State of Ohio Board of Education Vote to Eliminate Mandatory Art, Music, Library, Phys Ed

First, I want to say that I rarely post on this blog.    It seems as each child I give birth to depletes the time that I would otherwise give to posting on this blog.    I say this even as my 22 month old is eating a marshmallow to keep him quiet and has climbed up on a kitchen chair to try to destroy his older brother’s Lego set.

Having said that, I received an email from my son’s teacher today regarding the subject of this post.   Since I was not able to find online one location for the information I was seeking, I wanted to provide it here to you.

First, the email I received:

 On Tuesday (11/11/14), the Ohio State Board of Education will discuss and vote to eliminate mandatory Music, Art, Phys. Ed., Media Specialists, Guidance Counselors, Nurses, and Social Workers for Elementary Schools from the Ohio Administrative Code.

Currently, school code states that for every thousand elementary students, schools must have in place five of the following eight specialists: art, music, counselor, school nurse, librarian/media specialist, visiting teacher, social worker, or phys ed.

The revision would eliminate the section that includes that language. What would be left is this definition of staff:

Educational service personnel are credentialed staff with the knowledge, skills and expertise to support the educational, instructional, health, mental health, and college/career readiness needs of students.

Email the school board or just give them a call (614) 728-2754 and tell them how awful this is for students and schools.

I offered to post this to this blog in hopes that those who still receive the updates would get this in their inbox, and those seeking information would find it.

I wanted to learn more about this and get my hands on some specific email addresses, here is what I found:

On it sounds like the vote isn’t happening until December.   If this is the case it gives parents more time to contact their District Representative.

We are in District 5 so our board rep is Brad Lamb, his email address is

The email addresses for the Board President, Debe Terhar, is

The Board’s Vice Chairman, who is quoted in the article explaining why this change is being discussed, is Tom Gunlock.   His email address is

I am willing to believe they are not voting on this tomorrow because it is not on the agenda:

Looks like the December meeting will take place December 8-9, but they do not have the voting agenda and time schedule posted for that meeting yet.

Lastly, there is a presentation online where you can find more information about the specific change:

If you would like to determine what District you are in and who you should contact specifically for your district, you can go to for a District map and contact information.

Hope this helps!



The Common Core in Cleveland

Ok, so I know I haven’t written on here in a very long time.     There are so many fun things I would love to write about.    Like last year’s fun trip to Mr. Kringle’s Inventionasium which I think I just saw now has tickets on sale.    Or the really cool leaf wreath we are making with my 3 year-old’s class at school.    Or the things I have learned over the course of three childbirths, because our third son was born on New Year’s Day this year, which helps to explain my absence from this blog.

But, what I am going to write about, very briefly, is my limited experience thus far with the Common Core.    And I am writing this because it is unfortunately very difficult to find a non-political conversation about this topic.     I would like to open up a conversation here, for those living in and around the Cleveland area.     I want to hear, whether you are a teacher, or a parent, what you think.   

My current concern is basically this.     My son goes to a good public school.   We moved to our particular suburb for the school district.   In my son’s second grade class there is a boy who has been tested to have a 140 IQ.    He clearly isn’t dumb.    To test “addition and subtraction fluency” they have been required to take timed tests since the beginning of the school year.    On the first test, an addition test with 100 problems, the boy scored a 75/100.    On a subtraction test a few weeks into the school year, the boy scored a 65/100.     My son had similar scores.    On both my son’s tests and this boy’s the teacher wrote, “Keep practicing.”    What this actually means is, keep practicing at home, as with weekly homework they are expected to practice addition and subtraction facts at home.      My husband and I now have to do flash cards at home, which neither of us ever remember having to do with our parents when we were kids. 

My husband has several very well educated, intelligent colleagues in similar school districts.   With children in different grades.    And all of them have said the same thing.  “We are signing our children up for Kumon because they are not learning their basic facts at school.”

I am really hoping this isn’t the experience people are having everywhere, but it has come up in conversation often enough that it concerns me.     If it now falls on the parents to teach their children basic math so that the Common Core test requirements can be taught in school, I’m fine with teaching my kid.     But what happens to children in the Cleveland Public Schools, or other urban areas, or even in the suburbs, where the parents aren’t supplementing their children’s educations, either for a lack of interest or a lack of time?    We are doing these children a huge disservice by trying to “raise the bar” with the Common Core.

What have your experiences been?    I think some of the Common Core teaching has been implemented long enough for many of us to have an informed opinion now.   Positive or negative, I would love to hear from you!

Until next time,


Easy Family Activities For the Summer

I am always amazed by my friends’ abilities at scheduling summer camps and activities for their children.   My calendar is a complete mess, I could really use some white out with the activities that are scratched out, rescheduled, cancelled, added, etc.     And I only have two.     But there are two programs I really love because they allow you to commit to a short period of time (only one morning), are ala cart so to speak, are inexpensive, and are family-friendly, meaning I get to participate and spend time with the kiddo and if I need to, the two-year old little brother can join us.

The first program we actually did last year.    It is the Cuyahoga Valley National Park’s Junior Ranger, Jr. program.    I wrote about it here.  Each session is two hours and is $8 per child.

For details on this year’s programs, visit

The second I just found out about.    It is the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s Family Discoveries.  Programs are 90 minutes long and cost $15 per person (Zoo members $10 per person).  Program fee includes admission to Zoo and RainForest.

You can find all of the info on the various programs here:

Are you aware of more programs like this?     If so, please share the info below in the comments section.

Until next time,


I Love Living in Cleveland

First I must say that I am ashamed that I have not written anything in more than 3 months.   That’s just terrible.   Tonight is one of those rare evenings where I managed to get chores done AND the kids in bed on time, while my hubby is at work, so I get to write.    And apparently, based on an email I had sent myself on February 20th, I’ve been wanting to write about living in Cleveland, or at least, living in Ohio.

I need to begin with an explanation.  Thanks to the hubby’s work, we have been blessed to travel to Hawaii for two weeks each year for the past four years.   While we are there he works in the evenings but we get to enjoy family time together when he isn’t working.   Three years ago I had posted about returning from Hawaii and being grateful to be back in Cleveland and see the big fluffy white snowflakes and just to be home in general.    The PD linked to it and someone made a snarky comment and have since basically felt as though I committed blog suicide here:

Well, in February we were back to Hawaii for the hubby’s work.  This time, while we were there, I was fortunate to meet a lovely family who was renting a condo in the same building where we stayed.   She (Indonesian) and her husband (Canadian) had lived in Japan for the past nine years and had just relocated due to work to Honolulu.   They have two awesome little boys who my sons loved to hang out with, and while they all played I had so many wonderful conversations with their mom.   I loved to hear about their search for a home in Hawaii, and their lives back in Japan and everywhere else.  But what got me thinking about writing this, was our discussions regarding the cost of living.

I grew up just on the border of Cleveland, and I feel I should add I apparently grew up “below the poverty line”, though it wasn’t until I was a senior in high school that this was made apparent to me when someone pointed this out.    My mom was a housekeeper in an apartment building and my dad was retired from working for the City of Cleveland.  I grew up in a two-bedroom apartment but we were comfortable.

In Honolulu, the two-bedroom condo where we stayed would cost twice as much as my current house.   It got me thinking, you can’t really afford to be poor and live in Hawaii.   There are a lot of places where you can’t afford to be poor in the US.  In Cleveland, there are so many services, so many opportunities, and the cost of living remains relatively low.  I had no clue I was poor.   So out of curiosity I looked up some cost of living statistics on Hawaii vs. Ohio.   I am sure there is some equation for doing a comparison, but just looking at the numbers to me was interesting:


Homeownership rate, 2006-2010: 59.3%

Median value of owner-occupied housing units, 2006-2010: $537,400

Per capita money income in past 12 months (2010 dollars) 2006-2010: $28,882

Median household income 2006-2010: $66,420

Homeownership rate, 2006-2010: 69.2%

Median value of owner-occupied housing units, 2006-2010: $136,400

Per capita money income in past 12 months (2010 dollars) 2006-2010: $25,113

Median household income 2006-2010: $47,358

The difference in Median household income is small, particularly when compared to the significant difference in the Median value of owner-occupied housing units.    Money simply buys so much more here, compared not just to Honolulu or Hawaii in general, but to many other metropolitan areas.

Beyond the cost of living, I do love to hear my five year-old tell me all of the things he loves about each season.   And I love all of the things that, when I have the time, I write about that my family and I enjoy doing all around the Cleveland area.

Do you love living in Cleveland?    What do you love about living here?

Until next time,


PS.   I should add that, periodically, I love having a St. Patricks’s Day that allows me to break out the slip-n-slide!  Did you hear there were 500,000 people in Downtown Cleveland on Saturday???


Local Gifts and Crafts Made in the USA

Going with my theme for the week I felt that I needed to add “Made in the USA” in the title, but these are actually places where you can buy some local goods, artwork or crafts that would make great Christmas presents.

Holden Arboretum’s Gifts from the Heart of Nature
Craft sale continues through Fri 12/30 from 9AM-5PM. Gifts from the Heart of Nature promotes regional artists with nature inspired works, and crafts made from environmentally responsible materials. Visit for event details.

Brecksville Center for the Arts Shoppe for Art….html
Visit our Shoppe for Art, a small gallery in our Highland Drive facility featuring the works of area artists and BCA instructors. Works of art will be on display for one month or more and are available for sale. The Shoppe will also feature fine crafted gift items during special seasonal and holiday gift shows. The Shoppe for Art will be open during regular office hours 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call 440-526-6232 for more information.

2011 Made in the 216 Holiday Shoppe at Room Service
MADE IN THE 216 is a shopping event designed to tout the design community of Cleveland and to support those that have chosen to stay and base their creative endeavors right here in ‘the 216’. By showcasing the designers along with musicians and caterers in a setting merchandised and designed to look like a fun and engaging retail space, the guests are encouraged to explore and discover the products and shop and have fun!

Lake Erie Artists Gallery
Lake Erie Artists Gallery offers you the opportunity to browse and collect the finest local Cleveland art, photography, and memorabilia as well as wonderful jewelry from local Cleveland, Ohio artists. Please browse and bookmark our unique art gifts for yourself and your friends. We will ship your gifts just about anywhere in the world safely.

Cleveland Handmade at Winterfest! Sat Nov 26th or Buy Online
A new part of the festivities will be the Winterfest Village which will include artists and craftspeople (many from Cleveland Handmade Markets) selling their wares in a large, heated tent on Public Square from 3-7pm. Make visiting (and shopping with small business people) a new part of your Holiday tradition!

Can you think of more?

Until next time,


More Cleveland Moms

I’ll always have a special place in my heart for some of the Cleveland Mom bloggers I came across when I first started writing this blog.    Nurturing Notes, Mom2Amara, Unexpected Art and Classy Chaos in particular stand out to me.    But apparently I’ve been slacking because I just found two more who have really great blogs:

1. My Got Fam – I love this one because she also writes about places in and around Cleveland that she visits with her children.    Plus, she seems like a positive person with a bit of sass and sarcasm…like someone I’d want as my friend.

2. Karen at Home – I haven’t really gotten to read much of her blog yet, but I love her decorating style.


Are there other blogs I should be reading?   Am I missing anyone?


Until next time,


$35 One-Year Family Membership to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History ($75 Value)

Offer Expires Oct 31, 2010
Must activate by 10/31, membership valid for 1 year after activation. Limit 1 per person, may buy multiple as gifts. New members only or inactive members from 2 years or more.

The family membership also gets you four one-time-use guest passes, access to preview parties and behind-the-scenes tours, discounts on lectures, classes, and Museum store products, and more. You’ll receive complimentary issues of the museum’s Tracks newsletter and enrollment in the ASTC program granting free admission to participating science museums outside a 90-mile radius.

Buy now at