Header Logo
Home      • VLA      • Calendar      • Contact      • News          
Virtual Academy
VLA Form
PD Registration
Indian Creek
Literacy Night Events at IC Schools
Posted 6/11/2020 at 9:56:54 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

WINTERSVILLE-Wintersville and Hills Elementary Schools are opening their doors to students and their families for some fun literacy night events.

    WES will hold a jungle-themed activity on March 11 from 5:30-7 p.m. and teacher Makenzie Householder, one of the organizers, said there will be games, snacks and stations to both engage and educate participants.

   “They are all based on different literacy activities and we will have coping skills with yoga where they read about meditation. In the gym, activities are based on phonetic skills and different stories and the yare going to create crafts. There will also be a Scholastic Book Fair where people have the opportunity to purchase books and the PTO will set up a Right to Read Week raffle.”

    About 150-250 people have attended in the past and organizers hope for another strong turnout.

   Meanwhile, Hills Elementary in Mingo Junction is getting “Wild About Learning” with its literacy night on March 12. Festivities run from 5-7 p.m. and will incorporate a jungle them with a yoga reading room, a Hungry Hungry Hippo-type game based on math and more.

   Teacher A.J. Renner, who organized Hills’ event with teacher Amy Rusnak, added that the student council will have a station in the cafeteria to sell good luck messages for kids on St. Patrick’s Day as a fundraiser for Relay For Life. Other offerings include place value for immediate grades, a fact fluency station for grades PreK-6 and a new technology room for parents to learn about programs used at Indian Creek Schools and review their child’s grades. A Scholastic Book Fair is also available while Hills’ Destination Imagination team “Christmas Catastrophe,” who recently placed first in a regional competition, will raffle baskets to fund their trip to the state contest in Centerville.

  Dozens of students have already signed up and organizers hope to see plenty of participants on hand.

ICBOE Talks Services during Closure
Posted 3/24/2020 at 1:50:27 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

MINGO JUNCTION-Indian Creek school board members gathered on Thursday to highlight efforts to assist children during the coronavirus pandemic.

   Leaders praised teachers and staff members for their ongoing work to sustain students mentally and physically amid school closures as they heard from Indian Creek Education Association President Karen Lloyd at the regular session at Indian Creek Middle School. Superintendent Dr. T.C. Chappelear also applauded the staff and said everyone was pulling together during this trying time.

   “The teachers are using Google Classroom, Facebook and Instagram, all types of tools,” he later said, adding that the district has also been providing free breakfast and lunch meals at Indian Creek High School, ICMS and Ridgewood Place Apartments on Two Ridge Road in Wintersville. “We served 85 on Thursday and 109 on Friday. It’s continuing to increase a little and should do so as more people hear about it.”

   The board also approved general maximum prices, or GMP’s, on school construction and renovation projects. Dr. Chappelear said it put the district closer to beginning the projects for the new ICHS and Cross Creek Elementary and upgrades at Hills Elementary.

   “That’s one of the next steps in continuing to move forward,” he commented. “One of the great things is the construction manager at-risk is responsible to deliver projects within the maximum price, but there is an exception for unforeseeable conditions. It really puts the onus for the construction manager to deliver the project at the price promised within the budget.”

    For now, officials are collecting bids and construction manager at-risk Hammond Construction will make the final selections before construction gets underway.

 Groundbreaking is still eyed for April and the new high school will be built next to Kettlewell Memorial Stadium while the present ICHS and Wintersville Elementary are still in use. Cross Creek Elementary will be erected at the present district office location on Bantam Ridge Road and Hills will be refurbished with new windows, roofing and classrooms as well as plumbing, heating and cooling improvements. The two new schools will be constructed simultaneously with renovations at Hills running concurrently. Sol Harris/Day Architecture Inc. of North Canton is completing designs for the three buildings and the estimated $63 million project is being done in collaboration with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission. The sites should be ready for fall of 2021 with the older school buildings to be raised the following spring.

   In other action, the board:

--Approved the resignations of WES teacher Vangelle Stakias after more than 24 years of service for retirement purposes effective June 1, as well as paraprofessional Brenda Spencer for personal reasons;

--Approved a classified substitute list including John Alvis, bus driver and custodian; David Laughery, summer custodian at Hills; Brandy Riley, cafeteria; Karen Rish, bus driver; and Andrew Bowersock, bus driver and custodian;

--Approved a continuing contract for Kevin Gray and employed Cathy Darling as a cook-cashier, Erin Mort as a bus driver and Kenneth Fiest as a paraprofessional for severe needs at WES;

--Approved Sean Smith as a baseball volunteer for the 2019-20 school year.

Jumping for a Cause
Posted 3/11/2020 at 10:06:29 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Hills Kids Heart Challenge

Hills Elementary School students jumped for a cause by participating in the American Heart Association Kids’ Heart Challenge in February, where they raised $725 at the conclusion. Physical education teacher Ryan Smith said students took part in activities during their special time to help the organization while they raised cash donations or contributed online. Pictured are fourth-graders Markorius McShon and Sophia Tongate showcasing their skills with the jump ropes.

Rocchi Contributes to Textbook
Posted 3/11/2020 at 10:00:18 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
IC John Rocchi Book

WINTERSVILLE-Indian Creek Local Schools Special Education Director John Rocchi can add another accomplishment to his portfolio, this time as an author.

    Rocchi collaborated with fellow educators Dr. Barbara Hansen and Dr. Linda Morrow to contribute a chapter to “Inclusive Education: A Systematic Perspective,” which is available now through Information Age Publishing of Charlotte, N.C., and will be used by colleges and universities. The trio co-wrote “Enhancing Learner Access Through Invitational Inclusive Education,” which is based upon their respective teachings at Muskingum University in Zanesville.

   Prior to serving in his current post, Rocchi was a special education coordinator at State Support Team Region 12 but has instructed at the university for the past 11 years, and he continues to teach online while also serving at Indian Creek. Drs. Hansen and Morrow had taught the same course at Muskingum prior to Rocchi and they decided to work together on the book, on which Dr. Hansen acts as co-editor. She also is a Dave Longaberger Endowed Chair in Teaching and Learning at Muskingum and teaches graduate courses in educational leadership while Dr. Morrow is a professor emeritus at the university.

  “The chapter is about the course and how to be more inclusive and invitational in whatever you are doing,” Rocchi explained. “It’s being more accepting of all individuals no matter their ability or disability and creating an environment that allows everyone to participate to the fullest extent possible.”

   He said the process may extend outside the classroom and into any field, be it business, sports or something else. The idea touches upon five areas that work together to achieve a more invitational setting: people, place, policy, program and processes. He said writing the chapter was a four-year project with revisions and other editing occurring over the past year.

   “I personally think it’s an accomplishment. I get a lot of satisfaction knowing the work I’ve been doing at Muskingum [has been captured in print]. Now, anybody who picks up the book can read it.”

     Copies of the book are available for order online at www.infoagepub.com.

(Photo Cutline: John Rocchi, director of special education for Indian Creek Local School District, co-authored a chapter on invitational inclusive education for the college textbook “Inclusive Education: A Systematic Perspective,” which is available now through Information Age Publishing of Charlotte, N.C.)

Reverse Raffle Benefits Creek Students
Posted 3/6/2020 at 11:39:19 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

MINGO JUNCTION-An annual fundraiser is set for this month to benefit students at Indian Creek Local Schools.

   The Indian Creek Foundation will host its reverse raffle moneymaker at the Mingo Junction Knights of Columbus Hall on March 21. The cash bar opens at 6 p.m. with dinner at 7 p.m. and tickets cost $50, which includes dinner and a chance to win a raffle for the $2,500 cash prize. Extra tickets for dinner only will be sold for $25 each and the evening will also include a Chinese auction with a variety of gift baskets and other items up for bid. Ticketholders need not be present for the drawings but forfeit their right to vote. Proceeds will go to the foundation to provide scholarships and benefit the students’ education.

 “Our goal is to raise about $10,000 and we have done that,” said Superintendent Dr. T.C. Chappelear. “We’ve had the raffle for about 14 years and the money goes to the foundation for scholarships and academic opportunities for kids to assist the district.”

   Previous funds have helped provide 3-D printers at the high school, miniature drones for the Indian Creek Middle School STEM program and a LEGOS curriculum at the elementary schools, as well as transportation and support of the ICHS Robotics team. The foundation was formed in 2002 with the reverse raffle started four years later. Officials said nearly $100,000 has been awarded since its inception and the organization also acts as the managing entity for other scholarships awarded on Senior Night, overseeing bequests and other contributions and working with local investment and accounting firms to remain solvent.

    Dr. Chappelear continued that 250 tickets were available for sale while about 100 people attend the festivities. Sponsors for the reverse raffle currently include the H.E. Neumann Co. Mechanical Service Contractors, Apollo Pro Cleaning and Restoration, Prezkop-Chappelear and Associates AC Certified Public Accountants, Southeast Security, Softite Community Federal Credit Union, Jefferson County Auditor E.J. Conn, the law firm of Bricker and Eckler LLC and Darrin Corrigan, candidate for Jefferson County Clerk of Courts.

   For more information on sponsorships or tickets, contact the district office at (740) 264-3502.

Groundbreaking Set for Indian Creek Schools
Posted 3/6/2020 at 11:37:27 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

WINTERSVILLE-Groundbreaking ceremonies will be held in anticipation of two new schools and a refurbished building within the Indian Creek Local School District.

   Superintendent Dr. T.C. Chappelear said a joint event will be held March 25 at 6 p.m. at the Indian Creek High School gym to mark upcoming construction projects for the new ICHS building and Cross Creek Elementary in Wintersville plus renovations at Hills Elementary School in Mingo Junction. Local officials will be on hand to commemorate the occasion and the public is welcome to attend.

   “We will have information on the projects and timelines and a celebration on the start of the projects, and then we will finish with a ceremonial shovel turn,” Dr. Chappelear commented.

    Refreshments will also be provided for the festivities and Dr. Chappelear said it was an incredible time for the Indian Creek community.

   “It’s exciting,” he said. “It’s coming up on two years that we began the process and there’s a lot of planning that goes into it. Time flies at one point but then it also seems like a long time ago.” 

   The next step is to accept bids for all three projects which should be completed by March 19. Officials are working to finalize the guaranteed maximum price and incorporate all necessary amenities into the structures while also remaining within budget. Dr. Chappelear said actual ground should be broken at all three sites this April and the Wintersville campus will be abuzz with activity. The new high school will be located next to Kettlewell Memorial Stadium and the current ICHS, Wintersville Elementary School and stadium will remain operational for much of the construction period. Leaders are reviewing the traffic pattern on campus to ensure public safety and project efficiency.

   “Fencing will go up around the new high school site and temporary construction buildings and you’re going to start to see ground being moved,” he continued. “The two schools will remain operational within proximity of the construction. I’ve emphasized that a lot of patience and flexibility will be needed.”

   Cross Creek Elementary will be formed at Indian Creek’s central office property on Bantam Ridge Road and a portion of the present structure will be razed over the next few weeks to create an access road for that project. Additionally, Hills will undergo an estimated $10 million renovation and will receive new windows, roofing and classrooms as well as plumbing, heating and cooling upgrades. The two new sites will be constructed simultaneously while renovations at Hills will be concurrent.

   Sol Harris/Day Architecture Inc. of North Canton is completing designs for the new high school and elementary buildings as well as the updates at Hills. The estimated $63 million project is being done in collaboration with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission and the buildings should be ready for Fall of 2021. Dr. Chappelear said d the older school buildings will be razed during the Spring of 2022.

ICBOE Mourns Longtime Employee
Posted 2/26/2020 at 10:25:39 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

MINGO JUNCTION-The Indian Creek Local School District is mourning the loss of a longtime employee and supporter Donna Graham, who served for more than 20 years.

Graham, who retired last year as superintendent’s secretary, passed away on Feb. 16. School leaders remembered her dedication to her work and unwavering support of the school system. Graham was part of the district’s tapestry for 22 years and leaders said during the regular session Feb. 20 that she would be greatly missed.

“She was a colleague who worked with the board and got information out,” said Superintendent Dr. T.C. Chappelear. “She was a great person and she moved to the district during a critical time [with the high school consolidation]. There’s no one who was a bigger supporter of Indian Creek.”

Board member Dr. Ted Starkey asked if something could be done to honor Graham and board President Daniel Bove suggested giving a posthumous honorary diploma to her family during this year’s commencement exercise. Additionally, OAPSE President Judy Johnson said her organization planned to donate a gift basket with all of Graham’s favorite things as a prize for the Indian Creek Foundation’s Reverse Raffle event on March 21.

In other matters, the board heard from Indian Creek High School teachers about Career Technical Education (CTE) programs available for students. Interactive media teacher Dave Moffat was joined by Julie Robinson, who instructs careers exploration; Johnna Provenzano, who teaches business; and Jennifer Belt, who instructs Career Based Intervention (CBI) for at-risk pupils.

Moffat said three pathways were offered in interactive media, business and engineering, the latter of which was taught by Barbara Turner, while Robinson and Belt provided supplemental programs. He noted that career tech also helps get students ready for college because their paths may change.

“This doesn’t cost the district or student any money. In the last year, the state made changes. We have four years with these students and they can get a pathway [at ICHS],” he said, adding that each pathway has a career and tech advisory board that meets several times a year but may gather more often.

Provenzano explained there were 10 state quality program standards for CTE programs which include instructional facilities and resources (state-of-the-art technology, simulating the workplace and career planning); school and community relations (communication with community, parents and industry partners through marketing on website, media and printed materials); program planning and evaluation (advisory boards and collecting performance data as well as career outlook data for program improvement); and educators that contribute to the profession (teachers continuing to take college credit courses, attend workshops and trainings); curriculum and program design (ensuring courses are current and curriculum is articulated with a post-secondary institution and industry recognized credentials); instruction (instruction balance between theory and lab instruction); assessment (all students are required to complete the WebXam, the end-of-course test for CTE students); experiential learning experience programs; leadership development/career tech student organization (students have access to join a CTSO such as Business Professionals of America, SkillsUSA and Family Career and Community Leaders of America); and equitable student access (Recruit students into pathways, guidance counselors are informed of options, scheduling supports student completion of pathways).

“We are at a great opportunity with the new [school] building with the setup and state-of-the-art technology,” she continued. “We discussed what we could put in the new building such as a store setting and making the classroom look like offices.”

Provenzano said students are also recruited into pathways while those at the middle school level learn what is available.

Robinson explained that her students developed a career fair after results from a needs assessment determined not everyone planned to go to college. Three events were held and included representatives of labor, business and colleges who spoke to students about their options. She added that the CBI and career pathways have advisory committee members who were involved in the career fair as well as the Ohio State University Extension Office.

“Our goals are to discuss the real world and kids having mentors, as well as virtual tours,” she noted, adding that officials from the Pittsburgh Technical College were also planning to visit and a partnership has been forged with Marathon Logistics, formerly MarkWest.

ICMS Observes School Counseling Week
Posted 2/5/2020 at 9:05:38 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

MINGO JUNCTION-Indian Creek Middle School is stressing the importance of positivity and resilience as it observes National School Counseling Week during Feb. 3-7.

Sponsored by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), the event focuses on the unique contribution of school counselors within the nation’s educational systems and how students are different as a result of what school counselors do. National School Counseling Week highlights the tremendous impact school counselors can have in helping students achieve success and plan for a career. Collette Honsowetz, ICMS school counselor, is spreading the message throughout the week with announcements and activities.

“There will be daily morning announcements focused on messages of resilience and I am planning events during the lunch periods to encourage a positive climate, culture and safety,” Honsowetz said. “Some activities will help students identify ways the comprehensive school counseling program can help them, as well as provide strategies to build resilience.”

She added that teachers will also receive daily messages on how the comprehensive school counseling program contributes to the school environment and highlight the success of collaboration and building resiliency within the students. The week also spotlights the value and importance of every student’s mental health and well-being at ICMS. The school counselor works with faculty, staff, administrators, parents and community stakeholders to meet students’ needs and create an opportunity for success, while the observance celebrates the positives and progress officials continue to see in each and every student.

Honsowetz noted that she provides a variety of services to students, such as collecting data to assess needs, creating programs to meet those needs and calculating outcomes to know what is effective, and she performs these tasks through classroom lessons and small group or individual counseling. Additionally, she collaborates with stakeholders, communicates with parents and provides professional development. This is her first year at ICMS and she said she is excited to be part of the Indian Creek family. Her background is school counseling but she holds a professional counseling license in four states, including Ohio, for mental health.

She hopes to conduct regular activities which may change each month, such as a possible academic group to help motivate struggling students to improve grades for the next quarter or activites to help bolster attendance. Honsowetz said the ideas are data-driven and may change but the ultimate goal is to help students attain success in school and life.

“When we are in school, we are learning and achieving. Students know they need to have a game plan by the end of eighth grade so they know their goals and how it ties in with attendance and school. At the end of high school, they will choose college, trade school, the military or employment,” she noted. “They need to start thinking about their future, even if they change their minds—they need to have a game plan.”

She said school counselors are no longer referred to as guidance counselors and are now part of a data-driven, comprehensive program with a purpose.

“My goal is to use the data and be proactive, which can be difficult to do with an estimated 1-to-660 counselor-to-student ratio, but I do my best to focus on providing positive outcomes for the academic, career and social-emotional development of each and every student.”

More than 100,000 school counselors nationwide will be participating in the week’s festivities. Many schools will be hosting special events and activities to call attention to the countless benefits of a comprehensive school counseling program.

Parents or community members with specific questions or concerns about school counseling programs should contact the school counselors at their local schools. More general information can also be found on ASCA’s website, www.schoolcounselor.org.

ICHS Alumna Looking to the Stars
Posted 1/22/2020 at 10:18:33 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
IC Marissa DeFallo
WINTERSVILLE-Inspirational author Norman Vincent Peale once wrote, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

But Marissa DeFallo, a 2015 graduate of Indian Creek High School, is taking that statement literally as she sets her sights upon the final frontier. DeFallo, the daughter of Laurie Nichols of Toronto and Rich DeFallo of Pittsburgh, is currently a junior mechanical engineering major at the University of Pittsburgh and with a focus on aerospace and will have her project included among others from around the world on the International Space Station this summer. She and partner Nik Vostal, a material science major, were one of two experiments selected as part of Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) Mission 14. SSEP was launched in 2010 by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Foundation (NCESSE) in strategic partnership with NanoRacks, LLC and is a national STEM education initiative that gives about 300 students the ability to design and propose real experiments to fly in low Earth orbit, first aboard the final flights of the Space Shuttle and then on the ISS. Pitt obtained a grant to conduct a contest in partnership between the engineering and pharmacy schools.

“I’ve always wanted to work with NASA or SpaceX and I’ve always wanted to build satellites or rockets,” she said. “Pitt received a grant and has a contest where two experiments could go on the space station. We could submit our experiment ideas and they go under review. They have to meet strict requirements.”

DeFallo and Vostal‘s submission involves the rate of corrosion of aluminum foil to indicate the sustainability of materials used on rockets in space.

“It would see how aluminum foil corrodes in water and we’ll 3-D print aluminum and make smooth and rough surfaces,” she explained. “We’ll see how the topographies affect corrosion.”

The goal is to only have the unique surface corrode and not the aluminum itself, thereby maintaining a sound structure. Aluminum is commonly used because of its light weight, durability and strength and is found on engines and the outer portions of airplanes, rockets and the space station itself. DeFallo learned the good news in December that the project will be among 30 worldwide to undergo testing onboard the ISS through NASA. She said the experiment will be refined before it heads into space and she will be at Cape Canaveral, Fla., for the official launch around June.

She was inspired by her experience as an intern with American Airlines since one of her tasks was performing maintenance.

“I have to do yearly training modules and one is on aluminum corrosion. I was doing this training as we were thinking about experiments and thought about the aerospace application,” DeFallo recalled. “I’ve always been interested in space and would watch the science channel. I’ve always had a love for space.”

She also remembers investing in academics at ICHS and counted math teacher and coach Joe Dunlevy among her mentors.

“He was a very practical person and you learned everything yourself. I really liked that way
of learning because it gave me time to figure it out at a higher level.”

Dunlevy praised his former pupil, saying she showed all of the elements of being successful while under his tutelage. She was a student for three years of honors math, including AP Calculus, and he reflected upon her abilities to learn.

“She was a great student, a great person above all and a great athlete, and you know a student like that is going to do something special down the road. It’s not hard to imagine her doing a lot of great things. We’re just so proud of her and all of our former students for the things they’ve done. She’s one of the best.”

Dunlevy continued that her ability to study, play multiple sports and participate in myriad organizations were signs of her keen ability to manage time and strong work ethic.

“Nothing she would do surprises me. Well, maybe a little bit,” he said. “The sky’s the limit.”

DeFallo said Dunlevy’s methods have assisted her in her college career and she has continued that momentum through her internship, which included working in Tulsa, Okla., with component and composite engineering. Her work entailed analyzing broken parts and helping mechanics repair them, plus she updated manuals on how to fix the parts. Currently, she works in Pittsburgh with the Airworthiness Directive Group.

She also hopes the experiment will put her on course to fulfill her longtime dream.

“I’m super excited and I hope this will lead me into a career in aerospace engineering,” she said. “I dream big.”

(Photo Cutline: Marissa DeFallo, a 2015 graduate of Indian Creek High School and a current mechanical engineering student at the University of Pittsburgh, is pictured performing an experiment with partner Nik Vostal. DeFallo and Vostal had their aluminum corrosion experiment selected for inclusion on the International Space Station this summer as part of the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) Mission 14. DeFallo said her longtime dream is to work in the aerospace industry with the likes of NASA or SpaceX.)
Science Fair Set for Hills
Posted 1/22/2020 at 10:13:26 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

MINGO JUNCTION-Budding biologists and experts have a chance to showcase their talent during the third annual Hills Elementary School Science Fair.

   This year’s event will be held Saturday, Feb. 8 with judging to begin at 11 a.m. Among the judges are Ron Sismondo, director of professional development and curriculum for the Jefferson County Educational Service Center; Mark Wise, a retired Indian Creek schoolteacher; Barry Gullen, an adjunct professor at Franciscan University and JCESC Governing Board member; Scott Abercrombie, assistant principal at Indian Creek Middle School; John Rocchi, director of special education for Indian Creek Local Schools; and Nicole McDonald, district director of curriculum and instruction. The fair exhibits will be open to the public from noon to 1 p.m.

   School administrative assistant Robin Laughery is organizing the fair and said it will cover a variety of interesting topics.

    “I have 25 entries, as of now, ranging from grades K-4,” she said. “We have various entries about bubbles, planets, the effects different drinks have on teeth, volcanoes, the importance of rainforests, tornadoes, inventor Nikola Tesla, elephant toothpaste, the Mars Rover and many others.”

     Laughery added that trophies will be given for the top three fourth-grade exhibits since their projects are more detailed and judged differently from the other submissions. Students in grades K-3 will be combined with first-, second- and third-place trophies awarded and their displays are more of a show-and-tell format. Meanwhile, the overall grand prize winner will earn a $25 Cinemark gift card.

    She said the science fair both inspires and delights students.

    “I’ve been doing this for the past three years at Hills Elementary and the kids really enjoy it.”

Therapy Dog Soothes Students at ICMS
Posted 1/8/2020 at 9:48:00 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ICMS Scarlett Therapy Dog

MINGO JUNCTION-Indian Creek Middle School students have a new friend in the building with Scarlett the therapy dog on hand to provide comfort in times of need.

   Eighth-grade social studies teacher Mary Margaret Qualtire’s 1 ½-year-old golden retriever was certified through the Destiny Dog Obedience School in Pottery Addition. Scarlett still attends weekly training classes and is now helping students at ICMS who have stress, anxiety or other behavioral issues.

   “When I got her, I wanted to give something back to the community. I work with the kids here and there’s a need,” Qualtire said. “She brings so much joy to everybody she meets and goes with other therapy dogs to rest homes and has also been to literacy nights at the local elementary school.”

 Qualtire spent time over Christmas break getting Scarlett accustomed to the school environment and the dog will work with school guidance counselor Collette Honsowetz, plus school resource officer Deputy Dave Darago walks her down the halls while students are in class. For now, Scarlett is at the school one day a week and spends time in only Qualtire and eighth-grade English teacher Katie Padden’s classes, but that could change.

   “Mrs. Honsowetz did handling exercises and used commands,” Quatiere added. “Scarlett will help reduce stress and anxiety and give kids confidence. There is a lot of data that dogs help reduce stress, plus they don’t judge and are always happy to see you. Dogs are accepting.”

    Scarlett has already settled into her new task, but this is not the first time ICMS had a therapy dog in the classroom. Fifth-grade English teacher Jane Bennett previously had her daughter’s dog, Winnie, on hand for her Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.) program to assist pupils with reading comprehension. Those who may be uncomfortable reading in front of others could curl up with a good book next to the family pet in a neighboring conference room and share a tale.

   Qualtire said Scarlett has passed Canine Good Citizen and Canine and Good Citizen Advanced certification tests and registered with Therapy Dogs International in November. The dog will now work toward other tests including the Good Citizen Urban Test.

   “I love it. It’s a wonderful hobby and it makes me feel good,” Qualtire noted of the program. 

    Honsowetz is finalizing her schedule for Scarlett and hopes to utilize her up to three days per week. She said the dog’s presence has drawn a great reaction thus far and there are many positives to having a therapy dog on board, but she will monitor the process over time. 

   “She will sit with me and do specific work with individual kids,” she explained, adding that the dog will also stay in classes with students. “Having a presence in the classroom helps. So far, the kids have all enjoyed it and lot have requested her. When she’s in the classrooms, students can sit around her and she helps kids who have sensory, stress and depression. Sometimes just being around her is comforting."

    Honsowetz is also seeking parental permission to include more students in the venture and hopes to add more classes in the future.

    “She averages a half-day in each class now, but I plan to rotate her out into other classes. I am starting small and building up,” she added. “I am seeking parental permission because some students may be allergic or scared of animals and I want to pinpoint them.”

    She said therapy dog programs are gaining interest in school systems and research indicates that they work

   “You are starting to see a lot more pet therapy. I need to conceptualize that it’s not playtime and is actual work for her. I need to education the student population about that.”

(Photo Cutline: Indian Creek Middle School welcomed Scarlett the therapy dog on board to help students suffering from stress, anxiety and other behavioral issues. The 1 ½-year-old golden retriever belongs to eighth-grade social studies teacher Mary Margaret Qualtire and is certified through Destiny Dog Obedience School of Pottery Addition and registered with Therapy Dogs International. She has happily settled into her new role and is pictured making friends with students Kylee Haines, Faith Stewart and Kylie McClure during a class activity.)

ICMS Named High Progress School of Honor
Posted 1/8/2020 at 9:22:23 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

MINGO JUNCTION-Indian Creek Middle School has been recognized by the Ohio Department of Education as a High Progress School of Honor for achieving standards based on the state report card.

   State Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria announced School Performance Awards for 2019 this month and all public schools administering Ohio State Tests (OSTs) were considered for the distinction and selected based upon criteria for the 2018-19 school year. A total of 63 districts, 436 schools and 12 career-technical planning districts were lauded for achieving high performance, outstanding progress and momentum for students across Ohio. Evaluations for ICMS were based upon progress and gap closing components in the seventh and eighth grades and the school earned a ‘B’ overall on the state report card, as well as an ‘A’ in progress and ‘B’ in gap closing. 

 “Eligibility of our school met the following criteria: We serve 40 percent or more economically disadvantaged students, plus student performance on Ohio state tests over a five-year period [ for the 2015-2019 school years] was evaluated against statewide gains,” Principal Dr. Holly Minch-Hick explained. “Our school must earn an ‘A’ or ‘B’ on the overall (all students) value-added measure for each of the three most recent years [the 2017-19 report cards], and our school must earn an ‘A,’ ‘B’ or ‘C’ on the gap closing component on the Ohio School Report Card in 2010.

   “The progress component looks closely at the growth that all students are making based upon their past performances, such as overall/all students, gifted, students in the lowest 20 percentile and students with disabilities. The gap closing component shows how well schools are meeting the performance expectations for our most vulnerable students in English/Language Arts, math, graduation and English language proficiency.”

   She added that the honor was evidence of the dedication and hard work of the staff and students.

   “I am so proud of their accomplishments; it is well deserved.”

    Dr. Minch-Hick said was the first time the school earned the distinction. It currently has about 309 students in grades 7-8 but yielded a total of 337 last year, which also included its largest eighth-grade class.

   Indian Creek Superintendent Dr. T.C. Chappelear noted his pleasure with the good news.

   “This award from State Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria recognizes the hard work and dedication by the staff at Indian Creek Middle School. It also points out the quality education that students are receiving at Indian Creek due to a great staff and community,” Dr. Chappelear commented. “Great job by the students and staff at Indian Creek Middle School to achieve this award from the Ohio Department of Education and the State Board of Education of Ohio.”

   Meanwhile, the ODE named two Schools of Promise, two High Performing Schools of Honor and 71 High Progress Schools of Honor while each program has its own criteria. Among other benchmarks, a School of Promise must receive an A or B on the Progress component of the Ohio School Report Card. The Schools of Honor initiative builds on the Schools of Promise program, recognizing schools that exceed Schools of Promise standards. To be named a High Performing School of Honor, 90 percent or more of all students must score Proficient or higher in reading and math on statewide assessments over the last five years, along with several other requirements. To become a High Progress School of Honor, conditions for a high school include increases in graduation rate over the past five years that meet or exceed the 90th percentile of statewide gains in graduation.

   “Across the state, there is increased student exposure to poverty and social stressors,” said State Superintendent DeMaria. “These schools are succeeding in meeting the needs of the whole child, and helping students take full advantage of educational opportunities. Congratulations to the students, teachers and administrators at these schools for the impressive success we celebrate with these awards.”

   The ODE is recognizing 72 schools that have a substantial proportion of economically disadvantaged students (40 percent or more) for reaching high academic achievement and progress with the Schools of Promise and Schools of Honor awards.

Sock and Shoe Drive at Hills
Posted 12/18/2019 at 9:21:13 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Hills Shoe and Sock Drive

MINGO JUNCTION-Hills Elementary School is doing its part to make sure fellow students stay warm this winter with the second annual Sock and Shoe Drive.

   Ashley Turnbull, advisor of the fourth-grade student senate, said the organization was spearheading the collection from Dec. 11-20 and could hopefully exceed last year’s goal.

   “We do a pajama drive and now we’re doing a sock and shoe drive. Everything stays at Hills,” she said. “Last year we raised around 100 pairs of shoes and gave out 70 pairs at Christmas. What was left over was given out in the spring.”

   Students in need are recommended by teachers and receive new footwear for the holiday. Turnbull said the student senate enjoys participating and helping others.

   “They love it,” she said. “The kids really enjoy it.”

(Photo Cutline: The Hills Elementary Fourth-Grade Student Senate has been collecting socks and shoes to help fellow schoolmates in need. A campaign has been held throughout the month and items will be distributed in time for the holidays. Last year, the group gathered 100 pairs of shoes as part of the footwear drive. Pictured with some of this year’s items are, from left, Cru Roe, Anthony Altieri, Parker Camp and Sophia Tongate.)

WES Food Drive Benefits Community
Posted 12/18/2019 at 9:17:18 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
WES Food Drive

WINTERSVILLE- Wintersville Elementary students are spreading kindness this holiday season by collecting items to fill local food pantries.

    The school has been conducting its annual food drive and members of the third- and fourth-grade student council will transport the items to the Wayne Food Pantry and Wintersville Good Neighbors pantry this Friday afternoon for distribution. Advisor Makenzie Householder said students may participate in Christmas-themed activities throughout the week, such as wearing pajamas and holiday hats, if they bring a non-perishable item for the campaign. An incentive is in place and the top three classes will receive a pizza party as a reward. She noted that a large amount of money and items have been gathered so far and she expected to exceed last year’s amount of $1,000 in cash and 2,000 boxed and canned goods.

   “We held a penny drive and each pantry is getting over $600, plus we’ve raised over 900 non-perishable items so far that will also be divided between the pantries,” she added. “On Friday, we will deliver the items and the student council will help sort and organize them.”

   Wintersville Good Neighbors also provides pizza for the young volunteers at Wintersville United Methodist Church, but Householder said students ultimately learn the true meaning of Christmas through the project.

   “They love it. They look forward to it each day and spend their recess collecting from each classroom,” she added.

    Student council members concurred, saying they enjoyed working together to make others’ holidays a little brighter.

   “I like helping people,” said Sydney Himmelrick. “The food can make people joyful for Christmas.”

   “I feel like it’s a great privilege to help people,” added Sofia Randazzo.

   “I like how everybody works to donate to people in need,” commented Gianna Peveich. “I want to thank everybody who donated.”

   “I like how people donate,” added Phoenyx Vines. “Some people don’t have much food and it really makes me happy to do this.”

   Maggie Blackburn said it’s about giving back to the community, but she also enjoyed spending time with her classmates and doing something good. Kallie McKeegan and Kacey Walenciej agreed, saying they also loved working with the group to help others in need. Member Sam Gruber echoed those sentiments, adding that people will receive the assistance they need.

   “We collected all of these cans and I thank everyone for giving,” concluded member Kara Bowman.


(Photo Cutline: Wintersville Elementary School is collecting food and cash to benefit two community food pantries. Money and non-perishable goods will be distributed to Wayne Township Food Pantry and the Wintersville Good Neighbors pantry this Friday afternoon to stock the shelves of needy families. The school’s third-and fourth-grade student council is heading the campaign and pictured with a few of the items are, front from left, Kara Bowman, Gianna Peveich, Sofia Randazzo and Kacey Walenciej. Back: Sam Gruber, Maggie Blackburn, Kallie McKeegan, Phoenyx Vines and Sydney Himmelrick.)

Key Club Assists Urban Mission
Posted 12/18/2019 at 9:11:46 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ICHS Key Club at Urban Mission

Members of the Indian Creek High School Key Club lent their time volunteering with the Urban Mission on Dec. 9, where they assisted customers with food, toys and the scarf, mitten and hat station for children. Officials said about 100 families were assisted that day. Pictured are, front from left, juniors Morgan Belt, Rileigh Gualtiere and Katie Turner. In back are seniors Harleigh Schaffer, Jinal Dave and Sarah Mazzaferro.

Hills Obtains Technology Grant
Posted 12/6/2019 at 10:27:07 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

MINGO JUNCTION-Hills Elementary School will soon acquire some state-of-the-art learning tools after receiving an estimated $23,000 grant from PNC Bank Charitable Trust.

   Principal Michele Minto said the school obtained the grant after being contacted by PNC officials this past summer. Minto learned that schools in the area were eligible for funds and submitted an application in October.

   “I had to write a grant for it and it could be up to $25,000,” she said. “I wrote it for technology and it ended up being $22,777.”

   She received the good news last month and hopes to purchase a half-dozen large, interactive televisions to use in the classrooms. The screens are similar to smartboards and students can manipulate images onscreen as part of their learning, plus the equipment is also portable and can be used by different classes.

   “My goal is to have one for every grade level,” Minto added. “They are on moveable carts and can be taken between classrooms.”

    She was excited to receive the funding and said it was the first time she applied. The equipment will benefit about 412 students in grades PreK-4.

ICMS Builds for the Future
Posted 12/6/2019 at 10:24:57 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

MINGO JUNCTION-Indian Creek Middle School is building on its future by offering career paths for students to consider in adulthood.

   Principal Dr. Holly Minch-Hick said a career kickoff event is slated for Dec. 17-18 and speakers representing trades, colleges and the military will speak to youth about choices. Fifth-and sixth-graders will participate that Tuesday with grades 7-8 taking part on Wednesday and the presentations begin at 8 a.m. Dr. Minch-Hick said 665 students completed a survey highlighting their interests and will hear from speakers in their chosen fields.

   “The kids took an Ohio Means Jobs survey in November and received #ICMSBuildYourFuture bracelets,” she said. “The career kickoff is to let them know there are three major paths they can take in the military, college or trade school or job. Each speaker will give a broad sense of their field, such as what is required to join the military, what colleges require and trades available at trade schools.”

    Following the kickoff, students will listen to more speakers through the Career Café program and each session will be tailored according to their interests. The idea was borne of a newly minted school vision statement at a building leadership team session for staff and administrators.

   “We were talking about a vision for our building. We tried to identify what we felt our vision was and it was about helping kids make choices and developing the whole child so they become productive members of society,” she continued. “We listed our beliefs and came up with a vision and a hashtag. What we felt strongly about was college and career development and how we’re going to promote that.”

   School leaders discussed how all kids can learn and have mutual respect, as well as educating the whole child, among other topics. They also shared their purpose for teaching, which ranged from loving kids and making connections to making a difference in young lives. Officials established the vision statement “ICMS: A Safe Place to Explore Endless Possibilities and Build Your Future” and developed ways to promote efforts through social media, posters, announcements, school clubs and other activities. Meanwhile, the school will host different speakers each month for Career Café sessions.

New Name Unveiled for Planned Elementary School
Posted 11/26/2019 at 8:04:53 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

WINTERSVILLE-The new elementary building eyed for the Indian Creek Local School District will have a name worthy of its past.

During the regular school board meeting on Nov. 21, officials approved the moniker Cross Creek Elementary School for the structure to be built on the current district office property on Bantam Ridge Road.

“I like the idea of Cross Creek Elementary School since it’s in Cross Creek Township,” said board member Kim Mark. “I think it’s a fitting name for the elementary school.”

Board President Dr. Ted Starkey noted the historical significance since Cross Creek was pathway often used by natives and settlers to traverse the area.

“It invites our three communities [in Bloomingdale, Wintersville and Mingo Junction], so to speak,” Dr. Starkey commented.

Cross Creek Elementary is one of two buildings to be erected in a $63 million project with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission. A two-story site will be built on Bantam Ridge to replace Wintersville Elementary, which will be razed on the Indian Creek High School campus to help make way for a new, two-story high school and sports facilities on the grounds. In addition, Hills Elementary in Mingo will be updated with new HVAC, plumbing, office and classroom space and security-related amenities. All of the work comes on the heels of voters approving a levy last year, which led to the subsequent sale of bonds and the Ohio School Facilities Commission also providing an $18 million share. Officials said construction bids should be taken this winter and tentative plans are to hold groundbreakings in the spring with construction slated to occur over the next 36 months. The structures should be completed when students return to class in the fall of 2021.

Among other matters, the board:
--Entered into a five-year maintenance agreement with H.E. Neumann Co. to provide heating services for all Indian Creek buildings;
--Learned three teachers received $600 Best Practice Grants through the Jefferson County Educational Service Center for their innovative programs. Among those recognized were Staci Copeland of Indian Creek Middle School, Ashley Turnbull of WES and Rebecca Canestraro of Hills;
--Approved resignations from ICMS teacher Colleen Shepherd, who has been on a leave of absence; and Katharine Burns, who retires after more than 29 years of service as a certified employee; and Karen Bish, a bus driver retiring after 25 years of service;
--Approved Ulisha Santiago as a cafeteria/paraprofessional/secretary on the classified substitute list;
--Named Mark Douglas Mayle, Kathleen Dunlevy, Kitty Ferguson, Cathy Grimm, Amy McGrath and Don Fithen on the fall sports workers list and Dan Lawrence and Kathy Dunlevy on the winter sports list;
--Approved Mike Wilson as assistant coach for the remaining stipend from the football coaching vacancy;
--Heard from Assistant Superintendent John Belt that repairs were made to a waterline leak at WES while students were also evacuated due to a gas leak at the building earlier that week. The source of the leak was determined to be a faulty stove and the item was replaced through a donation from Columbia Gas. No issues were reported;
--Entered into an agreement with Jefferson County Educational Service Center from Oct. 3, 2019, to May 22, 2020, to provide a licensed general substitute teacher, who teaches and speaks languages, to provide translation services for a student in the district;
--Praised the football team, soccer team and band for their performance this season;
--Heard from ICMS Principal Dr. Holly Minch-Hick that PAX training was held for fifth-grade teachers, fifth-graders attended a Wheeling Nailers game, eighth-graders took a field trip to the Jefferson County Joint Vocational School and the school held a site visit for Making Middle Grades Work;
--Heard from OAPSE President Judy Johnson that members donated to four local pantries with a goal to provide meals for 13 families;
--Set the next regular board meeting for Dec. 19 at 6 p.m. at ICMS.
source of the leak was determined to be a faulty stove and the item was replaced through a donation from Columbia Gas. No issues were reported;
--Entered into an agreement with Jefferson County Educational Service Center from Oct. 3, 2019, to May 22, 2020, to provide a licensed general substitute teacher, who teaches and speaks languages, to provide translation services for a student in the district;
--Praised the football team, soccer team and band for their performance this season;
--Heard from ICMS Principal Dr. Holly Minch-Hick that PAX training was held for fifth-grade teachers, fifth-graders attended a Wheeling Nailers game, eighth-graders took a field trip to the Jefferson County Joint Vocational School and the school held a site visit for Making Middle Grades Work;
--Heard from OAPSE President Judy Johnson that members donated to four local pantries with a goal to provide meals for 13 families;
--Set the next regular board meeting for Dec. 19 at 6 p.m. at ICMS.

Indian Creek Breakfast Program Gains Kudos
Posted 11/26/2019 at 7:51:08 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

WINTERSVILLE-Indian Creek elementary schools are gaining more accolades for their growing breakfast programs which nourishes students’ bodies so they can feed their minds.

   For the third year in a row, both Wintersville and Hills Elementary Schools were named among the 2019 Ohio School Breakfast Challenge “Breakfast All Stars” for their Breakfast in the Classroom programs. Wintersville Elementary was among an estimated 50 schools statewide which earned a platinum designation while Hills was one of nearly 70 sites that received a gold award. District Food Service Director Eric White said officials recently learned of the distinction and he was thrilled with the recognition.

   “I am very excited,” he said. “This is a true group effort. The cafeteria staff, teachers and administration all play big parts to make this program successful. I’m just the conductor.”

   Breakfast in the Classroom allows students to enjoy the most important meal of the day at their desks and easily transition into learning. The school district launched the effort in 2016 after partnering with the Children’s Hunger Alliance, which provided a $2,000 mini-grant to implement the program in three classrooms at WES and two classrooms at Hills. Indian Creek High School students also volunteer with meal distribution to WES kids as they enter the building and the youngsters head to their classrooms to dine on cereal and fruit or a hot meal before their lessons begin. Since its inception, the amount of participation has multiplied and officials noted that more students are attentive in class and can concentrate on their studies because they do not feel hunger pangs.

   “We average about 82 to 85 percent [participation] between both elementary schools and more students are being fed,” White noted.

 He estimated that roughly 37,000 meals were served on the first day of school through now, as opposed to about 30,728 meals during the same timeframe last year. Currently, total enrollment in both buildings stands at 843 students in grades PreK-4 and officials said the program’s implementation has certainly made an impact in the classrooms.

    Wintersville Elementary Principal Lorrie Jarrett was excited for her school to be recognized again and cited the staff and students as the reason for the accolades. She also has noticed an uptick in student participation.

   “Currently we are averaging around 375 students per day. The program has been instrumental in helping with people management in our school,” Jarrett commented. “Students arrive and go straight to their homeroom and the program has helped decrease hallway congestion, a loud cafeteria and classroom instruction begins earlier. I am really happy the district uses Breakfast in the Classroom. It really takes a team effort to ensure a program like this is successful from beginning to end. My thanks and congratulations go to the staff, students and volunteers who daily help Wintersville Elementary be the best school in the county.”

    Hills Elementary Principal Michele Minto said her pupils take advantage of the opportunity to eat at their own desks so they can stay focused on the task at hand.

  “Especially the students who come late, they don’t have to go to the cafeteria and it’s always in the classroom,” she said. “More kids are eating, which helps them when they are concentrating on their lessons.”

   Superintendent Dr. T.C. Chappelear praised efforts and said it has been a positive factor in serving students’ needs.

 “Breakfast in the Classroom has increased our participation in breakfast to nearly 100 percent,” he said. “My hat goes off to the teachers, cafeteria staff, custodians and others who make this happen.  Since we began this program, we have been recognized as a leader in the state feeding kids. This can only happen when everyone works together towards one common goal:  what is best for kids.  “

Indian Creek Teachers Obtain Best Practice Grants
Posted 11/22/2019 at 10:43:29 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.)

Student Pantry’s Usage Yields Need for Donations
Posted 11/22/2019 at 10:39:38 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ICHS Student Pantry

WINTERSVILLE-Indian Creek High School's student pantry has been a resounding success since beginning last winter, so much so that officials have worked to keep it stocked.

    A four-day campaign was held between homeroom classes on Nov. 12-15 to raise the most items and that, too, proved successful as students garnered more than 1,140 microwaveable meals to help kids help themselves. Teachers Sarah Houser and Sondra Vojvodich's classrooms tied with 235 items raised and will be rewarded for a job well done. Principal Louie Retton said students originally led the grassroots effort to establish the pantry and it has grown into so much more.

    "Kids can get what they want to eat all day and they can take food and toiletries home," Retton added. "There is a great need for this When people find out about it they are willing to help, especially when they find out it's a student-led initiative."

    The pantry, which is located inside the school office, was created last December after a group of students realized the necessity to help their peers whose families may live within the poverty level. However, it is open to any student and many do partake of the offerings. Senior Madolyn McDonald, one of the students involved in its initiation, was overwhelmed by the response.

   "I think it's just amazing that it started with a few bags of groceries and exploded into something that costs less than $7,000 a year to run," McDonald commented.

    School and community members have contributed food and sundries to sustain it, but the growing usage has prompted leaders to expand the donation base in order to keep it filled. Donations are constantly sought and the list includes Ramen noodle cups, microwaveable macaroni and cheese cups, granola and nature bars, cheese or peanut butter crackers, applesauce, fruit cups, fruit snacks, small bags of potato chips and pretzels and other snacks, as well as body wash and soap, shampoo and conditioner, razors and shaving cream, men and women's deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, feminine products and ponytail holders. In addition to the recent collection, ICHS gained a donation of toiletries and other goods from FedEx after a representative saw a flyer during a school job fair. Hundreds of small bottles of shampoo plus soap and related items were delivered over the past month. Individuals, businesses and organizations have also been charitable and since the pantry is consistently emptied there is always a need for more goods.

   "We restock it two to three times a day," Retton said. "It's something that helps students get through the day. I've had teachers tell me students are more awake and alert and we have specific data from students showing an increase in attendance and test scores. Attendance is up to around 93 percent and it used to be 86-87 percent."

   Countless students and parents have also privately thanked officials for providing the service since people have come to rely on the help, while Retton said surrounding schools have become aware of the program.

   "Other schools have come and noticed our pantry and want to emulate us and some brought a team of students in to review it."

   Retton said teachers are also providing fresh fruit and a healthy snack drive is eyed around the beginning of the new year to offer nature bars, applesauce and other treats. Anyone interested in making a donation may contact the high school at (740) 264-1163 or bring donations to the school office.

(Photo Cutline: Indian Creek High School senior Madolyn McDonald poses with the latest crop of donations to stock the school’s student pantry. The pantry was started by McDonald and other pupils last winter and provides free microwave meals, snacks and toiletries to anyone in need but all students can partake of the items. Growing usage spurred a collection of more than 1,100 items and a donation from FedEx, while officials are always seeking contributions to keep the shelves full. For more information, contact the school at (740) 264-1163.)

Challenge Program Award Winners
Posted 11/22/2019 at 10:34:48 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ICHS Challenge Awards

Indian Creek High School students were recognized by representatives of The Challenge Program and school business partner Marathon Petroleum, formerly MarkWest Inc., for excelling in areas important to success in life, including attendance, community service, STEM, academic excellence and academic improvement. Certificates were awarded during an assembly on Nov. 21 and 118 seniors and 99 juniors were eligible to receive the honors. Pictured, in front, are Misty Lowry, representative for The Challenge Program representative; junior Jenna Stewart, academic improvement; junior Sarah Crawford, academic excellence; junior Rianna McCourt, attendance; junior Morgan Belt, community service; junior Gage Swearingen, STEM; and Tina Rush, local government affairs representative for Marathon Petroleum. Back: Seniors Aric Exterovich, academic improvement; Lanie Hagerty, academic excellence; Ally Tweedy, attendance; Garren Swickard, community service; and Trenton Palmer, STEM. 

Indian Creek Aids Pantries with Canstruction
Posted 11/15/2019 at 12:27:50 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ICMS Canstruction

MINGO JUNCTION-Students at Indian Creek Middle School recently transformed non-perishable food items into a work of art to help a very important cause and earned kudos in the process.

    The school took part in Urban Mission Ministries’ Canstruction county-wide school challenge to raise awareness about hunger in the community and earned the top spot and a plaque in the process. Students collected a total of 1,019 canned and boxed goods in less than a week and constructed a large castle featuring a drawbridge, village and vehicle to depict the need to feed others. National Jr. Honor Society Advisor Cathy Dibenedetto coordinated the school’s effort with about 10 student members as well as participants in Indian Creek High School’s National Honor Society and Robotics groups. Representatives from the Urban Mission visited the school to judge the massive creation, which occupied about half of the stage in the cafetorium. 

   Dibenedetto was excited about the win and said she was touched by her students’ thoughtfulness in creating their structure. She added that while the event brought attention to the Urban Mission, the food itself was donated to Mingo Social Services to help people within the school’s community.

   “I am so excited for the students of Indian Creek to win the first Canstruction competition. The students brought in the food items and created a sculpture depicting a city where people can enter a castle and never have to worry about being hungry again. I loved the genuine caring nature of our students at Indian Creek,” she said. “I love this community and it is important to me to give back to others who are struggling. My students and I have been collecting food for families in need for over 15 years now and we enjoyed being part of this event.”

   NJHS members Ciarra Rossi and Leah Parks, both eighth-graders, said they enjoyed participating and learned valuable lessons in the process.

  “We collectively decided on the design,” said Rossi, who with Parks made the formal presentation to the judges. “It started with the idea of ending world hunger.”

    “The villagers could go to the castle and the hunger would stop,” added Parks in summarizing the story.

     They said students gathered over four days during their flex and lunch time to build the structure and were pleased with the result.

   “You feel happy that you are making a change,” said Parks.

    “It feels nice to bring awareness to it,” commented Rossi.

   Canstruction is a unique international nonprofit organization which hosts a variety of competitions, exhibitions and events to showcase structures made entirely of canned goods and other non-perishable items. The event began around 1993 and the items are donated to community food banks. Additionally, about 20 NJHS members will help distribute food to needy families at Mingo Social Services on Nov. 20 in time for the Thanksgiving holiday and will return again on Dec. 19 to assist with the Christmas distribution.

(Photo Cutline: Students from Indian Creek Junior and Senior high schools recently won the Urban Mission Ministries’ Canstruction county-wide hunger awareness challenge after creating a large castle from roughly 1,000 non-perishable food items. Pictured with judges Michelle Thomas and Roderick Harton are, from left, Ava Aleksiejczyk, Leah Parks, Logan Abercrombie, Elizabeth Hope, Ciarra Rossi, Kylie Anderson, Kylee Haines and Annie Fogle.)

Hills Students Collect 1,200 Items for Food Drive
Posted 11/15/2019 at 12:24:48 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Hills Food Drive

MINGO JUNCTION-Hills Elementary School students showed a real outpouring of support by collecting a record-breaking number of items for local charities.

   The school conducted its annual food drive to benefit Mingo Social Services and Hills’ in-house pantry from Oct. 29-Nov. 8 and gathered 1,214 non-perishable goods in the process. Organizer Ashley Turnbull, who advises fourth-grade student council, said it was the most she has seen in her years of leading the project.

   “This is way more than we’ve ever collected before,” she said. “This is my fourth year but this is the first time we’ve split [donations] because we had so much, and it stays in Mingo.”

    Turnbull added that previous events generally garnered 500-700 contributions, but students were beyond generous in providing canned goods and boxed items to stock the shelves. Items were delivered Tuesday so Mingo Social Services could aid needy residents while Hills also could help some of its own.

   “We help 12 families each week with the pantry and send items home every Friday,” she commented.

   Incentives were offered to motivate students to participate with pizza parties for the top two classes, and the winners included Amy Lane’s kindergarten class and A.J. Renner’s third-grade students.

(Photo Cutline: Students at Hills Elementary School collected a whopping 1,214 non-perishable items for its annual food drive, roughly doubling past contributions. Organizer Ashley Turnbull said the goods were being split between Mingo Social Services and Hills’ in-school food pantry. Pictured with the items are, from left, student council members Leanna Roe, Kendall Canestraro, Calista Cozart and Caleb Lyons.)

Paint a Plow
Posted 11/15/2019 at 12:18:43 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ICHS Paint a PLow

Art students at Indian Creek High School showcased their talents by creating an abominable snowman for the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Paint A Plow program. Area schools are invited to add their own touches to a working plow which be seen on local roadways this winter and are also eligible to win a contest through ODOT District 11 in New Philadelphia. The winning blade from each of the seven areas in ODOT District 11, which includes Jefferson and Harrison counties, will be displayed at each county’s Winter Readiness Event and may be featured in local Christmas parades, plus all seven winning blades will be part of a Facebook contest for the public to vote for the district’s best design.

Community Response Overwhelming for ICMS Pantry
Posted 10/25/2019 at 1:09:18 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ICMS ScreenShot

MINGO JUNCTION-Indian Creek Middle School has added a food and hygiene pantry for students in need and community response has been overwhelming.

   Principal Dr. Holly Minch-Hick said a simple post requesting supplies on the school’s Facebook page Oct. 21 yielded thousands of views, hundreds of shares and myriad comments from the community. Dr. Minch-Hick sought contributions of food and other products and the pantry is open to all pupils, but she was amazed with the reaction which followed.

   “We just started the pantry but were concerned about how we were going to support it. We have so many other initiatives, clubs and groups and it was hard to take on something else. I posted on Sunday and it was filled that Monday morning,” she said. “About 15,000 people were reached in less than two days and there were 187 shares. That’s more reaches, more shares and more commitment than we’ve ever seen.”

    Officials sought community businesses, groups and individuals to sponsor the cause for $150 per month and have since received queries from the likes of Dollar General, OfficeMax, the Thirsty Squirrel/Goodfellas and Sienna Skilled Nursing Care and Rehabilitation, plus parent Michelle Bates-Dallman arrived Monday with bags of supplies to stock the shelves. Kids now have a selection of boxed macaroni and cheese, microwave meals, soup, canned pasta, Ramen noodles and toiletries when in need.

   Bates-Dallman said she was raised to help others and has assisted similar programs at Indian Creek Schools in the past.

   “It’s not just one thing, it was because I was raised by good people to help and have the ability to do so. With the blessings we have, when you can you do. I have kids at Hills and Indian Creek Middle School, and it always hits close to home even if it doesn’t affect you.”

    Martariesa Fiala, who leads the children’s Sunday School program at Brentwood United Methodist Church in Wintersville, said her kids are also having a contest to help raise items for the pantry.

   “We have a lot of kids in our Sunday School that go to Indian Creek,” she said. “The kids want to help each other, so instead of monetary offering during class we’ll be collecting the items to donate to the pantry as well as having a friendly competition to see if the boys or girls could collect more.”

   Dr. Minch-Hick added that another community member offered to reboot her hygiene bag donations for girls while a 4-H group also showed interest. Officials hope to recognize sponsors by posting their photos on social media, touting them at school board meetings and having the Media Club students create posters honoring them for their support.

   “It not only shows what a caring community this is but it also takes the burden off of finding people to donate,” Dr. Minch-Hick added. “The community comes together and it’s amazing. We also know it directly helps kids who need it.”

   For more information on how to help, contact the school at (740) 282-0834 or visit the school Facebook page.

(Photo Cutline: This screenshot of the Indian Creek Middle School Facebook page shows a posting for the school’s new pantry drawing more than 15,000 views and 187 shares. Officials’ request for supplies was quickly answered and now they are calling on monthly sponsors to maintain the site. For more information, contact the school at (740) 282-0834 or visit the Indian Creek Middle School Facebook page.)

ICHS Spear It Store Opens for Business
Posted 10/11/2019 at 11:24:02 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ICHS Spear It Store

WINTERSVILLE-Indian Creek High School students are learning first-hand what it takes to run a business by re-opening the school’s Spear It Store.

    Operated in teacher Johnna Provenzano’s classroom, the store is managed by members of the Business and Professionals of America organization and proceeds benefit school and community causes. Provenzano said the store officially opened Oct. 9 and sells a variety of treats and goods to tout school spirit.

   “We have food items and plan to sell spirit goods. There are themes for football games and we will have spirit items available,” Provenzano said. “I have students involved in every part of the process and this is one of our BPA projects. They are learning many valuable lessons about business but we’re donating our profits to some type of charity.”

  The store is open weekdays from 8:15 a.m. until 11:10 p.m. and 12:15-1 p.m. and is manned by students during each class period. Among the merchandise are temporary tattoos, pink ribbons for Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, Creek Crunch (popcorn drizzled with chocolate and sprinkles), candy, beef jerky, Pop Tarts and Gatorade, but hopes are to add T-shirts and other items to the shelves. The store has operated at the school for years but took a hiatus during the 2018-19 school term. Provenzano added that space would be available in the new high school once construction is completed and it would be run outside the classroom.

   Managers include juniors Ashley Dalrymple and Alyssa Kittle, who are gaining plenty of hands-on knowledge from the project.

   “We took surveys on what to sell and got people’s preferences of what they like,” Kittle said, noting that the group then researched the most affordable merchandise. “We each had jobs to do marketing and managing and I like it very much.”

    Dalrymple commented that they were responsible for maintaining inventory, researching new products and updating the store’s Instagram page for marketing purposes.

   “I like getting the experience,” she added.

   Students will promote the store all year and sell specialty items on Fridays. For more information about the store, check out its Instagram page at @ichs_spearitstore.

(Photo Cutline: Indian Creek High School has opened its student-run Spear It Store with treats and spirit items to support the school. Sales proceeds will be donated to charity but students are gaining experience through marketing and managing the site. Pictured are, from left, Kelcie Cottis, Alyssa Kittle, Ashley Dalrymple, Kylie Kiger and Leigha Giampolo. The store will be promoted online through the @ichs_spearitstore Instagram page.)

ICHS Reaching out to Fill Student Pantry
Posted 10/11/2019 at 11:20:20 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ICHS Student Pantry

WINTERSVILLE-Indian Creek High School’s student pantry has been providing some much-needed items to pupils for nearly a year, and now officials are seeking more help to keep it stocked.

    The pantry, which is located inside the school office, was created last December after a group of students realized the necessity to help their peers whose families may live within the poverty level. It is available to any pupil and school and community members have contributed food and sundries to sustain it, but growing usage has prompted leaders to expand the donation base in order to keep it filled.

   Assistant Principal Keith Swearingen said the school has received donations of items and money to help the cause, but the need is greater this year.

   “It’s been going really well,” said Swearingen. “The need is there and the kids are using it. It’s open to every student. We see students of every demographic come through and we see a need every day.”

   To that end, officials have put out the call for donations of Ramen noodle cups, microwaveable macaroni and cheese cups, granola and nature bars, cheese or peanut butter crackers, applesauce, fruit cups, fruit snacks, small bags of potato chips and pretzels and other snacks, as well as body wash and soap, shampoo and conditioner, razors and shaving cream, men and women’s deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, feminine products and ponytail holders.

    Leaders have noted the positive effects of the pantry, including rising attendance and test scores and a decline in behavioral incidents. Countless students and parents have also privately thanked school officials for providing the service since people have come to rely on the help. Anyone interested in making a donation may contact the high school at (740) 264-1163 or bring donations to the school office.





(Photo Cutline: Indian Creek High School freshman Kelcie Mackey is one of many students who takes advantage of the pantry in the school office. The student pantry was started by pupils last winter and provides free microwave meals and other items to anyone in need, but growing usage has prompted officials to call on more donations to help keep the shelves filled. For more information, contact the school at (740) 264-1163.)

Students View Options at Future Pathway Fair
Posted 10/8/2019 at 10:16:03 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
IC Student Future Pathway Fair

WINTERSVILLE-Dozens of Indian Creek High School pupils viewed potential college and career options during the biannual Student Future Pathway Fair on Oct. 2.

More than a dozen universities, colleges, career technical schools and local businesses gathered in the school gym to speak with students about prospective opportunities in an event coordinated through the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) organization. Among those on hand were the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County, Manpower, Eastern Gateway Community College, West Virginia Northern Community College, Kalkreuth Roofing and Sheet Metal, MPLX, Fedex, Ohio Phlebotomy Training Center, Tri-W Global, H&R Block, McDonald’s, the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Navy Recruitment Center. 

FCCLA Advisor Julie Robinson said the group, which includes students in her leadership and community engagement class, has coordinated events since last year. Three have been held thus far and a fourth is set for February. She was pleased with the turnout and said it helped provide students with useful information outside of a classroom setting.

“I think it’s important that we talk about their future. They need real-world [experience] and these people looking for employees. The job market is different with all of the economic development in the area.”

Robinson said she hopes to attract more union organizations and businesses seeking current employees at the next fair on Feb. 13.

Fara Johnson, one of the student organizers, said students liked the concept because they could speak to representatives one on one.

“It gives more opportunities for students to see what they want do in the future,” said Fara Johnson, one of the student organizers. “A lot of students said they liked it and it gives them another view.”

Several more students in attendance concurred with Johnson.

“I like seeing all of the people and the stuff they offer,” said freshman Preston Haught, who met with a Navy recruiter and also considered a job prospect at McDonald’s in the short term.

“There are a lot of choices,” added freshman Gage Simmons. “I want to go for a business, business management or accounting degree and this definitely shows me options for colleges to go to, classes to take and businesses I can work for.”

Holly Williams, office administrator at MPLX which operates the MarkWest Energy facility in Harrison County, said many of the questions she received centered on wages and the type of education required to perform jobs in the energy field.

“I’m trying to reinforce that and telling them where to go for jobs. Jobs are steady and there are a lot of opportunities out there,” Williams said.

Jennifer Cesta, public relations coordinator for PLSJ, shared tips about services and offered to share information with teachers for the classroom.

“I interacted with kids about services and databases to help them in their career choices and it was a wonderful opportunity to talk to them,” she added.

Meanwhile, the LCE class’s next venture is an anti-vaping project to educate students on the consequences of using such products, particularly health issues from smoking. Posters were being created and the program should be ready later this month. 

(Photo Cutline: Dozens of Indian Creek High School students attended the Student Future Pathway Fair in the gym on Oct. 2, where vendors representing businesses, military recruiters and colleges shared information about opportunities available now and after graduation. The Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) organization, which includes students in the leadership and community engagement class, organized the event and another fair is being planned for February.)

WES, Hills Joint Literacy Night on Oct. 17
Posted 10/8/2019 at 10:10:44 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

WINTERSVILLE-Wintersville and Hills Elementary Schools are gearing up for their joint literacy night activity later this month.

   The fall-themed event is set for Oct. 17 from 5:30-7 p.m. at WES and will include a variety of learning activities that are fun for the whole family. WES Dean of Students Makenzie Householder said attendants can enjoy the evening while also honing their learning skills.

 “We will have reading and math fun educational centers, fall snacks and a hayride,” Householder added, saying even more activities may be planned. “We are trying to add a pumpkin patch to go with our stories.”

 About 150-250 people have attended in the past and organizers are hoping for another strong showing.

   “The purpose of literacy night is to bring the district’s elementary students and families together to provide a fun and educational evening,” Householder noted. “We are promoting literacy awareness.”

     The elementary schools will also hold separate literacy nights in the spring.

WES, Hills Joint Literacy Night on Oct. 17
Posted 10/2/2019 at 9:54:40 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

WINTERSVILLE-Wintersville and Hills Elementary Schools are gearing up for their joint literacy night activity later this month.

   The fall-themed event is set for Oct. 17 from 5:30-7 p.m. at WES and will include a variety of learning activities that are fun for the whole family. WES Dean of Students Makenzie Householder said attendants can enjoy the evening while also honing their learning skills.

 “We will have reading and math fun educational centers, fall snacks and a hayride,” Householder added, saying even more activities may be planned. “We are trying to add a pumpkin patch to go with our stories.”

 About 150-250 people have attended in the past and organizers are hoping for another strong showing.

   “The purpose of literacy night is to bring the district’s elementary students and families together to provide a fun and educational evening,” Householder noted. “We are promoting literacy awareness.”

     The elementary schools will also hold separate literacy nights in the spring.

All Schools Alumni Night on Oct. 4
Posted 9/25/2019 at 10:19:54 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

WINTERSVILLE-Graduates of Indian Creek High School and its predecessors are invited to the annual All Schools Alumni Night on Oct. 4.

    The event, which is hosted by the Indian Creek Alumni Association, will be held in the Indian Creek High School parking lot near Kettlewell Stadium from 5-7 p.m. and is open to those who attended ICHS, Wintersville, Wayne and Mingo high schools. Donna Minor, committee chairperson, said about 175-200 people have attended and there will be free food, music and a museum of school memories.

   “It’s just a celebration and it’s free, but donations are accepted,” she said. “We really encourage all ages to come.”

   Attendants also have the chance to view items from the past with a special all-school museum exhibit.

   “The all-school museum will include Mingo, Bloomingdale, Wintersville and Creek and includes helmets and other articles on display. We’re also looking for photos from alumni to add to it,” she continued, noting that photos should be emailed soon so they can be prepared for the upcoming event.

   The alumni association, which Minor co-directs with her husband John, was started under the auspices of the Indian Creek Foundation to create unity among the district’s graduates no matter where they attended high school. Wayne High School closed in 1967 with Wintersville and Mingo both ending in 1993, while the consolidated ICHS graduated its first class in 1994. Since the organization’s inception, thousands of graduates’ names have been collected but the Minors are also seeking addresses.

   Photos may be emailed to [email protected]. For more information or to provide addresses, contact the Minors at (740) 264-3186 and leave a message, email [email protected] or go to the group’s Facebook page.

Congratulations, Young Writers!
Posted 9/25/2019 at 9:57:55 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Hills Young Writers

Congratulations to 14 fourth-graders at Hills Elementary School who received the Young Writers 2019 Creativity Awards: Talent for Writing. This award is a certificate of merit for an original piece of creative writing that was selected for publication in a young writers’ anthology. The students were selected out of over 8,000 entries. Last year, they had to write a short essay in third grade about a creature and use 100 words or less. Their works will be published in “Crazy Creatures 2019-Ohio Tales” that will be sent to The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.  Pictured are, front from left, Isabella Wilson, Caden Johnson, Marcus Gibson, Caleb Lyons and Santino Auteri.

Back: Ashlyn Nuzum, Kendall Canestraro, Parker Heath, Jace Knox, Luke Day, Carsyn Brown and Khloe Buchanan. Not pictured are Sophia Tongate and Logan Jackson.
Congratulations and great job!

ICHS Sets Blood Drive for Oct. 9
Posted 9/25/2019 at 9:54:42 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

WINTERSVILLE- The Indian Creek High School Student Council is asking faculty, students and community members to give of themselves during its biannual blood drive on Oct. 9.

   The organization will hold the event in cooperation with the American Red Cross from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the high school gym. Advisor Crystal Hammack said student council members will man stations and guide donors through the process while Red Cross medical personnel will oversee the blood collection, while the student council hopes to raise at least 25 units at the conclusion. Donors must be at least 16 years old with parental permission to participate and weigh at least 110 pounds. Power Red donations will also be taken for those with O, B- and A- blood types.

   Hammack said a second blood drive is scheduled for May 12 and the Red Cross provides a scholarship for a graduating member to further his or her education, while the amount is based upon the total amount of units collected. Walk-ins are welcome but registration is available by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767), going online at www.redcrossblood.org or downloading the Rapid Pass app through ARC.

Officer Phil Program at WES
Posted 9/25/2019 at 9:53:15 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

WINTERSVILLE- The Officer Phil program is coming to Wintersville Elementary School on Monday, Sept. 30 to entertain students and share an important message.

   The New Jersey-based program visits schools across the country and uses magic tricks, puppets and activities to delight youngsters while also addressing such topics as responsibility, safety and respect. Three sessions will be held for kindergarten students at 10 a.m., grades 1-2 at 1 p.m. and grades 3-4 at 1:45 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Wintersville Police Department with contributions from local merchants.

District Focusing on the Positives
Posted 9/25/2019 at 9:47:31 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ICBOE Meeting

MINGO JUNCTION-Indian Creek officials are focusing on the positive after sharing a variety of good news at the Sept. 19 school board meeting.

 During the session at Indian Creek Middle School in Mingo Junction, Superintendent Dr. T.C. Chappelear said the district has shown significant improvement in its state report card. Among them were a 160-percent total increase in standardized test scores compared to last year, with the high school alone showing a boost of more than 103 percent. Middle school test scores were up 27 percent while elementary students boasted an increase of 29.6 percent.

   In addition, the district has met or exceeded the state average in 15 indicators with an increase of five since last year, including all high school indicators. Officials have also seen double-digit improvements since the 2017-18 school year in six testing areas with a 19-percent uptick in third-grade math; a 26-percent jump in third-grade English and Language Arts (ELA); another 26-percent spike in sixth-grade math; a 25-percent rise in high school biology; a 32-percent jump in high school ELA-II; and a 34-percent increase in high school geometry.

   Between 2018-19, the state report card also noted grades jump in progress from a D to a C; a gap closing grade from an F to A; the graduation rate rising from C to B; and the overall grade increasing from a D to a C. Achievement and prepared for success grades remained unchanged at D and F.

   Dr. Chappelear attributed the results to the hard work of teachers, students and staff and said the district still strived to improve upon all of the standards.

   “Everyone’s working hard to make the district proud,” he said. 

   In other matters, officials remarked on the opening of the new football field at Kettlewell Memorial Stadium and said despite the act of vandalism committed after the game on Sept. 13 the public feedback was positive. He also thanked everyone who cleaned up the site and also recognized Assistant Superintendent John Belt his work on the overall project. Belt added that more improvements were being done at the site, such as painting, power washing and weeding, and more work will occur in time. He also recognized Matt Mazzoferro of Off the Wall Signs for working with Prestige Energy on the new stadium lights. Board President Dr. Ted Starkey also quelled false rumors and said the stadium project was not paid using bond issue funding meant for the new school construction and renovation projects.

  Dr. Chappelear also announced that work on the impending $45 million construction projects could be seen a little sooner with early preparations coming in the next few months. Construction will kick off next spring for a new high school and elementary school in Wintersville with renovations set for Hills Elementary in Mingo, but sections of the sites will be altered to make way for the projects.

 “We may be seeing things sooner than we realized. The gym wing will be taken off [the current district board office in Wintersville] in November or December and they will put in a construction entrance,” he added. “The high school campus on Park Drive near the stadium may not be accessible during basketball season. It will be blocked off for early site work and they will be building retaining walls. It's not the official groundbreaking but the idea is to be ready to roll in the spring, get it up under a roof and get it in as quickly as possible.”

  Meanwhile, board member Bob Smith was recognized by Reno Contipelli of the Ohio School Boards Association Northeast Region for 10 years of service with Indian Creek Schools. Smith said it has been a learning experience and he was impressed with how the district was stepping up to help the students.

   “We have a lot of great teachers and staff and the board makes decisions for the benefit of the students in this district,” he added.

   Dr. Chappelear also congratulated Smith on his achievement and said great things were happening in the district.

 “It’s always a great sign in the district that everything is going well. Everything is positive and we need to keep it going.”

   In other matters:

--The board passed total appropriations for $76,000,000 and District Treasurer explained the bulk of the amount was for the school construction/renovation projects;

--Assistant Superintendent John Belt said leaks in a boiler at Wintersville Elementary were located and repaired;

--ICMS Principal Dr. Holly Minch-Hick discussed the return of the Future Entrepreneur’s organization in which local adults mentor middle school students in business-making ventures. Last year, a group of two mentors and 10 kids created and sold T-shirts to help defray costs for the pupils’ field trip to Washington, D.C. This year, about 30 seventh- and eighth-graders and four mentors were participating in the program. She added that ICMS created an educational vision and was promoting it in the school and on social media with #icmsbuildyourfuture.

(Photo Cutline: Indian Creek school board member Bob Smith, pictured at left, was recognized during the Sept. 19 meeting by Reno Contipelli of the Ohio School Boards Association Northeast Region for 10 years of service on the panel. Smith said it has been a learning experience but the district was working to benefit students.)

Fabbro Earns Fellowship to Italy
Posted 9/18/2019 at 12:35:57 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Fabbro Italy

MINGO JUNCTION-An interest in genealogy turned into an experience abroad for Indian Creek Local School District Librarian Michele Fabbro, who earned a fellowship to study in Italy this summer.

   Fabbro participated in the Italian Diaspora Summer Seminar Series in Rome from June 13-July 16, where she and 15 fellows—primarily professors and graduate students from across the U.S., China and Italy—learned about the emigration of Italians to America and other parts of the world between 1860 and 1965 and how sojourn formed the individual identities of their descendants. The program was provided through Roma Tre University in conjunction with the John D. Calandra Italian-American Studies Institute at City Universities of New York (CUNY) and she said the experience occurred through sheer happenstance.

 "It was almost on a lark," she said. "I was interested in my own ancestry and I have a grandparent and could not find."

   Information about the seminar appeared while she was conducting online research and she decided to take advantage of the opportunity. She had visited Italy in the past, but this was a new adventure.

   "It was not for teachers; it was for professors of Italian-American studies and doctoral students. I applied and got it," she said, adding that received the good news in March.

   Classes were held on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday and studies included history and the psychology and sociology surrounding Italians who emigrated to America, Australia and Argentina, as well as those who also returned to their homeland. The fellows also had a chance to explore Rome and the rest of the country on their own time and received college credit through the program. Additionally, Fabbro spent time visiting the catacombs at St. Sebastian outside the walls and visited with her daughter, who traveled from a business-related excursion in London.

 "We examined mapping and statistics, literature and cinema and looked at symbolism and hidden details in movies and books," she added, saying she had to read 20 books since March and review such movies as "The Godfather" and "A Bronx Tale." "We also had to explain our identities as Italian-Americans and do a project."

   Fabbro plans to unveil her project when she reconnects with American fellows in New York this January, plus she hopes to speak to Indian Creek classes and local groups such as the Italian-American Culture Club and the Alpha Delta Kappa teachers' sorority. Fabbro was the only public school educator involved and said the information she learned will be beneficial while instructing her World Cultures class at Indian Creek Middle School.

    "I've met people with different backgrounds and different interests, and some of us became pretty good friends," she noted. "It was such an amazing experience and I couldn't be more grateful."

(Photo Cutline: Indian Creek Local School District Librarian Michele Fabbro, pictured at far left, turned her curiosity about heritage into a cultural experience after attending a seminar in Rome, Italy, this summer. She was the lone public school official among professors and graduate students from around the globe who learned how the migration of Italians to other countries shaped the identities of their descendants. She is pictured with attendants and native Pittsburghers including, from left, Joseph Tumolo, a doctoral student at UCLA; Dr. Laura Ruberto, professor of humanities at Berkeley City College of San Francisco; and Michele Piso, associate director for scholarship and publications at LaGuardia Community College in New York.)

ICMS Students Benefit from Outdoor Classroom
Posted 9/13/2019 at 10:26:27 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ICMS Outdoor Learning Grant

MINGO JUNCTION-Indian Creek Middle School students can now learn lessons beoynd the school walls with an outdoor classroom on the campus.

   Principal Dr. Holly Minch-Hick procured a $1,000 grant from JB Green Team to add picnic benches made of recycled plastic materials and the furniture provides seating for students conducting outdoor STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) classes on the premises.

 “Being an outdoor STEM class, students have engaged in several recycling initiatives,” Dr. Minch-Hick said, noting efforts for composting, collecting rain water and studying land, water and air pollution. “The tables will allow an outdoor classroom setting so students can sit and record data or take notes without having to return indoors. The tables can also be utilized by other classes or used as a lunch space when the weather is nice.” 

   The middle school matched another $728 of the funds to acquire the benches, which were placed in a relatively secluded area for learning. Science teacher Austin Cable said the exterior facility will come in handy as students learn about the environment.

 “The outdoor classroom is not a new concept in general, but it is a new idea here at Indian Creek Middle School. The purpose is to incorporate learning in an outdoor environment,” Cable explained. “This learning can be in normal classes in an outdoor setting or, in our case, we are incorporating learning about outdoor activities and being in the outdoors at the same time.”

   He said eighth-grade students will spend the first nine weeks of school learning about composting in the outdoor STEM class, where one group will teach their peers about the process and organize collecting compostable materials such as leftovers and scraps from their lunch.

   “Students will teach and encourage other students to place their compostables into a bin at lunch, which they will then weigh and place into our outdoor compost pile in the back of the school,” he added. “About 100 students actually take the class but all 158 eighth-grade students will be exposed to this service learning project that diverts trash from the landfill. With the composting project, we will be diverting hundreds of pounds of food that will break down into nutrients that we can use to build soil around the school.”

    Cable said it ultimately will be used to plant native flora and create habitats to attract pollinator insects. The classes will focus on helping the Monarch butterfly, which is currently endangered. He continued that the composting project kicked off last year and students collected more than 1,000 pounds of compostable material from the eighth-grade lunches.

   “The cafeteria staff saves scraps from fruits and vegetables during each lunch preparation and we are also supported by the janitorial staff. Both groups help us make this project a success,” Cable noted, saying that the school is also partnering with the Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District and representative Wendee Dodds will share her knowledge to make the service project even better.

    As part of the plan, students will collect, weigh, track and move lunch compostables, add leaves and dead organic materials and mix the pile as needed, then they will identify different types of bugs and organisms that live within the pile and view compost under a microscope to search for microorganisms.

(Photo Cutline: Indian Creek Middle School now has an outdoor classroom thanks to a $1,000 grant from JB Green Team. STEM students can learn about the environment beyond the school walls.)

Indian Creek Adds Behavioral Analyst
Posted 9/6/2019 at 1:18:34 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

WINTERSVILLE-Indian Creek Local School District has added a new member to its team to help children function better in the classroom.

    Michelle Duprey-Anderson was hired this year as a board-certified behavioral analyst and is currently stationed at Wintersville Elementary School. It is the first time such a position has been utilized in the district and Duprey-Anderson will work with students and education teams to seek resolutions and help pupils with behavioral issues to increase school success by learning more adaptive behavior skills.

  “I work with kids who have been through Tier I supports and are still having a difficult time,” she explained. “I observe and complete a functional behavior assessment, and then develop a plan for intervention.”

   The Toronto native obtained bachelor’s degrees in psychology and Spanish from Ohio University and her master’s degree in applied behavior analysis from Ball State University. Duprey-Anderson lived and taught special education in Texas but later returned to Ohio and served as a school consultant. However, she believed her passion was to work at a school and she enjoys helping the teachers. 

   “It’s great and everyone’s been very supportive. The administration’s been supportive of me and the teachers are excited to work together.”

   Students are referred through district Special Education Director John Rocchi and she observes the children in a classroom setting, after which she and the teachers collect data to formulate a plan and remedy the situation.

   “We try to figure out what the person is communicating with his or her behavior and teach them how to get their needs met in an appropriate way. These may be kids who act in a problematic way that affects their ability to learn or others’ ability to learn in class,” she added. “I work with the teacher and education team to teach the students the skills to facilitate more appropriate behavior in the classroom.”

     Duprey-Anderson said a typical reason for the students’ behaviors may be a simple lack of communication skills. While applied behavioral analysis is not a new concept, it is gaining prominence as an effective tool to help affected students.

    “I really do believe kids want to be successful. Sometimes when you don’t have the skills that allow your needs to be met, other behaviors emerge and we have a service to dictate how to get over those obstacles.”

   Meanwhile, Rocchi welcomed her aboard and said her skillset will be an asset to the district.

   “With the number of students we have with mental health and behavioral needs, we felt we needed to increase support for students, teachers and families and to provide more intensive services for kids that need behavioral therapy with either ABA or a behavior intervention plan,” he commented. “[Duprey-Anderson] is district-wide but we wanted to establish her at a building to work with kids and then branch out. There are different philosophies on how to intervene with behavior and ABA is one method and has been proven to work with kids with autism. I appreciate [Superintendent Dr. T.C. Chappelear] and the school board for making this commitment to students with behavioral health needs to have the best possible opportunities in our school district.”

Hills Students Raising Funds for Pediatric Cancer
Posted 9/6/2019 at 1:17:17 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

MINGO JUNCTION-Students at Hills Elementary School will be collecting funds and helping one of their own during Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month in September.

   The school will hold its sixth annual fundraiser on Sept. 9-13 and the event is spearheaded by Virginia Pawelczyk, a third-grade teacher at Hills and mother of a young cancer survivor. The collection holds a significant meaning because the kids will also be assisting a fellow Indian Creek student.

 “This year, we are giving half of the proceeds to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Cancer Research facility and the other half to Brayden Tipton and his family,” Pawelczyk said. “Brayden is a former student of mine. He was recently diagnosed with AML, and unfortunately this is his third bout with leukemia.”

   Tipton, who attended Hills and is currently a student at Indian Creek Middle School, has been undergoing treatment for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and his family is planning a benefit in his honor on Sept. 15 from 2-8 p.m. at Aracoma Park in Mingo. Events will be set at the large shelter and will include a spaghetti dinner, music, cornhole and various fundraisers from 50-50 raffles to a silent auction. Admission is $10 for adults with kids aged 12 and under for free, while dinner is $5 for adults and $3 for kids up to 12. Donations may also be sent to P.O. Box 592, Steubenville, Ohio, 43953, or at paypal.me/braydensarmy.  

   At Hills, students may donate $1 to participate in dress-up days and 50 cents to purchase popsicles provided by The Ziegenfelder Company of Wheeling. Kids will don crazy hats that Monday, purchase a popsicle and wear bandannas on Tuesday, buy a popsicle and wear their favorite hats on Thursday and dress like their favorite sports team that Friday. There is no school on Wednesday for professional development and activities will conclude with an assembly on Friday around 1 p.m. where one educator will be shorn for a special occasion.

   “Our theme is ‘Cutting for a Cure,’ and Jessica Clegg, a fourth-grade teacher, has so graciously volunteered to not only donate her hair as she did two years ago to Wigs for Kids, but one lucky student will get to cut her hair,” Pawelczyk said. “The students will be able to buy raffle tickets for $1 to get their name placed into the raffle to win a chance to cut her hair.”

 Cherry Larry from Ziegenfelder will also be on hand and the goal is to raise $2,000. Hills earned $1,600 last year and was one of the hospital’s top supporters, but the activity has always been personal for Pawelczyk.

   “This event is near and dear to my heart,” she said. “My son David was diagnosed at the age of seven months old with an Anaplastic Ependymom brain tumor.”

   David endured three rounds of chemotherapy and 31 radiation treatments which left him with short- and long-term deficits. He is now a fourth-grader at Hills and will turn 10 this month, but Pawelczyk said pediatric cancer research is grossly underfunded--receiving only 4 percent from the U.S. government—and she wants to do her part to find a cure. 

   “I have made it a mission to help fund a cure for all pediatric cancers, not only to find a cure but to help fund research of cures that do not cause secondary illnesses,” she said.

Goodies with Grandparents at Hills
Posted 9/6/2019 at 12:19:35 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

MINGO JUNCTION-Hills Elementary students are inviting family members to Goodies with Grandparents on Sept. 24.

   Grandmas and grandpas can join preschool to fourth-grade pupils for pastries and beverages from 7:30 to 8 a.m. and get a glimpse of school life. Principal Michele Minto said similar events were held last year including Donuts with Dads and Dudes and Muffins with Moms and Misses, drawing hundreds of people in attendance.

   “We have about 400 students and it started last year to get parents into the schools to see what their kids are doing and help them feel welcome,” she said. “We’re trying to make time for parents to come to the school and share their child’s experience.”

    Information was being sent home with the students, but for more details contact the school at (740) 283-2479.

Officer Phil Program to Visit WES
Posted 9/4/2019 at 12:21:55 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

WINTERSVILLE-The Officer Phil program will visit Wintersville Elementary School on Sept. 30 to teach kids valuable lessons in a fun way.

   The program has been conducted throughout the U.S. for more than four decades and teaches students about safety and positivity. Three presentations will be held for kindergarten students at 10 a.m., first- and second-graders at 10:30 a.m. and third- and fourth- graders at 1:45 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Wintersville Police Department with funding support from area merchants.

Abercrombie Joins ICMS Administration
Posted 8/21/2019 at 9:30:16 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
IC Abercrombie

MINGO JUNCTION- Indian Creek Middle School has a new administrator on board after Scott Abercrombie was named assistant principal.

   Abercrombie, of Weirton, received a one-year contract during the Aug. 15 Indian Creek school board meeting and succeeds Ryan Finley, who took a post in West Virginia. His duties entail helping Principal Dr. Holly Minch-Hick oversee an estimated 650 students in grades 5-8 and he was eager to begin his new role.

   “This has been a very positive experience. I am overwhelmed with the kindness from the administration and staff,” he said. “I am transitioning to the new role quickly and look forward to serving the Indian Creek community.”

   He is an alumnus of Brooke High School and West Liberty University and his family includes wife Jennifer, children Mark, Ryan, Sydney, Emma and Nathan and grandchildren Selah, Annalise and Levi. Abercrombie previously served as a seventh-grade science teacher at Follansbee Middle School, assistant principal at Brooke High School and director of career technical and adult education and secondary curriculum for Brooke County Schools and his goal is to use his experience as a resource for both parents and students at the middle school.

   “I would like to thank the ICLSD administration for the opportunity and look forward to meeting the students and parents that we serve at ICMS,” he said.

Committees Tour Schools for Fact-Finding Mission
Posted 6/28/2019 at 1:47:57 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

WINTERSVILLE-Educators and community members toured newly completed schools as part of their quest to improve facilities at Indian Creek.

    With two new buildings to be constructed and a third to be renovated, about 15 members of district steering committees headed to Hartville in Stark County on June 3 to view sites in the Lake Local School District. Superintendent Dr. T.C. Chappelear said three groups representing Wintersville Elementary, Hills Elementary and Indian Creek High School had a chance to see what the facilities had to offer.

    “It was a very valuable experience for everybody and really validated that we were on the right path with creating a student-centered learning environment that will take us well into the 21st Century,” he said.

   ICHS committee members toured a middle/high school complex which received a renovation and an addition, while a group representing Wintersville Elementary saw a newly constructed primary building and the Hills Elementary team reviewed another renovated elementary site. Officials have visited four different districts over the past year to learn how the facilities implemented more modern educational concepts, and one main application eyed for Indian Creek’s schools the use of extended learning areas so students may congregate and do activities. Lake Local Schools has also instituted a high-performance learning environment to bolster educational growth.

   “We were able to see the learning spaces being used because Lake was still in session,” Dr. Chappelear noted. “We were also able to talk to teachers about the design and durability over the year of surfaces from carpeting and walls to the rubberized floors.”

   The committee members also spoke to administrators about their experiences during the construction process and making the big move to their new areas. Dr. Chapplear added that Indian Creek schools will be testing some of the flooring materials and furniture in a classroom during the coming year to determine if they will be feasible for the new site.

   Additionally, Assistant Superintendent John Belt said area first responders have also been providing input regarding safety for the structures. One session was held in May and included trustees, police and fire officials from Cross Creek Township, Wintersville and Mingo as well as school resource officers.

   “It was a three-hour meeting with the architects and we discussed floor plans and offered feedback,” Belt said. “The architects are getting digitized blueprints to solicit further feedback for the safety of the facilities.”

    Belt continued that another session will be held in the near future to obtain further input.

   “We’re reaching out to our first responders to solicit feedback on renovations and new buildings to offer as safe a facility as possible for our staff and students.”

   Meanwhile, community meetings about the construction project should begin in September with venues at Wintersville, Mingo and the Bloomingdale/Unionport area.

An estimated $63 million project is slated with the Canton-based Sol Harris/Day architectural firm designing a new high school and Wintersville Elementary building, as well as planning renovations for Hills Elementary in Mingo Junction. ICHS will be demolished to make way for a new, two-story building at the current junior high practice field and WES will be razed with a two-story site being constructed at the present district office location along Bantam Ridge Road. The district office will also be demolished and administrators will be housed at the new high school. Hills will undergo an estimated $10 million renovation with heating, cooling, plumbing and other updates that will be completed in phases beginning next spring.

   Hammond Construction Inc. of Canton will serve as construction manager and all aspects of the project. Work is being funded through a levy passed last year with a subsequent sale of bonds and the Ohio School Facilities Commission also providing an $18 million share. The design process will take a year to complete and then bids will go out for construction. Tentative plans are to hold groundbreakings in the spring with work slated to occur over the next 36 months. The structures should be completed when students return to class in the fall of 2021.

© 2020 Jefferson County Educational Service Center
2023 Sunset Blvd. Steubenville, OH 43952
Tel: 740-283-3347 Fax: 740-283-2709

CMS created by eSchoolView
Footer Logo