An Update From Superintendent Dr. Lucas, March 26, 2015

We were informed this morning that a Delaware County grand jury has issued an indictment against former Arrowhead Elementary School teacher Matthew Rausenberg.

The indictment is the formal charge that initiates the court proceedings in the case. Because the judicial system has taken over, we will focus our future communications on resources available to help our students, families, and staff.

Counselors remain available at the schools. In addition, we will have licensed social workers available at the District Administrative Office over spring break week. Details regarding this additional counseling will be sent out shortly.

The Prosecutor has requested that all questions related to this investigation be directed to the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office, Detective Jason Campbell, at (740) 833-2837.

Wade Lucas

School Board Accepts Resignation Of Suspended Teacher, Calls For Lifetime Ban On Teaching

 After the Olentangy Schools Board of Education announced its strong intent to swiftly seek the termination of suspended teacher Matthew Rausenberg, he submitted his letter of resignation. The board accepted the resignation during a special meeting Tuesday, March 24.
Board President Kevin O’Brien set out several reasons why the board took this action:
  • He will not be able to cross-examine children at his termination hearing.
  • The school district will avoid a protracted legal process that could last years and involve parents, students, teachers and administrators.
  • This action would be the fastest way to completely separate him from Olentangy Schools.
  • Following the acceptance of his resignation, the Board would direct the Superintendent to write a letter to the Ohio Department of Education, asking them to expedite this teacher’s license revocation and to ban him from teaching for life.
  • Following the acceptance of his resignation, the Board would direct the Superintendent to issue an order that will ban Matthew Rausenberg for life from setting foot on any Olentangy School property or attending Olentangy School events.
  • And, by accepting this resignation, there would be no benefit – economic or otherwise — to him.

“By accepting this resignation, our intent would be to completely separate Matthew Rausenberg from the Olentangy Local School District from this day forward,” O’Brien said.

Special Board Meetings Set For March 24, 25

The Olentangy Local School District Board of Education will hold special meetings at 6 p.m Tuesday, March 24, and at 6 p.m. Wednesday March 25 at the Olentangy Administrative Office, 814 Shanahan Road, Lewis Center, Ohio, in the Board of Education Conference Room. The purpose of the March 24th meeting is to consider the employment of a public employee. The purpose of the March 25th meeting is to select a search firm to seek qualified superintendent candidates.

 

Superintendent Outlines Initial Response To Recent Events At Arrowhead Elementary

Below is the message from Superintendent Dr. Lucas issued Tuesday afternoon regarding the situation at Arrowhead Elementary School.

Olentangy Families,

I want to provide you with an update on the recent events following the arrest of one of our teachers.

The Delaware County Sheriff notified district officials around 2:00 P.M. Monday that an investigation was underway involving Arrowhead Elementary teacher Matt Rausenberg.  The district fully cooperated with law enforcement and a search warrant was executed at Arrowhead at 4:00 P.M.  Later that evening Mr. Rausenberg was placed under arrest for rape and gross sexual imposition.

Immediately after the arrest Monday, district administrators met with Arrowhead Principal Luke Carlisle at Arrowhead and developed a plan to notify and support students, teachers, and families.  Personal phone calls to parents of Mr. Rausenberg’s students and the staff at Arrowhead began at 8:00 P.M.  The purpose of these calls was to invite each group to a morning meeting to discuss the circumstances surrounding the arrest.

Mr. Carlisle, Dr. Lucas, Sheriff Martin and other officials met with staff at 8:10 A.M. and parents of the class at 8:45 A.M. today.  A press release and district-wide email was also distributed at that time.  After having their questions answered, parents were able to speak with their students individually.  Additional counselors were present and Mr. Carlisle visited third, fourth, and fifth grade classrooms to talk with students directly.

Counselors will remain available at Arrowhead and all of our buildings if students, parents, or staff has a need.  The criminal investigation and prosecution will continue to be handled by the Delaware County Sheriff and Delaware County Prosecutor.  Amidst our outrage, we will continue to put the needs of our students first and grow ever more vigilant in our responsibility to protect and educate our community’s most precious assets — our students.

To that end, please review these suggestions for speaking with your children regarding the sensitive topic of sexual misconduct:

Helpful Tips for Talking with Your Child Today
·    Let your child guide the discussion.
·    Let them explain what their day was like today.
·    Ask open-ended questions.
·    Answer directly and honestly.
·    Keep the conversation appropriate for their developmental stage.
·    Explain that everything they are feeling is okay regardless of the feeling.
·    Understand that this conversation may need to happen in brief intervals.
·    Empathize with them, show compassion, and know you won’t have all the answers.

This conversation may lead to a conversation about inappropriate touching
·    Talk to your child about their body and body safety.
·    All children should know that it’s okay to say “no” to touches that make them feel uncomfortable.
·    Let your child know they should come to you if someone has touched them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable.
·    Talk to your child about secrets.  Explain to your child that any inappropriate touching should never be kept secret.
·    It is beneficial for this to be an ongoing conversation between you and your child.

Signs that additional resources may be needed
·    Remember that every child is unique.  You know your child best.  Be aware of notable signs of change in mood or behavior.
·    Your child shares something concerning.

Who to call?
·    Your child’s school counselor or building administrator
·    The Delaware County Sheriffs Office 740-833-2800
·    Delaware County Job and Family Services 740-833-2340
·    The Child Advocacy Center (aka The Center for Family Safety and Healing) 614-722-8200
·    Helpline 211 or 1-800-684-2324

Calamity Day Policy

Olentangy will again use online lessons to make up for lost instruction when schools are closed due to a calamity day. The state provides districts up to five calamity days that do not have to be made up. If schools are closed for more than five days, the additional days must be made up.

While the traditional method has been to add school days to the calendar in the spring, Olentangy students will be able to avoid this by utilizing online lessons. Olentangy teachers prepare, and regularly update, three days worth of online lessons for students.  If school is cancelled for a sixth day, the first set of lessons will be released to students electronically via the school website. The same would happen on the seventh and eighth calamity days of a school year.

We received feedback following last year’s online lessons and have improved the process. Below are additional details about the 2014-15 calamity day plan.

The Content of the Lesson Plans:

The content of these online lessons may be an introduction to an upcoming topic, enrichment exercises, or an extension of current classroom lessons.

Communication:

Families will be directed to download the appropriate online assignments from the district’s website at www.olentangy.k12.oh.us

Due Date for the Online Lessons:

Upon returning to school, students will have two weeks to complete the lessons. Students without access to the Internet will have the opportunity to complete the lessons before, during, or after school.

The Grading of Assignments:

Olentangy teachers will grade the online lessons in the same manner as other classroom lessons. Students who do not complete the online lessons will be counted as absent for the respective calamity day.

2015 Graduation Day Set for Sunday, May 17

The Olentangy Local School District’s 2014-2015 Graduation Day will be held SUNDAY, May 17, 2015 at the Ohio Expo Center. Orange High School seniors will graduate at 10 a.m.  Olentangy High School seniors will graduate at 2 p.m. and Liberty High School’s graduation will take place at 6 p.m. The move to Sunday is necessary to eliminate scheduling conflicts with extracurricular activities taking place that weekend.

Change in Spring Break Dates for 2015

The Olentangy Local School District’s originally scheduled spring break dates for 2015 have been changed from March 16-20 to March 30-April 3 due to state graduation testing.

The change was made by the Olentangy Board of Education during its April 10 meeting and was necessitated by a state decision to maintain the Ohio Graduation Test (OGT) in 2015. The state had originally advised that a new graduation test was to be developed for 2015 and that it would be administered closer to the end of the school year. However, because of disagreements among lawmakers and the Ohio Department of Education, the new test has yet to be developed. As a result, the Ohio Department of Education has recently advised that it will continue to use the current OGT test during the same testing period, which will be March 16-20. The test involves every sophomore as well as any junior or senior who still needs to pass the test or a portion of it.

In order to provide high school students with time to prepare for the test, Olentangy’s BOE determined that it is in the best interest of the students to move spring break to the same week as this year, which will be March 30- April 3. The change was approved by a 5-0 vote.

Along with the OGT, Olentangy will administer Terra Nova tests to the appropriate elementary and middle school grades during the week of March 16-20, 2015.

Due to the change in spring break dates, the last day of school in 2015 has been moved from Friday, May 22 to Thursday, May 21.

Buckeye Joshua Perry Visits Alum Creek Elementary

Joshua Perry, a member of the Ohio State Buckeyes National Championship team who graduated from Olentangy High School in 2012, was warmly welcomed at Alum Creek Elementary on March 16th. The students and staff decorated the school with many signs to commemorate his visit. While there, Perry spoke to the students about responsibility and respect and answered questions about his experiences playing football. The students were excited to hear from Perry and enjoyed his visit.IMG_6889sign