July 2017
Rising fifth graders show off their  Camp Invention exoplanet.
The Shaker Schools Connection

A Message from the Superintendent
Shaker students are on summer break, but here at the District, we're still working hard to ensure our young people have year-round educational experiences and opportunities that prepare them for the world. In fact, it's this very dedication to enrichment---through our Summer Enrichment Learning and Fun programs, internship and volunteering opportunities, international travel and more---that distinguishes Shaker Heights Schools (read more about all of these opportunities in this newsletter). We are continuing to develop a District-wide rigorous curriculum. Our commitment to holistic learning and exposure to new experiences for students nurtures them to be thoughtful, contributing global citizens. We hold our administrators, teachers, staff and students to a high standard of achievement not because we can, but because it's the right thing to do. 

Since the last day of school, our Curriculum & Instruction Leadership Council, work teams and sub-committees---all of which consist of teachers and administrators---in our buildings have collaborated to develop learning standards of quality and to facilitate the sharing of resources among teachers to improve the learning experience for all of our students. This month, I'll be attending the Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management Program at Harvard Business School to enhance my own skills as a leader. I received a scholarship from the Harvard Alumni, Cleveland Chapter to attend and am grateful for this professional experience. Also this month, our Instruction and Administration team will meet during our District Leadership Institute to take a closer look at our metrics, annual report and our overall progress relative to our Five-Year Strategic Plan and goals. Our theme this year is "Constructing a Successful 2017-2018 School Year." We'll share some of our outcomes in next month's newsletter.

Bottom line: Continuous improvement is a must at the District. Because providing high quality, equitable education isn't a privilege, it's a right---for all students.
Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools

Equity Task Force Update
The Equity Task Force held its first meeting on Monday, June 12, and welcomed speakers Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell and Earline Hooper. For each of its first few meetings, the Task Force will invite speakers to share their experiences of living in Shaker Heights through the years. Both Campbell and Hooper spoke about their own experiences of living here in the 1960s and 1970s.

The Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell is an ordained minister who held many top posts in religious organizations at the national level and worked to bring Martin Luther King, Jr. to Shaker Heights. In 1965, Campbell organized support for Carl Stokes' mayoral campaign and reached out to Dr. King to speak at Heights Christian Church, which was then predominantly white.  Listen to Dr. Campbell's story .

Hooper, a longtime Shaker resident who worked as a teacher in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, shared her own journey to Shaker Heights by way of Alabama and Cleveland. Her grandfather moved the family north in search of better opportunities and better education. She attended Glenville High School and went on to The Ohio State University. "My husband and I came to Shaker because we wanted a better education for our children," she explained. Listen to Earline Hooper's story.

Read more about the Equity Task Force meeting.
Visit the Equity Task Force Online
Learn more about the Equity Task Force, its leadership and members. Visit the Equity Task Force on the District website.
Shaker Schools SELF Camps Focus on STEAM
Evelyn, Evelyn and Bahji show off their duct tape creations at Camp Invention
Taha with his game, Flying Cat
Camp Invention

Camp Invention at the Middle School, June 12-15, was all hands-on and ideas for 46 third through sixth graders. There were no screens or computers. Just a whole lot of brain power. 

Which is precisely why rising fifth-grader Jake enrolled in the popular one-week camp at the Middle School. "I like science and space, so this camp is my thing," Jake said, proudly adding, "I'm flat-out nerd."

Read more about Camp Invention experiences online. 
Techie Camp

Taha, a rising fifth grader, joined 39 other Shaker students in grades 3-5 enrolled in Techie Camp at Mercer, June 12-22. The camp enabled students to learn the concepts of computer programming and encouraged them to think about complex ideas and concepts using their own rationale and logic.The students used Scratch,
 a programming environment specifically developed for young students by MIT, to create their own games, interactive stories and arts.

Read more about Techie Camp online.
2017-18 District Handbook and Calendar Information
For 2017-18, the handbook will be available  online and on our Shaker Heights Schools app in lieu of mailed packets. Look for an updated version of the handbook online in August.

Also,  copies of the 2017-18 printed calendars will be available for pickup only at any District building or office and at both Shaker Heights Public Library branches beginning on August 17. Printed calendars also will be available for pickup at all back-to-school and PTO events.

Download our free Shaker Schools app, available at the  Apple App Store or at  Google Play. It's got the most up-to-the-minute event information and all the school and District news that's been posted to social media. Even better, you can sign up for notifications and get daily or weekly alerts on what's going on at your student's school.

You also can  subscribe to individual school calendars through the app (or online) so that your smartphone calendar is pre-populated with school events---you'll see everything from field trips to PTO meetings to college planning nights and more.

Read the  Calendar FAQ for information about calendar distribution and instructions for downloading the Shaker Schools app and subscribing to our calendar online.
Academic Challenge Team Ranked 23rd in the Nation
Vishnu, Nat, Harry, and Joe at the buzzers.
Sam, Henry, Kevin, Vivek, and Jacob on deck.

Congratulations to the self-coached members of the Shaker Heights National Academic Challenge Team who competed in Chicago June 10-12 in the 35th Annual National Academic Championship. The Chicago event was one of three national championships.

Team members who competed in Chicago included Joe Berusch (coach), Henry Crampton-Hays, Nat Crowley, Vivek Divakarla, Jacob Good, Kevin Jiang, Vishnu Kasturi, Sam Katz and Harry Steinberg. 

The Shaker team was ranked seventh after the preliminary round and advanced through the first round of the High School Varsity playoffs (defeating St. Vincent-St. Mary with a score of 245-230) before a loss to the #2 ranked Henderson City (KY). Their performance was good enough to put them among the final eight teams out of a total 29 in Chicago. "It's a rarity for a team to make it to the playoffs in their first year," Chip Beall, Director of the National Academic Association, said of the Shaker students. 

Overall, the Shaker team finished ranked 23rd in the nation.

Read more about the Academic Challenge Team.
Shaker Summer Academy at High School Prepares Students for School and Life
Summer Academy students help an iCan Bike camper on a modified bike.
The invitation to attend the Summer Academy during the summer of 2016 wasn't exactly one that Ja'Lyn Magbie wanted as a rising ninth grader. "I wanted to spend the summer hanging out with my friends," she admits. 

Still, she accepted the invite and says she's glad she did. "[Summer Academy] has made me open to different things and experiences that I never would have seen myself doing," Ja'Lyn, now a rising sophmore, says. She's back again this year, this time considerably more willing.

Shaker's Summer Academy, now in its sixth year, is offered to rising minority ninth and tenth graders with a GPA of 2.5 or below. The program runs from 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m., for six weeks and splits the days: mornings for academics and afternoons for personal enrichment. The Shaker Foundation and the Class of 1950-51 donated the original funds to begin the program in 2012 before turning it over to the District last summer. 

Read more about Shaker Summer Academy.

This Summer: July 4th Pool Party, Rockin' Tuesdays and Community Band Wednesdays
C elebrate Independence Day on July 4 from 2-6 p.m. at Thornton Park Pool Party. Family activities and games provided; food and beverages available. Pool passes accepted or regular admission fees apply. ID required. For more information, call 216-491-1295.
The fun continues weekly on Rockin' Tuesdays and Community Band Wednesdays at the Shaker Colonnade (SW corner of Lee and Van Aken). Bring the family, a blanket, a picnic, and enjoy free, live local music from 7-8 p.m. this summer. Here's the schedule:
  • Tuesday, July 11: No Name Band, a band of Cleveland-area lawyers, plays dance music from the 60's, 70's and beyond.
  • Wednesday, July 19: Community Band Concert led by Conductor Lisa Chesier
  • Tuesday, July 25: Gringo Stew, a southern rock band plays country, Tex-Mex and Texas Swing.
  • Tuesday, August 1: Victory Highway plays classic rock, modern country, pop, R&B and dance favorites.
  • Tuesday, August 8: Flipside plays rock, folk, blues, theater and other popular American genres.
  • Wednesday, August 16: Community Band Concert led by Conductor Lisa Chesier
J. Lindsay Florence
Mercer principal J. Lindsay Florence is even-keeled, direct and genuinely modest in conversation. He's got all the outward characteristics of what most any parent would want in an elementary school principal. 

But that's not what the K-4 crowd saw when he started at Mercer nearly 14 years ago. They just saw a guy who was downright huggable. 

The gestures were kind, but for Florence, who had spent the previous 11 years teaching middle and high school PE and serving as a middle school administrator, it was a sign that he was in new territory.  "All the sudden, I had kids rushing up to me and giving me hugs," he says, recalling his initial confusion. "The older kids don't do that."

Today, Florence is plenty at home in Mercer. " I love to go around to each classroom each day and see what's going on, just to observe," he explains. "So I get to know the kids. I've always enjoyed talking to them, asking how they're doing, and really learning who they are. I've gotten a good sense of them that way. And it's one of the things about the job that I really love." 

Read more about Mercer Principal J. Lindsay Florence.
Faculty and Staff News
Thirty-one elementary teachers from each of Shaker's elementary schools attended a Primary Years Programme (PYP) Workshop June 6-7 at the High School to learn more about enriching Shaker's youngest students through inquiry. 

Inquiry is the hallmark teaching strategy endorsed by the International Baccalaureate, and is valued in each of its PreK-12 programmes. Through inquiry, students' natural curiosity is engaged with open-ended questions, research, hypothesis-making, and testing ideas. Done well, inquiry helps students grow their content knowledge in addition to the 21st-century skills which are necessary in today's world. By learning about inquiry through inquiry themselves, our teachers are poised to engage our PYP learners' curiosity and passion for learning like never before. 

Read more about the PYP Workshop
Shaker Welcomes Three New Administrators
Elizabeth A. Kimmel
Director of Pupil Services

Elizabeth A. Kimmel, M. Ed., has been named Director of Pupil Services for the Shaker Heights City School District, effective July 1. She succeeds Janice Price, who has served as the Interim Director of Pupil Services since last September. 
Kimmel holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from Case Western Reserve University and a master's of education in Educational Psychology from John Carroll University. 

Read more about Elizabeth Kimmel.

Ryan Beaumont
Middle School Assistant Principal

Ryan Beaumont, M.Ed., has been named Assistant Principal of Shaker Heights Middle School. He succeeds Assistant Principal Robert Rea, who has served in the position for the past three years.
Beaumont earned a B.S. in Adolescent Young Adult Integrated Science Education from Ohio University and a M.Ed. in School Improvement Leadership from Goucher College.
Read more about Ryan Beaumont.

Christopher J. Rateno
Director of Student Data Systems and Accountability

Christopher Rateno, M.Ed., has been named the District's Director of Student Data Systems and AccountabilityRateno will be responsible for District-wide research and accountability, data supervision and coordination of EMIS data.
Rateno earned a B.S in Biology from John Carroll University and a M.Ed. in Educational Administration from Cleveland State University.

Read more about Christopher Rateno.
Community Engagement
Spanish Students Engage in Chile

A group of 11 Shaker Heights High School Spanish students traveled to Concepcion, Chile June 3-17 to engage with our international community as part of the high school exchange with the Thomas Jefferson School. Spanish teacher Kim Ponce De Leon and High School Administrative Assistant Myriam Neil led the group, who spent 10 days living with families in Concepcion, attending school and "making incredible bicultural and bilingual connections," says Ponce De Leon. 

Read more  about the trip to Chile.
Save the Date: Raider Rainbow Run

Be at the starting line of the Raider Rainbow Run on Friday, Sept. 15 for a fun, two-mile, color-throwing run through the Shaker Heights Middle School neighborhood. 

The celebration starts at 3:45 p.m. and the race kicks off at 4 p.m. The Raider Rainbow Run, now in its third year, is a community-wide event launched by the Middle School PTO that raises money for Middle School PTO programs, technology enhancements and educational enrichment. Look for more information from the PTO next month!

Required Summer Reading for Students
All students benefit from year-round reading, but especially over the summer when school's not in session. Encourage your K-4 student to spend 30 minutes each day reading. Students in grades 5-12 should do the same, in addition to completing the following summer reading assignments: 
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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