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Parent Update – October 13, 2010

OFHS FORENSICS PROGRAM RECOGNIZED BY NATIONAL FORENSICS LEAGUE

OFHS 2010-2011 Forensics Team members with Forensics Advisor Mr. John Mercer

Congratulations to the OFHS Forensics Team, led by advisor Mr. John Mercer, for earning the National Forensics League’s (NFL) Leading Chapter Award in the North Coast District. 

This coveted award, based on student participation, is the highest honor the NFL can bestow upon a chapter. Only one school in each district attains this designation each year. 

This year, out of more than 2,800 NFL member schools nationwide, Olmsted Falls High School is one of only 105 to receive the Leading Chapter Award.  Well done!

“VEGGIE U” PROGRAM RETURNS FOR 4TH GRADE STUDENTS THANKS TO OLMSTED FALLS GARDEN CLUB

Fourth grade teacher Mrs. Gina Pilko works with students as they taste test a variety of specialized vegetables provided by the Culinary Institute.

Thanks to the generous support of the Olmsted Falls Garden Club, fourth graders at Olmsted Falls Intermediate School are participating in a unique program called “Veggie U” for the second consecutive year. “Veggie U” is taught as part of the 4th grade science unit on plants.  Created by the Culinary Vegetable Institute in Huron, OH, the “Veggie U” program focuses on sustainable agriculture and how food is grown (i.e. importance of soil, composting, worm farms).  Hands-on elements, such as taste testing and growing their own lettuce under special “grow lights,” are popular with students.  The students recently got to taste test a variety of unique vegetables – including purple carrots and orange cauliflower – grown by the Chef’s Garden at the Culinary Institute for chefs all around the country.

Proceeds from the Olmsted Falls Garden Club’s annual plant sale were used to purchase all of the educational materials, related supplies and equipment for the implementation of the “Veggie U” program at Olmsted Falls Intermediate School.  Many thanks to the Olmsted Falls Garden Club for its support of this innovative learning opportunity!

DISTRICT PREPARES TO LAUNCH PARENT SURVEY

The thoughts and opinions of our parents are important to us.  As you know from previous blog news, the Olmsted Falls Board of Education is currently taking a long-range look at the needs of the Olmsted Falls School District.  In an effort to gather parents’ thoughts, the District will be asking parents to participate in an on-line survey.  All parents in the District who have provided their e-mail addresses will be sent a link to participate in the e-survey at the end of next week.  Please watch your e-mail boxes for this link.  We hope you will be able to take a few moments to share your thoughts.

SPECIAL TREE PLANTING HONORS FALLS-LENOX STUDENT

Ariel's Tree

A special tree was planted last week in remembrance of young Ariel Jenkins, a Falls-Lenox student in Mrs. Schoenhofer’s classroom who passed away last spring.  

“Ariel’s Tree” is now in place at the edge of the grass near the Falls-Lenox playground (see photo at right).  

Thank you to all who worked to bring this special tree to Falls-Lenox, including all of our District PTA Units that joined together to contribute the funds to purchase the tree. 

IMPORTANT REMINDER:  NO SCHOOL THIS FRIDAY, OCTOBER 15TH

An important reminder for all parents that there is NO SCHOOL this Friday, October 15th.  The Olmsted Falls School District, along with surrounding districts and districts throughout the State, will be closed for the annual NEOEA Day.            

ANNUAL POWDER PUFF FOOTBALL GAME THIS SATURDAY, OCTOBER 16TH

The 2010 Powder Puff Football Game features Senior Girls vs. Junior Girls this Saturday, October 16, 2010 at the High School Stadium.  Tickets are $5 ($4 pre-sale at school for students only).  Gates open at 5:00 p.m.  The game starts at 6:00 p.m.  Don’t miss all the fun and festivities including half-time games, raffles and concessions.  All proceeds benefit OFHS Post Prom Committee.

OFHS SENIOR BUILDS NEW SHED FOR BULLDOG FOOTBALL GEAR WITH HELP FROM COMMUNITY

Thank you Ben! Go Bulldogs!

The Olmsted Falls High School football team has expanded storage space for their practice gear thanks to Bulldog senior, and member of the varsity football team, Ben Coyle.  In addition to refurbishing the existing shed (pictured on the left), Coyle built a brand new shed (pictured on the right) which was quickly put to good use. Coyle built the shed as his Eagle Scout Project and was able to complete the job thanks to the generous donations of local community businesses and the Olmsted Falls Athletic Boosters. 

HISTORY COMES TO LIFE AS SECOND GRADERS VISIT HALE FARM & VILLAGE

Second graders from Falls-Lenox took a field trip to Hale Farm & Village last week.  Students got to tour the historic farm and learn about life in the 1800’s as they toured the surrounding village.  Special encounters including the blacksmith shop, the glass blower and the old school house – all featuring docents in period dress.  

 

FALL CONFERENCES PROVIDE OPPORTUNITY FOR PARENTS TO CONNECT WITH TEACHERS

As the end of the first nine weeks of school approaches, Parent-Teacher Conference nights are hosted at each building. 

The first of two fall conference nights at Olmsted Falls High School took place last week providing parents an opportunity to connect face-to-face with teachers. 

The second parent conference night for OFHS is scheduled for November 22nd.

STATUS OF ALL DAY KINDERGARTEN

We have had many questions regarding the status of All-Day Kindergarten (ADK) since the school year began.  Thank you to those who have called, and submitted questions on-line, for taking the time to receive accurate information directly from the District officials.  This is clearly an important issue to our parents.  Below please find an overview of the status of All-Day Kindergarten in our District, originally provided in a recent response to a question submitted on the blog:

It has been the Olmsted Falls School District’s quest to offer an ADK program for parents who desire this option for the past four years.  Four years ago, the District did not have space to offer any type of ADK program. However, knowing that a bond issue had been passed and additional classroom space at the ECC would become available, the District started moving forward with its plans to offer ADK.  At that time, the model that the District was working toward was implementing an ADK program, that would contain an additional fee for parents who desired to have their children receive these extra educational services. Note: this is a model that is utilized by several neighboring school districts.

However, about two years ago, Governor Strickland and the state legislature changed several laws regarding the operation of schools. (Often referred to as House Bill 1 or HB1). These laws mandated that districts offer a free ADK program, and made charging for an ADK program illegal.  This law (HB1) also allows districts to apply for a waiver to delay implementation of this ADK requirement. For the 2010-2011 school year, Olmsted Falls City Schools applied for, and received this waiver. Without the ability to cover the costs through the implementation of a fee for families of students interested in an ADK program, the Olmsted Falls School District did not have the funds available to operate one.

Please note that while HB1 mandates the implementation of ADK, no additional funding from the state was provided to help local school districts with implementation. In fact, with the economic crisis facing our state, our amount of state aid actually was reduced. As such, ADK is an unfunded mandate and it is expected that local school districts find the necessary funds, either by utilizing the funds in their existing budget or by asking taxpayers to approve additional millage.

The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) has been stating to school districts that it will not approve waivers for the 2011-2012 school year. However, nothing in House Bill 1 precludes ODE from granting waivers for the 2011-2012 school year.  The Olmsted Falls School District has calculated that, at a minimum, implementing ADK would increase District expenses by $300,000.  Additionally, this expense would grow on an annual basis by around 3%.

With school funding so uncertain and further budget cuts being predicted at the state level in the next biennium budget (which begins 7/1/11), I am personally fearful that implementing ADK will not allow the District to maintain its pledge to make the recently passed operating levy last three school years.

There are other options.  Rather than adding six additional teachers, the District could simply move currently employed teachers out of their present teaching assignment to teach kindergarten. This would reduce the number of sections offered at grades 1 – 8, which would further increase class sizes at those levels.  Another option would be to reduce / eliminate educational elective courses currently being offered at the MS and HS and redirect the money from those programs to hire teachers for ADK. It is my belief that neither of those two options are beneficial for our total educational program.

There is a political component to this as well. Many sections of HB 1 may change depending on who is elected Governor in November. HB1 is the educational vision of Governor Strickland and ADK is one of his main platforms. If he is not re-elected, the ADK requirement will likely be stricken from this law. 

Finally, please note that all of what I have written above is based upon the present and perceived future condition of our District finances. I consider myself a strong proponent of early childhood education and ultimately would love to see our District offer ADK. However, I also consider myself a realist, and if the implementation of ADK requires a degradation of other parts of our educational program, then I feel it is best to wait until other funding options become available.

OLMSTED FALLS PTA COUNCIL HOSTS MACY’S SHOP FOR A CAUSE EVENT – SATURDAY, OCTOBER 16TH                                          

The Olmsted Falls PTA Council is selling Shopping Passes for $5.00 for the Macy’s Shop For A Cause Event to help raise scholarship funds for graduating seniors.  Since 2006, Macy’s Shop For A Cause Event has partnered with non-profit organizations nationwide to raise more than $34 million for their ongoing charitable efforts. This is your chance to be part of this monumental event on Saturday, October 16, 2010.  Customers purchasing tickets benefit by receiving incredible store-wide shopping savings all day on October 16, 2010.  Macy’s will also host special events, prizes and other in-store excitement.  Plus, you can enter to win a $500 Macy’s Gift Card.  Click here for flyer with additional details.  For more information or to purchase a pass, please contact Kim Cleary (cleary101@sbcglobal.net).

UPCOMING EVENTS:                                                                     

Olmsted Falls Youth Coaches Clinic – October 23rd – Olmsted Falls Head Basketball Coach Chris DeLisio is offering a “Youth Coaches Clinic” targeted to area basketball coaches.  Please click here to download flyer with further information.                                          

Flu Vaccination Clinic at Olmsted Falls Middle School – Wednesday, October 27th, 4 pm – 7 pm Sponsored by PTA.  Click here for additional details.  Important Note:  Effective this year, you must pre-register; no walk-ins will be accepted on the day of the clinic.                                          

Olmsted Falls Boys Developmental Basketball League – Begins Saturday, October 30th – Click here for additional details and registration information.    

Olmsted Falls Junior Girls Basketball League – Begins Saturday, October 30th – Click here for additional details.                                      

Halloween Trick-or-Treating in Olmsted Falls/Olmsted Township – Sunday, October 31st, 6-8 pm – BE SAFE & HAVE FUN!

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