Last night at the 8/17/2022 regular meeting of the Forest Hills School District Board of Education, Dr. Leslie Rasmussen proposed a motion to repeal the "Resolution to Create a Culture of Kindness and Equal Opportunity for All Students and Staff." The motion came after the board was presented with a change.org petition signed by just over 3,000 residents of the Forest Hills School District. In a surprise move, board member Katie Stewart — who originally voted AGAINST the resolution — refused to second the motion to repeal it. This has led to speculation that she is actually for the resolution that censors students and teachers from talking about diversity of all kinds in the classroom, essentially erasing the ability for students to get to know each other and create understanding and empathy.
Honesty for Ohio Education put out a statement early this morning condemning the lack of action at the board meeting. Advocate FHSD supports and highlights this statement. The resolution is no good for the students and the overall reputation of our beloved school dstrict.
It is clear that the Forest Hills community does not want the toxic ‘Culture of Kindness’ resolution poisoning their schools. This brazen act of disrespect for the students, families and educators by refusing to hold a vote against the resolution is yet another attempt by extremist elected officials to hold honest education hostage and weaponize race and identity,” says Cynthia Peeples, founding director of Honesty for Ohio Education.
Ayer Elementary Playground Clean-up
Thank you to the Ayer PTA for putting on this event. It was a beautiful day to clean up the Ayer Elementary playground! Pulling weeds is not a favorite activity, but the look of a fresh playground space will do wonders in welcoming the Ayer students on their first day of school. And, there is nothing like a little fresh air, hard work, and good conversations! The Forest Hills School District will take care of the mulching, but there must have been 4-5 trash cans full of weeds that were removed! The recent rain made it easy to pull them out roots and all. So the large group of volunteers made quick work of it.
If there is ever an opportunity to volunteer throughout the district, we will post it to our Event Calendar on AdvocateFHSD.org. It feels good to do good ... especially for the kids. So come out and be a part of the volunteer community that makes this school district great! Once again, thank you to the Ayer PTA. You are all rockstars!
Advocate Sarah Crable recently had a beautifully written opinion published by The Cincinnati Enquirer. To support her self-initiated efforts to achieve our shared goals, Advocate FHSD would like to highlight this op-ed titled "Forest Hills School Board members who support racist resolution must resign."
Sarah was born and raised in the Cincinnati area and spent 13 years of her schooling in the Forest Hills School District (FHSD). Sarah is currently an undergraduate student studying international relations at Stanford University.
FHSD is lucky to have Sarah Crable in its corner, and we are lucky to have this advocate in our group! Thank you Sarah!
If we are to have any hope of fostering a safe and constructive environment for all students in Forest Hills, Bibb, Hausfeld, and Jonas cannot remain in their positions. They have demonstrated a commitment to creating a culture of discrimination and hostility, of flagrant racism and ignorance. They cannot sit in positions that purport to act in the interest of student welfare while championing policies that will do such great harm to students of color and LGBTQ+ students. It is time for them to resign so the school district can get serious about prioritizing student needs — including the need for anti-racist education.
The Forest Hills Foundation for Education (FHFE) has supported the Forest Hills School District for over 14 years and provides funding for much needed critical initiatives that lead to the success of FHSD students. In a recent statement, the organization reassures the community that they will continue to provide their crucial services, while distancing themselves from the overall message of the "Culture of Kindness" resolution passed on June 22, 2022. As a community, we thank FHFE for their continued support of students and teachers in the district. Read their statement:
Forest Hills Foundation for Education Response to the FHSD Board of Education June 22, 2022 Resolution
As Board members and staff of the Foundation, we are inspired and guided by our Vision, Mission, and Values.
As a group of parents, community members, corporate and nonprofit leaders, we believe we need to understand others’ differences and backgrounds to be successful. We must be able to have civil conversations and debates. The classroom creates a safe environment for students to make mistakes, learn and grow. We continue to believe in and support research based best practices in education such as fostering effective learning environments, including activities which ensure the ability for students to be heard and have a sense of belonging.
In the coming school year, we will continue to consider grant requests from the Forest Hills School District, increase our grant allocation to our front-line educators through Teacher Grants, and add a new category of School Group Community Grants - working through our PTAs and PTOs to hear directly from parents and students. We believe this approach will lead to even better outcomes for every student to have the resources to reach their full potential. We will continue to be vigilant in ensuring that our grants support our Vision, Mission, and Values.
For over 14 years, the Foundation has supported the Forest Hills School District by funding critical initiatives for the success of our students - Nagel After School tutoring and student clubs; a Child Focus Therapist; STEM programs such as Destination Imagination, Esports and Robotics; and Teacher Grants. We continue to believe the most effective and efficient way to impact the largest number of students is by partnering with the Forest Hills School District.
Thank you for your trust in us to achieve the Foundation’s important and rewarding Mission to serve our students.
Advocate FHSD grew from a small community of 250 to nearly 1,600 since the June 22nd regular board meeting where the culture of kindness resolution was adopted. We can't tell you how humbling it is to have that large of a community joining this effort. Whether you are here for information, to help take action, or are somewhere in-between, you are welcome here. We also love hearing your ideas, keep them coming! Have feedback? Email us at AdvocateFHSD@gmail.com
Six committees were initially identified and organized. The Advocate FHSD admin team met with members of the initial 6 committees and talked about overall purpose and consolidation. The committees are being better categorized, and will be organized into subgroups utilizing a new Facebook tool, allowing us to be better connected. Those are currently in development, and will have additional opportunities to join. This is still a continued experiment as we test the waters to see what works best for our great community. Stay tuned!
WHAT IMMEDIATE ACTIONS CAN YOU TAKE?
The most important thing we can do as a community is to show up. And showing up means something different for everyone. Some are comfortable attending meetings, our PTO's are desperate for members and are a great way to stay connected with all the goings-on in our schools. For some people, writing a letter or email to the board is a big first step. All we can say is, it helps. Whatever step you take, it helps.
Welcome to AdvocateFHSD! We’re so happy to have you here. Strong public schools = strong communities. Here, we strive to engage and inform the FHSD community, and empower residents to be the best advocates for our students, teachers, administrators, and district.