Thursday, January 19, 2017

VES Makes Learning a Family Event

The faculty, staff, and PTO of Vermilion Elementary School have consistently gone above and beyond to provide opportunities for family involvement and fun family activities. There are several events and celebration planned throughout the year that give families an opportunity to come up to the elementary school with their kids, visit with other families, eat, play games, participate in fun activities and more.

This school year’s activities so far have included a beginning of the year picnic, a chalk art night, an evening filled with super hero themed math games, and a Bingo night with many more fun evening activities to come.

Family night activities are just one of the many ways VES creates a community for the children and their families to be a part of. We are fortunate to have such dedicated administration, faculty, staff, and parent volunteers. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

SCHOOL ZONE 1-5-2017

Following the renovation of Vermilion High School’s auditorium a few years ago, a committee of parents and school personnel established a commemorative plaque program to honor community members, business and alumni who have been an important part of Vermilion’s tradition of excellence in music and theatre.  Tax deductible gifts will be used to support future art, theater and music performances.   

There are two options for placement of a commemorative or memorial plaque.  The first is a seat plaque engraved with your choice of wording at a cost of $100 each.  Each plaque is limited to two lines of text (20 spaces per line).  The second option is a permanent memorial plaque that will be displayed in the vestibule outside the auditorium at a cost of $200 each.  This is a wonderful way to honor a VHS graduate or family members who have participated in or enjoyed theater and/or music programs throughout the years. Businesses as well as individuals are welcome to participate in this program.

Brochures are available at choir and band concerts throughout the year.  To receive a brochure by mail please call 440-204-1723 or email  

During the holiday break our designated audit team completed their on-site and electronic review of district financial records.   An audit of fiscal department records is required to be completed annually under supervision from the Ohio Auditor of State’s office.  A final report from the audit team should be available to the public within a few months.  We will post the report on our website when it is available. 

Our district continues to need substitutes for various positions, including teachers, bus drivers, custodians, food service and other support staff.   Student supervision and assistance is a priority in all of our buildings, making it important to have substitutes are available when the need arises.  Substitute work is on an as needed basis, and subs can dictate their own schedule.  If you are interested in spending a few days a week (or more) as a substitute, please apply on our website at the following link:

Thursday, December 22, 2016

VHS: Home of the 2017 Outstanding Young Music Educator of the Year

A couple weeks ago, administrators, teachers, and students at Vermilion High School had the unique opportunity of surprising one our teachers: John Carmack, who has been named the Ohio Music Education Association 2017 Outstanding Young Music Educator of the Year award.

Making it a true surprise, Mr. Carmack didn’t even know he had been nominated for this prestigious award. Mr. Dawson nominated him for the award, which included submitting an application and collecting letters of support from administrators, teachers, and parent volunteers. When Mr. Dawson found out that Mr. Carmack won, he arranged for the president and former president of OMEA to come to the high school along with Mr. Carmack’s parents and many of his colleagues to make the announcement. Needless to say, he was very surprised when everyone walked in on one of his classes.

Mr. Carmack started with the VLSD in July of 2011. When he interviewed with the district he stood out amongst the other candidates because of his evident passion for music and his extremely positive approach. Mr. Carmack has worked very hard not only to learn more about the field of music but how to be a better teacher over the years. He takes his responsibility very seriously but is able to interject fun and humor into his daily lessons. Above all it didn't take long to understand that Mr. Carmack goes above and beyond expectations when building positive relationships with each of his students. They all work very hard for him because of the way he respectfully treats the as students and performers.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

New Flag being Dedicated to Veterans

Friday, December 16, the Vermilion High School Boys Varsity Basketball team will be squaring off against the Edison Chargers at 7 p.m. However, before the start of the game, the Vermilion Athletic Boosters are pleased to dedicate the gymnasium's new United States flag to our veterans. 

The new flag is 18-feet by 12-feet and retractable, so it can be lowered and raised for the national anthem prior to games and events. Right above the flag is a banner that says "Honoring Our Veterans" and "Go Sailors" directly below that. 

The athletic boosters purchased this flag as a donation to the school, and locally-owned Sattelight Electric donated the cost of installation in honor of our veterans. 

The Midview JROTC Color Guard will be there to present the colors for the National Anthem, and Mr. Cliff German will be announcing for the ceremony. The community is welcome to come early for this ceremony and then stay for the game. 

Vermilion Boosters president, Ron Meyer suggests arriving around 6:30 to ensure you can get in and seated for the dedication. All active and former military will get in free with a military I.D. Additionally, the first 600 people will receive small flags with their admission. For more information, contact Meyer at 440-225-9082. 

Friday, November 18, 2016

What has School Board been up to?

This week board members, administrators and supervisors representing the Vermilion Schools attended a portion of the Ohio School Boards Association annual conference.  The Ohio School Boards Association is a recognized and respected voice in public education.  Their mission is to be a leader toward educational excellence by serving Ohio’s public school board members and the districts they represent through unwavering advocacy and creative solutions to the problems faced by public schools.

Capital Conference is the second largest education conference in the country, attracting school board members, superintendents, treasurers and other education professionals from Ohio and beyond.  The conference is not only a place for educators and Board members to gain knowledge about current trends and laws that impact education, but it is also a celebration of student learning, a spotlight for educational technology, and a chance for schools to share cost - cutting strategies.  Workshop topics include school board development, career education, community relations, facilities, finance, school law, technology, human resources, social media, student achievement, 21st century education and more. 

The enormously successful Student Achievement Fair, which highlights educational innovations of 100 public school programs from around the state, is a popular event at the conference.  Each year teachers from around Ohio submit applications and are selected to share innovative education programs they are using in classrooms.  Vermilion teacher Lisa Murray was selected in 2015.  Lisa and her students were featured at the conference and received statewide recognition for their use of inquiry and deductive reasoning to locate classrooms around the globe.  You can learn more about the 2016 teacher and student participants by visiting the Capital Conference website.

Keynote presenters at the conference this year included respected broadcast journalist and author Jane Pauley; engineer, educator and two-time space shuttle astronaut Leland Melvin; author and educational media expert Dr. Milton Chen, who shared the most innovative models of K-12 teaching and learning in the digital age; and former State Senator Nina Turner, a professor at Cuyahoga Community College who has made it her mission to empower individuals, institutions and communities.  All of these individuals have made an impact on education, and brought messages of support or innovation to the conference attendees. 

In today’s ever-changing world it is imperative that school board members and administrators stay abreast of not only the newest trends in education and technology, but also changes in state and federal laws that impact how we do business.  Conferences like this one provide us with a wealth of knowledge that we can bring back to Vermilion and use to improve our schools.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Nominate your favorite bus driver

This school year, the Vermilion schools welcomed a new transportation supervisor, David Johnson. Johnson has been working in the transportation department since 1986, and was very excited to take on the new role. One of the first things he mentioned he would like to do is create a program to recognize drivers for their hard work, focus on safety, and dedication to the children they transport.

With that in mind, he has created a “Driver of the Month” program. Each month, one of the district’s bus drivers will be recognized for the work they do. This will include recognition in the Vermilion Photojournal and a goodie bag with small gifts provided by local businesses that support this recognition effort.

Johnson has requested input from the community and parents. He wants to hear from parents; who is your child’s favorite bus driver? How has your child’s bus driver gone above and beyond? This can be specific incidents or an overall level of care. He wants to hear all of it. For community members without children on the busses, have you witnessed a bus driver being exceptional? He wants to hear from you too.

Johnson can be reached at 440-204-1700 ext 141 or at

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Students Help Focus on the Positive

It has been a true blessing to have been in the education business for 30 years.  The adage that ‘you won’t work a day in your life if you truly love what you do’ has certainly meant more to me than just a mere cliché.
Being around young people and witnessing their optimism and pure joy for life is something I get to enjoy every single day.  Not everyone gets this opportunity, and it has been a pleasure and honor to be part of the lives of these students.  I sincerely thank the Vermilion community for this privilege. 
A recent conversation at a football game with sophomore student Devan DeWitt reminded me of how fortunate I am to be around young people who have so much enthusiasm for life and already have some of the most important qualities and virtues that will make them exceptional.  Devan is an example of what is great about our city and country.   He told me that he loves history and has a passion for reading, researching and studying the subject.  He said his love for history was inspired by teachers Mr. Duray and Mrs. Lutz, but he enjoys all of his other teachers as well.  Because of their example he has a goal of becoming a teacher himself.  When he made that statement I could tell he was speaking from the bottom of his heart.  I couldn’t help but feel pride in the job our staff is doing to make Devan feel and believe this way about the possibility of becoming a teacher. 
As the conversation continued we talked about the steps Devan would take to accomplish his objective.  He told me the plans he has to reach his goals and I have no doubt that he will make it, because he believes he can.  I am sure that he will also have countless teachers, staff and community members who will be there to help him realize his dream. 
Devan also talked about our city.  If anyone could be appointed ambassador for Vermilion he would certainly be on top of the list of candidates.  His exact words were, “Vermilion is the best place on the planet to live! I would never want to live anywhere else! It would be my dream to get my teaching degree and come back to teach in the town I love.”  He has evidently captured some of the inspiration and “service above self” mentality that is so unique to Vermilion. 
Devan has been a team manager for the basketball team since 7th grade.   He takes on this job with enthusiasm and a determination to be helpful.  Head basketball coach Kurt Habermehl described Devan as “one of the most positive people” he ever met.  Coach Habermehl said that Devan takes his job seriously.  He comes prepared for each and every practice and game.  He makes it hard for all the coaches and players to stay down after a loss because he always has a smile on his face.  He reminds them, “Don’t worry, you did your best and it will be better next time.”  Coach Habermehl looked at me and said, “How can you be upset when you have someone like him around?”  He also said that Devan’s team members are fiercely protective of him because of what his positive influence means to them as a team. 
This was not my first conversation with Devan, and without exception I have found him to be positive and kind.  Each time I observe him from a distance he displays these qualities.  It is not just an act he puts on only for adults.  He is sincerely kind and polite with everyone he meets.  It is a terrific benefit of my job to be associated with students like Devan.  It is also comforting to know that he, like many of our other students, has a positive outlook and is focusing on the things that really matter. 
Prior to publishing this article I thought it would be appropriate to call Devan’s home for permission to share my thoughts about him.  The conversation with his grandmother left a deep impression, as I could feel the love and respect that she has for her grandchild.  She told me that Devan and his grandfather, who died of cancer last year, had a very special relationship.  Devan was always the “co-pilot” when they traveled in the car, and was a great help to his grandfather.  It is inspiring that, even with the difficult experience of losing a loving grandparent, Devan still remains positive and looks forward to a bright future. 
At this time of year, when we have a presidential election that seems to focus on negativity, it is encouraging to know that there is good teaching going on by our valuable teachers, and learning exists not only in core subjects, but also in the values that are equally important in life. After having conversations like this with students I believe there is reason for optimism that our country is still in good hands.  I invite you to witness this for yourself by visiting our schools for a tour, joining students for lunch, or attending any of our special and extra-curricular events.  You will see that your support of public schools is money well spent.  You help teachers, staff and students who are working hard. The lessons learned in our schools are not just the fundamentals of science, math and English, but also positive life skills that will stay with our students as they become the future leaders and lifelong learners of our community.