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Unified Sports Scores Big at ICHS
Posted 2/21/2024 at 11:00:30 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
IC Unified SPorts Basketball
WINTERSVILLE-Unified sports players hit the hardwood at Indian Creek High School as teens and deputies with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office squared off on Feb. 16.
 
    It was all in good fun as students from ICHS and the School of Bright Promise joined sheriff’s officials in the gym for a special game. Unified sports combine individualized education (IEP) students with traditional students on blended teams with to promote inclusivity in such activities as flag football, basketball and soccer. 
In the end, the unified sports team won by an impressive score of 44-37, but the cheers and smiles made it all the more enjoyable. 
 
   Tom Mort, school intervention specialist and unified sports advisor, shared his excitement over the matchup.
  
   “That was just as good as the football game [the ICHS team played in November],” said Mort. “I’m so happy that people came to support them and the sheriff’s deputies and School of Bright Promise students were contributing and making shots.”
 
   The ICHS team also had a chance to show off their new jerseys following a recent donation from the Cleveland Browns. The NFL team is a sponsor of unified sports in Ohio and supplied red and gold uniforms for football, basketball, soccer and track.
 
   Deputy Matt Morgan, the school resource officer and captain of the ICHS team for the game, worked with Sheriff Fred Abdalla Jr. and helped his players practice each day to get ready for the event. Among Creek’s players were MVP Brayden Stewart, who scored an impressive 16 points during the game, along with David Howell, Aiden Howard, James Donaldson, Ethan Starr, Jace Nett, Jomar Johnson, Timmy Christian, Hunter Allen and Sal Barcalow while Lucian Howell and Darian Starkey represented SBP. JCSO officials on hand were Capt. Tommy Koehnlein, Lt. Aaron Ellenberger and Deputies Brian Driscoll, Eric Lulla, Doug Viola and Zack Stackhouse. ICHS student Emma Castillo also rallied for the team along with cheerleaders Trista Simeral, Cara Vandeborne, Blissani Locke and Tessa Irwin.
 
   The sheriff’s office led at halftime by a score of 25-19, but the unified sports team eventually gained up on them and both teams tied at 37-37 before the Creek kids surpassed the JCSO team and won. But everyone involved saw the activity as a major win in the name of inclusivity and acceptance.
 
   “We want to get our kids involved to the maximum extent that we can,” said Dr. Georgia Pavlic-Roseberry, children’s service director for the Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities and School of Bright Promise. “This is very exciting for them and they’ve been counting the days. We’re thankful to Steve Forte and all of the districts. It gives the kids an opportunity to be with their home districts.”   
 
   Forte, who serves as activities coordinator for JCBDD and coordinator for the Jefferson County Special Olympics, agreed.
 
   “It’s more than I imagined,” he added. “The significance of this is the sheriff’s office and Bright Promise kids are at the home school. Our hope is one day the kids will come back to their home districts. This is the beginning.”
                                                                
   Even team member Lucian Powell was pleased.
 
   “It was good and I won,” Powell said. 
 
   “It was really good,” added Brayden Stewart.
 
   ICHS Principal Louie Retton was thankful to Mort, the JCSO and everyone involved for making it so successful.
 
  “The timing of the Unified Sports basketball game couldn’t have been better,” Retton continued. “That game energized everybody—the teachers, students and the kids that played. I want to give a huge thanks to Bright Promise and the sheriff’s office and all of the officers who participated. Our students were fantastic on the court and in the stands and Emma and the cheerleaders cheered and danced at halftime. The feedback I’ve gotten has been one of the most positive things in my career and we want to keep building on it. Special thanks to Mr. Mort because his passion for this has been the engine behind it and is what’s making it go.”
 
   “It went pretty well,” said Deputy Morgan. “Our kids played hard and it was exciting to see them play. We’re fortunate to have people who can make it happen.”
 
   And Sheriff Abdalla was grateful to Indian Creek for the opportunity.
 
   “What wonderful event,” he said. “This is a perfect example of getting students out to support the athletes, and I thank the Indian Creek School District and Tom Mort for providing this.”
 
   This marks the second time the school hosted a unified event, with Creek kids taking on Steubenville Big Red High School this fall for a Turkey Bowl flag football game. Mort said there would be more to come. Plans are to hold at least three basketball games and more football games, plus there are hopes to have track and eventually bocce ball events. Mort has been organizing the program with collaboration from Steve Forte as well as Kristi Peters of Unified Champion Schools.
 
   “We hope to have four or five games for football and also play football, basketball and track and collaborate on bocce ball with the School of Bright Promise. I can’t wait for track and to go full on with football next year,” Mort concluded. “This is the most kids we’ve had involved and we’re going to keep it going.”
 
(Photo Caption: Indian Creek High School’s Brayden Stewart goes in for a shot during a unified sports basketball game with the School of Bright Promise and Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office on Feb. 16. ICHS’ unified team ultimately won by a score of 44-37 with Stewart earning an impressive 16 points and the title of most valuable player. Also pictured looking on are, clockwise from left, Deputy Doug Viola, Lucian Howell, Aiden Howard, Darian Starkey, Deputy Zach Stackhouse, David Howell, Deputy Eric Lulla and Deputy Matt Morgan, the latter who is the school resource officer and captained the unified sports team.)
Indian Creek Schools Earn PBIS Awards
Posted 2/20/2024 at 11:42:37 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
MINGO JUNCTION-Two Indian Creek schools have been recognized for their achievements with Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports.
 
   Indian Creek Middle School and Hills Elementary received accolades from The Ohio Department of Education’s PBIS Network and State Support Team 12 (SST-12). ICMS gained a Silver Award while Hills obtained a Bronze Award for 2022-23. The schools had to submit applications and provide evidence on a rubric under each category for consideration.
 
   ICMS Principal Dr. Holly Minch-Hick said the school received the Bronze Award for 2019-20 and it was exciting to be recognized again.
 
   “I am very proud of our staff for their hard work and implementation of our PBIS program over the last nine years.  They deserve this recognition,” she said. “Through the collaboration of the staff and our PBIS/Culture Team, we have been able to establish common and consistent expectations throughout the building and teach the students the building expectations in a positive manner.”
 
   At Hills, teachers Alyssa Lollini and Erin Alloggia coordinated efforts and said they were thrilled to gain kudos from the state.
 
   “We feel proud of this accomplishment and are excited for our stakeholders to have knowledge of the hard work and dedication that our staff puts into the positive culture and climate within our building,” Lollini commented. “We are incredibly thankful to our PBIS team and very much appreciative of the staff support throughout the year long process.” 
   She added that officials created a digital binder of photos, classroom and building rules and expectations, documentation of interventions and supports, meeting agendas, social-emotional learning lesson plans and other information to the state, plus they worked with the Jefferson County Educational Service Center to complete the Tiered Fidelity Inventory for Tier 1 supports.
   “We would like to thank Ron Sismondo and Amber Fomenko [of JCESC] for spending their day at Hills Elementary to complete the Tiered Fidelity Inventory Walkthrough Tool and giving the PBIS team feedback on our interventions and supports. We would also like to thank Scott Eldredge and Charles Tucker from SST Region 12 for the training opportunities (both in person and virtual) and their availability to answer any and all questions throughout the process,” Lollini said. 
   School representatives were recognized during the annual Ohio Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports and Ohio Leadership Advisory Council Showcase in January. The state awarded 42 gold awards, 98 silver awards, 299 bronze awards and 17 district awards for quality and fidelity of PBIS implementation. Meanwhile, the awards may be given by SST officials during a future Indian Creek Board of Education meeting.
ICMS Student Gains Honors in Essay Contest
Posted 2/5/2024 at 8:50:01 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
IC Essay
MINGO JUNCTION-Indian Creek Middle School sixth-grader Maryn Barcalow’s words about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. have earned her honors in a local essay contest.
 
    Barcalow’s submission tied for third place in the 2024 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Writing Contest led by Ohio University Eastern. Submissions were taken from students in grades 6-12 who attend schools in OUE’s services areas within Ohio, which include Belmont, Carroll, Harrison, Jefferson, Guernsey, Monroe, Noble and Tuscarawas counties, and West Virginia, including Marshall and Ohio counties.
 
   Cash prizes were offered with $100 for first, $50 for second and $25 for third in the grades 6-8 and 9-12 categories while honorees were invited to attend the Annual Ohio University Eastern Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration on Jan. 31 at 6:30 p.m. Barcalow’s essay will also be published on the OHIO Eastern website. Entrants were asked to select a quote by the Civil Rights activist and write an essay or poem about how it inspired them, and Barcalow chose Dr. King’s famous quote: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
 
   “This means violence can’t get rid of violence, and only courtesy and kindness shown towards those who hurt you, will lead to peace,” the 11-year-old wrote. “Has someone ever harmed you mentally or physically? Everyone has been hurt in some way. That can lead to ?ghting, drama, gossip and can even end relationships. More problems are created when someone hurts another person back. Some may think this helps solve the problem, when really it does nothing but make matters worse. If you want the feud to end, someone may need to apologize and be polite about it.”
 
   Barcalow compared it to arguing with her three siblings, stating that feelings are hurt during disagreements and the best remedy is to apologize, listen and be patient with one another. 
   “I think this is an inspirational quote because it might help save friendships and really any relationship. This quote helps me avoid problems with my friends, family, and the people in my community because choosing kindness is the better way,” she concluded. “Maybe if more people look at this quote and understand it, things would be more peaceful.”
    Barcalow said she previously won art awards at school but it was the first time she entered an essay competition.
   “I feel very honored and kind of blessed to get an award. I’m just really proud of myself,” she added.
    She noted that her parents, Jared and Hallie Barcalow of Bloomingdale, were equally proud and she hoped to enter more contests in the future.
   ICMS Principal Dr. Holly Minch-Hick was also pleased to see her student recognized and planned to attend the event this Wednesday to cheer her on.
IC FCCLA Grant Focuses on Distracted Driving
Posted 1/17/2024 at 9:33:22 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
IC FCCLA
WINTERSVILLE-The Indian Creek High School Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) has earned funding to help teens stay focused on the road.
 
    The student group received a $1,250 Families Acting for Community Traffic Safety (FACTS) grant and acquired impairment goggles to promote safe driving. Advisor Julie Robinson said plans are underway for the FCCLA Drunk Busters Goggle Experience in collaboration with the Wintersville Police Department on Jan. 19. Events will be held from fourth to sixth period and will feature students testing simulation goggles on an obstacle course.
 
   Robinson said the activity stemmed from a survey the organization conducted last year.
 
   “We did an assessment and surveyed about 150 students including licensed, permitted and non-drivers and our top issue was impaired driving,” Robinson said. “We used the grant money to purchase the goggles. We’re going to set up obstacle courses with the goggles and kids will go through them, then they will sign a pledge not to drink and drive.”
 
    The eyewear mimics issues such as daytime and nighttime intoxication and fatigue. Robinson added community safety forces have also been involved. Ohio State Highway Patrol officials have visited the school to speak about distracted driving and hosted Commander Robert Bodo of the Wintersville Post on Jan. 11, while school resource officer Deputy Matt Morgan and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office are also expected to participate.
 
   The FCCLA is also holding the “Put Your Phone Down” poster contest and students are invited to submit works to win a gift card. Final posters are due by Jan. 18 and will be announced the next day. Physical and digital designs are accepted and will be scored on a Rubric for uses of color, information and presentation. Winners can earn $25 gift cards for first place, $15 for second place and $10 for third place for WalMart and local eateries.
 
   Officials said the goal is to assist students with better decision-making skills about distracted driving and a comprehensive project report must be submitted by completing the FACTS National Program Award application by March 1. The school chapter has received FACTS grants in the past to target winter readiness and provide a driving simulator, the latter of which was in partnership with the OSHP. The grant is part of a national FCCLA peer education program which strives to save lives through personal, vehicle and road safety. 
 
  Meanwhile, the student organization is led by chapter President Lanie Hess, Vice President Marlee Zook, Secretary Joshlyn Roghelia and Treasurer Ethan Dyrdek and includes members Josie Barker, Aiden Brown, Corey Galitz, Brookelina Grigsby, Sophia Maxon, Xander Mazik, Ty Parrish, Kayleigh Perry and Layla Rasicci.
 
 
                                                                           -30-
 
 
(Photo Caption: The Indian Creek High School Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) received a $1,250 FACTS grant to highlight distracted driving with help from local law enforcement. The group acquired simulation googles to mimic states of impairment and students will don the eyewear and complete obstacle courses during an event with the Wintersville Police Department on Jan. 19. A poster contest is also underway to promote less cell phone use while behind the wheel and winners can earn gift cards to Wal-Mart and local eateries. Pictured is Commander Robert Bodo of the Ohio State Highway Patrol Wintersville Post with sophomore Aiden Brown during a presentation on Jan. 11.)
Cowser, Speece Join ICBOE
Posted 1/16/2024 at 9:22:47 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ICBOE Reorganizes
WINTERSVILLE-The Indian Creek Local Board of Education welcomed two new members as Stephen Cowser and James Speece conducted their first official meeting on Thursday.
 
    Cowser, a longtime educator, and Speece, a local businessman, were sworn in along with re-elected member Dr. Ted Starkey during the organizational session at Indian Creek High School. The newcomers succeeded Kim Mark and Bob Smith, who both opted not to seek re-election following a combined tenure of more than 40 years. 
 
    Cowser is no stranger to the district as he is a Wintersville High School alumnus. He went on to attend West Liberty State College where he earned a degree in education and taught for a total of six years in the Steubenville City and Edison Local School Districts with another decade in Mingo Junction. Following a turn at Buchanan Jr. High, he became dean of students and assistant principal at ICHS before earning the top job as principal. He served in the latter post from 2008-14 and retired to spend more time with his family, which includes wife Kathi, three children and three grandchildren.
 
   He then opted to serve the district in another capacity and threw his hat into the ring for the board seat.
 
   “I wanted to use my knowledge of education to help the board,” Cowser explained. “It’s going to be a fun ride. I just want to maintain the high standards that Indian Creek has held.”
 
   Speece, a Weirton native, graduated from Weir High School and then West Liberty University with a business degree with a specialization in accounting. He relocated to Mingo Junction with his wife, Amanda, and served as an assistant manager at the Steubenville Country Club but has worked with GPC Contracting Inc., his family’s industrial maintenance business in Wintersville, since 1997. Speece, who also has two children, said his involvement in youth activities inspired him to seek a board position.
 
   “I’ve been doing youth sports and have been the treasurer of two boards, plus I have union knowledge [with my job]. I’m here for the kids and I want to see Indian Creek grow. I want to see it move forward,” he added. “I want my kids to have something to be proud of and my kids’ kids as well. I’d like to keep our kids here and keep the torch passed.”
 
     Superintendent Dr. T.C. Chappelear welcomed the newest members and said it was a sign of great things to come.
 
   “The whole idea of public education is that we educate everybody...and the fact that we have a community that votes for folks who determine what education looks like,” he said. “Congratulations and welcome.”

(Photo Caption: James Speece and Stephen Cowser became the newest members of the Indian Creek Local Board of Education on Thursday after succeeding longtime officials Kim Mark and Bob Smith, who opted not to seek re-election. Pictured are from left, Dr. John Figel, board Vice President Daniel Bove, President Dr. Ted Starkey, Speece and Cowser, who were also recognized for School Board Appreciation Month for January.)
Indian Creek Honored for Healthy Efforts
Posted 1/3/2024 at 1:11:27 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
WINTERSVILLE-Indian Creek Local Schools is once again gaining honors for healthy habits within the district.
 
   The district earned its second Ohio Healthy Worksite Award from the Healthy Business Council of Ohio, which is a division of the Ohio Department of Health. HCBO recognizes Ohio employers who demonstrate a commitment to employee wellness through comprehensive worksite health promotion and wellness programs, and applicants are scored on the extent of their wellness programs to facilitate and encourage employee health, enhance productivity and ensure a healthy work environment. Applicants earned one of four levels of achievement for 2023: bronze, silver, gold and platinum, in addition to an entry-level tier of recognition.
 
   This year, Indian Creek earned a Small Business Bronze Award for promoting health and wellness among students and staff.
 
   “Most center around healthy food practices for staff and students, building environmental controls, health and exercise options for staff,” said district Assistant Superintendent John Belt. “This is the second year in a row that ICLSD has been recognized.”
 
   The award is sponsored through the HCBO and ODH and officials had submitted a lengthy description of the district’s practices over the past year for consideration. It is a comprehensive process and Belt was excited to see the district achieve another accolade.
 
  “We are thrilled that the state is recognizing us as a premier employer that cares about the wellness of our staff and students,” he added. “A lot of this can be directly traced to our new and renovated facilities.”
 
   He cited the construction of the new Indian Creek High School and Cross Creek Elementary buildings and upgrades at Hills Elementary, which include the ability to maximize capturing natural lighting that contributes to overall well-being, in addition to environmental controls of the new HVAC systems with UV sterilization to help improve air quality within the facilities. Other practices include providing healthy food options such as fresh fruit and vegetables at every meal, access to both indoor and outdoor walking tracks plus weight rooms and staff discounts on gym and Weight Watchers memberships through the district’s insurance plan.
 
   Belt said the full list of winners will be announced over the next year. 
Creek Bids Goodbye to Board Members
Posted 12/29/2023 at 12:39:24 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ICBOE Says Goodbye
 WINTERSVILLE- The Indian Creek Board of Education bid farewell to two of its members as Kim Mark and Bob Smith held their final meeting on Thursday.
 
   Mark, a 28-year veteran and current board vice president, and Smith, a 14-year member and past president, are stepping down from their respective seats. They were recognized during the session at Indian Creek High School and received hand-carved wooden bells from Warther Carvings of Sugarcreek, Ohio, and a cake as tokens of appreciation. Superintendent Dr. T.C. Chappelear praised them for their dedication and said they have served the school system well.
 
   “I thank them for their years of service and appreciate the time they’ve put in,” Dr. Chappelear added. “I believe they are why we are where we are as a board.”
 
   Mark said her last meeting was bittersweet but she looked forward to moving on.
 
   “I’m excited but also a bit sad,” she said. “I’m a product of Indian Creek.”
 
    The school system has been a major part of her life from the time she joined the original first-grade class at a newly opened Hills Elementary to her turn as a PTA member when her own son began school. Mark and her husband, Rick, both graduated from Mingo Junction High School and she earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Wright State University in Dayton. She and her spouse returned to the area to live because they wanted their son, Matthew, to also get an education in the district. Mark has worked as a recovery nurse for Trinity Medical Center and her involvement with the PTA led to joining the school board, where she has become the longest-serving woman on the panel.
 
  “I was involved in PTA and attended [school board] meetings. I was interested in what the board wanted to do and I’ve always had a passion for Indian Creek. That’s how I got involved.”
 
   She ultimately ran for office and served with five superintendents, citing past and current administrators from Joe Roshak, Court Stewart, John Rocchi and Jene Watkins to Dr. T.C. Chappelear and current Assistant Superintendent John Belt as the “best,” plus she noted her appreciation for board members and further pride for school leaders, staff and teachers. 
 
  “They really care about our kids and education,” she commented.
 
   During her tenure, she would witness the construction of new buildings with the most recent projects at ICHS, Cross Creek Elementary and renovations at Hills among the highlights, as well as the expansion of the high school marching band and school programs.
                                             
   Although she will no longer be on the board, she will continue to represent Creek as a community representative on the Jefferson County Joint Vocational School Board. She will also have more time to spend with her son and grandchildren, Caroline and Maverick.    
 
    “One of my main goals was having new schools built and I’m thankful to the community members, and now feel confident about leaving. I’m excited and believe the two new members will do a fine job.”
 
   Meanwhile, Smith said interaction with a past leader inspired him to serve on the board.
 
   “[Former Superintendent] Jene Watkins suggested it,” he recalled. “There came an opening and I put my name in.”
 
   Someone else was selected for the spot, but Smith would later run and win a seat on the board. Like Mark, he considers the recent construction and renovation of schools as the major milestones during his service and said he was proud to work with the board and schools.
 
   “We have a very professional board and three brand-new schools and one renovation for $10 million. We got the schools built because we had pillars of the community come out and a lot of people worked behind the scenes.”
 
   When it comes to his history, Smith graduated from MJHS and attended the U.S. Air Force Academy, then studied at the University of Pittsburgh on an Air Force Institute of Technology scholarship. He received a master’s degree in industrial engineering and became a project manager of a B2 systems program at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton but returned to aid his parents. Smith opted not to serve as an instructor at the Air Force Academy and would stay in the area to work with Edison Local Schools, Jefferson County Regional Planning and currently McKinley Architects and Engineering in Wheeling. He has one daughter, Madison, an ICHS grad and recent alumna of Montana State University with a civil engineering degree whom he also prides as a member of the high school’s state championship track team.  
 
   Smith is also departing his post as Mingo Junction’s village administrator but will remain involved in the community as a newly minted Steubenville Township trustee while also serving as commander of the Mingo American Legion Post 351. After more than a decade with ICBOE, he said he was ready to hang up his hat.
 
   “I was honored to be a board member and we have one of the best boards in the state of Ohio. I enjoyed my time, but I thought it was time to go. [Being a trustee] is my new venture and we’ll see where that takes me.”
 
   Mark and Smith will be succeeded by Steve Cowser and James Speece, who were elected in November. The school board will hold an organizational meeting on Jan. 11 at 6 p.m. at ICHS with member Daniel Bove serving as president pro tempore.

(Photo Caption: Indian Creek Superintendent Dr. T.C. Chappelear, center, recognized departing board members Kim Mark and Bob Smith, who yield a combined total of 42 years of service, during their final meeting on Thursday.)
Fundraiser Enables ICHS Band to Upgrade Drumline
Posted 12/27/2023 at 12:22:01 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
 WINTERSVILLE-An ongoing fundraiser and some generous donations have enabled the Indian Creek High School Marching Band to update its drumline with some new instruments.
 
   Band Boosters President Ed Cooley said a series of moneymakers conducted since last summer coupled with contributions from local businesses, organizations and individuals have allowed officials to purchase items including snare drums and equipment, and now the band is marching to a new beat.
 
   “We started the drum fundraiser in June and ended in October,” Cooley said. “We did two fundraisers in one and had a raffle based on the Ohio Lottery throughout October, and then tickets were sold based on the three-digit daily drawing on Monday through Friday. One winner for the straight earned $100 and the reverse winner got $30. On Saturday, the straight winner got $250 and the reverse won $50, then on Oct. 31 the winner received $5,000.”
 
   He continued that the lottery game yielded 51 winners throughout that month and enabled the Boosters to acquire some much-needed equipment to aid the 102-member band.
 
   “We ended up raising enough money to buy drums and all of the equipment needed for them,” he noted.
 
   The lottery raffle raised $9,000 with $8,355 in contributions raised through the Indian Creek Foundation and $2,200 given by the Harold McMillen Family while another donation was provided by Van’s Iron and Metal of Steubenville. The Indian Creek Foundation’s share purchased six snare drums with equipment, including a harness, case, outer cover and stand; the McMillen Family provided more bass drums; and Van’s Iron and Metal helped acquire three sets of tenor drums and four bass drums.
 
   “With the money from the other donations, we were able to upgrade three outer skins for our drums and can change them,” Cooley said. “They include Indian Creek and patriotic colors and give us more ways to dress up the drumline.”
 
   Another moneymaker is set for early next year with McConnell’s Meat Market gift cards to be given away to three lucky winners. Meanwhile, Cooley said he was grateful for the response.
 
   “This year was a big drive to upgrade the drumline and we appreciate everybody who helps us. This is a group operation and a lot of people stepped up to help,” he concluded. “You can never say thank you enough to the people who help do this.”
Hills Collection Fills Pantries
Posted 12/7/2023 at 11:54:57 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Hills Canned Food Drive
Hills Elementary students in Mingo Junction gathered more than 2,300 cans during its recent food drive prior to Thanksgiving break. The items will provide meals for the food pantry at the school as well as the Bay Six Project and Friendship Room. The entire school will receive a pizza party since so many items were donated and the event was held by its Student Senate organization. Pictured with the items are, from left, Anastasia Henderson, Kaitlyn Moscato, Trent Norris, Garrett Rusnak, Jackson Pugh, Noah Spencer, Ty Montgomery, Chase Corrigan and Anacelia Parissi.
Band Boosters Suggest Bus Safety Lesson
Posted 11/20/2023 at 3:50:36 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
WINTERSVILLE-The recent tragedy involving Tusky Valley Schools has spurred suggestions for local chaperones to receive a safety lesson before utilizing buses.
 
   During the Indian Creek Local Board of Education meeting at Cross Creek Elementary on Nov. 16, Indian Creek High School Band Boosters President Edward Cooley and secretary Tina Rawson were on hand to update leaders about fundraising and other happenings with the organization, but talks turned to safety amid the fatal charter bus collision that killed six people, including three of Tusky Valley High School Marching Band members and three adults on their way to play for the Ohio School Boards Association conference in Columbus. Cooley said stories were emerging from the event, including the brave actions of the bus driver who helped passengers escape and ultimately saved many lives, and he was prompted to ask school leaders to help take some precautionary measures so people could respond accordingly during an actual emergency.
 
  “We have chaperones that go with us a lot when go on trips for football games. One of the things I wanted to see was if [officials] could give a safety brief. I think it’s something that would have benefitted Tusky Valley if their chaperones had information. One individual got 90 percent of the people out of the bus [following that crash],” Cooley added.
 
   He suggested having attendants learn how to use the emergency exits should an actual incident occur.
 
   “I can provide the chaperones and they can go through the safety brief. Hopefully something like this can never happen again, although nobody could have changed the outcome.”
 
  Assistant Superintendent John Belt agreed, saying he would contact district Transportation Director Brenda Staffilino.
 
   “I think that’s a good idea and can speak to Brenda to make that happen,” Belt responded.
 
   The Boosters also plan to support Tusky Valley with a fundraiser at Texas Roadhouse on Nov. 29. That evening, 10 percent of proceeds will be going to the school while ICHS Band members will also sell cookies and other items for the cause.
 
   “The kids will be handing out flyers and the Band Boosters will donate $1,000 to Tusky Valley,” Cooley continued. “Everything we raise will go support Tusky Valley.”
 
   Superintendent Dr. T.C. Chappelear noted that many schools and people have been coming together to support Tusky Valley and he was proud to see Indian Creek also step up. One example was when ICHS and Indian Creek Middle School students donned red to honor the Tuscarawas County school district.
 
   “Everybody’s heart breaks when you see the news and that kind of event,” he commented. “One thing about Indian Creek is when something like this happens, Indian Creek responds.”
 
   Meanwhile, Cooley and Rawson updated the board on fundraising efforts to purchase new drums for the band. 
 
  “We’ve being doing a huge fundraiser to purchase more than $21,000 worth of drums. We’ve paid for all of the drums and some equipment has come in,” Cooley said. “We’re gradually getting the last seven drums in and they should be coming over the next month.”
 
   Boosters officials also brought copies of amended bylaws for the board’s review.
 
   Board member Dr. John Figel also praised the school band, saying it was a strong and thriving program.
 
  “We take for granted what a great band we have. It takes a lot of dedication,” Dr. Figel added. “I think the district is proud of what our band has accomplished and it’s amazing what a great program we have here. We could have had our band go to OSBA as well. That could have been our kids.”
 
  Among other action:
--Leaders transferred $127,393 from the permanent improvement.75-mill fund to bond retirement 2022 Tax Anticipation Note (TAN) fund to pay Dec. 1 and close out the certificate of completion on the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) new high school and elementary school projects;
--The school board approved its five-year forecast following an overview by district Treasurer Denise Todoroff, who said expenses were rising amid the eventual cessation of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding. Those funds have helped offset costs within the school budget but future expenses will be incorporated into the district’s general finances. Todoroff said the general fund has seen gains as of late which will carry Indian Creek through the forecast as the district loses escrow funding. She also reminded leaders of the renewal levy on the ballot in 2029;
--Jefferson County Educational Service Center Gifted Coordinator Linda Lenzi presented three 2023 Best Practice Grants totaling $1,980 to ICHS teacher Janet Maxon and ICHS teachers Michael Minor and Jaime McCumbers for their innovative programs;
--The district recognized JCESC Public Relations Coordinator Amy Gareis with a certificate for the Ohio School Boards Association Media Honor Roll;
--The board approved the resignation of Hills Elementary intervention teacher Diane Sogan effective Nov. 30 for retirement after more than 39 years with the district;
--Belt highlighted construction projects around the campuses, including a sidewalk near the high school gym and the softball field dugouts. He planned to collect price quotes for summer projects;
--Dr. Chappelear praised the career-technical education (CTE) department and its expanded offerings such as interactive media, supports and services, business and engineering to natural resources and performing arts and announced that an FFA organization was being developed at the high school;
--The next regular meeting was moved from Hills to ICHS on Dec. 21 at 6 p.m.
Bosley Shares Social Media Warnings at ICHS
Posted 10/23/2023 at 6:29:14 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
IC Bosley
WINTERSVILLE-Students got the message when it comes to what they post online as the Jefferson County Juvenile Task Force concluded its program on social media warnings at Indian Creek High School.
   Freshmen through seniors gathered in the school auditorium on Oct. 11 where speaker Catherine Bosley gave her final lecture in the series, which was sponsored by the task force. Bosley, a former Ohio television news anchor, spoke on “Forever and For All to See,” sharing how vital it is to maintain control of your reputation and image amid the rapid spread of information across the internet universe. 
  Bosley has been educating young people about posting images and comments that could dash their dreams, plus she advises them how to block out bullies and preserve their self-worth. She began her interactive lecture by asking students about their dreams for the future, with some responding that they hoped to become a teacher, artist or police officer. She then recalled how she found her calling as a broadcast journalist, saying it took a lot of work and moving between cities, but it finally led her to Youngstown where she found a job—and her husband. She was sitting on top of the world until a momentary lapse in judgment came back to haunt her online.
   Bosley and her spouse had traveled to Key West. Fla., to celebrate their first anniversary and her overcoming a severe lung ailment when she was enjoying the atmosphere of spring breakers and temporarily lowered her inhibitions, but she quickly regretted it and never believed it would come to light. On Christmas morning in 2003, she received an answering machine message that upended her life. The message informed her that inappropriate photos and videos were online and had gone viral, which ultimately cost her job, impacted friendships and led her into a downward spiral. She was contacted for interviews by “Good Morning America,” “Oprah” and “Inside Edition” to explain her actions and faced constant shaming and cyberbullying.
   “I wanted to die,” she said. “More than that, I had a solid plan to make it happen.”
   Instead, she would work for years to legally remove the images from the web and restored her reputation, then received another job in Cleveland.
   “Not only was I able to survive, I was able to rise above and get my life back. I realized how much that thing is a part of me, how much I learned from it and how much I didn’t want it to happen,” she continued. 
   Her experience inspired to her help others by warning them of online dangers.  Bosley said the top three ways to handle haters are to ignore them and take away their power; block online bullies and report threats to adults and authorities; and remind yourself that bullies lash out because have their own struggles. She also said it was important to rely on the “F” Factor of faith, family and friends to help them through the difficult times.
    She added that what people post can be seen by potential employers and colleges, which could halt someone’s dreams. Among some examples were a woman who posted a photo of herself with alcohol and lost her teaching position and a college football player with an eye on the NFL who made a racially charged comment online. Bosley said the key was to listen to your inner voice and refrain from posting images or words that may be damaging and to share “happy, healthy selfies.”
   “We’re all going to make mistakes because we are human. There is little room for ‘What was I thinking?’ before pictures become attached to you forever and for all to see.  It can be pictures, texts, a ‘like’ and an email,” she commented. “We have one thing to protect our online imaging, that little voice that tells you not to do it. It’s a life-saving voice. Everything you put out there is a reflection of not only what you do but your family, your school and your workplace.”
   She also urged teens to not bully or shame others and said privacy was only a myth on the internet, while photos and texts shared in confidence could also wind up in other hands. Bosley said while 62 percent of teens and tweens are reportedly bullied, only a quarter of that age group are actually perpetrators. She further warned about the consequences of sexting, saying it is illegal when someone takes, shares and receives inappropriate images of a youth under the age of 18, even if they are of themselves. Culprits could face time in juvenile detention or jail because it is child pornography. Additionally, adult websites can access and post photos and videos and even track unidentified images back to the original poster.
    Another current practice known as sextortion occurs when people threaten to post photos unless they receive money. Bosley said Ohio teens were being victimized and stressed the importance of telling someone, adding the county task force was there to help and protect them. She concluded by sharing her P.A.C.T. strategy for rising above: People (tell someone), Abandon (social media and negative people), Connect (with professionals for help) and This (too shall pass).
    Finally, she urged teens to not correspond with strangers or sext and to be aware that consent was needed before images or video could be posted.
    County Juvenile Court Administrator Joe Colabella said the task force, which includes the juvenile court, county sheriff’s office, prosecutor’s office, law enforcement, health department, Prevention and Recovery Board, Family Recovery Center, Ohio BCI, Ohio State Highway Patrol, ALIVE Shelter and A Caring Place Advocacy Center, developed the series to address issues impacting youth today and to educate them and also help reduce the number of cases in court. Bosley led nine presentations at schools throughout the county and plans are in the works for her to speak to parents and guardians in a public forum over the next few months. 
   The county juvenile court obtained a grant from the Ohio Department of Youth Services for community education on social issues and Colabella said the JCJTF will review more topics for future programs such as suicide and vaping, but he has heard good things about the group’s initial effort.
    “We’re getting positive feedback from the building principals and schools from other counties are reaching out and are interested in bringing Catherine Bosley there,” he added. “We’ll track to see if our cases go down.”
    Task force member Beth Rupert-Warren told the students that the group was there to support them.
    “There are people in this community that care about you,” she added.
    ICHS Principal Louie Retton was pleased with the presentation and said thanked Bosley and the task force. He added that school officials also loved and cared about the students.
    “It was outstanding. It’s exactly what the current high school students need to hear,” he concluded. “Mrs. Bosley is a great speaker with a lot of real-life examples and brought them to the students.”
 
   (Photo Caption: Catherine Bosley addressed students at Indian Creek High School about the dangers of posting on social media with “Forever and For All To See,” completing the first series in a new program sponsored by the Jefferson County Juvenile Task Force. Bosley shared personal experiences and other stories with teens and encouraged them to be aware that what they do could impact their future.)
Disparity Discussed at ICBOE Session
Posted 9/26/2023 at 9:18:09 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
WINTERSVILLE-Ohio school districts are working to meet new mandates when it comes to teacher pay schedules, but a question of state funding disparities led talks during the Indian Creek Board of Education meeting on Thursday.
 
   The school board previously approved a small pay increase to meet changes in a state law under Ohio H.B. 33, or the biennial budget. The change mandates school districts to meet a minimum salary schedule of $35,000 for the 2023-24 school year and Indian Creek was among those that took action. During the regular session at Cross Creek Elementary School, Indian Creek Education Association President Karen Lloyd thanked the board for working with the union and said the current disparity in state funding makes it impossible for the district to meet all of the financial requirements.
 
   “That’s something that’s wrong on a state level,” Lloyd said. “We have to get this funding fixed because we have teachers working 19 years making $100,000 a few miles from here and we make less. If there is any possibility that you have the ears of the legislators, it’s so imperative that our voices are heard. Our teachers are doing the best we can and we have all the support the district can afford.”
 
   She added that additional teachers were needed but the funding was not available while the district may have to seek help through a future levy or other source. Lloyd said there also have been social-emotional among preschoolers from COVID and more support is needed on the government level. To that end, she was working with the National Education Association and learned the topic has made discussion on Capitol Hill.
 
  “We’ve asked for funding for new buildings and we’ve gone to the community for levy renewals. At some point, we’ll have to ask for more money from the community or somewhere. We’ve always talked about teachers’ salaries for years and this pandemic has made it worse. We appreciate the job you do.”
 
   Discussion ensued and officials concurred. Superintendent Dr. T.C. Chappelear said property values have skyrocketed and legislators have been talking about H.B. 920, which would eliminate the 20-mill floor on levies.
 
   “We are at the 20-mill floor and when the re-evaluation happens, we could get more money,” he said. “But they are talking about eliminating the 20-mill floor and that would be devastating to us if that would happen.”
 
   District Treasurer Denise Todoroff said more than 60 percent of schools are currently at the 20-mill floor and state funding formula has increased its outputs for the first time in years. Todoroff added that the state is using the average salary and income in its plan but then the figures are frozen for the second year of the budget.
 
  “If they update the formula and make it work, we can see some increases.”
 
   “Your point is well taken, Karen,” said board member Dr. John Figel. “Unfortunately, teachers and educators are left behind. “You see the disparity. You look at educators’ salaries compared to what we’re seeing. We hear you, and hopefully our legislators will do something to help even the playing field.”
 
   Under personnel matters, the board approved teachers Amanda Renner, Amy Rusnak, Karen Lloyd and Stacy Zink and paraprofessionals Holly Edwards, Laura Sabedra-Norris and Kimberly Constantine for before-and-after school staffing; employed Chelsea Connor as a preschool special needs teacher at Cross Creek and Colleen Shepherd as a part-time reading teacher at Bishop John King Mussio Elementary; named paraprofessionals Stephanie Hutter and Mary Frances Lucas, custodian Allen Quinn, cafeteria/paraprofessional Zoe Schupp and cafeteria/secretary/paraprofessional Miranda Still as classified substitutes; approved continuing contracts for cook/cashier Alison Spears; accepted the resignation of bus mechanic Gage Robinson for personal reasons; approved the resignation of Dave Moffat as E-Sports advisor with Owen Price named as successor; employed Christopher Trickett as a bus mechanic; accepted the resignation of morning bus attendant Joan Workman; and employed Zachary Crawford as a long-term substitute for the 2023-24 school year.
 
Among other action:
--The board approved an agreement with the Jefferson County Juvenile Court for a liaison officer from Sept. 1, 2023, through Aug. 31, 2024; 
--Board Vice President Kim Mark, who led the meeting for absent President Bob Smith, recognized Gabrielle Buchanan as the 2023 Indian Creek High School Homecoming Queen. Officials also praised the school sports and band and thanked the teachers and staff for working this summer to prepare for the new school year;
--Leaders learned that repairs were finished to the gym floor at Indian Creek Middle School following a waterline break this winter;
--Officials discussed the recent Alumni Night at ICHS and subsequent dance and hoped organizers would build upon activities for next year;
--The board changed the location of the next meeting to Hills Elementary School on Oct. 19 at 6 p.m.
ICMS Pep Club Contributes to T.E.A.R. Fund
Posted 9/14/2023 at 2:22:12 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ICMS Pep Club
MINGO JUNCTION-The Indian Creek Middle School Pep Club is lifting up cancer patients by contributing proceeds from a recent moneymaker to Trinity Health System’s T.E.A.R. Fund.
 
  The student organization raised nearly $1,500 during an end-of-year carnival in May to benefit the Trinity Emergency Assistance Relief (T.E.A.R.) Fund to help purchase gas cards and food and pay utility bills while patients undergo treatment at the Tony Teramana Cancer Center.
 
   “We do a spring fundraiser each year and it was our end-of-year carnival,” said club advisor Stacy Zink. “DJ Anthony Bailey [of Movin and Groovin Productions] had inflatables and we had activities. Kids purchased wristbands to go on the rides.”
 
  The club also sold water at the event while Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) peddled treats and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes provided face painting.
 
   “It was nice to have different clubs help out,” Zink added. “We had a football toss, a basketball free throw and a baseball homerun derby. Anthony Bailey also has Ha Ha Concessions and had popcorn and cotton candy, so it made it a real carnival atmosphere.”
 
   She added that the kids learned a valuable lesson while Trinity officials were also very appreciative.
 
   “The kids really enjoy helping and I try to make sure the eighth-graders are involved,” she commented. “They are also very happy and gracious with donations at the Teramana Cancer Center.”
 
   Pep Club members Kendall Canestraro and Kaylin Lee said they like to help others.
   
   “It makes me feel proud that we are able to help people,” said Canestraro.
 
   “We’re happy that the school has the club,” added Lee. “We can have fun and help people.”
   
    The club is also busy planning its first pep rally since COVID with an event eyed for Sept. 18 in the school gym. Other activities include making signs and holding popsicle sales and other fundraisers to also benefit the T.E.A.R. Fund. Zink said 15-20 members are involved with projects and the organization is open to students in grades 5-8. Members typically work on signs and other projects each week after school.
 
   “We have a lot of creative kids who like to show what they can do. We showcase athletes each season by putting their names on the wall and have decorated lockers for Christmas and Valentine’s Day,” she concluded. “We support the athletes and school as a whole.”

(Photo Caption: Eighth-graders Jessah Hirschfeld, Kendall Canestraro and Kaylin Lee, who are all members in the Indian Creek Middle School Pep Club, present an estimated $1,500 check with proceeds from a spring carnival fundraiser for the Trinity Health System T.E.A.R. Fund. The fund assists patients undergoing treatment at the Tony Teramana Cancer Center by defraying costs for gasoline, food and other expenses.)
Creek Schools Vie to Name Hellbender
Posted 9/8/2023 at 10:15:56 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
IC Hellbender Naming Contest
WINTERSVILLE- What’s in a name?
 
   For students at Indian Creek Local Schools, it’s a chance to give a fitting moniker to the new hellbender inhabiting one of its buildings. Indian Creek High School Assistant Principal Keith Swearingen said a district-wide contest is underway and students at ICHS, Indian Creek Middle School and Cross Creek and Hills Elementary Schools can submit ideas with the final selection to be made this Friday.
 
   “I sent an email to the principals and each class in each school will choose a name,” Swearingen said, adding that each building will decide their top choices with the official name decided among the final four submissions. “We plan to have the name for the Homecoming Game on Friday.”
 
    The three-year-old amphibian has taken up residence at the high school as part of a collaborative project with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Columbus Zoo to bolster the population and remove it from the endangered species list. ICHS is the fourth site in the state and the only public high school to participate in the project while the Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District is also involved. JCSWCD has been part of the program for the past 15 years and has 500 acres of appropriated county land eyed for natural habitats, with most of it located within the school district.  It is also fitting because Jefferson County is considered the epicenter for the species’ habitat and eggs used for the project were harvested at Cross Creek.
 
   The salamander dates back more than 160 million years and can live up to six decades in creeks, but more recently it has been placed on the endangered list. 
 
  Swearingen and science teacher Crystal Fluharty began efforts this past year and received the green light from the ODNR, then the Columbus Zoo provided the hellbender. The ambassador arrived at ICHS this summer and has been kept in a massive, water-filled tank that can be viewed on the main floor. Additionally, the Indian Creek Foundation provided a $15,000 grant to help create the state-of-the-art, bio-secure environment, which also features 24-hour security and a collaborative atmosphere.
 
    High school students will be feeding and raising the animal while also collecting data for professional research, and later they will raise juvenile hellbenders and release them back into the wild. Officials noted that pupils will participate in other classes, with the interactive media program helping to design a logo and work on merchandising and promotions while tech support pupils will collaborate with engineering classes to develop a  microchip for data collection.  Meanwhile, leaders hoped to collaborate with Purdue University since it has shown a high success rate with its reintroduction program. 
 
   Swearingen said an official ceremony will be planned in the near future with local and state officials to formally welcome the new ambassador.

(Photo Caption: A contest is underway to name the new hellbender ambassador at Indian Creek High School. Each of the district’s four buildings will submit ideas with the final selection set for this Friday.)
Projects Continuing at Indian Creek
Posted 8/17/2023 at 12:53:12 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
WINTERSVILLE-Projects are continuing throughout Indian Creek to get the school district primed and ready for the new year.
 
   Assistant Superintendent John Belt said updates were underway from parking lots to sports venues to safety improvements at campuses in Wintersville and Mingo Junction.
 
  “We had some blacktop repairs done on our Mingo campus and we’ll do some resealing and striping that should occur before school starts,” Belt said. “Over at the high school site, we are blacktopping the exit of Park Drive that was delayed because we didn’t want heavy equipment traffic from the softball field project. We’ll now address the catch basins for rainwater control with and fresh blacktop and striping.”
 
    He noted that masonry work on the softball field dugouts have been completed, but more work was needed with roofing on those structures as well as bathrooms and a scoreboard installation. 
 
   “That should be done before the snow flies,” he added.
 
   Meanwhile, work continues to replace the gym floor at Indian Creek Middle School following a waterline break this past winter. Belt said the wood flooring has been installed but still required paintwork and staining before it could return to use. Officials also must install volleyball sleeves before games could begin. Until it is finished, sports activities will be held in another location while gym class will be conducted outdoors during pleasant weather conditions.

    “We haven’t had practices at ICMS and asked schools to flip venues for the early games,” Belt said. “Volleyball and cheering tryouts also have been held elsewhere because they were interrupted by the work. After the floor is sealed, it needs to cure for a week before we have foot traffic.”

   District permanent improvement levy funds are being used for the upgrades with insurance defraying costs for the middle school flooring plan.

   Another project includes an internet fiber connection to the bus garage for the voiceover IP (VoIP) telephone system and computers, which are currently wireless, and should also be finished this month. Belt said another bus has also been added to the fleet to transport students throughout the district. Costs are being covered through permanent improvement funds for the technology along with some state money also being used to purchase the vehicle.

    Future plans for the coming school year are to add additional wireless access points and cameras on campus for extra safety.
 
   “We are working with [Jefferson County 911 Director Rob Herrington] and the 911 call center as part of the SaferWatch initiative,” Belt continued.
 
   The district joined the initiative to connect with the county 911 call center as an effective way for safety forces to respond to emergencies. SaferWatch not only allows the 911 system to access school cameras to locate an intruder but also provides an app that teachers can download with a panic button for fires or other emergencies. It immediately notifies 911 and geographically locates the cell phone for faster response. The Ohio Attorney General’s office provided funding for enhanced communication between schools and law enforcement agencies and Indian Creek received a $20,000 grant for the program. District officials were training administrators and implementing SaferWatch this school year.
Indian Creek Involved in Leadership Initiative
Posted 8/10/2023 at 11:33:19 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
WINTERSVILLE-Indian Creek educators and students are learning the importance of leadership with a new initiative being implemented within the schools.
 
   The district is following the “Leader In Me” school improvement model that focuses on the universal challenges of academics, culture and leadership. The initiative, which is provided by FranklinCovey Education of Salt Lake City, Utah, will unfold over the next four years and incorporate teachers and youth to drive involvement among students and staff, build a high-trust environment in schools and student achievement and improve learning.
 
  Dave Baker, a coach and consultant from Columbus, began sessions in June and has stopped at each site to speak with dozens of teachers and students. For now, only educators are taking part at the elementary level while youth will take part in the future. Both Indian Creek Middle and High Schools have involved grades 6-12 in their gatherings and fifth-graders will be added later. More sessions are slated throughout the year and groups known as Lighthouse teams are discussing ways they could utilize practices and enable students to be college-, career-, community- and life-ready. The groups are also creating mission statements to help students succeed both inside and outside the classroom.
 
   ICHS Principal Louie Retton said 25 teachers and students were involved in his building and plans are to conduct another session in September.
 
   Practices are based on educator Stephen Covey’s book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” that include “Be Proactive” (taking control of choices and actions); “Begin with the End in Mind” (setting goals and visualizing what you want to achieve in the future); “Put First Things First” (prioritizing your time and energy on what’s truly important to you); “Think Win-Win” (seeking solutions that benefit yourself and others and fostering a cooperative mindset that values collaboration, fairness and mutual success); “Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood” (listening, empathizing and trying to see things from other perspectives in order to build stronger relationships, resolve conflicts and find common ground); “Synergize” (embracing teamwork, cooperation and open-mindedness to create something greater than what can be achieved alone); and “Sharpen the Saw” (taking care of your physical, mental and emotional well-being by engaging in activities that renew and recharge you to maintain balance, enhance personal growth and perform your best).
 
   ICMS Principal Dr. Holly Minch-Hick added that the first part of the program has begun with the formation of the school team, which included 24 teachers and students at the July session. She said it also helps establish roles for the members. She hopes to also involve youth in school activities including the upcoming open house on Aug. 22 and said students will act as school ambassadors to help with schedules, finding lockers and other assistance.
 
   “The goal of having them here during orientation is to build curiosity among the student body in the leadership initiatives and have them tackle their first role of being positive leaders within the school community.”
 
   Cross Creek and Hills Elementary Principals Dan Hartman and Makenzie Householder noted that
 “Leader in Me” supports social-emotional skills as well as academics and self-advocacy. Each team includes about eight people with two Lighthouse coordinators, teachers from each grade level, intervention specialists and a related arts teacher.
 
   “We’re going through ‘The 7 Habits of the Highly Effective People’ and that filters down to the students,” said Householder. “This allows kids to be leaders, take ownership and accountability and provide advocacy for their learning.”
   
Hartman added that sessions may be held twice a month and the program is an ongoing process. Both agreed that the initiative aligns with everything the schools currently do and other processes such as building leadership teams and Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) fall under its umbrella. 
 
   Since its formation, “Leader in Me” has been utilized in 5,000 U.S. schools and 50 countries worldwide. Results have shown a 7-percent increase in state science test scores, a 31-percent decrease in discipline referrals, a 34-percent increase in positive social behaviors and a 96-percent positive impact in developing leadership skills. Officials have also noted significant improvement in student behavior, school attendance, staff support for student academic, personal and emotional development, family engagement, staff satisfaction, reading and math proficiency and student-led learning, among others. In addition to schools, FranklinCovey has also worked with businesses as well as federal agencies, U.S. military branches and NASA.
ICHS Helping to Save Endangered Species
Posted 8/9/2023 at 10:27:10 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
IC Hellbender Project
WINTERSVILLE-There is a new mascot of sorts at Indian Creek High School as the site joins efforts to save an endangered species.
 
   ICHS is the fourth site in the state and the only public high school collaborating with the state Department of Natural Resources and Columbus Zoo to raise a hellbender salamander. Students will raise and study the amphibian and provide data for professional research while juvenile hellbenders will also be cared for onsite and eventually released back into the wild. The school is working in conjunction with the Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District and officials said it will be a cross-curriculum program that could benefit all of the district’s schools.
 
   “I think it’s a great opportunity for our kids to help the environment and get some hands-on training,” said Assistant Principal Keith Swearingen, who worked with science teacher Crystal Fluharty on the program. “The students will be feeding and raising the hellbender and doing data collection.”
 
   Swearingen said Fluharty began working on the plan last year after she collaborated with the JCSWCD to raise quail. The county organization also has been part of the hellbender program for 15 years and keeps one of the animals at its office, plus 500 acres of county land have been appropriated for natural habitats with a majority of it located within the school district. Discussions spurred Fluharty to become involved with the hellbender project and officials sought approval through state channels. The ODNR ultimately agreed and a three-year-old hellbender was provided by the Columbus Zoo while facilities are being formed to properly house the animal at the school.
 
    The hellbender, which is the largest known salamander, has been found in the area for at least 160 million years with Jefferson County considered the epicenter of the species’ habitat. Interestingly, the eggs used in the program were harvested at Cross Creek. The hellbender can grow to two feet long and live up to 60 years in creeks, but in recent years it has been placed on the endangered list. The Columbus and Toledo Zoos hatch eggs and raise the hellbenders for release and John Navarro, who oversees aquatic animals for ODNR, and Pete Gau, head zookeeper of the Columbus Zoo, have assisted in bringing the school project to fruition. 
 
   One room at ICHS will be transformed with tanks, food and actual soil, stones and water from local creeks and the Indian Creek Foundation also provided a $15,000 grant to help create the state-of-the-art, bio-secure environment. It will feature 24-hour security and a collaborative atmosphere and the program will be incorporated into multiple studies. Students will tend to the animal and collect data that will ultimately be used for professional research and future plans are to keep juvenile hellbenders to raise and release. Officials said the project would cross educational lines with pupils participating in other classes. For example, the interactive media program would assist in designing a logo and work on merchandise and other promotions and tech support students would join forces with the engineering class to create a microchip prototype for data collection. Additionally, Fluharty hoped to work with Purdue University since it has shown a high success rate with its reintroduction program. 
 
   Swearingen said district schools will also take part in naming the hellbender and the public can catch a glimpse during the Meet the Team night at ICHS on Aug. 16 at 5 p.m.  Meanwhile, a special ceremony will be set to formally greet the new ambassador. 
   
    (Photo Caption: Indian Creek High School has an interesting new inhabitant with the addition of a hellbender salamander at the Wintersville building. ICHS is the first public high school statewide to partner with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Columbus Zoo to save the salamander from extinction. The amphibian will be on hand during the school’s Meet the Team event on Aug. 16 but a formal ceremony will be held to help welcome the new ambassador.)
Hartman Helming Career-Tech Ed at Creek
Posted 8/8/2023 at 11:25:54 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
IC Dan Hartman
WINTERSVILLE- Indian Creek Local School District is expanding its horizons when it comes to career-technical education and has a familiar face spearheading the program.
 
   Cross Creek Elementary Principal Dan Hartman was recently named career-tech education coordinator under an amended administrative contract that began July 1. His new responsibilities include overseeing the career pathways offered and ensuring that they remain in compliance with state standards. Hartman served as supervisor/principal at the Jefferson County Joint Vocational School for four years prior to joining CCE and said his background gives him an advantage with his new post.
 
   “My job is to support the career-tech programs that are at Indian Creek and to ensure things are done,” he explained. “They have great courses established and I will have conversations with [Indian Creek High School Principal] Louie Retton and [Superintendent] Dr. T.C. Chappelear to understand the labor markets and interest levels.”
  
   Hartman said the area had plenty of industrial, blue-collar opportunities and he was involved in beginning the heavy equipment operation program at the JVS before his departure, plus he also sees a need in the realm of healthcare, dental care and sports medicine.
 
   “I’m glad to support it and do whatever I can to make Indian Creek as successful as possible,” Hartman said.
    
    For its part, ICHS offers pre-engineering, interactive media, business administration, natural resources, drama and theater and family consumer sciences with new offerings added this year. Principal Louie Retton added that officials were building pathways in the traditional high school setting and courses were at or near capacity.
 
  “We are going to have classes in animation, computer software programming, stagecraft and stage design,” Retton said. “We stated a class last year in engineering called Reading Plans where you read blueprints and we have agricultural foods and natural resources. We are moving in as many career-tech pathways as we can. It’s another way to give students and families options.”
 
   Retton noted that teacher Dave Moffat also rotates courses, which doubles the number of offerings from four to eight for more choices. In addition, all of the business courses from business management and social media marketing to strategic entrepreneurship are full while others including programming are nearly filled.
 
  “We started a theater program this year and the freshman classes are now filled. There were 20 students last year and 38 this year, and we nearly filled the acting and script analysis courses [for sophomores to seniors] and that was doubled since last year. We’re also getting growing numbers in the stagecraft and stage design classes and all of the pathways are basically taking off.”
 
   He continued that students will have to take at least four classes to be a completer and it gives them a different pathway to choose.
 
   “We’re finding that high school is not one size fits all and it’s our responsibility to provide as many opportunities as we can. This is all a continuum of services to provide more opportunities every day.”
Indian Creek Adds Faculty, Staff for New School Year
Posted 7/21/2023 at 8:49:26 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
WINTERSVILLE- Indian Creek Local Schools will include some new faces and the public can get an introduction before doors open next month.
 
    During Thursday’s school board session at Indian Creek High School, leaders granted one-year contracts for Dr. Brittany Pearson-Baker as district librarian, Owen Price as a math teacher at ICHS, Trevor Host as a physical education teacher at Cross Creek Elementary, Zach Crawford as a kindergarten teacher at Cross Creek and Abby Andriano as school nurse. Officials also moved the next regular meeting one day earlier to Wednesday, Aug. 16 at the high school where a fall Meet the Team event is slated at 5 p.m. At that time, newly hired faculty will also be highlighted and the school board meeting will follow at 6 p.m.  Students will soon head back to the classroom with grades 5-12 returning on Aug. 23 and grades K-4 on a staggered start between Aug. 23-25.
 
   “We would introduce the band and teams and I thought we might also introduce the new teachers,” said Superintendent Dr. T.C. Chappelear.
 
  Dr. Pearson-Baker, Price and Host attended Thursday’s meeting and the superintendent welcomed the new faculty into the fold.
 
   “Things are moving along and I’m excited for this coming school year. We’re really lucky to have them here at Indian Creek.”
 
   In related personnel matters, the board accepted resignations from Willemijn Lambright, second-grade teacher at Cross Creek; Kim Wadas, Orton Gillingham specialist; and Cate Calissie, English and literature arts (ELA) teacher at Indian Creek Middle School; Deneen Mitchell, cook/cashier at Hills Elementary; Hannah Mitchell, paraprofessional at Hills; and Joanie Floto, bus attendant. However, both Mitchells and Floto were placed on the classified substitute list. Meanwhile, Sara Santille was hired as a bus driver for the district, Martha Long was hired as a cook/cashier at Hills and Ashley Huber was named a classified substitute cafeteria, secretary and paraprofessional.
 
   An extra-duty supplemental contracts were given to Amber Scott as a softball assistant at ICHS, Mike Minor as ICHS drama assistant and Brad Long as ICHS assistant girls’ soccer coach. Supplemental personal service contracts were further approved for Taylor Scott as ICHS softball assistant; Art Fowler, Nick Dondzila and Tom Windland for seventh-grade football half-positions at ICMS; John Brettell, Joe Pulver and Joe Dunlevy for eighth-grade football half-positions at ICMS; Dan Lawrence, ICHS girls’ head soccer coach; and Cody Shanley, ICHS assistant boys’ soccer coach.
 
   Among other action:
--Indian Creek Education Association President Karen Lloyd said the organization and Ohio Education Association were both against Issue 1 on this fall’s election ballot and sought further support from the school board. She added that new staff would be treated to a luncheon following professional development while OEA Vice President Jeff Wensing would also attend;
-- Dr. Chappelear said the Summer Scholars program wound down on Thursday following 18 days of math and reading sessions at Hills to quell the summer slide while ICHS had credit recovery and STEM education. About 60 children participated and the superintendent thanked teachers for giving their time to help the students;
--The board approved a revised agreement with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office for two school resource officers for the 2023-24 school year;
--Assistant Superintendent John Belt said projects were progressing such as the gym floor replacement, repairs and blacktopping at ICMS and the softball field dugout at ICHS while Dr. Chappelear noted that lighting was also reviewed at the Robert Kettlewell Memorial Stadium.
Fabbro Begins a New Chapter
Posted 6/21/2023 at 8:21:13 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
IC Fabbro Reires
MINGO JUNCTION-Michele Fabbro is closing the book on nearly 56 years in education, but her story is far from over.
 
    As she began a new chapter following her retirement from Indian Creek Local Schools on June 1, she looked back on the highlights of her experience teaching children and encouraging their love of reading. Ironically, her journey began a little differently as she planned to become an accountant; however, a suggestion by her father Michael Belardine, a longtime educator in his own right, put her on another path.
 
   “My dad said I’d make a good teacher,” she said. “It certainly has served me very well as a career.”
 
   There are many interesting moments in her life story, but an abridged version includes accomplishments both in and out of the classroom.
 
   Born and raised in Mingo Junction, she graduated from Mingo Junction High School in 1964 and studied at the College of Steubenville. Fabbro’s tenure began in 1967 when she spent one semester as a student teacher at Central Grade School, which was then part of Mingo Public Schools. She was attending night classes at college to earn her elementary education degree. She recalled being only 20 years old at the time while her pupils were 15. After completing her education and earning her certification in library media, she was assigned to the eighth-grade Ohio History class and also taught sixth-grade language arts.  
 
   A year later, she was teaching a total of 80 children in the first public kindergarten classes at Harmony Elementary. Fabbro had 44 children in the morning program and another 36 in the afternoon, but she had to build her classroom from scratch by adding toys, puzzles and books and developing the curriculum. Many of the items came from her home library and she also bought toys and dolls and a piano to teach music. Fabbro later convinced the principal to purchase Harper Row Treasure Chest with lessons, book titles and other learning materials to aid her students. 
 
   She went on to obtain her master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Dayton in 1979 and by then had married her husband, Rudy, and had two preschoolers at home. She then taught third-grade at Harmony from 1981-85 and went on to teach kindergarten at Hills Elementary. In the meantime, she also earned her library/media certification from the University of Pittsburgh. Her career at Indian Creek Schools began in 1990, where she was in a newer building with even more resources at Buchanan Jr. High School. Fittingly, she had succeeded her father as librarian upon his own retirement after 18 years at the post.
 
   “Succeeding my dad at Buchanan Jr. High was bittersweet. He retired because of health issues but I was very proud to follow in his footsteps,” she said.
 
  It was also around this time that she began the Media Club at the encouragement of the principal and the group included 20 freshmen. The club was the first of its kind in the county and still carries on today at ICMS. It was responsible for airing the national Channel One kids’ news program as well as developing articles and TV scripts for daily school broadcasts, plus it partnered with the local Friends of Indian Creek community group.
 
   In 1995, the building demographics changed and Indian Creek Jr. High, as it had become known, would educate grades 7 and 8 with Fabbro still serving as librarian. Over the next five years, she would receive a grant to convert library records in all district school buildings to electronic catalogs in another first in the county. She then became the district library and literacy coordinator from 2000-2012 and created the Indian Creek Literacy Council with teachers from each school. The council sponsored “Author-in-Residence”
programs featuring such writers as Herman Parish (of “Amelia Bedelia” fame), award-winning Ohio author Shelley Pearsall and “Spooky Ohio” scribe Chris Woodyard, among others, and other events that drew between 200-300 people. Fabbro also succeeded in obtaining more than $130,000 in grant funding to enhance literacy in the school system and worked with Dave Moffat, multimedia instructor at Indian Creek High School, to establish a SchoolRooms information portal for K-12 students as part of a state initiative.
 
   She spent the past 11 years as a related arts teacher at ICMS, where she also remained Media Club advisor and developed classes including library skills for fifth-grade students, media literacy for sixth grade, information literacy for seventh and world culture for eighth-graders. Among those highlights were the club’s “Cat in the Hat” reading program during Read Across America in March at Hills, Wintersville and Cross Creek Elementary and the School of Bright Promise and the use of candy and nut sale proceeds to help procure new technology and equipment, plus the group has attended Education Days at Kennywood and Fabbro said ICMS and ICHS students earned first- and third-place honors and a grand prize pass to the park in the past. This past fall, the club began live streaming news broadcasts on their Indian Creek Middle School Media Club YouTube page.
 
   School leaders tipped their hat to Fabbro, saying she has been invaluable to the district.
 
   “I’ve worked with her for many years and she has given the district many contributions, whether it’s working with students, grant writing or working with teachers. She’s done a phenomenal job,” said ICMS Principal Dr. Holly Minch-Hick.   
 
   “We appreciate all the time Mrs. Fabbro put into the district,” said Indian Creek Superintendent Dr. T.C. Chappelear. “She started programs like the media club and we appreciate the long, successful career she has had.”
 
    Now that she’s officially retired, Fabbro is looking forward to traveling and spending time with her children and four grandchildren. Her husband passed away 23 years ago, but Fabbro has carried on by being with her family and serving the community that she holds dear. She has served on the Upper Ohio Valley Italian Heritage Festival Board of Directors since 2006, beginning as a county representative and later serving as both vice president and president. The organization is widely known for its popular events and sponsoring countless scholarships to area high school grads furthering their education. Fabbro has also coordinated the Campo Italiano Italian-American cultural camp at the Italian Village in Steubenville that will return this summer with 120 children registered to attend. The five-day program has been held for 15 years--with the exception of the COVID era-- and includes stations with arts and crafts, games, language activities, music and food. 
 
   Meanwhile, Fabbro said she feels blessed to have a long tenure and simply felt ready to go.
 
   “It was time for me to retire,” she said. “I’ll miss the kids and the staff, and I have great memories. It was good, it was really good. I’ve had a good run.”

(Photo Cutline: Michele Fabbro has closed the book on nearly 56 years as an educator, mostly in the Indian Creek Local School District, and is starting a new chapter in her life with family and community pursuits.)
Indian Creek Schools Begin Leadership Initiative
Posted 6/20/2023 at 9:11:02 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
IC LEader in Me
MINGO JUNCTION-Students and staff in the Indian Creek Local School District are learning how to become effective leaders through a new initiative.
 
    The district has joined forces with FranklinCovey Education of Salt Lake City, Utah, to utilize the “Leader in Me” school improvement model to treat the universal challenges of academics, culture and leadership.  Dave Baker, a coach and consultant from Columbus, visited Indian Creek Middle School on June 13 to form a Lighthouse Team with about two-dozen teachers and selected students from grades 6-8. During the first of several sessions slated throughout the year, the team discussed ways they could implement practices and enable students to be college-, career-, community- and life-ready. The group also began developing drafts of mission statements to benefit students and help them succeed both inside and outside the classroom.
 
   Since its formation, “Leader in Me” has been utilized in 5,000 U.S. schools and 50 countries worldwide. Results have shown a 7-percent increase in state science test scores, a 31-percent decrease in discipline referrals, a 34-percent increase in positive social behaviors and a 96-percent positive impact in developing leadership skills. Officials have also noted significant improvement in student behavior, school attendance, staff support for student academic, personal and emotional development, family engagement, staff satisfaction, reading and math proficiency and student-led learning, among others.
 
    Baker said it is based on educator Stephen Covey’s book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” that include “Be Proactive” (taking control of choices and actions); “Begin with the End in Mind” (setting goals and visualizing what you want to achieve in the future); “Put First Things First” (prioritizing your time and energy on what’s truly important to you); “Think Win-Win” (seeking solutions that benefit yourself and others and fostering a cooperative mindset that values collaboration, fairness and mutual success); “Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood” (listening, empathizing and trying to see things from other perspectives in order to build stronger relationships, resolve conflicts and find common ground); “Synergize” (embracing teamwork, cooperation and open-mindedness to create something greater than what can be achieved alone); and “Sharpen the Saw” (taking care of your physical, mental and emotional well-being by engaging in activities that renew and recharge you to maintain balance, enhance personal growth and perform your best).
 
   “It’s a comprehensive school improvement model and fosters leadership, culture and academics within school settings,” he added.
      
   By focusing on those three key areas, he said it will drive involvement among students and staff, build a high-trust environment in schools and student achievement and improve learning.
 
   “We are working to identify leadership roles they take and they will work with staff on the implementation process,” he added, saying he was pleased to see Indian Creek involved. “We are very fortunate to be in the district and we’re learning a lot.”
 
   Baker has also visited Hills Elementary and will be at Indian Creek High School and Cross Creek Elementary in July.  He said the middle and high school teams involve students and teachers, but the elementary teams are only staff and students will be added later. Sessions are also planned throughout the school year and the overall program will be rolled out over time. 
 
   Several middle school students said they were excited to be part of it all.
 
   “I like it because you learn things and can teach other kids,” said sixth-grader Faye Reaume.
 
   “I’m happy about it,” added sixth-grader Lily Zinsmeister. “We can work together.”

    ICMS Principal Dr. Holly Minch-Hick said it was a tremendously impactful evidence-based program that builds leadership, life skills and academic achievement in schools. About four children from each of the three grade levels were selected to attend after being identified as a positive influence on others, while she noted the fifth-grade will be added over the next year.
 
   “There are great principles people can apply to their life and it’s timeless,” said Dr. Minch-Hick. “I’m excited about the potential and it gets kids more engaged and active in learning. This will be rolled out over the next several years and there are ‘Leader in Me’ schools all over the world [that] have improved test scores, plus there are social-emotional benefits. It promotes students taking ownership of their learning and finding a leadership role. I think it’s going to be great for the school and district.”
 
   She added that the program was suggested by district Superintendent Dr. T.C. Chappelear, who invited a FranklinCovey representative to a previous school board meeting to discuss the initiative. Dr. Chappelear was excited about the program and said it will evolve over the next four years.
 
    In addition to schools, FranklinCovey has also worked with businesses as well as federal agencies, U.S. military branches and NASA.
 
(Photo Cutline: Students and staff gathered at Indian Creek Middle School for a Lighthouse Team session as part of the “Leader in Me” initiative with consultant Dave Baker of FranklinCovey Education. The group will work together to focus on leadership, culture and academics and the improvement model will be implemented throughout the school district to foster readiness from college and career to life.)
Summer Scholars Program Begins
Posted 6/14/2023 at 1:32:01 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
IC Summer Scholars Program
MINGO JUNCTION-Students in the Indian Creek Local School District are taking part in the annual Summer Scholars program in a bid to reduce occurrences of the “summer slide.”
 
    Pupils in grades K-12 are involved in activities at Hills Elementary School and Indian Creek High School to ensure that they maintain a lot of what they learned throughout the year. Michele Minto, district director of curriculum and instruction, said the program began June 6 and leaders are focusing their efforts on reading and math skills at Hills while the high school provides credit recovery and STEM education.
 
   “We want to try to prevent the summer slide,” she said. “We have 145 students registered in grades K-8 at Hills and 20 at [ICHS] and they will attend for 18 days over a six-week period.”
 
   The summer slide pertains to a tendency for students to lose some of their academic gains during the previous school year but the program also helps prepare for the upcoming term. Sessions are held Tuesdays to Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon until July 20 with a brief hiatus during the week of July 4. Additionally, bus transportation, breakfast and lunch are provided.
 
   Minto said the program has been held for nearly two decades and was previously geared towards reading, and she has noticed a difference in participating students.
 
   “It used to be just reading when it was known as ‘Reading Rocks,’ but now they are working on math and reading. They try to do more hands-on review of the academic skills they’ve learned this year,” she explained. “We’ve noticed some kids don’t lose as much over time and they at least maintain where they were.”
 
   She said the STEM piece was added last year at the suggestion of Superintendent Dr. T.C. Chappelear and the program is headed by ICHS engineering teacher Barbara Turner. Overall, Summer Scholars is meant to make learning fun.
 
   “The kids enjoy it and we’ve been lucky enough to add technology to the curriculum and buildings, which allows us to use it for the summer program. We also have outside learning areas to do lessons.”
 
   She said there was still time to register. For more information, contact Minto at (740) 264-3502, Ext. 1005.

(Photo Cutline: Upcoming second-graders, pictured from left, Brooks Haddox, Carter Freeman, Emma Hanlin, Jaxon Javins, Alivia Stevens and Gabriel Kovach take part in the annual Summer Scholars program at Indian Creek Schools on June 6-July 20 with a break during the July 4 holiday week. Sessions are offered Tuesday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon for grades K-8 at Hills Elementary and 9-12 at Indian Creek High School. Lessons include math and reading for the younger pupils and credit recovery and STEM for upperclassemen. Bus transportation and meals are provided and there is still time to sign up for the six-week program. For more information, contact district Director of Curriculum and Instruction Michelle Minto at (740) 264-3502, Ext. 1005.)
Teen Mental Health Sessions at ICHS
Posted 5/16/2023 at 1:14:41 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ICHS Mental Health Sessions
WINTERSVILLE- May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and Indian Creek High School students are learning how to help themselves and their peers through a series of sessions throughout this week.
   The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Greater Wheeling and the Josh Merriman Foundation are visiting the school to address mental health first aid so youth can be a resource for classmates in need. Kayla Straight, peer services navigator for NAMI, kicked off the sessions Monday with an introduction to the topic. She spoke with English classes about the organization and the MHFA program which was founded in Australia and is now in all 50 U.S. states.
   “We are teaching teen mental health first aid to sophomores through seniors so they know how to help friends deal with mental health challenges or a crisis,” Straight said. “We know teens are talking to their peers before they go to adults, so we hope to give them the tools to help support them and to access care when they need it. We’re trying to break this stigma that comes with mental health.”
   Straight has made stops at 15 schools since January, which also included a discussion with Indian Creek staff so affected youth have another avenue to obtain help. NAMI serves all 55 counties in West Virginia as well as Belmont, Jefferson and Monroe counties in Ohio. She touched upon the five-day series, saying topics include identifying mental challenges, obtaining appropriate help, formulating a mental health action plan, dealing with self-injury, panic attacks and other signs and recovery and resilience.
   “Most of us know how to do CPR, but this creates awareness to help recognize people with mental health conditions,” she told students. “You are going to your peers long before you go to adults and this will give you the tools to help others.”
   Much like physical health, mental health includes a spectrum with levels ranging from healthy, stressed and challenged to crisis. Straight said reframing thinking with a positive outlook can change people’s mindsets for the better. Mental conditions can cause a major change in a person’s normal way of thinking, acting or feeling, interfere with their ability to live their life and last longer than typical emotions or reactions. Common mental disorders include depression, which may include fatigue, sadness, hygiene and no longer enjoying regular activities; anxiety, which leads to panic attacks, various phobias and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder; eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia or overeating; and ADD/ADHD, which may lead to disruptive behaviors. Straight also mentioned psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and mania and said trauma and stress-related disorders like PTSD may be caused by a serious illness, sudden death or other trauma and could lead to substance abuse and risky behaviors.
   “One in five youth will experience a mental health challenge by the time they are 18,” she said. “We are seeing a lot of data coming out of COVID that may be closer to one in three or one in two, but we may not know [the true results] for another 15 years. It doesn’t count people over age 18 and of those one out of five youths, about half will not get any sort of help. It’s important that you learn this because people will come to their friends first. People would rather wait 10 to 15 years and suffer in silence before going to a doctor.”
   Experts found that there is no singular cause of mental health challenges and it could be a mixture of social, biological and psychological factors. A lack of interaction and friendships, isolation, heredity, biological issues and mind-based matters could all play a role in changes within the psyche.
   “We are seeing an influx post-COVID and there are a lot of mental health conditions as a result,” she noted.
   She continued that traumatic events early in life can also impact brain development, influence learning, managing emotions and relationships and increase chances of engaging in risky behaviors, plus it can lead to physical and mental health challenges down the road.
   During one interaction, Straight asked students if they believed social media could positively or negatively impact mental health. A majority of the pupils said it provided mixed effects or leaned toward the negative, although there were some positives such as communicating with friends, meeting new people and learning about other cultures. One of the negative impacts named was body image issues.
   “It’s important to know what’s good and bad for mental health,” Straight said. “You can try to learn how to gauge yourself, follow things that make you happy and use the block button.”
   She reiterated that the school provides counselors, therapists and a school resource officer when in need, plus the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline was available by phone, text or direct message and is anonymous and confidential. Other resources include (800) 273-TALK (8255), texting MHFA to 741741 or going online to www.crisistextline.org. Straight said those resources are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
   Meanwhile, Straight is alternating visits with NAMI representative Megan Elliot for the remainder of the week with officials from the Josh Merriman Foundation also on hand Wednesday. The Wintersville-based organization was named for Josh Merriman, a college student who battled depression and committed suicide five years ago. His parents, Bob and Colleen, and friends have raised funds to support concussion awareness, mental health and suicide prevention.
(Photo Cutline: Kayla Straight, peer resource navigator for NAMI of Greater Wheeling, talks to students about mental health first aid (MHFA) during the first of several sessions this week at Indian Creek High School. Straight and Megan Elliott, NAMI family services navigator, will hold sessions this week with further participation by the Josh Merriman Foundation as part of Mental Health Awareness Month for May.)
IC Schools Raising Funds to Fight Cancer
Posted 5/11/2023 at 9:37:38 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
IC Schools Cancer Fundraiser
MINGO JUNCTION-Indian Creek Schools are raising funds to fight cancer during a series of upcoming events.

   Hills Elementary, Cross Creek Elementary and Indian Creek Middle Schools are each hosting activities to support local cancer charities and help those impacted by the disease. Last year, the three schools donated a total of $6,700 to the Trinity Emergency Assistance Relief (T.E.A.R.) Fund to help purchase gas cards, food and pay utility bills while patients undergo treatment at Tony Teramana Cancer Center in Steubenville and this year’s activities will benefit an array of causes.

   Hills Elementary students are traveling through time in their bid to find a cure. Pupils in grades PreK-4 have been donning fashion across the past half-century for a “Relaying Through the Decades”-themed fundraiser, which kicked off on May 2 and culminates this Friday with a trek around the track and other activities. Student Senate Advisor Ashley Turnbull said the group was organizing events and proceeds will go to a local charity.

   “They dress up each day from the 50s to the 90s for a $1 donation,” Turnbull added, saying students also paid $1 to participate in a 1970s-style disco dance as part of the moneymaker.

   Third- and fourth-grade art students assisted in creating tie-dyed shirts for the “Stayin’ Alive Hills Elementary Relay” and 120 shirts were presold for $15 apiece. Pupils in each grade also decorated the corridors with displays from bygone eras, but the real fun will be had when they head outside during their special times for the track. Wristbands are being sold for full access to the track, games, goodies and activities and kids can enjoy milkshakes to cool down in the warmer weather.

   “The Student Senate is organizing the event from collecting and counting the money to working at the relay,” Turnbull said. “All of the money will go to charity.”

   Cross Creek Elementary is helping others while also remembering one of its own during its festivities.

    Fourth-Grade Student Council Advisor Alecia Cockrill said CCE is fighting cancer one spin at a time by selling pinwheels to honor and remember those affected by the disease. The items sell for $2 each and funding will go to the Tony Teramana Cancer Center and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. The pinwheels will line the back drive for CCE’s Cancer Walk set for May 16. Students will pay tribute to student Kade Hunter, who passed away this past year, by wearing superhero clothing and planting a tree in his memory. The dedication is set for 12:45 p.m.

   “We will have a dedication and plant a tree in honor of Kade and his family will assist us,” Cockrill said. “The kids will then walk the path and each pinwheel has the names of family members affected by cancer.”

   Additionally, ICMS is putting the “fun” in fundraising with a carnival to support the cause.

    A Fun Day Carnival is set at the school on May 19 and each class will have a chance to enjoy games and other festivities from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Pep Club Advisor Stacey Zink said the student organization is spearheading the event and proceeds will go to the T.E.A.R. Fund.

   “Our school has been doing some type of relay- or carnival-style fundraiser for years,” Zink said. “The donations for the last two years have gone to the T.E.A.R. Fund.”

   She added that Movin’ and Groovin’ Productions of Toronto will provide inflatable rides and obstacle courses while several ICMS organizations will be peddling snacks and refreshments and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) will provide face painting during the festivities.

(Photo Caption: Hills Elementary first-grade students, pictured from left, Rylee Crouch, Matthew Francis and Roselyn DiCiccio display tie-dyed T-shirts being sold at the school as part of this year’s decades-themed cancer relay activity. Students have been donning clothing from across bygone eras and will take to the track this Friday for a walk and other activities to benefit a local charity. Hills, Cross Creek Elementary and Indian Creek Middle School are all conducting events over the next week to benefit local charities from the Trinity Emergency Assistance Relief (T.E.A.R.) Fund to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.)
IC Banquet Spotlights Scholars
Posted 5/10/2023 at 8:54:34 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
IC Scholars Banquet
WINTERSVILLE- The Indian Creek Local School District honored high achievers during the 43rd Annual Scholars Banquet on May 7.
 
    Attendants gathered at St. Florian Hall in Wintersville to recognize high schoolers who earned a 3.5 grade point average or better, with recipients gaining certificates for at least one semester, a bronze key for three consecutive semesters, silver key for five consecutive semesters and a gold key for seven consecutive semesters. ICHS Principal Louie Retton welcomed the crowd and applauded the students for their dedication.
 
   “The gold key honors for so many semesters of academic success and it’s such a huge accomplishment,” said Retton. “When the students select the staff member who influenced them [to join them at the banquet], it just shows the fantastic work they do.”
 
   Superintendent Dr. T.C. Chappelear introduced keynote speaker Patrick Stewart, a 2000 ICHS alumnus and currently senior personnel advisor for the New England Patriots. Stewart, who served the Patriots twice as well as the Carolina Panthers during his 17-year career with the NFL, spoke about facing obstacles and how they shaped him.
 
   Following his high school graduation, he attended The Ohio State University, graduating in 2005 with a degree in political science. He was a student manager for Head Coach Jim Tressel and spent a season as a graduate assistant coach at Western Carolina University in 2005 before moving to Temple University in 2006. He entered the league in 2007 and spent two seasons as an entry-level scouting assistant before handling various roles from 2009-17, including a college-area scout and professional scout. Stewart joined the personnel department of the Philadelphia Eagles as a national scout for 2018-19 where he evaluated prospects for the NFL draft. The Eagles made the playoffs both seasons and won the NFC East in 2019. He then became vice president of player personnel for the Carolina Panthers for three seasons from 2020-22 before returning to New England and currently assists the team in all phases of player procurement and evaluation processes. Over 11 seasons, the Patriots won 10 AFC East Division titles, five conference titles and two Super Bowl championships.
 
     “The 30-year-old version of me had everything figured out despite not facing adversity. I’d been to two Super Bowls,” he said, adding that he stayed with the Patriots for two more years and viewed more Super Bowl games.
 
    He then headed to Carolina but was fired after three years. Stewart said that was the nature of the business and he learned that adversity and failure were common, but how people deal with it is important.
 
   “All of you in this room have faced adversity. No one’s issues are more or less important than your own. Facing [adversity] and sitting here in this banquet room and being recognized as scholars is incredible.”
 
   Stewart noted three valuable lessons he took away from his situation: Adversity creates opportunity; Don’t waste failure; and What’s next?
 
  “The adversity we face creates the opportunity for a new path forward,” he said. “When you meet an obstacle, it becomes part of the journey, and failure can be an asset if you try to do something new. Our circumstances shape us. I had to take all of the lessons from my failures and see what was next for me. Don’t hold a grudge; it only distracts you and makes you less productive.”

Stewart closed by telling the scholars to share their own lessons with future students.
 
  “I hope you can continue to move forward in life. Our environment and circumstances shape us, they don’t define us. I use the lessons I’ve learned and I implore you to pay it forward to the next generation of people who come through the doors at Indian Creek High School.”
 
   A total of 203 freshmen through seniors made the grade, with 25 senior gold key scholars, eight senior silver key scholars, 15 junior silver key scholars, 15 senior bronze key scholars, eight junior bronze key scholars and 26 sophomore bronze key scholars as well as 14 seniors, nine juniors, 16 sophomores and 67 freshmen obtaining certificates. Many of the recipients were on hand with their families while gold key scholars also invited teachers who positively influenced their high school careers. Among the educators highlighted were Kara Bryan, Staci Copeland, Mary Jo DiPietro, Joe Dunlevy, Mikayla Forrester, Dave Moffat, Sarah Houser, Don Llewellyn, Janet Maxon, Katie Padden, Brittany Shank, Matt Shreve, Patrick Pendleton and Amanda Paul. Seniors Abigail Starkey and Hailey Doan respectively provided the invocation and benediction for the ceremony while Dr. Chappelear announced the scholars and Indian Creek Board of Education President Daniel Bove and member Dr. Ted Starkey assisted with the presentation.
 
   At the conclusion, Dr. Chappelear offered some parting words to the spectators.
 
   “All of the gold key scholars embraced the decision to put academics first. It’s really impressive,” he said. “This is probably one of my favorite times of the year where we recognize the achievements of students and give students a chance for recognition for their exemplary efforts.”
 
   He also thanked the school board, staff and especially parents, grandparents and caregivers for their support of student success.

(Photo Cutline: Indian Creek High School students were recognized during the 43rd Annual Scholars Banquet at St. Florian Hall in Wintersville on May 7. Patrick Stewart, pictured, an ICHS alum and senior personnel advisor for the New England Patriots, was the featured speaker and students were lauded for earning gold, silver and bronze keys as well as certificates for earning a 3.5 GPA or better for consecutive semesters.)
ICMS Team Going to Global Contest
Posted 4/17/2023 at 12:55:41 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ICMS DI Team
  MINGO JUNCTION-An Indian Creek Middle School team is headed to the Destination Imagination 2023 Global Finals competition in May.
 
  The team Airheads, which includes seventh-graders Isabella Wilson, Harper Long, Khloe Buchanan, Sophia Tongate and Arabella Brown-Hess, advanced to the main event on May 20-23 in Kansas City, Mo., after taking first place in the service-learning challenge during the state competition in Barberton on April 1. In addition to the top trophy and medals, the group also earned the Da Vinci Award that was given to only seven out of the 105 teams competing.
 
   The group, which is formerly known as Solving Socks, collected lotions, socks, puzzles and other items and donated three-dozen care packages to the Tony Teramana Cancer Center in Steubenville to assist patients undergoing treatment. The team’s members, most of whom were part of the original group six years ago, said they were eagerly awaiting their chance to be part of the worldwide contest.
 
  “I’m very excited,” said Wilson. “This is our first time and it’s big.”
 
  “We are having lots of fundraisers,” added Long. “We have a GoFundMe page on Facebook and have sold popsicles at ICMS and Cross Creek and possibly at the high school. I think it’s exciting.”
 
   The team has won regional accolades before, including one second-place nod and four first-place honors. Prior to winning this year at the state contest, the members received second-place and also qualified for state at another competition but could not attend due to the COVID pandemic.
 
   . “I was excited and surprised [with the latest achievement],” added Buchanan. “We qualified twice but never got to go.”
 
   Team Manager Lisa Longo-Mayle said she and her group were ecstatic to move on and face more than 1,400 teams from around the world.
 
  “They are excited for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Teams come from throughout the United States but also from around the globe,” she added. “The competition is comparable to the Olympics. They have an opening ceremony where teams wear state shirts and hats and compete over three days with various activities during their downtime.”
 
   She said the Airheads’ task was to engage in a public service that addresses real-life community issues. Then they must identify, design, carry out and evaluate a project that addresses a real need.  Their collection for the cancer center has been well-received at the facility and they’ve also learned a lot through the service. Meanwhile, the Da Vinci Award was given because of their talent to turn a space shuttle into an intergalactic scene. Longo-Mayle said the team was equally proud to earn the award since only a handful of recipients earned one, but they relish the idea of going to Missouri even more. 
 
   “They had to create and present a suspenseful story about a high-stakes situation and include a slow-motion scene that is enhanced by a special effect. Next, they had to create and present two team-choice elements that show off the team's interest, skills, areas of strength and talents,” Longo-Mayle continued.
 
   The instant challenge gives teams a chance to show off their creative problem-solving skills as they work together and think on their feet in a very short timeframe. 

Alex Menke, district D.I. coordinator, said Indian Creek has sent at least one team to the finals in the past and the latest achievement is generating plenty of excitement.
 
   “It feels great to have a shot to show the world the great things being done within Indian Creek. The team did a really great job this year,” Menke said.
 
   Destination Imagination is an educational academic program that helps students learn and practice valuable skills like creative and critical thinking, problem-solving and teamwork through different competitive, STEAM-based (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) challenges. Anyone interested in donating may go to the Destination Imagination 2023 Globals page organized by Michelle Wilson at gofundme.com.

(Photo Caption: The Indian Creek Middle School team Airheads advanced to the Destination Imagination 2023 Global Finals in Kansas City, Mo., next month after earning first place in the service-learning challenge and Da Vinci Award for creativity at the state competition on April 1. They are currently raising funds through popsicle sales and a GoFundMe account while the district is also assisting in the cost of the trip. Members include seventh-graders, pictured from left, Isabella Wilson, Khloe Buchanan, Sophia Tongate, Harper Long and Arabella Brown-Hess and the team is managed by Lisa Longo-Mayle.)
Hills Donates Chemo Care Bags to Cancer Patients
Posted 4/17/2023 at 12:32:43 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Hills Chemo Bags
   MINGO JUNCTION-Second-graders at Hills Elementary School are bringing smiles and support to patients at the Tony Teramana Cancer Center by donating 200 chemo care bags to the facility.
  On Friday, 60 students surprised officials with the Trinity Health System Foundation and Steubenville facility in the school gym with dozens of colorful tote bags plus 15 extra boxes full of items to help them as they undergo treatment. They were filled with snacks, games, journals, blankets and various personal care products to comfort them while at the cancer center. Teacher Sarah Hibbits has organized the service-learning project for the past eight years and said more than 1,200 bags have been given during that time.
  “We love to partner with Trinity and this project has been so incredible,” Hibbits said.
   A collection was held this winter and students, parents and community members played benefactor by gathering items or contributing money to acquire products. The bags include individually packaged snacks, saltines, bottled water, Gatorade, gum, mints, hard candy, Tootsie Pop and Dum-Dum suckers, tuna and chicken lunch packs with crackers, Chapstick, lotion, Biotene or other dry mouth products, wet wipes, tissues, Sea Band wristbands, reusable plastic cups or water bottles, hats, scarves, blankets, slipper socks, puzzle books, adult coloring books, notebooks, journals, pocket calendars, playing cards, pens and pencils as well as puzzles, card games, Bibles, ear buds and stress reliever balls. The kids also created cards while teacher Kim Wadas crocheted Worry Worms as further sources of support.
   The students helped pack the bags prior to the giveaway and fourth-graders helped fill a school district van and Bates Amusements box truck to deliver to the Teramana Cancer Center later that day. Hibbits was joined by teachers Amanda Roach and Kim Carnahan as well as a few Indian Creek High School baseball players to unload the items in Steubenville.
   Foundation officials were touched by the continued act of kindness and praised the students for their dedication.
   “It’s amazing,” said Patient Advocate Marsha Lewis. “Our patients love them and I think it’s an inspiration that second-graders are learning about giving.”
   “You are truly the bright spot and should be so proud,” said foundation manager Catherine Poludniak. “Every year the patients look forward to them. It’s truly heartwarming at the foundation to see the kids getting involved. They are all affected by cancer and this gives them an outlet to do something special and make a difference.”
   The students also received smiley cookies and wristbands as tokens of appreciation since they have put smiles on the faces of patients and the center’s staff members. Several children also shared their reasons for supporting the cause, with several noting how they wanted to put the patients at ease during their trying time.
  “I really like helping people and I wanted people to feel better,” said William Blakovich.
  “This really means a lot to me because we get to help the patients,” added Colt Collette.
  The project holds a special meaning for Hibbits, who was inspired by a discussion with her mother, who also underwent treatment and wondered whether other patients had support during their stay. It then became Hibbits’ mission to help, and she added that it has been a true labor of love.
   “We really want to thank the community for always supporting us, the parents and students who have been benefactors, former patients who want to make sure this keeps going and the Teramana Cancer Center. Most importantly, I want to thank the students for all the hard work they did to collect items for the bags and share their well wishes. We hope the patients know we wanted to bring them some comfort, and hopefully the bags do a little bit of that.”
(Photo Caption: Hills Elementary School second-graders donated 200 chemo care bags to the Tony Teramana Cancer Center during a special presentation on Friday. Sixty students surprised Trinity Foundation officials with dozens of colorful tote bags and 15 boxes full of snacks and other items to comfort patients while they undergo treatment. The service-learning project is now in its eighth year and has provided more than 1,200 bags during that time. Hills teachers and Indian Creek High School baseball players delivered the items to the center later that day.)
Hills Preparing Chemo Care Bags for Center
Posted 4/5/2023 at 9:29:28 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Hills Preparing Chemo Bags
MINGO JUNCTION-Hills Elementary School is preparing chemo care bags to support patients at the Tony Teramana Cancer Center in Steubenville.
 
   Sarah Hibbits, a teacher at Hills, organized the service-learning project and said packing will occur once students return from Easter break, then the bags will be presented to representatives on April 14 at 12:45 p.m. in the school gym. Hibbits said the project has been an ongoing labor of love.
 
  “We’re still on track to donate over 200 bags and are packing them up on April 13,” she said. “That Friday, representatives of the Teramana Cancer Center will come and we’ll present them with the bags.”
 
   The school held a collection this winter, which included a two-week extension to ensure all items were received, and students will pack the bags for the presentation. Colorful totes will be filled with a variety of goods from snacks and games to journals, while students also created cards and teacher Kim Wadas crocheted Worry Worms to add a little extra comfort. Among the items patients will receive are individually packaged snacks, saltines, bottled water, Gatorade, gum, mints, hard candy, Tootsie Pop and Dum-Dum suckers, tuna and chicken lunch packs with crackers, Chapstick, lotion, Biotene or other dry mouth products, wet wipes, tissues, Sea Band wristbands, reusable plastic cups or water bottles, hats, scarves, blankets, slipper socks, puzzle books, adult coloring books, notebooks, journals, pocket calendars, playing cards, pens and pencils as well as puzzles, card games, Bibles, ear buds and stress reliever balls.  
 
    “We extended the collection for two weeks and, fortunately, we had a few people who pitched in and donated the remainder of the items we still needed,” Hibbits added. “We have longtime benefactors who have been very supportive. With a project this big, it really does take a community to make it happen.”
 
    She started the project while teaching at the former Wintersville Elementary School. It has also included Cross Creek Elementary in the past but Hills led the collection on its own this year. National Honor Society members will help load the bags into a utility van while Hibbits, teachers Amanda Roach and Kim Carnahan and Principal Makenzie Householder will deliver them to the center for patients undergoing treatment. 
 
  The service-learning project is now in its eighth year and Hibbits said it has been a highlight for Hills.
 
   “The nurses get so excited about it, which tells us this project is appreciated and warranted.”
 
(Photo Caption: Hills Elementary School students Dominic Harris, Jack Kinda and Aleni Wagner prepare chemo care bags which will be presented to representatives of the Tony Teramana Cancer Center on April 14. Students will be packing bags with snacks, games, journals and other goods and they will be delivered to the facility to support patients undergoing treatment at the Steubenville facility.)
Indian Creek Implementing Leadership Model
Posted 3/21/2023 at 9:43:47 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
WINTERSVILLE-Indian Creek Local Schools will join schools across the globe in an initiative designed to build leaders.
 
   School board members met Thursday at Indian Creek High School and heard from Nolan Marx, a representative of the FranklinCovey training company, about implementing the Leader in Me model within the district’s four buildings. 
 
   “FranklinCovey is a firm that will be working with the district,” Marx said. “Our firm specializes in human behavior and we work to help achieve results.”
 
   It is described as an evidence-based, comprehensive model that builds leadership and life skills in students, creates a high-trust school culture and lays the foundation for sustained academic achievement. About 5,000 schools around the U.S. and more than 50 countries are currently involved.  Leader in Me was developed by educators for educators and results have shown a 7-percent increase in state science test scores, a 31-percent decrease in discipline referrals, a 34-percent increase in positive social behaviors and a 96-percent positive impact in developing leadership skills. Officials noted significant improvement in student behavior, school attendance, staff support for student academic, personal and emotional development, family engagement, staff satisfaction, reading and math proficiency and student-led learning, among others.
 
   Marx said the company has also worked with businesses as well as federal agencies, U.S. military branches and NASA.
 
   “Leader in Me is developing character education and leadership skills. You work to instill skills in preschool to 12th grade. You learn to manage time, work well with others and can be more active in education. For adults, it helps with staff development leadership skills. We will do professional development and leadership training.”
 
   School Superintendent Dr. T.C. Chappelear said he and Indian Creek Education Association President Karen Lloyd attended an event in Wooster where they learned more about the program.
 
   “We’re really excited about our program,” Dr. Chappelear said. “We’ll kick it off in the spring and will build it up over the next four years,” he added.
 
   Among other action, the board:
--Approved the certificate of project completion for the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission project on Indian Creek Middle School;
--Recognized ICHS grapplers Elijah Llewellyn and Dom Paterra for earning second place and C.J. Spencer for gaining fourth during the Ohio Division II state wrestling tournament. Dr. Chappelear also cheered the wrestling team for earning eighth place, which is the second year in a row the team made the Top 10;
--Learned the district received a clean audit from the state;
--Approved the 2023-34 district calendar;
--Approved the resignations of Raymond Cooper as a cook/cashier, Cindee Frazier as bus attendant and Steven Brozka as mechanic; granted a continuing contract for bus driver Patrick Bortner; hired classified subs Raymond Cooper for cafeteria, Joan Workman for cafeteria/custodian/secretary/paraprofessional and Cindee Frazier for bus attendant/cafeteria; employed Gage Robinson as a mechanic in the bus garage; gave an extra-duty supplemental contract for Dave Moffat as Esports advisor; and named Renee Antonelli as a long-term substitute for the 2022-23 school year;
--Heard that floor replacement and other repairs are set for the ICMS cafeteria and gym following a waterline break this winter. Assistant Superintendent John Belt said alternative digs may be required for the fall sports teams while the work is underway.
Students Thriving at Indian Creek
Posted 3/16/2023 at 11:06:33 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
IC Students Thriving
WINTERSVILLE-Henry Hill and Brayden Stewart have been thriving at Indian Creek Local Schools, making it difficult to believe that not too long ago they could not communicate verbally.
 
   Henry, the son of Eric and Nicole Hill of Wintersville, and Brayden, the son of Jeff Stewart of Mingo Junction, both have autism but are flourishing after spending their earlier years at the School of Bright Promise through the Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities. Henry is in his second year at Cross Creek Elementary but was fully integrated into his second-grade general education classroom this term while Brayden started his freshman year at Indian Creek High School.
 
    By all accounts, Henry is like other kids with his passions and pursuits. He was diagnosed on the autism spectrum around age 2 ½ and gradually found his voice. He also discovered a love of geography and learned the names of countries and capitals, plus he has a deep interest in building, designing, architecture and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
 
   Henry is happy to be in class at Cross Creek, where he said he’s made friends and loves learning.
 
   “It’s pretty good,” he said. “I like that we do work like math or reading. It’s great.”
 
    Mom Nicole has been amazed by his transformation into a more independent child. She said he used minimal sign language and the family had their own form of communication until he began to speak.
 
   “I’d never seen him go out of his way to say hello or talk to other children. We never thought we’d see the day when he would talk,” she said. “He did not start talking until he was five and it was definitely a process, but when he did start talking, it was to the people he was closest to. He loves school and is fully integrated into the second-grade classroom. As a parent, to not know if your child would not have that normalcy, this is amazing. I think being around typical children has helped him to realize, ‘I’m a kid, too.’”
 
   Dad Eric added that Henry has definitely come into his element.
 
   “He wanted to stay in the second-grade class full time,” he continued. “Now he’s well-spoken and is fully integrated into class. He’s much more active with kids and talks a lot more. Just a few years ago he couldn’t talk at all.”
 
   Eric continued that Indian Creek had opportunities for Henry to experience. Prior to moving into the general education classroom, Henry worked with intervention specialist Rachel Bodo for two years. She provided him with interventions for academics and support if needed in class and said he was a role model student.
 
   “Henry always wants to do his best. He is a great classmate and wants to see others succeed,” she said. “Henry has blossomed in the last year and a half. He was full-time in a resource room and began to attend specials with his peers. At the beginning of this school year, he began to attend second grade a half a day and then moved to a full day. Henry is doing so well and has become social with his peers. It is wonderful to see him doing well and being successful.”
 
   She added that his teacher, Rachel Wilson, has made a huge difference in his transition. Bodo previously served as principal at the School of Bright Promise and has a deep understanding about the importance of inclusion in public schools.
 
   “It is always the goal to get the student to return to the home district.  JCBDD is a wonderful place for students to attend if they need intense support to meet the criteria to attend the public school,” she continued. “I feel both public schools and JCBDD work well together to make each student successful.”

Meanwhile, Brayden Stewart has high-functioning autism and attended the School of Bright Promise since preschool. Most of that time was spent speaking with an iPad, but now he is more verbal and involved with his studies. He has also amassed a group of friends at ICHS—83 by his count—and he loves to cheer on athletes, draw and just be an average teenager.
 
   “It’s good,” he said of his educational experience.
 
   He excitedly shows off an ICHS baseball jersey gifted by teacher Jennifer Belt and emblazoned with his favorite number, 33. Brayden made thank-you cards and drawings for Belt and several coaches and said he liked to visit his friends and watch them play school sports, plus he has considered joining the swim team and wants to become a lifeguard. In addition, he was painting scenery for the school drama club’s upcoming performance of “Little Shop of Horrors” and enjoys music, gym and working at the ICHS Spear-It Store. Brayden also noted interest in joining the Transition To Work program at the Jefferson County Joint Vocational School next year.
 
   His father and educators are delighted to watch him navigate among the student population and become part of mainstream society. Jeff Stewart said Brayden has grown within his new setting and has established interests.
 
   “He’s doing fine,” he added. “He wants to be involved in activities and wants to play basketball. He was nervous [about school] at first, but now he has interests and talks about his friends.”
 
   He also noted his son’s abilities to take advantage of opportunities afforded to him at Creek.
 
   “They do a lot with him and take him to play sports. I’m very proud of him. He’s doing very well and he really likes [his teachers] Tom Mort and Kaylee Schubenski. He’s come a long way,” Jeff commented. “He didn’t talk and the School of Bright Promise helped him open up by working with him from age 3 to 14.”
 
   Mort, who is an intervention specialist along with Kaylee Schubenski, was thrilled with Brayden’s progress and said he has been embraced by his peers.
 
   “Everybody has accepted him and made him a part of everything,” he added. “He’s our crown jewel.”
 
   Schubenski works with Brayden along with Marissa Wanchik, a speech and language pathologist with the Jefferson County Educational Service Center. Schubenski marveled at Brayden’s success and said he has been a joy to teach.
  
   “I’ve been working with Brayden since the beginning of this school year,” she said. “I would describe him as very sweet and caring. He’s always concerned about others. He’s truly a light in our school. Brayden makes everyone smile and doesn’t know a stranger.”
 
   Schubenski teaches a freshman self-contained class and assists Brayden with reading comprehension and math reasoning to ease his post-secondary transition. 
 
   “This is a huge success, as Brayden first came to ICHS with communication software on an iPad to communicate anything at all. He is very sociable with his peers, even the general education students. The students have all been very welcoming and invite him to sit with them during lunch. Brayden also loves to play basketball and whiffle in gym class with his friends.”
 
   Wanchik sees Brayden each week and observes his interaction and communication skills in the classroom. She described him as happy, very friendly and caring towards everyone as well as hardworking.
 
   “Brayden is very persistent with tasks and likes to do well. He gives his best effort and enjoys positive praise,” she continued. “Brayden has definitely made significant strides.  He has a communication device as a support but rarely uses it and prefers to interact verbally. He has become an important part of the ICHS community and the students and staff look forward to communicating with him every day.  He is very comfortable and confident in his new educational environment. I think Brayden is probably the most popular kid at ICHS.”

(Photo Caption: Indian Creek High School freshman Brayden Stewart, pictured painting scenery for the school play, is thriving in in the public schools after transferring from the School of Bright Promise over the past few years.)
IC Foundation Gives $15K for Hellbender Project
Posted 3/15/2023 at 10:15:55 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
 WINTERSVILLE-The Indian Creek Foundation has granted $15,000 to help Indian Creek High School in its efforts to develop its pilot program with the State of Ohio. 
 
   ICHS was approved to participate in a hellbender program to raise the endangered salamanders and reintroduce them into the wild in a bid to revive the population. School officials are working with the Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Columbus Zoo and will receive its ambassador this summer. The funding from the foundation will help secure facilities for the amphibian, which will be fostered by students in a first for schools across the state.
 
   Officials will be presenting on the program this Thursday during the IC Learning Fair at the high school from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Science teacher Crystal Fluharty is working with ICHS Assistant Principal Keith Swearingen and Interactive Media teacher Dave Moffat on the project and said it will be incorporated into CTE studies at the school.
 
  “The Indian Creek Foundation is funding the start of the Raise and Release Hellbender Program and establishing our hellbender ambassador’s aquarium set up,” Fluharty said. “Although the foundation is giving us a head start, we will be looking to other funding sources to complete and maintain the whole program. With the foundation partnership we finally have an official program that is going to impact our students, district and community.”
 
   Fluharty said the Columbus Zoo will provide the ambassador and goal is to have the first hellbender onsite by July 1 while the school will receive the first batch of  young salamanders from the Toledo Zoo in the late fall.  Leaders are currently discussing the aquarium setup and design and Fluharty noted that all students will have a hand in the process.
 
   The funding will help create the state-of-the-art, bio-secure environment for a high-tech, innovative educational environment. It will feature 24-hour security and a collaborative atmosphere and the program will be incorporated into multiple CTE studies with students involved in everything from research and care of the aquatic animals to educating the public and advocating for the hellbender population. Hellbenders are among the oldest animals found in Jefferson County and date back at least 160 million years. The population has declined over the last century and the pilot program is to help restore the species as well as grow student and community interest.
 
   “We are extremely excited for the program and feel blessed for this opportunity! We will be the first public high school to have this program and feel extremely excited and thrilled,” she added. “The hellbender program will be cross-curricular throughout the Creek Career Tech Pathways. The students will be conducting real-time research when raising and releasing this state’s endangered species. Our students will be using new technology by building prototypes to collect the data and Natural Resources students will be working and collaborating with Jefferson Soil and Water, ODNR and the Columbus Zoo, to name a few.
 
   “This is a unique opportunity for our students, district and community. We plan to have a ‘Meet the Hellbender’ event in early fall 2023. The students are eager to get started and ask every week when our hellbenders will arrive.”
 
  Officials thanked the Indian Creek Foundation, JCSWCD, the Columbus Zoo and John Navarro of ODNR for supporting the cause.

District Assistant Superintendent John Belt, who also serves with the foundation, said the funds will help erect the first tank to house the salamander. 
  
   “The foundation is extremely proud to help fund an education initiative where Creek students are the only high school students in Ohio, and possibly the nation, to be involved in research to repopulate an endangered species. This is a fantastic opportunity for the students and our district,” Belt said.
 
   The Indian Creek Foundation has provided more than $100,000 to district schools in gifts and scholarships since 20003, including fees for students to attend the Hugh O’Brian Youth and Closer Look programs, purchasing a 3-D printer for the high school engineering department and drones for Indian Creek Middle School.
  
  Individuals, groups or businesses interested in supporting the foundation may contact Belt at [email protected] while those who wish to help the Hellbender program directly may call the high school at (740) 264-1163.
ICMS’s DiBenedetto Receives CORAS Award
Posted 3/8/2023 at 10:00:01 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
IC DiBenedetto CORAS Award
WINTERSVILLE-Indian Creek Middle School math teacher Cathy DiBenedetto’s skills in the classroom have added up to accolades through the Coalition of Ohio Rural and Appalachian Schools.
 
   DiBenedetto received the Outstanding Middle School Teacher Award for the Indian Creek School District and was among 55 educators honored during a ceremony at Ohio University in Zanesville on Feb. 22. She was accompanied by ICMS Principal Dr. Holly Minch-Hick, who nominated her for the distinction, and Indian Creek Local Schools Superintendent Dr. T.C. Chappelear. DiBenedetto said she was thrilled to earn the distinction from CORAS for her work with her eighth-grade students.
 
   “I am very appreciative to receive this award.  It truly is an honor to get recognition for all the hard work that I do throughout the school year,” she continued. “Every teacher deserves recognition for their endless hours and dedication to the education field.  I am grateful to be able to work with the best students, teachers and administrators.”
 
   She said she always longed to be in the education field and teach in the district where she earned her diploma. DiBenedetto is currently in her 20th year of teaching for Indian Creek and began at Wayne Elementary before joining ICMS.
 
  “Education has always been a priority in my life and I was very fortunate to be raised by a family that valued it.  My parents were always involved and supportive in all of my educational and extracurricular activities.  Not everyone today is as fortunate as I was growing up.  I try to instill that importance in my students and support them any way that I can.”
 
   And she has made it her mission to help her students succeed.
 
   “Throughout the years, I have had to continually change my teaching strategies in order to meet the needs, challenges and learning styles of my students.  Many students today look for teachers to help them academically as well as emotionally.  Having the privilege of watching students reach new levels of growth is what makes me want to continue my passion for teaching.”
 
   She noted that the past few years have been especially difficult for educators as they have worked to close the gaps left behind from the COVID years. Despite the challenges she’s faced throughout her tenure, there is no other place DiBenedetto would rather be.
 
   “My hope for my students is to have a better knowledge and understanding of math and a realization that education does have a huge impact on their lives. I hope they are able to take with them just a piece of the love that I have for the subject and be able to apply it to their future.”  
 
     Dr. Minch-Hick said there were myriad reasons why she nominated DiBenedetto for the honor and topping the list were her dedication to her students and mathematics education.
 
  “Mrs. DiBenedetto is a strong and determined educator. She cares about every child’s education and their emotional well-being.  She has outstanding rapport with all of the kids in the building, even if she is not their math teacher,” Dr. Minch-Hick said. “Her fortitude to ensure that every child is successful is something I admire about her.”  
 
(Photo Caption: Indian Creek Middle School math teacher Cathy DiBenedetto, center, received the Coalition of Ohio Rural and Appalachian Schools’ Outstanding Middle School Teacher Award for the Indian Creek Local School District at Ohio University in Zanesville on Feb. 22. She was among 55 educators honored and is pictured with, from left, Ohio Department of Education Chief of Staff Jessica Voltonlini, Indian Creek School Superintendent Dr. T.C. Chappelear, ICMS Principal Dr. Holly Minch-Hick and former Ohio Rep. Dr. John Patterson (D-99th District).)
Media Club Brings Literature to Life
Posted 3/6/2023 at 10:10:43 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ICMS Media Club RAA
MINGO JUNCTION-The Indian Creek Middle School Media Club brought literature to life as they celebrated Read Across America with elementary students on March 2.
 
   About 18 eighth-graders visited Hills and Cross Creek Elementary Schools to read to students and were joined by Dr. Seuss’s favorite feline. It is also the author’s birthday and kids were treated to some of his top tomes such as “The Cat in the Hat” and “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.” Hills also celebrated Seuss with decorations featuring characters and book titles while some kids got in on the fun by dressing as Thing 1 and Thing 2, among others.
 
   Club members were split into groups with several acting as readers and others donning The Cat attire to entertain the little ones in grades PreK-4. Members said they enjoyed being part of the activity and helping to encourage a love of reading.
 
   “I love reading and I’m great with kids,” said Jessa Skeen.
 
   “I like [meeting the kids and] hearing their life stories,” added Audrey McKinnon.
 
  Advisor Michele Fabbro said the program was nearing a quarter century at Indian Creek but began nationally in the late 1990s.   
 
   “I attended the National Education Association Representative Assembly in California in 1998,” she added, saying Read Across America was launched that year. “We began it at Indian Creek around 2000.”
 
   She added that the NEA has focused on other books to mark the occasion but the Media Club has continued to honor Dr. Seuss during his milestone.
 
   “It would have been Dr. Seuss’s 119th birthday,” she said. “There were readers in the classrooms and the kids love The Cat.”

(Photo Caption: Indian Creek Middle School Media Club members Max Lane (as The Cat), Jessa Skeen and Gabe Kuruc entertain kindergarteners at Hills Elementary School on March 2 during Read Across America Day, which also coincided with Dr. Seuss’s 119th birthday. Nearly 20 eighth-graders visited Hills and Cross Creek Elementary to read several of Dr. Seuss’s top tomes and encourage a love of literacy.)
IC Learning Fair on March 16
Posted 3/3/2023 at 10:50:15 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
WINTERSVILLE-Creating opportunities by the community for the community is the focus of the upcoming Indian Creek Learning Fair on March 16.
 
  Activities will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. and will feature area colleges, universities and trade schools as well as employers, organizations and more. Teacher Julie Robinson, who is organizing festivities along with ICHS Principal Louie Retton and fellow educators Isabelle Heisler and Steve Daley, said there will be plenty to see and do and it is open to the public.
 
    Vendors will include businesses seeking adult and student employees, local business promotions, higher education and military options, local health opportunities and Indian Creek educational endeavors. Meanwhile, attendants may bring their resumes to find a job through local employers onsite and learn about the resources available to them.
 
   “They are looking for adult and student employees and we will have health resources,” Robinson said. “We wanted to invite families because we have a new facility and wanted to show what’s going on.”
 
   Among the participants so far are U.S. Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force recruiters, Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program (OOGEEP), the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County, Images Mammography Center, Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development, McDonald’s, the Indian Creek School District, Tri-State Financial Service, Community Federal Financial Institution, Softite Community Federal Credit Union, Ohio University and JATC Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 495 with more expected. A free meal will be offered in the cafeteria with hot dogs, drinks and four types of soup including chicken noodle, chili, vegetable and cream of potato. Attendants may also view samples of schoolwork displayed throughout the building; meet members of the track and tennis spring sports teams; listen to the sounds of the elementary and high school choirs; and get a preview of the ICHS Drama Club’s upcoming performance of the hit musical “Little Shop of Horrors.” Additionally, they will have a chance to earn prizes. 
   
    She noted that the event expounds upon the school’s longtime pathways fair and offers even more opportunities for the public. For more information, contact Robinson at (740) 264-1163 or via email at [email protected].
Chemo Care Bag Project Draws Great Response
Posted 3/3/2023 at 10:48:10 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
MINGO JUNCTION-Hills Elementary School’s annual Chemo Care Bag collection has drawn a great response from donors and organizers hope to fill more than 200 bags for cancer patients.
 
   Second-grade teacher Sarah Hibbits said the service-learning project, now in its eighth year, wrapped up collections of snacks, lotions and more on Feb. 18 and students and the community have generously given. The next step is to fill colorful tote bags and present them to Trinity Health Systems for use at the Teramana Cancer Center in Steubenville.
   
   “We’ll get the bags packed and set plans up with the Teramana Center to distribute them,” Hibbits added, saying they will benefit patients undergoing chemotherapy at the facility. “We had some amazing donors and a few parents who don’t have kids in second grade also went out to businesses for donations. It’s been an absolutely amazing response.”
 
   Hibbits began the project while at the former Wintersville Elementary School and it also included Cross Creek Elementary last year, but this year Hills held the collection on its own. Contributions began in January and included individually packaged snacks, saltines, bottled water, Gatorade, gum, mints, hard candy, Tootsie Pop and Dum-Dum suckers, tuna or chicken lunch packs with crackers, Chapstick, lotion, Biotene or other dry mouth products, wet wipes, tissues, Sea Band wristbands, reusable plastic cups or water bottles, hats or scarves, blankets, slipper socks, puzzle books, adult coloring books, notebooks, journals, pocket calendars, playing cards, pens and pencils as well as puzzles, card games, Bibles, ear buds or stress reliever balls. 
 
   She said the project was usually extended from four to eight weeks, but this time it was only for two weeks and people outside of the school went above and beyond to help. 
 
   “Some people waited to see what we needed and took care of those needs. We have enough supplies to fill more than 200 bags and the goal is [to distribute them] within the next three weeks.”
 
   Hibbits said the products are very useful for those in chemotherapy and she was inspired by her late mother, who also benefitted from them during her time under care. It was during her own treatments that she noticed patients on their own and wondered who cared for them, and this inspired Hibbits to create the bags. But the crux of the project is to teach students a valuable lesson on giving.
 
   Sponsorships were also offered and a $20 donation covers the expenses of each bag, while the sponsors could have their names and notes included in the bags. Additionally, teacher Kim Wadas crocheted small Worry Worms to comfort the patients and other crafty community members were invited to assist.
ICMS DI Team Delivers Care Packages to Cancer Patients
Posted 3/2/2023 at 10:41:20 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ICMS DI Team
MINGO JUNCTION-The Destination Imagination team at Indian Creek Middle School delivered on their mission to help cancer patients with a special community service project.
 
    The Solving Socks team, which includes Harper Long, Sophia Tongate, Khloe Buchanan, Isabella Wilson and Arabella Brown-Hess, collected $800 through fundraisers to purchase items and contributed nearly three-dozen baskets filled with blankets, snacks and more to patients at the Teramana Cancer Center in Steubenville on Feb. 24. 
 
   “We had 35 this year,” said advisor Lisa Longo-Mayle. “We took most of them to the cancer center and two went to cancer patients who work at the school. [The team members] have had family and friends affected by cancer and Harper’s mom and Isabella’s aunt also work at the cancer center.”
 
     They began collecting items in December and held several fundraisers from candygrams and a 50-50 raffle to a concession stand and soliciting businesses. Member Harper Long said they garnered $800 to acquire items and the baskets included “Stronger Than Cancer” T-shirts, blankets, cozy socks, drinks, snacks, lotion, Chapstick, tissues and puzzle books as well as letters from the team. 
 
   Longo-Mayle added that patients have reciprocated with letters and even some gift cards as tokens of gratitude.
 
    This is the second year for the community service project and it has been part of the team’s challenge. Destination Imagination, which is formerly known as Odyssey of the Mind, is a creative problem-solving competition where students are presented a challenge and must present a solution in the form of a skit at each competition level. The challenges may be task-based, performance-based or a combination of both. Additionally, most incorporate components of STEM which align with the 21st Century skills learning model as well as common core standards. 
 
   They first competed at the grades 3-5 level and eventually managed to finish in first place during the regional event in 2020; however, the COVID pandemic impacted their ability to compete at the state event. The group will attend the Region 17 competition at Union Local in Morristown this Saturday with hopes of returning to the state competition in April, where they earned second place during a virtual event last year.
 
    Despite partaking in the competitions, Harper Long said they learned a lot by helping others.
 
   “It makes me feel good,” she said. “We wanted to bring a little hope and light into their world.”

(Photo Caption: The Destination Imagination team of Solving Socks from Indian Creek Middle School donated care packages to patients at the Teramana Cancer Center as well as school employees also impacted by the disease. They plan to attend the Region 17 Tournament this Saturday at Union Local with hopes of returning to the state contest where they earned second place last year. The team includes sixth-graders, pictured from left, Sophia Tongate, Arabella Brown-Hess, Isabella Wilson, Khloe Buchanan and Harper Long and is advised by Lisa Longo-Mayle.)
ICBOE Hears Questions, Concerns about EdChoice
Posted 2/23/2023 at 2:22:28 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
MINGO JUNCTION- Area residents took questions and concerns before the Indian Creek Local Board of Education on Thursday regarding a lawsuit against the EdChoice school voucher plan.
 
   EdChoice is part of a scholarship program launched in 2006 and offers private school vouchers to students in grades K-12 who are assigned to “low-performing” public schools. Participating private schools are required to accept the voucher as full tuition for students whose families are at or below 200 percent of the poverty level, and school districts—not the state—pay the costs. Districts have argued against the process while legislators have worked on a remedy and Indian Creek is among those involved with the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding, which is behind the lawsuit declaring EdChoice funding unconstitutional. 
 
   More than a half-dozen people gathered in the Indian Creek Middle School library in Mingo Junction and wondered why the district was involved in the lawsuit and how it was financing the litigation. The group included a representative of the Americans for Prosperity organization and attendants sought information on the district’s move to join the coalition that brought the suit. The residents said they were against the litigation and didn’t want their tax money being used to support it.
 
   Barry Bardone questioned how the voucher system hurt schools and why it was out of control. He also asked who voted to join the lawsuit and what funding was being used to pay the attorneys.
 
   “If it’s coming from property taxes, why is it being used if I don’t support it?”
 
   He also asked where the district ranked within the state school system.
 
   “I think as Americans we have the right to send our children to the schools we choose,” added citizen Stephanie Rouse. “Why can’t they apply for a voucher because they pay taxes also? I know this lawsuit is over a year old now, but I think we should have the choice where to send our kids to school and be reimbursed for it.”
 
   Resident Erol Hosdil added that he had attended traditional public school as well as a parochial school and his children had varied education in public schools and academies, and he believed the vouchers helped low-income families especially.
 
   “I think we need to give opportunities to all of our citizens...and their children.”
 
  Justin Zullo remarked that he was a concerned taxpayer and asked the board to remove the district’s name from the litigation. Resident Patricia Morgan concurred with the comments and also asked the district to publish employee positions and salaries in the newspaper so citizens could see how schools are being run.
 
   “I’m a retiree and on Social Security,” she said. “You take money out of my taxes. I’d like to see it in the newspaper how our money is being spent for the schools.”
 
   AFP Representative Phil Parenti asked the district to remove itself from the coalition and said the belief that the EdChoice voucher system impeded Ohio education was a misnomer.

“This lawsuit affects kids throughout Ohio. Students of these schools fall under the voucher program and are in families who make less than 200 percent of the poverty level,” Parenti added. “I think there are reasons why we support the vouchers, and I think you should remove Indian Creek from the coalition.”
 
   School leaders listened to the comments and Superintendent Dr. T.C. Chappelear said he would answer all of Bardone’s questions in a letter, continuing that general funds were being used for the lawsuit but it was a minimal amount. Board Vice President Dr. John Figel noted that expenditures were public knowledge while Treasurer Denise Todoroff said the district is audited by the state each year.
 
   “As a public entity, we undergo many audits by the Auditor of State and our audits are publicized,” she said, adding that a notice is published and information is available for public review at the district and on the Ohio Department of Education’s website. “We are also expected to do a forecast every year and the ODE looks at every penny we spend.”
 
   Board member Dr. Ted Starkey said the district has received clean audits each year and the district has worked to educate students and operate within its financial scope.
 
   “I’ve been on the school board for 28 years, and from the time I was elected it was a struggle to fund the district. I’ve seen repeated defeats of levies and bond issues, and despite four new buildings there has been a struggle for funding. From the first year to the next we don’t know how much funding we’re going to get from the state.”
 
   He added that the Coalition for Equity and Adequacy in School Funding was formed because there was such a disparity between school districts, particularly with the DeRolph vs. Ohio case also regarding the state’s funding method for public education.
 
   “Despite the votes for new buildings, I predict [the district] will always be concerned about operating funds,” Dr. Starkey concluded. “Our decision to do what we did...is the fact that we’re trying to maintain as much funding as we can because it never seems to be enough. We’re trying to do what’s best for the students.”
 
   Dr. Chappelear interjected there was school choice on both sides and there were separate bills in the Ohio House and Senate that would create a universal voucher system. Following more discussion, no action was taken but Bardone suggested surveying residents to get their input on the lawsuit.
 
   Among other matters, the board:
--Welcomed Capt. Shawn Livingston as the new school resource officer at ICMS and Hills Elementary;
--Recognized the ICMS eighth-grade girls’ basketball team which was named BMC champions while swimmers were participating in districts at The Ohio State University. Board member Kim Mark also touted students participating in the recent district spelling bee, upcoming solo and ensemble events and the ICHS wrestling team. Abby Starkey and Scott Howell were also named for their success in basketball and swimming;
--Assistant Superintendent John Belt said a second inspection was made of the ICMS gym floor which sustained water damage due to the recent polar vortex while a restroom at Kettlewell Memorial Stadium was also affected by a bursting pipe caused by the weather;
--Indian Creek Education Association President Karen Lloyd and OAPSE President Judy Johnson both asked the board to consider hiring at least one new licensed practical nurse to assist the two current school nurses.
ICHS Inducts 16 into National Honor Society
Posted 2/14/2023 at 10:05:57 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ICHS National Honor Society
The Indian Creek High School National Honor Society inducted 16 new members during a ceremony on Feb. 9, bringing its total to 30 students. Pictured are, front from left, Carson Copeland, Madeline Ujcich, Katelyn Donahue, Shae Corella, Arnesa Shoshi, Nick Maurer, Kiersten Dorsey, Leah Parks, Alexis Smith, Tara Bell, Reese Scott and Victoria Redmond. Middle: Senior officers Kirsten Driscoll, Amelia Ferroni, Abigail Starkey, Bryson Bodo, Isabella Pitts, Madison Paoloemilio and Courtney Walkosky. Back: Honorary member Crystal Hammack, Anthony Capaldi, Skylar Hardwick, Lindsey Zifzal, Leah DiNofrio, Emma Morrison, Hailey Doan, Malaina McDonald, Megan Gampolo, Abigail Beegle, Victoria Robertson and Dominic Paterra.
School Bus Safety Road-E-O Returning to IC
Posted 2/10/2023 at 9:22:52 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Bus Rod-E-O
MINGO JUNCTION-School bus drivers will put their skills on display as the 2023 Ohio Eastern School Bus Drivers Safety Road-E-O makes its way back to the area.
 
   The Indian Creek Local School District is once again hosting the event, which is set for April 22 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Indian Creek Middle School in Mingo Junction. ICLSD Transportation Director Brenda Staffilino is coordinating activities and is looking for drivers and donors for the day.
 
  Drivers must complete a 25-question written test, perform a pre-trip inspection upon their vehicle and complete an obstacle course as part of the competition. An awards ceremony will also be held with prizes being distributed and the first dozen honorees will advance to the state contest.  Staffilino is not only seeking districts to enter drivers but also businesses to support the entrants with a monetary gift for those who rank within the Top 10. Contributions are tax-deductible and would support a good cause, while the event has attracted roughly 75 bus drivers from across Northeastern Ohio.
 
   “It would be an incentive and also makes for better and safer drivers. They can help by donating prizes or put up a monetary gift so the drivers will strive to do their best and we can have other drivers participate,” she continued. “We’re looking forward to the Road-E-O. It’s a big deal to have it here. It teaches them a lot of skills and is an obstacle course where they test maneuverability.
 
   Indian Creek first hosted the activity in 2016 while school transportation officials from around the area have served as judges and in other capacities at contests both locally and outside the area.
 
   “I have a love for the job and believe in good, quality bus drivers,” Staffilino added. “I’m very excited to have this the second time around.”
 
   For more information or to make donations, contact Staffilino at (740) 381-1048.

(Photo Caption: School bus drivers from across Northeastern Ohio will converge upon Indian Creek Middle School in April for the 2023 Ohio Eastern School Bus Drivers Safety Road-E-O. About 75 drivers from districts in the region will test their skills in judged events to earn a trip to the state contest. Indian Creek Local School District Transportation Director Brenda Staffilino is coordinating the event and is seeking participants and donors. For information, contact Staffilino at (740) 381-1048.)
CCE Bolsters Reading with Vending Machine
Posted 2/9/2023 at 9:17:50 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
IC CC Book Vending Machine
WINTERSVILLE-Cross Creek Elementary School has another way to reward students and bolster a love of literature with a new book vending machine.
 
   Officials recently cut the ribbon on a new machine stationed inside the Wintersville school which was donated by Mayor Mike Petrella with Economy Lawn Care, Mike Teramana with Hollywood Center and Mike Thomas with FeX Group. Jacob Decker represented the latter business and school leaders were grateful for the contribution.
 
  “All three donors took part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony and witnessed the true joy of students using the machine and getting to pick a book to keep,” said Dean of Students Alecia Cockrill. “Thank you to Mayor Petrella, Mr. Teramana and Mr. Thomas. Your generous donation will provide students with a lifelong love for reading.”
 
   Cockrill said the project was inspired by a similar one at Hills Elementary and is being used to reward students who have shown positive behaviors through the PAX learning program. A ribbon-cutting event was held on Jan. 26 and PAX leaders from November were the first to make selections while another 180 tomes were also dispersed during the school’s literacy night celebration. Most recently, PAX leaders for January had their chance to obtain literature.
 
  “Each month, every teacher will pick two students to receive a gold coin for the vending machine. The first coin will go to the student of the month (PAX Leader), and the second coin will be given to a student who is a Reader Leader. The staff and students are thrilled about this new addition and the ways in which it supports our initiatives with reading literacy and PBIS,” she noted. “We should distribute 50 books a month.”
 
    The books were donated by PTO members and staff while letters were also sent to local businesses and posted on Facebook. Parents have also shown interest in getting involved. The school is accepting material for grades PreK-6 that are either picture or chapter books with popular themes. People may also make monetary donations for the vending machine and Cockrill said the books will be labeled with the contributor’s name to show students the community’s support. 
 
  “We have access to a bargain book site where we can purchase books as a school for a really great price,” she added. “The books are special to the students because its theirs to keep.”
 
   Checks are made payable to the Indian Creek Local School District and may be mailed to Cross Creek Elementary at 587 Bantam Ridge Road, Wintersville, Ohio, 43953. For more information, contact Cockrill at (740) 264-1691.

(Photo Cutline: A new book vending machine has been installed at Cross Creek Elementary and students earn a new tome through the PAX learning program. The machine was acquired through donations from local businesses and pictured are, from left, Wintersville Mayor Mike Petrella representing Economy Lawn Care, Jacob Decker, representing Mike Thomas and FeX Group, and Mark Teramana with Hollywood Center with students during the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Book and monetary donations are being accepted to fill the machine. For more information, contact the school at (740) 264-1691.)
FCCLA Eyes Distracted Driving with Grant
Posted 2/8/2023 at 3:45:13 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
WINTERSVILLE-One Indian Creek High School student organization is setting its sights on the perils of distracted driving and received a grant to further its endeavor.
 
    The Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) obtained an $1,000 Families Acting for Community Traffic Safety (FACTS) grant and will promote its cause via video. Advisor Julie Robinson said students involved in school athletics and other activities will demonstrate how difficult it will be to perform functions while using a cell phone.
 
    “The FCCLA kids asked what students thought of distracted driving and this was what they decided for their project,” Robinson said. “We are making videos of students doing jobs and other activities and will try to prove a point that you can’t actually engage in life and be on a phone, just like when you are driving a car. I’d like to actively demonstrate activities and the consequences of engaging in distracted life.”
 
    Students will attempt to perform such activities as playing baseball to putting on makeup and Trooper Greg Scalley of the Wintersville Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol will also recite facts about the dangers of distracted driving. The video will be then posted on the web and Instagram.
 
    The group has received FACTS grants before and used funds for such activities to promote winter readiness and a driving simulator, the latter of which was in partnership with the OSHP. The grant is part of a national FCCLA peer education program which strives to save lives through personal, vehicle and road safety.
FCCLA Eyes Distracted Driving with Grant
Posted 2/8/2023 at 9:14:21 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
WINTERSVILLE-One Indian Creek High School student organization is setting its sights on the perils of distracted driving and received a grant to further its endeavor.
 
   The Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) obtained an $1,000 Families Acting for Community Traffic Safety (FACTS) grant and will promote its cause via video. Advisor Julie Robinson said students involved in school athletics and other activities will demonstrate how difficult it will be to perform functions while using a cell phone.
 
   “The FCCLA kids asked what students thought of distracted driving and this was what they decided for their project,” Robinson said. “We are making videos of students doing jobs and other activities and will try to prove a point that you can’t actually engage in life and be on a phone, just like when you are driving a car. I’d like to actively demonstrate activities and the consequences of engaging in distracted life.”
 
   Students will attempt to perform such activities as playing baseball to putting on makeup and Trooper Greg Scalley of the Wintersville Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol will also recite facts about the dangers of distracted driving. The video will be then posted on the web and Instagram.
 
   The group has received FACTS grants before and used funds for such activities to promote winter readiness and a driving simulator, the latter of which was in partnership with the OSHP. The grant is part of a national FCCLA peer education program which strives to save lives through personal, vehicle and road safety.
Groups Sought for Learning Fair
Posted 2/7/2023 at 3:40:20 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
WINTERSVILLE-Local business and organizations can promote their services during Indian Creek High School’s Learning Fair on March 16.
 
   The event, which runs from 5:30-7:30 p.m., is being organized by school leaders and is open to the public. Teacher Julie Robinson, who shares those duties with teachers Steve Daley and Heisler and Principal Louie Retton, said the upcoming event expounds upon the school’s longtime career fair and will provide 
opportunities by the community for the community. 
 
   The event plans to highlight local employment, higher education, Armed Forces and health and wellness services while a light supper and chances to win prizes are also included. Leaders are currently seeking businesses, organizations and other groups to get involved and contact has been made through the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce. Robinson said the event will showcase everything the community has to offer.
 
   “There are businesses looking for adult and student employees and local businesses can also promote themselves,” she added. “We want to have education, military and local health opportunities from financial and mental health to mammograms.”
 
    She noted that parents who also own businesses are invited to join while agencies such as the Jefferson County Community Action Council and Department of Job and Family Services are already on board.
 
   “We’re trying to address local needs with local opportunities and want people to bring their families to learn what is out there.”
 
    In addition, school officials will showcase Indian Creek’s growing endeavors with robotics demonstrations and other offerings. She continued that the school has held daytime career pathway fairs for students but the learning fair expands its reach into the general public by adding more services. Attendants will receive punch cards which, when completed, can be entered into a drawing for prizes.
 
  Anyone interested in hosting a booth may contact Robinson at (740) 264-1163 or via email at [email protected].
Indian Creek Reboots for New Year
Posted 1/20/2023 at 10:31:08 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ICBOE School BOard Recognition Month
 WINTERSVILLE-The Indian Creek Local Board of Education rebooted for the new year at its organizational meeting on Thursday.
 
  During events at Indian Creek High School, Bob Smith was re-elected board president with Kim Mark chosen as vice president. Dr. Ted Starkey was also named legislative liaison and Indian Creek Foundation member and Mark was returned as the student achievement liaison. Officials also approved general operational procedures before delving into their regular session.
 
   At that time, they were approached by Nora Coleman, whose late husband, Mel, was a science teacher and basketball coach at the former Wintersville High School. He also coached at Weirton Madonna High School but spent his formative years at WHS from 1975-90, where his teams held an overall record of 247-154, were named OVAC Champs between 1984-92 and were also two-time district and multiple sectional champs. He also gained accolades as OVAC Coach of the Year, Dapper Dan “Outstanding Achievement”, a five-time District 5 AAA Coach of the Year, Eastern AAA Coach of the Year, two-time Coach for District 5 All-Star Game and five-time Coach for the OVAC All-Star Classic between 1980-90.  To that end, his widow and a delegation of supporters sought to have a statue or other permanent tribute placed at the school and were willing to fundraise and acquire the honor.  
 
    “He was very dedicated to coaching and was the most winning coach at Wintersville,” she said. “He deserves to be recognized.”
 
    She was joined by past pupils and players who paid their own tributes to Coach Coleman. Some said he was more than a coach; he was a father figure and mentor who inspired his athletes and students.
 
    “I really believe Mr. Coleman deserves an honor. He should have gotten his flowers while he was living, but something to commemorate what he brought to Wintersville. I wouldn’t be anything without Mr. Coleman in my life,” was one comment. “There should be something that recognizes what he brought to the table.”
 
    Megan Van Fossen, a past student, also advocated for Coleman and wondered what the group could do to memorialize him.
 
    “He really was a leader through my tenure as a student and we’d be happy to fundraise for it,” she said. “If you could tell us how to do it, we’d happily advocate for it.”
 
     Others said he gave his heart to Wintersville while Nora Coleman said he even painted the former high school gym and was actively involved in the district and community.
 
    Smith said the board would take it under consideration and discuss it further.
 
    “I feel the passion for this man and we’ll talk amongst ourselves,” he added.
 
    Meanwhile, Assistant Superintendent John Belt told the board that the cafeteria and gymnasium floor at Indian Creek Middle School was significantly damaged over the holidays and would require a replacement.
 
    “We lost heat in part of the building and the fire sprinkler froze and broke. It flooded and we spent four hours removing the water,” Belt said, adding that it was inspected for insurance purposes. “They think it’s a total loss.”
 
    Belt said he was looking at replacement costs and would get numbers for the board.
 
In other matters:
--The board approved donations totaling $7,500 for advertising on the new softball field scoreboard. Contributions included $2,500 from the Village of Wintersville and $5,000 from Everhart-Bove Funeral Services, Inc.;
--Officials set a planning session for Feb. 2 at 6 p.m. at the board office;
--The board approved resignations from Beth Zook as Indian Creek High School assistant track coach, who will instead serve as a volunteer coach, and Kelly McIlvain, ICMS track coach, who will become assistant track coach. Jayson Daugherty and Jamie Spencer were also respectively named ICHS assistant track coach and ICMS track coach;
--Officials approved the resignations of bus drivers Barbara Mazzaferro and Kevin Robinson, the latter of whom will remain a substitute driver for the district;
--Leaders approved hiring Kelly Sutphin as a substitute secretary and paraprofessional and Renee Antonelli as an intervention teacher at Cross Creek Elementary;
--Jennifer Belt was named advisor of the ICHS Fellowship of Christian Athletes on the supplemental list;
 --Indian Creek Education Association Vice President Dave Moffat said the organization looked forward to working with leaders for the betterment of the students and community;
--Food Service Director Eric White invited officials to celebrate Chinese New Year during lunch at ICHS on Jan. 23. A bevy of Chinese food was being served for the occasion;
--Mark recognized Hills Elementary students for holding a Chemo Care Bag collection to assist patients at the Teramana Cancer Center. The collection just kicked off and the event has provided 200 bags each year to aid those undergoing treatment. She also praised athletes in wrestling, swimming and the middle school basketball teams for their good work;
--Approved the removal of two buses that exceeded their useful life and repair;
-- Superintendent Dr. T.C. Chappelear honored members for School Board Recognition Month and presented them with a display of photos from the dedications of the new Indian Creek High School and Cross Creek Elementary as well as the dedication of the renovated Hills Elementary School. He lauded officials for their service and said they have done really great things for the district. A celebratory dinner was set for February.

(Photo Caption: Bob Smith returned as president of the Indian Creek Local Board of Education, which met Thursday to organize for the new year. Smith, who made his return as board leader, was sworn in by district Treasurer Denise Todoroff as Dr. John Figel and Dan Bove looked on. Kim Mark was also named vice president for the year.)
Indian Creek Board Recognized
Posted 1/18/2023 at 10:25:40 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ICBOE School BOard Recognition Month
The Indian Creek Local Board of Education is being honored for School Board Recognition Month in January. Pictured are, front from left, Dr. John Figel, Superintendent Dr. T.C. Chappelear and Dr. Ted Starkey. Back: District Treasurer Denise Todoroff, President Bob Smith, Vice President Kim Mark, Dan Bove and Assistant Superintendent John Belt.
(File Photo)
ICMS Teacher Earns MAC Grant
Posted 1/18/2023 at 10:18:28 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
ICMS Teacher Earns MAC Grant Bennett
MINGO JUNCTION-Representatives of McDonald’s surprised one Indian Creek Middle School teacher with a $500 Make Activities Count (MAC) Grant for Teachers award which will highlight students who show positive character traits.
 
  McDonald’s Director of Operations Shawna Grimm and Chief Strategy Officer Josh Barnett, representing franchisee Tomtreyco, Inc., of Uniontown, Ohio, presented a check to fifth-grade English teacher Jane Bennett, who plans to use the allocation for a character-building program and reward pupils who are recognized as ICMS Student of the Month.
 
   “I’m excited and surprised,” Bennett said, noting that it was her third such award.
 
    Bennett used her previous allocations to acquire and distribute school supplies for low-income students and create a “Sunshine Cart” to provide pick-me-ups for teachers through one of her student organizations. The latest allotment will promote positive character skills among the student population.
 
   “We do a lot working with kids,” she said. “We have a student of the week and pick a character trait, and then a teacher nominates a student [based on that trait]. We then have a drawing for student of the month and they get a $10 gift card. Now I can probably do more [with the MAC Grant].”
 
   Grimm said it marked the 27th year for the MAC Grant for Teachers program and is part of McDonald’s long-standing commitment to education. 
 
   “Because we at McDonald’s recognize that lessons become more meaningful when demonstrated with hands-on experiences, we are financially supporting activities that supplement regular classroom curriculum,” she continued. “The MAC Grants program provides cash awards to help local teachers make activities count in their classrooms.”
 
   The program is open to teachers of grades 5-8 who want to enhance their students’ learning process through interesting, hands-on projects. Recipients are selected by a panel of judges based on the creativity and educational value of their projects and each educator was praised for their outstanding work with teaching and motivating young people.
 
   Barnett also lauded Indian Creek Schools, saying the business employs many of its students and they have demonstrated those great traits on the job.
 
   “We appreciate working with youth and some of our best managers come from here. It’s a testament to their upbringing,” he said.
 
   Principal Dr. Holly Minch-Hick said a student of the week is selected each Friday and their photo is hung in the school hallway and posted on the ICMS Facebook page, then one of the candidates will gain the student of the month distinction. She noted that the school prides itself on promoting positivity through Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and PAX trainings so students build upon those skills.
 
   “PBIS is a big part of what we do,” she commented. “We teach them respect of teachers, others and themselves.”
   
   Tomtreyco, Inc. operates 54 McDonald’s establishments across Northeast Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

(Photo Caption: Shawna Grimm and Josh Barnett, respectively director of operations and chief strategy officer for Tomtreyco McDonald’s,  presented a $500 Making Activities Count (MAC) Grant for Teachers to Jane Bennett, a fifth-grade English teacher at Indian Creek Middle School, who plans to use the funds for character education. The school regularly recognizes a student of the week who exemplifies positive character traits with one candidate ultimately selected as ICMS Student of the Month. The recipient earns a $10 gift card and is recognized in the school and on its Facebook page. Pictured are, from left, Grimm, Bennett and Barnett.)
Cross Creek Hosting Literacy Night
Posted 1/13/2023 at 12:50:43 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
WINTERSVILLE-Cross Creek Elementary will be the scene of a winter-themed literacy night that is designed to engage students and their families and encourage a love of learning.
 
   Indian Creek’s Winter Wonderland is set for Jan. 26 from 5-7 p.m. and will include tons of fun and festivities including literacy and math activities, games, stories, seasonal snacks and some comforting hot cocoa to ward off the chill. Organizer Alecia Cockrill said it will be a joint activity with Hills Elementary and Indian Creek Middle School.
 
   “It is in conjunction with Hills and the middle school for fifth- and sixth-grade students,” Cockrill said. 
 
   The event has drawn about 200 people and she added that students and their parents can enjoy the evening.  
 
   “It is a family engagement night that allows students and families to engage in reading and math literacy activities together. They also will be involved in various STEM activities, social-emotional activities, have a snack, take a family photo and complete a kindness snowball as a family.”
 
   CCE and Hills regularly conduct joint literacy nights in the fall and winter with separate festivities at their respective buildings in the spring.
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2023 Sunset Blvd. Steubenville, OH 43952
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