Thursday, January 26, 2017



Vermilion School District has a long and proactive history of intervention programming directed toward drug and alcohol abuse.  Our district was the first in the area to implement mandatory drug testing for students involved in extra-curricular activities and who drive to school.  For many years the schools have worked cooperatively with local agencies, the Vermilion Police Department and the school Resource Officer to fight against abuse of illegal substances. 

Counselors in all of our buildings work tirelessly to provide educational and peer leadership activities aimed at prevention of drug and alcohol use.  Teams of administrators and counselors work together to choose programs and training that have been proven to be successful in many communities.  Vermilion High School counselors recruit student leaders for anti-bullying and drug prevention activities through Link Crew, Move 2 Stand, and Olweus Anti-Bullying programs.  A full list of intervention and educational activities offered throughout the year is at the end of this article. 

In addition to in-school programming, the district has developed cooperative agreements with professional agencies in both Lorain and Erie Counties, such as LCADA, Genesis House and Firelands Counseling and Recovery Services to provide services and training to Vermilion students.  These organizations are well respected as leaders in the fight against alcohol and drug abuse. 

We will continue our fight against the unprecedented rise in drug abuse in the local area.  Our priority is to continue to work with local law enforcement and drug prevention agencies to do everything we can to protect our students from the devastating effects of substance abuse.  We invite parents and community members to speak with our counseling team for more information on ways you can help.

Safe and Drug Free Schools Programming 2017-2018

Vermilion High School

 Move 2 Stand is a student-led group whose mission is to improve school climate and prevent bullying as well as drug and alcohol use and abuse for Vermilion students.  The group currently has 100 members and is in its third year of existence at VHS. 

Drug Prevention
·        Our district has an active partnership with The LCADA Way to provide a comprehensive drug prevention model at VHS (4 hours weekly with a Prevention Specialist)
·        Botvin Life Skills curriculum (researched-based) presented to all 8th graders by The LCADA Way staff from January through May
·        Participation in National Drug Facts Week (January 2017)
·        Participation in the “We are the Majority Rally” with Communities that Care. (April 2017)
·        Participation in the STOP Taskforce for Underage Drinking (Communities that Care)
·        Ten Move 2 Stand students are serving as leaders on the Erie County Youth Drug Taskforce.
·        Move 2 Stand and Workforce Development students will attend “Break the Cycle” training offered by the Erie County Sheriff’s Department and Townsend School on January 30, 2017.

Violence Prevention
·        Dating/Domestic Violence Prevention- Genesis House provides six weeks of instruction to all 8th grade students on dating and domestic violence prevention (September 2016)
·        Gun Violence Prevention- Sandy Hook Promise presents “Say Something” curriculum to 100 Move 2 Stand members, with the goal of having these high school students train younger students.
(October 2016)

Bullying Prevention
·        Move 2 Stand members attend Keenan West “Words Hurt” anti-bullying assembly hosted by the Erie County Sheriff’s Department at Kalahari (September 2016)
·        Move 2 Stand participation in Kickoff for Kindness in Cleveland through Project Love. (November 2016)
·        Sandy Hook Promise scheduled to present “Start with Hello” to all 8th graders and Peer Leadership class members (February 2017)

Mental Health
·        Firelands Counseling and Recovery Services provides individual sessions and group counseling sessions in stress management and anxiety, healthy relationships and decision making
·        Stein Hospice provides ongoing grief counseling and a “Grief Relief” program for students before the holidays.

Sailorway Middle School

Drug Prevention
·        Botvin Life Skills curriculum presented to all 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th graders by School Counselors
·        Participation in National Drug Facts Week
·        Participation in Red Ribbon Week
·        Participation in “Dope for Dopes” program

Mental Health
·        Firelands Counseling and Recovery Services provides individual counseling for referred students.
·        School Counselors provide small group counseling

Vermilion Elementary School

Drug Prevention
·        Botvin Life Skills curriculum presented to all 3rd grade students by the School Counselor
·        School Counselor serves on Communities that Care Executive Board of Lorain County whose mission is to reduce youth substance abuse.
·        Participation in Red Ribbon Week

Bullying/Violence Prevention
·        Schoolwide participation in Olweus Bullying Prevention model, including bullying rules and programming.
·        1st grade anti-bullying classroom programming delivered by School Counselor.

Mental Health
·        Firelands Counseling and Recovery Services provides individual counseling for referred students.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Sailorway Students are Taking Aim at a New Experience

The sixth and seventh graders at Sailorway Middle School can add archery to their list of experiences thanks to grants awarded to the Sailorway Middle School physical education program. 

The equipment was purchased with the money from two grants Sailorway received specifically to introduce this program. One grant was from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources in the amount of $2500 and the other was from the Vermilion Education Foundation in the amount of $800.

The idea to introduce this program was developed a couple years ago by Sailorway principal Brian Zeller, who shared he was looking for non-traditional sports to include in the PE curriculum. He found others schools including archery, skateboarding, and BMX as non-traditional options. He went on to say it was a father of a Sailorway teacher that told him about the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP), and it was after that, Zeller discovered that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources offers grants to schools interested in adding the NASP program. The combination of the two grants was enough to purchase all the needed equipment, and Mr. Kurt Habermehl, the Sailorway PE teacher, became a certified instructor.

Mr. Habermehl shared that he was a little apprehensive at first about teaching archery because he had never done it before in the school, but he’s excited about it and feels it is going really well so far. Mr. Dave Snell, a former PE teacher at Sailorway, joined Mr. Habermehl on the first day of instruction to help. Mr. Snell had previous experience in teaching archery, which was highly appreciated.

The original intent was to offer the program to all students in grades fourth through seventh. However, after going through the certification and getting all the equipment, Mr. Habermehl made the decision to start with the sixth and seventh graders. The bows are a little difficult to pull back at first, and he was concerned there would be too many of the younger students unable to manage it.  The students participating in the archery classes are overall very excited about the new program and having a lot of fun. Amara Pickett, a seventh grader at Sailorway, said it was really cool and she had never shot a real bow and arrow before.

Marianna Plas, a seventh grader at Sailorway, shared that she has shot a bow and arrow before but being able to do it in gym class was a lot of fun and something different. Plas shared that she used to do archery and has even gone hunting with a crossbow before, but she stopped after becoming more focused on sports. Having experience with archery, Plas shared that she thought Mr. Habermehl was doing a really good job teaching the class.

As the students lined up for their turn, it was clear they were all taking the instructions provided by Mr. Habermehl seriously and that safety was of utmost importance. When a student shot poorly, Mr. Habermehl stepped up to provide instruction on adjustments they can make to improve. Taking another turn, improvements were seen right away. Transitions went smoothly, and the students were all very encouraging of each other.

Zeller stated, “As for the implementation of the program, I am overjoyed at how this has worked out.  While we are still working out some kinks, I am completely sold on the effectiveness of the program.  We have watched over the course of one period how a student has built confidence.  One student was disappointed that she couldn’t hit the target.  With a couple of changes to her stance, she hit the target and yelled out an emphatic, “YES!”  We had another student place her first three arrows in the center ring.  This was an activity that she could excel in and it was powerful to see how the other students responded to her doing so well.  My hope is that we can possibly begin the process of turning this into a club where our students can begin competing in NASP tournaments.”


Friday, January 20, 2017

Sailorway Goes Green While Helping the Vermilion Food Pantry

Sixth graders at Sailorway Middle School are in the process of establishing an "EcoClub.” The club will meet once a week at lunch. This is a student-led group, which includes a student facilitator, recycling station managers, Food Waste Reducers, Staff Assistants, and progress monitors who weigh, and chart food waste at SMS. 

One of the things this group is trying to accomplish is reduce the amount of food being wasted and thrown away, so as students are clearing their places, they are encouraged to donate any sealed food items they have left that would otherwise be thrown in the trash. The staff assistants take the donations of recovered non-perishable food items out to staff cars on Tuesdays and Thursdays to be donated to the Vermilion Food Pantry.

Currently, the focus of the club is to help reduce cafeteria waste as much as possible. However, the students have expressed a strong interest in expanding the scope of the program to include school and community clean-up efforts, and are hoping to extend SMS' recycling beyond the cafeteria into classrooms and hallways. 

Students voted on a name for their club (Planet Eco) and are currently designing a logo to include on cafeteria aprons and t-shirts which they will be able to purchase, thanks to a generous donation from the Vermilion Education Foundation. 

According to Sheila Greene, the school has been recycling for years, but there was clearly room for improvement. Greene shared that assistant principal Beth Bartlome wanted to find a way to get the students involved in a relevant way, which is what inspired the creation of this club. When asked, Greene said that this year it is only for 6th graders, but if successful, it may be expanded to other grades in the future.

This start-up group consists of student volunteers, with resource assistance from staff members including Sheila Greene, Beth Bartlome, Laura Wheeler and Shawna Stillman.  These kids are truly making a difference in their school, and in their community.

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: