Welcome Back Letter - August 2022
Dear Norwood Students, Staff, and Families,
It is hard to believe that August is already here. The first day of school for K-12th grade students is right around the corner on Thursday, August 25th! Kindergarten and Preschool parents, please follow the camp and dates provided by your teachers and posted on our district calendar.
I truly hope that you have had time to relax, spend quality time with family, and that our students are ready and eager to return for the upcoming school year.
Our staff has been hard at work preparing for the weeks ahead. We look forward to seeing students back in the classrooms on August 25th. The summer is a great time to reflect on the past year and to plan for new ways to make Norwood City School District an even better place for students. Here's a sneak peek at some of the items you'll hear more about in the days ahead and throughout the school year:
Facility Improvements - We are excited to be near the completion of our six-year building renovations! Most recently, Williams Avenue Elementary has been beautifully remodeled and is reopening this school year. A tour of the Williams building is scheduled for Wednesday, August 24th from 4:00 to 5:30 pm.
The Norwood High School renovation is still underway and will be completed by the end of winter break 2022.
All students and staff will have air-conditioned learning environments when they come back to school on August 25th.
Physical and Mental Health Back-to-School Information - As a district, we recognize that happy, healthy students perform better academically. The Norwood City School District has full-time school counselors in each building and three social workers district-wide to support the needs of all students. Additionally, we have mental health therapists available on-site through Talbert House.
We are very excited about our school-based health center being available to serve our staff and families. Centerpoint Health is located inside Norwood High School by the Sherman Avenue entrance. Centerpoint Health is staffed with a nurse practitioner and a dentist to meet staff, student, and family health needs.
Families also have the option to sign up their children for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Center for Better Health and Nutrition Mobile Unit that comes to the middle/high school campus once per month.
We have a full-time registered nurse for the district, and six health aides serving students throughout our schools.
Food Service/Student Nutrition - Norwood has partnered with several other districts to provide delicious and nutritious meals for students. The partnership allows us to expand our menu and current offerings at lunchtime. If your child wishes to order any extra items at lunch, Milford Nutrition Services will coordinate our food service pre-payment plans. Information will be sent in a different email to explain how to set up a new account. There will be directions attached and numbers to call if you need assistance in setting up your account.
As we start another school year, we want to remind everyone of district safety measures. Some of the physical safety procedures we have in place include: locked doors - visitors need to be allowed into buildings, cameras, panic buttons, staff badges for identification and entry. In addition, a Hamilton County Deputy is present on the high school and middle school campus with regular visits to the three elementary schools. The Norwood Police Department is involved in the development of our crisis plans, have a copy on file, and are familiar with all our buildings since they use them regularly for training. We are fortunate that the Norwood Police Department is located close to our school buildings for a rapid response time if needed.
Crisis Plans and Emergency Drills:
Our crisis plans are reviewed yearly by Homeland Security and are sent to the State. Crisis plans are shared with staff members at the beginning of the school year. We are not allowed to release them to the public because that could result in giving information to someone who could do us harm.
Performing emergency drills are a part of our work in each of the buildings in the district. After we perform a drill, the building principal will share information with families about that drill.
Our entire staff will receive defense response training (Run, Hide, Fight or ALICE) in August before the school year starts. The Hamilton County Safety Officer meets with our principals and support staff during the year to review and update our safety procedures.
Our administrators, psychologists, counselors and social workers have been trained in threat assessment to identify students who might harm themselves or others and how to intervene.
Staff members participate in continuous professional development throughout the year and have access to professional development programs related to mental health and students in crisis. We have relationships with Children's Hospital, Talbert House and other local agencies to assist with mental health needs.
We also have prevention programs for students in place. At the high school level, we have the HOPE Squad for suicide prevention. This year we are beginning a middle school version of HOPE Squad. For elementary through middle school level, we have PAX Leadership programming which is all about helping young people develop positive behaviors and get along well with others. Students in grades 6-12 benefit from a Weekly Wellness activity, learning about healthy choices, and self-care. We have substance misuse prevention information available in our health classes. As you probably know, our nation’s youth have been lured in by nicotine in vape products which is just as addicting as cigarettes. Please help protect your children by talking with them about staying away from harmful substances. Let’s work together to protect young brains and lungs.
Academics and Career Readiness:
For grades 6-12, we are rolling out SchoolLinks this year to help students explore career interests and goals. Each young person will have an account where they track academics, job interests and potential career paths. Students will have an actionable plan in a fun, empowering platform that helps connect them with college or trade applications, certifications, transcripts, and more.
In all grades, we continue to celebrate the foundations of a strong education with reading, writing, math, science, social studies, etc. Remind students to get homework help after school if they need it and to not miss out on after school club opportunities when available that are often career related especially in the older grades through Avenues for Success.
Stay tuned for more information about all the above. And watch for our new Wild About Parenting Series where we will have 45 minute sessions available for adults to explore topics like Growth Mindset, PAX Leadership, Cyber Safety, Cradle to Career, and Developmental Assets.
I will continue to provide updates on these initiatives as well as other exciting news when the school year begins. Enjoy the rest of your summer. We look forward to welcoming our students back to the classrooms on August 25th!
Mary A. Ronan