A resource for parents & students to compare schools
By Chuck Gibson (With special note from Loveland parent Heidi Terselic)
LOVELAND, OH (April 18, 2022) – Private schools have always touted advantages recruiting students about to enter high school, but there is a new kid on the recruiting block. “Why Loveland-Open House” currently on Facebook and Twitter, is now a resource for parents and students to make an informed choice.
The informative social media site all about Loveland High School was an idea Josh DeWitt came up with to address the loss of eighth grade students each year to private schools. Here’s his description taken directly from the Facebook page: Why Loveland? is to provide a resource for Loveland families to compare Loveland Schools to private schools by learning more, touring facilities, and talking with teachers, students, fine art leaders, and coaches.
DeWitt has seen private schools use social media as a tool for recruitment. It has proven to be an effective method for private schools to inform families considering the option for their high school age students – especially the athletic programs. He and his wife Meredith were raised in public schools. His goal is to level the playing field for Loveland.
“We lose great families every year from eighth grade to private schools,” said DeWitt. “With the advent of social media, the recruitment of kids to go to private schools is off the charts. Every fall and spring our lawns are peppered with ‘Open House’ signs. Social media took that to the next level because they can blast out whatever they want.”
The DeWitts have three kids, two have already graduated from Loveland and the third is currently in seventh grade at Loveland Middle School (LMS). He says it is not his job to fight or argue the pros and cons of public versus private school with families.
“I want to give Loveland and equal place at the table,” DeWitt explained his purpose for creating Why Loveland-Open House. “When mom and dad are comparing two private schools to one another, I want a third stack of information that’s Loveland.”
He’s seen too many times families simply say they’re not going to consider Loveland and going out to choose a school from a list of private schools they’ve selected to consider. DeWitt knows there are “legacy families” where grandpa and dad, or grandma and mom, attended a private school and the kid is going to follow in their footsteps to that same school. Those families are not the target. The target is the family being misled to believe their child must go to a private school to get a college scholarship, play a particular sport, or participate in a particular extracurricular. He wants to help provide the information for them to see what Loveland offers compared to those private school choices.
“The first thing you look at is academics,” DeWitt said. “Parents have a tainted view that their children must go to private school to get a good score on the ACT and get into college. It is absolutely wrong.”
DeWitt went on to cite some examples of the average ACT scores from private schools versus the ACT averages of Loveland students. In some cases, the Loveland average was higher. That information is available on their websites. And now, with Why Loveland-Open House families can easily compare the Loveland information.
“We have stories all over Loveland of successful kids; Army Cadets, Naval Academy, Ivy League Schools, Honors programs,” said DeWitt. “My own daughter is graduating a year early from U.C. and entering pre-law school. She’s only two years out of Loveland right now. We have a lot here we need to be proud about.”
The emphasis is placed first on the academics, but extracurricular activities; sports, Show Choir, music, orchestra, theater, robotics and other programs are next. DeWitt rattled off a long list of diverse extracurricular activities.
“We have an amazing athletic department,” he said. “We compete every year. For the All ECC trophy we’re either #1 or #2, we’re always at the top. You can come to Loveland and fill all your athletic dreams and you can also diversify. Let’s not forget about the arts we have at Loveland.”
All of these are the reasons Josh DeWitt came up with the idea to create a social media outlet (Why Loveland-Open House) to share the information about what Loveland has to offer in comparison to the area private schools. The academics, the extracurricular programs, the success stories of students who have gone on to higher education, higher competition and opportunities to use their gifts at the next level, that’s what drives him to get the word out.
“My job is to take this to the average family so they can compare this to the options that are out there,” DeWitt said.
DeWitt took this to Loveland School leadership and met with administrators including Superintendent Mike Broadwater, the LHS and LMS principals, the athletic directors from both LHS and LMS and so on down the line. Everybody supports the idea. The idea is to respond to the families who reach out when they see Why Loveland-Open House. Here’s the planned response:
- A family fills out a questionnaire
- A tour is created tailored to their interests/questions (Not a general open house)
- Create a mentor/mentee relationship for the 8th grade student
- Connect with students who have graduated from Loveland to be those mentors
The Facebook page was launched February 19. There is also a Twitter account and DeWitt is working on creating an Instagram account as well. The social media presence has only been there for about two months, but response has been favorable so far.
“I have about 200 members since February,” DeWitt said. “Twitter, I’ve got 70-80 followers. I’ll also be involved next spring with the Loveland Showcase program when that happens.”
One family with three kids currently attending Loveland schools described the new social media site as “Brilliant”. Earlier they had the experience of considering a private school choice for their son, and were disappointed to not have a resource of this kind of information for Loveland to make a comparison. The result, they chose a private school at first, but came back to Loveland.
The Loveland mom also owns a local business and commented.
“I am 1,000 percent for Loveland and this idea,” she said. “Why Loveland is good for business too. Brilliant, wish they had this the first time we were researching our high school choice.”
DeWitt is also meeting with the school principals to make plans for an open house in the fall.
CLICK HERE to visit Why Loveland-Open House on Facebook
Follow Why Loveland-Open House on Twitter at: @WhyLoveland
So, Why Loveland? Here is the response from Heidi Terselic who has two students (daughter and a son) attending Loveland High School and two other daughters who already graduated from Loveland High School. Here is her story – in her own words:
By Heidi Terselic (Special to Loveland Beacon)
Prior to my family’s move to Loveland, Ohio in 2015, our children had experienced a variety of education scenarios: homeschool; Canadian Quebecois, bilingual school; and a year of public school in a Chicago suburb. In my career as an administrator and teacher, I myself had experienced public, private, and parochial schools in Illinois. Therefore, when we arrived in Loveland, Ohio, having no family or other loyalties to specific types of schools, we researched both the parochial and public schools. We decided to enroll our daughters, who were then in 5th, 7th, and 8th grades, in the Catholic school; the main reasons we did so were for the high standards in curriculum, which included faith-based instruction, something which had never been available to us before.
Prior to having looked for our new home, I had researched accommodations for our special-needs son, who is also our youngest child, in Cincinnati-area schools; the outstanding, special education program at Loveland Public Schools is what led us to purchasing a home in the district. – Heidi Terselic
Since our oldest daughter was in 8th grade, we were almost immediately put into the situation of needing to research public and parochial high schools. To investigate what classes were offered at both types of schools, I searched schools’ websites online. I also asked local parents where they sent their children to high school, and how they’d determined what was best for their families. I began to see that academic offerings were quite similar.
For example, high schools across the area offered classes for college preparation, including dual-credit classes that could be utilized toward bachelor degrees. I also noticed that most of the high schools offered a wide variety of sports activities. While my daughters were involved in a sport or two, they all had been heavily involved in drama and vocal music their entire lives. I had heard about Loveland’s award-winning show choirs through a newspaper article. So I decided to purchase tickets for our family to see a musical production, “Cinderella,” at Loveland High School.
“Seeing the incredible talent and direction of this production sealed our decision to try Loveland High School. There simply wasn’t anything remotely close to the massive, competitive show choir program, at any parochial school.”
Meanwhile, we witnessed a program called Ambassadors at Loveland Elementary School. This involved students, who were chosen from a huge group of student applicants, to be peer mentors–Ambassadors–to kids like our son Augie. Augie was not only included in various classes with his typical peers, but he also experienced individual and small-group interactions daily with the Ambassadors, such as: playing board games; reading with these friends; and working on a multitude of skills with them. We learned just how unique and effective this phenomenal culture of Inclusion was in all Loveland Public Schools.
Therefore, with curriculum and sports being offered equally, the aspects that clearly tipped the scales to continue to enroll the rest of our children in Loveland High School were the competitive show choir program and the environment of Inclusion, which continues to bring together kids like our son with the typical peer population. These are priceless experiences that occur daily at Loveland High School, which don’t exist in the area’s parochial schools.