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Bring on the Drama

Antique Extravaganza

‘Tis the season for high drama as the theatre departments from

On Saturday, Nov. 7, the Pickerington High School Central, 300 Opportunity Way, gym and fieldhouse will be packed – not with athletes, but with more than 100 artisans and antique vendors during the Annual Antique and Craft Show from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Story on page 10

Pickerington High School Central and North prepare for the Fall season. On Nov. 12, PHSC will present Aaron Sorkin’s “A Few Good Men” and on Dec. 3, PHSN will present Irvin Berlin’s “White Christmas.” For ticket info call 614-833-3043 (PHSC) and 614-830-2750 (PHSN).

Serving Pickerington Since 1964

The School Bell

Fall 2009 Issue 1

A Pickerington Local School District Publication

Treasurer’s Office pg. 8

PHS Central pg. 5

Superintendent pg. 2

THIS ISSUE “We are Pickerington!” At Pickerington Schools, we recognize that no one stands alone. So, this year we celebrate that with our new mantra.

Artistic Expression

Tiger Roar


tudents at Ridgeview Junior High School took time out of their lives to participate and create a pinwheel art installation to

bring joy to commuters on Hill Road South. “This is a wonderful community project,” said

School Safety pg. 9

Ridgeview Art Teacher Cheryl Knox. “As people

Partnerships with the Pickerington Police and Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office create a unique program.

The combination of H1N1 and the seasonal influenza (flu) virus has the potential to create a more severe flu season than usual. Pickerington Local Schools is working closely with the Fairfield County Health Department to monitor the progression of the virus.

Parents will receive information about the vaccine in the mail. Once the vaccines arrive, families will be notified via District email and website to schedule a vaccination appointment.

Score Four

Calling the Police

The District will not send notification letters to parents for every reported case of the flu

Plans are underway to offer H1N1 vaccine to all students at Pickerington schools.

Pickerington High School Central’s Marching Tigers gear up for a busy Holiday Season.

The District receives the “Making Your Tax Dollars Count,” financial accountability award for the fourth consecutive year.

District Prepares for Flu and H1N1

drive by it is something to evoke thought and generate tranquility,” she continued. “Art is a powerful means of communication.” The Ridgeview art students created their pinwheels based on specific artists’ - VanGogh, Op Art, Pollack & Mondrian and the visual art and social studies standards.

“While working on our pinwheels I learned about peace and unity. I think we did this in art because it made me feel like a leader and a peace maker,” said S. Wray, a Ridgeview student. The concept of peace was discussed in class, and the students created a list of words related to peace, which they added to their pinwheels. Multiple pinwheels were hammered onto painted wooden stakes and mounted near the Ridgeview Junior High School sign.

Expression continued on page 11


In order to remain healthy, prevention is the key. Remember to wash hands frequently and cover all coughs and sneezes. Stay home from work or school if sick. Students and staff must be fever free for 24 hours (without the use of fever reducing medication such as Tylenol or Advil) before returning to school. For more information, please call 1-800-CDC-INFO or visit:, www.flu.goc, www. and

Using education to impact the local, national and global community!

We Are Pickerington!

Karen Mantia, Ed.D. Superintendent of PLSD


elieve it or not, it’s 2009 and a new school year has begun. A new school year signifies another year our children mature, another year that our families grow, and another year that our communities change.

We are certainly proud of our students and staff for these achievements, but more importantly, the greater measure of success is how students interact in and with their learning environment. At Pickerington Schools, we recognize that no one stands alone. The old adage that “it takes a village to raise a child” could not ring more true. So, this year we celebrate that notion with our new mantra, “We are Pickerington.” The “We are Pickerington” campaign is being launched this year to signify that coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together will define the future our future. Our community offers different avenues of support for student success. Parents, grandparents, local businesses, youth leagues, churches, government, police, fire, and residents – we all feed into the success of our children. There’s just no getting around it – in the complex world that we live today, there is only one way to move forward and that is together. Mantia continued on pg. 10

Setting Goals Has Great Rewards by N. Rushlow, Harmon Middle School Guest Editorial Setting goals and working towards them is hard work, but it’s always worth it. What is a goal? A goal is a challenge you set for yourself to accomplish or improve at something. A goal can be anything from learning to play an instrument to improving your grades. Some of my personal goals are to obtain excellent grades, learn new violin pieces, and better my swimming times. Why do I set goals? I set goals because I think that it’s good to challenge myself and strive to improve. There is always something I can do better, and setting goals can help me do that something better. Initially, a goal may seem utterly unattainable, however with perseverance it is possible to succeed.

In order to achieve goals, one must work with diligence. For example, I practice my violin 45 minutes a day, every day. That is how I work towards my goal of learning new pieces, such as La Folia. This piece is extremely long and very challenging, but I know that with practice I will eventually master it. Sometimes, it is necessary to make sacrifices. One may have to stop doing other things in order to make time to work toward your goals. This may seem difficult at the time, but it may be rewarding in the long run. For example, I may have to practice my violin instead of spending time with my friends. It is important to be neat and organized, and I prefer to keep a schedule so that I always know

The School Bell is a community newszine dedicated to providing in-depth coverage of the Pickerington Local School District. Its staff is comprised of District staff and students. It is published four times a year. For more information about the School Bell, contact: The Communications Department Pickerington Local Schools, 777 Long Road, Pickerington Ohio, 43147 Phone: 614-833-2110; Fax: 614-833-2143

2009-2010 School Bell Staff Editor: Lee Cole Copy Editors: Betty Conley, Diana Myers Production/Design Team: Lee Cole Photographers: Lee Cole, PHSC advanced photography students: Ryan Klipa, Taylor Rickman, Isha Mansaray; PHSC Music Boosters, PHSN Beginning Yearbook Class Contributing Writers: Beatrice Horsford,

when I’ll have time to work towards my goals. If I achieved my goal, my hard work finally paid off. I can feel like I accomplished something instead of just working. What if I didn’t succeed? Will I try again? I believe that I shouldn’t be discouraged just because I didn’t achieve a goal. Even if I decide not to try again, did any good come out of my work? Of course it did! I learned how to set goals, budget my time, work and study hard, and do my best in trying to achieve them. By learning to accept challenges and having a strong work ethic, I have become the person that I am. So no matter what the outcome, setting personal goals and working towards them has many benefits. Nicholas Rushlow, Lee Cole, Dan Griscom, Contributing Writers: Caroline Johnson, Karen Mantia, Karen Sewell, Jack Thomas PLSD Board of Education: Lori Sanders, president; Lee Gray, vice president; Wes Monhollen, Clay Lopez, Lisa Reade, members Superintendent: Karen Mantia, Ed.D. Treasurer: Dan Griscom

Photo by Lee Cole

For Pickerington Schools the new year is highlighted with a second year of Excellent with Distinction. Only 115 of the 611 Ohio school districts earned the state’s highest academic honor.

The School Bell

October 2009 | The School Bell |



October 2009 | The School Bell |

October 2009 | The School Bell |


The Three R’s of Education

by J. Thomas President PHSC Student Council


I have been a student in the Pickerington Local Schools since kindergarten, and as I embark on my senior year, I look back at the truly amazing experience. The academic rigor I have faced has been challenging at times, yet feasible because of the wide range of classes offered at Pickerington High School Central (PHSC). Students can take anything from conventional high school courses to college credit classes. The state-of-the-art education offered at Pickerington runs the gamut that includes literature, family life, music, analytical math and laboratory experiences. Our opportunity to learn and succeed is limitless. The fact that Pickerington received the highest rating of Excellent with Distinction is easy to understand. Everyone is dedicated and hard working, including the students. It is much easier to come to school in the encouraging environment provided to us at PHSC. We work hard. The commitment and perseverance we put forth as students is reflected in our own personal excellence. The relationships that I have developed throughout my time here, has helped me to succeed in high school. I had great relationships with my teachers, the staff, my coaches, and my Three R’s continued on pg. 11

Eighty-seven students at PHS Central and PHS North have earned Advanced Placement (AP) Scholar Awards in recognition of their exceptional achievement on the College Board’s AP exams taken in 2009. The AP provides motivated and academically prepared students with the opportunity to take rigorous collegelevel courses while still in high school and earn college credit, advanced placement, or both for successful performance on the AP exam. About 18 percent of the nearly 1.7 million students worldwide who took AP exams performed at a sufficiently high level to also earn an AP Scholar Award. Two students qualified for the National AP Scholar Award by earning an average grade of 4.0 or higher on a five-point scale on all AP exams taken, and grades of 4.0 or higher on eight or more of these exams. These students are: Justin Knight and Nathaniel Robinson. Twenty-eight students qualified for the AP Scholar with Distinction Award by earning an average grade of at least 3.5 on all AP exams taken, and grades of 3.0 or higher on five or more of these exams. These students are: K. Almandinger, B. Blakely, L. Brady, S. Brahmandam, F. Clark, C. Combs, J. Devore, C. Everhart, P. Filippelli, T. Gaston, M. Gordon, A. Hairston, J. Harlan, H. Kantamneni, E. King,

N. Kondovski, N. Kubicki, C. Lloyd, G. Malott, M. Manna, I. Neinast, T. Osunsanya, S. Pellitt, B. Seders, K. Swaminathan, A.Taylor, S. Wu, and K. Yanga. Eighteen students qualified for the AP Scholar with Honor Award by earning an average grade of at least 3.25 on all AP exams taken, and grades of 3.0 or higher on four or more of these exams. These students are: A. Bentley, K. Billups, C. Colburn, M. Culp, W. Fitchett, K. Harlan, S. Harman, D. Honaker, M. Lee, J. McCracken, M. Mulroy, C. Rodriguez, A. Schorkhuber, A. Strauch, J. Vest, R. William, A. Williamson and J. Yen. Thirty-nine students qualified for the AP Scholar Award by completing three or more AP exams with grades of 3.0 or higher. The AP Scholars are: U. Awan, J. Bennett, J. Brackbill, D. Brewer,

Photo by PHSN Beginning Yearbook

y grandfather always told me study my three R’s at school: readin’, ‘ritin, and ‘rithmitic. Things have certainly changed since his time!

Local and National Honors for 87 District Scholars

M. Chowe, G. Colburn, L. Beretich, K. Conley, J. Edmiston, C. Fultz, H. Gloss, R. Golden, J. Guzman, S. Hatton, D. Hernandez, J. Hewitt, L. Iwasaki, N. Kossoff, J. Krauss, Z. Kristoff, E. Low, J. Massaron, H. Kruse, R. McMullen, N. Niemi, H. Okel, P. Otchere, C. Partlow, R. Raymond, R. Reeb, T. Reed, J. Rohr, J. Rustin, N. Shah, R. Tampi, S. Teeters, K. Thomas, T. Thompson and B. Vaughn.

Nine District Students Recognized for Academic Achievements Nine District students received recognition in the National Merit Scholarship Program (NMSP), a national academic competition for high school students that recognizes high performing students and provides scholarship opportunities for higher education. Students enter the competition by taking the preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). Approximately 1.4 million students take this test each year. From this group of 1.4 million students, approximately 50,000 with the highest PSAT/NMSQT Selection Index score qualify for the NMSP. Approximately 34,000 of the 50,000 students who enter the NMSP receive letters of commendation in recognition of their outstanding academic promise. The PLSD

commended scholars are: J. Hewitt, C. Partlow, C. Hughes, M. Oostenburg, R. Tampi and J. Yen. The building principal will present a letter of commendation from the school and National Merit Scholarship Corporation, which conducts the program, to these scholastically talented seniors. Approximately 16,000 of the 50,000 students that enter the NMSP are notified of Semifinalists status and move on in the competition for Finalists status and scholarship awards. To become a National Merit Finalists, a student must meet high academic standards, be endorsed by their high school principal, be a United States citizen, earn high SAT scores that confirm the PSAT/NMSQT scores and complete an application. Currently, Pickerington Local

Schools has two National Merit Semifinalists K. Gardocki and B. Good. In addition, more than 140,000 students enter the National Achievement Scholarship Program (NASP). This program is also based on a students PSAT/NMSQT Selection Index score and provides recognition for outstanding African-American high school students. Of the 140,000 students that enter the NASP, approximately 4,600 are honored as Commended Scholars and approximately 1,600 are designated as Semifinalists. Semifinalists are the highest-scoring program participants in the states that constitute each region and continue on for Finalist status and scholarship dollars. Pickerington Local Schools one National Achievement Scholarship Semifinalists is J. McElroy.

by C. Johnson President PHSN Student Council


Coast to Coast with the Central Marching Tiger’s as they prepare for an unprecedented fourth appearance at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and a trip to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California

“It is such an honor to represent the Pickerington community. I am so proud of the students, past and present, and thankful to all the parents who have made this possible,” said Mike Sewell, PHSC band director. Many students are excited about taking part in what is becoming a PHSC tradition, while others are trying to figure out just how they will march and fit into the space in front of the historic Macy’s Department Store where they will be featured on television. The Tigers will play a special arrangement called Jing Jing Jing, which is a combination of Jingle Bells and the big band favorite, Sing Sing Sing. “The Macy’s folks expect something upbeat and peppy from our kids and this tune will deliver,” said Sewell. The parade has extra significance to Tiger Band members T. Miller (senior), R. Burley (sophomore), and A. Blanton (sophomore). All three have older siblings who marched in the 2001 Macy’s Parade. This year they will not only be marching in the 2009 Macy’s Parade, but also the 2010

However, as a senior who has walked these halls, this building is something much greater. I have spent the last thirteen years in Pickerington Local Schools, and I can honestly say there is a reason why we are one of the most respected school districts in all of Ohio.

Tournament of Roses Parade.

Not only do we have the most intelligent and diligent staff, faculty and advisors, but a key factor to Pickerington’s success is its’ students.

“In 2001 all I remember is that my family left me in Ohio to go watch my sister,” said Burley. “I never saw my brother because we were doing all kinds of touristy stuff,” said Miller.

I have never met a group of kids who are more involved and passionate about what they do.

Blanton recalls watching for her brother David to march by with his tuba decorated in a special red, white, and blue patriotic cover. Each expressed amazement and awe that they will be marching in both parades just like their older brothers and sisters.

As a student who is probably considered an “over achiever”, I take great pride in my school work and grades. I know what it takes to be a good student, and I’ll admit it is not easy.

by Karen Sewell, Contributing Writer While most will enjoy a restful four day Thanksgiving break this coming November, the Pickerington High School Central (PHSC) Marching Tigers will spend their break marching in “the Longest Running Show on Broadway,” the 2009 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. This will be the band’s fourth appearance in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (other years were 1991, 1995 and 2001).

Photo courtesy of PHSC Music Boosters

Turkey, Roses and Music

here have been hundreds of people that have passed though the halls of Pickerington High School North and see it as nothing more than just that: a high school. To them, it is just a building where students gather to participate in the advancement of education and various extracurricular activities.

“I am not looking forward to that 3 a.m. rehearsal my brother told me about, ” said Miller. Blanton and Burley agreed, the most memorable moment from the 2006 Rose Parade was the rain. It was incredibly wet. “The banner was so heavy from water that the pole broke in route. Some people felt sorry for us and held up signs saying ‘You’re almost done,’ and we still had two miles to march,” they continued. Yet everyone involved expressed their appreciation for all the former band students, including their siblings whose hard work made their appearances this year possible. “Ours will be the best performance yet, but we wouldn’t be here without them!” For more information about the trips, special trip related items for purchase, or other information on helping the Marching Tigers Coast To Coast, please contact the PHS Central Band Room at 614-833-3042.

Our curriculum is tough and pushes us to exceed our personal limits and expectations. Some might call our students “smart.” I just call us hard-working. In addition to the effort our students put forth in the classroom, the same amount, if not more, is focused on extracurriculars.

True Value continued on pg. 8

5 October 2009 | The School Bell |

The True Value of a Pickerington Education

October 2009 | The School Bell |


Photo by Ryan Klipa

Building on a Foundation of


t seems as if children grow at the speed of light. They grow out of clothes monthly and their minds are growing at an equally accelerated pace. The demands placed on today’s youth are staggering as compared to 20 years ago. Global competition has produced educational,

entrepreneurial and cross-cultural opportunities that extend beyond the continental United States, and the Pickerington Local School District is ready to meet the needs of its students. Pickerington is committed to being a high performance school district with high quality learning environments for every student. This commitment resulted in the District redefining its approach in how it will continue to deliver a high quality education to prepare the leaders of tomorrow. In response to the demands of society the Curriculum Department was reorganized into a newly established Department of Teaching and Learning.

Photos by PHSC Advanced Photography Students.

Photo by Isha Mansaray



Photo by Lee Cole

Defining Tomorrow’s Education “We recognize that our students are living in the global age, and the times are quickly changing," said Karen Mantia, Ed.D., superintendent of Pickerington Local Schools. “Our focus is to examine global expectations, be flexible enough to apply these expectations to student learning, and know how to meet these learning needs with superior teaching approaches,” she continued.

Building on the Foundation Without adding any cost to the District, the reorganization was made so that we could focus our attention on increased academic rigor, worldwide relevance in instruction, and developing collaborative learning relationships, said Mantia. Behind this redesign are the basic underpinnings that guide all school employees – fostering academic excellence. “Obtaining and maintaining an Excellent with Distinction rating is not easy,” said Mantia. “It takes the hard work of teachers and administrators to chart out a definitive path for success,” she continued. That path was determined by the District’s Team Goal, which is supported by the Five Success Drivers. The five drivers set

the District on a path that details what is expected of all staff in the areas of: Accountability, Data Driven Decision Making, Finances, Communication, and Diversity. Each driver targets a specific area that keeps the focus on meeting the District goals. With over twenty years of instructional and curriculum experience, Mantia has seen firsthand the evolution of higher student expectations and greater versatility in teaching strategies. “The ever-increasing demands and expectations of a global ready world have greatly impacted school planning and approaches. Pickerington staff is poised. It’s not easy work, but the level of confidence I have in our staff is unmatched,” Mantia said.

Rigor and the Critical Core The Teaching and Learning Department has tailored its objectives to support the Team Goal and Success Drivers. The department has developed strategic plans that emphasize the “critical core” — mathematics, literacy, science, and technology. This critical core is a vital part of planning in the Department of Teaching and Learning and the core is fundamental to every school subject, said Mantia.

“We are also extending collaborative efforts and plans that connect the Department of Teaching and Learning to the departments of Special Education, Technology, and Student Services. Each department plays a vital role in the success for every student, and their plans must complement each other and the overall direction,” she said.

Globally Relevant Education

Furthermore, Superintendent Mantia is pushing for more advanced programs. “We are taking a look at how students can be exposed to accelerated mathematics and science in earlier grade levels through the reorganization of the gifted program. We are encouraging students to enroll in advanced courses at the secondary level,” said Mantia. These are subject areas that tie directly to the changing demands of a global world and have application to every other subject and curriculum in schools. The Department of Teaching and Learning is designed to tap into the exceptional talent of the Pickerington teaching staff by placing outstanding instructors in key roles. In kindergarten through the sixth grade, instructional coaches now help other teachers review student data, help facilitate advanced

Photo by Taylor Rickman

teaching strategies, and integrate technology. All buildings have Core Teams that meet to discuss building successes, improvements and chart new directions. Technology experts are strategically assigned to buildings so that staff can learn how to use technology as a tool to enhance high-level learning. “Technology will play an integral role in job readiness for the twenty-first century,” said Walt Podgurski, technology director. “We are incorporating more technology into our classroom instruction. Today’s students already know how to access multiple levels of information, use multiple technological devices and they are confident in advanced technologies,” he said. “We need to know how technology extends creative thinking, critical problem solving and apply these options to the critical core,” said Podgurski. “We are all a part of excelling student achievement.” Mantia agrees, “It is imperative that we recognize that the standards of technology education is greater and more advanced and moving at a rapid rate. Students can use technology far beyond what was envisioned just a few years ago.”

Teaching continued on pg. 8

October 2009 | The School Bell |

Photo by Ryan Kilpa

October 2009 | The School Bell |


District Faces Challenges from the State Budget

Treasurer Receives Financial Award Pickerington Local Schools receives the “Making Your Tax Dollars Count” award for the fourth consecutive year for excellence in financial accounting

Dan Griscom Treasurer of PLSD


Governor Strickland offered a bold new plan with additional academic requirements for schools. But with our state and the nation in the midst of a severe recession, where would the money come from? At Pickerington Local Schools, the stakes are high. Over half of our operating revenue comes from the state. We have a high percentage of residential property and a low percentage of commercial and industrial property in our tax base. It is important that the District protects our local taxpayers, and get our fair share of state funds. The plot thickened with new twists and turns: one day Pickerington Local School District was up; the next we were down. It was like riding a rollercoaster, or watching a summer movie blockbuster -- without the popcorn (due to budget cuts). In the past our District could count on some increase in state funding each year (about 3% annually) due to our growing enrollment. This helped us keep up with the expenses of educating more children. However, it was evident that the state funding formula was changing. Old assumptions would not hold true

Griscom continued on pg. 11

Board, “It’s getting to be a tradition that I come to Pickerington and present this award and I think that’s a great thing.” Fewer than five percent of all Ohio government agencies are eligible for this award.

“It is an honor to recognize Pickerington Local School District officials for their commitment to strong financial accountability,” said Auditor of State Taylor in a press statement. “Congratulations on your hard work and for being trustworthy stewards of taxpayer dollars.”

PLSD Board President Lori Sanders, Central Ohio Liaison for the Auditor’s Office To be eligible for the Robert Pike and Treasurer Dan Griscom “Making Your Tax Dollars Count” award, government agencies must complete is a team effort. We appreciate this recognition and submit a Comprehensive Annual Financial from the Auditor’s Office.” Griscom added, Report (CAFR); have no findings or issues “Our Board, administration and staff are present in their audit report; and have no other dedicated to providing high levels of fiscal financial concerns involving the entity. responsibility, transparency and accountability

This marks the fourth consecutive year that the District has earned the “Making Your Tax Dollars Count” award. Mr. Pike said to the

Photo by Lee Cole

arly in the summer, as Governor Ted Strickland and Ohio legislators were wrangling with the state budget, school officials across Ohio found themselves in great suspense. The budget deadline was looming, and districts were on pins and needles, anxious to see how the numbers would pan out.

The Pickerington Local School District is among a select group of public school districts in Ohio to be recognized for financial accounting excellence. Ohio Auditor of State Mary Taylor recently announced that the District had earned her office’s “Making Your Tax Dollars Count” award for Fiscal Year 2008. Rob Pike, Central Ohio Liaison for the Auditor’s Office, presented the award to Dan Griscom, Treasurer, at the September 12 Board of Education meeting.

Dan Griscom, Treasurer, thanked his staff for their contributions in earning the award. “This

Teaching from pg. 7

Fostering Stronger Relationships By restructuring to a more collaborative setting, the Department of Teaching and Learning inherently creates stronger and more interactive relationships between instructional staff. The idea is to create environments where successes are shared, ideas are nurtured, and new ways of delivering instruction to students of all learning levels are encouraged. Every building has an individualized school-based continuous improvement plan (CIP) developed by the building principal and staff. The CIPs are reviewed by building core teams, and District senior teaching staff to determine if progress is being made in areas of high need. Additionally, CIP’s are available on the District website. “The important part of any change is to make sure the attention stays on students. That means that we must address the essential skills, understand relevant knowledge, and continue to nurture personal character,” said Mantia. “Every educator should recognize that each student learns and achieves in different ways. In this fast paced changing world, we are responsible for knowing and understanding global advances and requirements, and importantly, finding the right teaching and learning balance. We will tailor instruction to keep students engaged in their learning and prepare them for their future. That is what the reorganization of the Teaching and Learning Department is all about,” she continued.

with school district finances. Our constituents deserve nothing less.”

True Value from pg 5

Students spend hours after school focusing on their area of interest, whether it be music, athletics, art, leadership, volunteering, and so much more. From a personal point of view, I have been involved in athletics and the arts, both of which require a great amount of time and energy. Most sports have practice daily after school until five, not including games, meets, or matches. The arts work the same way, with rehearsals for both music and theatre after school on a daily basis, not including performances. Also, various students focus their time on activities completely unrelated to school. When pondering Pickerington’s ratings and reputation, each student makes up an organization or program to be proud of. To excel in something you love takes talent and dedication. You will find no shortage of either in any of our schools. The main element I would like people to recognize is just how hard the students who attend Pickerington Schools work. We consist of high achievers in both core academics and extracurricular activities. I have walked through the halls of Pickerington North for the last three and a half years, and I finally realize what value it holds. To me, Pickerington North is my nine-to-five job. But unlike a typical job, the efforts I put in shape who I am and who I’m going to be. I am able to learn, grow, and do what I love. Pickerington gives students the tools necessary to succeed. It is a choice on what to make of those tools and to create what meaning those halls will hold.


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“By increasing the number of students who walk to school, we can cut down on the number of cars in the school vicinity. Less congestion makes it easier for the school bus drivers and safer for the students.” Ralph J. Portier, commander Pickerington Police Department

The first month of school brought a new sight for some Pickerington Local School District (PLSD) elementary and middle school students - cops. Two different mornings, law enforcement officers from the Pickerington Police Department and Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office walked with students as part of “Walk-with-a-Cop Day.” Officers walked pre-designated routes, and talked with students and parents about the importance of safe walking habits. On September 16 and September 23 students on designated routes leading to Harmon MS, Diley MS, Fairfield ES and Sycamore Creek ES walked to school with officers from the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office and Pickerington Police Department. The project was designed to give students a chance to learn safe walking habits, gain confidence in their abilities and to ease parent’s fears. Volunteers passed out “I Walked Today” stickers to all students who walked or rode their bicycles. Proactive parents in the Sycamore Creek subdivision, which has a high number of student walkers had already developed an informal walking school bus. Next spring, the committee will be organizing a Walking School Bus demonstration to encourage neighborhood parents to cooperate in walking students to school. The school district will also be giving every fifth and sixth grade student a new bicycle

helmet as part of the health curriculum. The events were organized by the Pickerington Safe Routes to School Committee. Teaching students how to walk or bike to school safely and providing the sidewalks and bike paths to do so is the goal of the Pickerington SRTS committee. In the fall of 2008, the Pickerington Local School District, the City of Pickerington and Violet Township applied for two grants through the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program. The Ohio Department of Transportation, which administers this federally funded program, awarded the community a total of $291,551. This will pay for sidewalks, crosswalk lines and flashing school signs in the Fairfield Elementary area. There will also be improvements at Diley MS, better connecting Preston Trails and Manchester subdivisions to the school campus. The infrastructure work will begin some time after July 1, 2010. The application also included a sidewalk connecting Pine Ridge subdivision to Pickerington ES, but the Pickerington SRTS Committee is still trying to find a possible location for the connection. That project won’t be completed next year. The PLSD applied for funds for five different educational and encouragement projects. The SRTS committee is developing educational material for both students and parents.



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Photo by Peggy Portier

Outlining Safe Routes to School



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Medium WESudoku ARE from



October 2009 | The School Bell |

Brain Teaser

October 2009 | The School Bell |


Making the Home and School Connection by Beatrice Horsford, Teacher, Tussing Elementary School Labor Day officially ended summer vacation and marked the beginning of the 2009-2010 school year. By now, most parents have met their child’s teachers, attended Open Houses, or made some type of contact with the teacher or teachers who will be spending at least seven and a half hours per day with their child. Photo by Lee Cole

Parents who have made this initial contact are already off to a great start in pursuing positive and effective communication between the school and home. Thanks to current technology, parents and teachers have a variety of resources in which to communicate important information. School and class websites, emails, text messages, and automated telephone calls are just a few examples of current communication methods. Websites provide invaluable information regarding curriculum, emergency information and important dates. The more traditional methods of home/school communication are just as effective. Notes to teachers, phone calls, and conferences also help to strengthen the bond between Families and School. During the school year, the refrigerator in most homes is

covered with school calendars, newsletters, lunch menus and other school correspondence. Because the kitchen area tends to be the most popular area, families are able to glance over upcoming dates for tests, projects, and school meetings. By doing so, students are able to prepare in advance for tests, and parents can coordinate schedules. Of course, the communication between families and school has to continue throughout the school year. It is important that parents and teachers keep an open line of

• Have a positive attitude and open mind when meeting with the teacher. • Attend scheduled conferences. • Review and sign agendas/planners on a daily basis. • Visit the school district’s website. • Carefully read classroom and school newsletters. • Email the teacher or send a note if there is a question or concern. • Attend Parent/Teacher Conferences and Open Houses. • Try to attend at least one P.T.O. or P.TA. meeting during the school year. • Volunteer at the school during the school year. • Eat lunch with your child at least once during the year.

communication. Below are just a few ways to be success in

These are just a few ways to promote a healthy bond between

achieving great home and school communication.

home and school.

Antiques, Arts and Crafts Extravaganza Popular PTO Event celebrates its 25th year by offering Trash to Treasure Appraisals at event On Saturday, November 7, the Pickerington High School Central, 300 Opportunity Way, (PHSC) gym and fieldhouse will be packed – not with athletes, but with more than 100 artisans and antique vendors during the Annual Antique and Craft Show from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Typically, the event is a joint fundraiser for the Academic Booster/PTO organizations of both high schools, the Antique and Craft Show attracts more than 1,700 people each year. There is no fee for parking. Lunch is available for purchase along with baked goods. Pickerington High School Central is located at 300 Opportunity Way—just about 4.5 miles south of I-70 on Hill Rd. Admission to the event is $3 for adults; $2 for seniors; and children 12 and under are free.

“This is an important event for us. The monies raised are divided equally between the high schools to fund academic programs and scholarships for graduating seniors,” said Corenne VanBuskirk, co-chair of the event. “With budget cuts and the state of the economy, the schools need our help more than ever,” she continued. In its 25th year, the Antique and Craft Show will also feature, “Trash to Treasure” appraisals. “We hope the community comes out to celebrate our 25th anniversary with us. We’d like to raise at least $10,000 to support some very worthy academic programs, which enrich the lives of our children,” VanBuskirk said. The gymnasium and fieldhouse at PHSC is transformed into one of the largest venues in

the area for quality antiques and handcrafted

Mantia, from pg. 2

At Pickerington Schools we have identified our part in the campaign and our Team Goal remain – to be a high performing, quality school district.

merchandise. New handcrafted items at the

The deeper meaning behind

show include wooden toy chests, ceramics,

these objectives centers squarely

pottery, Buckeye items, blown glass, flattened

on what students need to know

glass, decorative flags, and children’s items.

and be able to do in this everchanging global environment.

In addition to the artisans featured at the show,

We will continue to strengthen

antique and collectible vendors from around the

our critical core subjects, math,

state will have a variety of “primitives,” antique

science, literacy and technology,

furniture, glassware, farm tools, and much more. Collectibles range from jewelry to signed autographs. Wondering about the value of that special something or “treasure” which looks as “old as dirt,” then look no further than the door of PHSC. “Trash to Treasure” appraisals will

and look critically about what we must teach, how we teach it, and what results students are receiving from teaching and learning. We will keep our focus on each and every student, and we will continue to thank so many of

be conducted by Mike Brandly, a Groveport

you who positively touch the

auctioneer and appraiser, for $5 per item.

lives of children.

Ridgeview Students Discover Peace A pinwheel can be made using just about any type of material, from copy paper, to thin plastic, to lightweight metal. The project was quickly embraced by millions of art teachers, teachers, parents, children and adults who desire peace in our world. “I learned that thinking about peace could make a big change, even if it’s just for a short time,” said Ridgeview student H. Young.

“I learned that peace can mean making someone happy, and art is a way to express yourself,”

November 12-15, 2009

PHS Central Performing Arts Center (PAC) 300 Opportunity Way, Pickerington, Ohio 43147

Tickets Go On Sale October 12th Adults $10 Students/Children $7 For more information call: 614-833-3043

Photo by Lee Cole

The final projects were vibrant and caught the wind, spreading the students’ hope for peace. The installation was completed on September 21, 2009, the International Day of Peace.


added A. Colgan, student. Pinwheels spun as cars drove by, hopefully slowing down just enough to view a little art and catch the spirit of the project.

Griscom, from pg. 8

anymore. The old system was tossed out in favor of Governor Strickland’s “Ohio Evidence-Based Model” (with some tweaks from the House and Senate). How would we fare under this new plan? We finally received the answer, but not the answer we had hoped for. Due to the budget strain at the state level, many districts received decreases in state funding. However, federal stimulus funds were added in by the state for the next two years. With the stimulus money included, most Ohio school districts received either an increase under the new plan, or the same as before. There are only five school districts in the state, which are projected to receive a net decrease over the next two years, and unfortunately, Pickerington is one of them. In fact, Pickerington has the largest percentage reduction of all districts in the state.

Our schools will receive a two-year net decrease of -.6% (six-tenths of one percent) in state funding, including the stimulus money. This scenario is caused largely by federal fund qualifiers and guidelines which do not help our district as much as others. The negative hit on our bottom line (compared to previous funding trends) is about $2 million over the next two years, which will be very challenging. School funding is complex and it seems there is always another “cliff-hanger” around the corner. Surely there will be more changes as we go along. The good news is that we have been proactive by making budget reductions and improving efficiencies in many areas of the district. We will remain vigilant in holding a tight rein on expenditures, and making sure we are utilizing all state and local resources wisely, for the maximum benefit of Pickerington students.

Three R’s, from pg. 4

fellow students. I truly treasure some of my former teachers and will never forget some of the things they taught me - not only in the subject they were teaching, but also in succeeding in life. There are also many clubs, groups, and organizations which lend support, and at almost any time assistance is available to students. These relationships built amongst students, teachers, staff, and groups are essential to achieving a high level of success. Pickerington has many extracurricular clubs and organizations that anyone can join which, not only relate to the curriculum, but also promote additional relationships and bestow something in common between teachers and students.

Treat the family to an early Christmas present!

This requires additional dedication from both the student as well as the person in charge of the group. Participating in practices, meetings, and contests can bring another facet to personal achievement by accomplishing team goals as well. This combination of a rigorous curriculum and the relationships built between teachers and students makes attending high school in Pickerington very relevant to what is to come in the future. We can learn not just what we are supposed to learn, but what we want to learn in order to succeed. Pickerington Schools prepare students for college and beyond with their commitment to academic rigor, relevance, and relationships. - the new 3 R’s of Education!

December 3 - 6, 2009 PHS North Performing Arts Center 7800 Refugee Road

Tickets Go On Sale Monday, November 2, 2009 Adults $10 Students/Children $7 PHS North Theatre Department is giving contributors the opportunity to purchase tickets before they go on sale to the general public. For more information about becoming a contributor contact: Margaret Lawson at 614-830-2750


11 October 2009 | The School Bell |

PHSC Theatre Proudly Presents...

Expression from pg. 1

! n o t g n i r e k c i P e r a e W Author Robert Fulghum told the world that all he really needed to know he learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, he wrote, but there in the sand pile at school. A Pickerington education is all about rigor, relevance and relationships. It is a very grown-up way of saying everything we need to know has been taught here at Pickerington Local Schools. We have learned how to share, play fair, don’t hit, put our things away, clean up after ourselves, work hard, wash our hands, be kind to others, and always, always flush the toilet.

The Pickerington Local School District, using education to impact the local, national and global community. One of Ohio’s Premier School Districts 777 Long Road, Pickerington, Ohio 43147 614.833.2110


a peace, pinwheels. Multiple pinwheels were hammered onto painted wooden stakes and mounted near the Ridgeview Junior High School sign. Supe...


a peace, pinwheels. Multiple pinwheels were hammered onto painted wooden stakes and mounted near the Ridgeview Junior High School sign. Supe...