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Indian Creek Teachers Receive Mini-Grants
Posted 11/23/2020 at 9:31:38 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Indian Creek BPG
MINGO JUNCTION-Three teachers in the Indian Creek Local School District are helping their students succeed with unique projects both inside and outside the classroom.
 
   The Jefferson County Educational Service Center is supporting their initiatives by awarding 2020-21 Best Practice Grants to further their goals. JCESC Gifted Coordinator Linda Lenzi presented three mini-grants totaling $1,800 at the Nov. 19 Indian Creek school board session for Austin Cable and Kent Howell of Indian Creek Middle School and Rachel Bodo of Wintersville Elementary.
 
   Cable, who instructs seventh-grade science and outdoor STEM classes at ICMS, will initiate “Project Trail Blazer” to teach outdoor skills to 233 students. He and grant co-writer Matt Cowser, who teaches health, physical education and STEM at the school, said fifth-grade Outdoor Skills students will use the trail that seventh-graders will build to learn orienteering skills and map reading. Additionally, the outdoor STEM class will maintain a trail that was started on school property and build further into the woods.  Both classes also will be implementing Leave No Trace Principles topographic map reading. Cable said the opportunity to go outside at school leads to students using the scientific method to solve problems that arise through planning the best route for the trail and the best way to achieve the end goal. The activity is a stress reducer and promotes imagination, creativity and problem solving.    
 
   He added that it was the first grant he and Cowser received and they were excited to bring their ideas to fruition.
 
   “We are partnering with M&M Hardware for many of our tools that they will help supply,” Cable commented. “This will help us to take the students outside and pursue outdoor education.  Our grant is for some trail maintenance and building tools along with a class compass set to teach orienteering. Students will help to build a nature trail on school property while learning to read maps and use compasses. The timing is perfect, if there is such a thing, with the pandemic because it will help to provide resources that will enable us to take the students outside and learn new lifelong skills in the process.”
 
   Howell, who teaches music to grades 5-6 at ICMS and is an assistant band director for grades 7-12, will purchase 30 electric piano keyboards to help 154 students learn to name the notes of the Treble and Bass Clef used to notate music.  Each pupil would learn how to play simple melodies on a piano and then transfer that knowledge to the piano keyboard. This will allow the student to hear the note as well as see it represented on the music staff and they would benefit by adding a sound with the sight recognition of the materials they are learning. Howell said learning to play an instrument requires multiple thinking skills as well as audio and motor skills.
 
   He said it was the first time he applied for and received a Best Practice Grant and was pleased to receive funding.
 
   “I feel very honored and privileged to be awarded the funding,” Howell added. “I just hope to bring a little joy and music into my students’ lives.”  
 
   Bodo, special education teacher for grades K-4 at WES, will help 12 students through her project, “Sensory in the Classroom.” She said incorporating purchased sensory integration materials helps to improve self-regulation and serves as a preventative strategy to improve behavior when used to create a more reinforcing environment. Improved function in the classroom affects behavior throughout the school, at home and in the community. This is also beneficial with daily living skills and activities. Sensory integration can maximize functional ability to perform daily and recreational activities and can increase motor planning ability.
 
  “I am so excited to have received this grant,” she said, adding that it was her first award. “My students will benefit from this grant and I could not be more grateful! I want to thank the ESC for providing these grants.”
   
   JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said teachers work diligently to educate their students and the grants provide an opportunity to engage them in new and exciting ways. 
 
   “The 2020-21 school year has brought new challenges for classroom teachers given the current pandemic.  JCESC is pleased to have the funding for continued support of the Best Practice Grants,” said Dr. Kokiko. “Many teachers are looking for new resources to meet the unique needs of this school year while others are simply searching for funds to support innovative instructional practices.  In either case, JCESC congratulates all of our winners and wish them continued success as they work to provide the finest education to their students.”
   JCESC has awarded Best Practice Grants to benefit education at Buckeye Local, Edison Local, Harrison Hills City, Indian Creek Local, Southern Local, Steubenville City and Toronto City Schools as well as the Utica Shale Academy.

(Photo Cutline: The Jefferson County Educational Service Center presented $1,800 in Best Practice Grants to Indian Creek teachers during the regular school board session on Nov. 19. Pictured for the presentation are, from left, Indian Creek Middle School Principal Dr. Holly Minch-Hick with middle school teacher and recipient Austin Cable via FaceTime, JCESC Gifted Coordinator Linda Lenzi and Wintersville Elementary teacher and recipient Rachel Bodo. Not pictured is ICMS teacher and recipient Kent Howell.)
Edison Educators Earn Best Practice Grants
Posted 11/23/2020 at 9:19:02 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Edison BPG
RICHMOND-Educators in the Edison Local School District are implementing programs centering on academic and social emotional learning with grants from the Jefferson County Educational Service Center.
 
   JCESC Director of Curriculum and Professional Development Ron Sismondo presented three 2020-21 Best Practice Grants totaling $1,800 to Jordan Tice, Megan McNear and Tiffany Moses during the Nov. 19 Edison Local Board of Education meeting at Edison High School. Tice, a sixth-grade math teacher at Stanton Elementary, will continue a fun, interactive educational project to build their math skills while McNear and Moses, respectively school counselors at Stanton and John Gregg Elementary, will focus on social-emotional learning at their buildings.
 
   Tice’s plan will benefit about 40 math students with “Classroom Amusement Park,” which provides hands-on learning by creating a KNEX classroom amusement park. They will learn how mass affects speed, how gears work, show how kinetic and potential energy are used and create tables and graphs to show their data. The pupils will then present their findings to the class. 
 
    Tice has received Best Practice Grant funding in the past for her projects and was thankful for the latest allotment.
 
   “I am honored to receive the Best Practice Grant. Thank you to the JCESC for offering this grant and giving students the opportunity to learn in new ways. My students are excited to get hands on and create a classroom amusement park,” she noted.
 
   McNear and Moses are both using their grants to benefit a combined total of 750 PreK-6 students through monthly activities.
 
   McNear’s project, “SEL Book of the Month,” is school-wide initiative that promotes literacy while also incorporating social emotional learning (SEL) competencies. Each month, a book focusing on an SEL competency will be read in each grade and about 400 students will complete cross-curricular activities aligned with state academic and SEL standards to help build a stronger school community.
 
   She said she received a Best Practice Grant in 2017 and was elated to earn the latest funding.
 
   “I am very excited to get the funding to purchase social emotional learning books for our school and combine literacy and SEL. It is a great opportunity,” she added.
 
   Moses said her project, “Social Emotional Learning Books,” will enable her to visit the PreK-6 classrooms every month for face-to-face SEL lessons with 350 students. Ohio has adopted five SEL standards and her program will touch on each one using books for the entire building book while video lessons will be sent out to students, their parents and staff on a monthly basis.
 
   She added that this was her first such grant award and it would definitely benefit the children.
 
   “I am so excited to receive this funding to help support the social emotional learning of John Gregg students. I feel blessed to receive help in these endeavors and anxious to get started planning my lessons with these new materials.”
 
   JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko congratulated the teachers for thinking outside the box and engaging students in interesting ways.
 
   “The 2020-21 school year has brought new challenges for classroom teachers given the current pandemic.  JCESC is pleased to have the funding for continued support of the Best Practice Grants,” said Dr. Kokiko. “Many teachers are looking for new resources to meet the unique needs of this school year while others are simply searching for funds to support innovative instructional practices.  In either case, JCESC congratulates all of our winners and wish them continued success as they work to provide the finest education to their students.”
   JCESC has awarded Best Practice Grants to benefit education at Buckeye Local, Edison Local, Harrison Hills City, Indian Creek Local, Southern Local, Steubenville City and Toronto City Schools as well as the Utica Shale Academy.

(Photo Cutline: Ron Sismondo, director of curriculum and professional development at the Jefferson County Educational Service Center, presented three $600 Best Practice Grants to, pictured from left, John Gregg Elementary school counselor Tiffany Moses, Stanton Elementary school counselor Megan McNear and Stanton Elementary teacher Jordan Tice for their projects during the Edison Local Board of Education meeting on Nov. 19.)
Buckeye South Teacher Earns Grant for Sensory Solutions
Posted 11/19/2020 at 8:47:56 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
DILLONVALE-The Jefferson County Educational Service Center has awarded $600 to one Buckeye Local School District teacher to help provide sensory solutions for students. 
 
   Buckeye South Elementary teacher Alyssa Lollini is a 2020-21 Best Practice Grant recipient and her windfall will benefit 10 special education students through her project, “Sensory Solutions for Sensational Students.” Lollini, who instructs students in grades K-4, will purchase materials to promote in-seat positive behavior, attention to task and body awareness. She said sensory interventions using sensory strategies are a part of evidence-based practices to include exercise, reinforcement and self-management techniques, The items will help students decompress and can be used prior to reaching a point of escalation.
 
   This is the first time she received the mini-grant and Lollini said it would definitely help her students.
 
    “I am beyond excited to be one of the recipients of this grant. I can’t wait to order everything and have my students use the different sensory items throughout the day,” she said. “This is such an amazing opportunity to provide them with the tools necessary to help them best succeed! I am incredibly thankful to the ESC for awarding me this grant and I know my students are very excited as well.”
 
   JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko touted Lollini and all of this year’s recipients for their insightful and innovative ideas.
 
   “The 2020-21 school year has brought new challenges for classroom teachers given the current pandemic.  JCESC is pleased to have the funding for continued support of the Best Practice Grants,” said Dr. Kokiko. “Many teachers are looking for new resources to meet the unique needs of this school year while others are simply searching for funds to support innovative instructional practices.  In either case, JCESC congratulates all of our winners and wish them continued success as they work to provide the finest education to their students.”
   JCESC has awarded Best Practice Grants to benefit education at Buckeye Local, Edison Local, Harrison Hills City, Indian Creek Local, Southern Local, Steubenville City and Toronto City Schools as well as the Utica Shale Academy.
Grants Promote Science Programs at Steubenville
Posted 11/19/2020 at 8:43:54 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE-Teachers in the Steubenville City School District are sharing among $1,800 in grant funding to implement projects for student growth.
 
   Three Jefferson County Educational Service Center 2020-21 Best Practice Grants were disbursed to teachers Heather Hoover, Anthony Kinyo and Matthew Filo to help enact programs primarily centered on science and technology. 
 
   Hoover, who serves as an SFA facilitator and gifted intervention specialist at McKinley STEM Academy, is spearheading “How Does Your Garden Grow,” a project where 60 cross-curriculum students will explore aeroponic farming (the process of growing plants in an air or mist environment without the use of soil or an aggregate medium) and the advancements in producing a faster growth cycle and healthier plants, all while using fewer resources.  She said students will also gain the knowledge to explain local food systems and distinguish the means to developing an efficient and sustainable soilless farming method. From sowing seeds to plant anatomy, germination calculations and measuring roots, students will be able to demonstrate an ability to produce quality food and develop a 21st Century workforce mindset, which will enable them to discover entrepreneurial skills, critical thinking skills and solutions to global issues.  
 
   She currently oversees the academy’s Idea Lab and works with PreK-4 students, seeing each class once a week. Hoover is a prior mini-grant recipient and was excited to have another opportunity this year.
 
   “I have received the Best Practices Grant before and am very excited about continuously having the opportunity to apply for funds such as these,” she said. “I am constantly looking for ways to expose my students to content that is not only aligned to content standards, but also to real world issues and scenarios.”

    Kinyo, who instructs grade 9-12 College Credit Plus students in biology and Earth Science, will introduce 100 biology students to “Microbiological Bacteria Analysis and the Efficacy of Disinfectants.” Through the project, students will sample bacteria from around the school and on their bodies and use various disinfectants and antiseptics to test for their ability to kill the bacteria. Students will develop questions and hypotheses and finish the project by writing up a formal lab report with an introduction, materials and methods, results section with data table and associated graphs and a discussion/conclusion section. 

   He is a first-time grant recipient and said he will utilize funding to implement his project.

   “I am extremely excited to purchase some new lab supplies for my students so that they can gain hands-on experience applying the scientific concepts they learn in the classroom,” Kinyo said.

   Matthew Filo, who teaches grades 7-8 science and technology at Harding Middle School, is using his grant allocation for “Sphero Bolt Upgrade.” The project intends to upgrade existing Sphero SPRK+ robots, which are programmable robots and STEAM-based educational tools that transform the way students learn, create, and invent through coding,science, music and the arts. Filo said Sphero can change how students engage with abstract ideas in the classroom, where before students were confused and bored with learning.  Now students can get excited about engaging with new ideas and concepts.  Critical thinking, collaboration and problem-solving are also skills that students learn when using the robots.

   Filo was grateful to receive his first funding award to enhance learning for his pupils.

   “I am super excited about this funding,” he said. “I am a first-year teacher, so I am very excited to try new things to help my students become lifelong learners. Even though this year has been crazy, I am thankful for all the support I have received from Steubenville and the county.”

   Meanwhile, JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said the purpose of the Best Practice Grants is to recognize educators who seek unique ways to teach students and help them achieve success.
 
   “The 2020-21 school year has brought new challenges for classroom teachers given the current pandemic.  JCESC is pleased to have the funding for continued support of the Best Practice Grants,” said Dr. Kokiko. “Many teachers are looking for new resources to meet the unique needs of this school year while others are simply searching for funds to support innovative instructional practices.  In either case, JCESC congratulates all of our winners and wish them continued success as they work to provide the finest education to their students.”

   JCESC has awarded Best Practice Grants to benefit education at Buckeye Local, Edison Local, Harrison Hills City, Indian Creek Local, Southern Local, Steubenville City and Toronto City Schools as well as the Utica Shale Academy.
JCESC Grant to Provide High-Tech Learning Tools
Posted 11/13/2020 at 12:23:24 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
USA BPG
SALINEVILLE-A $600 mini-grant through the Jefferson County Educational Service Center will help dozens of Utica Shale Academy students improve their math skills by using some high-tech learning tools.
 
   Superintendent Bill Watson received JCESC’s 2020-21 Best Practice Grant during the regular USA Board of Directors meeting on Nov. 10. Watson said the funds will help obtain online initiative-surface tablets for 70 students in grades 9-12 who are receiving math intervention. He purchased two Microsoft Surface 2 devices that allow staff to write on the tablets and project onto smart TV’s. The equipment will assist in social distancing measures amid COVID-19 and will be beneficial should the school go fully remote, and he said the items will be influential in breaking down the math curriculum. USA has received mini-grants in the past for learning tools and Watson was pleased to see students benefit yet again.
 
   “We utilized the grant in the past to purchase calculators,” he said. “I am very grateful. We are going to purchase Microsoft Surface Go’s for staff to make videos, so if we go remote we will be ready, and if we don’t will have a good tool for students to relearn skills.”
 
   Now in its seventh year, the Utica Shale Academy operates at Southern Local High School and provides a state-required curriculum with a customizable digital program, flexible scheduling and safety certification courses. Graduates earn a high school diploma, certificates and college credit options offered through Eastern Gateway Community College. The site also partners with the New Castle School of Trades in East Liverpool and offers welding and industrial maintenance training for students.
 
   Meanwhile, JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko applauded Watson and other grant recipients as they strive to educate students during the coronavirus outbreak.
 
   “The 2020-21 school year has brought new challenges for classroom teachers given the current pandemic.  JCESC is pleased to have the funding for continued support of the Best Practice Grants,” said Dr. Kokiko. “Many teachers are looking for new resources to meet the unique needs of this school year while others are simply searching for funds to support innovative instructional practices.  In either case, JCESC congratulates all of our winners and wish them continued success as they work to provide the finest education to their students.”
   JCESC has been awarding Best Practice Grants to benefit education at Buckeye Local, Edison Local, Harrison Hills City, Indian Creek Local, Southern Local, Steubenville City and Toronto City Schools as well as the Utica Shale Academy.

(Photo Cutline: Mike Skrinjar, a teacher with the Utica Shale Academy at Southern Local High School, shows off the latest technology acquired with a $600 Best Practice Grant from the Jefferson County Educational Service Center.  Officials obtained two online initiative-surface tablets for 70 students in grades 9-12 who are receiving math intervention and will assist in social distancing measures amid COVID-19, especially if schools go fully remote.)
Southern Teachers Earn Mini-Grants
Posted 11/10/2020 at 10:56:26 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
JCESC Southern Best Practice Grant
SALINEVILLE-Educators in the Southern Local School District earned a total of $1,800 to enhance learning for students.
 
   Three teachers were among the recipients of the Jefferson County Educational Service District’s 2020-2021 Best Practice Grant awards and were recognized during the monthly school board session on Nov. 9. JCESC Director of Curriculum and Professional Development Ron Sismondo disbursed the mini-grants and congratulated teachers Janice Pierce, Justin Krulik and Eric Sampson on their achievement.
 
   Pierce, who teaches fourth-grade math and social studies at Southern Local Elementary, will use her windfall to form “Wonder Workshop: Introduction to Coding” to benefit about 50 math and English/Language Arts students. The Wonder Workshop will provide students with a powerful sense of collaboration and hands-on learning with robots Dash and Dot.  The workshop’s comprehensive solution provides educators with a concrete way to teach the abstract concept of coding which some consider to be the new literacy. Teachers and students will be able to apply coding and robotics across the curriculum.
 
   Pierce was a prior grant recipient while serving as a fourth-grade intervention specialist in 2016 and was grateful to have another opportunity to help the kids.
 
   “I think it’s an awesome opportunity to be able to purchase some STEM materials to incorporate into my math curriculum,” she said. “I would like to thank JCESC for making the funding available for Southern Local Schools.”
 
   Krulik, who teaches grades 10-12 at Southern Local High School, said it was his first mini-grant and will help create an outdoor learning environment for his estimated 125 science students.
 
   An aquatic environment will be built in the school courtyard that enables students to have hands-on application, including testing procedures and the practice of maintaining a homeostatic site.  The pond will include plant life, fish, frogs, insects and other abiotic features to create a real-world learning environment with application though water quality testing, experiments of introducing new species and observations and experiments.  
 
   “I wanted to thank the selection committee for the opportunity to enhance student learning and understanding,” Krulik said. “I was pleased to be informed that my grant was selected this year and look forward to the process of implementation of the pond and its aquatic environment.  Students will benefit from this and have hands-on, real-world experience just outside of my classroom.”
 
   Sampson, who instructs grades 10-12 at SLHS, has earned Best Practice Grants while previously serving the Utica Shale Academy. He said his most recent award will be a great asset to his Introduction to Surveying class and roughly 11 students could gain experience to potentially work in the field. The grant will help purchase equipment to teach the art of surveying and aid in passing the surveying certification exam. Along with guidance from volunteers within the surveying industry, his students will be able to get hands-on experience in the proper operation, use and care of important surveying equipment.
 
   “It allows us to purchase necessary equipment for learning.  It is far better for students to get hands-on experience with equipment as opposed to just talking about it,” he commented. “I am grateful to the JCESC for offer this opportunity that will have a tremendous impact on student learning.”
 
   JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko lauded the teachers for offering innovative ideas to benefit their students.
 
   “The 2020-21 school year has brought new challenges for classroom teachers given the current pandemic.  JCESC is pleased to have the funding for continued support of the Best Practice Grants,” said Dr. Kokiko. “Many teachers are looking for new resources to meet the unique needs of this school year while others are simply searching for funds to support innovative instructional practices.  In either case, JCESC congratulates all of our winners and wish them continued success as they work to provide the finest education to their students.”
   JCESC has been awarding Best Practice Grants to benefit education at Buckeye Local, Edison Local, Harrison Hills City, Indian Creek Local, Southern Local, Steubenville City and Toronto City Schools as well as the Utica Shale Academy.
 
(Photo Cutline: Ron Sismondo, director of curriculum and professional development for the Jefferson County Educational Service Center, presented Best Practice Grants to teachers at Southern Local Schools during the regular school board meeting Monday. Three grants totaling $1,800 were disbursed to Janice Pierce of Southern Local Elementary and Eric Sampson and Justin Krulik of Southern Local High School, who will use the funds to implement innovative programs within their classrooms. Pictured are Sismondo, at left, with Sampson and Krulik while Pierce is absent from the photo.)
COVID Alters Quest for Success Format
Posted 11/10/2020 at 9:38:28 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE-The 21st Century Quest for Success is altering its program in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and youth will now participate in a blended format.
 
   The program, which is now in its fourth year, is provided through the Jefferson County Educational Service Center and serves Jefferson County students in grades 5-8 who attend the Buckeye Local, Edison Local, Indian Creek Local, Steubenville City and Toronto City school districts as well as Bishop John Mussio, the School of Bright Promise and Jefferson County Christian School. Quest for Success partners with Brightway Center, Coleman Professional Services and Franciscan University and Ohio Valley Youth Network with the goal of increasing opportunities for student success in literacy, mathematics, social development, family support and community involvement. 
 
   Officials said remote centers will be offered to continue programming for youth in grades 5-8 around the county. Quest for Success will operate Monday to Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at its location along 2550 Cherry Ave. in Steubenville but will continue remotely from 2-6 p.m. through JCESC and the Ohio Valley Youth Network, which are also in Steubenville.
 
   “In response to COVID and the Restart Program implemented by both the Ohio Department of Education and 21st Century Quest for Success, we have taken a blended approach this year,” said JCESC Administrator Mark Masloski, who serves as program manager. “We had a conference with ODE officials and there are measures for assessing student health, practicing physical distancing, sanitizing surfaces, exercising good hygiene, wearing masks and other components relevant to a student's daily journey—from stepping on the school bus, to learning in the classroom and eating in the cafeteria. There are also considerations for ensuring equity, social-emotional learning and behavioral health; approaches for professional development and effective remote learning; and ideas for assessing students' learning needs and meeting them where they are.”
 
  About 150 students from throughout the county are participating in on-site activities such as character education, On Track, individual tutoring, culinary arts and social-emotional learning while remote subjects include academic tutoring, literacy and math intervention, crafts, a Young Entrepreneurs/Financial Literacy class, chess club, drama and acting, martial arts, youth “Jobs for Life” and computer lab time.
 
   Quest for Success utilizes Renaissance (STAR Reading and Math) and North West Evaluation Association (NWEA) academic programs and conducts activities with its community partners during the after-school sessions. Coleman Professional Services provides counselors to support students’ social development; Brightway Center has offered programming aimed at promoting positive relationships and decision-making; the Franciscan University Education Department hosts family literacy events; and the JCESC provides programs to promote college and career readiness skills. Masloski noted that COVID restrictions have impacted activities at Brightway Center, for now, but there are hopes to conduct other events that are fun and educational.
 
   “We are planning to do the Dome Theater science education series in the spring based on county health department regulations and another Christmas dinner with all health department regulations adhered to,” he continued. 
 
    Quest for Success is made possible through a five-year, $850,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Education. The grant provides $200,000 annually for the first three years, followed by $150,000 during year four and $100,000 the final year. Anyone interested in becoming involved as a student, parent, volunteer or partner may contact quest@jcesc.org.
Harrison Hills Teachers Receive Best Practice Grants
Posted 11/2/2020 at 4:18:52 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
JCESC  Harrison Hills
CADIZ-The Jefferson County Educational Service Center is recognizing teachers for making the grade with their innovative projects and programs.
 
    Ron Sismondo, JCESC director of curriculum and professional development, presented three 2020-2021 Best Practice Grants totaling $1,800 during the regular Harrison Hills City School Board of Education meeting on Thursday. Recipients include Kelli Pridemore, project partner Joelle Jones and Susan Macenczak of Harrison Central Jr./Sr. High School and Kelly Turner of Harrison Central Elementary, who will receive $600 mini-grants to purchase materials and implement programs to bolster student learning. 
 
    Pridemore and Jones’s program, “Hydroponic Lettuce and Tilapia Production,” will benefit 200 agricultural education students. Funds will be used to incorporate a tilapia tank into the existing hydroponic system which would supply food for fish while water from the tank will be used for the lettuce. The produce will be used in the cafeteria or sold to the community and students will be involved in the setup and maintenance of the fish tank and lettuce production. The greenhouse class will be the primary caretakers of the project and will set up the tank and plant the lettuce in the hydroponic system. Meanwhile, business management students will be involved with marketing and sales of the lettuce and fish plus the animal health classes will help care for the fish.
 
   Jones said agricultural education is available to grades 7-12 at the school and was pleased to see the program get selected.
 
  “Being a first-year teacher with many plans and aspirations, I am extremely grateful to be the recipient of this funding. I plan to use the funds to further develop our greenhouse operations and provide new opportunities to my students.”
 
  More than 100 students in Macenczak’s science classes will participate in her project, “Using Snap Circuits to Understand Electricity.” The hands-on activity helps students learn about electricity with coordination from the Ohio Energy Project and supports student engagement and increased learning of electricity and circuits. Students will understand that energy appears in different forms and will create simple electronic projects using safe materials. As students grow in their knowledge, more challenges and projects can be safely explored at the differentiated pace.
 
   Macenczak, who teaches science, physical science, Chemistry, Geology and STEM, previously earned a mini-grant and was excited to do so again.
 
   “I am so excited to receive the grant this year and be able to purchase the snap circuit kits for the students to get hands-on experience with electricity,” she said. “I will be able to use this in multiple classes.  I am excited that the students will be able to experience this without having to worry about costly ways of completing the tasks. These kits will be able to be used in my classes for many years and there are many projects the students can complete.”
 
   Finally, Turner’s 20 math and science pupils will incorporate STEM and creative thinking in their project, “Creation Café.” Students will engage in directed use of materials and bins to create and explore while implementing their multiple intelligences. A maker’s space will be established in the classroom for creative engineering, inventing and purposeful play. The students will use the station daily to create, manipulate and explore things in the world around them. The creation café will house STEM, art, engineering, technology and robotics bins.
 
   Turner, who teaches first grade, said it was her first-ever award and she was excited to use her award to implement her idea.
 
   “I am honored and feel this grant will be a true blessing for my first grades this year and in years to come,” she commented.
   
   JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko applauded the teachers’ ingenuity to engage their students in fun and educational programs amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
 
   “The 2020-21 school year has brought new challenges for classroom teachers given the current pandemic.  JCESC is pleased to have the funding for continued support of the Best Practice Grants,” said Dr. Kokiko. “Many teachers are looking for new resources to meet the unique needs of this school year while others are simply searching for funds to support innovative instructional practices.  In either case, JCESC congratulates all of our winners and wish them continued success as they work to provide the finest education to their students.”
   JCESC has been awarding Best Practice Grants for over 30 years to benefit education at Buckeye Local, Edison Local, Harrison Hills City, Indian Creek Local, Southern Local, Steubenville City and Toronto City Schools as well as the Utica Shale Academy.
 
(Photo Cutline: Teachers in the Harrison Hills City School District were named 2020-2021 Best Practice Grant recipients by the Jefferson County Educational Service Center and earned a total of $1,800 in mini-grants for their classroom projects. Pictured are, from left, JCESC Director of Curriculum and Professional Development   Ron Sismondo; Harrison Central Elementary teacher Kelly Turner; Harrison Central Jr./Sr. High School teacher Joelle Jones, who partnered with teacher Kelli Pridemore (not pictured) for the project; and HCHS student Abbi Kelley, student representative for the Pridemore-Jones project. Also not pictured is high school teacher and fellow recipient Susan Macenczak.)
Toronto Teachers Touted for Creativity
Posted 11/2/2020 at 4:12:19 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
JCESC Toronto BPG Grant
TORONTO-Teachers in the Toronto City School District have been recognized for their creative learning programs by receiving mini-grants from the Jefferson County Educational Service Center.
 
    Toronto Jr./Sr. High School teachers Lynne Donohue and Jason Kodysz and Nichole Locke and Jenny Dickinson of Karaffa Elementary were named 2020-2021 Best Practice Grant recipients and awarded $600 each to enhance learning in their classrooms. Amber Fomenko, JCESC director of special education, presented the awards during the regular school board session on Oct. 29.
 
   Donohue, who teaches grades 10-12 Language Arts, will use her windfall for “Publish Your Own Book,” a project where her 30 students will study children’s literature and ultimately create their own story. The final project entails pairing up with an art student to write the story and develop a plot, conflict and resolution within an estimated 20-page tome. The students will also design and layout an actual book using a purchased self-publishing kit and the art student will provide the illustrations. Upon completion, the books will be sent to the publishing company with the finished hardcover copy being donated to the Karaffa Elementary School library.
 
   She is a previous mini-grant recipient and said she was grateful for the opportunity to earn it again to finish the project.
 
   “I’m extremely ecstatic about receiving the grant,” she said. “We were unable to do this project last year due to the shutdown, so hopefully we will be able to get the kits in hand and be able to complete them this year.”
 
    Kodysz, who instructs grades 10-12 science including Chemistry, Physics, Earth Science and Astronomy, will put his first mini-grant to use with “Force Sensors” and 30 science students will use sensor technology and measure accurate data. When data is measured using the force springs, numbers are often difficult to measure due to their inaccuracy, often making it difficult to rely on for calculations. However, the sensors use precise measurements and calculations can be performed that result in accurate and realistic measurements. Learning how to use the technology is also beneficial because it prepares students for the real world, particularly since the sensors are commonly used in college and the workforce.
 
   “I am grateful and relieved more than anything else. Physics can be an expensive subject with the equipment that is needed, especially since I am a very lab-oriented teacher,” he said. “I am glad to receive this grant to find better and more realistic ways for the students to learn Physics.”
 
   Locke and Dickinson’s allocation will be used for “Cardio Drumming,” where the elementary physical education and music teacher will collaborate on teaching musical and cardio activities for 180 students. The pupils will learn how to stay in rhythm while raising their heart rate for cardio endurance. The cardio drumming unit will help students to perform exercise movements while staying on beat to different genres of music. Research has found many benefits to drumming such as lowering stress and anxiety levels to reducing tension. It also increases the immune system, metabolism and heart rate for peak cardiorespiratory endurance.
 
   Locke teaches elementary music for grades 1-5 and choir for grades 6-12 and has received a mini-grant in the past while Dickinson, who instructs physical education for grades K-5, is a first-time recipient. Both were excited to receive the funding to support their program. 
 
   “I am excited to have won the grant and to be able to combine P.E. and music together,” Locke commented. 
 
   “I feel that the two of us will put the grant to great use while we teach our students,” Dickinson added. “Collaboration between music and P.E. will be rewarding for both the students and the teachers.”
 
   JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko congratulated the educators for taking the initiative during these uncertain times.
 
   “The 2020-21 school year has brought new challenges for classroom teachers given the current pandemic.  JCESC is pleased to have the funding for continued support of the Best Practice Grants,” said Dr. Kokiko. “Many teachers are looking for new resources to meet the unique needs of this school year while others are simply searching for funds to support innovative instructional practices.  In either case, JCESC congratulates all of our winners and wish them continued success as they work to provide the finest education to their students.”
   JCESC has been awarding Best Practice Grants for over 30 years to benefit education at Buckeye Local, Edison Local, Harrison Hills City, Indian Creek Local, Southern Local, Steubenville City and Toronto City Schools as well as the Utica Shale Academy.
 
(Photo Cutline: The Jefferson County Educational Service Center awarded a total of $1,800 in Best Practice Grant funding to teachers in the Toronto City School District for their innovative projects. Pictured are, from left, are Toronto Jr./Sr. High School teacher Jason Kodysz, JCESC Director of Special Education Amber Fomenko, and Karaffa Elementary teacher Nichole Locke, who shares her project with teacher Jenny Dickinson. Not pictured is high school teacher Lynne Donohue. Photo Credit/Warren Scott The Steubenville Herald-Star)
Posted 10/13/2020 at 11:21:50 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
JCESC 5 Year
JCESC Touted for High Performance
Posted 10/13/2020 at 11:20:35 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
JCESC OESCA
STEUBENVILLE- The Jefferson County Educational Service Center is being touted by the Ohio Department of Education for ongoing efforts to provide quality, cost-effective services to school districts.
 
   JCESC has been designated as a high-performing ESC through ODE’s Office of Budget and School Funding after applying this summer. Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said documentation was provided to the department for consideration and information included such services as psychologists, speech therapists, legal services, occupational service and alternative schools and saved districts nearly $724,000 in the process. 
 
   “An ESC is required to demonstrate and show cost savings to schools. We must submit five programs we offer and compare the price of each program with those of private vendors,” Dr. Kokiko said. “Together, the programs generated a savings of $723,957, or 35 percent over other agencies.”
 
   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. Dr. Kokiko said the recognition aligned with JCESC Governing Board’s mission to build capacity through innovative, cost-effective programs and to improve partnerships and collaborate with educational institutions, families and communities within public and private settings. Dr, Kokiko said every dollar that can be saved is one more that schools can put toward the education of children.  
 
   “JCESC wants to provide cost savings to our schools, and anytime we can provide districts with high quality options at a reduced cost, money can be put back into education. By operating at a greater efficiency, schools increase the amount of funds available to educate children.”
 
   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 the Department of Education and includes partnerships with Brightway Center, Coleman Professional Services and Franciscan University. The goal is to increase opportunities for students in grades 5-8 to have success in literacy, mathematics, social development, family support and community involvement and events have been held Monday to Thursday at the Jefferson County Alternative School on Cherry Avenue in Steubenville with transportation provided by the Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities. Morning sessions are available from 7-8 a.m. with afterschool programming from 2-5 p.m. and more activities are scheduled for one Saturday per month at the Steubenville location and Brightway Center in Smithfield.
 
   JCESC also was among 46 sites in Ohio to obtain the $500,000 Striving Readers through the Ohio Department of Education this past spring. The U.S. Department of Education awarded the state $35 million and approximately 95 percent of the funding is being distributed directly to local schools or early childhood providers. The three-year grant focuses on serving the greatest numbers of students living in poverty, students with disabilities, English learners and students identified as having reading difficulties. Five local school districts have enacted the program, with Buckeye Local, Harrison Hills, Southern Local and Toronto City Schools utilizing it at their elementary schools and Indian Creek using its portion to benefit both elementary and middle school pupils. The grant has also provided opportunities for teachers to take an eight-week course at Franciscan University on learning and practicum.   
 
   In the application, officials noted that JCESC embraced a system-wide culture of service to help meet a wide array of client needs.
 
   “JCESC coordinates collaborative programs to eliminate duplication of human and financial resources, participates in interagency collaborative programs across Columbiana, Belmont, Jefferson, Carroll, Harrison, Coshocton and Mahoning counties to provide efficient, cost-effective responses to at-risk student issues, and provides collaborative, cost-effective direct services for students with disabilities,” it stated. “JCESC client districts are located in the Appalachian region of Ohio covering more than 1,378 square miles and serving a little more than 11,000 students. Given the vast region and limited resources, collaboration enables the necessary services to be provided in the most economical manner possible.”
 
   JCESC serves Buckeye Local, Edison, Harrison Hills, Indian Creek, Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Jefferson County Joint Vocational School, Southern Local, Steubenville and Toronto City Schools in Ohio in addition to community schools such as Utica Shale Academy, Mahoning Unlimited Classroom, E-School, Ohio Cyber Academy, Jefferson County Alternative School, Coshocton County Alternative School and Help Me Grow in Jefferson, Harrison, Belmont and Carroll counties.   
JCESC Providing More Masks for Schools
Posted 10/12/2020 at 2:04:13 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE- The Jefferson County Educational Service Center has more face masks available to supply public and non-public schools so students can learn safely amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
   JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said coverings were supplied as part of a collaborative effort between state and federal agencies to support students across Ohio and 18,000 masks will be available to schools within JCESC’s service area. Every school student can benefit from 3M KN-90 masks, which are not medical grade but will enable youth to attend classes and study more securely. 
 
   The Ohio Emergency Management Agency (EMA), in cooperation with the Ohio Department of Education, received 2 million coverings this summer through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and distributed them through regional ESC’s in August. At that time, about 12,000 masks went to schools within JCESC’s consortium. The latest allotment will be available to local sites including 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, as well as the Utica Shale Academy, Lakeland Academy, Steubenville Catholic Central and Jefferson County Christian School.    
 
    Any district within the local consortium that is interested in assistance may contact JCESC at (740) 283-3347.
Superintendents, Experts School Student Teachers
Posted 8/28/2020 at 10:07:18 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
JCESC Superintendents Speak
   
   STEUBENVILLE-Local superintendents and other community experts schooled student teachers as they prepared for the next step of their careers during a three-day seminar at Franciscan University of Steubenville.
 
   More than a half-dozen student teachers participated in the sessions on Aug. 24-26, which included talks from Jefferson County Educational Service Center Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko and Steubenville City Schools Superintendent Melinda Young. Rounding out that day’s program were Courtney Mason and intern Charleigh Harding of Help Me Grow and Franciscan University Professors Dr. Susan Poyo and Dr. Megan Reister. The seminar was spearheaded by Dr. Mark Miller, assistant professor and director of clinical and field experience, who said similar events were previously held but he invited community speakers to share their knowledge before student teachers headed out into area classrooms. This year’s group will be working at Harrison Hills and Bishop John Mussio.
 
   “In an effort to prepare our teachers, I’ve created superintendents’ workshops to give them an opportunity to talk to superintendents and ask what they want in a teacher. Some sessions are refreshers and are very relevant and useful,” Dr. Miller said. “The students and speakers also interact.”
 
   Young said her district begins conducting interviews in the spring and prospective teachers should submit applications at that time. She also suggested becoming substitute teachers to gain experience, adding that her district has typically hired 90 percent of subs as employees.  Meanwhile, officials noted that the coronavirus has led local school districts to take decisive action when preparing for studies with face masks, social distancing and frequent cleaning, plus schools have added thermal scanners to get accurate temperature readings. Technology has been another tool for classrooms since students could work remotely.
 
   “We’re very fortunate in this area because the superintendents meet once a week and go through their plan,” Young commented. “Our plans are very similar. Before the governor mandated masks, we mandated masks.”
 
   She said surveys were also sent to SCS parents, teachers and community stakeholders and as of now 21 percent of Steubenville’s students are working from home. Young provided copies of her district’s reopening plan and shared protocols such as thermal scanners on buses, Plexiglas desk shields, reduced class sizes to about 15 pupils and isolation rooms for ill students. She added that schools have started using more high-tech tools to provide online platforms for teaching.
 
   “Last year, we had pencil-and-paper assignments for two weeks and then saw the writing on the wall. We started to do research on online platforms. We brought teachers together and decided to do Google Classroom district-wide and Pugliese has a pilot program to do it live.”
 
  The remote learning options could also be utilized during snow days or if a student is absent due to illness so there is no lost instructional time.
 
   School districts follow their respective county’s color codes when deciding between face-to-face, hybrid and remote instruction. Face-to-face learning takes place at yellow or orange levels while the hybrid method is implemented at red and all students work remotely at purple. Superintendents are updated each Thursday and may change operations the following Monday based upon the color level.
 
   During more discussion, the superintendents touched upon the amount of work teachers face from planning to grading, but the best lesson is to establish a rapport with students.  Dr. Kokiko said classroom teachers are handing over the reins to student teachers, who should learn to be fair and honest and know the culture of the school where they work.
 
   “We let you learn your craft and this is a serious responsibility. We’re a small community and are letting you into our buildings,” he said. “Teaching is a great profession and a challenging profession. We’ve worked with Franciscan University and this is a great program.”
 
    Additionally, representatives of Help Me Grow explained how their program serves families in Jefferson, Belmont, Harrison and Carroll counties with children from birth to age 5. 
 
   Mason, who serves as a home visiting supervisor, said the agency keeps in regular contact with families through visits but those have since gone virtual due to the pandemic. Sessions are held weekly to monthly over a six-month period and families graduate after completing three levels of the program. Services range from parenting skills to basic care while representatives also distribute information about nutrition, breastfeeding, immunization and local resources. Referrals may come from doctors and other agencies such as WIC and parents themselves may register by sending or emailing forms or calling the agency. Clients are assigned through sites at Harrison Hills and JCESC and eligible families must be under 200 percent of the poverty level. They may include military families, a mother who is currently pregnant or already has a child and, children with developmental delay, among others, and extra services not affiliated with Help Me Grow include providing car seats, high chairs and cribs.
 
   “We help families get hooked up with other agencies in the area,” Mason added. “We also work with early intervention if the child has a delay and do drop-off visits by giving materials and supplies at home.”
 
    For more information, call (800) 755-GROW (4769) or go online to helpmegrow.ohio.gov.
 
   Also on hand were Dr. Poyo, director of education, who discussed lesson plans, and Dr. Reister, associate professor of special education and early childhood, who addressed behavior management. Others appearing throughout event were Dr. Rebecca Rook, assistant professor of education at Franciscan, who discussed the edTPA assessment and support system; Mark McGuire, internship development director and career counselor for the career services office, on placement services; Dr. Catherine Recznik, professor of nursing, discussing COVID-19, Lori Roberts, gifted coordinator and teacher for Buckeye Local Schools with a talk on gifted education; and Dr. Miller with an intro to student teaching. 
 
(Photo Cutline: Jefferson County Educational Service Center Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko and Steubenville City Schools Superintendent Melinda Young address education majors at Franciscan University as they prepared to begin student teaching in area schools. A three-day seminar was held featuring speakers from the university and community who discussed career-based topics, lesson planning and COVID-19.)
JCESC Assisting Schools in Preparation for New Year
Posted 7/16/2020 at 2:35:59 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

STEUBENVILLE-The Jefferson County Educational Service Center is doing its part to assist school districts in local counties and throughout Ohio as they prepare for a new term in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

   JCESC Administrator Mark Masloski said he not only has been helping districts under its umbrella in Jefferson, Belmont and Columbiana counties but also in areas as far as Columbus and Cincinnati. Questions remain about an actual start date, which for now appears to be in late August, but schools hopefully to be session this fall. Masloski said officials are looking for the best and safest way to provide an education for thousands of students, be they in the classroom or working remotely at home.

   “We have been working with a lot of schools in Ohio, probably 100,” he said. “We’re working on how they will implement a blended learning approach for students. What’s happening around Ohio is at the beginning of the school year we’ll be face-to-face in classrooms, but some parents may want to keep their child at home, so there will be a digital platform for them.”

    On that note, students may partake of online learning with the Virtual Learning Academy, which includes an estimated 200 core and elective courses for grades K-12 that are 100-percent aligned to state standards, or ProgressBook, which gives teachers control of lesson plans for students both in class and at home.

   “If we go to a Level Four and shut down again, the teacher can still use the curriculum through ProgressBook,” he explained.

 JCESC has aided districts since the state mandated school closures in mid-March and provided VLA and ProgressBook services to maintain a learning curriculum, while additional online tools such as Zoom and Google Hangout have kept students and teachers in touch through videoconferencing to discuss their lessons. Masloski cited the work of school districts to map out an amenable plan to continue education amid the current health climate.

   “All of the schools have many options and strategies and they have plans in place. The public needs to understand that schools are doing what’s best for the students, staff and community,” he continued. “Schools are prepared and have contacted parents about surveys on whether they want their student to return to class or work remotely. There are plans to either do this for nine weeks or for the entire year.”

   Access to work is another factor, particularly in rural areas where internet capabilities are few and far between. Masloski said online work is also downloadable and may be printed or put onto a zip drive so affected students may work offline. Details are still in discussion and he noted that he has remained in contact with school districts via telephone or internet to ensure operations run smoothly.

   “We are working with schools in Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus and partner with other ESC’s and this is the time of year where we update our courses, and we are trying to meet the needs of the schools.”

JCESC Honors Top ACT Scorers
Posted 6/11/2020 at 4:26:20 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ACT Honorees

STEUBENVILLE-The Jefferson County Educational Service Center is giving a group of high school graduates some overdue honors for achieving high composite scores on their ACT exams.

   JCESC has hosted an annual ACT Recognition Breakfast for the past four years to recognize those seniors who scored a 30 or higher on their ACT Composite Tests, but the fifth installment scheduled for this spring was nixed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Honorees represent Edison, Harrison Central, Indian Creek, Southern Local, Steubenville Catholic Central, Steubenville and Toronto high schools and leaders wanted to spotlight their accomplishment during their senior year.

  Larry George, president of the JCESC Governing Board, said canceling the breakfast was unfortunate but it showcases the best of the best when it comes to testing.

   “I know they are going to achieve great things in the future,” George added. “It’s nice when we are able to honor them and their parents are proud. The breakfast is something we hope to continue for many, many years to come.”

   JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said only 5 percent of an estimated 1.85 million test-takers—or about 92,000 students—achieve 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. 

   Meanwhile, he shared some words of encouragement as this year’s honorees start a new chapter in their lives.

   “JCESC wishes we could have held our ACT Recognition Breakfast as we had in the past. Our board and staff enjoy the opportunity to meet the students and families from our member schools and celebrate this tremendous accomplishment,” Dr. Kokiko said. “This school year did not end as most had planned but the unique times are the ones that you will remember the most as they will stand out in your memories. Be proud of what you have accomplished and best wishes with your future endeavors.”

   Among the recipients are the following:

-- Alex Mayle, the son of Larry Mayle and Janet Bendle of Richmond, who attended Edison High School and earned a grade point average of 3.46. He participated in the National Beta Club and varsity basketball, was a tutor and American Red Cross volunteer and now plans to attend The Ohio State University to study mathematics.

--Harrison Central High School’s Lee Sponaugle, the son of Mickie and Tammy Sponaugle of Cadiz, who graduated with a 3.079 GPA. While in school, he was involved in wrestling, track and football and now plans to join the U.S. Army. 

--Rachel Barnett, the daughter of Robert and Jennifer Barnett of Wintersville, who is an Indian Creek High School alumna. She graduated with a 4.912 GPA and will attend Miami University of Ohio as part of the University Honors Program with a double major in psychology and neuroscience and minor in Spanish. Her future plans are to attend graduate school and pursue a career in neurology.

--Lainie Hagerty, the daughter of Sean and Tamara Hagerty of Bloomingdale, a fellow ICHS grad who holds a 4.931 GPA. Hagerty plans to attend the University of Pittsburgh Honors College to major in mathematics and her goal is to pursue a career in secondary mathematics education.

--Madolyn McDonald, the daughter of Drs. Robert and Nicole McDonald of Steubenville, another ICHS alumna who holds a 4.858 GPA. She will attend OSU and major in biology with a minor in music, after which she plans to study medicine

--Myka Woodford, the daughter of David and Kimberly Woodford of Salineville, who graduated from Southern Local High School with a 4.222 GPA. She plans to take a gap year before studying environmental engineering in college.

--Francesca Boni, the daughter of Dee and Joe Boni of Steubenville and a graduate of Steubenville Catholic Central High School. She earned a 4.5 GPA in high school and will study nursing at Franciscan University of Steubenville.

--Brian Dao, the son of Andy Dao and Ngoovinh Doan of Steubenville, graduated from CCHS with a 4.0-plus GPA. He plans to attend OSU during the next term.

--Edith Harold, the daughter of Philip and Rachel Harold of Steubenville, a CCHS grad who earned a 4.551 GPA. She will attend Franciscan University in the fall.

--Patrick Kuebler, the son of Daniel and Nellie Kuebler of Steubenville, who graduated from CCHS with a 4.661 GPA. He plans to attend the University of Notre Dame.

--Margaret “Maisie” Leonard, the daughter of Matthew and Veronica Leonard of Steubenville, who graduated from CCHS with a 4.57 GPA. She plans to attend Franciscan University to study either philosophy or psychology.

--Isabella Oliver, the daughter of Vince and Nancy Oliver of Weirton, a Catholic Central alumna who earned a 4.37 GPA. She plans to study nursing at Kent State University Honors College.

--Alex Barnhouse, the son of Eric and Lori Barnhouse of Steubenville, who yielded a 4.6 weighted GPA while at Steubenville High School. He will attend OSU in the fall and major in aerospace engineering.

--Makayla Walter, the daughter of Mark and Janet Walter of Steubenville, who graduated from Steubenville with a 4.43 GPA. She plans to attend Ohio University to major in English and pre-law and pursue a career in law.

--William Lewis, the son of Shon and Jessica Lewis of Toronto, who graduated from Toronto High School with a 3.951 GPA. He will attend Shawnee State University to major in computer science with a focus on game programming.

JCESC Continues to Aid Schools Amid Closure
Posted 4/21/2020 at 11:18:13 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

STEUBENVILLE-As schools shut down amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Jefferson County Educational Service Center is doing its part to assist teachers and students alike.

   Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine issued closures for the remainder of the school year in an effort to reduce the spread of the virus, but the homebound teachers and students have relied upon instructional materials known as blizzard bags and online coursework to maintain an education. JCESC has provided help in that realm to prevent disruption to student learning.

   Administrative Assistant Mark Masloski said technology has been an optimum tool to help students maintain their education outside the classroom.

   “We’ve worked with them and have two platforms: Virtual Learning Academy and Progress Book. Progress Book is something classroom teachers use in the Ohio Valley that puts grades into the gradebook, but they can also use the curriculum. When students complete assignments their grade goes directly into the gradebook,” Masloski said. “VLA is for individual students with a VLA account. Overall, we’ve had an increase but we’ve had more schools do Progress Book.”

   He said the online method provides flexibility so students can work at any time, plus they may also speak on videoconferencing programs such as Zoom and Google Hangout to discuss lessons. One upside is that younger generations are more tech-savvy and have been adapting to their altered educational environment. For those with limited computer or internet access, printable lessons are available to help keep all of the students on track.

  “I think they have been pretty adaptable and are definitely not far behind [in their schooling]. We’ve also been doing more training with teachers and staff,” he said, noting that JCESC staff also videoconference regularly and update VLA courses as needed.

   Coy Sudvary, principal at Wellsville High School in Columbiana County, said his students were utilizing VLA to assist with their studies.

   “We are using the VLA curriculum,” he said. “Teachers are posting lessons in Progress Book and also into Google Classroom. We are using it in grades 8-12 in various content.”

    Sudvary said the VLA curriculum has allowed staff to use the state-aligned curriculum to support online learning for students and most of the pupils have adapted to the online format. Some students do struggle but that is primarily due to lack of internet access or technology at home.

   “The VLA curriculum has been very beneficial and easy to use for our staff and students. We appreciate the support and trainings the JCESC has provided Wellsville Schools.”

    Austin Cable, an eighth-grade teacher at Indian Creek Middle School in Mingo Junction, said while the change has been an adjustment, he has still been able to ensure pupils were keeping up to date with their studies. Cable said he has been utilizing the ESC’s science curriculum for his classes along with the Discovery Education Techbook that students used while still in school.

 “The online curriculum has helped the lessons to stay Ohio standards-based, and when they complete the assignments their grades get communicated directly to Progress Book, which is the platform we use to keep track of our grades and assignments,” he said. “As for students adapting to working from home, they have adapted well and ask questions through email. It is a bit more complicated to communicate online but everyone is learning some new skills and finding their way through. Sometimes we have students that say they want to be schooled from home and this is a great trial run for them and their parents. I think it will be interesting to see if any make the transition once we get back to the physical school building.”

   Meanwhile, JCESC officials also conducted an online professional development session with educators in the Indian Creek Local School District. Ron Sismondo, JCESC director of curriculum and professional development, said the session was done utilizing the Zoom videoconferencing program which has been a great tool for distance-meeting sessions. Sismondo used the platform to inform teachers about the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System, or OTES 2.0, which is the new system for evaluating teachers and will replace OTES 1.0 beginning in the 2020-21 school year.                                                                 

  “This transition will take place for all districts that have renewed their collective bargaining agreement after Nov. 2, 2018,” he said. “If districts have a collective bargaining agreement in place before that time, they will remain with the OTES 1.0 system until they negotiate a new agreement and then will transition to OTES 2.0.”

   He added that the March meeting was for Indian Creek Middle School teachers and the video platform offered a convenient way for the group to gather while they practice social distancing, plus it could serve as a viable alternative classroom.

   “The Zoom platform can be a way for teachers to conduct sessions with students in real time and students can interact with the teacher, as well. There are other platforms such as GOTO Meeting, Cisco WebEx and many others,” Sismondo said. 

“We are also maintaining all other services that we offer through emails, texts and videoconferencing. We offer any district the opportunity to have any professional development through videoconferencing if they wish to do so during this time or any other time.”

Continuity of Education Plan for Schools
Posted 3/9/2020 at 3:56:08 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Continuity of Education
For more information about JCESC Continuity of Education program, contact:
740.283.3347 ext. 134  
Distance Learning Grant Aids Local Schools
Posted 1/22/2020 at 10:28:25 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

STEUBENVILLE-The Jefferson County Educational Service Center has received more than $519,000 in federal funds to help local schools give students what they need to thrive.

   JCESC gained the U.S. Department of Agriculture Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant administered through the Rural Utilities Service. About 133 projects received grants in 37 states and two U.S. territories and the local funding will be utilized by JCESC and the Help Me Grow program in Jefferson and Harrison counties, as well as the Family Recovery Center, Jefferson County Juvenile Court and many of JCESC’s member school districts. Among the districts included are Steubenville, Harrison Hills, Indian Creek, Buckeye Local, Southern Local and Jefferson County Joint Vocational School. The federal grant totals $519,602 with a local match of $67,780 and will help install technology and implement Project Access so local rural residents-- namely students and their families-- can take advantage of health and wellness and educational programs via videoconferencing. 

   Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said the funds would be used to develop two initiatives to address the needs of residents, students and families in Jefferson, Harrison and Columbiana counties who lack sufficient transportation for services. One component would provide telemedicine services through a variety of counseling services, including individual behavioral health therapy, group therapy and other forms of family counseling. An existing mentoring program also will allow for the use of technology so students may meet remotely for guidance counseling and other topics. Another facet would support distance learning for early intervention services, including initial meetings with EI staff, parents and children or students through videoconferencing to discuss the overall need for testing and the introduction of why an individualized education program, or IEP, may benefit their child or student. The technology could also assist with EI team meetings where multidisciplinary care team members could discuss development or IEP implementation.

   JCESC is partnering with the Family Recovery Center to offer end-user sites with access to individual and group outpatient therapy services for families in need. In addition, the agency may present its Aiming High prevention program via videoconferencing to ensure all districts have access to the program for students in grades K-6. Help Me Grow also will use the technology to mentor children who may be struggling at school and conduct home visits for parent support, early prenatal and well-baby care and parenting education to promote the comprehensive health and development of children to qualifying parents and mothers. Moreover, the county juvenile court will be a hub site to deliver services to project end user sites.

   Dr. Kokiko said the costs over everything from laptops and cables to cameras and monitors to help bring services into the 21st Century, thereby saving time and improving upon productivity.

   “The premise behind this is there was an internal study in the county which found barriers through personal and public transportation. Rural areas have no access and ultimately this equipment will allow us to put the service use by alleviating the transportation issue and schools can link to counselors, the Family Recovery Center and the ESC. This can be adults to adults and adults to students,” he explained.

    A similar DLT grant was given to Edison Local Schools last year totaling $498,015 with a $75,000 local match so the district’s three buildings could benefit from related services. 

    Dr. Kokiko said the endeavor is another way for JCESC to enhance services.

    “As an ESC, we’re very excited to bring these resources to our member districts and the community. Our goal is to increase the availability of resources as well as the efficiency in which they are delivered,” he concluded. “We’re looking forward to working with all of the grant participants and implementing equipment and programs in the coming months.”

   JCESC CEO Dr. George Ash echoed those sentiments, saying the educational service center always looks at ways to provide quality assistance to the entities it serves.

   “This has been an ongoing process of bringing agencies together and it is a work in progress as we keep adding more,” Dr. Ash said. Since 2013, the JCESC has also included the likes of Southern Local Schools, Help Me Grow and the Family and Children First Council.

EdChoice Vouchers Draw Concern
Posted 1/8/2020 at 9:31:02 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ESC Superintendent Meet with Legislators

STEUBENVILLE-Area school superintendents had a chance to address their concerns on the impact of Educational Choice vouchers upon their districts during a recent meeting with state legislators.

   Leaders from Indian Creek, Toronto, Steubenville, Harrison Hills, Edison and Southern Local met with Sen. Frank Hoagland (R-30th) and Rep. Don Jones (R-95th) at the Jefferson County Educational Service Center this past month about the Educational Choice, or EdChoice, vouchers, which is part of a scholarship program launched in 2006 and offers private school vouchers to students in grades K-12 who are assigned to “low-performing” public schools. Participating private schools are required to accept the voucher as full tuition for students whose families are at or below 200 percent of the poverty level, and school districts—not the state—pay the costs.

    The superintendents expressed concern about how their districts could lose funding to private facilities amid low indicators on state report cards, even though they have worked diligently to attain ever-changing standards. Schools which score a D or F, including performance added for the past two years, are eligible to lose money through the voucher program. A main sticking point is that while schools are showing improvement, they may still lose thousands of dollars that could hinder education. However, there are ideas in the works to ease the situation.

   JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said the issue spurred officials to contact Sen. Hoagland, who then invited Rep. Jones, House education committee chairman and a longtime teacher in the Harrison Hills City School District. Rep. Jones said the matter first came to his attention in the spring and he was working on an immediate fix until a permanent solution is found. Among the ideas are to make EdChoice a second option and move the appropriations date to March or April 1; remove buildings from the list if their score improves to a C-minus, unless the school receives a D or F grade in value added; and changing the grading system to meeting, exceeding or not meeting standards. Legislators are also eying a plan to set an end date for EdChoice scholarship appropriations and the student must be enrolled for an entire year to receive the funding.

   “A lot of kids are people we haven’t seen in our districts,” he said. “A lot of school districts have good relationships with [private schools in their area] and it’s driving a wedge. One option would be to be put language in as an amendment to a current bill with an emergency clause. We know this is a short-term fix and will have to look at something long-term.”

   He added that the state report card does not accurately account for what schools are doing, and surprisingly Steubenville’s Harding Middle School was on the list even though the district earned an ‘A’ rating.

   Steubenville City School Superintendent Melinda Young questioned test scores between her district and an area private school, saying the latter was considerably lower yet it benefitted through the voucher program.

   “Eighty-two percent at Steubenville are passing, but at the private school students are passing with much lower rates on third-grade math,” she commented, adding that she had difficulty finding information on the EdChoice schools. “What’s fair for me should be fair for them. If a school district gets EdChoice funding, they should have the same requirements I have.”

   Amid more talks, Indian Creek Superintendent Dr. T.C. Chappelear referred to a study by the Thomas Fordham Institute which found that only more advantaged kids who were eligible used the voucher program, while they wind up doing worse than if they remained in the public school system. He said his district stood to lose a half-million dollars as a result of the current voucher requirements.

 “It’s an experiment like charter schools. Our communities believe in our schools and it is frustrating when you have legislators saying you are not doing a good job,” he added, noting improvements over the last three years at Indian Creek High School, which showed growth from an F to an A. “If you take $500,000 out of our district, it will be difficult to maintain that momentum.” 

   Toronto Superintendent Maureen Taggart said emphasis was also being placed upon health and wellness success and currently half of the district’s children are enrolled in the school-based health care program.

   “We have to do so much more than educate children. We’re being graded on an academic report card on other services we’re providing,” she said, adding there was a significant difference with state report card results. “Our score is similar to Indian Creek’s but we’re not on the list.”

   Harrison Hills Superintendent Dana Snider noted that schools are constantly facing obstacles to meet ever-evolving standards.

   “I’m okay with testing because it’s set a bar for us,” said Snider. “Now that bar has been set so high that I don’t know how anyone can reach it. I like the value added because I look at the growth of the kids.”

   “Every time we spend time testing, we are not spending time teaching,” Young commented. “We should not test every year; we should test in fourth and eighth grades.”

    Southern Local Superintendent Tom Cunningham said students are being put into one mold even though they are not the same.

    Rep. Jones responded that as a teacher, he was aware of what was happening in schools, while Sen. Hoagland interjected that the Ohio Department of Education did not appear to be included in the decision-making process.

   “Let’s fix the problem and get back to the job we’re supposed to do and educate kids,” Rep. Jones replied. “I appreciate what I am hearing from you folks. It’s important to have people in that business to help make decisions. The report card has to be fixed and the report card triggers EdChoice. We have to get that thing right first. We have to meet requirements to get federal funding. We should meet the federal requirements and let the schools tell their story.”

(Photo Cutline: Ohio Sen. Frank Hoagland (R-30th) and Rep. Don Jones (R-95th) met with local school superintendents at the Jefferson County Educational Service Center to address concerns over Educational Choice vouchers. The superintendents said current voucher requirements would affect funding while private schools were not held to the same standards as public districts. Rep. Jones, House education chairman and a longtime teacher, said he was working on immediate fixes until long-term solutions could be found.)

Edison Teachers Benefit from Best Practice Grants
Posted 11/22/2019 at 10:48:32 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
2019 Edison BPG

RICHMOND-The Jefferson County Educational Service Center awarded three Edison Local School teachers with 2019 Best Practice Grants to expand students’ knowledge.

   Stanton Elementary teachers Jordan Tice and Mikayla Tice and John Gregg Elementary educator Kathy Ramsey each received $600 mini-grants during the regular Edison Local school board meeting at Edison High School on Nov. 21 to put their classroom ideas into practice. JCESC is awarding a total of 22 grants to seven school districts, a vocational school and a community school during the 2019-20 academic year to help recipients bring their ideas to fruition.

   Jordan Tice plans to use her mini-grant for sixth-grade math students to code an MIT program known as Scratch.

   “It is designed for younger students to be introduced to code.  While students will not have to type out binary code, they will still have to choose the right actions to create the exact movement they want,” she said. “Coding movement is based off of the coordinate plane. This is a sixth-grade standard, so students will be able to understand how the movement actually works. Students will start off by animating their name and this will help them learn the program controls. Then students will be able to create a scene from a story of their choosing and add sound, movement, and backgrounds. Finally, the students will be able to code a game similar to Space Invaders or Mario.  The Best Practice Grant will be used to provide students with books that will help with the projects along the way.”

    She said the project will benefit 73 students and she has received a Best Practice Grant in previous years.

   “It’s an honor to be selected,” Tice added. “This grant has allowed for me to create end-of-the-year STEM projects that genuinely excite the students. Thank you to the Jefferson County ESC for offering this opportunity for teachers.”

   Mikayla Tice, a first- and second-grade intervention specialist at Stanton, will use her windfall to continue a school-wide Book of the Month initiative which promotes literacy and also incorporates the recently implemented Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS) matrix used across the district. She said it will benefit 400 students in grades PreK-6 in the process.

   “Each month a book will be chosen and read across grade levels and activities will be completed in each subject area to cover state standards through enhanced learning,” she explained.

   Tice is a first-time Best Practice Grant awardee and was honored to be chosen.

   “I am so excited to be able to implement an initiative in the school that will promote literacy and will be a fun way to build community.  I cannot thank the Jefferson County ESC enough for providing this opportunity to so many districts. The ESC is truly aiding in the learning of so many students in the area. Stanton Elementary is grateful for all the support that the Jefferson County ESC shows our school and looks forward to using the grant to provide students with enriched and enhanced education through the Book of the Month initiative.”

   Ramsey, who instructs music to grades PreK-6 at John Gregg, is establishing an early childhood music curriculum with her project, “Preschool and Above Enrichment through Music.”

   The funding will help acquire eight desktop bell sets that will allow more than 100 students to learn music theory and recognize various pitches by ear, kinesthetically and visually.

   “My project is a Preschool Prodigies music curriculum that introduces early learners to pitch recognition with the use of solfege, colors, rhythms, and the musical alphabet,” she said. “The district purchased the online curriculum which will be used in most of the primary grades. The grant was written in order to acquire several sets of the colored and pitched desk bells that are used for the kinesthetic and aural learning part of the curriculum. It is my hope that our early music learners will be able to have great sense of pitch after several consecutive years of this.  It would greatly enhance their singing abilities and learning an instrument.”

    Ramsey is a previous Best Practice Grant recipient and said the latest allocation will be put to great use.

   “I am very grateful in receiving this grant.  It allows me to purchase the starter sets of bells to begin this new curriculum. More will be needed, but it’s a start. I am excited to see the progress with the students in the next few years.”

    JCESC has been awarding Best Practice Grants for more than three decades to benefit education at Buckeye Local, Edison Local, Harrison Hills City, Indian Creek Local, Southern Local, Steubenville City and Toronto City Schools as well as Jefferson County Joint Vocational School and the Utica Shale Academy, while an estimated $106,500 has been disbursed within the past 12 years alone.

    “The Jefferson County Educational Service Center Board governs with a belief of making decisions that are beneficial to our students.  Most of those decisions are impactful at the district level,” said Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko. “The Best Practice Grant program provides an opportunity to directly assist teachers and students in the classroom.  JCESC is grateful to the teachers who apply for the Best Practice Grants and we look forward to funding innovative instructional practices in the classroom each year.”

(Photo Cutline: The Jefferson County Educational Service Center presented three $600 Best Practice Grants to Edison Local School teachers during the regular school board meeting on Nov. 21 for their creative classroom programs. Pictured are, from left, JCESC Coordinator Patty Ferrell with teachers Mikayla Tice, Jordan Tice and Kathy Ramsey.)

Indian Creek Teachers Obtain Best Practice Grants
Posted 11/22/2019 at 10:44:38 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
2019 Indian Creek BPG

MINGO JUNCTION-Teachers in the Indian Creek Local School District are the latest recipients of the Jefferson County Educational Service Center’s 2019 Best Practice Grants and will use the funds to expand upon technology and literature in their classrooms.

   Ashley Turnbull, Rebecca Canestraro and Staci Copeland each gained a $600 mini-grant to develop successful students and were recognized during the regular Indian Creek school board meeting on Nov. 21. JCESC is awarding a total of 22 grants to seven school districts, a vocational school and a community school during the 2019-20 academic year to implement the educators’ innovative ideas.

   Turnbull, a preschool teacher at Hills Elementary, will use her windfall for her project, “Auditory Development.” She plans to purchase three Qball Throwable Wireless Microphone Systems that will provide auditory needs in preschool as well as the third-grade inclusion room. The equipment will help those learning to speak and also soft talkers get their voice heard. With inclusion being an important part of the educational setting, she said it can be difficult for some peers to understand and hear other students in the classroom. The Q-Balls will be used for the whole group instruction such as carpet time as well as small-group center academic time.

    “We’re really excited,” she said. “This helps [students] get their voices heard.”

    The project benefits about 100 students at Hills. Meanwhile, Turnbull said she has received Best Practice Grants in the past and was thankful for approval this time.

   Canestraro, who instructs third-grade English and Language Arts at Wintersville Elementary, will promote “Expandable Reading to Meet Student Interest.” Her project entails purchasing books to expand a student’s independent reading level by reading books of interest. 

   The project will allow for the library to expand its reading collection and priority will be given to expanding non-fiction selections, since non-fiction library selections are limited and are typically above grade level. The books will be shared with all grade levels.

   “My project is a classroom library expansion that allows all students the opportunity to read suitable books that accommodate their interests and reading level,” she said.

    Approximately 60 students will benefit from the project and this is Canestraro’s first Best Practice Grant award.

   “Receiving this grant is very relieving. This grant helps to guarantee that resources are being provided to all learners at their reading level. The grant has provided my classes with access to more literature that appeals to their interest and the expansion of the classroom library would not be possible without it.”

  Copeland will use her grant allocation to fund “Differentiation for Gifted and Higher Level ELA through Multimedia.” The idea is to acquire a program to differentiate reading material at higher levels for gifted, above-grade level and post-high school level students. The ‘Actively Learn’ reading program concentrates on critical thinking and depth at many levels through informational text, literature, entire novels and corresponding videos. Copeland, who instructs eighth-grade English and Language Arts at Indian Creek Middle School, said the focus is to shift the teacher’s role to facilitator so the students can take control of their own learning, while the program is aligned to the Ohio Learning Standards.

   “I was in need of higher-level resources for my gifted and above-grade level students in the area of Language Arts,” she explained. “These students need to be engaged in high-interest and upper-level reading and thinking texts through technology. In addition, I will be able to differentiate reading material at higher levels to meet my students’ needs.”

   About 30 honors and gifted program students will benefit from the program and Copeland said she was a prior mini-grant recipient.

   “I am very grateful that the JCESC offers this grant, so teachers are able to get the extra resources they need for their students.”        

   JCESC has been awarding Best Practice Grants for more than three decades to benefit education at Buckeye Local, Edison Local, Harrison Hills City, Indian Creek Local, Southern Local, Steubenville City and Toronto City Schools as well as Jefferson County Joint Vocational School and the Utica Shale Academy, while an estimated $106,500 has been disbursed within the past 12 years alone.

    “The Jefferson County Educational Service Center Board governs with a belief of making decisions that are beneficial to our students.  Most of those decisions are impactful at the district level,” said Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko. “The Best Practice Grant program provides an opportunity to directly assist teachers and students in the classroom.  JCESC is grateful to the teachers who apply for the Best Practice Grants and we look forward to funding innovative instructional practices in the classroom each year.”

(Photo Cutline: The Jefferson County Educational Service Center awarded three $600 Best Practice Grants to Indian Creek Local School teachers during the Nov. 21 regular school board session for their unique classroom programs. Pictured are Indian Creek Middle School teacher Staci Copeland with JCESC Gifted Coordinator Linda Lenzi. Not pictured are Ashley Turnbull of Hills Elementary School and Rebecca Canestraro of Wintersville Elementary.)

Mini-grants Awarded at Steubenville
Posted 11/22/2019 at 9:59:08 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

STEUBENVILLE-Teachers in the Steubenville City School District have gained funding to help promote environmental and STEM initiatives.

   Helen Casto, Heather Hoover and Mackenzie Filtz each received a $600 Best Practice Grant from the Jefferson County Educational Service Center during the Nov. 20 Steubenville City School Board of Education session. JCESC

is awarding a total of 22 grants to seven school districts, a vocational school and a community school during the 2019-20 academic year to implement the educators’ innovative ideas.

   Casto, a fourth-grade teacher at Pugliese West Elementary, will promote vermicomposting with 75 students to generate viable material from food waste and integrates a program which was previously funded through a similar mini-grant. “Raising Worms for Compost” will help continue the compost garden that was started four years ago by a Best Practice Grant and Casto said the garden has increased from two garden beds to 10. 

   “Pugliese West fourth graders will use vermicomposting to utilize food waste from our homes and school lunches,” she said. “After the worms eat the scraps, the compost will be collected from the worm factory and used in our school garden beds.”

   Students will build, document, analyze and perform maintenance to operate the vermicomposting bins and the compost will be used for all school gardening projects throughout the year. In addition, the school’s 485 pupils will benefit since they will use the compost to enhance the soil in the garden beds. Casto said has also received a mini-grant for a prior literacy bag program to implement restorative practices in every grade level, but she was grateful to earn another award and said watching students become excited about learning through gardening has been a rewarding experience.

   “One thing that gets our students so excited is finding bugs and worms in the garden and to be able to expand on that excitement, with the funding from the Best Practice Grant, energizes me to become a better teacher.”

    Hoover, an SFA facilitator and gifted intervention specialist at the McKinley STEM Academy, is adding “Just a Little Spark” to her lessons by introducing students to simple circuit connections in the primary grade level. About 60 students in grades PreK-4 will benefit from the project.

   “Chibitronics is an ideal way to introduce primary students to simple circuit connections. With the use of stickers, paper circuits, and foil tape, this project will enable students to produce connections in the form of individual expression and art. Students will learn to design, connect and create unique and personalized hands on activities and gain a better understanding of electrical components and how they have changed the world,” she said.

    Hoover is a first-time recipient and was honored to receive the funding.

   “It is an honor to have the ability to provide my students with uniquely designed hands-on activities that will promote curiosity and innovation,” she added. “I appreciate the opportunity to apply for grants such as this, and JCESC’s ability to help promote greater experiences in the classroom, with their continuous support throughout the county.”

    Filtz, who teaches fourth-graders at the McKinley STEM Academy, was excited to receive a grant to help her 21 students grow academically, technologically and socially. Her project, “Robotics and Coding,” would provide students with engaging hands-on experiences using technology to problem-solve and engineer with robotics and to construct circuits. Students will follow the engineering design process of ask, imagine, plan, create and improve.

“My project for the Best Practice Grant includes STEM items to be used in daily science labs. Students will have the opportunity to invent, build and discover in a daily rotation,” Filtz commented. “They will have the opportunity to build circuit connections, build and solve problems with OSMO software and construct robots through coding.”

   She is a first-time mini-grant recipient and was thrilled to be selected.

   “I am extremely grateful and excited to be able to provide my students with the ability to use their critical-thinking and problem-solving skills to follow the engineering process to invent, build and discover with hands-on experiences with circuits robots, and technology. I would eventually like to add more of the same products so students have a 2-1 ratio.”

   JCESC has been awarding Best Practice Grants for more than three decades to benefit education at Buckeye Local, Edison Local, Harrison Hills City, Indian Creek Local, Southern Local, Steubenville City and Toronto City Schools as well as Jefferson County Joint Vocational School and the Utica Shale Academy, while an estimated $106,500 has been disbursed within the past 12 years alone.

    “The Jefferson County Educational Service Center Board governs with a belief of making decisions that are beneficial to our students.  Most of those decisions are impactful at the district level,” said Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko. “The Best Practice Grant program provides an opportunity to directly assist teachers and students in the classroom.  JCESC is grateful to the teachers who apply for the Best Practice Grants and we look forward to funding innovative instructional practices in the classroom each year.”

Growing Great Kids
Posted 11/20/2019 at 11:42:53 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ESC Help me Grow

Michelle Miller of the Tennessee-based Growing Great Kids program led a four-day training session for eight home visitors with the Help Me Grow agency at the Jefferson County Educational Service Center in Steubenville. The program, which was provided through the Ohio Department of Health, focused on the Growing Great Kids curriculum used with clients in the home. Help Me Grow Home Visiting, which is sponsored locally by JCESC and the Harrison Hills City School District, serves about 200 families in Jefferson, Harrison, Carroll and Belmont counties and 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 to age 5. For more information about Help Me Grow, call (740) 283-3347 in Jefferson County or (740) 942-2622 in Harrison County.

Southern Local Educators Earn Best Practice Grants
Posted 11/15/2019 at 11:56:02 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
2019 Southern Local BPG

SALINEVILLE-Educators in the Southern Local School District were highlighted for their ingenuity after being selected as 2019 Best Practice Grant recipients.

   Ron Sismondo, director of professional development and curriculum with the Jefferson County Educational Service Center, presented three $600 mini-grants for Holly Davis, Jessica Coleman and Andrew Vulgamore during the Southern Local Board of Education meeting on Nov. 13 so the teachers may implement innovative learning projects for their students. JCESC is awarding a total of 22 grants to seven school districts, a vocational school and a community school during the 2019-20 academic year to help recipients bring their ideas to fruition.

   Davis, who instructs kindergarten at Southern Local Elementary, is using her funding to create independent learning centers. The Centers That Last project will incorporate non-fiction books, word work, sight words, play dough, writing and phonemic awareness materials so students are more successful and learn faster when they experience things on hand. She added that students could work more independently, while hands-on activities help children to strengthen the muscles of the hand, improve accuracy and learn functional skills that they will use for the rest of their lives. The project will benefit 19 students now but will be sustainable well into the future.

   “It is my hope to have these materials for years to come and that many children will benefit from this grant,” she said. “I also plan to share with my sister’s kindergarten class here at Southern Local.”

   This is Davis’ first award and she was pleased to be selected as a recipient.

   “I am very excited to be one of the three chosen from Southern Local to receive the grant. It will feel like Christmas morning when all the materials arrive. Thank you to the Jefferson County ESC for providing this awesome opportunity to our school district.”

   Coleman, who is the fourth-grade intervention specialist at SLES, plans to expand upon the school’s newly created sensory area and calm down corner by adding more elements for students to use, plus additional resources for teachers from books to calm down zones in their own classrooms. The grant will help purchase bean bag chairs, books, a weighted blanket, sensory pad and a calming LED projection light for the sensory area and allow teachers and students an area to work through emotions, behaviors and regulation while keeping students in school.

   “The calm down area is primarily used for students who have difficulties with self-regulation and students who have emotional upsets that disrupt the classroom learning environment,” she explained. “Calm down areas can also be used for students who need scheduled breaks, students who need social or emotional specifically designed instruction and students who benefit from check-ins throughout the day.”

    Coleman is a first-time mini-grant recipient and is grateful for the opportunity so she may help her young charges.

 “I am eager to see the sensory space and calm down areas be used by our students,” she said. “Thank you to the Jefferson County ESC for offering this grant, and also thank you to the administrators and staff for working with me to help my vision come to fruition.”

   Vulgamore, who teaches career-based intervention for grades 9-12 at Southern Local High School, has opened the Wigwam Warm-Up student store to teach his pupils how to operate a business.

   “We are creating a student store at Southern Local Jr./Sr. High and the students will run it,” he said, adding that it benefits all students and not only the 33 pupils he teaches in his classroom. “Students will be in charge of ordering, marketing, budgeting, earning projection and manufacturing the products. They will gain real-world learning at a smaller scale and will have the roles of employee, supervisor, CFO and CEO.”

   Funding will help provide merchandise such as snacks, drinks and even shirts, hats and mugs. Purchases also include a Heat press machine with digital transfer for shirts and hats to mugs and all sale proceeds will go back into the store to maintain operations. Vulgamore said it was his first mini-grant and he was pleased to receive the award.

   “I am super excited about receiving the grant. I was not sure if we would be able to get the store up and running and would like to say thank you. I am very grateful for being awarded this grant.”

    JCESC has been awarding Best Practice Grants for more than three decades to benefit education at Buckeye Local, Edison Local, Harrison Hills City, Indian Creek Local, Southern Local, Steubenville City and Toronto City Schools as well as Jefferson County Joint Vocational School and the Utica Shale Academy, while an estimated $106,500 has been disbursed within the past 12 years alone.

      “The Jefferson County Educational Service Center Board governs with a belief of making decisions that are beneficial to our students.  Most of those decisions are impactful at the district level,” said Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko. “The Best Practice Grant program provides an opportunity to directly assist teachers and students in the classroom.  JCESC is grateful to the teachers who apply for the Best Practice Grants and we look forward to funding innovative instructional practices in the classroom each year.”

(Photo Cutline: Ron Sismondo, Jefferson County Educational Service Center director of professional development and curriculum, presented three $600 Best Practice Grants for teachers Holly Davis, Jessica Coleman and Andrew Vulgamore during the Nov. 13 Southern Local school board meeting. He is pictured with Coleman, at center, and Davis while Vulgamore was not present.)

Utica Shale Academy Obtains Grant for Calculators
Posted 11/15/2019 at 11:52:40 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
2019 Utica Shale Academy BPG

SALINEVILLE-Utica Shale Academy students have new tools to obtain success in their studies, thanks to a $600 Best Practice Grant.

   Executive Director Bill Watson obtained the mini-grant through the Jefferson County Educational Service Center and a check was presented during the regular USA Board of Directors meeting on Nov. 13. A total of 22 grants were awarded to seven school districts, a vocational school and a community school during the 2019-20 academic year and JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko made the latest presentation, touting the community school’s work to prepare students for the real world.

   Watson said the funds will be used to acquire 12 new TI-85 graphing calculators to assist approximately 70 students with their math work. The project will assist in updating the site with the most current technology and provide guidance for students to become more proficient with content.

   “The current calculators will only allow students to plot one point,” he said. “By using the calculators, students will develop a stronger understanding of graphing and plotting multiple points. This will create an ideal visual and an ability to distinguish between graphs and functions.”

    Watson added that students currently borrow calculators from Southern Local High School, where USA is primarily housed, and the equipment would help prepare for end-of-year testing. The community school has obtained grants in the past and he was grateful for the most recent allocation.

   “It’s always nice to have opportunities and this grant is obviously giving our students a lot of opportunities,” he added.

    USA currently includes 67 pupils at Southern Local and the satellite location at Columbiana High School. Now in its sixth year, the community school is sponsored by JCESC and serves grades 7-12 with a state-required curriculum which includes a customizable digital program, flexible scheduling and safety certification courses. Graduates earn a high school diploma, certificates and college credit options offered through Eastern Gateway Community College.

   Meanwhile, JCESC has been awarding Best Practice Grants for more than three decades to benefit education at Buckeye Local, Edison Local, Harrison Hills City, Indian Creek Local, Southern Local, Steubenville City and Toronto City Schools as well as Jefferson County Joint Vocational School and the Utica Shale Academy, while an estimated $106,500 has been disbursed within the past 12 years alone.

   “The Jefferson County Educational Service Center Board governs with a belief of making decisions that are beneficial to our students.  Most of those decisions are impactful at the district level,” said Dr. Kokiko. “The Best Practice Grant program provides an opportunity to directly assist teachers and students in the classroom.  JCESC is grateful to the teachers who apply for the Best Practice Grants and we look forward to funding innovative instructional practices in the classroom each year.”

(Photo Cutline: The Jefferson County Educational Service Center awarded a $600 Best Practice Grant to the Utica Shale Academy to acquire upgraded calculators for students in the community school. Pictured is USA Executive Director Bill Watson, at left, with JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko.)
Buckeye Local Teachers Receive Mini-Grants
Posted 11/8/2019 at 9:53:59 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

   DILLONVALE-Educators in the Buckeye Local School District are among the 2019 Best Practice Grant recipients through the Jefferson County Educational Service Center and will use their allocations for unique learning projects.

   JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko recognized teachers Jeff Merrill, Colleen Weekley and Jenny Potts during the regular Buckeye Local school board meeting on Nov. 4 and presented each of them with $600 mini-grants to implement their ideas. JCESC is awarding a total of 22 mini-grants to seven school districts, a vocational school and a community school during the 2019-20 academic year.

    Merrill, a math teacher at Buckeye Local High School, said his funding will help eight students develop a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) project for the school’s annual Sea Air & Land Challenge competition. Roughly 40 students from Ohio and West Virginia participate in the contest each year and the event is sponsored by Penn State University’s Electro-Optics Center (EOC).

   “My project is an underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV). I have eight students in my STEM class who will be responsible for building and operating the ROV,” he said. “This is the first time I have received a Best Practices Grant. I feel honored to receive this grant so that the students at Buckeye Local can have even more STEM experiences. They learn to build, troubleshoot and work collaboratively on a common goal.”

   Merrill said the funds benefit junior and seniors in his STEM class and thanked JCESC for awarding the mini-grant so students have more opportunities to expand their learning skills.

   Weekley, an intervention specialist at Buckeye North Elementary, will purchase critical-thinking activities for her project, “Everyone Needs a Little Help from a Friend,” to communicate and collaborate and think outside the box so students can play to their strengths. 

    “I am getting hands-on learning materials for students to collaboratively work together. There are STEM activities, science, math, reading and social studies activities, games and challenges. Some of the materials will be used in class, but most of the activities will be utilized during Title or recess time. With students and people so focused on technology, I wanted activities that would challenge the students without the use of technology,” she said. “I am really excited to be able to give the students the opportunity to create, learn and make mistakes on their own in small groups.”

   Weekley that it would benefit more about 80-100 fifth- and sixth-grade pupils but other grade levels may use the materials. She commented that it was her first Best Practice Grant and she was grateful to have her project chosen.

    Potts, a kindergarten teacher at Buckeye South Elementary, will use her windfall for “We Know Our ABC’s and Want to Share Our Recipes,” a project in which her 25 students will publish a cookbook with help from the community. 

   “This collaborative project will involve the students, their families, the community and the teachers at school.  The kindergarten students will create a collaborative ABC’s recipe book that will be professionally printed and bound,” she said, adding that her pupils will be responsible for interviews, writing the recipes and drawing illustrations. “After all of the recipes are collected, the class will work together to bring the book to life.  The students will use their letter knowledge to put the recipes in alphabetical order. They will also be able to use their math skills to number the pages. The students will then learn what it takes to be a published author by making a rough draft of the book.”

 

   The book will be released through Studentreasures Publishing Company and the class will receive 29 copies of the book as included in the grant, but unlimited additional copies may also be purchased. Potts added that her students will benefit from the collaboration as well as practicing the skills they learn in the classroom. Additionally, they get to share their hard work with the world by displaying their book in the school library. Potts also hopes to make the book an annual class tradition.

 

   "This grant would allow us to have the start-up supplies to use year after year.  Next year, the students would have to pay for the book, but we would be able to start earlier because we will have the necessary items and experience to begin right away.”

 

   JCESC has been awarding Best Practice Grants for more than three decades to benefit education at Buckeye Local, Edison Local, Harrison Hills City, Indian Creek Local, Southern Local, Steubenville City and Toronto City Schools as well as Jefferson County Joint Vocational School and the Utica Shale Academy, while an estimated $106,500 has been disbursed within the past 12 years alone.

   “The Jefferson County Educational Service Center Board governs with a belief of making decisions that are beneficial to our students.  Most of those decisions are impactful at the district level,” said Dr Kokiko. “The Best Practice Grant program provides an opportunity to directly assist teachers and students in the classroom.  JCESC is grateful to the teachers who apply for the Best Practice Grants and we look forward to funding innovative instructional practices in the classroom each year.”

Toronto Teachers Gain Best Practice Grants
Posted 11/5/2019 at 10:18:23 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
2019 Toronto BPG Release

TORONTO-Three Karaffa Elementary School teachers have been awarded 2019 Best Practice Grants to help hone students’ learning skills.

   Nikki Wright, Nichole Locke and Katie Mitchell were recognized during the Toronto City School Board of Education meeting on Oct. 24, where each teacher received a $600 mini-grant through the Jefferson County Educational Service Center for their innovative projects. JCESC is awarding a total of 22 mini-grants to seven school districts, a vocational school and a community school during the 2019-20 academic year and Toronto’s windfall benefits students in science, music and preschool programs.

   Wright plans to purchase items for her project, “Science, Sound and Music in STEAM,” to allow her fifth-grade students to explore the art of science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) through sound, music and reading. The grant will provide her pupils with hands-on activities to produce sounds, use robotic tools to make music and to read about science in fun-filled books. She said this will help build a science and music foundation that will carry over to junior high and high school.

   “It will benefit approximately 60 students,” she said, noting that it was her third mini-grant. “I am very thankful for this opportunity and plan to use my materials in my classroom immediately.”

   Locke, who instructs general music for first to fifth graders, choir for sixth to 12th grades and is assistant marching band director, said her windfall will add 94 recorders to her general music classroom, as well as other music items so each of her 75 students will learn to play the recorder during their fourth-grade year. As students master songs, they will earn a belt similar to karate and will be able to perform a belt song during class, after school or submit a video on Google Classroom from home. She said it also allows for differentiated instruction so that more advanced students can work on songs at a faster pace, plus they will perform a concert for their parents at the end of the year.

   “My project was to receive recorders and music for a recorder karate program. Students will be able to have recorders to take home to practice and to advance their belts from the comfort of their home and without all the pressure of performing in front of their peers,” Locke said. “This year it will benefit about 70 students. However, I will be able to use these items for many years to come.”

    She added that she has received the mini-grant before and was ecstatic to be selected once again.

   Mitchell will use her grant to benefit “Be Our Guest,” a volunteer program that intends to bolster learning among her 96 preschoolers while also building a strong relationship between teachers and parents. Books, games and art supplies will be purchased for the program and parents will be actively involved in their child’s first school experience by volunteering in the classroom. The volunteers will support educational games, activities, arts and crafts during classroom center times. Mitchell cited research which shows that parental involvement fosters academic achievement and improves attendance, behavior, social functioning and mental health.

    “This project will be implemented as a volunteer program in which parents surprise their child as the guest volunteer in the classroom during center time,” she explained. “They will lend a hand in art projects, activities and/or educational games with our students.”                              

    She also received a Best Practice Grant in the past and was extremely grateful to JCESC for providing the funding, while she was also pleased to implement her program to benefit her young students and encourage family involvement.

    JCESC has been awarding Best Practice Grants for more than three decades to benefit education at Buckeye Local, Edison Local, Harrison Hills City, Indian Creek Local, Southern Local, Steubenville City and Toronto City Schools as well as Jefferson County Joint Vocational School and the Utica Shale Academy, while an estimated $106,500 has been disbursed within the past 12 years alone.

   “The Jefferson County Educational Service Center Board governs with a belief of making decisions that are beneficial to our students.  Most of those decisions are impactful at the district level,” said JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko. “The Best Practice Grant program provides an opportunity to directly assist teachers and students in the classroom.  JCESC is grateful to the teachers who apply for the Best Practice Grants and we look forward to funding innovative instructional practices in the classroom each year.”

(Photo Cutline: The Jefferson County Educational Service Center presented three $600 Best Practice Grants to Toronto City School teachers during the Oct. 24 school board session. Pictured are, from left, Karaffa Elementary School Principal Betsy Johns representing recipient Nikki Wright, recipient Nichole Locke, district Director of Special Programs/Preschool Cindy Hinerman, who is representing recipient Katie Mitchell, and JCESC Supervisor Ron Sismondo.)

Harrison Hills Teachers Awarded Best Practice Grants
Posted 11/5/2019 at 10:06:47 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
2019 Harrison BPG Release

CADIZ-Three Harrison Hills City School teachers were recognized for their innovative classroom projects after receiving 2019 Best Practice Grants from the Jefferson County Educational Service Center.

    Elementary teachers Julia Carman, LeAnn VanCamp and Heather Soos were lauded during the Oct. 31 Harrison Hills City School Board of Education meeting for earning $600 mini-grants for their respective programs. JCESC is awarding a total of 22 grants to seven school districts, a vocational school and a community school during the 2019-20 academic year and Harrison Hills gained project funding for community involvement, art and a listening center.

  Carman, a fourth-grade reading teacher at Harrison Central Elementary, is focusing on “School to Community to Improve Society” with a project that impacts about 100 students. Pupils attempt to solve an existing problem in their community, state or the country by utilizing 21st Century skills for communication, collaboration and creativity with documentation and construction in the classroom.  The students must select a topic such as social-emotional, mental wellness, environmental and anti-bullying in the community and world and technology in Harrison County and then research and explore the issue. Next, they will create possible ways to solve the problem and present their projects to their peers.

   “My hope is that while students take this journey they become passionate about the world they live in and develop a love for learning,” Carman said. “Students will be encouraged to communicate their feelings, collaborate with fellow peers as well as professionals and create solutions to the problems.”

    She is a previous mini-grant recipient for a Friendship Flower Garden Club and feels privileged to be selected again, saying she appreciates the personnel that work at JCESC because they promote progress, student achievement and ingenuity.

   VanCamp, an art teacher at HCES, will benefit 247 fifth- and sixth-grade students with her Freedom Quilt project for American Legion posts in Cadiz, Hopedale and Scio. The project will tie in unique artistic skills to form quilt hangings that also support area patriots.

    “I plan on using the monies to purchase additional sewing machines, fabric, sewing notions and welcoming guest presenters and quilters from our local and neighboring communities,” she explained. “I want to build that bridge between school and community and this would be the perfect occasion. Harrison Central Elementary students will greatly benefit from the knowledge and experience they receive from our local quilters, learning how to hand sew, use a sewing machine and more importantly, giving back to others. Our school district faithfully supports our local veterans and honors them throughout the year for their bravery, dedication, loyalty and love for our wonderful country and I believe the Freedom Quilt project is justifiable and sustainable in the eyes of our faculty, student body, community, and most importantly, our veterans.”

   This was VanCamp’s first submission and mini-grant award and she was excited to be recognized. Anyone interested in participating in the project may email her at Lvancamp@hhcsd.org.

    Soos, a first-grade teacher at HCES, plans to use her award to create a listening center for about 450 pupils in grades PreK-6. Her project, which is entitled “Speaking and Listening,” would supply students with a portable cart containing headphones, a CD player and other items in the extended learning areas of the building. Students may listen to stories and the technology aims to help struggling readers as well as advanced ones.

   “The PBS website has done research on the benefits of reading to your child and shows that students become better readers when read to in the early years,” she said. “My team is really looking forward to using it. This will really help make students more successful readers.”

   Soos earned a Best Practice Grant several years ago and was excited about receiving the latest allocation, saying she was thankful such grants were available because it helps to provide students with fun, educational material they may not otherwise obtain.

   JCESC has been awarding Best Practice Grants for more than three decades to benefit education at Buckeye Local, Edison Local, Harrison Hills City, Indian Creek Local, Southern Local, Steubenville City and Toronto City Schools as well as Jefferson County Joint Vocational School and the Utica Shale Academy, while an estimated $106,500 has been disbursed within the past 12 years alone.

   “The Jefferson County Educational Service Center Board governs with a belief of making decisions that are beneficial to our students.  Most of those decisions are impactful at the district level,” said JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko. “The Best Practice Grant program provides an opportunity to directly assist teachers and students in the classroom.  JCESC is grateful to the teachers who apply for the Best Practice Grants and we look forward to funding innovative instructional practices in the classroom each year.”

(Photo Cutline: The Jefferson County Educational Service Center presented three $600 Best Practice Grants to Harrison Hills City School teachers for their innovative projects during the Oct. 31 school board meeting. Pictured, from left, is Amber Yorko, JCESC Striving Readers Grant administrator, with teachers Julia Carman, Heather Soos and LeAnn VanCamp.)

Reading Intervention Focus of Session
Posted 10/30/2019 at 9:23:17 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ESC MTSS Carri Meek

More than a dozen educators representing grades K-3 from Buckeye Local, Indian Creek, Harrison Hills, Lakeland Academy, Southern Local and Toronto took part in a professional development session on Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) Oct. 28 at the Jefferson County Educational Service Center in Steubenville. Carri Meek, instructional coach and CEO of Instructional Growth Seminars and Support, led discussion on reading-based interventions and another event was held for teachers in grades 4-8. Both sessions were provided through a Striving Readers grant allocation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                                                                               

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

   In other matters:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

   John Gregg Elementary Principal Tammy Burchfield agreed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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