Levy passage just one milestone in 2013-14 TCS year

We have had a whirlwind of activity over the past year. Most significant was the passage of our 4.67-mill levy, which indicates the community truly cares about our students and are pleased with what we are doing in our schools.

We will continue to review and analyze our programming to make sure our students are receiving outstanding instruction and we have teachers who are utilizing research-based instructional strategies. We would like to thank the community for your support and especially Rob Ledwedge, who led the charge as our levy campaign chairman.

Exciting news and happenings from around our schools and departments:

Treasurer’s office

The treasurer’s office highlight is that David Yost, Ohio auditor of state, visited Tiffin City Schools. He recognized Sharon Perry and the treasurer’s office for receiving its fourth-straight Ohio Auditor of State Award. Yost spent the morning with us at the administration office and at Columbian High School, where he visited and spoke with students.

Curriculum and instruction

Tiffin City Schools has been working to implement the Common Core curriculum and preparing students to score well on the new state assessments by updating textbooks, classroom technology and coursework designed for higher levels of support for our students. In grades K-6, a new reading series has been adopted that is to help students read at more complex levels. Additionally, in grades K-8, a new math series has been adopted that is to require students to think more critically while applying grade level computational skills.

At the high school level, a blended learning environment utilizing direct instruction and technology has been instituted for at-risk ninth- and 10th-grade students. A technology lab and new technology course for eighth-grade students has been instituted to prepare our children for a much more technology-rich world. Courses such as government, which has been a semester offering, will become yearlong courses for the 2014-2015 school year.

Finally, we are developing our teachers by hosting three days of professional development prior to the arrival of students next August. We appreciate the support we receive from the Tiffin community and look forward to meeting the exciting challenges presented by Common Core and the next generation assessments.

Washington K-1

Washington K-1 had a wonderful year, and we have many things to celebrate!

The beginning of the year brought many challenges, because 50 percent of our population had no experience with the expectations of an elementary school! By the end of September, our students had mastered walking down the hallway without help and being able to load on the correct bus to ride home each evening. That’s quite a feat of independence for 5- and 6-year-olds!

In November, we filled stockings to be sent to soldiers overseas. Our goal was to fill 24 stockings, but when the children finished bringing in donations, we were able to fill 87.

In February, we raised money for our Hoops for Heart event. Once again, the children surprised everyone by raising $5000, which was $2,000 more than our already ambitious goal!

Our students are learning a great deal about being good citizens and helping those in need. In May, we had more than 400 parents and children participate in our “Mug and Muffin” literacy event. Children enjoyed spending time playing games and practicing high-frequency words with a parent or grandparent.

Our year ended with our first-graders taking a field trip to Krout to meet the second-grade teachers and tour the building. They came back to Washington excited about their move to a new building for second grade.

When the last day of school finally arrived, we expected to see the kids hurrying out of the building to begin their summer vacation, but surprisingly, we had many children in tears because they were going to miss Washington Elementary and the teachers they had grown to love. You know that you have provided a child with a great place to go to school when they cry about leaving!

We are looking forward to another great year beginning in August and already have started to make plans for the new group of children coming to each classroom!

Krout 2-3

We had a wonderful and successful 2013-2014 school year at Krout 2-3 Elementary School.

We began the year with a building-wide reading intervention program called “Camp Krout.” We had reading activities centered around a camping theme. The interventions were designed to help students regain reading skills that may have been lost over the summer months. At the end of camp, students were able to enjoy playing camping games, singing campfire songs, and eating s’mores.

We hosted reading and math information nights for parents of second- and third-graders. The program was designed to provide parents with resources to help their children at home, as well as information related to the Third Grade Reading Guarantee. Parents received several reading and math activities to take home and share with their students.

We implemented a successful reading incentive program called “Krout Reading Olympics.” Students earned “medals” by completing reading activities. Over the course of 10 weeks, Krout students earned 11,210 medals. Every student received a certificate. Also, through a donation from the Tiffin Columbian Alumni Association, every student received a book to keep.

Krout students showed an average academic growth/gain of 1.2 grade equivalents in reading and math for the 2013-2014 school year.

Based on the 2013 Grade 3 Fall Reading OAA results, about 50 percent of our students passed and about 77 students did not meet the minimum “on-level” score and faced possible retention. After all assessments, which included fall and spring OAA and Terra Nova Assessments, no students will be retained based on the requirements of the Third Grade Reading Guarantee. Preliminary results for Grade 3 OAA results indicate 87.3 percent of our students passed the reading assessment and 83.7 percent passed the math assessment.

Noble 4-5

Many great events have occurred at Noble 4-5 Elementary over the course of the 2013-2014 school year. With 430 students, you can imagine this is only a glimpse of the extraordinary learning which is occurring. These are a few of the highlights.

Our students have excellent voluntary participation in choir, with more than 100 students; the walking program has accumulated more than 1,000 miles; students have read more than 160 million words in books outside of their regular classroom texts and mastered more than 24,000 math objectives; and nearly 15 percent of students in the fifth grade received a presidential academic award for scoring on a nationally normed test and grade average.

Our character education program was once again successful with bucket filling, character words and showing citizenship in our community. Students participated in crossing guards, Jump Rope for Heart and the Arts Alive special campaign for The Ritz Theatre.

During the summer of 2014, we cooperated with the Tiffin-Seneca Public Library to develop more summer reading opportunities for students entering fourth and fifth grades. This program encourages students to read six books over the summer and to complete a reading story map for each story read. We were very excited about this opportunity to work together for the betterment of our students in hopes of a great start to the new school year.

Tiffin Middle School

TMS enjoyed many successes and highlights this past school year. However, one particular day truly stands out from all the rest.

This year, the TMS Ambassadors came up with an awesome activity to bring awareness to the entire student body on a few issues the students say are occurring in our school. In several discussions, the ambassadors believed we needed to target stereotyping, bullying, online harassment and overall character development. The activities chosen for the day promoted empathy and aimed to provoke change within us.

The ambassadors, in the planning stages, continued to circle around the idea that the students never know what is going on in someone else’s personal life and how students are much more similar than they are different. Therefore, they came up with a “Challenge Day” type of activity May 22.

Our own TMS Ambassadors, with the help of Melissa Mellott, designed the day and the activities that went along with it. TCS counselors, TCHS students, Tiffin University students and all TMS staff assisted in making the day a very powerful, eye-opening and emotional day for many, if not all involved. The day concluded with a schoolwide assembly that featured guest speaker and TCHS senior Annie Demith. Demith spoke to the students about her experiences as they related to being bullied and how she has overcome the obstacles that go along with this type of traumatic experience.

Because of the overwhelming response from students and staff, TMS plans to organize another Challenge Day event early in the upcoming school year. Our hope is to continue the positive energy that started May 22 and carry that focus into the new school year.

We also are excited to celebrate that Jill Devore, a middle school teacher, was selected by Battelle for Kids to be recognized as a member of the Celebrate Teaching 2014 class of distinguished educators. Selection criteria included principal feedback and value-added data showing Devore consistently achieved above expected growth with her students over the past three years.

Columbian High School

Columbian High School recognized many students for their academic accomplishments in the classroom during the 2013-14 school year. Our TCHS staff is proud of all our students and want to share a few highlights that mirror our mission and vision statement: Great Schools! Great Students! Great Future! The high school:

Received an ODE report card rating of “A.”

Implemented the TCC program.

Increased PSEO numbers and dual enrollment offerings.

Graduated 180 seniors.

Had students complete several service learning projects, including distributing several hundred smoke detectors to Tiffin residents.

Had a 95 percent attendance rating.

Had seniors accept $2,109,212 in scholarships.

Had a National Honor Society Senior Citizens’ Celebration, which 315 guests attended.

Had the 30th annual Academic Letter Breakfast, during which 108 students were recognized.

TCHS Celebration of Excellence, Top 10.

Had three Governor’s Youth Art Exhibition state award winners.

Had choir and band state performers.

Tiffin Columbian

athletic department

The athletic department had another exciting year in sports in 2013-14. Columbian High School finished in third place in the Northern Ohio League All-Sports Trophy tabulation behind Norwalk and Bellevue. In the fall, we crowned two teams as NOL champions. The football team and the boys cross country teams won t – the football team also made the OHSAA football playoffs and the cross country team sent Brandon Gibson and Tyler Lewis to the state cross country meet.

The winter sports season was highlighted by Seth Williams winning the state championship in the 170-pound weight class at the state wrestling meet in Columbus. Seth is only the second student in the history of Columbian High School to win a state championship, and the first for our wrestling program.

The spring was a difficult one, with Mother Nature throwing us many curveballs. The baseball and girls track teams finished as runners-up in the NOL. The spring season also allowed us to showcase our outstanding facilities by hosting the district and regional track meets.

All in all, Columbian High School had a successful 2013-2014 school year. We are gearing up for the 2014-2015 seasons.

TCS gifted department

Gifted students in Tiffin City Schools were very successful in academic competitions this year. Shawn Daniel bested 10 other finalists to take top prize at Tiffin Middle School in the National Geographic Geography Bee in December. The Tiffin Middle School Quiz Bowl team took second place in a contentious North Central Ohio Educational Service Center Academic Challenge Tournament in the spring. Seventeen of our Noble gifted students competed nationally in the Noetic Learning Math Contest this spring, when 14 of our 17 competitors were awarded national honorable mention for their math skills and five students received medals for top team scores. At the Tiffin University 24 Math Tournament in May, five of the nine medal winners were Tiffin City Schools gifted students! Academic competitions are important motivators to gifted students. It is wonderful to see our students succeed in this way!

Technology department

It has been quite a year for the technology department – we have made some big changes and are excited about more to come. In the past year, we have updated several computers throughout the district and with the help of grants we have been able to upgrade a lot of our software, including a new design suite for use at TCHS. The launch of our new website is perhaps the most exciting thing this year. Our staff and members of the TCS community worked very hard in a very short time to redesign the district and school websites to give us a fresh new look online. We look forward to a busy summer that will include updating almost all student used machines across the district.

Transportation department

In July 2013, Tiffin City Schools was awarded Ohio Clean Diesel School Bus Fund Grant. This grant allowed us to change mufflers on eight of our buses to diesel oxidation catalyst.

The average number of students who were transported to school was 623 per day. The average miles driven to transport those students were 959 miles per day. This was accomplished with 21 morning and afternoon routes along with four mid-day routes.

Just prior to Christmas break, the transportation department took possession of two new 56-passenger school buses; these buses were put into service when classes resumed in January.

We will be installing our first stop-arm camera on one of the buses during summer break.

We are proud of our safe driving record this past year, as we had no accidents that were reportable.

Special education department

Students enter our school system with different experiences, abilities and skill sets. Here at Tiffin City Schools, we account for these differences and work on the foundation of current and future educational success. Some of the instructional strategies we used during the 2013-2014 school year to enhance our learners academic success are Handwriting Without Tears, Lindamood Bells LiPS program, Visualization and Verbalization, Orton Gillingham and the TEACCH (Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication Handicapped Children) model for students on the autism spectrum or show characteristics of autism.

Handwriting Without Tears is a multisensory strategy used in the classroom that engages students in an active way using materials that address all styles of learning. Lindamood Bells LiPS program focuses on reading, spelling and speech. It is used to develop a child’s sensory-cognitive function of phonemic awareness. Visualization and verbalization develops a student’s concept of imagery that is used for oral and written language skills. Orton Gillingham is a multisensory program used to help with reading, writing and spelling. TEACCH helps teachers understand the learning characteristics of those with autism and uses visual supports to promote meaning and independence. These educational strategies allow for the development of foundational skills in key areas of education.

Food Service

Many of our TCS food service staff attended professional development opportunities to gain an awareness of the new regulations and happenings in the school lunch and breakfast programs. The Ohio Department of Education, Office for Child Nutrition complimented the food service staff on a job well done. Also addressed in the letter was information that Jan Beard, food service supervisor, is operating in compliance with all federal and state requirements. Our breakfast program has been a bright spot, providing for more of our students over the past year.

Buildings and grounds

Just drive by our stadium and you will see the exciting things happening with our buildings and grounds. In addition to our summer cleaning, a multitude of new projects are taking place.

Immediately following commencement, the rubber and turf was removed from the stadium field. The new turf already has been laid. The light posts were picked up and laid on the ground in preparation for them to be stripped of all hardware and painted and new fixtures installed. The posts then are to be placed in a standing position.

A chemistry classroom/lab at Columbian High School is being completely remodeled. When students return, they will have a completely updated, state-of-the-art classroom.

TCS recently started the implementation of an energy conservation project (House Bill 264). We have chosen to partner with Brewer-Garrett, an energy services solutions provider, to enact a series of major energy conservation measures across the Tiffin City School District. The project officially commenced April 8.

The initiative consists of five strategies. The first is an extensive lighting retrofit across the district. The second strategy is the installation of hundreds of occupancy sensors on the walls and ceilings of selected buildings across the district, which will signal lights to shut off automatically when occupants leave a room, resulting in electricity conservation. The third strategy is the replacement of two water-cooled condensing units at Columbian High School with two air-cooled units, which are to eliminate water drainage from the walk-in freezers and conserve large amounts of city water. The fourth measure is the replacement of metal halide lighting with more efficient, higher quality LED lights in the high school and middle school parking lots. Finally, the fifth measure is the reprogramming of vending machines throughout the school district, isolating their operating times to appropriate school and business hours. Brewer-Garrett guarantees Tiffin City School District a savings of $968,366 over the course of the fifteen-year guarantee period. These savings are to be used to replace the windows in the high school.

Finally, proposals are being taken for the updates to the Lincoln Building.

Contributing to this article were Sharon Perry, Scott Urban, Mark Verroco, Bob Boes, Doug Hartenstein, Mike Newlove, Kelly Stahl, Jeremy Koppus, Paula Zirm, Scott Daniel, Jan Beard, Marisa Brown and Randy Cogner.