It's unbelievable to me that March is here already. That means that our schools are getting ready for state testing, spring sports, Spring Break, and many other activities. Here are a few news items that may interest you.

Nordonia Hills City Schools Conserving Energy, Money: Little things such as turning off lights and shutting down computers are making a dent in Nordonia Hills City School District's energy bills. The district-wide energy-saving program with Cenergistic resulted in a net savings of over $143,000 in electric and gas costs from August 2015 to November 2016.

Nordonia schools reduced electrical consumption by over 854,000 kWh and natural gas consumption over 10,300 MCF. Much of the savings was a result of turning lights off when not in use, controlling room temperatures, shutting down kitchen equipment on school breaks and repairing HVAC.

Trish Woods, Nordonia's energy specialist, acknowledges there is always a learning curve; but with open communication, understanding and clear expectations everyone can benefit. Woods praises the custodial staff in implementing the energy saving philosophy, being more conscious of lights and cleaning schedules to lower overall utility usage. Staff is able to email or call Woods directly with concerns and she strives to try to find a solution that works for both sides.

"A lot of it is just changing habit," stated Woods. "I'm in the schools at night looking for equipment left on, checking room temps and confirming heating/cooling is running per schedule. It is an entire district effort, on every level."

Nordonia Schools Foundation Golf Outing: The Nordonia Schools Foundation does an incredible job of supporting teachers and students through mini-grants and scholarships. Their primary fundraiser is their annual golf outing.

The 19th Annual Nordonia Charity Golf Outing will be Saturday, June 10 at Gleneagles Golf Course in Twinsburg. This 4-person scramble has a 7:30 a.m. registration and breakfast and an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start. The $110 per person fee includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, beverages throughout the day, greens fees, driving range, cart, skill prizes, and more.

Please go to www.nordoniaschools.org and click on the Nordonia Schools Foundation tab for more information.

Purses of Hope: Nordonia students and staff are awesome! Gary Kanaga's health classes and some staff members collected more than 300 purses stuffed with female toiletries, candy and magazines for the Women's Shelters of Cleveland and Akron.

Petermann Audit: You may remember that we outsource our transportation services with Petermann, Ltd. Keith Harms, Petermann's corporate Area Director of Safety in the Great Lakes Region, completed our personnel file and facilities audit last week. Of over one dozen Petermann locations in this area, we are currently ranked number 1 in compliance!

During the audit, Harms examined dozens of personnel files to ensure that all Ohio and company-specific background and pre-qualifications are met. He also reviews training and re-training files to ensure that our drivers and monitors are as safe as possible.

While corporate does assign action plans to several specific areas, the majority of ours are simply maintaining what we are already doing.

Cool Teacher News: Congratulations to teacher Brooke Leach Grable, one of our English as a Second Language teachers, who applied to be an English Language Fellow through the US State Department a couple of month ago. Recently she interviewed for the position, and last week she learned that she was accepted.

Brooke will take an unpaid leave of absence for one year. She will be in Pristina, Kosovo for all of the 2017-2018 school year. She is still learning about the project, but she will be working with the Kosovo English Teachers Network (KETNET). They will be creating an English Language curriculum, mentoring and observing teachers in the field, and teaching a course at the University of Pristina.

Lead Testing: As part of Ohio's Lead Plumbing Fixture Replacement Assistance Grant Program, a water sampling was conducted on all of our faucets and fountains in every district building on Jan. 20. We have received the results for the water sampling, and I am happy to report that according to the findings of the EA Group who conducted the testing, no issues were found in any of our buildings.

All fountains and faucets tested in our buildings had zero detection of lead, with the exception of two faucets at the high school with levels detected significantly below the federal action level of 15 parts per billion (ppb) in drinking water (room 603 at 9 ppb and room 405 at 4 ppb). Although not required, for peace of mind, we will replace the fixtures in those two rooms. In the interim, signage will be displayed at those fixtures stating "Faucets should not be used for drinking water."

As always, thanks for supporting the Nordonia Schools, have a great month, and remember to follow me on Twitter @DrJoeClark.