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CPS Employees Raise Money to Buy Swimwear for Every Student in Project Connect

Thu, 2019-07-18 10:37

The Cincinnati Public Schools Education Center employees recently raised $640 for children participating in the Project Connect Summer Academic and Enrichment Program.

This donation provided each child in the program with a swimsuit and a towel to take home.

“I think this is amazing and how much the Board appreciates all that you all did for these children. I especially love that they bought the swimsuits and towels and that he would love to help contribute in the future if needed. This is amazing,” said CPS Board Vice President Ryan Messer.

“We had an incredible summer complete with academic and social/emotional enrichment as well as swimming, field trips and good old fashioned summer fun!” said Rebeka Beach, Project Connect manager.

The program ended in a culminating event where students showcased what they learned, followed by lunch with their caretaker or an adult in their lives.

“We saw such growth in our children this summer, both academically and emotionally,” said Beach. “I wish everyone could have the opportunity to witness the transformative work that occurs in the summer program, our children are so amazing and resilient.”

Three CPS Students Earn 2019 M.O.R.E. Man of the Year Awards

Tue, 2019-06-04 11:30

Impact is a word frequently heard in connection with M.O.R.E., a mentorship organization for young black men in Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS).

The three young men receiving the A. Chris Nelms – 2019 M.O.R.E. Man of the Year awards — Kevin Pearson, Steven King III and Sol Diawara — have strongly impacted their schools and communities in positive ways.

M.O.R.E., which stands for Men Organized, Respectful and Educated, strives to change the lives of young men and how they are viewed.

The award is named for A. Chris Nelms, a CPS graduate and a Cincinnati Board of Education member from 2008 until his death in 2017. Mr. Nelms, who spent 25 years as a CPS teacher, coach and athletic director, was a driving force behind the M.O.R.E. program and its reach to more than 600 young men in grades 4 -12 within Cincinnati Public Schools.

The 2019 recipients embody everything that Chris Nelms wanted to see in the young men who wear the M.O.R.E. white dress shirts and orange-and-blue striped ties, said William Johnson, CPS’ M.O.R.E. coordinator.

This award, now in its second year, is earned by an elementary school student, a junior high student, and a high school student. The 2019 awards were presented May 15.

To earn the M.O.R.E. Man of the Year Award, a student must have:

  • A and B Honor Roll ranking in all four quarters of current school year
  • No suspensions in all four quarters
  • A teacher’s recommendation
  • Participation in a community service project
  • Additional awards or recommendations are considered.

 The 2019 recipients:

Kevin Pearson – 6th grader – Silverton Paideia Academy

Kevin is a considerate, hardworking, dedicated gentleman who is a model student, and more importantly, a model human being, who acts as an essential student leader in the Silverton Paideia Academy community.

As a student, Kevin exemplifies scholarship. He earns nearly all As in his classes, studies and works outside of school consistently, and participates and collaborates daily in class. He can be relied upon to put his schoolwork first, and his commitment to academics shows in his admittance to Walnut Hills High School for the 2019-20 school year.

He earned Honor Roll status every quarter, as well as receiving no discipline referrals in his seven years at Silverton. Kevin treats all students and adults with respect and kindness, and he is friends with a wide range of students.

In addition to be a M.O.R.E. leader, Kevin is a key leader on Silveton’s Leader in Me Student Lighthouse, presenting at full school assemblies and planning school events. He also is a member of Silverton’s Dance Ensemble and Show Choir, 3D Printing Club, Chess Club and Agriculture Club. In 2018-19, Kevin was selected as the Silverton Village Student of the Month and also was selected to represent Silverton at a schoolwide assembly kicking off the school’s Vision 2020 Digital Leadership Academy.

Kevin is a renaissance man who has been a true asset to Silverton Paideia Academy.

Steven King III – 8th grader – Hartwell School

Steven is a first year M.O.R.E. student but he has embodied and represents the. program like someone who has been a part of it for much longer. His character and grades have led the Hartwell M.O.R.E. club to a great first year a part of the M.O.R.E. family.

Steven has received an abundance of praise from his peers, M.O.R.E. advisor, teachers and principal. Steven has had no discipline infractions, and he is a great friend to many. Teachers regularly heap praise upon Steven, and he has responded by being an A Honor Roll student for three consecutive quarters.  Steven will continue his education at Shroder High School.

Steven is an ideal M.O.R.E. man and will continue to be a foundation for M.O.R.E. and a leader within Cincinnati Public Schools.

Sol Diawara – 12th grader – Hughes STEM High School

Sol is a graduating senior with a 3.8 weighted Grade Point Average (GPA) and is ranked as number eight within his graduating class. Sol is a very bright and hardworking young man with an amazing success story.

In addition to being a young scholar, Sol is highly involved with several programs and initiatives throughout Cincinnati, including Cincinnati State College Credit Plus; Cincinnati State Leadership Club; WordPlay: Human w(R)ites and Scribes Programs; DAAP Camps, University of Cincinnati; Define Yourself: Your Productions; BDPA: Black Data Processing Associates Coding Camp; Young but Not Silent; Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park: Theatre Camp; Who “They” Is: Space to Pla(y)ce; and RiverTrek.

Sol also is a proud member of Hughes’ Environmental Club where he participates in community clean-ups and water-testing events, while promoting environmental awareness.

Sol is an ideal student who would make any educator proud. Sol will attend The Ohio State University for his collegiate career.

Walnut Hills Ranks Second in the Nation in Vocabulary Bowl

Fri, 2019-05-17 11:23

Question: What’s the definition of “awesome?”

Answer: Walnut Hills High School students

(From left to right) Sales Executive Ted McElroy, Walnut Hills High School ninth-grader Kaylaa Betts, 10th-grader Nadyaa Betts, 10th-grader Elijah Southerland, 10th-grader Taylor Cunningham, Walnut Hills High School English Department Head Brian Sweeney and 10th-grader Willow Campbell show off the banners the school achieved at the fifth annual Vocabulary Bowl.

The school placed second in the nation and first in the state of Ohio in the 2018-2019 Vocabulary Bowl, a national vocabulary competition hosted by

Nearly 1.4 million students from more than 39,000 schools across the country competed.

“It’s a tribute to the school, the teachers, the dedication of the kids,” said Brian Sweeney, head of the English department at Walnut Hills High School. “This is a great honor. Vocabulary is so important. It helps with writing, reading and critical thinking.”

Walnut Hills High School students mastered more than 366,000 words between July 1, 2018 – May 10, 2019.

“ teaches students the academic vocabulary words that they need for success in college and beyond,” said Michael Freedman, co-founder of “The teachers and students at Walnut Hills have shown a commitment to academic rigor that fits with all of its other incredible achievements. We’re proud of our association with Walnut Hills High School and Cincinnati Public Schools.”

This isn’t the first time Walnut Hills High School placed in the competition. The school ranked second in the nation in the 2017 competition.

The 2018-2019 school year marked the fifth annual Vocabulary Bowl.

Students Kaylaa Betts, Nadyaa Betts, Elijah Southerland, Taylor Cunningham and Willow Campbell

Learn more about the great things happening at Walnut Hills High School at

Zoo Academy Seniors Have Lunch with National Geographic Fellow

Fri, 2019-05-17 10:45

Twelfth-graders in Hughes STEM High School’s Zoo Academy program began spring break with a special lunch guest – a renowned ecologist who is studying elephant conservation in southeastern Africa.

Dominique Goncalves, manager of the Elephant Ecology Project in Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park, helped kick off the Zoo Academy’s Barrows Conservation Lecture Series, which gives students an opportunity to learn from industry experts and gain insight into careers in environmental science, animal care, and nature and wildlife conservation.

During her visit to the Zoo Academy, Goncalves, a fellow with the National Geographic Society, shared stories over pizza. Students took turns asking questions about her elephant project, which they studied during the first half of the school year.

One senior asked how she could make an impact on the Gorongosa project, even though she couldn’t physically help in the field.

“Oh, you can come!” Goncalves replied with a laugh. “But it won’t be a safari. We will put you to work.”

In addition to African elephants, Goncalves taught students about Pygmy chameleons and pangolins, which she also studies. But the students weren’t the only ones learning – several offered up thoughts on how to improve the symbiotic relationship between the people of Gorongosa and the native wildlife.

Goncalves encouraged the students to not accept what is wrong, and to never wait for success to find them.

“Don’t wait for things to happen,” Goncalves shared with the seniors. “It doesn’t work that way. Things can change, and you can change them.”

The Zoo Academy is the only high school program in the country that pairs students with zoo professionals for daily, hands-on work experience, allowing those students to earn vocational certifications. The program is open to 11th- and 12th-graders. Students spend half of the day in classroom studies and the remainder of the day training at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden.

Learn about all the great things happening at the Zoo Academy and Hughes STEM High School at

William H. Taft Elementary School Principal Receives Statewide Recognition

Wed, 2019-05-15 10:47

Look no farther than Cincinnati to find the best in the state.

The Ohio Alliance for Black School Educators (OABSE) recognized Dr. Jonathan Brown as Administrator of the Year. Dr. Brown accepted the award during OABSE’s Sixth Annual Administrator Appreciation & Student Recognition Banquet held in downtown Columbus.

“I am honored to receive this award and accept it on behalf of the hard work of my staff and students,” Dr. Brown said. “It is because of their efforts that we have received an A for Closing the Achievement Gap and an A for K-3 At-Risk Readers.  I accept this award in recognition of their collaborative team efforts that have increased student performance significantly.”

A graduate of Woodward High School, Dr. Brown is proud of his roots with Cincinnati Public Schools. He has served as principal at William H. Taft Elementary School for five years.

“My favorite part about my role with the school is having the opportunity to watch students and staff grow both academically and professionally.”

Keep up with the great things happening at Taft Elementary at

Ohio State Representatives Visit Gamble Montessori High School

Fri, 2019-04-26 14:07

James N. Gamble Montessori High School students showcased their green thumbs and impressive work for the Agriculture Education Program and Future Farmers of America (FFA) to some special guests – former Ohio House of Representatives members Jim Buchy and Dale Mallory and current State Conservationist Terry Cosby.

Buchy and Mallory shared their passions and involvement in Cincinnati agriculture, offering encouragement and advice for students interested in securing a future in agriculture education.

Mallory, a Robert A. Taft High School graduate and part of the original 1977 class that pioneered the Cincinnati Zoo Academy (now part of Hughes STEM High School), told the students about his personal journey.

“The program was called Natural Resource Management back then. It gave me my foundation and was where I first learned about agriculture,” Mallory shared. “We’re here today to continue to help grow this program in an African-American, inner-city community.”

Students introduced themselves and told stories about their experiences at state conventions. This year, several students will compete against peers from all over the state at the Ohio State Fair.

The visit was just in time for students to share plans for their upcoming, inaugural Montessori Market. Completely run by the school’s 62 students involved in FFA, the market will showcase local crafts, food vendors, games and live animals.

Gamble Montessori’s Land Map shows areas where students are growing plants and trees.

The event also will include a special entrepreneurial venture conceptualized by Doreyam Sydnor, a junior who is an active FFA member. Sydnor shared how her venture began.

When Agriculture Education teacher Mary Dudley offered ideas of what the club could sell at the market – e.g. goods like fruits and barbecue sauces – Sydnor offered another idea.

“Why not sell tea? We could make a lot of money,” Sydnor shared. “Instead of drinking coffee, you could get that energy from tea while also getting other health benefits.”

The club has since run with the winning idea – even starting its own “tea company.”

“We even got our own Gamble cups made,” she shared with a laugh.

The Montessori Market will take place Saturday, May 18, at James N. Gamble Montessori High School from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Learn about all the great things happening at James N. Gamble Montessori High School at

Rockdale Academy Hosts Global Conservation Day 2019

Thu, 2019-04-25 09:52

Kids at Rockdale Academy aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty.

In honor of Earth Day, Rockdale hosted its annual Global Conservation Day, which featured all things green and environmentally friendly. To kick off the celebration, teams of sixth-grade girls and boys collected 51 pounds of litter from Avondale. Students presented special research projects and experiments, educated attendees on the many roles we play in reducing our carbon footprint and demonstrated their true commitment to Rockdale’s Vision 2020 focus – to be leaders in Global Conservation.

“This is our opportunity to show our partners, friends and parents what global conservation means to us,” said Principal Belinda Tubbs-Wallace. “We want the community to know that this focus isn’t just ‘at school.’ This is who we are. We are aware of the things we say and do, and how we treat other humans and nature.”

Back at the school, each of the other grades contributed its own globally minded creation to the celebration. Fourth-graders even made their own compost, showcasing their 4-H knowledge while teaching parents and community members the benefits of composting. Inspired attendees took home their own compost starter. Artists in third-grade displayed their upcycled artisanship, while fifth-grade environmental scientists reminded attendees that pollution is everywhere with a hand-built diorama, complete with a research seminar.

“This celebration teaches to the whole child,” said Kelly Neal, Rockdale intervention specialist. “It teaches them to not only appreciate life, but humanity in general, while learning to respect the differences in earth as well as in people.”

Community partners got in on the fun, too. Rockdale Academy’s Green Team program mentors from the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden volunteered at workshop stations, and The Home Depot supplied birdhouses and flower boxes, as well as DIY seed bombs for make-and-take workshops. Each student took home a grocery bag full of fresh produce supplied by the Freestore Foodbank.

“It means so much to keep the earth healthy,” said a third-grader. “You have something to do besides sitting at home and being bored.”

Keep up with the great things happening at Rockdale Academy at

Woodford Paideia Students Visit ‘Music City’

Thu, 2019-03-28 14:42

Nearly three dozen Woodford Paideia Academy students traveled to Nashville to explore the city’s rich history of art and music.

Sixth grade students at Woodford Paideia set off to explore Nashville’s history of art and music.

During the school’s first-ever Arts & Culture Trip, the sixth-graders visited Fisk University. The historically Black university was founded in 1866 and is home to the Fisk Jubilee Singers, a group of artists and students who sing and travel worldwide. Fisk University boasts a rich history, with the likes of civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois once studying at the school. A collection of original artwork by Pablo Picasso also is maintained at the university.

Woodford Paideia’s Resource Coordinator Felicia Anderson, who helped coordinate the trip, is also a Fisk University alumna.

“Coordinating this trip was extremely important to me,” said Anderson. “I wanted to ensure my students had life-changing memories.”

While in Nashville, the students also enjoyed traditional Southern meals and toured several historic parks.

“This was the best day of my life,” shared one student.

The group also visited Nashville’s Tennessee State University and Kentucky State University in Frankfort.

Learn more about the great things happening at Woodford Paideia at

Shroder Student Named 2019 Youth of the Year

Wed, 2019-03-27 16:25

Awarded $20,000 Scholarship

Shroder High School Senior Qwadry-Ishamel Kelsey has a lot to smile about these days.

He was named the 2019 Youth of the Year by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati and awarded a $20,000 scholarship.

There were a total of six finalists from Cincinnati. Selection criteria included academic achievement and leadership skills. The finalists were also required to give a speech about their own personal obstacles and extraordinary achievement, said Rasheda Malcolm-Cromwell, vice president of development, Cincinnati Boys and Girls Club.

“Being named Youth of the Year is the highest honor a Boys & Girls Club member can receive,” Malcolm-Cromwell added.

Kelsey has been active in the local Boys & Girls Club for 10 years. “I owe the club my life and I am forever thankful for the club’s contributions to me and members just like myself,” Kelsey said in his speech to the judges at the Great American Ball Park.

“The Boys and Girls Club has helped me move a step closer to many of my goals.” he added.

It was through his involvement in the club that he discovered a love of robotics. Now he shares his knowledge with the younger members of the U.S. Bank Boys & Girls Club by teaching robotics classes.

In addition to robotics, Kelsey loves cars. “I’m proud to announce that I bought my first car. It’s a 2001 Volkswagen Jetta in a gorgeous midnight blue. It’s not completely running right now but I’ve assembled parts and it is almost ready to drive,” he said in his speech.

“I have two main goals that relate to cars. My short term goal is to get my license and save enough money for car insurance and my long term goal is to earn a bachelor’s in engineering and eventually work in the car industry.”

For Kelsey, the Boys & Girls Club was more than a place to gather with friends. The organization had a significant impact on his life. “They let me see my potential.”

After high school graduation, Kelsey plans to attend Wright State University and earn a degree in mechanical engineering.

As the winner of the Cincinnati competition, Kelsey advances to the regional competition. Regional winners will advance to the national event in Atlanta.

Author LaMarque Ward inspires young readers at Read Across Madisonville

Wed, 2019-03-27 16:14

Author LaMarque Ward

Aiken High School alumnus, LaMarque Ward, shared his love for writing with John P. Parker School students, parents and community members at the school’s fourth annual Read Across Madisonville event – a partnership among John P. Parker School, Artsville, Madisonville Education & Assistance Center and Rising Stars of America.

City of Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley honored the event by naming March 14th “Read Across Madisonville Day.”

Ward is an award-winning author of four children’s books, a former professional basketball player and founder of the Cincinnati Dream Academy.

The event, part of John P. Parker School’s Family Literacy Night program, gives children and parents resources to inspire their love for reading and writing.

“We have a very strong commitment to early literacy,” said Pamela Knox, resource coordinator at John P. Parker School. “We wanted to gift the community with an opportunity to come together to share an author experience.”

Most of all, Knox hopes students take away a love for words.

In addition to receiving two signed books from Ward, attendees enjoyed a community meal, vocal performance by the Cincinnati Choral Academy, as well as prizes and raffle items.

Ward shared that his legacy is what inspired him most to become a writer and stressed the importance of taking ownership of doing great things. “We all have the responsibility to share our gifts, talents and treasures with the world,” Ward said.

Parents were in for a treat, too. They took home special gifts to help their children with reading.

“This event keeps the excitement for reading alive,” said John P. Parker School parent, Jonaya. “Letting the children meet authors allows that dream to open up.”

John P. Parker School hosts Family Literacy Night once a month.

Keep up with all the great things happening at John P. Parker School at