BY DR. TODD CRAMER
Superintendent | Maumee City Schools
June 25, 2020
Congratulations To The MHS Class Of 2020!
For many reasons, the Maumee High School 2020 graduating class is like no other.
These graduates have already proven they are ready to advocate for what they believe is right and made a positive impact on Maumee High School. From birth, they have had access to the internet, which has provided them with unparalleled access to pop culture, news and perspectives from across the globe. While their plans for the future may understandably be on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no question that they have a role to play in shaping the future of our community, state, nation and beyond. They inherit a world that has overcome so many obstacles – from solving international conflicts to almost vanquishing polio – but also one that needs to find a solution to this pandemic, address issues of inequality and support the social-emotional needs of their friends and family. It is their turn and they are ready.
Maumee High School principal Matthew Dick is sharing many of the outstanding accomplishments this class has made in his column, which is also included in this edition of The Mirror. I echo his sentiments about how proud we all are of what the Maumee High School Class of 2020 accomplished during their time with us.
It goes without saying that the 2019-20 school year was one like none other. After weeks of remote student learning during a global pandemic, we were able to partially emerge from quarantine and allow our seniors to take part in a livestreamed, albeit socially distanced, commencement ceremony on May 23 and a community parade on May 24.
Thank you to the entire Maumee community for your support of our students, as well as one another. I cannot adequately express my appreciation to Maumee parents who oversaw home-based instruction, many while working from home themselves. Maumee educators also deserve to be recognized for modeling for our students what it takes to be a lifelong learner. Their flexibility and thoughtfulness invested in our students were impressive!
Congratulations to the Maumee High School Class of 2020!
May 27, 2020
Maumee’s 2019-20 School Year Comes To A Close
Although it may go without saying, this has truly been a year we will never forget. We ended the school year with a livestreamed graduation ceremony on May 23 and a community parade for our seniors on May 24. Thank you to the entire community for your support of our students as well as one another during the COVID closure. I cannot express enough my appreciation for Maumee’s parents who provided home instruction, many while working from home. Our educators also deserve to be recognized for their creativity as well as being role models with respect to being lifelong learners. Their flexibility and thoughtfulness invested in our students were impressive!
2020-21 School Year Plans
As we begin to plan for the 2020-21 school year, we will focus on finding safe, responsible ways to reopen our buildings to students and staff in August. In alignment with this vision, we are organizing our thoughts and energy around four task forces. Each task force will be composed of staff, students and community members who will focus on identifying solutions to the barriers and challenges we will face as we plan to reopen school. The four task forces are:
• Teaching & Learning (focus on instructional needs).
• Activities & Athletics (focus on student activities and athletics).
• Logistics & Operations (focus on operational duties and day-to-day logistics).
• Financials (focus on fiscal responsibility/ impact).
A few weeks ago, we learned that our state funding was reduced by $450,000 this fiscal year and we are estimating another $800,000-$1,200,000 in reductions in fiscal year 2021 (which runs July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021). We also learned that we will receive a one-time payment of only $325,000 via CARES Act funding. Realizing the need to remain off the ballot, we are focusing on maximizing our current resources. Consequently, we are being forced to make an $800,000 reduction/stabilization to expenses for the 2020-21 school year. We believe that by reducing building budgets, not replacing staff who are retiring and resigning, alongside having created a few new revenue streams such as capped open enrollment, we will be able to maintain the academics and other programming that define our school district and give us a competitive advantage.
Beginning on Monday, June 1 and continuing through July 24, hours at the administration offices will be 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday-Thursday. Please call (419) 893-3200 and make an appointment as we want to ensure the safety of all staff and guests. Maumee High School and Gateway Middle School will also be taking appointments for parents to come into the buildings to handle essential business.
Thank you again for your ongoing support as we work together to ensure a high-quality public education for all of our students. Have a great summer!
April 16, 2020
Empathy, Consistency And Communication
We are all aware that this is a time like no other in our lifetime. I want to take this opportunity to thank our local medical professionals, first responders and all those continuing to keep our community safe and functioning during this time of social distancing and shutdowns.
Thank you to every community member who has, is, or in the future will be supporting the school district and our families. We are grateful to our parents who are taking on responsibilities for overseeing their children’s at-home schooling, in addition to all their other responsibilities during these uncertain times. As we navigate this “new normal,” our actions will continue to be focused on empathy, consistency and communication.
I am proud of the collective efforts of all Maumee City Schools staff members from our classroom teachers who gracefully transitioned to being online teachers (not something they ever planned to check off their bucket list) to our food service staff who prepare and hand out meals each day and to our technology staff for working long hours and weekends since early March to allow us the transition to providing high-quality online instruction. Teachers immediately rose to the challenge of remote teaching and now are all providing recorded classes, live teaching sessions and class meetings throughout the week. Our students in grades 9-12 already had a school-issued Chromebook and we were quickly able to get devices out to our students in kindergarten through eighth grade.
Celebrating The MHS Class Of 2020
We have plans in place to respond to any forthcoming orders from the governor and/or president. We are hopeful that we will be back in session this school year so that our seniors will be able to have some of their final awards and activities and keep our commencement ceremony on May 23, but we also have June 29 reserved because we are committed to providing the MHS Class of 2020 their final high school experience of walking across the stage in cap and gown.
Did You Know?
Our community partners, including the mayor, city administrator, police and fire chiefs and staff, Maumee Churches United (an active collaboration of the churches here in town), our athletic boosters, local organizations and of course St. Luke’s Hospital, have been partners at the table with us since day one.
We are currently providing approximately 200 students and their family members with breakfast and lunch throughout the week. This number continues to climb.
We were able to donate PPE (personal protective equipment) including masks and gloves to area health care providers, disinfecting wipes to the Maumee branch of the USPS and we put our 14 3-D printers into action to print face shields and headbands for PPE that Dana Corp also contributed to.
We are working diligently to serve our students and families who are struggling to have their basic needs met before they can be successful with their schoolwork.
We have supports in place for those who need assistance to meet their social and emotional health needs and we are publicizing services provided by organizations and agencies across Northwest Ohio.
Beyond Coronavirus School Closing: Summer Camps & Projects
We are actively planning for summer permanent improvement projects across the district and getting things ready for back-to-school for the 2020-21 school year. We are planning to hold our annual Summer Enrichment Camp for students in grades K-8 and our annual youth sports camps offered by our varsity coaches and student-athletes.
Board Approves Move To Capped Open Enrollment
At the April 2 board of education meeting, the board voted unanimously to begin capped open enrollment for the 2020-21 school year. Capped open enrollment allows the school district to accept out-of-district students for enrollment up to a student-to-teacher classroom ratio that is preset.
Using this year’s enrollment numbers, the school district could enroll up to an additional 122 students. Enrollment applications are prioritized based on eight criteria that are set by board policy and include owning property in the school district, working in the school district, having a grandparent who lives in the school district and a having a parent who is an MHS alumnus.
The positive financial benefit for moving to capped open enrollment is $6,020 from the state of Ohio for each of these students. We believe making this change allows our school district to maintain course offerings at Maumee High School, the middle school concept at Gateway and an even number of elementary classroom sections at Fairfield and Fort Miami. Maumee enrollment has decreased over the years. As an example, in the 2009-10 school year, Maumee had an enrollment of 2,686 students and in 2019-20, enrollment is 2,252 (434 fewer students).
To learn more about Maumee’s capped open enrollment, visit maumee.k12.oh.us and search “capped open enrollment.”
January 30, 2020
District Celebrates Board Of Education Members, Opposes EdChoice Expansion On Flawed Data
“Being with my teacher today was the best thing about my day.” – fifth grade student
This was the response I recently received after asking a Wayne Trail student to share what they enjoyed about school at Wayne Trail. I include this quote because I believe it represents the thoughts and feelings of so many of our students. Maumee staff members provide a supportive and caring environment that supports the whole child – academically as well as psychologically and physically. Being able to provide this type of learning environment for our students has been an ongoing focus of our board of education members.
Given that January is Ohio School Board Appreciation Month, it is important to recognize the individuals who provide the foundation and guidance that make our successes as a district possible. The Maumee City Schools Board of Education includes president Stephanie Piechowiak, vice president Janet Wolff and members Diane Balcerzak, Jennifer Campos and Mike Wiley. They are the guideposts for our district. These five dedicated community leaders support the education of public school students by thoughtfully setting policy and providing direction that ensures the district can provide the best possible education for each and every student from preschool through high school graduation. Evidence of their work is seen in two Ohio Department of Education awards we recently received: the Purple Star Award, recognizing districts dedicated to supporting military families, and the Momentum Award, recognizing the academic progress students are making as compared to other districts across the state. These successes would not be possible without our board’s dedication and oversight.
Maumee’s board of education recently passed a resolution opposing the expansion of Ohio’s EdChoice program. If you have not heard about EdChoice, it is a voucher program that uses data from a flawed state report card to unfairly label public schools as “failing” and forces districts to subsidize private school tuition with public tax dollars. If legislative changes are not made at the state level prior to Saturday, February 1, 70 percent of Ohio’s districts will have at least one EdChoice building. This is a 422-percent increase since last school year.
To be clear, Maumee does not have any schools that are designated for this program. We do not oppose school choice or accountability. What we oppose is the flawed methodology and funneling of public funds away from public schools.
For example, there are several local, suburban school districts (very similar to Maumee) that receive approximately $2,400 per student each year from the state of Ohio. The EdChoice program mandates that if a student living in the attendance area of an EdChoice-designated high school decides to use an EdChoice voucher to attend a private school, the private school receives $6,000 for that student. This means the public school district must make up the $3,600 difference in funding. Keep in mind that there is little accountability that follows these dollars as private schools operate under a separate set of standards, including selective admittance and very little public reporting of student academic achievement to date.
Since it cannot be overstated, let me say again that Maumee’s board of education and administrators do not oppose the concept that parents should decide how and where they want their children to be educated or for being held accountable for the academic success of our students. Our goal in opposing the expansion of the EdChoice program is to ensure that decisions made by the state legislature are based on sound educational data and that if private schools choose to accept public dollars through the EdChoice program, they also agree to adhere to the same educational accountability standards as the public schools that are losing funding.
I will end by thanking you for your continued support of our students. I also want to personally invite you to attend the upcoming performances of Footloose on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, March 20, 21 and 22 in the Performing Arts Center at Maumee High School. If not the spring musical, how about coming out to Arts Fest and STEAM Night on Wednesday, April 29 at Maumee High School? I am so proud of our students who continue to showcase their talents both inside our classrooms and through their extracurricular activities. Our cheerleading and dance teams recently qualified for the state competition and our volleyball team made it to the final 16 teams in the state this past fall. As the winter sports and extracurriculars wind down, I’m sure we will have additional student accomplishments to share with the community.
If you don’t already know, Maumee senior citizens are eligible to obtain a Golden Panther card that provides free admission to our middle and high school athletic events and theatrical performances. Call us at (419) 893-3200 for more information about how to obtain your card.
Thanks to your support, we continue to be a community that invests in every child, every day to ensure all students find their success!