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    Opportunity of a Lifetime for I.H.S. Musicians On Sunday, January 24, the 63-member Independence High School Wind Ensemble performed in the Seventh Annual Northeast Ohio Band Invitational sponsored by the Case Western Reserve University Department of Music and the Cleveland Institute of Music. Under the direction of Matthew Schatt, the IHS Wind Ensemble performed a 45-minute program on-stage at Severance Hall which included works by Weller, Strommen, Balmages, Saucedo, Prescott, and Fillmore. Also on the program was the world premier of a new musical work by the IHS Wind Ensemble entitled Flourish by composer David Shaffer. Shaffer was commissioned by the Independence High School Music Boosters in 2009 to composer a musical tribute to retiring band director Kendal L. Gunlicks. The premier was conducted by the composer who traveled from Cincinnati for the event. The IHS Wind Ensemble was one of four bands to be invited to participate in the event which featured concert bands from Northeast Ohio. Remarked Schatt, This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our students to experience playing in this magnificent venue. Sunday was a day that we will all remember for the rest of our lives.

    InTouchAn E-Newsletter for the Staff of Independence Local SchoolsInTouch

    Photos courtesy of Clifford Norton Photography

  • Schools Win Buckeye Best Schools Award

    Healthy students make better learners! The Buckeye Best Healthy Schools Awards recognize schools that demonstrate a commitment to the health and wellness of their students and staff through the establishment of programs and policies that foster such goals. These include improving nutrition, increasing physical activity and stopping or preventing the use of tobacco. Independence Primary School has won the gold medal and Independence High School received the bronze.

    High School Honored with Harold Meyer Sportsmanship Award

    Independence High School has once again been awarded the Harold Meyer Sportsmanship Award for 2009 given each year by the Ohio High School Athletic Association. The award began in 1990 to develop an awareness of the need for sportsmanship, ethics and integrity in the schools of Ohio. The award may be won by each and every OHSAA member school grade 7-8 or high school by meeting certain minimum requirements. A written Board of Education policy on sportsmanship, ethics and integrity in extracurricular activities. A broad-based sportsmanship, ethics and integrity committee to coordinate the planning and implementation of a sportsmanship, ethics and integrity program. Presentations throughout the school year to coaches, athletes, parents, fans and support

    groups emphasizing the schools philosophy on sportsmanship, ethics and integrity. An ongoing campaign that promotes sportsmanship, ethics and integrity. An annual evaluation of all coaches in the areas of instruction and demonstration of sportsmanship, ethics and integrity. A procedure for receiving, investigating and acting upon complaints regarding sportsmanship, ethics and integrity. A plan for dealing with critical situations such as heated rivalries, overflow crowds and unruly spectators. A program for acknowledging/rewarding examples of good sportsmanship, ethics and integrity. We are very proud of our Blue Devils athletes and coaches and our entire athletic department. A banner will be on display of this accomplishment.

    Breakfast of Math and Science Champions The Independence Middle School eighth grade algebra class was selected to be among the 350 students throughout the state to participate in the Breakfast of Math and Science Champions held at eighteen different locations throughout central Ohio. IMS students were selected to partake in a hands-on program and lecture held at the Ohio State University Center for Emergent Materials. Every student had time to investigate a train that did not touch the tracks, a banana that could be used as a hammer and metals with memory. Professors and graduate students answered questions and spoke about the programs and opportunities available in math and science and engineering at Ohio State. The class is thankful for the opportunity to participate in such a mind-expanding experience.

  • School Board Recognized at January Meeting As citizens who serve children and represent their communities, individual school board members face complex and demanding challenges. Yet, few people fully understand the scope and far-reaching implications of board members responsibilities. The contribution of our Independence Local Schools Board of Education was recognized for their vital contributions at the January board meeting. After the meeting, everyone celebrated with a cake. Thank you for making a difference for the students of Independence Local Schools!

    Distance Learning Soars in Independence Schools Thanks to Creative Teachers and Great Technology By Megan Karavas, Student Reporter Independence Local Schools frequently incorporates video conferencing, or distance learning, into its curriculum. Video conferencing is convenient because it can be moved to any room in the schools to accommodate large or small groups of students, and it opens up access to many new learning opportunities. For example, at the high school, Mrs. Jennifer Dietrich had her History Through Film class watch a presentation given by Tom Hanks, who was recently in Cleveland and working in conjunction with WVIZ educational programming. The reason such opportunities are available for Independence students is because we are part of the Northern Ohio Technical Association. NOTA is part of the WVIZ educational group, and allows us access to special speakers, said Rick Wherley, the districts technology coordinator.

    Many teachers are taking advantage of opportunities for distance learning. Apart from supplementing class lessons, video conferencing allows I.H.S. to include two beginning level Chinese classes in the curriculum. Everyday, Chinese I and II students attend a class over a tele-screen using remote classroom access. These classes are partly responsible for ranking Independence School District second in the state for its use of distance learning. High School Teacher Mrs. Donna Krusinski streamed a presentation from the Great Lakes Science Center for her classes. Mr. Eric Wells had his Chemistry class watch a session on pharmacy. Primary School Teacher Mrs. Debbie Klag used video conferencing with her science classes. Standardized Test prep classes are also offered to students through video conferencing for a lower price than hiring a private tutor. When asked if the district plans to add more ways to incorporate video conferencing, Mr. Wherley assured that there will be plenty of opportunities to stream special speakers that come to Cleveland through the WVIZ network.

    ITS for Girls Cuyahoga Valley Career Center hosted 10 young ladies from Independence Middle School for their program, ITS for Girls, on Friday, December 4. The students spent the day doing hands on activities relating to Information Technology. There were 30 professional IT women who had lunch with the girls to talk about their careers with them. Programs like this are an attempt to introduce young women to fields where women are traditionally underrepresented. We thank the Career Center for organizing this great event.

  • Students Go Behind the Scenes at

    In November, Mrs. Michelle Koussas reading classes at Independence Middle School studied the newspaper. They looked at the language of the newspaper, current events, went on scavenger hunts, studied the purposes of the newspaper, and talked about conflict in the world and in their own lives and how it could positively be resolved. They also studied the history of The Plain Dealer, the sections that can be found each day, and important facts and figures.

    The unit was topped off with an awesome trip to the Plain Dealer Production Plant on Tiedeman Road. The students were able to see the sprawling 10 acre building, the newspaper presses, the giant 2,800 pound rolls of newsprint (which they were able to autograph), the SGVs (robots), the circulation/assembly stations, and historical pictures. After the tour, the students were able to have a question and answer session with PD reporter, John Campanelli. The students had a great time seeing all of the behind the scenes work that goes on to produce the daily paper

    Independence Local School District has Joined the Movement Toward 100% Tobacco-Free Schools Independence Local School District has joined The Movement, a 100% tobacco-free initiative for Cuyahoga County school districts. The Movement is sponsored by the Cuyahoga County Comprehensive Partnership for Tobacco Reduction (The Partnership), and is under the direction of the Cuyahoga County Board of Health (CCBH). We would like to congratulate the Independence Local School District on joining The Movement, said Jennifer Clayton, CCBH. Independence and other school districts that are 100% tobacco-free are setting a great example for other school districts in the area. We encourage others to follow their lead until all districts in Cuyahoga County are 100 percent tobacco-free. Funded by the Ohio Department of Health, the goal of The Movement is to encourage all 31 school districts within Cuyahoga County to enact a 100 percent tobacco-free policy. To be considered 100 percent tobacco-free, a school district must prohibit the use of all tobacco products, such as cigarettes, chew, snuff, etc., by everyone (school visitors, faculty, students) on all school grounds, including school events. With the addition of Independence, 17 school districts, approximately 55 percent, have such a policy in place and they include: Bay Vil