COMMUNITY UPDATE A Forest Hills School District publication for residents of Anderson Township and the Village of Newtown
S C O T T. P R E B L E S , S U P E R I N T E N D E N T
FUSION PROGRAM PG. 4
GAMIFICATION PG. 5
VO LU M E 3 • I S S U E 2 • S P R I N G 201 8
CAREER RESOURCES PG. 6
CONSTRUCTION UPDATE PG. 8
FHSD | FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT
What do you feel is one of the most important challenges facing educators? There is not enough time for colleagues to collaborate. Teachers need dedicated time to engage in meaningful conversation with other professionals about the impact of their instructional practices. It is a difﬁcult balancing act between a state testing system’s required targets and increased expectations of teachers to better prepare students for their futures and also ensure each child can demonstrate character, citizenship, creativity, collaboration, communication and critical thinking. Teachers need time to discuss precisely what students need to know, how they will teach it and how students will demonstrate mastery of subject matter. Teachers also need time to discuss what to do next for the student who may struggle, as well as for the student who demonstrates mastery, such as interventions or accelerations. In addition, teachers must work together on how to appropriately use technology to add value to the equation. Without dedicated time to collaborate, teachers will always be reactive rather than proactive. Hospital patients expect that the professionals who visit their bedside are part of a proactive team that possesses intimate information about their medical circumstances. Students deserve the same. In Forest Hills, we are dedicated to a level of professionalism that demonstrates proactive, consistent and effective strategies that improve student learning.
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What are your expectations for yourself? To serve students, staff, parents and our community in ways that make sense to them and that advance the competitiveness of our graduates in all post-high school endeavors. To do this, I have to be a better listener than speaker. I need to do the best that I can to understand the circumstances, challenges and dreams of those I serve.
What makes you proud of FHSD? Every FHSD employee and support organization is accomplishing great things every day for all students. FHSD and our community work together to increase student achievement through innovation, research-based instructional practices and safe environments that prepare students for success in the 21st century. Forest Hills is a great place with great people!
What was your favorite subject in school? You might expect an answer like this from a school superintendent but, I really enjoyed all of my classes. I think it is because I felt comfortable and respected by my teachers. Teachers make the difference—which is demonstrated in abundance in Forest Hills!
Learn more about Forest Hills’ strategic vision and 2017–18 action plan at www.foresthills.edu/strategicvision.html.
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FOREST HILLS FACTS | FHSD
MARCH 26–30 Spring Break
£Through technology, Forest Hills
provides additional resources, experiences and meaningful learning opportunities that engage students and allow them to fully explore subjects and interests. Technology allows students to not only learn their daily lessons, but also how to communicate, collaborate and create. The ability to access learning anytime and anywhere empowers students to become lifelong learners who are prepared for a quickly changing digital world.
School District dedicates 72 percent of operational dollars to classroom instruction, ranking the district sixth out of 22 districts in Hamilton County for funds dedicated to the classroom. This is done while achieving the 11th lowest per pupil expenditure in Hamilton County and achieving academic performance scores that rank in the top 20 percent of all school districts in Ohio.
TO SUPPORT STUDENT LEARNING, FHSD PROVIDES:
Grade 6 to 7 Transition Meeting 7 p.m., Nagel Middle School, 1500 Nagel Road
APRIL 23 Board of Education Meeting 7 p.m., Nagel Middle School, 1500 Nagel Road
MAY 12 Forest Hills 5K 8:30 a.m., Nagel Middle School, 1500 Nagel Road Learn more and register at foresthills5k.com
MAY 21 Board of Education Meeting 7 p.m., Nagel Middle School, 1500 Nagel Road
iPad for every ﬁve students
MAY 25 Last Day for Grade 12
£KINDERGARTEN: one iPad for every four students
£FIRST GRADE: one iPad for every student
£GRADES 2–6: one Chromebook for every student
Anderson High School Graduation 11 a.m., BB&T Arena at NKU, 500 Nunn Drive
MAY 27 Turpin High School Graduation 3 p.m., BB&T Arena at NKU, 500 Nunn Drive
£GRADES 7–12: “Bring Your Own Device” or a device rental program
MAY 28 No School/District Closed, Memorial Day
£Anderson High School and Turpin High School students exceeded national average test scores on the SAT, a test
MAY 31 Last Day for Grades PK–11
designed to assess a student’s academic readiness for college. JUNE 25 FOREST HILLS STUDENT AVERAGE
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Board of Education Meeting 7 p.m., Nagel Middle School, 1500 Nagel Road For a complete district calendar, visit foresthills.edu.
FHSD COMMUNITY UPDATE | 3
REDESIGNING the Student Experience £Jacob Breitenbecher and Emily Karns, Nagel eighth-grade students, work to identify genetic mutations with the help of Jeremy Varner, Nagel teacher.
£FUSION ENGAGES STUDENTS IN LEARNING, EXPLORES THEIR PASSIONS
tella Scheidler, Nagel Middle School eighth-grader, helped repaint her classroom. Who gave the 14-year-old the power to do so? Her teachers, of course. “We redesigned our classroom to ﬁt 21st-century learners and had to provide research-based reasons as to why we suggested the renovations,” Scheidler said. “We used techniques that we learned from our core classes, such as social studies and language arts, and applied them to the situation while also using new knowledge.” What kind of class lets students redesign their learning environment? Educators at Nagel Middle School call it Fusion. An active learning approach, Fusion provides a more engaging, personalized learning experience for students. Math, science, language arts and social studies classes come together to help students master the curriculum while also developing student skills in communication, collaboration, creativity, character, citizenship and critical thinking. All of this is done through engaging, hands-on, real-world learning opportunities.
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For example, a forensics experiment fused science, math, technology and language arts with critical thinking and collaboration skills as students solved a “Who Dunnit” scenario. In another Fusion course, students used technology to identify genetic material containing mutations. Students then developed their skills in communication and citizenship as they discussed various social issues that could beneﬁt from the information, such as developing cures for diseases, saving lives or selective breeding. For the classroom redesign project, student creativity was abundant as they learned about design thinking—a method that focuses on the process of design, rather than the end product, by using techniques like ideation, experimentation and revision. “Students researched colors and which colors are conducive to learning and direct focus,” said Andrea Comarata, an eighth-grade Nagel Middle School Fusion teacher. “We taught them skills like empathy interviewing and understanding that it’s not just what you want in the classroom, but what would service all students.” So, Scheidler and her classmates didn’t just paint a few walls in a couple of classrooms. They drafted plans to redesign major parts of the school including the gymnasium, nurse’s ofﬁce and cafetorium based on student needs. They learned how to serve others through their knowledge. And that is what Fusion is about: connecting subject matter to help students develop essential 21st-century skill sets while seamlessly adding relevancy and purpose to learning. “Students could apply
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these learning experiences to any project in the future because it’s more like ‘how to be successful with projects’ as opposed to ‘how to redesign classrooms,’” Jeremy Varner, another eighth-grade Fusion teacher, said. That is what makes Fusion special. Through the enhanced learning experiences Fusion provides, students develop strong collaboration, creation, relationship and problem-solving skills that provide the foundation for success in a multitude of arenas. Through various projects, students discover ﬁrst-hand how subjects can be applied to careers, while also discovering their interests and aspirations. These discoveries will help students choose areas of study and career pathways in high school and beyond. “Fusion helps you with things like doing good in the world and it teaches you about real-life experiences,” Scheidler said. “It goes beyond solid facts and lets us explore our interests, which is really important to middle school students.” Q
STUDENT EXPERIENCE REDESIGN INCLUDES: £ Active learning £ Problem-based, projectbased and inquiry-based learning £ Creative problem-solving £ Technology £ Real-world connections £ Active partnerships with local organizations, businesses and professionals £ Developing foundational skills
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Science Her es £TWO MERCER ELEMENTARY TEACHERS USE GAMIFICATION TO ENGAGE STUDENTS
£ Mercer fourth-graders show Scot T. Prebles, superintendent, how they learn science through gamification.
hat happens when you mix science and superheroes? Tom Schirmer and Adam Renard, two fourth-grade science teachers at Mercer Elementary School, prove it creates a more enriching learning experience. The educators use gamiﬁcation—the integration of gaming concepts in education—to excite students about learning. “We still teach science as the curriculum traditionally requires,” Schirmer said. “The game is just a layer on top of that.” The game, which Schirmer and Renard created, is housed on an interactive webpage called “Science Heroes.” First, students design an original superhero that has unique super powers (like Zip Girl who can ﬂy when she zips up her jacket). They then use their characters to complete missions, similar to homework assignments, to earn experience points. “If you give a student a test or an assignment and say, ‘80 percent is your benchmark,’ they say,
‘OK,’ and they aim for 80 percent. If you give them a fun scenario and say, ‘Killer Croc is stealing all the sheep. In order to beat him, every sentence you write that is evidence of Killer Crocs’ actions counts as a point,’ they get excited about the work, the writing and the learning,” Renard said. To further motivate students, Schirmer and Renard integrate “Easter eggs” (hidden secret missions embedded on the website) and “power-up cards” (in-class privileges students can earn like picking their chair for the day or listening to music). “Mr. Renard makes class a game and it makes us want to do extra work,” said Mitchell Iles, a fourth-grader. And that’s the whole idea of gamiﬁcation. “Students have fun mastering content and they learn to try and try again when faced with challenges,” Schirmer explained. “And that’s what we want them to do in education.” Q
FHSD COMMUNITY UPDATE | 5
£STUDENTS PLAN THEIR FUTURES WITH DISTRICT-WIDE CAREER RESOURCES
£Kiae Marshall, Teaching Professions Academy student, explores a career in education by helping Zachary Sprowl, Ayer fourth-grader, with a reading comprehension lesson.
arah Noble wants to own a cosmetology company someday. The Anderson High School freshman dreams of creating makeup that works for all skin types and looks great throughout the day. Thanks to Forest Hills School District resources, Noble can take steps toward her dream career while she’s still a high school student. With partial funding from the Forest Hills Foundation for Education, FHSD is implementing new, interactive career guidance and planning tools to support student self-exploration and build a foundation that prepares students for life after graduation. During the 2018–19 school year, FHSD will implement an interactive learning game that allows students in kindergarten through grade ﬁve to explore a virtual city and discover the roles of community members such as doctors, engineers, librarians and 6 | FHSD COMMUNITY UPDATE
museum curators. Each year, students will gain more exposure to career opportunities and possible steps to pursue them. In 2017–18, students in grades six through 12 began utilizing skill and career assessments, post-secondary school and job market information and an employment guide to better connect the dots between their schooling and their futures. In addition, students create digital portfolios to document their personal career exploration process and build an individualized plan to help them meet their goals. Teachers, counselors, parents and administrators can track and support students through a wide range of resources and reports. These new tools are supported through partnerships with local businesses that provide students with hands-on experiences such as internships, job shadowing and mentoring
programs. For example, Nagel Middle school students peek into the ﬁelds of nutrition and restaurant management when they work with Chickﬁl-A to create new, healthy menu items. They also experience interior design when they help Mercy Health - Anderson Hospital design new areas of the hospital each year. High school students also have a multitude of experiences at their ﬁngertips from work-study opportunities to career courses and activities, such as marketing competitions, Mercy Medical Explorers and the Teacher Professions Academy (see side bar). “Students are better equipped for their futures when they know how their interests and abilities align with different opportunities,” said Carol Terwillegar, Anderson counselor. “We can’t assume every student has the same path after high school but we work to make sure our students have a well-deﬁned plan before they graduate.” So, whether Noble chooses to attend a technical school or fouryear university after graduation, she will have information from years of exploring her options to support her decision. “It is our job to expose students to new ideas, experiences and places so they are inspired to see possibilities,” said Natasha Adams, executive director of curriculum, instruction and assessment. “We want to build supportive partnerships around students to equip them with knowledge to make informed decisions about their futures. Regardless of which route a student plans to take after graduation, Forest Hills offers support to ensure each student achieves success.” Q VOLUME 3 | ISSUE 2 | SPRING 2018
HOW IT WORKS:
£In sixth-grade through 12th-grade, FHSD’S NEW ON-
LINE CAREER EXPLORATION TOOLS serve as a personalized online database where students can track their career exploration progress. The ﬁve main features:
WHERE STUDENTS BECOME THE TEACHERS
£Forest Hills high school
ASSESSMENTS: Students take
CAREERS: Students explore
EDUCATION: Students compare
FINANCIAL AID: Students
EMPLOYMENT: Students build
a series of question-and-answer assessments to match their interests, abilities and learning styles to speciﬁc careers.
careers through a simple keyword search or an alphabetical index, as well as by school subject, career cluster or industry. Students can also read interviews from a male and female worker in each career type.
colleges and career and technical schools by state, interest ﬁeld, degree programs and graduate school options. Students can also explore a college planning timeline that describes the college application process step-by-step.
determine their eligibility for federal ﬁnancial aid and various scholarships.
resumes and search for jobs, upload ACT and SAT scores, track volunteer experience and extracurricular activities, write journal entries, create career goals and map out high school education plans. All of the data is stored online and can be accessed by parents and teachers.
Thanks to the Forest Hills Foundation for Education for providing partial funding for FHSD’s new career tools.
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students can get a feel for what it takes to lead a classroom and simultaneously give back to the community through the district’s Teacher Professions Academy at both Anderson and Turpin high schools. In partnership with Great Oaks, the program offers courses and ﬁeld experiences for students exploring careers in education. During their senior year, students enrolled in the program are matched with a FHSD teacher who serves as their mentor. As the teacher’s assistant, the seniors work directly with younger students in schools across the district, helping with literacy instruction, mathematics review, organizational skills and more. The Academy students also participate in Educators Rising, a national student organization that offers educational resources. Started with just seven students in 2012, the Teaching Professions Academy now has 78 participants. “Every student will not pursue a career in education,” began Nathan Lynch, the teacher who oversees the program at Anderson, while conterpart Rebecca Rowe oversees the Turpin program, “but they will develop various 21st-century skills that will be applicable to working in any career, especially those that are people-oriented.”
FHSD COMMUNITY UPDATE | 7
FHSD | CONSTRUCTION UPDATE
UPGRADING EDUCATION £THE DISTRICT’S ONGOING CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS ARE MOVING FULL STEAM AHEAD IN 2018.
ince the $103 million Forest Hills School District facilities bond issue passed in 2014, the district has been hard at work completing renovations and updating technology in its nine schools. Upgrades on Nagel Middle School, Ayer Elementary, Mercer Elementary, Sherwood Elementary, Summit Elementary and Wilson Elementary have wrapped up and the district is working to complete the remaining improvements on Anderson High School, Turpin High School and Maddux Elementary. All of the projects are expected to be complete by the 2019–20 school year. Included with mechanical and acoustic improvements, the district has added new spaces in every school in the district such as a new learning commons (innovation hubs that replace former media centers), “caves” (independent work areas), “campﬁres” (areas for large group instruction), “watering holes” (spaces to support small group
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1 New Wilson Elementary
2 Ayer Elementary renovated
3 Mercer Elementary renovated
4 New Maddux Elementary art
5 Renovated Summit Elementary
6 Turpin High School renovated
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CONSTRUCTION UPDATE | FHSD
5 social interactions and collaboration) and Makerspaces (hands-on learning areas for science, technology, engineering and math instruction). In addition, substantial furniture and technology upgrades were made at each school to foster personalized learning experiences for students. “The community’s support has been vital to successfully improving learning environments to support differentiated instruction and how each student learns best. By adding these new features, we’re able to better meet the needs of every individual student,” explained Mike Broadwater, assistant superintendent. “Our students will be better prepared for what the world is asking of them in terms of global opportunities. Ultimately, the entire community will reap the beneﬁts of investing in district facilities.”
ANDERSON HIGH SCHOOL Although the project faced some hurdles this past fall, construction on AHS is moving forward. Broadwater
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feels conﬁdent that the district has overcome obstacles by transferring project ownership to the bonding company, Travelers Insurance, which introduced Vertex Engineering to oversee the project. These companies maintain a relationship with Performance Construction, the original contractor, because, as Broadwater explained, “Performance has the institutional knowledge and the background on the project.” District administrators are working with Travelers Insurance and Vertex Engineering to determine new phasing on the project with a focus on the safety and security of Anderson students. In addition, installation of heating and cooling units will be a priority and air quality in the school will continue to be monitored along the way to ensure the construction does not interfere with students’ well-being. “We’ve got a big summer coming up,” said Broadwater, since a large chunk of work will be done while students are on summer break. “The
6 new multipurpose space in the back of the school, near the football ﬁeld, is scheduled to be completed this summer, as well as more classrooms. Teachers are completing furniture orders while technology upgrades in each classroom will be installed as classrooms are completed.” Renovations at AHS are anticipated to be completed in 2019.
MADDUX ELEMENTARY As the 2017–18 school year comes to a close, administrators are thrilled with the progress that’s taken shape at Maddux Elementary, which is ahead of schedule and approaching completion. “As in every FHSD school, the learning environments in Maddux Elementary have improved tremendously,” said Broadwater. “It’s a beautiful campus and we’re excited about everything that’s gone on there.” In addition, like every FHSD elementary school, classrooms were added to accommodate all-day
FHSD COMMUNITY UPDATE | 9
FHSD | CONSTRUCTION UPDATE kindergarten and a new entrance was built, complete with a security vestibule, new ofﬁces and a learning commons for innovation. Trailers at Maddux Elementary will also be removed by the time the new school opens for the beginning of the 2018–19 school year.
TURPIN HIGH SCHOOL Renovations to Turpin High School are on track to be completed by the winter of the 2018–19 school year. “Turpin had its own unique set of challenges,” Broadwater said. Because the school was originally built in the 1970s, the goal was to shift from an open classroom setting, popular in that time period, to an updated, ﬂexible format which has become standard in secondary education.” To make more room for classrooms, the school has expanded. A new wing at the front of the building has been completed and houses administrative and counseling ofﬁces, the band room and a new multipurpose athletic entrance. Additionally, the majority of brick
and mortar work in classrooms will be completed by the end of the summer including the school’s lower level, home to new spaces to support engineering, art, science and robotics programs. Renovations to the learning commons will also be completed this summer. Final touches, technology upgrades and new furniture will be ﬁnished over the remainder of the project’s timeline.
TRANSPORTATION For many years, the Forest Hills community has expressed a strong desire for the FHSD Transportation Center to be relocated from the Anderson High School campus on Forest Road for safety purposes. In addition, relocating the Transportation Center would provide trafﬁc congestion relief on Forest Road and increase available parking at Anderson High School. Over the summer of 2017, the building that previously housed transportation ofﬁces was razed to provide space for AHS campus upgrades. Funding in the amount of approx-
imately $3.1 million was originally set aside from the 2014 bond to fund the transportation project and the Forest Hills Board of Education has actively sought a location from which to operate the FHSD transportation department. On Jan. 12, the Board entered into a contract with the owners of the property located at 3464 Mt. Carmel Road to assess the viability of the property to accommodate FHSD transportation needs, as well as obtain required zoning. If a zoning variance is granted and the property meets FHSD transportation needs, the district may move forward with purchasing the property for $475,000. District administrators recently met with residents near the property to seek feedback regarding project possibilities and understand perspectives and expectations of potential neighbors. Information gathered during the evening will be used to create a more formal question and answer document that will be posted at foresthills.edu. Q
RUNNING THE NUMBERS
£ A little more than three years after Forest Hills School District passed its $103 million bond in 2014 to update its facilities, six of 10 projects have been completed, with four remaining. The chart below reviews the district’s bond project expenditures to date. Three projects came in under budget (Nagel, Wilson, and Summit). Four of the projects have gone over budget as a result of an approximate 20 percent increase in construction costs since the bond was passed. SITE
ORIGINAL PROJECT ALLOCATION
AMOUNT SPENT TO DATE
BRICK AND MORTAR COMPLETE
ANDERSON HIGH SCHOOL
AYER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
MADDUX ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
MERCER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
NAGEL MIDDLE SCHOOL
SHERWOOD ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
SUMMIT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
TURPIN HIGH SCHOOL
WILSON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
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£ Scott Peters, Nagel physical education
and health teacher, received a grant from the Forest Hills Foundation for Education.
FOUNDATION AWARDS GRANTS FOR INNOVATIVE PROJECTS £Seven Forest Hills teachers are changing up things in their classrooms, thanks to the support of the Forest Hills Foundation for Education. A non-proﬁt organization supporting FHSD, the Foundation recently awarded more than $10,500 in educational innovation grants to fund initiatives that support student success. Scott Peters, Nagel Middle School physical education and health teacher, earned a $1,760 grant for On the Move: Be Well, Learn Well, a program that combines physical and “brain break” activities to improve student academic performance, attendance and behavior. A $1,800 grant went to Nagel staff members Valerie Borger and Stephanie Horn, both intervention specialists, to purchase equipment and resources
that will improve a “sensory room.” Structured sensory rooms combine stimuli to help students develop and engage their senses, as well as provide needed sensory breaks that help students feel safe, stay calm and remain focused. These rooms are especially beneﬁcial to students identiﬁed with visual, hearing, cognitive and behavioral obstacles. The ﬁnal Nagel grant was earned by Julie Koenig, a Nagel STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) teacher, who received $3,350 to implement Coding Sphero, a program that will expose students to engineering and coding through robotics and technology. Additional grants to support STEM initiatives were awarded to Wendy Teismann, Wilson Elementary gifted
teacher, who received $1,293 for COMMUNITY UPDATE | FHSD Minds on Motorized LEGOs programming that will help students develop writing, speech and robotics skills through engaging, real-life STEM challenges. The grant will also support creating a professional learning community in grades one through ﬁve that will help teachers incorporate motorized LEGOs into their classrooms. Guy Frye, Mercer Elementary media specialist, also received a $1,505 grant to support a coding club that teaches basic computer programming skills to elementary students. Weekly one-hour sessions guide each student through a series of hands-on, step-by-step activities that promote a passion for STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math). The ﬁnal grant awarded went to Jen Knake, Maddux sixth-grade teacher, and Debra Smith, Maddux gifted teacher, in the amount of $840 for Maddux Breaks Out, learning games that apply the concept of escape rooms to the classroom. At the end of study units, students will use the Break Out games to apply their knowledge and use collaboration, critical thinking, creativity and ingenuity to ﬁnd clues, complete puzzles, unlock boxes and bags, and ultimately solve a problem or answer a question. “The Foundation consistently works to support our students and teachers,” said Scot T. Prebles, superintendent. “Each teacher who received a grant was deserving of it. Our teachers consistently work to meet the needs of all students through innovative methods that develop essential, 21st-century skill sets in our students.” Q
SAVE THE DATE!
£The Forest Hills Foundation for Education will host its ninth annual 5K on May 12 with
100 percent of the proceeds beneﬁtting FHSD educational programming and materials that supplement the regular curriculum. Register at www.foresthills5k.com/registration.php or the day of the 5K at 7 a.m. at Nagel Middle School (1500 Nagel Road).
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FHSD COMMUNITY UPDATE | 11
Non-proﬁt US Postage
PAID Cincinnati, OH Permit No. 1117 Communication Department 7946 Beechmont Ave. Cincinnati, Ohio 45255
REGISTER FOR KINDERGARTEN!
£Forest Hills School District on social media
FHSD OFFERS BOTH ALL-DAY AND HALF-DAY KINDERGARTEN PROGRAMS!
STEP 1: Register
online at foresthills. edu/registration
4 1 @MelanieHartong: @MadduxMustangs 1st graders learning critical social competency
skills. How can we match the size of our emotion with the size of our problem? @socialthinking @ZonesOfReg #PBIS #OT #WeAreFHSD 2 @SherwoodArcher1: Sherwood 2nd graders “Breaking Out” the secret snow recipe.
Awesome problem-solving and teamwork! #WeAreFHSD #breakoutedu 3 @Meghan_Lawson: Thank you to THS seniors, Jack Polivka and Max Murphy, who presented their ideas for rethinking high school with the @FHSchools BOE tonight. Inspired by @BusinessHorn and her amazing work with the Entrepreneurship class. Let’s elevate the student experience. #WeAreFHSD 4 @WilsonElem: Mr Larry always working hard for our Wildcats. Thank you!! #WeAreFHSD
FOLLOW US ON TWITTER:
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STEP 2: Make an appointment to complete registration by providing required documentation and $75 deposit for allday kindergarten (if applicable)
• Child’s current immunization records
• Custody records (if applicable)
• Child’s official
• Proof of residency (mortgage, deed, lease)
Kindergarten program questions: Department of Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment at 231-3600. Attendance areas questions: Transportation Department at 231-3335. More information: www.foresthills.edu/kindergarten.html
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Published on Mar 13, 2018