Secondary English Weekly #15

VOLUME FOUR, ISSUE FIFTEEN /December 6-10, 2021

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Congratulations to Elena Earley, an 8th grader at Dominion Middle School. She won the CCS MLK Breakfast Speaker Contest and will represent the district at the 2022 Martin Luther King Breakfast, held virtually on January 17, 2021. Earley will be professionally recorded delivering her speech this week for the event. She was the Runner Up in last year's contest. It is a testament to her tenacity that she competed again this year and came out the winner. Ja'Vion Whitehead, a 6th grader at Mifflin Middle School, was chosen as the Runner Up.

Congratulations to all of the students who participated in this contest. The speeches were inspirational and polished. The judges thought the highest scoring speeches were especially effective at integrating the theme: How Long? Not Long. The students were confident and their voices were strong. They should be very proud of their entries!

  • Noah Collins-McGill 6th Grade Fairwood Elementary School
  • Lilian Debelius 7th Grade Dominion Middle School
  • Elena Earley 8th Grade Dominion Middle School (WINNER)
  • Simone Edwards 7th Grade Dominion Middle School
  • Mala Ghose 7th Grade Dominion Middle School
  • Houley Koundourou 10th Grade Columbus Alternative High School
  • Celia Kundishora 8th Grade Columbus Gifted Academy
  • Audrey Morgan 7th Grade Dominion Middle School
  • Ayesha Muhammad 12th Grade Columbus Alternative High School
  • Kamya Stanley 8th Grade Africentric Early College Middle School

  • Ja'Vion Whitehead 6th Grade Mifflin Middle School (RUNNER UP)


The past few years have been incredibly difficult for educators and their students. As a thank you for all of your hard work and dedication, StudySync wants to send a little holiday cheer your way. The 5 Days of Giveaways will run from December 6th - 10th. Keep an eye out for daily emails for a chance to win! The prizes this year are:

If you haven't already, be sure to subscribe to the SyncUp Newsletter to receive each day’s entry details and participate in the fun. Emails will be sent at 7 am ET, and each day’s giveaway will close after 24 hours. You must fill out the entry form each day to be entered to win that day’s giveaway. All winners will be selected at random and notified by 9 am ET on December 11th via email. StudySync thanks you for all that you do for your students and our district.


The Achieve3000 management team is excited to announce the November winners of the monthly Achieve3000 secondary school competition. CONGRATULATIONS to the schools with the highest Lexile growth and the honorable mention runners-up. Well done!

Elementary Winner: Fairwood- 20L

Honorable Mention Runners Up:

  • Southwood- 11L
  • Moler- 8L

Middle School Winner: Columbus Prep for Boys- 15L

Honorable Mention Runners UP

  • Sherwood- 13L
  • Wedgewood- 12L

High School Winner: Columbus Downtown- 8L

Honorable Mention Runners Up

  • Independence- 7L
  • Linden McKinley- 7L

-The winners will be awarded the "CCS Achieve3000 Best in Class" trophy to showcase and celebrate in their schools for the month until the next winners are declared. They'll also be recognized on the CCS Achieve3000 webpage. Future competitions will continue to reward schools with the highest Lexile growth every month. The competition flyer is here. To keep track of the data, bookmark the Achieve school monthly data folders that contain monthly reports for each school. Those simple reports include four metrics: LevelSet completion, average first try score, average activities per week, and Lexile growth.

-Student Lexile levels are rising across district and many schools have increased the number of LevelSet completions since October, like Africentric MS who now has 100% completion in 7th and 8th grades! Assure that LevelSets are completed and reading activities are progressing to increase student literacy and claim your school trophy. Differentiate. Accelerate. Achieve! Visit the CCS Achieve3000 webpage for competition updates, tutorial links, and contact information and office hours.


Provide students with voice and choice using blended learning. Station rotation allows teachers to more easily address the needs of all learners with increased opportunities for differentiation.

Station Rotation Guide

columbus metropolitan library winter reading challenge

Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML) is bringing back its Winter Reading Challenge, in which students can earn prizes just by reading over break. The Winter Reading Challenge aims to keep reading skills strong when students are out of school over the holidays. From Dec. 1 through Jan. 31, K-12 students can register and pick up a game board in person at CML’s 23 locations throughout Franklin County.

-The annual program challenges students to track their progress as they read for 20 days and complete five activities on their game boards. Examples of game board activities include “Read a book about a famous person,” “Read a book with a magical creature,” “Tell a staff member about a book you read” and many more. Just for signing up, students will receive a bookmark, mechanical pencil, eraser and sticker. Students who complete the program will earn a book they can keep, as well as a drawstring bag.


The OCTELA Conference will be held virtually on February 25th and 26th. Advanced registration for the 2022 conference will close February 11, 2022! Registrations after this date will incur a $15 late registration fee.

Included with Registration:

  • Two days of LIVE conference sessions and keynote speakers
  • On-demand PRE-RECORDED sessions for attendees to watch
  • Up to 15 contact hours (depending on days attended and number of on-demand sessions watched)
  • One-year OCTELA Membership (current members will have their membership extended for one year) which includes digital access to Ohio Voices, the Ohio Journal of English Language Arts, and the Teacher Resources section of the website.
  • Conference Website


  • You can register online. The online form will allow you to pay with a credit card, check/money order, or by school purchase order.
  • If you need to register using a traditional paper registration form, please email Lena Moore at
  • Registration is $73.00. Register Now.

Conference Theme: Storylines

Featured Speakers: Cornelius Minor and Kristen Simmons


21 Communication Skills Every High School Student Should Have
By Lisa Johnson
"Over the past 10 years, I have worked with thousands of high school students. During that period, I really started paying attention to the skills they had and the skills they needed. I..."


The MOY testing window is from December 6-January 14. Middle Schools have the option of taking the IReady MOY, based on building decision to opt in or opt out. The MasteryConnect MOY for high schools will be offered and made available during that window.
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Sunday, December 5

  • THE COLUMBUS METROPOLITAN LIBRARY Brit Bennett Author Talk Register 2-3pm

Monday, December 6

  • StudySync Webinar Ongoing Progress Monitoring with StudySync Assessments Register 6-6:30pm

Tuesday, December 7

  • StudySync Webinar: Virtual Teaching & Learning in StudySync Register 6-6:45pm

Wednesday, December 8

Thursday, December 9

  • StudySync Webinar: Customize Assignments for Personalized Learning Register 4-4:30pm

Friday, December 10

  • StudySync Webinar: Keep Calm & Observe On: Supporting Classroom Evaluation for Administrator Register 2-2:30pm
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The building capacity section of this newsletter is currently focused on Supporting All Learners to Build Literacy, a three-session video presentation from Dr. Dianna Townsend, a professor of literacy studies at the University of Nevada/Reno and a principal member of the Education Research Scientific Review Panel with the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) in the U.S. Department of Education. The third session focuses on the scaffolding texts. The two previous sessions can also be found below..

Scaffolding Texts Video Presentation (21:21) Session Three

DESCRIPTION: This presentation from the Ohio Literacy Academy will help you explain the importance of text scaffolding, as well as plan for before, during and after reading scaffolds for content area texts.

--On the English 6-12 Webpage at the ELA Strand Resources for Reading, Writing, Language, & Speaking Quick Link in the Reading Strand section, you have several resources concerning text scaffolding including the ones below. There are also many graphic organizers for analyzing text at the same quick link.

--Remember that you can provide access to slide-in scaffolds in StudySync for your students in the USERS tab and that there are slide-in graphic organizers also available when you assign/customize the StudySync lessons.


Academic Language Video Presentation (21:41) Session Two
DESCRIPTION: This presentation from the Ohio Literacy Academy will help you identify key features of academic sentences and paragraphs, identify different types of connective words, and plan actionable approaches for supporting secondary students’ knowledge and use of connectives.

--On the English 6-12 Webpage at the ELA Strand Resources for Reading, Writing, Language, & Speaking Quick Link in the Writing Strand section, you have the following resources concerning transitions, academic sentence stems, and connectives:

--Remember that you also have access to transition skills lessons in the StudySync Library (library tab, skills subtab, search for "transitions"), and work with organization within the CORE ELA Units. Many of the slide-in scaffolds in StudySync have sentence stems for discussion and writing. Think about how you can allow for students’ meaningful practice with academic language in the classroom.


Morphology Video Presentation (21:09) Session One

DESCRIPTION: This presentation from the Ohio Literacy Academy will help you identify the basic units of the English language, explore meaningful morphemes in the content areas, and plan meaningful opportunities for secondary students to practice using morphemes. This can help build capacity around increasing literacy achievement in Columbus City Schools.

--Remember that you have access to Greek/Latin/Roots/Affixes skills lessons in StudySync both in the library (library tab, skills subtab, search for "Roots") and in the Vocabulary PDF workbooks in your Course Folders. In addition, you can filter for your grade level and "Academic Vocabulary" once on the library tab, skills subtab in StudySync for additional word study lessons.

--On the English 6-12 Webpage at the ELA Strand Resources for Reading, Writing, Language, & Speaking Quick Link in the Language Strand section, you have the following resources concerning roots/affixes: Greek/Latin Vocabulary Guiding Doc and Vocabulary Roots Online Greek/Latin Practice, in addition to other vocabulary links. Here is a helpful list of morphemes that are common across content areas. Think about how you can allow for students’ meaningful practice with those morphemes and words in the classroom.



You will find the CCS SECONDARY ENGLISH 2021 OST REPORT WITH RECOMMENDATIONS linked here and at the "Standardized Testing" Quick Link on the ELA 6-12 Webpage. Pages 2-10 focus on Reading and Pages 11-14 focus on Writing. Read through to understand how research says we can make gains in both areas.
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Curriculum Maps, Course Folders, and Resource Lists

-Visit these Curriculum/Instructional Resources Quick Links on the ELA 6-12 Webpage for all Secondary English Curriculum.

At these links, you will find your COURSE FOLDERS that have everything you need for your courses including Curriculum Maps, Course Introduction Pages, Standard docs, digital novels, adopted resource trainings/tutorials, etc. To access many curricular and district, you must be logged into Google using your CCS credentials and not a personal account. Curricular documents are also linked on these Google docs:

-Here are the Resource Lists for Secondary English.

  1. The Tier I Instructional Resources are StudySync (English 6-12) and the Bedford Texts/Launchpad (Honors and AP English).
  2. The Tier II Intervention Resource is Achieve3000. The contact person for this resource is Sonja Dill.
  3. The Supplemental Resource is TeachingBooks.
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Curriculum Resources: Access, PD, Tutorials, & Trainings

StudySync (Tier 1 Adopted Resource English 6-12)

  • Help Center: Finding the Help Center in StudySync (video): You can find self-paced Training in the Help Center.
  • Tutorials: StudySync Tutorials (Some of the most popular tutorials)
  • Trainings: StudySync Trainings (Recorded CCS StudySync trainings from 2020 and 2021)
  • Demo Code: Here is the demo code for StudySync in case you have a student teacher, building coach, or admin that wants to see the platform and they do not have a class aligned in Clever/IC. DEMO:, UN: studysync2021, PW: MHEela21
  • Errors: If you notice an error in a StudySync assignment, send an email to Carla Mae She will let both McGraw Hill and StudySync know so that they can make corrections.
  • For the latest information at StudySync, sign up for the SyncUP monthly newsletter. Opt-in here:


Bedford/Launchpad (Tier 1 Adopted Resource Honors and AP)


TeachingBooks (Supplemental Resource)

  1. CCS-Novels Available in the English 6-12 Curriculum Office
  2. CCS Middle School Curriculum: Novels in Warehouse, Course Folder, or Adopted Resource
  3. CCS High School Curriculum: Novels in Warehouse, Course Folder, or Adopted Resource
  4. CCS English 6: Novels in Warehouse, Course Folder, or Adopted Resource
  5. CCS English 7: Novels in Warehouse, Course Folder, or Adopted Resource
  6. CCS English 8: Novels in Warehouse, Course Folder, or Adopted Resource
  7. CCS English 9: Novels in Warehouse, Course Folder, or Adopted Resource
  8. CCS English 10: Novels in Warehouse, Course Folder, or Adopted Resource
  9. CCS English 11: Novels in Warehouse, Course Folder, or Adopted Resource
  10. CCS English 12: Novels in Warehouse, Course Folder, or Adopted Resource


Secondary English Curriculum Videos

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outings, classes, contests, grants, and additional pd


The Ohio Department of Education is now accepting applications for participants to serve on range-finding committees for English language arts (ELA). Range-finding committees use sample student responses to make recommendations for the range of acceptable responses, from no credit to partial credit, to complete credit. These ELA range-finding committees will convene virtually for a limited series of meetings. They are not ongoing committees. Meetings will be held in January-February 2022 only but will span several days. After you apply to participate on one of the committees, you will be able to indicate which dates you are available to serve. The dates for each of the secondary grade-level meetings are listed below.

  • Grade 6, Jan. 24 - 27
  • Grade 7, Part 1, Jan. 18 - 21
  • Grade 7, Part 2, Feb. 14 - 16
  • Grade 8, Feb. 7 - 11
  • High School (ELA II), Part 1, Jan. 24 - 28
  • High School (ELA II), Part 2, Jan. 31 - Feb. 4
  • High School (ELA II), Part 3, Feb. 17 - 18

Here is more information. Here is the APPLICATION. If you have any questions please email the Office of Assessment at


Recognizing the extraordinary challenges teachers face, the Bonnie Chambers Grant Committee will award a one-time $2,000.00 grant to purchase books for K-6 students in an Ohio public school building.

This Bonnie Chambers Grant is designed to help teachers who strongly promote the use of quality literature in their classrooms. Teachers will use the grant money to select and purchase their own book choices (fiction or non-fiction) dealing with understanding and coping with COVID, racism and equality issues, and/or mental health issues for children and their families.

Application Criteria

  • This grant is open to any Ohio public school teacher(s) in grades K-6 who demonstrates a need for money in the purchasing of classroom books for their elementary building.
  • If a group of teachers apply, one teacher will apply on behalf of the building and serve as the contact teacher.
  • Need can be demonstrated through free-lunch ratios, recent school-levy results, extraordinary events, etc.

Applications for the 2021 Bonnie Chambers Grants are available and due by December 31, 2021. Visit the Bonnie Chambers Grant page for more information:


The LifeChanger of the Year Award seeks to honor K-12 educators, teachers, administrators or school staff members who make a positive difference in students’ lives. Submit nominations by Dec. 31.


Join the Ohio Department of Education and INFOhio to learn about restorative writing and Open Space – Ohio’s creation and collaboration space for educators. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss how and why restorative writing could be a powerful and reflective outlet for students amid the pandemic. Participants also will learn about Open Space tools and resources that support the writing standards in Ohio's Learning Standards for English Language Arts. This virtual series is open and free to all who would like to participate, but Registration is Required.

The dates, times and registration are included below.

  • Session 2 - Date: Jan.12, 2022, 3:30-4:30 p.m.
  • Session 3 - Date: Jan.26, 2022, 3:30-4:30 p.m.
  • Presenters: Mary Rowland and Melissa Solema, INFOhio; Teresa Castellaneta, Ohio Department of Education

-Contact Teresa Castellaneta with questions:


CCS Teacher, Tracie Helmbrecht, will present a Success Criteria PD on February 9, 2022 from 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. with an optional follow up on February 16, 2022.
Location: ZOOM ID# 588 749 4352 Passcode: Feb9

Register on PDS: 42881
Target Audience: K-12 Educators and administrators
Description: Teacher Clarity is one of the areas the district has included in the 5-Year Strategic Plan. It is also in full alignment with the Common Instructional Framework as well as a focus in many SIPs. This time will be spent reviewing Teacher Clarity protocol, defining Success Criteria, overcoming challenges of implementation and discovering how Success Criteria provides equity in instruction and assessment of standards. Although not required, it might be useful to have a copy of THE SUCCESS CRITERIA PLAYBOOK by Almarode, Fisher, Thunder & Frey (2021). The first 10 attendees who register (either in PDS or by contacting Tracie directly) will receive a free copy of the book.


The Standards Institute is an immersive and transformative five-day in-person learning experience for teachers, coaches, and leaders. Educators who attend the Standards Institute have conversations about race, examine bias and its role in instruction and learning, and commit to adaptive change within themselves as practitioners while learning practical strategies that can improve instructional practice and leadership in schools and systems.

The Institute

  • Five days of in-person immersive, coherent learning sessions led by our highly trained facilitators Monday, March 28, 2022 – Friday, April 1, 2022 Las Vegas, NV

    Price: $2,800 / person

  • Powerful, transformational keynote speakers
  • Courageous conversations and open dialogue about implicit bias and racist structures, with insights and actions to share with colleagues
  • Tools, strategies, and frameworks to enhance instructional practices
  • The opportunity to form strategic relationships with like-minded educators leading the movement towards equitable and anti-racist instruction



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The Scholastic Writing Awards are the nation’s longest-running, most prestigious recognition program for creative teens. The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, presenters of the Awards, provides students with life-changing recognition, scholarships, and a platform for their voices to be heard. With an extraordinary roster of alumni—from Andy Warhol and Stephen King to Kay WalkingStick and Amanda Gorman—the Awards open the door to millions of dollars in scholarships/cash awards and an unparalleled platform for diverse voices.Teens in Grades 7-12 can enter, provided they are over age 13. There are 11 total categories for writing: Critical Essay, Dramatic Script, Flash Fiction, Journalism, Humor, Novel Writing, Personal Essay & Memoir, Poetry, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Short Story, and Writing Portfolio (graduating seniors only). The writing submission deadline for our region (Midwest Writing Region at Large) is December 8th.

Scholastic Awards Info Page I Scholastic How to Enter Page

Scholastic Categories Page I Scholastic Awards Media Kit

Ohio Poetry Association High School Contest

The Ohio Poetry Association's (OPA) annual high school poetry contest, offering cash prizes (up to $25) and publication to winners in nine categories, is now open. A grand prize-winning poem will be published in Common Threads. Eligible poems will be sent to the Manningham Trust Student Poetry Contest sponsored by the National Federation of State Poetry Societies. The OPA contest is open to any student in grades 9–12 in Ohio. There is no entry fee. The submission deadline is January 25, 2022. Here are the OPA Contest Specifics and the OPA Contest Site. For further inquiries or questions send an email to


  1. Voices from the Past – A persona poem in any style in the voice of someone or something from history or prehistory (e.g., a person/animal/artifact).
  2. Ethos – Ethos is a Greek word defined as the distinguishing character, sentiment, moral nature, or guiding beliefs of a person, group, or institution or the fundamental character or spirit of a culture. Write a poem that reflects in some way your own ethnicity or cultural heritage. Any form. 30-line limit.
  3. Endings – A poem of any style/form 30 lines maximum.
  4. Free Verse – A poem of no more than 10 lines on any subject.
  5. Humor – A poem that makes us laugh—amusing, humorous, funny (but clean enough to print) in any form. 30-line limit.
  6. Metrical Measures – Write a poem in any form that is metrical, e.g., sonnet, villanelle, blank verse. 30-line limit.
  7. My Future: Write a poem about what you envision your life will be like 10 years from today. Any form. 30-line limit.
  8. Lyric Poem - Any subject, i.e., sonnets, villanelles, pantoums, ghazals, elegies, odes and dramatic monologues.
  9. Nature Poem – A poem of any style, up to two pages in length, about flowers, seasons, animals, weather, water, trees, or anything else that expresses an appreciation of the natural world.


Flip the Page: Central Ohio's Teen Literary Journal

Writers ages 13–19: it's your chance to get published! Thurber House is now accepting submissions for the 2022 edition of Flip the Page: Central Ohio's Teen Literary Journal. Flip the Page is written, staffed, juried, and produced by Central Ohio teens and Thurber House. The journal features stories, poems, nonfiction, and artwork from writers and artists ages 13–19. Flip the Page provides teens with experience in submission, critique, editorial design, and publication. All accepted writers and artists receive a complimentary copy of the journal, which will be sold on Amazon.

Click to Submit! Submission Deadline: January 29, 2022

Writing Guidelines

  • Must be a resident of Central Ohio (Franklin, Delaware, Union, Madison, Pickaway, Fairfield, or Licking counties)
  • Open to teens ages 13 to 19 years old
  • They are interested in short stories, poems, songs, essays, play excerpts, and especially humor pieces
  • Maximum of 800 words per piece
  • Limit of two entries per person
  • Accepted formats are Word documents and shareable Google documents

Have a question? Check the Thurber House website or email


Poetry Out Loud (POL) encourages students to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. This program helps high school students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary heritage and contemporary life. Created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, Poetry Out Loud is administered in partnership with the Ohio Arts Council and Wild Goose Creative. Teachers, librarians, or administrators register their high schools each year with the Ohio Arts Council and organize contests with one class, several classes, or a whole school. Contests, workshops, and multi-media program materials, including curricula, are free. Poetry Out Loud is aligned with Common Core and National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) standards.


ncte student writing awards

Here are two writing contests from NCTE.

Achievement Awards in Writing (for 11th grade students)

  • This school-based writing program encourages high school students in their writing and publicly recognizes some of the best student writers in the nation. Deadline February 15

Promising Young Writers (for 8th grade students)

  • This school-based writing program stimulates and recognizes student’s writing talents and emphasizes the importance of writing skills among eighth-grade students. Deadline February 15

Princeton Summer Journalism Program

The Princeton Summer Journalism Program offers a tuition-free journalism institute and college counseling program for high-achieving high school juniors from low-income backgrounds. Participants spend 10 days in late July/early August at Princeton University, where they learn about inquiry and truth in reporting through workshops taught by Princeton University professors and professional journalists. The summer institute culminates in the publication of the student-produced newspaper, The Princeton Summer Journal. Although students who have been actively involved in journalistic activities are welcome, no prior experience is required to qualify. Students apply through three rounds of consideration during their junior year and begin participation the following summer. During their senior year, students work closely with a volunteer college counselor to complete the college admissions process. Learn more about PSJP application process and refer a student to receive more information via this PSJP Website. The Application Deadline is Monday, February 28, 2022.

Ohio Association of Student Leaders (OASL) Opportunity

Students in grades 6-12 are invited to be part of a student-led online roundtable discussion with the Ohio Department of Education concerning Ohio's Whole Child Framework: Healthy, Safe, Supported, Challenged and Engaged. There is no cost to participate. The goal of this series is to increase student voice in implementing Ohio's Whole Child Framework. Objectives include:
  1. Engage with students
  2. Have conversation about Ohio's Whole Child Framework
  3. Gather student voices and ideas
  4. Identify ways for schools to increase student voice to create schools that support the Whole Child.

The remaining public roundtable sessions will take place from 6:00-7:00 p.m. on the following dates:

  • Tuesday, February 22
  • Tuesday, March 22
  • Tuesday, April 19

Register HERE. Questions should be directed to Anthony Paletta, OASL Director of Advancement:


Holly St. Myer from the New Albany Community Foundation has extended an invitation for Columbus City School students to participate in the New Albany Student Lecture Series 2021-22 both as avid spectators and through advanced submission of thoughtful questions. If you would like students from your school to participate in any of the following lectures, contact Holly at Here are the upcoming lectures:

  • February 16: Abby Wambach, World Cup Champ and Bestselling Author (Health & Wellbeing)
  • March 10: H.R. McMaster, National Security Advisor, & Mary Louise Kelly, Co-host of NPR's "All Things Considered" (National Security)
  • April 6: Robert Reich, Former U.S. Secretary of Labor, & Karl Rove, Former Deputy Chief of Staff (Civil Discourse and Debate)
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Michael Bublé' - It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas (Official Music Video)

Carla Mae Phillips

English 6-12 Curriculum Coordinator

Southland Center, Suite 125

Previous Newsletters available on the CCS ELA 6-12 Webpage.