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Quest for Success Kicks off Oct. 15
Posted 10/8/2019 at 10:28:14 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

STEUBENVILLE-Quest for Success is entering its third year with a variety of programming that kicks off on Oct. 15.

   The program, which is provided through the Jefferson County Educational Service Center, serves Jefferson County students in grades 5-8 who attend the Buckeye Local, Edison Local, Indian Creek Local, Steubenville City and Toronto City school districts as well as Bishop John Mussio, the School of Bright Promise and Jefferson County Christian School. Quest for Success partners with Brightway Center, Coleman Professional Services and Franciscan University with the goal of increasing opportunities for student success in literacy, mathematics, social development, family support and community involvement. Weekday activities are held from 1:30-5 p.m. on Monday to Thursday at the new Quest Center located at 2550 Cherry Ave. in Steubenville and offerings include a social development-based activity, homework help, literacy and math intervention and other regular programming. Morning sessions are also available from 7-8:30 a.m. and include breakfast, homework help and literacy and math intervention and transportation is provided by the Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities. Quest officials said about 75 students participated last year.

   Community and Family Coordinator Martariesa Fiala said the new location, which is housed at the former Jeffco Training Center, benefits parents, students and the program as a whole.

   “It is a really great place for parents and students to come, and it’s nice being close to the Hollywood Plaza where parents can shop while they wait for their child to complete our sessions,” Fiala said. “It has also created stronger partnerships with the community, including the Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities and we’re thankful to them for this opportunity to utilize the space.”

   Also new are a few additions to the Quest staff, which includes Mark Masloski as program manager; John Wilson as site coordinator; Steve Romey as Quest supervisor; Jose Davis as academic and data coordinator; Jason Swartzmiller as event coordinator; Kim Masloski as academic specialist; Justin Davis and Alexis Heavilin as academic tutors; Lee Gillison, Amy Mihalyo, Raymond Saccoccia and Bobbyjon Bauman, programming; and Tamara Tyree, social work intern.

   Quest for Success utilizes Renaissance (STAR Reading and Math) and North West Evaluation Association (NWEA) academic programs and conducts activities with its community partners during the after-school sessions. Coleman Professional Services provides counselors to support students’ social development; Brightway Center has programming aimed at promoting positive relationships and decision-making; the Franciscan University Education Department hosts family literacy events; and the JCESC provides programs to promote college and career readiness skills. Other programs include “Daily and Life Skills” with Mihalyo each Monday; a basketball clinic with Coach Saccoccia and Character Counts with Coleman Professional Services on Tuesday; Career and College Readiness by Reekdoe Education Services and “Daily and Life Skills” again with Mihalyo on Wednesday; and a fine arts club with Quest staff and a basketball clinic with Coach Saccoccia on Thursday. Meanwhile, youth can also enjoy fun, family-based events one Saturday per month at either the Steubenville location or Brightway Center in Smithfield. Fiala said a variety of activities are being planned including a field trip to the Virtual Reality Headquarters in Wintersville.

    Quest for Success is made possible through a five-year, $850,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Education. The grant provides $200,000 annually for the first three years, followed by $150,000 during year four and $100,000 the final year. Anyone interested may also contact their respective school districts by emailing Masloski, who is representing Harding, at mmasloski@jcesc.org; Krista Kinyo at krista.kinyo@buckeyelocal.net; Samanda Pepperling at samanda.pepperling@edisonwildcats.org; Dr. Holly Minch-Hick at holly.minchhick@iclsd.org; Jane Bodo at jbodo@jcbdd.com;  and Lynda Glenn at lynda.glenn@torontocityschools.com.

   For more information, contact Masloski at JCESC (740) 283-3347, Ext. 134, or Fiala at (740) 283-3347,  Ext. 100.

Curiosity Dome Coming to Area Schools
Posted 10/8/2019 at 10:24:59 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

STEUBENVILLE-Students in Jefferson County schools will view the final frontier as the Curiosity Dome returns to sites throughout the next week.

   The Jefferson County Educational Service Center’s Quest for Success program is sponsoring the Dome Theater, a science education program based in Grand Rapids, Mich., that began in 2008 and travels to schools around the country. Students in grades PreK-12 will gather inside a 15-foot-tall portable planetarium to view outstanding interactive programs narrated by celebrities, and this year the Curiosity Dome is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Developed by Rice University and the Houston Museum of Natural Science and with the support of NASA, each educational program is designed to focus on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) with an extremely broad range of visual topics presented in a fun and creative manner.

   The theater will first make a stop at the School of Bright Promise on Oct. 16 to hold viewings for 80 special needs pupils, while presentations continue for a total of 400 students in grades PreK-12 at Karaffa Elementary on Oct. 17 and Toronto High School on Oct. 18. About 300 Harding Middle School students will enjoy shows on Oct. 22 before the theater moves on Edison Jr. High School on Oct. 23 to benefit 646 students. The program will conclude at Buckeye Local Jr. High School on Oct. 24 where 270 seventh- and eighth graders will be enlightened and entertained.

   Martariesa Fiala, community and family coordinator for the Quest for Success program, said Quest has sponsored the event for the past three years and it has been well-received by students and teachers alike.

   “The students love it and the teachers enjoy this interactive aspect as part of their lesson,” said Fiala.

   Quest for Success, which operates under the auspices of JCESC, is funded through a 21st Century Grant from the Ohio Department of Education. Programs are available before and after school at the Quest Center at 2550 Cherry Ave. in Steubenville for county students in grades 5-8. Sessions are held Monday to Thursday from 1:30-5 p.m. in conjunction with Coleman Professional Services, Franciscan University of Steubenville and Brightway Center in Smithfield to increase opportunities for students to succeed in literacy, mathematics, social development, family support and community involvement.

   For more information about Quest for Success programs, call (740) 283-3347.

Positivity Focus of Administrators’ Breakfast
Posted 8/21/2019 at 9:34:24 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
JCESC Admin Breakfast

WINTERSVILLE-The power of positivity was the subject of this year’s administrators’ breakfast meeting hosted by the Jefferson County Educational Service Center.

    More than 70 educators and community partners attended the event at St. Florian Hall on Aug. 8 and received some encouragement as they prepared for the new school year.  JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko welcomed the crowd, which included representatives of nine local school districts, Eastern Gateway Community College and the community, and attendants heard staff and school news from superintendents and other officials as well as legal updates from attorney Mark Jackson and details on growth mindset from Carri Meek, instructional coach and CEO of Instructional Growth Seminars and Support. Another highlight was the presentation of the 2019 Principal of the Year Award to Jennifer Birney of Harrison East Elementary School.

   The main speakers for the day were Sherrie Dunlevy, a best-selling author, social media influencer and former television news anchor for WTOV-TV, and local businessman Dan Stephens.

  Dunlevy authored “How Can I Help,” which offers ways to aid loved ones in times of strife, and began the All Things Awesome!! blog filled with uplifting stories from around the world. She said her life’s mission became clear when she faced her own personal tragedy. After the death of her infant son in 1999, she decided to step away from the news desk and focus her future in a new arena. Twenty years have passed since her last newscast and Dunlevy said her time in television and radio helped shape her views about generating more positivity while the internet has given her a broader reach.

 “When you know better, you do better. That’s what I’m dedicating my life to,” she added. “This is an awesome world. There are good people and I wanted to tell those stories.”

   She began All Things Awesome!! two months ago to share upbeat stories about people whose good deeds help others and make life better. Dunlevy told of a high school coach who developed a program for male students without fathers to give them a positive role model, as well as another story about a high school principal who added washers and dryers to his school so impoverished students could clean their clothes and help deter absenteeism. Since its inception, her site has gained readers from as far as Africa and has become a vehicle to promote goodness in the world.

 Dunlevy, who will lead several professional development workshops this year in partnership with JCESC, also offered school resolutions for students, teachers and administrators to follow. Among them are to focus on what you want to see, not what you don’t; to shift from what you can’t solve to what you can do; and to not focus on making the grade but focus on making an impact. Dunlevy noted that if people worked with their hearts and not just their heads, they would see how they add value to others. For example, janitors beautify learning facilities while cafeteria workers feed the minds and bodies of future generations. Moreover, teachers inspire passion and instill dedication for students to be who they want to be; administrators cultivate a culture of kindness and compassion; and coaches inspire working for a common goal and pushing students to reach their potential. Finally, students grow into the best people they can be so they can become model citizens in the community and make an impact.

  “Learning is more than test scores, but how you can learn to impact the community,” she concluded. “The goal for the school year is to focus on where you want to go …in educating the young minds of the leaders of tomorrow.”

   Dan Stephens, a past sports standout and Fiesta Bowl awardee, returned to the Ohio Valley and is a State Farm Insurance agent in Martins Ferry. Stephens came from a long line of educators and said he was also influenced by those in his school.

   “Buckeye Local helped me. As I went to Pitt and went through my life, it was a shoulder when I needed help and a kick when I needed to get going,” he said. “The impact that you guys have is lifelong. I was able to chase my dream. I was mostly impacted by my teachers and coaches, such as Freddie Heatherington during American Legion Post 33 baseball and Ron Pobolish at Buckeye Local. Coaches with the Young Buckeyes taught me to never give up.”

   Stephens was also inspired to return to the Ohio Valley and also to give back.

   “For me, it was important that giving back to the community is many fold,” he said, adding that kids should be encouraged to participate in sports and other extracurricular activities. “Playing baseball, football and basketball made me the person I am.”

   He also urged educators to help youth become more civic-minded and encourage them to live in the area as adults.

   “When you talk to students, highlight the Ohio Valley in a positive way. We’ve had issues with students who leave and don’t come back. Make sure they come back and get them involved in the community so they see what they can do.”

   Dr. Kokiko took a page from the speakers and closed with anecdotes from his own life. He said the three most important things to know are that it’s a small world, little things matter and everyone is in this together.

   “I don’t want us to lose sight of the little things,” he concluded. “The ESC is part of your family, so please reach out to us.”

(Photo Cutline: Harrison East Elementary Principal Jennifer Birney was named Principal of the Year during the annual administrator’s breakfast meeting held by the Jefferson County Educational Service Center on Aug. 8. Birney, pictured at center, was recognized by JCESC Governing Board members Mark Johnson and Barry Gullen. More than 70 people gathered at St. Florian Hall in Wintersville to kick off the new school year by highlighting school happenings and hearing from speakers.)

Teachers Undergo LETRS Training
Posted 8/21/2019 at 9:26:00 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
JCESC LETRS Training

Alicia Sparks of Voyager Sopras Learning led a professional development session on the Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS) literacy initiative Aug. 19 with about 50 educators from Buckeye Local, Harrison Hills and Indian Creek schools. The session, which was hosted by the Jefferson County Educational Service Center in Steubenville, funded by a Striving Readers Comprehensive Grant that JCESC obtained through the Ohio Department of Education in 2018 and more trainings are planned throughout the new school year.

Leadership Building
Posted 6/28/2019 at 3:32:58 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
JCESC Leadership Workshop

Local educators took part in a two-day workshop at the Jefferson County Educational Service Center in Steubenville on June 19-20 to learn how to cultivate leadership skills. Staci Galloway-Reed, an associate at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center of Estes Park, Colo., led the event which included a group of teachers and administrators from Indian Creek, Edison, Bishop John Mussio and JCESC. Participants exchanged ideas and earned continuing education units for completing the program. Galloway-Reed is pictured at right speaking with Wintersville Elementary School Principal Lorrie Jarrett during a group session.

Schools, Trades Joining Forces for Career Options
Posted 6/28/2019 at 1:40:15 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

STEUBENVILLE-Local education and trade organization leaders are looking to join forces and show today’s students that there are a plethora of viable options for successful careers.

   Officials with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 246 and the Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters, both of Steubenville, and Jefferson County Joint Vocational School attended the second session of the Jefferson County Educational Service Center’s business advisory council on June 26 at the Kenneth D. Simeral Building in Steubenville. The council was formed in December as required by Ohio Revised Code 3313.82, which establishes business advisory councils in school districts and ESC’s, and consists of JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko Jefferson Healthplan CEO Dr. George Ash, Edison Local Schools Superintendent Bill Beattie, Toronto City Schools Superintendent Maureen Taggart and Valley Converting Owner and Utica Shale Academy Board President Mike Biasi. Also on hand for the recent session were Amber Yorko and Ethan Tice of JCESC and Melanie DiCarlo, director of articulation and transfer at Eastern Gateway Community College.

   Dr. Kokiko said the purpose was to gather information on what local trades did and how schools could help them optimize their workforce.

   “I think you are a valuable option for kids and a lot of districts are looking for options,” he added.

    Taggart asked if the unions offered outreach programs, saying schools typically have college fairs but nothing so far has included trades. She also suggested having a representative speak at school. Kyle Brown, business manager for IBEW Local 246, said Project Best, which includes area trade organizations, hosts an annual event at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling. Jim Conrad, a representative of the carpenter’s council, added that the event included interactive displays and attracts about 400-500 students. 

   “All of the crafts are there and we wanted to do something up this way,” Conrad continued. “Not everyone wants to go to college and I think [kids] need to know something else is out there.”

   Officials added that those who go into trades do not owe money for school loans, plus they begin earning as much as $14 per hour and gain a pension after five years. Joe Miller, another carpenter’s council representative, said his group developed career connections and partnered with the carpentry class at the JVS. Graduates who are recommended by the instructor have direct entry into the apprenticeship program, otherwise apprentices must be sponsored for a 90-day probationary period.

 “In our industry, we tend to do more commercial and industrial work. The type of carpentry work we do is a career path,” Miller added, saying others also build residential homes.

 The state-accredited program was initially promoted to schools with shop classes, but representatives currently work with Toronto and Edison Local schools. Materials are also provided for a hands-on math curriculum as well as soft skills that could apply to any student. Jefferson County JVS Superintendent Dr. Todd Phillipson said it counted as an industry credential for his school.

   During more discussion, Brown highlighted many aspects of working in trades, such as being debt-free when it comes to school loans and having skill sets that are transferrable throughout the industry and anywhere in the country. With jobs growing in the oil and gas field, he noted that it was important to build a workforce. Brown said science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills were required while vocational education and the world have changed.

 “Craft apprenticeships teach their trade and it used to be that you had to know someone to get into the trade. Work is growing and there are needs,” he said. “You can compete for jobs.”

 The IBEW encompasses Brooke, Hancock, Jefferson, Columbiana and Harrison counties and Brown said it included a competitive application process and aptitude test. Applications are taken around January to February and there is a $35 fee. Meanwhile, the aptitude test is taken online and applicants are generally notified to undergo interviews, after which they begin a boot camp and get a job. He said the union supplies a starter tool set and a computer for online classes and the minimum age to apply is 18 years old.

 Work is given through a referral system in the electrical field while carpenters may solicit other contractors for jobs. Miller interjected that each craft has its own procedure and jobs are based on availability, while Conrad said apprenticeship classes are offered at EGCC. Dr. Kokiko commented that the Project Best website also had information about testing and related issues. Following more discussion, leaders addressed ways they could work together to benefit trades and students. Dr. Phillipson said the trade organizations were welcome to visit the JVS and speak to students, especially around November when eighth-graders toured the site. Talks then centered on offering a career fair in the local area that was similar to the Project Best event. DiCarlo and Dr. Kokiko suggested attending a building trades council meeting to discuss ideas and the union representatives were also welcome to speak at superintendents’ and other administrative meetings coordinated through JCESC.

   “We could work together to build forward and help give students a better life,” DiCarlo concluded.

   The next regular meeting was set for Sept. 24 at 8:30 a.m. at the Kenneth D. Simeral Building.

JCESC Earns Auditor of State Award
Posted 6/21/2019 at 8:32:17 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

STEUBENVILLE-The Jefferson County Educational Service Center has earned state accolades for its sound accounting practices after receiving the Ohio Auditor of State Award.

    JCESC Treasurer Don Donahue and his staff were recognized by Auditor of State Keith Faber for meeting a clean report on the most recent audit. Criteria include filing financial reports with the Auditor of State’s office in a timely fashion and in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles; having reports without findings for recovery, material citations, material weaknesses, significant deficiencies, Uniform Guidance (single audit) findings or questioned costs; having a management letter containing no comments related to ethics referrals, questioned costs less than the threshold per the Uniform Guidance, lack of timely report submission, failure to obtain a timely Single Audit in accordance with Uniform Guidance, reconciliation issues, findings for recovery less than $500, or public meetings or public records issues; and the having no other financial or related concerns.

   “Keeping accurate financial records allows schools to better serve their students and communities,” Auditor Faber said. “Jefferson County Educational Service Center’s clean audit shows they are committed to both their students and taxpayers.”

    Donahue was thrilled and attributed the award to the efforts of his employees.

   “It is an honor to receive this award. This is a result of the hard work and dedication of my staff, which includes Marybeth Swartzmiller and Ethan Tice, along with the tremendous support of the board of education, administration and ESC staff,” he commented. “I just want to thank everyone for their cooperation and understanding when it comes to being accountable for the ESC finances.”

   JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko praised Donahue and his staff for their work.

 “Don and the fiscal office staff at the JCESC are dedicated to their work and take pride in keeping accurate records.  We are fortunate to have them here at the ESC and commend Don, Ethan and Marybeth on a job well done,” he said. 

   JCESC serves Buckeye Local, Edison, Harrison Hills, Indian Creek, Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Jefferson County Joint Vocational School, Southern, Steubenville, and Toronto City Schools in Ohio.

Educators’ Workshop This Week
Posted 6/17/2019 at 2:00:20 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Friday Feature

STEUBENVILLE-The Jefferson County Educational Service Center will sponsor a “Cultivating the Skills of a Leader” workshop on June 19-20 to help area educators in the classroom and beyond.

   Staci Galloway-Reed, a professional development associate at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center of Estes Park, Colo., will lead the all-day event from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the R. Larry George Training Annex along Estelle Avenue in Steubenville. Participants will engage in a strength-based lens to examine their leadership skills and cultivate their own development plan to use with the youth in their classroom or those they supervise, and they will leave the course with a meaningful project for the upcoming school year and a multitude of tools and processes to support productivity, coaching others and positive team culture. A virtual PLC will be available for continued support, coaching and collaboration throughout the year along with an opportunity to join a national school leadership academy. Continuing education units or grad credits will be given through Franciscan University of Steubenville.

 For more information or to register, contact Mark Masloski at mmasloski@jcesc.org or call (740) 283-3347.

Superintendents Learn about Services
Posted 6/10/2019 at 2:41:53 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

STEUBENVILLE-Local school leaders learned about available services to further assist students during the regular superintendents’ meeting at Jefferson County Educational Service Center.

   Steve Pelton of All Choices Matter and Kristy Price from Coleman Professional Services spoke to superintendents from throughout Jefferson County during the monthly session at the Kenneth Simeral Building in Steubenville on June 7. Pelton, who is board chairman for the Eastlake-based nonprofit group, explained the services All Choices Matter provides to impact students.

   He said the organization was founded by his parents, both retired teachers, and provides uses technology to connect youth to local experts directly in the classroom. The purpose is to help encourage positive choices and deliver important life lessons through a secure learning portal for students, parents and teachers. Videos address topics include life skills, substance abuse, suicide, bullying, careers, work skills, stress, and financial literacy and representatives work with districts to tailor subjects to the schools’ particular needs.

   “They felt that teachers are asked to cover topics they aren’t comfortable with or that require experts and All Choices Matter brings that expertise into the classroom,” Pelton explained.

   He added that a library of some 4,000 videos has been created and touches upon a variety of issues, plus they can be viewed in school or at home and parents may also access materials through a secure platform. The organization began a two-year pilot program in Ashtabula County and has since expanded to include leadership development and career pathways. The program is used in 21 school districts and Pelton gauged interest among local school leaders.

   “Because of the success we’re having, we reached out to other ESC’s. We try to customize the expertise for your group.”

   He added that districts that sign on for programs at the high school and middle school levels will receive elementary-based service for free.

    Following more talks, JCESC Administrative Assistant Mark Masloski said a career readiness course was being created in the Quest For Success afterschool program sponsored by the ESC and perhaps he could speak with Pelton further. JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said they will review the possibility of incorporating it into the afterschool program.

  Price, who is chief officer of Coleman Professional Services in Steubenville, sought input from district leaders on providing day treatment services to students in need. Coleman Professional Services is a nationally-recognized provider of behavioral health and rehabilitation programs that improve the lives of individuals and families with a vision to foster recovery, build independence and change destinies.

 She and Dr. Kokiko had discussed the idea since Coleman assists four districts, including the School of Bright Promise and the Jefferson County Alternative School. She said counselors would work with children at least one day a week at the alternative school and provide individual and group assistance as well as psychiatry and case management, plus she hoped to take the service into students’ homes.

   “We’ve been talking about a day treatment service and wanted feedback,” she noted. “It is mental health driven and some behavioral. We will divide it according to age and [discuss] mental health issues.”

   She continued that a case manager and group counselor would be on hand while individual counseling would also be provided. Discussion ensued and Harrison Hills Superintendent Dana Snider asked about students who may not be on Medicaid. Price responded that she was also seeking grants to help cover costs so children get the help they need.

   “Our schools need a place so students aren’t home and can still be educated,” added Masloski. “If we can get assistance with day treatment, then we can do the educational piece and provide programs.”

   Dr. Kokiko said more research would be done and information would be provided to the districts to field interest.

FCFC Eyes Goals to Aid Community
Posted 6/10/2019 at 2:39:03 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

STEUBENVILLE-The Family and Children First Council is looking at ways to better assist the community and began brainstorming ideas at a recent meeting.

   About 20 people representing local agencies and organizations met at the Kenneth D. Simeral Building in Steubenville on June 7 to review issues which would be included in the council’s shared plan for 2019 and 2020. Linda Trushel, organization leader and program director for Help Me Grow in a four-county area, said members had to work on a new list of issues to target.

   “As a council, we have to come up with a shared plan,” she said. “We had a shared plan for 2018-19 and I feel like we’ve completed those goals.”

   Those efforts focused on children exposed to severe trauma, substance abuse and helping children out of foster care or who are homeless find lodging. In response, the council incorporated trauma-informed care to those children in need; provided information on drug treatment in local hospitals and at health fairs; and created a housing list as a resource to help shelter the homeless.

   Trushel said she gathered input and crafted 16 categories for the new list of goals, touching upon a few of them at the latest session. Ideas included assisting grandparents and relatives raising children through support and education; parent training for those who have children ages 4 and older; and providing services in rural areas. During discussion, council members mentioned that some services were available for family members rearing children, such as a peer support group through the Family Recovery Center, the Kinship Caregiver program at the Department of Job and Family Services, WIC and Cribs for Kids through the county health department and parental training at Coleman Professional Services.

   “They have early intervention at [the Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities] and when they go to preschool, they work with the teachers and BDD,” Trushel continued. 

   Kristy Price, chief officer of Coleman Professional Services, added that her agency could perform assessments and make referrals for resources but she is also looking at in-home services. Other suggestions included parent coaches through the county DJFS and PAX Tools facilitators speaking to parents.

   Trushel also asked members to ponder agencies that could provide support for rural areas, adding that transportation was another obstacle to consider. Dr. Chuck Kokiko, superintendent of the Jefferson County Educational Service Center, said JCESC was seeking up to $575,000 in distance learning grant funding for the ESC, FCFC and county juvenile court that could provide technology to minimize travel and help service clients.

  Meanwhile, the group heard from Bobbyjon Bauman, director of the Ohio Valley Youth Network, who described how the program has benefitted area children.

   Bauman said he longed to provide opportunities for youth and make a positive impact in Jefferson County. The network was soon formed and also includes area churches, social organizations, educational leaders and law enforcement.

   “When I came here six years ago, I wanted to be a catalyst for change in the Steubenville area,” he said.

   Since then, he has worked with districts to establish Fellowship of Christian Athletes organizations in schools. The network has also sponsored speakers such as former Major League Baseball player Darryl Strawberry; held youth rallies, the Valley’s Got Talent shows and Baccalaureate services; provided mentoring initiatives and the I Serve Day program where youth perform community service in collaboration with the Urban Mission; and created the Sunshine Bible Club. The group also developed the Sycamore Youth Center and offers 30 afterschool programs including art and music programs and games, among other activities.

    “We’re trying to give kids something to do after school [and this has] been a successful way for them to learn skills.”

Teachers Learn about Reading Challenges
Posted 6/5/2019 at 12:10:17 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ESC Reading Challenges PD

About 38 elementary teachers from the Toronto and Southern Local School Districts attended a professional development training at Jefferson County Educational Service Center on June 4 to learn about speech sounds in reading and spelling instruction. Representatives from Step by Step Learning, LLC of Pittsburgh were on hand throughout the week speaking to educators from various districts about reading challenges and how English spelling works. The training was part of the Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS) program, which is comprehensive, premier professional development for literacy educators in grades PreK-3 and prepares them for the challenging work of teaching literacy, and was provided through a Striving Readers grant from the Ohio Department of Education. Pictured is Pam Reagle working with educators from Karaffa Elementary.

Kakascik Named Region 4 Home Visitor of the Year
Posted 4/17/2019 at 12:26:48 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
JCESC Mary Kakascik Honored

STEUBENVILLE-Mary Kakascik gained honors for her work after being named Region 4 Home Visitor of the Year.

   Kakascik, a home visitor with the Harrison-Jefferson-Carroll-Belmont Help Me Grow program, was among 12 people and six agencies statewide that were lauded during the 2019 Ohio Early Childhood Services Conference in Columbus on March 27. Winners received plaques at the Second Annual Home Visiting Excellence Awards Ceremony that were presented by Sandra Oxley, chief of Maternal, Child and Family Health at the Ohio Department of Health.

   For her part, Kakascik has been a home visitor for the past four years and works with nearly 20 families in Harrison, Jefferson and Belmont counties. Her role is to provide parent education using a curriculum known as Growing Great Kids, as well as to complete screenings to ensure that children are meeting their developmental milestones. She also works with parents to help them achieve goals such as schooling, housing, and/or employment so they are able to provide a positive, safe and healthy environment for their children. She was recognized for consistently going beyond the call of duty and being passionate about the families she serves, as well as for her vast knowledge of community resources and her successful support for many families in gaining employment, completing GED’s and enrolling in college. Kakascik also makes visits during non-traditional hours based on the family’s work schedules and sees them in various settings such as the grocery store and hospital, finding ways to use the Growing Great Kids curriculum to support everyone visit regardless of the location. She even set a personal goal to serve parents in prison when she began working with Help Me Grow, and after contacting prison officials and meeting training requirements she has served two families at the East Ohio Correctional Center.

   Kakascik was nominated by Linda Trushel, home visiting contract manager, and Jenny Porter, home visiting supervisor through through the Jefferson County Educational Service Center, and was surprised to receive the distinction.

   “I love to help my families and never think of what I do as out of the ordinary,” she explained. “So the fact that I was recognized for the help I give to my families was amazing.”

   Kakascik said it was the first time she was touted for such an achievement and she was inspired by the people she assists.

   “The thanks and appreciation I get from my families [motivate me]. They don’t have to be in the Help Me Grow program. They choose to be in the program and share the most special part of their lives with us—their children. They invite us into their homes and let us become part of their family.”

   Highlights of her career thus far include helping parents enroll in GED and college classes, find employment and housing and renovate their homes.

   “I help parents set goals and I follow up every week to help achieve them. It brings me great satisfaction when parents meet their goals and they become confident as a person and as a parent,” she added.

   She also thanked Trushel and Porter for nominating her, adding that it was wonderful to be recognized and appreciated for doing a job she loves.

   Meanwhile, Trushel continued to sing Kakascik’s praises and said she was an asset to the organization.

   “Mary is a true Home Visiting professional with a passion for helping families. Our program is very lucky to have her.”

   Help Me Grow Home Visiting, which is sponsored locally by JCESC and the Harrison Hills City School District, serves about 200 families in Jefferson, Harrison, Carroll and Belmont counties. The agency offers HMG Home Visiting for expectant or new parents and provides information and support they need to be prepared for the birth of their child, as well as ongoing education and support for families to maximize their child’s health and development to age 5. 

   For more information about the Help Me Grow program, call (740) 283-3347 in Jefferson County or (740) 942-2622 in Harrison County.

(Photo Cutline: Mary Kakascik, a home visitor for the Help Me Grow Home Visiting program, was named Region 4 Home Visitor of the Year during the 2019 Ohio Early Childhood Services Conference in Columbus. Kakascik is pictured with Sandra Oxley, chief of Maternal, Child and Family Health at the Ohio Department of Health, who presented the award.)

Hunger, Safety Among JCESC Meeting Topics
Posted 4/15/2019 at 10:17:40 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
JCESC Super Meeting April 12

BLOOMINGDALE-School leaders from throughout the area learned about hunger and safety issues during the monthly superintendent’s meeting with the Jefferson County Educational Service Center.

   About 20 people met for a breakfast session at the student-run Crestview Inn Restaurant at Jefferson County Joint Vocational School. JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko welcomed the group and thanked the JVS for hosting the event.

   “JCESC was glad to move the monthly meeting to the JVS and highlight one of our member districts’ student-run programs,” Dr. Kokiko added. “We would like to thank [culinary arts instructor Glenn Zalenski] and his students for their outstanding service and breakfast.”

   Meanwhile, representatives of the Children’s Hunger Alliance and A Caring Place shared details about their organizations and how schools could take part.

   Charlie Kozlesky and Rick Oxley of the Children’s Hunger Alliance of Ohio, a non-profit organization based in Columbus that is dedicated to ending childhood food insecurity, discussed how schools have helped tackle the issue with a variety of programming.

   “The Children’s Hunger Alliance has been working around here,” Kozlesky said. “Indian Creek is doing an excellent job at the elementary schools [with its Breakfast in the Classroom program].”

   For its part, Indian Creek offers students at Hills and Wintersville Elementary Schools hot and cold breakfasts in class so they can eat and quickly move on to learning, plus the high school provides an afterschool meals that have been utilized by athletes, band members and other pupils. Kozlesky said Harrison Hills and Buckeye Local have also offered breakfast and afterschool programs, respectively.

   “Summer feeding is just around the corner and we think of all the different locations,” he continued. “[Edison Superintendent Bill Beattie and District Administrative Assistant Fatima Smuck] started a summer feeding program and served about 150 people, plus they supported the Urban Mission.”

   The program attracted high school students participating in band camp and football training sessions plus younger children to dine on a well-rounded meal including sandwiches, fruit and vegetables. The program is offered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Edison also received a grant through the Children’s Hunger Alliance to provide the meals. In addition, the district supplied the Urban Mission Ministries’ 2018 Summer Food Service program in Steubenville and Wintersville. Both programs ran through mid-August.

   “It was two-fold for us,” Beattie responded. “We had high school kids walk in and fall athletics teams and band members took advantage, plus we made some money from it. We’re looking at expanding and going into the churches and see if we can partner with them to feed more kids.”

   Kozlesky said now was the time to think of a summer program and districts could plan under a waiver and notify the Ohio Department of Education where they are serving. He noted that grant funding was available and the organization could work with districts to get things started.

    Oxley, who recently joined the organization, said he understood the hunger issue since he saw it firsthand as a principal in an urban area. Many students lived in poverty and also suffered from a lack of food, causing him to provide a Second Chance Breakfast program. The effort enabled students to focus more on studies instead of empty stomachs.

   “One out of five Ohio kids is food insecure,” Oxley said. “The evidence is clear: Breakfast in the Classroom increases participation and the Children’s Hunger Alliance is here to help.”

   Marisa Bortz, director of A Caring Place in Wintersville, then explained how the child advocacy center aids with the healing and prevention of child abuse. It provides a safe, comfortable and child-friendly environment for victims and their families and comprehensive care with an examination room and qualified physician for sexual abuse victims, a private space for a trained forensic interview to speak to children and witnesses of abuse and prevention education, community awareness and professional training regarding child abuse and human trafficking.

   Bortz added that services and materials were available through the Think First and Stay Safe initiative, which teaches kids what to look out for and ways a perpetrator tries to lure children into danger.

   “It is based on grade level and is for preschool to sixth, and it’s geared towards all development levels,” she added. “We offer it completely free and we’d provide service and materials. A lot of children learn how to protect themselves and it also talks about healthy eating and trusting adults.”

    Harrison Hills Superintendent Dana Snider said the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office conducts a similar program in her district and it was a great teaching tool.

 Bortz also provided student and parent guides and said talking to students about the matter would help keep them safer.

   “It can be done for 10 minutes a day for a week or for one session,” she commented. “It’s best that it’s repetitive, so you could do it each day for a week, but it is customizable depending on classes.”

(Photo Cutline: Marisa Bortz, director of A Caring Place Child Advocacy Center, was among the speakers at the April 12 superintendent’s meeting led by the Jefferson County Educational Service Center. About 20 people met at the Crestview Inn Restaurant at Jefferson County Joint Vocational School and learned about the advocacy group’s Think First and Stay Safe initiative as well as child hunger programs through the Children’s Hunger Alliance of Ohio.)

Local Teachers Share Innovative Projects at GRACE
Posted 4/8/2019 at 2:00:30 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
JCESC GRACE

STEUBENVILLE-Local educators joined faculty members, undergraduate students and graduate students at Franciscan University on April 5 to share their innovative projects during the third annual Franciscan Gallery of Research, Artistry and Community Engagement (GRACE).

   The event, which was organized by Dr. Regina Boerio, dean of the school of humanities and social sciences, and Dr. Kaybeth Calabria, director of teaching excellence, was held in the J.C. Williams Center and continued its theme of “Share Your Passion.” Forty-six undergraduate and graduate students gave presentations on works of artistry, such as creative writing projects; theatre and fine arts, or scenes from plays and musical performances; media and communication arts, such as video projects; community engagement, including service learning or community outreach projects; projects based upon students’ theses or seminar presentations from the humanities, including history, English, theology and philosophy; and research from the natural and social sciences. In addition, four teachers from Edison, Harrison Hills, Indian Creek and Southern Local Schools, all of whom had received Best Practice Grants through the Jefferson County Educational Service Center, highlighted their unique projects under the topic “Best Practices in Community K-12 Schools.”

   Miguel Brun, district literacy specialist at Edison, addressed “Morphological Awareness” by focusing on vocabulary and understanding Latin roots and Greek combining forms. Activities have been done with grades 3-6 while data is also being monitored for second-graders, and Brun said research shows the importance of words no matter the subject.

   “Vocabulary is the No. 1 predictor of reading comprehension. You have kids struggling in math and science because they don’t know a vocabulary word or its Latin or Greek origins,” he said, adding that he enjoyed sharing his knowledge with peers at GRACE. “It was very nice to be able to talk with other colleagues and share experiences but also hear what other districts are doing.”

   Michele Fabbro, district librarian at Indian Creek Local Schools, shared her One Book, One Day Challenge where 180 students at Indian Creek Middle School read an entire novel with help from school and community representatives. The students first met in an assembly with Shelley Pearsall, author of the award-winning book “All of the Above,” which was featured during the challenge. Then the pupils completed the 234-page tome with teachers, bus drivers, administrators, community members and even local celebrities guiding them through the chapters.

   “I think they liked [the project] because celebrities read to them, then their teacher read or they took turns reading and still had time to do an art project and some did a writing workshop with the author,” she said, adding that she enjoyed the opportunity to share her work at GRACE.

   Amanda Sliva, a fifth-grade teacher at Harrison East Elementary in Hopedale, has been able to build a relationship with her 20 students and teach them how to improve relations with others through the “Be The Change” initiative. By reading books about diversity and teaching character education, Sliva has been able to expand students’ minds and bolster their social and emotional skills to create well-rounded pupils. Her process included discovering different character traits; investigating ways to make a positive impact in the community, be it in school, church or their hometown; acting through service learning; and writing a reflective essay about what they’ve learned. Sliva surveyed teachers about projects they needed done and had her students submit applications detailing why they should be selected for the job. They were matched with the tasks and Sliva said the response has been overwhelmingly positive. 

   “I wanted educate the whole student and [the project’s name] is based on Gandhi’s quote, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world.’ It has made an impact on the class and the overall school culture.”

   Mary Lou Taylor, a physics teacher at Southern Local High School, discussed her project “Building and Busting Balsa Wood Bridges,” where students research, design and build miniature spans and then deconstruct and analyze them. Taylor used her grant to purchase tables used in the “bridge breaking” process as a safety measure and said the students study the breaks and find ways to make their spans even stronger.

   “It’s good to share what the kids are doing,” she said of attending GRACE. “So often you look at test scores as the value added to the school instead of the end product, and my students do a lot of work. I’m very proud of my students and believe strongly in project-based learning.”

   JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said the partnership with Franciscan was borne of a conversation about community involvement and GRACE also provided an outlet to highlight the teachers’ achievements.

   “I think this is nice for our teachers to be able to discuss what they are doing in the classroom,” he said. “GRACE gives them chance to get out and share their ideas with others.”

    He and Jefferson Health Plan CEO Dr. George Ash also acted as judges during the event and Dr. Ash noted his enthusiasm over the ongoing collaboration with Franciscan.

  “This marks our second year of involvement with Franciscan University and it gives JCESC a chance to showcase how teachers are thinking outside the box when it comes to helping students reach their academic potential,” Dr. Ash added. “We appreciate Dr. Calabria, Dr. Boerio’s and the committee’s efforts to spotlight what students are doing and to also invite the teachers that JCESC serves to express their ideas.”

   Meanwhile, Dr. Boerio said the teachers provided demonstrations for the event while the 46 Franciscan students’ presentations were judged by education leaders based upon a scoring rubric. She said judges looked at work quality, the presenters’ communication abilities and their understanding of their subject matter and awards were later given for communication arts, natural science, social science and fine arts. She and Dr. Calabria were pleased to continue the affiliation with JCESC.

   “It’s an example of sharing with one another and I think it’s wonderful. A piece of GRACE is community engagement and I think, for the university, it’s a reciprocal engagement of the community with us.”

(Photo Cutline: Local teachers Miguel Brun, Amanda Sliva and Michele Fabbro joined Franciscan University students in presenting their innovative projects during the third annual Franciscan Gallery of Research, Artistry and Community Engagement (GRACE) on April 5. The teachers, who were all 2019 Best Practice Grant recipients through the Jefferson County Educational Service Center, demonstrated their work while the university students’ projects were judged by professors and other educational leaders.)

Cunningham Lauded for 15 Years of Service
Posted 3/29/2019 at 9:11:19 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
JCESC Cunningham Lauded

STEUBENVILLE- Barbara Cunningham has spent her life dedicating herself to helping children and was recently honored for her efforts in the educational realm.

   Cunningham, of Brilliant, was recognized during the Ohio School Boards Association’s Northeast Region Spring Conference in Warren on March 25 for giving 15 years of service to the Jefferson County Educational Service Center Governing Board. She was among a group of board officials who were touted for 10 to 40 years on their respective panels and said she has been involved with children since her own youth.

   “I was thrilled and humbled,” Cunningham said. “I give credit to the people who have allowed me to do this for the community.” 

   She recalled assisting with her siblings at home and eventually becoming a mother of three and grandmother of eight. Cunningham, who graduated from Warren Consolidated High School and was head clerk for Jefferson County Third District Court for 25 years, said her interest eventually extended to her church Sunday school and she was a homeroom mother in the Buckeye Local School District before joining its school board in the 1980s.

   “I love children and I started serving at Buckeye Local because their curriculum was outdated,” she noted, adding that she served one four-year term. “I enjoyed being on the board and helping to provide opportunities for success for the children. This was a way to serve my fellow man in the community.”

   From there, she was appointed to the JCESC Governing Board in 2004 and is also in her second term with the Jefferson County Joint Vocational School Board.

   “[Craig Closser] was the superintendent at the ESC and there was a vacancy available. I applied for it and was appointed,” she said. “The people were very gracious in letting me have the opportunity to serve.”

   Cunningham counts the formation of the Virtual Learning Academy (VLA) and Jefferson Healthplan among the highlights during her tenure, commenting that she works in a collaborative effort with an outstanding board, administration and staff.

   “They are dedicated and committed to education and I am humbled to be associated with them,” she continued. “I work with incredible people and they are amazing professionals.”

   Additionally, she called the JVS a “diamond in the rough” and said it supported students through its fantastic programming.  But she most enjoys watching local youth succeed in state competitions, go to Washington, D.C., and even graduate.

   “That is just amazing to me. Every time I see a child receive their diploma that is really a highlight. It’s always been about the children, and I like to think I’m able to make a little bit of a difference in a student’s life by providing them with the best education possible.”

     JCESC Governing Board President Larry George said he has known Cunningham since before she joined the board and she has been a vital part of the panel.

   “She has been an excellent member of the ESC board and has done a great job for the last 15 years. I want to congratulate her for her service and hope she is involved for at least 15 more.”

     JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko added that Cunningham has been a true asset to the board.

    “JCESC is fortunate to have a strong board of education,” Dr. Kokiko commented. “Although the OSBA ceremony honored her 15 years of public service to boards of education, we would like to also commend Barb to her commitment to our local schools and the children they educate.  She has spent the past 15 years making decisions based on one question: ‘Is this good for children?’  I am pleased to work with Barb as a member of the Jefferson County ESC Governing board and look forward to our continued work in the future.”

    Dr. George Ash, chief executive officer of the Jefferson Healthplan, echoed those remarks and said Cunningham valued all aspects of education.

   “Barb is an advocate for traditional and vocational education as well as shared services for the betterment of JCESC’s partners. It has been a pleasure working with her as a board member.”

(Photo Cutline: Jefferson County Educational Service Center Governing Board member Barbara Cunningham was honored for 15 years of service during the Ohio School Boards Association’s Northeast Spring Conference on March 25. She is pictured with, from left, OSBA President John W. Halkias, Northeast Region President Susie Lawson and OSBA Chief Executive Officer Richard Lewis.)

JCESC Business Advisory Council Talks Opportunities
Posted 3/27/2019 at 12:36:02 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

STEUBENVILLE-The Jefferson County Educational Service Center’s newly formed Business Advisory Council held its first full session of 2019 and is looking at ways to help current students carve out successful paths for their future.

   The panel was formed in December as required by Ohio Revised Code 3313.82, which establishes business advisory councils in school districts and ESC’s, and consists of JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko Jefferson Healthplan CEO Dr. George Ash, Edison Local Schools Superintendent Bill Beattie, Toronto City Schools Superintendent Maureen Taggart and Valley Converting Owner and Utica Shale Academy Board President Mike Biasi. Dr. Kokiko said officials hoped to marry education and industry so students would know what opportunities were available in education, military enlistment or in the workforce.

   “[We discussed] what opportunities we see for schools locally and felt that higher education was a key player,” he added, saying the council was also focusing on healthcare and the energy field. “What do we see as a local job market and how do we make [students] aware or how do we prepare them?”

   He reached out to local entities to speak on the subject and representatives from Eastern Gateway Community College and the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce gave some perspective on how the council could help better connect industries and local schools.

   David Kesler, dean of health, sciences and public services at EGCC, said there was a rise in employment opportunities in healthcare and the college offered plenty of programs, from dental assisting and health information management (medical coding and transcription) to health services such as RN/LPN, the latter of which could work in nursing homes to home health care.

   “They can get their health information management associate’s degree and work in health insurance and hospitals,” he said of medical coders. “They can also work in rural areas and communicate by internet.”

   He noted that nursing was in high demand and LPN’s, or licensed practical nurses, can obtain their license and an associate’s degree in nursing. Once they become an RN, or registered nurse, their salary increases and jobs are readily available. Other programs include the Bridge pathway for medical assistants to paramedics, plus respiratory therapy and radiology technicians while public service career paths may consist of criminal justice, environmental science, Pre-Kindergarten education and teacher education. Kesler said Pre-K students can observe in local schools as they work towards their degree while teacher education is an online program.

   During further discussion, Kessler said a large number of nursing students complete their clinical studies in local hospitals and quite a few are ultimately hired. EGCC has more than 20,000 students currently enrolled with 1,000 alone at the Steubenville campus, while the most popular programs include teacher education, criminal justice and business. He added that the college also had articulation agreements with four-year colleges such as Youngstown State University, Franciscan University and Kent State where credits are transferrable to obtain a bachelor’s degree. However, many people may also earn certification at EGCC and simply move on to a job.

    Dr. Kokiko then discussed a recent trip he, Beattie and Maple took to a SuccessBound conference to learn how businesses and schools partner together and create opportunities for students. Business advisory councils assist with reviewing curriculum materials for content accuracy, donate equipment or space for specialized training, build pathways to post-secondary programs and support schools seeking STEM designation, while schools could hold field trips to local companies to learn about industry in the community.

   “It was an opportunity to hear about potential opportunities that are available and working in trades,” said Beattie. “One thing I was really interested in was how Noble Local hired a career pathways specialist. I think there is a lot of employment out there but not a lot of workforce, and [my school board] is interested in getting kids trained in the area of trades.”

   Maple noted it was the first conference she attended with school and business leaders and she enjoyed how they wanted to approach students about trades through job shadowing, beginning their studies at a two-year college to even enlisting in the military. She said her goal was to strengthen ties between schools and work to help aid the students’ successful transition into the real world.

   “From the chamber’s perspective, there’s a lot that can be done on our end,” she said. “Our intern office is aimed at getting kids interested. We revamped our committee structure and one of the most important, in my opinion, is the education and workforce training committee. If the chamber had to privatize which committee to be active in, that’s it.”

   She wanted to have many education and manufacturing leaders involved in the committee and said she also learns from other chambers who offer kindergarten field trips to local businesses and hold career day events. Maple said the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce’s intern office is open to high school juniors and seniors and college students who would donate several hours a month. The time is flexible and they could attend chamber events, do job shadowing and network with businesses. It also includes a jobs board where companies post work and interns could earn money.

 “We sent agreements to the schools and parents need to sign off. We do need students and the summer is fine,” she commented. 

   The council later agreed to reach out to local businesses and unions to get them involved. The next meeting was scheduled for June 26 at 8:30 a.m. at the JCESC office.

Professional Development at JCESC
Posted 3/8/2019 at 12:53:15 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ESC PD Day

Teachers from four local school districts took part in a professional development session at the Jefferson County Educational Service Center on March 6. Educators from Indian Creek, Steubenville, Toronto and Harrison Hills met at the R. Larry George Training Annex with Anastacia Reed, pictured at center, of Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center of Estes Park, Colo., to discuss differentiation for related arts and learning styles such as culturally responsive teaching.

Math Collaborative at JCESC
Posted 2/12/2019 at 3:51:41 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ESC Math Collaborative

Area teachers took part in a special math collaborative session on Feb. 12 as part of professional development at the Jefferson County Educational Service Center. Fourth-grade teachers with Indian Creek, Harrison Hills and Southern Local Schools met at the Kenneth Simeral Building in Steubenville with JCESC Director of Curriculum and Professional Development Ron Sismondo to evaluate results on AIR assessments and review ways to prepare for testing. More math-based sessions were scheduled for other grades at the JCESC office. Pictured with Sismondo are, clockwise from left, Linda Lenzi, JCESC gifted coordinator; Diane Pinkerton of Southern Local; Ruth Edgerly, Indian Creek; Betsy Looman, Indian Creek; and Kacey Moore, Indian Creek; and Jessica Knight of Harrison Hills.

JCESC Lauded for High Performance
Posted 12/12/2018 at 1:44:17 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

STEUBENVILLE- The Jefferson County Educational Service Center once again has gained state designation as a high-performing ESC for its work to provide quality services at an efficient cost. 

   Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said JCESC made an application this summer and received the good news from the Ohio Department of Education’s Office of Budget and School Funding. ODE officials indicated that JCESC was one of 52 across Ohio receiving the distinction and that the ESC’s provided nearly $64 million in savings to local school districts. That amount represents a significant value to the school districts but is only a portion of the total savings that the ESCs provide on an annual basis.

 JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said documentation was provided to the department for consideration and information included such services as psychologists, speech therapists, legal services, occupational therapists and alternative schools. In all, the services yielded a total savings of $663,457-- or 32.74 percent--over independent or private vendor costs. According to the ODE, cost savings across all five of the primary services must generate a minimum of 5 percent for an ESC to be classified as high performing.

   The mission of the JCESC Governing Board is to build capacity through innovative, cost-effective programs and to improve partnerships and collaborate with educational institutions, families and communities within public and private settings. Dr, Kokiko said every dollar that can be saved is one more that schools can put toward the education of children, and the staff at JCESC is grateful for the opportunity to carry out the mission of the board while serving local school districts. 

   JCESC also acts as fiscal agent for the Jefferson Health Plan, which has provided consortiums with over $19,450,000 in tax savings and $93,360,000 in administrative savings over the past three years. The educational service center has also partnered with Franciscan University of Steubenville and received a 21st Century Grant to provide the Quest for Success program and a Striving Readers grant to bolster literacy in children from birth through grade 12.

   Quest for Success is made possible through a five-year, $850,000 grant from the Department of Education and includes partnerships with Brightway Center, Coleman Professional Services and Franciscan University. The goal is to increase opportunities for students in grades 5-8 to have success in literacy, mathematics, social development, family support and community involvement and events are held Monday to Thursday at the McKinley Building located at 140 W. Adams St. in Steubenville with transportation provided by the Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities. Morning sessions are now available from 7-8 a.m. with afterschool programming from 2-5 p.m. and more activities are scheduled for one Saturday per month at the Steubenville location and Brightway Center in Smithfield.

   JCESC also was among 46 sites in Ohio to obtain the $500,000 Striving Readers through the Ohio Department of Education this past spring. The U.S. Department of Education awarded the state $35 million and approximately 95 percent of the funding is being distributed directly to local schools or early childhood providers. The three-year grant focuses on serving the greatest numbers of students living in poverty, students with disabilities, English learners and students identified as having reading difficulties. Five local school districts have enacted the program, with Buckeye Local, Harrison Hills, Southern Local and Toronto City Schools utilizing it at their elementary schools and Indian Creek using its portion to benefit both elementary and middle school pupils. The grant has also provided opportunities for teachers to take an eight-week course at Franciscan University on learning and practicum.  

   In the application, officials noted that JCESC embraced a system-wide culture of service to help meet a wide array of client needs.

   “JCESC coordinates collaborative programs to eliminate duplication of human and financial resources, participates in interagency collaborative programs across Columbiana, Belmont, Jefferson, Carroll, Harrison, Coshocton and Mahoning counties to provide efficient, cost-effective responses to at-risk student issues, and provides collaborative, cost-effective direct services for students with disabilities,” it stated. “JCESC client districts are located in the Appalachian region of Ohio covering more than 1,378 square miles and serving a little more than 11,000 students. Given the vast region and limited resources, collaboration enables the necessary services to be provided in the most economical manner possible.”

   JCESC serves Buckeye Local, Edison, Harrison Hills, Indian Creek, Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Jefferson County Joint Vocational School, Southern Local, Steubenville and Toronto City Schools in Ohio in addition to community schools such as Utica Shale Academy, Mahoning Unlimited Classroom, E-School, Ohio Cyber Academy, Jefferson County Alternative School, Coshocton County Alternative School and Help Me Grow in Jefferson, Harrison, Belmont and Carroll counties.  

Dome Theater Visits Schools
Posted 12/11/2018 at 10:26:58 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ESC DOME Theater Visit

The Dome Theater science education program made a stop at Indian Creek Middle School on Monday to provide some interactive fun for students. The Curiosity Dome is a 15-foot-tall portable planetarium where students view programs narrated by Tom Hanks to Walter Cronkite and was developed by Rice University and the Houston Museum of Natural Science with support from NASA. The program was sponsored by Quest for Success afterschool program, which is provided by the Jefferson County Educational Service Center, and more visits were set for Thursday at Harding Middle School and Friday at Edison Jr. High School. Pictured with the dome are, front from left, Madeline Ujcich, Ciarra Rossi, Shae Corella and Autumn Brown. Back: Nicholas Maurer, Riley Smith, Zachary Byard, Noah Tweedy and Jagger Woodbury.

Dome Theater Coming to Area Schools
Posted 12/4/2018 at 12:23:12 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

STEUBENVILLE-Local students will get a unique lesson when the Dome Theater program visits their schools next week.

   The Curiosity Dome will make stops at Indian Creek Middle School Dec. 10 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Harding Middle School on Dec. 13 from 8-2:40 p.m.; and Edison Jr. High School on Dec. 14 from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Students will gather inside a 15-foot-tall portable planetarium and view outstanding interactive programs narrated by such stars as Tom Hanks, Sigourney Weaver and Walter Cronkite.

   Developed by Rice University and the Houston Museum of Natural Science and with the support of NASA, each educational program is designed to focus on STEAM (science, technology, engineering art and mathematics) with an extremely broad range of visual topics presented in a fun and creative manner. Students will have an exciting new way to learn more about their correlating classroom topics. The Dome Theater, which is based in Grand Rapids, Mich., is a science education program that began in 2008 and travels to schools around the country. The upcoming visit is sponsored by Quest for Success and the program first made an appearance last year during a special event at Harding.

   Martariesa Fiala, community coordinator for Quest for Success, said Dome Theater officials offered to return and local school districts welcomed the idea.

   “The dome was a very good tool last year to help students open their minds and be engaged,” Fiala added.

   Quest for Success, which operates under the auspices of the Jefferson County Educational Service Center, is funded through a 21st Century Grant from the Ohio Department of Education. Programs are available before and after school at the McKinley Building along West Adams Street in Steubenville for county students in grades 5-8 and sessions are held Monday to Thursday from 2-5 p.m. Quest works in conjunction with Coleman Professional Services, Franciscan University of Steubenville and Brightway Center in Smithfield to provide programming and the goal is to increase opportunities for students to succeed in literacy, mathematics, social development, family support and community involvement.

   For more information about Quest for Success programs, contact Mark Masloski, program coordinator and administrative assistant at JCESC, at (740) 283-3347, Ext. 134, or Fiala at Ext. 100 or go online to questforsuccesssteubenville.weebly.com.

Harrison Hills Teachers Receive Mini-Grants
Posted 12/3/2018 at 11:45:56 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ESC Harrison Hills BPG

CADIZ-Three Harrison Hills City School teachers are gaining a financial boost from the Jefferson County Educational Service Center to implement projects for their students.

   JCESC awarded three $600 Best Practice Grants to Amanda Sliva, Ty Stinespring and Mary Paul, who all teach at Harrison East Elementary. Sliva will incorporate community service into her project while Stinespring and Paul will focus on enhancing science lessons.

   Sliva will use her award for “Be the Change,” which is named for Mahatma Gandhi’s famous quotation, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Through this initiative, about 90 fifth-graders will learn how to model certain character traits and carry them within the school and community.

   “The students will be exposed to character traits by reading a carefully selected series of picture books which exemplify those traits,” she explained. “They will reflect on their strengths and how they can make a positive impact on others around them.”

   The project is destined to impact even more people as the fifth-graders carryout service projects across grade levels, if completed within the school community. It is designed as a weekly lesson that will last throughout much of the school year. Sliva was pleased to receive the Best Practice Grant—her first—and said it will be very helpful in enacting her idea.

   “The goal of this project is to help students realize that their actions impact others, that they have the power to make a lasting positive impact, and a strong community depends on the involvement of its members,” she said.

   Stinespring’s windfall will help her develop an indoor grow lab to benefit about 20-25 first-grade students in her science class. Her goal is to have students plant, observe and document plant growth from seeds using organic fertilizing methods.

   “Students will be able to enjoy the fruit of their labor by eating the healthy snacks that they grow,” Stinespring continued, saying they will see the natural life cycle in action. “Organic fertilizer will be produced in the classroom by feeding worms compost and fertile soil, worms and harvested seeds will be shared with the students for their home gardens.”

   This was the first time she received the mini-grant and she was excited that others see the value in teaching such skills to youth.

   “I am hopeful that the skills learned in the classroom through this project will be used throughout their lives.”

   Meanwhile, Paul plans to use the funding to study microscopic animals called Daphnia and monitor water toxicity. Daphnia are very small freshwater crustaceans that are nearly transparent, and about 80 sixth-grade students will grow a culture of the organisms in the classroom and use microscopes to view and study their internal organs.

    She plans to acquire microscopes and culture tanks for the project and begin growing the Daphnia in early February. The cultures should be matured by March, when students begin their life science studies in class.

   “Students will view and explore microscopic animals and cells. Life science in grade six centers on the cellular to multicellular concepts,” she said. “Students will see how groundwater runoff can affect the lifeforms.”

   Paul was excited to receive the grant funding and said the equipment she acquired will benefit students well into the future. It was her second such award and she was thankful to the JCESC for providing opportunities to enrich her classroom.

   JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said the mini-grants were a way for educators to bring their innovative methods to life.

    “The JCESC is appreciative of our member school districts and enjoy giving back when the opportunity presents itself. Much of our time is spent with school administration as well as providing teacher professional development and the mini-grants are a way to have a direct impact on the classroom,” he said. “The JCESC Governing Board is grateful to all of our applicants and the hard work teachers do each and every day. We look forward to continuing the program next year.”

    JCESC has disbursed an estimated 200 Best Practice Grant funding over the past 11 years with Harrison Hills earning 27 awards since 2010. This year, 21 total applications were approved out of more than 50 submissions from Buckeye Local, Edison, Indian Creek, Harrison Hills, Southern Local, Steubenville, Toronto City Schools and the Utica Shale Academy.

(Photo Cutline: The Jefferson County Educational Service Center presented three $600 Best Practice Grants to Harrison East Elementary School teachers Amanda Sliva, Ty Stinespring and Mary Paul for their unique classroom projects. Pictured are, from left, JCESC Director of Curriculum and Professional Development Ron Sismondo with Sliva, Stinespring and Paul.)

Buckeye Local Teachers Earn Mini-Grants
Posted 11/20/2018 at 1:07:10 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ESC Buckeye Local BPG

DILLONVALE-Buckeye Local teachers are making a difference in the education of their students with some financial help from the Jefferson County Educational Service Center.

   JCESC awarded three $600 Best Practice Grants to Jennifer Aubrey of Buckeye North Elementary, Margo Scherich at Buckeye West Elementary and Stephanie Crust of Buckeye Local High School to promote learning growth.

 Aubrey’s project, “Focus on Facts,” is a family involvement experience dubbed “Making Math Fun Night” that will benefit nearly 40 third-grade students who can take part in the event on Nov. 15.

   “I will create an introduction to multiplication workshop to involve both parents and students. The workshop will inspire the families to focus on the importance of learning and understanding these basic facts as they enter the upper elementary grades,” Aubrey noted. “Each family will get to experience and take home an entire tool kit of ways to learn and practice their multiplication skills.”

   Aubrey has applied for the mini-grant in the past but this was the first time she received an allocation. She also plans to enhance math learning skills by acquiring Flash Masters devices and including literature in her instruction.

She was excited to receive the grant funds, saying it would support the event and help bolster their math skills.

   “This is an amazing opportunity to put into practice a night that I have wanted to offer my third-graders for quite some time but did not have the funds to make it happen. In the past I have offered a quiz informational meeting, but this will be a hands-on, make-and-take workshop.”

   Scherich’s project is entitled “Hands On Learning to Inspire Out of the Box Ideas” and targets 40-50 fourth-grade science students using comprehension and STEM units and activities. 

   “[The goal] is to keep my class engaged by adding more hands-on material in the curriculum,” she said, adding that she received another mini-grant in the past and was happy to be included this time. “I’m honored to have been chosen and am excited to enhance my students’ learning.”

    Meanwhile, Crust’s project is “Using Culturally Relevant Novels in the Classroom to Expand Readers’ Worlds,” and the grant money will help procure sets of novels that are diverse in genre and culture, while the students who read them are eligible to attend the Youngstown State University English Festival in April.

   “I hope to take Buckeye Local students to attend, participate in and compete in writing activities at Youngstown State University,” she said. “The YSU English Festival is an annual event that just celebrated its 40th year. Thousands of students from Ohio attend the festival which is considered the best English festival in the country.”

    She said BLHS students have never attended the event and it would be an innovative learning opportunity. About 35 high schoolers may attend the festival but the books themselves will be used for individual, small-group and class novel studies for many years to come. Crust hopes to have the books on hand soon to help her pupils prepare for the festival by honing their reading and writing skills. Students will read the required festival books and write essays or prepare original artwork for submission to the festival’s contests. On the festival day, they will hear keynote speeches from the festival book authors and participate in breakout sessions where they learn the writing process from experts, participate in group discussions and writing activities and sharpen their journalism skills by interviewing authors and writing nonfiction essays and journalistic pieces. Students will also use higher-level thinking skills to analyze the literature and compose their essays.

   This is Crust’s second Best Practice Grant and she was grateful to give students an opportunity to expound upon their skills.

   JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said the mini-grants have enabled educators to make their innovative ideas a reality.

   “The JCESC is appreciative of our member school districts and enjoy giving back when the opportunity presents itself. Much of our time is spent with school administration as well as providing teacher professional development and the mini-grants are a way to have a direct impact on the classroom,” he said. “The JCESC Governing Board is grateful to all of our applicants and the hard work teachers do each and every day. We look forward to continuing the program next year.”

    JCESC has disbursed an estimated 200 Best Practice Grant funding over the past 11 years with Buckeye Local receiving 32 awards within that timeframe. This year, 21 total applications were approved out of more than 50 submissions from Buckeye Local, Edison, Indian Creek, Harrison Hills, Southern Local, Steubenville, Toronto City Schools and the Utica Shale Academy.

(Photo Cutline: The Jefferson County Educational Service Center presented three $600 Best Practice Grants to teachers at Buckeye Local Schools for their innovative projects. Pictured are, from left, JCESC Treasurer Don Donahue with Buckeye Local High School teacher Stephanie Crust and Buckeye North Elementary teacher Jennifer Aubrey. Not pictured is Buckeye West Elementary teacher Margo Scherich.)

Edison Teachers Earn Best Practice Grants
Posted 11/16/2018 at 3:00:30 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Edison BPG Grant

HAMMONDSVILLE-Teachers in the Edison Local School District gained Best Practice Grant funds to perpetuate student success.

   The Jefferson County Educational Service Center disbursed three $600 mini-grants to elementary educators Jordan Tice and Miguel Brun and Jaye Taylor at Edison High School to help enhance learning in the realm of math, literacy and foreign languages. 

   Tice will utilize her funding to teach sixth-graders at Stanton Elementary about the benefits of solar power with her project, “Solar Powered Engineering.” About 60 math students will construct a robot using kits purchased with the grant money and the project is eyed for this spring.

   “The goal of the project is to get students to make the connections from what is done in class to different career choices, like engineering,” she said. 

   Tice, a previous grant recipient, added that she was honored to be selected for a second time.

   “Students are excited to work on challenging, hands-on projects with their peers. This grant has allowed me to get students excited about school again,” she concluded. “Thank you to the Jefferson County ESC for giving teachers an opportunity to apply for this grant so they can supply classrooms with resources they normally may not have.” 

   Brun, an intervention specialist at Stanton and John Gregg, is seeking to bolster literacy among students at Stanton and John Gregg Elementary Schools through his project, “Simple View of Reading-Language Comprehension-Developing Morphemic Analysis.” The district has been part of the Ohio Early Literacy pilot program to strengthen word recognition and language comprehension among students in grades PreK-3 and the idea is to use explicit instruction each day to achieve that goal.

   “The proposed project will place an emphasis on explicit instruction in morphemic analysis,” he added. “It will impact all students in grades K-6 at both Stanton and John Gregg. The goal is to develop morphemic analysis through the study of morphology,” he said. “Morphemes are the smallest meaningful unit in a word and the proposed evidence-based strategies are designed to help students recognize base words and prefixes and suffixes along with Latin roots and Greek combining forms. These activities directly address the language comprehension aspect of Scarborough’s Reading Rope, a leading research tool utilized to drive evidence-based instructional practices.”

    Brun was honored to receive the mini-grant and said it helps make innovative instructional practices possible.

    “The teachers in the Edison Local School District in grades PreK-3 are implementing evidence-based literacy practices through the Early Literacy Pilot. This grant will allow the teachers to implement evidence-based instruction strategies that will strengthen the language comprehension piece of the simple view of reading.”

    Additionally, Taylor plans to use grant funding for “Comprehensible Input Using the Somos Curriculum,” which intends to enhance foreign language instruction by using new strategies.

   “It is a more natural approach to learning a language and involves a total curriculum overhaul since it’s not centered on a textbook,” Taylor explained. “I’ve already partially begun to implement it, but I hope to fully incorporate it into my curriculum as soon as I get the resources.”

    The project will impact about 200 high schoolers, generally freshmen and sophomores in the Spanish class, and plans are to build conversational abilities in students and help them better retain their knowledge.

   “I’m very excited to receive this grant and very thankful to be chosen for it. I can’t wait to start using these resources and improving my classes,” Taylor added.

     JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko congratulated the recipients and said the grant helps teachers put their innovative projects into practice.

    “The JCESC is appreciative of our member school districts and enjoy giving back when the opportunity presents itself. Much of our time is spent with school administration as well as providing teacher professional development and the mini-grants are a way to have a direct impact on the classroom,” he said. “The JCESC Governing Board is grateful to all of our applicants and the hard work teachers do each and every day. We look forward to continuing the program next year.”

    JCESC has disbursed an estimated 200 Best Practice Grant funding over the past 11 years with Edison receiving 35 awards within that timeframe. This year, 21 total applications were approved out of more than 50 submissions from Buckeye Local, Edison, Indian Creek, Harrison Hills, Southern Local, Steubenville, Toronto City Schools and the Utica Shale Academy.

(Photo Cutline: Teachers in the Edison Local School District received $600 Best Practice Grants from the Jefferson County Educational Service Center. Pictured are, from left, JCESC Coordinator Patty Ferrell with Jordan Tice, a sixth-grade teacher at Stanton Elementary, and Miguel Brun, an intervention specialist at Stanton and John Gregg Elementary. Not pictured is Jaye Taylor, foreign language teacher at Edison High School.)

Best Practice Grants Awarded at Indian Creek
Posted 11/16/2018 at 2:51:45 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

WINTERSVILLE-The Jefferson County Educational Service Center has awarded mini-grants to teachers within the Indian Creek Local School District to expound upon student learning.

   Three $600 Best Practice Grants were distributed to Michele Fabbro at Indian Creek Middle School and Willemijn Lambright and Ashley Turnbull at Hills Elementary for their insightful projects.

   Fabbro, who serves as district library coordinator, will use her mini-grant to benefit nearly 200 middle school students with the “One Book, One Day” project. Fifth-graders will attempt to read an entire book during the One Book, One Day Challenge on Nov. 27.

   “One Book One Day challenges intermediate and middle school students to read an entire novel in one day. All fifth-graders will participate along with their regular teachers and related arts teachers,” Fabbro explained. “We will involve administrators, cafeteria staff, the author of the book and celebrity readers from the community.”

   The students will read “All of the Above,” a novel by award-winning author Shelley Pearsall that is based on the true story of four inner city students and their quest to build the world’s largest tetrahedron, or a triangular pyramid. Although the characters live in the same neighborhood and attend a school that is considered by many in the community to be a “dead end,” their lives are vastly different as they try to solve their own problems and the story of despair becomes one of hope. Pearsall will speak at a school assembly and students will receive a copy of her book and get an opportunity to have it signed. Following the assembly, the pupils will attempt to complete the 234-page tome and Fabbro was compiling a list of potential readers, including community members, local television personalities, retired teachers and school and sports leaders. The overall goal was to help foster a love of reading and help the children make a more personal connection with the book, in addition to learning the moral of the story.

   She was excited to receive the Best Practice Grant—her fourth-- and said the current award will help students read along with their peers and enjoy seeing adults enjoying the same book.

   For her part, Lambright plans to provide autism support with materials for students in her classroom.

   “This will provide supporting materials for students with autism and cognitive disabilities in the area of academics, basic concepts, visual-motor development and other skills,” she said, adding that it will assist five pupils in grades K-4.

   She hoped to have the materials on hand in the coming weeks and said the purpose was to enhance student learning, development and motivation, while she would also like her students to have access to more independent tasks.

   “I feel very pleased and thankful toward the JCESC to provide these grants,” she said, adding that it was her first such award. “I am always looking for better ways to meet my students’ needs and this is a great boost.”

   Turnbull’s project, which is entitled “Preschool Sensory Development,” will provide sensory items for 75 preschoolers.

   “The goal of this project is to help those students with sensory needs be more comfortable in the preschool classroom,” she commented. “I am very excited about receiving this grant. Sensory items are so important for so many of our students, yet can be very costly. To have a grant provide these items for us is wonderful!”

   JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko was impressed by the range of project ideas and said the educational service center was pleased to help bring them to fruition.

   “The JCESC is appreciative of our member school districts and enjoy giving back when the opportunity presents itself. Much of our time is spent with school administration as well as providing teacher professional development and the mini-grants are a way to have a direct impact on the classroom,” he said. “The JCESC Governing Board is grateful to all of our applicants and the hard work teachers do each and every day. We look forward to continuing the program next year.”

   JCESC has disbursed an estimated 200 Best Practice Grant funding over the past 11 years with Indian Creek receiving 33 awards within that timeframe. This year, 21 total applications were approved out of more than 50 submissions from Buckeye Local, Edison, Indian Creek, Harrison Hills, Southern Local, Steubenville, Toronto City Schools and the Utica Shale Academy.

Steubenville Teachers Earn Best Practice Grants
Posted 11/16/2018 at 2:48:28 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

STEUBENVILLE-Teachers at Steubenville City Schools are putting unique programs into practice with mini-grants from the Jefferson County Educational Service Center.

   Kristin Taylor, Dawn Takach and Jamie Thompson each received $600 Best Practice Grants to implement projects aimed at bolstering success in students.

   Taylor, a fifth-grade teacher at Harding Middle School, will use her allocation to begin a science club in her building. About 75 students in grades 5-8 are currently signed up for the club while 72 of them attended the first meeting in October. Taylor said the goal was to promote and support a love for science, STEM and community through the afterschool program.

   “I feel honored and blessed to receive this funding for our students,” she said. “The funds will provide students with the opportunity to explore, create and learn through hands-on activities.”

   This is Taylor’s second mini-grant, the first one enabling her to create a paper rollercoaster project for fifth-grade students. She said those funds helped provide materials and templates to assist the students in designing and creating paper rollercoasters and the materials were still being utilized today.

   “I would like to thank the members of JCESC and those involved in the selection of the Best Practice Grant funding. “It has allowed students at not only Harding Middle School, but all over the county to benefit from the program. I am very grateful and appreciate the support!”

    Takach, a fourth-grade social studies teacher at Pugliese West Elementary, is using her mini-grant to help approximately 70 students stay current with events and global issues. Students will read and learn about current events through Scholastic News and student different geographies, cultures and countries around the world. She said it will help elevate student awareness of global issues, and by focusing on current events students will gain an understanding of the world’s economy, politics, social structures and environment.

   “Students will use this knowledge to create a weekly news program that will be aired on the West YouTube Channel. The news broadcast will be written, directed and produced by our fourth-grade students.”

   She plans to implement the program now during class and their Future Club Fridays and hopes to continue it in the next school year.

   “By creating a weekly news program to be shown on our West YouTube Channel, students will build language, vocabulary, reading comprehension, critical thinking, problem solving, oral expression and thinking skills. This project will develop students into informed citizens who are then charged with the responsibility of accurately reporting the news of the week,” she continued. “The students will gain an understanding of the importance of people, events and issues in the news and will be encouraged to appreciate responsible journalism and its importance in our democratic society.”

   Takach received a similar grant in the past and was grateful to earn one again, saying her students will now have the opportunity to learn and experience one of the most comprehensive project-based learning opportunities done at Pugliese West Elementary.

   Thompson and Brittany Fuller, teachers at East Garfield Elementary, plan to apply the funding toward “Social/Emotional Learning through Puppetry” and allow an estimated 70 preschoolers learn concepts and express themselves through puppetry in the classroom. The puppets will foster social interaction, communication, role playing, imagination, storytelling, listening and more. The program would actually impact 70 students each school year.

   “Our goal is for each student to experience learning through puppets. We want to increase the socialization of students with Individual Education Plans. We also plan to use the puppets to help express emotions and conflict resolution,” she said. “We will also have opportunities to share with families what the children are learning through puppetry.”

   Thompson and Fuller were grateful to be able to provide students with the opportunity to grow socially, learn, express emotions and resolve conflict through puppet theater and they were excited to begin the project. Thompson added that they previously won Best Practice Grants for two other projects, including literacy bags and science kits.

    JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said the JCESC was pleased to provide the mini-grant so teachers could give students unique opportunities to learn.

    “The JCESC is appreciative of our member school districts and enjoy giving back when the opportunity presents itself. Much of our time is spent with school administration as well as providing teacher professional development and the mini-grants are a way to have a direct impact on the classroom,” he said. “The JCESC Governing Board is grateful to all of our applicants and the hard work teachers do each and every day. We look forward to continuing the program next year.”

    JCESC has disbursed an estimated 200 Best Practice Grants over the past 11 years with Steubenville schools receiving 19 awards since 2012. This year, 21 applications were approved out of more than 50 submissions from Buckeye Local, Edison, Indian Creek, Harrison Hills, Southern Local, Steubenville, Toronto City Schools and the Utica Shale Academy.

Utica Shale Academy Awarded Mini-Grant
Posted 11/16/2018 at 2:45:18 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

SALINEVILLE-The Utica Shale Academy has received a financial boost to help students improve proficiency with their math studies. 

   The energy-based community school, which is lodged at Southern Local High School with a satellite site at Columbiana High School, gained a $600 Best Practice Grant from the Jefferson County Educational Service Center to provide graphing calculators for an estimated 60 pupils.

   USA Director Rich Wright said the learning tools will assist in updating to the most current technology and help students become more proficient with content. While current calculators only allow students to plot one point, the new version will help pupils develop a stronger understanding of graphing and plotting multiple points, creating an ideal visual for students and an ability to distinguish between graphs and functions.

   This is the third grant award for the program and Wright said he was excited to receive the funding.

   “The ESC has been great to us and it will greatly help the kids,” he said.

                                                                                               

     JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said the mini-grants enabled educators to provide innovative and important tools to help students in the classroom.

    “The JCESC is appreciative of our member school districts and enjoy giving back when the opportunity presents itself. Much of our time is spent with school administration as well as providing teacher professional development and the mini-grants are a way to have a direct impact on the classroom,” he said. “The JCESC Governing Board is grateful to all of our applicants and the hard work teachers do each and every day. We look forward to continuing the program next year.”

    Now in its fourth year of operation, USA is available to students in grades 9-12 who live across Ohio and provides curricula required by the Ohio Department of Education. It currently offers a customizable digital curriculum allowing for acceleration or remediation along with flexible scheduling plus SafeLand, OSHA-10, First Aid and CPR, hydrogen sulfide (H2S) awareness and confined space certifications. Academy graduates receive a high school diploma, certificates, and college credit options offered through Eastern Gateway Community College. The community school also partners with New Castle School of Trades in East Liverpool to provide welding instruction to students.

    JCESC has disbursed an estimated 200 Best Practice Grant funding over the past decade with the Utica Shale Academy receiving three awards since joining the Educational Service Center in 2015. This year, 21 applications were approved out of more than 50 submissions from Buckeye Local, Edison, Indian Creek, Harrison Hills, Southern Local, Steubenville, Toronto City Schools and the Utica Shale Academy.

Toronto Teachers Receive Mini-Grants
Posted 11/16/2018 at 2:42:30 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Toronto BPG 2018

TORONTO-Three teachers in the Toronto City School District are being recognized for their outstanding project ideas that inspire students to learn.

   Nikki Wright, Alfonsina Scaffidi and Tabitha Merideth each received a $600 Best Practice Grant from the Jefferson County Educational Service Center to further their projects, which include STEM, science and life-saving practices.

    Wright, a fifth-grade math teacher at Karaffa Elementary School, plans to utilize her allocation to acquire supplies and introduce her 60 students to coding and STEM-related activities.

    “As a result of this grant, my goal is to prepare my students for success in the 21st Century,” she said. “I want the students to be successful in school, but I also want them to find a love, something that will stay with them forever. Computers and technology play an important role in our lives. By introducing them to coding and STEM activities I hope they find a love for learning that they will carry into adulthood.”

    This is Wright’s second mini-grant and she was excited to be selected, saying she was thankful to have the opportunity to provide her students with new top-notch technology.

   Scaffidi, who teaches science at Karaffa Elementary, will provide active learning through an indoor planting and gardening program.

   “I will be rolling out this project in my science classes, which has 60 students this year,” she said. “However, my vision is for this to expand and become a community garden. The goal of this project is for my students to partake in active learning that will help enhance their understanding of the environment and the results of our actions on the environment.”

   Scaffidi added that it was her first mini-grant and she was “extremely excited and very moved” to receive the monetary award. Her project impacts about 60 fourth- and fifth-graders and she hopes to implement it by spring. 

   “I feel extremely blessed and truly appreciative to be selected. I am excited to have the opportunity to bring this diverse and unique learning opportunity to Toronto City Schools!” 

   Merideth, who teaches health and physical education at Toronto Jr./Sr. High School, will add some life-saving measures to her classroom by offering First Aid and CPR instruction. She will use her funding to acquire an Automated External Defibrillator, or AED, to help 20 students in her athletic training class provide assistance in a time of need.

   “Through this certification, they will be able to respond to specific situations and help them care for people in crisis,” Merideth explained. “I am a certified American Red Cross instructor for First Aid, AED and CPR for infants, children and adults with the latest science-backed information, knowledge and skills needed to teach students how to save a life.”

   As of the 2017-18 school year, Ohio laws require high schools to offer students instruction in CPR and AED use. Students in her athletic training class will receive hands-on instruction and practice with infant and adult manikins and an AED device and receive two-year certification at the conclusion. Merideth continued that all 50 states have laws requiring all public places to have AEDs available, so training was imperative to provide life-saving procedures when and wherever needed.

   She plans to implement the program this semester with six upperclassmen participating, while the students impacted are high school juniors and seniors. Merideth said this was her first Best Practice Grant and she was excited and honored to be chosen.

   “To be named as a recipient among so many other professional peers is an honor and a privilege. To have this grant available to so many of us in the teaching profession from our local ESC is wonderful.”

    JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko was pleased with the wide array of submissions and congratulated the recipients for their accomplishments. He said the JCESC was proud to afford teachers and their students opportunities to make their unique ideas a reality.

    “The JCESC is appreciative of our member school districts and enjoy giving back when the opportunity presents itself. Much of our time is spent with school administration as well as providing teacher professional development and the mini-grants are a way to have a direct impact on the classroom,” he said. “The JCESC Governing Board is grateful to all of our applicants and the hard work teachers do each and every day. We look forward to continuing the program next year.”

    JCESC has disbursed an estimated 200 Best Practice Grants over the past 11 years with Toronto receiving 25 awards within that timeframe. This year, a total of 21 applications were approved out of more than 50 submissions from Buckeye Local, Edison, Indian Creek, Harrison Hills, Southern Local, Steubenville, Toronto and the Utica Shale Academy.

(Photo Cutline: The Jefferson County Educational Service Center presented three $600 Best Practice Grants during the Toronto City School Board of Education meeting on Nov. 15. Pictured are, from left, Toronto High School Principal Betsy Jones, Karaffa Elementary Principal Chris Dopp, THS teacher and grant recipient Tabitha Merideth and JCESC Supervisor Ron Sismondo. Not pictured are Karaffa Elementary teachers and grant recipients Nikki Wright and Alfonsina Scaffidi.)

Southern Local Gains Best Practice Grants
Posted 11/16/2018 at 2:36:25 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Southern Local BPG 2018

SALINEVILLE-Three Southern Local School District educators received grant funding to further student learning projects in their classrooms.

   The Jefferson County Educational Service Center awarded three $600 Best Practice Grants to first-timers Tonyea Kellison and Eric Nejus of Southern Local Elementary and previous recipient Marylou Taylor of Southern Local High School for projects centered on writing, special education and science.

   Kellison will use her windfall to conduct a Young Author’s Conference and benefit about 420 students in grades K-6 at SLES. The event, which is set for April 16, will help students learn about the writing process and be inspired to read and write after attending a workshop by a noted children’s author.

   “I am so honored to receive this grant,” Kellison said. “It gives our school an opportunity to do projects like this one that we would not be able to afford.”

   Kellison was inspired to do the project when second-grade teacher Holly Davis brought the idea to her attention.

   Nejus plans to acquire standing double and single desks for the special education resource room at SLES, which may help intervention students struggling with ADHD. About 45 special education students in grades 4-6 will benefit from the furniture and Nejus said the goal is to help them expend extra energy so they can focus.

   “Recent research suggests that ADHD is linked to physical inactivity and that a sedentary lifestyle can aggravate ADHD symptoms. For children suffering from ADHD, moving and fidgeting is an important and natural way to relieve symptoms,” he explained. “However, when seated there is no non-disruptive way for them to fidget. Standing desks allow children to move more, and many are even equipped with moving footrests that allow them to fidget while standing.”

   Nejus was pleased to receive the mini-grant and hopes to have the new desks by the end of December, and his goal is to provide 10 standing desks and two double desks in the resource room. With the average student sitting for roughly 4.5 hours each day, the standing desks will increase student concentration and allow eye contact with teachers, increasing overall engagement.

   “Considering some of the great proposals I’ve seen from our school alone, I feel very honored for mine to have been selected. I would like to thank JCESC for their generosity, commitment and dedication to improving education.”

   Meanwhile, Taylor will use her latest grant to create a physics bridge project that teaches students about stress, forces and pressure. The “Balsa Bridge Testing” project expects to impact more than 80 students in grades 9-12 from her physics and physical science classes and she hopes to implement it around the third quarter of the school year.

   “The goal of this equipment would be to give students a visual and practical experience with planning, construction and testing bridges while looking at various forces and stress points,” she noted. 

    Taylor, who received a mini-grant two years ago, was excited about the latest disbursement for her project.

   “I am very humbled and grateful for this grant and for the support for our students from JCESC,” she said.

    JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko congratulated the recipients and said the JCESC was pleased to assist teachers with their innovative approaches to education.

    “The JCESC is appreciative of our member school districts and enjoy giving back when the opportunity presents itself. Much of our time is spent with school administration as well as providing teacher professional development and the mini-grants are a way to have a direct impact on the classroom,” he said. “The JCESC Governing Board is grateful to all of our applicants and the hard work teachers do each and every day. We look forward to continuing the program next year.”

    JCESC has disbursed an estimated 200 Best Practice Grants over the past 11 years with Southern Local receiving 12 awards since joining the educational service center in 2015. This year, 21 applications were approved out of more than 50 submissions from Buckeye Local, Edison, Indian Creek, Harrison Hills, Southern Local, Steubenville, Toronto City Schools and the Utica Shale Academy.

(Photo Cutline: The Jefferson County Educational Service Center disbursed three $600 Best Practice Grants during the Southern Local Board of Education meeting on Nov. 14. Pictured are, from left, Southern Local High School Principal Tony DelBoccio, district Treasurer Greg Sabbato and JCESC Supervisor Ron Sismondo.)

Space Conducts Roundtable with Educators
Posted 10/16/2018 at 12:02:31 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ESC Space Roundtable

STEUBENVILLE-Ohio Auditor of State candidate Zack Space met with local educators for a roundtable discussion on Monday to learn their concerns about funding and other challenges facing local schools.

   Space (D-Dover), a former U.S. Congressman who is now seeking the state office on Nov. 6, gathered with more than a dozen representatives of Edison Local Schools, Toronto City Schools, Jefferson County Joint Vocational School and the Jefferson County Educational Service Center at the JCESC office to address a variety of topics, namely how the auditor’s office could bridge a gap with the school system.

   “The challenges facing rural school districts in Ohio have been underappreciated in Columbus,” Space said, who also cited access to quality economic opportunities, transportation and infrastructure as other issues impacting the southern and eastern regions.

   In the wake of the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) scandal, in which the for-profit charter school received $80 million in taxpayer funding since 2000 despite students not logging in the required hours of state-required instruction, there has been a call to hold charter schools to the same standards that govern public schools. Space said he was looking to make charter schools more transparent and accountable to help level the playing field for education. He noted that state leaders did not take action on the matter, leading to a loss of significant funding at the expense of taxpayers and education as a whole.

   He also sought input from local educators about ECOT, their relationship with the auditor’s office and ways to improve the process, in addition to matters affecting the area. Topics ranged from the frequency of audits to filling transportation and staffing needs. JCESC Treasurer Don Donahue mentioned that school financing was a major issue when it came to the services the ESC provided to local districts.

   “We have to negotiate services and it keeps things competitive, but funding is lacking for services they need and it puts a hardship on them and the ESC,” Donahue said.

   JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko agreed that funding for local schools and rural transportation topped the list and said that local government, small communities and schools all feel the strain. Space replied that pressure on local governments has been enormous but the number of audits was statutory; however, the state office could advocate and provide resources to help ease the burden.

   Mark Masloski, JCESC administrative assistant and program director for the alternative school, said a relationship was key between the Ohio Department of Education and the auditor’s office.

    “I attended a conference where both ODE and the auditor’s office presented and see the importance of both parties being on the same page,” Masloski added.

   Toronto Superintendent Maureen Taggart touched upon the need to find qualified staff members, saying it was difficult to compete for positions including elementary teachers to bus drivers. She also voiced concerns about safety standards for school buildings.

   “We’re participating in a building project and did the high school in 2016, and we’re now doing an elementary addition. I’m not noticing any changes with [Ohio School Construction Commission] standards for security. We have this project and the state isn’t making changes to adapt to it.”

   Space said employment issues have affected the entire region and local graduates may go off to college and not return to the area workforce, while it was also hard to draw people to the region. Taggart noted that hiring anyone was difficult and having diversity was even harder when the applicant pool is limited.

   Dr. Todd Phillipson, superintendent of JCJVS, also commented on rural transportation problems and what schools like the JVS could do to help meet job demands. He said he has spoken with local leaders about job creation and his school currently has programs for electrical trade, carpentry, welding, power mechanics and more. The oil and gas industry is booming in the region and he hoped to see Jefferson County be at the center of the growth.

    “As far as manufacturing, Jefferson County is in the middle of two cracker plants. If there are two, there will be three and there might be four,” he added. “We need site development for industrial parks to be ready to go. If we get a manufacturer, I’ll get a program that will use [required] equipment and we would also provide training for companies.”

   More comments came from Jim Herring, vice president of the Jefferson Health Plan and a former school superintendent, who said state legislators don’t realize how different it is in the Appalachian region.

   “They don’t have school facilities issues,” he added. “It’s a challenge for this area. I know Columbus makes decisions but they don’t recognize what we struggle with here.”

   Edison Superintendent Bill Beattie said “getting educators to be educators” was another daunting task because teachers are consumed with evaluations, data and other obligations that keep them from giving instruction. Beattie also voiced his disbelief that the ECOT situation continued and said there needed to be more accountability and transparency. He also asked why the program did not follow the same standards as public schools in order to level the playing field. Space said the auditor should act as a watchdog, otherwise problems such as the ECOT scandal would occur.

    “There are non-profit charter schools that have done well, but for me it’s about creating an environment where every student has an opportunity,” Space added. “This has been an utter perversion of both democracy and public education. Jefferson County lost $200,000 to ECOT. It’s an affront to taxpayers and a perversion of the process and deprives students of a full education.”

   Beattie also referred to his district’s loss of tax revenue from the W.H. Sammis Plant in Stratton and First Energy’s impending closure of the site in 2022. The district so far has lost $1.6 million in revenue from the plant, and even though funding will be coming from oil and gas production the state wants to disburse the funds throughout Ohio instead of keeping it in the area. Space agreed, pondering why a portion of the proceeds could not remain local and saying he would support a reasonable extraction tax to benefit the area. 

   Lengthy discussion ensued, and at the conclusion Space said he would advocate for schools, communities and the people if elected auditor on Nov. 6.

   “You have an open door, open ear and an open mind,” he concluded.

(Photo Cutline: Ohio Auditor of State candidate Zack Space met with local educators on Monday to address various topics from the ECOT scandal to problems plaguing school districts.)

Grant Aids Teacher Training
Posted 10/9/2018 at 9:28:21 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ESC Striving Readers Grant Training

STEUBENVILLE-Area teachers are getting trained on ways to improve student learning in the classroom through the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Grant program.

   Educators have spent the past two weeks at the Jefferson County Educational Service Center and the adjacent R. Larry George Training Annex brushing up on techniques to hone students’ understanding of content so they achieve success in school. Program Coordinator Amber Yorko and Carri Meek, instructional coach and CEO of Instructional Growth Seminars and Support, have worked with English/Language Arts teachers in grades K-8 and more training continues this week.

   Yorko said the groups were working on the common pacing guide with the ultimate goal of understanding students’ weaknesses.

   “We want to see where they struggle and where we can help,” she said. “We’ve looked at the standards between 2010 and 2017 and they did change. We looked at second- and fourth-grade standards [with the third-grade teachers] to see what they were expecting in the third-grade.”

   Meek created a live binder online program to add resources so participating teachers would quickly have them for reference.

   “They were most excited about having access to resources at their fingertips and they could collaborate and share ideas at the sessions,” Yorko commented.

   Sessions were conducted for kindergarten, first-, second-, fifth- and third-grades the week of Oct. 1 with more meetings for fourth-grade this Tuesday, sixth-grade on Wednesday and seventh- and eighth-grade on Thursday. Each session had up to a dozen participants and the teachers will gather again in November to create a common assessment for their respective grade levels. The intent is to use the assessments as an instructional guide and gauge students’ understanding of their lessons.

   For her part, Meek helped facilitate the meetings and set up the live binder program to upload resources in an online program for educators to use.

   “I am working with classroom teachers as well as the leadership teams. For this particular group, I am focusing on targeted learning and targeted assessment with a focus on literacy standards,” she explained. “Tips include how to focus on formative practices and checks for understanding with feedback during instruction.”

   Meek has worked with JCESC in the past while presenting at the Ohio Association for Secondary Administrators and later presented to JCESC leaders. She was later invited to work with the Striving Readers grant and will return for sessions over the next few months.

 Several third-grade teachers in attendance said they have received a wealth of information that will help them in the future.

   “I love the live binder and I think it’s going to be useful,” said Kelly Malone, who instructs at Southern Local Elementary School.

    “You can talk to other people in the same grade level to see what they are doing,” added Ashley Farnsworth, a fellow teacher at SLES.

   “We spent the day collaborating and taking an in-depth look to make sure we are meeting the standards required for our third-grade classes,” commented Donna Carpenter, a teacher at Harrison North Elementary. “We have to be accountable to the students and ourselves.”

   JCESC was among 46 sites in Ohio to obtain the $500,000 grant through the Ohio Department of Education this past spring. The U.S. Department of Education awarded the state $35 million last fall and approximately 95 percent of the funding is being distributed directly to local schools or early childhood providers to improve literacy outcomes for children from birth through grade 12. The three-year grant will focus on serving the greatest numbers of students living in poverty, students with disabilities, English learners and students identified as having reading difficulties. Five local school districts have enacted the program, with Buckeye Local, Harrison Hills, Southern Local and Toronto City Schools utilizing it at their elementary schools and Indian Creek using its portion to benefit both elementary and middle school pupils.

 The grant has also provided opportunities for teachers to take an eight-week course at Franciscan University on learning and practicum and five teachers are taking part. Yorko said other programs include a three-part Pacing Guide training program during November, January and March; an early literacy series provided by State Support Team Region 12; and a Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS) research-based reading program will also be presented.

(Photo Cutline: Area teachers are taking part in a training session through the Jefferson County Educational Service Center as part of the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Grant program. Program Coordinator Amber Yorko and educational coach Carri Meeks have been leading sessions over the past two weeks to help educators improve student learning and the training continues through this Thursday.)

Superintendents Look at School Safety
Posted 10/9/2018 at 9:18:00 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

STEUBENVILLE-School superintendents are looking at ways to make buildings safer by combining forces and funding.

   During the monthly superintendents’ meeting at the Jefferson County Educational Service Center on Oct. 5, JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said districts could benefit if they joined efforts. During discussion, Dr. Kokiko said there was a chance to combine funds they received from the governor for school safety for a collective cause. 

   Edison Local School Superintendent Bill Beattie, whose district received about $8,000 for school safety, said teachers in his district were undergoing PAX training with the Jefferson County Prevention and Recovery Board to help students improve their behavior. PAX is a universal intervention used by teachers and schools to teach self-regulation, self-management and self-control in young people and several sessions have been held in a joint effort between the JCPRB and JCESC.

    “Teachers had PAX training for the preschool program and high school program,” Beattie said. “We want to have a junior high training and have 40 slots to fill, so if anyone is interested at the middle school level, [Executive Director Pam Petrilla] offered to provide additional funds to offset costs.”

   Harrison Hills Superintendent Dana Snyder interjected that the program also falls under the Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS). Officials discussed holding a session at the JCESC office and it also helps train a trainer. Dr. Kokiko suggested having the districts combine their safety funding and take part in the PAX sessions.

   “We opened a dialogue for districts to put funding towards safety and work collectively to realize the greatest value, plus we can plus we can do joint training. Five districts are willing to commit part of their shares to focus on middle schools,” he later said.

   Meanwhile, JCESC Administrative Assistant Mark Masloski updated the group on the Virtual Learning Academy and VirtualClassroom programs. Masloski gave a breakdown on the number of students involved and test scores.

   “[JCESC Supervisor] Ron Sismondo facilitated a math collaborative and the teachers created common assessments,” he added. “More teachers need to send their rosters so we can create passwords for students’ accounts. About 1,500 students are involved now and the short cycle ends in late October.”

    He explained how grant coordinator Amber Yorko was working with the English/Language Arts teachers on programs in grades 3-8 and those numbers were also anticipated to increase. Masloski also provided a sample history test with scoring results and said officials can look at intervention strategies to improve student learning.

   “We’re really trying to enhance our online curriculum so teachers can provide targeted instruction,” he said. “At the end of October or beginning of November we’ll be able to give assessments.”

   Masloski continued that VirtualClassroom was provided through ProgressBook and teachers could choose which questions to use or even add their own.

 “The teachers like to use our questions because the content is there for them and it’s just another resource to use.”

   Dr. Kokiko added that the ESC could host a Build-A-Lesson workshop for teachers to use in their classroom. Additionally, Masloski said the Quest for Success program has before and after school sessions and provides intervention services, weekday activities, weekend events and online courses. All of the districts have points of contact if people are interested and students do not have to attend all of the activities.

   In other matters:

--The panel learned that Eastern Gateway Community College would be surveying schools to see what programs students would like to see included in the future. Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities Superintendent Michael Zinno suggested a direct service provider certificate program, which would allow people to gain full-time employment in nursing homes and adult care;

--Indian Creek Superintendent Dr. T.C. Chappelear shared information about an upcoming Coalition for Rural Appalachian Schools (CORAS) meeting on Oct. 24 in Logan and officials were interested in districts’ needs. Hopes are to include items in the biennial budget and improving transportation costs, especially since it was expensive for local districts such as Indian Creek, Edison, Buckeye Local and Harrison Hills. Other issues included teacher shortages and students with trauma. Dr. Chappelear said working together would help provide a stronger voice in Columbus;

--Dr. Kokiko mentioned having Chad Hibbs of the Ohio Family and Children First Council attend a session to address a truancy pilot project. Hibbs was expected to attend the principal’s collaborative meeting on Nov. 8;

-- Leaders discussed Ohio House Bill 312, which deals with districts’ credit card policies and said districts should have theirs updated by Nov. 1;

--Dr. Kokiko said ongoing sessions have been held regarding the Striving Readers Grant and teachers gathered over the past week on improving classroom techniques. Sessions were held all week for Kindergarten, first, third- and fifth-grades with more this week for fourth-,sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade teachers. Carri Meek of Instructional Growth Seminars and Support will lead another program on Nov. 8 for administrators to learn how to drive instruction in their buildings.

FCFC Eyes Resources for Community Outreach
Posted 10/9/2018 at 9:15:18 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

STEUBENVILLE-Local agencies are continuing their efforts to join together and provide resources for community members.

   About 25 people attended the monthly session of the Jefferson County Family and Children First Council on Oct. 5, and the topics discussed centered on how the groups could better assist each other to reach more people. Among other action, the council approved the 2019 Shared Plan to help meet community needs. Linda Trushel, contract manager for Help Me Grow and FCFC coordinator, said previous plans focused on helping children with trauma but now efforts would target substance abuse.

   “It’s coming together as agencies with a shared goal for Jefferson County,” she said of the plan. “This is for 2017, 2018 and 2019. We did the first plan in 2017 and worked with children exposed to severe trauma. We did some training on trauma informed care.”

   For 2018, officials looked at substance abuse and wanted to inform the public on places to get help, as well as classroom education. Trushel added that efforts were also being made to help children who age out of the foster care system.

   “We’re looking at housing for children who leave a residential home or foster care at age 18 and working on Project Build with Coleman Professional Services. In 2018, we got a housing site list and added the Village Network. We will keep that open and get feedback on Project Build.”

   Following more discussion, the 2019 plan was approved and officials agreed to focus on substance abuse and the housing project. Trushel said work was now underway on the 2020-23 plan.

   Additionally, she noted the FCFC Service Coordination mechanism approved in September has also improved upon its outreach.

   “Families with children with multiple needs are part of the Service Coordination Mechanism, and in Jefferson County we call it Engage,” she said. “It’s when children with multiple needs meet with the Board of Developmental Disabilities [and other agencies]. There is a referral process.”

   In related matters, Cathy Takach of Engage said she had nine active cases and was processing six, many of which were referrals from JCBDD.

   Meanwhile, Joe Rawson of the Family Recovery Center said his agency had a report with a breakdown of information and he would provide it to the group. He added that officials spent a week at a training session learning to write for a Drug-Free Community Grant aimed at helping youth. A meeting was set for Oct. 17 at 1 p.m. at the county Prevention and Recovery Board to update members on the training session and how to proceed.

    “The Opioid Task Force is looking at goals and then it will be finished. We will fold into the United Prevention Partnership to meet needs and give education,” he added. 

    Pam Petrilla, executive director of JCPRB, noted that her agency was leading PAX training sessions with teachers. PAX is a universal intervention used in schools to help protect children from lifetime mental, emotional and behavioral disorders while also increasing behavioral, academic and lifetime success. One session was scheduled for Oct. 9 in the Edison Local School District with more set at Buckeye Local and Indian Creek Schools, plus the JCPRB would be working jointly with the Jefferson County Educational Service Center on more activities in the future.

   Other discussion included Neysa Rogers, early intervention coordinator, who provided a quarterly report and said the program grew from 64 to 74 children. The program serves providers in the home and has transitioned children into preschool, typical schools and the School of Bright Promise. She added that the EI team was headed to Canton for a free training session and she would provide information from the Strengthening Families program at that time.

   Linsey Pinkerton, home visiting supervisor for Help Me Grow, then shared a report on her organization’s target audience including demographics and needs. Pinkerton explained that the data was based on 30 families Help Me Grow serves, adding that eligibility requirements changed July 1 and clients had to meet 200 percent of the poverty level guidelines to qualify. Other criteria included being a pregnant woman under age 21; having a history of child abuse, neglect or substance abuse; having a child with a diagnosed developmental delay; being an active military family; and being a single-parent family.

   Pinkerton added that 94 percent of families have the mother as the primary caregiver and about 20 percent fall below the poverty level. She noted that the program was looking to expand its outreach and called upon other agencies to give referrals.

   “We’ve found that we’re struggling in Carroll and Belmont counties and we want to increase Jefferson County referrals,” she said, asking for suggestions.

   Many representatives responded, and some suggestions included visiting the WIC office and joining that group in off-site events. A similar proposal was made to join the county health department during its clinics, as well as to attend Belmont County FCFC and other agency meetings.

   Dr. Chuck Kokiko, superintendent of the JCESC, mentioned an idea to possibly implement a Plus-22 program to help adults earn a diploma. He said he and Jeff Oblak, JCESC supervisor, have explored means to provide the program to the community.

   “There is a program for adults that can be run through the ESC or a school district and there are requirements they are to meet to graduate,” Dr. Kokiko said. “This is set up as a reimbursement program and the educating agency receives funding once students complete coursework. For students age 22 or older, there is an additional pathway to earn a diploma besides the GED.”

   He said a program must be started through the state before it can open up to referrals and officials were reviewing the process.

 In other matters, Rawson of the Family Recovery Center said the Jefferson County Adult Drug Court was sponsoring Red Ribbon Week on Oct. 23-31 to promote drug prevention. Additionally, the FRC was hosting a Trunk or Treat event at its location on Market Street in Steubenville Oct. 30 and he invited other agencies to take part. The FRC will provide candy and grab bags and a photo booth will also be available for the kids. The county health department also announced it will hold clinics on Tuesdays starting in November in the Indian Creek School District while Buckeye Local and the Jefferson County Joint Vocational School were also interested in offering events.

JCESC Implementing Striving Readers Grant
Posted 8/16/2018 at 4:36:58 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ESC Striving Readers Amber Yorko

STEUBENVILLE-A new program aimed at helping local school districts improve student literacy is being implemented through the Jefferson County Educational Service Center.

   JCESC was among 46 sites in Ohio to obtain a $500,000 Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Grant through the Ohio Department of Education this past spring. The U.S. Department of Education awarded the state $35 million last fall and approximately 95 percent of the funding is being distributed directly to local schools or early childhood providers to improve literacy outcomes for children from birth through grade 12. The three-year grant will focus on serving the greatest numbers of students living in poverty, students with disabilities, English learners and students identified as having reading difficulties.

   Five local school districts will enact the program, with Buckeye Local, Harrison Hills, Southern Local and Toronto City Schools utilizing it at their elementary schools and Indian Creek using its portion to benefit both elementary and middle school pupils.

    JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said a prior meeting held with member districts indicated the greatest need was in kindergarten through eighth grade, while emphasis will be placed on phonics. Amber Yorko, who has been an educator for the past 15 years, will administer the grant.

   “She will work with the districts on the implementation and day-to-day activities of the grant,” Dr. Kokiko said. “We’re excited to have her at the ESC. She brings a wealth of knowledge in early childhood education and a fresh perspective. As an ESC, we’re glad to be able to provide this service to the districts to improve learning.”

   Yorko, a native of Bloomingdale, has served as a teacher and assistant principal in Ohio and Virginia. She graduated from Steubenville High School in 1999 and obtained a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and intervention specialist from Franciscan University in 2002. Yorko went on to earn a master’s degree in educational leadership at Old Dominion University in Virginia in 2008. She taught grades 7-8 special education at Southern Local High School for two years and preschool for four years at Northampton County Public Schools in Virginia before serving as an assistant principal for Accomack County Public Schools in Virginia for nine years. She returned to her home state and said she was excited for her new role, which she began on Aug. 9.

   “I will work with five local school districts on improving their reading scores,” Yorko said. “I want to help the teachers help their students grown in the area of reading and be on grade level when they exit the grade. It is nice to come back to the area and give back to the community you grew up in.”

   Her work will entail going into schools to work with school administrators and teachers and also providing specialized professional development training to enhance student learning.

Oil and Gas, Education Lead Annual Meeting
Posted 8/13/2018 at 11:46:57 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Sudvary Principal of the Year

WINTERSVILLE-Nearly 100 educators and community partners gathered at St. Florian Hall on Aug. 9 to kick off the start of the new school year during the Jefferson County Educational Service Center’s annual administrator’s breakfast meeting.

   JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko welcomed the crowd, which included representatives of local school districts, Franciscan University, Eastern Gateway Community College and the Jefferson County Prevention and Recovery Board. Attendants heard updates from superintendents and other officials, as well as speakers from Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center to the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program (OOGEEP).

 OOGEEP Executive Director Rhonda Reda was the featured speaker and said there was a need for more help in the field from executive positions to truck drivers, and it was important to work with schools and provide career opportunities for students.

 “One of the challenges in the oil and gas industry when it comes to careers is the misconception [of jobs opportunities available]. There are 85 different professions,” she said.

   Fields range from attorneys, chemists and geologists to roustabouts and welders. Reda added that energy demands will never go away and the United States consumed 100 quadrillion British Thermal Units (Btu) alone in 2017. She said 275,000 wells were drilled or completed in Ohio but production has been going on for at least a century. Last year was a record for the state with 16 million barrels and 1.7 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of natural gas produced.

 “If Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania were one country, it would be the third-largest natural gas provider in the world,” she noted.

   The Marcellus and Utica shales account for 35 percent of production in the U.S. However, the current industry has an aging and retiring workforce. There is also an emphasis on trades and 63 percent of the workforce is blue collar, while students have an array of opportunities to study in post-secondary schools from EGCC, Belmont Career Center and Buckeye Career Center to Stark State College, Marietta College and West Virginia University.

   Other speakers included Anastasia Galloway of Eagle Rock School in Estes Park, Colo., who discussed her travels around the country to facilitate programs and her recent work in Toronto and other local school districts. She thanked local leaders for their support and said it’s that collaboration which makes the venture a success.

   “I’m looking forward to the 2018-19 school year and to coming back,” she said.

   Carri Meek, CEO and founder of Instructional Growth Seminars and Support, discussed methods to help teachers enhance their teaching skills to improve student learning. Meek said school leaders were the key to instructional growth so teachers have resources and options to try things differently and make a bigger impact.

   “When you can make a teacher grow, you can make a student grow,” she added.   

   Mark Jackson, attorney for Jefferson Health Plan and a school attorney for Pepple and Waggoner of Columbus, also updated the crowd on the latest court rulings and case law.

   Meanwhile, school leaders introduced their administrative staff and shared details of happenings in their respective districts. Superintendents Dr. T.C. Chappelear of Indian Creek, Dana Snider of Harrison Hills and Maureen Taggart of Toronto discussed school construction projects in their territories. Dr. Chapplear thanked supporters for passing the levy in May to help build a new high school and elementary school in Wintersville and renovate Hills Elementary in Mingo Junction. Snider was equally thankful for the opportunity to see a grade K-12 complex in Cadiz, which was also aided by the oil and gas boon. She said funding from the local production played a vital role in seeing a longtime dream come true, and now children will have a brand-new facility in which to learn. Taggart updated the crowd on the new addition at Karaffa Elementary School with a groundbreaking set for October, plus she said her district also has the first school-based health clinic in the area.

   Other remarks were made by Buckeye Local Superintendent Kim Leonard, who said her district was rebuilding to become more financially solvent; Southern Local Superintendent Tom Cunningham and School of Bright Promise Principal Jane Bodo of the Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities, who were introduced as the newest leaders; Jefferson County Joint Vocational School Board President Larry George, who highlighted programs at the site; and Deana Bell of the Jefferson County Alternative School, Chris Tivoli of ProgressBook, Dan Obertance of JCPRB and Buddy Tucker of State Support Team Region 12.

   A new addition to the meeting was the presentation of the first Principal of the Year Award to Coy Sudvary of Buckeye Local High School. Sudvary was recognized by JCESC Governing Board President Larry George and Supervisor Ron Sismondo for his efforts in improving his school and student learning. Sudvary received a plaque with a $700 award for the principal’s fund.

   Meanwhile, leaders from Franciscan University and EGCC also shared news from their schools. William Gorman, the new chief operating officer at Franciscan, said the site was anticipating its largest freshman class to date this fall and was working on a strategic plan to further enhance enrollment and community relations. Dr. Jimmie Bruce also touted record enrollment this coming year as well as EGCC’s upcoming 50th anniversary. The milestone will be marked on Sept. 25 with Gatorfest from 8:30 a.m. to noon for students with public services, educations of pathway and other information while a community open house is set from 3-6 p.m. Dr. Bruce noted that EGCC underwent a $2 million renovation project and now features a one-stop shop with the Gator Center, Barnes & Noble Bookstore, admissions, financial aid and related services in one area, while a softball team is being added at the school. He further outlined available scholarships and opportunities available for prospective students.

   Dr. Kokiko closed the event with some encouraging words to start the new school year, sharing the story of a teacher’s chance meeting with a former student who had left college but took their encounter as a sign to return to school.

   “As an educator, you never know when you might make an impact on a student, so put your best foot forward. You never know when your name is called.”

(Photo Cutline: Buckeye Local High School Principal Coy Sudvary was named Principal of the Year during the annual administrator’s breakfast meeting held by the Jefferson County Educational Service Center on Aug. 9. Sudvary, pictured at center, was recognized by JCESC Supervisor Ron Sismondo and Governing Board President Larry George. Nearly 100 educators and community partners gathered at St. Florian Hall in Wintersville to kick off the new school year by highlighting happenings in local districts and hearing from speakers.)

Educators Train on PAX Program
Posted 8/8/2018 at 10:01:57 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ESC PAX Program

STEUBENVILLE-Educators learned how a positive approach could impact students in the classroom with the PAX Good Behavior Game on Aug. 7.

   About 40 teachers, principals, guidance counselors and other school and mental health officials gathered at the R. Larry George Training Annex near the Jefferson County Educational Service Center. Jeanette Puskas, Ohio PAX coordinator, led the full-day session and explained how the research-based program has affected classrooms across the state and the world. PAX is a universal intervention used in schools to help protect children from lifetime mental, emotional and behavioral disorders while also increasing behavioral, academic and lifetime success. Teachers trained in PAX gain an improved understanding of the impact of mental health in their classrooms and use positive reinforcements to help students remain focused.

   “It’s actually international and has been used in Ireland and Latin America to Canada and several states,” she explained. “Approximately 6,000 teachers in Ohio have been trained and everything is research-based.”

   The program was a partnership between the JCESC and Jefferson County Prevention and Recovery Board and Puskas noted that Ohio has the largest implementation since it also has the highest opioid use rate.

   “Five cities fall in the top 15 for opioid overdoses and the Ohio Mental Health Addiction Services funded part of the program for $3.5 million, plus other mental health and recovery boards are involved,” she continued.

   PAX was initially studied at Johns Hopkins University and first established in 1969, while researchers have continued to follow students over the past three decades to determine the long-term effects of being exposed to the program. Some encouraging data showed a decline in office referrals and bullying to an uptick in school attendance. Other benefits ranged from higher graduation and college attendance rates to a reduction in special education services, substance use and criminal activity. The state launched a large-scale increase of the PAX Good Behavior Game in schools to prevent circumstances contributing to the opiate epidemic. Nearly 1,200 Ohio teachers have been trained this year on the method but that number is anticipated to double over the next two months. Currently, all but 13 counties participate in the program.

   Puskas said the first portion of the recent training explained trauma-affected behaviors in the classroom while the second half shared practical strategies teachers could use to maintain good student behaviors. Some examples included using calming sound levels and visual cues to reduce symptoms of ADHD and anxiety to fun group activities that allow children to work together for a common happiness of the class.

   “We’re giving teachers tools to work with in their classrooms with the hope to reduce trauma. If a child could be helped from the training, they can learn and the teachers can teach,” she said.

   Those who attended the session earned certificates and continuing education credits, but the lesson they learned is much more significant.

   John Rocchi, special education coordinator for Indian Creek Schools, sees PAX as a real plus for the pupils.

  “I think it’s a lot of information that has been in the district in various ways, but this pulls it together in a format that could be easily implemented in the classroom,” he said.

   John Gregg Elementary Principal Tammy Burchfield agreed.

   “I think there are excellent strategies that can be used and they can encompass all of our kids,” she added. “It’s research-based so we know it has a lot of backing. We’re excited to try it.”

   The PAX Good Behavior Game has already proven beneficial in the Harrison Hills City School District since it was first implemented four years ago and a few of the educators praised the method. Jenny Gibson, district PAX partner, recalled one occasion when she saw students exhibit good behavior and attention at a school function.

   “It promotes a culture with the staff and students and looks at positive reinforcement and what ways we can help each other,” added Julia Carman, a fourth-grade teacher at Harrison East.

    Fellow teachers Stephanie McKinney and Franci Doty noted how students are aware of the expectations and also have a voice.

(Photo Cutline: Jeanette Puskas, Ohio PAX coordinator, led 40 educators and mental health officials in a program on research-based methods to improve student behaviors during a session at the R. Larry George Training Annex in Steubenville on Aug. 7. The PAX Good Behavior Game is currently in 75 counties and the local program was formed in a partnership between the Jefferson County Educational Service Center and the Jefferson County Prevention and Recovery Board.)

Students Complete Summer Incentive Program
Posted 8/8/2018 at 9:56:43 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
QFS Summer Incentive Program

Local youth recently completed the Quest for Success Summer Incentive Program held July 1-28. The free activity was offered to Jefferson County students in grades 5-8 though the Virtual Learning Academy and they were eligible to receive prizes for participation in online career exploration. The prizes were provided by Kennywood Park, Burger King of Wintersville, Carnegie Science Center and the Jefferson County Educational Service Center. Quest for Success, which is sponsored by JCESC, is funded through a five-year, $850,000 grant through the Ohio Department of Education and provides activities for Jefferson County students in grades 5-8 to succeed in literacy, mathematics, social development, family support and community involvement. Among the prize recipients are, pictured in front, Katie Vujanovich. Middle: Kaiden Blancato and Shiloah Connell. Back: Briana Masloski, Sydney Takach, Brittany Adams and Jillian Burchfield. For more information about Quest for Success programs, contact Mark Masloski, program coordinator and administrative assistant at JCESC, at (740) 283-3347, Ext. 134, or Fiala at Ext. 100 or go online to questforsuccesssteubenville.weebly.com.

Johnson Serving JCESC Governing Board
Posted 6/13/2018 at 11:53:34 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ESC Mark Johnson

STEUBENVILLE-A local banking executive is offering his services to two educational boards to help better serve students in the area.

Mark Johnson joined the ranks of the Jefferson County Educational Service Center Governing Board in February to fill the vacancy left by longtime board member William Lollini. Johnson has also served on the Utica Shale Academy Board of Directors and said he was excited to be part of the process.

The East Springfield resident is a 1975 graduate of South Hills High School in Pittsburgh and earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and business management from The College of Steubenville in 1979. He has worked at WesBanco for the past three years and is currently vice president and banking center manager. Johnson has also been active in the community as a member of the Richmond Lions Club since 1990, serving as president for two years and the past 26 years as treasurer. His family includes his granddaughter, with whom he resides.

He said he was excited about the opportunity to serve on the governing board and to work toward a common goal.

“I believe it is an honor and a privilege to be part of a team that has the single purpose of helping our local schools put our children in the best possible position to achieve an outstanding academic experience,” Johnson noted. “I want to continue to grow and gain knowledge in the education field and also use my financial background as an asset to help the board in any way possible.”

He said he enjoyed working with the board, Superintendent Dr. Charles Kokiko and CEO Dr. George Ash to help schools and students succeed.

“I believe we have an outstanding and diversified board whose members are focused on helping our schools work more effectively and to achieve success. Dr. Kokiko and Dr. Ash are great administrators and communicators working together towards a common goal and I look forward to serving on the JCESC Governing Board.”

JCESC leaders said Johnson offers a wealth of expertise having served with the USA board for several years, plus his financial experience could also prove beneficial when helping to move the JCESC and districts its serves in a positive direction.

“Mr. Johnson brings a valuable skill set to the Jefferson County ESC Governing Board as well as a passion for education and serving the community at large,” Dr. Kokiko said. “I look forward to working with Mr. Johnson on current and future JCESC projects. He will promote and advance the mission and vision of the board.”

Dr. Ash echoed those sentiments, saying Johnson was a valuable addition to the board.

“Mr. Johnson’s financial expertise is an asset to the community and being a grandparent really helps him know what parents and students need,” he added. “The time on the Utica Shale Board demonstrated his commitment to the surrounding communities, vocational education and innovation.”

“Mark, being a finance man, comes to us with great experience. He’s a seasoned board member since serving with the Utica Shale Academy board,” commented board President Larry George. “He’s a local gentleman who knows the area and we’re just happy to have him and happy that he’s serving with us. We’re really pleased he accepted the position and look forward to his continued success with our board.”

JCESC Gains $500K Striving Readers Grant
Posted 6/13/2018 at 11:51:25 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

STEUBENVILLE-A $500,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Education is helping local school districts to bolster literacy in students.

   The Jefferson County Educational Service Center was among 46 sites across Ohio that received a Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Grant to improve language and literacy development. According to the Ohio Department of Education, the USDOE awarded the state $35 million last fall and approximately 95 percent of the funding is being distributed directly to local schools or early childhood providers to improve literacy outcomes for children from birth through grade 12. The three-year grant will focus on serving the greatest numbers of students living in poverty, students with disabilities, English learners and students identified as having reading difficulties.

    JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said a meeting was held with member districts and officials believed the greatest need was in kindergarten through eighth grade and among the grant participants are Buckeye Local, Indian Creek Local, Toronto City, Southern Local and Harrison Hills City Schools.

    “We’re currently in year one of three years of funding,” Dr. Kokiko added. “The grant is geared towards reading and our particular focus is going to be in phonics.”

   One course of action is to employ a reading coach to aid the schools and teachers will also undergo specialized professional development training. Dr. Kokiko said the position should be filled this summer while training sessions would be conducted regularly for the duration of the grant.

   “With the importance of developing strong reading skills in the early grades, the JCESC is excited to bring these resources and opportunities to our districts. We believe this could have a significant impact on children’s learning for years to come.”

  

    Dr. Kokiko thanked the participating districts for helping to complete the comprehensive application, which included more than 200 pages with supporting documentation. The ODE received 110 individual and consortium applications and held a competitive peer review to select recipients. Federal grant requirements included a prescribed distribution of funding across defined age and grade bands from birth through high school, plus awards went to all 16 state support team regions with priority given to high-quality applications serving the highest numbers of disadvantaged students.

Literacy Instruction Workshop Offered
Posted 6/12/2018 at 3:58:32 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Literacy Instruction Seminar Event

STEUBENVILLE-A literacy instruction workshop will be offered for teachers this month to help engage pupils in the classroom.

   Sponsored by the Jefferson County Educational Service Center through its Quest for Success program, the workshop will be held on June 25-26 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the JCESC’s Professional Development Room in the Kenneth D. Simeral Building, which is located at 2023 Sunset Blvd. in Steubenville. 

   Dr. Megan Reister, assistant professor of education at Franciscan University, will serve as presenter and the sessions will explore the impact of identity in students with disabilities and lead to a discussion on culturally responsive instruction within the classroom. The majority of the workshop’s content will then work out of literacy instruction and how to use techniques to motivate reluctant readers. Inquiry-based learning and student engagement will be the key topics that will serve as a framework for increasing student motivation when it comes to reading and learning. Finally, time permitting, information about a collaboration project that incorporates these aspects will be shared with participants.

  The workshop session will last for a total of 20 hours while 10 contact hours qualify for one graduate credit hour. The cost is $20 per person to participate and includes a Continental Breakfast and lunch.

   For more information or to register, contact Mark Masloski, JCESC administrative assistant and Quest for Success program manager, at (740) 283-3347 or email mmasloski@jcesc.org.

Online Program Helps Youth Explore Careers
Posted 6/12/2018 at 3:54:09 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Online Summer Career Exploration Incentive  Program

STEUBENVILLE-An online summer incentive program aims to get youth thinking about their future while earning prizes along the way.

   The Jefferson County Educational Service Center’s Quest for Success program is sponsoring Online Career Exploration from July 1-28. The course is offered to county students in grades 5-8 through the Virtual Learning Academy (VLA) and is free. 

   “This is the first time for the program and will help prepare students for the real world,” said Martariesa Fiala, community coordinator for the Quest for Success program. “We wanted to engage the community during the summer and provide a no-cost, engaging resource to keep students' minds active.”

   Units include a pre-assessment; literacy, math, college and career readiness and a reflection journal for such careers as chef or head cook, landscape gardener, registered nurse and probation officer; and a post assessment. Participants could earn incentives for completing the four career exploration topics and a final assessment and prizes include backpacks, lantern zip drives, water bottles, fitness towels, restaurant gift cards, movie passes, pool passes and/or tickets to Kennywood and the Carnegie Science Center.

   The summer incentive program is funded through a 21st Century Grant. For more information or to register, contact Mark Masloski, JCESC administrative assistant and Quest for Success program manager, at (740) 283-3347 or email mmasloski@jcesc.org. Online registration is also available at www.jcesc.k12.oh.us at the Quest for Success Summer Incentive Program link found on the bottom of the homepage.

Help Me Grow Honored for Home Visiting Services
Posted 5/22/2018 at 2:40:09 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ESC Help Me Grow

STEUBENVILLE-A local agency is gaining distinction for serving families through its home visiting program.

   Linda Trushel, director and home visiting contract manager for the Help Me Grow program, accepted the 2017-18 Local Implementing Agency of the Year award during the Ohio Department of Health Home Visiting Summit in Columbus. Help Me Grow, which is sponsored locally by the Jefferson County Educational Service Center and also works with the Harrison Hills City School District, aids about 250 families in Jefferson, Harrison, Carroll and Belmont counties. The agency offers HMG Home Visiting for first-time expectant or new parents and provides information and support they need to be prepared for the birth of their child, as well as ongoing education and support for families to maximize their child’s health and development to age 3. Help Me Grow also provides early intervention for infants and toddlers to age 3 with a developmental delay, disability or medical condition which will likely result in a delay or disability. 

   Trushel said only a handful of other programs were recognized during the event and she was pleased to see the agency get recognized.

   “There are currently 15 LIA’s in Region 4 and 71 LIA’s in the state,” she said. “Only four other home visiting programs in Ohio received the same award. The 88 counties in Ohio are divided into five regions. I feel honored and excited about it.”

   She received the distinction from Jye Breckenridge, ODH administrator for Early Childhood Home Visiting, and Amie Unger, ODH Home Visiting program consultant for Region 4. ODH officials said the agency was selected due to its consistent willingness to provide locations for opportunities for professional development in the Southeast region, the support of program staff and a willingness to always strive to improve the program.

 “The program is always willing to participate in groups to support the strengthening of home visit, including the data advisory group,” noted Unger. “The agency is always a willing partner in collaboration with the state in effort to not only improve outcomes for families but to facilitate a Healthy Families America fidelity program.”

   For more information about Help Me Grow, contact Trushel at (740) 491-0548.

(Photo Cutline: Linda Trushel, program director and home visiting contract manager for Help Me Grow in Jefferson, Harrison, Carroll and Belmont counties, received the Local Implementing Agency of the Year award for the agency during the Ohio Department of Health Home Visiting Summit in Columbus. Pictured are, from left, Deidra Henry-Spires, CEO of the Dalton Daley Group; Jye Breckenridge, administrator of Early Childhood Home Visiting for the Ohio Department of Health; Amie Unger,  home visiting consultant for ODH Region 4; Trushel; Sandra Oxley, chief of Maternal Child and Family Health for ODH; and Kathleen Strader, senior director of operations for Healthy Families America.)

Feeding Program, Student Volunteers Top JCESC Meeting
Posted 5/8/2018 at 10:05:46 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

STEUBENVILLE- School district leaders gathered at the Jefferson County Educational Service Center on May 4 where student needs topped discussion.

   More than a dozen officials representing JCESC and Buckeye Local, Edison, Harrison Hills, Indian Creek, Jefferson County Joint Vocational School, Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities and Steubenville City Schools gathered at the JCESC office in Steubenville for the monthly superintendent’s meeting, where they learned about needs to help students and have students help others.

   Charlie Kozlesky of the Children’s Hunger Alliance asked for assistance in providing food to students during the summer months in a program with the Urban Mission Ministries. Kozlesky said some local districts already have breakfast, afterschool and summer programs in place while the Urban Mission is looking to establish a project of its own. However, there is a need for a vendor to provide food.

   “Thank you for making a difference in the lives of children by offering breakfast and lunch,” he said. “Indian Creek received a breakfast grant from us and Steubenville is providing a program now. Summer’s coming, so keep in mind that children need to be fed this summer.”

   He added that he’s spoken with Harrison Hills Superintendent Dana Snider about using schools for summer sites while the Urban Mission was also looking to help feed kids.

   “We’ve been trying to look for a vendor to provide the Urban Mission with meals. We’ve talked to hospitals …to The Nutrition Group and are trying to locate a vendor. If you prepare meals, the Urban Mission pays for it. The key is if you contract with them, you would make the food and they would pick it up and serve it.”

   Kozlesky said there could be potential grant funding from the Children’s Hunger Alliance for programs and it would provide about 200-250 additional meals. Additionally, he could review possible grant opportunities for middle and high schools if they opt to expand their breakfast programs in the fall.

   “The children are there being fed and are happy. If they are fed, they will come back and be ready to learn.”

   He asked Superintendent Dr. T.C. Chappelear if Indian Creek would consider being the vendor. It would simply require the cooks making extra food which the Urban Mission would pick up and serve to its participants. Dr. Chappelear replied that the district might be interested and rprovided contact information for Assistant Superintendent John Belt since he oversees the programs.

   “You are just looking at food costs,” Kozlesky replied. “You already have people in place. I think it’s a great thing to do.”

    Meanwhile, Jaye Lynn Hockenberry, student and volunteer coordinator at Trinity Health Systems, put out a call for youth to volunteer at the hospital. Hockenberry explained Trinity West was undergoing construction project and patients would need to be redirected to the proper locations. To that end, it would be helpful to have youth ages 14 and older on hand to redirect the customers and help keep her employees at the information desk.

   “I’d love to have students come into Trinity to represent your school and our community,” she said, adding that the teens could spend one day per week on-site to help navigate patients through the hospital while construction is underway. “We need people to transport, escort and get customers through more smoothly. All I ask is for a commitment for one day a week, three to four hours a day. If I can build up a corps of young people, I will have them to support the staff.”

   She said the volunteers would also improve upon communication skills by working one-on-one with people and will have constant support from hospital staff. They would also have opportunities to shadow departments and possibly get ideas about future careers. The youth volunteers would be identified by wearing special T-shirts and their help would also benefit their portfolios for college. Hockenberry said that extra help will allow her employees to remain available to do their jobs, otherwise they would have to leave their desks to direct people themselves.

   “I need by staff at the information desk and these young people will fill gaps so the staff will be there,” she added.

Hockenberry distributed contact information to district leaders so they could spread the word.

   In other matters, officials:

--Heard from Lisa Baker, director of State Support Team Region 12, who discussed grant opportunities and programming to support area schools. She noted that Dr. Elise Frattura, a professor in the Department of Administrative Leadership at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Education, co-founder of Integrated Comprehensive Systems for Equity and co-director of the National Leadership for Social Justice Institute and Academy, will be speaking on improving achievement for all students June 21 at Zane State College in Cambridge and spots are open for school superintendents, administrators, lead teachers, ESC and SST staff;

--Were updated about the need for more applications to United States service academies within U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson’s (R-6th) district;

--Discussed upcoming events including the Safe and Healthy Schools Conference on June 4-5 in Columbus and an opioid conference at Ohio State University in July;

--Set the next regular meeting for June 1 with the Administrator’s Breakfast slated for Aug. 9 at St. Florian Hall.

Game Day at Brightwood
Posted 5/4/2018 at 1:59:56 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ESC Game Day

Local children took part in Game Day at the Brightway Center in Smithfield on April 28, where they spent the day doing fun and challenging activities. The event was held in conjunction with the Quest for Success program offered through the Jefferson County Educational Service Center and the first-place team was recognized at the conclusion. Pictured are, from left, Brooklyn Reid, Keira Woodland, Percy Freeman Jr. and William Hill. Quest for Success provides programs on Monday to Thursday from 2-5 p.m. at the McKinley Building for Jefferson County students in grades 5-8, as well as some weekends, and the goal is to increase opportunities for students to succeed in literacy, mathematics, social development, family support and community involvement. For more information, contact program coordinator Mark Masloski at (740) 283-3347, Extension 134.

JCESC Recognizes Best and Brightest at ACT Breakfast
Posted 4/24/2018 at 12:51:18 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
JCESC ACT Honorees

WINTERSVILLE-Some of the area’s best and brightest were honored on Tuesday as the Jefferson County Educational Service Center held its third annual ACT Recognition Breakfast.

    About 30 parents, students and school officials from Buckeye Local, Edison, Harrison Hills, Indian Creek, Southern Local, Steubenville and Toronto gathered at Zalenski’s Restaurant and Pub in Wintersville to celebrate 14 graduating seniors who scored a 30 or higher on their ACT exams. JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko welcomed the attendants and highlighted just how unique the honorees were.

   Dr. Kokiko said that out of 1.84 million students who take the exam, only 92,000—or 5 percent—score a 30 or higher.

   “You can apply to 1,382 colleges and have a good shot at being admitted,” he said. “You are in the 95th percentile of test takers. The State of Ohio tests 75 percent of their graduates with an average composite score of 22; this compares to a national average of 60 percent of students tested with an average score of 21. Today, we will celebrate your hard work and dedication to reaching this benchmark.”

    He also touted parents and family members for supporting the students in their academic achievement.

   “They have played a key role in your development and success thus far and will be a source of support as you prepare to begin the next chapter of your life.”

    JCESC Governing Board President Larry George, who offered invocation, also shared thoughts and congratulated the youth for their accomplishment.

   “This is a stepping stone to the next generation of the valley,” George added, as he encouraged the students to call upon their teachers for support as they endeavor on to college and beyond. “Don’t forget your hometown, don’t forget your roots.”

    Keynote speaker was Jefferson County Commissioner Dave Maple, who was doing double duty as proud father to his son, Evan, an Edison High School student who was also among the honorees. Maple, a graduate of Jefferson Union High School, is the operator of Maple Manufacturing, a steel cutting and coating business in Weirton, and co-owner of Treat Frozen Yogurt in Steubenville and MB Office & More, a Columbus-based office supply company. He has been a county commissioner since 2004 and is currently in his fourth term.

   He congratulated the students and also offered four pieces of advice as they continue to the next phase of their lives.

 “Your ACT score sticks with you for life. It’s a great effort and it doesn’t happen overnight,” he said. “But don’t rest on that. I want to challenge you and say the next phase is really on you. That next phase is the most important phase of our lives.”

   Maple continued that the next phase, which included ages 18-25, was a key portion of their lives and they should be engaged. He also challenged the youth to concentrate on social and behavioral growth and to interact with people and work as a team or team leader. He also challenged the students to figure out how to measure their own success.

   “When I graduated in the 80s, [it seemed to be about] working 60 hours a week, having a big house and the fastest car, but the dynamic has changed. Success is being redefined. I say you have to figure it out how to fit the mold or to change the mold.”

    His final piece of advice was to be social leaders by becoming active within the community, be it as a volunteer for a not-for-profit group or even running for a public office. Most importantly, he encouraged them to come back home and plant their roots in the Ohio Valley.

   “There is some obligation for you to be involved in your society,” he concluded. “From a county commissioner’s standpoint, I recognize this as a good area. We want you to go experience life but to come back, establish a business and join a commission or council. You’re going to find out there are thousands and thousands of you going to college and it’s going to influence you. We want you to come back, start a business, hire employees and start families here.”

   George and board member Mark Johnson distributed certificates to the students, and those in attendance included Lukas Dickerson of Buckeye Local; Evan Maple and Candace Marcus of Edison; Racquel Ritchie of Harrison Hills; Reid Davis and Paige Hilderbrand of Indian Creek; John Kovach of Steubenville; and Nathan Keenan of Toronto. Also recognized were Luke Gescheider of Edison, Bryanna Smith of Harrison, Amber Evans, Miracle Hunt and Kelsey Lewis of Indian Creek and Aaron Timms of Southern Local. Students noted that they planned to attend the University of Akron, Ohio University, Kent State, Robert Morris University, Franciscan University and Case Western Reserve University to continue their studies.

    Edison Superintendent Bill Beattie offered the closing and again congratulated the students and their families on their successful feat.

   “Your commitment to academic success is obvious and the parents have done a wonderful job molding students into leaders.”

(Photo Cutline: The Jefferson County Educational Service Center held its third annual ACT Breakfast on Tuesday to recognize area students who achieved a score of 30 or higher on their ACT exams. About 14 students were recognized at the event with eight honorees in attendance, and the event also featured Jefferson County Commissioner Dave Maple as keynote speaker. Pictured are, from left, Commissioner Maple, John Kovach of Steubenville, Reid Davis of Indian Creek, Racquel Ritchie of Harrison, Lukas Dickerson of Buckeye Local, Evan Maple of Edison, Candace Marcus of Edison, Paige Hilderbrand of Indian Creek, Nathan Keenan of Toronto and JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko.)

USA Advisory Council Mulls Ideas to Expand Courses
Posted 4/20/2018 at 10:18:26 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

SALINEVILLE-The Utica Shale Academy Advisory Council held its annual session on April 17 to consider possible courses that will increase students’ marketability.

   Director Eric Sampson gathered with education and business representatives at the Southern Local Board of Education office to mull ideas and expand upon the now four-year-old program. Sampson said USA offers blended learning through the Virtual Learning Academy, which is sponsored by the Jefferson County Educational Service Center. The digital curriculum allows for acceleration or remediation along with flexible scheduling, plus certification courses in SafeLand, OSHA10, First Aid and CPR, hydrogen sulfide (H2S) awareness and confined space certifications. Academy graduates receive a high school diploma, certificates and college credit options offered through Eastern Gateway Community College. About 58 students in grades 9-12 participate in facilities housed at Southern Local High School and the satellite location at Columbiana High School. In addition, they have toured colleges, rigs and other sites to learn about subjects and operations, plus USA partnered with New Castle School of Trades in East Liverpool to offer welding as another means of filling a niche in the ever-growing energy field.

   “Our No. 1 goal is for us to get an idea of where we need to be for our students,” said Sampson, adding that students have also trained with Amanda Greathouse of Safety Pro Training and Consulting of Lisbon on OSHA 10, SafeLand, First Aid/CPR, confined space awareness and Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) awareness to put them ahead in the job market.

   The group touched upon such topics as industry needs in the job market for employees aged 18 and older; required job skills; available career opportunities; student readiness; College Credit Plus; and curriculum options. Sampson said USA has its base in the oil and gas industry but could also provide a workforce in other fields, such as manufacturing, HVAC and industrial maintenance.

      Advisory council members brainstormed additional training ideas for students to help fill gaps within the workforce, and suggestions included blueprint reading, pi measurement, schematics, overhead crane operation, man lift and forklift operation and environmental safety-related skills. Sampson asked if NCST’s welding program could accommodate blueprint and pi measurement. NCST Admissions Director Joe Blazak said students learned to do torch work with regular measurements but he could review if other potential options were available.

    Monica Carna, an account executive with Express Employment Professionals of Boardman, spoke of several businesses that were looking for employees to do soil testing if they were certified. Talks ensued regarding types of degree programs which would be advantageous to students, and responses ranged from engineering to lab techs.

   Sampson also asked about the type of education required for environmental specialists. Stacy Lucas, staffing specialist with Express Employment Professionals of Boardman, said that could fall under the post of a safety manager in manufacturing or an operations or human resources manager. Brian Logue, a longtime advisory council member and industry consultant, said some post-secondary schools such as Stark State offered an environmental technology degree, but perhaps USA officials could consider doing an introductory course. 

   During discussion on curriculum options, Sampson said he was writing an Introduction to Oil and Gas program through the VLA using information from the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program and planned to have it ready for the next school year. He then asked if a curriculum was available to introduce students to some of the other offerings discussed. Greathouse said she knew of one college, but it was outside Ohio; however, she could research whether it could provide a pre-college preparatory class. Sampson said it would be more beneficial if it were an Ohio college to perhaps do distance learning or an articulation agreement for College Credit Plus. Officials suggested looking at Youngstown State University to see if it offered an environmental safety course, plus they mentioned making connections with other colleges and companies for training. Carna interjected that Hazmat training would also give graduates an advantage when seeking jobs, while officials proposed internships to provide more hands-on knowledge.

   Members also noted rules that workers must be at least 18 to obtain certification, while further limitations included the inability to operate commercial vehicles until the age of 21.  Doug Velasquez, instructor at the USA satellite school at Columbiana, said soft skills were another issue. Velasquez said simple things such as timeliness and preparedness must also be stressed in order to make the person a good employee. Art Miller of Computerized Mudlogging Service of New Middletown, said work ethic was ingrained in him and every employee should have the same ideal.

   “I was taught to be on time. Keeping your job is to be ready to work and having a work ethic,” Miller commented.

    At the conclusion, the council agreed that USA was on the right track to prepare the next generation of workers.

   “When it initially started, we were heavily into oil and gas,” said Logue. “As the industry changed, we’ve had to adapt. It’s cool to have these meetings because it gives us more ideas.”

    For more information about USA’s programs, contact Sampson at (330) 420-5353 or through the website at uticashaleschool.com.

JCESC Participates in GRACE Event
Posted 4/18/2018 at 9:56:28 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
JCESC GRACE Tice George

STEUBENVILLE-Faculty members, undergraduate students, and graduate students at Franciscan University were invited to share their passion during the Second Annual Franciscan Gallery of Research, Artistry and Community Engagement (GRACE) on Friday.

   Sixty-four presenters were on hand at the J.C. Williams Center discussing works of artistry, theatre and fine arts, media and communication arts, community engagement such as service learning or outreach projects, projects based on students’ theses or seminar presentation, and research from the natural and social sciences. The theme was “Share Your Passion” and hundreds of people filed throughout the center that day to learn more about the projects. Among the presenters were local teachers who were invited by the Jefferson County Educational Service Center to showcase concepts that earned them Best Practice Grant funding from the ESC.

   Six teachers from Jefferson and Columbiana counties participated throughout the day under the topic “Best Practices in Community K-12 Schools” and explained how their concepts would help prepare students for success. Jordan Tice, a 2015 alumna and current sixth-grade math teacher in the Edison Local School District. Tice received a grant this past year to enact her “Rollercoasters Across the Curriculum” project, which involves students in research and STEM activities. 

   “It’s a two-week cross-curriculum project and we’re trying to get all four subject areas,” she said. “They will research a topic connected to rollercoasters, such as the history of a rollercoaster or their favorite theme park, and then do a poster or slideshow and make a presentation.”

   Tice said the students then would have three days to build a rollercoaster using math and incorporate their knowledge of kinetic and potential energy. She planned to implement the classroom project over the next few weeks and said her pupils were eager to begin. Tice was also pleased to share her vision with her peers at the GRACE event.

 “I’m glad people were interested because I’m excited, as well.”

   Eric Sampson, director of the Utica Shale Academy housed at Southern Local High School, enjoyed being part of the program and said it gave him an outlet to share how students are learning to prepare for potential jobs in the booming oil and gas industry. Sampson discussed how the site’s new welding library was being used to educate students who are currently or will be taking welding courses at the New Castle School of Trades in East Liverpool.

   “Many people were interested in learning more about our blended learning model as well as the oil and gas certifications we offer, along with our welding partnership with New Castle School of Trades,” he said. “Any time we have an opportunity to promote the school it is beneficial. You never know when a contact is made that could eventually make a positive impact for our students in some way.”

   Sampson was equally appreciative of the university to include Utica Shale Academy in the program.

  Other teachers presenting that day were Alexis Leonard and Sandy Morelli of Bishop Mussio Elementary School, who discussed “Creation of a Sensory Garden”; Alisha Steele, an intervention specialist who explained the “Reading and Writing for the Future” program she implemented at Harrison North Elementary in Scio; and Heather Hoover of Pugliese West Elementary with “Full STEAM Ahead,” which challenges students to utilize critical thinking and complex problem solving while understanding how science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM) activities apply to real world applications.

   JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said the GRACE program was a great collaborative opportunity between JCESC and the university.

   “The venue provided five JCESC Best Practice Grant winners a chance to showcase the work they had done with the grant dollars in their classroom,” he added. “We have teachers and students doing great work in area classrooms and the GRACE program provided an opportunity to share these practices with fellow educators, students and other professionals. Many innovative ideas were shared as well as connections made between the teachers and audiences. I would like to thank [organizer] Dr. Kaybeth Calabria for inviting JCESC to participate in the program. At the end of the day, both parties benefited from the interaction and we hope to continue to work together in the future.”

   JCESC CEO Dr. George Ash and Governing Board President Larry George also acted as judges during the day and were enthusiastic about being involved.

 “It was amazing to see the knowledge and talent of students and staff on display at Franciscan University. This was a wonderful community event that engaged local schools and shared what they do within the K-12 curriculum in this college environment,” said Dr. Ash. “I commend Dr. Calabria on her vision and the committee members for engaging the local community.”

   George was equally impressed by the quality of the presentations on hand.

   “I thought it was an amazing opportunity for me and the ESC to be there and lend support to such a great program. This was just a small example of the success of this university and the presentations were excellent,” he commented. “I was happy to be involved and honored to be a judge.”

   Meanwhile, Dr. Calabria said the venue allowed professionals to share their insight with others and students to gain exposure to the wider academic community.

 “We looked at research educators are doing to provide evidence-based practices in school. This is one more way to contribute to the discipline. Students get a sense of what it’s like and teachers who haven’t spoken at conferences can present here. It’s a nice gathering in addition to science and academics,” Dr. Calabria added. “We are also excited that Dr. Ash and Dr. Kokiko lent support and provided presenters and Mr. George showed up to judge.”

(Photo Cutline: Jordan Tice, a sixth-grade math teacher at Stanton Elementary and 2015 Franciscan University alumna, was among the presenters during the Franciscan Gallery of Research, Artistry and Community Engagement (GRACE) on Friday at the J.C. Williams Center. About 64 presenters participated, including six teachers invited through the Jefferson County Educational Service District to discuss their Best Practice Grant projects. Tice, who is pictured with JCESC Governing Board President and event judge Larry George, shared details about her “Rollercoasters Across the Curriculum” endeavor which incorporates STEM education.)

Gullen Joins ESC Governing Board
Posted 1/23/2018 at 10:59:10 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ESC Barry Gullen Governing Board pic

STEUBENVILLE-A longtime educator is continuing his efforts to support students by joining the Jefferson County Educational Service Center Governing Board.

   Barry Gullen officially began his duties this month and took part in his first board session on Jan. 11, succeeding Ken Simeral who retired after 35 years of service. Gullen has a long history with Steubenville City Schools, rising from the ranks of a special education teacher to assistant superintendent, and now he hopes to help youth through programming and support services from the JCESC.

   “I like to help kids and thought that by working with young people, they needed a role model,” he said, adding that he wanted to show youth that there were opportunities to succeed in life. “I still feel that a minority child needs to see a person like myself in a good position and that there are different people out there doing what they want to do.”

   Gullen, of Wintersville, was born in Chicago, Ill, and raised in Pittsburgh, Pa., before heading to the Ohio Valley. He graduated from Steel Valley High School in 1975 and the College of Steubenville in 1979, the latter with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. He went on to obtain a master’s degree in administration from the University of Dayton in 1992 and certifications for high school and elementary principal and assistant superintendent from the University of Steubenville in 1992. Gullen held a variety of posts as Steubenville City Schools beginning in 1980, first as a special education teacher at Grant Elementary School before moving up the ranks as a principal at Lincoln Elementary and then as assistant principal at Steubenville High School. He went on to serve as district director of programs and finally as assistant superintendent before retiring in 2015. He has also coached girls’ basketball, volleyball and currently serves as an adjunct professor at Franciscan University.

   He has served on the Jefferson County Community Action Council Leadership Program and the Ohio High School Athletics Association East Boards of Directors, the latter on which he held posts as vice president, president and on the Diversity Council. He concluded his stint after eight years in 2015 and has further participated on the United Way of Jefferson County Board of Directors and the Steubenville Rotary Club and was also appointed to the Jefferson County Joint Vocational School Board.

   But his biggest achievement has been his family, which includes Carolyn, his wife of nearly 35 years and a teacher in the Buckeye Local School District, children Jamie, Jacqueline and Derrick and two grandchildren with two more on the way.

   Meanwhile, he said he was pleased to join the JCESC and eager to continue its mission of helping to improve education.

   “The purpose of this is to help the kids,” he said. “I learned what they were doing and I thought it was an honor and a privilege to work with them. They are trying to be proactive with what is going on in the state and country. I want to continue the work that they do, and speaking with [JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko and CEO Dr. George Ash], they are looking ahead of what’s going on and I’d like to do the same thing.”

      He also looks forward to serving with the governing board and to bring new programs and resources into the schools.

   “They are there to help all students in all of the districts,” he said.

    Board President Larry George said Gullen’s experience as an educator will add some new perspective to board decisions.

   “When he decided to run, I thought it would be a good addition to our board because he’s an educator and that adds a great quality to decision making,” George said. “We look forward to working with him, and it’s good to have some fresh ideas as well as those from our longtime members. It’s going to be a good mix.”

   Dr. Chuck Kokiko welcomed Gullen to the board and said he is a vital asset in the function of the JCESC.

   “Mr. Gullen is a great addition to the JCESC board.  He possesses a wealth of educational knowledge paired with a strong desire to help students,” Dr. Kokiko added. “These attributes will fit well with the mission and vision of the JCESC Governing Board.  I look forward to working with him.”

   CEO Dr. George Ash agreed, saying Gullen would bring another perspective to his new role for the betterment of education.

   “Mr. Gullen will be an important asset to the governing board,” said Dr. Ash. “He has served in various capacities of education and can offer great ideas on how to improve upon services. It will be an honor to work with him.”

(Photo Cutline: Barry Gullen, pictured at far right, takes the oath of office along with Larry George and Barb Cunningham for the Jefferson County Educational Service Center Governing Board. He succeeds Ken Simeral, who served for about 35 years as a board member and officer, and Gullen himself holds 35 years’ experience as a teacher, principal and eventually assistant superintendent and is currently an adjunct professor at Franciscan University.)

Quest Program Leading Family Seminar on Saturday
Posted 1/18/2018 at 11:16:46 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

STEUBENVILLE- Local families can learn how to purchase groceries without breaking the bank during a family seminar this Saturday.

The Jefferson County Educational Service Center is sponsoring the free event, “Shopping with a Plan,” through its Quest for Success program. It will be held on Jan. 20 from 9 a.m. to noon at the McKinley Building located at 1400 Adams St. in Steubenville. Attendants will learn how to make a shopping plan by researching grocery ads and making a list to help save time and stretch their dollar. Those who attend will also make a meal, do some taste testing of pasta sauces and even receive a Kroger gift card for their next shopping excursion.

Quest for Success provides programs on Monday to Thursday from 2-5 p.m. at the McKinley Building for Jefferson County students in grades 5-8, as well as some weekends, and the goal is to increase opportunities for students to succeed in literacy, mathematics, social development, family support and community involvement. About 35 students take part in the program, which is funded through a five-year, $850,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Education and works in conjunction with Coleman Professional Services, Franciscan University of Steubenville and Brightway Center in Smithfield. The upcoming event is open to all county students but is not limited to those involved with Quest for Success.

For more information, contact program coordinator Mark Masloski at (740) 283-3347, Extension 134.

Housing Rehab Program Aids Family
Posted 1/12/2018 at 11:05:13 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ESC housing Rehab Program

MINGO JUNCTION-One local family will soon enjoy the comforts of a safe, modernized home through the efforts of a housing rehabilitation program.

   Tim Sinsel and Jolene Gaffoli have shared a two-bedroom home along Wabash Avenue in Mingo Junction, but the house, which dates back to the 1920s, has required some extensive upgrades the couple could not afford. Sinsel bought the abode eight years ago and has struggled to maintain it, and safety has become an issue for the family that includes four children. But through the resource of the Help Me Grow program available through the Jefferson County Educational Service Center, they qualified for a federally funded program through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to make the necessary improvements.

    The Community Housing Improvement and Preservation (CHIP) program, provides grants for smaller scale repairs to more major rehabilitation. Jefferson County and the city of Toronto obtained up to $750,000 to assist with structures in their communities and applications were taken through the Jefferson County Regional Planning Commission. Efforts began more than a year ago when Sinsel applied for the CHIP program and the couple learned they made the list. Gaffoli said the improvements would remedy issues and make the site better for their family.

   “We heard through [Help Me Grow representative Mary Kakascik] and began the process a year ago. Our four kids can’t play on the porch because it’s unsafe. CHIP is going to do a new roof, front and back porch, storm doors, air conditioning, a basement door, upgraded basement, electric, a water heater, air conditioning and bathroom,” said Gaffoli. “Once they start, it should be completed within 90 days.”

   Kakascik said Help Me Grow works with families and provides connections to community resources.

 “I knew about the program and called [Hall Community Development owner Ted Hall],” she said. 

    Hall Community Development LLC of North Canton administers the funds and works with the applicant to see the work through. The update on the Sinsel home is estimated at $35,000 and is the culmination of a lengthy process, which has included meeting a long list of requirements such as undergoing property inspections and a lead-based paint assessment. Prospective contractors also visit the site to review work and place bids for the job. Job Company of East Liverpool has been selected to make the updates and work is set to get underway soon. Come the spring, the family will have the kind of home they longed for.

   “This is a federal program from HUD and the Ohio Department of Development that the community of Toronto and Jefferson County received a grant for home rehab and repair projects,” said Hall. “Residents within the geographic area can apply through their communities.”

   CHIP has existed since the 1970s and Hall said applicants must own their homes and there are requirements for property needs and income status.

     “It’s an overall grant for six home rehabilitations in Jefferson County and six in the city of Toronto,” he continued. “We’re also doing 17 home repairs in Jefferson County and eight repairs in Toronto.”

   Home repairs range from a new roof, electrical upgrade, furnace and rectifying health and safety issues while rehabilitation includes more involved projects, such as windows, siding, health and safety improvements, kitchen and bathroom updates and handling lead-based paint. Hall continued there was a $15,000 cap on repairs and a maximum of $40,000 on rehab work, and under the latter the homeowner must also agree to have a lien placed on the property. The loan declines over a five-year period and is not paid unless the home is sold or transferred. The homeowner would then be responsible for 20 percent of the cost.

   “There is a great need for this program and it runs on a two-year cycle,” Hall said. “The general timeline [for the process] is three to nine months. There is a waiting list in Jefferson County for rehab and repairs because the needs outweigh the grant opportunities. We hope to apply again and it’s a competitive grant.”

    He was also appreciative of the partnership with agencies such as Help Me Grow and the regional planning committee for getting a chance to work with the residents. Sinsel and Gaffoli were also happy to see their dreams coming to fruition.

   “I’m relieved,” said Gaffoli

   “This is going to seem like a big relief,” Sinsel commented.

  Meanwhile, Help Me Grow Program Coordinator Linda Trushel said the program provided a number of resources to help families within the community.

   “The HMG home visiting staff are very knowledgeable about the resources available in our community. Housing rehabilitation is one of the many ways that we can help families in Jefferson, Harrison and Carroll counties know what is available for their specific need,” she said. “We are available to families who have children ages birth to 5 and pregnant moms. From helping families get a warm winter coat to fixing up a home, we are an agency that will guide you through the process. We will also help parents know the most up-to-date information about raising children, keeping them healthy and getting them ready to be successful in school.”

   For more information about Help Me Grow, call (740) 283-3347 and enter option 7.

(Photo Cutline: The Help Me Grow program through the Jefferson County Educational Service Center provides a number of resources to families in Jefferson, Harrison and Carroll counties and recently helped one Mingo Junction family participate in the federally-funded Community Housing Improvement and Preservation (CHIP) program, which provides grants for smaller scale repairs to more major rehabilitation. Pictured are, from left, homeowner Tim Sinsel, daughter Alison Sinsel, girlfriend Jolene Gaffoli with their son, Logan, Mary Kakascik of Help Me Grow and Ted Hall of Hall Community Development LLC, which is administering the program.)

History Lesson
Posted 1/11/2018 at 11:18:43 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ESC History PD

Photo Cutline: Patrick Clark, a representative of Ohio History Connections, recently addressed 18 educators during a professional development session at the Jefferson County Educational Service Center. The discussion focused on fourth-grade history, particularly Ohio as America, and a free online textbook that was developed by Ohio History Connections with Rover Pipeline is currently available.

Simeral Reflects on 33 Years with JCESC
Posted 12/28/2017 at 12:19:04 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Simeral Retires

STEUBENVILLE-For 33 years, Kenneth Simeral has played a pivotal role in educational opportunities for students near and far while serving with the Jefferson County Educational Service Center Governing Board.

   Simeral’s term formally ends on Dec. 31, but he attended his last meeting in October where he was named board member emeritus. He reflected on his final days with a mixture of modesty and pride, saying every decision made for the betterment of students was a group effort.

   “This year, I chose not to run because of personal reasons,” he said. “I’m sure the board is left in very capable hands. I was fortunate to work with great board members over the years.”

   The Smithfield resident was appointed to replace his friend and mentor Bob Quinn on the board in 1983 and would eventually be elected to hold the post the following November. He was elected eight times to the governing board and spent his first term as vice president. He would then serve as president for more than 30 years before becoming vice president once again in 2016. Simeral’s deep interest in education actually spans more than 40 years, starting with his work with The Ohio State University Extension Office and extending to JCESC and also the Jefferson County Joint Vocational School Board of Education. His background includes earning his diploma from Mount Pleasant High School, a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics and master’s degree in agricultural education from OSU. He served the OSU Extension Office for more than 40 years and worked in Jefferson, Harrison, Columbiana, and Noble counties. During his tenure, he held the title of associate professor at OSU and upon his retirement became an associate professor emeritus.

   He also touted the superintendents of past and present he served with, from Craig Closser, Joy Howell and Dr. George Ash to current leader Dr. Chuck Kokiko. Simeral further recognized the staff for the work they did to bring the JCESC’s plans into fruition. Among the achievements were forming the Virtual Learning Academy (VLA), Virtual Classroom, Jefferson Health Plan, Utica Shale Academy and shared services programs for legal services and public relations, as well as JCESC twice gaining accreditation through AdvancED, making it one of only eight entities in the State of Ohio to earn such a distinction. Another accomplishment was the disbursement of Best Practice Grants to teachers to enhance instruction in schools, and thousands of dollars have been given over the past 25 years to finance unique programs in classrooms.

   His efforts would lead to accolades on the state and local level with honors from the Ohio Educational Service Center Association (OESCA), Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) and other organizations, while the JCESC office along Sunset Boulevard was renamed the Kenneth D. Simeral Building in 2016. Simeral said he was “tremendously flattered” to receive the latter honor.

   “I feel very appreciative but not deserving of it,” he added. 

   He enjoys spending more time with his family, including wife Tricia, children Christopher, Amy and Beth, eight grandchildren and two step-grandchildren, but he also looks back fondly on his days with the board and hopes to remain involved, even though he will not be an active participant.

   “I’m a deep believer in public education. No society can be greater than the quality of its public education,” he commented. “I was pleased to be granted emeritus status and will try to keep up with the board. I think education should be a lifelong learning experience.”

 Board members and administrators alike have esteemed him as an irreplaceable force who has done so much to improve the quality of students’ education.

   “Mr. Simeral may no longer be a part of the regular operations at the Jefferson County Educational Service Center, but the decisions he made will forever have a positive impact on education both locally and throughout the country. I am grateful for the time I had under his leadership.”

   Current JCESC Board President Larry George considers Simeral truly irreplaceable and said he has made a significant impact on education.

   “I served with Ken for 31-plus years and he has been a great mentor. He was a natural at trying to make a difference for students. He’s a visionary who voted his conscience every time,” George commented. 

(Photo Cutline: Kenneth Simeral has served the Jefferson County Educational Service Center Governing Board for more than 30 years, and as of Dec. 31 he officially retires from his post. However, the longtime president and most recent vice president has gained a new status as board member emeritus. He was recognized by board members during his final meeting in October. Pictured are, front from left, board member Bill Schaefer, then board member Bill Lollini, Simeral, board President Larry George and board member Barbara Cunningham. Back: JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko, JCESC CEO Dr. George Ash and treasurer Don Donahue.)

Edison Earns Best Practice Grants
Posted 11/17/2017 at 10:36:48 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Edison Earns Best Practice Grants

HAMMONDSVILLE-Three educators in the Edison Local School District received funding to help incorporate unique lessons for students.

   Kari Byers, Stephanie Stevens, Jordan Byrley and Megan McNear each earned $600 Best Practice Grants from the Jefferson County Educational Service Center. They were recognized during Edison Local Board of Education meeting on Nov. 16 by Patty Ferrell, a coordinator at JCESC, who said a total of 49 grant applications were submitted this year with 10 entered by Edison teachers. She congratulated the recipients and wished them continued success in their endeavors.

   Byers, who instructs third-grade reading and Language Arts at John Gregg Elementary, joins with Stevens, who teaches third-grade Language Arts, on one grant that will benefit an estimated 60 children annually with “Book Share: Building a Growth Mindset Outlook.” The project’s goal is to highlight books that teach growth mindset ideals. Students will share identified books orally and by follow-up activities such as journal prompts and games after the book share. Students will focus on challenging themselves, learning from mistakes and the ideal of “go-for-it” during learning experiences. 

   “The children in third grade still love when stories are read aloud, and we will incorporate activities and lessons that promote the ideals brought forth in these books,” Byers said. “We read aloud the growth mindset books, allow the children to reread them and do follow-up activities to bring the ideals to life or tie into the children’s lives.”

   She noted that she has applied for and received Best Practice Grant funding in the past but was still excited by earning the latest allocation. Byers was thankful for the opportunity to fill her classroom library shelves with wonderful stories.

   Byrley, a sixth-grade math teacher at Stanton Elementary, earned funding for “Rollercoasters Across the Curriculum,” which would enable students to work together to discover how rollercoasters were invented and how they have changed over the years, as well as to get hands-on and create their own models using STEM rollercoaster building sets. A total of 60 students would be part of the project and will incorporate math and science skills to map out their coaster’s speed and energy changes.

   “The project will begin with an introductory lesson on how rollercoasters came to be. Students will be put in teams of four and begin researching how rollercoasters changed through the years,” Byrley explained. “They will have a choice to create a poster, slideshow or handout to go along with an oral presentation. The next part of the project has a heavy emphasis in STEM. Working with their teams, students will construct a rollercoaster using K’NEX kits. They will need to apply science and mathematical rules and theories in order to get their rollercoaster moving. The STEM project uses hands-on and inquiry-based learning to have students dive into the concept and not only learn it, but apply it.”

   She added that the students will also calculate speed and show their data, plus diagram their rollercoaster and determine whether it has kinetic energy, potential energy and when it transitions from one energy state to another. Byrley said the project may also benefit fifth-grade pupils and she may expand it to include them. She noted that it was her first Best Practice Grant application and award, while she was honored to be a recipient.

   McNear, who serves as guidance counselor at both elementary schools, will use her grant for “Classroom Guidance Curriculum.” The project will use a research-based, classroom guidance curriculum such as character education, success skills, goal setting and future planning. It aims to help about 800 students build and maintain relationships, learn to make decisions or problem solve and learn how to persevere.

   “There are two curricula that will be purchased with this grant money to support the elementary students at Edison Local. The first is a character education curriculum focusing on a new trait each month called ‘Core Essentials Values: Core.’ This will help students to develop the qualities to help them become career and college ready and be successful in the future,” McNear said. “The second curriculum is through Student Success Skills and provides grade- appropriate lessons to help students learn the skills to be goal-oriented and self-monitoring. They then can utilize those skills throughout each grade level in order to develop social skills and achieve academically to their full potential. The curriculum is divided into lessons for grades K-1, 2-3 and 4-6 and focuses on the skills those students developmentally need most in order to succeed. Both of these programs will help support students by giving them the background skills to be successful in the classroom.”

   She added that it was her first Best Practice Grant and she was excited to be awarded funds to implement the programs for the students.

   JCESC has disbursed about 165 grants over the past decade to area school districts, including Buckeye Local, Edison, Indian Creek, Harrison Hills, Southern Local, Steubenville City and Toronto City as well as the Utica Shale Academy. Of those, Edison gained 32 grants for student learning.

(Photo Cutline: The Jefferson County Educational Service Center presented three $600 Best Practice Grants to teachers in the Edison Local School District during the regular board meeting on Nov. 16. Pictured are, from left, JCESC Coordinator Patty Ferrell with recipients Megan McNear, Jordan Byrley, Stephanie Stevens and Kari Byers.)

Grants Presented at Steubenville BOE
Posted 11/17/2017 at 10:34:51 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Grants Presented at Steubenville BOE

STEUBENVILLE-Three grants totaling $1,800 were presented to teachers for their creative projects during the Steubenville City Board of Education meeting on Nov. 15.

   Jeff Oblak, director of special education at the Jefferson County Educational Service Center, recognized Pugliese West Elementary teachers Helen Casto, Heather Hoover and Dawn Takach as this year’s Best Practice Grants recipients for their district. Each teacher received $600 to implement programs aimed to inspire and educate students. Oblak commended the teachers for their ideas and continued success.

   “On behalf of the Jefferson County Educational Service Center, we are proud to present three recipients with $600 each for earning the Best Practice Grant. There were 49 applications from all our districts and four applications from Steubenville City,” Oblak said. “All of the applications were excellent and innovative submissions. JCESC is pleased to provide funding to put these great ideas into practice.”   

   Casto, a kindergarten teacher, plans to utilize her funding for “Restorative Practices,” a classroom management project for the school’s 475 students. The goal is to enhance the Our Getting Along Together program by teaching restorative practices with classroom circles, calm down corners, and the use of restorative questioning to solve conflicts. The program helps build positive relationships with their peers and staff members, learn how to manage their feelings in a safe, appropriate manner, and allow them to talk through problems that may be causing them to feel such strong emotions.

 “Pugliese West began the 2017-18 school year with the implementation of a restorative practice approach to helping children and staff safely manage their emotions,” Casto explained. “The grant is providing each teacher with materials to implement these strategies successfully and will benefit all 480 students in our school. I feel honored to receive this grant on behalf of the Restorative Practices Committee. I feel so thankful for being selected as a grant recipient because I know our students are going to be able to use the skills learned from restorative practices for the rest of their lives. I feel even more honored that JCESC believes in our program enough to invest in it.”

   This is the third Best Practice Grant Casto has received for her school, with the previous projects focusing on literacy bags for preschool children to do weekend activities at home and developing a school garden.

   Hoover, who teaches fourth-grade reading, math and Language Arts, will use her windfall to help about 80 students with her project, “Full STEAM Ahead.” She plans to purchase items that will challenge pupils to use critical-thinking and problem-solving skills and teamwork to enhance their abilities to perform, define, illustrate and apply higher level learning processes. Students will participate in hands-on learning activities and engaging developed lessons that allow and/or enhance each student’s ability to better understand science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics, or STEAM. The students will assimilate prior knowledge with new information and how it applies to real world applications.

   Students will have the opportunity to participate in STEAM sessions once a week that include activities focusing on STEAM. Hoover said they will not only learn critical concepts about STEAM, but also know how to apply this learning during collaborative or self-directed activities. Hoover has previously applied for Best Practice Grants and received it twice before.

   “Grants like this allow individual teachers to bring exciting ideas into the classroom to enhance their students’ learning experiences,” she commented.

   Takach, who teaches fourth-grade reading, math and social studies, will use her allocation to implement “GO Ro-Bot-ics.” The project will give her 76 students an opportunity to collaborate and independently learn, study and research robotics and how they are connected to the world and with curriculum lessons. 

   “Students will engage in multi-level abstract thinking, as well as divergent and creative thinking while experiencing firsthand how robots can be designed to perform specific actions. These hands-on experiences will enable the students to employ complex processing and problem-solving skills while interacting with robots,” she said. “The Best Practice Grant will provide my students with hands-on learning experiences. These experiences allow students to directly understand what is happening or how to do something. The Best Practice Grant I was awarded will nurture creativity through design and application of exploring the world in which we live and work.”

   Steubenville City Schools received 16 Best Practice Grants over the past decade and JCESC has approved a total of 165 grants during that time for the Buckeye Local, Edison Local, Indian Creek Local, Harrison Hills City, Southern Local, Steubenville City and Toronto City School Districts and the Utica Shale Academy.

(Photo Cutline: The Jefferson County Educational Service Center presented its latest round of funding for Best Practice Grants at the Steubenville City Schools Board of Education meeting on Nov. 15. Jeff Oblak, director of special education for JCESC, disbursed a total of $1,800 for three teachers’ projects. Pictured are, from left, district Treasurer Kayla Whitlatch, teacher Heather Hoover, who was one of the recipients, and Oblak. Photo courtesy of the Steubenville Herald-Star)

Utica Shale Academy Receives Grant for Program
Posted 11/8/2017 at 9:38:43 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Utica Shale Academy Receives Grant for Program

SALINEVILLE-The Utica Shale Academy has received another mini-grant to help prepare students for a career in the oil and gas industry.

   The community school, which includes students in grades 9-12 and is based at Southern Local High School in Salineville, earned a $600 Best Practice Grant from the Jefferson County Educational Service Center to assist with its welding program. JCESC CEO Dr. George Ash presented a check during the Nov. 7 USA Board of Directors meeting and said more than 20 grants were approved this year while USA gained its third monetary award.

   Administrator Eric Sampson said the funding will be used to purchase materials for a welding library to enhance the students’ knowledge. The library is expected to benefit roughly 65 pupils now and even more in the future. Sampson said Miller Welding Education packages will be acquired, as well as training tools including welding magnets, clamps, sheet metal thickness gauges and square steel tubing to create the welding library. It will help supplement current welding students with what they are learning at the New Castle School of Trades while future students could use the resources to gain an understanding of welding prior to starting the sessions. 

   The school, which is sponsored by JCESC, has expanded its curriculum by partnering with NCST and students from Southern Local and the satellite campus at Columbiana High School began welding training at the East Liverpool campus this fall. They attend three afternoons a week and could earn 250 total hours of credit to obtain welding certification, which is a major advantage when seeking jobs within the industry. In addition, they would also earn two quarters of credit if they want to complete the program.

   Sampson said USA has received Best Practice Grants in the past and they have made a real difference in enhancing learning tools in the classroom.

  “We have received a Best Practice Grant the previous two school years. The grant has helped us provide opportunities to our students that they would not have otherwise,” he continued. “The Utica Shale Academy is extremely grateful to the Jefferson County ESC for providing this grant to benefit our students.”

    JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said the mini-grants are used to implement creative educational ideas and enable students to succeed.

   “JCESC began the Best Practice Grant program to have a direct impact on student learning. Each year the committee reviews dozens of applications for both innovation and potential impacts on student learning,” Dr. Kokiko added. “Utica Shale Academy was created to be an inventive learning program aimed at meeting specific oil and gas-related needs. JCESC is pleased to provide the grant to allow staff to continue to be pioneering in their teaching and learning practices.”

    Now in its third year of operation, USA is available to students in grades 9-12 who live across Ohio and provides curricula required by the Ohio Department of Education. It currently offers a customizable digital curriculum allowing for acceleration or remediation along with flexible scheduling plus SafeLand, OSHA-10, First Aid and CPR, hydrogen sulfide (H2S) awareness and confined space certifications. Academy graduates receive a high school diploma, certificates, and college credit options offered through Eastern Gateway Community College. 

   Meanwhile, JCESC has given a total of 165 grants over the past decade to the Buckeye Local, Edison Local, Indian Creek Local, Harrison Hills City, Southern Local, Steubenville City and Toronto City School Districts and Utica Shale Academy.

      

(Photo Cutline: The Utica Shale Academy is the latest site to receive a Best Practice Grant from the Jefferson County Educational Service Center. JCESC CEO Dr. George Ash presented a $600 check during a USA Board of Directors meeting on Nov. 7 and said the funding would supply materials for a welding library since the curriculum now offers classes in conjunction with New Castle School of Trades in East Liverpool. Pictured, from left, are shale school developer John S. Wilson, USA Administrator Eric Sampson, Dr. Ash and USA board President Mark Johnson.)

Buckeye Local Teachers Gain Mini-Grants
Posted 10/31/2017 at 10:45:34 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Buckeye Local Teachers Gain Mini-Grants

DILLONVALE-Three teachers in the Buckeye Local School District are getting some financial help to educate students after receiving Best Practice Grants during the Oct. 30 school board meeting.

   Suzanne Smarella of Buckeye Local High School and Lou O’Bradovich and Jamie Traczyk of Buckeye West Elementary each received a $600 mini-grant from the Jefferson County Educational Service Center for the 2017-18 school year. JCESC Treasurer Don Donahue presented the monetary awards and praised the teachers for their ingenuity.

    “There were 49 applications from all our districts and 16 applications from Buckeye Local,” Donahue said. “All of the applications were excellent and innovative submissions. JCESC is pleased to provide funding to put these great ideas into practice.”

   Smarella, who instructs career tech to grades 9-12 at BLHS, will use her grant for “zSpace-Physical Science.” The project, which will benefit about 200 IT, Physical Science and math students, utilizes zSpace technology to create mixed reality systems that combine elements of virtual and augmented reality in a computer. She said students will become active learners and be able to build and test a circuit board as well as perform other physical science activities. 

   “The funds will be used to purchase a license for the Physical Science Application Bundle for zSpace,” Smarella said. “BLHS will have a zSpace available for teachers and students to use. With augmented and virtual reality, students are able to become active participants in their learning experience. They can become excited by new ideas and think critically about the world around them.”

    She said since today’s students are the digital generation, the programs will permit pupils to have an immediate engagement in today’s limited attention lifestyle. It is suited to all types of learning styles, including visual, kinesthetic and auditory, and teachers may also use a blended form of learning with virtual and augmented reality systems to insure that all students are involved. She added that the Physical Science Application Bundle includes programs for engineering and electricity to physics and applied math and students in PC Repair, Physical Science, physics and various math courses could benefit from the software programs.

   Smarella noted that it was the first time she applied for the grant and she was grateful to become a recipient.

   “I am excited about receiving the grant that will enable the purchase of the software bundle. My students in PC Repair are also very excited to use the technology,” she added. “I would like to thank the JCESC for the opportunity it has given me to help bring students into the various types of 21st Century learning environments.”

   O’Bradovich, who instructs fifth-grade math and science at West Elementary, said his “STEM at Buckeye West” project will benefit approximately 90 fifth- and sixth-grade students by providing hands-on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activities. Students will create working robots, hydraulic machines, rockets and weather machines in class.

   “The grant will provide the teachers and students with hands-on activities that can be used over and over again,” he said. “The STEM project will be integrated into our normal curriculum in both fifth- and sixth-grade science and math classes. This grant project will benefit over 80 students this year, but because it is sustainable it will benefit countless students in the future.”

   O’Bradovich said it was his first grant application and award and he was grateful to JCESC for being selected, adding that he was happy to bring some much-needed STEM activities to West Elementary.

   Traczyk, who is a Title I teacher for grades K-5 at Buckeye West, plans to help about 80 students through her project, “Preparing Tomorrow’s Readers.” She said a questionnaire completed by parents indicated a need to preschool, kindergarten and Title I staff for a book exchange to encourage more reading at home for younger students. 

   “I requested this grant to fund a project to assist the kindergarten and preschool classes in my building,” she said. “I am purchasing books to have a book swap for the students and parents to exchange their used books with new ones. The kindergarten and preschool teachers discussed the idea of a book swap at a meeting in September. I was present at this meeting. When the Best Practice Grant was announced, I decided that I would apply for it so that I could assist in setting up the first one for them.”

   Parents and students would swap gently used books they have read and receive new ones at the event. Traczyk said she has received the mini-grants in the past, including allocations for science lab kits which are still in use and supplies for the school’s garden club.

   “Being awarded the grant a third time is truly an honor and a blessing. The students and staff at West Elementary are very supportive of me and I am so glad that I can give back to them with some new stuff in this way.

   JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said the purpose of the grant program was to directly impact student learning.

   “Each year the committee reviews dozens of applications for both innovation and potential impacts on student learning,” he said. “I am always enthusiastic for students and teachers to benefit from the JCESC grants. As a former science teacher, I am especially excited to see proposals funded in the area of science.”

   The Buckeye Local School District has received 29 Best Practice Grants over the past decade and JCESC has approved a total of 165 grants during that time for the Buckeye Local, Edison Local, Indian Creek Local, Harrison Hills City, Southern Local, Steubenville City and Toronto City School Districts and the Utica Shale Academy.

(Photo Cutline: Don Donahue, treasurer for the Jefferson County Educational Service Center, presents Buckeye Local High School teacher Suzanne Smarella with a Best Practice Grant monetary award to help enhance learning in her classroom. Smarella was recognized along with Louis O’Bradovich and Jamie Traczyk of Buckeye West Elementary for each receiving $600 grants during the Buckeye Local school board meeting on Oct. 30 but O’Bradovich and Traczyk are not pictured.)

21st Century Grant Aids Quest for Success Program
Posted 10/18/2017 at 10:12:23 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
21st Century Grant Aids Quest for Success Program

STEUBENVILLE-A five-year, $850,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Education is helping to establish a new afterschool program targeting middle school students.

    The Jefferson County Educational Service Center received the 21st Century Grant from ODE to form Quest for Success, which will focus on Jefferson County students in grades 6-8 with programming to boost math and literacy skills as well as social development. Mark Masloski, JCESC administrative assistant and Quest program manager, said the grant will provide $200,000 annually for the first three years, followed by $150,000 during year four and $100,000 the final year. Activities will be held each week at the former McKinley Elementary School which houses Steubenville City Schools’ board office and Jefferson County Alternative School and the first program begins on Oct. 23 from 2-5 p.m.

    “Evidence-based literacy and math intervention will be utilized by Franciscan University and Coleman Professional Services, who are the primary partners for this grant,” Masloski explained. “In addition, the program will offer weekend events and family activities throughout the school year.”

    Franciscan University and Coleman Professional Services will provide students and counselors for the events and about 12 hours of programming are required per week as part of the grant’s stipulations. Literacy and math intervention activities will be held four days a week through May using the STAR Reading and STAR Math online programs while social and emotional programs, family and community outreach and career and college readiness events will also be in the mix. He added that the sessions will include time for snacks, surveys and exercise followed by the online programming and Quest activities. Franciscan University’s education department will conduct literacy nights and book club on Mondays with Coleman representatives offering Character Counts and Manners Matters on Tuesdays, Reekdoe Education Services holding career and college readiness events on Wednesdays and family and community outreach offered by McGuire Associates and JCESC staff on Thursdays. JCESC officials are also working with Brightway Services of Smithfield to schedule programs and Saturday events and the Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities has been contracted to provide transportation.

    Quest’s support system includes Masloski as program manager, Fatima Smuck as site coordinator and Craig McGuire as grant evaluator with others serving as community coordinator, family coordinator, career and readiness coordinator, online programmer and academic tutors. Masloski thanked the Jefferson County school districts for their involvement and support, Steubenville City Schools for housing the program, the JCBDD for providing transportation and the program’s primary partners. JCESC leaders said they were pleased to receive the funding and excited about benefitting students by providing additional support and intervention for their academics and social and emotional well-being, as well as an opportunity to have a positive outlet outside the school day. In addition to program staff support, Quest will utilize county-wide resources to help support students and families.

    JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko commented that the programming will fill a definite need in the school community.

  “In recent years, JCESC has actively sought funding to provide after-school supports to students as this type of service has been identified as a community need,” Dr. Kokiko added. “We are very grateful to those who helped secure the grant at JCESC as well as the community groups who have stepped in to create what we believe is an outstanding after-school option for students.”

    For more information about events, contact Masloski at JCESC (740) 283-3347, Ext. 134, or Martariesa Fiala at Ext. 100, or visit the website at http://questforsuccesssteubenville.weebly.com.

(Photo Cutline: A five-year, $850,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Education will benefit middle school students by providing activities to build math, literacy and character skills. The 21st Century Grant will promote the Quest for Success program conducted in partnership between the Jefferson County Educational Service Center, Franciscan University of Steubenville and Coleman Professional Services and activities begin Oct. 23. Pictured are, front from left, are support team members Raymond Saccoccia, Martariesa Fiala and Jason Schwartzmiller. Back: Mark Masloski, Mike Emery and Craig McGuire. Not pictured are Amy Mihalyo, Fatima Smuck and Lee Gillison.)
Simeral Retires from JCESC Governing Board
Posted 10/12/2017 at 1:38:49 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Simeral Retires from JCESC Governing Board

STEUBENVILLE-Kenneth Simeral has been a staunch advocate for public education for more than three decades, having a hand in many projects and programs which have redefined learning for students in Jefferson County and beyond.

    Now, he has hung up his vice presidential hat and departed the Jefferson County Educational Service Center Governing Board but will hold another title as board member emeritus. Simeral attended his final board meeting on Oct. 10 and his peers bestowed upon him the emeritus status, calling him irreplaceable and an innovator for education.

    “It couldn’t come to a nicer guy,” said board President Larry George. “He’s dedicated and his sense of accomplishment and understanding is beyond reproach.”

     He continued that Simeral has always made students a priority and wished him the best.

    Dr. George Ash, chief executive officer of JCESC and one of the superintendents who served under Simeral’s lead, said he leaves a legacy behind with the formation of the Virtual Learning Academy (VLA), Virtual Classroom and Ohio Cyber Academy, the implementation of visual impairment classes and JHP’s infrastructure bank to aid schools.

    “Those are just a few accomplishments,” Dr. Ash added. “Ken’s been a part of all this as a leader.”

    “As with any successful organization, strong, consistent leadership is essential,” added JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko. “Jefferson County Educational Service Center is no exception. The board of education is a tenured board with clear goals and high expectations. Mr. Simeral has been the anchor of the board with 33 years of service and a true passion for educating youth and promoting education. His vision and dedication will be missed.”

    Officials pointed out that while the vice president’s post will be filled, Simeral’s shoes could never be. Board member Bill Schaefer interjected that Simeral did a lot for the board and the children, while Simeral himself reflected upon his time and the achievements the board made together.

     The Smithfield resident has maintained a foothold in local education for more than 40 years. From his work with The Ohio State University Extension Office to serving with JCESC Governing Board and the Jefferson County Joint Vocational School Board of Education, Simeral has worked to improve opportunities for countless students. He is a graduate of the former Mount Pleasant High School and later obtained both his bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics and master’s degree in agricultural education from OSU. He would serve the OSU Extension Office for more than four decades and worked in Jefferson, Harrison, Columbiana, and Noble counties. During his tenure, he held the title of associate professor at OSU and upon his retirement became an associate professor emeritus.

    Simeral was first appointed to the governing board on Dec. 1, 1983 and followed in the footsteps of friend and mentor, Bob Quinn. He would be elected eight more times and spend most of them as an officer. Simeral recalled how the board rotated posts each year, and during his first foray on the panel he became vice president. His leadership skills ultimately put him at the helm as board president, and it was a title he proudly held for three decades. Most recently, he took on the vice president’s mantle once again with George succeeding him as president.

    During his tenure, Simeral has continuously rallied for schools and education as a whole and was directly involved with, among others, the inception of such programs as the Jefferson Health Plan, Utica Shale Academy, shared  services programs for legal services and public relations, and OME-RESA. He has staunchly supported the mission, vision, and goals of the JCESC and helped it achieve accreditation through AdvancED, making it one of only eight entities in the State of Ohio to earn such a distinction. Those efforts led to him earning distinctions from the Ohio Educational Service Center Association (OESCA) and other organizations, while the JCESC office along Sunset Boulevard was renamed the Kenneth D. Simeral Building in 2016.

  “When the board was gracious in naming the building after me, I felt undeserving of that but appreciate it very much,” he added.

    Simeral attributed JCESC’s success to many factors, saying a president is only as good as his board and the employees and stakeholders were also vital components.

    “Our society is only as good as the public education available, and I think this board, in some small way, at least has helped promote it.”

    He promised to attend future meetings because he still holds great interest in what the future holds for education. Simeral concluded that it was a privilege to be part of it all.

    “It’s been an honor for me. I know I’m leaving it in good hands, but I will miss this. It has given me a sense of accomplishment.”

(Photo Cutline: Longtime official Kenneth Simeral formally retired from serving as vice president of the Jefferson County Educational Service Center Governing Board but will remain board member emeritus. Simeral, who was also a long-standing board president for 30 years, was recognized by board members during his final meeting on Oct. 10. Pictured are, front from left, board member Bill Schaefer, board member Bill Lollini, Simeral, board President Larry George and board member Barbara Cunningham. Back: JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko, JCESC CEO Dr. George Ash and treasurer Don Donahue.)
Supporting Student Learning
Posted 9/14/2017 at 11:57:27 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Supporting Student Learning

Photo Cutline: Traci Pavlik, a consultant with State Support Team Region 12 (SST-12) of Cambridge, led a professional development session about family and community engagement on Sept. 13 at Jefferson County Educational Service Center’s George-Pugliese Training Annex. Pavlik informed the estimated 35 early childhood educators on hand about providing resources to help families become more engaged with schools and support student learning.

Levy Talks Engaging Students
Posted 9/13/2017 at 2:32:31 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Levy Talks Engaging Students

Photo Cutline: New Jersey-based author and educator Nathan Levy addressed an estimated 20 related arts teachers during a professional development session on Wednesday at the Jefferson County Educational Service Center. Levy, who has spoken around the globe since 1976, shared unique teaching strategies for student success by engaging the children in learning.

Levy Returning for Professional Development
Posted 9/8/2017 at 12:29:38 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

STEUBENVILLE-Author Nathan Levy will return to the Ohio Valley when he speaks to fellow educators on Sept. 13.

    Levy, a New Jersey-based educational leader and writer, will lead a professional development session on Sept. 13 from 8:30-11 a.m. at the George-Pugliese Training Annex on Estelle Avenue, which is located behind the Jefferson County Educational Service Center office in Steubenville. The meeting is offered to related arts teachers but is open to anyone interested in participating.

    “The session is geared towards related arts and learning,” said Linda Lenzi, JCESC gifted coordinator and event organizer. “He wanted to come back. He enjoys the area and the people.”

    Levy visited the area in June and spoke to more than two-dozen teachers, administrators and parents and conducted creative exercises to stimulate the mind. Following the upcoming session, he will head to the Edison Local School District for another professional development meeting with teachers.

    Levy has spoken to people across the world since 1976 and authored such books “Whose Clues?” and “Nathan Levy’s 100 Intriguing Questions.” A gifted educator, he has been a teacher, principal and consultant and worked directly with children, teachers and parents. He also developed unique teaching strategies that encourage a love of learning and has mentored more than 30 current principals and superintendents, plus he helped train thousands of teachers and parents to on better ways to engage children in learning. Levy has spoken at state and national education conferences, conducted school-based district in-service and parent workshops and covered a wide range of topics from reading and Language Arts to math, Social Studies, critical thinking, special education and classroom management. His message has taken him across the globe to Great Britain, Denmark, Dubai, Australia and New Zealand.

    There is no fee to attend the JCESC session and registration is being taken at info@jcesc.org.

JCESC Sessions Promote Gifted Education
Posted 9/8/2017 at 12:28:48 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

STEUBENVILLE-Ohio Department of Education officials will make a stop in Steubenville to address gifted programs for local students.

    The Jefferson County Educational Service Center will host a regional meeting for gifted education on Sept. 22 from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the George-Pugliese Training Annex located on Estelle Avenue behind the JCESC office in Steubenville. Linda Lenzi, gifted coordinator and event organizer, said ODE representatives will talk to teachers about operating standards for gifted education that went into effect July 1.

    “They are meeting in four parts of the state with Steubenville being one of them,” Lenzi said. “This is our regional group and the session is the first we’ve had in our area. It was a coup for the JCESC to host the event and it is open to anyone who wants to attend. There are a lot of major changes they will discuss.”

    A Zane Trace meeting will follow at 1 p.m. in the professional development room on the lower floor of the JCESC office. It is a subsidiary of the Ohio Association for Gifted Children, which was founded in 1952 to advance understanding of the needs of the gifted, promote the establishment of programs and services for gifted students and encourages the exchange of information on the national, state and local level.

    The programs are free and open to anyone interested in attending. To register, contact Lenzi at (740) 283-3347, Ext. 151, or online at LLenzi@jcesc.org.

Educators Welcomed Back at Administrative Breakfast
Posted 8/14/2017 at 9:21:51 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Educators Welcomed Back at Administrative Breakfast

STEUBENVILLE-Ninety educators and representatives of community organizations gathered at St. Florian Hall in Wintersville on Thursday for the annual administrative breakfast hosted by the Jefferson County Educational Service Center.

    JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko welcomed the group back for another school year while superintendents and other administrators from districts in Jefferson, Harrison and Columbiana counties briefly updated the audience and recognized officials from Buckeye Local, Edison, Harrison Hills, Indian Creek, Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities, JCESC, Jefferson County Joint Vocational School, Southern Local, Steubenville and Toronto. Others on hand represented Brightway Center, Coleman Professional Services and ProgressBook. The main speakers for the event included Eastern Gateway Community College President Dr. Jimmie Bruce, who shared exciting news about growth and opportunities; Anastacia Galloway-Reed of Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center of Estes Park, Colo., who discussed trainings and other programs the organization did in partnership with JCESC and local districts to enhance classroom learning; Mark Jackson, general counsel for Jefferson Health Plan and an attorney for schools through Pepple and Waggoner of Columbus, who highlighted recent court rulings that impact educators; and Mark Smith, truancy officer for Harrison Hills City Schools, who shared a spirited message about going the extra mile to help a child achieve success.

    Dr. Bruce projected positive growth in attendance numbers and new programs at both of EGCC’s Steubenville and Youngstown campuses. Combined with online students and high schoolers taking part in College Credit Plus, he estimated that enrollment numbers could reach as much as 9,500 students, making it the largest enrollment in the state.

    “This fall, EGCC will be one of, if not the fastest-growing community colleges in the U.S.,” he said. “I think there is more we can do yet. When I came to the college two years ago, I think we had 500 students in College Credit Plus. We expect to have 1,600 in the four counties, so it’s thriving and growing.”

    EGCC is also adding new programs in the realms of health care, information technology and business management as well as the availability of short-term certificate programs and associate degrees, all while retaining an affordable tuition rate of $3,500 per year. Dr. Bruce said students who take part in College Credit Plus not only gain credit hours for college courses but
also save on costs in the long run. He also referred to financial aid opportunities such as grants and scholarships; benefits such as free tuition available to Ohio Education Association (OEA) and Ohio Association of Public School Employees (OAPSE) members and their families; a partnership with Trinity School of Nursing, which will be housed on campus starting this winter; the $2 million Student Success Center set to be unveiled in the fall of 2018 and will include a Barnes & Noble Bookstore, café and student services areas; and the addition of the Gators baseball team this year with future plans to form volleyball and men and women’s basketball teams.

    Dr. Bruce encouraged the audience to spread the word about EGCC’s offerings and noted that local high schoolers could learn more when the community college hosts Consider College Fest on Sept. 26.

    Galloway-Reed, who hails from Weirton, said her team has traveled throughout the country to assist educators but it was a privilege to come home and collaborate with JCESC and local schools.

   “In the past year in Ohio, I’ve worked closely with [JCESC Gifted Coordinator Linda Lenzi] in the professional development department, and we worked with related arts teachers on project-based learning,” she said, adding that she has collaborated with Toronto and Harrison Hills City Schools and the Jefferson County Alternative Schools, as well.

    Jackson updated the crowd on statutory changes in the state budget bill, including student eligibility regarding College Credit Plus and an attempt to remove the resident educator program. The latter was among the 47 vetoes given by Gov. John Kasich but legislators are reconvening next month to consider overriding them. Other items under consideration are an opioid instruction requirement as part of prevention education; eased regulations regarding substitute education aides with temporary licensure; and a framework for students to gain credit on work-based learning.

    He also highlighted court rulings, including a federal district case allowing school districts to bar unauthorized people from the premises during school hours and an Ohio appellate case regarding interpretation of OTES evaluations.

  Finally, Smith gave an impassioned speech encouraging educators to “go the extra mile” to help a child. As a truancy officer, he said he has helped students and families connect with resources, but there were growing issues youth faced such as abuse, alcoholism and teen pregnancy. He told school officials that it may be difficult to step outside the box but people needed to have authentic, caring hearts to help a child overcome problems.

    “If you have any opportunity to help a child in need, do it at all costs. The kids we are all dealing with are facing real world issues,” he commented. “We have seen an onslaught of alcoholism, drugs, abuse, broken families and teen pregnancy. Go the extra mile and do something genuine and true.”

    He recalled helping one student facing a difficult issue and noted that one small action could make a huge impact on a young life.

    “Be the person among your group in life and in school to be positive,” he urged. “Let’s start exposing the good in the lives of kids and let them know they are meant for something more. Encouragement is a mighty backbone for success.”

    Dr. Kokiko closed the gathering with some final thoughts, saying he recently heard a speech on how changes could impact society. He said many changes have occurred in area districts with new administrators and teachers in schools.

    “I truly believe in education and the importance of continued growth,” he said. “Things are going to change, and organizations that adapt survive, thrive and embrace change. We have a lot of new faces in the audience today. I hope you identify and embrace the changes and provide the best possible education for your students. Understand that the ESC is here to support you and your initiatives.”

USA Looks to New Year, Partnership with NCST
Posted 6/23/2017 at 12:21:28 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
USA Looks to New Year, Partnership with NCST

SALINEVILLE-As the newest crop of graduates make their exodus from the Utica Shale Academy, officials are gearing up for a new year of even more learning.

   Nineteen new alumni turned the tassels on their mortarboards May 24 as USA finished its third year of existence. Jim Buttermore, executive director of the New Castle School of Trades in East Liverpool, delivered the commencement address at Southern Local High School in Salineville where the main branch of the shale academy is lodged. He praised the graduates for their achievement, saying their skills will take them far and the oil and gas industry offered endless potential for job growth. Meanwhile, the formation of the shale academy helps bridge the gap between the two.

   “One opportunity I know that you have already made the right choice is attending the Utica Shale Academy. You should all be grateful for the out-of-the-box thinking of your administration. To put this program together took a lot of courage, because it always takes courage to do something different, to take a chance. But I believe when you do things for the right reasons, with a prepared plan, good things happen. You, the students or graduates, are the right reason for starting the Utica Shale Academy. The administration wanted to give you an alternate opportunity. Something unique to traditional education and something that takes advantage of the oil and gas opportunities specific to our area,” he added. “You now have some specific knowledge and credentials that will give you an advantage over others. You can use this to immediately pursue a career in the oil and gas field, continue your education or do something entirely different. However, this knowledge cannot be taken away from you and I assure you it will be useful sometime in your life.”

   He added that the oil and gas industry was an opportunity that hasn’t been seen in several generations and it will lead to employment, professional growth and retention of youth who will no longer need to leave the area for jobs plus community revitalization. Additionally, they could fill the void left by the shortage of skilled tradesmen.

   “The skilled trades provide an opportunity to make a good living while working with your hands and mind. If you choose to continue your education there are many skilled trades to consider,” Buttermore commented.

   His words will ring even truer during the 2017-18 school year, which is when students will begin the welding program at NCST. This fall, students will be able to obtain a welding certification by attending the trade school three afternoons per week to earn 250 hours of welding credit.

    USA Director Eric Sampson said about 50 were currently enrolled between the Southern Local and Columbiana High School sites and registration was open to accommodate more. The academy, which is sponsored by the Jefferson County Educational Service Center, is open students in grades 9-12 and provides curricula required by the Ohio Department of Education and PetroEd industry certification courses. It includes a customizable digital curriculum allowing for acceleration or remediation along with flexible scheduling, plus certification courses in SafeLand, OSHA10, First Aid and CPR, hydrogen sulfide (H2S) awareness and confined space certifications. Academy graduates receive a high school diploma, certificates and college credit options offered through Eastern Gateway Community College.                                                

    Sampson noted that the partnership with NCST would be a major benefit for future attendees.

    “Our Industry Advisory Committee that meets each year thought the addition of NCST was a great idea. The students will be even more marketable, not only in the oil and gas industry but other industries as well.”

    The committee had also discussed potentially adding heavy equipment training on such machines as telescoping forklifts, front end loaders and skid steers since they are regularly used in the industry. Sampson said other educational options were being eyed to expand student learning even further, including one suggestion by committee member and industry consultant Bryan Logue.

   “Mr. Logue and I have continued to discuss utilizing an Intro to Oil and Gas course, potentially in conjunction with a college in order for students to earn college credit while in high school,” he commented, saying he was enthusiastic about where USA was headed. “Year three saw a lot of success and we are looking forward to what year four has in store for us.”

   “USA graduation numbers have grown in each of the last three years, demonstrating the school continues to attract students and successfully meet their unique educational needs,” added JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko. “One of the highlights of the year is seeing the students and families realize their dreams and hard work of graduating from high school. I expect to see next year impact even more students as the USA staff has solidified a partnership with New Castle School of Trades and will have additional programs such as welding available for students.”

    For more information about USA’s programs, contact Sampson at (330) 420-5353 or via the website at uticashaleschool.com.

  (Photo Cutline: Nineteen students graduated from the Utica Shale Academy in May and now the program is ramping up for its fourth year by partnering with the New Castle School of Trades in East Liverpool to provide welding classes. Pictured is Jim Buttermore, executive director of NCST and keynote speaker at the graduation ceremony, addressing the crowd.)
Author Discusses Inspiring Students’ Creativity
Posted 6/8/2017 at 10:30:31 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Author Discusses Inspiring Students’ Creativity

STEUBENVILLE-Educators and parents alike learned techniques to inspire creativity in students during a special workshop on June 5.

     Nathan Levy, a New Jersey-based educational leader and writer, has traveled the globe to share his expertise, and that Monday he was at the George-Pugliese Training Annex discussing “How to Make Children Better Thinkers and Writers.” He spoke to more than two-dozen teachers, administrators and parents at the event, which was sponsored by the Jefferson County Educational Service Center, and conducted exercises designed to stimulate the mind.

    His methods include a reading exercise with a riddle that encourages students to ask questions until they can solve the problem. Levy said while they may fail, the goal is to keep trying.

    “Research shows that [self-esteem] goes up when you take on something that’s difficult or a challenge,” he said. “The definition of success is when a person gets up one more time [after falling down].”

    His methods benefit not only gifted students, but everyone, and he said they should all learn the same way.

    “What’s happening around the country today is that all the things that are researched are being misapplied in schools. The key is that parents know their kids can do things. We make a big deal about the language but not the message. You can have faith in the child and believe they can do it.”

     Levy further instilled the use of resources to help kids write and think, adding that they should learn without realizing it.

     “We want kids to be creative writers, but they should use tools,” he said, adding that he created lists for students to use for character descriptions and other exercises and he also encouraged them to conduct interviews for further inspiration.

       He said being a great teacher takes three things: repetition, repetition, repetition.

    “The key is to repeat it often enough that when they take a test or have to write a summary, they have it. My message is to get children learning before they know they’re learning.”

      Levy also shared three types of thinking to teach: convergent thinking, or the type that involves right answers; divergent thinking, which includes creative, open-ended thinking and thinking outside the box; and cultural literacy, or having a basic knowledge of subjects.

     “Your kids need all three types of knowledge,” he commented. “The purpose of gifted teachers is to make teaching better every place, not just in class.”

    Levy, who has spoken to people across the world since 1976, has also authored such books “Whose Clues?” and “Nathan Levy’s 100 Intriguing Questions.” A gifted educator, he has been a teacher, principal and consultant and worked directly with children, teachers and parents. He also developed unique teaching strategies that encourage a love of learning and has mentored more than 30 current principals and superintendents, plus he helped train thousands of teachers and parents to on better ways to engage children in learning. Levy has spoken at state and national education conferences, conducted school-based district in-service and parent workshops and covered a wide range of topics from reading and Language Arts to math, Social Studies, critical thinking, special education and classroom management. His message has taken him across the globe to Great Britain, Denmark, Dubai, Australia and even New Zealand.

     Linda Lenzi, gifted coordinator with JCESC, said Levy’s visit was provided through an Ohio Arts Council grant.

    “It is the first leg of his cross-country tour,” she explained, adding that it was his first time in the area. “He has talked at the Ohio Association for Gifted Conferences.”

  (Photo Cutline: Author and longtime educator Nathan Levy addressed more than two-dozen educators and parents about how to inspire creative thinking and writing in youth during a workshop at the George-Pugliese Training Annex in Steubenville on June 5. The event was sponsored by the Jefferson County Educational Service Center and provided through a grant from the Ohio Arts Council.)
USA Officials Talk Future Program Offerings
Posted 5/19/2017 at 9:48:28 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

SALINEVILLE-Utica Shale Academy officials are looking at ways to enhance the shale program so students can benefit even more both in the classroom and eventually the workplace.

   An advisory board meeting was held May 11 at the Southern Local School District office in Salineville and talks occurred between USA Board President Mark Johnson, USA Superintendent Dr. Mark Furda, Jefferson County Educational Service Center Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko, advisory board member and independent oil and gas consultant Brian Logue, Southern Local School Superintendent and shale program developer John Wilson, USA Director Eric Sampson, Jim Buttermore of the New Castle School of Trades and Amanda Greathouse of Safety Pro Training Consulting. The purpose of the session was to discuss what is currently available at USA and ways to make students more marketable for employment after graduation.

   “We discussed the current curriculum for oil and gas certifications, as well as safety certifications currently offered,” Sampson explained. “We also discussed the partnership with New Castle School of Trades and its welding program with the potential addition of other programs in the future.”

    The academy is offered to students statewide in grades 9-12 and provides curricula required by the Ohio Department of Education, as well as and PetroEd industry certification courses. It includes a customizable digital curriculum allowing for acceleration or remediation along with flexible scheduling, plus certification courses in SafeLand, OSHA10, First Aid and CPR, hydrogen sulfide (H2S) awareness and confined space certifications. Academy graduates receive a high school diploma, certificates and college credit options offered through Eastern Gateway Community College.

   Recently, USA and NCST officials announced a partnership between the two sites which would allow shale students to take welding courses at the trade school’s East Liverpool location starting this fall. Shale students at both Southern Local and Columbiana High Schools will have the opportunity to obtain a welding certification, which would give them a major advantage when seeking a job in the industry. NCST officials collaborated with Superintendent Wilson on the plan and students will attend three afternoons per week to earn 250 hours of welding credit towards their certification. That collaboration will also boost participation at NCST, which opened its doors in January and currently has 33 adult pupils studying HVAC, industrial maintenance and mechanical and electrical courses. The addition of the shale students will greatly increase that total since both USA sites yield a total of 69 pupils, plus it marks the first time the trade school will educate high school students.

   During discussion, Logue and Greathouse shared their thoughts on the current programs and believed they helped to put the students in the best position for future success. Suggestions were also made to add small equipment training to the program.

    Logue said the academy was on the mark when it came to providing a lot of the training but there was always room for improvement.

   “The program is great. Students are getting basic training for oil and gas in terminology and specialized training that Amanda has given for First Aid, SafeLand and H2S,” he added. “They are getting some good experience.”

   He said the welding program through NCST was another benefit while officials should also review adding heavy equipment training on telescoping forklifts, front end loaders and skid steers since they are regularly used in the industry.

   Meanwhile, Sampson said the next crop of graduates is set to receive their diplomas on May 24 at 6 p.m. in the SLHS gym with Buttermore as the featured speaker. About 17 students are expected to graduate from the program.

   For more information about USA’s programs, contact Sampson at (330) 420-5353 or through the website at uticashaleschool.com.

ACT Recognition Breakfast Honors High Scorers
Posted 4/27/2017 at 11:21:25 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ACT Recognition Breakfast Honors High Scorers

WINTERSVILLE- Area high school students who achieved high scores on their ACT tests were honored during the second annual ACT Recognition Breakfast on April 25.

    Sponsored by the Jefferson County Educational Service Center, the event was held at Zalenski Family Eatery and Pub in Wintersville and lauded teens from Buckeye Local, Edison, Indian Creek and Steubenville High Schools for scoring a 30 or higher on their exams. Most of the five honorees appeared for the reception breakfast where they were congratulated by local educators and officials.

    JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko welcomed the group of students, parents and school leaders to the event and congratulated the students for their accomplishment. He said the honorees’ achievement placed them in a distinct group.

    “You have distinguished yourself among an elite group,” said Dr. Kokiko. “Five are graduating from the eight school districts [the JCESC serves].”

     He added that those who scored a 30 on their exams were among the top 95 percent in the country; those with a 31 were among the top 97 percent; those with a score of 32 were at 98 percent; and those at 33 or higher were in the top 1 percent nationally.

     JCESC Governing Board President Larry George echoed those sentiments and urged the youth to continue on their course to success.

    “This is quite an achievement. It is great to see that we’ve got five students score over 30 on such a prestigious test,” he continued. “It’s a great day for the staff and schools you attend.”

      Keynote speaker was Dr. John Figel, vice president of medical affairs and chief medical officer at Trinity Health Systems and a member of the Indian Creek Local Board of Education, who shared how he learned to appreciate the opportunities his received in life and encouraged the youth to do the same.

    “Today, the playing field has changed tremendously. Not only are you competing against students of our nation, but students globally,” Dr. Figel commented. “It truly is a gift you have if you were in the top 95 percentile of the country.”

    He continued that it was a God-given gift the students have received, but it comes with a responsibility to achieve other things. Dr. Figel said upon reflection, he did not appreciate the opportunities he had earlier in life. After losing his parents as a child, he said the village of Mingo Junction embraced him and his sister and gave them opportunities in life. After graduating Mingo High School, Dr. Figel studied pre-med at The Ohio State University but said he did not commit to his studies until later in his college career. He went on to further schooling at the University of Guadalajara in Mexico and then returned to the U.S., where he completed his medical degree at Northeastern Ohio University College of Medicine. He eventually completed his internship and residency in Columbus in family practice at Grant Medical Center and returned to his roots in the Ohio Valley, serving at Ohio Valley Hospital and St. John Hospital, which is now Trinity Health System. In addition to his many positions in the medical profession, he has been a member of the ICBOE for the past quarter-century.

    “It was competitive then and it’s much more competitive today. If I leave you with anything today, appreciate what gift you have, realize it’s a God-given gift and do what needs to be done. It’s like running a marathon: pace yourself, stay the course, realize there may be adversity. God knows you may stumble, but that’s when you get up, brush yourself off and move forward. Wherever the path may take you, good luck to you.”

      Certificates were then distributed to Mark Smith of Steubenville High School, who plans to attend Ohio Dominican University and study pre-med; Skylar Fankhauser of Edison High, who plans to study biology at either West Liberty University or Mount Union College; Matthew Maille, another EHS student who plans to attend Kent State University but is undecided on his major. Fellow honorees Rachel Romestan of Buckeye Local and Kelly Kovach of Indian Creek were not in attendance but had their certificates accepted by BLHS Principal Coy Sudvary and Indian Creek Superintendent Dr. T.C. Chappelear, respectively.

     Dr. Chappelear closed the event with more parting words of wisdom for the high achievers.

    “Congratulations on your great ACT scores,” he said. “Work hard, be grateful and treat yourself and others well.”

 (Photo Cutline: The Jefferson County Educational Service Center recognized local students who scored a 30 or higher on their ACT tests. Pictured are, from left, keynote speaker Dr. John Figel, Matthew Maille and Skylar Fankhauser of Edison High School, Mark Smith of Steubenville High School, and JCESC Governing Board President Larry George. Not pictured are Rachel Romestan of Buckeye Local and Kelly Kovach of Indian Creek High Schools.)

High Achievers Being Lauded at ACT Recognition Breakfast
Posted 4/19/2017 at 9:29:33 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

WINTERSVILLE- Local high school students who excelled on their ACT tests will be the guests of honor during a special breakfast.

     The Jefferson County Educational Service Center is sponsoring its second annual ACT Recognition Breakfast on April 25 at 9:30 a.m. at Zalenski’s Family Eatery in Wintersville. Students, parents, and school leaders will be in attendance and Dr. John Figel of Trinity Medical Center, who is also a member of the Indian Creek Board of Education, is set to be the keynote speaker.

    JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said the breakfast recognizes students who earned a score of 30 or higher on their ACT tests and is quite a distinction. Those who receive such a score are among the top 5 percent of students who take the test nationally.

    “They are in an elite group of kids and we just want to recognize them for their hard work,” Dr. Kokiko said as he also congratulated parents for encouraging their children. “The parents’ support plays a large role in the success of the students.”

    This year’s honorees include Rachel Romestan of Buckeye Local High School, Kelly Kovach of Indian Creek, Skylar Fankhouser and Matthew Maille of Edison and Mark Smith of Steubenville. Both Romestan and Kovach were also recognized during last year’s breakfast when they attained their high scores as juniors.

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2023 Sunset Blvd. Steubenville, OH 43952
Tel: 740-283-3347 Fax: 740-283-2709

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