Home > Uncategorized > Parent Update – January 26, 2011

Parent Update – January 26, 2011

January 26, 2011


All schools in the Olmsted Falls School District will be closed due to inclement weather conditions on Wednesday, February 2nd.


As anticipated, and publicized in last week’s blog update, the School Board did make a decision at their regular monthly Board meeting last week regarding the 2.8 mill drop-off, scheduled to occur in 2012.  Following additional discussions on the issue, the School Board passed a resolution (5-0) to place a 2.8 Mill Permanent Improvement Levy, which will not raise taxes for our residents, on the May 2011 ballot.  Passage of this issue in May will secure additional financial resources that will be dedicated to maintaining facilities throughout the District.

There will be a series of public meetings planned to provide additional information and answer questions.  The first informational meeting has been scheduled for next Thursday, February 3rd at 7:00 p.m. in the Middle School Library.  Superintendent Dr. Todd Hoadley will provide an overview of the 2.8 Mill Permanent Improvement Levy and answer questions.  All parents and residents are invited to attend.


Always seeking new ways to stretch limited financial resources, the Olmsted Falls School District was able to expand upon its partnership with Polaris Career Center this year to add new engineering courses to the Olmsted Falls High School curriculum. The new pre-engineering courses are part of the “Pathway to Engineering” program and are designed to help high school students make an informed choice about their future by exposing them to concepts and courses necessary to be successful in the field of engineering.  The curriculum is provided by Project Lead the Way (PLTW), an organization devoted to preparing students to be innovative and productive leaders in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

Students not only receive high school credit for PLTW courses, but also have the opportunity to receive college credit by passing the final exams.  There are four classes in the new “Pathway to Engineering” curriculum:  Introduction to Engineering Design, Principals of Engineering, Digital Electronics, and Engineering Design and Development.

Engineering instructor Mr. Mike Haydn works with students during the new Introduction to Engineering Design course at Olmsted Falls High School.

All Project Lead the Way Courses are taught on-site at Olmsted Falls High School utilizing teachers funded entirely through Polaris Career Center. There are currently 40 Olmsted Falls High School students enrolled in two sections of the introductory engineering course being taught by Mr. Mike Haydn.  The hands-on, interactive nature of the Introduction to Engineering Design course has received many positive reviews to date.

“Pathway to Engineering” is the second set of course offerings to be introduced at Olmsted Falls High School in partnership with Polaris Career Center and Project Lead the Way.  Last year, a “Biomedical Sciences Program” was launched through the partnership.  Now in its second year, there are 55 students currently enrolled in Biomedical Sciences Program courses.

Both PLTW programs offer four courses each, with each course building upon the next.  Entering either the “Pathway to Engineering” or “Biomedical Sciences” programs in their freshman year allows students the opportunity to complete all four courses in their selected program.  It is possible for sophomores, juniors and seniors to enroll in these specialized courses as well.

For additional information about the PLTW Biomedical Sciences Program or Pathway to Engineering at Olmsted Falls High School, please contact your student’s School Counselor.  Information tables for both PLTW programs will also be on display during the upcoming Freshmen Orientation night on February 24th at 7:00 p.m.  Parents can also find detailed information on these courses in the current High School Program of Studies available on the Counselor’s Corner web page of the High School website.


School Board recognizes District Food Service staff.

Quality employees make up a quality organization.  Two groups of employees were publicly acknowledged at last week’s Board of Education meeting.  Director of Food Service Denise Tabar and the District’s four cafeteria managers were recognized by the School Board for receiving the 2010 Stellar Award for Excellent Nutrition Practices.  This award recognizes our Food Service Department’s innovative use of best practices to promote a healthy school nutrition environment, and is a tribute to the entire food service staff.

School Board recognizes District Technology staff.

Director of Technology Joe Magrey and District technology staff members were also in attendance at last week’s meeting to receive special recognition from the School Board for their hard work and dedication in conjunction with the construction of the new Intermediate School and the recent expansion and technology upgrades in the Middle School.  These two projects required a complex coordination of vendors and extreme attention to detail.  The efforts of our Technology Department have resulted in state-of-the-art technology and improved efficiencies for our students and staff.


The School Board also approved the recommendation for Olmsted Falls School District to apply for an additional 2-year waiver for the State’s unfunded All Day Kindergarten mandate.  Last year, the District received a 1-year waiver which is in effect for the current 2010-2011 school year.  The new, 2-year waiver will allow the District to postpone implementation of an All Day Kindergarten program for both the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 school years.

While District finances necessitate applying for the 2-year waiver application, the Board of Education has given the Superintendent the authority to explore potential partnerships that could provide before/after school care solutions for parents seeking to fill the other half of the day for kindergarten students.   Dr. Hoadley is currently engaged in conversations with various day care providers to determine the feasibility of having an outside, third-party entity operate a program utilizing vacant classroom space at the Early Childhood Center.


Bulldog hockey players - past and present!

The Olmsted Falls High school Hockey Team hosted an Alumni Hockey Game prior to its regular varsity game against Amherst this past Sunday.

Participating alumni players ranged from recent grads from the Class of 2010 to Bulldog alumni who graduated in the 1970s.

Current players joined alumni players on the ice for a group photo (at right).

Once a Bulldog, always a Bulldog!


DID YOU KNOW?  Summaries of monthly Board of Education meetings are available on the District website.  Board Briefs for each month are uploaded on the Board of Education page.  Any person who is interested in following School Board meetings, but who is unable to attend, is encouraged to check the website following each month’s regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting.

Olmsted Falls Board of Education Meetings are generally held on the third Thursday of each month at 7:30 p.m.  The location of the meetings rotates to a different school building each month.  Please check the website to confirm dates, times and locations.  Changes in dates, times and locations are posted on the website.


Get your act together for the 24th Annual High School PTA Friday Night Live Talent Show!  OFHS PTA is looking for students to share their talent!  Come and audition Saturday, January 29th at the high school auditorium between 9am and 12 noon.  Bands can submit a tape before January 29th.  For more information, contact Elaine Atkinson at 235-8821 or Debbie Henton at 235-5402.


Attention parents of high school students for the 2011-12 school year! Are you interested in learning more about a program that allows high school students to take college level courses for both high school and college credit at no cost? You are invited to attend the Post Secondary Enrollment Options Program (PSEOP) informational meeting next Thursday, February 3rd at 7:00 p.m. in the OFHS auditorium. Please contact your high school counselor with any questions or if you are unable to attend and would like information.


On Saturday, February 5th, the Olmsted Falls High School Academic Team will be hosting an NAQT Tournament at the High School all day.  The Academic Team is seeking parent and/or community volunteers to help as readers for the tournament.  If you are available and interested in helping, please e-mail Academic Team Advisor Mrs. Rhonna Smith at rsmith@ofcs.net for additional details.


Planning meetings for the “Dance It Up 4 Kids Health” event on March 19th at the Middle School are every Tuesday 6:00-7:30 p.m. at the Falls-Lenox Media Center. Any interested community member, including students, are welcome to attend.

Start practicing! We’ll begin signing up participants for the Mini-Dance Marathon and Dance Exhibition (amateur or professional, serious or fun) in February. Anyone of any age can participate.


Olmsted Falls Rec Soccer Program Registration – THIS THURSDAY, JANUARY 27th,  5:30 – 7:30 p.m. in the Olmsted Falls Middle School Cafetorium. This league is for players Pre-K – 8th grade. If your child will be 4 years old before April 15th, you can sign them up to play in the Olmsted Falls Rec Soccer Program on Saturday mornings at the Shady Road Soccer Fields. To register, please plan to attend this Thursday’s registration session, or please visit our web site at http://olmstedsoccer.wordpress.com.  Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact Kim Cleary at clearysoccer@att.net.

BALDWIN-WALLACE COLLEGE “Take a Kid to the Game” Events – Saturday, January 29th and Saturday, February 19th. All area students in grades K to 8 will be admitted free of charge to two upcoming Yellow Jacket women’s and men’s basketball double-headers with a paying parent or adult.  For additional details, please click here.

Olmsted Falls High School Swim & Dive Team ANNUAL DINNER & RAFFLE – TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2011, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. in the Olmsted Falls High School Cafeteria. OPEN TO THE PUBLIC – Come support your Bulldog swimmers and divers and enjoy a dinner with family and friends!  This year’s dinner features a Roman Gladiator Theme that you won’t want to miss!  Proceeds benefit the Swim & Dive Team.  Click here to download the official invitation flyer and ticket form.  $10 for adults; $6 for children (10 & under).   Go Bulldogs!

DANCE IT UP FOR KIDS HEALTH EVENT – Saturday, March 19th 11:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. @ Olmsted Falls Middle School – This PTA sponsored, district approved school/community event will be entirely funded by donated private and business goods and services with all proceeds to benefit the Early Childhood Center playground fund and a children’s health charity.  Our goals are to show kids and families that exercise and healthy eating can be fun and family focused and to raise money for some great causes.  A few of the scheduled event activities for all ages include:  Old fashioned “mini” dance marathon with participants soliciting pledges to dance; dance exhibition of both amateur and professional individuals and groups; Wii family dance stations; and healthy refreshments and health education and vendor booths.  This has the potential to be an amazing event but we need your help. Please help us share this information by encouraging any OF person, organization, church group or business you think might be interested in participating to contact dzhaviland@yahoo.com if they are able to help with this event.  PLANNING MEETINGS HELD EVERY TUESDAY FROM 6:00-7:30 P.M. IN THE FALLS-LENOX MEDIA CENTER – ALL WELCOME!

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Mike
    January 31, 2011 at 9:26 am

    When the current improvement levy expires,that will reduce the tax that we pay. So, the proposed 2.8 may not increase the tax, but if the current expires we cloud get a little break on our taxes. Which in most cases are near or over $7,000 a year for most of the residents in this School District. The permanent tends to indicate this one will never go away. In the past week or so, several area school districts have come up with away to generate money. This is being done via advertisement on their web site. They are generating about $700 – $1000 a month. Why aren’t we doing something creative like this.

  2. January 31, 2011 at 10:23 am

    Mike – Thank you for your comment to our blog. You have asked several questions so my response will be a little lengthy.

    Let me start with your final question and work backwards.

    Regarding the recently TV and Radio news announcement that several school districts are using their school website to advertise for-profit companies and earning $$ from this practice, I can tell you that OFCS is researching that issue. Any way that our District can generate $$ without taxing our residents is always thoroughly explored.

    Presently, there is a major issue with the practice of advertising on school websites that the news media has not reported. Specifically, the issue is that school districts receive Federal $$ in the form of ERATE $$ to help fund technology and internet access.

    Like all Federal programs, there are stipulations on how a school district can use ERATE $$. Many feel that it is a violation of ERATE rules (to mix Federal financial assistance that is generated through taxation with for-profit advertising).

    To be prudent, we are awaiting further clarification of ERATE rules from the Federal government before venturing down this path (of advertising on our website). Should we receive clarification that this practice is legal, we will move forward. However, we do not feel it is prudent to risk the $$ we receive annually from ERATE (which exceeds the $$ you mentioned that schools are receiving per month for advertising on their website)

    Olmsted Falls schools has, and continues to explore, for-profit advertising arrangements currently with other venues (baseball diamonds / scoreboards).

    Regarding your question about the term “Permanent Improvement”, I agree that it does give the connotation that the levy is permanent. However, that simply is the legal way the Ohio Legislature has entitled this type of levy and we must go by that.

    The word “Permanent” is supposed to identify that the improvements made with funds from this levy must be “permanent”. While nothing is really permanent in life, the improvements from this levy, by law, must last more than 5 years.

    Examples of probable expenditures for this levy would include: new roof for our High school, new school bus, renovation of HS Science labs. Through the work the District as completed with two different architectural service companies, we are aware that we have around $50 million of necessary updates to our facilities in order to bring them up to the standards set forth by the Ohio School Facility Commission.

    Presently, all of these items need to occur, but unfortunately, the District lacks a dedicated revenue source to fund these types of expenditures. Therefore, expenditures like this are often “put off” until another time.

    As citizens, we have the same dilemma, when our home needs a new roof, or a new furnace, or our car needs new tires. These improvements, while strongly needed, get delayed, and often never completed. Moreover, I remember the TV advertisement from the 1970’s that stated “you can pay me now, or you can pay me later”. We know from this commercial that later was always more expensive and that is unfortunately what often occurs in schools.

    Rather than fixing the roof when it first needs done, we continue to patch it up and patch it up and in the end, it becomes much more expensive to fix than it would have been had it simply been fixed correctly in the beginning. In regard to schools, this is our unfortunate reality as we do not have a dedicated revenue stream that can only be used to fix these types of items.

    It is important to note that revenue from a PI levy cannot be utilized to cover salary and fringe benefits costs, as it is legally only available for school construction / renovation / large ## items (such as school buses).

    Finally, your point about a tax reduction is absolutely true. If not passed, in Calendar year 2011, residents would receive a tax reduction of around $84 per $100K worth of property. For a $300K house, that would mean the owner would receive a tax reduction of approximately $250 annually.

    I hope that the community will agree that having a dedicated revenue stream, which can only be used to maintain school facilities and purchase high dollar items like a school bus, is an important and essential component of a quality school district and as such, will agree to maintain their current level of taxation to make this occur.

    Thanks for your questions and please let me know if you have any follow up questions to my response.

  3. Matt
    February 1, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    I can’t believe how long you wait to say school is closed due to bad weather. There are too many nights, just like tonight, where I have to sit and wonder. I would also like to know why you don’t ever use 2 hour delay. Posting to school website on this blog and school district website is very slow.

  4. February 2, 2011 at 4:09 am


    Thank you for your comment.

    The decision to close school is a difficult one and every district has different variables to consider.

    The decision to close school today (Wednesday) was made and announced at 5:15 AM.

    I realize other schools closed last evening. However, that was based upon weather predictions. I am not a big fan on closing school, due to weather predictions, because frankly the news media in Cuyahoga county tend to sensationalize the potential of every winter storm.

    We will consider two hour delays, and I used them in my previous school district. However, there are some downsides to the 2 hour delay as well.

    Thanks again for your comment.

  5. February 2, 2011 at 4:12 am


    Thank you for your comment.

    The decision to close school is a difficult one and every district has different variables to consider.

    The decision to close school today (Wednesday) was made and announced at 5:15 AM.

    I realize other schools closed last evening. However, that was based upon weather predictions. I am not a big fan on closing school, due to weather predictions, because frankly the news media in Cuyahoga county tend to sensationalize the potential of every winter storm.

    We will consider two hour delays, and I used them in my previous school district. However, there are some downsides to the 2 hour delay as well.

    I might suggest that for quicker notification you enroll in one of the TV media’s text messaging systems or a least check the school closing announcements on the TV media’s website, rather than than school’s website. The earliest notification will come from Channel 3,5,8,and 19.

    Thanks again for your comment.

  6. CC
    February 3, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    It is extremely disappointing that our Board has decided to file for a 2year waiver on all-day kindergarten. Where is the focus on early childhood development that is claimed by many in our administration? Unfortunately, the actions speak much louder than words. I encourage the 50+ families who were told there would be all-day kindergarten regardless of free or fee to take appropriate action at the polls. Our monies will go elsewhere for the coming years at a time when we keep discussing a need to generate revenue… Truly unfortunate.

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