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McKinney Middle School Team Named 2017 Team of the Year
The 7th and 8th grade teachers at Yellow Springs Schools’ McKinney Middle School have been named the 2017 Team of the Year by the Ohio Middle Level Association.

The Team of the Year award is the OMLA’s most prestigious designation, awarded to an interdisciplinary team of middle school teachers for its accomplishments with students and its contributions to middle school education. McKinney Middle School’s dedicated and talented team of educators was selected for the award after a nomination and application process that included a visit from a team of evaluators.

“Since the adoption of our district's 2020 Plan in 2011-2012, we have continually worked to put systems and structures in place that support the development of the positive, caring, and motivating learning atmosphere mentioned in the philosophy of Ohio's most prestigious middle level organization, the OMLA,” said Jack Hatert, assistant principal at McKinney Middle School/Yellow Springs High School and Foundations for Fearless Learning teacher. “We have been encouraged to take risks, to fail forward, and to create authentic opportunities for our students to learn and grow.”

The award recognizes culture and climate, advancement of middle level philosophy, team building, identity and cohesion, integrated/interdisciplinary curriculum planning and instruction, and increased student achievement and growth.
“The Team of the Year award is a testament to the attention and efforts of many great educators working side-by-side to support the growth and development of our kids,” said Mr. Hatert. “Our experiences have pulled our teaching team together, creating the trust necessary to keep the focus on the kids and to keep growing as professionals. We are proud to be Bulldogs!”

Yellow Springs Schools, including McKinney Middle School, engages students through project-based learning, a philosophy of teaching and learning that gives students the chance to develop skills with hands-on learning. This year, McKinney Middle School teachers and students have tackled ambitious interdisciplinary projects like a multi-day educational bike trip, a furniture design/build project, and a project on native nesting birds called Operation Bluebird.

The McKinney Middle School team members are: (Back row) Shannon Morano (guidance counselor); Jeff Collins (math); Brian Mayer (band/orchestra); Jack Hatert (Foundations for Fearless Thinking and Assistant Principal); Jaime Adoff (ELA); Rebecca Eastman (science); (Front row) Lynn Miller (social studies); Hilary Riepenhoff (intervention specialist); Karleen Materne (visual arts); Katherine Lohmeyer (PE/Health); Lorrie Sparrow-Knapp (theater); and (not pictured) Steve Bleything (engineering).