Gurney School November News

Posted on 01. Dec, 2011 by in Gurney News, Minutes

Gurney PTO Rep: Joan Newell,
• Recent Events/Updates
o Yearbook: Third grade cover contest will begin Wednesday Nov. 9th. Submissions for the cover art are due on November 16th. Theme “Gurney Tigers move with Pride”
o Winter Coat Drive: The coats and outerwear were delivered to Mary Bethune School in Cleveland on Nov. 3rd. Every Student K-5 that came through the gym doors left with a coat. We were also able to leave quite a few coats for the 6-8 graders and preschoolers. We had over 300 coats and other warm weather items.
o Book Fair is being held in the Gurney library the week of Nov. 14-18th we are staffed and ready to go. Set up Nov. 9th. Take down is Nov. 18th.
o Clinic : We are going to utilize are parent volunteers in the clinic to help out Liz and Diane while Nurse Pam is not in the building
o Tiger Trek: Due to the success in fund raising no changes will occur on the money end of Tiger Trek. The reform will take place on the event itself.
• Grants
o There are 2 grants submitted waiting review.

• Thank You
o To the hospitality committee for preparing and serving the conference dinners.
o To the PTO volunteers that assisted in the vision and hearing screenings late last month.
o To Holly O’Connor and Connie Mazelsky and all of the volunteers who helped them on the winter coat drive.

Intermediate School November News

Posted on 01. Dec, 2011 by in Intermediate School News, Minutes, Uncategorized

Intermediate School: Cory McNamara
Halloween at CFIS:
Our Specials Teachers did an outstanding teaching job integrating the theme of Halloween around some large group student experiences. The students rotated through the art room, music room, and the gym as our specials teachers had some fun learning activities for the students. The teachers worked as a team with a good deal of planning and the event was outstanding. Photos are on our website and I’m working on an article with Mrs. Smith that we will submit to the newspaper. The fifth and sixth grade students had some excellent learning experiences around our Halloween theme in science and social studies. The fourth grade did the annual parade downtown. All in all it was a rather idyllic day.

Delayed Start at CFIS:
We had a very successful Delayed Start day with our staff on November 8th. The teachers worked through a chapter of the book, Focus by Mike Schmoker. We reviewed tried and true instructional strategies.

Veteran’s Day at CFIS:
In honor of Veteran’s Day, the Intermediate School’s Educational Aide, Melinda Redding shared family memorabilia of her father, a WWII veteran who served in the Marine Corps in China and became a POW at the hands of the Japanese. Her historic artifacts included personal letters, Western Union telegrams, newspaper articles, photos and more. Melinda’s father was a very brave man and his story is amazing. Our students to made cards for the Veterans and Mr. Kinney from our local V.F.W. will deliver them to the VA hospital.

Also for Veteran’s Day, Mr. Dole and Mr. Woofter took a group of students to the Triangle for the November 11, Veteran’s Day downtown commemorative service at 11:00 AM.

Conference Nights:
Student Led Conferences went very well. We had outstanding support from parents.

Report Cards:
Report Cards went out to families. One area of growth for our staff was to write meaningful and clear comments on the report cards. Mr. Woofter signed each report card and reviewed Fourth Grade reports in great detail.

Birds of Prey:
Our fifth grade students experienced an educational presentation from the Cleveland Natural History Museum on the topic of “Birds of Prey”. The presenter brought out some live birds including: a screech owl, a great horned owl, a red tailed hawk, and a turkey vulture. This event coincided with them dissecting owl pellets the previous week and learning about animal adaptations.

10 Munchkins:
Our students performed three weeks ago at the Playhouse Square Theater under the direction of Pat Haynish. As most of you know, Playhouse Square asked Pat to play “casting director” to ten “Munchkins” for the National Tour of “The Wizard of Oz”. All the students involved had been under Pat’s direction at some point in the Gurney Holiday Show, CFIS Select Choir, CF Summer Theatre Camp, MS/IS Drama Club, or the CFHS Musical. These students also appeared on the WKYC Show, “Good Company.” They represented our district with talent, class, and an outstanding level of professionalism.

IS PTO Rep: Gigi Kuper-Lewis,

• Conference dinners went well and were appreciated
• Is there a way parents can meet with more than the homeroom teacher for conferences (esp. for 5th and 6th graders who have several teachers throughout the day)? Mr. Woofter said he’d speak to grade level chairs and Ms. Holthaus to see how it works at the MS
• Halloween – next year all grades do the same?
• Goals – teachers and students discussed goals they have set for academic/social success at conferences and will be revisited throughout the quarter/semester/school year
• IS movie fundraiser dates are set : 1/27 4th grade, 2/24 5th grade and 3/16 6th grade
• Fundraiser over and top sellers and raffle winners will be announced this week
• Mr. Woofter encouraged staff to write meaningful comments on report cards, not just used the “canned” remarks – they were well-received
• Vote for IS as the FOX 8 COOL SCHOOL
• Ms. Kerlek and Mrs. Koval have started a “word of the day” over announcements
• This month’s delayed start time will be used by Mr. Woofter teaching a lesson to staff that Mr. Murphy constructed. It is based on lessons learned in the book FOCUS that gets to the core of what types of instruction are “tried and true” and should be the focus of classroom instruction
• Mr. Woofter mentioned that Mrs. Marlo will be contacting me about PTO helping fund books for this year’s ONE BOOK / ONE SCHOOL program
• Mrs. McHugh will be needing some volunteers to help clean out the book room

Middle School November News

Posted on 01. Dec, 2011 by in Middle School News, Minutes, Uncategorized

Middle School: Courtney Polcar

• On October 20, the principal took 18 eighth graders to WVIZ’s Town Hall Meeting on bullying. This event was sponsored by the Ohio Department of Education Office of Civil Rights. The meeting was televised and viewed by hundreds of schools in the nation.

• The MS staff is beginning to have discussions regarding next year to include having school pictures taken before school starts, dividing Open House so that 7th grade parents and 8th grade parents are in at different times, and adding another night of conference to accommodate more parents.

• We had to postpone our visit from Sue Blaney. We are still waiting for superintendent approval of the PTO grant we wrote to pay for her parent workshop. We hope to have her here in January and begin our parent book study soon after that.

• Challenge Day was a wonderful, but exhausting experience for the staff and students. The students have completed a follow-up questionnaire which we will use to develop programming for the remainder of the year. We have a committee of teachers and students working on our kindness committee. Thank you to PTO, Boosters Club, Dad’s Club and the Kids Move Smart initiative for their support of Challenge Day.

• The eighth graders left for Washington, D.C. on November 9. Although the trip was exhausting, the students were well behaved and had a great time.

• Kathleen Aranavage took a team of seventh grade student leaders to the Project Love “Kickoff to Kindness” on November 10. Karen Kreinberg also accompanied our middle schoolers with a group at high school students.

• We awarded our first Paw Pack winners of the month on October 21. Congratulations to Isabella Joseph, Robert Symkowciz, Emily Muckle and Reed Flynt. Their names posted on the front sign board for all to see. Thank you to Cheryl Clegg and Jesse Weinberger for their organization and the special treat they provided for our winners!

MS PTO Rep: Meg Nachtwey
• The Middle School Book Fair will run from Monday, December 5 – Friday December 9. We are looking for volunteers so please sign up! The link to sign up:
• The Middle School Staff was pleased with Challenge Day! The PTO reps have put together a list of questions for the administration about the activity. We will keep you posted… The Middle School staff is in the process of pulling together a report on the event.
• The Language Arts teachers have ordered this quarter’s required reading books through the MS PTO. We now have an arrangement with Fireside Book Store (similar to the High School) that allows us to receive a 20% credit to the MS PTO if we sell these books to the students at school, instead of them coming to purchase them directly at Fireside Book Store. This is a wonderful opportunity for the MS and PTO to earn some additional money to provide further programming for our students. The students pay retail price for the books (same as if they walked into the store), and we receive 20% of that cost.
• Another successful trip to Washington DC! Teachers will provide the details!
• Rebecca and Paula Suzelis are meeting with Stephanie Silverman of Your Teen magazine this Friday to brainstorm about hosting speakers (possibly Sue Blaney in January) with the magazine’s assistance w/securing funding and advertising.
• The date for Stop the Rollercoaster speaker Sue Blaney has been moved to January 26. Details will be coming!

High School November News

Posted on 01. Dec, 2011 by in High School News, Minutes

High School: David King, Art Department Chair
China Visit
Mr. Ast travelled to China with a board member as a part of the College Board’s Bridge Delegation. He visited and talked with Chinese educators, administrators and school officials. The information gained will serve two purposes: helping programming and planning for Chinese instruction in our school and providing more information to make decisions regarding the future of Bridge to the World.

Friday November 11th sophomores took the PLAN test, which is the predecessor to the ACT. The data from the tests will give students areas to work on to improve their scores on the ACT, which is used for college entrance. It also helps us evaluate our programming and identify areas that could be improved or if there are strands we are missing in our curriculum.

Theatre Updates
The production of Sweeney Todd was a huge success for both Chagrin students in the Performing Arts Academy as well as the choir students that participated. The Performing Arts Academy is part of the Excel Tech consortium that provides a great opportunity for students from many schools to work in an area of interest. Other Excel Tech programs include Early Childhood Education, Hospitality Management, Audio and Video Production, Medical Tech, Marketing, Citrix Network Programming, and there are many more (visit the Mayfield Schools website to see all the offerings), the majority of the two year programs are open to interested juniors.

Twelve Angry Jurors is this weekend in the Studio Theatre, which gives our students an unique opportunity to perform in a very intimate theatrical setting.

Art Department Update
From Mr. King

HS PTO Rep: Yvonne King

1. Our new high school fundraiser is kicking off! It is called “The 31 Day Cash Giveaway”.

-There will be a mailing to all 500 high school families on 11/18. Included will be a letter explaining the new fundraiser and 5 $10 raffle tickets. We are asking all families to buy or sell the five raffle tickets. The money and ticket stubs are due back December 14.

-Every day in January, we will draw a name. Every day Saturday through Thursday, the winner will receive $25 cash. On Fabulous Fridays, the winner will receive $100. After a name is drawn, the ticket is put back in the pot and could win again. Winners will be announced on the morning announcements each day and the cash for the entire week will be distributed on Fridays.

-We are promoting this on our bulletin board, morning announcements, website, eblasts and around school-decorating the halls with $ and fake money.

2. The Holiday Luncheon for high school teachers and staff will be Friday December 16th in Sands.

District PTO November News

Posted on 01. Dec, 2011 by in District and School Board News, Minutes

Thanks to the hard work of Angie DeBernardo and Allison Wouters, the PTO website has been freshened up and made easier to read. We hope that all parents and PTO members find the site a good source for timely information. Please check out the PTO website at

In keeping with the PTO’s objective, “to provide information about community programs to help inform and educate our membership,” PTO board members will begin attending monthly meetings of the Social Advocates for Youth (SAY) Parent Committee.
SAY is a school based prevention and early intervention program of Bellefaire JCB for students in middle school and high school. SAY services are offered in eight suburban school districts including Chagrin Falls. Karen Kreinberg is the SAY representative working in the Chagrin Falls High School. Monthly meetings are held at the Bellefaire JCB location at 22001 Fairmount Blvd. in Shaker Heights.

Reminder – No December meeting.


Levy discussion: The levy will be on the ballot on March 6 and the amount will be discussed in detail at the Nov. 21 School Board meeting scheduled for 5:00 in the Sands Community Room. The final determination of millage will be decided at a special School Board meeting the week of 11-28 (date TBD).

PD Days: The staff at the Chagrin Falls Schools is engaged in on-going high quality professional development. This comes from two full day sessions, eight delayed starts and monthly staff meetings. During this time, the staff is working on a variety of building and district initiatives that all support our district goal to improve student learning. The following is a sampling of the types of activities our staff will be engaged in this year both at the building and district level:

• Learning about formative assessments
• Creating formative assessments
• Learning the functions of Testing Werks
• Learning additional functions of Compass Learning
• Communicating about curriculum and instruction both vertically and horizontally
• Investigating the New State Standards and Common Core Standards
• Analyzing the Crosswalk documents provided by the Ohio Department of Education comparing the current course of study with the New State Standards and Common Core Standards
• Analyzing student local, state and national test data
• Learning additional pieces of the K-4 language arts program adopted last year
• Learning about the new 6-8 language arts program
• Rewriting curriculum in science, guidance and art
• Reviewing curriculum in all subject areas
• Working on building and department goals
• Refining RTI procedures
• Integrated Units in the Related Arts
• Curriculum Mapping
• Aims Web Behavior Tools

Technology: We had our first technology meeting this week. We had administrators, teachers and parents on the committee. Mike Daugherty from Smart Solutions reviewed the progress on past and current technology projects and we had a discussion on the pros and cons of one-to-one computing. We will be meeting again in January to present a plan to the committee regarding the future of technology in the district.

Science Curriculum: I have been meeting with the science teachers to rewrite the science curriculum using the new Common Core Standards. We will be looking at materials next, with the expectation of adopting new textbooks for next year.

Posted on 03. Aug, 2011 by in Sidebar Post

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