January 10, 2019
By Superintendent Dr. Kevin Miller
Harvard Medical School and Harvard Health Publishing note that research shows "gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships."
Our district newsletter, published each Friday during the school year, has become a standard of Ottawa Hills Schools. For the almost 2,000 people who receive it each week, it chronicles the great things happening in our classrooms, on our fields of play, and beyond. The newsletters are an archive of life at OH. And looking through our newsletters from 2018, I find myself filled with a sense of gratitude—grateful for the community members, alumni, parents, teachers, staff members, administrators, and most of all students—who create a legacy of excellence at Ottawa Hills Schools.
As we set sail for 2019, let's pause to glance back at 2018 to be reminded of what a special place Ottawa Hills is. I chose excerpts from ten 2018 "Superintendent's Message" articles as representative of all that is good and right with our school district. I present them to you with a grateful heart.
January 26 and April 6
January 26—This year, we’ve been doing a school-wide read of the book “Mindset” by Carol Dweck. In the book, Dr. Dweck, a Stanford University psychologist, uses decades of research on achievement and success to unlock the power of our mindsets. She explains that it’s not just our abilities and talent that bring us success—but whether we approach our goals with a fixed or growth mindset.
April 6—The first of three “Mindset” book discussions took place March 21 in the jr./sr. high school library. Those in attendance enjoyed Vito’s sandwiches while taking part in a variety of activities that introduced them to the concepts of “Growth Mindset” and “Fixed Mindset.”
"Peter Pan," a beloved classic, was introduced to the world by J.M. Barrie in his 1904 play and 1911 novel. The story of the boy who won’t grow up has survived the ages and is known by all. Most recently, "Peter Pan" made an appearance on the Ottawa Hills stage as 160 elementary, junior high, and high school students came together to present this year’s Acting Out production. All who left the OHHS auditorium left knowing that we have amazing educators and great kids who do great things.
Ottawa Hills students recently won a state title. It wasn't captured on a soccer field, a basketball court, a tennis court, a golf course, or even a running track. Their triumph came on a chess board. Adding to a strong legacy of chess success at Ottawa Hills, Ottawa Hills Elementary students won first place at the 2018 Ohio Elementary Chess Championship on Saturday, February 24.
Green Bear Ball 2018—Ebony & Ivory…In Perfect Harmony—was a great success, thanks to the work of so many. Over 300 Village residents and friends of Ottawa Hills Schools came together at the Fifth Third Center in downtown Toledo to celebrate this year's Green Bear Ball. The Ball raised funds to help replace the district's pianos and digital keyboards and to provide funding for athletic programs and upgrades to Niedermeier Stadium.
Every day, Ottawa Hills students are doing great things. But this date was especially memorable and indicative of the type of excellence our OH students achieve not only in our classrooms, but also beyond our school walls.
A national quiz bowl championship, a state-qualifying Science Olympiad team, a musical (“Les Miserables”) unrivaled by anything you'll see at another high school across the country…that’s a pretty good weekend in the land of the Green Bears.
What a run it has been! After a thrilling 7-6 victory over Chagrin Falls in the state semi-finals on Wednesday, the boys lacrosse team is playing for the state title tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. The finals will take place at Selby Stadium on the campus of Ohio Wesleyan University.
Also seeing state action this weekend are members of the OHHS track team. Congratulations to Eliot Cummings, Michael Nichols, and Gabe Robinson on qualifying to compete at the OHSAA State Track meet at the Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.
Ottawa Hills Junior/Senior High School received The Governor’s Thomas Edison Award for Excellence in STEM Education and Student Research for the sixth time in the last seven years. The Ohio Academy of Science selected 61 Ohio schools and 672 teachers to receive this award for their accomplishments during the 2017-2018 school year.
With the Ohio Department of Education's issuing of the Local Report Card for the 2017-2018 school year, Ottawa Hills sits alone as the only school district in the state to earn A's in all categories on the district report card for four years in a row.
Ottawa Hills High School alumni Pete and Amy (Robbins) Kadens (’96, ’99) have announced their plans to donate $500,000 to the Ottawa Hills Schools Foundation over the next five years. Their generosity to the Ottawa Hills Schools Foundation is the largest gift to date for the Foundation.
They pounded hammers and created art with paintbrushes. They learned to fix plumbing and write biographies of animals. They cut vegetables, stirred pots, and learned to climb mountains. They packed food for the poor and visited the sick and the lonely. They walked together through outdoor trails and fell backwards into each other’s arms. They studied the healing powers of herbs and music. And they came face to face with “zombies” … and therapy dogs.
Such were the experiences of hundreds of students during Agora Week 2018.
2018 was another memorable year for Ottawa Hills Schools. We look forward to a fantastic 2019, armed with focused minds, ready hands…and grateful hearts.