Superintendent's Message

Free-range

posted Oct 11, 2017, 12:49 PM by Laurie Vent

    I have enjoyed reading the book, How to Raise an Adult: Break free of the overparenting trap and prepare your kid for success by Julie Lythcott-Haims. She did a lot of research and includes commentary from many experts as well as stories of personal experiences. In one chapter, she talked about "free-range kids" and how there was an elementary school that held a "free-range project". With parent permission, students were allowed to pick something they wanted to do on their own that they had never been allowed to do on their own before. Choices ranged from biking or walking alone, to going into a store to buy something on their own, to cooking a meal for themselves or the family. There was lots of student testimony about how it made them feel proud and more confident. 
    I couldn't help myself - this made me laugh. Then it made me sad. Some of my best memories of childhood are the times when my friends, my siblings and I would bike a mile to the creek with some food we packed ourselves and we would explore and play all day and not come back until dinner. Or we would hike through the woods of southern Ohio, finding hidden meadows, building elaborate forts and gorging ourselves on blackberries. I definitely had a "free-range" childhood. 
    Much of my own children's upbringing would be considered "free-range". They were still in elementary school when they were allowed to bike or hike to friends and grandparents' homes a mile or two away. They spent whole days building forts and would even spend the night in them. If they wanted to ride to school with me, rather than the bus, they only got as far as South School - no matter the weather they had to walk the rest of the way to St. Peter's or Union.
    Today, many parents worry so much that they do everything for their children. Children need to learn that they are not helpless - they are capable of taking care of themselves and are able to do many things on their own. Allowing freedom within limits gives children purpose and confidence in themselves. 

Learning Myths

posted Aug 29, 2017, 1:32 PM by Laurie Vent   [ updated Aug 29, 2017, 1:32 PM by Tim Pohlman ]

One of the best things parents can do to encourage learning is to praise their child's effort. Don't tell them they are "smart". Instead say, "Wow, Mary, you really worked hard on this. Great job!" Research by Carol Dweck and others has shown that praising effort, rather than ability, is more likely to motivate students to continue learning and improving. 
Unfortunately, there are many myths out there about learning and learning how to learn. Here is a great article that includes a quiz to test your knowledge of learning myths:

Enjoy!

Welcome Back!

posted Aug 16, 2017, 7:32 AM by Laurie Vent   [ updated Aug 16, 2017, 7:32 AM by Tim Pohlman ]

Welcome back for the 2017-18 school year! We are excited to see everyone and catch up on all your summer adventures. Everyone has worked hard to make many improvements across the district which will benefit the educational environment for all our students and staff. If you haven't visited our buildings recently, I encourage you to check them out. Our students, teachers and administrators would love to see you and show you around. Exciting things take place every day and we love to share! 

Congratulations!

posted May 30, 2017, 11:23 AM by Laurie Vent   [ updated May 30, 2017, 11:24 AM by Tim Pohlman ]

Congratulations to all our seniors for all their accomplishments this year and in previous years! I have every confidence that each of you will go on to do great things in our community and the world at large. 
I also want to congratulate all our rising students who will return to us in the fall to continue their educational journey. We always enjoy seeing how much each of you have grown and hearing about your summer adventures.
Did you know that there is actually an extra week of summer vacation this year due to the way the 2016-17 school calendar ended and when the 2017-18 one will begin? You are welcome! :-) 
Have a great summer!

Thank you

posted Mar 7, 2017, 5:18 AM by Laurie Vent   [ updated Mar 7, 2017, 10:01 AM by Tim Pohlman ]

I just want to give a big THANK YOU to all those who participated in my first phone survey. Your input is valuable in helping us make decisions that reflect what is of importance to you. If you were not able to participate by phone, you can still voice your opinion. Just call my office - 419-294-2306 - and my secretary, Brenda Haubert, will either ask the questions to you over the phone or mail you a paper survey. Just let her know which you would prefer.

Also, if you took the phone survey, please let me know your opinion about it. You can add a comment, call or email me - laurie_v@usevs.org. Did you like being able to give an opinion this way? Was is simple to follow? Was it too long? I am interested to know if this is a good way to gather information from our parents or not.

Thank you again for your participation.

Have your voice heard!

posted Feb 17, 2017, 8:15 AM by Laurie Vent   [ updated Apr 3, 2017, 7:44 AM by Tim Pohlman ]

Call on Ohio’s leaders to step up and enact common sense reform for the benefit of Ohio’s public school children.  

In 2016, the federal government passed a new law to replace the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The new law, The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), is designed to provide new flexibility to states. The new law is structured such that learning and testing decisions are returned to the states and even local districts. Each state must submit a plan to the US Dept. of Ed. The Ohio Dept. of Education (ODE) had many meetings across the state to hear from people about how the new state plan should look. I attended our regional meeting. Participants urged the ODE to reduce the amount of state testing – a change that is allowable in the new federal law.

Recently, Ohio officials released a draft of their plan. Unfortunately, Ohio does not reduce testing at all. In fact, it keeps all 24 tests it requires of students in grades 3-11, when ESSA only requires 17, thus failing to hear the urgent and overwhelming advice of the people of the state. 

If you, like me, are upset by the amount of state testing our students are subjected to in our state, I urge you to go to http://education.ohio.gov/getattachment/Topics/Every-Student-Succeeds-Act-ESSA/ESSA_Framework_Report.pdf.aspx to read the proposed plan. 
Then, add your comments here, https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ESSAOhioOverview , to tell the plan designers to follow the minimum requirements set forth by the federal government. You are able to submit comments through March 6.

Develop Your Personal Brand

posted Feb 6, 2017, 6:42 AM by Laurie Vent   [ updated Feb 6, 2017, 6:42 AM by Tim Pohlman ]

Social media is everywhere! Many people view social media in a negative manner. But how you use it makes a big impact on how you are perceived by others. Scott Grant, President & Chief Impact Officer of Triple Threat Leadership, gave a great presentation on using social media to develop your personal brand. If you use social media in a negative and emotional manner, then others will believe that is who you are. If you use social media in a positive manner to promote your interests and to develop professional contacts, then you will be perceived positively. He says to ask yourself, "What impression am I making?"
Because of some online issues, Scott had to change the link to his presentation. The one I gave in the newsletter no longer works. But here is the new link: 
https://prezi.com/0irsarajxc7b/upper-sandusky-high-school/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy
Feel free to check it out!

Wind Chill

posted Dec 15, 2016, 11:56 AM by Laurie Vent   [ updated Dec 15, 2016, 11:58 AM by Tim Pohlman ]

Winter has returned! 
When it is cold, how do I decide if it is cold enough to delay?
 I rely on a wind chill chart put together by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association) and NWS (National Weather Service). This chart lets me know when the combination of air temperature and wind speed creates a wind chill that could cause frostbite. As you can see on the chart, I start to worry about wind chills around the -20 degree mark. It is always a tough decision that we take very seriously.
 

American Education Week - Nov. 13-19, 2016

posted Nov 4, 2016, 5:47 AM by Laurie Vent   [ updated Nov 4, 2016, 5:47 AM by Tim Pohlman ]

    November 13-19 is American Education Week with the theme: Great Public Schools: A Basic Right and Our Responsibility. An educated population is the foundation for our nation which depends on the decisions of its educated, informed citizens. Public schools are the only schools that must serve and meet the needs of ALL students. When you attend a public school, you get to know people from every corner of your community - you are part of the "public". Every child in the community has an opportunity to obtain an education. While too many children remain limited in their ability to take full advantage of that opportunity due to circumstances at home, it is important to me that those opportunities remain available to ALL. Public education is all about lifting up, not weeding out. 
    This week provides an opportunity for everyone to celebrate public education and honor those making a difference everyday in ensuring every child receives a quality education. This includes not only teachers and principals, but also bus drivers, aides, custodians, food service personnel, secretaries, maintenance, transportation directors, mechanics, coaches, counselors, psychologists, technology coordinators, athletic directors, and central office personnel. It takes everyone working together to provide a quality education to every student. I encourage everyone to get involved in our schools and see for yourself all the great things happening everyday here in Upper Sandusky.

National School Bus Safety Week, Oct. 17-21

posted Oct 17, 2016, 1:43 PM by Laurie Vent   [ updated Oct 17, 2016, 1:43 PM by Tim Pohlman ]

Did you know - 
* The school bus is the safest form of student transportation. Students on a school bus are 12 to 25 times safer than when riding in a passenger car. 
* School transportation is cost-effective. Transporting a child on a school bus costs a fraction of the cost of transporting a student by car.
* Ohio's school transportation operation is highly regulated. It is overseen by local administrators and the state departments of education and public safety and covered by an exhaustive set of state rules and regulations.
* Ohio school bus drivers must meet strict standards related to driving records; criminal background checks; drug and alcohol testing; physicals; driving and student management skills; and ongoing in-service training.
Here at Upper Sandusky, daily our bus fleet travels over 1300 miles and transports over 650 students. We are fortunate to have caring, local school bus drivers who have an excellent safety record. If you get a chance, be sure to thank your bus driver and transportation director this week to let them know how much we appreciate them!

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