Stopping head lice in their tracks

By Tammy Sroufe, R.N.
School Nurse

You’ve received the dreaded call that your child has head lice…now what? Well the first step is not to panic. In the United States there are between 6 million and 12 million cases of head lice each year, most commonly among elementary aged children. You are not alone. Chances are you have a friend or relative that has experienced this particular joy of parenting as well.

How exactly did this happen? Your child most likely came into close head-to-head contact with a child who had it, or perhaps they shared hats, brushes or stuffed animals. Is this a sign of poor hygiene? Absolutely not! In fact, lice prefer clean hair because it is easier to grip onto. The objective is to get ahead of the lice life cycle to effectively remove it, and to get ahead of it you have to understand it.

The adult louse, which is about two to three millimeters long, lays about 10 nits (eggs) a day onto strands of hair closest to the scalp. The nits are very small and in my experience are gray, cream or yellow in color. They are easily distinguishable from dry scalp flakes or hair product residue because they are firmly attached to the strand of hair at about a 45 degree angle and will not move if you blow on it or flick it with your finger. The nits hatch in about 10 to 14 days and reach adult size in nine to 12 days, so the life cycle repeats itself about every three weeks. The first sign is usually itching due to the irritation of the scalp. Lice tend to like the really warm areas of a head like the back of the neck and behind the ears, but I have found it many times right on top.

What is the best way to kill those critters? There are many products available and I would refer your to your pediatrician or pharmacist to see what they recommend. I also encourage you to follow the directions closely with these products. When applied correctly the products will kill the live lice, but the problem is that they do NOT kill nits, so a marathon session of manual nit removal with your fingernails or the appropriate nit comb should follow any product application.

The key to staying ahead of the life cycle is nit removal. You must be persistent daily in inspecting and removing any nits that you see for a minimum of two weeks. If you let up just for a day or two the life cycle can start all over again. Lice usually only survive about two days away from the scalp at normal room temperature, but a thorough cleaning and washing of any clothing or bed linens at 130° Fahrenheit will kill any and all stages. Stuffed animals should be washed as well or placed in an airtight bag for a minimum of two weeks and then put in the dryer on a high heat setting for good measure. Lastly, you should contact the parents of any students with whom your child has recently had sleepovers or close contact so they can check their own child or request a check by their school nurse. This helps to prevent widespread infestations. You now hold the key to success…go and conquer!

All-You-Can-Eat Pizza Event Saturday, September 17, to Benefit Libraries for Liberia Foundation

The Libraries for Liberia Foundation, in collaboration with Pizza Villa in Plain City, Ohio, will hold a fundraiser on Saturday, September 17 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. to raise money to ship books and educational materials to war-torn Liberia. In exchange for a donation of any amount, Pizza Villa will provide participants with all the pizza they can eat. Drinks will be available for purchase. The restaurant is located at 209 W. Bigelow Ave.

Libraries for Liberia was founded as a result of a successful book drive organized by Liberian native and Westerville City Schools LAN/WAN Technician Zuulu Cooper, in partnership with Huber Ridge Elementary School. Cooper’s goal is to assist schools in Liberia with curriculum materials; to set up libraries in Liberian schools; and to build the first community library in Monrovia. Cooper did not have the opportunity to visit a library until he entered high school, and there are no community libraries or school libraries in post-war Liberia.

Twenty-four pallets of books have been collected, along with 10 computers, 12 microscopes, two sets of soccer outfits and four soccer balls. Further collection has been suspended until $4,200 has been raised pay for a 20 foot certified-seaworthy container which will be transported to the Firestone Tire and Rubber Terminal in Baltimore, Maryland. Proceeds from the pizza event will be used for this purpose. Firestone-Liberia provides a space on each voyage to Liberia for humanitarian cargo. For further information please visit

Westerville Schools Named Agency of the Year by the OSU College of Social Work

Pictured left to right: Teri Kinsway, OSU Field Education Coordinator; Adam Rex, School Social Worker, Huber Ridge and Wilder Elementary Schools; Bonnie Gourley, School Social Worker, Hawthorne and Annehurst Elementary Schools; Emily Mills, School Social Worker, McVay and Pointview Elementary Schools; and Dr. Machelle Kline, Director of Assessment & Accountability, Westerville City Schools.

Westerville City Schools was selected as “Agency of the Year for 2010 – 2011″ by The Ohio State University School of Social Work for exemplary work with social worker interns.  The award was announced on May 6 during a recognition breakfast at theFawcettCenterin which Teri Kinsway, OSU Field Education Coordinator, saidWesterville“surpasses all other agencies in embracing differences in students and engaging our community to help with educating our students.”  

This award was based on dedicated and sustained service to field education byWesterville’s counselors and social workers.  Exemplary Westerville City Schools staff members who were lauded for their participation included Mary Decenzo, Bonnie Gourley, Esther Hampton, Amy Miller, Emily Mills, Adam Rex, and Tami Santa.

Connecting Math to Real Life

By Lee Smith, 7th Grade Math Teacher, Heritage Middle School

Pythagoras, Newton, Pascal, and many other famous mathematicians did not change the world by sitting in a classroom! They experienced the world by creating and destroying, and by changing and observing. From that experience they identified situations in life that could be modeled with math. These men were the leaders of their generation in a time when math was cool. On a pretty regular basis our classroom looks more like a union in which math class intercepted the remnants of a shop class. Lessons are about destroying situations and seeing how the little pieces relate to math, or changing the little pieces and seeing how the change affects the function. That is how our model of the classroom came to be.

A group of 12 students embarked upon a mathematical journey to reconnect math to real life. The students had to measure the dimensions of everything in the room, convert them to inches, use them in proportions, and then transfer the new measurements onto pieces of wood that were then cut, sanded, drilled, hammered, plastered and finally painted. The result was more than a scale model of my classroom; it was a connection to life. Much like the forefathers of mathematics, these students created, destroyed, changed, and observed the mathematics that fit into our real world.

After the initial creation of the model, the students of Marty Wick’s Math Plus class came to witness the math that was taking place in my class. They came to witness, they stayed to create. The real life aspect of math combined with the creativity and challenge of building a model was inspiring to so many of Marty’s students. Suddenly the math made sense. Marty was so excited that he brought his students to work with mine during a few more periods of Math Plus. I think it is important to mention the role that Marty Wicks and I had in the classroom. We were the foremen on a job site, overseeing the project and progress but trying not to interfere with the work.

Genoa’s Stimer Named Central District Secondary Classroom Teacher of the Year

Each year the Ohio Council of Mathematics makes available a district award for the outstanding secondary classroom teacher in each of its eight districts in Ohio. This year, the award for the Central District Secondary Classroom Teacher of the Year was awarded to Elizabeth Stimer, 7th grade mathematics teacher at Genoa Middle School. The Council noted her teaching approach using inquiry-based methods and integration of 21st-Century Learning Skills. The selection committee was also impressed with her demonstration of place-based education through her mathematics lesson at the community garden and her project on family budgets. Stimer will be recognized in October at the 2011 Annual OCTM Conference in Toledo, Ohio.

Stimer holds undergraduate and masters degrees from Otterbein College. She started teaching at Genoa in 2007.

What’s Been Happening Around the District?

The work of theWestervilleCitySchool Districtis guided by five key goals established by the Board of Education. These goals are:

  • Every Student Achieves Educational Success.
  • Learning and Working Environments are Safe, Nurturing and Efficient.
  • The Best Staff are Recruited, Selected, Developed and Retained.
  • Community, Parents, Students and Staff are Engaged as Partners in Education.
  • Financial Resources are Maximized to Support Educational Success.

This week we highlight some of our recent activities, categorized by department, that are contributing to the achievement of the goal, “Every Student Achieves Educational Success.”

Office of Assessment & Alternate Education Services

  • “Leslie” the robot recently made her debut at the Buckeye Regional FIRST Robotics Competition in Cleveland, Ohio. Students from North, South and Central participated in a challenging maneuverability course and finished 35th out of 58 teams from theUnited States andCanada. Look for more from our Robotics Team as they prepare for an off-season competition, sponsored by the Central Ohio Robotics Initiative, which will take place inColumbus on June 25.
  • Registrations for all Summer Learning Opportunities are currently being accepted through June 1st for Summer Intervention and June 3rd for Pre-K through 12th grade.
  • Educational Opportunities for Success (EOS) currently has 154 students enrolled, including 25 expellees, 108 overage/under-credited students and 21 returning dropouts or former charter school students. Of these students, 116 are scheduled to graduate in May, 2011.
  • The Summer Intervention Staff has been working in cooperation with our Curriculum & Instruction Team and OSU to develop a plan for our students in grades 1 through 8 who are struggling with core content areas. Since mathematics and language arts are our focal points over the summer, we are infusing non-fiction (specifically in science) into our language arts lessons.

Office of Communications & Technology Services

  • Office representatives are working with the Office of Assessment & Alternative Education Services to develop marketing materials for theAcademicEnrichmentCenter.
  • Office representatives are working with the Office of Pupil Services to develop marketing materials for theEarlyLearningCenter. Office representatives are working to develop marketing materials and build awareness of the summer food programs that will be operating in the district.
  • Office representatives set up and deployed new special education software called “SOLO” to every PC in the district.
  • Office representatives rolled out internet override at all buildings, which gives teachers and staff the ability to access previously blocked sites for educational purposes.
  • Office representatives are testing VMware for a desktop virtualization project for theAcademicEnrichmentCenter.
  • Office representatives are working on implementation details for district-wide wireless access and assignment of student PIN numbers.

Office of Curriculum & Instruction Services

  • Opportunities for staff to work alongside teachers in the classroom have been expanded during the critical months of February, March, and April. Assisting with review of formative data and planning small group instructional opportunities helps curriculum support see first-hand the needs of our students and our classroom teachers. We will continue to prioritize providing the materials and support for hands-on mathematics activities to support learning for all levels of student ability. Upon popular demand, a Guided Math session was offered to our teachers of mathematics in Grades 3-5 at Waiver Day.
  • World Language has completed revision of curriculum and creation of new courses of study which were taken to the Curriculum Council on April 7, and were presented to the Board on April 25.
  • Secondary mathematics teachers continue to look at the transition to the Common Core Standards. An overall look at the standards took place on Waiver Day for all Mathematics and Special Education teachers responsible for Mathematics in Grades 6-12.
  • High School mathematics placement is in the process of being finalized. 7th Grade mathematics placement testing took place on April 29th and 6th grade placement testing will take place during the month of May. The district looks at previous OAA data, Battelle predicted proficiency, current grades, teacher recommendation, and Algebra Aptitude test results when determining placement.
  • Teachers attended training on the new Explore Learning program (Gizmos) to learn how to incorporate this form of instruction into their classroom. Students have been provided login information which allows them to access both Science and Math Gizmos outside of school and over the summer.
  • End of unit assessments have been finalized for the following units:
    • 6th grade:  Matter; Cells; Energy
    • 7th grade:  Ecology; Weather; Diversity of Life; Genetics
    • 8th grade:  Earth Science; Earth, Moon & Sun; Rocks and Minerals
  • Conversations have begun regarding alignment to the new Common Core Standards for ELA K-12.
  • Kindergarten Language Arts will be implemented during the 2011-2012 school year. The incoming kindergartners will be the first group that will take the new assessments during the 2014-2015 school year. Pacing guides for grade K were shared with curriculum council on April 11, anticipating implementation in the Fall 2011. Pacing guides for grades 1-2 are in the process of being drafted to be implemented during 2012-13 school year; as will pacing guides for grades 3-4-5.

Office of English as a Second Language

  • ESL staff is breathing a sigh of relief as OTELA books have been returned for scoring. Staff members are looking forward to receiving 2011 scores by mid-May. With OTELA and even the Terra Nova, InView, and NNAT now completed, teachers and students were gearing up for the final statewide test, the OAA.

Office of Facilities & Operations

  • AlternativeEducationCenter
    • Demolition 90% complete
    • Substantial Completion Date:  July 31st
  • Early Learning Center (1st floor of Eastwind)
    • Wall framing complete, MEP (mechanical, electrical, plumbing) in work
    • Substantial Completion Date:  July 31st
    • Exterior play area in design
    • Completed ELC Advisory Committee presentation/tour on April 20th
  • “Westervillage” (Eastwind lobby concept)
    • Design complete
    • Obtaining construction proposals

 Office of Health and Safety Services

  • Policy Calendar Updated on District web site
  • Second Reading:
    • 2412       Home Instruction Program – Revised
    • 5200       Attendance – Revised
    • 5751       Parental Status of Students – Revised
    • 7540       Computer Technology and Networks – Revised

Office of High School Academic Affairs

  • PowerSchool reports were run at each high school identifying students who earned a grade of “D” or “F” for the 3rd Grading Period. Those students are identified in order to plan academic and or behavioral interventions.
  • Westerville North HS inducted into the National Honor Society 64 students exemplifying the pillars of excellence.
  • Westerville South HS is exploring the development of Freshmen Only study halls as they construct their 2011-2012 Master Schedule. This would allow the South staff to target needed interventions for those students.
  • The number of students registering for Honors and AP level courses has increased by over 130 requests in each area. For Advanced Placement, that amounts to an increase of 27% in AP coursework.
  • Three students at Westerville Central HS accepted appointments to theUnited StatesNavalAcademy, West Point, and theUnited StatesAirForceAcademy.
  • The Top 10 at Central have an average cumulative weighted GPA of 4.53.
  • The Westerville North HS Science Olympiad team was the Regional Runner-Up and competed in the state competition at The Ohio State University.

Office of K-8 Academic Affairs

  • Huber Ridge ES recently obtained several sets of Student Response Systems. These interactive tools have been extremely helpful in obtaining achievement data in a timely manner to drive instruction. Data is being gathered in grades 3, 4, and 5 in order to form intervention skill-based groups as well as provide immediate feedback to teachers and students right on the spot when working in the whole group setting. This allows teachers to know whether or not more time is needed on a particular question or concept. This wonderful tool is very engaging for students. Student Response Systems also allow teachers to gain valuable data in an efficient manner so instructional time can be maximized.
  • McVay ES leaders facilitated the building-wide development of a data wall reflecting the current level of every student attending McVay ES. All grade levels, including all special education instructors, participated in a half day workshop to develop, build and analyze student data. The March early release time was utilized to: 1) update the data wall, 2) reflect and share what the data tells us, and 3) begin a plan for focused instructional initiatives for the remainder of this school year and for the 2011-12 school year. One outcome involved identifying a “wish list” for each grade level. To clarify, each grade level would identify what foundational skills they “wish” every child coming to their class would have mastered (ex. Math facts, vocabulary, etc.). Teams would meet to agree that the skills were within grade level standards and would determine how to make this happen. In addition, all staff felt that services needed to be provided in the primary grades, as quickly as possible for new students that may be in need of additional instruction, and earlier in the year.
  • Walnut Springs MS recognized outstanding 6th graders at a Game Day Friday event. Teachers publically recognized students for their efforts and students were treated to a lunchtime pizza party and games.
  • Hawthorne ES staff spent recent staff meetings analyzing 3rd quarter benchmark data. The staff worked in the Professional Learning Communities to analyze how students in each AYP subgroup performed and discussed the following questions:
    • How will we know that a student is not learning?
    • How do we respond when a student does not learn?
  • The staff at Cherrington ES has observed an increase in the use of data to make instructional decisions. Using Aimsweb, grades 2-5 have seen steady increases in the number of students achieving the grade level benchmarks. Yearly Progress Pro (YPP) data reflects positive growth and provides teachers data to improve instruction. YPP shows mastery plus partial mastery of greater than 65% for all grades:  2nd – 81%, 3rd – 81%, 4th – 81%, and 5th – 78%.
  • Staff members at Alcott ES are utilizing a variety of interventions. Members have identified students to participate in Ohio Achievement Assessment Brush-up Tutoring, guided instruction in mathematics based on YPP mastery and partial mastery, targeted intervention for students in reading based on Aimsweb data, and summer intervention.
  • Fifth grade students at Mark Twain ES have been given intense math intervention before school on scheduled days. YPP scores have gradually increased since this tutoring began. Mrs. Seabury has morning groups, 4 days a week to provide intervention to those students that need extra math intervention to make adequate achievement.
  • Pointview ES teachers in grades 3-5, with the help of the district math coach and building instructional coach, are conducting Math Small Group Focus Centers in preparation for the OAA math assessments. Students rotate through various activity stations, each of which are 20-45 minutes long, taking place simultaneously in all classes. At each station, students are engaged in standards-based, hands-on, high impact lessons that focus on mathematical processes, problem solving, and thinking.

Westerville Schools Receive Space Shuttle Tiles at COSI Ceremony

On April 7, the Central Ohio Robotics Initiative sponsored a Shuttle Tile Presentation event at COSI for Central Ohio Robotics Teams. This event, which drew some 175 attendees, focused on NASA and the ending of the current space shuttle program.

Educational agencies and institutes of higher learning have the opportunity to purchase actual tiles which line the exterior of the space shuttles for only the shipping cost. These specialty silicon-based tiles prevent the shuttle from burning up as exits/enters the atmosphere. Robotics teams from Westerville Central, North, and South high schools, along with Blendon Middle School, were invited to attend. Schools who host robotics teams will receive, or have received, complimentary space shuttle tiles. Blendon student representatives also received one of the large, colorful displays which depicts a space shuttle take-off at night. It contains an actual tile from the shuttle mounted under Plexiglas. The event was sponsored by COSI, Pepsi, Destinations by Design, George Kun Travel and Pagetech Limited.


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