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MHS Newsletter

February 23, 2024

A Message from Principal Bobby Dodd

Dear MHS Families,

We are excited to announce that MHS junior student, Haasini Mendu, was recognized at the National STEM Challenge, a nationwide initiative by EXPLR for students in grades 6-12 from across the U.S. and its territories to foster STEM innovations, inventions, and research.  She was selected under the Health & Medicine category for her project to improve the quality of life of Parkinson's Disease patients. 

She is invited to showcase her project at the National STEM Festival from April 11-13, 2024 in Washington, D.C. The Festival is co-presented by the U.S. Department of Education and EXPLR. Way to go Haasini!
 

Parents’ Corner

Our Mason City Schools Learner & Family Engagement team is conducting a focus group to gather valuable insights from families like yours. We want to hear your perspectives and feedback about your children and family’s experience as you move to a new grade level or school building.  Your opinions matter to us, and we would greatly appreciate your participation.

Date: March 13, 2024

Time: 5:00 pm-6:00 pm

Location: Mason City Schools Central Office, Room 127
211 North East Street, Mason, OH 45040

Your input will help us improve our experiences to better meet the needs of our Comet families.
Please RSVP by March 1 by completing this form.

Thank you for considering this invitation. We look forward to hearing from you.

Comet Savings & Loan
Explore the student-run bank's latest updates, account opening details, and ongoing campaign. It's an excellent opportunity for students to engage in meaningful activities. Discover more here!

School-Wide Training
Since 2016, Mason has used the Signs of Suicide Program to teach students about how to recognize when they or someone they know is struggling, and how to seek help. Through the program, students learn: 

  • to ACT (Acknowledge, Care and Tell a trusted adult) if concerned about themselves or a friend 
  • that depression is treatable, so they are encouraged to seek help  
  • how to identify depression and potential suicide risk in themselves or a friend 
  • who they can turn to at school for help 

MHS to Hold Signs of Suicide School-Wide Training on Feb 28
On Wednesday, February 28th, MHS students will watch age-appropriate video clips and participate in a guided discussion during Connect Time about depression, suicide, and what to do if they are concerned about a friend. Following the video, students will complete a brief depression screening form. This form cannot provide a diagnosis of depression but does indicate whether a young person should seek help from a mental health professional.  The screening form will not be collected. At the end of Connect Time, students will complete an exit slip that asks whether they would like to talk to an adult about any concerns. School staff will conduct brief meetings with any student asking to talk. If you do not want your child to participate in Signs of Suicide Training on February 28th during Connect Time, complete this form by February 21st.

Talking to Your Child About Suicide
If you have concerns for your child, the first step is to start a conversation, and then listen without judgment. You can say, “I’ve noticed some changes in you. How are you?” You can show your support by saying, “It’s okay to feel this way. I’m here for you.”
If your child gives any indication that they are thinking about suicide, don’t hesitate to ask directly. Asking about suicide will not put the idea in their head. Instead, it will show them that you see their pain and are not afraid to hear the truth. “When things get this tough, have you ever thought about ending your life?” No matter how your child answers, show your support and keep the conversation going. The ACT message applies to families, too.

  • Acknowledge signs of suicide in your child
  • Care: show your child that you can listen and support them
  • Tell someone; reach out to get your child the help they need

Most people thinking about suicide are struggling with a mental health condition like depression. With professional help, people begin to feel better. If your child is struggling, reach out to their pediatrician, or school counselor so that we can connect them to help. We are fortunate in Mason to have dedicated school counselors, mental wellness coordinators, a substance use counselor, and partnerships with Cincinnati Children's Medical Center for school-based therapists who can meet with teens during the school day at MHS. If your child is at immediate risk, call 911 or take them to the nearest emergency room. 

Thank you for your partnership in caring for our Comet teens!

Get Ready for an Out-of-This-World Experience: 
Mason City Schools Prepares for April 8 Solar Eclipse

On April 8, 2024, for the first time since 1806, Ohio will play host to a total solar eclipse. Here in Mason, we'll witness an awe-inspiring 99% coverage of the sun during this celestial event. For most of us, and many of our Comets, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience - the next total solar eclipse in Ohio won't occur until 2099!
We're eager to make this day memorable for our entire school community, fostering a sense of unity and excitement. The solar eclipse offers a unique opportunity to come together, appreciate the universe's wonders, and create lasting memories as Mason Comets! As a Comet commUNITY, we are thrilled to safely celebrate this extraordinary event together. Here are some key preparations and details:

Dismissal Schedule Adjustment
To allow everyone the opportunity to witness this remarkable event safely, we are making some adjustments to our dismissal schedules on April 8. In Mason, the Solar Eclipse begins at 1:52 PM, the Solar Eclipse maximum will be at 3:10 PM, and the Solar Eclipse will end at 4:25 PM. 

  • All Mason High School students will be dismissed early at 2:05 PM. Students who ride the bus will be transported home but will arrive home earlier than on a typical day. MHS students who wish to stay at school to witness the eclipse with classmates and staff will be able to do so, but they will not be transported home by bus, and drivers may have roads blocked for a period of time.

Safety First – Eclipse Glasses Provided by the Mason Schools Foundation
Student and staff safety is our top priority. Thanks to the generosity of the Mason Schools Foundation, each student and staff member will be provided with certified solar eclipse glasses. These glasses are designed to protect your eyes while allowing you to fully enjoy the breathtaking spectacle in the sky. To ensure that glasses are not damaged and are available for each student and staff member, we are not able to provide glasses to go home with students before the event, or to provide glasses to families. The Mason Public Library will have a limited number of glasses for families with a Mason Library Card.

Comet Eclipse T-Shirts – Preorder Now
Commemorate this historic occasion by preordering your limited edition Comet Eclipse t-shirt, which was co-designed by Mason Elementary School 4th grader Natalie Smith and MHS Comet Zone students led by Senior Ella Rumpke. These specially designed shirts will serve as a fantastic memento for years.  

The Comet Zone is partnering with the Mason Schools Foundation for an OUT OF THIS WORLD t-shirt sale! Gear up for the April 8th eclipse in the NEW Solar Eclipse GALAXY Mason Comets t-shirt! And a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Mason Schools Foundation!

Shirts are on sale for $15 + tax and there will be 4 colors offered: Cobalt, Iris, Purple, and Sky Blue!
Sizes YS-YL and Adult S-XXXL will be offered. 

Step 1: Purchase your shirts online and in the Comet Zone NOW and orders will be accepted from 2/13-3/8. 
Step 2: Fill out THIS Google form for EACH t-shirt you ordered so we know where to deliver it. 
Support the MSF in Comet and Cosmic style!
**All sales are final and no exchanges can be offered**

Yearbook Ordering

To purchase a copy of the 2023-2024 Masonion Yearbook, CLICK THIS LINK!


Parking Pass Info
Just got your license, or getting your license soon?  Wondering how to get a parking pass?
Visit the 2023-2024 Parking Pass FAQs for all parking information. Remember, you must have a parking pass to be able to drive to school.

Seniors!
Here is all of the information you need regarding senior pictures for yearbook, senior ads, and yearbook ordering!

MCS Releases Tentative 2024-2025 Key Dates
The Board of Education collaborates closely with the Mason Education Association (the teachers' union) to finalize academic calendars, typically spanning three years. Although the full 24-25 Academic Calendar has not yet been developed and approved, we recognize that many families are trying to plan vacations and holidays. We hope these tentative dates offer a foundation for those plans. An official 24-25 academic calendar will be drafted and adopted during negotiations this spring.
Start of School: The first week of school is projected to begin no earlier than August 12, 2024. This week would likely include Comet Family Welcome Days (orientations.)
Winter Break: December 23, 2024 through January 3, 2025.
Spring Break: March 24-28, 2025

MHS PTO

MHS PTO Parent/Teacher Conference Dinners:

https://http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C084EADAB2FA0FDC52-48129361-parent
Sign up to help set up, clean up, or provide desserts for teachers between the end of the school day and the beginning of conferences. Donations can be dropped off at the front desk any time prior to the event. Donations can also be made by following the Venmo link on the Sign-Up.

Be on the lookout for the upcoming MHS PTO English Department Book Drive! The link is live and ready—and books will be added as teachers request them. All books donated go directly to the teachers. Books can be new or gently used. Sign Up to donate here—this is currently a work in progress so please be patient while we get lists updated and organized: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C084EADAB2FA0FDC52-48130337-book

Senior parents:  We are now accepting Senior Poster orders!  Choose 7 - 9 photographs of your senior for Senior Posters to be displayed After Prom.  Posters tend to include a baby picture, a student's senior portrait and photos showing your student throughout their life (during their favorite extracurriculars, with friends, in important places to the student, etc.)   
Here is the link to the order form:

 
Be sure to follow us on all of our Social Media Accounts: X, Instagram, and Facebook. Just search for Mason High School PTO!
 

Counselors’ Corner

**23-24 Counselor Assignments**

Scholarship 101

Scholarship and Financial Aid Did you Know?

2024 Ohio Seal of Biliteracy Informational Letter

24/25 Course Scheduling - Next Steps:

Students received their Scheduling Verification Contract this week during English classes.  Please have them complete both sides with a parent/guardian signature and return to their English class by February 28, 2024.  This step is required to complete the scheduling process for 2024/2025.  Course request changes can be written directly on the Verification Contract.  After submission, all changes must be requested through the school counselor - changes are permitted through March 22, 2024.  Please contact your student's counselor with any questions.

 
Scheduling Resources:
Please reach out to your student's current school counselor with any questions about the process.  Students may also request a meeting with their counselor via email or stopping by their offices.
 
 

The ACT test will be offered for all juniors on Tuesday, March 5, 2024.  This will be an RLE Day.  All MHS juniors will be automatically enrolled and there is no cost for the exam.

The ACT exam will be given online.  All students will need to take the exam with a District issued device.  Personal devices are not permitted.  If you do not have a District issued device, please complete the form included in the State ACT Exam - March 5, 2024 attached document.

Please see the FAQ linked above for answers to frequently asked questions.

Juniors
2/29 - Junior Parent Informational Meeting  - 7:00 pm MHS Auditorium.  
3/7 - The 2024 College Fair is March 7th from 6-8pm at MHS! We will be using StriveScan, which will create a barcode specific to you so that colleges can scan and send you more information. This is an important aspect to the College Fair so be sure to SIGN UP HERE!

Senior Parents
The MHS School Counseling Department is excited to announce an opportunity to help students and parents complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  A completed FAFSA determines a student's eligibility for need-based financial aid and is an important step in the college process for most students.  The financial aid department at Miami University has graciously agreed to schedule one on one virtual appointments with families to help each individual  student complete the FAFSA.  Parents and students will be offered one hour virtual appointments with the support of a Miami University staff member.  
 
Military
Seniors who are planning some type of military career or schooling after graduation, please see or email Sally Clark for the following:
  • will attend a service academy in the fall
  • accept a Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC) Scholarship
  • enlisted (signed) for service as active duty, reserve, or National Guard
Adult Education
If you are interested in an Adult Education Program, we will be taking two trips to visit Scarlet Oaks on 2/22 and Warren County Career Center on 3/7.   Please use the google form below to sign up for one or both trips.  We also need the permission slip which you can turn into your counselor.  
 

WCCC- 3/7:   Google form for sign-up. Permission slip 

 

Mason Moments

Nurses Notes
For updates for the clinic, please click here.

Wellness Moments

Family Education Day - Depression/Anxiety
Sunday, February 25 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
Graduate Hotel, 151 Goodman Street, Cincinnati 

The second annual Family Education Day, a collaboration between 1N5, MindPeace, and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, is designed to support adolescents and young adults grappling with depression and anxiety, along with their caregivers. This special education program offers expert presentations, Q&A panels, and dedicated sessions for teens and young adults. The day includes keynote speaker sessions covering topics like pharmacology and chronic depression treatment, the whole-person approach to depression treatment, the latest treatments for resistant depression, and the role of family in depression treatment. Attendees can enjoy breakfast, lunch, breakout sessions, an information fair, networking opportunities, and more. Sign up HERE

LinkingTogether: 4th Annual Mental Health Summit

This two-day mental health summit will be held on Friday, February 23rd, from 6:00 pm - 9:30 pm, and Saturday, February 24th, from 8:00 am - 1:30 pm. Both days will include a meal, a keynote speaker, and various workshops and seminars, led by national, state, and local experts in the areas of youth mental health. Session topics will include Emotional Regulation Coping Strategies, Empowerment Self-Defense, Social Emotional Learning, Suicide Prevention, Vaping Prevention, Mindfulness and more. The goals of the Summit are to increase mental health literacy, to reduce the stigma associated with mental health disorders in our community and to strengthen community response to youth development through awareness, knowledge, connectivity and access. Sign up HERE

Ask a Therapist - LIVE with Dr. Skinner
Support your child’s mental health and wellness by joining Cook Center for Human Connection and ParentGuidance.org for an informative event for parents and educators. Ask questions of leading family therapists and take advantage of a free resource to help parents with important topics such as identifying anxiety, depression, grief, suicide ideation and parenting with purpose. Registration is first come first serve with 500 available participant slots. REGISTER HERE. Even if you can’t attend, registering will ensure you get access to recorded content. 


Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center - School Based Therapy

Mason City Schools continues to partner with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center to improve access to care within the community. All of our schools are serviced by therapists from CCHMC. School based mental health services offer individual therapy services to students in the school setting. This optional and confidential service is offered in addition to existing services provided by school counselors and psychologists. Independently licensed clinicians deliver these services in the school setting and are trained to work with various challenges facing youth, such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, major life changes, and difficulty with social relationships. School-based therapists are available to provide care through sessions held during the school day. CCHMC Description Link.

If you would like more information about mental health and wellness or would like to connect your child with a Cincinnati Children’s Hospital therapist, please reach out to your child’s school counselor or Prevention and Wellness Designer.

If you would like more information on mental health and wellness or would like to get connected to mental health resources, check out the Resources for Mason Families page and reach out to your Prevention and Wellness Designer or your child’s school counselor.

 

Upcoming Events

BLACK HISTORY FEST: a Comet CommUNITY Mirrors & Windows Experience
Thursday, February 29 |6:00-8:00PM | Mason Intermediate Cafeteria & Gym

MCS DEI Council is partnering with the Mason Schools Foundation, MECC PTO, ME/MI PTO, MCS Inclusive Excellence Teams, and the MMS Black Student Union to celebrate Black History month as part of our Comets Connect Mirrors and windows series. This event will include music, food sampling, a Black-Owned Business Showcase, a picture book tasting, STEAM challenges, a family Black History Bowl, and more! During the event, there will be a special recognition ceremony for the 2024 MI Black History Bowl winners, the Mason Elementary Black History Bowl float entries, and a Scavenger Hunt!
Learn more about the “Your Story Matters” Featured Citizens: Mr. Terry Killens and Dr. Purcell Taylor, Jr, Black-Owned Business Showcase, and entertainment featuring Comet staff and the YOLO Band!

TASTE OF MASON: a Comet CommUNITY Mirrors & Windows Experience
Wednesday, March 6 | 5:00-8:00PM | Mason High School Large Commons 

At the Taste of Mason you can sample a new dish, catch up with friends, and be mesmerized by incredible talent!  Enjoy exciting offerings from many ethnic and independent Mason restaurants. Watch multicultural acts perform. Children can enjoy a global carnival hosted by MHS World Language Societies, and get their passports stamped while purchasing items at the Comet Zone with global currency from the Comet Savings & Loan.  Don't miss this incredible cultural community event!

COLLEGE FAIR
Thursday, March 7 l 6:00-8:00 PM l Mason High School | REGISTER

Students and Families, your opportunity to talk to over 100 college admissions reps is coming soon! We will be using StriveScan, which will create a barcode specific to you so that colleges can scan and send you more information. This is an important aspect to the College Fair so be sure to SIGN UP HERE!

 
5TH GRADE INSTRUMENT FAIR:  Flyer
Saturday, March 9, 2024 | 9:00 AM - 3:00PM | Mason Intermediate Gym, Mason Elementary Cafeteria
Play & try out every instrument!  Meet the teachers & ask questions.  Get information from local rental shops.
Mason Band - Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone, Trumpet, French Horn, Trombone, Baritone, Tube - Located at ME Enter at ME Cafeteria Doors
Mason Orchestra - Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass - Located in the MI Gym, Enter at MI Main Entrance

DAYLIGHT SAVINGS 
Sunday, March 10, 2024

MEAN GIRLS JR.: a  Middle School Production
March 15,16, 17 | 7:30 PM | Mason Middle School Auditorium | Purchase tickets

Mason Middle Theater invites you to back-to-school when students present the smart and ferociously funny musical Mean Girls JR. beginning March 15 at Mason Middle School. Adapted from the hit movie written by Tina Fey and starring Lindsay Lohan, Mean Girls JR. tells the story of student Cady Heron who must learn to navigate the treacherous social hierarchy of high school when her family moves to suburban Illinois from Kenya.
Show times are March 15-16 at  7:30 pm and  March 16-17 at 3:00 pm 
Tickets are $10 in advance, and $15 at the door. 

COFFEE WITH DR. COOPER Comet Coffee Talks
Monday, March 18 | 8-9:30AM |Adesso Coffee

Comet Coffee Talks are open opportunities for the community to connect with the Superintendent|CEO of Mason City Schools and other district leaders while supporting a local business. Attendees will hear updates that are taking place throughout the district, have an opportunity to ask questions, give feedback and engage in productive conversation about the future of our school district. Grab a friend/neighbor and join the conversation. 

BREWS WITH THE SUP’T
Monday, March 18 |5:30-7:00PM |Sonder Brewing
Brews with the Sup’t are open opportunities for the community to connect with the superintendent and other district leaders while supporting a local business. Attendees will hear updates that are taking place throughout the district, and have an opportunity to ask questions, give feedback and engage in productive conversation about the future of our school district.

SPRING BREAK - NO SCHOOL
Monday, March 25 - Monday, April 1, 2024

We wish all of our Comets a relaxing & rejuvenating Spring Break!

DISTRICT OFFICES CLOSED
Friday, March 29, 2024 

GRADUATION

Sunday, May 19, 2024 | 3:00 PM | Cintas Center, Xavier University
 

Links

  • For all things activities, please visit the new site created by MHS Interns 
  • For all things graduation, please visit here
  • SafeSchools tipline

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