The Paw Print Winter 2016, Issue 3

Welcome to the Paw Print

You are currently reading the third edition of The Paw Print, Newark City Schools’ district newsletter. You can find PDFs of each previous issue here.

This important community communication tool will be delivered three times per year to community homes and varied locations across the community.

In this issue, you will find stories about the great things going on in the district and how teachers are reaching students. Superintendent Doug Ute highlights the things we do for students that aren’t measured in a state report card. Newark High School senior Natalie Wysocki wrote articles about the districtwide free breakfast for all students and flexible classrooms.

Readers can learn more about 2007 graduate Datus Puryear and his post-high school acting career. Additionally, in an exclusive for this digital edition, our NHS students produced a video asking teachers to share why they come to school.

If you would like to receive a digital PDF of future newsletter editions, please email or call Seth Roy at 740-670-7020.

Superintendent Doug Ute stands with Heritage students on the first day of school

Superintendent's Message:

More than a Grade Card

Students deserve, expect and need certain things from their educational experience, which we at Newark City Schools work hard to provide. It is our job to provide a safe, welcoming environment to help Newark children learn.

These objectives are accomplished in a variety of ways. We work hard to hire great teachers and to help them become even better teachers. We work with community partners to connect students and their families to much-needed resources. We want students to eat healthy meals every day and to have the opportunity to join activities and clubs they are interested in.

At the state level, Newark City Schools — and every other district in Ohio — is evaluated on a handful of ever-changing criteria. While we have been successful in helping students to grow academically from one year to the next, the changing requirements make it difficult to focus on preparing students for their futures while also fulfilling state requirements.

That’s why we focus on the whole child. We offer so much more than is reported in state data. These offerings are apparent in this issue of The Paw Print and in our buildings on a daily basis.

Students need to start off their day with a good meal. It’s why we have implemented a free breakfast program district-wide. This improves their ability to learn, reduces health aide visits and helps get students to school on time.

Elsewhere in this issue, you can read about flexible classrooms. Students who are in a comfortable environment — whether it is sitting at a desk, standing or laying on a mat — can concentrate more on their school work. Flexible classrooms are in a few spots around the district, and it is exciting to see the different ways that teachers are reaching their students.

We also have many shining examples of Newark High School alumni who are making contributions in their city, and who are using the things they learned in Newark in their college and careers.

Datus Puryear, a 2007 graduate, leveraged his experience in choir and the school musical into a career of modeling and acting. In this issue, he credits his former teachers with helping to inspire him.

Another Newark High School graduate, Aliece Hinton, is in her second year of law school at Howard University. Aliece is driven to be successful and wants to make a difference in the Newark community. She will have an internship in the US Attorney General’s Office next summer.

Our graduates are leaving school prepared for their futures, whatever they hold. They are staying in our community — bankers, lawyers, doctors, electrical workers, plumbers, mechanics, teachers — and spread across the country.

This is what excites me as the Superintendent of this great school district. We are making a difference in students’ lives every day, even if that difference isn’t always measured.

That’s why it continues to be a great time to be a Cat!

By Superintendent Doug Ute

Why Teachers Come to School

Alumni Spotlight:

Datus Puryear, Class of 2007

Datus Puryear discovered a love for musical theater during his senior year at Newark High School. He’d long been involved in the choir program, and planned to major in Music Education in college, but his turn as the Beast in Beauty and the Beast gave him a passion for acting that persists nearly 10 years later.

“A friend of mine suggested that I audition for it,” Puryear said. “Right after that is when I started to figure out, what is this acting thing? I felt like it kind of capped off my time at Newark High.”

Puryear is a 2007 graduate of Newark High School. He was involved with basketball and football, but his biggest passion was choir, singing with a barbershop quartet and the swing choir in high school.

Puryear credited his teachers at then-Lincoln Middle School and NHS for instilling the passion in him. He named Kathy Orner, now retired, and Kim and Mike Wigglesworth as being major influences in his life.

“If it wasn’t for (them), I know I wouldn’t be the person that I am,” he said. “Those people put something in me that I can’t quite define. They’re like family to me.”

After graduating, Puryear attended Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio, as a music education major. He switched to theater because he grew to like acting so much.

He has turned his passion into a career. Puryear has acted in musicals in Cincinnati and New York City, as well as travelling shows. He’s a model who has appeared in a number of TV and print commercials.

“I’ve been very, very blessed to be a full-time actor here in New York City since I graduated college,” he said. “I never looked at myself as a model. If you want to make a living, you have to kind of have your hand in all these pots.”

Most recently, Puryear has appeared in print ads for Pepsi, Budweiser and Samsung. He’s also been on Good Morning America modeling clothing. Recently, he auditioned for a part in the FX series Atlanta, and hopes to break into television acting.

“That’s the next direction that I’m going toward,” Puryear said. “It’s so humbling to be able to do what you love to do with any kind of consistency in this city.”

Puryear is also recently married and is supporting his wife as she prepares to make her Broadway debut next year. The couple has had a couple of chances to work together, including in a Burlington Coat Factory ad.

While he doesn’t make it to Newark as often as he would like, Puryear said he had the chance to tour the renovated high school recently and looks forward to taking in a game at White Field when he’s able to.

He fondly remembers his time in high school, and credits many of his experiences with preparing him for his varied career — including his first trip out of the country that the choir took during his senior year.

“When you get to travel, you get to see other places, it broadens your perspective,” he said.

By Community Outreach Coordinator Seth Roy

Flexible Seating

Student choice can have a positive impact on learning, even as it pertains to how students sit while learning. Teachers nationwide, including a few within Newark City Schools, are trying out a flexible classroom setting to help students stay comfortable.

Joanna Mawhorr, a first grade teacher at McGuffey Elementary, designed her classroom in this way to provide her students with the power of choice this year.

The students can choose whether they sit in a regular school desk, on an exercise ball, yoga mat, lie down or stand up in her classroom. None of her desks have name tags, allowing the students to transition easily between subjects and change where they sit.

“I started this routine the first day of school so they know what’s expected,” Mawhorr said.

This teaching technique has provided the students with less sitting time and more opportunities to take responsibility and decide which seat works best for them. Flexible classrooms can also be good for students’ cores, as they do not have to sit all day. There is a lot of moving in her classroom.

Flexible classrooms give students a choice in what kind of learning space works best for them.

Other school districts that utilize flexible classrooms, have noticed that “their students' grades have improved, their students seem happier and more engaged, their students are participating more and having more invigorating conversations,” Mawhorr said.

Mawhorr said this arrangement “would work better for older kids as well, because it will give them more freedom.”

Flexible classrooms offer one more option for teachers to help students learn in a comfortable, welcoming environment.

Story, Photos by Natalie Wysocki, Class of 2017

Free Breakfast Program

A good breakfast is important in helping students get prepared for a good day, but the meal is often missed during the rush to get to school on time. This can lead to students being more concentrated on an empty stomach than on learning.

To help get students off on the right foot, Newark City Schools now offers all students free breakfast district-wide every morning before school.

The program started at Ben Franklin Elementary last spring, where Principal Dena Cable-Miller and her staff worked to find the best way to implement it. Serving free breakfast has “increased attendance, and decreased health problems,” Cable-Miller said.

Menu items change daily, and are constantly being evaluated to meet the needs of students. Items include granola bars, Pop Tarts and other easy-to-store, clean ingredients.

Every student in the district is offered breakfast, though each school manages the program in a way that best suits the needs of their students.

“Research says if (students) are offered breakfast, they are more likely to take it,” Cable-Miller said.

Prior to implementing the program at Ben Franklin, 175 students would eat breakfast at the school. Today, more than 300 students eat breakfast daily at the school — out of about 350 total students.

The number of students being served has doubled since last year, with more than 2,500 students currently eating free breakfast in the district. When students take advantage of this program, they are getting to school on time and are provided with a meal to start the day.

The district hopes that more students and families take advantage of this program in the future.

By Natalie Wysocki, Class of 2017

National Honor Society Inductees

Seniors: Clay Billman, Lauren Burd, Ayden Felix, Skylar Grimsley, Dannielle Loughman, Brian Nixon, Carly Robb

Juniors: Vinnie Bailey, Meredith Baker, Eden Barrett, Christian Black, Elizabeth Bowman, Chyanne Boyd, Abby Carlisle, Chloe Carson, Abby Davies, Bruce Davisson, Katie Donaker, Aiden Gibson, Ashton Gilkey, Trevor King, Kaitlyn LeFevre, Kiara Lindsay, Kennedi Mangus, Ethan Montgomery, Chad Moore, Elayna Pagas, Brooklyn Pennington, Matthew Pino, MacKenzie Rentz, Matthew Rollison, Tara Ryan-Gallagher, Mercedes Schorger, Andrea Shipley, Jay Shumate, Dylan Trotter, Jamie Unternaher, Mary Wheeler, Myla Yang, McKenna Young

Winter Combined Concert Preview

The Newark High School band, choir and orchestra will perform their fourth annual celebration concert at 7 p.m. on Dec. 15, in the NHS performing arts center.

They will be performing popular holiday tunes like “Carol of the Bells” and “We Wish you a Merry Christmas.”

The orchestra is conducted by Emily Rhoadhouse, the band is conducted by Lee Auer, and the choir is directed by Kimberle Wigglesworth.

Each group performs its own christmas tunes like “Santa Baby” from the choir, “Minor Alterations” from the band and “Wizards in Winter” from the orchestra. The band, choir and orchestra will finish with a combined number, “A Christmas Sing Along.”

Tickets are available for presale from any Band, Choir or Orchestra student, or the fine arts office. Tickets are $6 for adults or $3 for students and senior citizens.

Each of our elementary and middle schools also have performances scheduled in December. Find a calendar of events on our district website here.

By Natalie Wysocki, Class of 2017

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