Superintendent's Weekly Update - March 19, 2021

Otsego Community -

NO SCHOOL MONDAY, March 22nd. - This is a scheduled day off for students.

After today, we have 8 school days until Spring Break. Let's finish strong!


Big picture

Food Pick up for ONLINE STUDENTS ONLY: Monday, March 29th


Food pick-up is Monday, March 29th from 4-5 pm in the back of the high school near the football stadium. Please make sure you come to pick up the food if you signed up.

Food Service Reminder - Breakfast and Lunches are FREE all year for ALL students. Even if your child packs every day have them try our lunches. We are ok with that. It would be a great opportunity for them to try out our food service program.

Adam Koch


Parent Tip Email from the Ohio Department of Education: Our Youth Are Beyond Stressed

Know! Our Youth Are Beyond Stressed

It doesn’t take an expert to see that as a whole, we are beyond STRESSED; our children are beyond stressed. What mental health professionals are telling us is that the COVID-19 pandemic has created circumstances unlike anything they have ever seen before.

Young people are missing their friends, their sports and other activities. They may be dealing with a parent’s job loss or someone close to them getting sick. They may be in an unstable home where the tension has increased due to the crisis. Remote learning and other school changes also may be a factor causing great distress for our children.

In addition to headaches, digestive issues, interrupted sleep and a weakened immune system, chronically stressed-out teens may experience feelings of frustration, anger, anxiety and depression, which can lead to increased risk for self-harm.

For the first time in 20 years, we saw a 2.1% decrease in youth suicides in 2019, which translates to 833 fewer young lives lost. While national data on suicide is yet to be compiled for the pandemic time, those in the mental health field say the coronavirus is likely to have derailed that positive progress.

Mental health advocacy groups have warned that some youth are at increased risk for suicide, including:
African-American children, ages 5 to 12. (Learn more at withyouhere.org.)

  • LGBTQ+ youth.
  • Children with a current mental health disorder.
  • Children with a substance use disorder.
  • Family history of suicide.
  • Children experiencing violence, including physical or sexual abuse.
  • Children experiencing bullying.
  • Firearms in the home.

During adolescence, young people tend to experience emotions more intensely, and often lack the ability to see beyond the challenge or difficulty they are up against. They need to hear from us, their parents, their biggest influencers, that things will change; things will get better; tomorrow is another day.

For those youth who are struggling with mental health—in addition to reassuring them that better days are ahead—here are 10 steps we can take to protect and support them from Edward-Elmhurst Health at Healthy Driven:

  1. Restrict access to dangerous or potentially life-threatening items in the home (firearms, knives, harmful substances).
  2. Closely supervise teens with a history of suicide attempts or self-injuries.
  3. Limit time spent alone to prevent opportunities to engage in self-harm.
  4. Set limits on screen time and monitor your teen’s phone calls, texts and social media use for bullying or self-harm exposure.
  5. Try to keep conflict at home low. Make sure your teen feels comfortable coming to you for help.
  6. Frequently check in with your teen to see how they are feeling.
  7. Ask your teen what their friends are saying. This can help you gauge their own thoughts.
  8. Acknowledge the reality of the pandemic but reassure your teen that it’s temporary.
  9. Help your teen understand that they aren’t alone and that life will get better.
  10. Treat any talk of self-harm or suicide seriously. Call 911 or go to the emergency room if your teen cannot be kept safe in the home.

How we as parents and caregivers handle the hardships of this ongoing pandemic also plays a major role in influencing our children. If they witness us dealing with our own stress and challenges in positive ways, we will help to lay the groundwork for them to be able to do the same.

For further guidance and help, connect with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit SuicidePreventionLifeline.org. They provide free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


Bethany Ao, The Philadelphia Enquirer: Suicide rate decreased for the first time in a decade in 2019, CDC reports. Dec 2020.

Erica L. Green, New York Times: Surge of Student Suicides Pushes Las Vegas Schools to Reopen. Jan 2021.

Healthline: Psychological Stress. Feb 2019.

National Institute of Mental Health: Age-Related Racial Disparity in Suicide Rates Among U.S. Youth. May 2018.

Victoria Freier, MSN, RN-BC, Edward-Elmhurst Health – Healthy Driven: Teens at risk for suicide during the pandemic. Sept 2020.

About Know! Parent Tips

Everyone has a role in prevention. By reading and sharing this Know! Parent Tip today, you’re doing your part to prevent substance misuse and create a healthier world for all.

We created these free parent tips to empower parents like you. Know! helps you promote health and wellness and protect the young person in your life from unhealthy behaviors, including alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use. However, we rely on donations from people like you to provide these tips. If you found this tip interesting or helpful, please consider donating at preventionactionalliance.org/donate.

Know! Parent Tips are provided by Prevention Action Alliance with support from the Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services, the Ohio Department of Education, and Start Talking!.

Know! Parent Tips are also available in Spanish at the Know! archives.

Spanish Trip Fundraiser

Big picture

Proposed 21-22 School Calendar - Will be official after the March Board Meeting

Big picture

Summer Baseball and Softball Sign ups

Town Ball Sign Up Information - Weston:

Sign-ups will be a little different this year because of Covid!

Sign-up packets are available for print or pick-up/drop-off at the Village hall during normal office hours, make sure you include a copy of the child's birth certificate for new players. Sign-up fees will be collected at the first practice.

In-person drop-off sign-ups will be held 3/6 from 11 am -noon & 3/7 from 6-7 pm at the Weston Village Hall; wear your mask and social distance, please!

The last day to drop off any paperwork will be March 19th! Don't forget to join the Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/WestonYouthLeague

Big picture

Grand Rapids Community Members,

We are so excited to announce that there WILL BE a 2021 Youth Baseball / Softball / T-Ball Season for youth ages 4-15! We have been working with the other towns in our Otsego Community to ensure that we could all provide a safe and fun experience for our kids this season. Registration details are below. We will only collect registration forms at this time and collect payment at a later date once teams are finalized. Practice typically begins in early April with games going from mid-May to the end of June / mid-July depending on the age group. Most teams practice once/twice a week until games start. Please direct any questions to Darin Pogan at cdpogan@frontier.com or (419)276-8736. Share this email with others in our community and watch our Facebook page “Grand Rapids Little League” (@grybs) for news and updates.

Register players by completing the attached forms and dropping them off at the Marathon Gas Station in Grand Rapids, or attend in-person signup. A $10/player late registration fee will be issued after March 15th.

In-Person Sign Up Dates: (masks required and social distancing)

Thursday, March 4th 6-8 pm Old Fire Station – 24232 Front St Grand Rapids

Saturday, March 6th 9-11 am Old Fire Station – 24232 Front St Grand Rapids

Drop-Off Sign Up Dates:

Now – Sunday, March 14th 6am-9pm Marathon Station – 24010 Front St Grand Rapids

Project Connect

Big picture

Academic Enrichment Camps at BGSU

The BGSU Academic Enrichment Camps are back for 2021 and have been redesigned to meet the needs of students in grades 3 through 8. Every day for two weeks students will be engaged in interactive learning in a variety of content areas of their choice. Students can select to enrich their learning in mathematics, reading, science and now social studies. These courses are taught and designed by trained teachers who are experts in their content. During the camps, students will work directly with their camp instructor and same age peers, enjoying a variety of activities to peak their interest in learning and deepen their knowledge.


Knight In Shining Armor Nominations

Knight In Shining Armor Nominations

Please use the following form to inform OHS Student Council about a family in need within the school district. While the family does not need to have students in the district, we do ask that they are a member of the Otsego Community. Please use this form to share information about their current situation as well as how they can best be assisted.

Please be sure to understand that while Knight in Shining Armor (KISA) would love to help all community members in need, we are still a new program, and may not have the funds to do so. With that being said, we will consider each request on a case by case basis. Filling this form out does not guarantee that we will be able to assist the family, but we will try our hardest to do so!

These funds are not for routine expenses such as utilities, bills, rent, etc. It is designed for assisting community members in an emergency situation. This can include but is not limited to unforeseen medical expenses, medical-related travel expenses, and household emergencies such as a fire, water leaks, etc. Please keep this in mind when submitting a nomination.

Please refer to this link at any point during the year as a need arises, and KISA will do their best to help out!


Otsego Food Pantry

The Otsego Food Pantry is always willing to help those in need. This service is by appointment only. Please call, text, or email to schedule.

Otsego Food Pantry
c/o Lisa Hatfield
PO Box 261
17700 Beaver Street
Grand Rapids, OH 43522

Phone: 419-830-1051
Email: otsegofoodpantryoh@gmail.com

Housed in the Grand Rapids First Presbyterian Church – Supported by our Community!


Softball Fundraiser

Big picture

Baseball Fundraiser


Please also be sure to list the student's name and home room teacher in the Notes section at checkout.

Big picture
CLICK HERE for live stream events on Otsego's Campus. All JH and HS HOME games will be live streamed by Otsego TV

Saturday, March 27

10:00 - V SB @ McComb

11:00 - V BB @ Evergreen (DH)

11:00 - JV BB (H) Evergreen (DH)

Tuesday, March 30

4:30 - HS TR (H) Bowling Green and Holgate

4:30 - JH TR @ Liberty Benton with North Baltimore and Arcadia

4:45 - V SB (H) Evergreen

5:00 - JV SB @ Evergreen

5:00 - V BB @ Sylvania

Wednesday, March 31

5:00 - JV SB @ Perrysburg

Thursday, April 1

5:00 - JV BB @ St. John’s

Friday, April 2

5:00 - JV SB (H) Whitmer

Saturday, April 3

11:00 - V BB @ Delta (DH)

11:00 - V SB @ Delta (DH)

11:00 - JV BB (H) Delta (DH)


Reminder: Please send me any and all community events that you might know of. I love sharing things in and around our great community. I will start sending out updates every Friday starting the first week of school. If you could email me community events by Thursday evening that would be great. Thank you.

Community Gardens at the Ag. Incubator Foundation

Big picture
Big picture

Questions, Concerns, Comments, or Rumors

I would like to introduce a way for the community to ask the Otsego Team a question, clarify a rumor, address a concern, or comment on anything Otsego. Please use the form below to ask your question. We will answer them throughout the year in this update. Our goal is to be transparent with the Otsego Community and give you another avenue to ask us questions. If you have any questions, please feel free to give me a call or email. Thank you!

Click here to submit your question

Earth Day Upcycle Contests

Create something new from something otherwise thrown away or recycled. Upcycle contests for both kids and adults will showcase the creativity and ingenuity of Wood County.

Leading the Upcycle Contests is the Carter Historic Farm, a living history farm focused on life in Wood County during the Great Depression. During the Great Depression, families utilized everything they had to help save money. They used tin cans as storage containers, turned cotton feed sacks into clothing, and would mend and repurpose items until it could no longer be used. Today, many people still repurpose items as a way to both save money and be more sustainable.

A great way to combine the DIY spirit of the Great Depression with the “go green” efforts of today are these two upcycle contests, one for kids (ages 5 to 12) and one for adults (ages 13 on up).Participants will take an item that would otherwise be thrown away and turn it into something new or updated. It can be a useful item, a fun item, or even a work of art. Participants will send us before and after photos of their project and the photos will be posted to the Carter Historic Farm Facebook page for voting. The three in each age group with the most likes will win an Earth Day 2021 t-shirt. Wood County Park District Earth Day shirts will be available for the public to purchase throughout April.

Celebrate the 51st annual Earth Day on Thursday, April 22 by doing something good for nature. Find ideas and incentives with the Go Green Passport which encourages at-home participation in go green action with upcycling, recycling, reusing, reducing, and visiting parks in order to earn a set of bamboo utensils.

Register for both contests by April 1, 2021. Photo deadline is April 15. Winners will be announced on Earth day, April 22nd. Visit wcparks.org to register for programs, find a Go Green Passport, order Earth Day shirts, and see what’s new in the Wood County Park District.

Thank you for helping share this with the students, parents, and staff. All ages and all community are invited to participate.

Warm Regards,

Jamie Sands

Volunteer Services & Communications Specialist

Wood County Park District

18729 Mercer Road, BG, OH 43402

Big picture


The Otsego Local School District would like to take the time to thank all of our generous sponsors who support our students, staff, and community. Click on the links below to support our sponsors. If you are interested in advertising with us and would like more information, please contact me at akoch@otsegoknights.org or 419-823-4381 ext. 1102

Otsego Board of Education

President: Brad Anderson banderson.otsego@gmail.com

Vice President: James Harter jameslharter@gmail.com

Board Member: Mark Tolles mdt814@cs.com

Board Member: Jessica Mehl jmehl.jd@gmail.com

Board Member: Gordon Digby gdigby44@gmail.com

Lisa Austin, Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent/EMIS Coordinator

Lauri Dunham, Special Education Director

Stephen Bihary, School Psychologist

Becky Buchman, Assistant Elementary Principal

Tom Ferdig, High School Athletic Director and Assistant Principal Grades 6-12

Eva Vasher, Director of Transportation, Custodial, and Maintenance