Loveland, Ohio – The tiniest of Loveland Tigers are keyboarding. Google Docs and Google Classroom are now in full use, and virtual labs, online textbooks and discussion boards are all resources in the Science Department’s tool box. It’s called growth mindset, and Loveland teachers have it – resulting in an innovative environment equipping learners with opportunities most of us never dreamed we would see in schools.
Students in both Loveland Elementary School (LES) and Loveland Primary (LPS) schools are learning about keyboarding through EasyTech. This is a leap for students. Finding letters seems like an easy task, but remember, some students just learned their letters the year before. For students, this provides the reinforcement of skills in a fun way and helps them along their journey to being student authors. In Traci Stubenrauch’s class, students combined the skill of typing on Google Docs with Google Classroom.
.“As a part of our First Grade English Language Arts standards, students are expected to create and publish their writing using digital tools,” said Stubenrauch. “With more students only experiencing touch-screen technology at such an early age, they are becoming less exposed to using a desktop or laptop. As a result, a huge challenge we must tackle first is developing the fine motor skills and coordination to operate a mouse. In addition, since first graders are still developing the basic literacy skills of reading and writing – specifically distinguishing between uppercase and lowercase letters – they must get acquainted with the letter keys if they are to even begin to produce any sort of writing or presentation using technology.
Students went from idea to final product – a story ready to publish
“EasyTech included a scope and sequence of lessons that sequentially introduced and facilitated practice of the necessary keyboarding and computer skills to develop digital literacy. Students progressed from learning how to navigate a mouse to familiarizing themselves with several letter keys each week in addition to important keys such as backspace, enter, shift, and the spacebar. As each student progressed through weekly lessons, the program measured accuracy and mastery of a digital skill. Once students acquired these foundational skills, they were ready to begin putting their skills to work in order to demonstrate their learning of content-specific knowledge in literacy.”
Innovative Instructional Coach Susan Craig set the class up with Google Classroom and students went from idea to final product – a story ready to publish.
“Seeing the students produce their narratives within Google Docs and post their assignments in Google Classroom opened my eyes to future opportunities to also incorporate other Google tools such as Slides to create narratives and informational reports,” said Stubenrauch. “I also saw that the possibilities extend beyond literacy and into areas such as math, science, and social studies as well.”
Second grade teacher, Tammy Ruehrwein seized the opportunity to preview her students skills before she taught the lesson. Google Classroom helped assess student ability, and then she was able to quickly grade and decide where each of her students were on the learning continuum.
Google Classroom helped assess student ability, and then she was able to quickly grade and decide where each of her students were on the learning continuum.
“The data from the assessment gave me information on where I needed to focus my attention with the skills that were going to be introduced for our next unit in math,” said Ruehrwein. “The concept of Formative Instructional Practice is helping teachers to look closely at our students and provide interventions for students who need it.”
There’s no excuse of I forgot my textbook in LES science classes. LES science teachers are exploring and teaching through virtual labs, online textbooks, and discussion boards with their students. Students interact with both their teacher and peers online to work collaboratively and independently. This has helped teachers differentiate lessons for all of their students.
.“The Discovery Education Techbook has helped me reach all of my students in many ways,” said LES Fourth Grade Teacher Brandie Carter. “All of my students are able to sign on the site, launch an assignment, and complete tasks. There are many activities provided by Techbook that directly relate to the science standards. Students have access to hands-on activities, short video assignments, reading passages, and viewing or creating electronic poster boards.”
Learning isn’t just for students
Learning isn’t just for students. Teachers are working on expanding their own growth mindset and innovation through monthly meetings for professional development. They are reflecting on their work in these meetings through reading articles and journaling.
“Reading about the challenges that teachers face and seeing how they overcome their own fears and try new things is so inspiring,” said Innovative Instructional Coach Susan Craig. “They want to make themselves better for the students they teach and for the future. Being risk takers and letting students see you try and fail is one of the greatest things that teachers can do. It is fearless – and fearless educators make for fearless students.”
Loveland, Ohio – Loveland High School (LHS) salutes the students who authored the 2015-16 LHS Yearbook for earning the National Scholastic Press Association’s (NSPA) First Class certification.
“These students worked diligently to adhere to scholastic journalism standards and present the history of a school year,” said LHS Teacher and Yearbook Advisor Rhonda Overbeeke. “I am so proud of their accomplishment.”
The book also received an extra mark of distinction for the development of its theme: For the love of…
“The theme really showed how much love our community has towards our high school and how much love the students have towards what they do in the school,” said Junior Lauren Parker, who began as a staff writer last year and is currently the sports section editor. “It was nice to capture all the moments that demonstrate love from last school year.”
One of many things that contributed to the First-Class certification, according to the NSPA scorebook, included the quality photographs throughout the book.
“As the photography editor, it makes me feel so accomplished that all of the time I spent uploading, editing, and shooting photos for the book that it helped the book excel at telling and amazing story of our year,” Colin Johnson (alumnus) said.
With the 2016-17 school year in full swing, another yearbook is in the works. Seniors Katharine Vuyk and Sam Faingold serve as editors-in-chief.
“We’re really proud of the work we accomplished last year and we are really working to bring this year’s book up to even higher standards,” Faingold said.
The 2016-17 yearbook will cover the entire school year, August through June, and is currently available for sale at jostensyearbooks.com. The book will be available during schedule pick-up day in August.
The NSPA, according to their website, is a nonprofit association that provides education services for journalism-related clubs and classes across America.
Loveland, Ohio – Each year the Loveland Stage Company recognizes a graduating high school student with its Creative Arts Scholarship.
The Loveland Stage Company is offering a scholarship again this year in the amount of $1,000. In order to qualify for the scholarship, the graduating student must reside in the Loveland City School District, attend Loveland High School, or be an offspring of a Loveland Stage Company member.
This scholarship is intended to be used toward college or university tuition, room and board, or books.
The Loveland Stage Company wishes to encourage and support young local talent. Therefore, prospective applicants must be planning to further their education in the Creative Arts. Qualifying areas of study include, but are not limited to: art, music, theater, photography, film, dance, and majors that support these studies.
Students are asked to submit examples of their talent in their chosen field and a high school transcript demonstrating the ability to succeed academically as part of the application process.
Applications, along with more information, can be found on the Loveland Stage Company website.
Applications are due no later than Monday, April 17, 2017 to the scholarship chair.
Dear Loveland Magazine Readers,
The hypocrisy and misrepresentations on Representative Louis Blessing III’s campaign website are almost too much to bear. He states that “I believe that small businesses truly drive our economy. However, I feel that the incentives to start a small business are too few, while the liabilities of running a small business are too great.” Yet now he is the chief sponsor of House Bill 114, which removes mandates for renewable energy as part of Ohio’s electrical generation sources. This legislation will have a huge negative impact on the roughly 100,000 jobs created by many small businesses in renewable and solar industries in this state (see http://www.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2016/03/ohio_clean_energy_manufacturin.html and http://www.cleanjobsohio.org ).
I have personally worked with a small business that installs solar panels and employs my neighbors. The Representative said mandates have an “inequitable nature”. I guess tax subsidies to oil and gas industries aren’t so inequitable though, given that major contributions to his campaigns have come from Duke Energy and AEP. So much for incentives, Representative Blessing.
Another glaring inaccuracy is his statement that “…I will work to remove public funding for abortion clinics.” Public funding of abortions is prohibited by the Hyde Amendment. The public funding of which you speak is directed to health care service providers, not all of which provide abortions. Targeting funds that provide preventative services will actually negatively impact Ohio tax payers, as costs to pay for preventable diseases go up. Indeed, since cuts to preventative care programs have been made in Ohio, incidents of venereal disease have gone up, based on Ohio Department of Health statistics. So you don’t have much work to do here – only damage. Good going Representative Blessing.
Loveland, Ohio – Fire Chief Otto Huber of the Loveland-Symmes Fire Department has successfully completed the process that awards him the professional designation of “Chief Fire Officer” (CFO). The Commission on Professional Credentialing met on February 7, to officially confer the re-designation upon Huber who is one of only 1,210 CFO’s worldwide to receive this designation.
Chief Tom Turner, Assistant Fire Chief of the Loveland-Symmes Fire Department stated, “I have worked with Chief Huber for over 30 years. I have never seen anyone that works harder than him, or anyone that cares more about the community, its residents, or the men and women of the Loveland-Symmes Fire Department. “
The Chief Fire Officer Designation program is a voluntary program designed to, “Recognize individuals who demonstrate their excellence in seven measured components including: Experience, Education, Professional Development, Professional Contributions, Association Membership, Community Involvement, and Technical Competencies.’
Huber received his original designation in 2014. To maintain the designation, he needed to show he has continued to develop as a CFO in four of the areas stated above.
A Board of Review consisting of members of the fire and emergency services profession, academia, and municipal agencies review each application and recommends successful candidates for designation to the Commission.
Huber has been a member of the Loveland-Symmes Fire Department since 1976.
O’Bannonville Road will close for a culvert replacement on March 27 and not open until April 21.
Click map for larger view.
Dear Loveland Magazine Readers,
The “Student of the Year” for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) grand finale took place Friday, March 24th at the Newport Aquarium. Although I did not win the title, “Student of the Year,” my team and I placed in the top 3 of 18 other candidates/teams and are proud to announce that we raised $21,979.13!
Also, I am especially grateful to Peter Sexton for designing the Team Love the Love 2.0 t-shirts, Mason Boulton for printing the shirts, the Loveland High School student council for hosting a dodgeball tournament, and the staff at Loveland Intermediate and Middle Schools, especially Ms. Rose, Mr. Chmiel, and Mr. Federman, for also hosting dodge ball tournaments.
Silence a resident: A story is born!
by David Miller
Loveland, Ohio – Life-long resident, Neil Oury asked the Mayor for time to speak at the February 14 council meeting. The request was granted and his name was added to the agenda. Oury said he wanted to speak about future downtown development projects. He barely started speaking when Vice-Mayor Angie Settle, who was presiding over the meeting in the absence of Mayor Mark Fitzgerald, continuously interrupted him and said he must stick to the subject of what he was given permission to speak about.
The first interruption was when Oury talked about how Loveland taxpayers paid $20,000 to put on Christmas in Loveland and the Fourth of July celebration, events previously put on by the Loveland Chamber of Commerce at no cost to taxpayers. (“On the sly” – How City Hall pirated Christmas in Loveland)
Settell: “I’m sorry, if you don’t get to your point, I’m calling you out of order. You signed to speak about one thing.”
Oury: “Yeah, I’m getting to it.”
Settell: “No, You got to get to it right now. I’ve reminded you three times, I’m sorry but your time is up.”
The more adamant interruptions by Settell was when Oury tried to speak about a lawsuit filed against Fitzgerald when he was City Manager of North College Hill.
Oury says he is very concerned that a decision had been made to demolish Loveland’s City Hall without public knowledge. He said the project to construct a new City Hall was announced as a done deal in the City newsletter and he reviewed past meeting minutes and could find nothing concerning the project. He says that he wants more transparency in decisions about downtown development and knowledge about how Fitzgerald managed affairs as City Manager of North College Hill should be a warning to Loveland residents and council. He said that when City Hall takes over popular public events, interferes with events like the Loveland Farmers’ Market, and decides behind closed doors to rebuild City Hall, it’s time for a change from business as usual.
Oury: I find it real ironic that basically, our mayor acted the same way when he worked for North College Hill as city administrator. He was…
Settell: OK Mr. Oury, ya know…
Oury: There’s a very good point to this.
Settell: You talked about, um…
Oury: You’re interrupting my time.
Settell: Well I know, because I’ve asked you several times to stay on point, OK. This is not on point when you start talking about individuals’ personalities. Let’s confine it to the issue, please.
Oury: It’s not personalities.
Settell: Well, That’s what it sounds like to me.
Oury: We have a mayor that has committed fraud and is being sued for fraud.
Settell: OK, That’s it.
Oury: And I think he is doing the same thing here.
Settell: OK, I’m sorry. I’m not going to stand here and let you talk about people who are not here to defend themselves.
Oury: He can watch it on tape.
Settell: Well, he’s not here.
Oury: I’m not going to discuss it with him, I’m making a statement.
Settell: OK, your times up. Thank you.
Below is video of the exchange. You can also read at the bottom of this story the full text of the remarks Oury tried to read at the council meeting.
Angered after reading the minutes of the meeting, Fitzgerald lit into Oury at the next council meeting saying Oury lied about ever being accused of fraud.
In this video, Oury reacts to Fitzgerald’s anger:
Oury also spoke to Loveland Magazine about his treatment by Vice-Mayor Angie Settlell:
The next council meeting brought a response from lawyer and Councilman Ted Phelps who decided to comment on Fitzgerald’s allegation that Oury lied. Phelps said, “The statement about the Mayor having never been on the receiving end of a complaint of fraud is not corroborated by filings made in Hamilton and Montgomery County courts.”
BACKGROUND OF FITZGERALD’S WOES AS CITY MANAGER OF NORTH COLLEGE HILL
In June of 2014, when Shawna O’Shea was a member of the North College Hill (NCH) council she filed a taxpayer lawsuit against the City and City Manager Mark Fitzgerald for what she argued, “Was an attempt to continually misrepresent facts to Council, engage in fraudulent behavior toward the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS), misapply city funds, and abuse corporate powers.” The lawsuit revolved around allegations of combining the salaries of Fitzgerald and his wife, Economic Developer Linda Fitzgerald, in order to increase future retirement checks for Mark Fitzgerald.
Then-Mayor Dan Brooks and Mark Fitzgerald wanted Linda Fitzgerald to take no salary and to have what would have been paid to her, combined with her husband’s salary.
O’Shea alleged Mark Fitzgerald was engaged in fraudulent behavior toward OPERS in order to bolster his retirement benefits. By combining both salaries it was alleged that Mark Fitzgerald could report all the income towards his own retirement.
A document filed in the case by O’Shea’s attorney claimed, “Defendant Mark Fitzgerald initiated the entire scheme solely to further enrich himself” and that he, “Conspired to defraud OPERS” .
In a document revealed in court, Brooks explained:
“Mark Fitzgerald approached me last year and informed me that he is looking forward to retiring in 4 years but, he needs to bolster his OPERS pension. I assume most of you realize that the pension is based on the average of your best three years salary. Thus, he asked to be made an employee as opposed to a contractor. He suggested that his and Lynda’s salary be combined thus totally $125,000 per year. As an employee, we need to pay a portion of his OPERS but not all. In addition, he will pick up a portion of his health insurance. In exchange for this, he and Lynda will freeze their salary at this level for the entire four years.”
In the original complaint about the combined salaries, O’Shea’s attorney, Matt Miller-Novak, alleged that even though Linda had retired from her position as economic development director, Mark continued to collect her salary as if his own. He said, “Mark Fitzgerald continued to pay himself the entire package price of $125,000 intended to compensate both Linda and Mark Fitzgerald.” Miller-Novak said that no one on the NCH Council knew that Linda Fitzgerald had resigned. “Instead, he kept quiet and he has been pocketing City funds he is not entitled to. He is abusing his powers, he is misusing City funds, and he is self-serving.”
Nicholas Link is a former Auditor of NCH. When he found out about the combined salaries he filed a complaint with OPERS. The very first person he spoke to after describing specifically what was happening said, “Well, they can’t do that,” said Link.
O’Shea’s lawsuit claims Mark Fitzgerald gave himself a $41,000 raise, above the $84,000 he was being paid for his City Manager position, and over four years received $120,000 in “ill-gotten gains” from “his fraud and deceit.”
Link also said on Monday that he has been told by several insiders at NCH that OPERS is now refusing to accept the additional payment that NCH was sending them for the $41,000 income, and is returning the money to NCH. He said that after OPERS studied the facts and did their due-diligence, “Once they determined that Mark was not legitimately making $125,000, they decided would send back the over-payments that represented anything above his $84,000 salary.” Link said that since the OPERS payments were in part deducted from Fitzgerald’s salary, he assumes that NCH would be returning the money to Fitzgerald.
The lawsuit also alleges that NCH Law Director, William Deters directed Linda Fitzgerald to draft a “phony” letter designed to fool OPERS into believing she had resigned but led the NCH Council to believe she was still working. It is alleged, and confirmed by Link that on several occasions, Linda would appear at council or other meetings as if she was still employed by the City.
Also, O’Shea claimed that in 2014, Fitzgerald illegally granted a contract for enforcing the city’s building codes to his friend Gerry Stoker, despite the council voting down the contract. She claimed that Fitzgerald presented a contract to hire Stoker to NCH Council and they voted against it. They wanted competitive bids for the work. Days after he got the no vote, Fitzgerald went ahead and signed a contract with Stoker’s building inspection firm, XPEX. Stoker is a former zoning department head for the City of Loveland.
Both Mark and Linda Fitzgerald were asked to respond to Phelps comment and the allegations made in the O’Shea lawsuit. Mark replied via email saying:
There is no merit to the O’Shea complaint. It is politically motivated designed to tarnish my many years of public service.
NEVER have I been prosecuted for any alleged misconduct.
NEVER did the O’Shea complaint ask for relief on fraudulent conduct.
Attached is the memo from NCH mayor brooks to council of his intent to combine the positions (begin at the third paragraph and please convey it verbatim in your Loveland magazine article)
Council endorsed mayor brooks decision.
Read the attachment HERE: SKM_224e17032114030
On February 13, 2017, the NCH Council voted to settle the outstanding lawsuit just as it was heading to trial. According to the settlement agreement, the City of NCH agrees to never again employ or contract with Mark Fitzgerald including any entity he has an association with in any capacity. The City of NCH also agreed to never again compensate employees beyond what NCH Council appropriates. The City agreed to pay legal fees to O’Shea’s lawyers. The agreement was for a total of $100.000. $75,000 came from NCH coffers and $25,000 was paid by a NCH insurance policy. O’Shea, who only sought injunctive relief, received no money.
NCH Council Member Matt Wahlert voted yes to settle the lawsuit against Fitzgerald. He said in a press release, “What the city did, I believe was wrong and I thought we would lose this case.”
Link said that to his knowledge, Fitzgerald does not have to return the $120,000 because it wasn’t a stipulation of the settlement agreement. He said that the current majority on NCH council will probably never ask Fitzgerald to return the money paid to him for the services Linda Fitzgerald was not providing. “The Teflon Don strikes again,” is how Link described it.
NCH also hired and paid the attorney that defended Fitzgerald in court. NCH hired a separate law firm to defend itself in the lawsuit.
Matt Wahlert also said, “I felt compelled to settle because I believed the alternative would have been a lengthy and more costly litigation process. A loss by the city would mean much higher legal fees and the distinct possibility of cutting services. I was not prepared to throw the baby out with the bathwater.”
The Writer’s Notes:
It has always been the policy of Loveland Magazine to not report when someone has been merely accused of a crime. So, even though many citizens have encouraged us to report the fraud allegations over many years — we have not done so until now. It is our belief that all persons are innocent until “proven” guilty and that everyone deserves their day in court. The case against Mark Fitzgerald never went to trial so Fitzgerald’s guilt or innocence was never determined by a judge or jury.
Also, of note is that attorneys use a lot of hyperbole in their pleadings to a judge and some of that is reported here. They also know better than the rest of us not to throw around charges haphazardly. They choose their words with caution.
The court case against the Loveland Mayor only became newsworthy when a Loveland citizen wanted to talk about it at a council meeting and wasn’t allowed to do so. Add to that, the Mayor’s angry diatribe directed at Neil Oury for daring to repeat quotes he found in a lawsuit – escalated what had happened to “newsworthy.”
Add to that, Loveland Magazine believes that the most important thing that ever happens at any city council meeting is when citizens rise to speak what is on their mind. We believe that council must listen, listen with respect, pay attention, and no shuffling papers. When asking voters for their support they told them they would listen to their concerns. Vice-Mayor Settle made this “newsworthy” when she would not let Neil Oury speak his mind and attempted to cover up what had happened to Fitzgerald while employed at NCH. Oury has every right to bring up the subject and no one at the council table should ever censor a citizen’s speech. It’s not Angie Settell’s microphone, podium, council chamber, or city building.
They were bought and paid for by the people.
Below is a scanned copy provided to Loveland Magazine of the full remarks Neil Oury wanted to present at the Loveland Council meeting on February 14. Oury marked the words he was able to say in orange. Oury marked “Quotes” he found from other sources, including court documents, in yellow.