The Paw Print Spring 2017, Issue 4

Welcome to the Paw Print

You are currently reading the fourth 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 information about the different ways staff members are trying to reach students to engage them in school. Superintendent Doug Ute highlights an important issue that every community is confronting: Drug addiction. We are inviting the community to Newark High School to listen to author Sam Quinones’ account of the spread of opiates.

Elsewhere in the issue, Newark High School is continually working on helping students transition into their high school years, and fifth grade students are learning valuable skills with the assistance of Legos.

Finally, readers can learn more about 2005 graduate Megan Evans, who is now the Donor Services Officer at the Licking County Foundation.

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

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

Superintendent's Message:

Starting Conversations on Addiction

I am often asked about the school’s role in providing our students the necessary support from a social and emotional standpoint. Students who struggle with hunger, clothing or addiction issues are less likely to succeed in the classroom. We want students to succeed in school, at home and in the community.

It is our job to help provide this support, in collaboration with many great community organizations.

Drug addiction affects people nationwide, in communities rich and poor, big and small. Our students are dealing with the outcomes of drug addiction in their lives daily.

While hardly a new issue, it is becoming more apparent every year the need to discuss this important issue openly.

On Wednesday, April 26, we are hosting a daylong series of events meant to bring the issue into the open, called Starting Conversations. This will culminate in an evening event that will include Wayne Campbell, from Tyler’s Light.

Initially, Sam Quinones — the author of the book Dreamland — was going to be heavily involved in our day. Unfortunately, Mr. Quinones is now unable to attend due to a health issue. We still hope to bring Sam to Newark later this year.

I was lucky enough to see Mr. Quinones speak last year, and his story was eye-opening. Dreamland chronicles the history of opium and the ways in which the drug has spread throughout the country. His account of how black tar heroin invaded our communities — assisted by the over-prescription of drugs like OxyContin — is, quite frankly, scary. Drugs are easier to access than ever before.

Drugs are impacting students’ lives at home, which impacts their success in school and later in life. A student who is worrying about struggles at home finds it difficult to concentrate and have hope for the future.

Particularly worrying to me is the way that prescribed opiates can foster addiction and serve as a gateway to heroin. It always scares me to think of a high school student being prescribed a drug like OxyContin after an injury.

That is what happened to Tyler Campbell, whose father Wayne started the group Tyler’s Light after Tyler’s accidental overdose death. Tyler, a standout athlete from Pickerington with a football scholarship at the University of Akron, became addicted to pain killers after an injury in college. His situation spiraled until the overdose. Addiction is a disease that impacts people from all walks of life.

We are honored to have Mr. Campbell coming to White Field on April 26 to deliver his message to high school students from across Licking County, and later in the evening to the broader public.

We are inviting the Licking County community to Newark High School at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 26, to hear Wayne speak.

The entire day will be devoted to Starting Conversations on drugs in our community. We are thankful for the support from our local businesses and community service agencies to make this day a success.

This is an important issue, and it is just the beginning of the conversation. We hope that you will join in.

By Superintendent Doug Ute

Alumni Spotlight:

Megan Evans, Class of 2005

Megan Evans’ experience at Newark High School instilled a passion for travel, but the Newark community’s growth in recent years encouraged her to return to the community after college. She is now the Donor Services Officer at the Licking County Foundation, based in Newark.

A 2005 NHS graduate, Megan remembers many impactful teachers and administrators from her high school years.

“Mrs. Lorenz (art teacher) was so creative and encouraging,” Megan said. And French teachers “Mme Waite and Mme Rauch opened my eyes to a whole other world of culture and inspired a love of travel.”

Megan continued her education at Ohio Wesleyan University, where she graduated in 2009 with a bachelor of arts in Biology.

“I felt more than prepared for college coming from NHS,” she said. “My science classes at NHS were full of hands-on opportunities that easily translated into a solid science base as I began my biology coursework at OWU.”

Outside of the classroom, Megan volunteered for the Leo Club, which was NHS’ service club at the time. She was also on Class Council, orchestra, track and swim team, Clem Reads and other clubs like art, French and science. She also chaired an Operation Feed campaign at the high school, but credits the staff and community within Newark City Schools for helping her to be successful.

“The teachers, staff and coaches I’ve had the pleasure to know through the years have served as excellent role models,” Megan said. “There are teachers from elementary, middle and high school that I still interact with today who continue to serve as valuable mentors to me.”

Immediately out of college, she went to Miami, Florida, as an AmeriCorps volunteer for two years. She enjoyed the adventure, but also looked forward to moving back to the community.

“(It) was a great opportunity to live outside of Central Ohio, but ultimately, family drew me back,” she said, adding that she eventually decided to settle in Newark after starting to work at the Licking County Foundation. “It’s a fun time to be in Newark. There is a lot of positive momentum, progressive ideas and collaboration among residents.”

Megan’s position with the Foundation allows her to see, firsthand, the impact that collaboration is having on the community and lives within Licking County.

“Day to day, it’s a really inspiring job,” she said. “Whether it be working with a generous donor to help connect them to a cause they are passionate about or collaborating with community nonprofits that are doing important work to address some of the biggest issues facing our community, I’m constantly coming into contact with other people who are just trying to make our community a better place, and that is inspiring.”

By Community Outreach Coordinator Seth Roy

Legos help teach important lessons

Walk into any 5th grade classroom this year, and you will see students “playing” with LEGOs.

5th Graders in Newark City Schools are using LEGOs in their classrooms for the first time this school year. Teachers have 2 different kits: LEGO We Do 2.0 + iPads, which involves building, coding and problem solving; and LEGO Machines and Mechanisms, which involves building with a partner and problem solving in the context of simple and complex machines. What looks like “playing” is actually learning at its best!

Newark has had pre-engineering in the middle schools, and engineering in the high school for the past couple of years, but the need for those kinds of skills in elementary school is really important. Not only does exposure to LEGOs help prepare students for middle and high school opportunities, it also teaches important STEM skills that are necessary for college and career readiness.

We often see students lacking perseverance and problem solving -- skills that are essential in future STEM careers. Building with LEGOs allows students to try and fail in a safe environment.

In the We Do 2.0 kit, students are introduced to basic block coding. They use that knowledge to develop codes to make their designs move, pick things up or test variables. If a code doesn’t work, students fix and test again to get it to work. Failure is part of the process!

Students also lack opportunities to communicate and problem solve with other students. Collaboration is so important, but is a skill that has to be taught.

In the Machines and Mechanisms kit, working together and cooperation is built right into the directions. Pairs of students work together, and each partner gets an A or B book with half of the directions. They must complete their part and then bring the two parts together in order to be successful!

The LEGOs in the classroom also integrates several math and science standards in 5th grade.

Science is mainly Force and Motion, but there are also lessons that involve Habitats and Energy, and skills that scientists use such as designing and running an experiment, changing variables and collecting data to form a hypothesis.

These skills also show up on Ohio’s 5th Grade AIR Testing. For math, the math practice standards are used in almost every lesson, such as Persistence in Problem Solving, Mathematical Modeling and Constructing Arguments and Critiquing the Reasoning of Others.

While LEGOs are definitely fun -- and give students an immediate hook and interest into a lesson -- they are also a vital tool in teaching students important skills that can carry them forward into their future.

by Rachel Fielhauer

K-5 Math and Science Coach

Transitioning into High School

Students added a "sandbag weight of stress" every day they were absent, showing that making the choice of good attendance is an important part of writing a great high school story, as part of A Call to College’s Start Your Story programming.

A student’s transition into ninth grade can have a major impact on his or her overall high school experience. For the past five years, Newark High School has hosted a Freshman Experience Day on the first day of school to allow freshmen to have the building to themselves for a day.

The school, with help from many community organizations and A Call to College, has expanded this idea into the My 700 Project, which sticks with students throughout their high school career.

The positive experience of Freshman Experience Day helps students get off to a good start, which teachers hope will carry over to the rest of their high school careers.

“(Students learn that) if you don’t get credit for your classes, you set yourself up to fail and not graduate,” NHS Assistant Principal Matt Hazelton said.

Although this initial introduction has helped students -- and parents -- be more comfortable at Newark High School, the school wanted to do more to help students adjust to a more rigorous schooling environment as compared to middle school.

This is the genesis behind the My 700 Project, which began last school year. A student has a little more than 700 school days in high school, and we are committed to helping students be successful throughout their four years.

Students are connected with a staff member at the beginning of their high school career who will help them navigate the next four years. They have a daily support system and a staff member who is helping to guide them.

“Someone to make sure they don’t fall through the cracks,” math teacher Allisha McClelland said.

During their freshman year, the program is focused on helping students get involved in activities, learn about positive relationships and learn about A Call to College through the Start Your Story program.

Start Your Story provides 9th graders with interactive, hands-on classes focused on academic choice, engagement, goal setting and college knowledge. Students are encouraged to “author a high school story that leads to college and career success.”

During students’ sophomore years, much of the relationship building continues as part of the My 700 Project. Staff helps students on a variety of topics throughout the year: Driver’s Education; preparing for the ACT, SAT and ASVAB; learning about future options such as the Career and Technology Education Centers of Licking County, college and other options; and more.

The junior-level program is still being developed. The senior program is also being developed, however students will receive direction based on their chosen future paths. Students interested in college will be grouped with other college-bound students; this is the same for students who expect to go straight into a career or into the military.

Throughout the years, Newark High School and the district have focused on a variety of programs geared toward helping students adjust and get on the road toward graduation. Staff members are optimistic that the My 700 Project will be successful long-term as it continues to help students create positive relationships.

“I don’t think any of (the previous programs) have been as effective as this is now,” said Ailene Nash, science teacher.

Important Dates

Please visit our website, www.newarkcityschools.org, and our athletic website, www.nhswildcats.com, for more important dates, such as concerts and games. Here are a few events coming up:

April 25: 7 p.m.: Percussion Ensemble Concert, NHS Auditorium.

April 26: 6:30 p.m., NHS Auditorium

Wayne Campbell, of Tyler's Light, and a panel of experts on drug abuse will speak.

May 4: 4 p.m.: Final Home Tennis Match, vs. Zanesville

May 4: 7 p.m.: Final Home Baseball Game, vs. Zanesville

May 5: 5:15 p.m.: Final Home Softball Game, vs. Fairfield Union

May 8: 6:30 p.m.: Regular Board of Education Meeting, Roosevelt Building

May 11: 7 p.m.: Orchestra Pops/All-City Concert, NHS Auditorium

May 19: 7 p.m.: Spring Choir Concert, NHS Auditorium

May 20: Cherry Valley Elementary Car Show and Carnival

May 27: 10 a.m.: NHS Graduation, White Field

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