every year, the book successfully inspires students to host a sale and raise money for a cause. Of course, hosting a sale isn't as easy as asking a grownup to bake cookies or buy snacks to sell. 

Read more about Snack Attack and how Fernway second-grade students donated proceeds this year to a cause that's dear to one of their classmates, Desi Borstein.
CaremobileRonald McDonald Care Mobile Visits Shaker Schools in January
The Ronald McDonald Care Mobile parked behind Onaway in January
The Ronald McDonald Care Mobile returned to Shaker Heights Schools last month, once again leaving behind a trail of healthier smiles. Since 2012, the mobile dental van, which focuses its efforts on serving at-risk children who have little to no access to dental care, makes annual visits to provide routine dental cleanings and preventative care for K-6 students. The demand is clear: childhood tooth decay is the #1 chronic childhood disease in America, five times more common than asthma.  

The visits began six years ago when Boulevard Elementary School Nurse Janet Meinhard saw the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile at a conference she attended. Mrs. Meinhard reached out to University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital (which operates the van) to organize a visit to Shaker Schools. Thanks to Mrs. Meinhard's efforts, today Shaker students are among the 4,000 children (ages 3 to 12) in 20 Northeast Ohio counties who receive annual on-site dental care.

"These children are receiving dental care they wouldn't ordinary get and better, their parents don't have to be there, so they don't have to miss work and the children don't have to miss a day of school," explains Mrs. Meinhard. "It's also a huge plus for our international families who don't know where to go for dental care and for our transient population."

Read more about the benefits of the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile for Shaker students.

MLKCommunity Engagement: Another Successful MLK Day of Service
Making plarn sleeping mats in the High School upper cafeteria.

On Monday, January 15, the PTO CommUnity Builders led the Shaker Schools community in trading a day off for day on with another successful MLK Day of Service at Shaker Heights High School. The two-hour event---which engaged community members of all ages in making sleeping mats for the homeless, personal hygiene kits, no-sew fleece blankets, talking sticks and more---offered activities for all ages. "It's wonderful to see so many members of the community coming together to build community and to help the homeless," said Susan Vodrey, the High School event chair for the PTO CommUnity Builders.

Overall, the 1,500 participants in the Day of Service created:
  • 1000 care kits for children and teens who are in foster care or experiencing homelessness; served by Bellefaire JCB, MetroHealth and YWCA
  • Nearly 500 upcycled t-shirt bags for care kits
  • 90 fleece blankets for children served by Bellefaire JCB
  • 200 water bottles with flavor tabs for children served by Bellefaire JCB
  • Nearly 1,300 care cards to accompany assembled items
  • Six sleeping mats to be distributed by Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (made from more than 3,000 plastic bags)
  • Collaborative murals illustrating community building inspirations, intentions, and Dr. King's words
Read more about the MLK Day of Service. Want to help next year? Contact Stacey Hren, 330-607-4628.

"District Weekends" Events Return in February
Sweethearts and lovers of the Shaker community can kick off their Valentine's Day celebration early during the City's " District Weekends" February events. Get to know Van Aken District merchants, both those who are here now and those who are coming later this year, during an early Valentine's Day progressive tasting experience and a family-oriented afternoon of activities.
  • Thursday, February 8, 7-9 p.m. Starting at J. Pistone Market & Gathering Place (3245 Warrensville Center Rd.), enjoy premium food pairings (cheese, hors d'oeuvres, chocolate, and more) at various locations at the shops on Warrensville at Almar including AJ Heil, Dawn Cook Designs & Blulens, Sgro's Barbershop and Sisu Salon. Guests will receive a passport to be stamped at each location; attendees who have all stamps will be entered to win a special prize. Free valet parking will be available.
  • Saturday, February 10, 3-5 p.m. Le Chaperon Rouge (3350 Warrensville Center Rd.) hosts a Kids Indoor Play Date. Children (Infant - 12 years) and their families are invited to tour the newly opened Le Chaperon Rouge building and learn about the school's infant care, preK, preschool and elementary curriculum. Or just come together for the kids crafting activities, a cookie decorating station by Lucy's Sweet Surrender and snacks provided by Qdoba. Shaker Rocks will provide info about its state-of-the-art rock climbing gym.
Shaker Schools Foundation News
Shaker Street Sign Auction is a Success

Thanks to the overwhelming support from our community, the Shaker street sign auction has grossed more than $100,000 to date for the Shaker Schools Foundation! The proceeds will be placed in a dedicated fund to support new initiatives benefiting all Shaker students.

A list of street signs that were not sold in the auction will be publicized by the end of January.  A five-day online sale for these signs will take place April 16 to 20. Be sure to follow the Shaker Schools Foundation online and on Facebook.

Support Shaker Schools at A Night for the Red & White

Since 1992, A Night for the Red & White has raised more than $2.6 million for the enrichment of all Shaker students. Billed as Shaker's Black-Tie Block Party, this gala event attracts nearly 800 attendees each year from throughout the community for dinner, dancing, an amazing silent auction, and student performances.  We invite all community members to join us at this year's event, which will be held on Saturday, March 10 at 7 p.m., at the fabulous new Cleveland Hilton Downtown. Tickets must be purchased by March 7. 
Learn more about how you can support A Night for the Red & White online.
We Want your Feedback
Have a comment, suggestion or concern? Share it with us using our new Feedback form on the District's website, www.shaker.org . Simply choose the "Contact" drop-down menu at the top of the website and click on "Feedback." You can select the particular department you want to receive your message.  

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