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Grants Given at Indian Creek
Posted 11/18/2022 at 12:29:04 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
JCESC IC BPG
WINTERSVILLE-Teachers in the Indian Creek Local School District are focusing on many facets of improving students, and they are getting some financial aid to make it happen.
 
   Erin Alloggia, Alyssa Lollini and Emily Gault were lauded during the regular school board meeting at Cross Creek Elementary School on Nov. 17 for gaining Best Practice Grants from the Jefferson County Educational Service Center. Linda Lenzi, JCESC gifted coordinator, congratulated the trio and said they will each receive $660 to put their projects into practice.
 
   Alloggia, a preschool teacher at Hills Elementary, will use her portion to promote her project, “Enhancing Emotional Development of Children” The grant will help purchase valuable resources from Conscious Discipline to benefit more than 195 preschoolers at Cross Creek and Hills. She said teachers and support staff can utilize strategies that could change the course of a student’s life. Conscious Discipline, which was created by Dr. Becky Bailey, teaches skills for children and adults and also focuses on creating a classroom family where optimal development of all members can be achieved.

   “Through the grant, my project will impact not only the 75 preschool students at Hills Elementary, but also the 120 preschool students at Cross Creek Elementary,” she said, adding that she has received previous grants and was appreciative to earn another. “I am so thankful and grateful to be a recipient of one of the grants. Through this grant, the preschool teams at both elementary schools will now have the tools to aid the students in learning about feeling, empathy, resilience, impulse control and school family.”

   Lollini, a kindergarten and first-grade intervention specialist at Hills Elementary, aims to incorporate “Hands-on Learning for Hardworking Students.” Her plan is to purchase learning resource activities so students can learn new skills that move away from the traditional pencil-and-paper concept. She said students will not only improve upon their academic skills, but also learn how to take turns, wait and work together as partners and team members. Items within the grant range from alphabet recognition materials to math manipulatives and may also be shared with the general education teachers to use in their classroom settings. 
 
   “For many of my students, learning new academic skills can be hard and frustrating, which ultimately can impact them wanting to come to school and learn. My hope is that if I can make learning fun, engaging and captivating, students will be excited to learn new skills and build upon their weak areas,” Lollini explained. “This project will allow me to bring in as many hands-on learning items for reading and math as possible to give my students additional opportunities to work on different skills that step away from paper-and-pencil activities. When having activities that make learning fun and engaging, students may be more willing to participate and step out of their comfort zone. When learning is fun, the impact that it may have on students in regards to retaining the information increases because it becomes an enjoyable and memorable experience.”
 
   She added that the project would impact about 30 students throughout the week; however, the items will be available to general education teachers for their classrooms. She is a prior grant recipient and plans to put her latest allotment to good use.

   “I am very excited, grateful and thankful to the Jefferson County Educational Service Center for picking me as one of the recipients of this grant. I cannot wait to tell my students and begin using the different materials during my sessions with them.”
    Gault, a speech and language pathologist, will assist more than 100 speech and language therapy pupils at both Cross Creek and Hills with her project, “Everyone Deserves a Voice.” Her allocation will fund a one-time purchasing license of Boardmaker 7, which is downloadable onto a maximum of two devices, or one for each therapist to assist students with verbal communication issues.
 
   “Students will now have access to picture communication symbols and books that can be used as an alternative means of communication for those who are non-speaking, highly unintelligible or those who just struggle in certain instances to communicate their wants and needs,” Gault said, adding that it was her first grant award. “I am very thankful and excited to receive this grant. So many students will benefit from this project and I’m excited to implement it for many students.”                    
 
   JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko congratulated the recipients and said the Best Practice Grants helped bring grant ideas to fruition for the betterment of student learning.
 
    “There are certain events or occasions that folks look forward to each year. At the JCESC, one of those events is when the board and staff can read the innovative teacher Best Practice Grant applications that have been submitted,” he added. “Our schools have many great teachers with ground-breaking lesson plans and out-of-the-box instructional strategies, and we are happy to be able to fund many of those ideas so they may become reality for the students in the classroom.  Congratulations to our winners and we look forward to seeing what unique ideas will be submitted next year.” 
 
   This year, JCESC awarded more than 20 Best Practice Grants to teachers at Buckeye Local, Edison, Harrison Hills, Indian Creek, Steubenville, Southern Local, Toronto and the Utica Shale Academy.

(Photo Caption: The Jefferson County Educational Service Center Gifted Coordinator Linda Lenzi presented 2022 Best Practice Grants to three educators at Indian Creek Local School for their innovative projects during the regular ICBOE meeting on Nov. 17. Pictured, from left, are Erin Alloggia and Emily Gault with JCESC Gifted Linda Lenzi while recipient Alyssa Lollini was absent from the photo.)
Southern Local Elementary Teachers Earn Classroom Grants
Posted 11/10/2022 at 1:09:07 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Southern Local BPG 2022
SALINEVILLE- Three Southern Local Elementary School teachers will be sharing more than $1,000 in grant funding to provide interesting learning experiences for students. 

 

   Holly Davis, Karen Marquis and Tracey Richards each received a $660 Best Practice Grant through the Jefferson County Educational Service Center that will be put towards innovative classroom projects. JCESC Director of Curriculum and Professional Development Ron Sismondo doled out the awards during the monthly Southern Local school board session on Nov. 7 and praised the educators’ creative ideas. 

 

   “I am here to deliver three Best Practice Grants to three of your teachers,” he said. “We raised [the amount] by 10 percent to $660, or about $1,980 total. There were 45 applications and five from Southern Local. They were all good and we selected three from your district.” 

 

    Davis, who instructs kindergarten, plans to share her “Daily 5 in KC” reading and Language Arts project with other kindergarten classes and provide activities for hands-on, independent learning. She will purchase supplies so teachers can focus on individual student needs while keeping the children engaged. Among the choices are “Read to Self,” “Work on Writing,” “Read to Someone,” “Listen to Reading” and “Word Work,” which she said would help students become independent learners as well as better readers and writers. 

 

   “I have 18 students in my classroom,” she said. “I will also share the activities and supplies with the other three kindergarten classes for use in their Daily 5 rotation. 

 

    Davis previously applied for and received another Best Practice Grant and said she was blessed to receive the latest allocation. 

 

   “My students will benefit for years to come because of this grant. I am truly thankful for this opportunity. I would like to thank JCESC and Southern Local for the opportunity to apply for such an amazing program to benefit my classroom today and in the years ahead.” 

  

    Marquis, who instructs fifth-grade math and science, will utilize her windfall for “Creating Stories in the Sky.” She will purchase a Homestar Flux planetarium project while students work together and use problem-solving skills to construct a 16-foot-by-10.5-foot planetarium. It could be set up in the gym and is large enough for classrooms of 23-25 pupils to view constellations which could only be seen from Earth’s Southern Hemisphere.  

 

    “I will have all of my 44 students working to construct a planetarium. All of the elementary students will be invited to use it this spring after it has been constructed,” Marquis said. “I am so excited I received the grant because it will allow me to bring the universe to life for my students. Instead of us going to a planetarium in Pittsburgh, the students can experience a smaller version of it every year by making our own reusable planetarium here at Southern. I want the students to be able to see the universe from different aspects of the Earth. It went with this year’s theme of ‘Build, Build, Build.’ 

 

   She added that students also experience math and engineering on a real-life level by using them to form different shapes from triangles and hexagons and create the dome planetarium. 


   Marquis previously received a Best Practice Grant to purchase eight CUE robots that students can control through coding. The robots are used to construct projects and complete engineering tasks and challenges, while the district helped acquire eight iPads and a cart for storage. She said the iPads are extremely useful in helping students complete coding for the robots. 

 

   Richards, who serves as a full-day preschool teacher, plans to implement “Preschool STEM and STEAM” kits in a cross-curriculum method to assist with literacy and engineering skills. Teachers will read stories to students in a group activity, then the pupils will be able to act out the stories using puppets and complete an included STEM challenge. 

 

   “I am very excited to have been chosen to receive a Best Practice Grant from the Jefferson County Educational Service Center,” she said. “The goal of the project is to make a multi-dimensional approach in supporting students’ language and literacy skills as well as supporting their creative expression that will allow them to master early engineering.” 

 

   The project will benefit about 24 full-day preschoolers annually as well as an additional 32 students each year in half-day classes. She said this was her first such grant application and she was pleased to be chosen as a recipient. 

 

   “I am very thankful, excited and honored to receive this grant. I am very excited to be receiving a Best Practice Grant because I believe that it is important to teach STEAM/STEM to my students because it will help them learn skills relevant to the 21st Century, including innovation?and cultural sensitivity. Thank you to the Jefferson County ESC for giving me the opportunity to apply for this grant so I can supply our two preschool classrooms with resources that we would not normally have. I can't wait to start using these resources and improving my class.” 

 

   JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko congratulated the recipients and said the grants helped support education so all students may thrive. 

 

   “There are certain events or occasions that folks look forward to each year.? At the JCESC, one of those events is when the board and staff can read the innovative teacher Best Practice Grant applications that have been submitted,” he added. “Our schools have many great teachers with ground-breaking lesson plans and out-of-the-box instructional strategies, and we are happy to be able to fund many of those ideas so they may become reality for the students in the classroom.??Congratulations?to our winners and we look forward to seeing what unique ideas will be submitted next year.”? 


(Photo Caption: Three Southern Local Elementary School teachers were recipients of the Jefferson County Educational Service Center’s 2022 Best Practice Grants for ingenuity in classroom education. The grants were awarded during the Southern Local school board’s meeting on Nov. 7 and pictured are, from left, Tracey Richards, Holly Davis and Karen Marquis with JCESC Director of Curriculum and Professional Development Ron Sismondo.) 

Harrison Teachers Heralded as Grant Recipients
Posted 11/9/2022 at 2:07:53 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
HArrison Hills BPG 2022
CADIZ-Harrison Hills City School teachers earned high marks after they were awarded the Jefferson County Educational Service Center’s 2022 Best Practice Grants.
 
   Harrison Central Elementary School teachers Rebecca Agostini, Misty Barker and Alisha Steele each received $600 grants to further programs which engage students and expound upon their education. JCESC Director of Special Education Amber Fomenko presented the grants during the Oct. 27 regular school board session.
 
   Agostini, a fourth-grade science teacher, will use the funding for “STEM: Incorporating Hands-on Learning and Critical Thinking in the Classroom.” The project will impact 95 students today and even more in the future.
 
   “My goal is to motivate students to ‘think outside the box’ and develop critical thinking skills and incorporate other subjects such as mathematics and reading in my classroom,” she explained. “With the money received from this grant, I am purchasing multiple STEM kits, bins and activities. Students will be able to design and build using different resources.”
 
   Agostini is a past grant recipient and said she was thrilled to receive the funding again.
 
   “I am so excited that my students will get the opportunity to benefit from STEM learning. I am grateful to have this option for students and I want to thank the Jefferson County ESC for this opportunity each year.”
 
    Barker, a fifth-grade language arts teacher, is promoting creativity and inspiring students with “The ‘Write’ Attitude.”
 
   “The goal of my project is to get students excited about writing,” she said. “Creating a non-traditional, yet comfortable work atmosphere is one method to increase student engagement. I will be purchasing surf portable lap desks and dry erase clipboards that will enable students to easily transition in and out of the confines of my traditional classroom setting. I find that this flexibility sparks creativity which in turn creates the right attitude for writing.”
 
    She said the flexible seating will be available for 106 students and multiple students at different grade levels. Barker added this was her first application and grant award.
 
    “I feel extremely fortunate to have been selected for the grant,” she said.
 
   Steele, a fifth-grade intervention specialist, collaborated with sixth-grade intervention specialist Kelly Zeroski and plans to use their grant to help roughly 20 students with reading disabilities each year through her “Let’s Read” initiative. She said the project would place fiction and nonfiction books of varying text difficulty levels into students’ hands as they partner up to read in a fun and functional setting. 
 
   “Our targeted student base for this project is students with special needs with a focus on reading disabilities including dyslexia.  Students would choose their flexible seating mat which we would label with fun creative titles that would allow students to focus on that topic,” she added. “The project could be used with students benefitting from movement while learning. The grant allows for the purchase of books, activity mats and two subscriptions to learning resources.”

   Steele said she has received Best Practice Grants in the past for other reading projects and was excited to receive the latest allocation.

   “The students will have the opportunity to learn while having fun.  We have a great group of students that are looking forward to all the new resources. I am extremely grateful that the Jefferson County ESC offers this grant for teachers. Mrs. Zeroski and I are very appreciative of the funding and can't wait to begin the project with our students.” 

   JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko congratulated the recipients and said the intention of the grant is to support education.
 
    “There are certain events or occasions that folks look forward to each year. At the JCESC, one of those events is when the board and staff can read the innovative teacher Best Practice Grant applications that have been submitted,” he added. “Our schools have many great teachers with ground-breaking lesson plans and out-of-the-box instructional strategies, and we are happy to be able to fund many of those ideas so they may become reality for the students in the classroom.  Congratulations to our winners and we look forward to seeing what unique ideas will be submitted next year.” 

(Three Harrison Hills City School teachers were heralded for their efforts to excite and engage students in education and awarded $600 Best Practice Grants from the Jefferson County Educational Service Center during the Oct. 27 school board meeting. Pictured are, from left, JCESC Director of Special Education Amber Fomenko, teachers Rebecca Agostini, Alisha Steele and Misty Barker and Harrison Hills Superintendent Duran Morgan.)
OhioRISE Staff Undergoes Training
Posted 10/24/2022 at 12:23:32 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
JCESC OhioRISE Training Steubenville
Jill Tayfel, care management entity (CME) relationship manager for Aetna Better Health of Ohio, led a training session about deescalating behaviors and diagnostic criteria for mental, behavior and addiction disorders with care coordinators for the OhioRISE program, which will serve Jefferson, Harrison, Belmont, Carroll, Columbiana, Tuscarawas, Monroe and Stark counties. OhioRISE, which stands for Resilience through Integrated Systems and Excellence, is a specialized Medicaid managed care system for children and youth with complex behavioral health and multisystem needs with Aetna serving as the managed care partner. About 16 people attended the session on Friday at the R. Larry George Training Annex at the Jefferson County Educational Service Center in Steubenville and JCESC is one of the regional providers for the program. Another session was set for this Wednesday in Canton, where JCESC also offers OhioRISE services at its Stark County CME facility at 100 Central Plaza North. For more information, contact CME Program Director Linda Trushel at (740) 792-4011, ext. 502, or go online at www.jcesc.org/CareManagementEntity. A 24-hour crisis hotline is also available at (740) 792-4012.
Packer Named Principal of the Year
Posted 10/10/2022 at 12:02:40 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
JCESC Packer Principal of the Year
STEUBENVILLE-Julie Packer’s guidance at Buckeye South Elementary has not gone unnoticed, earning her the title of 2022 Principal of the Year.
 
   Packer, who was named director of preschool, special education and student services this year in the Buckeye Local School District, was recognized during a Student Success Council meeting in September by the Jefferson County Educational Service Center. Candidates are nominated for the distinction, which is now in its fifth year, and Packer is the third Buckeye Local principal to be honored.
   Her roots are firmly planted in the district, being raised in the Adena area and graduating from Buckeye Local High School. She later obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education with a minor in music at Muskingum University and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Trevecca Nazarene University in Tennessee. Packer has been an educator for the past 18 years and served as both a teacher and principal, spending the past five years at South. Her nomination letter detailed her boundless efforts working with faculty, staff and students, her constant presence throughout the building and her strength in the face of the COVID-related shutdown and flooding that prompted a temporary relocation to the former St. Joseph Catholic School in Tiltonsville.
  “Managers accomplish things by using resources. Leaders manage by motivating and setting an example and then supporting people while effectively using all other resources,” the letter stated. “Julie Packer is a dynamic leader, not just a manager! Being out in the building is how she measures needs, compliance and behavior. Julie sets high standards for staff and students. She believes that academic excellence only comes with effort by students and staff.”
   
   JCESC Director of Curriculum and Professional Development Ron Sismondo echoed many of the sentiments, describing Packer as a valuable educator.
 
    “Julie Packer has been recognized for her outstanding school leadership for the 2021-2022 school year.  She has demonstrated exemplary contributions of leadership with Buckeye Local Schools and with Buckeye South Elementary in which she held the position of principal,” Sismondo said. “She has demonstrated evidence in the areas of leadership, curriculum, instruction, assessment, school environment and personal excellence.”
 
   Packer noted her excitement for receiving the honor, saying she was grateful to be part of the local school system.
 
    “I am beyond honored to be recognized as Jefferson County Educational Service Center's 2022 Principal of the Year.  As Steve Jobs once said, ‘The only way to do great work is to love what you do.’  I definitely love being in education and try each day to be better than I was the day before,” she said. “I pursued my educational career because I knew I wanted to help children and I have never regretted that choice!  No two days are alike and some are really crazy and stressful, but I always get up the next day ready to do it all over again. I want to say thank you for the nomination and recognition.”

(Photo Caption: Julie Packer was named the 2022 Principal of the Year by the Jefferson County Educational Service Center for her work leading Buckeye South Elementary in Tiltonsville. The Adena-area resident, who is also a Buckeye Local High School graduate, has spent the past six years working in the district and recently became director of preschool, special education and student services. She is pictured with Ron Sismondo, JCESC director of curriculum and professional development.)
Brock Joins JCESC as Community Liaison
Posted 10/4/2022 at 11:27:11 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Angel Brock
STEUBENVILLE-The Jefferson County Educational Service Center has added personnel to assist youth amid trying times.
 
   Angel Brock, a licensed professional clinical counselor, was named as one of two community liaisons through a Family and Community Partnership Liaison Grant through the Ohio Department of Education. JCESC has received a total of $270,000 through two two-year grants, the first of which was given during the 2020-21 school year to create a position currently held by Jennifer Agresta, who also serves as assistant principal at Harding Middle School. Brock was added through an allocation for the 2023-24 term and will work with Agresta to provide a network of community resources for youth and families in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. She is based at the Jefferson County Alternative Center in Steubenville and began her role in August.
 
   “The focus of the grant is for children involved in the legal system, not necessarily those in juvenile court but also foster care,” Brock said. “We’ll be working with the court system. The liaison is to help link these services so schools are connected to community resources.”
 
   The program impacts children who face absenteeism to foster care, those who have been affected by the justice system in some form and implements Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requirements for students also experiencing homelessness, adjudication, who are English learners, have parents in the military, have disabilities and who are migrants. Brock and Agresta interact with school districts and such organizations as Children’s Services and the Friendship Room.
 
   Brock received her undergraduate degree from Robert Morris University, earning a bachelor’s in business administration in industrial psychology. She went on to receive her master’s degree in clinical counseling from Franciscan University and obtained her licensure. She served as dean at the Ohio Valley College of Technology for four years and also taught at Eastern Gateway Community College, Grand Canyon University and OVCT before becoming a behavioral health coordinator for Trinity Health System. Brock then went into private practice and also has performed psychological evaluations for people entering nursing facilities.
 
   She now works with youth in a different capacity by helping schools address mental health needs and trains educators on facets of behavioral health, and her task also connects to the new OhioRISE initiative by signing off on safety plans for the children they serve. JCESC was designated as one of 20 regional providers for OhioRISE (Resilience through Integrated Systems and Excellence), a specialized Medicaid managed care system for children and youth with complex behavioral health and multisystem needs and Aetna Better Health of Ohio is the managed care partner for the program. The initiative went live July 1 and JCESC serves an eight-county region including Jefferson, Belmont, Harrison, Carroll, Columbiana, Monroe, Tuscarawas and Stark with facilities in Steubenville and Canton.
 
    So far, Brock said she has been enjoying her new experience.
 
   “I love the people. I’m going to work with people with crisis treatment plans for children through the ESC and will sign off on clinical plans,’ Brock explained. “I do see an extreme need for services for everyone, especially children.”
 
   Meanwhile, Agresta said she and Brock will continue to support youth so they receive the care they deserve.
   “We will connect schools, families and youth to community resources and local systems of care.  Since its implementation, we have worked with schools to give them resources for students and families returning to school after being placed in the justice system,” she continued. “We give the resources to the school districts, and they use them on an as-needed basis for students.  This grant covers all students under the ESC’s umbrella and each ESC in the state has a liaison. I am excited to continue the work with the ESC and Angel. I feel that we are making a difference in students' lives.”  
Career, Education Fair Draws Crowd
Posted 9/23/2022 at 9:59:52 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
JCESC County-Wide Career, Education Fair
STEUBENVILLE-More than 1,000 high school students from Jefferson, Harrison and Columbiana counties converged upon the Fort Steuben Mall on Thursday for the County-wide Career and Education Fair.
 
   Hosted by the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce’s Workforce Training and Education Committee, the fair had an estimated 87 vendors including businesses, trade organizations, colleges and universities, safety forces and military recruiters while students attended from Buckeye Local, Catholic Central, Edison, Harrison Central, Indian Creek, Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities’ School of Bright Promise, Jefferson County Christian School, Jefferson County Joint Vocational School, Steubenville, Toronto and Southern Local.
 
   The committee, which is headed by Jefferson County Educational Service Center Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko, includes 12 members representing school districts and businesses who helped organize the fair while the districts also transported their pupils. The event was a first-time effort and organizers hope to see it continue.
 
   Chamber President Kate Sedgmer said the fair was successful and everyone was very engaged. She added that the goal was to introduce students to career fields that are available in the area so they stay local to work after high school or return home from college to build their lives.
 
   “We were very fortunate and it went smoothly,” she said. “All of the businesses and colleges that came from near and far have made it successful.”
 
    Among the highlights were vendors’ tables with representatives from the likes of Timet Corp., and Trinity Health System to Wheeling University and the University of Rio Grande, roundtables with business and college officials discussing everything from production and manufacturing and finance to entrepreneurship, trade apprenticeship and healthcare. Other offerings included free food, giveaways, games and interactive displays.
 
   Some students on hand said they enjoyed the career fair because they learned about options for their future.
 
   “It’s pretty nice to just talk to people from colleges,” said Landon Sgalla, a junior computer networking student from Jefferson County JVS and Buckeye Local.
 
   “I think it was very informative and helpful for people who don’t know what they want to do,” added Conner Scott, a junior at BLHS.
 
   “I thought it was a good opportunity,” said Indian Creek student Leyla Greene. “There was a lot for people who don’t want to go to college.”
 
   “It’s been fun,” said Payton Hersman, a senior at Southern Local High School, who said he enjoyed speaking with college officials.
 
   Representatives on hand agreed it was a great venue to share their knowledge and help students determine their path in life.
 
   “It seems like they are very open to learning new things about jobs opportunities,” said Sarah Malecha, supervisor for Softite Community Federal Credit Union of Mingo Junction.
 
   “We had some with questions about jobs and financial information,” added Tammy Pasqualla, supervisor for the Softite Community Federal Credit Union location in Martins Ferry.
                                                                                          
   “I do interviews and resume building and help students get from school to college or the workforce,” said Jordan Spence regional network coordinator for Building Bridges to Careers (BB2C) of Marietta, adding that he offered guidance to attendants. “My job is getting them career ready.”
 
    Lisa Pearce of Manpower was pleased with the students’ engagement and said she looked forward to taking part in future events, while Jess Kelley of Trinity Health System concurred. Kelley, who serves as community outreach specialist, noted that Trinity was more than a medical facility and provided opportunities for marketing and other skill sets. Pat Maple, environmental engineer for Timet Corp., said his company also had an array of jobs from electrical and welding to mechanical and environmental health and safety engineering.
 
   “We employ a broad scope of degrees and certifications” Maple said.
   
   Jason Welch, an instructor for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers No. 246 of Steubenville, provided a welding simulation and said it provided a hands-on experience for interested youth.
 
   Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko of the Jefferson County Educational Service Center, who led the chamber’s workforce committee, thanked everyone for participating and said he hoped to see the fair continue.
 
   “I appreciate all the people who worked together to make the event happen, as well as the area businesses and colleges that showed up to share information with the students,” Dr. Kokiko commented. “I hope this will be an annual event. We’ll take what we learned this year to make next year’s even better.”
 
   Meanwhile, sponsors included the chamber, JCESC, Village of Wintersville, Trinity Health System, Timet Corp., Steubenville Electrical JATC, Eastern Gateway Community College, American Electric Power, Summer’s Enterprise, Notre Dame College, Ohio College Tech Prep and the Capital Healthcare Network.

(Photo Caption: More than 1,000 high school students from Jefferson, Harrison and Columbiana Counties attended the inaugural County-wide Career and Education Fair at the Fort Steuben Mall. The event was hosted by the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce’s Workforce Education and Training Committee and sponsored by area businesses, colleges and trade organizations. Youth met officials to discuss options for their future and also enjoyed free food, giveaways and interactive experiences.)
County-wide Career Fair Planned for Sept. 22
Posted 9/14/2022 at 1:19:24 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Jefferson County Chamber Career Fair
STEUBENVILLE-Area high school students are invited to take part in the County-wide Career Fair on Sept. 22.
 
   About 1,000 students from Jefferson, Harrison and Columbiana counties are expected to attend the event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds at Friendship Park in Smithfield. Hosted by the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce’s Workforce Training and Education Committee, the fair will include dozens of businesses, trade organizations, colleges and universities and military recruiters in the commercial building. Chamber President Kate Sedgmer said the purpose is to provide students with options as they forge paths for successful futures.
 
   “The chamber of commerce has a Workforce Training and Education Committee and we talk about ways to get our kids to stay local,” Sedgmer explained. “We want to introduce them to career fields that are available here, and the goal is to get kids to stay here after high school or go to college and return home.”
 
  The committee, which is headed by Jefferson County Educational Service Center Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko, includes 12 members representing school districts and businesses who helped organize the career fair while the districts will transport their pupils. Students have been invited from Buckeye Local, Catholic Central, Edison, Harrison Central, Indian Creek, Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities’ School of Bright Promise, Jefferson County Christian School, Jefferson County Joint Vocational School, Steubenville, Toronto and Southern Local. Times will be staggered for their arrivals and Sedgmer said vendors will have intriguing displays to promote their fields.
 
   “We will have around 90 vendors including educational institutions, businesses, trade organizations and all five military branches and they will give students hands-on experience to see if their field is something the kids are interested in,” she continued. “This is the first time for the career fair and we needed a place that is large enough for all of the students and vendors and a place for semi-trucks and simulation projects. [The fairgrounds have] a beautiful space that should be used more often.”
 
   Sedgmer thanked the committee for their hard work and said the group was also responsible for an event last February at Eastern Gateway Community College that featured business leaders, trade union officials and military representatives informing guidance counselors and career advisors on opportunities in the workforce. She hoped the career fair would become an annual activity and also thanked sponsors, which include the chamber, JCESC, Village of Wintersville, Trinity Health System, Timet Corp., Steubenville Electrical, EGCC, Summers Enterprise, Notre Dame College and the Capital Healthcare Network.
 
  “I’m really excited to see all of the businesses gathering to help students. They have elaborate plans for the students to share what’s here in the county.”
 
   Meanwhile, Dr. Kokiko hoped to see a great turnout for this new and exciting venture.
 
   “There are nearly 100 vendors between the colleges, businesses and trade organizations,” he said. “We are looking forward to having as many as 1,000 students involved.”
 
   There is always room for more vendors and anyone interested may contact the chamber at (740) 282-6226 or go online at www.jeffersoncountychamber.com/careerfair.
Canton CME Now Accepting OhioRISE Participants
Posted 7/29/2022 at 7:43:20 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
JCESC CME Canton Ribbon Cutting
CANTON-The doors are now open for a new Care Management Entity (CME) in downtown Canton to accept participants in the new OhioRISE program.
 
   A ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house were held Friday, July 29 on the lower floor of the Key Bank Building at 100 Central Plaza North and area agencies were invited to mark the occasion, including the Family and Children First Council, Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and community officials. The facility is offered through the Jefferson County Educational Service Center in Steubenville, which was designated one of 20 regional providers for OhioRISE (Resilience through Integrated Systems and Excellence). OhioRISE is a specialized Medicaid managed care system for children and youth with complex behavioral health and multisystem needs with Aetna Better Health of Ohio serving as the managed care partner. The initiative went live July 1 with JCESC serving an eight-county region including Jefferson, Belmont, Harrison, Carroll, Columbiana, Monroe, Tuscarawas and Stark. 
 
   CME Program Director Linda Trushel said the site includes a total of 22 employees with 15 care management coordinators on hand to aid families in the Stark County area. Trushel said the coordinators help complete a Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) assessment to determine eligibility and offer referrals for counseling and therapy. Assistance is rendered for mental health and substance use while youth with multisystem needs are often involved in multiple community systems such as juvenile justice, child protection, developmental disabilities, education and addiction.
 
   “OhioRISE is the new generation of Medicaid to serve children with behavioral health needs,” she said. “It’s so exciting. The setting is very conducive for families and we’re located near the other agencies we work with to provide resources.”
 
   Trushel noted that children covered by Medicaid will obtain assistance and those with private insurance can receive a waiver for help. Currently, there are 345 children in the databank within the eight-county area, but OhioRISE would ultimately serve 2,335 youth across the region and an estimated 60,000 statewide. JCESC received an estimated $1.1 million to establish two start-up locations in Stark and Jefferson counties and the Canton facility operates weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a crisis hotline also available 24/7.
 
   “The facility is for families to have a safe place to meet with our care coordinators,” added Assistant CME Program Director Lindsay Brandon. “I think it’s really great because it’s going to let us reach the community and help families in the area. We have a presence in Jefferson County and this will help us in the northern area to serve them the best way we can.”
 
   Meanwhile, Trushel said the program would offer centralized care in one location.
 
   “All of the services will be conducted through Aetna and there is only one stop, so all children in Ohio will have the same benefits for their mental health needs and there will be more respite care providers for the families.”
 
   JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko was equally delighted to see the facility operating in an effort to support youth, which aligns with the ESC’s mission.
 
    “JCESC has been working to create the tools necessary to support the successful implementation of the OhioRISE program in our catchment area,” Dr. Kokiko said. “The Canton office will be a great resource to both our employees and the children and families we will serve. We are excited about officially opening the office and look forward to working with the community.”
 
   Plans are underway for the Steubenville CME facility, which is eyed to open later this fall.
 
   The remaining CMEs provide community mental health and substance abuse, specialty care coordination, hospital and educational services. They include Unison Health, Harbor, National Youth Advocate Program, Choices Coordinated Care Solutions, CareStar, 
Lighthouse Youth and Family Services, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Healvine, Integrated Services for Behavioral Health, The Village Network, The Buckeye Ranch, I Am Boundless, Inc., Wingspan Care Group, Coleman Health Services, OhioGuidestone, Positive 
Education Program, Ravenwood Health and Cadence Care Network while some of those organizations are in partnership with the Child and Family Health Collaborative. 
 
   For more information on public and partnership opportunities, contact Dr. Kokiko at (740) 283-3347 or ckokiko@jcesc.org and Trushel for children’s referrals to the program at ltrushel@jcesc.org or (740) 792-4011, ext. 502. More information is also listed at www.jcesc.org/CareManagementEntity. For general inquiries about OhioRISE, contact Jill Tayfel, CME relationship manager for Aetna, at TayfelJ@aetna.com. The 24-hour crisis hotline is available at (740) 792-4012.

(Photo Cutline: A new OhioRISE Care Management Entity (CME) is now accepting participants in the Stark County area after a ribbon cutting and open house were held at the Canton location on July 29. OhioRISE (Resilience through Integrated Systems and Excellence) is a specialized Medicaid managed care system for children and youth with complex behavioral health and multisystem needs with Aetna Better Health of Ohio serving as the managed care partner. The Jefferson County Educational Service Center is the regional provider in an eight-county area including Jefferson, Belmont, Carroll, Columbiana, Monroe, Tuscarawas and Stark. Pictured during the event are, from left, JCESC CEO Dr. George Ash, care management coordinator Celestine Barnes, CME Program Director Linda Trushel, office manager Samantha Clevinger, care management coordinator Renee Wine and JCESC IT Director Patrick Keenan. The site operates weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, contact (740) 792-4011, ext. 502, or go online at www.jcesc.org/CareManagementEntity. A 24-hour crisis hotline is also available at (740) 792-4012.)
JCESC Lauds ACT Honorees
Posted 5/11/2022 at 10:15:58 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ACT Honorees 2022
STEUBENVILLE-The Jefferson County Educational Service Center is honoring local students who gained high marks on their ACT exams. 
 
   Fourteen graduating seniors from Edison, Indian Creek, Steubenville Catholic Central, Steubenville and Toronto High Schools are being recognized as 2022 ACT honorees for scoring a 30 or higher on their composite tests. JCESC held an ACT Recognition Breakfast for four years before COVID-19 canceled events, but those soon-to-be-alumni are still being spotlighted for their achievements.  
 
   Larry George, president of the JCESC Governing Board, was amazed at the students’ abilities to succeed on the exams and said it was a testament to the encouragement of their families and the educational practices of their schools. 
 
   “It’s an amazing accomplishment and I am proud that the ESC sponsors this award,” George added. “It’s a simple token of our appreciation for these students who scored so well on their exams, and I wish them all the success of higher education and in their future.” 
 
   JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said only 5 percent of an estimated 1.85 million test-takers—or about 92,000 students—attain such high scores and may also apply to 1,382 colleges or universities across the nation with a good chance of being admitted. The State of Ohio tests 75 percent of their graduates with an average composite score of 22, compared to the national average of 60 percent of students tested with an average score of 21.  
 
   “Each year, we see students recognized for a variety of accomplishments,” Dr. Kokiko commented. “The JCESC believes, in addition to the many recognitions that take place over the school year, that we take time to recognize those students who excelled academically on the ACT. We would like to congratulate the students, their families and the schools the students attend on this outstanding achievement. Although the test itself is single-day event and represented by a number, we know their success is the result of years of hard work and would like to wish the students continued success in the future endeavors.” 
   
  Among Edison’s achievers are Katelin Kowalczyk, Kathryn Maille, Emma Phillips, Tommy Phillips and Mikayla Reed. 
 
   Kowalczyk, the daughter of Scott and Lisa Kowalczyk of Bergholz, received a 31 on her exam. She holds a 4.0 grade point average and has been active in volleyball, Beta Club, FFA, Spanish Club and prom committee. She plans to attend The Ohio State University and study environmental science. 
 
   Maille, the daughter of Dan and Victoria Maille of Bloomingdale, scored a 30 on her exam and yields a 4.0 GPA. She was a band member during her high school career and plans to study history at Penn State University-Altoona, then hopes to become a librarian. 
 
   Emma Phillips, the daughter of James and Jamie Phillips of Amsterdam, earned a 33 and has an unweighted GPA of 4.00. She has been involved in the marching, concert and jazz bands playing clarinet and serving as an officer, plus she co-founded the chess club, is co-captain of the academic competition team and is a member of Spanish and drama clubs, Jefferson County Youth Coalition and the Valley Youth Initiative. Phillips plans to attend Columbia University to study biochemistry and minor in women’s, gender and sexuality studies, but her goal is to attend medical school, complete a surgical residency and become a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at a research hospital. 
 
   Tommy Phillips, son of Robert Phillips and Christina Gilday of Steubenville, scored a 33 and has a 3.99 GPA. He has participated in golf, academic team, Valley Youth Initiative, drama club and Spanish Club. Phillips plans to attend either Harvard, OSU or the University of Michigan to pursue a double major in mathematics and political science. 
                                                                                      
   Reed, the daughter of Michael and Tina Reed of Richmond, scored a 30 and holds a 4.0 GPA. Activities include varsity sideline football and basketball cheerleading captain and varsity competition cheerleading, National Sr. Beta Club as president with 350 hours of community service, marching band secretary, concert band, Valley Youth Initiative, Spanish Club, Fall 2020 EGCC Student Ambassador, freshman choir, 2021-22 Homecoming and Prom courts and a lifeguard at Belleview Pool. She plans to attend University of Pittsburgh Honors College and medical school to become a doctor of anesthesiology. 
 
   Indian Creek senior Kendall Driscoll, the daughter of David and Dawn Driscoll of Wintersville, scored a 30 and has an unweighted 3.97 GPA. She is a four-year member of Key Club and served as treasurer, academic team co-captain and in the marching band with the mellophone squad and as a section leader. Additionally, she is a three-year member of drama club and has been vice president and a two-year member of the robotics club and the National Honor Society, serving in the latter as president. Driscoll plans to attend OSU and major in biomedical engineering. 
 
   Steubenville Catholic Central honorees include Francesca Asci, Jack Blake, Johnny O’Karma and Eleanor Stoutz. 
 
   Asci, the daughter of Donald and Michelle Asci of Steubenville, received a 33 on her ACT exam and holds a 4.5 GPA. She has participated in tennis, chess club, academic team, band, National Honor Society, Key Club, International Thespian Society as well as miscellaneous community service projects. She plans to attend Franciscan University of Steubenville. 
 
   Blake, the son of Jeff and Julie Blake of Wintersville, scored a 35 on his exam and holds a 4.579 GPA. He has participated in marching band, theater, swimming, the Kairos Retreat, football, tennis, chess club, as a soccer referee, lifeguard and Steubenville Nutcracker Village volunteer. He plans to attend Notre Dame to study computer science. 
 
   O’Karma, the son of John and Michelle O’Karma of Weirton, earned a 33 and has a weighted GPA of 4.491.  He has earned 10 varsity letters in golf, swimming and tennis as well as three academic letters; received the 2020 All-Ohio Golf Academic Award and was part of the 2020 OVAC Golf Championship team; has volunteered for 262 community service hours of community service; served as a two-time leader for the Lisieux household, two-year class vice president, three-year academic team member, four-year treasurer for the Key Club and an NHS member. He will attend the University of Notre Dame to study aerospace engineering.  
 
   Stoutz, the daughter of Eric and Monica Stoutz of Steubenville, received a 32 on her ACT exam and holds a 4.3 GPA. She played clarinet in the CCHS Marching Band, participated in drama club, was inducted into the NHS and International Thespians Society, became a Kairos Leader, attended the annual Kairos Retreat and assisted the Steubenville Dance Committee. Her future plans are to attend an unnamed college and pursue a master’s degree in psychology. 
 
   Steubenville seniors who made the grade include Cole Antill, Theo Loot and Caitlin Lukacena. 
 
   Antill, the son of Charles and Judy Antill of Steubenville, scored a 30 on his ACT and holds a 4.54 GPA. He has been active in wrestling, golf, tennis, Key Club, Rotary-Interact and NHS. Antill plans to attend Youngstown State University and major in mechanical engineering. 
 
    Loot, the son of Brian and Emily Loot of Steubenville, scored a 32 on his ACT composite exam and holds a 4.5 GPA. He played varsity soccer for all four years of high school and plans to attend Franciscan University, then earn a law degree. 
 
   Lukacena, the daughter of James and Holly Lukacena of Wintersville, received a 30 on her exam and yields a 4.64 GPA. School activities include softball, band, majorette, Key Club, Rotary-Interact, Nike Club, NHS in addition to 300 hours of community service plus employment at the Follansbee Municipal Pool. She plans to attend Ohio University to major in chemistry pre-med, complete medical school and become a cosmetic dermatologist. 
 
  Toronto senior Kyle Leonard, the son of Chris and Tracey Leonard of Toronto, received a 30 on his test and has a 4.0 GPA. Leonard has participated in Key Club, student senate where he was president, Beta Club, Phi Theta Kappa, NHS, Close Up and the National Society of High School Scholars. He plans to attend St. Olaf College in Minnesota and his major is undecided. 
 
(Photos: Kowalczyk, Maille, Phillips E, Phillips T, Reed of Edison; Driscoll of IC; Asci, Blake, O'Karma and Stoutz of SCC; Antill, Loot and Lukacena of SHS; and Leonard of Toronto)
George Honored for 35 Years of Service by OSBA
Posted 4/6/2022 at 12:07:18 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
JCESC LArry George OSBA Award
STEUBENVILLE-One local educational leader has been honored for his dedication to students and schools during the Ohio School Boards Association’s Northeast Region Spring Conference.
 
   Larry George, who is president of the Jefferson County Educational Service Center Governing Board and Jefferson County Joint Vocational School Board of Education, was awarded for 35 years of service during the conference in Warren on March 28. George received a Silver Star as well as a service award in the Star Program for his activity and was humbled to earn the distinction.
 
    “It’s nice to be honored,” he commented. “The voters are the ones who put me in every time I run.”
 
   The Wintersville resident said he originally was appointed to fill the vacated seat of C.B. Henderson on both the JCESC and JVS boards and was later re-elected to the former panel. He has seen education evolve during his tenure and is glad to have been a part of it.
 
   “I’m happy to serve and I enjoy it. It’s amazing to see what it was like in the mid-80s to now with Jefferson Health Plan, the Virtual Learning Academy and Help Me Grow at the ESC. We’re offering legal services to districts and professional development and others services to help keep them up to speed,” George continued. 
 
   He served along with Ken Simeral at JCESC and on the JVSBOE, succeeding Simeral as president of both panels five years ago. During his time at the JVS, he has witnessed the addition of new programs such as small animal science and heavy equipment operator that is set to begin this fall, plus building and equipment upgrades to bring the school into the modern era. Other plans are to start a new subdivision and continue preparing students for the workforce. At JCESC, he also was essential in the formation of the professional training annex on Estelle Avenue which bears his name.
 
   “I’m honored to be on both boards and they have been all about teamwork,” he said. “We work well with the individual boards and student success is our goal.”
 
   Meanwhile, JCESC Governing Board Vice President Barry Gullen said George’s commendation exemplifies his longtime support for education.
 
   “Larry George has supported education through his work with the JCESC for more than three decades, and this award is a testament to his longevity and dedication. He has given his time to provide learning opportunities through professional development of teaching staff, programs for students and more. He truly cares about the kids and the schools that we serve,” Gullen commented.
 
   JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko congratulated George for his achievement and said he has been a true leader.
 
   “One of the high points in my career in education has been working with Mr. George.  He is a tremendous resource when understanding the historical perspective of education as well the Jefferson County Educational Service Center but more importantly, a visionary who is willing to take risks when looking toward the future,” Dr. Kokiko concluded. “The JCESC and our members schools have benefited immensely from Mr. George’s service and leadership.”

(Photo Cutline: Jefferson County Educational Service Center Governing Board President Larry George was honored for 35 years of service during the Northeast Region Ohio School Board Association Conference in Warren on March 28. He is pictured, at center, with OSBA Trustee Sally Green and OSBA Chief Executive Officer Rick Lewis.)
JCESC Gains $212K to Support Vulnerable Youth
Posted 3/24/2022 at 12:43:05 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE-More funding is coming to the Jefferson County Educational Service Center to help support vulnerable youth in the community.
 
    JCESC procured a $212,000 Family and Community Partnership Liaison Grant from the Ohio Department of Education for the 2023-24 school year to create a second liaison’s position who will assist a representative already in place. The purpose of the liaisons is to aid children in need by providing community resources to get the youth back on track. A $58,000 allocation was given during the 20-21 school year to create a position that would help school districts and families facing increased needs as a result of COVID-19. Jennifer Agresta, assistant principal at Harding Middle School, was selected to fill the role and establish a network of community resources, partners and support services for vulnerable youth and families. 
 
   JCESC Director of Special Education Amber Fomenko said the latest grant is an extension and will carry the program for the next two years.
 
   “It’s to build family and community partnerships two work with the vulnerable youth population,” Fomenko added. “Right now, the liaison has gone through trainings and she surveys local districts to get information. We’ve picked a vulnerable area and that’s our focus: justice-involved youth.”
 
   The program impacts children who face absenteeism to foster care, those who have been affected by the justice system in some form and implements Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requirements for students also experiencing homelessness, adjudication, who are English learners, have parents in the military, have disabilities and who are migrants. 
 
   “They had to form a coalition that works with the justice system that’s part of the community to get supports to help those youth,” Fomenko continued, adding the group includes juvenile court and probation officials. “They will look at trying to get a mental health provider to be part of it because the focus is on the whole child, so that will include the social-emotional piece. The liaisons give resources to the districts in the ESC’s consortium.”
 
   Agresta said the new liaison will work with the other school districts and such organizations as Children’s Services and the Friendship Room.
 
   “We look for the resources schools would need to pass along to the students and their families,” Agresta explained. “It could be absenteeism or delinquent juveniles in the juvenile detention center to help them transition back into school seamlessly. It’s stockpiling these resources in a place and schools can go to one location and ask what resources there are for a situation.”
JCESC Grant Tackles Learning Loss
Posted 3/4/2022 at 11:53:52 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE-The Jefferson County Educational Service Center has received a $1 million grant to review the ramifications of the COVID pandemic upon education in a bid to put students back on track to learning.
 
   JCESC was awarded funding through the Ohio Department of Education for the 2023-24 school year which Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said was part of a two-phase plan. Funds were previously given to review needs while the latest allocation would help seek solutions.  
 
   “JCESC was awarded funding for the 2022-23 school year and we were given $1 million through 2023-24 to address issues identified in the first round of funding. The first phase was to identify needs and the current round is to put programs in place to address phase one,” he said. “We found academic needs and mental health needs through the learning loss.”
 
    He added that a measurable decline was shown in academic achievement during the 2020-21 school year which was caused by the shutdown of schools. Leaders viewed the learning loss curve before, during and after the pandemic and are now taking steps to rectify the situation.
 
   “Our goal is to continue to enhance an afterschool tutoring program, to address literacy issues and provide Heggerty curriculum training to school district staff. We’re going to look to employ a mental health coordinator to work with students and local mental health agencies and a preparatory course to assist with ACT testing following a decline in schools,” Dr. Kokiko continued. “We’ll begin talks this spring with districts to implement this in the fall.”
 
    JCESC provides other services to help youth through educational and behavioral supports. Schools have utilized the Virtual Learning Academy (VLA) to assistant students who may now be credit deficient as well as a host of other test preparation programs in the system.  JCESC also offers a variety of high-quality professional development programs aimed at classroom teachers and assisting them with identification learning loss plus strategies for gain. The organization even sponsors the Quest For Success before- and after-school program for students in grades 5-8 who attend Jefferson County schools, and the program also offers virtual online tutoring to help youth get ahead with their studies. Tutoring is available Monday to Thursday from 7:30-8:30 a.m. and 1-5 p.m. while students utilize the Google Meet link and work with Quest staff and education students from Franciscan University. The program is a Homework Help with math and literacy using the IXL curriculum for personalized learning. Students can log into a Google Meet for sessions to receive homework and intervention assistance. For more information or to register, contact Mark Miller at mmiller@jcesc.org.
 
   Meanwhile, JCESC recently received a $1 million grant through OhioRISE (Resilience through Integrated Systems and Excellence) and will serve as one of 20 regional Care Management Entities (CMEs) for children with severe behavioral needs. That grant will aid start-up costs to build local systems of care for youth and the ESC’s program will benefit some 2,300 children in Jefferson, Harrison, Belmont, Monroe, Carroll, Columbiana, Tuscarawas and Stark counties. The initiative is anticipated to add 150 jobs and aid some 2,335 youth throughout the region.
OhioRISE Initiative Creates Job Opportunities
Posted 2/23/2022 at 10:02:16 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
In this together Ohio
STEUBENVILLE-The Jefferson County Educational Service Center has been named as one of 20 regional providers under a new initiative for children with severe behavioral needs and will require plenty of help to support the effort.
 
   JCESC has received grant funding through OhioRISE (Resilience through Integrated Systems and Excellence) and will serve as one of the community-oriented Care Management Entities (CMEs) statewide. Each CME will receive between $900,000 and $1.2 million for start-up costs to build local systems of care for youth and the ESC’s program will benefit some 2,300 children in eight counties including Jefferson, Harrison, Belmont, Monroe, Carroll, Columbiana, Tuscarawas and Stark.
 
   JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said the program gained $1,110,000 to establish local supports, which could add up to 150 jobs, and spots must be filled before the system goes live this July 1.
 
   “Over the past several years, the JCESC board’s vision has been to expand our outreach and services beyond grades K-12 and help address some of the issues that schools were facing prior to children entering school and upon graduation,” he added. “We began to see an increasing number of challenges in areas of mental health, substance abuse and developmental disabilities among our students. These issues impacted the education in our schools and the lives of our students and families. We started getting involved in the Family and Children First Council and Help Me Grow, Early Intervention and ENGAGE, and the knowledge and experience has helped us prepare for becoming a case management entity.” 
 
    In addition, he said the JCESC’s experience at growing other programs such as alternative schools, the Virtual Learning Academy (VLA) and Jefferson Health Plan demonstrated a capacity to successfully implement an initiative of this scale. Officials then learned about OhioRISE and soon became involved. When Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced last April that Aetna Better Health of Ohio would oversee the OhioRISE program, Dr. Kokiko said it created access to knowledge and resources the service had to offer and would enable the regional CMEs to maintain local services for local children and families.
 
   “The $1.1 million grant will fund the initial startup and this would be a bill-back program through Medicaid. The startup will allow us to hire people as well as put the infrastructure in place. The plan is to initially staff one at Jefferson County and one in Stark County with satellite locations in the other areas,” he explained.
 
    About 2,335 youth ultimately would be served throughout the region and an overall estimate of 60,000 kids statewide. The network to support them includes two categories: moderate care coordinator and intensive care coordinator.
 
   “A majority of the 150 people will be in these two categories,” Dr. Kokiko said. “Qualifications include experience in helping children through mental health, child welfare, developmental disabilities, juvenile justice, special education and behavioral health care.”
 
   He said the JCESC was grateful for the opportunity to expand its reach and assist children even further.
 
   “On behalf of all the selected CME’s and the JCESC, I would like to sincerely thank Governor DeWine for his vision and commitment to OhioRISE, as well as all of the cabinet directors and Aetna for this amazing opportunity. We are eager to begin the CME work. Additionally, the grant dollars and support networks provided will ensure the success of OhioRISE while creating a brighter future for thousands of youth and families across the Buckeye State.”  
 
   Ohio Department of Medicaid officials announced the launch of OhioRISE last week and said it was the state’s first highly integrated care program for youth with complex behavioral health and multi-system needs. 
 
   "Our goal is making sure children with the most complex needs receive the right kind of care, in their hometowns, surrounded by families and communities they know and trust," stated ODM Director Maureen Corcoran. “CMEs are vital to the success of the OhioRISE model. They will serve as the singular point of contact families will turn to in times of crisis, and a welcomed resource for managing day-to-day behavioral health and family support services. Their focus is ensuring that wrap-around, high-intensity care is available, coordinated locally, and clinically integrated for children enrolled.”
 
   The remaining CMEs provide community mental health and substance abuse, specialty care coordination, hospital and educational services and include Unison Health, Harbor, National Youth Advocate Program, Choices Coordinated Care Solutions, CareStar, Lighthouse Youth and Family Services, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Healvine, Integrated Services for Behavioral Health, The Village Network, The Buckeye Ranch, I Am Boundless, Inc., Wingspan Care Group, Coleman Health Services, OhioGuidestone, Positive Education Program, Ravenwood Health and Cadence Care Network while some of those organizations are in partnership with the Child and Family Health Collaborative. OhioRISE will be available to youth under age 21 who are Medicaid-eligible. For more information, visit the OhioRISE webpage at https://managedcare.medicaid.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/mac/managed-care/ohiorise.
 
   Full-time positions that are a combination of face-to-face, on-site work will be available with benefits and retirement, and anyone interested from the surrounding areas may apply online at the JCESC website at www.jcesc.k12.oh.us. Go to the “About” tab and check the employment listing.
January is School Board Appreciation month!
Posted 1/11/2022 at 11:58:54 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
JCESC School Board Appreciation 2022
The staff at JCESC would like to extend a heartfelt 'Thank You' to the JCESC Governing Board for always providing support and encouragement! Their leadership has allowed for the JCESC to grow by leaps and bounds as well as earn numerous awards from the State of Ohio. On behalf of the JCESC staff...'THANK YOU!' 
JCESC Rated as High Performing
Posted 12/10/2021 at 1:14:33 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE- The Jefferson County Educational Service Center has once again been recognized for measures taken to save local school districts money.
 
   The Ohio Department of Education’s Office of Budget and School Funding rated JCESC as high performing based on figures for cost-effective services provided in 2020-21 which enabled districts to put funding back into their coffers. 
JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said those efforts ultimately saved schools more than $720,000.
 
   “ESC’s are required to submit data based on the Ohio Administrative Code. We submitted data for psychologists, alternative schools, legal services, and occupational and speech therapy used by districts in the consortium,” Dr. Kokiko explained. “All of the programs generated $723,957 in savings, or 37.48 percent over outside vendor costs.”
 
    An application was made last summer and all ESC’s must demonstrate and show savings by comparing prices with private vendors. The data indicated that local districts split a total $1,207,423 for services rendered through JCESC while the same price for outside providers equaled $1,931,381. 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 and JCESC has been named high performing for the past three years.  
 
   The ESC was notified by Aaron Rausch, director of the Office of Budget and School Funding, who stated that those savings represent value to the school districts.
 
   “We know this is only a part of the total savings you provide each year. This has become even more apparent over the past 20 months. My colleagues and I here at the Department of Education are thankful for your partnership and willingness to take on additional duties as a result of the pandemic,” Rausch added.  
 
   Dr. Kokiko said the designation ties directly into the agency’s purpose.
 
   “A part of JCESC’s mission 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. The high performing ESC application helps validate that JCESC is providing cost-saving programs to its member schools.”
 
   He noted that every dollar the districts save would better serve students through education, and JCESC Treasurer Ethan Tice agreed.
 
   “As a treasurer, it is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day duties. While completing our High Performing ESC application, it allows time to reflect on how the services we offer as an ESC help provide a significant cost savings to local school districts,” Tice added. “This allows schools to use these saved dollars to benefit students in other ways.”
 
   In addition to providing those services, JCESC also acts as fiscal agent for the Jefferson Health Plan, has 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 ODE and includes a partnership with 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 have been held Monday to Thursday at the Jefferson County Alternative School on Cherry Avenue in Steubenville. Morning sessions are available from 7-8 a.m. with afterschool programming from 2-5 p.m. and more activities are held at the Sycamore Center on North Fourth Street in Steubenville.        
 
   JCESC also was among 46 sites in Ohio to obtain the three-year, $500,000 Striving Readers grant through the ODE. The 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.   
 
   JCESC serves Buckeye Local, Edison, Harrison Hills, Indian Creek, Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Jefferson County Joint Vocational School, Southern Local, Steubenville Catholic Central and Steubenville and Toronto City Schools in Ohio in addition to community schools such as E-School, Ohio Cyber Academy, Jefferson County Alternative School, Coshocton County Alternative School and Help Me Grow in Jefferson, Harrison, Belmont and Carroll counties.   
ESC Grant Provides Instructional Coaching
Posted 10/27/2021 at 9:48:49 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Brant Starkey Instructional Coaching
STEUBENVILLE-Local educational service centers have teamed up to provide teachers another resource to improve upon students’ education.
 
   The East Central Ohio ESC was awarded a $434,185 RemotEDx grant in September to provide virtual instructional coaching to school districts in conjunction with the Jefferson County ESC, Ohio Valley ESC, Muskingum Valley ESC and Gallia-Vinton ESC while Michele Carlisle of ECOESC serves as project manager. ECOESC partnered with the other groups and each are employing a coach while being reimbursed up to 75 percent of the costs through the one-year grant. In turn, the coaches work as a team to hold virtual one-on-one or small group sessions with teachers. According to the Ohio Department of Education website, RemotEDx is a state-level initiative that brings together a unique mix of remote, hybrid and blended learning partners from across the state to help schools and districts enhance, expand, and more effectively scale high-quality education delivery models. Consistent with the state’s strategic plan for education, RemotEDx places a premium on equity and seeks to support Ohio’s most underserved students.
 
  Coaches provide a minimum of two days’ face-to-face instruction in addition to online and train educators on strategies to hone their skills and utilize resources. Additionally, YouTube content and a podcast will be produced as an extra resource. Brant Starkey, instructional coach through JCESC, said his work involves assisting teachers in assessing their classroom practice and identifying potential areas for improvement, which may include better and more strategic use of technological tools.
 
   “It is driven by the desire to increase student impact through the use of technological tools that have been properly recommended and implemented,” he added. “The nice thing about this grant and this coaching system is that we are not exclusively bound to the ESC where we are based. If I am not sure how to handle a question that is brought to me, I can either directly ask one of my co-coaches for input, or I can refer the inquiring teacher directly to one of the other coaches. Additionally, teachers are not required to seek out the coach at their particular ESC. Through escsupport.org, they can reach out to any one of us.”
 
   Starkey was excited about the idea of assisting teachers to use technology to impact student learning in a positive way. 
 
   “The position is more about getting teachers to evaluate what they are doing in the classroom and seeing if we can come up with a solution to better reach the students that they teach. At the end of the day, it is about helping teachers to make a greater impact on the students they see each day.”
 
   Starkey holds an Associate of Arts degree from Ohio Valley University and a bachelor’s degree in health education 5-12 and athletic training from Marshall University. He taught health for 16 years in the Indian Creek Local School District and pursued an opportunity outside the field around 2014. He has taught at the Jefferson County Justice Center for the past four years and is nearing completion of his master’s degree in education administration from Franciscan University. He is getting acclimated to his latest role and said he and his fellow instructional coaches will work to support and benefit the teachers and their pupils.

   JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko noted that RemoteEDX establishes mini-grants and the consortium applied for funding, and hopes are to renew it in the future to continue the program.
 
   “JCESC viewed the RemoteEDx grant as an opportunity to work with surrounding ESC’s and provide valuable service to our local schools.  Just like our students are in different places in their educational program, so are our teachers when it comes to instructional tools and strategies,” Dr. Kokiko said. “With many schools going remote in the 2020-2021 school year, the need for instructional support, especially in the areas of technology became apparent.  The grant will allow the newly created network to assist our teachers with their individual needs in an efficient and effective model.  We look forward to Mr. Starkey assisting our educators in making the educational experience better for both our teachers and students.”
Quest for Success offering Virtual Online Tutoring
Posted 10/8/2021 at 10:09:27 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE-The Quest For Success program has a new offering to help students keep their grades in check with virtual online tutoring.
 
   Students in grades 5-8 who attend Jefferson County schools may take part in the latest iteration of the program which kicks off for a fifth year on Oct. 18. The before-and-after-school program has held activities at the Quest Center located at 2250 Cherry Ave. in Steubenville and partners with 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. Tutoring will be available on Monday to Thursday from 7:30-8:30 a.m. and 1-5 p.m. Students will utilize the Google Meet link and work with Quest For Success staff and education students from Franciscan.
 
   “The program will be the Quest for Success Homework Help with math and literacy using IXL [curriculum for personalized learning],” said JCESC Administrative Assistant Mark Masloski, who serves as program manager. “This is the second year and students are able to log into a Google Meet to have tutoring sessions. They can work on homework they need assistance with as well as intervention.”
 
   IXL combines a comprehensive K-12 curriculum, real-time diagnostics, personalized guidance and actionable analytics to personalize instruction and help student progress faster. For more information or to register, contact mark.miller@jcesc.k12.oh.us.
 
   Participating students represent Buckeye Local, Edison Local, Indian Creek Local, Steubenville City and Toronto City School Districts, Bishop John King Mussio, Jefferson County Christian School and home schools throughout the county. Quest for Success is made possible through a five-year, $850,000 grant through the Ohio Department of Education which provides $200,000 annually for the first three years, with $150,000 during year four and $100,000 the final year.
Parker is Administrator of the Year
Posted 9/13/2021 at 1:25:48 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Ken Parker
Ken Parker, principal at Harrison Central, was named 2021 Administrator of the Year during the Principals’ Leadership Collaborative meeting on Sept. 9 at the Jefferson County Educational Service Center’s R. Larry George Training Annex. Parker received a plaque and $700 to be used at his grade PK-12 school. JCESC Director of Curriculum and Professional Development Ron Sismondo said the governing board recognizes an outstanding school leader each year who has succeeded in providing high-quality learning opportunities for students, and Parker definitely fits that description. The principal was lauded for his exemplary contributions to his profession in the areas of leadership, curriculum, instruction and assessment, school environment and personal excellence. The Administrator of the Year honor has been given since 2018 with Buckeye Local and Harrison Hills City Schools each yielding two recipients. Pictured are, from left, Parker with Sismondo.
Help Me Grow Merging Services
Posted 8/31/2021 at 11:37:25 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE-An organization centered on helping families and babies thrive is merging services this fall.
 
   Help Me Grow, which benefits families in Belmont, Carroll, Harrison and Jefferson counties, will unite its Cadiz and Steubenville locations beginning Oct. 1. The agency currently is sponsored by the Jefferson County Educational Service Center with the Cadiz office under the Harrison Hills City School District’s umbrella, but Help Me Grow Contract Manager Linda Trushel said funding issues led to the move.
 
   “The Harrison Hills City School District was notified in May that Help Me Grow lost $460,000 in federal Maternal, Infant, Early Childhood Home Visiting program (MIECHV) funding due to a recent needs assessment done by the Ohio Department of Health,” she added, saying the funds were awarded to counties in Southern Ohio.
 
   The results prompted officials to merge the two offices and the staff will now increase to 14 home visitors, two secretaries and Trushel and operate at JCESC’s R. Larry George Training Annex on Estelle Avenue in Steubenville. The group will to continue assisting a total of 325 families in the four-county region by providing visits for prenatal mothers with children through age 3 who qualify. Help Me Grow Home Visiting offers expectant or new parents information and support they need to be prepared for the birth of their child, as well as ongoing education and support to maximize their child’s health and development.  
 
   “Our goal is to increase parent knowledge of how children grow and learn, how important it is for children to have a strong bond to their parents and help families learn all the resources in the community so they have what they need to raise their children. We can meet in the family home, virtually or at community site depending on what is easier for the parents,” she added. “I am excited to combine the Harrison and Jefferson families under the JCESC as the administrative agent. The ESC currently serves Carroll, Belmont and Jefferson counties, so adding more families from Harrison and Jefferson will be an easy transition. The JCESC administration has supported HMG services fiscally and administratively since 2013.” 
 
   She added that HHCSD served Help Me Grow families in Harrison and Jefferson counties since 2010 and the federal MIECHV grant, which was awarded in 2013, expires on Sept. 30. The move will also result in the closure of the Help Me Grow office on 115 W. Warren St. in Cadiz at that time and Trushel was grateful for the support the agency has received in that area.
 
   “We have made a lot of good friends during that time. I want to thank Harrison Hills City School District for their support and guidance, Superintendent Dana Snider and [District Treasurer] Roxane Harding, along with the staff under their direction. They have all gone beyond the call of duty, Ed Moore has been an awesome landlord and Gary’s Auto Garage staff have been great neighbors. While we will no longer have an office in Cadiz or Harrison County, the same staff will continue to serve families from prenatal to age 3 who live there. We will continue to work with the Harrison County Legions and community supporters for the Back to School, Operation Warm coat giveaway and Share-A-Christmas project in Harrison County.”
 
   For more information on Help Me Grow’s services, call (740) 283-3347.
Substitutes Needed for School Districts
Posted 8/23/2021 at 1:32:18 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
substitutes needed
STEUBENVILLE-School districts throughout the area are experiencing a shortage of substitute positions and are looking for people to fill the posts.
 
   Substitute teachers to bus drivers are needed throughout Jefferson County and beyond and the Jefferson County Educational Service Center is providing some guidelines for those seeking to apply. JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said substitute teachers were vital to helping children learn.
 
   “Substitute teachers are a very important part of our school systems.  In addition to continuing the education process when teachers are out sick, they also provide much-needed classroom covering for teacher training,” Dr. Kokiko commented. “Oftentimes, educational workshops and professional development seminars take place during the school hours and the decision on whether or not teachers will be able to participate is based on the fact that there may simply not be a substitute teacher available.  The role of a substitute teacher is often a gateway for new folks to enter the education profession as well as those retiring to stay active.”
 
   Teachers must apply for licensure by contacting a school, district or the JCESC and must not seek a new or renewed license at the Ohio Department of Education’s online system until they have completed the local process. Otherwise, the application will be declined. Applicants must complete the employment process and create an OH/ID account at https://safe.ode.state.oh.us/portal. The employing organization must be notified to request the employers’ IRN and the organization’s e-signer must approve the application. If working with JCESC, those officials can provide information. Current background checks must be on file with ODE and may be completed at the school district offices or JCESC. Please call to schedule an appointment during school and JCESC business hours. JCESC performs checks on Monday and Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Costs for BCI checks are $30 and $40 for FBI background reviews with the latter’s results mailed from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office to the application within five to 10 business days.
 
   Transcripts must be submitted reflecting the conferred degree, which is a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, and may be scanned and uploaded in PDF format to the OH/ID account. ODE does not accept grade reports, photos or photocopies of transcripts or unofficial transcripts. Information must include the following:
 
  • The date of bachelor's degree;
  • All transcript pages (front and back);
  • A visible registrar's signature and transcript key or guide;
  • One PDF file per transcript (Do not upload pages separately);
  • Separate uploaded transcripts from multiple universities (Each university transcript must be one PDF file);
  • Electronic transcripts which may only be sent directly from a college and must use the email educator.licensure@education.ohio.gov;
  • No transcripts that will expire or are password protected or locked;
 
    Applicants may view previously submitted documents in your OH|ID account under the My Documents section of your CORE Dashboard. Online applications may be submitted by accessing the OH/ID account, clicking on Educator Licensure and Records (CORE), completing the online application from the CORE Dashboard. For complete instructions, go to the link at http://education.ohio.gov/getattachment/Topics/Teaching/Licensure/Audiences/Coaching-Permits/CORE-User-Manual.pdf.aspx?lang=en-US.  Email JCESC Administrative Specialist Kathy Daubenmeyer the certificate or permit along with current background checks and personal contact information. Upon receipt of the completed documentation, applicants will be added to the participating districts’ substitute list. Those preferring to mail original, official transcripts may send them to the Ohio Department of Education Office of Educator Licensure, 25 S. Front St., Mail Stop 504, Columbus, OH 43215.

   Dr. Kokiko said the need for bus drivers has also grown in districts, and they also have an important role in the school system.
 
   “Often in the coaching world, our kids are told that the first step is showing up.  In order to educate our students, we need to have them in school.  Bus drivers are a key part of our educational system,” he continued. “In addition to bringing students to and from school, they also transport our students on field trip and extracurricular activities. Our districts would welcome any new or interested individuals into their busing programs.”
 
   Anyone seeking a bus driving position must contact the district transportation director to apply as part of that placement process.
Bus drivers must be at least 21 years old with a minimum of two years’ driving experience; be physically qualified pursuant to the Administrative Code; complete semi-annual driver record checks through the ODE while records shall be maintained by 
the employer and/or school district for at least six years; be licensed as a school bus operator; hold bus driver certification by a city or exempted village superintendent, community school superintendent, county ESC, county Board of Developmental Disabilities, HeadStart program administrator, non-public administrator or contractor; complete preservice and in-service training; be physically capable of safely and appropriately lifting and managing preschool and special needs children when necessary; be able to cope with stressful situations; have a satisfactory criminal background report (a new report is required every six years with driver re-certification); have a negative pre-employment drug test; and participate in drug and alcohol testing as mandated by federal regulations. Individuals who refuse testing are disqualified from operating a school bus. Those with any of the following shall be disqualified from operating a school bus: more than six points during the past two years; a DUI conviction for alcohol or controlled substances during the past 10 years; two or more serious traffic violations during the past two years; or any railroad crossing violation during the past year. 
 
   More information on maintenance personnel to aides is also available for those interested in seeking those positions.  For more details, contact JCESC at (740) 283-3347 or email Daubenmeyer at kdaubenmeyer@jcesc.org.
Parenting Classes Available to Aid Special Needs Children
Posted 6/21/2021 at 8:50:34 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE-Parents of children with special needs are getting some extra support with a 14-week training course now available in Steubenville.
 
   ENGAGE, an organization formed through the Family and Children First Council in Jefferson County, is sponsoring the program and has contracted with Kendall Behavioral Solutions of Martins Ferry to provide classes at All 4 Kids, formerly the Children’s Academy located at 4238 Sunset Boulevard. The classes run from June 1-Aug. 31 and are held each Tuesday from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 
 
   FCFC Coordinator Linda Trushel said about a half-dozen families have been involved with the program and it was much needed in the area.
 
   “Parenting a child with special needs is not the same as parenting a child who is typically developing,” she said.
 
   Lessons include behavioral principles, prevention strategies, daily schedules, functional communication training, sleep problems, teaching skills and crisis management. She added that sessions are recorded and parents who miss a lesson may obtain a copy to catch up.
 
   Katie Kendall, a board-certified behavioral analyst who operates Kendall Behavioral Services, co-teaches the sessions with Katie Winter-Hazen, who is also a BCBA and COBA and director of in-home supports for Kendall Behavioral Services. Kendall explained that parents and caregivers have actively participated so they could better serve the children in their charge.
 
   “We currently are providing support to the families by allowing trained individuals to babysit their children so that they can attend the course. We also are able to use part of the course to observe the children and parent interaction, which is instrumental in us tailoring the course to fit the families’ needs individually,” she said. “During the classroom time, we allow them to share what strategies they have used or resources they have found to be useful, so the families can learn from each other. We have already noticed that the support from one another is becoming invaluable and they are forming a bond. They realize they are not alone.”
 
   She added that the course is broken down into weekly sessions to new skills and strategies to use in their natural environments. They also focus on solving problems with them regarding small behaviors and how to functionally communicate with the children. Additionally, they work on addressing how the parent or caregiver’s own behavior can reinforce the child’s behavior as well.
 
   Six parents and grandparents currently take part and the program is based on a Rubric created by Kendall officials. 
Kendall said Trushel, whom she’s worked with in the past, had approached her about parent training services. Although the company generally works with clients in a home environment, Kendall agreed to conduct a program at a larger venue.
 
   “I told her we could adapt it and turn it into a group parent training, while also giving parents and grandparents an opportunity for it serve as a support group as well. Linda really made everything possible for this group to happen.”
 
   Kendall added that it was important for parents to keep advocating for their child so they have the best lives possible.
 
   “I truly believe that their possibilities are endless with the right parents pushing them and supporting them. They can achieve and do the unexpected as long as you don’t give up on them. I would also advise parents to welcome feedback and advice from professionals. We often see so many parents get in their own way, which holds the child back. Developing self-awareness is vital tool to your child’s success,” Kendall noted. “We are just so excited to be a part of such a wonderful opportunity for these families. We are excited to see how we can grow this parent training program and grateful that Jefferson County ENGAGE is investing into something that is truly needed. They are setting a standard for other counties and providing a wonderful resource.”
 
  Meanwhile, ENGAGE operates under the umbrella of the Jefferson County FCFC with the Jefferson County Educational Service Center acting as fiscal agent.
 
   For more information about the parent training sessions, contact Trushel at (740) 491-0548 or by email at ltrushel@jcesc.org.
JCESC Recognizes Districts for Navigating Difficult Year
Posted 6/10/2021 at 9:26:51 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
JCESC Super Meeting
STEUBENVILLE-Area school districts were recognized for their efforts to maintain education while navigating these unprecedented times.
 
   The Jefferson County Educational Service Center presented a resolution of appreciation during the June 4 superintendent’s meeting and heralded leaders for keeping studies and safety at the forefront amid the challenges of COVID-19. Schools in the area had a mix of face-to-face, hybrid and remote learning over the past year but have worked their way back to a more normal learning environment. 

    The resolution states, in part: “Whereas the school year has been subject to well-known difficulties associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and many school districts in the State of Ohio and across our nation have not been able to conduct in-person education for various reasons...and schools served by [JCESC] have for most, if not all, of the school year provided in-person education as well as related extracurricular activities and remote education opportunities when necessary in spite of COVID-19 difficulties. The JCESC Board of Education and administration recognizes and congratulates schools and commends all school board members, administrators, teachers and support staff on a job well done.”
 
   The JCESC Governing Board members were on hand and thanked the superintendents, their schools and employees for helping students stay on track.
 
   “Congratulations on a great year,” said member Barry Gullen.
 
   “We are thankful for your dedication and are very proud of what all the districts were able to accomplish,” added President Larry George.
 
   Several superintendents reflected upon the year, saying it was a joint effort between faculty, staff, administration, parents and students. Edison Local Superintendent Bill Beattie noted that despite the disruption of some remote learning, he was pleased with the work his district was able to accomplish.
 
   “We have some truly dedicated administrators, faculty and staff, and certainly the parents and students did their part to make it work,” Beattie said. “Now we can hopefully look ahead to a more normal school year.”
 
   “We were lucky to have in-person learning this year and are looking forward to next year,” said Harrison Hills Superintendent Dana Snider.
 
   On a similar note, leaders discussed learning plans and JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said leaders should look at all available options when they create safe opening plans for the 2021-2022 school year. Some of the accommodations made this past year were only possible through temporary health orders and legislation and officials will keep informed on the possibilities for next year.   
 
   “As a state and nation, we had some districts that never went back to face-to-face learning this year,” said Dr. Kokiko. “Locally, we may have had some hiccups along the way, but our districts and students did a great job maximizing face to face learning.   We will work on developing multiple operational plans but hope next school year has us back to a normal school experience.  JCESC will continue to make the safe operation of schools our priority as well as develop a plan to address any learning losses students may have experienced.”

(Photo Cutline: The Jefferson County Educational Service Center recognized school districts for their efforts to navigate these unprecedented times amid COVID while continuing to educate students. Pictured are, from left, JCESC Board President Larry George, board member Barry Gullen, Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities Superintendent Michael Zinno, Edison Superintendent Bill Beattie, Indian Creek Superintendent Dr. T.C. Chappelear, Jefferson County Joint Vocational School Superintendent Dr. Todd Phillipson, Toronto Superintendent Maureen Taggart, Buckeye Local Superintendent Kimberly Leonard, Harrison Hills Superintendent Dana Snider, JCESC Governing Board member Toni Dondzila and JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko.)
JCESC Goes Beyond with Assistance during COVID
Posted 5/17/2021 at 6:33:08 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE-The advent of the coronavirus has Jefferson County Educational Service Center going beyond usual duties when it comes to assisting school districts.
 
  Since the pandemic closed down schools in March of 2020, JCESC and other educational service centers have provided more than online and teacher training opportunities. In fact, they have responded to COVID-19 by supplying districts with masks, rapid tests and capabilities to plan vaccinations for teachers, staff and eligible students. JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said the goal was to help students continue their education in a safe and secure manner.
 
   “During COVID times, an average of 20 percent of kids have gone remote this year,” he said. “A lot of kids were not going to school so teachers made sure there was a connection between students and services.”
 
   JCESC has long worked with school districts to maintain a learning curriculum by offering Virtual Learning Academy, which includes an estimated 200 core and elective courses for grades K-12 that are 100-percent aligned to state standards, and ProgressBook, which gives teachers control of lesson plans for students both in class and at home. But COVID-19 resulted in even more opportunities to help the students and schools the organization serves.
   
  “The ESC’s role has expanded during COVID to assist with masks, vaccinations and other needs,” said Dr. Kokiko. “We have distributed masks twice over the school year, and with vaccinations, our initial role was to survey schools to see who would be interested in getting vaccinated among the staff and we informed the health district and helped coordinate agencies to provide the shots.”
 
   Thousands of 3M KN-90 masks were supplied in a collaborative effort between the State of Ohio and Department of Public Safety and Emergency Management Agency so every school student can benefit to attend classes and study more securely. A total of 18,000 masks went to school districts within JCESC’s consortium, which include Buckeye Local, Edison, Indian Creek, Harrison Hills, Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities’ School of Bright Promise, Jefferson County Joint Vocational School, Steubenville City, Southern Local and Toronto City Schools, in addition to the Utica Shale Academy, Lakeland Academy, Steubenville Catholic Central and Jefferson County Christian School. In addition, JCESC received nearly 1,400 kits for distribution among the districts for staff and students and will follow up if more kits are needed. The schools track the number of kits they distribute and each one uses a scanner and includes a live chat with a health official who provides results via phone call.
 
    But one significant aspect revolves around the formation of a new position to help tie districts and communities together.
 
   JCESC Director of Special Education Amber Fomenko said the Ohio Department of Education awarded a $58,000 Family and Community Partnership Liaison Grant for 2020-21 school year which helped create the post. The CARES Act is funding the grant, which will provide 51 liaisons statewide to facilitate the process. 
 
  “Funding for this grant was in response to the increased needs of school districts and families due to COVID-19 and Jennifer Agresta is the liaison for our ESC,” Fomenko said. “The JCESC is appreciative to the Ohio Department of Education for the opportunity to build a network of community resources, partners and support services for vulnerable youth and families.”
 
   She added that Agresta and other liaisons will receive training from the Ohio Statewide Family Engagement Center at the Ohio State University to develop strategies to increase local-level communication, outreach and family engagement specifically for vulnerable youth and families. The Ohio Statewide Family Engagement Center is partnering with ODE to create a professional development plan for high-quality family engagement training which will focus on building community, partnership and best practices between the liaisons.                 
 
   Agresta, who serves as an assistant principal at Harding Middle School in the Steubenville City School District, said she works with districts and communities to build networks of resources, partners and support for vulnerable youth and families due to COVID-19.
 
  “I am able to collaborate with other liaisons from all over the state to help gather resources to send back to local districts to assist,” she continued. “I am helping to provide support to districts for implementing Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requirements for students experiencing homelessness, in foster care, experiencing adjudication, who are English learners, with parents in the military, with disabilities and who are migrants. I am also the assistant principal at Harding Middle School in Steubenville City Schools. I believe this helps me understand some of the needs in the schools and allows me to connect with the resources necessary to assist others during this unprecedented time.”
 
   Schools have worked with their health districts with the assistance of Change, Inc., to obtain vaccinations. 
JCESC Recognizes ACT High Achievers
Posted 5/3/2021 at 4:05:59 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ACT Honorees 2021
STEUBENVILLE-The Jefferson County Educational Service Center is recognizing 13 area high school seniors for their success in achieving high composite scores on their ACT exams.
 
   JCESC has held an ACT Recognition Breakfast for four years to laud soon-to-be graduates who score a 30 or higher on their ACT tests, but COVID-19 forced the cancelation of events for 2020 and 2021. Still, officials hoped to highlight the students’ accomplishments and the latest honorees represent Edison, Harrison Central, Indian Creek, Southern Local, Steubenville Catholic Central and Steubenville High Schools.
 
   Larry George, president of the JCESC Governing Board, said the students deserved the accolades and their accomplishments were a testament to the dedication of their respective school districts.
 
   “This is something the ESC is proud to sponsor. These kids are testing over and above,” said George. “In the past, we’ve had a breakfast to honor them and it’s disappointing that we can’t do that again this year because of COVID. We are proud of the students and it speaks to all of the districts preparing them for the next step in their lives.”
 
   JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said that nationwide, 1,670,497 students in the class of 2020 took the ACT and the average score was 20.6. Ohio had an average score of 20.0 in 2019.  Of the 19 states that paid for student testing, Ohio tied for fourth in average composite score in the group which saw 98-to-100-percent participation.    
 
   “When you begin to look at students scoring 30 or higher on the ACT, you are talking about scores in the top 94th percentile,” Dr. Kokiko added. “JCESC recognizes this outstanding achievement among our member school students and would like to congratulate both the students, their families and school systems for the years of hard work that go into this accomplishment.  We wish each student success in their future endeavors.”
 
   Edison High School senior Ireland McCafferty, the daughter of Billy and Jody McCafferty of Steubenville, received a score of 31 on her ACT exam and holds a 4.0 grade point average. She has participated in Beta Club, A Capella Choir, Academic Team and Spanish Club. She plans to attend West Liberty University with a dual major in visual communication design and clinical psychology. 
 
   Harrison Central High School senior Alexandra Barcroft, the daughter of Steve and Angie Barcroft of Cadiz, scored a 30 on her ACT test and holds a 4.385 GPA. She has been active with varsity football, basketball and competition cheering, the latter in which she lettered for three years and acts as senior chair captain. She also has been involved with Ohio Model United Nations for three years and participated in mock trial, National Honor Society, as school news/website editor, a baseball concession stand worker/planner for two years and 2020 Biddy Cheerleading coach. Barcroft even dressed up as the HCHS Husky mascot for schools and events, read to children and helped where needed, plus she created compost bins with her service class as a senior project and volunteered at Lancia Nursing Home prior to the COVID pandemic. She plans to attend the University of Akron for biomedical engineering.
  
   Indian Creek High School senior Vyom Dave, the son of Dharmesh and Darshita Dave of Mingo Junction, yielded a 33 on his ACT test and holds a 3.9 GPA. He has participated in tennis, Key Club, NHS, SADD, Robotics Club, Academic Club, Youth Coalition, Biology League and Future Business Leaders of America. He plans to attend Ohio State University to major in computer science and engineering.
 
    ICHS senior Matthew Hope, the son of Suzanne and David Hope Jr. of Bloomingdale, scored a 31 on his exam and holds a 4.6 GPA. He has been active in NHS, Key Club, marching band and concert band during his high school career. He plans to attend the University of Akron to study civil engineering.
 
   ICHS senior Pierce Pietro, son of Mark and Julie Pietro of Mingo Junction, scored a 30 on his ACT test and holds a 4.79 GPA. He has been active in football, swimming and track, has been a member and is currently president of Key Club, participated in NHS and served as treasurer and has worked at Lickety Splitz and Subway. He plans to attend the University of Kentucky to major in biomedical engineering with hopes of working on prosthetic devices for those in need.
 
   ICHS senior Amie Smith, the daughter of Bradley and Erica Smith of Mingo Junction, earned a 32 on her ACT test and holds a 4.69 weighted GPA. During her high school career, she has been active with track and field, cross country, softball, NHS, Key Club, SADD, Drama Club, marching band, pep band, concert band and jazz band, plus she volunteered at the Jefferson County Humane Society and assisted with fundraisers for Key Club and NHS. She plans to attend Ohio University to major in psychology and criminology.
 
   Southern Local senior Sam May, the son of Fred and Erin May of Summitville, obtained a score of 31 on his exam and holds a 4.2 GPA. He has been involved with baseball, basketball and NHS during his high school career and plans to attend Ohio State University.
 
   Steubenville Catholic Central senior Tina Dong, daughter of Qiang Zhang and Bing Dong of Steubenville, scored a 31 on her ACT composite test and holds a 4.515 GPA. She has been active in varsity basketball, tennis, Pep Club, Key Club and NHS. Outside of school, she volunteers at Trinity West and tutors elementary students in English and math. She plans to attend University of Pittsburgh and major in nursing.
 
   SCC senior Joseph Rohde, the son of Jeffrey and Bridget Rohde of Steubenville, earned a 35 on his ACT exam and holds a weighted GPA of 4.666 or an unweighted average of 4.0. He also gained 11 varsity letters in soccer, cross country, basketball and track; took part in seven OVAC championships and received one OVAC First Team Award in soccer and two OHSAA First Team District East awards in track; has volunteered for 219 hours from Boy Scouts to community service; served as an Eagle Scout and senior patrol leader for the Boy Scouts, Gonzaga household leader, NHS president, senior class secretary, Kairos leader and Armis Dei leader. He plans to study chemistry at Franciscan University.
 
   Steubenville High School senior Anthony Desany, of Wintersville, earned a 32 on his ACT exam and holds a 4.0 GPA. He has been active since middle school, where he helped volunteer at a food pantry, and spent his high school years with the Connect Ministries youth group and volunteering at the Sycamore Center. His college choice is undecided but he plans to become a computer animator. 
 
   Steubenville senior Tanner Kerr, the son of Thomas and Shannon Kerr of Wintersville, scored a 31 on his ACT exam and has a 4.302 weighted GPA. He was a four-year member of Steubenville High School's marching and concert bands and said becoming involved in school functions and the community greatly contributed to his personal growth. He plans to attend Washington & Jefferson College to major in biology and then seek a career in pharmacy. 
 
   SHS senior Emma Settle, the daughter of Jennifer Warner and Daniel Settle of Steubenville, received an ACT score of 31 and holds a weighted grade point average of 4.49. During her high school career, she was involved in a cappella and Jazz Choir, Drama Club, Key Club, tennis NHS and the International Thespian Society and has worked at the UPS Store. Her future plans are to attend Franciscan University of Steubenville to major in pre-med and get accepted into the physician’s assistant program.
 
   Steubenville senior Sofia Slivka is the daughter of Ronald and Kimberly Slivka of Steubenville and scored a 31 on her ACT exam. She holds a 4.56 GPA and has been active in school with Rotary-Interact Club, Key Club, choir, Art Club, Leo Club and the NHS. Both her college choice and major are currently undecided.
Summer School Opportunity
Posted 4/6/2021 at 1:55:25 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Summer School
For more information or to register:
VI Students Benefit from iPads
Posted 2/5/2021 at 1:10:33 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE-An $8,000 BroadbandOhio Connectivity grant is providing new iPads to benefit visually impaired students in two local school districts.
 
   The technology was acquired by the Jefferson County Educational Service Center and will help students at Buckeye Local and Edison Local Schools update older devices. Funding was used to procure six iPads for the visual impairment (VI) unit in both districts and benefits six students as they obtain their education. Officials said costs were split with $2,500 spent for the newer devices and about $5,500 used to purchase public Wi-Fi access.
 
   Nikki Richardson, a teacher of the visually impaired who works through the JCESC, said the iPads will provide updated applications to help them learn.
 
   “The students will use the accessibility features of the iPads to access in the general education curriculum,” she explained. “These features include voiceover, zoom, magnification, talk-to-text, and display and font size options. Book and screen reading applications can be downloaded, allowing students to easily access textbooks and other educational materials. The iPad can also be paired with a refreshable Braille display to enable accessibility for Braille readers.”
 
   Richardson was extremely thankful that students were receiving the technology, saying the VI unit provides services to students throughout Jefferson County who have visual impairment and this would certainly help. Services include accessible materials production, assistive technology instruction, Braille and Nemeth code instruction, orientation and mobility training, daily living skills instruction for the visually impaired and transition planning assistance.
 
   JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said the grant was another way to enhance education for area students.
 
  “JCESC always actively seeks grant funding for our member schools and students.  The BroadbandOhio Connectivity grant was a chance to directly help students,” said Dr. Kokiko. “The VI unit was started to provide high quality services to our VI students within the county and in their home district when possible.  Before the creation of the unit, students had to travel outside of their school and community to receive the services they needed. We are great full for the school partnerships as well as being able to provide the service locally.  Our VI staff does a great job with the students and grants such as these help us to continually improve the program.”
ESC, Schools Touted by L.A.W.S. Movement
Posted 2/4/2021 at 10:29:54 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Cookie West, who established the Lee Alexander West Spiritual Movement (L.A.W.S.), presents a certif
STEUBENVILLE-Local educators have been navigating students through learning amid the coronavirus pandemic, and those efforts have not gone unnoticed.  
 
   The Lee Alexander West Spiritual Movement (L.A.W.S.) honored nine area school districts and the Jefferson County Educational Service Center with the ninth annual Lee West Award for their ongoing work to maintain education in person or remotely. Cookie West established L.A.W.S. and began honoring educators and community members as a lasting legacy to her late son, Lee, who passed away in a housefire in 2012. She presented individual awards to officials at Buckeye Local, Edison, Indian Creek, Jefferson County Christian School, Jefferson County Joint Vocational School, the School of Bright Promise, Steubenville Catholic Central, Steubenville City Schools and Toronto City Schools in addition to JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko.
 
   “I’ve been giving awards for the past eight years and Jan. 31 was the ninth year since [Lee’s] death. We typically have a memorial and award service on that day, but with COVID we felt this would be the best way of celebrating,” she said. “We started to give Teacher Impact Awards because I noticed there were so many teachers who impacted his life in such a memorable way. I knew the contributions they made but they are not only shaping future generations but our generation now, and I wanted them to know how much we appreciate what they do.”
 
   High school students generally have a chance to nominate someone who positively impacted their life, but the advent of the coronavirus altered this year’s presentation and she opted to collectively tout the learning institutions. West gave certificates of appreciation to the districts and thanked leaders for all they do to keep students on track academically during this unprecedented time.
 
   “We decided to think outside the box and still present the award. We gave all of the school districts certificates of appreciation to personally thank them all for the hard work they have to do to get through the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years.”
 
   She recognized everyone from administrators and teachers to staff and bus drivers, saying each person makes a valuable contribution to a student’s life. School leaders were touched by the distinction and lauded West for supporting education and the community.
 
    “We appreciate the recognition and everything Cookie and the L.A.W.S. Movement does for our community,” said Indian Creek Superintendent Dr. T.C. Chappelear. “We’re proud to receive the certificate of appreciation presented to all of our staff.”
 
   “It is a great honor to have the school recognized for all the work that the staff has done to help the students. We have people who are dedicated to the success of students and we are proud of this recognition,” said Dr. Todd Phillipson, superintendent at JCJVS.
 
   “We are honored as a school district to be recognized for such a good cause,” added Edison Superintendent Bill Beattie. “Cookie and L.A.W.S. have done a wonderful job in being creative in honoring her son.”

  Meanwhile, Dr. Kokiko thanked West and said the L.A.W.S. Movement was an incredible way to honor Lee.
 
  “Cookie has shown great personal strength with the tragic loss of her son and has carried on his dream and vision through the L.A.W.S. Movement. JCESC sincerely accepts the L.A.W.S. certificate and appreciates everything Cookie and the L.A.W.S. Movement do for our community.” 
 
   In addition to the Teacher Impact awards, L.A.W.S. also distributes Village Impact Awards to people who build healthy villages for children and provides activities such as a family basketball tournament and birthday bash, plus it financially sponsors a summer church camp for 80-100 kids. West next hopes to establish the WHat’s Right program to support single mothers and fathers with spiritual parental approaches to life. She said it was something her son believed in an