2015, july, kindergarten, schools, teachers, ThisWeek, ThisWeekNews, westerville

Teachers hired, trained as part of kindergarten prep

Thursday July 16, 2015 9:34 AM
The Westerville City School District has hired five new teachers and reassigned five others in preparation for the launch of all-day kindergarten this fall.
Full-time teachers were hired both because of the new kindergarten offering and higher enrollment numbers, according to Executive Director of Elementary Academic Affairs Barbara Wallace.
The following teachers were reassigned to all-day kindergarten classrooms: Theresa Momeni at Alcott, Abigail Shepherd at Annehurst, Amy Postlethwait at Cherrington, Erin Holloway at Hawthorne and Amy Cliffton at Whittier.
New teachers are: Amy Curran at Frost and Bridget Hilinski, Tonia Tombaugh, Steven Veltriat and Kaylann Yankie at Longfellow. The school board approved the hires June 8.
The new all-day kindergarten teachers participated in an eight-hour professional development session June 9.
Alcott, Annehurst, Cherrington, Hawthorne, Robert Frost and Whittier elementary schools each will have one classroom of all-day kindergarten and four will be at Longfellow, which closed in June 2012.
Wallace said preparations for the re-opening of Longfellow have been going smoothly.
“There have been no challenges thus far,” she said in an email interview. “The school will be fully ready when school opens.”
She said the district is close to filling the 260 seats available in the all-day program.
“Currently, we have 257 seats filled and the remaining three will be filled this week,” she said.
Wallace said the curriculum in all-day kindergarten will be the same as the half-day program. The main difference will be that teachers will have more time to explore subjects.
For instance, she said, half-day classes might spend 45 minutes on language arts while full-day students might spend 120 minutes.
In all-day kindergarten, most classes will feature a morning meeting, language arts, lunch, recess, math, afternoon recess, music, art, gym and a goodbye meeting, Wallace said.
In its first year, the district’s all-day kindergarten program is both optional and limited.
A lottery was held in April to determine which students would be offered a spot. Registration closed April 24, with more than 408 applications received.
The program is tuition-based, with participating families paying $3,000, or $300 per month for 10 months.
Kindergarten will start on a staggered schedule Aug. 12-14. All kindergartners will report to school Aug. 17.
2015, march, schools, ThisWeek, ThisWeekNews, westerville

Renovated, expanded Pointview to welcome students in fall 2016

Wednesday March 11, 2015 11:53 AM

Westerville City Schools’ renovation and expansion of Pointview Elementary School will take an estimated 18 months to complete and cost $5.5 million, district officials said.

The renovation and expansion, carefully designed to create “inspirational learning environments,” should be complete for students’ return to class for the start of the 2016-17 school year.

The Westerville Board of Education approved plans for the project Jan. 26. The district is using funds from its continuing capital improvements levy to pay for the project.

Pointview currently is 37,000 square feet and is the only school left in the district that uses the “open classroom environment” popular during its original construction. That means most walls separating classrooms don’t extend to the ceiling. Many such “walls” at the school are bookshelves or even just bulletin boards.

Jeff LeRose, director of facilities for the school district, said officials have received feedback that students are easily distracted in the open classroom design. Teachers must teach quietly so as not to disturb others, there is insufficient workspace, and many current classrooms do not have windows. Such floorplans were eliminated through previous renovations elsewhere in the district including Annehurst, Mark Twain and Robert Frost elementary schools.

LeRose said he and his facilities team considered doing just renovations or even replacing the whole building at Pointview, but decided a combination would be most cost-effective.

“We reviewed three options: renovation only, renovation/ expansion and building replacement. After reviewing preliminary budgets associated with each option, we made a recommendation to the board to renovate and expand the existing building. The board supported our recommendation,” he said.

The building addition is planned to connect to the older part of the school through a glass hallway.

The addition will have a total of 10 classrooms, including eight 900-square-foot instructional spaces plus an art room and a music classroom.

“This is another opportunity for us to create an educational environment that inspires learning,” LeRose said. “Our goal is for Pointview to be a destination where students are excited about the experience that awaits them when they wake up in the morning.”

LeRose said in planning the project, he is working with principals to listen to their feedback as well as take into account students’ comments.

Preliminary designs of the renovation and expansion include adding windows, more storage space and providing a variety of classroom sizes.

The existing building has 21 variously sized classrooms, which the renovations will convert to 15 classrooms of different sizes.

There are nine large classrooms planned, each designed to hold approximately 25 students, as well as two midsize classrooms and four small classrooms with between 230 and 414 square feet.

Additionally, there will be an expanded media center, main office and cafeteria.

LeRose is currently in the design phase of the 18-month project and that will continue for three more months.

The plan calls for building permits to be obtained and the bidding process to start in May.

In this preliminary schedule, the school board should award a contract for the work June 22 and construction should start Aug. 20. The work is to take about 11 months.

2015, february, newspaper, schools, ThisWeek, ThisWeekNews, westerville

Genoa students become published authors

Wednesday February 11, 2015 11:08 AM

See it on ThisWeekNews.com

More than 330 Genoa Middle School sixth-graders participated in National Novel Writing Month — NaNoWriMo for short — collectively writing 1,211,471 words.

Deanna McDaniel, Genoa’s media specialist, helped lead the NaNoWriMo writing challenge.

Traditionally, NaNoWriMo is an annual, Internet-based creative writing project where any adult can challenge themselves to write a 50,000-word rough draft of a novel during the month of November.

But NaNoWriMo also offers a young writers program that allows 17-and-under participants to set individual word-count goals.

McDaniel worked together with Genoa’s sixth-grade language arts teachers Tracy Jados, Emily Minney and Carly Young to create virtual classrooms through the NaNoWriMo young writers program.

Across the world, 4,132 classrooms in 51 different countries participated in the young writers program.

“For the whole month of November, I had students writing furiously the whole school day in the library,” McDaniel said.

Students used their lunch period and study halls to come to the library to work on their stories.

“As long as I had a free computer, I would let them in,” McDaniel said.

Rachel Wetherby said she liked coming to the library to participate because it’s her favorite place at the school. She wrote a fantasy story featuring prophecies and shape-shifting dragons.

“It all just came to me. I didn’t know what was going to happen until I typed it,” she said. “My friend helped me with my story and I helped her, too.”

Participants also took advantage of the school district’s new GoogleDrive accounts for students. Using GoogleDrive, students could work on their stories at home and on any mobile device.

Students took advantage of the technology by continuing their writing after school.

“About halfway through the month, I had a sixth-grader come shyly up to me and show me their smartphone with the Google app on it. He looked at me and said, ‘Don’t tell my parents, but I have been writing my story on my phone under the covers after they think I have gone to sleep!’ “

Student Jenna Owsiak, who authored a novel titled Missing for the program, said ideas for her story often would come to her as she was sitting on the couch at home watching television.

“I would write a couple times a day, whenever I thought of something. Sometimes I’d write 1,000 words a day. I’ll probably do NaNoWriMo again next year,” she said.

Every student who met their goal earned a code from CreateSpace, a publishing website, to receive five free copies of their novel in paperback form.

“Right now most students are in the process of editing their novels before they finalize the published copy and order their books,” McDaniel said.

Each paperback will feature a unique cover designed by the student and an ISBN number. McDaniel described it as “a book ready to sell.”

Student Hibba Hyajneh wrote a fantasy story called The 14th Star about two princesses and their two enemies.

“I read a lot of fantasy books so it was neat to be able to make one of my own. I’m really proud of it,” she said.

Some students didn’t even need the full month to write their stories.

Ryan Boerger wrote his novel, The Job, in only two weeks.

“It was the first story I ever wrote,” he said. “I think the experience made me a better writer and I plan on continuing to write.”

dublin, dublinschools, dublinvillager, january, newspaper, schoolboard, schools, ThisWeekNews

Board elects officers, hears task forces updates

Originally published in ThisWeekNews 

Wednesday January 21, 2015 7:10 PM

At the first Dublin Board of Education meeting of 2015, the Board President and Vice-President were re-elected and online school board meeting agendas were debuted.

The district will no longer distribute hard copies of agendas. Instead, community members are invited to go online to view the agendas, minutes, schedules and more.

Digitizing the agendas will increase productivity and save thousands of dollars annually, according to a district press release.

The school board meeting started an hour earlier, because of the OSU championship game.

Lynn May was re-elected as Board President and Stuart Harris as Board Vice President. Both ran unopposed and were first elected to the Board in 2005.

The facility task force reported that the engineering architectural firm of Garmann and Miller will attend the Feb. 9 school board meeting to answer questions. They will present their findings to the board on Jan. 26. The task force will recommend an architectural firm in Feb. and a construction management team in March. The task force assured community members that the Riverside Elementary traffic problems will be addressed.

The gifted education task force has been sharing the draft service model with colleagues, parent groups, and the community.  Additional input will be requested from middle school math teachers and administrators regarding advanced/accelerated math. The task force hopes to present their final draft to the board in February. They have scheduled three additional community meetings to share revisions and gather feedback. Future community  meetings will be held at 7p.m. Jan. 21 at Coffman, Jan. 22  at Jerome, and Jan. 28  at Scioto.

The middle school schedule task force held several parent forums last week to address questions. They are still on track to make a recommendation to the board by mid-February. They are closely reviewing middle schools in Illinois and Minnesota that appeared on the “Top 10 Best Education Suburban Districts” list.

For the staffing task force, Richard Bailey explained that a more robust and detailed online screener would be put in place to help narrow the candidate pool to only the best possible. This week, the new screening tool will take effect for all new and current applicants.

Treasurer Steve Osborne discussed the Fiscal Year 2014 Audit Opinion and Audit Reports from Plattenburg Certified Public Accountants.  There were no citations or findings for recovery. Osborne said it was a very good report and he thanked his staff.

Dr. Hoadley reminded community members of the State of the Schools at the Dublin Recreation Center on Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. and the next Superintendent Community Coffee on Jan. 27 at 10:30 a.m. at Sunny Street Cafe.

The meeting ended with Rick Weininger moving that the district make a statement of support for the Buckeyes as they met the Oregon Ducks in the National Championship game.

The Board meets on the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 7 p.m.

dublin, dublinvillager, schoolboard, schools, ThisWeekNews

Elementary size findings to be unveiled Jan. 12

See original story here 

Wednesday December 17, 2014 4:18 PM

Bob Scott recognizes Heidi Wess and Scott Nimmo
at the board meeting for Exemplary Service in a Medical Emergency
(from Dublin City Schools Twitter)

On Mon. Dec. 8, the Dublin School Board met for the last time this year. The Gifted Education task force created a service model draft and the Middle School Schedule task force is gathering parent feedback.

Rick Weininger, board member and chair of the Facility task force, told the board that the engineering architectural firm of Garmann/Miller will formally present their findings at the Jan. 12 board meeting. The firm has been reviewing the elementary schools to determine which ones would be most effective to add onto. A design team for the project will be recommended by the board at the Jan. 26 meeting.

The Gifted Education Task force reviewed research about best practices in serving gifted students. They also completed an analysis of the current Dublin student population to see how many gifted students there are currently. Secondary staff reviewed the data and a draft model for the Gifted Service Delivery was created. The draft was presented to community members for feedback on Dec. 9, 10 and 15. The draft will be revised in January and a final draft will be reached in March.

The Middle School Schedule Task Force reviewed their results from the survey they gave to middles school teachers. Dr. Dustin Miller, Director of Secondary Education and chair of the task force, said that the teachers expressed a need to have a schedule that gives students an opportunity in related arts, easy access to multiple grade level courses and where courses are not primarily pitted against one another. The teachers also suggested offering more purposeful meeting times between students and teachers outside of class. The task force will be releasing a survey to middle school parents to hear their feedback. They will also be scheduling community nights at each middle school in January.

In regards to the Staffing Plan Task Force, board member Chris Valentine, explained that they have been working with the Gifted Education, Facilities and Middle School Schedule task forces to discuss possible future staffing needs. They also discussed staffing for the Review of Educational Service Center for Central Ohio.

Page A12 of the Dec. 18 issue

Additionally, the Chapman Elementary School PTO donated $9,375.00 for 25 iPads
for Chapman.

The Board presented Golden Shamrock awards to Jamie Riley, a librarian at Pinney Elementary and to Cathy Rodenheffer, an Intervention Specialist at Davis Middle School.

Those who nominated Riley described her as “positively impacting every K-5 student” and “being a fun and motivational colleague.”

Parents said that Riley “reinvented the library” and that now “students enjoy the library.”

When she accepted the award, she thanked those who nominated her and said “as teachers we often don’t get to hear how people feel about us and it is very nice to be so appreciated.”

When Davis’ assistant principal, Ali Moore, introduced Rodenheffer, he read that one person wrote in their nomination, “I’m a better teacher and person because I know her.”

Parents said that she has “angelic patience” and is “a perfect example of what a teacher should be.”

The board also recognized Heidi Wess, school nurse, and Officer Brian Nimmo, School Resource Officer, at Scioto High School. They were recognized for “exemplary service in a medical emergency.”

Scioto’s principal, Bob Scott, described how on Nov. 25, the head custodian suffered a “massive heart attack and went down.”

Wess and Nimmo “flew in,” ushered students out of the cafeteria, began chest compressions and used the AED machine twice.

“Their calmness was exemplary. It was a miracle that these two stepped in at the right moment. We can’t thank them enough,” Scott said. They received a standing ovation from the audience.

The Dublin Coffman Girls Soccer Team was recognized for being State Runner-ups.

This will be the last board meeting with paper agendas. Next year, the board will use BoardDocs to offer digital agendas.

There were about 100 people in attendance at the start of the meeting. Scott Melody, board member, and Stu Harris, Board Vice President, were not able to attend.

2014, dublin, dublinvillager, education, schools, ThisWeek, ThisWeekNews

Students learn about giving back to community


By DEBBIE GILLUMWednesday December 10, 2014 8:59 AM

Photo from Janet DiSilvestro
For the fourth year, Olde Sawmill Elementary students are learning the importance of helping those in need through a year-long service learning project.

It’s called the Penny Harvest and it is a three-phase program from the organization See Kids Dream, which integrates community service into education.

This is the seventh year that See Kids Dream has been involved with central Ohio schools.

It’s grown from seven schools to now 40 schools, according to Laura Grindle, one of the co-founders of See Kids Dream and the director of programming.  

“We wanted to give the opportunity to all kids to volunteer and get involved in their community so that is why we reached out to schools,” she said.

Grindle said the most important thing about the program is that kids have the ability to make decisions themselves.

“Student voice is such an important part of service learning. They get more engaged and excited about learning when they have a say in how the money is spent,” she said.  

The Penny Harvest at Olde Sawmill started when students charted their ideas onto a “Symphony of Concerns” bulletin board that featured a musical instruments for each issue. Then they voted on issues that they felt were important in their community.

Next, the students spent four weeks raising money. The grade level that raised the most won a pizza party.

Photo from Janet DiSilvestro
Instead of doing fundraising projects, all the money came from students finding loose change, like in couch cushions, floor of the car, etc.  

In the past three years the students have raised around $2,500 each year.

Janet DiSilvestro, Gifted Instruction Specialist at Olde Sawmill and LEAP teacher, said this year their goal is $3,000.

LEAP (Logic, Enrichment and Pursuit) is a class of identified fourth or fifth grade students who receive extended training in academic content and thinking skills. They must have scored at the 95th percentile or higher in their academic area of strength.  

Students and parents were invited to Whetstone High School for a Purpose For Our Penny assembly on Dec. 10.

It was a kick-off of the research phase of the project and also a celebration of their fundraising efforts.

Non-profit organizations were invited to set up tables and talk with students.

This was a great opportunity for students to collect business cards and start initial inquiries about the organizations.

“During the event, parents came up and told me, ‘I had no idea my child could do this’ or ‘I had no idea my child was so passionate about this,’” Grindle said.

Starting in January, student leaders will research the various philanthropic organizations that address the problems that students have mentioned on the “Symphony of Concerns” bulletin board.

They will deeply research the issues and try to understand the factors causing the issues in their community.

Representatives from the organizations are then invited to come to the classroom and meet with students.

“This gives the students an opportunity to learn how to meet and greet, ask questions that are not already answered in the flyers and websites and how to take good notes as the person is being interviewed.” said DiSilvestro.

Grindle said that organizations are often impressed by the tough questions the kids ask them.

“The kids really want their money to make the most impact and so they aren’t afraid to ask lots of questions,” Grindle said.  

The last phase of the Penny Harvest is to choose who to give the money to and how much they should receive.  Every student in the school gets to vote on the one organization they want to give our money to.

“In the spring, we invite those winning organizations to our school and we have a school wide assembly to present our big checks to them. It is a very moving, amazing time and the students all feel such a part of the decision making process,” DiSilvestro said.

The assembly is organized by the students, which teaches them event planning and logistics skills.  

Through this year long project, the students become community leaders- who just so happen to be children.

On May 20, there will be a Power of the Penny event where students can share with other community leaders what they have learned and work together to make a difference.

“Helping others,” Grindle said, “is just inherent in all of us, no matter what our age.”

Deb’s Details:

I’m so impressed that elementary school-age children are doing such a mature project. We did a similar project in college where we chose a charity to donate money and volunteer hours to. It’s a big process. I think this project sounds so beneficial and I was happy to give it some press.
Talking to Laura Grindle on the phone was a highlight of my day because she was just such a positive sounding woman and one of those people who reminds you that the world can be a good place.
It would have been nice to have gotten a picture of their project or to have spoken with one of the children.

dublin, dublinvillager, education, news, newspaper, schoolboard, schools, ThisWeekNews

Task forces supply updates board of education



Wednesday December 3, 2014 9:36 AM

Written for The DublinVillager weekly newspaper and ThisWeekNews
Original article can be found by clicking here

At the Dublin Board of Education Meeting Nov. 13, several task forces provided board members with updates. The district is working toward meeting its goals for the year by getting updates from the respected task forces.

Task forces proving updates included:


Brion Deitsch spoke about how the engineering architectural firm of Garmann/Miller Architects is reviewing the elementary schools.

In January, the task force will formally report findings and make a recommendation.

The district hopes to have the elementary school additions completed by the summer of 2016.

Gifted Education

The Gifted Education Task Force is working on identifying types of services the district could offer to students with high cognitive ability and/ or high academic achievement.

The task force shared ideas with peers and PTOs for feedback.

There will be continued discussions concerning the area of advanced math.

Middle School Schedule

Another important issue of the district that is being addressed is the middle school schedule. Dustin Miller, Grizzell Middle School principal, is heading the project.

From the Dec. 4 ThisWeek News

The task force learned through researching current trends that middle school students need a schedule where they can be engaged, connected, safe, artistic and learn in short bursts.

The task force is currently examining current middle school trends and created a short open-ended survey for teachers.

Community nights will be scheduled at each middle school in order to listen to parent feedback.

They also plan on visiting two of the “Top 10 Best Suburbs for Education” to observe and discuss middle schools.

Staffing Plan

Chris Valentine reported to the board that the task force is discussing future staffing needs and improving the staffing plan.

Deb’s Details:
Originally, this article was part of my School Board Meeting article but my editor suggested that the task force update would be a separate article.
If I could do it over again, I would try and interview one or two of the task force leaders. I wanted to make the article longer and get more details and information. It felt like a pretty vague article to me but I did the best with what I had at the time.

2014, article, dublin, dublinvillager, education, news, newspaper, schools, ThisWeekNews

Dublin’s advanced placement programs receive honor

By DEBBIE GILLUMTuesday November 25, 2014 9:07 PM
Written for ThisWeekNews Dublin Villager newspaper

Dublin City Schools is one of 547 school districts in the U.S. and Canada to be honored by the College Board with placement on the 5th Annual Advanced Placement District Honor Roll for increasing access to AP course work and improving scores.
This is the second consecutive year that Dublin City Schools has earned this honor.
“We are extremely proud of this achievement,” said Todd Hoadley, Dublin superintendent.
“It is remarkable for the 11th largest District in Ohio to be able to increase the number of students who take AP?exams while also increasing scores,” Hoadley said.
According to the most recent Ohio Department of Education statistics, Dublin students took the most AP Exams in Ohio during the 2012-13 school year.
Reaching these goals indicates the district is successfully identifying motivated, academically prepared students who are likely to benefit from rigorous AP course work.
Since 2012, Dublin City Schools has increased the number of students participating in AP by 8 percent while improving the percentage of students earning AP Exam scores of 3 or higher by 1 percent.
The AP Exams take place in the spring and are scored on a 5.0 scale.
College credit may be earned for scores above a 3.
The exams can be taken in a variety of subjects, ranging from chemistry to European history.
In 2014, more than 3,800 colleges and universities throughout the world accepted AP scores for college credit, and/or took them into consideration during the admission process.
Thirty other Ohio school districts, such as Hilliard, Granville and New Albany, achieved this honor.
“The devoted teachers and administrators in this district are delivering an undeniable benefit to their students: opportunity,” said Trevor Packer, the College Board’s senior vice president of AP and instruction.
“When coupled with a student’s hard work, such opportunities can have myriad outcomes, whether building confidence, learning to craft effective arguments, earning credit for college, or persisting to graduate from college on time,” Packer said. “We applaud your conviction that a more diverse population of students is ready for the sort of rigor that will prepare them for success in college.”
Helping more students learn at a higher level and earn better AP scores is an objective of all members of the community, from AP teachers to district and school administrators to college professors.
Many districts are experimenting with a variety of initiatives and strategies to determine how to simultaneously expand access and improve student performance.
Inclusion on the AP District Honor Roll is based on the examination of three years of AP data, from 2012 to 2014.

Districts must increase participation or access to AP by at least 4 percent in large districts, increase or maintain the percentage of exams taken by African American, Hispanic/ Latino, and American Indian/ Alaska Native students, and improve performance levels when comparing the percentage of students in 2014 scoring a 3 or higher to those in 2012.

Deb’s Details:
This was a pretty straight forward article to write because I had a press release to work off. I wanted to make the press release my own and so I tried to reword some things.
I think this article confirms that Dublin is a highly ranked district and they put a lot of emphasis on great academic achievement. Their students work very hard and are clearly performing very well on AP tests. I remember how hard those AP tests were so I think it says a lot that they are getting 4s and 5s.
I would’ve liked to have gotten a quote from a student in an AP class or an AP teacher at a high school.

2014, article, dublin, dublinvillager, news, newspaper, schoolboard, schools, ThisWeek, ThisWeekNews

Elementary School Additions

Work progressing on preparing recommendations

By DEBBIE GILLUMTuesday November 25, 2014 8:50 AM
Written for ThisWeekNews Dublin Villager newspaper

At the Dublin Board of Education meeting, discussions continued about elementary school additions.
Throughout the month of November, representatives from the engineering architectural firm of Garmann/Miller Architects are scheduled to visit all 12 elementary schools with the goal of making a recommendation as to where four or five school additions will be constructed. As of Nov. 13, five buildings have been assessed.
Garmann/Miller will present a report of their findings at the first meeting in January. The company has previously collaborated with school districts in Findlay, Cedarville, Mansfield, and Lima.
 Also in January, a Request for Qualifications for architect services will be examined to select a design firm. The design will take six to eight months, the bidding and award decision will take six to eight weeks and construction would be nine to eleven months.
These additions are part of the district’s effort to address enrollment growth issues.
“Our goal is to have the first additions open for students in the fall of 2016, with the remainder opening in the fall of 2017,” said Superintendent Dr. Todd Hoadley. “As we’ve stated throughout this process, we will keep our community informed on the progress of the projects.”
In other building improvement news, the board discussed that Davis Middle School needs a new gym floor and bleachers. No definite plans have been set yet.
Plans are also being discussed to expand Jerome’s science labs, due to overcrowding.
With more students and teachers, the district’s computer network was starting to run low on free space so the Board of Education approved the purchase of 45 terabytes of increased storage capacity and 45 terabytes in backup capacity.  The two storage devices cost $78,287.28.
The meeting started with Riverside elementary’s new principal, Staci Lutz, leading ten students from the Student Leadership Team in the Pledge of Allegiance. Lutz has been serving as the interim principal at Riverside since February, when Connie Stitzlein was charged with assault after a domestic dispute.  
There were about 100 community members in attendance at the meeting.
The meeting took place at the 1919 Building at 144 West Bridge St. at 7 p.m. and the next meeting will be Dec. 8 at the same location and same time.
Other News
In other school board news, 16 National Merit Semifinalists were honored by Dr. Dustin Miller, Director of Secondary Education for their academic accomplishment.
Students took the PSAT exam in order to qualify to be a National Merit Semifinalist. The city of Dublin had the most SemiFinalists of any Ohio school district.
Also, two Dublin City School teachers were honored with the Golden Shamrock Award for their dedication to education.
Secretary Pat Ford and teacher Gardner Watkins, both from Scioto, were honored with the lifetime achievement award.
Bob Scott, principal of Scioto, said that Gardner Watkins, a science teacher, exhibits enthusiasm for all facets of education.
“Kids learn tremendously [from Mr. Watkins] and don’t even know they are learning,” Scott read from one nomination.
When Scott introduced Ford, Scioto’s receptionist, he called her the “face of Scioto.”
“She takes a special interest in every staff and student and is a kind person to work with,” read Scott from a nomination.
In her acceptance speech, Ford said that she enjoys all the parents that come in.

Deb’s Details:

Man, did I struggle with this article. It was my very first assignment and was supposed to go in last week’s issue. I thought it would be an easy assignment and maybe I just got cocky and didn’t pay attention hard enough. I turned off my voice recorder and didn’t take very detailed notes because I thought a video of the meeting would be posted online. Looking back, I think that was a stupid move. The video was not posted and I could not easily get a hold of an audio recording. To make things worse, I didn’t fully understand the meeting lingo and what was news and what was not. I reached out to my parents, my editor and the PR person for Dublin City Schools and they all helped me immensely.

Next time, I’m going to pay close attention to the whole meeting, record it, take notes and do a better job. Now, I know what I’m looking for and what to expect at the school board meetings.

dublin, news, newspaper, schools, ThisWeekNews, writing

Karrer’s Turkey Bowl tradition to continue Nov. 25

Karrer’s Turkey Bowl tradition to continue Nov. 25

By: Debbie Gillum
Former OSU basketball star
Scoonie Penn talks strategy
 to students of Dublin Karrer Middle School
 during the annual Turkey Bowl fundraiser Nov. 25

Wednesday November 19, 2014 9:29 a.m.

Written for ThisWeekNews Dublin Villager newspaper

Local sports stars will play flag football with Karrer Middle School students to raise money for charity in the  annual Turkey Bowl Fundraiser on Tues. Nov. 25.

The Turkey Bowl is a flag-football game which celebrates the seventh grader’s service project and fundraising efforts.

Scoonie Penn, a former OSU basketball player, and Mike Durant, a former OSU baseball player, will be returning as quarterbacks in this year’s Turkey Bowl.

Last year, the seventh grade students raised over $8,000 to feed 90 families in the Dublin City School District.

“Every year this fundraiser gets bigger and better,” said Turkey Bowl organizer and Karrer teacher Katy O’Neal. “We now have raised over $50,000 in five years!”

However, the Turkey Bowl is not just about collecting money.

Justin Turner (left) and Matthew Kish,
battle for a pass during the school’s
annual Turkey Bowl fundraiser

“We spend a day doing team building activities with the seventh graders with a focus on working together as a team while embracing our differences,” said O’Neal.  

Beginning this year, every seventh grader will have the opportunity to spend a morning at Chapman Elementary helping fill the backpacks with food and reading to younger elementary students.  A small group of students will also be going to Riverside Elementary to speak at their Town Hall Meeting themed “Responsibility and Giving Back”.  

Past participants in the Turkey Bowl have included former Ohio State players including Scoonie Penn, Craig Krenzel, Bobby Hoying,Tommy Hoying, Justin Zwick, Dee Miller, Mike Wiley, and Rodney Bailey. Former Major League pitcher and Dublin native Kent Mercker, and Superintendent Dr. David Axner have also participated in the event.

The donations this year will benefit Blessings in a Backpack. This program provides needy families at Chapman and Riverside elementary with a backpack of food to take home for 38 weekends during the school year.

We are so blessed to have the opportunity to not only teach curriculum but to teach these kids the importance of community, teamwork, and paying it forward!,” O’Neal said.

In previous years, the Turkey Bowl has raised money for the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research and the Second and Seven Foundation for Literacy.

This year, there will be 11 flag-football fields with 22 teams playing.  All of the Karrer seventh graders participate in this event.  

The Tukey Bowl takes place the Tuesday before Thanksgiving at Karrer Middle School from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Deb’s Details: 
This was one of my first articles for ThisWeek News. I was really excited to write it because it sounded like a neat event and I sincerely wanted to raise awareness about it. I was trying to imagine how cool it must be for those elementary school students to play flag football with pro-athletes. And, I think the charity Blessings in Backpacks sounds like such a great cause.   

 I was impressed that a teacher started the charity on her own and that it’s still so successful. I wish I could have made the article longer by getting more quotes. I would’ve liked to interview an elementary student or one of the athletes