November 2017
Senior Ose Arheghan received the GLSEN Student Advocate of the Year Award in October. Read more about Ose's exceptional honor in this issue.
The Shaker Schools Connection

A Message from the Superintendent
Since my family moved to Shaker Heights, I've been struck time and again by our young people's willingness to extend kindness and generosity to those within our school community and well beyond it-in some cases, halfway around the world. The spirit of caring is remarkable. And it's evidence that our students truly internalize the IB Learner Profile.

In this season of thanksgiving, I challenge all of us---adults and students alike---to show compassion every day and to fuel our appetites for social change through service year-round. Our capacity to serve, to volunteer and to give back can become a part of our daily living. It's what we teach to our students in our classrooms---why not model these attributes ourselves?

This month, High School freshman Sam Schmidt and junior Erin Harris have initiated ways they can give back to the community. Sam saw an effort in North Carolina called PORCH, an all-volunteer grassroots neighborhood food drive that collects canned goods in neighborhoods and distributes donations to local pantries. He decided that it was something he could do in his own neighborhood. ( Read more about Sam and how you can donate to his PORCH effort.) And Erin Harris tapped into what she knew to be true: that Cleveland winters are cold and many of the area's homeless who can't stay in a shelter go without coats, boots, hats and mittens. This month, she's collecting cold weather gear for adults and children, which she plans to donate to local shelters for distribution. ( Read more about Erin's efforts.)

Like Sam and Erin, we can all take action and be champions for change. Sign up to volunteer your time and share your skills at the Shaker Schools. Donate to the Greater Cleveland Foodbank. Become a basketball mentor at The City Mission. Tutor adults who are studying for their GED at the Thea Bowman Center, just two miles away in Mount Pleasant. Call patients to remind them of their appointments at the VA Medical Center.

Ghandi once said, "If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. ... We need not wait to see what others do." These words still ring true for us here in Shaker. Let's keep giving, volunteering and donating our way to local and global changes for us all.

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

Curriculum 101: Understanding the Framework of a Shaker Education
For the past year, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, Dr. Terri L. Breeden, has been working with principals, central office administrators, instructional coaches, IB coordinators and teachers to ensure that Shaker has a rigorous curriculum for all students. The curriculum and instruction team's end goal is: to make the District curriculum IB aligned to the IB standards, clearly defined, filled with rigorous content and easy to find in an online repository.

"We have expert teachers who are teaching wonderful lessons every day and our students are learning a tremendous amount," says Dr. Breeden. "It's important that we capture our curriculum so that we can analyze it, share it among teachers and build upon it. Having a curriculum that's easily accessible means that teachers will have it at their fingertips. "It has been beneficial having a common place where teachers can collaborate," says High School English teacher Sharon Craig.

We asked Dr. Breeden to give us a 101 on what curriculum is, what it isn't and what the effect their efforts to capture the curriculum in one location will have on teachers.

Read the Curriculum 101 Q&A with Dr. Breeden.
Curriculum and Instruction Leadership Council Update
In November 2016, Dr. Terri L. Breeden formed the Curriculum and Instruction Leadership Council (CILC) to ensure that all Shaker Heights Schools students receive the full benefit of the Shaker Experience as outlined in the District's Strategic Plan .

During the 2017-18 school year, CILC---which includes 13 teachers, counselors, specialists, instructional coaches and administrators---will meet bimonthly. The Council's five sub-councils meet regularly. "We are constantly working on the written, taught and assessed curriculum," says Dr. Breeden. "Our focus this year is the strengthen those areas and to improve student outcomes."

CILC sub-councils include: Primary Years Programme Curriculum PreK-4; Grades 5-12 Written Curriculum; Taught Curriculum, Academic Planning and Transitions, and; Technology and Assessment.

Review Dr. Breeden's latest update to the board to learn more about recent developments from the CILC.

Shaker Theater Arts Dept. Presents Sense and Sensibility
Shaker Theatre Arts Department proudly presents the fall play, Sense and Sensibility, by Kate Hamill, based on the novel by Jane Austen, playing November 16-18 at 7 p.m., in the Large Auditorium at  15911 Aldersyde Drive, Shaker Heights, OH 44120.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students  and senior adults  and are on sale now at Tickets may also be purchased in person from the Box Office one hour prior to curtain ( 6 p.m.) on performance nights.
Tour Your Schools Draws Families to All Buildings
On Wednesday, November 1, Shaker Heights Schools opened all of its buildings to the public for Tour Your Schools. K-8 buildings hosted the event from 10-11 a.m. and the High School was open in the afternoon from 1-2 p.m. Many current Shaker families attended, particularly those whose students are transitioning to a new building, as well as families interested in joining our schools.

The event happened to coincide with the District's first ever NASA In-Flight Education Downlink, so guests for Tour Your Schools were able to watch along with students.

Shaker Heights Schools will host a second Tour Your Schools event on Monday, March 19, 2018. Stay tuned for details and registration opportunities early next year.
Students and Astronauts Connect During NASA In-Flight Education Downlink

(L-R) Astronauts Joe Acaba and Mark Vande Hei answering questions from Shaker students on November 1
Shaker students from grades K-12, teachers, parents and guests filled the High School Large Auditorium on Wednesday, November 1, for the District's first-ever NASA In-Flight Education Downlink with International Space Station (ISS) astronauts Joe Acaba and Mark Vande Hei. The session, which lasted 20 minutes, gave 17 Shaker students the opportunity to ask questions they had previously submitted to NASA about life on the International Space Station. District-wide, students and teachers watched the event on NASA TV from their respective buildings in large groups.

One by one, students posed their questions via Skype audio and the astronauts responded on a video feed. Questions included: Are there germs in space? How do astronauts get their food? What important discoveries have the astronauts have made? How did the astronauts feel when they went on their first space walks?

Shaker Schools was selected through a competitive process for the Downlink, thanks to Planetarium Director Bryan Child, who applied for the opportunity last spring. NASA was promoting the opportunity as part of its Year of Education on Station, which provides extensive space station-related resources and opportunities to students and educators. Child was thrilled when he learned that Shaker Schools was selected.

"For me personally, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience," Child says. "And the main reason we do things like this is so that the students in the audience or watching on NASA TV can have that same sense of awe."

Shaker Heights Schools was the only District and/or school in Ohio to receive an In-Flight Education Downlink in 2017. The last time NASA hosted a Downlink in Ohio was in 2015 at the Great Lakes Science Center.

Library News: Meet Celeste Ng
Meet Celeste Ng, SHHS Class of 1998 graduate and author of " Little Fires Everywhere" at 7 p.m. on Monday, November 6 at Shaker Heights Middle School. Ms Ng 's second novel is set in Shaker Heights and explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, the ferocious pull of motherhood---and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.

Ms. Ng graduated from Harvard University and earned an MFA from the University of Michigan where she won the Hopwood Award. Her fiction and essays have appeared in The New York Times,   One Story, The Guardian,   TriQuarterly,  and elsewhere, and she is a recipient of the Pushcart Prize, the Massachusetts Book Award, the American Library Association's Alex Award, and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Following her talk, books will be available for sale and signing.
OseStudent Spotlight: Senior Ose Arheghan
Senior Ose Arheghan simply beams when asked about being named Student Advocate of the Year at the GLSEN Respect Awards, held October 20 in Los Angeles. The GLSEN Respect Awards are held annually and showcase the work of students, educators, community leaders, and corporations who serve as exemplary role models and have made a significant impact on the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.

"People say it to me and I'm like, 'That did not really happen'," Ose says, smiling wide, head shaking in disbelief. At the young age of 17, Ose won a national award, received an all-expense paid trip to receive it and experienced the combination of shock and awe when celebrities said of Ose's acceptance speech, "Your words were so inspiring." ( Read the entire text of Ose's acceptance speech.)

Star-struck feelings aside, Ose's most memorable moment at the awards had nothing to do with receiving the honor. "I was talking to a woman who works for FoxNews and we were having a conversation about her child who identifies as transgender and who tried to commit suicide," Ose remembers. "Her child wanted to transition to male and I suggested that she use male pronouns and call him by a name he chose." The woman wept.

Read more about Ose's experience at the Awards, advocacy work at the state and federal levels, and advocacy for the use of gender-neutral pronouns.
IBinActionIB in Action: Students Living the IB Learner Attributes
SamSam Schmidt Turns Shaker into a PORCH Community

Helping those in need of food this fall is as easy as leaving canned goods on your front doorstep, thanks to Shaker Heights High School freshman Sam Schmidt. Sam started a local chapter of PORCH Communities, an all-volunteer, non-profit organization that mobilizes monthly neighborhood food drives to relieve local hunger. The group was originally founded in North Carolina and has steadily grown in size because its concept is easily replicated: a PORCH community founder like Sam reaches out to local food banks/pantries to determine specific food needs and then those needs are communicated to neighbors via flyers/ email along with a pick-up date. On that day, neighbors leave canned goods on their porch/doorstep for pickup by Sam. 

Sam will approach his own Malvern neighbors first, and then he hopes other students will volunteer as coordinators in their neighborhoods.  "I'm serving as the middleman between the people who donate and the food banks," Sam explains. "If we can get a decent amount of coordinators all around Shaker, then we can start collecting to help people who need it most."

Sam's first pickup will be Saturday, November 18. He'll be collecting for St. Herman's House of Hospitality, a transitional house for men in Ohio City, and Trials for Hope, an organization that delivers food and toiletries to Cleveland's homeless and homebound.

"Shaker is such a diverse community with a lot of resources," says Sam. "This is really just about doing the right thing in general."

To learn more, to volunteer or to donate on November 18, email Sam with your name and address.
Erin Erin Harris Helps Cleveland's Homeless Stay Warm

Earlier this fall, IB Diploma Programme junior and Cheer captain Erin Harris was thinking of ways that Shaker Cheerleaders could reach out to the community. So she turned to what she knows for inspiration: Cleveland winters are brutally cold.

"Most of us have a couple pairs of mittens and gloves, or we get new coats every year. These are the things many of us take for granted," Erin says. "When I've gone into Cleveland and seen the homeless and their children, it's so sad to see and know that these kids are born into poverty."

From November 6-17, Erin will be collecting gently used or new mittens, gloves, hats, coats, scarves, snow pants, boots and any other cold weather gear for children and adults at the High School. Students can drop off these items at the Eli Gallery in the High School. Erin will collect the donations for distribution to local shelters.

Cheerleading coach and Athletic Department Administrative Assistant Vikki Long has supported Erin in her efforts. " She loves a challenge and she is the kind of young person that sees the mountain, but figures out what tools she needs to climb it rather than feeling defeated," Ms. Long says. "She has a kind spirit and her idea of wanting to help others in need is a testimony in itself." 

Erin says she started thinking more seriously about ways to help Cleveland's poor population after attending ArtWorks, an arts-based job training and college-readiness program, this past summer. "We watched videos on people who struggled to have all the things we take for granted," she says. "It really opened my eyes."

To learn more about donating to Erin's campaign, email Vikki Long.
Dawn Sizemore Joins Innovative Center
Dawn Sizemore
D awn Sizemore has joined Shaker Heights Schools  as the Coordinator for the Innovative Center for Personalized Learning. A 1999 graduate of Shaker Heights High School, Ms. Sizemore has extensive experience in nontraditional learning, online learning and instructional leadership.

Most recently, Ms Sizemore was the Principal at Lake Erie Preparatory School, an ACCEL School in Cleveland. There, she was responsible for the planning, implementation and evaluation of the educational program. She had previously served as the school's Dean of Student Learning and Instruction and its Associate Principal.

Prior to her work at ACCEL, Ms. Sizemore spent 10 years working in education in Phoenix and Nashville. She was the Coordinator of Instructional Services at Maricopa Community College in Tempe, Ariz.; a Lead Curriculum Developer at Grand Canyon University, a university that enrolls 40,000 students in a traditional campus and online learning environment; and a Career and Technical Education Instructor at the national College of Business & Technology in Nashville, Tenn. Ms. Sizemore began her teaching career in the classroom at Metro Nashville Public Schools.

Ms. Sizemore earned her B.S. in Business Administration from John Carroll University and her Masters in Education and her EdS from Tennessee State University. She is currently pursuing her PhD Education from Capella University.

"I have a lot of different lenses through which I view nontraditional learning," explains Ms. Sizemore. "I'm excited that I still get to work with the kids, but I'm also still an administrator. And now I can draw on my knowledge of online learning for students and to expand what's offered to staff and to the community."
City News
The Shaker Heights Recreation Department is launching a free after-school program for Shaker Heights High School students called The Getaway. Based at Heights Christian Church, 17300 Van Aken Blvd., The Getaway will offer students in grades 9-12 a supervised space to hang out after school, while enjoying amenities like video games, TV, and Wi-Fi. Hours:  Monday to  Friday from  3-7 p.m. A Shaker Schools ID is required for admittance. For more information, call 491-1295 or email  The Getaway.
Shaker Schools Family Spotlight: The Lewis Family
Boulevard dad Zach Lewis always loved playing with his Legos when he was kid. And then he grew up, got a job as a reporter at The Plain Dealer, started writing a fitness column, started a family, and then became the newspaper's classical music critic. 

But when his sons---eight-year-old Wesley and five-year-old Elliot---were toddlers, Mr. Lewis re-kindled his long-lost love for Legos. He broke out all the pieces that his mother had saved and he started building.

Above: Zach Lewis with his sons (l-r) Elliot and Wesley. Below: A close-up of Boulevard's west facade.
Mr. Lewis wasn't just content to build mismatched structures, imaginary creatures, or mini Lego cars. He wanted to build replicas of actual buildings. To scale. And with detail.

So he  built a replica of his former Tremont home (that one, you could take the roof off and look inside), his home in Shaker, his wife's bathroom (there's even a Lego roll of toilet paper in it), his favorite home in Shaker (which took some clandestine exterior photography when the home was empty and for sale) and Case Western Reserve University's Harkness Chapel. 

Then about a  year ago, Mr. Lewis started building Boulevard Elementary School. He loved the classic architecture of the building and liked the idea of the challenge because of the building's size. He began buying up all the pieces and looking up images of Boulevard's roof on Google Earth so that he could get everything just right.

Read the rest of the story about Zach Lewis, his "Legovard" and why he believes Lego is such a valuable toy for children
Employee Spotlight
Victoria Berndt, High School
Individuals & Societies Teacher

Only four years out of college, Victoria Berndt has shown a dedication to her High School students and her profession that's more typical of seasoned veterans. Then again, Ms. Berndt has known that she's wanted to teach since she was a freshman at Mentor High School. And that self-awareness has guided her to explore and follow her curiosity to teaching opportunities that broaden her perspective.

Ms. Berndt joined the High School faculty full-time this year, though she served as a long-term sub in 2015 and 2016 and was hired as a part-time teacher for the 2016-17 academic year. In that time, she's taught freshman and sophomore core English, 10 team, 11 team, government, financial literacy and African American history.

Read our Q&A with Victoria Berndt and learn why she became a teacher and how she tries to live the IB attributes.  
Mariama Whyte, Boulevard
Special Education Aide

Mariama Whyte came home to Shaker nine years ago to slow down the pace of her life and focus on spending more time with her elementary school-aged son, Micaiah. Since 2001, Mariama had been based in New York City as a Broadway performer. She starred in the national tour of The Lion King and then joined the cast of the national tour of The Color Purple as a swing member (for that, she had to memorize an impressive 11 parts) and an understudy for two leading roles. 

She was ready for a change, so as a way to maintain a flexible schedule and maximize her time with Micaiah, she applied to be a substitute teacher at Shaker Heights Schools. Today, she's still connecting with an audience, albeit younger, but every bit as impressionable.

Read our Q&A with Mariama Whyte and learn more about her experiences on Broadway, the music she's writing now and her reflections on growing up in Shaker.
Community Engagement 
Woodbury Students Raise Money for Hurricane Victims
Woodbury students purchase bake sale items from school staff and parent helpers to raise money for hurricane relief.
After the devastating hurricanes in Houston, Florida and Puerto Rico, a group of fifth graders approached Woodbury Assistant Principal Doug Myles about raising money to donate to hurricane relief efforts. Their goal: to raise $2,500 by mid-October.

Mr. Myles and Woodbury Librarian Rob Kaminski, along with guidance from Sixth Grade Teacher Ruth Heide, selected Heart to Heart International, as the charity allowed students to earmark their donations to hurricane victims.

Fifth grade students began making and selling bracelets to raise money during lunch. Then the Woodbury staff decided to host a bake sale on October 10, with all the proceeds from the bake sale going to hurricane relief.

"We involved our Woodbury Positive Behavior Support ambassadors and made this into a school-wide effort. And we really grabbed on to our theme this year: Be kinder than necessary," Mr. Myles explains. "We tried to let the kids lead the way and to use their talents, cultivate their voices and see that they're making a difference in the world."

The final total for the fundraiser: $1,300. "It  was certainly inspiring to see how the interest of a handful of fifth graders to help people in a desperate life situation lead Woodbury students and staff to raise so much money for recovery efforts," Myles says.
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