Area Swimmers Redefining What it Means to Be High School Teammates

Many don’t see each other everyday in hallways or in math class like other athletes in their high schools and their letterman jackets have different school colors, but make no mistake, these student athletes are teammates. They all belong to the growing Champaign Area Swim Team nicknamed Team Champ.

After a humble beginning of four swimmers from Mechanicsburg and London High Schools in 2016, Team Champ has grown steadily during the last three seasons and now includes seventeen high school student athletes from London, Graham, Mechanicsburg, and West Liberty.

London Senior Emily Bennett and Ethan Kramer, a Junior from Mechanicsburg, have been on the team since the beginning. Each has watched the team grow over the years and see the makeup of the team as its biggest strength. Emily notes, “Despite us going to different schools, I feel that when we see each other at practices and meets, we haven’t skipped a beat. Being a part of a team that represents not one, but four swim teams has been a lot of fun as we always cheer and support each other. It’s fun celebrating our time drops together.” Ethan emphasized the strength in numbers, “I’m one of two swimmers from Burg. Last year, I was the only one. I love swimming, but it’s a lot more fun with teammates.”

West Liberty Salem Junior Katelyn Stapleton and Graham Freshman Jack Boggs are new to the team this year. As a YMCA lifeguard, Katelyn watched the team practice last season and thought it looked like fun. “Making friends from other schools has definitely been a plus.” Jack added, “I love how I can meet new people and build relationships with people from other schools. I can’t wait for next year.”

Team Champ is unique on several levels. First, although the swimmers compete for their own respective high schools, Team Champ swimmers practice together, warmup together, sit together at meets, and root each other on during races. Swimmers wear caps representing their high schools, but wear suits that are the same pattern as their teammates just in different school colors. Even the coaching situation is unique with the London Superintendent, a parent of one of the Mechanicsburg swimmers, leading the program.

Team Champ works thanks to the sponsorship of the Champaign Family YMCA, partnering school districts, and dedicated swimmers, coaches, and families. Each participating school recognizes swimming as a sport and hires volunteer coaches. Student athletes and their families foot the bill for entry fees and provide their own transportation. The YMCA provides pool time to practice and collects and pays entry fees for swimmers. Coaches develop a common meet schedule and handle all practice and meet coaching and logistics.

The team’s uniqueness is beginning to gain some notoriety at meets with frequent positive comments from other coaches, swimmers, and fans. The team’s suit color and style scheme creates a unique visual when the team is assembled, one which prompted a competing swimmer to compared the team’s look to that of a bunch of Skittles candies. This is probably a good comparison, like Skittles, Team Champ athletes are unique and different but seemly to go together pretty well.

Team Champ Team Pic 2019-20.jpg

LCS Passes Levy Renewal by Historic Margin, Thanks Voters

The district’s renewal of its 1% income tax was overwhelmingly passed by voters earlier this month. In fact, the community support of the issue was highest rate for any issue in almost a quarter century.
The district wishes to thank the community for this support. As a growing district of choice in what is becoming a thriving small city, this is an exciting time to be a Red Raider.

London Playing Around with New Esports Team

London is hoping to take providing opportunities for its students to the next level…or stage…or campaign or whatever the description of success is on your favorite video game. In an attempt to positively engage more district students and to provide opportunities in an already billion dollar industry, London launched an Esports team earlier this fall. In doing so, London was the first school in the area and one of a growing number of schools state-wide to sponsor a district Esports team. The response to the district’s foray into gaming has been overwhelming. Almost 50 students attended a planning meeting at the beginning of the year and dozens attended the first days of practice in October.
Most of today’s parents grew up in a video game culture and challenged friends to competitions playing video games on systems like Atari, ColecoVision, or Sega. Today, students participate as part of a high school team against other high schools by playing some of the most popular online games. LHS has aligned with Esports Ohio, which describes itself as “a free grass-roots implementation of High School Esports in Ohio officially affiliated through school districts focusing on providing student opportunities.” This organization sponsors events and seasonal championships for teams. Schools also “practice” during the year by competing against other schools in “dual meets.”

This new venture for LCS fits right in with the district’s goal of providing students with a variety of academic, athletic, and extracurricular opportunities. As with any other sport or activity, Esports goal is to provide students with a chance to develop skills, make friends, and represent their school in competition. LHS has already seen these goals being achieved. LHS Sophomore Jacob Duval said “It’s kinda like I found my home, my home amongst the gamers.”

Calling All Would Be Argonauts!!

Watch Dr. Kramer’s Call for Argonauts here

The London City School District is partnering with JASON Learning to provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience for one London student in 2020. Named after the mythical Greek explorers, the chosen Argonaut will have an opportunity to experience a STEM expedition sometime during the 2019-2020 school year or possibly the summer of 2020. For a description and more details on the argonaut program, please visit the Argonaut webpage

Students will apply to be a part of the Argonaut program but not a particular trip. JASON Learning will match students with a trip that meets their interests and logistics. The trip is free for students and essential gear provided. Students must, however, provide for shots, clothes, travel documents, etc.

Who Should Apply?

Students who:

  • Will be between 13-17 years old on June 1, 2020;
  • Demonstrate a strong interest and ability in science;
  • Possess excellent leadership and teamwork skills;
  • Are self-motivated, creative, and adventurous;
  • Possess (or are willing to learn!) excellent communication skills;
  • Exhibit an eagerness to participate in field activities which may be outdoors and/or strenuous in nature;
  • Have ideally used JASON in an educational setting.

Note: For students with special needs, accommodations may be made consistent with the student’s’ IEP.

Applications for the Argonaut program are now available!! All applications will be due on or before December 6th, 2019. A final decision on the successful applicant will be made before January 1st, 2020. 


An Open Letter to Families Regarding the 2019 State Report Card

Dear London Families,

The Ohio Department of Education recently released its 2019 report cards for each district and school in the state. The annual report card is a collection of dozens of pages of district performance data and is based on federal and state law and the Ohio Department of Education’s interpretation of such. The report card is based mostly on the performance of students on a state assessment on one day last spring. 

Overall, each district is rated on six different components: Achievement, Gap Closing, Improving At-Risk K-3 Readers, Progress, Graduation Rate, and Prepared for Success. Despite a promising trend of improvement on the state report card the last three years, district performance was more inconsistent in 2019. As a school district, London improved on 2 components (Progress and K-3 Literacy), scored lower on graduation rate, and scored the same on the remaining three components. Similar to 2018, the state assigned the district an overall score of a D. 

It is important to keep in mind the state report card is one data point of measuring a successful school district, and it is a data point that is often manipulated by the state. Several years ago, when many districts were receiving performance descriptors which were much more complimentary, the state changed the assessments students were given and the “cut scores” for proficiency knowing that in doing so, student “performance” would drop by 30-40% across the state. 

Knowing that the state report card is a political vehicle, as a superintendent I am less concerned with our current overall scores as I am that we make consistent, sustained progress. The reality is many of our students entering our school district are not always prepared to perform academically. Our job is to ensure all students are making progress academically regardless of where they start. That is why I was satisfied with our prior three years of progress and am equally concerned with this year’s inconsistency.

Besides the state report card, as a district we also measure progress by monitoring enrollment, attendance, positive behavior in our schools, expanding the opportunities for our students and families, improving the efficiency of operations, and demonstrating good stewardship of public funds. To learn more about how we are making progress in each and every one of these areas as well as strategies being implemented to raise student achievement, please visit our Quality Profile page on our district website. 

We are proud that our district enrollment continues to grow as more students and parents choose London City Schools as their school of choice. We appreciate the support our community provides and will continue to work tirelessly to make the London City School District a premiere district in this county and beyond.

If you have any questions about our district performance or the performance of your child, please feel free to contact your child’s teacher, the building principal, or our central office.

Kind Regards,

Dr. Lou Kramer

District Superintendent

The “Super”intendent and the District Technology Director Dillan “Shu”maker Launch New Podcast

District Superintendent, Lou Kramer, and District Technology Director Dillan Shumaker have launched a new podcast appropriately named The Super and The Shu. The podcast is intended to be a semi regular opportunity to discuss the happenings in the district in a new format. Each episode will include students and occasionally some additional special guests from our schools and the community. The podcast is available on iTunes, Spotify, and will be posted on Dr. Kramer’s superintendent page.

You can listen to the first episode here.

London Publishes Portrait of a Graduate

Over the last four years, LCS has worked diligently to improve the district by establishing a strategic plan based on five main goals. The district is constantly working to make sure improvement efforts match the expectations of our community, colleges, and future employers. During the spring of 2019, the district sought input from students, parents, staff, and the community as to the skill sets and mind sets needed to be successful in college and careers. The result was the district’s Portrait of a Graduate, which will help to guide improvement efforts in the future.
London High School Graduates are Future Ready and…

CRITICAL AND CREATIVE THINKERS AND PROBLEM-SOLVERS. LHS graduates are able to develop, implement, and model effective decision making and critical thinking skills.

EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATORS. Each Red Raider graduate is able to apply positive verbal and non-verbal communication and social skills in order to interact effectively with others and in groups.

APPROPRIATELY SKILLED IN LITERACY, NUMERACY, AND TECHNOLOGY. Grads possess the knowledge and the ability to meaningfully apply literacy, numeracy, and technology skills for success in college and/or careers.

RESPECTFUL TO OTHERS. LHS students demonstrate a social awareness and respect for human dignity, including the similarities and differences of all people, groups, and cultures.

FLEXIBLE AND ADAPTABLE. District graduates explore and approach new situations with an open mind and curiosity. They persevere through challenges and setbacks in school and life.