Their name is the Ohio Middle Level Association
(OMLA) and in the world of middle school leadership – they are a very big deal. Loveland Middle School (LMS) has captured their attention; in March, OMLA leadership meet with LMS leadership – talking culture creation. It was all a part of a site visit OMLA made because LMS was up for one of their prestigious, annual awards: Student and Staff Recognition.
The leaders at OMLA must have been impressed with what they learned at LMS – our Tigers WON THE AWARD!
The accolades were primarily earned based off of a plan to create a winning culture devised by our very own LMS Principal Chuck Ogdan – who is in his debut year as a Tiger principal. Mr. Ogdan will be the first to tell you LMS will be the No. 1 middle school in Ohio; that is the building’s three-year vision. We decided to sit down with Mr. Ogdan for a Q&A on his plan to make it happen…
Loveland City School District (LCSD): Things have changed pretty quickly since you arrived at LMS, Mr. Ogdan, and many of those changes you see as soon as you enter the campus. Can you tell us a little about the changes to the building, and why you made them?
Chuck Ogdan (CO): As we look to change the culture at LMS the first step is to create an environment conducive for learning and growth. Similar to a “Dress for Success” mentality, we wanted our physical environment to match our building vision – to be the No. 1 middle school in the state – and building mission: Improve or Deteriorate. Our Innovation Station in the front lobby is a place for classes to collaborate and explore curriculum. As a parent myself, it is awesome to walk into LMS and see higher-level instruction and engagement. It is a process that will take a couple of years; however, as we gather student and staff input, the building’s physical changes for the better will continue.
LCSD: Student and Staff Recognition – this is something you do, and your process is clearly award-winning. How are students and staff members recognized at LMS, and why did you build this recognition into the strategic culture plan?
CO: Every student deserves to be recognized because all 739 students at LMS are great. Our LMS staff is top notch and also deserves to be recognized. The key to our success is a systematic approach recognizing students. We recognize students weekly (department awards), monthly (principal’s lunch), and quarterly (honor roll and perfect attendance). We use a spreadsheet of which teachers upload names of students who have earned recognition for our four core values at LMS each week: Grit-hard work, Rise-improvement, Innovation-creativity, and Leadership-distinguished leadership. Weekly award recipients also get a local eatery gift certificate which was donated by local businesses during the summer months and collected by administration. For our Principal's Lunch, teachers nominate students for our four core values; however, at a much higher level than the weekly awards. Perfect attendance students receive a certificate and are entered into a drawing to receive a bluetooth speaker.
LCSD: It is your building’s vision to be the No. 1 middle school in Ohio in the next three years – how do you plan to achieve it?
CO: Our LMS vision is a combination of student and teacher growth mindset, focus on the state standards, effort of students and teachers, and consistent dedication to the professional craft of teaching. We have engaged in in-depth curriculum work throughout the school year. We have visited and collaborated with the highest performing school districts. Teachers have worked harder this year to not only write and review viable curriculum, but also to challenge students to advocate for themselves and provide input into lesson planning/structure.
LCSD: What is the greatest strength at LMS?
CO: The greatest strengths of LMS are our wonderful students, community, and staff members. Every day I walk the halls and students are bright, positive, and willing to lend a hand to anyone in need. Community members continually ask how they can help, want to know what can they do, and say thank you for all that LMS does for their children. Our staff – wow – they have made the professional decision to embark on this great journey of improvement as a reflective piece to what we have traditionally accomplished.
Top photo caption: LMS Principal Chuck Ogdan stands in the newly designed LMS Innovation Station.
Photo caption: Student and staff recognition announcements are broadcast for visitors to see at the LMS Office.
Photo caption: Students and staff members who earned recognition have their photos displayed at the LMS entry.
Photo caption: LMS Principal Chuck Ogdan with students at March Principal's Lunch.