Welcoming a New Chapter at NLS

Northwood Parents, Students and Community,

I am truly humbled and honored to be selected as the 13th Superintendent to serve Northwood Local Schools beginning August 1st.  In my 10 years at Northwood I have had the privilege to serve two years as Middle School Principal and then as High School Principal for the past eight years.  What is most noticeable in Northwood is the true desire of all staff members to take care of students. From our bus drivers and custodians, to the aides and office staff, students come first at every level of our school community.  Also consistently noticeable in Northwood is the wonderful support from our parents and community. We truly have a school community of which we can be very proud.

On a more personal note, many years ago, my grandfather attended Northwood for elementary school.  This was before Northwood had a high school in town, and thus he transferred to Rossford High School, where he eventually graduated.  My father’s family has been involved in Northwood Schools for decades, both as previous board of education members, and graduates of our wonderful school.  As a proud Ranger parent of AJ, (class of ‘22) Caitlin (class of ‘24) and Quinten (class of ‘27) my perspective provides great insight into just how wonderful our staff truly is in Northwood.  My wife, Melissa, recently joined our office staff as a part-time secretary in the new building and could not be happier. We are a family of Rangers and we are invested long term in Northwood Local Schools.

#OneRangerNation was the phrase we used bringing our buildings together last year, but it means so much more.  Everyone who walks in our school should see the commitment and effort that our entire staff has towards making sure students find success.  Thank you to everyone who reached out offering well wishes the past few weeks, but please know that this transition for our school is truly about #OneRangerNation and how we can continue to build on our successes, while making improvements in areas of need.  Northwood’s success is shown every year as our students cross the stage at graduation. Our student speakers this past May spoke about how important their school connections were, and they spoke about a feeling of family and connection to teachers and friends.  That aspect of Northwood Schools is more important than any standardized test and we need to continue the focus on relationships and connections that make our students feel valued and supported. While we do this, we will also be looking at opportunities to build upon our alumni relations and exploring ways to focus even more on classroom curriculum to increase performance.  If we can accomplish a few of these goals in the next few years we will only make our school stronger.

Finally, I want to thank Greg Clark for his tremendous leadership of our school over the past 12 years and wish him the best in his retirement.  I am proud to call Greg a friend and mentor, and appreciate his efforts to make this a smooth transition over the summer.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions moving forward at 419-691-3888 or jkozina@northwoodschools.org.  I look forward to the start of the 2018-2019 school year on Tuesday, August 21st, which is only a short 67 days away!

Go Rangers!

Jason Kozina

 

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A Final Farewell from Supt. Clark

Students, Staff, and Community:

Thank you!

As we end this school year, sincere thanks to each of you for the efforts made to make this year a productive learning experience for our students as we opened our new school and transitioned everyone to the new spaces created across our renovated campus.

Also, thanks to each of you for all of the support you have provided me over the twelve years I’ve served as the leader of our community’s school, as well as to my family as we have made Northwood our home.  Thank you!

My heart is filled with gratitude as I approach my last day as Superintendent of Schools on July 31st. Northwood is special. Our community culture is a welcoming and caring “putting people first in a data driven world,” one that I love and that is worth continuing to nurture for generations to come. As a member of our community, I hope to continue to contribute to our brand of “Northwood Nice” during the next phase of my life.

I am very much looking forward to seeing the great progress our school will make through the leadership of Mr. Jason Kozina beginning later this summer. I am committed to doing my best to make the leadership change seamless so that when everyone returns for the 2018-2019 school year, our school will be ready to provide our students the best of educational opportunities.

Thanks again and Go Rangers!

Supt. Greg Clark

NHS Choir Takes on Chicago & a Spring Update from Supt. Clark!

The NHS Choir recently returned from a whirlwind 3-day trip to the Windy City. Students traveled by chartered bus to Chicago, early Thursday morning. Upon arrival they visited IMG_6513the Museum of Science and Industry, where they were able to IMG_6511 (1)participate in various interactive exhibits including the U-505 Submarine, Genetics and the Baby Chick Hatchery, Science Storms, Farm Tech, and the popular Mirror Maze. Students then traveled to VanderCook College of Music for a vocal workshop with adjunct faculty at VanderCook and Director Emeritus at Glenbard East High School, Mr. Ross Heise. Reflecting on the workshop, one student expressed, “It helped me become a better soloist, and gave me the confidence to sing higher.” Another student explained that Mr. Heise was able to help with vocal control and range. All of the tips and constructive criticism were lessons that students are now able to implement in the classroom with Mrs. Slater.

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Students stopped at Millennium Park for pictures at “The Bean” prior to a sit-down dinner at Giordano’s Pizzeria, where some students were able to experience their first taste of Chicago-style deep dish pizza! with full bellies, students then traveled to the CIBC Theatre, to end their first evening in Chicago with the Broadway-hit and Tony Award Winning Musical, Hamilton! For many students, the opportunity to see this show live, was the best part of the entire trip!

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Day Two allowed students to put what they had learned at VanderCook into action, as they traveled to the Field Museum of Natural History for a performance. Both the choir and acapella were able to perform in the Stanley Field Hall. After the performance, IMG_6593students were able to tour the various exhibits including Dinosaur Hall and Inside Ancient Egypt. Next, students traveled to Water Tower Place for lunch and time to explore the city’s 7-story mall. Students then traveled to Willis Tower (formerly called the Sears Tower) for a chance to see 360-degree views of Chicago. Students were also able to step out on “The Ledge,” a glass floor, 1,353 feet above street level, for unforgettable pictures!

As the second evening set in, our traveling Rangers were quite hungry, and headed to the Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament for a chance to eat a medieval dinner (no utensils included) while cheering on the Red & Yellow Knight! This was a favorite of many of the students as they were able to eat with their hands while shouting and cheering for jousting knights!

Though students were getting progressively more sleepy on Day Three, they were ready to take on their last few hours of Chicago with a morning visit to the Shedd Aquarium. Students were able to visit one of the most popular exhibits the “Wild Reef” and were able to see the Aquatic Show. Junior Kylie Grant, even found herself as a contestant during the Aquatic Show, where she answered trivia questions and led the audience in waddling like a penguin!

 

IMG_6952.JPGSince one simply can’t leave Chicago without visiting Navy Pier, the last stop of the day was the 50 acres of parks, gardens, shops, eateries, and attractions. It was cold and windy but that didn’t stop a few of our students from riding the world-famous ferris wheel. Senior Lyndsey DeSelms was pleasantly surprised to find out that the ride was actually heated, which made it an even better experience for a mid-March adventure!

Exhausted and full of new memories, our Rangers arrived home Saturday evening. One student stated, “For as short of a trip as it was, I had an amazing time, I wouldn’t have wanted to share it with any other group of people!” Another choir member expressed, “I’d like to thank the chaperones, Bob Rogers Travel, and the teachers for making this trip even possible! It was truly an amazing experience!” Finally, one last student stated, “Thank you, Mrs. Slater, so much for bringing us all to Chicago and for all of the activities and experiences you gave us! Also, thank you to all of the chaperones. I really enjoyed this trip!”

 

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All:

As we end our third grading period this week and take a long weekend as our Spring Break this year, I realize that warm weather and all of the wonderful things that brings to our part of the world is just around the corner and as that all approaches, I have a few items to share.

As hard as it to believe, prom, graduation and the end of another school year will be here before we know it. Please take a little time with the young people you care about to remind them to celebrate these wonderful experiences with safety in mind and without the use of alcohol or other drugs. Our vigilance as adults around these issues make a difference. Let’s make this wonderful time of year the safest yet for our young people.

We are a number of  years into the school choice, testing and accountability era here in Ohio and in the last few weeks legislation to completely revamp the education governance in our state has been introduced in Columbus. As citizens, I encourage each of you to be informed around these issues. Just as you hold our school accountable for providing great opportunities for all of our children, hold our Governor and State Legislators accountable for the public policy they implement that impacts every single child and family in our state. From funding formulas to testing and curriculum, the policy choices made in Columbus that appear to be corporate driven rather than citizen driven do have an impact at the local level on actual individual people. Our kids and our families opportunities are at the mercy of our elected officials making good public policy choices.

An informed and engaged citizenry is the best solution we all have to the issues that face us as a state and as a nation. All of our engagement is required to achieve the best outcomes for all of us.

Last, but not least, Our Ohio primary election is coming Tuesday, May 8, 2018. I encourage everyone to exercise that critical right that has been secured through the efforts of those who have come before us and left us with a Republic that is ours to maintain. Here is the link to the Wood County Board of Elections to get more information about that: http://www.co.wood.oh.us/boe/ .

As always, questions and comments are welcome!

Supt. Greg Clark

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A Special Message from Supt. Clark

All:

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving Break and this Cyber-Monday finds you well.

With Thanksgiving in the rear view mirror, I want to remind everyone to have their Plan B and Plan C for childcare in the event of school delay or closure ready to go as the long Ohio Winter is knocking on our door.

In the event of a school delay or closing we will attempt to communicate through multiple sources, but please do not rely on any one exclusively as sometimes technical glitches get in the way.

Our delay or closing messages will always be attempted to be delivered the following ways:

  • My Twitter Account: @NLSSuptClark

  • Our School Website: NorthwoodSchools.org

  • Our School App which can be found in both Android and IPhone versions when one searches for Northwood Schools

  • Our School Facebook Page

  • Our School Twitter: @RangerRoundup

  • We will also autocall all of the phone numbers that we have on file (Do we have yours?)

  • Local TV: Channels 11, 13, 24

 

If you have not updated your contact information including phone numbers with us recently, please do so with our school office.

Thanks so much for being prepared and flexible as the inevitable weather events come our way.

Have a joyous holiday season!

Greg Clark

An Important Message from Supt. Clark

All:

With Open House behind us and the Labor Day Holiday upon us, the #Fallof2017 is here! School starts on Tuesday the 5th of September for our students in the new school and we are not only very excited by all of the possibilities, everyone here has been working very hard to make it a great start to our new era for Northwood Schools!

In my message to our team here at school, it was stressed that this opening of a beautiful new facility designed to promote collaboration is a unique opportunity for all of us in the Northwood Community. New is very exciting. New also comes with some fears for most of us as human beings. And this new is more than the usual new school year. This year, almost everything we are doing to open the new year is new for every student in the school, for every parent sending us their most precious people to educate, for every teacher charged with those duties, and for every member of our team supporting our great school staff so our mission can be accomplished. It is a whole bunch of new!

As we kick off this new school year in our beautiful new school, I ask that everyone in our community try to remember that everyone is experiencing a lot of new things. There has been a great deal of planning and practicing and working with the new school to try to have everything go off like clock work, but we are all humans so it won’t be perfect on day one. Even without as much new as we are about to experience this coming Tuesday, the first few days of school create wrinkles that get solved as we all get into the routine of school.

We are going to experience some bumps…probably with transportation and drop off and pick-up by parents. I can guess this because no matter how much we work to communicate everything with everyone, it takes a few days of practicing with everyone to get to where we want to be. Please be patient with one another and with our school team as we work with you all to get it “right” over the next few days.

With regard to transportation, it always takes a few days to shake out to the times we will end up with. The first few days are impacted by all of us getting used to a new school year so boarding at each stop before school and getting everyone loaded after school takes a little longer than it will once everyone gets used to the routine.

Please remember Student Drop Off will be in the Front of the new building.  Pull up to the doors using a single file lane on the right side of the loop.  Allow your child to exit the car and enter through the front doors where a staff member will greet them.

Elementary Students may enter the building starting at 8:30 for breakfast.  If they are not eating breakfast, they are to arrive between 8:40 and 8:45.  School starts at 8:45 and ends at 3:10.  Elementary Students should be picked up at 3:10.  When picking up your child at 3:10, you will need to park your car in a designated parking spot in the parking lot.  Walk up to the front doors and enter the building (Parents may not enter before 3:10).  Check in with the staff member.  Please have your ID to assure student safety.  Then take your child back to your car with you.  

The loop in front of the building is for active loading and unloading ONLY.  No cars should be parked in the the loop at anytime.  

If you have any questions you need answered, please call the office at 419-691-3888 and we will do our best to assist you and make the start of the school year a productive one for everyone.

Welcome Back Rangers!

Greg Clark

Superintendent

A Final Farewell to the 2016-2017 School Year

Val and Sal Set Their Sights on OSU!

Graduation season is upon us! This week, the Ranger Roundup was able to sit down with Valedictorian Bhakti Merchant and Salutatorian Tim Hall, both of whom will have the honor of addressing their peers at the Northwood Class of 2017 Graduation Ceremony on Sunday, May 14th.

Valedictorian Bhakti Merchant

Merchant,BhaktiDuring her time at NHS, Bhakti has made sure to keep very busy with extracurricular activities. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Key Club (serving as Key Club President this school year), and Teen Institute. She has participated in musical, Student Council, volleyball, basketball, prom committee, and the “Northern Lights” Acapella Choir. Outside of school, she has participated in YiPEE (Youth in Philanthropy Encouraging Excellence).

In 2015, Bhakti was chosen as the Northwood representative for Youth Leadership Toledo, which extended her involvement in community service groups. Additionally, she received the Most Outstanding Soprano Award in choir for two years, as well as the National Chorale Award. She is the recipient of the Kiwanis Award and was recognized as Student of the Month this past September.

This fall, Bhakti will attend the Ohio State University to study biochemistry. Bhakti looks forward to staying actively involved and hopes to participate in either the Humanitarian Engineering Scholars Organization or the Women in Philanthropy Organization during her time at Ohio State University.  

When asked what she will miss most about Northwood High School, Bhakti stated, “I will definitely miss the suspense about the annual musical, as well as participating in all my extracurricular activities, especially my sports and acapella. I thoroughly enjoyed my experiences with my volleyball and basketball teams, as well as singing at concerts for acapella.” Nonetheless,, Bhakti is really looking forward to her college experience. She explained that she is looking forward to the specialization of her chemistry and biology courses, as well as the clubs and activities that she will be able to participate in outside of class. She added, “Like in high school, I also look forward to the enthusiasm and school spirit at games and other activities” Additionally, she can’t wait to take action and continue with her volunteer work.

As she looks to the future, Bhakti hopes to attend medical school to become a doctor. She is not yet sure if she wants to specialize or conduct medical research after completing her degree. However, she does plan to continue her philanthropic efforts as she completes her degree and beyond!

“To my parents, I would like to say ‘thank you’ for supporting me through all my endeavors and helping me reach my true potential with each of my accomplishments,” said Bhakti. She continued to thank the rest of her family, friends, and teachers for supporting her throughout her high school career and for making her high school experience unforgettable, stating that her high school experience would not have been as special and unique without them!

Salutatorian Tim Hall

Hall TTim Hall, having ranked second in his class, will serve as this year’s Salutatorian. During his time at Northwood High School, Tim served as an active member of our Ranger Football team. He too, will attend the Ohio State University this fall. Tim plans to study Health Promotion, Nutrition, and Exercise Science. In the future, Tim hopes to have a career in Orthopedic Surgery.

When asked what he will miss most about NHS, Tim stated simply “the people.” However, he is very much looking forward to meeting many new people in Columbus! Tim stated, “I would like to thank my friends and family, my scout leaders, and my football coaches.”

 

Congratulations to Bhakti and Tim, as well as the entire Northwood Class of 2017!

NLS Says Goodbye to Five Special Retirees

This year, we have five Ranger staff members that will be retiring. The Ranger Roundup took some time to speak with each of the retirees and reflect on their time as a NLS staff member.

Mrs. Smith

IMG_4807Terrie Smith has worked for NLS for 17 years. She started out as a Northwood parent who spent a lot of time volunteering within the schools. She explained that she started out as a playground aide at Lark and then moved into a library aide position at Lark until the Lark building closed. Most recently, Terrie can be found serving as the high school library aide in the high school media center.

Mrs. Smith stated that the most rewarding parts of the job for her were the times when she knew that something she said or did made a positive impact on someone else! When asked to think of a memorable story that she will always remember from her time at Northwood, she stated, “I have many, but I think the one that stands out was the time I needed to take the state test. Being out of high school for several years, I was a little nervous, but my co-workers stepped up and cheered me on and tutored me.” She continued, “There was another time when I passed a Lark school bus on my way home that had broken down. I sat with the students and read their library books to them to keep them calm while they waited. I just kept thinking to myself, ‘These are my kids.’ I wanted to be there for them.”

 

Mrs. Gallaher

IMG_4806Robin Gallaher has been an employee of Northwood Schools for 22 years. Mrs. Gallaher explained that while her kids were attending Northwood High School, she was asked to sub at the schools occasionally. When the study hall position opened up, Mr. Szabo encouraged her to apply. The rest she said, “is history!”

Looking back on her time as the NHS study hall monitor, Mrs. Gallaher stated, “My first year was the most memorable because I hated the job. After I got to know the students and understand them better, I realized what a great job I had.” She added, “It’s difficult to pick one special moment or story. It’s amazing to see the transformation as our students grow into adults.”

When asked about the most rewarding part of her time at Northwood High School, Mrs. Gallaher said, “The most rewarding aspect of being a Northwood employee is the wonderful staff I get to work with everyday.” She continued, “The success of my children can be directly traced back to Northwood school system and the people that helped shape their lives.” She concluded, “The jeans fairy ranks as a close second!”

 

Karen Donegan

12220NES Secretary Karen Donegan, also started her NLS career as both a parent and a substitute. She explained that she left AT&T after 20 years due to some of the changes in the company. She started subbing at Northwood that fall. She served as a substitute in the cafeteria, study hall, playground, and as an office secretary. She reminisced, “I remember walking into the high school office one day and told the secretary that I was available to sub anytime. From that point, I worked in the high school for a steady few months. In March of that year, I was asked to cover Lark while Mrs. Everett went to the high school. That June I was hired for the upcoming year.”

Mrs. Donegan had a hard time designating one memory as most memorable, as she explained that there were so many! “Thinking back on the good old Lark days, we had a special thing there. I know we all look back on those days fondly. Then, there was the day I cried when I went to the middle school because I was overwhelmed. I don’t think Mr. Kozina knew what to do with me! Then, NES with many more memories to be made, like doing the announcements and having an awareness day….many at NES know what I’m talking about.” She concluded, “Mr. C. was always very entertained by my announcements… so many fun memories. Thanks to all of you for that!”

A lifelong resident of Northwood, Mrs. Donegan explained that her husband and children grew up as Rangers. She added, “The best part of becoming an employee was getting to know so many more people in the community as well as the staff. I have really enjoyed the friendships that I have found at Northwood. It truly is a good place to live and work!”

Lori Kamelesky

FullSizeRender (61)Lori Kamelesky, the head cook at Olney Elementary, will also be retiring at the end of this school year. Mrs. Kamelesky has worked for NLS for 23 years. She explained that her sister-in-law worked at Lark and Olney and told her to apply. The people that she works with have been the best part of her career at NLS. She added, “I will miss the laughter with my co-workers.”
Reflecting on memorable stories, Mrs. Kamelesky stated, “When we were in the auditorium on opening day this year, Mr. Clark said, ‘Look around and say to yourself, this is the last time I will be in this auditorium for opening day, and do that all through the year as you experience your last times.’ I did it and was surprised how emotional I felt. Thanks for the memories!”

Phyllis Tucker

Bus driver, Phyllis Tucker, will be retiring after 20 years of service at NLS. She explained that her sister was driving for Northwood and told her that it would be a great job  opportunity, and so she applied! When asked about one story that she will always remember, she stated, “My coconut bus from Superintendent Ron Matter!” She explained that the relationships between students, parents, and Northwood staff have been the best part of working for NLS. Tucker concluded, “I have learned much in the time that I have spent here at Northwood. It has been an honor to work at Northwood Schools as a bus driver. As a driver, I have had the best boss and more than that, a great friend, Greg Hornstein.”

National Honor Society Inductees 

This year’s NHS Academic Awards Banquet was held Monday, May 1st. The evening started with dinner provided by our NHS food service staff. After dinner, all scholars and their parents were invited to the auditorium for awards and further recognition. The evening included the Alumnus of the Year Award given to 1996 Ranger Alumnus Sean DeLauder, and ended with the annual National Honor Society and National Junior Honor Society Induction Ceremony. Below is a list of the current and newly inducted NJHS and NHS members:

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National Junior Honor Society – Shellie Semler, Advisor

Current Members:

Kennedy Brossia

Mary Paengrord

Christina Zielinski

Bailey Garno

Zoe Sherman

Mitchell Hurley

Logan Urbanyi

Lydia Long

Natnicha Vayavong

New Members:

Olivia Cox

Davote Sauer

Kyleigh Derr

Sierra Vendt

Bethany Gillespie

Andrew Kozina

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National Honor Society – Cristina Toflinski & Emma Elinski, Advisors 

Current Members:

Riley Bisbee

Kyle Moore

Sarah Steenbergen

Hannah Garno

Allison Roach

Allison Vogl

Bhakti Merchant

Morgan Satkowski

Hannah Moore

Zakary Sherman

New Members:

Megan Goins

Philip Ottinger

Kylie Grant

Kyra Simmons

Alyssea Hart

Tim Zielinski, Jr.

Alexandra Hoffer

Congratulations to all of our NHS Scholars on another year of hard work and dedication to academics! 

 

parent info District Calendar Reminders:

The end of the school year is fast approaching! Check out this list of Ranger events so that you can plan accordingly!

 

May 4th – Seniors Last Day of School

May 5th – Circle K “Fueling Our Schools” from 4-8pm

May 8th – 3rd – 5th Grade Awards / Athletic Boosters Bingo

May 9th – Grades K-2 Field Day / Senior Awards

May 10th – 3rd – 6th grade Olympics

May 11th – Last Day of School for Students / 6th Grade Send Off

May 14th – NHS Graduation for the Class of 2017

 

Weekly Update from Principal Krontz

Check the following link for important elementary reminders including information regarding Kindergarten registration! https://www.smore.com/eypcv

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STARS Summer Enrichment Program

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Northwood Safety Town

Safety Town Flyer

Superintendent’s Message

As we finish our third week of school and are about to enjoy the long Labor Day weekend with friends and family, it is my hope that everyone has successfully settled into this new school year. A new school year is ripe with promise and I very much enjoy the annual return to school with all of the catching up on everyone’s summer, the smiling faces of our students who all have grown so much, and the plethora of fresh sneakers in the hall.

A new school year also introduces new schedules and new routines and cartloads of new information which often create some stress in all of our lives as well. I hope your experience this year was manageable even as we ask so much of all of you to get off to a good start. It is our goal to have everything work and when the inevitable glitches do come along, have good folks willing and able to help you navigate the waters. If you have questions or comments on any of it, let us know!

Effective two way communication makes life work better for all of us and here at school, we continue to work to improve our methods to both provide and receive information. One of the major perks of living in a small community with a small school is the ability to simply call and have that call returned in a timely manner. We can be reached at 419-691-3888 and we still have a physical address to which the United States Postal Service delivers mail.

In addition to those more traditional methods of communication, as a school, we have email, we have Schoology, and we have our school website. We also endeavor to provide information through social media. The school has a Facebook account, a Twitter account, The Ranger Roundup blog, as well as a district Instagram and a second Instagram dedicated to our construction project. Many of our staff also have individual accounts on social media that you may to choose to follow as well.

For some of us (and by that I mean at least me), there is too much stuff to try to keep a handle on. We are working on that too.  This year, along with our new website, which works well with computer browsers, we have a brand new smartphone app that I encourage everyone to download from your app store. It is our hope to make this the “go to” place for what you need to know from our school. As I see the content increasing everyday, I believe you will find this to be the case. I will include more detailed information on our communication channels at the end of the message.

I also want to share with you all, that the new school is on schedule to open for the start of the 2017-2018 school year. We are planning for the first day of school for students to be shortly after Labor Day. So, if your family has always wanted to take some time away from home in August, next summer is a good time to plan for that!

As the new school progresses, I get increasingly excited about the possibilities it has for the education of our children and I can’t wait to show it to you all in about a year from now.

Enjoy the holiday weekend and thank you for entrusting your child’s formal education to us.

Sincerely,

Greg Clark

 

App Info:  Available on Android and iTunes:

 

 

School Website:

 

Athletic Calendar:

 

WordPress Blog:

 

Twitter:

@rangerroundup (District account)

@NHSRangers (Athletic Department)

@nlssuptclark

@principalkozina

@principalkrontz

 

Facebook:

 

Instagram:

  • Northwood_Local_Schools
  • Ranger_Construction

 

Community Update From Superintendent Clark

This week has brought a hint of the warm weather to come and as the days provide more daylight, it is time to think about Spring and all of the wonderful things that brings to our part of the world.

Here at school, as hard as it to believe, prom and graduation are just around the corner. Please take a little time with the young people you care about to remind them to celebrate these wonderful experiences with safety in mind and without the use of alcohol or other drugs. Our vigilance as adults around these issues make a difference. Let’s make this wonderful time of year the safest yet for our young people.

The next phase of work constructing our new school is also about to begin. Bidding on this 3rd of 4 phases went well and was within our budget which is very good news. Our Construction Manager at Risk, Rudolph-Libbe is in the process of issuing the contracts to the selected sub-contractors for the work and we should begin to see progress with foundations and walls very soon. The construction will be documented for the use of our community with a camera that will regularly take pictures of the progress which will be available on our school website as we move forward and will allow us to create a time-lapse “movie” showing the building being constructed as well. We are still on track to open the new school in the Fall of 2017 which will be here before we know it..

We are a number of  years into the school choice, testing and accountability era here in Ohio. As citizens, I encourage each of you to be informed around these issues. Just as you hold our school accountable for providing great opportunities for all of our children, hold our Governor and State Legislators accountable for the public policy they implement that impacts every single child in our state. From funding formulas to testing and curriculum, the policy choices made in Columbus that appear to be corporate driven do have an impact at the local level on actual individual people. An informed and engaged citizenry is the best solution we all have to the issues that face us as a state and as a nation. All of our engagement is required to achieve the best outcomes in public policy.

As always, questions and comments are welcome!

– Superintendent Clark

An Important Calendar Message & Studying Conic Sections with Mr. Moore!

An Important Message Concerning the 2016-2017 School Yearclipart-calendar

As you review the attached calendar for the 2016-2017 school year please note that the school year has been designed with shorter breaks to complete the year earlier than normal in May of 2017.  This earlier end to the school year is planned to allow for our construction project to have ample time in the Summer of 2017 to finalize the new building.  There will be time needed in the Summer of 2017 to create parking lots, tear down existing buildings, and have our campus ready to open the new facility in August of 2017!  Next year’s schedule has the same number of school days and we anticipate having all of our normal events during the school year.  If you have any questions, please let us know!

 

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Honors Pre-Calculus Students Study Conic Sections

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The students in Mr. Gordon Moore’s Honors Pre-Calculus course are currently studying Conic Sections with circles, ellipses, hyperbolas, and parabolas. Mr. Moore’s students recently completed an interesting introductory, hands-on activity in class. Students worked to create three ellipses using cardboard, string, push pins, and graph paper. They then worked to discover some of the properties of the ellipses. Mr. Moore explained that this activity helps students to familiarize themselves with properties of ellipses and is a nice break from Pre-Calculus lectures!

Some Thoughts on Charters From Superintendent Clark

A recent article in the Columbus Dispatch has prompted me to have some thoughts on School Choice in Ohio that may be of interest to our school community.

Here is a link to the article:

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2016/02/01/charters-struggle-to-beat-scores-of-big-traditional-urban-schools.html

My career in education mirrors the era of school choice in Ohio so I have had the opportunity to watch it unfold from the perspective of someone who has spent their life working to provide better and better educational opportunities for children.

I graduated from high school in 1983. You know, the very year A Nation at Risk  was published by our United States Department of Education. No matter one’s thoughts on the validity of that report, it has been the basis of “reform” in our schools ever since.

I, like most people, like the idea of choice. Autonomy is important to all of us humans no matter our age and if we can have choices we certainly want them. As a parent of two children, I like the idea that I have choice in where to send my children to school too. All of that sounds great. I wish it were that simple.

Here are some things I remember during my career:

  • We were told our public schools were failing and that literally, our nation was at risk.
  • We were and continue to be told our children were not being adequately served by the public school system.
  • We were told and are continuing to be told adequate resources were/are being invested, but the “edublob” (the term many education “reformers” derisively use for traditional public schools) was/is wasteful, not innovative and protect/ed bad teachers due to unionization.
  • We were told and continue to be told by “reformers” that by implementing school choice, through the opening and funding of charter schools, the marketplace would create innovation, produce great opportunities and results for children and families and be able to succeed with less of a public investment of resources.
  • In 1992, Governor Voinovich started the Commission of Educational Choice and put David Brennan in charge of the pilot program in Cleveland.
  • Since that time the charter school experiment has done nothing but expand in Ohio.

Now, here in Ohio, we are a quarter of a century into the implementation of this model that was going to save the day. Is the day saved? Do we see evidence of innovation due to charter schools? Do we see evidence of great educational opportunities and results for children and families? Do we see evidence that the charter experiment has solved the educational problems identified in A Nation at Risk? Do we see evidence that this was accomplished more efficiently or using fewer resources?

What I have seen/learned over this time is the following:

  • Educating human beings is complex hard work no matter the model employed to do that work.
  • Very little to no innovation with regard to teaching and learning has been created by the marketplace of charter schools.
  • Assessing children or anyone in a fair and equitable way is hard and the standardized tests we humans have developed are very poor at it to date.
  • Assessing the impact of teachers and schools on their students in a fair and equitable way is hard and the standardized tests we humans have developed are not very good at that either.
  • “Success” by the measures we have chosen to use at this time (test scores) is more attributable to “creaming” (the term used for when schools/communities use strategies to sort out students that demand greater resources to be academically successful) than better instruction.
  • The marketplace has some really bad actors who put profits ahead of children.
  • Politics and deciding who gets the money we spend on educating our kids is most often the driving force behind all “reform” no matter what side of the argument people take.

Here is what I believe today (this is subject to change of course):

  • Educators, no matter where they serve, should be examples of lifelong learners and continually improving their practice to serve students better.
  • The same goes for educational institutions no matter their “type.”
  • The issues facing us with regard to how kids do in school and in their broader life have much less to do with the schools (no matter the type) and much more to do with our society overall.
  • Schools and educators tend to reflect the society that produce them and replicate the social structures that are used to maintain status quo within the society.
  • Meaningful school reform (better results for all children and families) lies in the eradication of root causes, not the political fig leaf of symptom treatment. To do otherwise, as we have done and continue to do, will continue to produce similar results to the ones we have had and have no matter how many tests we have kids take or how much accountability we put on teachers and schools.
  • As an education leader, it is clear to me that our school must have adequate resources to invest in the educational opportunities our school provides, but if I am forced to choose between a dollar for our school or a dollar invested more directly in the overall physical and/or mental well-being of a child, I choose the latter over the former.
  • Some “reformers” are expressing that democratically elected school boards are the problem and propose appointed school boards as a solution. This idea is highly suspect.

“Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”

Winston S. Churchill

Here in our community’s school, I continue to ask that all of us (students, staff, parents and community members) simply do our best each day on behalf of the children in our care. When we all do that, much of the other “stuff” addressed above will be diminished and our kids will have great opportunities to prepare them for the test that really matters to us all…being able to lead a fulfilled life.