We welcome Ocean City School District’s students, their families and our staff to the 2017-2018 school year. The District is in the midst of our typical preparation for the start of school, including the launch of creative initiatives and hiring staff.
As we gear-up for this school year, I’m reminded of a comment made by a candidate when she was asked why she wanted to work in the Ocean City School District. This candidate shared an incident of a Florida rescue of folks trapped in a rip current who were saved when 80 people, most of them strangers to each other, formed a human chain to bring them back to the beach. She said it reminded her of our Ocean City community; where community members instinctively form a human chain - linked to each other, supporting, helping, caring for and connecting. That’s why she wanted to start her career with us…and that is in part why we hired her. Thank you, Ivory.
Another vital connection is the one to our alumni. This October, the Ocean City Athletic Hall of Fame will be holding the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. At this Induction Ceremony, our students and community will see former athletic greats honored for their accomplishments as Ocean City student-athletes. These Red Raider standouts are Michael Naples, Jen Blizzard, Kevin Sinclair, Abbey Woolley, Leon Brown, Phil Birnbaum, Ralph Carson and the 1996 Football Team. SAVE THE DATE and join us on Sunday, October 22nd at noon in the Ocean City HighSchool Performing Art Center and Cafeteria. For more information, contact our new Athletic Director, Vince Leavey at 609-399-1290, ext. 6656.
We are also building connections for students with more global course offerings through our new virtual online program. The Virtual High School is a high-quality online course provider that works in cooperation with us to expand Ocean City students’ educational opportunities and 21st century skills via the Internet. Through this progressive program, our students will have opportunities to take online courses as part of their preparation for college and careers within the safety and support of our school. For more information, please contact Mr. Michael Mattina, OCHS Assistant Principal, 609-399-1290, ext. 8712 or Mr. Curt Nath, Director of Academic Services, at 609-399-1290, ext. 8757.
And to better prepare our Intermediate School students for academic success, we are pleased to provide a new customizedonline study skills course for the entire seventh grade. This much-needed course is aimed at developing skills required to complete assignments, research and organize ideas, manage study time efficiently, and to use their academic strengths to help them succeed both in and beyond high school. We also want our students to start developing a strong foundation in college and career readiness standards. To learn more, please contact Ms. Lauren Gunther, Curriculum Director at 609-399-1290, ext. 8747.
The OC Life21 initiative, an after-school activity in each of our schools, is the next step in our School District’s inventive approach to learning. The OC Life21 initiative encourages students to dream, realize and build new pathways to making their school and/or community better through authentic, real-world problem solving experiences that reach beyond the traditional classroom. For example, the Primary School created a lego room, the Intermediate School designed a recycling app and the High School team is setting up a hydroponics project. If you or your child would like to find out more about this program, please contact Mr. Randy Kohr, (firstname.lastname@example.org) at the Primary School, Ms. Maureen Baldini, (email@example.com) at the Intermediate School, or Mr. Dan Weaver, (firstname.lastname@example.org) at the High School.
Making decisions about colleges and careers will be further facilitated by a new College and Career Center(CCC) located in OCHS room D102. The Ocean City High School College and Career Center will provide a variety of resources for college and career planning directed by Mrs. Tobi Oves, College and Career Counselor (609-399-1290, ext. 8716). The CCC will be a place in which students can come to obtain information on two and four year colleges and universities, testing and test preparation, financial aid and scholarships, career possibilities and descriptions of college majors.
Additionally, K-12 Athletic Director, Mr. Leavey invites parents/guardians of student-athletes in grades 8-12 to a College/Recruiting seminar on September 12th at 7:30 pm in the High School Library. Guiding the College-Bound Athlete, is geared to our student-athletes who wish to continue their athletic careers in college and beyond. It will include information on the recruiting process, NCAA/NAIA rules, eligibility and many more topics. To learn more about the District’s new Athletic Director, Mr. Leavey, please see his enclosed introductory letter.
Facilitating our students’ health and wellness, as well as building their resiliency, are significant goals for our School District. With these goals in mind, we are creating a Red Raider Wellness Center (R&R) in OCHS room D102. This safe space will provide students with the opportunity to reduce stress and anxiety and develop healthy strategies and self-care. The Red Raider Wellness Center will be available for individual and self-directed use during community lunch and will also make a great location for small group sessions. When students feel safe, secure and supported, they are able to focus on their school work. To learn more, please contact Mr. Matt Carey, Director of Student Services, at 609-399-1290, extension 8753.
Another way we make a connection is when we hear words, see actions or get an inkling that there is a reason to be concerned about a friend. For our students, they will have a number of ways to help their friends. Through the Lifelines Program, students are provided with suicide awareness resources, particularly information about suicide and the role of students in suicide prevention. Students participate in role-playing exercises that teach them what to do when faced with a friend at risk. The exercises feature an emphasis on seeking adult help and frank discussions on the warning signs of suicide. In the process of teaching students how to help a friend, students who may be suicidal themselves will learn the importance of getting help as well. This compelling program is a component to our school's prevention programming. For more information, please contact Ms. Faye Noble, Social Worker, at 609-814-8756.
Some connections, as we know, are made quietly, which will be the case with STOPit K12 Solution. This application will allow the School District to be proactive, rather than reactive, when it comes to addressing incidents of inappropriate behavior. When students are comfortable sharing information with adults, more students will start asking for and getting the help they need. Students will be able to anonymously report issues from bullying/cyberbullying to threats, violence and drug activity. Any questions, please contact Ms. Lauren Sacs, Student Assistant Coordinator, at 609-814-8706.
To stay connected and keep families informed about the rapid-paced, ever-changing world in which our students live, we will be implementing an on-demand video and informational series through a webandapp-based digital toolkit that helps families learn and navigate a range of issues their children are facing, from social and emotional learning to character development to health and wellness. The Suite 360 platform offers students and parents access to similar subjects such as understanding emotional development, learning about health-related topics, identifying and correcting risky behaviors, keeping the lines of communication open and flowing in both directions. For more information, please contact Dr. Vicki Scheetz, School Social Worker, at 609-399-5611, extension 5416.
The School District is pleased to announce the appointment of new staff for the 2017-18 school year. Our new District staff include Vincent Leavey, K-12 Athletic Director; Ivory Williams, District Social Worker; Shaun Gross, Groundskeeper; and District Special Education Aides: Raymond Conover, Thomas Marshall, Frank Sicurella, Jason Bourgeois, James Graham, Laura Watts, and Monique Cione. The High School is welcoming Biology Teacher, Ian Keyser and English Teacher, Sean Flood. Kelsey Mitchell and Stephanie Diaz Michael will be joining the Intermediate School. The Primary School will be welcoming Jillian Dittbrenner as a short-term leave replacement through December. For more information on the District’s new hires, please check out our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/oceancityschools.
As always, we are grateful for the support from the staff, students and families of the Ocean City School District for caring so deeply about this School District and our community. Our “connections” with each other strengthen us as individuals and collectively. Please remind your children, that if they see or hear “something,” to tell a staff member.
Last, but not least, the first day of school - a full day - for students is Wednesday, September 6th! Have a fantastic school year!