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Southern Local School District

Southern Local School District
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District Showcase at Southern
Posted 5/20/2022 at 12:26:02 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL District Showcase
SALINEVILLE-Southern Local Schools opened the doors once again for its annual District Showcase on May 12, welcoming families to view their students’ skills and talents on display.
 
   Crowds circled the exterior of the campus to meet vendors which included school groups and community organizations, from Utica Shale Academy, Southern High School FFA with a petting zoo and school staff providing popcorn and goodies to RSVP of Columbiana and Jefferson Counties, the Columbiana County Fair Board and county Department of Job and Family Services with information and give-away items. Attendants viewed displays inside of classroom projects from STEM to history, met teachers and staff members, listened to the musical stylings of the fourth-grade and high school choruses, looked at student artwork and obtained more info and goods from Akron Children’s Hospital and school nurse Heidi McIntosh’s health fair among other groups. 
 
   District Director of Special Education Laura Krulik, who organized the event, said it was good to return to more normalcy after COVID stifled previous activities. Krulik added that 23 organizations took part and quite a few new ones hopped on board after she submitted an invite through the county’s Family and Children First Council, of which she’s a member.
 
   “Last year, we had it all outside [for social distancing]. This year, I thought we could have it both inside and outside,” she said. “I’ve been part of the Family and Children First Council in Lisbon and sent them a flyer, then I got more responses. We have a lot of new people. Utica Shale Academy brought their new instructors and we have RSVP of Columbiana County, Pierpointe Behavioral Analysts, the Columbiana Fair Board, Christina House and the Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development.”
 
   Others included the Assembly of God, United Health Care Family Recovery Center’s ADAPT Program, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD), Help Me Grow, the Salineville Church of Christ, The Counseling Center of Wellsville, Camp Gideon, Youngstown State University, Blue Sky Employment Counseling, the Mahoning and Columbiana Training Association (MCTA) and the Community Action Agency of Columbiana County. Participants also had a chance to bid for original artwork in a silent auction to benefit the people of Ukraine; buy lemonade from SLES fifth-graders to help furry pals at the county dog pound; purchase clay bowls made by elementary children for the “Empty Bowl” benefit with proceeds going to the Southern Community Center to help end hunger; dine on delicious pasta during the football team’s fundraiser; or seek to win gift baskets and other prizes. People were encouraged to collect nine puzzle pieces from participating vendors and complete the picture, then submit it for a chance to win a drawing.
 
   Krulik said she received many good responses and people were happy to be back.
 
   “I think everybody’s happy. For some people, it was their first event. We were spread out and trying to enjoy it safely.”
 
   A few attendants voiced their pleasure at returning to the showcase.
 
   “I like to see what the kids are doing and what the community has to offer,” said parent Jesse Johnson.
 
   “I got to meet teachers and catch up on things they did, and they have a lot of free stuff for the kids,” added mom Myrna Baker.
 
   “I like the fact that I got to sing,” said SLHS sophomore Marah Morris. “I also enjoyed looking at the projects.”
 
   “I enjoyed the art show,” said freshman Paige Morris.
 
(Photo Cutline: Students and parents turned out for the annual District Showcase hosted by Southern Local Schools on May 12. Warm weather did not disappoint and participants got to view displays, meet teachers and staff, take part in fundraisers, receive information and prizes from vendors and more. Pictured is little Hudson Reed, 1 ½, as he and aunt Jamie Boyle of Wellsville get a feel for some textured artwork created by elementary students.)
Coaches Remain on Job at SL
Posted 5/20/2022 at 12:14:56 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SALINEVILLE-Two coaches will remain in charge after being backed by parents and athletes during the May 10 Southern Local school board meeting.
 
   A crowd of people attended the session in the Southern Local High School cafeteria, many of whom had spoken in favor of coach Mike Skrinjar at the April meeting after learning he may not return to the court. However, the board overwhelmingly approved his return for the next season and were met with applause. Skrinjar also noted his gratitude for the response.
 
 “Thank you for all the support,” he said. “I will continue to challenge the athletes and do all I can.”
 
  Coach Rich Sloan addressed the board saying he and his family faced retaliation for what his backing of Skrinjar, while he received a letter saying he may not return to his athletic post. 
 
  “People with good intentions make promises; people with good character keep it,” he said. “My intentions have always been to motivate people. Since this happened, I’ve been torn down. It’s never been about me; it’s been about the student-athletes.”
 
   One parent said it was unfair for Sloan to have received a letter to step down and that the parents expected someone to support and motivate the kids, which Sloan did. Others agreed, saying Sloan was a good coach. Following more talks, board President Kip Dowling said the panel was unaware anything had transpired and it would be addressed. Superintendent Tom Cunningham later read a statement to the audience indicating the letter was rescinded.
 
   “A lot of people were here for concerns,” he said. “The board appreciates the input and there are always areas to grow. The district has rescinded the letter and corrective actions have been taken. We wanted to make it known to the public.”
 
   Meanwhile, school leaders approved a bevy of new and returning faculty and staff in the district. Decisions included three-year teaching contracts for Terra Rauschenberg, Karla Calderon, Kyle Exline; two-year contracts for Erin Newburn, Jessica Coleman, Victoria Nuske, Matt Gates and Breann Jones; one-year teaching contracts for Alannah Kutan, Nick Woods, Paige Jackson, Kenadee Pezzano, Elizabeth Callahan, Larry Rudloff and Bob Shansky; a two-year contract for Marjorie Hiller as the central administrative technology specialist; one-year teaching contracts for new intervention specialists Abby Dalton and Abigail Monte; and a supplemental contract for Charlie Puckett for stadium maintenance. Additionally, officials approved Kylee Maple and Jesse Liggit as full-time substitute teachers for the 2022-23 school year as well as the resignations of custodian Calvin Sell for retirement effective June 3 and three-hour elementary cafeteria worker Lacey Locke effective May 3.
 
   In other business, the board:
--Approved Kyle Exline, Zach Almy, Gerard Grimm, Brett Hughes and Kelly Malone as summer school teachers plus a $2,500 stipend for the instructors which will be paid through ESSER funds;
--Approved the five-year forecast with Treasurer Greg Sabbato expected a positive balance for the next four years but he was also being cautious since the state funding model was not clear;
--Heard from Southern Local High School alumna and elementary art teacher Kim Adams, who said the SLHS Alumni Association invited them and the latest graduates to take part the 128th banquet on May 28. Adams said the 181st class was being inducted and the event also would celebrate 25 years for the Classes of 1995-97 and 50 years for the classes of 1970-72. She encouraged the board and newest alumni to take part, saying Southern was built on history and traditions;
--Heard from Southern Local Elementary Principal Rich Wright that students were participating in field days while fifth-graders were learning about entrepreneurship through a lemonade project. He noted that a picnic will be held May 23 to celebrate raising funds for the American Heart Association and administrators would be dressed as characters from the movie “Toy Story.” SLHS Principal Jay Kiger added that the year was winding down with a successful prom and FFA banquet while the aviation students visited the Columbiana County Airport to view aircraft, including teacher Emily Forbes Bowling’s plane;
--Heard that Kya Sloan and Maddie Jones qualified for the junior high state meet;
--Approved the list of Class of 2022 graduates;
--Heard from a former student and his mother about being told by a coach to play sports while suffering injury and health issues and claimed he still suffered long-term damage from a massage gun the coach used to relieve pain on his neck. Both said they had spoken to officials and a formal investigation occurred but they were never contacted, while the mother recently quit her job with the district and enrolled her son in another district;
--Set the next regular meeting for June 14 at 5:30 p.m.
SLES Students Lead Food Drive
Posted 5/4/2022 at 11:40:29 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SLES Food Drive
Southern Local Elementary School students collected more than 700 canned and boxed items during a recent drive for the Salineville Community Center Food Bank. The event was held over a two-week period in April and top homerooms included Elizabeth Callahan’s kindergarten, Taffy Voorhees’s third-grade and Karen Marquis’s fifth-grade classes, which collected more than 100 items each and will receive a sundae bar as a reward. Pictured with the donations are, front from left, Mackenzie Rohrer, Easton Gowin, Liam Crawford, Kaylynn Hannan, Remi Rector, Garrett Shaw and Tyler Barnhart. Middle: Madyson Gruszecki, Serenity Wallace, Wyatt Ketchum, Eric Slagle, Jayce Tsesmilles and Jacob Hickman. Back:Addysin Andrenok, Vaida Jo Willis, Justice Younger-Hart, Katie Kellogg, Kalayah Crute, Eliana Forbes, Payton Davison and Lucie Lee.
Students Take off with Flight Simulator
Posted 5/3/2022 at 11:06:32 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL Aviation Simulator
SALINEVILLE-Students can head to the Wild Blue Yonder without leaving the classroom through a unique new flight simulator at Southern Local High School.
 
      District Technology Director Josh Manist and his group of high school tech interns created a custom-built system for Emily Forbes Bowling’s aviation classes to help give her 50 pupils a bird’s eye view as they learned about flying. Bowling said she wanted to add equipment for the past two years, and when school leaders permitted the plan to take off, Manist assigned the task to his talented young team.
 
   “We started getting a plan together and ordering parts,” said Bowling. “It was March when they started assembling it.”
 
   The total manhours equated to roughly a week, and in the end her class was outfitted with a new computer which also had been built by students, a Microsoft Flight Simulator program, a 48-inch-screen-sized, single ultrahigh resolution monitor and rudders, yoke and throttle quadrant through Redbird, the latter of which are controls used in actual flight schools. The system uses a Google Earth program to simulate different aircraft in any part of the world, from Youngstown to New York City and even Japan, and can even include live weather and air traffic patterns plus communication with multiple players. Bowling, a licensed pilot, took a turn and mimicked flights in a Cessna 152 at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport, along the Hudson River in New York City and in the horizon above Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  Bowling planned to start using the equipment in May.
 
   “You can literally fly anywhere in the world, from your backyard at the local airport to somewhere really exotic,” she continued. “It’s pretty realistic.”
 
   “Calibrating the controls and flights was the most difficult part,” Manist commented. “It’s good equipment and everything is well made. We ordered all the parts to be as realistic as possible for the training. It would be exactly what they see if they go take flying lessons.”
   
    Bowling said three aviation classes are being held this year and she is incorporating more junior high students to learn about airplanes, rockets, helicopters and drones and they even will visit the Columbiana County Airport in May to talk with other pilots and see actual aircraft. The course, which has been offered for the past two years, has even inspired some pupils to seek a potential career in the skies.
 
   “One of the kids in last year’s class approached me about getting a pilot’s license and is thinking of going into the Air Force,” she said.
 
   With the simulator, students will have a chance to practice should they also decide to pilot a real plane in the future. Bowling was grateful to Manist and the tech team for their hard work while team members also enjoyed the experience.
 
   “It was fun to put it together,” said senior Damon Allen. “We’ve been building computers for a while and the system is awesome. If you want to learn about aviation, [the class] would be a huge step forward.”
 
   “It was a good experience,” added senior Scott Pelley. “I learned a lot about aviation.”
 
    Manist’s son, sixth-grader Zane, also participated by testing the equipment.
   “I thought it was cool that we could work on it and fly it,” Zane added. “It’s one of the best things and I can play on it.”
 
   He also showed interest in taking the aviation class in the near future.
 
   Westover said the computer included the largest CPU’s and graphics card and Bowling helped source the parts for the system, plus the large, curved monitor added an extra sense of realism for the panoramic views.
 
  “The size factor [of the monitor] is hard to find and this fit the role perfectly. With the help of Mrs. Bowling and everyone, we got this made and it’s possible for everybody to use it. We had fun putting this together and testing it.”
 
    Meanwhile, Manist has had tech interns for the past nine years with students in grades 9-12, but he is looking at adding underclassmen. The interns have been responsible for preparing Chromebooks for state assessments while Zane Manist and Westover have also created model airplanes to fly outdoors, but he said it would be great to build an even better simulator, if possible.

(Photo Cutline: Southern Local High School Technology Director Josh Manist and his group of tech interns custom built a flight simulator for aviation classes led by teacher Emily Forbes Bowling, who is a licensed airplane pilot. The system allows students to take off without leaving the classroom and the system was a very involved but rewarding experience for the students who created it. Pictured are Bowling, seated in front, with Scott Pelley, Zane Manist, Sebastian Bach and Damon Allen. Back: Bobby Westover, Kayden Korbel and Josh Manist.)
Anti-Virus Youth Education Program Coming to Southern
Posted 3/25/2022 at 9:14:03 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SALINEVILLE- Southern Local Jr. High School is bringing back one character-building program to help students become well-rounded community members.
 
   Kristy Sampson, district grants manager, said the Anti-Virus Youth Education program will be available within weeks to help develop positive traits. This is the second time Southern Local has provided the Anti-Virus program after COVID-19 put previous plans on the backburner.
 
   “We first implemented it in the junior high levels two years ago and partnered with a youth group facilitator in our community. Due to COVID and the inconsistency of being in and out of school, the programming wasn't offered the past few years. Now that we are back in school, we felt it was important to re-implement the lessons at the junior high level,” Sampson added. “Our guidance department stepped up to facilitate the lessons this year and then we will develop a multi-year and multi-level of implementation into our older grade levels to reinforce what they have learned and applied in junior high. “
 
   She said a donor funded the program for all Columbiana County schools and a representative of Leaders Edge, which distributes it, recently contacted her. Sampson then began working with school counselors Kenadee Pezzano and Alannah Kutan and the idea is to begin implementing weekly sessions later this spring. 
 
   Anti-Virus is described as a non-profit character development program for fourth-grade and middle school students across the country with emphasis on mentoring youth to live a life based on good character. The curriculum focuses on seven main character traits: ambition, responsibility, hard work, emotions, restraint, common sense and generosity. The goal is to help youth develop character and competency in life and leadership so they can become productive citizens and leaders in their communities.
 
   “The program is geared towards junior high students and the purpose is to increase students’ awareness of character traits that limit their personal development and application of character traits that increase personal development,” Sampson added. “It is being piloted this May and then the implementation plan for the 2022-23 school year will be finalized prior to school starting in August. The program is eight or nine lessons that are approximately 30 minutes each, so it is something that could be facilitated during nine weeks.”
 
   By the conclusion, students will learn how to live with resiliency, combat bullying, develop a positive image, make good choices, develop healthy relationships and navigate social and emotional difficulties.
 
   “It’s social-emotional learning for junior high students,” Pezzano commented. “It’s going to be implemented by me and Ms. Kutan at the end of this year and we’ll possibly have a mentor for the Anti-Virus program. We can offer it in-house and they can also have someone come in.”
Morris Returns to Southern Local Board
Posted 3/11/2022 at 1:19:07 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SLBOE MOrris Returns
SALINEVILLE- Linda Morris has returned to the Southern Local Board of Education after being appointed to a vacant seat at the March 8 session.
 
   Morris had served for 26 years and left in December after being narrowly surpassed by fellow board member John Sawyer during an election recount; however, she still remained active as the board’s representative for the Columbiana County Career and Technical Center. She came back when SLBOE Vice President Rodney Edmiston submitted his resignation after being found unqualified to hold the office. SLBOE members approved his resignation at the meeting and brought Morris back on the board.
 
   “We had no additional candidates on the ballots and it was an extremely close race between Mrs. Morris and Mr. Sawyer,” said board member Karl Blissenbach. “We feel it’s appropriate to appoint her at this time.”
 
   Morris was welcomed back and will complete the remainder of Edmiston’s term, which is just under two years.
 
   Meanwhile, SLBOE President Kip Dowling said a new vice president was needed since Edmiston held the role for the current year. Blissenbach motioned to have Scott Hart take the post and the board overwhelmingly approved the selection.
 
   Among other matters, the board:
--Heard reports from Southern Local Elementary Principal Rich Wright, who said students in grades K-5 took MAP assessments and fifth-graders did very well, while the information will be used by teachers to improve learning. Wright added that the staff was also working on social-emotional learning and improving school culture. He noted that PreK-3 were having a Blast Off Literacy Night on March 22 from 6-7:30 p.m. while a book fair was underway. Some Principal’s Fund money was being used to provide books to every student, but they can also purchase their own;
--Heard from Southern Local Jr./Sr. High School Assistant Principal Adam Loudin, who said students also took MAP assessments and showed some growth in grades 6-11 with the biggest gain made with sixth-grade math. He said data from the assessments was being reviewed to improve education. Loudin continued that 80 percent of the teachers participated in mental health wellness activities in February and it would go on with staff. Other highlights included end-of-course exams on March 22 with a wrap up on April 14 while next year’s high school course lists would be completed soon;
--Learned from Cunningham that officials were looking to add the weekly Anti-Virus character building program beginning the last nine weeks of this year;
--Heard from Athletic Director Bob Shansky, who recognized the wrestlers and basketball teams;
--Learned from Food Service Director Samantha Fryman that student meal participation was at 85 percent and they were in favor of a la carte and special meals such as pickle pizza with new options available at the high school. Elementary students also enjoyed Dr. Seuss activities in their dining area;
--Continued its membership in the Ohio High School Athletic Association for the 2022-2023 school year;  
--Approved substitutes Dawn Spooner as custodian and cafeteria worker and Mackenzie Reynolds as a cafeteria worker and secretary;
--Approved Brian Spahlinger as volunteer assistant coach of the varsity and JV baseball teams;
--Rescinded Mark Witherow’s supplemental as volunteer assistant girls’ basketball coach for the 2021-22 school year and named him JV girls’ basketball coach for the season;
--Approved a contract addendum for vacation and severance payout per policies for employees Tammy Phillips, Rob Marra, Charlie Puckett, Julie Dowling, Whitney Tsemilles and Josh Manist;
--Approved the 2022-23 school calendar;
--Approved contracts for services of a speech therapist and speech therapist supplemental from the Jefferson County Educational Service Center for the 2022-23 year;
--Set the next meeting for April 12 at 6:30 p.m. 
 
(Photo Cutline: The Southern Local Board of Education returned longtime member Linda Morris to the panel following the resignation of Rodney Edmiston at the March 8 regular meeting. Member Scott Hart was also selected vice president, succeeding Edmiston in that role. Pictured are, front from left, John Sawyer and Linda Morris. Back: Board President Kip Dowling, Vice President Scott Hart and Karl Blissenbach.)
K-9 Hunter Visits SLES Students
Posted 2/23/2022 at 9:59:56 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SLES K9 Hunter
Deputy Damin Beadnell of the Columbiana County Sheriff’s Office and his four-legged partner, K-9 Officer Hunter, visited Southern Local Elementary School on Feb. 10 and to meet with students. The children got to see the duo up close and learn how K-9 Hunter assists law enforcement with drug detection and other matters. K9 Hunter succeeds longtime canine cop Jesy, who recently retired from service. Deputy Beadnell and K-9 Hunter are pictured with third-graders during one of their presentations.
Auditorium, Other Uses Eyed for Lot at Southern
Posted 2/11/2022 at 12:08:11 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SALINEVILLE- Southern Local School officials are eying plans for a lot located next to the campus, one of which is a potential auditorium for the district.
 
   Superintendent Tom Cunningham discussed the idea during the regular school board session on Feb. 8, saying a structure on neighboring property the district received two decades ago would be getting razed and leaders were looking at various uses. The land could house a new structure and provide more space for music and other performances that are currently shown in the cafeteria, but Cunningham noted that added parking for the elementary school and other options were also being considered.
 
    “We had a building committee meeting and are looking at the potential for an auditorium for the district,” Cunningham said. “It’s long overdue. We’ve contacted a couple of architects and want to get a few preliminaries.”
 
   Meanwhile, local Herbalife Nutrition officials Mike and Josh Shope spoke to the board about forming a nutrition club at the school to sell shakes and teas for healthier sustenance. The items, which could be sold before school, at lunch and after school, contain low to no caffeine, sugar or calories and boost energy. Additionally, Southern could reap a financial benefit.
 
   “It’s definitely non-profitable for us. It’s something for the kids and definitely for the staff as well. They would have a personalized app and can set up a customized menu, and you can have students help with lunch and afterschool activities. It would be for one hour before school, at lunch and one hour after school,” said Mike Shope.
 
    Josh Shope said it would be a satellite club and could be renamed by Southern to suit its “Indians” theme. 
 
   “You can potentially make up to 60-percent profit which can go into the principal’s fund,” he continued. “It’s a healthier option than what you get out of vending machines.”
 
   Herbalife is available at sites in Lisbon and Columbiana, but Southern would be the first school program. School leaders suggested using a business or math student or offering service hours toward business and graduation pathways, in addition to Positive Based Intervention and Supports as personal incentives and awards. Following more talks, Cunningham sought to discuss the matter further with the Herbalife officials.
 
   In other action, the board:
--Heard from Southern Local Elementary Principal Rich Wright, who said fifth-graders were planning to go to Camp Fitch on Feb. 14-16 while a Move-A-Thon was being held Feb. 25 to raise money for the American Heart Association Kids Heart Challenge, where a $4,000 goal has been set. Wright said funds were being raised and school leaders were dressing as “Toy Story” characters and holding a picnic as a reward. He added that Cunningham and SLES Assistant Principal Emily Brinker were working on an intervention plan for fourth-grade reading daily from 7:30-8:30 a.m. Kids would ride the high school bus, have breakfast and head to an assigned classroom for the program. The intervention will be offered Feb. 22 until testing begins.
--Learned from SLHS Principal Jay Kiger said new tables were finally coming to the school cafeteria, winter sports were ramping up and he hoped to see school return to some sense of normalcy;
--Heard from Cunningham that the new school sign should be in place this month and commended the guidance counselors and others for their work on social-emotional learning. He added that speaker David Kahout was visiting Feb. 17 and VEX Robotics would soon be offered to grades 4-6;
--Heard from District Treasurer Greg Sabbato that Southern has received more than $7,800 in revenue from a lease on a gas well adjacent to the school property an could have upwards of $10,000 at the end of the year;
--Approved teachers Zachary Almy, Amanda Mayfield and Justin Gardner, custodian/cafeteria/secretary Vicki McCauley and cafeteria worker Julie Gates on the substitute list;
--Approved the resignation of high school science teacher Mary Lou Taylor, effective May 31, and wished her well in her endeavors;
--Approved a five-year contract for William Watson as superintendent of the Utica Shale Academy;
--Hired Julie Armentrout as a high school cafeteria worker from 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.;
--Scheduled the next regular meeting for March 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the high school media center.
SLBOE Seeks Guidance on Fund Carryover
Posted 1/14/2022 at 1:12:37 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SLBOE Jan 11 Morris
SALINEVILLE-The Southern Local Board of Education is looking at what to do with excess funding left from a bond that has been paid in full.
 
   Officials accepted the 2022 tax budget following a brief meeting held before the regular gathering on Jan. 11, where District Treasurer Greg Sabbato said there was a $52,000 carryover from the remittance of a 4.21-mill bond passed in 2000 and officials were looking what to do next.
 
  “[Permanent Improvement] is broken into two: old and new. The new budget has a lot more specific uses such as security and classroom facilities that we collect a half-mill for use on the buildings only,” he said.  “We paid off our bond early las year, so we have $52,000 in the old budget. I need to call [Columbiana County Auditor] Nancy Milliken to find out what to do with the excess we had from paying it off.”
 
   Sabbato planned to report back during the next school meeting and the board later agreed to submit the tax budget for consideration by the county budget commission. Superintendent Tom Cunningham said the district may need to seek a judge’s approval to move the money into the general fund.
 
    “It’s nice to see property taxes go down,” noted board member Scott Hart. “That’s a good thing.”
 
   Superintendent Tom Cunningham also updated the board about happenings around the district, saying teachers were regularly meeting to share ideas and resources during teacher-based team (TBT) sessions and talking about concerns at the grade level. He added that a waiver day was held on Jan. 3 for some professional development while another is eyed for March 4 to focus on the school safety plan. Cunningham said Deputy Jeff Haw, school resource officer, had reviewed the current plan and was building relationships with staff and students within the buildings.
 
   “We’re looking at doing a full-scale [scenario],” he commented. “We want to go through scenarios with teachers and do drills with students the in the classroom, as well. We’ve done fire drills in the past but haven’t done one lately due to COVID.”
 
   Cunningham further addressed Tribe Time before- and afterschool activities and that officials were seeking grant funds to expand the program. He noted that online tutoring was also available and said the Winter Homecoming Dance was set for Jan. 22 with the district spelling bee on Jan. 26.
 
   Leaders also garnered praise from Southern Local Elementary teacher Nancy Sakely, who thanked the board for putting its students and staff’s safety first. Officials previously moved to re-institute its masking policy at an emergency meeting Jan. 4 after noticing that COVID cases were up to the same level as before the holiday break. Cunningham said the district was trying to control the spread in order to keep kids in class. Masks will be worn for a two-week period as a precaution and then officials would revisit the issue. 
 
   “We will have the mask mandate through Jan. 18 and look at the numbers that Friday and make a determination for the following week,” he continued.
 
   Sakely thanked officials for making the move, saying her third-grade students understand the reason behind the move and the district was making the best decision for those it serves.
 
   “I can’t express strongly enough my personal praise on your decision to mandate masks in the classrooms. I am proud to work for a school board who is a leader in the county on this issue,” she said. “I had planned to wear a mask at school after the holidays. This was a personal decision based on the unknown contaminants I would be exposed to and possibly carry to my elderly mother and/or infant grandchildren. The mask doesn’t help with only COVID, but other airborne infections such as the flu and the common cold. Do I find the mask inconvenient? Yes, but it is a necessary inconvenience to possibly keep myself and others from getting sick. I explained this to my third-grade classroom. Those eight-year-olds get it.”
 
   She mentioned recent news that three school districts from Austintown to Newton Falls already went remote for the week and did not enforce a similar mandate.
 
   “The mandated mask wearing will hopefully prevent remote learning down the road. Data shows remote instruction and social seclusion negatively impact student academics and mental health. Hopefully other districts will take your lead and require masks for students and staff based on the numbers acquired from their school nurses and county health department. Again, thank you for your leadership and determination to provide a safe and healthy learning environment for the students and staff,” Sakely concluded.
 
    In another matter, she thanked the board for giving staff members bonuses, saying it was an appreciated surprise amid an altered education during the COVID era.
 
   “We are approaching two years of remote learning, calamity days and student and staff illness. We the staff have struggled to provide the best education possible under unprecedented conditions. Thank you for recognizing that.”
 
  Among other action, the board:
 
--Approved a series of personnel matters including extra duties for Carter Hill at the Utica Shale Academy; continuing contracts for cafeteria workers Chastity Sloan and Kelley Korbel; a list of substitute teachers, custodians, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, teacher’s aides and secretaries; and a contract for Alannah Kutan for testing coordinator at the Utica Shale Academy. Leaders also approved the resignation of intervention specialist Stephanie Gonzales;
--Recognized former board member Linda Morris, who ended her term in December following recent elections, with a plaque congratulating her for 26 years of service with Southern Local Schools. She will continue to serve as a representative on the Columbiana County Career and Technical Center board;
--Was lauded for School Board Recognition Month in January as Cunningham distributed plaques to Morris and current officials;
--Approved the district’s records retention policy following some discussion. Sabbato explained nearly all of the paper files, such as student transcripts extending back decades, were digitized and the policy determined which records could be kept and which could be disposed of. He said transcripts would be available online while other files that are not digitized are pulled manually, and he reminded leaders that the policy was updated last year. Board member Karl Blissenbach questioned potential risks, but Sabbato said the files could be easily recovered;
--The next regular board meeting was set for Feb. 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the high school media center.
 
(Photo Cutline: Longtime Southern Local Board of Education member Linda Morris received a plaque from Superintendent Tom Cunningham during the Jan. 11 meeting for 26 years of service to the school district. Morris ended her term in December following elections but will remain a representative on the Columbiana County Career and Technical Center board.)
Flannery Chosen as November Student of the Month
Posted 12/1/2021 at 11:05:32 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL Flannery November Student of Month
SALINEVILLE- Southern Local High School senior Emily Flannery has been chosen as the Salineville Kiwanis Student of the Month for November.
 
  Flannery, the daughter of Michael and Jennifer Flannery of Aliquippa, Pa., presently holds a 4.126 GPA and is ranked fifth in her class. She has participated in yearbook and hoped to join student council, Science Club and track this year. Upon graduation, she will have taken 31 credit hours at Eastern Gateway Community College through the College Credit Plus program.
 
  She plans to continue her education at EGCC and hopes to go on to Youngstown State University to study electrical engineering or dietetics, saying she was influenced by her parents since her father is an electrical engineer and her mother has taught her about nutrition. 
Southern Local Teachers Awarded Mini Grants
Posted 11/17/2021 at 11:27:42 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SALINEVILLE-Teachers in the Southern Local School District are enriching learning opportunities for students after receiving allocations through the Jefferson County Educational Service Center.
 
   JCESC Director of Curriculum and Professional Development Ron Sismondo presented three $600 Best Practice Grants during the Nov. 15 school board session for Karen Marquis, Janice Pierce and Eric Sampson to enhance education in their respective classes.  
 
   Marquis plans to implement a “Wonder Workshop” for 55 fifth-grade math and English/Language Arts students at Southern Local Elementary School to introduce them to coding. She will purchase two Cue Robots and said the project will help kids’ self-guided exploration of programming languages and robotic capabilities. The program will be incorporated into small centers in her classroom and allows all students to work with the robots. Activities are designed for grades K-5 teachers and students and offers step-by-step lesson plans covering six fundamental coding concepts that engage kids in hands-on learning and project-based assessments. Wonder Workshop has a database of lesson plans and turn-key activities that can be implemented across all core subject areas, plus there is STEAM-related content and easy-to-integrate ideas for grades K-8. 
 
   “This program helps the kids to build problem-solving skills through coding, engineering and design. Cue is also a step up from the dash robots that students had the opportunity to work with in the fourth grade,” she added. “The computers will be able to build things.”
 
   This is her first mini grant and Marquis was grateful to gain the financial support and expand her students’ horizons.
 
   “I am very excited about this opportunity. I am excited about learning how to do the coding myself and finding ways to challenge my students,” she said. “This is a practical way to introduce engineering and coding to students who are interested in technology. The program is built so that students will feel successful while learning something new and challenging.” 
 
   Pierce, a fourth-grade math and science teacher at SLES, is using her funds to create a Monarch butterfly habitat and pollinator garden after discovering its population was declining. She said her 42 students will learn how to plant and maintain the garden but grades K-5 could benefit from its educational properties in the future. She previously received Best Practice Grants and said the latest allotment will help bolster educational advantages.
 
   “I love seeing the students’ excitement when the Monarch butterflies emerge in the fall. It will be a wonderful educational experience to watch all the stages. Also, students will benefit from the learning process by developing an understanding of the Monarch butterfly environment,” Pierce explained. “Students will gain a better understanding of the importance of maintaining a sustainable habitat and can experience their life cycle.”
 
   Sampson, a physical education teacher at Southern Local High School, will use his portion to add a little more fun with the formation of a “Disc Golf Course” project on the campus. He instructs grades 6-12 but added that elementary school teacher Kathy Randolph and her class were also included in the grant process. The course will benefit at least 300 students and even the community.
 
   “Disc Golf has exploded in popularity over the last few years. It is a perfect sport that checks many boxes of the [Ohio Department of Education’s] physical education standards. Students will be participating in physical activity while walking the course, learning on working with others, learning proper throwing and manipulative skills of a disc and even map reading to navigate the course. Disc golf baskets will be installed on the campus of Southern Local Schools. The course would be available to all students in all physical education courses, as well as the community after school,” he said.
 
   Sampson received a similar grant last year for his surveying class and was pleased to benefit from the Best Practice Grant program yet again.
 
   “The grant program is a wonderful opportunity provided by the JCESC that allows us as teachers to have an enormous impact on student learning and success,” he commented.
 
   Meanwhile, JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko lauded the teachers and said the purpose of the mini grants was to support the enhancement of learning.
 
   “The JCESC has a mission of building capacity through innovative cost-effective programs.  The Best Practice Grants are a great example of allowing our classroom teachers to be innovative in the practice of educating their students,” he commented. “Every year, our district teachers continue to find unique and innovative methods for their classroom.  We are grateful for the teachers’ hard work and happy to support their creativity.”   
 
   Southern Local has received a total of 21 grants since it began participating in the program in 2015 and more funding was awarded this year at Buckeye Local, Edison, Harrison Hills, Indian Creek, Steubenville, Toronto and the Utica Shale Academy.
Safety Programs Back at SLES
Posted 11/3/2021 at 12:36:57 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SLES Safety Program
SALINEVILLE-Southern Local Elementary School has a full slate of programming on the horizon to prepare its students on matters of safety.
 
   School Counselor Larry Rudloff spoke to students about the “Wise and Safe Use of Natural Gas in the Home” on Oct. 28 and shared a video with the kindergarten class. Kids learned about measures they could take to deter dangers such as not storing paper near or touching gas-based appliances to alerting adults if they detect a gas leak. Rudloff also distributed handouts provided by Columbia Gas which included an example of the odorant mercaptan, which is used to detect gas leaks.
 
   “It’s all about safety in the home and making good choices,” he said, adding there were ties to the school’s annual fire prevention week with an escape plan activity for students and parents.
 
   The safety series continued with Rudloff discussing “McGruff the Crime Dog on Gun Safety” with second-graders on Oct. 29 and school bus safety on Nov. 3 with first-grade classes. More events include an American Electric Power science program with Rudloff talking to kindergarteners on Nov. 4; Nickie Ostick and Amy Kavanaugh with the Christina Shelter presenting on “Good Touch, Bad Touch” to third-graders on Nov. 8; Rudloff addressing “Firearm Safety, It’s Your Call: Playing It Safe Around Guns” in the fourth-grade classroom on Nov. 9; school leaders recognizing “My Character Matters” in grades PreK-5 on Nov. 10; Rudloff with “John’s Choice: A Story about Honesty” in the second-grade classes on Nov. 16; “The Great American Smokeout” being recognized in grades PreK-5 on Nov. 18; Rudloff returning with “Railroad Safety” with third-grade students on Nov. 19; and Cathy Grizinski set to talk to fourth-graders about “Health Network/Help Hotline/Phone Friend” on Nov. 23. 
 
   More activities will resume in December following the school’s Thanksgiving break.

(Photo Cutline: Southern Local Elementary Counselor Larry Rudloff spoke to kindergarteners about natural gas safety and distributed handouts scented with mercaptan, an odorant used to help identify gas leaks. The session is just one of many safety-based programs scheduled at the school through November and December.)
Southern Local Hosting Veteran’s Day Program
Posted 10/21/2021 at 10:34:42 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SALINEVILLE-Past military members will be honored during Veteran’s Day festivities at Southern Local High School on Nov. 11.
 
   The school will host a hospitality hour at 8:30 a.m. in the SLHS cafeteria, followed by the annual program in the gym at 9:30 a.m. Band director Emily Forbes Bowling said the event will include patriotic music to speeches with some changes in light of COVID-19 protocols.
 
   “The program will follow our traditional format with students from all grade levels contributing art projects, musical presentation and special readings,” she said. “To make the event as safe as possible, we ask that all guests and participants please wear a mask while inside the building.  We will also be limiting student attendance to those who are participating in the program. All other students will watch the event from their classrooms on a special livestream.”
 
   She added that 50 veterans have attended the festivities with their families.
SLBOE Talks USA Growth
Posted 9/16/2021 at 2:00:31 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]

 
   SALINEVILLE-Education is expanding to more hands-on learning at the Utica Shale Academy as the Southern Local Board of Education took further steps to bring it to fruition on Sept. 14.
 
   The board formally approved the donation of the Hutson Building by Utica East Ohio Midstream to now house the community school on East Main Street in Salineville. USA Superintendent Bill Watson said students will begin classes Sept. 20 and more programs are in the works to help them find success in the future.
 
  “We have 78 kids at Utica Shale Academy and have become a worksite for the [Mahoning and Columbiana County Training Association] hospitality program. Forty-eight kids can earn industry credentials and work 40 hours a week, earning $10 an hour,” Watson said. 
 
   He added that Southern Local will also partner with the Kubota Tech program to provide students with diesel mechanics training, plus they would learn how to use the equipment to help them get ahead. Watson said more space is being obtained with three acres being purchased near the new site to establish a garage. Concrete pads were being poured to prepare the property while USA also acquired equipment including a zero-turn mower, side by side and a front-end loader tractor with a backhoe. Instructors will be sent for training in Tennessee and hopes are to start the program during the second semester.
 
   “We plan to have heavy equipment in operation. If we buy the equipment to work on, we will use it too.” 
 
   Watson said USA is only one of two sites in Ohio using Kubota Equipment with the other being Ohio State University ATI, and an articulation agreement may be formed following two upcoming meetings. 
 
   “We’re trying to be at the forefront of it,” he commented.
 
   In the meantime, students have been busy earning their community seal by completing beautification projects around the Hutson Building.
  
   Under personnel matters, the board approved substitutes for the 2021-22 school year including teachers Jackie Donovan, Pam Tedeschi, Jesse Liggitt and Jean Pastore, paraprofessional and secretary Paige Compton, secretary Linda Frischkorn, cafeteria worker and secretary Brittany Homewood and bus drivers Ashlee Heaton and Melanie Glosser. Officials also gave a continuing contract to Alexis Powell as a cafeteria worker; approved Elizabeth Callahan as a long-term kindergarten sub for the current school year; approved supplemental contracts for Brian Spahlinger as assistant football coach, Stephen Grimm as varsity assistant boys’ basketball coach and Richie Sloan and Tanner Patterson as junior high boys’ basketball coaches; approved Alyssa Lockhart as yearbook advisor for the current school year; and approved a one-year limited contract for Kimberly Crawford as a three-hour high school cook.
 
   In other action, the school board:
--Heard from Southern Local Elementary Principal Rich Wright that students and staff were back into a routine and he thanked officials for their support. He added that Carri Meek of Instructional Growth Seminars and Support would be observing needs at the school while Southern leaders started comprehensive math assessments for the Third Grade Guarantee to improve areas. Wright further noted that art teacher Kimberly Adams was sprucing up the building and the school’s Scholastic Book Fair was scheduled for Oct. 11;
--Learned from Superintendent Tom Cunningham that school nurse Heidi McIntosh and staff members finished COVID protocols  while schools and buses were regularly cleaned to reduce the spread of illness. People are strongly encouraged to wear masks and he said the number of absences has been falling;
---Heard that Breakfast with the Superintendent will resume Oct. 15 at 7:30 a.m. in the SLES Media Center and further sessions will be held on the second Friday of each month;
--Learned the fencing project at the district bus garage was nearly complete for added security purposes;
--Approved an agreement with the Columbiana County Board of Development Disabilities to provide educational services for school-age students from Southern Local;
--Approved an agreement with Pierpointe Behavior Analysts of Connecticut to conduct functional behavioral assessments and consultations for individual students;
--Approved the calendar for the Southern Local Online Academy for Jefferson County and statewide students using the optional online program;
--Approved a Virtual Learning Academy (VLA) participation agreement with the Jefferson County Educational Service Center;
--Set the next meeting for Oct. 12 at 6:30 p.m. in the high school cafeteria.
Tribe Time Offers Before, After School Programs
Posted 9/10/2021 at 10:53:38 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL Tribe Time
SALINEVILLE-Students in the Southern Local School District have a place to learn and grow before and after classes with the newly formed Tribe Time program.
 
   The district teamed up with Wellsville-based A&J Kiducation Learning Center LLC to provide a before and after school program for elementary students. Doors officially opened on Aug. 26 and students ages 4-12 can participate from 7-8:45 a.m. and from 3:30-6 p.m. The youth attend sessions in the Southern Local Elementary School cafeteria with homework assistance and hands-on activities to keep them occupied while high school students will also be offered tutoring and enrichment opportunities throughout the year. Southern Local and Kiducation work with families during the enrollment process to develop a transportation plan but families may self-transport if they choose. Tuition costs $5 before school and $10 after school and may be covered by the Columbiana County Department of Job and Family Services’ assistance program if eligible, but children need not attend all week.
 
   Aubrey Bach, who has operated Kiducation with Jamie Mitchell for the past seven years, was approached by district Director of Federal Programs Kristy Sampson about the idea after a community query showed a definite need. According to the query, the public indicated interest in an afterschool program with homework help and STEM activities for grades 3-10 and organizers were pleased to bring something to the community.
 
  “We’re just really excited to offer this to the community and believe the kids will really benefit,” Bach said. “We have about 18 enrolled but [the number attending] varies.”
 
   She and Mitchell organize the program and may hire help in the future if needed.
 
   “We are open Monday to Friday at 7 a.m. and take them to class around 8:45. Then we come back after school is over and provide a snack, homework help and a lot of hands-on activities. We do hands-on STEM science experiments and make slime or play dough and have five activity centers with cars to blocks.”
 
   Sampson concurred that children are gaining the fundamentals of an education in a familiar atmosphere and having fun at the same time.
 
   “Tribe Time is a wonderful opportunity for our children and families enrolled to have children in a safe environment to extend their learning and relationship building with our staff and community,” she noted.
 
   For more information or to enroll, contact the elementary school office at (330) 679-2343 or Bach at (330) 853-6390.
 
(Photo Cutline: Southern Local Elementary kindergarten student Courtney Kelly partakes in some fun learning activities during Tribe Time, a before and after school program offered by the Southern Local School District and the A&J Kiducation Learning Center LLC of Wellsville. Kiducation officials operate the program at 7-8:45 a.m. and 3:30-6 p.m. in the SLES cafeteria on weekdays. For more information or to enroll, contact the elementary school office at (330) 679-2343 or A&J Kiducation operator Aubrey Bach at (330) 853-6390.)
Christopher Milo Returns to Southern
Posted 9/10/2021 at 10:45:55 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL Milo
SALINEVILLE- Christopher Milo has returned to Southern Local Schools to bring positivity to students and staff alike.
 
   The Chagrin Falls-based motivational speaker and concert pianist has appeared a recent teachers’ orientation and the district’s annual Back to School Bash on Aug. 19 and is visiting several times a month to connect with youth and is expected to return again Sept. 17. He said he was eager to help people cope with issues that have grown since the onset of COVID-19 and, like others, his plans were shelved to work in the community and he was unable to reach his intended audience of 100,000 strong.
 
   “I’m pleased to partner with the district,” he said. “We have a perfect time to rise above to be the change these kids need.”
 
   Known for his 13 Messages from Milo (13MFM) mentoring program, Milo’s heart is as big as his mohawk as he’s shared words of encouragement and positivity with his varied audiences. Milo has visited schools, universities, churches and businesses for nearly 15 years and has given messages with stories about his own life, namely his six-month ordeal as a paraplegic in 1992 who was told he would never walk again, but he also discusses bullying and the importance of having good character. He began his partnership with the school district prior to the pandemic and often visited the school advising school leaders, leading assemblies or talking to students in the classrooms, plus he attended Indians football games to cheer on the team.
 
   In the wake of school shutdowns, the internet has provided another outlet with his Facebook and Instagram pages and YouTube channel throughout the COVID era, but Milo longs for face-to-face interaction in schools, churches and other venues. He hoped to resume his in-person duties barring further outbreaks and related closures, yet he said he makes himself available online when needed.
 
   “The plan is to comply with the State of Ohio, but at the same time be a helpful resource for administrators and teachers. Everybody needs help...and I think this will be one of the best years yet. There has been a lot of social isolation and it has been a struggle [with COVID]. I talked to Southern Local students all year long.”
 
  Southern Local High School Principal Jay Kiger said Milo has been a vital force in assisting students in need and having him back in the schools is important. Kiger noted that Milo would visit classrooms and partake in assemblies when able.                
 
   “We’re excited to see Christopher Milo return to the schools,” Kiger said. “Good teachers have that It Factor and Milo has it because he can relate to the students. He should be returning twice a month for the foreseeable future and we want to adopt his ‘13 Messages for Milo’ as our building philosophy. He will meet to talk to our counselors and spend the day in the building going to the life skills classes.”
 
   Superintendent Tom Cunningham noted that officials are still navigating COVID and its related protocols when it comes to social distancing, but they will continue to focus on students’ well-being.
 
   “We are looking at ways to meet social-emotional needs and have a full-time school psychologist, plus we are still partnering with the Red Zone and have two guidance counselors,” Cunningham added.
 
    For more information, go to www.christophermilo.com, his 13 Messages Facebook page or @official_christopher_milo page on Instagram while his videos can also be found on YouTube.

 (Photo Cutline: Motivational speaker Christopher Milo is returning to Southern Local Schools to share his messages of encouragement and positivity following the COVID-related shutdown. Milo, seen here at the district’s Back to School Bash speaking with students, parents and Utica Shale Academy Superintendent Bill Watson, can also be found online at www.christophermilo.com. and on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.)
SLES Secretary Marks Milestone
Posted 6/21/2021 at 10:55:17 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SLES Lewis 50 Year Milestone
SALINEVILLE-Southern Local Elementary School secretary Sandy Lewis marked a major milestone after celebrating 50 years of employment with the school district.
 
   Lewis, of Salineville, was surprised by staff with a gathering in her honor on June 4 in the SLES gym. She was joined by nearly 100 guests including family, friends and school staff of the past and present and said the honor was humbling and completely unexpected.
 
   “I was called in by [SLES Associate Principal] Emily Brinker to the gym,” she said. “They did a pretty good job. There were people here I had worked with and it was a wonderful thing to do which I did not think was necessary. It was very unexpected and very appreciated.”
 
   She said her love of children always keeps her coming back, but Lewis initially did not plan to work with the youngsters.
 
   “I applied for the high school secretary, but they decided that year they were going to have an elementary secretary, so that’s what they gave me,” she recalled. 
 
   She began working for the district at age 20 in 1971 and has served with more than a dozen principals plus numerous teachers, staff and students. Lewis added that it was also convenient while caring for her son, Christopher.
 
   “I love the kids and it was very beneficial for me as a single mother that when he had a vacation, so did I.” 
 
   Lewis watched the district evolve from operating six schools to consolidating to one building. At one time, Southern had four elementary buildings with No. 16, Highlandtown, Franklin and Wayne and she was the first elementary secretary in the district. Lewis divided her time between two principals who each operated two buildings, and that continued until a second secretary was added and Lewis remained at Highlandtown and No. 16. By 1990, the district only had No. 16 and Franklin Elementary Schools for grades K-4, Highlandtown Elementary School for grades 1-4 but Wayne had been closed, plus Southern Middle was available for grades 5-8 with Southern Local High School for grades 9-12. In 1991, officials closed and sold the No. 16 and Franklin buildings and Highlandtown was called Southern Local Primary School and taught grades K-2 while Southern Local Middle School was renamed Southern Local Intermediate School and educated students in grades 3-6. Ground was broken about a decade later for the K-12 complex that currently sets along State Route 39 near Salineville. Southern Local Primary and Middle Schools became known as Southern Local Elementary around 2004.
 
   Throughout the years, Lewis has looked forward to returning each August and greeting the little faces coming into the building. It’s that affinity which drives her to keep going. She has since watched her son graduate Southern and marry current SLES kindergarten teacher Nikki Lewis while grandson Conner just graduated and granddaughter Kennedy became a freshman at the high school.
 
  “I love the kids and get new ones every year,” she added. “I’ve liked everyone I’ve worked with. It doesn’t feel like I’ve been here 50 years and I attribute that to coming to work.”
 
    Southern leaders praised Lewis for her commitment to the kids and hope to see her continue for years to come.
 
   “We’re blessed here at Southern Local Elementary to have two great secretaries,” said SLES Principal Rich Wright. “Sandy knows everybody in the community and she’s a great asset.”
 
   “Sandy always has the kids in mind,” added Brinker. “She is a dedicated member of our staff and we truly appreciate her. She is the face of the elementary building when students, families and staff first walk in. She has a great heart and in one way or another she has truly helped everyone.”
 
    Fellow school secretary Patty Gruszecki agreed.
 
   “It’s been a privilege working with her for the past 15 years. Her dedication and love for the students is irreplaceable. I’m looking forward to us working many more years together.”
 
   Superintendent Tom Cunningham noted his history with Lewis and said she was a mainstay in the district.
 
   “I have been blessed to work with Sandy, first as the elementary principal and now as superintendent. She knows every family and cares about everyone in the district.  She has a passion for the community and someone that I hope to work with for many more years.”
 
   As for Lewis, she said she had absolutely no thought of retiring at the moment and looks forward to the next school year and beyond.
 
   “I enjoy what I do or I wouldn’t be here.”                                                                                                           
(Photo Cutline: Southern Local Elementary School secretary Sandy Lewis recently marked 50 years of working in the district and said her love of children has brought her back each year. Lewis was surprised with a celebration at the school on June 4 featuring family, friends and past and present school staff.)
SLES Leaders of the Month
Posted 4/21/2021 at 11:43:09 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SLES Leaders of the Month
Southern Local Elementary selected its Leaders of the Month for March. Among the students recognized were, front from left, Zayleigh Gimbus, Auden Medeiros, Izayah Crooms, Wyatt Spalding, Nick Kruel, Payten Crooms and Coby Boyle. Second row: Aubrey Potts, Teagan Beadnell, Emma Fisher, Kailynn Thompson, Weatherby Pitts, Madyson Gruszecki, Kayden Yoho, Heylee Reynolds, Ryleigh Burns and Sarah Haught. Third row: Savannah Bailey, Aubree Pucci, Donnavin Watson, Nick Marra, Aiden Davis and Ava Phillips.
Spring Cleaning
Posted 4/7/2021 at 12:36:45 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL FFA Spring Cleaning
Southern Local High School FFA members Tristan Adams, pictured at left, and Sam Ludt help spruce up their campus by weeding beneath a budding tree near the district office in Salineville. Students in the organization took advantage of the warmer seasonal weather to do a little spring cleaning around the school grounds and plan to do some mulching and other beautification in the next few weeks.
School, Community Help Save Lives at Blood Drive
Posted 4/6/2021 at 1:47:48 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL Blood Drive Student
SALINEVILLE-School and community members stepped up and gave of themselves as Southern Local High School hosted a blood drive on March 31.
 
   Sponsored by the school’s National Honor Society, roughly 40 people rolled up their sleeves and donated to the American Red Cross in the SLHS gym. NHS Advisor Jody Lockhart said 38 pints were collected at the conclusion and she was pleased with the turnout after COVID-19 restrictions shelved the organization’s previous events.
 
   “We got a lot of community members. I think it was because we had a flyer at the medical facility in Salineville and people have been going in for their COVID shots,” Lockhart said. “We had 47 signed up but expected some cancelations. There were teachers, administrators and students as well.”
 
    She added that the district notified the public through flyers, emails, phone calls and media and those efforts definitely made a difference. Lockhart also expressed a special thank you to community members who heeded the call to help save a life. The student organization has sponsored several events each year and collected more than 30 pints, making graduating seniors eligible to receive a Red Cross scholarship. Lockhart said three drives were initially scheduled but halted due to health restrictions.
 
   “We had events scheduled in September and December and canceled both, then we canceled in February. After we got our first vaccine, we considered holding a blood drive again and we did our best to make it COVID compliant,” she continued.
 
    It was safety first as both the school and Red Cross followed stringent guidelines. Donations were by appointment only with no-walk-ins accepted, plus temperature scans and thermometers, social distancing and frequent sanitizing were used and pre-packaged food items were available in the canteen. Red Cross nurses also tested donors prior to collecting blood to ensure the supply was healthy and useable.
   
    But for those who volunteered to donate blood, it was simply a way to give to others.
 
   “I’ve donated once before,” said senior Garrett Brewer. “I wanted to try to help.”
 
   Teacher Kyler Woodward was another repeat donor, saying he has contributed over the past few years.
 
  “I’ve donated twice before and have done the double [red cell donation, or Power Red],” Woodward commented. “I’ve been doing this for at least three or four years. Mrs. Lockhart asked me to do it again and I usually sign up when there’s a spot open.”
 
   Senior Katelynn Exline also understands the importance of donating since she works as a certified nurse’s aide.
 
   “I’ve donated once before. I work in the medical field and I know how much blood is needed,” she said. Exline recommended that others donate in the future.

(Photo Cutline: Southern Local High School senior Katelynn Exline rolled up her sleeve during a blood drive sponsored by the SLHS National Honor Society and American Red Cross. About 38 units were collected throughout the day and strict COVID guidelines were practiced to ensure donations were made safely.)
Moving and Grooving
Posted 3/29/2021 at 11:31:50 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SLES Surpasses AHA goal
Southern Local Elementary School students got moving for the annual American Heart Association Kids Heart Challenge on March 18 and surpassed their $2,500 goal. Kids took part in different stations and hula hooped with physical education teacher Kathy Randolph, danced with music teacher Ryan Smith and completed jumping activities with art teacher Kimberly Adams during their special time. The school raised more than $4,253 and was collecting donations until March 25, but students will be rewarded with a picnic in April and teachers and administrators will dress as superheroes in keeping with the AHA’s “Heart Heroes” theme. Pictured are Smith, SLES Assistant Principal Emily Brinker and aide Stephanie Ketchum dancing with second-graders in the library during the event.
Safety Talk
Posted 3/8/2021 at 1:48:09 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SLEA Bus Safety photo classroom students
Southern Elementary School Guidance Counselor Larry Rudloff spoke to first graders during a special presentation on bus safety. Students learned that most severe incidents involve children under age 9 and rules are put in place for everyone’s safety. Classes also watched a video on proper etiquette and answered questions, plus they received activity books to reinforce the message.
Spelling Bee Winner
Posted 2/19/2021 at 12:00:38 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Southern Local Elementary fifth-grader Delaney Beadnell earned the top spot at the Southern Local Sc
Southern Local Elementary fifth-grader Delaney Beadnell earned the top spot at the Southern Local School District Spelling Bee on Feb. 10 after correctly spelling the word “tangents” in her final round. Beadnell will move on to the Columbiana County Spelling Bee on March 3 and potentially to the Scripps National Spelling Bee later this spring. A spell-off was also conducted to determine second- and third-place with those posts respectively going to Southern Local Jr. High eighth-grader Mystia Myers and SLES fifth-grader Jensen Allender. Rounding out the top 10 were seventh-grader Alliandra Myers, fourth; seventh-grader Abbianna Bates, fifth; sixth-grader Rylee Digman, sixth; fifth-grader Jessah Harris, seventh; fifth-grader Khloe Ensinger, eighth; sixth-grader Hailey Maines, ninth; and sixth-grader Brody Hamilton, 10th. Beadnell is pictured, at center, with Myers and Allender.
Southern Gains Strong Rating for Special Education Program
Posted 2/3/2021 at 10:57:48 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SALINEVILLE-The Southern Local School District has earned praise for its special education program with a high rating from the Ohio Department of Education.
 
   District Director of Special Education Laura Krulik said ODE’s Office for Exceptional Children found that Southern meets requirements, which is the highest rating available. According to the ODE website, districts receive a special education profile every year that shows their progress over time in meeting their goals for students with disabilities. The design of the special education profile helps districts use data about the academic growth of groups of students to keep improving their special education programs. The data gives schools answers about such topics as kindergarten readiness, achievement levels, preparedness for life beyond high school and services for children with disabilities.
 
   Krulik said the district had to meet criteria in order to receive the rating.
 
   “The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act established a series of special education indicators to measure services and outcomes for children with disabilities. The Ohio Department of Education works with stakeholders to establish annual targets for these indicators,” she explained. “We met requirements on eight out of eight indicators in the area of compliance.  This would include identification of students with disabilities, timely initial evaluations, successful transitions of students from the Help Me Grow to preschool, secondary transition documentation and supports for students, timely and accurate data and no negative audit findings. 
 
   She said the district met requirements in two of the three indicators reported in the results, which indicated that a significant number of students with disabilities performed proficiently on state math assessments and the Third Grade Reading Guarantee. Krulik noted the district narrowly missed the third indicator—proficiency on state reading assessments—by less than 3 percent, meaning Southern scored a three out of four possible points in that area. However, there was no required corrective action plans to complete.
 
   Southern has achieved the high rating three times over the past five years and Krulik was pleased with the result.
   “I am very proud of special education services at Southern Local.  We have amazing intervention specialists that truly care about our students' learning and achievement. I am really pleased with our current student progress and staff success!”
Southern Obtains Grant to Equip Food Program
Posted 2/3/2021 at 10:53:52 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SALINEVILLE-Southern Local Schools obtained a nearly $15,000 grant to help equip its kitchen and serve students meals.
 
    District Food Service Director Samantha Fryman said Southern received a No Kid Hungry grant for $14,700 which could provide storage for meals as part of a planned afterschool dinner program. The district has been working with the A&J Kiducation Learning Center LLC of Wellsville to provide programming for elementary through high school students, but COVID has delayed plans possibly until fall. The learning center would potentially lead the program at the Southern Local Elementary School cafeteria for youth while the district would serve older students in the high school on weekdays. Kiducation currently offers preschool services and is expanding its horizons to benefit even more children. Fryman said the food program would enable the district to nourish students’ bodies as well as minds.
 
   “We’re trying to start a Child and Adult Care Food Program,” Fryman said. “It’s an afterschool dinner program. We are almost feeding the full population of the school district, which we’ve never done before.”
 
   She said breakfast and lunch are already provided to students both in the building and working remotely because of the pandemic while extra meals are also given for the weekend. The implementation of the dinner program showcased the need for more storage and Fryman said the new equipment will help contain the larger amounts of food to be distributed.
 
   “The coolers and storage are too small for the capacity, so we applied to get stand-up freezers and coolers so the district doesn’t have to get them,” she said.
 
   Officials learned they were approved for the grant in December and the district would also nourish athletes and those attending afterschool activities but the application process is lengthy. Fryman hoped to have it up and running by spring or fall.
 
   Superintendent Tom Cunningham praised the cafeteria workers for consistently feeding students both in and out of school.
 
   “Between our schools and the shale academy, we feed at least 800 students seven days a week,” he said. “Our cafeteria personnel do a fabulous job.”
 
    He added that the decision to delay the afterschool program with the learning center was the right one.
 
   “Due to COVID, we wanted to make sure everything was safe and we want it to be successful, so we want to take out the limitations and barriers and get it up and running.”
Southern to Return on Jan. 25
Posted 1/19/2021 at 10:36:46 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SLBOE Wrapup Mtg
SALINEVILLE-Plans to resume face-to-face instruction were postponed for a week and now students will return to Southern Local Schools on Jan. 25.
 
   The board held a series of sessions on Jan. 15, beginning with a special meeting to approve Scott Hart to fill the unexpired term of Patricia Exline, who submitted her resignation after more than a year in office. Scott is expected to complete the term, which end on Dec. 31, 2021. The gathering also included an organizational meeting where Kip Dowling, who attended remotely, returned as board president with Linda Morris back as vice president followed by brief tax budget and record retention sessions and a regular meeting with a laundry list of issues tackled by school leaders.
 
   The announcement of the delayed start date followed an executive session during the regular meeting, where officials said classes would not begin on Jan. 19 as initially planned and students had a few more days to work virtually from home. Superintendent Tom Cunningham said a perceived uptick according to the Columbiana County Health Department led officials to consider the change. Another factor was that students would only have a three-day school week inside the building since they would be off for Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday on Jan. 18 and Virtual Friday on Jan. 22.
 
   During the meeting, Dowling questioned school nurse Heidi McIntosh about the latest numbers of staff and students affected by COVID-19. McIntosh replied that 12 students were either positive or in quarantine and five staff members were also impacted. Dowling commented that 15 cases were reported in the Salineville area. On a similar note, Cunningham said Virtual Fridays will continue for the next nine weeks and vaccine distributions were eyed for school staff in mid-February. He also praised everyone for their work during these unprecedented times.
 
   “Our teachers and administrators have gone above and beyond and wanted to keep students safe,” Cunningham said.
 
    About 80 percent of the high school and 79 percent of the elementary school’s pupils were expected to return to in-person instruction with the remainder continuing to work remotely. Additionally, Cunningham said several-dozen students were on hand at the school that Friday to decorate and welcome everyone back, and staff were glad to hear the youths’ voices and laughter in the hallways once again.
 
   In other matters, officials approved the annual tax budget for consideration to the Columbiana County Budget Commission and district Treasurer Greg Sabbato said Southern will be paying off its longtime school construction bond later this month. The district will complete the transaction on Jan. 29 to the tune of $895,000. Sabbato has said that the early remittance through Mellon Bank would save the district about $96,000 in interest and also reduce property taxes by 75 base points. Officials could also start collecting permanent improvement funds, which are less.
 
   “The new permanent improvement loan will go into effect to collect taxes,” he said. “It will start collecting and we will start seeing funding come in the next fiscal year.”
 
   He added that classroom facilities funds will have to be considered in the near future to make building updates, while looming projects include roof replacement, boiler work and new pavement around the school.
 
   “We need to looking at doing that for the four-to-five-year plan,” Sabbato noted.
 
   Among other action, the board:
--Approved a lease agreement with DPS Land Services for 4.54 acres in Washington Township near the softball field to drill wells for Encino Energy; 
--Was honored for the Ohio School Board Association’s School Board Recognition Month for January and received certificates for the ongoing dedication;
--Approved contracts for a slew of staff from bus drivers and cafeteria workers to substitute positions;
--Approved Kyler Woodward as volunteer girls’ basketball coach and Brent Boyle as softball coach for the 2020-21 school year;
--Approved updated job descriptions for a special education director and yearbook advisor;
--Approved a memorandum of understanding with Kent State University for College Credit Plus for the 2021-22 school year;
--Learned from 
--Heard from Utica Shale Academy Director Bill Watson that students completed the equivalent of 24,249.75 total hours, which equals more than 4,041 days of school. About 34 students who attend the New Castle School of Trades finished 7,344 hours or an average of 36 total days per student. He continued that the Amatrol equipment was in place and officials plan to apply for two Remote X grants, a 21st Century Grant and an Equity Grant this year for the program. Meanwhile, 41 laptops were delivered to students as well as equipment and furniture for the classes;
--Set the next regular meeting for Feb. 9 at 6:30 p.m.

(Photo Cutline: About 26 Southern Local Jr./Sr. High School students took time out to decorate the building and welcome students back to classes. The school district went fully remote in mid-November and officials postponed plans to resume face-to-face instruction until Jan. 25. Officials said 80 percent of the district’s estimated 980 pupils are returning to class with the rest remaining online. Pictured decking the halls are, from left, freshman Delainey Mellott, senior Ashley Shroades, freshman Rylee Mellott and senior Camryn Mellott.)
Hart New Face on Southern BOE
Posted 1/19/2021 at 10:29:50 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Scott Hart SL Board
SALINEVILLE-A longtime fixture in the Southern Local school community is taking on an added role as Scott Hart becomes the newest member of the board of education.
 
   Hart, of Salineville, was sworn in on Jan. 15 to fulfill the unexpired term of Patricia Exline, who resigned after more than a year on the board. Hart is expected to complete the term that concludes on Dec. 31, 2021.
 
   For him, it is a return home of sorts. The 1989 SLHS graduate is a 20-year U.S. Navy veteran and retired as a first-class petty officer. He settled in the area to marry and raise four children--all of whom are SLHS alumni--and he has five grandchildren who will soon be students themselves. Most recently, he has operated the Southern Community Center Food Pantry and serves on its board of directors, plus he has been an adjutant for the John Adams American Legion Post No. 442 for the past two years. 
 
   He has become known in Indian Territory for lending his voice to school football and basketball games, coaching the Little Indians and serving on its board. Hart has even posted videos of games on Facebook to entertain Indian fans both near and far.
 
   “It’s really cool to see people who are 60-70 years old who graduated 50-plus years ago watching games at the school they graduated from long ago,” he commented.
 
   Hart now relishes the opportunity to work as a school board member, saying he wants to maintain the district’s standard of excellence and provide the best education possible while also supporting the administration in its endeavors.
 
   “I think it is a way to give back to your community,” he said. “I am a very proud member of the Southern Local family. I love Southern Local.”
 
   Superintendent Tom Cunningham welcomed him into the fold and said he will do tremendous work for the district and its students.
 
   “Mr. Hart is a pillar of our community. He is involved in everything from our local food pantry to broadcasting our activities,” he concluded. “He is a well-respected leader and we are fortunate to have his leadership on our board.”
  
(Photo Cutline: Scott Hart has been sworn in as the newest member of the Southern Local Board of Education, where he will fill an unexpired term ending Dec. 31, 2021. Hart, a Southern Local grad, has been active in the community and the school and looks forward to his new role.)
                          
Aviation Class Takes Flight at SLHS
Posted 11/23/2020 at 1:41:36 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SLHS Aviation Class
SALINEVILLE-One new course at Southern Local High School is definitely taking off as students learn all about aviation.
 
   Emily Bowling may be known for directing the band, choir and theater at the school, but she is also a licensed pilot who is sharing her knowledge with students. She said this was the first year for the class and it is currently offered as a semester elective. Currently, there are five students taking part in grades 10-12 and she plans to have another class during the second semester.
 
   In addition to completing classwork, students learn to fly unmanned aircraft systems also known as drones. Bowling said she began offering the course because there were many opportunities to have a career in the industry and the sky’s the limit.
 
   “Students learn about all aspects of aviation. They are learning about both traditional and fixed-wing airplanes, as well as drones; about the science that allows these machines to fly and the regulations we have to help keep the skies safe,” she added. “They are also exploring careers and educational opportunities in the aviation field. With the proximity to several major airports, along with the growing use of drones in industry, students from Southern Local have a variety of opportunities for careers in the aviation field. Since many of our students may not know much about aviation, I thought it would be great to expose them to all the options we have right here in our region.”
 
   Unfortunately, the advent of COVID-19 led to remote classes and prevented the group from experiencing field trips to local airport facilities, so Bowling has found a way to bring the facilities to them. She said students have held Google Meets videoconferences with officials from the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics (PIA) and the U.S. Air Force, but she hopes to one day take students on an actual visit.
 
   Bowling said she has always loved airplanes and was fortunate enough to take her first flying lesson at age 15, commenting that she knew that day she wanted to pursue her pilot’s license. 
 
   “Any student can get a student pilot certificate, but you must be 16 to fly solo in an airplane and 17 to test for your private pilot certificate,” she explained. “To earn the certificate, you need a certain number of flight training hours and must have a variety of set flight experiences.  After you pass the FAA written test, you have to take the practical exam, which consists of both an oral exam and a flight test by an FAA federal examiner.  All maneuvers must meet a high level of proficiency in order to pass this "check ride.”
 
   Now she enjoys sharing what she’s learned with another generation.
 
    “Although some of the students in flying airplanes, most are interested in drones. Many industries have started using drones for businesses, and a commercial drone license requires only a written exam. In our class, we cover much of the material needed to pass the official FAA written exam.”
 
   Bowling said she has received plenty of positive feedback from her students and several of them said they have enjoyed the class.
 
   Senior Hunter Morris, who is eyeing a future as a surveyor, likes the aspect of learning about drones since they are widely used in that field.
 
   “It brings you closer to certification and there is a surveying job to fly a drone,” he said.
 
   “It's a pretty fun class. It's not like I thought it would be, “said senior Nick Wade. “I want to go to college to major in working on airplane engines.”
 
    Meanwhile, Bowling is looking to eventually expand the class to a four-year career pathway.
 
(Photo Cutline: Darrel Kramer, a sophomore at Southern Local High School, tests his skills while operating a drone in the new aviation class. About five high school students currently take part in the elective course and learn all about aircrafts and the science behind them, and hopes are to one day expand it to a four-year career pathway.)
SLES Leaders of the Month
Posted 11/23/2020 at 1:30:34 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL Leaders of the Month
Southern Local Elementary students were recognized as Leaders of the Month for October. Pictured are, front from left, Beau Smith, Ronan Conley, Finnegan Mohney, Emily Baker and Dylan Davis. Second row: Allan Morris, Bella Hanley, Savannah Buzzard, Farrah Bess and Madalynn Smith. Third row: Emma Boyle, Micah Adams, Rhiannon Holliday and Maddie Garner. Fourth row: Savyona Slade, Tyler Beadnell and Cody Shope. Back: Ava Reed and Jocy Richards.
Wellness Center Opens at Southern
Posted 11/23/2020 at 12:58:59 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL Wellness Center
SALINEVILLE- The Southern Local Wellness Center is now available to promote health among staff and students.
 
   The center, which started prior to the school going to remote learning, is located in a former weight room behind the high school gym. The site will be open during gym time as scheduled by athletics through the FMX facilities management system. However, officials said it would be available to use at other times including early morning and afternoons. Participants must adhere to strict COVID protocols with athletes kept in small groups for contact tracing and other guidelines but the hope is to help focus on fitness. The idea was formed by high school English/Language Arts teachers and coaches Kyle Exline and Gerard Grimm, who approached school leaders to utilize the space. Exline said officials quickly got on board and the site has already been put to use.
 
   “Coach Grimm and I saw an opportunity to use an unused space for something incredibly beneficial to the school district. We wanted to create a multi-faceted space to benefit all of Southern Local,” Exline added. “We started working on the idea during the pandemic in late May and early June. When you consider the cost of equipment and renovating a whole room, it was a tall task. Luckily for us, [district Director of Federal Programs] Kristy Sampson was able to find creative solutions to support this endeavor. Without her and her hard work, this project wouldn’t have been possible.”
 
   A $12,000 wellness grant helped acquire plates, dumbbells, bars, squat racks, benches, landmines, prowlers, MedBalls, jump stretch bands and stationary bikes, among other items while old equipment was also being repurposed. Those include a utility machine, elliptical and jump stretch stations. More equipment to be procured range from a treadmill and adjustable bench to a GHR station and additional storage units. In addition, the room will be repainted over Thanksgiving Break and signage is also being created. Exline, who also serves as assistant athletic director, head golf coach and junior varsity head boys’ basketball coach, said he and Grimm, who is also head boys’ basketball and baseball coach, also wanted to incorporate former athletic trainer Michaela Bragg, physical education teacher Eric Sampson and Coach Mike Skrinjar into the process to ensure staff and students’ physical needs were met.
 
   “With [Superintendent Tom Cunningham’s] support, Kristy’s hard work and our vision of the space, we were able to make this thing happen,” Exline continued. “It was truly rewarding. Oftentimes, you have great ideas, and quite frankly, some of them are lofty and difficult to make happen. Being able to enter that room as a coach, faculty member and student-athlete, you feel that this space is clean, organized and updated with the best equipment possible. It really encourages you to better yourself from a fitness standpoint.”
 
  Members of the girls’ basketball team began using the facility at the end of October while other sports teams will take advantage of the offerings. Exline said feedback has been positive and hopes the wellness center will become a popular draw.
 
   “I am sure I am more excited about this than the boys but they were impressed with the room and the new equipment when they saw it. We are very fortunate to have this new asset,” he noted. “The girls’ basketball team enjoyed the new equipment and some of the new exercises they were introduced to with the equipment. In this space, we are doing everything we can to develop our young students’ athleticism. Olympic lifts, functional movements and resistance training are pivotal in this regard. I look forward to hearing input from the staff as well.”
 
   Exline thanked everyone for implementing the center and helping the district promote health.
 
   “Collectively, we want to thank everyone who was involved. I cannot stress enough how great of an asset the wellness center is to staff, students and student-athletes. We look forward to maintaining the quality of this space and the integrity of the equipment. The Wellness Center will not go unappreciated.”
 
(Photo Cutline: Southern Local High School senior Brad Sloan works out on some of the equipment now available in the Southern Local Wellness Center located in the building. The site, which opened prior to the school going to fully remote learning, is housed in a former weight room which was revamped to help staff and students get fit and live a healthier lifestyle.)
NHS Distributes Food
Posted 11/23/2020 at 12:06:44 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL NHS Food Distribution
Members of the Southern Local High School National Honor Society volunteered their time by assisting with the Thanksgiving food distribution at Southern Community Center of Salineville on Nov. 20-21, where more than 200 complete dinners were packed and given away in time for the holiday. Pictured are, front from left, Cheyann Board, Arianna Goley, Conner Lewis and Delainey Mellott. Back: Sam May, Brad Sloan, Brock Smalley and center director Scott Hart. Not pictured is Addisyn Milhoan.
SL FFA Places Fourth in District Soils Contest
Posted 11/10/2020 at 2:00:35 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL Soils Team
The Southern Local FFA Chapter recently participated in the District III Soils Contest at on Oct. 15, where they placed fourth out of nine teams. Andrew DeSellem led the team, which also included Garrett Brewer, Quinton Gfeller, Addisyn Milhoan and Emily Walker. DeSellem also placed fifth out of 48 participants in the individuals contest. Pictured are, front from left, Addisyn Milhoan and Emily Walker. Back: Andrew DeSellem, Garrett Brewer and Quinton Gfeller.
SLHS Online Lessons Go Live
Posted 11/10/2020 at 11:02:10 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SALINEVILLE-Southern Local High School students’ latest Virtual Friday lessons had a twist as teachers went live on Oct. 30 as part of a synchronous schedule plan.
 
  Students now log on between 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. to take part in online classes and officials said it will also prepare for any future moves to fully remote learning due to the COVID-19 outbreak. As of now, 65 percent of the high school student population attends classes while about 35 percent works remotely.
 
   Principal Jay Kiger said students receive an invitation from the teachers and log on to the classes. 
 
“We are implementing a synchronous schedule and the kids are expected to be face to face with the teachers in the class. The purpose is if we have to go home or get shut down, we have a set schedule and the teachers will teach from the classroom. We asked the teachers to do a test run and it looks like everyone is on board.”
 
   He continued that about 19 high school students were returning for face-to-face learning on Monday, which also starts the second nine weeks of the school year.
 
   Meanwhile, Assistant Principal Adam Loudin added that the synchronized system was part of the school’s contingency plan.
 
  “If we are even 100-percent remote this is what we’re going to do,” he said. “The Virtual Fridays lets teachers schedule the meetings but some were scheduled at the same time and students had to pick and choose [which classes to attend]. Now they can log into a class period and there are no overlaps. It also allows us to keep better track of attendance for the kids. We’re still trying to figure out how we could mesh with the career center since they have full days on Friday, but we are confident about it.”
 
   Superintendent Tom Cunningham said the initial event was successful and it will be continued each week. 
 
   “Overall, it went very well,” he added. Cunningham said the district is utilizing more Google Classroom presentations for students and will eventually enact a plan for elementary students.
 
  “Our teachers are getting time to work on their Google presentations for students and that’s been a positive,” he commented. “We will attempt to go that route with synchronous schedules on the elementary side. Some teachers are already well-versed with Google Classroom and some are training, but they are all collaborating in grade bands. I think this will help us for years to come because teachers will have an online database library for years of their tutorials that students may use.”
   
   Moreover, officials said the weekly food delivery program is being altered to accommodate the more than 500 students who normally attend classes face to face but take part in the remote sessions on Friday. The food will now be delivered to their porches so they will be able to retrieve them during a break between classes. Additionally, about 200 remote students are served each Wednesday.
Southern Teachers Earn Mini-Grants
Posted 11/10/2020 at 10:58:10 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
JCESC Southern Best Practice Grant
SALINEVILLE-Educators in the Southern Local School District earned a total of $1,800 to enhance learning for students.
 
   Three teachers were among the recipients of the Jefferson County Educational Service District’s 2020-2021 Best Practice Grant awards and were recognized during the monthly school board session on Nov. 9. JCESC Director of Curriculum and Professional Development Ron Sismondo disbursed the mini-grants and congratulated teachers Janice Pierce, Justin Krulik and Eric Sampson on their achievement.
 
   Pierce, who teaches fourth-grade math and social studies at Southern Local Elementary, will use her windfall to form “Wonder Workshop: Introduction to Coding” to benefit about 50 math and English/Language Arts students. The Wonder Workshop will provide students with a powerful sense of collaboration and hands-on learning with robots Dash and Dot.  The workshop’s comprehensive solution provides educators with a concrete way to teach the abstract concept of coding which some consider to be the new literacy. Teachers and students will be able to apply coding and robotics across the curriculum.
 
   Pierce was a prior grant recipient while serving as a fourth-grade intervention specialist in 2016 and was grateful to have another opportunity to help the kids.
 
   “I think it’s an awesome opportunity to be able to purchase some STEM materials to incorporate into my math curriculum,” she said. “I would like to thank JCESC for making the funding available for Southern Local Schools.”
 
   Krulik, who teaches grades 10-12 at Southern Local High School, said it was his first mini-grant and will help create an outdoor learning environment for his estimated 125 science students.
 
   An aquatic environment will be built in the school courtyard that enables students to have hands-on application, including testing procedures and the practice of maintaining a homeostatic site.  The pond will include plant life, fish, frogs, insects and other abiotic features to create a real-world learning environment with application though water quality testing, experiments of introducing new species and observations and experiments.  
 
   “I wanted to thank the selection committee for the opportunity to enhance student learning and understanding,” Krulik said. “I was pleased to be informed that my grant was selected this year and look forward to the process of implementation of the pond and its aquatic environment.  Students will benefit from this and have hands-on, real-world experience just outside of my classroom.”
 
   Sampson, who instructs grades 10-12 at SLHS, has earned Best Practice Grants while previously serving the Utica Shale Academy. He said his most recent award will be a great asset to his Introduction to Surveying class and roughly 11 students could gain experience to potentially work in the field. The grant will help purchase equipment to teach the art of surveying and aid in passing the surveying certification exam. Along with guidance from volunteers within the surveying industry, his students will be able to get hands-on experience in the proper operation, use and care of important surveying equipment.
 
   “It allows us to purchase necessary equipment for learning.  It is far better for students to get hands-on experience with equipment as opposed to just talking about it,” he commented. “I am grateful to the JCESC for offer this opportunity that will have a tremendous impact on student learning.”
 
   JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko lauded the teachers for offering innovative ideas to benefit their students.
 
   “The 2020-21 school year has brought new challenges for classroom teachers given the current pandemic.  JCESC is pleased to have the funding for continued support of the Best Practice Grants,” said Dr. Kokiko. “Many teachers are looking for new resources to meet the unique needs of this school year while others are simply searching for funds to support innovative instructional practices.  In either case, JCESC congratulates all of our winners and wish them continued success as they work to provide the finest education to their students.”
   JCESC has been awarding Best Practice Grants to benefit education at Buckeye Local, Edison Local, Harrison Hills City, Indian Creek Local, Southern Local, Steubenville City and Toronto City Schools as well as the Utica Shale Academy.
 
(Photo Cutline: Ron Sismondo, director of curriculum and professional development for the Jefferson County Educational Service Center, presented Best Practice Grants to teachers at Southern Local Schools during the regular school board meeting Monday. Three grants totaling $1,800 were disbursed to Janice Pierce of Southern Local Elementary and Eric Sampson and Justin Krulik of Southern Local High School, who will use the funds to implement innovative programs within their classrooms. Pictured are Sismondo, at left, with Sampson and Krulik while Pierce is absent from the photo.)
SLES Honoring Vets with Virtual Activity
Posted 11/5/2020 at 11:20:29 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SALINEVILLE-Southern Local Elementary students are recognizing veterans throughout the month of November as part of a unique project.
 
   Assistant Principal Emily Brinker has invited pupils in grades PreK-6 to submit photos and age-appropriate biographies to honor family members who served in the military branches. The information will be displayed for the entire month and Brinker said more activities will be planned to engage students both in school at home.
 
   “We’re doing a virtual Veterans Day assignment and students can give information and post a picture,” she said. “It will be displayed on our internal television.”
 
   Schools are limiting events in the wake of COVID-19 and Brinker said the virtual ones offer a way to interact and boost morale. Another activity will be posted in December to highlight favorite holiday traditions and students may provide details and pictures for that exhibit. Brinker hopes to assign a new project each month and offer something fun and interesting for the kids whether they are working in the classroom or remotely. 
 
    “It’s a virtual assignment with interaction and also keeps the virtual kids engaged,” she said.
Southern Lauds Hepner
Posted 11/5/2020 at 11:17:34 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL Hepner October Staff Spotlight
Southern Local Jr. High School math teacher Kristin Hepner was recognized as the school’s Staff Spotlight for October. Hepner, who has been an educator for the past 15 years, was nominated by students and chosen by a school selection committee for the distinction. 
Cleanup Crew
Posted 11/5/2020 at 11:12:38 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SLHS FFA Cleanup Crew
Members of the Southern Local High School FFA beautified the school grounds by cleaning flowerbeds for the fall season as part of a community service project. Advisor Shelley Pirogowicz said two groups worked outside the district office and elementary school on Nov. 4 and will return to mulch and clean again in the spring. Pictured are, from left, seniors Nick Wade, Joe Chuey and Kaden DeSellem.
Trick or Treat
Posted 10/30/2020 at 10:14:19 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SLES Halloween
Southern Local Elementary School was full of little boos and ghouls celebrating Halloween a little early on Oct. 29. Superheroes, princesses, witches and more enjoyed a host of frightfully fun activities during parties in their classrooms, including games, snacks and movies. Pictured are some first-graders who donned their holiday finery for the day, including witches Jocelynn Jackson, Zarrah Mallary and Mariah Shields, Spidermen Zackary Tennant and Deegan Bach and skeleton Parker Lockhart.
 
Leaders of the Month
Posted 10/26/2020 at 1:57:00 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SLES Leaders of the Month
Students at Southern Local Elementary were selected as Leaders of the Month for September. Among those pictured are, front from left, Landon Gotschall, kindergarten; Skylar Dickson, first grade; first-grader Payzlee McCauley, art; Lydia Tsesmilles, first; Marcus Watson, kindergarten; and Allyn Doak, preschool. Middle: fourth-grader Caleb Lemasters for music; Alivia Beadle, fourth; Elliana Forbes, fourth; Liam Pitts, third; Isiah Plunkett, third; Nate Forbes, second; and Serenity Wallace, second. Back: Jaycob Pearson, MH; Christian Pearson, fifth; Emerson Gotschall, fifth; Delaney Beadnell, fifth; Brody Hamilton, sixth; and Austin Harshbarger, sixth. Not pictured are sixth-grader Jayden Brandenburg, kindergartener Wyatt Smith and preschoolers Jadyn Dowling and Liliana Bowyer.
Contracts Renewed at Southern Local
Posted 9/21/2020 at 12:16:45 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SALINEVILLE-Contract renewals were among the topics at the Southern Local school board meeting on Sept. 15, where pacts were approved for one school administrator and two district staff members.
 
  Officials granted Southern Local Elementary Assistant Principal Emily Brinker a two-year contract after she obtained her administrative license in the midst of her current pact. 
 
   “Instead of adjusting her contract in the middle, the board agreed to give her another full year,” said Superintendent Tom Cunningham, adding that Brinker’s salary increased from $63,000 to $72,000 to reflect her move from faculty to the administrative pay scale.
 
  Leaders also approved three-year contracts to Julie Dowling and Whitney Tsemilles, who changed positions while working with district Treasurer Greg Sabbato. Sabbato said district Assistant Treasurer Debbie Huff retired and efforts were made to streamline personnel. To that end, Julie Dowling will act as assistant treasurer with Whitney Tsemilles serving as EMIS and payroll coordinator and they did not receive pay increases.
 
  In other action, the board: 
--Rescinded a contract for Jordan Simpson as athletic trainer and hired Karleigh Holderbaum for the position during the 2020-21 school year;
--Approved the local gradebook participation agreement with the Jefferson County Educational Service Center;
--Approved Thomas Redman IV as a junior high football volunteer;
--Approved Nicolas Talbott, Justin Garner, Alexa Bruderly, John Bryan, Jaret Dowling and John Bryan as teachers, Lynn Henderson as nurse and Gloria Morris as cafeteria worker and custodian on the substitute list;
--Hired VLA teachers George Whittaker for grade 7-12 Comprehensive Social Studies; Eric Sampson, 7-12 health and physical education; Kyle Exline, 7-12 English; Laurie Ronshak, art teacher; Lori Deem, 9-12 Algebra II and Integrated Math III; Jess Krulik, 9-12 Environmental Science; Karla Calderon, Spanish; and Ron Infanti, Computer Applications and Digital Skills/Technology Education;
--Approved a one-year limited contract for Alexis Powell as cafeteria worker;
--Set the next regular meeting for Oct. 12 at 6:30 p.m.in the high school cafeteria.
SL Moving to Virtual Fridays
Posted 9/21/2020 at 12:12:25 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SALINEVILLE-Southern Local Schools is enacting Virtual Fridays to ensure students achieve academically while working online.
 
   The change begins Sept. 25 in a bid to keep pupils on the same page when it comes to learning whether they are in class or working remotely. The move was made after several mothers shared concerns at the Sept. 15 regular meeting, saying they feared their children were falling behind with lessons because they struggled with the material. Moms Julie Utt and Michelle Cole said they faced difficulties trying to help their kids meet tasks but school officials were helpful in trying to alleviate the situation.
 
     “I think there’s a breakdown between teachers and parents as far as expectations in what they want us to do,” Utt said. “There are things [included in assignments] that we didn’t realize we needed.”
 
    She suggested getting copies of lesson plans or some training to improve parents’ understanding. Southern Local leaders said teachers received training prior to the start of school but suggestions were made such as four-day in-school sessions with one day to help pupils online. Board President Kip Dowling and school leaders encouraged parents to provide feedback if they need help and the district would respond.
 
  Now, Superintendent Tom Cunningham said Southern Local is taking action to resolve matters. The Virtual Fridays concept would allow online students to work more closely with their classroom teachers and learn the material, plus it will help all of the students prepare should the pandemic force schools back to remote learning.
 
   “We’re starting Virtual Fridays so our face-to-face students will have virtual assignments they will do,” he said. “If we have to go fully remote, they will be familiar with it and our online students will have face-to-face interaction with teachers every Friday.”
 
   The district will also offer tutoring opportunities and online help when needed for all online students according to subject with the elementary school to provide assistance for one to three days per week and the junior-senior high school scheduling sessions throughout the week.
 
  “We’re also going to give options if parents want to come in after school and meet with teachers for one-on-one help. We’re trying to accommodate that as well,” Cunningham noted.
   
   Both Southern Local Elementary and High Schools indicated that 60 percent of their students are currently attending school with another 40 percent working from home.
Loudin Joins Southern as Assistant Principal
Posted 8/12/2020 at 4:06:34 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SL Loudin New Assistant Principal
SALINEVILLE-Southern Local Jr./Sr. High School students will see a new face roaming the hallways as Adam Loudin joins the ranks as assistant principal.
 
   Loudin, of Austintown, was formally hired by the school board on Aug. 11 with a two-year contract and is already settling into his latest role. He comes to Southern Local by way of East High School in Youngstown and completed a prior stint at East Liverpool City Schools where he was already familiar with Jay Kiger, current SLHS principal. He also succeeds Ron Sines, who departed as assistant principal earlier this summer for another position in Athens County.
 
   He originally hails from Portage County and obtained his bachelor’s degree in integrated social studies at Kent State University in 2011, then he received his master’s degree in educational leadership at Youngstown State University in 2018. Loudin began as a history teacher at Cuyahoga Falls City Schools from 2011-12 and became a long-term substitute teacher at East Liverpool from 2014-15, followed by a stint as a teacher at East High School in Youngstown from 2015-18. Most recently, he served as dean of students at East High while also raising a family with his wife April, a teacher in Austintown. Together, they have two children, Tucker and Paisley. 
 
   Loudin then embarked on something new when an opportunity arose to take the position at Southern. 
 
   “I was looking to do something a little different and wanted to make the jump from dean of students to assistant principal,” he commented. “I worked with [SLHS Principal] Jay Kiger at East Liverpool and he contacted me to do an interview. I loved my job at Youngstown and had a really great team, and [with Kiger] I had an opportunity to work with someone I knew and trusted.”
 
   He previously worked with 470 students in grades 9-12 at East High and will now oversee 380 students in grades 7-12 at Southern, but some of his former duties are quite similar to his new role, particularly when it comes to attendance and grades. Loudin hopes to work with Kiger, school staff and the district to find ways of streamlining and improving upon protocols to be more efficient and better serve the students.
 
   “I love Southern Local. It was bittersweet leaving Youngstown, but the first day I walked in the door everyone was so welcoming here,” he noted. “I look forward to working with everyone.”
 
   Kiger fondly recalled Loudin from his days at East Liverpool, saying he would be a great asset to SLHS.
 
   “We’re very lucky to have him and I think he’s going to do well here,” Kiger concluded. “Knowing his experience and how he relates to kids, he was the perfect fit for us.”
 
(Photo Cutline: Adam Loudin takes his place as the new assistant principal at Southern Local Jr./Sr. High School and said he looks forward to working with staff, students and administrators.)
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]
SLJHS STEAM

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]
SL New SRO

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.

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