Parent Update – December 15, 2010
WINTER BREAK SCHEDULE
Please remember that this year’s Winter Break begins on Wednesday, December 22nd and runs through Tuesday, January 4th. The last day of school prior to Winter Break is Tuesday, December 21st. School will resume on Wednesday, January 5th.
Today’s blog post will be the last blog post until after the Winter Break. Regular weekly blog posts will resume on Wednesday, January 5th. Have a safe and happy holiday!
REMAINING HOLIDAY CONCERTS
Thursday, December 16th – OFHS Holiday Band/Choir Concert*
* Due to the cancellation of Monday’s scheduled OFHS Holiday Band/Choir concert, there will now be two performances this Thursday, December 16th in the High School auditorium. The first performance will begin at 6:45 p.m.; followed by a second performance set to begin at approximately 8:15 p.m. Please click here for additional details posted on the High School website.
Monday, December 20th @ 6:30 p.m. & 7:45 p.m. – 3rd Grade Holiday Concert at OFHS Auditorium
DETERMINING SNOW DAYS
Each year, with the arrival of winter, we receive a number of questions regarding our District’s policy for closing school due to inclement weather conditions. We understand that the decision to close schools has an enormous impact on all of our families. The District makes a great effort to make the final determination about whether or not to close the schools sometime between 5:30 – 6:00 a.m. There are several factors that are taken into account during the process of making the decision including road conditions, building and grounds condition, air temperature, and weather forecasts.
When severe weather exists, we typically begin monitoring the situation at 4:00 a.m. with District personnel on-site to assess the condition of both roads and facilities. When road conditions are less than ideal, District personnel are in direct communication with local safety forces and local road crews to determine whether buses can travel safely on our local roads. In most instances, if roads are deemed safe for travel by our fleet of buses, school will be in session for Olmsted Falls School District.
In regard to cold weather or wind chill, please keep in mind that one variable that differentiates Olmsted Falls School District from neighboring districts (such as Berea, Fairview Park, North Olmsted and Strongsville) is that our District provides transportation services for all of its students and does not have a walking zone for students, like many of the surrounding communities. Because of this level of transportation service, there may be times when Olmsted Falls School District is able to remain open while other surrounding districts are forced to close.
Ultimately, the decision on whether to send your child to school is your own. We do ask that you notify your child’s school building as you normally would if he/she will not be in attendance on a day that school is in session.
Should the decision be made to close schools, all efforts will be made to notify local media outlets by 6:00 a.m. In addition, a school closure notice will also be posted on our District website at www.ofcs.net.
Please Note: When our schools are closed for the day, this also means that school activities and events (including evening events) are cancelled as well – with the exception of High School level athletics only. While actual High School level athletic games are always cancelled on snow days, team practices may be held at the discretion of the coach, and with the approval of the Athletic Director and the High School Principal.
OFHS LOCAL SCHOLARSHIP SPONSOR APPRECIATION BRUNCH
Olmsted Falls High School held its annual Local Scholarship Sponsor Appreciation Brunch last Friday in the High School Media Center. Guests were treated to a buffet breakfast and enjoyed a special holiday performance by the Golden Expressions.
In addition, Bulldog alumnus Mark Mills returned to his alma mater to personally express special thanks to the sponsors who supported him this year. Mark is currently studying Engineering at The Ohio State University.
Last year, these local sponsors provided more than $112,000 through 211 scholarships for members of the Class of 2010. Please click here to review the brunch event program which highlights all of the generous sponsors of the 2010 OFHS Local Scholarship Program. Our District extends its continued gratitude to all of these individuals, businesses and organizations, for their generous support of our Bulldog graduates!
The 2011 OFHS Local Scholarship Program is getting underway. The scholarship application will be available at the Senior Financial Aid Night on January 10, 2011. The deadline for completed applications is February 11, 2011. For more information, please contact the OFHS Counseling Department.
OFHS WRESTLING COACH BILL MCGRAIN RECORDS 300TH VICTORY
Congratulations to OFHS Head Wrestling Coach Bill McGrain on recording his 300th victory on December 4th over Eaton High School at the Findlay Duals. McGrain is in his 29th year as head wrestling coach, 26th year here at Olmsted Falls. Along with his 300 victories, McGrain has won thirteen Southwestern Conference titles, has coached seventy–four Southwestern Conference Champions, forty-four State Place Winners and seven State Champions.
McGrain has been selected by his peers as the Southwestern Conference Coach of the Year twelve times. He is a three-time Greater Cleveland Coach of the Year and has twice been selected as The Cleveland Plain Dealer Coach of the Year.
His most notable accomplishment, McGrain was inducted into the Ohio Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2006. McGrain, who’s current record sits at 301 – 58 – 3, credits his family and coaches for much of his success.
OFHS ACADEMIC TEAM UPDATE
The OFHS Academic Team recently traveled to Dayton for the Wright State University Rowdy Raider NAQT Tournament. This tournament drew teams from West Virginia, Kentucky, Georgia, Indiana, and Ohio. A, B, and C teams participated. The A team went through their initial brackets undefeated and came back in the championship bracket to make it to the Championship match, where they lost to Northmont (Ohio). Along the way, they posted impressive wins over Chattahoochee, GA (Top 15 team from last year’s Nationals) and Adair County, KY (Top 10 from last year’s Nationals). B and C teams held their own against A teams from the five states represented at this tournament.
The success that the OFHS Academic Team is experiencing is a testament to the hard work that each and every teacher in the Olmsted Falls School District puts in every day. The rigorous academic classes that these students have helps to prepare them for the competitions. Thank you to all of our teachers for all they do every day for the children in the Olmsted Falls Schools.
PARENT SURVEY RESPONSES PROVIDE OPPORTUNITY TO CLARIFY INFORMATION, FINE-TUNE COMMUNICATIONS
The results of the recent parent survey continue to yield useful information for Olmsted Falls Schools. We are incredibly humbled to have had more than 90% of parents who participated in the survey rate our District as either “above average” or “best in the area.” This is a testament to the daily commitment of our staff, our dedicated students and their supportive families in the Olmsted community.
While there were specific areas of concern, by some parents, the overall results of the survey show that parents in the community are generally pleased with our school system. In addition to helping us identify areas of needed improvement, the survey responses have also revealed several instances of misinformation which have surfaced. A number of people have asked what we plan to do about this issue of misinformation out there.
From a broad standpoint, we are looking for trends in the misinformation so that future communication efforts can be structured in a way to better prevent these misconceptions from occurring.
For example, one survey respondent referenced an out-of-state field study trip taken by some of our elementary teachers a few years back. The respondent’s perception was that our District had spent tax-payer money to send these staff members on this particular excursion, when they felt the teachers could have gotten the same experience locally. In reality, the trip was the result of a competitive application by our teachers to participate in a unique field study program – completely paid for by grant money.
In examining the original article highlighting this trip (which appeared in the September 2006 issue of Our School Report), we realized that while it was mentioned that “the funds for this program were provided jointly by Miami University and the Ohio Board of Regents Improving Teacher Quality program,” this information appeared in the middle of the last paragraph. Taking note of this placement helps us understand where the misperception may have originated from, and how critical it is that funding sources be clearly spelled out early in any story regarding grant-funded activities/expenditures.
The recent $7.7 million State-funded expansion of Olmsted Falls Middle School is another frequently misunderstood project, as it relates to funding. Some ask why the money could not be dedicated to much-needed expansion/renovation at our High School building, while others believe the funds were used for operating expenses (salary, etc.). In reality, the $7.7 million grant was secured by the District through participation in the Ohio School Facilities Commission’s Exceptional Needs program. The funds were required to be dedicated to a District facility that met very specific requirements of the OSFC. Our High School, more than 40 years old, did not meet the requirements for funding under the OSFC grant. Funds were able to be directed to the Middle School only, or be returned to the OSFC.
One final misconception that Olmsted Falls Schools struggles to combat is that because our taxes are high, our spending must be high as well. In fact, it is primarily the minimal business development within the Olmsted Community that increases the burden on our residential taxpayers. While it is true that taxes in our community are high, Olmsted Falls School District has the 3rd lowest cost per pupil of all 31 school districts in Cuyahoga County.
There is always misinformation in any community and this survey was a great way to bring items to the surface so that they can now be addressed. To identify some of these misconceptions was one purpose of the parent survey. We encourage parents (or any resident) who may have questions about any aspect of District operations to continue to reach out to the Board of Education office so that we may provide you with the most accurate information.
We again offer our sincere appreciation to all parents who took the time to participate in the survey.
1ST ANNUAL OLMSTED FALLS BASEBALL HOLIDAY SKILLS CAMP FOR PLAYERS IN GRADES 3-8 – Wednesday, December 22nd & Thursday, December 23rd, from 2-5pm each day. The cost will be $30 for both days -OR- $20 for one day. Please click here for details and registration form. REGISTRATION DEADLINE IS TODAY, DECEMBER 15TH.
OLMSTED TOWNSHIP PRESENTS: “RAIN BARREL WORKSHOP” – TONIGHT! Wednesday, December 15th, 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. at Olmsted Falls Middle School Cafetorium – Learn how to harvest rain water for all your garden needs and to combat Storm Water Pollution in your community. Click here for more information.
OFHS NATIONAL HONOR SOCIETY ANNUAL POINSETTIA SALE – Through THIS FRIDAY, December 17th – Click here for additional information and order form.
OLMSTED FALLS FIRE DEPARTMENT HOSTS COMMUNITY BLOOD DRIVE – THIS FRIDAY, December 17th, 3 – 7 p.m. – Come to the Olmsted Falls Fire Department located at 9274 Columbia Road to donate blood this holiday season.
FREE BEHAVIOR SUPPORT LECTURE SERIES FOR PARENTS OF CHILDREN AGES 3 TO 6 YEARS – January 6th, 13th, 20th, and 27th – Please click here for additional information. Attention Interested Parents: The first session in this series is scheduled for Thursday evening , January 6, 2011 – the week we return from break. Mark your calendars today!