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Southern Local School District

Southern Local School District
Southern Local Planning Virtual Graduation
Posted 5/13/2020 at 10:32:57 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

   SALINEVILLE-Southern Local High School seniors will receive their diplomas during a virtual graduation planned for May 16.

   About 74 soon-to-be-alumni will gather in the gym under special guidelines associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a letter from senior class advisor Robert Shansky, the event will be filmed and aired on YouTube and Facebook on May 22 at 7 p.m., the date of the original commencement exercise. Seniors have been notified to arrive at the high school in appropriate attire and donning caps and gowns for the ceremony. Parking will be behind the gym with access gained through the former weight room, while honor cords and National Honor Society stoles will be distributed to honor students.

   School Superintendent Tom Cunningham will join SLHS Principal Jay Kiger, Assistant Principal Ron Sines and senior class officers at 11 a.m. while the valedictorian and salutatorian will arrive with their parents around 11:20 a.m. Southern Local Board of Education members appear at noon and President Kip Dowling will record a message from the panel, and then the virtual graduation taping commences at 1 p.m.

   Each senior may have up to six guests and their parents or a significant other may present the diploma to their graduate. Attendants must try to arrive about 10 minutes prior to their time and will be directed by school officials using social distancing standards. Graduates have been notified of their specific timelines beginning with the top 10 scheduled to appear in the first row at 1 p.m.; second row at 1:30 p.m.; third row at 2 p.m.; fourth row at 2:30 p.m.; fifth row at 3 p.m.; sixth row at 3:30 p.m.; and rows seven and eight at 4 p.m.

   The graduates will have their picture taken with their guests as they receive their diploma and will receive a photo package compliments of the school district. Anyone with questions may contact Shansky’s office at (330) 679-2305, Ext. 4002, and leave a message or email him at Robert.shansky@southern.k12.oh.us.

SLBOE Looking to Add Bowling Program
Posted 3/13/2020 at 12:03:52 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

SALINEVILLE-Southern Local High School is looking add bowling to its sporting repertoire and received extra support during the March 10 meeting.

   Rodney Giannone, a local bowling promoter, was joined at the session by Great Lakes Jr. Gold Tour Tournament Director Jeff Wirtz and Conotton Valley bowling coach Dennis Gordon to offer their services in establishing a program for the district. Giannone had  contacted SLBOE board member Rodney Edmiston about speaking at a meeting and brought the men to explain how to get started. He added that Gordon’s team, which only began last year, was heading to the nationals in Las Vegas.

   “There’s a lot to offer and I’d like to get something started,” Giannone said.

 Wirtz, who operates in Michigan, said he’s worked with high schools and colleges around the region and there were many pluses for athletes. As a tournament director, he runs events in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois and plans to extend to Pennsylvania and Wisconsin next year. He is represented by Brunswick Bowling Company and said he could obtain equipment for Southern’s teams, plus professional coach Bill Henson of Columbus could provide some leadership. He also provided information for high school bowling across the state.

   “I’m connected to every collegiate bowling level [at 240 colleges] and there are 22 in Ohio,” Wirtz commented. “There are 105 colleges [in such states as] Tennessee, Ohio and Michigan and I’m the missing link that connects bowlers to college. We have 700 uniquely different bowlers this season and expect another 800 at the end of the season.”

   He added that bowlers may range in age from four to over 20 years old.

    “My goal is to promote youth bowling,” he said.

   Gordon noted that he started bowling programs at Claymont and Conotton Valley and offered to help if one was started at Southern. Meanwhile, SLHS Athletic Director Bob Shansky said teams were already in the works for next year and a coach was selected to take charge.

   “I’ve already met with the local bowling lanes and [Superintendent Tom Cunningham] and I have met and we have a certified coach on staff as soon as [the board approves] it. It’s a winter sport and lasts from November to February. The OVAC also has a bowling championship and it’s one of the fastest growing high school sports in the state.”

    Shansky said a schedule has already been prepared for next year and he’s helped develop similar programs at Wellsville and East Liverpool in the past. He continued that quite a few Southern students were interested in participating and teams of at least five people could be formed for boys and girls. 

   “It’s something I think can benefit winters sports,” Shansky added.

   Cunningham interjected that the sport would benefit traditional and non-traditional athletes.

    “We have students who are not in sports and athletes who excel at other sports who want to play,” he concluded. The matter will be on the April meeting agenda and is expected to be approved.

   In other action, the school board:

--Learned from Cunningham that ACT testing concluded at the high school and Utica Shale Academy and also reminded the community to support the district’s 2.25-mill, five-year additional permanent improvement levy up for decision on March 17. Officials said it would be used solely for district-owned facilities to make necessary repairs modernize facilities to educate students well into the future, plus it will decrease existing taxes;

--Heard from SLHS Assistant Principal Ron Sines, who said educational consultant Dr. Frank Bickelman of Ohio State University completed a walk-through with him at the school. Sine added that meetings were held every two weeks to discuss Depth of Knowledge (DOK) Levels II and III questions and officials were also focusing on the “Race Trace Trace Conclude” for writing across the curriculum, while students were struggling more with Level II. He also announced that SLHS students Sophia Beatty, Zachary Halfhill and Gianna Rodgers earned medals during Columbiana County Educational Service Center’s 2020 Student Art Show;

--Learned from SLES Principal Rich Wright that state testing was approaching and teachers and students were learning last-minute items and holding morning intervention for extra help. He added that students are tested throughout the year on DIBELS, Star Early Literacy and Star Renaissance for benchmarks, and then teachers monitor students’ progress to determine growth and use data for future planning. He continued that kindergarten registration was set for April 2-3 with preschool registration on April 16-17, while an elementary literacy night was also slated for next month to boost literacy and involvement at school. Wright also recognized elementary students Elizabeth Pirogowicz and April Beadnell for winning medals at the CCESC Student Art Show and participants Jaxyn Harris, Jaymen Maines, Jett Johnson, Cadence Thompson and Leah Batcha;

--Heard from Utica Shale Academy Director Bill Watson that enrollment was up to 72 students and about 7.935 lessons were completed. He added the group recently took a field trip to Canfield to visit the Iron Workers’ No. 207 JAC and students received applications for apprenticeships. Other highlights included the completion of an audit by the Ohio Department of Education and the approval of the wellness plan;

--Approved substitutes Brooke Moore as secretary, cafeteria and educational aide and David Abrams as a teacher;

--Approved the second reading of an updated school policy on sex offender notification;

--Approved a field trip for the Spanish Club on the Gateway Clipper May 5;

--Approved a supplemental contract for Tammy Phillips to handle agendas for the Utica Shale Academy Board of Directors’ meetings;

--Approved an addendum that students may elect to attend the Columbiana County Career Center during their junior and senior years. Students currently attend part- or full-time;

--Set the next regular meeting for April 14 at 6:30 p.m. in the board office.

SLJHS Students Learn about STEAM
Posted 3/6/2020 at 11:56:45 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

Southern Local Jr. High students attended STEAM Day at Kent State University in Salem on Feb. 28, where the seventh-graders learned about different careers in nursing, biology, chemistry, horticulture and eSports and eighth-graders became familiar with health and human services, insurance, psychology, criminal justice and English. About 60-70 students from schools throughout the region took part and pictured is student Maggie Staley getting a glimpse of virtual reality.

Southern Classes “Get Schooled” at Game Day
Posted 3/6/2020 at 11:51:05 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL Get Schooled

SALINEVILLE-Nearly 20 Southern Local High School students traveled to Youngstown recently for some fun and learning during the annual Hockey for Health “Get Schooled” School Day Game.

   Kyle Exline’s sports literature class, as well as several members of the SLHS National Honor Society, participated in events on Feb. 26 at Covelli Center. Organized by the Youngstown Phantoms, the annual event draws schools from throughout the area to visit information booths, conduct STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) activities, learn about careers in the sports field and watch a Youngstown Phantoms hockey game. Exline said it was a unique way for students to learn about sports and enjoy the day.

   “A lot of students I had are taking sports writing and we have quite a few athletes. They enjoyed [the day] and I think it was not only because of the events, but it also was a sport they were not familiar with,” Exline noted.

   He added that about 18 students, which included five NHS members, were on hand and gained a wealth of knowledge. The sports literature class looks at sports through a different lens and is open to grades 9-12, although the class is primarily made up of seniors.

   Meanwhile, students from roughly 15-20 schools attended the event and Southern pupils also took part last year. The “Get Schooled” School Day game is the focus of Hockey for Health and attracts thousands of elementary, middle school and high school students. STEM and STEAM students had fun with interactive learning and worked with such organizations as the OH WOW! Children’s Center for Science and Technology. Additionally, youth learned about drug prevention and were engaged though interactive media messaging, STEAM Business Partners and high school job shadowing programs for sports careers. Students also received Youngstown Phantoms “Hockey for Health” booklet for participating.

(Photo Cutline: Students in the sports literature class and National Honor Society at Southern Local High School took part in “Get Schooled” Student Game Day at Covelli Stadium in Youngstown on Feb. 26, where they visited information booths, conducted STEM and STEAM activities, learned about careers in the sports field and watched a Youngstown Phantoms hockey game. Pictured are, from left, Mason Tribelo, Logan Rhodes, Mark Soukup, Caleb Prendergast, Angel Johnson, Ivy Winters, Dustin Mellon, Gage Dickey, Katie Short, Presley Jackson, Kara Boone, Tiffany Joy, Maddie Paxton, Devin Lopez, Tanner Patterson, Jayce Sloan and Cam Grodhaus.)

Southern Local Gives Life at Blood Drive
Posted 2/26/2020 at 10:04:03 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL Blood Drive

SALINEVILLE-Southern Local High School students, teachers, parents and community members turned out to give the gift of life during the second American Red Cross blood drive of the year, and now organizers have their sights set on a third event.

   Twenty-five viable units were donated in the high school gym on Feb. 21 in a collaboration between the SLHS National Honor Society and the Red Cross, where NHS members manned registration tables to the canteen and Red Cross medical personnel oversaw the blood collection. Some attendants were first-time donors while others were regular contributors, but they all had the same purpose: to help someone.

   Senior Dominic Pierson said it was his first donation and he believed it was important.

   “It’s a good cause,” he said. “I would donate again without a doubt because it would save a life. It’s the greatest accomplishment ever to save a kid’s life.”

   Junior Arianna Goley, a past participant, agrees that the cause is vital.

   “I’ve donated twice,” she added. “I just like giving back and just knowing you are going to help someone who needs it.”

   Roxie West, an SLHS alumna and mother of more Southern grads, has seen the importance of the event as both an oncology nurse and as a community member.

 “I feel like I need to give back. I was an oncology nurse and I’ve donated to help cancer patients,” she added, saying several of her children have also volunteered in the past. 

   NHS Advisor Jody Lockhart said the first activity in November raised 32 units while a goal of 25 units was set for the latest effort. Student members sent about 20 letters to community members who previously gave at the blood drive but she has seen a mixture of old and new faces.

   “The ones who donated before know what to expect,” she said, adding that they are familiar with guidelines for contributions and the process itself. 

    Anthony Perris, donor recruitment account manager for the Red Cross in Canton, praised the school for its consistency in gathering volunteers to help save a life.

   “High schools are one of the most dedicated donor pools. Not only do they have students but also parents who want to help the community. In 2007, [Southern] raised 60 units when the goal was 30. Even for a smaller school, here it is really good. It’s nice to have a new donor, but every time you have a consistent donor pool it’s special.”

  Perris said one unit of blood could help multiple people when divided into red blood cells, platelets and plasma. While the program has been biennial, efforts are being made this year to offer a third blood drive on May 6 from 7:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. 

 Meanwhile, the Red Cross will provide scholarship money toward a senior NHS member for every 25 units collected and the funding will help the graduate further his or her education.

(Photo Cutline: Southern Local High School junior Arianna Goley gives the gift of life during the second American Red Cross Blood Drive of the year in the school gym on Feb. 21. Twenty-five viable units were collected from students, teachers, parents and community members and Goley has been a previous donor. She is pictured with Red Cross medical staff Krista Leonard.)

SLBOE Learns Good News at Session
Posted 2/19/2020 at 9:46:50 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

SALINEVILLE-Good news topped the Southern Local Board of Education meeting on Feb. 12 as administrators shared tales of exceptional deeds which helped the students.

   In one instance, the board approved a $500 donation from Denny Goddard, a 1961 graduate, to pay off negative lunch balances. District Treasurer Greg Sabbato said Goddard was inspired to help after reading stories of similar contributions in the media.

   “He called [administrative assistant] Tammy Phillips over the holiday and wanted to give something. He saw an article about people paying off lunch balances and volunteered to pay them off,” Sabbato said.

    Six students were aided by the donation and officials said Goddard was planning to make another $500 contribution in the near future to help more kids.

   Meanwhile, Southern Local High School Principal Jay Kiger told officials how motivational speaker and youth mentor Christopher Milo improved a situation for one student. Kiger said the youth had angrily written on her bedroom walls in permanent ink and soon regretted the decision. After speaking with Milo, he took it upon himself to purchase paint so she could cover her mistake and start afresh. School Resource Officer Deputy Chase Askounes delivered the paint to her home for the project.

   Milo has visited schools, universities, churches and businesses for the past 13 years and spoken to roughly 500,000 students and school officials. He blends his messages with stories about his own life and also touches upon bullying while stressing the importance of values and good character. He uses his lectures to instill his 13 Messages from Milo (13MFM) mentoring program, which aims to positively impact the entire school, cultivate a school atmosphere where students are eager to learn and attend classes, excite the student body by giving them purpose which creates hope and a “can-do” attitude and instill kindness. The 13 messages are to be positive, be genuine, accept, love one another, listen, communicate, work together, be curious, inspire, coach, use your talents, be creative and trust. 

   Kiger praised Milo for his recent deed and suggested that the school board continue working with the mentor next year. Milo is expected to begin his Milo’s Kids afterschool program later this month with emphasis on his 13MFM program.

   During his report, Superintendent Tom Cunningham congratulated senior Cam Grodhaus for scoring his 1,000th point in basketball and Mason Tribelo for earning a superior rating at the recent Ohio Music Education Association Solo and Ensemble, as well as district spelling bee winner Jaden Morris, runners up and Ava Reed and alternate Aiden Brothers. Cunningham also touted the junior high girls’ basketball team for their recent win against Columbiana and said students were also competing in the Columbiana County Educaitonal Service Center’s annual art show on Feb. 27. He concluded that SLHS Assistant Principal Ron Sines also attended a meeting to learn about reading data and improving student learning as part of the Striving Readers Grant.

    In other matters:

--Sines reported that vocabulary words would be sent out for grades 9-12 and emphasis would be placed on state testing. He added that the new water fountains have been greatly used with students and staff consuming about 200 gallons. Other news included students visiting Columbiana County Career and Training Center; seventh-and eighth-graders planning to visit the Kent State University Salem campus for a STEAM activity day; English teacher Kyle Exline’s planned trip with his sports literature class to see the Youngstown Phantoms for Career Day on Feb. 26; and planned visits by KSU-East Liverpool and Eastern Gateway Community College later this month to set up student registration for testing into College Credit Plus. Testing will be completed on March 18 for eighth graders and high school for EGCC;

--Southern Local Elementary Principal Rich Wright said intervention will begin on Feb. 25 for grades 3-6 and will be held three days a week for one month. Students will arrive for breakfast at 7:30 a.m. and have intervention until 9 a.m. before heading to their regular classes. He added that the American Heart Association fundraiser was also underway and students were striving to raise money for the cause. If they succeed, he will dress as a superhero for the day;

--Sabbato reported January’s beginning balance at $821,203 with $1,270,520 in expenses and an ending balance of $829,812;

--The board approved the first reading of a policy to revise a bonding code for officials. Sabbato said the current policy required the superintendent, treasurer and teachers to be bonded for $1,000 each but the new plan would only provide for the treasurer to be covered under Ohio Revised Code rules;

--Officials approved substitute personnel Amanda Mayfield as secretary and elementary library, Kimmy Boyd-Crawford as secretary and educational aide and Samantha Catalano as a teacher;

--The board agreed to transfer funds from the Class of 2019 to the Class of 2020;

--Leaders agreed to continue Southern Local’s membership with the Ohio High School Athletic Association for the 2020-21 school year;

--A continuing contract was approved for Whitney Tsemilles as EMIS coordinator and fiscal consultant at a salary of $28,000 per year;

--The board approved supplemental contracts for Kathy Randolph, head girls’ track coach; Brenda Kekel, assistant girls’ track coach; Chastity Sloan, junior high girls’ track coach; Mike Skrinjar, head boys’ track coach; Jimmy Malone and Mike Shope, assistant boys’ track coaches; Rick Sloan, junior high boys’ track coach; Kyler Woodward, volunteer high school assistant coach; Brent Boyle, head softball coach; and Andy Vulgamore, assistant softball coach;

--Leaders approved the 2020-21 school calendar;

--The next regular meeting was set for March 11 at 6:30 p.m.

Southern Among Schools Sharing Project R.E.A.C.H. Grant
Posted 1/15/2020 at 11:32:57 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

SALINEVILLE- Southern Local High School is among four rural schools collaborating in a special environmental education initiative through Project REACH.

   The Southern Local, Lisbon, United Local and Crestview School Districts will split an estimated $68,830 for Project R.E.A.C.H. (Rural Education to Advance Clean Habitats), with $40,563 provided through the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Columbiana County Educational Service Center giving a $28,267 match. Southern Local Schools Superintendent Tom Cunningham said CCESC officials wrote the grant application and SLHS will use its portion for cross-curricular projects to benefit primarily sophomore students.

    “This is the first time we received the grant,” Cnnningham said. “The whole idea is to have project-based learning where students are trying to solve problems or issues.”

    According to the grant application, the project is critical because students lack conservation skills to be good stewards of water and changing water quality has caused the Hellbender Salamander to become an endangered species. Project R.E.A.C.H. allows students to study the impact of water quality on species habitat with environmental experts, plus it would provide professional development for teachers on applying STEM to water quality and habitat preservation. Teachers and students will conduct field studies to gather and analyze data and they will visit local waterways such as Highlandtown State Park, Beaver Creek State Park, the Beaver Creek Wildlife Center and local ponds and streams. Among the experts involved in the project are representatives of the OEPA, the Ohio State University Extension Office, SilverApple and the Columbiana County Soil and Water Conservation District.

   Twenty middle school teachers from four schools will participate in professional development while 400 students will be guided on field trips by experts to gather and analyze data, form a hypothesis and consider alternatives. Students will also learn to collaborate in teams to develop solutions and alternatives that consider conservation practices affecting water quality and species habitat considering feasibility, economic impact and practicality. Their research and findings will be featured at a symposium that is open to parents and the public and will feature both oral and visual presentations.

   Cunningham said Southern students will also incorporate math and English/Language Arts into their projects and hone their public speaking skills at the symposium.

   “We’re really looking forward to the hands-on learning and being able to do activities that are cross-curricular. It will help us down the road to do more activities like that.”

Teacher Gains Grant for Young Author’s Conference
Posted 1/15/2020 at 11:31:00 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

SALINEVILLE- Southern Local Elementary teacher Tonyea Kellison is instilling creativity among students in her school and a recent windfall will help procure plans to inspire young writers.

   Kellison, who instructs technology at SLES, received a $250 teacher’s grant from the Columbiana County Retired Teachers Association to conduct a Young Authors Conference this spring. The program includes a visit from a published author who will meet with students and advise them on ways to bring their imagination to life.

   “I had written this grant because we had a Young Author’s Conference and I’d like to bring it back,” she said during a recent school board meeting. “I’d like to bring it back on a lower scale.”

   Last April, SLES hosted Tricia Springstubb, a Cleveland-based author who has published more than 20 children’s books during her career. Springstubb conducted exercises and a question-and-answer segment, plus she visited classrooms where students shared stories they wrote, illustrated and published and each pupil received a signed copy of one of her works. The program is based on a similar event conducted across the county and the school decided to have an event of its own. Kellison’s previous project was funded by a Best Practices Grant she received through the Jefferson County Educational Service Center and the goal was to encourage literacy. Meanwhile, she planned to contact ane author to potentially conduct a daylong workshop with first-to-third-grade students in the spring.

   “We’re going to have students write books and publish them,” she said. “They can share their stories with the author and we’ll do a workshop on bookmaking and being excited about books.”

    Southern Local Superintendent Tom Cunningham commended Kellison for her work in obtaining the funds and coordinating the project.

   “Mrs. Kellison did a great job,” Cunningham said.

Southern Local Starts Year with New Board Members
Posted 1/15/2020 at 11:27:50 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SLBOE 2020 Board

SALINEVILLE-The Southern Local Board of Education kicked off 2020 with new board members as Patty Exline and Rodney Edmiston were sworn into office.

Exline and Edmiston took the oath during the Jan. 8 reorganization meeting, succeeding Jay Cole and Michael Abraham in the positions. The board then respectively elected Kip Dowling and Linda Morris to lead as president and vice president for the remainder of the year and approved policies and matters related to operations. The session was followed by a brief tax budget hearing where District Treasurer Greg Sabbato said figures for 2020-21 would be sent to the Columbiana County Budger Commission.

“The only things that are outstanding is the bond retirement fund and classroom facilities. We’ll probably have the bond paid off in December for $995,000,” Sabbato added. “The classroom facilities fund expires in two years and we use it for operational replacements in the building.”

He cited the outdated boiler system as well as roofing and equipment that are nearing the end of their lifespan.

“We have a 22-year-old roof and its economic life [ends in] less than 24 months. It’s never easy to plan for [upgrades] but we do what we can.”

The board concluded its trifecta of meetings with its first regular session of the year and heard updates from school leaders about planned projects and operational matters.

Southern Local High School Assistant Principal Ron Sines said a new Tattletale wireless alarm system is being added which would inform officials of emergencies in the building. The portable system provides two buttons for teachers and staff to alert school administrators and law enforcement, and Sines said the first would text administrators’ phones if help was needed to deal with an issue in the building while the second would contact safety forces.

“We’re looking to get it for each teacher and it’s instant and wireless and can be programmed into the fire and sheriff’s departments,” Sines continued, saying it would also alert the school resource officer, administrators and board office.

Superintendent Tom Cunningham noted that it would provide another resource for enhanced security.

“We put in schoolSAFEid, which is a neat resource, but when people are scanned in they are in the office. We’re looking at other programs [for further security].”

Oklahoma-based schoolSAFEid is a privately owned company which specializes in cloud-based identification software, both for visitor management systems and generating printable student ID cards. Southern Local recently acquired the system to track students and visitors each time they enter and leave the building. Users simply scan driver’s licenses and state identification cards in a kiosk inside the school offices and it also can issue physical badges and digital visitor ID’s, the latter of which are kept on users’ phones if they are regularly in the building. Both passes can be scanned when visitors leave and the technology also texts teachers when a parent checks in through the system. The key is to help keep track of anyone who visits the schools while also boosting security and efficiency for staff.

Meanwhile, Sines said officials were removing the school fountains in favor of updated hydration systems that provide purified water with energy-infusing electrolytes. A rented system was being installed and leaders were going to review it for a month.

Southern Local Elementary Principal Rich Wright also outlined projects in his building, saying leaders were looking to include the Wilson Foundation Phonics Curriculum for second and third grades. Wright added that discussions were underway to contract with PAX Positive Behavior to start programs for younger classes.

“We will start with preschool, kindergarten and first grade and expand as we move forward and give teachers and staff strategies to correct behaviors,” he said. Other plans are to purchase a new math curriculum and Wright said the district spelling bee was set for Jan. 30.

Additionally, Utica Shale Academy Director Bill Watson gave an update on happenings with the community school. Watson said 72 students were currently enrolled and 17 seniors were at or above requirement levels to graduate. He added that letters would be sent twice a year to conduct residency reviews for the Ohio Department of Education. He noted that ACT and MAP testing were being planned while weekly outreach efforts to improve student attendance were working.

In other action:
-- Morris suggested keeping meetings consistent and officials agreed to meet on the second Wednesdays of the month at 6:30 p.m. in the board office. Sabbato recommended informing the public through a yearly calendar and Cunningham said information would also be available through the district website and social media;
-- The board further approved guidelines for board compensation, setting the amount at $125 per meeting for 24 sessions. During discussion, Edmiston asked to donate his stipends to the district’s Christmas program and provide gifts for needy students;
--Board committees were established with John Sawyer and Exline on finance; Dowling and Edmiston on personnel and negotiations; Sawyer and Morris on maintenance and transportation; Morris and Exline on curriculum and policy; and Dowling and Edmiston on athletics. Sawyer will also remain the legislative liaison to the Ohio School Boards Association while Morris will serve as the district’s student achievement liaison;
--Leaders approved a resolution opposing EdChoice vouchers that state legislators proposed to increase for families and students who attend private and parochial schools. Cunningham said the funds are paid at public tax expense and Southern Local was among districts whose funding would be unjustly decreased, devastating its finances. He added that the private and parochial schools also were not subject to the same testing standards as public schools;
--The board approved the 2020-21 tax budget;
--The next regular meeting was scheduled for Feb. 12 at 6:30 p.m. at the school board office.

(Photo Cutline: The Southern Local Board of Education reorganized for 2020 and swore in Patty Exline and Rodney Edmiston as the newest members. The board also recognized January as School Board Recognition Month and pictured are, front from left, Exline and board Vice President Linda Morris. Back: Edmiston, John Sawyer and board President Kip Dowling.)

Students Learn about Natural Gas Safety
Posted 12/11/2019 at 9:28:24 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SLES Natural Gas Safety

SALINEVILLE- Fifth-graders at Southern Local Elementary School learned the facts and potential dangers of natural gas during a special visit on Dec. 6.

   Justin Magestro and Don Crum, representatives of Columbia Gas Ni Source, visited classes to discuss safety and perform a demonstration for the children. Magestro, a compliance officer from New Castle, Pa., said his job was to make sure departments complied with all safety regulations and Crum, who is retiring as a construction leader from the company’s Salem office, had worked with contractors responsible for installing gas mains and service lines for utility use. 

   During the lesson, Magestro said natural gas was very safe but could become dangerous if not treated correctly.

 “If you are at home, school or a restaurant or somewhere else and you smell natural gas, tell your parents or an adult,” he said. “Don’t touch any switches and tell the adults in the house to leave. Walk outside and call 911 on your cell phone.”

 Light switches and static electricity are possible ignition sources in addition to cell phones, which is why phones should not be activated inside during leaks. Magestro explained that the gas is normally odorless and colorless, so companies add an ingredient called mercaptain to provide a noticeable scent for leak detection. He also shared that propane is heavier than natural gas and sinks to the ground while natural gas rises. Meanwhile, fuel, oxygen and a heat source are needed to ignite a fire but natural gas needs a 5-to-15-percent gas-and-air mixture to become combustible.

   Students were questioned about what they learned and the duo performed safety demonstrations such as igniting gas-filled bubbles and a glass full of natural gas to give further insight. Magestro and Crum have visited Southern Local over nearly a decade and travel around parts of Ohio and Pennsylvania to educate students. Their program was part of the elementary school’s Safe Student/Healthy Student Initiative led by SLES Guidance Counselor Larry Rudloff.

    “Columbia Gas has done this program for eight years,” Rudloff said. “It’s a nice program not only from a scientific aspect, but from a safety aspect as well.”

(Photo Cutline: Don Crum, a representative of Columbia Gas Ni Source, demonstrates how flammable a propane-filled bubble can become during a safety demonstration at Southern Local Elementary School on Dec. 6. Crum and fellow company rep Justin Magestro were on hand to discuss natural gas characteristics and safety to fifth-grade classes as part of the school’s Safe Student/Healthy Student initiative.)

SLBOE Eying Another Levy Attempt for Facilities
Posted 11/20/2019 at 11:45:11 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

SALINEVILLE-Southern Local school officials are eying another attempt to pass a permanent improvement levy this spring after it failed at the polls on Nov. 5.

   During the Nov. 13 regular school board meeting, Superintendent Tom Cunningham said leaders were looking to place the additional levy back on the March 17 primary election ballot after it was defeated by a tally of 715-563. Had it been approved, the goal was to create a committee of taxpayers and board members to help determine the use of funds solely for district-owned properties. He

cited not only some necessary repairs on campus but also a need to modernize facilities to educate students well into the future. For now, the district must contend with repairing broken equipment because the current structure was built around an existing building from the 1960s.

   “The permanent improvement levy was not successful,” he said. “After the Thanksgiving Break, we will form a committee to get a clear message out to voters. Even though we have newer facilities, there are things getting to be 20-25 years of age and needing replaced. We are not just repairing and replacing things, we want to focus [on facilities for our programs].”

   On a related note, Cunningham said the shingled roof was nearing the end of its life expectancy and estimates were being taken to replace them, plus repairs were made to a hot water tank and water holding tank but they and a septic line in the elementary playground will eventually need replaced. He added that the world had changed and the tide has turned from encouraging students to go to college to a more career-ready format.

   “[College] is not a path everyone needs to be on and we want to focus on career pathways, so a lot of the permanent improvement levy would be for that.”

 The additional levy, which equals about 22 cents for each $100 of valuation, would commence in 2020 and be due in 2021 if approved at the polls. Officials said it also would replace an existing 4.21-mill bond approved in 2000 which is being paid off early, thereby saving an estimated total of $100,000. The repayment would also help lower numbers by 40 base points and benefit taxpayers as well.

   Meanwhile, Cunningham thanked voters for approving the 7.84-mill, five-year renewal operating levy during the recent election but said leaders hoped to place the 2.25-mill, five-year additional permanent improvement levy back on the ballot. Voters approved the operating levy by a result 762-514, maintaining a tax that has been on the books since 2000 and was renewed in 2014. That measure will commence in 2020 with collection first due in calendar year 2021.

   In other matters:

--The board approved its five-year forecast, which showed deficit spending around 2025. District Treasurer Greg Sabbato said the Average Daily Membership (ADM) had decreased by 110 students over the past few years, but efforts to pay off the school bond will help save the district in the long run. He noted that year five showed deficit spending and Southern Local was a cap district, meaning it is not gaining extra funding from the state because of its size and population. Not all school districts have a funding cap, which affects those in rural areas, but legislators hope to pass a bill to make allocations more fair;

--Southern Local Elementary Principal Rich Wright reported that teachers in his building were concentrating on assessing standards and using pacing guides and clear learning targets in their lessons, plus meetings have been held by grade level to work on those subjects. Grades K-1 have also procured read-aloud books to guide instruction while grades 2-3 have been using some rooted-in-reading instruction and other activities to prepare for the third-grade assessment. A pizza party reward was also being held for third-graders who stayed on task on the state test for an hour and those who pass the test will enjoy a day of bowling once leaders receive results. Wright also commented that teachers held a building leadership team meeting and want to incorporate the PAX program, plus  they wanted to invite a speaker to a staff meeting to discuss how the program worked in his school districts. He also said the school PTO was eying a holiday concert and craft night for parents on Dec. 10 during the annual Santa’s Workshop;

--Southern Local High School Principal Jay Kiger discussed the football team’s strong season, a visit from motivational speaker Christopher Milo and the successful Veterans Day breakfast and assembly on Nov. 11. Kiger said Milo visited the school ahead of his program and met with students and teachers, plus he was returning more than dozen times over the remainder of the year to help tackle social-emotional issues. He continued that his building was also focusing on academics and Assistant Principal Ron Sines was collaborating with educational experts Carri Meek, instructional coach and CEO of Instructional Growth Seminars and Support, and Dr. Frank Beickelman of The Ohio State University on further professional development initiatives. Kiger also mentioned that Jayce Sloan was named the Salineville Kiwanis Student of the Month for November;

--Leaders praised Coach Wright for the football team’s successful 10-0 record, the volleyball team’s great season and Christopher Milo’s involvement with the district;

--Cunningham said officials met for a strategic planning session and another one is set in January to focus on achieving goals;

--The board learned about the power outage on Nov. 11 which delayed the elementary school’s start time and led to changes in the district’s phone system since many parents missed the all-call;

--Ron Sismondo, director of professional development and curriculum for the Jefferson County Educational Service Center, presented three $600 Best Practice Grants to SLES teachers Jessica Coleman and Holly Davis and SLHS teacher Andrew Vulgamore for their innovative projects;

--The board approved the second reading of a student drug policy and the first reading of a series of updated and new school codes;

--Leaders approved a stipend for Marjorie Hiller for IT maintenance and Kim Louk for step errors;

--The board named Robert Davidson as a substitute custodian and Tim West as flex custodian. SLHS teacher Brett Hughes was also named freshman class advisor for the 2019-20 school year;

--Set the next meeting for Dec. 11 at 6:30 p.m. in the board office.


Southern Local Educators Earn Best Practice Grants
Posted 11/5/2019 at 11:57:08 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
2019 Southern Local BPG

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Southern Adds schoolSAFEid for Extra Security
Posted 11/5/2019 at 10:03:19 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL schoolSafeid

SALINEVILLE-Southern Local Schools now have an extra level of protection to identify visitors to its buildings.

   Oklahoma-based schoolSAFEid is a privately owned company which specializes in cloud-based identification software, both for visitor management systems and generating printable student ID cards. Southern Local recently acquired the system to track students and visitors each time they enter and leave the building. Users simply scan driver’s licenses and state identification cards in a kiosk inside the school offices and it also can issue physical badges and digital visitor ID’s, the latter of which are kept on users’ phones if they are regularly in the building. Both passes can be scanned when visitors leave and the technology also texts teachers when a parent checks in through the system. The key is to help keep track of anyone who visits the schools while also boosting security and efficiency for staff.

   Equipment has been installed at the elementary and high school buildings to provide immediate background checks and guarantee safety. District Technology Coordinator Josh Manist said the system also photographs the visitor and provides easier review of traffic within the schools.

   “It makes one-time digital pass the visitors use and they scan the badge when they leave,” he continued. “I’m excited about it. It’s very personalized to Southern Local and also makes sign-outs for Utica Shale Academy and students going to college [for College Credit Plus courses].”

    Manist noted that it even sends emergency alerts via text to school officials should the system detect someone who should not be inside the building. Parents and authorized individuals may use it to sign out students for doctor’s appointments and other events, plus it can track tardy pupils. Similar systems are currently implemented at schools in Lisbon and South Range, among others.

   Southern Local High School Assistant Principal Ron Sines said he and previous school resource officer Deputy Brandon Hoppel had reviewed equipment at other local schools before settling upon schoolSAFEid.

   “Columbiana already has it,” Sines said. “We’re basically getting a trial run. It will take some time and adjustment but we are working to keep it moving better and more efficiently. It will help us keep track of who is out of the building, especially during fire drills.”

(Photo Cutline: Bridget England, an admissions specialist with Mount Union College, utilizes the new schoolSAFEid system during a visit to Southern Local High School. Visitors must scan their driver’s license or state identification in the main offices of the elementary and high school buildings for a quick background check before gaining admission to the schools. Officials said it adds another layer of protection for students and staff.)

Safety Talk
Posted 11/5/2019 at 10:00:08 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL Rudloff Safety Talk

Southern Local Elementary Guidance Counselor Larry Rudloff led a safety talk on electricity with kindergarten students as part of an American Electric Power science program. Children watched a video and answered questions about what they learned and how they can protect themselves from harm when near a stove, electrical sockets and power lines. AEP also provided activity books to help reinforce the safety tips.

Speaker Christopher Milo to Visit Southern
Posted 10/30/2019 at 9:10:14 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Christopher Milo

SALINEVILLE-Motivational speaker Christopher Milo will appear at Southern Local Schools next week to provide a meaningful, musical message to staff and students.

   Milo, a nationally renowned concert pianist and professional speaker, will visit with Southern Local staff and students over a period of two days starting Nov. 5. School Superintendent Tom Cunningham said Milo will join teachers during their morning meeting at 7 a.m., where he will assess officials and learn what they observe and their ideas on school opportunities. Then he will visit classrooms and interact with students at their level. Milo will return for an all-school assembly with a musical twist on Nov. 7 at 10 a.m. He has spoken to more than 500,000 students, parents and educators on a wide range of topics from leadership and anti-bullying to teen pregnancy and substance abuse.

   He is fully trained in life skills and resiliency with the Summit County Educational Service Center and is currently working with the ESC and Summit County ADM Board to launch his 13 Messages from Milo (13MFM) mentoring program. His unique program creates a non-invasive environment that is welcoming to youth and uses real-life scenarios to drive the messages into people’s hearts and minds. Milo will share the story of how he was paralyzed two decades ago and told by doctors that he would never walk again, and his lesson will also be infused with music and a goal to motivate, encourage and empower others. His program aims to positively impact the entire school, cultivate a school atmosphere where students are eager to learn and attend classes, excite the student body by giving them purpose which creates hope and a “can-do” attitude and instill kindness.

    Cunningham said it was Milo’s first visit and officials welcomed him to the campus.

Black Named October Student of the Month
Posted 10/22/2019 at 12:42:00 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL October Student of the Month Black

SALINEVILLE-Southern Local High School senior Harmony Black has been selected as the Salineville Kiwanis Student of the Month for October.

   Black, the daughter of Dale and Hoi Wah Black of Wellsville, currently holds a 4.331 grade point average and is ranked second in her class. She has been active in her school as president of the student council and the FFA-- the latter of which she’s held for the past two years—and a member of the Science, Spanish and Health Professions Affinity Community (HPAC) clubs. She also volunteers with the Kiwanis and has worked at the Valley Drive In near Salineville. 

    She said she is driven to do better because she knows that she is capable. Black would also advise underclassmen to manage their time wisely in high school and college, while there is always room for improvement. She recalled her favorite memory from her freshman year, when she and classmate Dalton Frischkorn attended a public speaking competition and developed friendships with people from other schools. Meanwhile, she looks to her parents as role models because she and her siblings were taught the value of an education.

   “My parents taught us that education is important, and we are privileged with a free education, so we better make use of it,” she said.

    She plans to attend college and major in biology with emphasis on pre-med and hopes to become a doctor.

Southern Talks Student Success
Posted 10/18/2019 at 11:24:19 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

SALINEVILLE-Southern Local Schools is looking to improve student success by focusing on standards and wellness.

During the Oct. 16 school board session, the board created a new fund after receiving $248,000 from the Ohio Department of Education. The passage of Ohio House Bill 166 this summer allocated $675 million to school districts statewide to support student achievement through mental health counseling, wraparound services, mentoring and after-school programs. The ODE’s “Each Child, Our Future” strategic plan works with the funds to meet the needs of the whole child, be they physical, social, emotional and intellectual. For now, Southern Local leaders were still deciding how to use the windfall.

“This is new funding,” said Treasurer Greg Sabbato. “We have to get a committee and work with the Educational Service Center. We will need to decide [how to use it].”

Student success remained a topic of discussion and Southern Local Elementary Principal Rich Wright said steps were being taken to help teachers benefit their classes. Wright said teachers received unpacked standard binders with pacing guides and he was conducting walkthroughs to look for clear learning targets. He noted that teachers have also undergone workshops with Carri Meek, CEO of Instructional Growth Mindset and an instructional specialist, and Dr. Frank Beickelman of The Ohio State University but further plans are to use PAX positive behaviors to curb distractive students in the classroom.

“The teachers will also be given a half-day coming up in November to work with their grade-level teams on standards and learning targets,” he commented. “We sent out a behavior survey to teachers and a majority of the responses received were of [some students being] chatty, out of seats and not listening. We are hoping that when we partner with PAX for positive behavior that we will be able to provide teachers with other strategies and tools to help these children succeed and become less of a distraction. We’re going to try to change students’ behaviors. Crestview and Columbiana are using it in the elementary grades and it’s another resource for teachers. We want to get on target with learning standards and the packet is a big advantage.”

Superintendent Tom Cunningham echoed those remarks, saying the PAX program and Depth of Knowledge folders were positive ways to help students attain success.

During high school building reports, Cunningham added that Dr. Marcelina Higgins, SLHS intervention, digital and library specialist, was attending an Ohio Career and Technical workshop and leaders were looking to add more career and tech programs next year. Cunningham also commented that high school students attended a Valley STEM event last month and next year officials plan to send at least one grade to the event. Additionally, he mentioned that he was selected to serve on the 25-member State Superintendent’s Cabinet which meets quarterly. An introductory session occurred last month and he planned to attend the next meeting in December. Also, he applied to serve with the Ohio Superintendents’ Professional Learning Academy.

Meanwhile, Utica Shale Academy Executive Director Bill Watson updated the school board on happenings within the community school. Watson said 15 more students were added to the program, bringing the total to 71. He noted that the USA Board of Directors was eyeing the implementation of a Career Connections program to get kids working with local contractors to earn money, credit and work experience, while the program also receives funding. Officials are looking to have it ready next month and are seeking interest from local contractors as potential partners. Watson continued that 16 welding students also visited the W.H. Sammis Plant in Stratton to gain perspective about possible careers and view a full industrial scale of welding. More field trips are planned in November including to the Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 396 in Youngstown and another eyed in December to a nuclear power plant simulator in Pennsylvania.

He concluded that the 2020 graduation checklist was being done and students have taken part in a monthly drive to log online hours from home to meet full-time equivalency. They have logged 672 hours so far and earned a pizza party for their hard work, but another drive is set for December.

In other action, the board:
--Learned grant opportunities were in the works for the high school science department and more details would be forthcoming;
--Learned the school PTO’s recent Breakfast with a Loved One drew nearly 400 participants while Trunk or Treat 
was set at the school on Nov. 1;
--Approved a Power of Democracy class field trip to Kennywood Park on
Oct. 19-20 for Fright Night;
--Agreed to pay employee Kelly Malone for step errors;
--Approved Mark Kovalcik, Lizabeth Hogue and Nicolas Talbott as substitute teachers;
--Approved a contract for speech services and a service agreement for student learning objective materials from the Jefferson County Educational Service Center;
--Approved the resignation of Mary Jones effective Sept. 19;
--Approved one-year limited contracts for cafeteria worker Dawn Gotschall and custodian Kathy Ohler;
--Approved supplemental contracts for the 2019-20 school year for Logan Hickman, assistant wrestling coach; Wayne Johnson and Jaret Dowlng, volunteer assistant boys’ basketball coaches; Stephen Grimm, varsity assistant basketball coach; and Carter Hill, freshman boys’ basketball coach;
--Approved permanent appropriations for Fiscal Year 2020, which District Treasurer Greg Sabbato said remained unchanged from the temporary appropriations approved at the beginning of the year;
--Approved Shale stipends for FY’19 for Josh Manist, Heidi McIntosh, Tom Cunningham, Greg Sabbato, Debbie Lyle, Julie Dowling, Laura Krulik, Tony DelBoccio and Whitney Tsesmilles and FY’20 stipends for Josh Manist, Heidi McIntosh, Tom Cunningham, Greg Sabbato, Debbie Lyle, Julie Dowling, Kristy Sampson, Laura Krulik, Jay Kiger, Whitney Tsesmilles, Jess Krulik, George Whittaker, Marylou Taylor, Kyle Exline, Lori Ronshak, Eric Sampson, Michele Skinner, Lori Deem, Todd Walters, Kristin Hepner and Mike Skrinjar;
--Approved the first reading of a student drug testing policy;
--Approved Lisa Pitts as a custodian;
--Named Charlie Puckett as athletic grounds supervisor for FY’19 and FY’20;
--Set the next regular meeting for Nov. 13 at 6:30 p.m. in the board office.

Little Firefighter-in-Training
Posted 10/11/2019 at 11:17:01 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SLES Fire Prevention

Jase Owens, a first-grade student at Southern Local Elementary School, got the chance to handle the firehose with help from Highlandtown Volunteer Fire Department firefighter Luke Frischkorn during Fire Prevention Week. Emergency personnel from the Highlandtown, Salineville and Franklin Township VFD’s stopped by from Sept. 30-Oct. 4 to speak with students in grades PreK-3 about safety and preventative measures and show off equipment and fire trucks. Meanwhile, teachers in grades 4-6 held programs in their classrooms and stressed the importance of fire safety at home, at school and in the community.

SLES Promotes Safety, Character with October Programs
Posted 10/11/2019 at 11:05:53 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

SALINEVILLE-Southern Local Elementary is promoting student safety and character with a series of programs occurring throughout this month.

   Guidance Counselor Larry Rudloff has scheduled Safe Student/Healthy Student programs through the fall with the intention of guiding them to make positive choices in the future.

   “The goal of these programs is to provide our students with the knowledge and understanding that will enable them to make good decisions and choices that will promote a safe and healthy lifestyle,” he said.

   Among the programs are “Wise and Safe Use of Natural Gas in the Home,” which he will lead for kindergarten classes on Oct. 16; a school bus and seat belt safety presentation that Rudloff will host for first-graders and a school bus safety program by district Transportation Director Rob Marra for kindergarten, second- and third-grade students on Oct. 17; the Deputy Phil program for grades 1-3 on Oct. 18; a McGruff the Crime Dog gun safety discussion with Rudloff for second-graders on Oct. 24; an American Electric Power science program for kindergarten and fourth-graders on Oct. 25; the Christina Shelter with “Good Touch, Bad Touch” for third-grade students on Oct. 28; “It’s Your Call: Playing It Safe around Guns” with Rudloff for fourth-graders on Oct. 29; Personal Pride/Indian Pride pencil distribution with “My Character Matters” for grades 4-6 on Oct. 30; and “John’s Choice: A Story about Honesty” with Rudloff for second-grade classes on Oct. 31.

   Meanwhile, SLES will recognize Red Ribbon Week on Oct. 21-25 with the theme “Be All You Can Be, Stay Drug-Free.” 

    Students in grades PreK-6 will receive wristbands and pencils to observe the occasion and teachers will reinforce the importance and purpose of Red Ribbon Week in their classrooms.

   “Each year, Red Ribbon Week is sponsored by Ohio Parents for Drug Free Youth. The ultimate goal is to educate our students about the dangers of drug abuse and misuse and to promote a drug-free, bully-free and violence-free life for all children,” Rudloff said. “This year’s theme is a call to action to give our students the opportunity to speak out in support of healthy choices. The theme is also a reminder that by staying drug-free, you are sending a message to yourself and others about how much you value yourself, your overall health, your community and your future.”

   He noted that Red Ribbon Week was the largest drug prevention campaign in the country and recognizing it would hopefully have a positive impact upon students when making decisions about using drugs.

College Credit Plus Program Evolves at Southern
Posted 10/8/2019 at 12:18:31 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SLES CCP Evolves

SALINEVILLE-The College Credit Plus program has evolved at Southern Local High School and more teachers are becoming certified so students can remain in the classroom. 

   This is the first year that high school teachers are leading college-level classes and about 45 students participate. Students generally have travelled to Kent State University’s East Liverpool Campus or Eastern Gateway Community College, but Ron Infanti, facilitator at SLHS, said there were myriad benefits to conducting classes onsite such as saving on travel time to keeping students in a familiar environment. But the biggest advantages are that today’s SLHS students could graduate with both a high school diploma and a college associate’s degree and save costs in the long run.

 “It’s a high school setting, but when you leave here you are a college student,” Infanti said, adding that it also helps build students’ confidence when they actually head to an institution of higher learning.

    SLHS currently officers English, Spanish, history and online psychology and art classes—the latter two of which Infanti facilitates-- while students may catch up on work in any course during flex time in the media center. To qualify, teachers must provide their college transcripts to EGCC and among the present instructors are SLHS Assistant Principal Ron Sines, teachers Kelly Clark, Mary Lou Taylor and Bob Shansky and Spanish teacher Carla Calderon.

 “Our goal is to try to get more teachers to be able to teach classes here,” Infanti added. “There will actually be 10 classes here this year and will hopefully add sociology and communication next semester. We’ve got 45 students taking one or more college classes.”

    CCP is available to grades 7-12 and Infanti said one middle school student is actively involved. While the teaching concept is new, he said it truly benefits students.

   “I like it because the kids can go to any technical school,” he added. “Whether it’s a one-year school, two-year school or four-year school, it starts here. They really have 10 credits or more when they start college and this is free.”

   English teacher Kelly Clark likes the concept because it prepares high school students for college-level studies.

   “I like the fact that we offer this so they have an advantage when they get to college,” Clark said. “English class is the best place to start because we work on how to write college papers. Being able to give them the advantage of true college writing in a high school classroom is instrumental to their success in college.”

    Several SLHS students said it was hard work but it would help them in the long run.

   “It’s great,” said junior Brock Smalley. “I like being able to get a head start on my future.”

   Ninth-grader Nicholas Sabbato said he was studying art history and psychology and it was a real challenge.

    “It prepares us for what we’re going to have to deal with once we graduate,” noted junior Delainey Mellott.

   SLHS Principal Jay Kiger said the program a valuable educational resource.

   “If a kid starts his or her freshman year, they could literally walk out with an associate’s degree with Eastern Gateway Community College their senior year.”

   Hopes are to add more courses next year including medical terminology and statistics, as well as a possible literature class.

(Photo Cutline: Southern Local High School junior Arianna Goley reviews her critical essay assignment with English teacher Kelly Clark as part of College Credit Plus program. About 45 students participate and can earn a diploma and an associate’s degree when they leave high school and also save costs on education when they go on to college. This is also the first year for some SLHS teachers to instruct college courses in the classroom.)

Book Fair Visit
Posted 10/8/2019 at 12:14:49 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SLES Book Fair

Southern Local Elementary students took advantage of the fall book fair, which also corresponded with a special PTO breakfast event with their loved ones on Oct. 7 and 8. Students purchased books and other merchandise and classes still have opportunities to peruse items through Friday, while proceeds from the sale will help acquire new books and supplies for the school library. Pictured are kindergarten student Connor Shaw with his little brother, Garrett, and mom Nichole checking out with their purchase.  

SLES FFA Team Advances to State Soils Contest
Posted 10/2/2019 at 9:49:42 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SLHS FFA Soils Competition

The Southern Local High School FFA attended the District III Soils Competition on Sept. 25 at Garwood Cattle of Columbiana, where 10 ag soils teams and nine urban soils teams took part. Southern Local’s team of Dalton Frischkorn, Garrett Brewer, Andrew Desellem, Jacob Prendergast and Caleb Prendergast placed fifth out of 10 teams in the ag soils category and move on to the state competition in Columbus on Oct. 12. Individually, Frischkorn earned 10th, Brewer was 17th, Desellem placed 30th, Caleb Prendergast was 35th and Jacob Prendergast was 44th out of 45 participants. Meanwhile, urban soils contestants Emily Walker and Bethany McCartney respectively placed 18th and 28th out of 29 participants. Pictured are, from left, Emily Walker, Caleb Prendergast, Dalton Frischkorn, Jacob Prendergast, Andrew Desellem, Garrett Brewer and Bethany McCartney.

SLES Hosting Fire Prevention Week Activities
Posted 9/25/2019 at 9:41:59 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

SALINEVILLE-Local emergency personnel will promote Fire Prevention Week at Southern Local Elementary with activities slated for Sept. 30-Oct. 4.

    Firefighters will visit the school throughout the week and speak to students about safety and preventative measures. SLES Guidance Counselor Larry Rudloff said officials with the Highlandtown Volunteer Fire Department will stop by Sept. 30 to meet with grades K-2 while the Salineville and Franklin Township VFD’s will address preschoolers and third-graders on Oct. 3. The firefighters will lead classroom presentations before taking students outside to view fire trucks and equipment.

   “The program will be divided into two parts,” he said. “Part one of the program will pertain to general fire safety and fire equipment and part two will consist of the students viewing the mobile fire equipment.”

   The Highlandtown VFD will also provide educational and safety materials and sponsor a home fire escape plan contest. The contest gives students the opportunity to develop a functional escape plan that could be implemented during an actual house fire. Rudloff will also provide materials to classes and videos will be available for younger students to view. In case of inclement weather, the Highlandtown VFD may either decide to hold the program indoors or postpone it for another day while Salineville and Franklin Twp. fire officials have set Oct. 7 as a make-up day. Should it rain at that time, they may opt to hold an indoor session.

   Meanwhile, teachers in grades 4-6 will hold programs for their classes during the week and touch upon the importance of fire safety at home, at school and in the community.

Woodford is SL September Student of the Month
Posted 9/25/2019 at 9:40:31 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL Woodford September SOM

SALINEVILLE-Myka Woodford has been selected as Southern Local High School’s Salineville Kiwanis Student of the Month for September.

 Woodford, the daughter of David and Kimberly Woodford of Salineville, currently holds a 4.151 GPA and is ranked sixth in her senior class. She is also a member of the National Honor Society, marching, concert and pep bands, school leadership committee, science club, Spanish club and student council and also was a representative at American Legion Auxiliary Buckeye Girls State last year.

    After graduation, Woodford plans to attend Kent State University in East Liverpool and study environmental science.

New SRO Begins at Southern Local
Posted 9/25/2019 at 9:38:02 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

SALINEVILLE- There’s a new school resource officer in town, or rather, at Southern Local Schools.

   Deputy Chase Askounes took on his new role Sept. 12, replacing longtime SRO Deputy Brandon Hoppel. Deputy Askounes is a new member of the Columbiana County Sheriff’s Office, having joined the force about two months ago, but he previously served as an officer for the Liverpool Township Police for 2 ½ years. He has been busy making the rounds at SLES and is getting acquainted with the staff and students. The new SRO said everyone has been welcoming and he was excited about the role.

   “I love it,” he said. “I go at lunchtime and speak to a lot of the kids so we can have positive interaction. When I get the opportunity, I will go to sporting events so they can see me and have more contact with me after school.”

   He said law enforcement has always been an interest of his and he took courses at Eastern Gateway Community College after graduating from high school, which ultimately led to his stints with the township police and CCSO.

   “It’s one of the things I’ve always wanted to do, just to get to help somebody,” he said. “To help one person change their view or help with something in their life is a proud accomplishment.”

   Being around the students should also come easily since he is the third child in a family of nine and his siblings range in age from five to 27. Once he gets acclimated, he plans to work with the schools and continue the Kelly Bear character-based program for youngsters as well as a drug awareness and positive behavior initiative for the fifth- and sixth-grade classes. The Kelly Bear program will take place this spring and he expected to coordinate the latter program with SLES Principal Rich Wright and guidance counselor Larry Rudloff for implementation this year.

(Photo Cutline: Columbiana County Sheriff’s Deputy Chase Askounes, the new school resource officer at Southern Local Schools, gets acquainted with elementary schoolchildren Jacob Crawford, left, and Dylan Davis as he performs duties for the district. Deputy Askounes began on Sept. 12 and succeeds longtime SRO Deputy Brandon Hoppel.)

Aiming High Program Returns to SLES
Posted 9/25/2019 at 9:34:40 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL Aiming High

SALINEVILLE-Southern Local Elementary students are learning about good decision-making skills and character traits as the latest installment of the Aiming High program gets under way in classrooms.

   Leslie Rivera and Tiffani McAfee, education specialists with the Family Recovery Center of Lisbon, are hosting sessions for first- and fourth-grade classes on Wednesdays from Sept. 18-Oct. 9 and topics focus on life skills such as making good decisions, promoting good health and knowing how to be a good person or citizen. Carmen the Cat will be featured in first-grade rooms for lessons about differences, anger, stop and think and good health while fourth-graders will learn about respecting differences, peer pressure, decision making and medicine safety.

 Larry Rudloff, SLES guidance counselor, said each program is age appropriate and more lessons are slated for this year. Fifth- and sixth-grade classes will participate on Wednesdays from Oct. 16-Nov. 13 while kindergarten and second-grade students will take part in February.

 “They’ve had a presence at Southern Local for a long time. This is the education unit and they also have a therapy unit,” Rudloff said. “We provide this through a grant they received and it provides kids with the support and components they need.”

(Photo Cutline: First-grade students at Southern Local Elementary School learned about differences during a lesson from representatives of the Family Resource Center in Lisbon. Education specialists Tiffani McAfee, pictured at left, and Leslie Rivera kicked off the Aiming High program on Sept. 18 and are speaking to first- and fourth-grade classes over the next four weeks about making good decisions. Rivera introduced Carmen the Cat into the discussion and read a story while students also completed activities based upon the lesson. The Aiming High program provides grade-appropriate lessons from grades K-6 and will continue sessions with fifth- and sixth-graders on Oct. 16-Nov. 6 and kindergarten and second-grade students in February.)

Anti-Virus Program Shared with Students
Posted 9/13/2019 at 10:33:57 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

SALINEVILLE-Seventh- and eighth-graders at Southern Local Jr. High School are taking part in a special 10-week program designed to develop positive life character.

   Assistant Principal Ron Sines leads the Anti-Virus program each Friday in Brett Hughes’s English class and about 140 students will address such topics as ambition, responsibility, common sense and generosity. Sines said it also gives him a chance to be more proactive with the pupils.

   “It’s a different way for me to have contact with the students other than when they come to my office,” he said. “The program was offered to schools in Columbiana County after somebody stepped up and donated money for them to be offered. I don’t know who it was, but I would like to say thank you.”

   Anti-Virus was provided by Leader’s Edge, an organization that trains, equips and challenges leaders to leverage their influence to change the world through workplace leadership, personal development, team development, organizational leadership and youth development. The group promotes Anti-Virus program in Ohio middle schools to teach seven character principles to foster sound decision making.

   “The program has been done in a variety of countries and I’ve just introduced it. It’s for students to get a better understanding of themselves and to stop and think before they make a decision that could affect them and their reputation.”

   Sines noted that students will be surveyed at the conclusion to gather insight.

Southern Implementing schoolSAFEid
Posted 9/13/2019 at 9:11:50 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

SALINEVILLE-Southern Local Schools will add some extra security with a new visitor registration system being implemented soon.

   Deputy Brandon Hoppel, school resource officer, said the district has acquired an estimated $10,000 schoolSAFEid system which will be located at the high school and elementary entrances with a mobile console kept in the rear maintenance area. Deputy Hoppel said the equipment would scan driver’s licenses or state ID’s before visitors gain admittance.

 “We will receive the program in a few weeks and as visitors come into the building, we swipe the driver’s license and it will do a short background check. Once it is approved, it prints out a label for the visitor to wear and it gives them authorization to enter the building,” he said. 

    He added that the equipment also identifies people coming into the schools and may track tardy students, while a portable unit at the rear of the building could also be used for emergency drills and on- and off-site evacuations. Similar systems are used at schools in Lisbon, South Range and Columbiana and he and officials reviewed equipment at other sites before opting for the schoolSAFEid model.

    “It will at least identify people in the building and I think it will be a tremendous help. People can also sign up for the App that scans their phone and prints a visitor’s badge, which is good for vendors and regular visitors.”

Southern Local Elementary PTO Hosting Upcoming Events
Posted 9/13/2019 at 9:10:54 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

SALINEVILLE-The Southern Local Elementary PTO is putting the “fun” in fundraising and inviting parents and students to enjoy some upcoming events.

   Families can take part in a movie experience during Community Night on Sept. 25 from 6-8 p.m. Doors open at 5:45 p.m. for a showing of “The Secret Life of Pets 2” in the high school cafeteria and the cost is $2 per person and $10 for a family of five or more. Popcorn will also be sold for $1 per bag while water is free of charge.

   “This event had been done many years ago but we thought it would be great to bring back,” said PTO President Kayla Terdina. “We want to give those kids that may not have the opportunity to see the newer movies in a theater a safe and fun place to see them.”

   Terdina said a community night activity will be planned every nine weeks and the organization also invites people to join their monthly PTO meetings on the third Tuesday of each month at 5 p.m. in the SLES cafeteria.

   Next is Breakfast with a Loved One on Oct. 8. Officials are still determining the venue based upon the number of RSVP’s they receive, but the idea is to allow kids and their families to come together and share the most important meal of the day. Kids eat free while adults pay $5 per person or $8 per couple at the door. Families will nosh on a plate of scrambled eggs, sausage, sausage gravy and biscuits, coffee and water. 

   “The purpose of this event is to give children the chance to eat breakfast with their loved one that they may not see all the time or someone they do see but want to show them their school,” she continued. “This is the first time we’ve ever held this event.”

   Proceeds from both events will go to the PTO to defray costs for student activities, busing for field trips and end-of-school celebrations, to name a few. For more information, contact Terdina at (330) 383-6605 or at kdterdina@yahoo.com,  Vice President Debra Prendergast at (330) 853-4923 or prendergastd1980@gmail.com or through the Southern Local Elementary PTO Facebook page.

Coffee with the Superintendent at SLES
Posted 9/13/2019 at 9:09:22 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

SALINEVILLE-Residents within the Southern Local School District are invited this Friday morning for the kickoff of a monthly gathering with Superintendent Tom Cunningham.

   Coffee with the Superintendent will be held the second Friday of each month starting Sept. 13 from 7:30-8:30 a.m. and the first event will take place in the Southern Local Elementary cafeteria. Attendants can enjoy free coffee and pastries and Cunningham said the purpose was to discuss school-related issues in a relaxed atmosphere.

   “It will be a casual chat and all of the community is invited,” he said. “If people have questions and concerns, we can discuss it there I hope it becomes a tradition.”

   He will be joined by district Treasurer Greg Sabbato and wanted to have administrators and other school representatives at future sessions. Cunningham said further events would be conducted throughout the community to accommodate people without transportation.

   “People will have more contact with us,” he added. “It was something I thought about last year. I never had time to plan it out but it will help me meet more community members. I think we need to hear from the district residents and share things they may not be aware that we’re doing here.”

   For more information, contact the school board office at (330) 679-2343.

Aiming High Program Returns to SLES
Posted 9/13/2019 at 9:08:19 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

SALINEVILLE-Southern Local Elementary students will be learning more about good decision-making skills and character traits as the latest installment of the Aiming High program comes to the school next week.

   Leslie Rivera, an education specialist with the Family Recovery Center of Lisbon, will host sessions for first-grade classes on Sept. 18 and 25 and fourth-graders on Oct. 2 and 9. Topics will focus on life skills such as making good decisions, promoting good health and knowing how to be a good person or citizen. Carmen the Cat will be featured in first-grade rooms for lessons about differences, anger, stop and think and good health while Rivera will speak to fourth-graders about respecting differences, peer pressure, decision making and medicine safety.

 Larry Rudloff, SLES guidance counselor, said each program is age appropriate and more lessons are slated for this year. Fifth- and sixth-grade classes will participate on Wednesdays from Oct. 16-Nov. 13 while kindergarten and second-grade students will take part in February.

 “They’ve had a presence at Southern Local for a long time. This is the education unit and they also have a therapy unit,” Rudloff said. “We provide this through a grant they received and it provides kids with the support and components they need.”

Southern Back to School Bash Draws Crowd
Posted 8/21/2019 at 9:21:23 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL Back to School Bash

SALINEVILLE-The summer heat didn’t deter hundreds of people from turning out for the eighth annual Southern Local Back to School Bash on Aug. 19.

   Students and their families gathered on the campus where more than two-dozen vendors doled out information, food, music, giveaways and other items to welcome kids back for another school year. District Special Education Coordinator Laura Krulik organized the event and said students familiarized themselves with their surroundings as Southern Local High School Assistant Principal Ron Sines led a seventh-grade orientation and class schedules were distributed in the office, while SLES conducted an open house and pupils brought in supplies prior to the first day of school.

   “I think we had a really good turnout from community and family members,” she said. “We did some restructuring and had extra reading books available for free and people took advantage of that. It was the first time for [Mercy Health’s Kikel Dental Clinic van] and Ohio State University offered information on nutrition, plus EVE Music Studio of Wellsville offered free lessons.”

   Businesses, churches, agencies and organizations dotted the grounds and included school sports teams, the SLES PTO, school teachers and staff with free school supplies and hygiene products, Columbiana County Emergency Management Agency, Family and Children First Council, the Columbiana County Department of Job and Family Services, HeadStart, Help Me Grow, Family Recovery Center, Salineville Assembly of God, The RedZone and an A. C. Gilbert Toy Co. antique vehicle, among others. Attendants also enjoyed inflatable rides from Movin & Groovin Productions of Toronto, music from DJ Chelsea Householder and treats such as hot dogs, Snow Cones and popcorn, plus fall athletes were spotlighted during a Meet the Team event in the high school gym. Krulik said about 800 book bags were available for distribution and those who didn’t attend the bash could still receive one in the school offices. She added that students also had a chance to address address any schedule changes and meet teachers and administrators.

   “This was an opportunity for a connection between the staff and community so we could work out any issues before the school year starts,” she commented.

    Superintendent Tom Cunningham was looking forward to an exciting school year ahead with new high school Principal Jay Kiger, SLES Principal Rich Wright and Assistant Principal Emily Brinker and Utica Shale Academy Director Bill Watson at the helm, in addition to growth among kindergarten enrollment. 

   “I think kindergarten numbers are up to 258 and we had to add a third kindergarten teacher, so it’s a positive,” Cunningham quipped. “I am very excited and I think it’s going to be a good year.”

  School officially starts for grades 1-12 on Aug. 22 with the first day of kindergarten set for Aug. 27 and preschool classes beginning Aug. 28.

(Photo Cutline: Southern Local Elementary first-grader Ariana Woodburn, 6, of Wellsville, climbs through an inflatable obstacle course during the district’s eighth annual Back to School Bash on Aug. 19. Hundreds of students and family members turned out to enjoy free food, music, fun, giveaways and more as they familiarized themselves with their surroundings in the high school and elementary buildings. Students in grades 1-12 return to class on Aug. 22 with kindergarteners coming back Aug. 27 and preschoolers beginning on Aug. 28.)

Southern Project on Track
Posted 7/29/2019 at 10:35:09 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

SALINEVILLE-Southern Local High School is getting a new track that will benefit both school athletes and the community.

   During the July 17 regular session, school board members OK’d plans to proceed with Current Surfaces Inc., of East Lansing, Mich., to add rubber surfacing for a track around the football field at Wigwam Stadium. Superintendent Tom Cunningham said the $63,000 project will take about six days to complete and it should be finished sometime this fall. 

   “We’ve never had a track and the work will also include a long jump strip,” he said. “It will be a three- to four-lane track and they will determine that once they take measurements. It will not only be an asset for the track team but also our community.”

  Cunningham added that the track will primarily be used for practices and possibly junior high meets, plus it will also be open to residents to get some exercise.

   “We wanted something for the kids to run on, but it will also be nice for the community to use for walking,” he noted.

    The project will be done while the football team was not using the field, such as during away games, and is expected to wrap up around September or October. Cunningham said Current Surfaces has also completed work in the Beaver Local and East Liverpool school districts.

   Meanwhile, the board tabled talks to place two issues on the Nov. 5 general election ballot until the auditor’s office could provide the necessary figures. A special meeting was set for July 30 at 6 p.m. for final approval to proceed with the 2.25-mill permanent improvement levy and 7.84-mill operating renewal levy this fall. The former is an additional levy for a period of five years and would help maintain district facilities. Officials said a committee of taxpayers and board members will help determine use of the funds for permanent improvements and security. The permanent improvement levy, which equals about 22 cents for each $100 of valuation, would commence in 2020 and be due in 2021. The district is also seeking support for the 7.84-mill, five-year operating renewal levy that has been on the books for nearly two decades. It was last approved in 2014 and leaders said there would be no new taxes if it passes again. If approved, that levy would commence in 2020 with collection first due in calendar year 2021.

   In other action, the board:

--Approved the second reading of policies regarding procurement of federal grants and funds and purchasing and bidding;

--Approved contracts from the Jefferson County Educational Service Center for teacher Ron Berdis and paraprofessionals Lonnie Fields, Brenda McCulley, Natasha McCulley, Lindsay Pratt, Terry Vest, Julie Garner and Kayla Terdina;

--Approved Carter Hill as a full-time substitute teacher and to mentor students at the Utica Shale Academy;

--Learned 60 students were registered for the elementary summer camp starting Aug. 5;

--Approved supplemental contracts for Fernando DeChellis and Rich Sloan as junior high basketball coaches during the 2019-20 school year;

--Adopted a calamity day alternative make up plan;

--Set the next regular meeting for Aug. 21 at 6 p.m. at the board office.

Michael is SL Student of the Month
Posted 5/22/2019 at 9:05:32 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL Michael SOM

SALINEVILLE-Southern Local High School student Samantha Michael has been named the Salineville Kiwanis Student of the Month for May.

 Michael, the daughter of Nicole and Sean Michael of Salineville, is ranked second in her class with a 4.229 GPA.

   She has been on the All A’s Honor Roll for her entire high school career and was inducted into the National Honor Society last year. Michael has also lettered in softball and basketball. She was a member of the Youth Coalition during her freshman and sophomore years and also attended Leadership Camp through that program.

 She participates in College Credit Plus and will earn 24 college credits between her junior and senior years of high school. Michael has been accepted into the radiology program at Kent State University in Salem and will major in radiologic technology.

Administrative Roles Lead SLBOE Meeting
Posted 5/17/2019 at 11:18:57 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

SALINEVILLE-Southern Local Elementary School Principal Kristy Sampson has gained a new role within the district while the search is on for her successor.

   Sampson, who has served as principal for the past four years, was given a two-year contract as the district Title and grant fund administrator during the May 8 meeting which combines a multitude of tasks. Superintendent Tom Cunningham said it was a new position and will cover federal programs, funding, compliance, the Safe Schools program, attendance, professional development opportunities, preschool coordination and state teacher evaluation observations of preschool and some elementary staff, among other areas. It also alleviates many of the responsibilities currently performed by the building administrators so they could focus more on classroom academics. Cunningham praised Sampson and said she brings a wealth of knowledge to the post.

   “She’s been an asset to our district and she has a lot of knowledge about federal programs, funding and compliance, and we can better utilize her there,” he said.

    Sampson has been with the district since 2006, working up the ranks as a teacher at SLHS before becoming the district grants coordinator in 2013 and briefly serving as the special education director. She said she was excited about her new position, which will start at the end of June.

   “I am looking forward to new opportunities and being able to work in a district capacity,” she commented.

   Applications for her successor were taken until May 17 with some in-house interviews conducted throughout that week and outside contenders being interviewed the next week. About seven applications were received at that time.

   Meanwhile, Principal Tony DelBoccio will remain at Southern Local Jr./Sr. High School after receiving a three-year contract extension. DelBoccio has served the school district for and is delighted to continue at SLHS.

   “I am very grateful,” he said, adding that he has served the district for six years with the past three leading the high school.

    He counted the school health pathway opportunities and partnerships with colleges and companies for college and career readiness among his highlights thus far, as well as his open-door policy and rapport with staff that allows for an exchange of ideas to improve education.

   Cunningham commented that DelBoccio has plenty of vision when it comes to growing educational programs for students.

 “With his leadership over the next three years, our academic offerings are going to improve as well as our college and career readiness programs.”

   In other action, the board:

--Approved Lisa Pitts as a substitute educational aide for the remainder of the school year;

--Approved personnel for the substitute list for the 2019-2020 school year;

--Approved supplemental contracts for Kari Sevek as seventh-grade volleyball coach, Becky Jordan as JV volleyball coach and Marci Higgins as freshman volleyball coach for the 2019-20 school year;

--Approved supplemental contracts for Brenda Kekel as high school assistant girls’ track coach and James Malone as junior high boys’ track coach for the 2018-19 school year;

--Named Sheakley as worker’s compensation servicer for the 2019-2020 school year;

--Approved the list of 2019 high school graduates;

--Gave one-year limited contracts to Tonyea Kellison, Linda Swearingen and Chris Thompson;

--Approved a three-year contract for Rich Wright as Utica Shale Academy/Southern Local administrator;

--Approved a supplemental contract for Cynthia Peshel for itinerant services for speech;

--Approved a lease agreement with the Jefferson County Educational Service Center Governing Board for the Utica Shale Academy as well as a five-year management agreement for the program, a participation agreement and an indemnification and lease agreement to partner with JCESC and Utica Shale Academy governing boards;

--Approved Kelly Malone and Holly Davis as junior class co-advisors for the 2019-2020 school year;

--Set the next meeting for June 12 at 5:30 p.m. at the board office.

Clarett Speaking at Southern
Posted 5/6/2019 at 9:07:19 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL Clarett Speaking

Former American football runningback Maurice Clarett will speak at Southern Local High School this Friday at 12:30 p.m. in the gym. Clarett, who played for Ohio State University and later the Omaha Nighthawks, is currently a public speaker who founded The Red Zone behavioral health agency and will discuss his own personal struggles with students in grades 7-12. He recently visited the school district and is pictured with, from left, Treasurer Greg Sabbato, Superintendent Thomas Cunningham and Principal Tony DelBoccio.

Resolution Approved for Third-Grade Testing
Posted 5/1/2019 at 11:16:08 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

SALINEVILLE-The Southern Local Board of Education held a special session on April 28 to take action on third-grade assessments for next fall.

  During the brief meeting, board members passed a resolution which allows those students to take pencil-and-paper exams instead of completing them online for state English/Language Arts and math assessments in the fall. Superintendent Tom Cunningham said districts have the option to do so and it will also ease the process for students who may not be familiar with the high-tech process.

   “Students will have the opportunity to take pencil-and-paper tests and we had to fax in [our resolution] by May 1,” Cunningham said, explaining the need for the special meeting. “It’s all online with the state this year and this is an ordinance that schools can opt for.”

    He added that the decision was made following talks with elementary teachers and it should impact some 50 students.

   “After meeting with teachers earlier this year, one of the concerns was that first- and second-graders were not comfortable with the technology, and come fall they have to test on a computer. When this opportunity came up, I reached out to a couple of other districts [for information]. We hope this makes students feel a little more comfortable when doing the assessments.”

   Southern Local Elementary Guidance Counselor Larry Rudloff said while the third-graders will have the opportunity to complete the tests in the regular format, other grades will take the online assessments unless it is expressed otherwise in their Individual Education Plans, or IEP’s. Other grades to be tested include fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and 10th.

Woodford Heading to Girls State
Posted 5/1/2019 at 11:14:36 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL Woodford to Buckeye Girls State

Southern Local High School junior Myka Woodford was named a delegate for American Legion Auxiliary Buckeye Girls State 2019 and will attend the program on June 16-22 at the University of Mount Union in Alliance. The program helps educate Ohio’s young women in the duties, privileges, rights and responsibilities of good citizenship.

Black Earns Scholarship
Posted 5/1/2019 at 11:12:06 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL Jasmine Black Scholarship

SALINEVILLE-Southern Local High School senior Jasmine Black received the 2019 Emerging Health Leaders Scholarship during the annual HPAC Scholars Day on April 28.

   Black, the daughter of Dale and Hoi Wah Black of Wellsville, ranks first in her class with a 4.378 GPA and plans to study medicine at Youngstown State University. The $1,500 scholarship is provided by the Health Path Foundation of Ohio and she was the lone recipient in the state. Black said she was pleased to earn the scholarship and it will help her further her education.

   “I’m excited,” she said. “It will help pay for my books.”

   She had to submit an application and essay to receive the award. HPAC advisor Nancy Saling said the school organization was the only one of its kind in Columbiana County and many existed across the state, while Black was among hundreds of seniors considered for the award.

   “There is only one scholarship and she was the one to receive it,” Saling added.

   Black attended Scholars Day at Baldwin Wallace University in Berea with the SLHS chapter, which also includes juniors Harmony Black and Karlie Blissenbach, and presented a poster on “Mental Health Through Self-Image in High School Girls.” HPAC, which stands for Health Profession Affinity Community, was established locally nearly four years ago through the Northeastern Ohio College of Medicine (NEOMED) and AmeriCorps as an extra-curricular activity for students interested in the health profession but also emphasizes community outreach and health disparities. Students work in groups to identify health issues in their community and design a project to improve it.

Young Authors Confer at SLES
Posted 4/17/2019 at 12:30:19 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SLES Young Authors

SALINEVILLE-Southern Local Elementary students learned how to become storytellers during a visit from children’s author Tricia Springstubb on April 16.

   Springstubb, a Cleveland-based scribe of some 20 tomes, spoke to kindergarten to third-grade students as part of the Young Author’s Conference coordinated by SLES technology teacher Tonyea Kellison. She met with third-graders in the morning and then lunched with students before leading an afternoon gathering with the younger classes. During the sessions, she conducted exercises such as using action words to enhance a sentence and collectively creating a poem, while students also took part in a question-and-answer segment. Springstubb also visited classrooms where students shared stories they wrote, illustrated and published and each pupil received a signed copy of one of her works.

   She said she has loved stories since she was a child, whether they were tales her parents told or those she read in a book, and she became an avid reader.

   “When you open up your mind, you can walk in the footsteps of the character. Long before I knew I was going to be a writer, I knew I loved stories,” she said, likening it to a child’s imagination when they play. “When you [make believe], it’s kind of like writing your own story and you are the main character. I always liked to be imagining, thinking and curious.”

    Springstubb eventually combined her love for books and kids and became a children’s author in her late 20s. The native New Yorker, who moved to Ohio with her husband and three daughters, faced plenty of rejection from publishing companies but said one should never give up. She added that she draws inspiration from memories or things she sees, but the writing process is long since a story must undergo many revisions to get to the final draft. It could take up to a year before a story is published while picture books take nearly two years because illustrators must revise their sketches to properly fit the narrative. 

  She said she has traveled to various schools and enjoyed her time at Southern Local.

   “I love to come to schools where they value literacy and reinforce it and give kids a chance to see that an author is just a plain person. Everybody has a story and we should tell them,” she commented. “The welcome has been tremendous and the kids had wonderful questions.”

   Kellison said the program was based on a similar event conducted across the county and the school decided to have its own. It was funded by a Best Practices Grant that she received last year through the Jefferson County Educational Service Center and the goal was to encourage literacy.

   “The first- through third-graders wrote their own books that they read to her and preschool through third-grade received signed copies of her book,” Kellison added. “They were so excited to have her sign the books and it was a really good learning experience.” 

   Springstubb’s next book, “Khalil and Mr. Hagerty,” was inspired by an Iraqi refugee family she befriended and will be published next spring. More information can be found on her website at triciaspringstubb.com.

(Photo Cutline: Author Tricia Springstubb visited Southern Local Elementary School to talk to students about her work and the writing process as part of a Young Author’s Conference. Tonyea Kellison, technology teacher at SLES, coordinated the event and students had a chance to create their own stories. They also received signed copies of Springstubb’s works. The program was funded through a Best Practice Grant from the Jefferson County Educational Service Center.)

Bott Named April Student of the Month
Posted 4/17/2019 at 10:01:55 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL Jayson Bott April SOM

SALINEVILLE-Jayson Bott has been recognized as the Salineville Kiwanis Student of the Month for April at Southern Local High School.

   Bott, the son of Howard and Tasha Bott of Salineville, is ranked 30th in his class with a 3.172 GPA and has maintained the all A’s Honor Roll this year. He has been selected to attend the County Honors Choir all four years of high school and has had a leading role in the school musicals since eighth grade. This year, he was the lead as Simba in “The Lion King Jr.” Bott also lettered in band during his freshman year.

   He is a member of the drama and chess clubs, plus he worked the concession stand for every basketball game during his junior year for prom. Bott also helped organize the school Christmas toy drive collection and is known to be a very dependable aide. In addition, he has taken vocal and piano lessons.

    His future plans are to attend Kent State University and become an English teacher.

SLBOE Approves Personnel Matters
Posted 4/12/2019 at 1:07:37 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

SALINEVILLE-The Southern Local Board of Education took action on a variety of personnel matters during the April 10 session.

   Some changes are coming over the next school year as the board approved transfers for Southern Local High School Guidance Counselor Nancy Saling and current elementary schoolteacher Todd Walters. Saling will become the fifth- and sixth-grade social studies teacher for the 2019-20 school year, taking over for Walters as he moves on to instruct grades 7-9 science at the high school. Walters received a three-year limited contract while Saling received a three-year extended time supplemental. Additionally, SLES Guidance Counselor Larry Rudloff was given a one-year limited teaching contract for the upcoming school year as part of a retire-rehire system.

   Meanwhile, one-year limited contracts were granted to Robert Shansky, a social studies teacher at SLHS; Tiffany Scheel, fifth-grade math teacher; Kelly Ann Clark and Gerard Grimm, high school Language Arts teachers; Brett Hughes, junior high Language Arts teacher; and Kristin Hepner, junior high math teacher. Three-year limited contracts were also approved for Victoria Nuske, high school math teacher; Terra Rauschenberg, elementary special education teacher; Susan Lissi, high school social studies teacher; Karla Calderon, high school Spanish teacher; Kyle Exline, high school Language Arts teacher; Erin Newburn, preschool teacher at SLES; Jessica Coleman, intervention specialist at SLES; and Andrew Vulgamore, intervention specialist at SLHS.

   In other business, the board:

--Learned the district was commended for having a perfect safety record throughout the last year;

--Approved substitute posts for teachers Arika Coffy and Leah Prescott and Carla Phencie as cafeteria/custodian/secretary;

--Approved field trips for the Power of Democracy (POD) and Law Club to PNC Park on April 25 and the Art Club to Stray Cat Studio in Beaver Falls on May 16;

--Approved a memorandum of understanding for emergency facilities use with the Columbiana County Emergency Management Agency;

--Hired Mary Lee Ludwig as OBI instructor;

--Approved a contract for Christine Pitts as a paraprofessional through the Jefferson County Educational Service Center through July 31, 2019;

--Approved the resignation of Terry Vest as evening custodian at the high school and hired Calvin Sell for the position;

--Hired Kim Boston as a bus driver;

--Named Kyle Exline, Mike Skrinjar, Dennis Bowers, Fernando DeChellis and Rich Sloan assistant football coaches; Chastity Sloan as junior high track coach; Andy Vulgamore as golf coach; Anna Sevek as assistant varsity volleyball coach; football volunteers Bill Croxell, Steve Craig, Rick Stanley and Dan Spencer; Carrie Pierson as junior high cheerleading advisor; Kelly Ann Clark as varsity cheerleading advisor; Kathy Randolph as cross country coach; Jimmy Malone as junior high head football coach; Kyler Woodward and Branzen Grodhaus as junior high assistant football coaches; and Hannah Brothers as eighth-grade volleyball coach for the 2019-20 school year;

--Approved contracts with JCESC from Aug. 1, 2019, to July 31, 2020, for occupational therapy assistant Tammi Huber and occupational therapist Angela Sheldon;

--Continued membership in the Ohio High School Athletic Association for the 2019-20 school year;

--Approved the transfer of Kim Louk from kindergarten to preschool teacher effective for the 2019-20 school year;

--Set the next meeting for May 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the board office.

Southern Broadening Program Offerings
Posted 4/12/2019 at 1:06:05 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

SALINEVILLE-Southern Local is broadening its horizons to include more career pathways, as well as modern technology and a summer camp for students.

    During the April 10 regular board meeting, Superintendent Tom Cunningham said the district was expanding its collaboration with Eastern Gateway Community College with Health Informatics, which will be instructed by Dr. Marcelina Higgins and ties into the College Credit Plus program. Higgins, who currently serves as intervention/digital/library specialist at the high school, received a one-year limited contract during the meeting to handle those duties. SLHS had received a $10,000 grant to focus on health-based studies and students can earn college credit while still in high school. Funding was provided through the Southern Regional Educational Board and will be implemented during the 2019-20 school year for freshmen through seniors. Leaders said it provides four classes and students can eventually work in the health field from registered nursing to health coding, while hopes to have students earn career and college credits when they graduate.

   The school is also partnering with EGCC to help students earn an Associate of Arts degree with allied health and education pathways. High school teachers will be trained by EGCC to facilitate the classes while a college professor will also instruct courses via teleconferencing. Details are still being finalized on classes being offered but they will be available in the fall and spring and students can earn a minimum of 60-64 total credit hours. Students can then venture into the health field or even study education after they graduate from SLHS. EGCC has a reciprocal agreement with Kent State University and high schoolers can take classes with that school but hopes are to include Kent in the future. Southern has participated in CCP for the past 10 years and currently offers some courses through teleconferencing while students also travel to the college campuses.

  SLHS Principal Tony DelBoccio also touched upon the subject, saying next year’s freshmen will have an opportunity to graduate with an associate’s degree and it will save them and their family money in the long run. Accuplacer testing was set through EGCC to see if they qualify to participate.

    “Expanding with Eastern Gateway is an excellent opportunity,” Cunningham noted.

    The superintendent continued that the district was eyeing modernized tools to make learning even more interactive, and there is a potential to incorporate virtual reality into lessons. One possibility is zSpace 3-D learning software which includes specialized equipment and applications to heighten the educational experience. Programs may incorporate different subjects from history to science and students generally wear 3-D glasses and utilize other tools for interactive lessons.

   “We are looking at virtual reality items such as zSpace that we can use in a multitude of classes from shale to agriculture,” he added. “We’ve been out to see it and will have a demonstration.”

    Southern Local Elementary Principal Kristy Sampson said she and Cunningham were working to create a summer enrichment camp for grades K-5 and she sought assistance from staff and faculty to volunteer. Plans include partnering with school resource officer Deputy Brandon Hoppel to provide safety programs and more details would be set following Easter break.

  Cunningham said the camp may be offered Aug. 5-8 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and bus transportation will be provided. Students can have breakfast and lunch onsite while also having activities as they prepare to return to class for the new term.

   “We want to get them engaged and back to school. They will do project-based, hands-on activities and maybe some field trips,” he said. “This is to give our kids as much exposure and opportunities as possible.”

   Sampson also commented that fifth-grade boys were being mentored by varsity athletes and the first session was successful. She added that students in grades 3-6 completed Language Arts assessments but math and science testing will occur at the end of the month. Sampson also noted that turnout for preschool and kindergarten registration was high and 20 students were signed up for preschool with another 37 registered for kindergarten. More registration dates were set for May and August.

Preschool Expanding at Southern
Posted 4/5/2019 at 11:45:43 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

SALINEVILLE-Preschool classes are expanding at Southern Local Elementary over the next school year to accommodate even more young pupils.

   Principal Kristy Sampson said two preschool classrooms will be offered during the 2019-20 school term with a half-day class for 3- and 4-year-olds and a full-day class for 4- and 5-year olds who will transition to kindergarten.

 “We have had a wonderful experience with our current preschool and would like to offer an additional opportunity for families in our community,” Sampson added. “We just completed our spring screening and had a good turnout. We will have another screening and enrollment day on May 20-21. Adding another preschool classroom will also increase the number of preschool students in our program.”

   She noted that the additional classroom will provide for another 24 preschool pupils and encouraged parents to take part in the next enrollment event.

   “Families who are interested can call the office to set up an appointment. We would love to have them.”

    For more information, contact the school at (330) 679-0281.

Author to Visit SLES
Posted 4/5/2019 at 11:44:23 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

SALINEVILLE-Children’s author Tricia Springstubb will visit Southern Local Elementary School on April 16 to share details about becoming a storyteller.

   Springstubb, of Cleveland Heights, will visit preschool through third-graders starting at 9:30 a.m. and address youth throughout the day. Her visit is being coordinated by Tonyea Kellison, SLES technology teacher, as part of a Young Author’s Conference project funded by a Best Practices Grant Kellison received last year through the Jefferson County Educational Service Center. Students will learn about the writing process and be inspired to read and write after attending a workshop with the author.

   “The purpose is to share with our students a published author and be exposed to the writing process and how it works,” Kellison said.

    She added that the children also wrote, illustrated and published their own stories to share with the author while each pupil will also receive a signed copy of one of Springstubb’s works.

   Springstubb has authored nine books, including “Every Single Second,” “Cody and the Fountain of Happiness,” “Cody and the Mysteries of the Universe” and “Phoebe & Digger.” According to her website, she was born and raised in New York and attended the State University of New York at Albany before eventually relocating to Ohio where her husband, Paul, is a teacher and they raised three daughters. She began writing in her 20s and said her stories are inspired by real events and experiences that spark a memory or touch a strong emotion.

New College Pathways Offered at Southern
Posted 4/3/2019 at 1:29:54 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

SALINEVILLE-Southern Local High School students can get a jumpstart on their future with new study pathways starting this fall through College Credit Plus.

   The school will partner with Eastern Gateway Community College to offer a general Associate of Arts degree with health and education pathways that allow students to obtain college credit while still in high school. Ron Infanti, who is overseeing the program at SLHS, said high school teachers will be trained by EGCC to facilitate the classes and a college professor will also instruct courses via teleconferencing. Details are still being finalized on classes being offered and the sequence of programs, but they will be available in the fall and spring and students can earn a minimum of 60-64 total credit hours.

   Freshmen will study Art History I and Elementary Spanish I and II while sophomores can take Composition I and II, Intermediate Spanish I and II, U.S. History Formative and American Government. Courses offered to juniors include College Algebra, College Trigonometry, General Psychology, Intro to Sociology, Public Speaking and Intro to Literature while seniors could study Human Anatomy and Physiology I and II, Introduction to Physical Science, Statistics, Medical Terminology Personal Finance, Nutrition, Children’s Literature, Foundations of Education, Instructional Technology, Intro to Exceptionalities and Educational Psychology. Another recommended for juniors and seniors in the health degree pathway is General Chemistry I, which is available in the spring. Each course offers three to five credit hours with the exception of Succeeding in College, which is offered to seniors in the fall for one credit hour.

   “It will be a pathway with EGCC and students who come in their freshman year will have an associate’s degree when they leave,” said Infanti. “The beauty of this is the program is all done at Southern Local and they don’t have to go to the college campuses, plus they can get high school and college credit.”

   Students can then venture into the health field or even study education after they graduate from SLHS.

   “The goal is to build a pathway to the allied health and students will have their core classes done, so when they go to EGCC they can go right into allied health. The administration felt we had to do more to help students be successful in life,” Infanti said.

   Once they head to college, they can major in nursing, dental hygiene and respiratory therapy to radiology. In addition, hopes are to establish education classes for seniors who are interested in becoming teachers.

   “We don’t want to limit it to the health field,” he continued. “We want to open it up. We started looking at this last year but have been working on it since December.”

  In addition, Eastern Gateway has a reciprocal agreement with Kent State University and high schoolers can take classes with that school, as well. Infanti said hopes are to expand the program and include Kent in the future. Since it is all part of the College Credit Plus program, there is no cost to the student and it also saves money when they further their education. Southern has participated in CCP for the past 10 years and currently offers English Composition, psychology and sociology courses through teleconferencing while students also travel to the college campuses. To participate in the program, pupils must pass an Accuplacer test in April.

   Infanti noted that students may have an array of courses to complete, but there are benefits in the long run.

   “It will be a lot of work, but the goal is to help the students. It’s a new century and this is what we need to do to service our students,” he added. “The one nice thing is the classes they are taking are transferrable to any public college or university in Ohio.” 

Kelly Bear Program at SLES
Posted 4/3/2019 at 10:44:15 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL Kelly Bear

Photo Cutline: Columbiana County Deputy Brandon Hoppel, school resource officer at Southern Local Schools, is speaking to kindergarten students as part of the Kelly Bear program. Deputy Hoppel has been reading to kids, showing videos and talking about behavior, problem-solving, staying healthy and saying no to drugs and alcohol. The seven-week program winds down this month.

Southern Local Inducts 19 into NHS
Posted 3/26/2019 at 9:33:22 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL NHS Induction

The Southern Local National Honor Society inducted 19 new members during a ceremony on March 7. The event was held in the cafeteria and featured guest speaker Christopher Weeda, an attorney with Amato Law Offices in Wellsville, while approximately 100 parents, faculty and guests were present. Prior to the induction, students were evaluated by faculty on the NHS pillars: Scholarship, Leadership, Character and Service. The organization currently includes 36 members including 20 seniors and 16 juniors. Pictured are, in front, Tanner Patterson, Cameren Grodhaus, Madison Paxson, Erin Boyle, Katie Short, Raelynn Corbin, Kyleigh Ketchum and Harmony Black. Middle: Jacob Roush, Jayce Sloan, Trisha Brown, Dalton Frischkorn, Mason Tribelo and Trisha Wintermantel. Back: Myka Woodford, Ivy Winters, Angelique Johnson, Bryan Anderson and Karlie Blissenbach.

Southern Local Hosts 12th Annual District Showcase
Posted 3/26/2019 at 9:29:42 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
District Showcase

SALINEVILLE-Southern Local Schools opened the doors for another successful District Showcase on March 21.

   Hundreds of people, including students and family members, gathered for the 12th annual event and viewed displays, informational booths and performances. About 24 organizations provided information and activities in the high school gym, including ADAPT Coalition, Family Recovery Center, Southern Local High School HPAC, Columbiana County Emergency Management Agency/ARES, Crisis Response Team, Columbiana County Department of Job and Family Services, Head Start, Help Me Grow, Wellsville Elks, the county Board of Developmental Disabilities, Columbiana County Educational Service Center, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities, Family and Children First Council and Red Zone. A health fair was also held on site with participation from the East Liverpool Health Department, Community Action Agency in Lisbon, East Liverpool City Hospital, Ohio Valley College of Technology, Southern Local school nurse Heidi McIntosh, Mercy Health Dental Van, Psycare, Akron Children’s Hospital, East Liverpool City Health Nurse and Vibra Healthcare. In addition, the public could view student artworks and enjoy the SLHS FFA petting zoo. 

   The high school cafeteria was the scene of student performances, including the high school chorus concert “Broadway and Beyond,” art awards and a preview of the spring musical “Disney’s The Lion King Jr.” Southern Local Elementary teacher Jim Reese also performed in a classroom while the high school football team held its pasta dinner moneymaker in the SLES cafeteria. The elementary gym was the scene of many raffles and other fundraisers for school and community organizations. Among those on hand were the SLHS Cross Country, baseball and softball teams, Highlandtown United Methodist Church, Salineville Assembly of God, Fourth-grade Indian Store, and the freshmen and sophomore classes. Meanwhile, the crowds got a chance to peruse classroom displays and learn about projects students completed throughout the year while a book fair took place in the elementary school library. 

   Organizer Laura Krulik, who serves as district special education coordinator, said it was another successful year for the showcase.

   “We were packed,” Krulik said. “We had a few new vendors such as the Wellsville Elks, Vibea Healthcare and Red Zone and the people like coming out.”

   “We had an excellent turnout,” added SLHS Principal Tony DelBoccio. “It’s great to talk to community members and listen to their thoughts.”

   SLES Principal Kristy Sampson echoed those sentiments.

   “It’s great to see the kids bring their parents in and show off the exciting things they are doing in the classroom.”

   For at least one attendant, it was like stepping back in time.

   “I taught here for 30 years,” said former educator Evelyn Thompson. “I have grandchildren here and have to come check up on them.”

(Photo Cutline: Hope and Brandon Leek of Lisbon and their mom, Michelle, enjoyed meeting a three-week-old goat at the Southern Local High School FFA petting zoo during the District Showcase March 21. Hundreds of people took part in the 12th annual event and viewed tables, fundraisers, performances and classroom displays.)

Pride Project Continues at SL
Posted 3/20/2019 at 11:05:27 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SLES Painting Project

SALINEVILLE-People who enter Southern Local Elementary will notice a lot more color after volunteers brightened up a corridor for an ongoing community project.

   About a dozen teachers, staff and students gathered at the school over the March 15 weekend to continue painting as part of the Take Pride 3.0 project spearheaded by SLES art teacher Kimberly Adams, and now the wall outside the cafeteria includes “Southern Local Elementary” signage and colorful arrows directing the way into the building. Work began late last fall when Adams and a group of volunteers, including high school art teacher Laurie Ronshak and some SLHS students, enhanced a 100-foot corridor in the high school building with inspirational words and eye-catching hues. Most recently, the opposite wall of that hallway was updated to include Indian artwork in honor of the school mascot.

   “We had all staff, two elementary students and some high school students who assisted in two crews,” she said of the latest effort. “We did the hallway entry to the elementary school. We primed it on Friday and were able to paint on Saturday morning and afternoon and I finished the last few details with a couple of people that Sunday.”

   The group included Adams, Ronshak, SLES teachers Niki Beadnell, Ryan Smith, Kathy Randolph, Holly Davis and Nikki Lewis, elementary students Delaney Beadnell and Kennedy Lewis, high school students Kylee Mehaffey, Cami Chuey, Kaylee Howcroft and Hannah Boyd and custodian Phyllis Maskaluk. Adams added that the next portion will entail painting the hallway outside of the specials classrooms with picture frames on the walls, trees and the school fight song near the music room. However, that work may not occur until the end of the school year.  Adams’ first two Take Pride efforts included creating a mural in the village of Salineville as well as placing a series of decorative fences painted by students around the town. 

   Now, her latest quest brings her back to school in a three-phase plan. The first project consists of painting the high school hallways and restrooms, as well as the elementary halls and restrooms, and the estimated completion date for the entire project is summer of 2020. The second segment includes marking the Tribe Nature Trail and sixth-grade students will create clear indicators for the safety of students and community members utilizing the path with a finishing date is targeted for next spring. The third and final project involves elementary students painting river rocks which reflect their individuality, and the rocks will be placed along three school entrances to brighten the landscape. The high school FFA organization will assist with that installation and work should conclude next spring. So far, Adams said everything was going according to plan.

 “It’s all going well and we’re on track. The kids’ response [to seeing the elementary hallway] has been pretty great. They’ve been in awe,” she noted. “I thank the staff for all of their help. I couldn’t have done it without them.”

(Photo Cutline: Teachers, staff and students volunteered their time over the March 15 weekend to brighten up the corridor outside the Southern Local Elementary School cafeteria as a continuation of the Take Pride 3.0 project. SLES art teacher Kimberly Adams and a crew of nearly a dozen people added more color to the walls to enhance the elementary and high school buildings and work is eyed in the near future. Pictured are SLES teachers Niki Beadnell and Nikki Lewis, elementary student Kennedy Lewis, custodian Phylliss Maskaluk and SLES physical education teacher Kathy Randolph at work.)

SL’s Reese is a Real Class Act
Posted 3/20/2019 at 11:02:29 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL Jim Reese Feature

SALINEVILLE-Southern Local Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Jim Reese has become known as a veritable music man for incorporating tunes into his Language Arts lessons, but these days current and former students alike are singing his praises.

   Reese, a Calcutta resident who has taught at Southern Local for the past three decades, received the Dunkin’ Donuts Class Act Award and was featured in news segment on March 20 on WFMJ 21. He was nominated by Paula Rose, the mother and grandmother of six former pupils. In her letter, Rose said her family recalled his use of music and poetry to bolster their learning skills. Reese was surprised by the news crew and visibly moved by Rose’s kind words, saying that educating kids has always been important to him.

   “Her daughter was in my first teaching class 31 years ago. They used a poem we’d recite, ‘Equipment’ by Edgar A. Guest, for their Bible study and framed a copy and gave it to me as a Christmas present last year,” he reminisced. 

   The U.S. Army veteran and one-time millworker found his calling after losing his job in 1982. The father of five, grandfather of nine and great-grandfather of one had spent more than 12 years at Crucible Steel in Midland, Pa., until it closed that May and noted it was definitely a lifechanger.

   “If the mill hadn’t shut down, I wouldn’t have become a teacher,” he said. “I began working there at age 19 and went off to the Army. They held my job and I returned to the mill two years later. When the mill shut down, I started going to college. I’ve always worked with kids in youth groups and it was a natural fit to pursue a degree and become a schoolteacher.”

   Reese earned his degree from Kent State University and gained a substitute teaching position at Southern Local which became a full-time opportunity around 1989. Even then he used his guitar and gathered students for such melodies as “Bullfrogs and Butterflies,” plus they would recite inspiring poetry. He still hears from previous students who remember the songs and recitations and it warms his heart to hear them call him their favorite teacher.

   “They all ask if I still sing with the kids, so it seems to be a common thread. I took up the guitar when I was working in the mill and I used it at youth groups and Sunday school at church. I took it to school when I became a substitute teacher and the kids loved it and it just clicked. It makes it fun for kids and they want to learn,” he continued. “I always tell the kids when they sing songs that they are actually reading. They do become more fluent readers and even though it’s fun they are learning.”

   Students past and present say they are inspired by his style and he has become a role model.

   Southern Local High School teacher and coach Mike Skrinjar, one of Reese’s former pupils, used the “Equipment” poem as words of inspiration and hung a framed copy of a stanza in the locker room to build his team’s spirits: “You can triumph and come to skill/You can be great if only you will/You’re well equipped for what fight you choose/You have legs and arms and a brain to use/And the man who has risen, great deeds to do/ Began his life with no more than you.”

   Skrinjar said he learned much more from Reese than just the subjects in the classroom.

   “He was one of my influences to be a teacher. He always gave me a love for sports and used to take us onto the basketball court and taught the team about handling adversity. We used [the poem] as motivation for overcoming adversity,” he said, adding that a fourth-grader later memorized and recited the poem to his team during a successful season. “The best way he influenced me was how to conduct yourself as a respectable person and to be a mentor. I thought he was a perfectionist and took pride in what he did. He has always a professional and cared for the students.”

   And Reese’s current pupils are inclined to agree.

   “He’s a nice teacher and a perfect teacher,” said Aiden Possage.

   “All of us love his playing the guitar,” added Dawn Helman.

   “It’s better when we all sing together,” said Preston Pitts.

   “I love when he plays the guitar,” concluded Rylee Neice.

(Photo Cutline: Southern Local Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Jim Reese was recognized with the Dunkin’ Donuts Class Act Award from WFMJ and featured in a recent news segment as an inspiration for past and present students. Reese, who has taught for 31 years, was nominated by the mother of former students and was both surprised and touched by the acknowledgement. He incorporates music into his lessons and said it has made a positive impact upon student learning.)

SLES Poster Contest Winners
Posted 3/20/2019 at 10:29:29 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SLES Poster Contest Winners

Southern Local Elementary School students showed off their artistic skills and won a poster contest to promote the spring book fair on March 18-22. The young artists followed the “Dinosaur Roar” theme with their renderings and earned books worth $5 to $25. Pictured with their drawings are, front from left, first-place winners G.G. Rodgers and Breena Frischkorn, who earned $25 worth of materials, and second-place winners Alexa Monigold and Cheyenne Buzzard, who won $20 worth of items. Back: Kennedy Lewis and Casie Heddleston, third-place winners who gained $15 worth of merchandise; Katie Board and Hailey Stull, fourth-place winners who received $10 worth of books; and Rachel Lynch and Brooke Boyle, fifth-place winners with $5 worth of items.

Book Fair Fun
Posted 3/20/2019 at 10:27:10 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SLES Book Fair

Southern Local Elementary School first-graders Addisyn Boyle and Liam Soack check out some literature during the Dinosaur Roar Book Fair on March 18-22. Kids from each grade have a chance to browse among books, posters and other merchandise throughout the week and the event is one of two book fairs conducted each year during the spring and fall. The school PTO sponsors the activity and proceeds have benefitted the library and teachers.

SL’s Hughes a SOLE Ambassador
Posted 3/20/2019 at 10:24:18 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL Hughes SOLE Ambassador

SALINEVILLE-Southern Local High School teacher Brett Hughes is representing Ohio through a new initiative designed to support student learning.

   Hughes, who teaches English and Language Arts at the junior high school, serves as an ambassador for Ohio through the Self-Organized Learning Environments (SOLE), a program which encourages students to be responsible for their learning and provides support for what they have learned. SOLE was designed to support self-directed education and was popularized by education scientist Sugata Mitra in the late 1990s.

   Hughes is one of only 11 ambassadors for the initiative and, for now, is the sole representative for Ohio. He was tapped for the role this past year and spends time supporting students and teachers.

   “My role as ambassador entails working with other ambassadors to improve the program, working with teachers on the program and showing other teachers not only from our district, but other districts in the state how the program works,” he explained. “I became involved through my use of the program and Cleveland State University’s review of the work I have done led them to ask me to be an ambassador.”

   So far, he has not had to travel for the program, but there is potential for him to visit school districts throughout the state to promote SOLE and its benefits. He currently uses the method with his own class and planned to work with teachers from the Indian Creek Local School District.

   Hughes, of Magnolia, graduated from Sandy Valley High School and Malone University and holds an elementary teaching license for grades 1-8 with emphasis in all subjects. He resides with his wife, Tracy, and their five children and is also involved with the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) as an official in four high school interscholastic sports.

SLES Holds DARE Graduation
Posted 3/15/2019 at 9:37:49 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SLES DARE Graduation

Sixty-six Southern Local Elementary School sixth-graders graduated from the DARE Program on March 13 following presentations from the Columbiana County Sheriff’s Office. An indoor program featured a female inmate from the Ohio Correctional Center discussing the hardships she and her family faced as well as opportunities lost due to poor decisions and drug abuse. The event continued with a drug search and attack demonstration by Lt. Alan Young, Lt. Brian McLaughlin and K-9 partner Jesy of the CCSO outside the school and students enjoyed pizza and refreshments provided by Sheriff Ray Stone. The program was presented by DARE Officer Deputy Jen Tucker and Columbiana County Sheriff’s officials. Pictured are students looking on at Lt. Young and K-9 Officer Jesy perform their demonstration.

SLBOE Eying Strategic Plan
Posted 3/15/2019 at 9:34:46 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

SALINEVILLE-The Southern Local School Board of Education is taking steps to implement a strategic plan which will guide the district well into the future.

   Superintendent Tom Cunningham informed the board at the March 13 regular session that he wanted to begin scheduling sessions with a panel of school and community members to brainstorm ideas to guide the district in the coming years. Cunningham intended to organize meeting dates, either once a week over four weeks or during two Saturdays, and reach out to the staff and community to help.

   Officials are taking a page from the Columbiana County Educational Service Center to provide a framework for the development of continuous improvement plans for each school. The district’s plan will be created using insight from parents, school personnel and community members and targets areas from curriculum to facilities. Criteria may include focusing on increased student achievement; decisions based on data; interventions and strategies founded in research; emphasis on equality and equity; improvement focused on the entire school district; and a collaborative, on-going and continuous planning process. Cunningham said the plan is a means to monitor how district resources are utilized and evaluate the effectiveness of the management team in achieving the district’s goals. 

   “There will be 24 people in the group from administrators and teachers, businesspeople, OAPSE union members, parents and clergy, a cross-section of people, and we’ll meet as a whole and then break into groups,” he explained. “Every decision we’re going to make is for the next five years and it could be about funding for facilities, new curriculum and professional development.”

 Meanwhile, leaders said kindergarten and preschool registration were set for March 27-28 and May 20-21. Cunningham said the program was expanding from one to two half-day classes and will also offer a full-day program to meet students’ needs.

   Under building reports, Southern Local Elementary Principal Kristy Sampson said the staff was preparing for upcoming assessments with third- through-sixth-graders taking Language Arts tests on April 9-10 and math and science tests in late April or early May. She added that fifth- and sixth-graders will also visit the Kent, Salem and East Liverpool campuses of Kent State University in late May to learn the types of careers they could study in the future. Sampson noted that fourth-grade teacher Jim Reese was recognized by WFMJ-TV as a Class Act Teacher nominee and a segment was being filmed at the school to air on the news. She also mentioned the ongoing Jump Rope for Heart collection, which was about $630 short of its $3,500 goal and donations were still being accepted. Sampson, physical education teacher Kathy Randolph, School Resource Officer Deputy Brandon Hoppel and fellow teachers planned to dress in costumes if the goal was met. Other highlights included about 20 students taking part in the “Give A Kid A Smile” program, where they will get dental care at Dr. Caldwell’s office in East Liverpool and painting set in the elementary building as part of the Take Pride 3.0 project to upgrade the campus, with work set prior to the District Showcase on March 21.

   In other business, the board:

--Learned the Red Zone initiative was successful and another counselor will be added to help students in the district. The Youngstown-based agency helps youth and families develop long-term strategies to cope with mental and behavioral health issues;

--Heard from Cunningham that the district buildings and buses were sanitized amid a growing number of illnesses in the schools;

--Approved a leave of absence for Kylee Maple from March 11 to May 8 to complete her first session of student teaching;

--Approved maternity leave for teacher Victoria Nuske form Aug. 19 to Oct. 1;

--Approved a proposal from Lewis Lawn Care for landscaping maintenance during the 2019 season at a cost of $630 per cut;

--Approved Teresa Brewer as cafeteria worker, custodian and secretary and Judith Kelm as a bus driver on the substitute list;

--Approved a service agreement with the Josh Milhoan family to remove old bleachers for scrapping;

--Approved the resignation of Jimmy Malone as assistant girls’ track coach;

--Approved a $903 accounting adjustment to transition from the old to new state software system;

--Approved a Spanish Club field trip aboard a Gateway Clipper cruise on May 7;

--Scheduled the next regular meeting on April 10 at 6:30 p.m. at the district office.

Southern Local District Showcase on March 21
Posted 3/1/2019 at 11:00:13 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

SALINEVILLE-Parents, students and the community are welcome to attend Southern Local Schools’ District Showcase on March 21.

   The 12th annual event will run from 4-6 p.m. and the school complex will be open to peruse classrooms, visit various informational booths and partake of activities. Organizer Laura Krulik, who serves as district special education coordinator, said dozens of community groups will be on hand providing services to spectators.

   “We will have anywhere from 30-40 community agencies,” she said. “A few new agencies that are focusing more on community outreach will be attending.”

    Hundreds of people have attended the free festivities in previous years to view student projects, speak to teachers and enjoy student performances, among other offerings.

    “The District Showcase is always a big hit! People come out to see what their kids have been up to, listen to our music programs, watch our drama production, check out the art show, get freebies from the community agencies and take part in our fundraisers,” she said.

   The 12th annual event will run from 4-6 p.m. and the school complex will be open to peruse classrooms, visit various informational booths and partake of activities. Organizer Laura Krulik, who serves as district special education coordinator, said dozens of community groups will be on hand providing services to spectators.

   “We will have anywhere from 30-40 community agencies,” she said. “A few new agencies that are focusing more on community outreach will be attending.”

    Hundreds of people have attended the free festivities in previous years to view student projects, speak to teachers and enjoy student performances, among other offerings.

    “The District Showcase is always a big hit! People come out to see what their kids have been up to, listen to our music programs, watch our drama production, check out the art show, get freebies from the community agencies and take part in our fundraisers,” she said.

Grants Benefit Learning at SLSD
Posted 2/19/2019 at 10:56:48 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

SALINEVILLE-Grant funding is benefitting Southern Local Schools as buildings implement programs targeting student learning.

   Two new projects will be implemented at Southern Local High School following the announcement of a $25,000 total windfall for the site, while Southern Local Elementary is seeing great returns on another program started over the past year. School board officials learned the good news during the regular session on Feb. 13, where Superintendent Tom Cunningham said SLHS received a $15,000 Project Lead the Way Gateway grant through the Columbiana County Educational Service Center to provide project-based learning in computer science, coding and robotics. The program impacts sixth-graders and hopes are to continue it through high school.

   “We decided to look at the middle school and [this funding] goes for software and computer technology as well as one teacher,” he said. “It’s a three-year grant with $10,000 the first year, $5,000 the second year and the district has to support it at least one more year.”

   Students would work individually or in small groups to design solutions to problems and Cunningham said Wellsville City Schools received similar funding several years ago to implement the program.

   “We’re hoping to continue it all the way through high school and will look for other grants and see what we can do to lay that foundation.”

   Cunningham added that the high school also received a $10,000 Health Informatics grant which will focus on health-based studies. The district has been in talks with Eastern Gateway Community College to potentially provide College Credit Plus courses for the program.

    “With the Health Informatics grant, we hope to be on our way to working with medical science opportunities,” he commented.

    SLHS Principal Tony DelBoccio, who was absent from the session, later explained that the funding was provided through the Southern Regional Educational Board and would be implemented during the 2019-20 school year for freshmen through seniors.

   “Health Informatics provides four classes and students get the background to go into the health field, from [registered nursing] to health coding,” DelBoccio said, adding that plans are to hopefully partner with Functional Pathways LLC for job shadowing and internships at sites in Columbiana County. “The overall thought is to have students take classes covered by the grant, so by the time they are in college they will gain career and college credits.”

   Dr. Marci Higgins, intervention/digital/library specialist at the school, will instruct classes for students to give them ideas for potential careers before they head to college.

 “It’s to try to dispel myths and show what healthcare fields are really about,” Dr. Higgins added.

    “We’re waiting to hear from EGCC to see if we can get it as a College Credit Plus course and hopefully we’d have students take part in that great opportunity,” Cunningham said. “We have some good things coming up next year.”

    Meanwhile, SLES Principal Kristy Sampson said her school was gaining notice for its usage of a Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Grant through the Jefferson County ESC. JCESC was among 46 sites in Ohio to obtain the $500,000 grant through the Ohio Department of Education last spring. The U.S. Department of Education previously awarded $35 million to the state and approximately 95 percent of the funding was distributed directly to local schools or early childhood providers to improve literacy outcomes for children from birth through grade 12. The three-year grant will focus on serving the greatest numbers of students living in poverty, students with disabilities, English learners and students identified as having reading difficulties. In addition to Southern, four other local school districts have enacted the program in their elementary schools including Buckeye Local, Harrison Hills and Toronto City Schools while Indian Creek uses its portion to benefit both elementary and middle school pupils.

   Sampson said Carri Meek, instructional coach and CEO of Instructional Growth Seminars and Support, was contracted through JCESC to work with teachers and was leading a professional development session at Southern on Feb. 19. Meek has worked with English/Language Arts teachers in grades K-8 as part of the program and Sampson said her school was making great strides.

   “The K-6 staff has been participating in the Striving Readers grants in collaboration with other schools and the ESC,” she said. “We’re currently looking at intervention strategies and JCESC contracted with Carri Meek to provide training. We have seen an increase between fall and winter through our STAR assessments, so we are seeing results.”

   She said the professional development would focus on brain research and students’ learning strategies, while JCESC was sending representatives to the school in March to review how it was being implemented. 

 “JCESC is using us as a model because we’ve shown the most student achievements and have been most compliant with the grant.”

   In other action, the board:

-- Approved sports personnel for the 2018-19 school year, including Chris Ingledue as volunteer girls’ basketball coach; Kathy Randolph, head girls’ track coach; James Malone, assistant girls’ track coach; Mike Skrinjar, head boys’ track coach; Kyle Exline, assistant boys’ track coach; Brenda Kekel, junior high boys’ track coach; Rich Sloan, junior high girls’ track coach; Brent Boyle, softball head coach; Andrew Vulgamore, softball assistant coach; Marci Higgins, softball assistant coach; Jason Glover, baseball head coach; Gerard Grimm, assistant baseball coach; Chris Lewis, assistant baseball coach; and Kyler Woodward, volunteer track assistant.

--Approved substitute personnel including Claire McIntosh as mechanics helper; Robert Davidson, custodian and cafeteria; Calvin Sell, custodian; Nicole Fisher, teacher; and Kathleen Venum, teacher;

--Approved a memorandum of understanding with Eastern Gateway Community College for College Credit Plus;

--Agreed to pay Utica Shale Academy $4,349.20 for adjustments made to the Fiscal Year 2018 management fee;

--Approved overtime pay for fiscal staff, including district Treasurer Greg Sabbato, Julie Dowling and Debbie Lyle for integrating an updated state software system. The overtime will be for $25 an hour not to exceed 20 hours per week. Sabbato explained the update was mandated and the process should take two months;

--Set the next regular meeting for March 13 at 6:30 p.m. at the board office.

The Red Zone Comes to Southern
Posted 2/19/2019 at 10:43:03 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

SALINEVILLE-Students at Southern Local Schools now have some extra on-site support as they cope with life’s challenges.

   The district recently partnered with The Red Zone, a CARF-accredited behavioral health agency based in Youngstown that helps youth and families develop long-term strategies to cope with mental and behavioral health issues. The site offers comprehensive and multidisciplinary substance abuse and behavior health services and a representative is at the school throughout the week to meet with students in private sessions.

    Tammy Bellish, a counselor and therapist with the agency, arrived on the campus this past month and is generally available Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

   “I am here as an added support system for the kids and families the school services,” Bellish said. “I work with diagnosing mental health issues, provide social and communication skills, teach appropriate behaviors and try to intervene in a crisis.”

   She also helps when students require medical assistance and also offers counseling for substance abuse. Bellish has experience working with the homeless, the HIV/AIDS population and addicts, plus she previously worked with three school districts but now only serves Southern Local.

   The Kentucky native said being in the rural community was like “coming home” and she enjoys working with the school system. 

   “I’m very happy to be here and it’s been really good,” she added. 

   Bellish sees an average of 20 students per week but her caseload usually includes 40 to 55 kids, plus she does assessments with family members. The Red Zone works with clients from age 5 and up, including adults who have been mandated by the court system or those voluntarily seeking help. It provides intensive outpatient treatment for substance abuse, residential assistance and a sober living facility.

   It was founded by former Ohio State University football player Maurice Clarett, who sought to give back to the community following his own personal struggles. The Youngstown site is fully staffed with counselors and community psychiatric supportive treatment workers and also tries to assist impoverished areas that lack available resources.

   “We want to reach and give people the help they need, especially youth in school,” Bellish said, adding that kids today may face depression and other behavioral issues. 

   Clients are generally referred by school officials or seek support themselves. An assessment is completed and parents must bring identification, a Social Security card and, if applicable, a medical card. Bellish then meets with students up to twice a week and sessions may scale back to once a week if improvement is shown. An Individual Service Plan, or ISP, is implemented with a goal, two objectives and clinical interventions as part of her work with the students, but more severe cases are generally referred elsewhere to appropriately handle the issue.

   “At the end of the day, it’s all about the child being successful, graduating and being a successful part of society,” she said. “We all need help at one point in our lives, so why wouldn’t our kids need it? We have to be able to provide support for our kids.”

Spann-Myers Wins SL District Bee
Posted 2/11/2019 at 12:02:10 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL District Bee

SALINEVILLE- A fifth-grader spelled her way to the top during the Southern Local School District Spelling Bee on Feb. 5.

   Sixteen participants in grades 5-8 took their place in the Southern Local Elementary School library, but SLES student Alliandra “Alli” Spann-Myers was the last one standing after correctly spelling “bevel” during the 10th round. A bevel is defined as “a sloping surface or edge.”  Southern Local Jr. High eighth-graders Darrel Kramer and Corbin Stillwell got a second chance to round out the other two spots after respectively misspelling “wikiwiki” and “contraband” in the ninth round. They battled four more times before Kramer successfully completed the word “boutique” during Round 14 and was named first runner-up, followed by Stillwell as second-runner up and fellow eighth-grader Zack Tribelo as alternate.

    Spann-Myers was confident but also relied on a higher power at the competition. She said she reviewed her words for two days before the bee and said a few prayers to help her through the district contest and beyond.

   “I just kept telling myself in my mind that I could do it,” she said. “I love to read, and reading makes you a better speller. Last night, I prayed to God to help me through this and at least get a tie or something.”

   She said another prayer right before the bee to carry her through the nationals.

   Rounding out the list of contestants were Adam Collussy, a seventh-grader at SLJHS; Gabe Blissenbach, seventh; Kaleb Cremeans, fifth; Lindsey Bregar, seventh; Kendall Wood, sixth; Melody Benedict, fifth; Casey Edmiston, sixth; Charlie Price, eighth; Jason Pratt, fifth; Tyler Rawlings, seventh; Ryli Bettis, sixth; and Mickaela Allison, sixth. The top three finishers received trophies while all of the contestants were given certificates.

   Fifth-grade teacher Dana Patterson organized the event and served as judge along with SLES Principal Kristy Sampson while librarian Donna Hart called rounds and fourth-grade teacher Jim Reese was announcer. The next matchup is the Columbiana County Spelling Bee set for March 6 in Lisbon and that winner will advance to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. in May.

(Photo Cutline: Southern Local’s top spellers took their places following the district bee on Feb. 5. Southern Elementary fifth-grader Alli Spann-Meyers won the top prize with eighth-graders Darrel Kramer, Corbin Stillwell and Zack Tribelo respectively named first runner-up, second runner-up and alternate. Spann-Meyers will head to the Columbiana County Spelling Bee in Lisbon on March 6 for the chance to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington this May. Pictured is Spann-Myers spelling her final word as Tribelo, Kramer and Stillwell look on.)    
Teachers Build on Reading Engagement
Posted 2/7/2019 at 12:09:00 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL Reading Activity PD

SALINEVILLE- It was the teachers’ turn to learn a few valuable lessons as educators at Southern Local High School took part in a professional development activity to engage students in reading activities.

   Dr. Frank Beickelman, a professor at The Ohio State University and educational consultant with Education First, spoke to teachers during a professional development session Feb. 5 about implementing tools to help bolster critical thinking, deeper questioning and reading comprehension. Dr. Beickelman offered ideas to help maintain students’ interest, such as adding questions and reflection pieces between chapters and grouping students together to discuss subject matter.

   He said teachers should know the purpose for having students read, as well as to build skills and introduce new topics or concepts, plus they must reinforce lessons and work to deepen their pupils’ understanding of the material. Suggestions ranged from helping to build background knowledge of subject matter to providing time for students to reflect upon the material they have learned. He also advised having group members answer questions instead of individuals and completing cards or Post-It notes with queries. Other ideas included applying vocabulary words in class and using forced connections, or the process of connecting terms from past and current studies in class to improve recall.

   Dr. Beickelman said there were many ways to make kids more active with reading, such as dividing sections and adding questions or statements at the stopping points to build their skills. Most importantly, they should be held accountable for what they are learning.

   SLHS Assistant Principal Ron Sines said the school will begin implementing strategies to not only help students in class, but also in life because it is all about making students successful.

   “We’re trying to get more engagement and a better understanding of what they know and what they don’t,” Sines said. “We’re trying to get them to see at more than a service level. Dr. Beickelman gears those three points toward each content area, and we as administrators and teachers want our students to know that we have high expectations for them and we’re not going to settle.”

   Dr. Beickelman is expected to return for another session in March.

(Photo Cutline: Southern Local High School teachers held a professional development session on Feb. 5 with Dr. Frank Beickelman, a professor at The Ohio State University and an educational consultant, about engaging students in reading activities to help bolster critical thinking, deeper questioning and reading comprehension. School officials said the methods help pupils in the classroom and in life. Pictured is Dr. Beickelman speaking with educators, front from left, Shannon Rodgers, George Whittaker, Sue Lissi, Assistant Principal Ron Sines, Principal Tony DelBoccio, Kelly Clark and Brett Hughes. Back: Gerard Grimm, Kyle Exline, Amanda Wrobleski, Sharon Campbell, Andy Vulgamore and Mike Skrinjar.)      
SLES Gearing up for Kids Heart Challenge
Posted 2/4/2019 at 1:45:07 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SLES Heart

SALINEVILLE- Students at Southern Local Elementary School are jumping and moving to raise money for the American Heart Association during the Kids Heart Challenge this February.

   A kickoff assembly is set for Feb. 8 at 2:30 with Adam Parker, youth marketing director for the AHA, and students in PreK-6 will be collecting donations for the cause. Physical education teacher Kathy Randolph said the fundraiser will be held throughout the month, which fittingly ties with Valentine’s Day and National Heart Month, and a daylong Jump-A-Thon activity will be held March 1 to get kids moving.

   “Our goal this year is $4,000,” Randolph said, adding that as much as $6,000 has been raised in the past. “[The Jump-A-Thon] is held during special time and there will be jump ropes, hula hoops, an obstacle course, dancing and limbo. We want to have them moving and tell them what to do to keep their hearts in shape.”

   Kids could earn a series of prizes based upon the levels of funding they have contributed and items range from jump ropes and basketballs to T-shirts and wireless headphones. Online donations are also accepted with wristbands and plush toys also being given away as rewards. Randolph and SLES Principal Kristy Sampson are planning another incentive to reach the goal, previously dressing in costumes to entertain the students.

   This year’s theme is Heart Heroes and a dress up activity is set for the week of Feb. 25-March 1 leading up to the Jump-A-Thon. Monday will be Red Out Day for the AHA; Tuesday is “Sock It to Heart Disease,” a crazy sock day; Wednesday is “Be a Heart Hero to Help Stop Heart Disease,” where kids can don shirts depicting their favorite superhero; Thursday is “Put a Lid on Heart Disease,” or hat day; and students will wear workout clothes that Friday to take part in the Jump-A-Thon.

   Sampson said the school has received plenty of support from the community and was pleased to help the organization.

   “Our community always does a good job supporting us with this event, so we don’t want to make it hardship for them and the kids to participate,” she added. “[The AHA] has always been a good partner.”

   The AHA encourages youth to be physically active for at least 60 minutes per day, do a good deed daily and choose water over sugary drinks to stay healthy. For more information or to register online, go to www.heart.org/kidsheartchallenge.

(Photo Cutline: Southern Local Elementary fourth-graders Andrew Winter and Makayla Davison get ready for the annual American Heart Association fundraiser set for February. A Kids Heart Challenge kickoff assembly will be held Feb. 8 and a $4,000 goal has been set for the moneymaker. The event will close March 1 with a Jump-A-Thon activity during students’ special time in the gym.)

Aiming High Program Returning to SLES
Posted 2/4/2019 at 1:40:09 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

SALINEVILLE-Positive actions are the crux of the latest installment of the Aiming High program when it returns to Southern Local Elementary School this week.

   Lynsi Beagle, program coordinator for the Family Recover Center in Lisbon, will be on hand each Wednesday to speak to second-grade classes about making good decisions and related topics. Larry Rudloff, school guidance counselor, said Beagle will begin on Feb. 6 and focus on second-graders.

   “There will be four 35-minute individual sessions in the three classrooms,” he said. “The program focuses on life skills such as making good decisions, building character, knowing how to be a good person or citizen and the importance of building a solid reputation.”

   Aiming High was previously conducted for fourth- through sixth-grade last fall at SLES and reached more than 6,000 students in 2018. Topics vary depending upon grade level and range from making good choices to substance abuse and peer pressure.

   “Their programming has changed because they are very adaptive to meet the needs of the kids, and if districts have concerns they try to incorporate programs to address them,” Rudloff concluded.

Southern Students Visit Beaver Local
Posted 1/18/2019 at 11:28:39 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL Leadership Committee at Beaver Local

SALINEVILLE-Southern Local High School students took a trip to Beaver Local High School on Jan. 10 to exchange ideas and find ways to improve their campus.

    Ten members of the school leadership committee headed to the site and met with other students to discuss such topics as school spirit and student involvement. Among the committee members were Aubrianna Mellott, Alexis Rhodes, Riley Felton, Victor Duncan, Bryan Anderson, Jayce Sloan, Cameren Grodhaus, Katelyn Bailey, Trisha Brown and Ivy Winters, who were paired up with 10 BLHS students and attended two classes before joining their peers for lunch. Mellott and Rhodes, who are both seniors, said they learned a lot from their visit and are pondering ideas for implementation at Southern.

   “We went to learn how the school operated and about school spirit and student involvement,” said Mellott. “The principal talked to us about getting students to go to games and they have a Varsity Club.”

    “They need their varsity letter or pay $1 to get to go to a game, so the club is not just for athletes,” Rhodes added.

     Rhodes said they also looked at the facility and learned about technological tools that aid education.

   “We looked at the technology and the teachers have MacBooks that sync to their TV’s,” she commented. “The technology seemed like a big convenience.”

   Other outstanding factors included the colorful schematics of the building and its versatility. Mellott noted that classrooms were separated with a mobile divider which could open up the space into a common area. She and Rhodes agreed that the trip was very helpful in formulating plans for Southern.

   “I think it helps a lot to go to other schools because it gives ideas to better this school,” Rhodes said.

   Previous committee members have traveled to Western Reserve and Columbiana High Schools last year and another excursion could be set for May.

(Photo Cutline: Members of the Southern Local High School Leadership Committee traveled to Beaver Local High School on Jan. 10 to learn about the facilities and activities and gather ideas for SLHS. Southern and Beaver Local students were paired together to attend several classes and have lunch during the visit. Pictured are students from both schools including, front from left, Emma Palmer, Katelyn Bailey, Ivy Winters, Jenna Riccardo, Addison Guildoo and Alexis Rhodes. Middle: Mary Quinn Cook, Trisha Brown, Bryan Anderson, Madison Ours, Aubrianna Mellott, Riley Felton, Sydnie Holden, Garrett Givens and Victor Duncan. Back: Nate Barber, Jayce Sloan, Cameren Grodhaus and Jaden Kiddey.)

Southern Elementary Gears up for Programs
Posted 1/18/2019 at 11:25:36 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

SALINEVILLE-Southern Local Elementary is gearing up for programs in February to help build character in students.

   The school will host Lynsi Beagle, program coordinator for the Family Recovery Center of Lisbon, who will present the Aiming High Program for second-grade students throughout the month. Beagle will meet with students each Wednesday from Feb. 6-27 for a 30-minute presentation and SLES Guidance Counselor Larry Rudloff said the topic will include good decisions.

   “The focus of the program will be on life skills such as making good decisions, character building and knowing how to be a good person or citizen,” he said, adding that sessions will be rescheduled in the event of school delays or cancelations.

   Deputy Brandon Hoppel, school resource officer, is expected to hold Kelly Bear programs for kindergarteners over eight consecutive weeks. Deputy Hoppel will visit classrooms from Feb. 20 through April 10 and address such subjects as kindness, bullying, and being good listeners.

Bailey Selected as January Student of the Month
Posted 1/16/2019 at 3:00:05 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL January SOM

SALINEVILLE- Southern Local High School senior Katelyn Bailey has been selected as the Salineville Kiwanis Student of the Month for January.

   She is the daughter of Sara and Charles Bailey of Salineville and is currently ranked fourth in her class with a 4.078 GPA. Bailey has made the honor roll throughout her high school career and was inducted into the National Honor Society last year. School staff speak highly of her as a role model and dependable student.

   In addition, she has been a member of the marching and concert bands and lettered her sophomore year. Bailey is also active in pep band and has served in FFA for four years, Drama Club for six years and student council for four years, plus she has participated in Vacation Bible School for three years and Young Life for seven years. Because of her positive example and skills, she was asked by administration to participate this year on the student-based leadership committee.

   Bailey plans to attend college upon her high school graduation to study nursing. 

Southern Revamps for New Year
Posted 1/15/2019 at 11:35:07 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL School Board Recognition Month

SALINEVILLE-Southern Local Schools revamped for the new year and named new leaders to helm the panel for the coming year.

   During an organizational meeting on Jan. 9, officials elected Jay Cole as board president and Linda Morris vice president for the duration of 2019. Officials also approved a series of resolutions surrounding district operations and took more action during the regular session that followed.

 District Treasurer Greg Sabbato shared some good news, saying plans to repay funding for energy-related upgrades at the school could occur much sooner. Sabbato told the panel that electricity and natural gas savings totaled more than $137,000 this year and the funds would repay for work through the School Energy Conservation Financing Program over the next seven years.

   The board entered into the program in 2016 and worked with H.E.A.T. Total Facility Solutions Inc. on the transition program under H.B. 264, which allows school districts to finance energy efficiency improvement projects and use the cost savings to pay for the improvements. The upgrades must generate enough energy and maintenance savings to pay for the project within 15 years, while there would be no additional expense to taxpayers. More than 500 Ohio school districts have participated in the program. H.E.A.T. representatives audited the Southern Local K-12 school building, as well as the administration building, bus garage and noted areas of particular interest, and the district took such steps as replacing bulbs with LED lights, adding light sensors to shut off automatically when a room or hallway is not in use and performing maintenance on the HVAC system.

   “We had a light winter, and if we’d had a more severe winter the savings would be around $172,000,” said Superintendent Thomas Cunningham. “With the savings, the funds could be paid early and any future savings for the district would go into the general fund.”

   The board also approved a series of personnel matters, including the resignation of longtime teacher Jody Lockhart who plans to retire at the end of the school year. Lockhart has served the district for 17 years and the board wished her well in her endeavors. Continuing contracts were also approved for cafeteria workers Cindy Marshall and Monica Plunkett with a one-year contract granted for bus driver Danielle Berkheimer. Additionally, maternity leave was approved for teacher Emily Brinker beginning in February with a return date set for August. The board further accepted the resignation of bus driver Tiffany Hamilton effective this month; employed paraprofessionals Christine Pitts and Kayla Terdina through the Jefferson County Educational Service Center; named Bob Shansky varsity volleyball coach and Marissa Paxson as junior class advisor; and approved bus driver Tiffany Hamilton and cafeteria/custodian Christina Eltringham on the substitute list.

   The board also:

--Approved committee appointments with John Sawyer and Cole on finance; Kip Dowling and Mike Abraham on personnel/negotiations; Morris and Sawyer on maintenance/transportation; Morris and Cole on curriculum/policy; and Abraham and Dowling on athletics/activities;

--Set compensation at $80 per meeting for current board members and $120 per session for recently elected posts and not exceeding 24 meetings annually;

--Agreed to submit the annual tax budget to the county budget commission;

--Established meeting times on the second Wednesday of each month with the next regular session scheduled for Feb. 13 at 6:30 p.m. at the district office.

(Photo Cutline: The Southern Local Board of Education met to organize on Jan. 9, respectively naming Jay Cole and Linda Morris as president and vice president. Officials also observed School Board Recognition Month for January and received certificates of appreciation during the session. Pictured are, front from left, John Sawyer and Morris. Back: Cole, Kip Dowling and Mike Abraham.)

Mellott Named December Student of the Month
Posted 12/19/2018 at 1:08:02 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL Mellott December SOM

SALINEVILLE-Southern Local High School senior Aubrianna Mellott has been named the Salineville Kiwanis Student of the Month for December.

   The daughter of Rick and Jessica Mellott of Wellsville, she holds a 4.045 grade point average and is currently ranked sixth in her class. She began her high school career in Wellsville and received the Excellence Award in Algebra II, American History, English I and Home Economics, plus she was an all-A honor roll student and member of the 3.75 program that recognizes academically achieving students. During her sophomore year, she received more Excellence Awards for geometry, Spanish II and Home Economics II and again was an all-A honor roll student and member of the 3.75 program. She transferred to Southern Local during her junior year and was inducted to the National Honor Society while maintaining her all-A honor roll status. Mellott continues to earn all A’s as a senior, takes AP courses and also participates in the College Credit Plus program.

    Mellott has participated in a variety of extracurricular activities while at Southern Local and serves as student council president, Varsity Club vice president, senior class vice president and a member of the school leadership committee, yearbook staff and Blue Crew. She has also played basketball and softball for the past four years and lettered in both sports, plus she lettered in softball during her freshman year. Additionally, Mellott has received the OVAC All-Conference Academic Award for the past three years.

  She is currently undecided in her college choice but is interested in the medical field.

SLES DARE Program Restarts in January
Posted 12/14/2018 at 10:26:46 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

SALINEVILLE-Southern Local Elementary School will kick off the new year with the return of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program in January.

   Columbiana County Sheriff’s Deputy Jen Tucker, who serves as the DARE officer, is scheduled to visit SLES on Jan. 2 and discuss the importance of making good decisions and avoiding drugs. She will appear each Wednesday through Feb. 20 to address fifth- and sixth-graders and then return to address fourth graders on Wednesdays from March 6-27. However, dates may change due to inclement weather.

   Larry Rudloff, school guidance counselor, said Deputy Tucker will provide a specific curriculum targeting each grade level.

   The program, which is sponsored by the CCSO, began with the fifth and sixth grades but expanded in recent years to include second- and fourth-grade classes. It starts in the fall with second-graders participating throughout October and November and impacts more than 200 students.

SLHS Eyes Career Pathways
Posted 12/14/2018 at 10:25:50 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

SALINEVILLE-Southern Local officials are looking to add more educational opportunities for high school students with additional pathways toward successful careers.

   SLHS Principal Tony DelBoccio told board members at the Dec. 12 meeting that he applied for a $10,000 grant which ties into STEM and opens pathways for such fields as nursing technology. The grant would help provide four courses to benefit juniors and seniors with the opportunity to expand in the future. The idea is to work with Eastern Gateway Community College on the program and he was planning to meet with college officials to discuss it further.

   “The Southern Regional Education Board has 10 different pathways you can instill in the curriculum,” he explained. “We’ve surveyed students in October for interest and health was No. 1 while STEM was No. 2. There are four courses and its project-based instruction.”

   He added that students could perhaps pursue such fields as nursing or X-ray technician by taking college courses and possibly doing some job shadowing. Dr. Marcy Higgins would teach the courses but must undergo some professional development training before the program begins.

 Superintendent Thomas Cunningham said more funding was being sought and hopes were to utilize space by the campus weight room for training and labs. School officials should learn whether the funding was approved in February and hopes were to offer the pathways during the next school year.

   In related matters, the high school was eyeing a possible pilot project to help bolster students’ math scores before they head to college. Assistant Principal Ron Sines mentioned interest in Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces, or ALEKS, which is a web-based, educational environment for grades K-12 and higher education mathematics that would be used to help prevent students from taking remedial math in college by improving their capabilities now.

   “When kids are in college, they end up retaking a math class and it sets them back time- and moneywise,” he said. “ALEKS gives the high school kids an opportunity to increase their math scores without losing that time or money. We’re looking at it but will meet with people form Kent State’s East Liverpool campus. It’s similar to what we do now with EGCC in that instead of going through remedial courses, students will take the classes here.”

   Leaders said the only other site to offer ALEKS is basketball great LeBron James’ Promise School in Akron.

   In related matters:

--The board approved 1-percent administrative staff pay increases for fiscal years 2018-19 as stated in the State Teachers Retirement System contract, which will begin with the last pay of December;

--Southern Local Elementary art teacher Kim Adams showed a time-lapse video of her Take Pride 3.0 project to update the school complex with creative displays and inspirational quotations. She said she, SLHS art teacher Laurie Ronshak and high school art students spent about 61 hours over Thanksgiving break completing work in one hallway of the high school, adding that others have volunteered their time to do more work. School Board President Michael Abraham praised her for the work;

--DelBoccio announced the school received an excellence award from Ohio Sen. Joe Schiavoni since at least 5 percent of the high school students passed the post-secondary and alternative pathways;

--Officials said a series of meetings and conferences were set centering on improving test scores and ACT testing while National Honor Society students may tutor kids who are struggling in the seventh- and eighth-grades;

--The board approved continuing contracts for cafeteria workers Sandy Croskey and Cindy Marshall and named teacher Tony Martini and cafeteria worker Cheryl Smith on the substitute list;

--Officials approved the 2019-20 school calendar and the second reading of school bylaws and policies;

--Leaders approved the Junior High Student Council field trip to Washington, D.C., on May 10-12;

--The next session will begin with tax budget and reorganizational meetings on Jan. 9 at 6 p.m., followed by the first regular meeting of the new year at 6:30 p.m.

SL FFA Attends State Leadership Night
Posted 12/14/2018 at 10:24:23 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL State Leadership Night

Southern Local High School FFA chapter members attended FFA State Leadership Night at the Columbiana County Career and Technical Center on Dec. 7, where they learned how to apply leadership and teamwork skills to personal and chapter goals. Participants included, front from left, Jasmine Black, Alexia Phillis and Arianna Goley. Middle: Harmony Black, Marissa Stewart, Hannah Price, Addisyn Milhoan and Nyla Clevenger and State FFA President Kolesen McCoy. Back: State FFA Vice President Grace Lach, Quinton Gfeller, Dalton Frischkorn and Garrett Brewer.

FFA Parliamentary Procedure Team Places Second
Posted 12/14/2018 at 10:22:56 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL Parliamentary Procedure

The Southern Local High School FFA Parliamentary Procedure team placed second at the sub-district contest at Smithville High School on Nov. 20. Members included, pictured from left, Garrett Brewer, Silas Black, Jasmine Black, Harmony Black, Katelyn Bailey and Dalton Frischkorn. Jasmine Black also participated in the job interview contest at Smithville that day.

It’s Beginning to Look A lot Like Christmas at SLHS
Posted 12/7/2018 at 11:35:03 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

SALINEVILLE-It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Southern Local High School, where classes will be decking the halls with holiday décor.

   The school leadership committee, which includes about 11 SLHS students, is spearheading the project and each corridor has a corresponding theme. Hopes are to have the decorations ready so students—and staff—can start counting down to Christmas break. Leadership committee member Aubrianna Mellott said the idea was to do something fun and festive to ring in the season.

   “We came up with the idea to try to show how we can work together as a school and make something the elementary kids can come and see, as well as something we can put on for the community.”

  The original plan was to decorate for Halloween, but organizers opted to get into the Christmas spirit. Teachers became involved and holiday themes were selected for areas of the building including “Candy Land,” “Gingerbread,” “The Grinch” and “Winter Wonderland,” “Frozen,” and “Santa and His Elves.”

   Students signed up to decorate and have been spending time before and after school getting the hallways ready. Hopes are to showcase their designs to the public during the school basketball game on Dec. 15.

   Mellott noted that it was not a competition, but rather a show of cooperation.

   “We wanted to bring everyone together and make it uniform. Everyone can do something and be included.”

SL is Taking Pride in Their School
Posted 12/7/2018 at 11:32:54 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL Take Pride

SALINEVILLE-Southern Local is taking pride in its school with an artistic initiative that is meant to inspire and excite.

   A group of teachers and students volunteered their time over Thanksgiving break to begin an ongoing venture to transform school hallways and walls into canvasses full of color and quotations. Elementary art teacher Kimberly Adams is spearheading Take Pride 3.0, her latest project to bring art into the community in a unique way. Adams’ first two efforts added a mural to the village of Salineville as well as decorative fences created by students that dot the town, but her latest quest literally takes her back to school.

  Her three-phase 3.0 plan focuses on updating the complex with designs and inspirational phrases as well as improvements on the exterior, and some of the work started last month. The first project consists of painting the high school hallways and restrooms, as well as the elementary halls and restrooms, and the estimated completion date for the entire project is summer of 2020. The second segment includes marking the Tribe Nature Trail and sixth-grade students will create clear indicators for the safety of students and community members utilizing the path and a finish date is targeted for next spring. The third and final project involves elementary students painting river rocks that reflect their individuality. The rocks will be placed along three school entrances to brighten the landscape and welcome students, staff and visitors. The high school FFA organization will assist with the installation and the work should conclude next spring for fall.

   She, high school art teacher Laurie Ronshak and SLHS art club members Kylee Mehaffey, Trisha Wintermantel, Tawnya Bertram, Autumn Pelley, Addisyn Milhoan, Cami Chuey and Grace Haught spent upwards of 61 hours painting an estimated 100-foot stretch of hallway in the junior-senior high wing in blue and gold and adding vision statements and other words of inspiration to fill inhabitants with a sense of school pride. Phrases include “Tribe is…Trust, Respect, Integrity, Belief and Excellence” and “Creating Confident Communicators and Problem Solvers to Serve as Productive Members of Society.”

   And Adams, a 1998 Southern Local alumna herself, said people were already taking notice.

 “It’s been a really positive reaction,” she said. “We started the Wednesday of Thanksgiving break in one hallway. It was a lot of work but it was worth it. The kids’ reaction…they thought it was the coolest thing. They were really excited.”

   She added that groups of two to 10 people worked intermittently throughout the week to complete the corridor, painting pinstripes and tracing projected letters on walls. Adams was grateful to work with the high schoolers and added that she was approached by staff members to potentially volunteer. She plans to form a sign-up sheet for names, dates and times and work areas as the process continues.

 “It was great working with the high school on the project. It was fun seeing [the students] out of the school element. You got to see them as a person and as an artist, and you got to see their styles,” she noted, saying all kids could participate. “It’s something that’s going to lead them back. You may get kids who want to get involved who may not be an artist, but they want to be part of something bigger.”

   The hallway was formally dedicated with a small ceremony featuring the senior class once students returned from break, and she told them they were part of something historic. Adams said those who leave Southern Local’s hallowed halls should go out into the world and gain experience, but hopefully they would return home to share that knowledge, much like she did. 

   “It was exciting for me to give them a little of what I’ve learned. Southern Local and Salineville will welcome you back with open arms. To be able to give back to this learning community, it’s a good feeling.”

(Photo Cutline: Southern Local High School is getting a new look as part of the Take Pride 3.0 project. Art teachers and students spent the Thanksgiving break adding color and inspirational statements to an estimated 100-foot hallway with more updates in the works over the next two years throughout the complex.)

Southern Local Shares the Warmth
Posted 12/7/2018 at 11:29:01 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SLES Sock and MItten Tree

SALINEVILLE-Southern Local Schools are sharing the warmth again this winter by collecting socks, mittens and other seasonal accessories for those in need.

   District Food Service Director Kerry Morrissey said sock and mitten trees are in place in the schools’ cafeterias and faculty, staff and student are invited to donate on Dec. 4-14. With National Sock and Mitten Tree Days were observed on Dec. 4 and 6, organizers called for new items to be added to the holiday palm trees and those who donate are also eligible receive gift cards in a prize drawing on Dec. 17. Contributions are primarily socks and mittens, but some hats have also been added to the mix so community kids can brave the cold temperatures. 

   Morrissey began the campaign last year after seeing and need and said she simply wanted to help.

   “I wanted to give back to the community through the school,” she explained. “As a food service director, we see a lot of things and this is the time of year where you give. I’m excited and proud.”

   Flyers were sent home with elementary students and information was also posted in the high school building informing every one of the collection. Morrissey said this year’s event was expanded to include socks and she hoped to beat last year’s total of 111 pair of mittens, but the first day started successfully with nearly a third of that amount donated. All of the items will be given to a local charity.

   “I thought if we did well with the mittens, maybe we can do well with the other things,” she added. “I appreciate all of the donations. I hope we beat the numbers and surpass the 111 pair. I want to see over 111 donations.”

    Mitten Tree Day was created by schoolteachers as a fun Christmastime activity and styled after a children’s book of the same name while National Sock Day denotes the rarest of all lasting unities—the marriage of matched socks—and is dedicated to highlighting socks that manage to stay together.

(Photo Cutline: Southern Local Elementary third-graders Emerson Gotschall and Shiloh Heines pose with one of two mitten and sock trees placed in the school complex as part of a special wintertime collection. Organizers of the second annual event hope to gather more than 100 items to help keep needy kids warm during the cold season and donations will be taken until Dec. 14. Those who contribute are eligible to win gift cards in a prize drawing later this month.)

SL’s Bowlings Join Tattoo Event
Posted 11/21/2018 at 3:46:36 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL Bowlings Tattoo

SALINEVILLE-Southern Local High School Band Director Emily Bowling will have a unique opportunity to unite music and patriotism when she participates in the 22nd annual Virginia International Tattoo this spring.

    Bowling, who has served as band, choir and theater director for the past 19 years, will travel to Norfolk, Va., with her husband, Gary, where they will volunteer on the staff of the global military music event. About 1,000 military bands, singers and dancers from across the world will converge upon the Scope Arena on April 25-28 to perform for the public and showcase their immense musical talent. 

   Tattoo refers to the Dutch term “tap too,” which is a musical evening roll call during the 17th and 18th Centuries. It has grown over the past two decades with performances that celebrate American freedom and patriotism, educate youth, attract visitors, strengthen international relations and enhance the quality of life for the people of Hampton Roads. The Virginia International Tattoo, which is also part of the Virginia Arts Festival, is supported by a group of military and government leaders that serve as an advisory committee.

   Bowling was excited to be part of the event and said it stemmed from her husband’s local connection. Gary, who has volunteered as a sound, lighting and stage technician at SLHS in the past, was linked to Quantico Marine Corps Band Director and former Wellsville High School Band Director Bob Szabo. The Bowlings have attended the event annually and were approached by Szabo, who is musical director of the Tattoo, to lend a hand this year.

   “It’s a gathering of military bands, historically. This is the largest one in the U.S. and I was invited to be on the staff this year,” she said. “The music director was my husband’s high school band director and we started going every year to watch him with the Quantico Marine Band.”

    Bowling said she and her husband were invited to assist, and she work as a lead school liaison for school and community outreach performances as well as the main production, while Gary will offer his services as a stage technician.

   “This includes premier military bands, singers and dancers from countries all over the world and the cast is normally over 1,000 people,” she added. “It’s a pretty big honor that we were asked to be there and we’re really excited to be doing this. We go as spectators every year and this year will be our first time on the staff. It’s an outstanding event.”

    Past attendants have travelled from the likes of Canada, Belgium, Australia, Germany, Jordan, the United Kingdom and South Korea and this year the event will honor women in the military.

(Photo Cutline: Southern Local High School Band Director Emily Bowling and her husband Gary, pictured at left, will join the staff of the 20th Annual Virginia International Tattoo in April, where about 1,000 military bands, singers and dancers will perform at the Scope Arena in Norfolk. Both were excited to take part and became involved through Bob Szabo, music director and Gary Bowling’s former band director at Wellsville High School.)

SL Expands Food Pantry
Posted 11/21/2018 at 11:56:06 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SLHS Pantry

SALINEVILLE-Southern Local Schools expanded its in-house pantry to ensure high school students don’t have empty stomachs so they can fill their minds with knowledge.

   School nurse Heidi McIntosh said the program started in the elementary school opened another site this month near the high school cafeteria. She has worked with area churches and the school houses the pantry. Shelves are stocked with everything from soup and cereal to granola bars and shelf-stable chocolate milk drinks and students can load up on items either during their lunch period or after school to take home.

   “It’s not a new program,” McIntosh said. “It is open to everyone. The school district does not have to pay for anything and most of it comes from the Second Harvest Food Bank. We have a free breakfast and lunch program and anyone can be served.”

   School custodian Bev Delaney said the door is left open during those peak times and it has been gaining use.

   “We probably have 50 or more kids a week and I think they appreciate it,” Delaney commented, adding that the figure is steadily growing.

   McIntosh noted that a weekly Pack Up program also serves about 75 elementary students each week and the service has been provided in conjunction with local churches for the past four years. Bags are filled with snacks, soups and other treats and helps children who are referred by teachers or take part in the free and reduced lunch program. Participating students receive food and snacks each Friday and return the empty sacks on Monday to be reused the next week.

   “We began that during the 2014-15 school year,” she explained. “This [high school pantry] is a continuation of that because the churches wanted to expand the program.”

(Photo Cutline: Southern Local High School students Kaylee Howcroft and Nyla Clevenger showcase the new pantry open in the school to serve all students. The pantry is an expansion of a similar program in the elementary building and serves about 50 pupils a week. The site includes non-perishable foods from cereal to canned pasta and is available during students’ lunch periods or immediately after school.)


Leadership Chant
Posted 11/21/2018 at 11:52:04 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SLES Leadership Chant

Southern Local Elementary fourth-grader Aubrey Pucci leads her class in a leadership chant to promote positivity and success. Teacher Jim Reese incorporated the school’s leadership habits concept into military-like chants that his pupils have memorized and say regularly. Other themes include being proactive, putting first things first and thinking win-win.

Good Problem-Solving
Posted 11/21/2018 at 11:48:49 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SLES Good Problem Solving

Southern Local Elementary School hosted Cathy Grizinski, a representative of the HelpNetwork of Northeast Ohio, who addressed fourth-graders about good problem-solving techniques. Students learn to identify the problem and weigh choices to best resolve the situation, plus they were encouraged to tell someone if they do have an issue. HelpNetwork is available in Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties and provides a 24-hour hotline to assist those in crisis. Columbiana County residents may call (330) 424-7767.

Students Lead Toy Collection
Posted 11/21/2018 at 11:44:24 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL Toy Drive

SALINEVILLE-Two Southern Local High School seniors have started a Christmas campaign to help kids have a brighter holiday.

   Seniors Jayson Bott and Bryan Anderson are collaborating on an effort to help children in the area by conducting a toy drive at the school. The collection began Nov. 2 and runs through Dec. 11 and the organizers are collecting new, packaged items for needy kids in the area. A large box is on hand by the main office and the teens hoped to see their peers get actively involved.

   Bott said he was inspired by other local campaigns.

   “Every time I go to the Dollar General around Christmas, they have donations for toys. I always do because it’s easy and someone would get a gift. I was thinking of ways to make it a thing at school.”

    Southern Local currently holds the Giving Tree program where tags are removed from Christmas trees outside both schools’ offices and gifts are purchased for students within its own district; however, Bott was thinking of helping on a wider scale. He enlisted the aid of his friend Anderson, who posted flyers advertising their plan. They also gained sponsorships from teachers Jody Lockhart and Sharon Campbell and have sought a community charity to benefit from their bounty. 

 “I approached the yearbook staff [led by Lockhart] to help since they collected for hurricane survivors in North Carolina,” Bott continued. “Christmastime is the biggest time when kids need help. Their parents may be having a rough time and it’s not the kids’ fault. It’s easy to go to Dollar General, bring toys in and donate to help people in the world. They are always asking for ideas in our school leadership committee and I thought this was something we could do at the school.”

   Anderson echoed his friend’s sentiments and said it is easy to give.

   “We’re hoping to begin after Thanksgiving break,” he said. “It will be due Dec. 11 but there are always stragglers after that date.”

   “Once more people get involved, it’s going to be a school thing,” Bott concluded.

(Photo Cutline: Southern Local High School seniors Jayson Bott and Bryan Anderson are spearheading a toy drive to benefit a community cause and help brighten the lives of children this holiday season. The effort runs through Dec. 11 and the goal is to incorporate the entire school and help many children.)

Treasurer’s Contract Renewed
Posted 11/19/2018 at 1:04:23 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

SALINEVILLE-The Southern Local Board of Education took steps to renew its contract with District Treasurer Greg Sabbato during the Nov. 14 monthly session.

   Board members first approved an amendment to the last year of his current pact and increased his salary to reflect similar wages around the region. His salary will increase from $80,000 to $90,000 per year as of Aug. 1, but he will receive no further raises under his new five-year contract, which runs from 2020 to 2025.

   “I think Mr. Sabbato does a great job. The board moved him up for the last of his contract and [his salary] was far below that,” said Superintendent Tom Cunningham. “We looked at salaries in Jefferson, Columbiana and Mahoning counties and thought this brought him up to par.”

   In other money matters, Sabbato shared some good news about the potential to reduce the millage rate on the current bond issue effective for the 2018 tax year.  He said the district has the opportunity to lower it from 3.1 to 2.7 mills, noting a 40-base point decrease. A bond levy was used to pay off the loan for the school building project and was refinanced in 2007, but prudent financial maintenance has meant the district could pay it off even earlier.

   “It was due to be paid off in 2025,” but we hope to pay it off early before 2020,” Sabbato said. “It’s in good faith to the taxpayers and will mean even more savings. If the balance went up, the county auditor and treasurer could ask us to do it.”

   In other action, the board:

--Announced that three $600 Best Practice Grants were awarded by the Jefferson County Educational Service Center to teachers Tonyea Kellison, Eric Nejus and MaryLou Taylor for their learning projects;

--Approved the first reading of bylaws and policies that have not been updated or put in place for years;

--Approved Alysha Zwick as a substitute custodian, secretary and parapro, Kathleen Venum as a teacher and Carla Zwick as a substitute bus driver;

--Named Terry Vest as full-time evening custodian;

--Approved a one-year contract for Melissa DelBoccio as a tutor for Southern Local;

--Approved a college visit for students at West Virginia University on Nov. 26;

--Approved continuing contracts for Gloria Hamilton, Wendy Ketchum and Brenda Stewart, all cafeteria workers;

--Approved one-year contracts for cafeteria employee Monica Plunkett and bus driver Dara Redfern;

--Approved maternity leave for elementary schoolteacher Allison Warner;

--Slated the next regular meeting for Dec. 12 at 5 p.m. with a holiday dinner to follow.

Southern Local Gains Best Practice Grants
Posted 11/16/2018 at 2:34:40 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Southern Local BPG 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Southern Thanks Veterans for Service
Posted 11/16/2018 at 2:14:19 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL Veterans Banner

SALINEVILLE- A banner posted for Veteran’s Day activities on Nov. 12 at Southern Local High School included a special message for those who bravely served our country.

   Art teacher Laurie Ronshak said each of the 183 squares which comprise the banner include the names of local veterans who have attended festivities each year, but the cards also contain thank you notes on the back to share appreciation for their service. Veterans had a chance to collect their special cards on Nov. 12 when the school held a veteran’s breakfast followed by a ceremony featuring patriotic words and music.

    “We’ve collected a list for the last five years of veterans, and every year we keep adding to it,” she said. “We do a banner of over 170 names and they are all people who have attended the ceremony.”

    Each square also includes designs that form the basis of patriotic artwork including an eagle, American flag and the Statue of Liberty, while the opposite side contains the thank you note. Ronshak said the tear-away banner allows the vets to have a keepsake from the event and she was inspired because veterans usually requested the squares from previous banners. Nearly 80 art students worked on the project over a two-year period and hung the banner and other signs in the cafeteria and gym.

   “The kids have done a lot of work to this point. I’ve had nearly every class do squares and we gathered the names from [music teacher and event organizer] Emily Bowling.”

   Ronshak added that blank squares were included on the banner but names would be added for first-time attendants at the ceremony.

(Photo Cutlines: Southern Local High School art students created a large tear-away banner for Veteran’s Day that includes a design and names of 183 local vets and thank you note for their bravery and service. Each veteran received a square as a keepsake from the school’s Veteran’s Day ceremony on Nov. 12. Pictured with the banner are, from left, James Burris, Hannah Price, Paige Davis, Sasha Duffield, Ivy Winters, Tabby Young, Kaylee Howcroft, teacher Laurie Ronshak and A.J. Long. Inset: A closer view of the individual thank you cards comprising the display.)

Deputy Phil Stops at SLES
Posted 11/16/2018 at 2:08:33 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL Deputy Phil

Mr. Tristan of the Deputy Phil program entertained first- through third-graders at Southern Local Elementary School on Nov. 9 with a mixture of messages and magic. He and his feathered friend, Icy the Penguin, discussed responsibility, respectfulness and safety and said all of those qualities make anyone a superhero. The program is based in New Jersey and travels to schools nationwide but was sponsored locally by the Columbiana County Sheriff’s Office with further support from area businesses.

SLHS Students Bound for Youngstown
Posted 11/2/2018 at 10:48:25 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

SALINEVILLE-Juniors and seniors at Southern Local High School will be treated to a special trip next week as a reward for good behavior.

    Thirty students will head to Covelli Centre in Youngstown to watch a Phantoms hockey game and take in some career exploration events. Guidance counselor Nancy Saling said the trip is part of Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) and hopes are to encourage other students to follow suit.

    “It’s an award for being a good role model with grades, attendance, behavior, assisting other students and being involved in school activities,” Saling added. “As the games go on, the students can visit college, business and military booths.”

    Students will depart around 8 a.m. and packed lunches will be provided by the school cafeteria, meaning it is at no cost to the pupils’ families. Saling continued that it was the first time the students were attending the college and career fair in addition to the games. Those students in attendance were nominated by their teachers and Saling said they were excited about the opportunity.

   PBIS rewards are generally given every four weeks and certificates are distributed to students in grades 7-12. Rewards so far have included ice cream sundaes and doughnut treats as well as special activities, but Saling said SLHS Assistant Principal Ron Sines was reviewing other options in the future.

   “He will come up with a token system and they can opt to save them for bigger prizes down the road,” she noted.

November Programs at SLES
Posted 11/2/2018 at 10:47:02 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

SALINEVILLE-More lessons in character and good decisions are coming to Southern Local Elementary with a lineup of programming throughout November.

   Guidance counselor Larry Rudloff kicked things off Nov. 1 by reading “John’s Choice: A Lesson in Honesty” to second-graders. The story tells of a boy who must make a decision when faced with a situation, and ultimately he takes the right path. Rudloff also explained five important tenets including honesty, responsibility, reputation, conscience and character.

    Two programs initially set for last month will now take place starting next week. Nickie Ostick of the Christina Shelter will host a program on “Good Touch/Bad Touch” for third-graders on Nov. 8 while the Deputy Phil program is slated for Nov. 9 and will teach grades 1-3 about safety and good choices. 

   The programs continue with The Great American Smoke Out on Nov. 15 to help youth learn to live tobacco-free. Preschoolers to sixth-graders will receive special pencils to mark the occasion.

 On Nov. 16, they will have a special visit from Scott Phillis of Norfolk Southern Railroad, who will give a presentation on railroad safety to third-grade students in the school cafeteria. Subsequent events include a visit from the Ohio Optometric Association on eye care, including programs on “Sammy Safe-Eyes” for kindergarteners, “The Adventures of Rhet and Tina” for second-graders and “The Case of Vinny Vision” for third-grade classes. Those programs will include video presentations for the children.

   Cathy Grizinski will then speak to fourth-graders about the Help Hotline/Phone Friend on Nov. 20, explaining the 24-hour service that is available if a student has issues and needs someone to talk to. After Thanksgiving break, the month will conclude with “Bullies Are Not Welcome in Our School” and wristbands will be distributed to sixth-graders as a memento.

Veterans Day Program at SL
Posted 11/2/2018 at 10:45:35 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

SALINEVILLE-Local veterans will be honored during the annual Veterans Day program at Southern Local Schools on Nov. 12.

   It all begins with a free breakfast for past soldiers and sailors in the cafeteria at 8:30 a.m., followed by a program in the high school gym at 9:30 a.m. Presentations include musical selections and speeches by students in all grade levels and the event is free and open to the public.

Schools Complete Relief Mission
Posted 10/19/2018 at 10:16:50 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL WHS Volunteers

SALINEVILLE-An impromptu collection for relief efforts in North Carolina came to fruition after thousands of items made their way to help those affected by Hurricane Florence.

   Non-perishable food, water, cleaning supplies and even some clothing were packed into a trailer and hauled to Clayton High School in Clayton, N.C., late last month to provide assistance to the droves of Tarheel State residents who sustained damage to or even lost their homes and belongings in the fierce storm. The goods were gathered at both Southern Local and Wellsville High Schools when teachers and sisters Jody Lockhart and Robin Weeda decided to make a difference.

    Lockhart recalled being inspired after watching the tragedy unfold on the television news, saying it moved her to take action.

   “The idea of collecting for the victims of Hurricane Florence came to me early on a Saturday morning while watching the news,” she said. “I contacted my sister, who is a teacher at Wellsville, and asked her if she thought we could pull something off between the two schools,” she explained. “She agreed and we contacted both superintendents to get permission to include the schools in a drive. The next step was to get the communities involved, so we reached out to the local churches and fire department. It was amazing to see the support that come in through the community!”

 The people responded in kind and the women’s classrooms were soon being filled with everything from bottled water and canned goods to paper towels, bleach, socks and underwear. Lockhart also recalled getting Flex Seal spray, two walkers and a spin mop to help those in need. 

 But the next challenge lay ahead of them, which was to find a contact point in North Carolina to send the contributions.   Lockhart said an acquaintance knew people living in Pender County, N.C., which was hit hard by the storm, and the goal was to donate the items there. Fate stepped in once again when Lockhart located Clayton High School in Johnston County, N.C., which was serendipitously conducting a drive for the exact same items.

   “We started a network where our people reach out to people down there. I started searching websites and [Clayton High School] had a list posted. There were so many itty, bitty coincidences that happened.”

   Following an exchange of emails and phone calls with Tracy Vannurden, principal’s assistant, and Principal Bennett Jones, plans were put into place for the drop site. The next hurdle was transporting the items, but Good Samaritan Mike Johnson—a friend of fellow SLHS teacher Emily Bowling—volunteered for the task. Lincoln Rental of Lisbon donated the trailer and volunteers gathered the morning of Sept. 22 to fill it up. One load was packed at the Highlandtown Volunteer Fire Department with the second at WHS. 

   From there, Johnson made the trek to Clayton’s Comet Country. The journey took roughly 10 hours since the trailer was weighted down with the heavy haul, but he managed to return to Ohio in only eight hours with an empty load. Meanwhile, Clayton school officials transported the contributions to neighboring Pender County but also provided Johnson with Comet hats and bracelets in a show of appreciation for the schools’ partnership.

  More donations were accepted for two weeks and the remaining items were donated to Martin MacLean Altmeyer Funeral Home in Calcutta for its own relief campaign, while funding contributions were forwarded to further assist the disaster victims. Lockhart thanked everyone involved for helping to make the collection a success.

    “My sister and I thought we had an overwhelming response in donations from the community and schools,” she said. “It was a lot of work and time trying to get everything organized. I want to thank everyone who helped and/or donated. If I felt the strong urge to help like I did last time, I would do it again.”

(Photo Cutline: Volunteers loaded a trailer with supplies following a successful campaign at Southern Local and Wellsville high schools to assist victims of Hurricane Florence in North Carolina. Non-perishable food, water, cleaning supplies and some clothing were gathered at the schools and in local facilities and groups gathered at Inverness Hall in Highlandtown and WHS on Sept. 22 to fill a trailer donated by Lincoln Rental of Lisbon. Volunteer Mike Johnson transported the goods to Clayton High School in Clayton, N.C., which was holding its own benefit and school officials there sent all of the items to a neighboring county hit hard by the storm.)

SLES Students Honoring Vets
Posted 10/19/2018 at 9:46:50 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SLES Veterans' Cards

SALINEVILLE-Students at Southern Local Elementary School are thanking veterans for their sacrifices in the name of freedom through a unique program.

   Pupils in grades 2-6 are creating cards for the Veterans Honor Flights program, in which corporations and organizations sponsor free flights for veterans of World War II through Vietnam to visit Washington, D.C., each Nov. 11. More than 200,000 veterans from across the country have been transported to our nation’s capital since 2005 and one flight is expected to depart from Columbus this Veteran’s Day. When an estimated 90 past soldiers and sailors board for the trek, they will receive handwritten letters and cards from SLES students as a token of appreciation.

   Hammondsville resident and Veterans Honor Flights supporter Tonda Bratt asked the school to assist in the project and school leaders were more than happy to help.

   “They added a flight and I’d been familiar [with the program],” she said. “One feature on the flights is a mail call, and each veteran typically gets letters from state representatives and family. It’s a surprise for the veterans when they get on the plane and I set it up exclusively for Southern Local because I wanted this flight to [include mail] from one specific school in Ohio. Students are learning to write letters scholastically and at the same time they can draw flags. I thought it was more meaningful for it to come from one specific area.”

   More than 90 letters and cards are being created for the upcoming flight, which will depart on Southwest Airlines for the daylong trip. While in Washington, the veterans will visit memorials and remember their part in defending the country. Funding for the flights are provided by grateful Americans, including major corporations and other groups. Bratt said she wanted Southern Local to be part of the experience.

   “I thought what a nice opportunity for Southern Local kids, and because I live in the Southern Local School District it was my starting point.”

   Her goal is to provide a learning experience for students to reflect on their freedoms and the sacrifices veterans made to make that possible. Meanwhile, SLES Principal Kristy Sampson was pleased to have the school involved and said it also built connections between the school and the community.

(Photo Cutline: Students at Southern Local Elementary are writing notes to thank veterans for their bravery and sacrifice as part of a unique project. The pupils’ cards will be given to veterans traveling from Columbus to Washington, D.C., on a Veterans Honor Flight on Nov. 11. About 100 cards were being created as a surprise for the special travelers and Southern Local is the only school involved with that flight. Pictured is sixth-grader Gavin Davis creating a flag with his letter.)

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