Department of Educational Services

November 2013 Newsletter


Medina City Schools Department of Educational Services will ensure that every student reaches his or her maximum potential by supporting and empowering teachers through:

  • Collaboration, Leadership,
  • Education, and
  • Preparation

Ohio Improvement Plan Update (OIP)

The DLT met in August to develop our goals for the year. Prior to doing so, we set the tone for the year by viewing some awesome videos by Kid President (@iamkidpresident) that we would love to share with you:

We also watched a video on the science of happiness that we think is important to share:

Our District Leadership Team (DLT) developed 2 major goals for the 2013-2014 school year:

1. The DLT will survey all district staff utilizing the district culture survey prior to September 1st. Results from this survey will be utilized to develop culture improvement goals at the November DLT meeting.

2. The Medina City School District will focus collaboration opportunities on AMO subgroups; this focus will result in an increase in 5 points in the district final score and AMO letter grade.

Many of you participated in the district culture survey and we thank you for your contributions. At our meeting on November 13th, our DLT will develop culture improvement goals based upon the results of these results.

Our second goal focuses on opportunities for collaboration for staff within the district to increase the achievement of our students in AMO (Annual Measurable Objectives) subgroups. Ohio defines 10 AMO subgroups, but our district is measured on 6 of these subgroups: All Students; Black, non-Hispanic Students; Multi-Racial Students; Whilte, non-Hispanic Students; Economically Disadvantaged Students; Students with Disabilities (IEP); and Students with Limited English Proficiency (LEP). For the 2012-2013 school year, in order to reach the reading proficiency, for example, all subgroups were required to have at least 83.4% of the students score Proficient or higher and to reach the math AMO all subgroups were expected to have at least 78.5% of the students score Proficient or higher.

The DLT will meet in November, as discussed above as well as February and May to continue to measure and implement interventions to attain the goals outlined.

If you have any suggestions for our DLT please refer to your building DLT representatives. If you are uncertain who they are, please contact your building principal.

In addition, any questions or suggestions can also be directed to our office at 330-636-3070 or to me at Our DLT work is always posted on the Educational Services Blackboard page under the DLT tab.

Primary Curriculum Coordinator Update Tina Cassidy

The 5th grade science committee has been meeting to create unit-based common assessments for the district. These assessments will be ready to go (hopefully) by December. This year, we will pilot them to see if changes need to be made, with full implementation scheduled for the 2014-2015 school year. Students will take these assessments on Black Board. The committee used the recently released test specifications from ODE to create them. If you are interested in seeing what will be expected of your students next year, you can check those out on the Primary Black Board page under Science Committee.

Our Title I team is working to expand the Intervention Toolkit on Black Board to include math interventions. Look for those coming soon!

Other Curriculum Projects in the Works:

  • ELA Committee will meet on November 14
  • Social Studies Committee will meet on December 4

Third Grade Reading Guarantee

The law on credentials for the Third Grade Reading Guarantee for teachers has changed this year. Only third grade teachers are required to hold the necessary credentials. Teachers that teach third grade next year need at least one year of teaching experience and, in addition, must meet one of the following qualifications:

  • Holds a reading endorsement on the teaching license. (K-12 only)
  • Completed a master’s degree with a major in reading
  • Has “above expected rating for value added in reading instruction for the most recent, consecutive two school years
  • Earned a passing score on the Praxis Teaching Reading: Elementary Education (5203) Test
  • Rated “most effective” for reading instruction consecutively for the most recent 2 years based on approved assessments of student growth (Star)
  • Holds an alternative credential approved by ODE (not out until after January 2014)

In order to meet these requirements, the Medina City Schools has collaborated with the Medina ESC to offer a test prep class that will help teachers take the Praxis test. This class is free and will be held locally at the ESC office. More information on that will come soon. Any questions email me at

Need to Know Info for Teachers in Ohio… Ohio’s New Assessments beginning in 2014-2015

Gifted Coordinator / Math Coach Update Shayna Samosky


We began using the STAR Enterprise Math and Reading Assessments in K-3 this year. These whole grade screening instruments are administered three times per year. They help to identify students who are not on track and are also currently approved for gifted identification. A child who scores at or above the 95th percentile will be identified as gifted. Identification letters will soon be sent to parents and teachers.

During the week of January 27th-31st, our whole grade gifted screeners will be administered to fourth and sixth grade students. They will take the Terra Nova in the areas of reading, math, social studies, science and the InView for cognitive ability.

All test results should help teachers to plan appropriate enrichment opportunities and help with proper course placements for fifth and seventh grade students.

Any student who scores within the screening level on the January tests will be reassessed by me in March. Last year, I assessed almost two hundred students in March! This is also the time that parent and teacher requests will be honored. If you have a child who moves into district who you feel strongly needs to be screened, please print and fill out the forms in Blackboard and forward them to me. They are found under the Educational Services Organization, Gifted Education and then Testing for Gifted Identification.


Year two of enVision being our main math resource is a great time to examine teaching practices and activities that lead to daily incorporation of the Common Core Mathematical Practices. I liken today’s philosophical shift in math instruction to what occurred twelve years ago in my own instruction in the area of reading. The emphasis is on students making meaning and sense in math. Our instructional process can not be “sit and get!” Students need to be involved, active learners and build upon their current understandings of mathematical processes. Discussion about problem solving helps students to hear increasing levels of sophistication and naturally try the next steps that they are ready to learn. Math coaching can help you to adjust your teaching style to be more learner centered!

This year, we are going to work to ensure that rich math tasks are being incorporated into every classroom. Students who are excelling in enVision can be provided these opportunities more often to keep the level of engagement high in math. We are also going to work to create enrichment experiences that are tied to the topics of enVision whenever possible.

If you have great enrichment ideas that you have put to use in your classroom, please share them with me at


As of January 1, 2014, all licensure renewals will be done online. To learn about how to do this, take a look at the videos prepared by ODE.

For questions about this system or for more assistance, you’ll need to contact ODE’s Office of Licensure: (P) 614-466-3593,

Secondary Curriculum Updates by Christina Hank

Here’s a note on where we are with curriculum work…

Completed 1st semester exams: Physical Science, World History

Exams to be done: Biology (12/12), Geometry (12/3)

Completed Curriculum Work: Essentials 3 and 4

Adoptions this year: HS Language Arts, MS Language Arts (Ongoing), HS Economics (12/4), MS Social Studies (12/11), AP Physics, HS Math 4th Course, Industrial Tech & Infotech (12/10)

Christina….What’s your focus for curriculum this year? Goals for secondary curriculum are ongoing, but we’re moving forward toward…

Having common 1st semester exams in all high school courses to help us begin correlating our programming with new assessment scores in second semester.

Continuing to learn how to bring in more smaller resources (online, purchased supplements, etc.) with the fantastic help of our district resource specialists—librarians!!

Making sure our curriculum/programming is lining up with new assessment blueprints as they are completed (and revised…..and revised….and revised!). This is ongoing and will take lots of revision and recalibration as we go.

Any questions email me at

The State of Ohio War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission Research Contest

The State of Ohio War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission welcomes students aged 13-18 and in grades 7-12 to compete in Research Contest with $10,000 in cash prizes!

Students are invited to complete and submit original research projects following one of two prompts provided for each of two grade brackets (7-9 and 10-12). A final product may be an essay, a website, a podcast, or a Powerpoint presentation. Full contest guidelines and rules are available at

The deadline for submission of entries is January 31, 2014. An awards ceremony is planned for April 4, 2014.

Stop The Hate: Youth Speak Out Essay Contest

The Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage challenges students in grades 6-12 to take personal responsibility to combat hatred, discrimination and intolerance by participating in the Stop the Hate: Youth Speak Outessay contest.

The Museum has taken great care to reflect upon the results of intolerance, not just against Jews, but against the weak, powerless, segregated and different in America and throughout the world

The Stop the Hate: Youth Speak Out essay contest is a yearly initiative that supports our mission to build bridges of appreciation, tolerance and understanding of persons of all religions, races, cultures and ethnic backgrounds. It reflects Jewish values of responsible citizenship and respect for all humanity by challenging young people to consider the consequences of intolerance and hatred and the role of personal responsibility in affecting change.


The annual SpeakUp! survey is currently available. Students, parents, and staff are encouraged to take a few minutes to complete the survey. The data that we collect will help us guide the Technology Integration Department’s goals. There is a link on the Medina City School’s web page as well as in your Blackboard welcome page. Last year we had four schools earn spots in the top 200 schools in the nation! Congratulations to Claggett, Fenn, Northrop, and Canavan for participating the most. If you’d like to take the survey please go to and sign in. The secret word for students is, once again, “ohio.”

Tech Training Tips for Staff (Pro's Corner)

Procopios Hliatzos is new to our district and works with the technology team to ensure our district is running well. He has been an amazing addition to the team! We’d like to include tips from Pro in each of our newsletters to help staff better understand why things happen the way they do in our district.

DID YOU KNOW….On September 18th and 19th our wireless usage saw over 3000 devices online at one time! This number of devices greatly reduces the speed at which teachers can utilize the internet. This numbers is well over our average usage and resulted in decreased internet usage for the entire district. Please remember some of the following tips to help your fellow staff:

1. Please try not to use Pandora or other online radio stations, rather, use your already downloaded music to reduce the drain on our wireless network.

2. Please do not try to download new operating systems while at work. This drains our network as well and results in decreased network capacity for the rest of the district.

Thank you for your consideration!

Technology Integration Update

Welcome Christina Hamman

I would like to welcome Christina Hamman to the Technology Integration Department. Christina had moved over from the high school to join me as the second Technology Integration Coach for our district. While her focus will be on working with the high school and middle school staff she is also available to help elementary staff when needed.

Christina has a tremendous working knowledge of Blackboard, blended learning classrooms, project-based learning environments, and many other technology-rich concepts that can help you in your classroom. You can reach Christina at 330-636-3082 or through email at

Elementary staff can still contact me to help with integrating technology throughout your curriculum by calling 330-636-3078 or through email at Let’s get together to talk about how I can help you use Google Apps, iPods, iPads, Chromebooks, Blackboard, or other technologies in your classroom. Both of us are available to stop by for staff meetings or whenever you have time to discuss technology ideas - just let us know when you’d like to meet.

Master Teacher

If you have any questions about becoming a master teacher or about the master teacher program please contact Kris Quallich at 330-636-3092.

You can also visit the Medina County Schools’ Master Teacher Consortium website at:

Success Strategies for Students At Risk

Friday, Feb. 14th, 8:30am-3:30pm

777 W Union St

Medina, OH

November 8, 2013

8:30 AM – 3:30 PM


In this workshop, you will learn how to:

  •  Identify reasons for acting out behaviors
  •  Create action steps for transforming student behavior
  •  Increase the amount of movement in your class and why movement with purpose can be magical
  •  How to motivate the unmotivated
  •  Build essential academic success skills
  •  Develop in your students a growth mindset vs. a fixed
  •  How to keep your sanity when the students seem to have lost theirs

Come join us for an uplifting day filled with active learning and fun! Go back into your classroom with at least ten strategies you can implement immediately to improve student motivation and behavior!

Join us for the whole day, or just part of the day!

Please register for this workshop at:

Follow us on Twitter:

Tina Cassidy (@MrsTinaCassidy)

Christina Hamman (@hammanmath)

Christina Hank (@Christina Hank)

Paul Kidd (@PaulMichaelKidd)

John Metzner (MedinaTEch2_0)

Kris Quallich (@KQuall)

Shayna Samosky (@ShaynaSamosky)