Space Conducts Roundtable with Educators
Posted 10/16/2018 at 12:02:31 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Auditor of State candidate Zack Space met with local educators for a roundtable
discussion on Monday to learn their concerns about funding and other challenges
facing local schools.
Space (D-Dover), a former U.S. Congressman who is now seeking the state office on Nov. 6, gathered with more than a dozen representatives of Edison Local Schools, Toronto City Schools, Jefferson County Joint Vocational School and the Jefferson County Educational Service Center at the JCESC office to address a variety of topics, namely how the auditor’s office could bridge a gap with the school system.
“The challenges facing rural school districts in Ohio have been underappreciated in Columbus,” Space said, who also cited access to quality economic opportunities, transportation and infrastructure as other issues impacting the southern and eastern regions.
In the wake of the Electronic Classroom of
Tomorrow (ECOT) scandal, in which the for-profit charter school received $80
million in taxpayer funding since 2000 despite students not logging in the
required hours of state-required instruction, there has been a call to hold
charter schools to the same standards that govern public schools. Space said he
was looking to make charter schools more transparent and accountable to help
level the playing field for education. He noted that state leaders did not take
action on the matter, leading to a loss of significant funding at the expense
of taxpayers and education as a whole.
He also sought input from local educators about ECOT, their relationship with the auditor’s office and ways to improve the process, in addition to matters affecting the area. Topics ranged from the frequency of audits to filling transportation and staffing needs. JCESC Treasurer Don Donahue mentioned that school financing was a major issue when it came to the services the ESC provided to local districts.
“We have to negotiate services and it keeps things competitive, but funding is lacking for services they need and it puts a hardship on them and the ESC,” Donahue said.
JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko agreed
that funding for local schools and rural transportation topped the list and
said that local government, small communities and schools all feel the strain. Space
replied that pressure on local governments has been enormous but the number of
audits was statutory; however, the state office could advocate and provide
resources to help ease the burden.
Mark Masloski, JCESC administrative assistant and program director for the alternative school, said a relationship was key between the Ohio Department of Education and the auditor’s office.
“I attended a conference where both ODE and the auditor’s office presented and see the importance of both parties being on the same page,” Masloski added.
Toronto Superintendent Maureen Taggart
touched upon the need to find qualified staff members, saying it was difficult
to compete for positions including elementary teachers to bus drivers. She also
voiced concerns about safety standards for school buildings.
“We’re participating in a building project and did the high school in 2016, and we’re now doing an elementary addition. I’m not noticing any changes with [Ohio School Construction Commission] standards for security. We have this project and the state isn’t making changes to adapt to it.”
Space said employment issues have affected
the entire region and local graduates may go off to college and not return to
the area workforce, while it was also hard to draw people to the region.
Taggart noted that hiring anyone was difficult and having diversity was even
harder when the applicant pool is limited.
Dr. Todd Phillipson, superintendent of
JCJVS, also commented on rural transportation problems and what schools like
the JVS could do to help meet job demands. He said he has spoken with local
leaders about job creation and his school currently has programs for electrical
trade, carpentry, welding, power mechanics and more. The oil and gas industry
is booming in the region and he hoped to see Jefferson County be at the center
of the growth.
“As far as manufacturing, Jefferson County is in the middle of two cracker plants. If there are two, there will be three and there might be four,” he added. “We need site development for industrial parks to be ready to go. If we get a manufacturer, I’ll get a program that will use [required] equipment and we would also provide training for companies.”
More comments came from Jim Herring, vice president of the Jefferson Health Plan and a former school superintendent, who said state legislators don’t realize how different it is in the Appalachian region.
“They don’t have school facilities issues,” he added. “It’s a challenge for this area. I know Columbus makes decisions but they don’t recognize what we struggle with here.”
Edison Superintendent Bill Beattie said “getting educators to be educators” was another daunting task because teachers are consumed with evaluations, data and other obligations that keep them from giving instruction. Beattie also voiced his disbelief that the ECOT situation continued and said there needed to be more accountability and transparency. He also asked why the program did not follow the same standards as public schools in order to level the playing field. Space said the auditor should act as a watchdog, otherwise problems such as the ECOT scandal would occur.
“There are non-profit charter schools that have done well, but for me it’s about creating an environment where every student has an opportunity,” Space added. “This has been an utter perversion of both democracy and public education. Jefferson County lost $200,000 to ECOT. It’s an affront to taxpayers and a perversion of the process and deprives students of a full education.”
Beattie also referred to his district’s loss of tax revenue from the W.H. Sammis Plant in Stratton and First Energy’s impending closure of the site in 2022. The district so far has lost $1.6 million in revenue from the plant, and even though funding will be coming from oil and gas production the state wants to disburse the funds throughout Ohio instead of keeping it in the area. Space agreed, pondering why a portion of the proceeds could not remain local and saying he would support a reasonable extraction tax to benefit the area.
Lengthy discussion ensued, and at the
conclusion Space said he would advocate for schools, communities and the people
if elected auditor on Nov. 6.
“You have an open door, open ear and an open mind,” he concluded.
(Photo Cutline: Ohio Auditor of State
candidate Zack Space met with local educators on Monday to address various
topics from the ECOT scandal to problems plaguing school districts.)
Grant Aids Teacher Training
Posted 10/9/2018 at 9:28:21 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE-Area teachers are getting trained on ways to improve student learning in the classroom through the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Grant program.
Educators have spent the past two weeks at the Jefferson County Educational Service Center and the adjacent R. Larry George Training Annex brushing up on techniques to hone students’ understanding of content so they achieve success in school. Program Coordinator Amber Yorko and Carri Meek, instructional coach and CEO of Instructional Growth Seminars and Support, have worked with English/Language Arts teachers in grades K-8 and more training continues this week.
Yorko said the groups were working on the common pacing guide with the ultimate goal of understanding students’ weaknesses.
“We want to see where they struggle and where we can help,” she said. “We’ve looked at the standards between 2010 and 2017 and they did change. We looked at second- and fourth-grade standards [with the third-grade teachers] to see what they were expecting in the third-grade.”
Meek created a live binder online program to
add resources so participating teachers would quickly have them for reference.
“They were most excited about having access to resources at their fingertips and they could collaborate and share ideas at the sessions,” Yorko commented.
Sessions were conducted for kindergarten, first-, second-, fifth- and third-grades the week of Oct. 1 with more meetings for fourth-grade this Tuesday, sixth-grade on Wednesday and seventh- and eighth-grade on Thursday. Each session had up to a dozen participants and the teachers will gather again in November to create a common assessment for their respective grade levels. The intent is to use the assessments as an instructional guide and gauge students’ understanding of their lessons.
For her part, Meek helped facilitate the
meetings and set up the live binder program to upload resources in an online
program for educators to use.
“I am working with classroom teachers as well as the leadership teams. For this particular group, I am focusing on targeted learning and targeted assessment with a focus on literacy standards,” she explained. “Tips include how to focus on formative practices and checks for understanding with feedback during instruction.”
Meek has worked with JCESC in the past while
presenting at the Ohio Association for Secondary Administrators and later
presented to JCESC leaders. She was later invited to work with the Striving
Readers grant and will return for sessions over the next few months.
Several third-grade teachers in attendance
said they have received a wealth of information that will help them in the
“I love the live binder and I think it’s going to be useful,” said Kelly Malone, who instructs at Southern Local Elementary School.
“You can talk to other people in the same grade level to see what they are doing,” added Ashley Farnsworth, a fellow teacher at SLES.
“We spent the day collaborating and taking an in-depth look to make sure we are meeting the standards required for our third-grade classes,” commented Donna Carpenter, a teacher at Harrison North Elementary. “We have to be accountable to the students and ourselves.”
JCESC was among 46 sites in Ohio to obtain the
$500,000 grant through the Ohio Department of Education this past spring. The
U.S. Department of Education awarded the state $35 million last fall and
approximately 95 percent of the funding is being distributed directly to local
schools or early childhood providers to improve literacy outcomes for children
from birth through grade 12. The three-year grant will focus on serving the
greatest numbers of students living in poverty, students with disabilities,
English learners and students identified as having reading difficulties. Five
local school districts have enacted the program, with Buckeye Local, Harrison
Hills, Southern Local and Toronto City Schools utilizing it at their elementary
schools and Indian Creek using its portion to benefit both elementary and
middle school pupils.
The grant has also provided opportunities for
teachers to take an eight-week course at Franciscan University on learning and
practicum and five teachers are taking part. Yorko said other programs include
a three-part Pacing Guide training program during November, January and March;
an early literacy series provided by State Support Team Region 12; and a
Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS) research-based
reading program will also be presented.
(Photo Cutline: Area teachers are taking
part in a training session through the Jefferson County Educational Service
Center as part of the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Grant program.
Program Coordinator Amber Yorko and educational coach Carri Meeks have been
leading sessions over the past two weeks to help educators improve student
learning and the training continues through this Thursday.)
Superintendents Look at School Safety
Posted 10/9/2018 at 9:18:00 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE-School superintendents are looking at ways to make buildings safer by combining forces and funding.
During the monthly superintendents’ meeting at the Jefferson County Educational Service Center on Oct. 5, JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said districts could benefit if they joined efforts. During discussion, Dr. Kokiko said there was a chance to combine funds they received from the governor for school safety for a collective cause.
Edison Local School Superintendent Bill
Beattie, whose district received about $8,000 for school safety, said teachers
in his district were undergoing PAX training with the Jefferson County
Prevention and Recovery Board to help students improve their behavior. PAX is a universal intervention used by
teachers and schools to teach self-regulation, self-management and self-control
in young people and several sessions have been held in a joint effort between
the JCPRB and JCESC.
“Teachers had PAX training for the preschool program and high school program,” Beattie said. “We want to have a junior high training and have 40 slots to fill, so if anyone is interested at the middle school level, [Executive Director Pam Petrilla] offered to provide additional funds to offset costs.”
Harrison Hills Superintendent Dana Snyder
interjected that the program also falls under the Positive Behavior
Intervention and Supports (PBIS). Officials discussed holding a session at the
JCESC office and it also helps train a trainer. Dr. Kokiko suggested having the
districts combine their safety funding and take part in the PAX sessions.
“We opened a dialogue for districts to put funding towards safety and work collectively to realize the greatest value, plus we can plus we can do joint training. Five districts are willing to commit part of their shares to focus on middle schools,” he later said.
Meanwhile, JCESC Administrative Assistant
Mark Masloski updated the group on the Virtual Learning Academy and
VirtualClassroom programs. Masloski gave a breakdown on the number of students
involved and test scores.
“[JCESC Supervisor] Ron Sismondo facilitated a math collaborative and the teachers created common assessments,” he added. “More teachers need to send their rosters so we can create passwords for students’ accounts. About 1,500 students are involved now and the short cycle ends in late October.”
explained how grant coordinator Amber Yorko was working with the
English/Language Arts teachers on programs in grades 3-8 and those numbers were
also anticipated to increase. Masloski also provided a sample history test with
scoring results and said officials can look at intervention strategies to
improve student learning.
“We’re really trying to enhance our online curriculum so teachers can provide targeted instruction,” he said. “At the end of October or beginning of November we’ll be able to give assessments.”
Masloski continued that VirtualClassroom was
provided through ProgressBook and teachers could choose which questions to use
or even add their own.
“The teachers like to use our questions because the content is there for them and it’s just another resource to use.”
Dr. Kokiko added that the ESC could host a
Build-A-Lesson workshop for teachers to use in their classroom. Additionally,
Masloski said the Quest for Success program has before and after school sessions
and provides intervention services, weekday activities, weekend events and
online courses. All of the districts have points of contact if people are
interested and students do not have to attend all of the activities.
In other matters:
panel learned that Eastern Gateway Community College would be surveying schools
to see what programs students would like to see included in the future.
Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities Superintendent Michael
Zinno suggested a direct service provider certificate program, which would
allow people to gain full-time employment in nursing homes and adult care;
--Indian Creek Superintendent Dr. T.C. Chappelear shared information about an upcoming Coalition for Rural Appalachian Schools (CORAS) meeting on Oct. 24 in Logan and officials were interested in districts’ needs. Hopes are to include items in the biennial budget and improving transportation costs, especially since it was expensive for local districts such as Indian Creek, Edison, Buckeye Local and Harrison Hills. Other issues included teacher shortages and students with trauma. Dr. Chappelear said working together would help provide a stronger voice in Columbus;
--Dr. Kokiko mentioned having Chad Hibbs of the Ohio Family and Children First Council attend a session to address a truancy pilot project. Hibbs was expected to attend the principal’s collaborative meeting on Nov. 8;
-- Leaders discussed Ohio House Bill 312, which deals with districts’ credit card policies and said districts should have theirs updated by Nov. 1;
Kokiko said ongoing sessions have been held regarding the Striving Readers
Grant and teachers gathered over the past week on improving classroom
techniques. Sessions were held all week for Kindergarten, first, third- and
fifth-grades with more this week for fourth-,sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade
teachers. Carri Meek of Instructional Growth Seminars and Support will lead
another program on Nov. 8 for administrators to learn how to drive instruction
in their buildings.
FCFC Eyes Resources for Community Outreach
Posted 10/9/2018 at 9:15:18 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE-Local agencies are continuing their efforts to join together and provide resources for community members.
About 25 people attended the monthly session
of the Jefferson County Family and Children First Council on Oct. 5, and the
topics discussed centered on how the groups could better assist each other to reach
more people. Among other action, the council approved the 2019 Shared Plan to
help meet community needs. Linda Trushel, contract manager for Help Me Grow and
FCFC coordinator, said previous plans focused on helping children with trauma
but now efforts would target substance abuse.
“It’s coming together as agencies with a shared goal for Jefferson County,” she said of the plan. “This is for 2017, 2018 and 2019. We did the first plan in 2017 and worked with children exposed to severe trauma. We did some training on trauma informed care.”
For 2018, officials looked at substance
abuse and wanted to inform the public on places to get help, as well as classroom
education. Trushel added that efforts were also being made to help children who
age out of the foster care system.
“We’re looking at housing for children who leave a residential home or foster care at age 18 and working on Project Build with Coleman Professional Services. In 2018, we got a housing site list and added the Village Network. We will keep that open and get feedback on Project Build.”
Following more discussion, the 2019 plan was
approved and officials agreed to focus on substance abuse and the housing
project. Trushel said work was now underway on the 2020-23 plan.
Additionally, she noted the FCFC Service
Coordination mechanism approved in September has also improved upon its
“Families with children with multiple needs are part of the Service Coordination Mechanism, and in Jefferson County we call it Engage,” she said. “It’s when children with multiple needs meet with the Board of Developmental Disabilities [and other agencies]. There is a referral process.”
In related matters, Cathy Takach of Engage
said she had nine active cases and was processing six, many of which were
referrals from JCBDD.
Meanwhile, Joe Rawson of the Family Recovery
Center said his agency had a report with a breakdown of information and he
would provide it to the group. He added that officials spent a week at a
training session learning to write for a Drug-Free Community Grant aimed at
helping youth. A meeting was set for Oct. 17 at 1 p.m. at the county Prevention
and Recovery Board to update members on the training session and how to
“The Opioid Task Force is looking at goals and then it will be finished. We will fold into the United Prevention Partnership to meet needs and give education,” he added.
Petrilla, executive director of JCPRB, noted that her agency was leading PAX
training sessions with teachers. PAX is a universal intervention used in
schools to help protect children from lifetime mental, emotional and behavioral
disorders while also increasing behavioral, academic and lifetime success. One
session was scheduled for Oct. 9 in the Edison Local School District with more
set at Buckeye Local and Indian Creek Schools, plus the JCPRB would be working
jointly with the Jefferson County Educational Service Center on more activities
in the future.
Other discussion included Neysa Rogers,
early intervention coordinator, who provided a quarterly report and said the
program grew from 64 to 74 children. The program serves providers in the home
and has transitioned children into preschool, typical schools and the School of
Bright Promise. She added that the EI team was headed to Canton for a free
training session and she would provide information from the Strengthening
Families program at that time.
Linsey Pinkerton, home visiting supervisor for Help Me Grow, then shared a report on her organization’s target audience including demographics and needs. Pinkerton explained that the data was based on 30 families Help Me Grow serves, adding that eligibility requirements changed July 1 and clients had to meet 200 percent of the poverty level guidelines to qualify. Other criteria included being a pregnant woman under age 21; having a history of child abuse, neglect or substance abuse; having a child with a diagnosed developmental delay; being an active military family; and being a single-parent family.
Pinkerton added that 94 percent of families
have the mother as the primary caregiver and about 20 percent fall below the
poverty level. She noted that the program was looking to expand its outreach
and called upon other agencies to give referrals.
“We’ve found that we’re struggling in Carroll and Belmont counties and we want to increase Jefferson County referrals,” she said, asking for suggestions.
Many representatives responded, and some
suggestions included visiting the WIC office and joining that group in off-site
events. A similar proposal was made to join the county health department during
its clinics, as well as to attend Belmont County FCFC and other agency
Dr. Chuck Kokiko, superintendent of the
JCESC, mentioned an idea to possibly implement a Plus-22 program to help adults
earn a diploma. He said he and Jeff Oblak, JCESC supervisor, have explored
means to provide the program to the community.
“There is a program for adults that can be run through the ESC or a school district and there are requirements they are to meet to graduate,” Dr. Kokiko said. “This is set up as a reimbursement program and the educating agency receives funding once students complete coursework. For students age 22 or older, there is an additional pathway to earn a diploma besides the GED.”
He said a program must be started through
the state before it can open up to referrals and officials were reviewing the
In other matters, Rawson of the Family
Recovery Center said the Jefferson County Adult Drug Court was sponsoring Red
Ribbon Week on Oct. 23-31 to promote drug prevention. Additionally, the FRC was
hosting a Trunk or Treat event at its location on Market Street in Steubenville
Oct. 30 and he invited other agencies to take part. The FRC will provide candy
and grab bags and a photo booth will also be available for the kids. The county
health department also announced it will hold clinics on Tuesdays starting in
November in the Indian Creek School District while Buckeye Local and the
Jefferson County Joint Vocational School were also interested in offering
JCESC Implementing Striving Readers Grant
Posted 8/16/2018 at 4:36:58 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE-A new program aimed at helping local school districts improve student literacy is being implemented through the Jefferson County Educational Service Center.
JCESC was among 46 sites in Ohio to obtain a
$500,000 Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Grant through the Ohio
Department of Education this past spring. The U.S. Department of Education
awarded the state $35 million last fall and approximately 95 percent of the
funding is being distributed directly to local schools or early childhood
providers to improve literacy outcomes for children from birth through grade
12. The three-year grant will focus on serving the greatest numbers of students
living in poverty, students with disabilities, English learners and students
identified as having reading difficulties.
Five local school districts will enact the
program, with Buckeye Local, Harrison Hills, Southern Local and Toronto City
Schools utilizing it at their elementary schools and Indian Creek using its
portion to benefit both elementary and middle school pupils.
JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said
a prior meeting held with member districts indicated the greatest need was in kindergarten
through eighth grade, while emphasis will be placed on phonics. Amber Yorko,
who has been an educator for the past 15 years, will administer the grant.
“She will work with the districts on the implementation and day-to-day activities of the grant,” Dr. Kokiko said. “We’re excited to have her at the ESC. She brings a wealth of knowledge in early childhood education and a fresh perspective. As an ESC, we’re glad to be able to provide this service to the districts to improve learning.”
Yorko, a native of Bloomingdale, has served as a teacher and assistant principal in Ohio and Virginia. She graduated from Steubenville High School in 1999 and obtained a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and intervention specialist from Franciscan University in 2002. Yorko went on to earn a master’s degree in educational leadership at Old Dominion University in Virginia in 2008. She taught grades 7-8 special education at Southern Local High School for two years and preschool for four years at Northampton County Public Schools in Virginia before serving as an assistant principal for Accomack County Public Schools in Virginia for nine years. She returned to her home state and said she was excited for her new role, which she began on Aug. 9.
“I will work with five local school districts on improving their reading scores,” Yorko said. “I want to help the teachers help their students grown in the area of reading and be on grade level when they exit the grade. It is nice to come back to the area and give back to the community you grew up in.”
Her work will entail going into schools to
work with school administrators and teachers and also providing specialized
professional development training to enhance student learning.
Oil and Gas, Education Lead Annual Meeting
Posted 8/13/2018 at 11:46:57 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
WINTERSVILLE-Nearly 100 educators and community partners gathered at St. Florian Hall on Aug. 9 to kick off the start of the new school year during the Jefferson County Educational Service Center’s annual administrator’s breakfast meeting.
JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko
welcomed the crowd, which included representatives of local school districts,
Franciscan University, Eastern Gateway Community College and the Jefferson
County Prevention and Recovery Board. Attendants heard updates from superintendents
and other officials, as well as speakers from Eagle Rock School and
Professional Development Center to the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education
OOGEEP Executive Director Rhonda Reda was the
featured speaker and said there was a need for more help in the field from
executive positions to truck drivers, and it was important to work with schools
and provide career opportunities for students.
“One of the challenges in the oil and gas industry when it comes to careers is the misconception [of jobs opportunities available]. There are 85 different professions,” she said.
Fields range from attorneys, chemists and
geologists to roustabouts and welders. Reda added that energy demands will
never go away and the United States consumed 100 quadrillion British Thermal
Units (Btu) alone in 2017. She said 275,000 wells were drilled or completed in
Ohio but production has been going on for at least a century. Last year was a
record for the state with 16 million barrels and 1.7 trillion cubic feet (TCF)
of natural gas produced.
“If Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania were one country, it would be the third-largest natural gas provider in the world,” she noted.
The Marcellus and Utica shales account for
35 percent of production in the U.S. However, the current industry has an aging
and retiring workforce. There is also an emphasis on trades and 63 percent of
the workforce is blue collar, while students have an array of opportunities to
study in post-secondary schools from EGCC, Belmont Career Center and Buckeye
Career Center to Stark State College, Marietta College and West Virginia
Other speakers included Anastasia Galloway of Eagle Rock School in Estes Park, Colo., who discussed her travels around the country to facilitate programs and her recent work in Toronto and other local school districts. She thanked local leaders for their support and said it’s that collaboration which makes the venture a success.
“I’m looking forward to the 2018-19 school year and to coming back,” she said.
Carri Meek, CEO and founder of Instructional
Growth Seminars and Support, discussed methods to help teachers enhance their
teaching skills to improve student learning. Meek said school leaders were the
key to instructional growth so teachers have resources and options to try
things differently and make a bigger impact.
“When you can make a teacher grow, you can make a student grow,” she added.
Mark Jackson, attorney for Jefferson Health
Plan and a school attorney for Pepple and Waggoner of Columbus, also updated
the crowd on the latest court rulings and case law.
Meanwhile, school leaders introduced their
administrative staff and shared details of happenings in their respective
districts. Superintendents Dr. T.C. Chappelear of Indian Creek, Dana Snider of
Harrison Hills and Maureen Taggart of Toronto discussed school construction
projects in their territories. Dr. Chapplear thanked supporters for passing the
levy in May to help build a new high school and elementary school in
Wintersville and renovate Hills Elementary in Mingo Junction. Snider was
equally thankful for the opportunity to see a grade K-12 complex in Cadiz,
which was also aided by the oil and gas boon. She said funding from the local
production played a vital role in seeing a longtime dream come true, and now
children will have a brand-new facility in which to learn. Taggart updated the
crowd on the new addition at Karaffa Elementary School with a groundbreaking
set for October, plus she said her district also has the first school-based
health clinic in the area.
Other remarks were made by Buckeye Local
Superintendent Kim Leonard, who said her district was rebuilding to become more
financially solvent; Southern Local Superintendent Tom Cunningham and School of
Bright Promise Principal Jane Bodo of the Jefferson County Board of
Developmental Disabilities, who were introduced as the newest leaders;
Jefferson County Joint Vocational School Board President Larry George, who
highlighted programs at the site; and Deana Bell of the Jefferson County
Alternative School, Chris Tivoli of ProgressBook, Dan Obertance of JCPRB and
Buddy Tucker of State Support Team Region 12.
A new addition to the meeting was the presentation of the first Principal of the Year Award to Coy Sudvary of Buckeye Local High School. Sudvary was recognized by JCESC Governing Board President Larry George and Supervisor Ron Sismondo for his efforts in improving his school and student learning. Sudvary received a plaque with a $700 award for the principal’s fund.
Meanwhile, leaders from Franciscan University and EGCC also shared news from their schools. William Gorman, the new chief operating officer at Franciscan, said the site was anticipating its largest freshman class to date this fall and was working on a strategic plan to further enhance enrollment and community relations. Dr. Jimmie Bruce also touted record enrollment this coming year as well as EGCC’s upcoming 50th
anniversary. The milestone will be marked on Sept. 25 with Gatorfest from 8:30
a.m. to noon for students with public services, educations of pathway and other
information while a community open house is set from 3-6 p.m. Dr. Bruce noted
that EGCC underwent a $2 million renovation project and now features a one-stop
shop with the Gator Center, Barnes & Noble Bookstore, admissions, financial
aid and related services in one area, while a softball team is being added at
the school. He further outlined available scholarships and opportunities
available for prospective students.
Dr. Kokiko closed the event with some encouraging words to start the new school year, sharing the story of a teacher’s chance meeting with a former student who had left college but took their encounter as a sign to return to school.
“As an educator, you never know when you might make an impact on a student, so put your best foot forward. You never know when your name is called.”
(Photo Cutline: Buckeye Local High School Principal Coy Sudvary was named Principal of the Year during the annual administrator’s breakfast meeting held by the Jefferson County Educational Service Center on Aug. 9. Sudvary, pictured at center, was recognized by JCESC Supervisor Ron Sismondo and Governing Board President Larry George. Nearly 100 educators and community partners gathered at St. Florian Hall in Wintersville to kick off the new school year by highlighting happenings in local districts and hearing from speakers.)
Educators Train on PAX Program
Posted 8/8/2018 at 10:01:57 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE-Educators learned how a positive approach could impact students in the classroom with the PAX Good Behavior Game on Aug. 7.
About 40 teachers, principals, guidance
counselors and other school and mental health officials gathered at the R.
Larry George Training Annex near the Jefferson County Educational Service
Center. Jeanette Puskas, Ohio PAX coordinator, led the full-day session and
explained how the research-based program has affected classrooms across the
state and the world. PAX is a universal intervention used in schools to help
protect children from lifetime mental, emotional and behavioral disorders while
also increasing behavioral, academic and lifetime success. Teachers trained in
PAX gain an improved understanding of the impact of mental health in their
classrooms and use positive reinforcements to help students remain focused.
“It’s actually international and has been used in Ireland and Latin America to Canada and several states,” she explained. “Approximately 6,000 teachers in Ohio have been trained and everything is research-based.”
The program was a partnership between the
JCESC and Jefferson County Prevention and Recovery Board and Puskas noted that
Ohio has the largest implementation since it also has the highest opioid use
“Five cities fall in the top 15 for opioid overdoses and the Ohio Mental Health Addiction Services funded part of the program for $3.5 million, plus other mental health and recovery boards are involved,” she continued.
PAX was initially studied at Johns Hopkins
University and first established in 1969, while researchers have continued to
follow students over the past three decades to determine the long-term effects
of being exposed to the program. Some encouraging data showed a decline in
office referrals and bullying to an uptick in school attendance. Other benefits
ranged from higher graduation and college attendance rates to a reduction in
special education services, substance use and criminal activity. The state
launched a large-scale increase of the PAX Good Behavior Game in schools to
prevent circumstances contributing to the opiate epidemic. Nearly 1,200 Ohio
teachers have been trained this year on the method but that number is
anticipated to double over the next two months. Currently, all but 13 counties
participate in the program.
Puskas said the first portion of the recent
training explained trauma-affected behaviors in the classroom while the second
half shared practical strategies teachers could use to maintain good student
behaviors. Some examples included using calming sound levels and visual cues to
reduce symptoms of ADHD and anxiety to fun group activities that allow children
to work together for a common happiness of the class.
“We’re giving teachers tools to work with in their classrooms with the hope to reduce trauma. If a child could be helped from the training, they can learn and the teachers can teach,” she said.
Those who attended the session earned
certificates and continuing education credits, but the lesson they learned is
much more significant.
John Rocchi, special education coordinator
for Indian Creek Schools, sees PAX as a real plus for the pupils.
“I think it’s a lot of information that has been in the district in various ways, but this pulls it together in a format that could be easily implemented in the classroom,” he said.
John Gregg Elementary Principal Tammy
“I think there are excellent strategies that can be used and they can encompass all of our kids,” she added. “It’s research-based so we know it has a lot of backing. We’re excited to try it.”
The PAX Good Behavior Game has already
proven beneficial in the Harrison Hills City School District since it was first
implemented four years ago and a few of the educators praised the method. Jenny
Gibson, district PAX partner, recalled one occasion when she saw students
exhibit good behavior and attention at a school function.
“It promotes a culture with the staff and students and looks at positive reinforcement and what ways we can help each other,” added Julia Carman, a fourth-grade teacher at Harrison East.
Fellow teachers Stephanie McKinney and
Franci Doty noted how students are aware of the expectations and also have a
(Photo Cutline: Jeanette Puskas, Ohio
PAX coordinator, led 40 educators and mental health officials in a program on
research-based methods to improve student behaviors during a session at the R.
Larry George Training Annex in Steubenville on Aug. 7. The PAX Good Behavior
Game is currently in 75 counties and the local program was formed in a
partnership between the Jefferson County Educational Service Center and the
Jefferson County Prevention and Recovery Board.)
Students Complete Summer Incentive Program
Posted 8/8/2018 at 9:56:43 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Local youth recently completed the Quest for Success Summer Incentive Program held July 1-28. The free activity was offered to Jefferson County students in grades 5-8 though the Virtual Learning Academy and they were eligible to receive prizes for participation in online career exploration. The prizes were provided by Kennywood Park, Burger King of Wintersville, Carnegie Science Center and the Jefferson County Educational Service Center. Quest for Success, which is sponsored by JCESC, is funded through a five-year, $850,000 grant through the Ohio Department of Education and provides activities for Jefferson County students in grades 5-8 to succeed in literacy, mathematics, social development, family support and community involvement. Among the prize recipients are, pictured in front, Katie Vujanovich. Middle: Kaiden Blancato and Shiloah Connell. Back: Briana Masloski, Sydney Takach, Brittany Adams and Jillian Burchfield. For more information about Quest for Success programs, contact Mark Masloski, program coordinator and administrative assistant at JCESC, at (740) 283-3347, Ext. 134, or Fiala at Ext. 100 or go online to questforsuccesssteubenville.weebly.com.
Johnson Serving JCESC Governing Board
Posted 6/13/2018 at 11:53:34 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE-A local banking executive is offering his services to two educational boards to help better serve students in the area.
Mark Johnson joined the ranks of the Jefferson County Educational
Service Center Governing Board in February to fill the vacancy left by
longtime board member William Lollini. Johnson has also served on the
Utica Shale Academy Board of Directors and said he was excited to be
part of the process.
The East Springfield resident is a 1975 graduate of South Hills High School in Pittsburgh and earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and business management from The College of Steubenville in 1979. He has worked at WesBanco for the past three years and is currently vice president and banking center manager. Johnson has also been active in the community as a member of the Richmond Lions Club since 1990, serving as president for two years and the past 26 years as treasurer. His family includes his granddaughter, with whom he resides.
He said he was excited about the opportunity to serve on the governing board and to work toward a common goal.
“I believe it is an honor and a privilege to be part of a team that has the single purpose of helping our local schools put our children in the best possible position to achieve an outstanding academic experience,” Johnson noted. “I want to continue to grow and gain knowledge in the education field and also use my financial background as an asset to help the board in any way possible.”
He said he
enjoyed working with the board, Superintendent Dr. Charles Kokiko and
CEO Dr. George Ash to help schools and students succeed.
“I believe we have an outstanding and diversified board whose members are focused on helping our schools work more effectively and to achieve success. Dr. Kokiko and Dr. Ash are great administrators and communicators working together towards a common goal and I look forward to serving on the JCESC Governing Board.”
JCESC leaders said
Johnson offers a wealth of expertise having served with the USA board
for several years, plus his financial experience could also prove
beneficial when helping to move the JCESC and districts its serves in a
“Mr. Johnson brings a valuable skill set to the Jefferson County ESC Governing Board as well as a passion for education and serving the community at large,” Dr. Kokiko said. “I look forward to working with Mr. Johnson on current and future JCESC projects. He will promote and advance the mission and vision of the board.”
Dr. Ash echoed those sentiments, saying Johnson was a valuable addition to the board.
“Mr. Johnson’s financial expertise is an asset to the community and being a grandparent really helps him know what parents and students need,” he added. “The time on the Utica Shale Board demonstrated his commitment to the surrounding communities, vocational education and innovation.”
“Mark, being a finance man, comes to us with great experience. He’s a seasoned board member since serving with the Utica Shale Academy board,” commented board President Larry George. “He’s a local gentleman who knows the area and we’re just happy to have him and happy that he’s serving with us. We’re really pleased he accepted the position and look forward to his continued success with our board.”
JCESC Gains $500K Striving Readers Grant
Posted 6/13/2018 at 11:51:25 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE-A $500,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Education is helping local school districts to bolster literacy in students.
The Jefferson County Educational Service
Center was among 46 sites across Ohio that received a Striving Readers
Comprehensive Literacy Grant to improve language and literacy development.
According to the Ohio Department of Education, the USDOE awarded the state $35
million last fall and approximately 95 percent of the funding is being
distributed directly to local schools or early childhood providers to improve
literacy outcomes for children from birth through grade 12. The three-year
grant will focus on serving the greatest numbers of students living in poverty,
students with disabilities, English learners and students identified as having
JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said
a meeting was held with member districts and officials believed the greatest
need was in kindergarten through eighth grade and among the grant participants
are Buckeye Local, Indian Creek Local, Toronto City, Southern Local and
Harrison Hills City Schools.
“We’re currently in year one of three years of funding,” Dr. Kokiko added. “The grant is geared towards reading and our particular focus is going to be in phonics.”
One course of action is to employ a reading
coach to aid the schools and teachers will also undergo specialized
professional development training. Dr. Kokiko said the position should be
filled this summer while training sessions would be conducted regularly for the
duration of the grant.
“With the importance of developing strong reading skills in the early grades, the JCESC is excited to bring these resources and opportunities to our districts. We believe this could have a significant impact on children’s learning for years to come.”
Dr. Kokiko thanked the participating
districts for helping to complete the comprehensive application, which included
more than 200 pages with supporting documentation. The ODE received 110
individual and consortium applications and held a competitive peer review to
select recipients. Federal grant requirements included a prescribed distribution
of funding across defined age and grade bands from birth through high school,
plus awards went to all 16 state support team regions with priority given to
high-quality applications serving the highest numbers of disadvantaged
Literacy Instruction Workshop Offered
Posted 6/12/2018 at 3:58:32 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE-A literacy instruction workshop will be offered for teachers this month to help engage pupils in the classroom.
Sponsored by the Jefferson County Educational Service Center through its Quest for Success program, the workshop will be held on June 25-26 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the JCESC’s Professional Development Room in the Kenneth D. Simeral Building, which is located at 2023 Sunset Blvd. in Steubenville.
Dr. Megan Reister, assistant professor of education at Franciscan University, will serve as presenter and the sessions will explore the impact of identity in students with disabilities and lead to a discussion on culturally responsive instruction within the classroom. The majority of the workshop’s content will then work out of literacy instruction and how to use techniques to motivate reluctant readers. Inquiry-based learning and student engagement will be the key topics that will serve as a framework for increasing student motivation when it comes to reading and learning. Finally, time permitting, information about a collaboration project that incorporates these aspects will be shared with participants.
workshop session will last for a total of 20 hours while 10 contact hours
qualify for one graduate credit hour. The cost is $20 per person to participate
and includes a Continental Breakfast and lunch.
For more information or to register, contact Mark Masloski, JCESC administrative assistant and Quest for Success program manager, at (740) 283-3347 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Online Program Helps Youth Explore Careers
Posted 6/12/2018 at 3:54:09 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE-An online summer incentive program aims to get youth thinking about their future while earning prizes along the way.
The Jefferson County Educational Service Center’s Quest for Success program is sponsoring Online Career Exploration from July 1-28. The course is offered to county students in grades 5-8 through the Virtual Learning Academy (VLA) and is free.
“This is the first time for the program and will help prepare students for the real world,” said Martariesa Fiala, community coordinator for the Quest for Success program. “We wanted to engage the community during the summer and provide a no-cost, engaging resource to keep students' minds active.”
Units include a pre-assessment; literacy,
math, college and career readiness and a reflection journal for such careers as
chef or head cook, landscape gardener, registered nurse and probation officer;
and a post assessment. Participants could earn incentives for completing the
four career exploration topics and a final assessment and prizes include
backpacks, lantern zip drives, water bottles, fitness towels, restaurant gift
cards, movie passes, pool passes and/or tickets to Kennywood and the Carnegie
The summer incentive program is funded
through a 21st Century Grant. For more information or to register,
contact Mark Masloski, JCESC administrative assistant and Quest for Success
program manager, at (740) 283-3347 or email email@example.com. Online registration is also available at www.jcesc.k12.oh.us at the Quest for Success Summer Incentive Program
link found on the bottom of the homepage.
Help Me Grow Honored for Home Visiting Services
Posted 5/22/2018 at 2:40:09 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE-A local agency is gaining distinction for serving families through its home visiting program.
Linda Trushel, director and home visiting contract manager for the Help Me Grow program, accepted the 2017-18 Local Implementing Agency of the Year award during the Ohio Department of Health Home Visiting Summit in Columbus. Help Me Grow, which is sponsored locally by the Jefferson County Educational Service Center and also works with the Harrison Hills City School District, aids about 250 families in Jefferson, Harrison, Carroll and Belmont counties. The agency offers HMG Home Visiting for first-time expectant or new parents and provides information and support they need to be prepared for the birth of their child, as well as ongoing education and support for families to maximize their child’s health and development to age 3. Help Me Grow also provides early intervention for infants and toddlers to age 3 with a developmental delay, disability or medical condition which will likely result in a delay or disability.
Trushel said only a handful of other
programs were recognized during the event and she was pleased to see the agency
“There are currently 15 LIA’s in Region 4 and 71 LIA’s in the state,” she said. “Only four other home visiting programs in Ohio received the same award. The 88 counties in Ohio are divided into five regions. I feel honored and excited about it.”
She received the distinction from Jye
Breckenridge, ODH administrator for Early Childhood Home Visiting, and Amie
Unger, ODH Home Visiting program consultant for Region 4. ODH officials said
the agency was selected due to its consistent willingness to provide locations
for opportunities for professional development in the Southeast region, the
support of program staff and a willingness to always strive to improve the
“The program is always willing to participate in groups to support the strengthening of home visit, including the data advisory group,” noted Unger. “The agency is always a willing partner in collaboration with the state in effort to not only improve outcomes for families but to facilitate a Healthy Families America fidelity program.”
For more information about Help Me Grow,
contact Trushel at (740) 491-0548.
(Photo Cutline: Linda Trushel, program director and home
visiting contract manager for Help Me Grow in Jefferson, Harrison, Carroll and
Belmont counties, received the Local Implementing Agency of the Year award for
the agency during the Ohio Department of Health Home Visiting Summit in
Columbus. Pictured are, from left, Deidra
Henry-Spires, CEO of the Dalton Daley Group; Jye Breckenridge, administrator of
Early Childhood Home Visiting for the Ohio Department of Health; Amie Unger, home visiting consultant for ODH Region 4; Trushel;
Sandra Oxley, chief of Maternal Child and Family Health for ODH; and Kathleen
Strader, senior director of operations for Healthy Families America.)
Feeding Program, Student Volunteers Top JCESC Meeting
Posted 5/8/2018 at 10:05:46 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE- School district leaders gathered at the Jefferson County Educational Service Center on May 4 where student needs topped discussion.
More than a dozen officials representing JCESC and Buckeye Local, Edison, Harrison Hills, Indian Creek, Jefferson County Joint Vocational School, Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities and Steubenville City Schools gathered at the JCESC office in Steubenville for the monthly superintendent’s meeting, where they learned about needs to help students and have students help others.
Charlie Kozlesky of the Children’s Hunger Alliance asked for assistance in providing food to students during the summer months in a program with the Urban Mission Ministries. Kozlesky said some local districts already have breakfast, afterschool and summer programs in place while the Urban Mission is looking to establish a project of its own. However, there is a need for a vendor to provide food.
“Thank you for making a difference in the lives of children by offering breakfast and lunch,” he said. “Indian Creek received a breakfast grant from us and Steubenville is providing a program now. Summer’s coming, so keep in mind that children need to be fed this summer.”
He added that he’s spoken with Harrison Hills Superintendent Dana Snider about using schools for summer sites while the Urban Mission was also looking to help feed kids.
“We’ve been trying to look for a vendor to provide the Urban Mission with meals. We’ve talked to hospitals …to The Nutrition Group and are trying to locate a vendor. If you prepare meals, the Urban Mission pays for it. The key is if you contract with them, you would make the food and they would pick it up and serve it.”
Kozlesky said there could be potential grant funding from the Children’s Hunger Alliance for programs and it would provide about 200-250 additional meals. Additionally, he could review possible grant opportunities for middle and high schools if they opt to expand their breakfast programs in the fall.
“The children are there being fed and are happy. If they are fed, they will come back and be ready to learn.”
He asked Superintendent Dr. T.C. Chappelear
if Indian Creek would consider being the vendor. It would simply require the
cooks making extra food which the Urban Mission would pick up and serve to its
participants. Dr. Chappelear replied that the district might be interested and
rprovided contact information for Assistant Superintendent John Belt since he
oversees the programs.
“You are just looking at food costs,” Kozlesky replied. “You already have people in place. I think it’s a great thing to do.”
Meanwhile, Jaye Lynn Hockenberry, student and volunteer coordinator at Trinity Health Systems, put out a call for youth to volunteer at the hospital. Hockenberry explained Trinity West was undergoing construction project and patients would need to be redirected to the proper locations. To that end, it would be helpful to have youth ages 14 and older on hand to redirect the customers and help keep her employees at the information desk.
“I’d love to have students come into Trinity to represent your school and our community,” she said, adding that the teens could spend one day per week on-site to help navigate patients through the hospital while construction is underway. “We need people to transport, escort and get customers through more smoothly. All I ask is for a commitment for one day a week, three to four hours a day. If I can build up a corps of young people, I will have them to support the staff.”
She said the volunteers would also improve
upon communication skills by working one-on-one with people and will have
constant support from hospital staff. They would also have opportunities to
shadow departments and possibly get ideas about future careers. The youth
volunteers would be identified by wearing special T-shirts and their help would
also benefit their portfolios for college. Hockenberry said that extra help
will allow her employees to remain available to do their jobs, otherwise they
would have to leave their desks to direct people themselves.
“I need by staff at the information desk and these young people will fill gaps so the staff will be there,” she added.
distributed contact information to district leaders so they could spread the
In other matters, officials:
from Lisa Baker, director of State Support Team Region 12, who discussed grant
opportunities and programming to support area schools. She noted that Dr. Elise
Frattura, a professor in the Department of Administrative Leadership at the
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Education, co-founder of Integrated
Comprehensive Systems for Equity and co-director of the National Leadership for
Social Justice Institute and Academy, will be speaking on improving achievement
for all students June 21 at Zane State College in Cambridge and spots are open
for school superintendents, administrators, lead teachers, ESC and SST staff;
--Were updated about the need for more applications to United States service academies within U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson’s (R-6th) district;
upcoming events including the Safe and Healthy Schools Conference on June 4-5
in Columbus and an opioid conference at Ohio State University in July;
--Set the next regular meeting for June 1 with the Administrator’s Breakfast slated for Aug. 9 at St. Florian Hall.
Game Day at Brightwood
Posted 5/4/2018 at 1:59:56 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Local children took part in Game Day at the Brightway Center in Smithfield on April 28, where they spent the day doing fun and challenging activities. The event was held in conjunction with the Quest for Success program offered through the Jefferson County Educational Service Center and the first-place team was recognized at the conclusion. Pictured are, from left, Brooklyn Reid, Keira Woodland, Percy Freeman Jr. and William Hill. Quest for Success provides programs on Monday to Thursday from 2-5 p.m. at the McKinley Building for Jefferson County students in grades 5-8, as well as some weekends, and the goal is to increase opportunities for students to succeed in literacy, mathematics, social development, family support and community involvement. For more information, contact program coordinator Mark Masloski at (740) 283-3347, Extension 134.
JCESC Recognizes Best and Brightest at ACT Breakfast
Posted 4/24/2018 at 12:51:18 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
WINTERSVILLE-Some of the area’s best and brightest were honored on Tuesday as the Jefferson County Educational Service Center held its third annual ACT Recognition Breakfast.
About 30 parents, students and school officials from Buckeye Local, Edison, Harrison Hills, Indian Creek, Southern Local, Steubenville and Toronto gathered at Zalenski’s Restaurant and Pub in Wintersville to celebrate 14 graduating seniors who scored a 30 or higher on their ACT exams. JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko welcomed the attendants and highlighted just how unique the honorees were.
Dr. Kokiko said that out of 1.84 million students who take the exam, only 92,000—or 5 percent—score a 30 or higher.
“You can apply to 1,382 colleges and have a good shot at being admitted,” he said. “You are in the 95th percentile of test takers. The State of Ohio tests 75 percent of their graduates with an average composite score of 22; this compares to a national average of 60 percent of students tested with an average score of 21. Today, we will celebrate your hard work and dedication to reaching this benchmark.”
He also touted parents and family members
for supporting the students in their academic achievement.
“They have played a key role in your development and success thus far and will be a source of support as you prepare to begin the next chapter of your life.”
JCESC Governing Board President Larry
George, who offered invocation, also shared thoughts and congratulated the
youth for their accomplishment.
“This is a stepping stone to the next generation of the valley,” George added, as he encouraged the students to call upon their teachers for support as they endeavor on to college and beyond. “Don’t forget your hometown, don’t forget your roots.”
Keynote speaker was Jefferson County
Commissioner Dave Maple, who was doing double duty as proud father to his son,
Evan, an Edison High School student who was also among the honorees. Maple, a graduate
of Jefferson Union High School, is the operator of Maple Manufacturing, a steel
cutting and coating business in Weirton, and co-owner of Treat Frozen Yogurt in
Steubenville and MB Office & More, a Columbus-based office supply company.
He has been a county commissioner since 2004 and is currently in his fourth
He congratulated the students and also
offered four pieces of advice as they continue to the next phase of their
“Your ACT score sticks with you for life. It’s a great effort and it doesn’t happen overnight,” he said. “But don’t rest on that. I want to challenge you and say the next phase is really on you. That next phase is the most important phase of our lives.”
Maple continued that the next phase, which
included ages 18-25, was a key portion of their lives and they should be
engaged. He also challenged the youth to concentrate on social and behavioral
growth and to interact with people and work as a team or team leader. He also
challenged the students to figure out how to measure their own success.
“When I graduated in the 80s, [it seemed to be about] working 60 hours a week, having a big house and the fastest car, but the dynamic has changed. Success is being redefined. I say you have to figure it out how to fit the mold or to change the mold.”
His final piece of advice was to be social
leaders by becoming active within the community, be it as a volunteer for a
not-for-profit group or even running for a public office. Most importantly, he
encouraged them to come back home and plant their roots in the Ohio Valley.
“There is some obligation for you to be involved in your society,” he concluded. “From a county commissioner’s standpoint, I recognize this as a good area. We want you to go experience life but to come back, establish a business and join a commission or council. You’re going to find out there are thousands and thousands of you going to college and it’s going to influence you. We want you to come back, start a business, hire employees and start families here.”
George and board member Mark Johnson
distributed certificates to the students, and those in attendance included
Lukas Dickerson of Buckeye Local; Evan Maple and Candace Marcus of Edison; Racquel
Ritchie of Harrison Hills; Reid Davis and Paige Hilderbrand of Indian Creek;
John Kovach of Steubenville; and Nathan Keenan of Toronto. Also recognized were
Luke Gescheider of Edison, Bryanna Smith of Harrison, Amber Evans, Miracle Hunt
and Kelsey Lewis of Indian Creek and Aaron Timms of Southern Local. Students
noted that they planned to attend the University of Akron, Ohio University,
Kent State, Robert Morris University, Franciscan University and Case Western
Reserve University to continue their studies.
Edison Superintendent Bill Beattie offered
the closing and again congratulated the students and their families on their
“Your commitment to academic success is obvious and the parents have done a wonderful job molding students into leaders.”
(Photo Cutline: The Jefferson County
Educational Service Center held its third annual ACT Breakfast on Tuesday to
recognize area students who achieved a score of 30 or higher on their ACT
exams. About 14 students were recognized at the event with eight honorees in
attendance, and the event also featured Jefferson County Commissioner Dave
Maple as keynote speaker. Pictured are, from left, Commissioner Maple, John
Kovach of Steubenville, Reid Davis of Indian Creek, Racquel Ritchie of
Harrison, Lukas Dickerson of Buckeye Local, Evan Maple of Edison, Candace
Marcus of Edison, Paige Hilderbrand of Indian Creek, Nathan Keenan of Toronto
and JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko.)
USA Advisory Council Mulls Ideas to Expand Courses
Posted 4/20/2018 at 10:18:26 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SALINEVILLE-The Utica Shale Academy Advisory Council held its annual session on April 17 to consider possible courses that will increase students’ marketability.
Director Eric Sampson gathered with
education and business representatives at the Southern Local Board of Education
office to mull ideas and expand upon the now four-year-old program. Sampson
said USA offers blended learning through the Virtual Learning Academy, which is
sponsored by the Jefferson County Educational Service Center. The digital
curriculum allows for acceleration or remediation along with flexible
scheduling, plus certification courses in SafeLand, OSHA10, First Aid and CPR,
hydrogen sulfide (H2S) awareness and confined space certifications. Academy
graduates receive a high school diploma, certificates and college credit
options offered through Eastern Gateway Community College. About 58 students in grades 9-12 participate in
facilities housed at Southern Local High School and the satellite location at
Columbiana High School. In addition, they have toured colleges, rigs and other
sites to learn about subjects and operations, plus USA partnered with New
Castle School of Trades in East Liverpool to offer welding as another means of
filling a niche in the ever-growing energy field.
“Our No. 1 goal is for us to get an idea of where we need to be for our students,” said Sampson, adding that students have also trained with Amanda Greathouse of Safety Pro Training and Consulting of Lisbon on OSHA 10, SafeLand, First Aid/CPR, confined space awareness and Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) awareness to put them ahead in the job market.
The group touched upon such topics as
industry needs in the job market for employees aged 18 and older; required job
skills; available career opportunities; student readiness; College Credit Plus;
and curriculum options. Sampson said USA has its base in the oil and gas
industry but could also provide a workforce in other fields, such as
manufacturing, HVAC and industrial maintenance.
Advisory council members brainstormed additional training ideas for students to help fill gaps within the workforce, and suggestions included blueprint reading, pi measurement, schematics, overhead crane operation, man lift and forklift operation and environmental safety-related skills. Sampson asked if NCST’s welding program could accommodate blueprint and pi measurement. NCST Admissions Director Joe Blazak said students learned to do torch work with regular measurements but he could review if other potential options were available.
Monica Carna, an account executive with Express
Employment Professionals of Boardman, spoke of several businesses that were
looking for employees to do soil testing if they were certified. Talks ensued regarding
types of degree programs which would be advantageous to students, and responses
ranged from engineering to lab techs.
Sampson also asked about the type of education required for environmental specialists. Stacy Lucas, staffing specialist with Express Employment Professionals of Boardman, said that could fall under the post of a safety manager in manufacturing or an operations or human resources manager. Brian Logue, a longtime advisory council member and industry consultant, said some post-secondary schools such as Stark State offered an environmental technology degree, but perhaps USA officials could consider doing an introductory course.
During discussion on curriculum options,
Sampson said he was writing an Introduction to Oil and Gas program through the
VLA using information from the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program and
planned to have it ready for the next school year. He then asked if a
curriculum was available to introduce students to some of the other offerings
discussed. Greathouse said she knew of one college, but it was outside Ohio; however,
she could research whether it could provide a pre-college preparatory class.
Sampson said it would be more beneficial if it were an Ohio college to perhaps
do distance learning or an articulation agreement for College Credit Plus.
Officials suggested looking at Youngstown State University to see if it offered
an environmental safety course, plus they mentioned making connections with other
colleges and companies for training. Carna interjected that Hazmat training
would also give graduates an advantage when seeking jobs, while officials
proposed internships to provide more hands-on knowledge.
Members also noted rules that workers must
be at least 18 to obtain certification, while further limitations included the
inability to operate commercial vehicles until the age of 21. Doug Velasquez, instructor at the USA
satellite school at Columbiana, said soft skills were another issue. Velasquez
said simple things such as timeliness and preparedness must also be stressed in
order to make the person a good employee. Art Miller of Computerized Mudlogging
Service of New Middletown, said work ethic was ingrained in him and every
employee should have the same ideal.
“I was taught to be on time. Keeping your job is to be ready to work and having a work ethic,” Miller commented.
At the conclusion, the council agreed that
USA was on the right track to prepare the next generation of workers.
“When it initially started, we were heavily into oil and gas,” said Logue. “As the industry changed, we’ve had to adapt. It’s cool to have these meetings because it gives us more ideas.”
For more information about USA’s programs, contact Sampson at (330) 420-5353 or through the website at uticashaleschool.com.
JCESC Participates in GRACE Event
Posted 4/18/2018 at 9:56:28 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE-Faculty members, undergraduate students, and graduate students at Franciscan University were invited to share their passion during the Second Annual Franciscan Gallery of Research, Artistry and Community Engagement (GRACE) on Friday.
Sixty-four presenters were on hand at the J.C. Williams Center discussing works of artistry, theatre and fine arts, media and communication arts, community engagement such as service learning or outreach projects, projects based on students’ theses or seminar presentation, and research from the natural and social sciences. The theme was “Share Your Passion” and hundreds of people filed throughout the center that day to learn more about the projects. Among the presenters were local teachers who were invited by the Jefferson County Educational Service Center to showcase concepts that earned them Best Practice Grant funding from the ESC.
Six teachers from Jefferson and Columbiana counties participated throughout the day under the topic “Best Practices in Community K-12 Schools” and explained how their concepts would help prepare students for success. Jordan Tice, a 2015 alumna and current sixth-grade math teacher in the Edison Local School District. Tice received a grant this past year to enact her “Rollercoasters Across the Curriculum” project, which involves students in research and STEM activities.
“It’s a two-week cross-curriculum project and we’re trying to get all four subject areas,” she said. “They will research a topic connected to rollercoasters, such as the history of a rollercoaster or their favorite theme park, and then do a poster or slideshow and make a presentation.”
Tice said the students then would have three
days to build a rollercoaster using math and incorporate their knowledge of kinetic
and potential energy. She planned to implement the classroom project over the
next few weeks and said her pupils were eager to begin. Tice was also pleased
to share her vision with her peers at the GRACE event.
“I’m glad people were interested because I’m excited, as well.”
Eric Sampson, director of the Utica Shale Academy housed at Southern Local High School, enjoyed being part of the program and said it gave him an outlet to share how students are learning to prepare for potential jobs in the booming oil and gas industry. Sampson discussed how the site’s new welding library was being used to educate students who are currently or will be taking welding courses at the New Castle School of Trades in East Liverpool.
“Many people were interested in learning more about our blended learning model as well as the oil and gas certifications we offer, along with our welding partnership with New Castle School of Trades,” he said. “Any time we have an opportunity to promote the school it is beneficial. You never know when a contact is made that could eventually make a positive impact for our students in some way.”
Sampson was equally appreciative of the
university to include Utica Shale Academy in the program.
Other teachers presenting that day were Alexis Leonard and Sandy Morelli of Bishop Mussio Elementary School, who discussed “Creation of a Sensory Garden”; Alisha Steele, an intervention specialist who explained the “Reading and Writing for the Future” program she implemented at Harrison North Elementary in Scio; and Heather Hoover of Pugliese West Elementary with “Full STEAM Ahead,” which challenges students to utilize critical thinking and complex problem solving while understanding how science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM) activities apply to real world applications.
JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said
the GRACE program was a great collaborative opportunity between JCESC and the
“The venue provided five JCESC Best Practice Grant winners a chance to showcase the work they had done with the grant dollars in their classroom,” he added. “We have teachers and students doing great work in area classrooms and the GRACE program provided an opportunity to share these practices with fellow educators, students and other professionals. Many innovative ideas were shared as well as connections made between the teachers and audiences. I would like to thank [organizer] Dr. Kaybeth Calabria for inviting JCESC to participate in the program. At the end of the day, both parties benefited from the interaction and we hope to continue to work together in the future.”
JCESC CEO Dr. George Ash and Governing Board
President Larry George also acted as judges during the day and were
enthusiastic about being involved.
“It was amazing to see the knowledge and talent of students and staff on display at Franciscan University. This was a wonderful community event that engaged local schools and shared what they do within the K-12 curriculum in this college environment,” said Dr. Ash. “I commend Dr. Calabria on her vision and the committee members for engaging the local community.”
George was equally impressed by the quality
of the presentations on hand.
“I thought it was an amazing opportunity for me and the ESC to be there and lend support to such a great program. This was just a small example of the success of this university and the presentations were excellent,” he commented. “I was happy to be involved and honored to be a judge.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Calabria said the venue
allowed professionals to share their insight with others and students to gain
exposure to the wider academic community.
“We looked at research educators are doing to provide evidence-based practices in school. This is one more way to contribute to the discipline. Students get a sense of what it’s like and teachers who haven’t spoken at conferences can present here. It’s a nice gathering in addition to science and academics,” Dr. Calabria added. “We are also excited that Dr. Ash and Dr. Kokiko lent support and provided presenters and Mr. George showed up to judge.”
(Photo Cutline: Jordan Tice, a sixth-grade math teacher at Stanton Elementary and 2015 Franciscan University alumna, was among the presenters during the Franciscan Gallery of Research, Artistry and Community Engagement (GRACE) on Friday at the J.C. Williams Center. About 64 presenters participated, including six teachers invited through the Jefferson County Educational Service District to discuss their Best Practice Grant projects. Tice, who is pictured with JCESC Governing Board President and event judge Larry George, shared details about her “Rollercoasters Across the Curriculum” endeavor which incorporates STEM education.)
Gullen Joins ESC Governing Board
Posted 1/23/2018 at 10:59:10 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE-A longtime educator is continuing his efforts to support students by joining the Jefferson County Educational Service Center Governing Board.
Barry Gullen officially began his duties
this month and took part in his first board session on Jan. 11, succeeding Ken
Simeral who retired after 35 years of service. Gullen has a long history with
Steubenville City Schools, rising from the ranks of a special education teacher
to assistant superintendent, and now he hopes to help youth through programming
and support services from the JCESC.
“I like to help kids and thought that by working with young people, they needed a role model,” he said, adding that he wanted to show youth that there were opportunities to succeed in life. “I still feel that a minority child needs to see a person like myself in a good position and that there are different people out there doing what they want to do.”
Gullen, of Wintersville, was born in Chicago, Ill, and raised in Pittsburgh, Pa., before heading to the Ohio Valley. He graduated from Steel Valley High School in 1975 and the College of Steubenville in 1979, the latter with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. He went on to obtain a master’s degree in administration from the University of Dayton in 1992 and certifications for high school and elementary principal and assistant superintendent from the University of Steubenville in 1992. Gullen held a variety of posts as Steubenville City Schools beginning in 1980, first as a special education teacher at Grant Elementary School before moving up the ranks as a principal at Lincoln Elementary and then as assistant principal at Steubenville High School. He went on to serve as district director of programs and finally as assistant superintendent before retiring in 2015. He has also coached girls’ basketball, volleyball and currently serves as an adjunct professor at Franciscan University.
He has served on the Jefferson County
Community Action Council Leadership Program and the Ohio High School Athletics
Association East Boards of Directors, the latter on which he held posts as vice
president, president and on the Diversity Council. He concluded his stint after
eight years in 2015 and has further participated on the United Way of Jefferson
County Board of Directors and the Steubenville Rotary Club and was also
appointed to the Jefferson County Joint Vocational School Board.
But his biggest achievement has been his
family, which includes Carolyn, his wife of nearly 35 years and a teacher in
the Buckeye Local School District, children Jamie, Jacqueline and Derrick and
two grandchildren with two more on the way.
Meanwhile, he said he was pleased to join
the JCESC and eager to continue its mission of helping to improve education.
“The purpose of this is to help the kids,” he said. “I learned what they were doing and I thought it was an honor and a privilege to work with them. They are trying to be proactive with what is going on in the state and country. I want to continue the work that they do, and speaking with [JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko and CEO Dr. George Ash], they are looking ahead of what’s going on and I’d like to do the same thing.”
also looks forward to serving with the governing board and to bring new
programs and resources into the schools.
“They are there to help all students in all of the districts,” he said.
Board President Larry George said Gullen’s experience as an educator will add some new perspective to board decisions.
“When he decided to run, I thought it would be a good addition to our board because he’s an educator and that adds a great quality to decision making,” George said. “We look forward to working with him, and it’s good to have some fresh ideas as well as those from our longtime members. It’s going to be a good mix.”
Dr. Chuck Kokiko welcomed Gullen to the
board and said he is a vital asset in the function of the JCESC.
“Mr. Gullen is a great addition to the JCESC board. He possesses a wealth of educational knowledge paired with a strong desire to help students,” Dr. Kokiko added. “These attributes will fit well with the mission and vision of the JCESC Governing Board. I look forward to working with him.”
CEO Dr. George Ash agreed, saying Gullen would
bring another perspective to his new role for the betterment of education.
“Mr. Gullen will be an important asset to the governing board,” said Dr. Ash. “He has served in various capacities of education and can offer great ideas on how to improve upon services. It will be an honor to work with him.”
(Photo Cutline: Barry Gullen, pictured at far right, takes the oath of office along with Larry George and Barb Cunningham for the Jefferson County Educational Service Center Governing Board. He succeeds Ken Simeral, who served for about 35 years as a board member and officer, and Gullen himself holds 35 years’ experience as a teacher, principal and eventually assistant superintendent and is currently an adjunct professor at Franciscan University.)
Quest Program Leading Family Seminar on Saturday
Posted 1/18/2018 at 11:16:46 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE- Local families can learn how to purchase groceries without breaking the bank during a family seminar this Saturday.
The Jefferson County Educational Service Center is sponsoring the free event, “Shopping with a Plan,” through its Quest for Success program. It will be held on Jan. 20 from 9 a.m. to noon at the McKinley Building located at 1400 Adams St. in Steubenville. Attendants will learn how to make a shopping plan by researching grocery ads and making a list to help save time and stretch their dollar. Those who attend will also make a meal, do some taste testing of pasta sauces and even receive a Kroger gift card for their next shopping excursion.
for Success provides programs on Monday to Thursday from 2-5 p.m. at the
McKinley Building for Jefferson County students in grades 5-8, as well
as some weekends, and the goal is to increase opportunities for students
to succeed in literacy, mathematics, social development, family support
and community involvement. About 35 students take part in the program,
which is funded through a five-year, $850,000 grant from the Ohio
Department of Education and works in conjunction with Coleman
Professional Services, Franciscan University of Steubenville and
Brightway Center in Smithfield. The upcoming event is open to all county
students but is not limited to those involved with Quest for Success.
For more information, contact program coordinator Mark Masloski at (740) 283-3347, Extension 134.
Housing Rehab Program Aids Family
Posted 1/12/2018 at 11:05:13 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
MINGO JUNCTION-One local family will soon enjoy the comforts of a safe, modernized home through the efforts of a housing rehabilitation program.
Tim Sinsel and Jolene Gaffoli have shared a
two-bedroom home along Wabash Avenue in Mingo Junction, but the house, which
dates back to the 1920s, has required some extensive upgrades the couple could
not afford. Sinsel bought the abode eight years ago and has struggled to
maintain it, and safety has become an issue for the family that includes four
children. But through the resource of the Help Me Grow program available
through the Jefferson County Educational Service Center, they qualified for a
federally funded program through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban
Development to make the necessary improvements.
The Community Housing Improvement and
Preservation (CHIP) program, provides grants for smaller scale repairs to more
major rehabilitation. Jefferson County and the city of Toronto obtained up to
$750,000 to assist with structures in their communities and applications were
taken through the Jefferson County Regional Planning Commission. Efforts began
more than a year ago when Sinsel applied for the CHIP program and the couple
learned they made the list. Gaffoli said the improvements would remedy issues
and make the site better for their family.
“We heard through [Help Me Grow representative Mary Kakascik] and began the process a year ago. Our four kids can’t play on the porch because it’s unsafe. CHIP is going to do a new roof, front and back porch, storm doors, air conditioning, a basement door, upgraded basement, electric, a water heater, air conditioning and bathroom,” said Gaffoli. “Once they start, it should be completed within 90 days.”
Kakascik said Help Me Grow works with
families and provides connections to community resources.
“I knew about the program and called [Hall Community Development owner Ted Hall],” she said.
Community Development LLC of North Canton administers the funds and works with
the applicant to see the work through. The update on the Sinsel home is
estimated at $35,000 and is the culmination of a lengthy process, which has
included meeting a long list of requirements such as undergoing property
inspections and a lead-based paint assessment. Prospective contractors also
visit the site to review work and place bids for the job. Job Company of East
Liverpool has been selected to make the updates and work is set to get underway
soon. Come the spring, the family will have the kind of home they longed for.
“This is a federal program from HUD and the Ohio Department of Development that the community of Toronto and Jefferson County received a grant for home rehab and repair projects,” said Hall. “Residents within the geographic area can apply through their communities.”
CHIP has existed since the 1970s and Hall
said applicants must own their homes and there are requirements for property
needs and income status.
“It’s an overall grant for six home rehabilitations in Jefferson County and six in the city of Toronto,” he continued. “We’re also doing 17 home repairs in Jefferson County and eight repairs in Toronto.”
Home repairs range from a new roof,
electrical upgrade, furnace and rectifying health and safety issues while
rehabilitation includes more involved projects, such as windows, siding, health
and safety improvements, kitchen and bathroom updates and handling lead-based
paint. Hall continued there was a $15,000 cap on repairs and a maximum of
$40,000 on rehab work, and under the latter the homeowner must also agree to
have a lien placed on the property. The loan declines over a five-year period
and is not paid unless the home is sold or transferred. The homeowner would
then be responsible for 20 percent of the cost.
“There is a great need for this program and it runs on a two-year cycle,” Hall said. “The general timeline [for the process] is three to nine months. There is a waiting list in Jefferson County for rehab and repairs because the needs outweigh the grant opportunities. We hope to apply again and it’s a competitive grant.”
He was also appreciative of the partnership
with agencies such as Help Me Grow and the regional planning committee for
getting a chance to work with the residents. Sinsel and Gaffoli were also happy
to see their dreams coming to fruition.
“I’m relieved,” said Gaffoli
“This is going to seem like a big relief,” Sinsel commented.
Meanwhile, Help Me Grow Program Coordinator
Linda Trushel said the program provided a number of resources to help families
within the community.
“The HMG home visiting staff are very knowledgeable about the resources available in our community. Housing rehabilitation is one of the many ways that we can help families in Jefferson, Harrison and Carroll counties know what is available for their specific need,” she said. “We are available to families who have children ages birth to 5 and pregnant moms. From helping families get a warm winter coat to fixing up a home, we are an agency that will guide you through the process. We will also help parents know the most up-to-date information about raising children, keeping them healthy and getting them ready to be successful in school.”
For more information
about Help Me Grow, call (740) 283-3347 and enter option 7.
(Photo Cutline: The Help Me Grow program
through the Jefferson County Educational Service Center provides a number of
resources to families in Jefferson, Harrison and Carroll counties and recently
helped one Mingo Junction family participate in the federally-funded Community
Housing Improvement and Preservation (CHIP) program, which provides grants for
smaller scale repairs to more major rehabilitation. Pictured are, from left, homeowner
Tim Sinsel, daughter Alison Sinsel, girlfriend Jolene Gaffoli with their son,
Logan, Mary Kakascik of Help Me Grow and Ted Hall of Hall Community Development
LLC, which is administering the program.)
Posted 1/11/2018 at 11:18:43 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Photo Cutline: Patrick Clark, a representative of Ohio History Connections, recently addressed 18 educators during a professional development session at the Jefferson County Educational Service Center. The discussion focused on fourth-grade history, particularly Ohio as America, and a free online textbook that was developed by Ohio History Connections with Rover Pipeline is currently available.
Simeral Reflects on 33 Years with JCESC
Posted 12/28/2017 at 12:19:04 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
33 years, Kenneth Simeral has played a pivotal role in educational
opportunities for students near and far while serving with the Jefferson County
Educational Service Center Governing Board.
Simeral’s term formally ends on Dec. 31, but he attended his last meeting in October where he was named board member emeritus. He reflected on his final days with a mixture of modesty and pride, saying every decision made for the betterment of students was a group effort.
“This year, I chose not to run because of personal reasons,” he said. “I’m sure the board is left in very capable hands. I was fortunate to work with great board members over the years.”
The Smithfield resident was appointed to replace his friend and mentor Bob Quinn on the board in 1983 and would eventually be elected to hold the post the following November. He was elected eight times to the governing board and spent his first term as vice president. He would then serve as president for more than 30 years before becoming vice president once again in 2016. Simeral’s deep interest in education actually spans more than 40 years, starting with his work with The Ohio State University Extension Office and extending to JCESC and also the Jefferson County Joint Vocational School Board of Education. His background includes earning his diploma from Mount Pleasant High School, a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics and master’s degree in agricultural education from OSU. He served the OSU Extension Office for more than 40 years and worked in Jefferson, Harrison, Columbiana, and Noble counties. During his tenure, he held the title of associate professor at OSU and upon his retirement became an associate professor emeritus.
He also touted the superintendents of past and present he served with, from Craig Closser, Joy Howell and Dr. George Ash to current leader Dr. Chuck Kokiko. Simeral further recognized the staff for the work they did to bring the JCESC’s plans into fruition. Among the achievements were forming the Virtual Learning Academy (VLA), Virtual Classroom, Jefferson Health Plan, Utica Shale Academy and shared services programs for legal services and public relations, as well as JCESC twice gaining accreditation through AdvancED, making it one of only eight entities in the State of Ohio to earn such a distinction. Another accomplishment was the disbursement of Best Practice Grants to teachers to enhance instruction in schools, and thousands of dollars have been given over the past 25 years to finance unique programs in classrooms.
His efforts would lead to accolades on the state and local level with honors from the Ohio Educational Service Center Association (OESCA), Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) and other organizations, while the JCESC office along Sunset Boulevard was renamed the Kenneth D. Simeral Building in 2016. Simeral said he was “tremendously flattered” to receive the latter honor.
“I feel very appreciative but not deserving of it,” he added.
He enjoys spending more time with his
family, including wife Tricia, children Christopher, Amy and Beth, eight
grandchildren and two step-grandchildren, but he also looks back fondly on his days
with the board and hopes to remain involved, even though he will not be an
“I’m a deep believer in public education. No society can be greater than the quality of its public education,” he commented. “I was pleased to be granted emeritus status and will try to keep up with the board. I think education should be a lifelong learning experience.”
Board members and administrators alike have esteemed him as an irreplaceable force who has done so much to improve the quality of students’ education.
“Mr. Simeral may no longer be a part of the regular operations at the Jefferson County Educational Service Center, but the decisions he made will forever have a positive impact on education both locally and throughout the country. I am grateful for the time I had under his leadership.”
Current JCESC Board President Larry George
considers Simeral truly irreplaceable and said he has made a significant impact
“I served with Ken for 31-plus years and he has been a great mentor. He was a natural at trying to make a difference for students. He’s a visionary who voted his conscience every time,” George commented.
(Photo Cutline: Kenneth Simeral has
served the Jefferson County Educational Service Center Governing Board for more
than 30 years, and as of Dec. 31 he officially retires from his post. However,
the longtime president and most recent vice president has gained a new status
as board member emeritus. He was recognized by board members during his final
meeting in October. Pictured are, front from left, board member Bill Schaefer,
then board member Bill Lollini, Simeral, board President Larry George and board
member Barbara Cunningham. Back: JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko, JCESC
CEO Dr. George Ash and treasurer Don Donahue.)
Edison Earns Best Practice Grants
Posted 11/17/2017 at 10:36:48 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
HAMMONDSVILLE-Three educators in the Edison Local School District received funding to help incorporate unique lessons for students.
Kari Byers, Stephanie Stevens, Jordan Byrley
and Megan McNear each earned $600 Best Practice Grants from the Jefferson
County Educational Service Center. They were recognized during Edison Local
Board of Education meeting on Nov. 16 by Patty Ferrell, a coordinator at JCESC,
who said a total of 49 grant applications were submitted this year with 10 entered
by Edison teachers. She congratulated the recipients and wished them continued
success in their endeavors.
Byers, who instructs third-grade reading and Language Arts at John Gregg Elementary, joins with Stevens, who teaches third-grade Language Arts, on one grant that will benefit an estimated 60 children annually with “Book Share: Building a Growth Mindset Outlook.” The project’s goal is to highlight books that teach growth mindset ideals. Students will share identified books orally and by follow-up activities such as journal prompts and games after the book share. Students will focus on challenging themselves, learning from mistakes and the ideal of “go-for-it” during learning experiences.
“The children in third grade still love when stories are read aloud, and we will incorporate activities and lessons that promote the ideals brought forth in these books,” Byers said. “We read aloud the growth mindset books, allow the children to reread them and do follow-up activities to bring the ideals to life or tie into the children’s lives.”
She noted that she has applied for and
received Best Practice Grant funding in the past but was still excited by
earning the latest allocation. Byers was thankful for the opportunity to fill
her classroom library shelves with wonderful stories.
Byrley, a sixth-grade math teacher at Stanton Elementary, earned funding for “Rollercoasters Across the Curriculum,” which would enable students to work together to discover how rollercoasters were invented and how they have changed over the years, as well as to get hands-on and create their own models using STEM rollercoaster building sets. A total of 60 students would be part of the project and will incorporate math and science skills to map out their coaster’s speed and energy changes.
“The project will begin with an introductory lesson on how rollercoasters came to be. Students will be put in teams of four and begin researching how rollercoasters changed through the years,” Byrley explained. “They will have a choice to create a poster, slideshow or handout to go along with an oral presentation. The next part of the project has a heavy emphasis in STEM. Working with their teams, students will construct a rollercoaster using K’NEX kits. They will need to apply science and mathematical rules and theories in order to get their rollercoaster moving. The STEM project uses hands-on and inquiry-based learning to have students dive into the concept and not only learn it, but apply it.”
She added that the students will also
calculate speed and show their data, plus diagram their rollercoaster and
determine whether it has kinetic energy, potential energy and when it
transitions from one energy state to another. Byrley said the project may also
benefit fifth-grade pupils and she may expand it to include them. She noted
that it was her first Best Practice Grant application and award, while she was
honored to be a recipient.
McNear, who serves as guidance counselor at both elementary schools, will use her grant for “Classroom Guidance Curriculum.” The project will use a research-based, classroom guidance curriculum such as character education, success skills, goal setting and future planning. It aims to help about 800 students build and maintain relationships, learn to make decisions or problem solve and learn how to persevere.
“There are two curricula that will be purchased with this grant money to support the elementary students at Edison Local. The first is a character education curriculum focusing on a new trait each month called ‘Core Essentials Values: Core.’ This will help students to develop the qualities to help them become career and college ready and be successful in the future,” McNear said. “The second curriculum is through Student Success Skills and provides grade- appropriate lessons to help students learn the skills to be goal-oriented and self-monitoring. They then can utilize those skills throughout each grade level in order to develop social skills and achieve academically to their full potential. The curriculum is divided into lessons for grades K-1, 2-3 and 4-6 and focuses on the skills those students developmentally need most in order to succeed. Both of these programs will help support students by giving them the background skills to be successful in the classroom.”
She added that it was her first Best Practice
Grant and she was excited to be awarded funds to implement the programs for the
JCESC has disbursed about 165 grants over
the past decade to area school districts, including Buckeye Local, Edison,
Indian Creek, Harrison Hills, Southern Local, Steubenville City and Toronto
City as well as the Utica Shale Academy. Of those, Edison gained 32 grants for
(Photo Cutline: The Jefferson County
Educational Service Center presented three $600 Best Practice Grants to
teachers in the Edison Local School District during the regular board meeting
on Nov. 16. Pictured are, from left, JCESC Coordinator Patty Ferrell with
recipients Megan McNear, Jordan Byrley, Stephanie Stevens and Kari Byers.)
Grants Presented at Steubenville BOE
Posted 11/17/2017 at 10:34:51 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE-Three grants totaling $1,800 were presented to teachers for their creative projects during the Steubenville City Board of Education meeting on Nov. 15.
Jeff Oblak, director of special education at the Jefferson County Educational Service Center, recognized Pugliese West Elementary teachers Helen Casto, Heather Hoover and Dawn Takach as this year’s Best Practice Grants recipients for their district. Each teacher received $600 to implement programs aimed to inspire and educate students. Oblak commended the teachers for their ideas and continued success.
“On behalf of the Jefferson County Educational Service Center, we are proud to present three recipients with $600 each for earning the Best Practice Grant. There were 49 applications from all our districts and four applications from Steubenville City,” Oblak said. “All of the applications were excellent and innovative submissions. JCESC is pleased to provide funding to put these great ideas into practice.”
Casto, a kindergarten teacher, plans to utilize her funding for “Restorative Practices,” a classroom management project for the school’s 475 students. The goal is to enhance the Our Getting Along Together program by teaching restorative practices with classroom circles, calm down corners, and the use of restorative questioning to solve conflicts. The program helps build positive relationships with their peers and staff members, learn how to manage their feelings in a safe, appropriate manner, and allow them to talk through problems that may be causing them to feel such strong emotions.
“Pugliese West began the 2017-18 school year with the implementation of a restorative practice approach to helping children and staff safely manage their emotions,” Casto explained. “The grant is providing each teacher with materials to implement these strategies successfully and will benefit all 480 students in our school. I feel honored to receive this grant on behalf of the Restorative Practices Committee. I feel so thankful for being selected as a grant recipient because I know our students are going to be able to use the skills learned from restorative practices for the rest of their lives. I feel even more honored that JCESC believes in our program enough to invest in it.”
This is the third Best Practice Grant Casto
has received for her school, with the previous projects focusing on literacy
bags for preschool children to do weekend activities at home and developing a
Hoover, who teaches fourth-grade reading, math and Language Arts, will use her windfall to help about 80 students with her project, “Full STEAM Ahead.” She plans to purchase items that will challenge pupils to use critical-thinking and problem-solving skills and teamwork to enhance their abilities to perform, define, illustrate and apply higher level learning processes. Students will participate in hands-on learning activities and engaging developed lessons that allow and/or enhance each student’s ability to better understand science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics, or STEAM. The students will assimilate prior knowledge with new information and how it applies to real world applications.
Students will have the opportunity to
participate in STEAM sessions once a week that include activities focusing on
STEAM. Hoover said they will not only learn critical concepts about STEAM, but
also know how to apply this learning during collaborative or self-directed
activities. Hoover has previously applied for Best Practice Grants and received
it twice before.
“Grants like this allow individual teachers to bring exciting ideas into the classroom to enhance their students’ learning experiences,” she commented.
Takach, who teaches fourth-grade reading, math and social studies, will use her allocation to implement “GO Ro-Bot-ics.” The project will give her 76 students an opportunity to collaborate and independently learn, study and research robotics and how they are connected to the world and with curriculum lessons.
“Students will engage in multi-level abstract thinking, as well as divergent and creative thinking while experiencing firsthand how robots can be designed to perform specific actions. These hands-on experiences will enable the students to employ complex processing and problem-solving skills while interacting with robots,” she said. “The Best Practice Grant will provide my students with hands-on learning experiences. These experiences allow students to directly understand what is happening or how to do something. The Best Practice Grant I was awarded will nurture creativity through design and application of exploring the world in which we live and work.”
Steubenville City Schools received 16 Best
Practice Grants over the past decade and JCESC has approved a total of 165
grants during that time for the Buckeye Local, Edison Local, Indian Creek Local,
Harrison Hills City, Southern Local, Steubenville City and Toronto City School
Districts and the Utica Shale Academy.
(Photo Cutline: The Jefferson County Educational Service Center presented its latest round of funding for Best Practice Grants at the Steubenville City Schools Board of Education meeting on Nov. 15. Jeff Oblak, director of special education for JCESC, disbursed a total of $1,800 for three teachers’ projects. Pictured are, from left, district Treasurer Kayla Whitlatch, teacher Heather Hoover, who was one of the recipients, and Oblak. Photo courtesy of the Steubenville Herald-Star)
Utica Shale Academy Receives Grant for Program
Posted 11/8/2017 at 9:38:43 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SALINEVILLE-The Utica Shale Academy has received another mini-grant to help prepare students for a career in the oil and gas industry.
The community school, which includes
students in grades 9-12 and is based at Southern Local High School in
Salineville, earned a $600 Best Practice Grant from the Jefferson County
Educational Service Center to assist with its welding program. JCESC CEO Dr.
George Ash presented a check during the Nov. 7 USA Board of Directors meeting
and said more than 20 grants were approved this year while USA gained its third
Administrator Eric Sampson said the funding will be used to purchase materials for a welding library to enhance the students’ knowledge. The library is expected to benefit roughly 65 pupils now and even more in the future. Sampson said Miller Welding Education packages will be acquired, as well as training tools including welding magnets, clamps, sheet metal thickness gauges and square steel tubing to create the welding library. It will help supplement current welding students with what they are learning at the New Castle School of Trades while future students could use the resources to gain an understanding of welding prior to starting the sessions.
The school, which is sponsored by JCESC, has
expanded its curriculum by partnering with NCST and students from Southern
Local and the satellite campus at Columbiana High School began welding training
at the East Liverpool campus this fall. They attend three afternoons a week and
could earn 250 total hours of credit to obtain welding certification, which is
a major advantage when seeking jobs within the industry. In addition, they
would also earn two quarters of credit if they want to complete the program.
Sampson said USA has received Best Practice
Grants in the past and they have made a real difference in enhancing learning
tools in the classroom.
“We have received a Best Practice Grant the previous two school years. The grant has helped us provide opportunities to our students that they would not have otherwise,” he continued. “The Utica Shale Academy is extremely grateful to the Jefferson County ESC for providing this grant to benefit our students.”
JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said
the mini-grants are used to implement creative educational ideas and enable
students to succeed.
“JCESC began the Best Practice Grant program to have a direct impact on student learning. Each year the committee reviews dozens of applications for both innovation and potential impacts on student learning,” Dr. Kokiko added. “Utica Shale Academy was created to be an inventive learning program aimed at meeting specific oil and gas-related needs. JCESC is pleased to provide the grant to allow staff to continue to be pioneering in their teaching and learning practices.”
Now in its
third year of operation, USA is available to students in grades 9-12 who live
across Ohio and provides curricula required by the Ohio Department of
Education. It currently offers a customizable digital curriculum allowing for
acceleration or remediation along with flexible scheduling plus SafeLand,
OSHA-10, First Aid and CPR, hydrogen sulfide (H2S) awareness and confined space
certifications. Academy graduates receive a high school diploma, certificates,
and college credit options offered through Eastern Gateway Community College.
has given a total of 165 grants over the past decade to the Buckeye Local,
Edison Local, Indian Creek Local, Harrison Hills City, Southern Local,
Steubenville City and Toronto City School Districts and Utica Shale Academy.
(Photo Cutline: The Utica Shale Academy
is the latest site to receive a Best Practice Grant from the Jefferson County
Educational Service Center. JCESC CEO Dr. George Ash presented a $600 check
during a USA Board of Directors meeting on Nov. 7 and said the funding would
supply materials for a welding library since the curriculum now offers classes
in conjunction with New Castle School of Trades in East Liverpool. Pictured,
from left, are shale school developer John S. Wilson, USA Administrator Eric
Sampson, Dr. Ash and USA board President Mark Johnson.)
Buckeye Local Teachers Gain Mini-Grants
Posted 10/31/2017 at 10:45:34 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
DILLONVALE-Three teachers in the Buckeye Local School District are getting some financial help to educate students after receiving Best Practice Grants during the Oct. 30 school board meeting.
Suzanne Smarella of Buckeye Local High School and Lou O’Bradovich and Jamie Traczyk of Buckeye West Elementary each received a $600 mini-grant from the Jefferson County Educational Service Center for the 2017-18 school year. JCESC Treasurer Don Donahue presented the monetary awards and praised the teachers for their ingenuity.
“There were 49 applications from all our districts and 16 applications from Buckeye Local,” Donahue said. “All of the applications were excellent and innovative submissions. JCESC is pleased to provide funding to put these great ideas into practice.”
Smarella, who instructs career tech to grades 9-12 at BLHS, will use her grant for “zSpace-Physical Science.” The project, which will benefit about 200 IT, Physical Science and math students, utilizes zSpace technology to create mixed reality systems that combine elements of virtual and augmented reality in a computer. She said students will become active learners and be able to build and test a circuit board as well as perform other physical science activities.
“The funds will be used to purchase a license for the Physical Science Application Bundle for zSpace,” Smarella said. “BLHS will have a zSpace available for teachers and students to use. With augmented and virtual reality, students are able to become active participants in their learning experience. They can become excited by new ideas and think critically about the world around them.”
She said since today’s students are the digital generation, the programs will permit pupils to have an immediate engagement in today’s limited attention lifestyle. It is suited to all types of learning styles, including visual, kinesthetic and auditory, and teachers may also use a blended form of learning with virtual and augmented reality systems to insure that all students are involved. She added that the Physical Science Application Bundle includes programs for engineering and electricity to physics and applied math and students in PC Repair, Physical Science, physics and various math courses could benefit from the software programs.
Smarella noted that it was the first time
she applied for the grant and she was grateful to become a recipient.
“I am excited about receiving the grant that will enable the purchase of the software bundle. My students in PC Repair are also very excited to use the technology,” she added. “I would like to thank the JCESC for the opportunity it has given me to help bring students into the various types of 21st Century learning environments.”
O’Bradovich, who instructs fifth-grade math and science at West Elementary, said his “STEM at Buckeye West” project will benefit approximately 90 fifth- and sixth-grade students by providing hands-on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activities. Students will create working robots, hydraulic machines, rockets and weather machines in class.
“The grant will provide the teachers and students with hands-on activities that can be used over and over again,” he said. “The STEM project will be integrated into our normal curriculum in both fifth- and sixth-grade science and math classes. This grant project will benefit over 80 students this year, but because it is sustainable it will benefit countless students in the future.”
O’Bradovich said it was his first grant application and award and he was grateful to JCESC for being selected, adding that he was happy to bring some much-needed STEM activities to West Elementary.
Traczyk, who is a Title I teacher for grades K-5 at Buckeye West, plans to help about 80 students through her project, “Preparing Tomorrow’s Readers.” She said a questionnaire completed by parents indicated a need to preschool, kindergarten and Title I staff for a book exchange to encourage more reading at home for younger students.
“I requested this grant to fund a project to assist the kindergarten and preschool classes in my building,” she said. “I am purchasing books to have a book swap for the students and parents to exchange their used books with new ones. The kindergarten and preschool teachers discussed the idea of a book swap at a meeting in September. I was present at this meeting. When the Best Practice Grant was announced, I decided that I would apply for it so that I could assist in setting up the first one for them.”
Parents and students would swap gently used books they have read and receive new ones at the event. Traczyk said she has received the mini-grants in the past, including allocations for science lab kits which are still in use and supplies for the school’s garden club.
“Being awarded the grant a third time is truly an honor and a blessing. The students and staff at West Elementary are very supportive of me and I am so glad that I can give back to them with some new stuff in this way.
JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said
the purpose of the grant program was to directly impact student learning.
“Each year the committee reviews dozens of applications for both innovation and potential impacts on student learning,” he said. “I am always enthusiastic for students and teachers to benefit from the JCESC grants. As a former science teacher, I am especially excited to see proposals funded in the area of science.”
The Buckeye Local School District has
received 29 Best Practice Grants over the past decade and JCESC has approved a
total of 165 grants during that time for the Buckeye Local, Edison Local,
Indian Creek Local, Harrison Hills City, Southern Local, Steubenville City and
Toronto City School Districts and the Utica Shale Academy.
(Photo Cutline: Don Donahue, treasurer for the Jefferson County Educational Service Center, presents Buckeye Local High School teacher Suzanne Smarella with a Best Practice Grant monetary award to help enhance learning in her classroom. Smarella was recognized along with Louis O’Bradovich and Jamie Traczyk of Buckeye West Elementary for each receiving $600 grants during the Buckeye Local school board meeting on Oct. 30 but O’Bradovich and Traczyk are not pictured.)
21st Century Grant Aids Quest for Success Program
Posted 10/18/2017 at 10:12:23 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE-A five-year, $850,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Education is helping to establish a new afterschool program targeting middle school students.
The Jefferson County Educational Service Center received the 21st Century Grant from ODE to form Quest for Success, which will focus on Jefferson County students in grades 6-8 with programming to boost math and literacy skills as well as social development. Mark Masloski, JCESC administrative assistant and Quest program manager, said the grant will provide $200,000 annually for the first three years, followed by $150,000 during year four and $100,000 the final year. Activities will be held each week at the former McKinley Elementary School which houses Steubenville City Schools’ board office and Jefferson County Alternative School and the first program begins on Oct. 23 from 2-5 p.m.
“Evidence-based literacy and math intervention will be utilized by Franciscan University and Coleman Professional Services, who are the primary partners for this grant,” Masloski explained. “In addition, the program will offer weekend events and family activities throughout the school year.”
Franciscan University and Coleman Professional Services will provide students and counselors for the events and about 12 hours of programming are required per week as part of the grant’s stipulations. Literacy and math intervention activities will be held four days a week through May using the STAR Reading and STAR Math online programs while social and emotional programs, family and community outreach and career and college readiness events will also be in the mix. He added that the sessions will include time for snacks, surveys and exercise followed by the online programming and Quest activities. Franciscan University’s education department will conduct literacy nights and book club on Mondays with Coleman representatives offering Character Counts and Manners Matters on Tuesdays, Reekdoe Education Services holding career and college readiness events on Wednesdays and family and community outreach offered by McGuire Associates and JCESC staff on Thursdays. JCESC officials are also working with Brightway Services of Smithfield to schedule programs and Saturday events and the Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities has been contracted to provide transportation.
Quest’s support system includes Masloski as program manager, Fatima Smuck as site coordinator and Craig McGuire as grant evaluator with others serving as community coordinator, family coordinator, career and readiness coordinator, online programmer and academic tutors. Masloski thanked the Jefferson County school districts for their involvement and support, Steubenville City Schools for housing the program, the JCBDD for providing transportation and the program’s primary partners. JCESC leaders said they were pleased to receive the funding and excited about benefitting students by providing additional support and intervention for their academics and social and emotional well-being, as well as an opportunity to have a positive outlet outside the school day. In addition to program staff support, Quest will utilize county-wide resources to help support students and families.
JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko commented that the programming will fill a definite need in the school community. “In recent years, JCESC has actively sought funding to provide after-school supports to students as this type of service has been identified as a community need,” Dr. Kokiko added. “We are very grateful to those who helped secure the grant at JCESC as well as the community groups who have stepped in to create what we believe is an outstanding after-school option for students.”
For more information about events, contact Masloski at JCESC (740) 283-3347, Ext. 134, or Martariesa Fiala at Ext. 100, or visit the website at http://questforsuccesssteubenville.weebly.com.(Photo Cutline: A five-year, $850,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Education will benefit middle school students by providing activities to build math, literacy and character skills. The 21st Century Grant will promote the Quest for Success program conducted in partnership between the Jefferson County Educational Service Center, Franciscan University of Steubenville and Coleman Professional Services and activities begin Oct. 23. Pictured are, front from left, are support team members Raymond Saccoccia, Martariesa Fiala and Jason Schwartzmiller. Back: Mark Masloski, Mike Emery and Craig McGuire. Not pictured are Amy Mihalyo, Fatima Smuck and Lee Gillison.)
Simeral Retires from JCESC Governing Board
Posted 10/12/2017 at 1:38:49 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE-Kenneth Simeral has been a staunch advocate for public education for more than three decades, having a hand in many projects and programs which have redefined learning for students in Jefferson County and beyond.
Now, he has hung up his vice presidential hat and departed the Jefferson County Educational Service Center Governing Board but will hold another title as board member emeritus. Simeral attended his final board meeting on Oct. 10 and his peers bestowed upon him the emeritus status, calling him irreplaceable and an innovator for education.
“It couldn’t come to a nicer guy,” said board President Larry George. “He’s dedicated and his sense of accomplishment and understanding is beyond reproach.”
He continued that Simeral has always made students a priority and wished him the best.
Dr. George Ash, chief executive officer of JCESC and one of the superintendents who served under Simeral’s lead, said he leaves a legacy behind with the formation of the Virtual Learning Academy (VLA), Virtual Classroom and Ohio Cyber Academy, the implementation of visual impairment classes and JHP’s infrastructure bank to aid schools.
“Those are just a few accomplishments,” Dr. Ash added. “Ken’s been a part of all this as a leader.”
“As with any successful organization, strong, consistent leadership is essential,” added JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko. “Jefferson County Educational Service Center is no exception. The board of education is a tenured board with clear goals and high expectations. Mr. Simeral has been the anchor of the board with 33 years of service and a true passion for educating youth and promoting education. His vision and dedication will be missed.”
Officials pointed out that while the vice president’s post will be filled, Simeral’s shoes could never be. Board member Bill Schaefer interjected that Simeral did a lot for the board and the children, while Simeral himself reflected upon his time and the achievements the board made together.
The Smithfield resident has maintained a foothold in local education for more than 40 years. From his work with The Ohio State University Extension Office to serving with JCESC Governing Board and the Jefferson County Joint Vocational School Board of Education, Simeral has worked to improve opportunities for countless students. He is a graduate of the former Mount Pleasant High School and later obtained both his bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics and master’s degree in agricultural education from OSU. He would serve the OSU Extension Office for more than four decades and worked in Jefferson, Harrison, Columbiana, and Noble counties. During his tenure, he held the title of associate professor at OSU and upon his retirement became an associate professor emeritus.
Simeral was first appointed to the governing board on Dec. 1, 1983 and followed in the footsteps of friend and mentor, Bob Quinn. He would be elected eight more times and spend most of them as an officer. Simeral recalled how the board rotated posts each year, and during his first foray on the panel he became vice president. His leadership skills ultimately put him at the helm as board president, and it was a title he proudly held for three decades. Most recently, he took on the vice president’s mantle once again with George succeeding him as president.
During his tenure, Simeral has continuously rallied for schools and education as a whole and was directly involved with, among others, the inception of such programs as the Jefferson Health Plan, Utica Shale Academy, shared services programs for legal services and public relations, and OME-RESA. He has staunchly supported the mission, vision, and goals of the JCESC and helped it achieve accreditation through AdvancED, making it one of only eight entities in the State of Ohio to earn such a distinction. Those efforts led to him earning distinctions from the Ohio Educational Service Center Association (OESCA) and other organizations, while the JCESC office along Sunset Boulevard was renamed the Kenneth D. Simeral Building in 2016.
“When the board was gracious in naming the building after me, I felt undeserving of that but appreciate it very much,” he added.
Simeral attributed JCESC’s success to many factors, saying a president is only as good as his board and the employees and stakeholders were also vital components.
“Our society is only as good as the public education available, and I think this board, in some small way, at least has helped promote it.”
He promised to attend future meetings because he still holds great interest in what the future holds for education. Simeral concluded that it was a privilege to be part of it all.
“It’s been an honor for me. I know I’m leaving it in good hands, but I will miss this. It has given me a sense of accomplishment.”(Photo Cutline: Longtime official Kenneth Simeral formally retired from serving as vice president of the Jefferson County Educational Service Center Governing Board but will remain board member emeritus. Simeral, who was also a long-standing board president for 30 years, was recognized by board members during his final meeting on Oct. 10. Pictured are, front from left, board member Bill Schaefer, board member Bill Lollini, Simeral, board President Larry George and board member Barbara Cunningham. Back: JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko, JCESC CEO Dr. George Ash and treasurer Don Donahue.)
Supporting Student Learning
Posted 9/14/2017 at 11:57:27 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Photo Cutline: Traci Pavlik, a consultant with State Support Team Region 12 (SST-12) of Cambridge, led a professional development session about family and community engagement on Sept. 13 at Jefferson County Educational Service Center’s George-Pugliese Training Annex. Pavlik informed the estimated 35 early childhood educators on hand about providing resources to help families become more engaged with schools and support student learning.
Levy Talks Engaging Students
Posted 9/13/2017 at 2:32:31 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Photo Cutline: New Jersey-based author and educator Nathan Levy addressed an estimated 20 related arts teachers during a professional development session on Wednesday at the Jefferson County Educational Service Center. Levy, who has spoken around the globe since 1976, shared unique teaching strategies for student success by engaging the children in learning.
Levy Returning for Professional Development
Posted 9/8/2017 at 12:29:38 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE-Author Nathan Levy will return to the Ohio Valley when he speaks to fellow educators on Sept. 13.
Levy, a New Jersey-based educational leader and writer, will lead a professional development session on Sept. 13 from 8:30-11 a.m. at the George-Pugliese Training Annex on Estelle Avenue, which is located behind the Jefferson County Educational Service Center office in Steubenville. The meeting is offered to related arts teachers but is open to anyone interested in participating.
“The session is geared towards related arts and learning,” said Linda Lenzi, JCESC gifted coordinator and event organizer. “He wanted to come back. He enjoys the area and the people.”
Levy visited the area in June and spoke to more than two-dozen teachers, administrators and parents and conducted creative exercises to stimulate the mind. Following the upcoming session, he will head to the Edison Local School District for another professional development meeting with teachers.
Levy has spoken to people across the world since 1976 and authored such books “Whose Clues?” and “Nathan Levy’s 100 Intriguing Questions.” A gifted educator, he has been a teacher, principal and consultant and worked directly with children, teachers and parents. He also developed unique teaching strategies that encourage a love of learning and has mentored more than 30 current principals and superintendents, plus he helped train thousands of teachers and parents to on better ways to engage children in learning. Levy has spoken at state and national education conferences, conducted school-based district in-service and parent workshops and covered a wide range of topics from reading and Language Arts to math, Social Studies, critical thinking, special education and classroom management. His message has taken him across the globe to Great Britain, Denmark, Dubai, Australia and New Zealand.
There is no fee to attend the JCESC session and registration is being taken at firstname.lastname@example.org.
JCESC Sessions Promote Gifted Education
Posted 9/8/2017 at 12:28:48 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE-Ohio Department of Education officials will make a stop in Steubenville to address gifted programs for local students.
The Jefferson County Educational Service Center will host a regional meeting for gifted education on Sept. 22 from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the George-Pugliese Training Annex located on Estelle Avenue behind the JCESC office in Steubenville. Linda Lenzi, gifted coordinator and event organizer, said ODE representatives will talk to teachers about operating standards for gifted education that went into effect July 1.
“They are meeting in four parts of the state with Steubenville being one of them,” Lenzi said. “This is our regional group and the session is the first we’ve had in our area. It was a coup for the JCESC to host the event and it is open to anyone who wants to attend. There are a lot of major changes they will discuss.”
A Zane Trace meeting will follow at 1 p.m. in the professional development room on the lower floor of the JCESC office. It is a subsidiary of the Ohio Association for Gifted Children, which was founded in 1952 to advance understanding of the needs of the gifted, promote the establishment of programs and services for gifted students and encourages the exchange of information on the national, state and local level.
The programs are free and open to anyone interested in attending. To register, contact Lenzi at (740) 283-3347, Ext. 151, or online at LLenzi@jcesc.org.
Educators Welcomed Back at Administrative Breakfast
Posted 8/14/2017 at 9:21:51 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE-Ninety educators and representatives of community organizations gathered at St. Florian Hall in Wintersville on Thursday for the annual administrative breakfast hosted by the Jefferson County Educational Service Center.
JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko welcomed the group back for another school year while superintendents and other administrators from districts in Jefferson, Harrison and Columbiana counties briefly updated the audience and recognized officials from Buckeye Local, Edison, Harrison Hills, Indian Creek, Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities, JCESC, Jefferson County Joint Vocational School, Southern Local, Steubenville and Toronto. Others on hand represented Brightway Center, Coleman Professional Services and ProgressBook. The main speakers for the event included Eastern Gateway Community College President Dr. Jimmie Bruce, who shared exciting news about growth and opportunities; Anastacia Galloway-Reed of Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center of Estes Park, Colo., who discussed trainings and other programs the organization did in partnership with JCESC and local districts to enhance classroom learning; Mark Jackson, general counsel for Jefferson Health Plan and an attorney for schools through Pepple and Waggoner of Columbus, who highlighted recent court rulings that impact educators; and Mark Smith, truancy officer for Harrison Hills City Schools, who shared a spirited message about going the extra mile to help a child achieve success.
Dr. Bruce projected positive growth in attendance numbers and new programs at both of EGCC’s Steubenville and Youngstown campuses. Combined with online students and high schoolers taking part in College Credit Plus, he estimated that enrollment numbers could reach as much as 9,500 students, making it the largest enrollment in the state.
“This fall, EGCC will be one of, if not the fastest-growing community colleges in the U.S.,” he said. “I think there is more we can do yet. When I came to the college two years ago, I think we had 500 students in College Credit Plus. We expect to have 1,600 in the four counties, so it’s thriving and growing.”
EGCC is also adding new programs in the realms of health care, information technology and business management as well as the availability of short-term certificate programs and associate degrees, all while retaining an affordable tuition rate of $3,500 per year. Dr. Bruce said students who take part in College Credit Plus not only gain credit hours for college courses but
also save on costs in the long run. He also referred to financial aid opportunities such as grants and scholarships; benefits such as free tuition available to Ohio Education Association (OEA) and Ohio Association of Public School Employees (OAPSE) members and their families; a partnership with Trinity School of Nursing, which will be housed on campus starting this winter; the $2 million Student Success Center set to be unveiled in the fall of 2018 and will include a Barnes & Noble Bookstore, café and student services areas; and the addition of the Gators baseball team this year with future plans to form volleyball and men and women’s basketball teams.
Dr. Bruce encouraged the audience to spread the word about EGCC’s offerings and noted that local high schoolers could learn more when the community college hosts Consider College Fest on Sept. 26.
Galloway-Reed, who hails from Weirton, said her team has traveled throughout the country to assist educators but it was a privilege to come home and collaborate with JCESC and local schools. “In the past year in Ohio, I’ve worked closely with [JCESC Gifted Coordinator Linda Lenzi] in the professional development department, and we worked with related arts teachers on project-based learning,” she said, adding that she has collaborated with Toronto and Harrison Hills City Schools and the Jefferson County Alternative Schools, as well.
Jackson updated the crowd on statutory changes in the state budget bill, including student eligibility regarding College Credit Plus and an attempt to remove the resident educator program. The latter was among the 47 vetoes given by Gov. John Kasich but legislators are reconvening next month to consider overriding them. Other items under consideration are an opioid instruction requirement as part of prevention education; eased regulations regarding substitute education aides with temporary licensure; and a framework for students to gain credit on work-based learning.
He also highlighted court rulings, including a federal district case allowing school districts to bar unauthorized people from the premises during school hours and an Ohio appellate case regarding interpretation of OTES evaluations.
Finally, Smith gave an impassioned speech encouraging educators to “go the extra mile” to help a child. As a truancy officer, he said he has helped students and families connect with resources, but there were growing issues youth faced such as abuse, alcoholism and teen pregnancy. He told school officials that it may be difficult to step outside the box but people needed to have authentic, caring hearts to help a child overcome problems.
“If you have any opportunity to help a child in need, do it at all costs. The kids we are all dealing with are facing real world issues,” he commented. “We have seen an onslaught of alcoholism, drugs, abuse, broken families and teen pregnancy. Go the extra mile and do something genuine and true.”
He recalled helping one student facing a difficult issue and noted that one small action could make a huge impact on a young life.
“Be the person among your group in life and in school to be positive,” he urged. “Let’s start exposing the good in the lives of kids and let them know they are meant for something more. Encouragement is a mighty backbone for success.”
Dr. Kokiko closed the gathering with some final thoughts, saying he recently heard a speech on how changes could impact society. He said many changes have occurred in area districts with new administrators and teachers in schools.
“I truly believe in education and the importance of continued growth,” he said. “Things are going to change, and organizations that adapt survive, thrive and embrace change. We have a lot of new faces in the audience today. I hope you identify and embrace the changes and provide the best possible education for your students. Understand that the ESC is here to support you and your initiatives.”
USA Looks to New Year, Partnership with NCST
Posted 6/23/2017 at 12:21:28 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SALINEVILLE-As the newest crop of graduates make their exodus from the Utica Shale Academy, officials are gearing up for a new year of even more learning.
Nineteen new alumni turned the tassels on their mortarboards May 24 as USA finished its third year of existence. Jim Buttermore, executive director of the New Castle School of Trades in East Liverpool, delivered the commencement address at Southern Local High School in Salineville where the main branch of the shale academy is lodged. He praised the graduates for their achievement, saying their skills will take them far and the oil and gas industry offered endless potential for job growth. Meanwhile, the formation of the shale academy helps bridge the gap between the two.
“One opportunity I know that you have already made the right choice is attending the Utica Shale Academy. You should all be grateful for the out-of-the-box thinking of your administration. To put this program together took a lot of courage, because it always takes courage to do something different, to take a chance. But I believe when you do things for the right reasons, with a prepared plan, good things happen. You, the students or graduates, are the right reason for starting the Utica Shale Academy. The administration wanted to give you an alternate opportunity. Something unique to traditional education and something that takes advantage of the oil and gas opportunities specific to our area,” he added. “You now have some specific knowledge and credentials that will give you an advantage over others. You can use this to immediately pursue a career in the oil and gas field, continue your education or do something entirely different. However, this knowledge cannot be taken away from you and I assure you it will be useful sometime in your life.”
He added that the oil and gas industry was an opportunity that hasn’t been seen in several generations and it will lead to employment, professional growth and retention of youth who will no longer need to leave the area for jobs plus community revitalization. Additionally, they could fill the void left by the shortage of skilled tradesmen.
“The skilled trades provide an opportunity to make a good living while working with your hands and mind. If you choose to continue your education there are many skilled trades to consider,” Buttermore commented.
His words will ring even truer during the 2017-18 school year, which is when students will begin the welding program at NCST. This fall, students will be able to obtain a welding certification by attending the trade school three afternoons per week to earn 250 hours of welding credit. USA Director Eric Sampson said about 50 were currently enrolled between the Southern Local and Columbiana High School sites and registration was open to accommodate more. The academy, which is sponsored by the Jefferson County Educational Service Center, is open students in grades 9-12 and provides curricula required by the Ohio Department of Education and PetroEd industry certification courses. It includes a customizable digital curriculum allowing for acceleration or remediation along with flexible scheduling, plus certification courses in SafeLand, OSHA10, First Aid and CPR, hydrogen sulfide (H2S) awareness and confined space certifications. Academy graduates receive a high school diploma, certificates and college credit options offered through Eastern Gateway Community College.
Sampson noted that the partnership with NCST would be a major benefit for future attendees.
“Our Industry Advisory Committee that meets each year thought the addition of NCST was a great idea. The students will be even more marketable, not only in the oil and gas industry but other industries as well.”
The committee had also discussed potentially adding heavy equipment training on such machines as telescoping forklifts, front end loaders and skid steers since they are regularly used in the industry. Sampson said other educational options were being eyed to expand student learning even further, including one suggestion by committee member and industry consultant Bryan Logue.
“Mr. Logue and I have continued to discuss utilizing an Intro to Oil and Gas course, potentially in conjunction with a college in order for students to earn college credit while in high school,” he commented, saying he was enthusiastic about where USA was headed. “Year three saw a lot of success and we are looking forward to what year four has in store for us.”
“USA graduation numbers have grown in each of the last three years, demonstrating the school continues to attract students and successfully meet their unique educational needs,” added JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko. “One of the highlights of the year is seeing the students and families realize their dreams and hard work of graduating from high school. I expect to see next year impact even more students as the USA staff has solidified a partnership with New Castle School of Trades and will have additional programs such as welding available for students.”
For more information about USA’s programs, contact Sampson at (330) 420-5353 or via the website at uticashaleschool.com. (Photo Cutline: Nineteen students graduated from the Utica Shale Academy in May and now the program is ramping up for its fourth year by partnering with the New Castle School of Trades in East Liverpool to provide welding classes. Pictured is Jim Buttermore, executive director of NCST and keynote speaker at the graduation ceremony, addressing the crowd.)
Author Discusses Inspiring Students’ Creativity
Posted 6/8/2017 at 10:30:31 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE-Educators and parents alike learned techniques to inspire creativity in students during a special workshop on June 5.
Nathan Levy, a New Jersey-based educational leader and writer, has traveled the globe to share his expertise, and that Monday he was at the George-Pugliese Training Annex discussing “How to Make Children Better Thinkers and Writers.” He spoke to more than two-dozen teachers, administrators and parents at the event, which was sponsored by the Jefferson County Educational Service Center, and conducted exercises designed to stimulate the mind.
His methods include a reading exercise with a riddle that encourages students to ask questions until they can solve the problem. Levy said while they may fail, the goal is to keep trying.
“Research shows that [self-esteem] goes up when you take on something that’s difficult or a challenge,” he said. “The definition of success is when a person gets up one more time [after falling down].”
His methods benefit not only gifted students, but everyone, and he said they should all learn the same way.
“What’s happening around the country today is that all the things that are researched are being misapplied in schools. The key is that parents know their kids can do things. We make a big deal about the language but not the message. You can have faith in the child and believe they can do it.”
Levy further instilled the use of resources to help kids write and think, adding that they should learn without realizing it.
“We want kids to be creative writers, but they should use tools,” he said, adding that he created lists for students to use for character descriptions and other exercises and he also encouraged them to conduct interviews for further inspiration.
He said being a great teacher takes three things: repetition, repetition, repetition.
“The key is to repeat it often enough that when they take a test or have to write a summary, they have it. My message is to get children learning before they know they’re learning.”
Levy also shared three types of thinking to teach: convergent thinking, or the type that involves right answers; divergent thinking, which includes creative, open-ended thinking and thinking outside the box; and cultural literacy, or having a basic knowledge of subjects.
“Your kids need all three types of knowledge,” he commented. “The purpose of gifted teachers is to make teaching better every place, not just in class.”
Levy, who has spoken to people across the world since 1976, has also authored such books “Whose Clues?” and “Nathan Levy’s 100 Intriguing Questions.” A gifted educator, he has been a teacher, principal and consultant and worked directly with children, teachers and parents. He also developed unique teaching strategies that encourage a love of learning and has mentored more than 30 current principals and superintendents, plus he helped train thousands of teachers and parents to on better ways to engage children in learning. Levy has spoken at state and national education conferences, conducted school-based district in-service and parent workshops and covered a wide range of topics from reading and Language Arts to math, Social Studies, critical thinking, special education and classroom management. His message has taken him across the globe to Great Britain, Denmark, Dubai, Australia and even New Zealand.
Linda Lenzi, gifted coordinator with JCESC, said Levy’s visit was provided through an Ohio Arts Council grant.
“It is the first leg of his cross-country tour,” she explained, adding that it was his first time in the area. “He has talked at the Ohio Association for Gifted Conferences.” (Photo Cutline: Author and longtime educator Nathan Levy addressed more than two-dozen educators and parents about how to inspire creative thinking and writing in youth during a workshop at the George-Pugliese Training Annex in Steubenville on June 5. The event was sponsored by the Jefferson County Educational Service Center and provided through a grant from the Ohio Arts Council.)
USA Officials Talk Future Program Offerings
Posted 5/19/2017 at 9:48:28 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SALINEVILLE-Utica Shale Academy officials are looking at ways to enhance the shale program so students can benefit even more both in the classroom and eventually the workplace.
An advisory board meeting was held May 11 at the Southern Local School District office in Salineville and talks occurred between USA Board President Mark Johnson, USA Superintendent Dr. Mark Furda, Jefferson County Educational Service Center Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko, advisory board member and independent oil and gas consultant Brian Logue, Southern Local School Superintendent and shale program developer John Wilson, USA Director Eric Sampson, Jim Buttermore of the New Castle School of Trades and Amanda Greathouse of Safety Pro Training Consulting. The purpose of the session was to discuss what is currently available at USA and ways to make students more marketable for employment after graduation.
“We discussed the current curriculum for oil and gas certifications, as well as safety certifications currently offered,” Sampson explained. “We also discussed the partnership with New Castle School of Trades and its welding program with the potential addition of other programs in the future.”
The academy is offered to students statewide in grades 9-12 and provides curricula required by the Ohio Department of Education, as well as and PetroEd industry certification courses. It includes a customizable digital curriculum allowing for acceleration or remediation along with flexible scheduling, plus certification courses in SafeLand, OSHA10, First Aid and CPR, hydrogen sulfide (H2S) awareness and confined space certifications. Academy graduates receive a high school diploma, certificates and college credit options offered through Eastern Gateway Community College.
Recently, USA and NCST officials announced a partnership between the two sites which would allow shale students to take welding courses at the trade school’s East Liverpool location starting this fall. Shale students at both Southern Local and Columbiana High Schools will have the opportunity to obtain a welding certification, which would give them a major advantage when seeking a job in the industry. NCST officials collaborated with Superintendent Wilson on the plan and students will attend three afternoons per week to earn 250 hours of welding credit towards their certification. That collaboration will also boost participation at NCST, which opened its doors in January and currently has 33 adult pupils studying HVAC, industrial maintenance and mechanical and electrical courses. The addition of the shale students will greatly increase that total since both USA sites yield a total of 69 pupils, plus it marks the first time the trade school will educate high school students.
During discussion, Logue and Greathouse shared their thoughts on the current programs and believed they helped to put the students in the best position for future success. Suggestions were also made to add small equipment training to the program. Logue said the academy was on the mark when it came to providing a lot of the training but there was always room for improvement.
“The program is great. Students are getting basic training for oil and gas in terminology and specialized training that Amanda has given for First Aid, SafeLand and H2S,” he added. “They are getting some good experience.”
He said the welding program through NCST was another benefit while officials should also review adding heavy equipment training on telescoping forklifts, front end loaders and skid steers since they are regularly used in the industry.
Meanwhile, Sampson said the next crop of graduates is set to receive their diplomas on May 24 at 6 p.m. in the SLHS gym with Buttermore as the featured speaker. About 17 students are expected to graduate from the program.
For more information about USA’s programs, contact Sampson at (330) 420-5353 or through the website at uticashaleschool.com.
ACT Recognition Breakfast Honors High Scorers
Posted 4/27/2017 at 11:21:25 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
WINTERSVILLE- Area high school students who achieved high scores on their ACT tests were honored during the second annual ACT Recognition Breakfast on April 25.
Sponsored by the Jefferson County Educational Service Center, the event was held at Zalenski Family Eatery and Pub in Wintersville and lauded teens from Buckeye Local, Edison, Indian Creek and Steubenville High Schools for scoring a 30 or higher on their exams. Most of the five honorees appeared for the reception breakfast where they were congratulated by local educators and officials.
JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko welcomed the group of students, parents and school leaders to the event and congratulated the students for their accomplishment. He said the honorees’ achievement placed them in a distinct group.
“You have distinguished yourself among an elite group,” said Dr. Kokiko. “Five are graduating from the eight school districts [the JCESC serves].”
He added that those who scored a 30 on their exams were among the top 95 percent in the country; those with a 31 were among the top 97 percent; those with a score of 32 were at 98 percent; and those at 33 or higher were in the top 1 percent nationally.
JCESC Governing Board President Larry George echoed those sentiments and urged the youth to continue on their course to success.
“This is quite an achievement. It is great to see that we’ve got five students score over 30 on such a prestigious test,” he continued. “It’s a great day for the staff and schools you attend.”
Keynote speaker was Dr. John Figel, vice president of medical affairs and chief medical officer at Trinity Health Systems and a member of the Indian Creek Local Board of Education, who shared how he learned to appreciate the opportunities his received in life and encouraged the youth to do the same.
“Today, the playing field has changed tremendously. Not only are you competing against students of our nation, but students globally,” Dr. Figel commented. “It truly is a gift you have if you were in the top 95 percentile of the country.”
He continued that it was a God-given gift the students have received, but it comes with a responsibility to achieve other things. Dr. Figel said upon reflection, he did not appreciate the opportunities he had earlier in life. After losing his parents as a child, he said the village of Mingo Junction embraced him and his sister and gave them opportunities in life. After graduating Mingo High School, Dr. Figel studied pre-med at The Ohio State University but said he did not commit to his studies until later in his college career. He went on to further schooling at the University of Guadalajara in Mexico and then returned to the U.S., where he completed his medical degree at Northeastern Ohio University College of Medicine. He eventually completed his internship and residency in Columbus in family practice at Grant Medical Center and returned to his roots in the Ohio Valley, serving at Ohio Valley Hospital and St. John Hospital, which is now Trinity Health System. In addition to his many positions in the medical profession, he has been a member of the ICBOE for the past quarter-century.
“It was competitive then and it’s much more competitive today. If I leave you with anything today, appreciate what gift you have, realize it’s a God-given gift and do what needs to be done. It’s like running a marathon: pace yourself, stay the course, realize there may be adversity. God knows you may stumble, but that’s when you get up, brush yourself off and move forward. Wherever the path may take you, good luck to you.”
Certificates were then distributed to Mark Smith of Steubenville High School, who plans to attend Ohio Dominican University and study pre-med; Skylar Fankhauser of Edison High, who plans to study biology at either West Liberty University or Mount Union College; Matthew Maille, another EHS student who plans to attend Kent State University but is undecided on his major. Fellow honorees Rachel Romestan of Buckeye Local and Kelly Kovach of Indian Creek were not in attendance but had their certificates accepted by BLHS Principal Coy Sudvary and Indian Creek Superintendent Dr. T.C. Chappelear, respectively.
Dr. Chappelear closed the event with more parting words of wisdom for the high achievers.
“Congratulations on your great ACT scores,” he said. “Work hard, be grateful and treat yourself and others well.”
(Photo Cutline: The Jefferson County Educational Service Center recognized local students who scored a 30 or higher on their ACT tests. Pictured are, from left, keynote speaker Dr. John Figel, Matthew Maille and Skylar Fankhauser of Edison High School, Mark Smith of Steubenville High School, and JCESC Governing Board President Larry George. Not pictured are Rachel Romestan of Buckeye Local and Kelly Kovach of Indian Creek High Schools.)
High Achievers Being Lauded at ACT Recognition Breakfast
Posted 4/19/2017 at 9:29:33 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
WINTERSVILLE- Local high school students who excelled on their ACT tests will be the guests of honor during a special breakfast.
The Jefferson County Educational Service Center is sponsoring its second annual ACT Recognition Breakfast on April 25 at 9:30 a.m. at Zalenski’s Family Eatery in Wintersville. Students, parents, and school leaders will be in attendance and Dr. John Figel of Trinity Medical Center, who is also a member of the Indian Creek Board of Education, is set to be the keynote speaker.
JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said the breakfast recognizes students who earned a score of 30 or higher on their ACT tests and is quite a distinction. Those who receive such a score are among the top 5 percent of students who take the test nationally.
“They are in an elite group of kids and we just want to recognize them for their hard work,” Dr. Kokiko said as he also congratulated parents for encouraging their children. “The parents’ support plays a large role in the success of the students.”
This year’s honorees include Rachel Romestan of Buckeye Local High School, Kelly Kovach of Indian Creek, Skylar Fankhouser and Matthew Maille of Edison and Mark Smith of Steubenville. Both Romestan and Kovach were also recognized during last year’s breakfast when they attained their high scores as juniors.
Area Students Learn about Living with Disabilities
Posted 4/5/2017 at 9:53:26 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE- Area students learned what it was like to live with disabilities when they attended the ninth annual Simulation Day at the School of Bright Promise.
Twenty-four students representing Buckeye Local, Steubenville Catholic Central, Edison, Harrison Central, Indian Creek, Jefferson County Joint Vocational School and Steubenville Big Red attended the event, which was held on March 31 and capped off National Developmental Disabilities Month. It included activities to show what it is like to have visual, hearing, mobility and other issues and students donned covered goggles to learn how to walk and read without the benefit of sight; maneuvered in a wheelchair or Pedalo bike in a mobility station; painted a picture without the use of their arms; and viewed a video describing how an autistic child is sensitive to lights and sounds.
Principal Rachel Bodo said this year’s festivities yielded a smaller crowd than usual due to ongoing state testing at some schools, but the figure has been closer to 40 in the past. However, it was more beneficial for the teens. She noted that the event previously included five students at roughly 10 stations, but this year two or three students were at each site working with the school representatives.
“We went smaller so they could take time at the stations and get all of the information,” she said.
“Hopefully, more time was taken with the activities and it was more relaxing.”
Bodo added that school staff, including teachers, educational aides, behavioral support and speech and occupational therapists, were joined by retired teachers and PTA members to man the stations and share their expertise. During the classroom visits, the teens got to play games and do crafts with the School of Bright Promise pupils.
Following a lunch break, the group went into the classrooms to interact with special needs students and later completed a survey and discussed their experience. Those on hand found it to be quite educational.
“I liked it a lot,” said Juanita Slappy, a senior at Indian Creek who said the experience will aid her as a future educator. “I think it will get me ready and open me up more to experiences so I know what they do and better understand them.”
“I’ve had a lot of fun and it’s a very interesting take on life,” said Jacob Barr, a senior at Harrison Central. “It’s good to understand [disabilities] and the staff is wonderful.”
“I learned a lot,” said Jessica Whorton, a senior early childhood education student at JCJVS who plans to be an educator and said the simulation gave her some further insight. “I’ve learned there are so many disabilities and so many ways to do things.”
“It’s really eye-opening,” said David Kinney, a student at Edison. “I learned other ways of communicating other than verbally.”
(Photo Cutline: Twenty-four students from area schools took part in the ninth annual Simulation Day at the School of Bright Promise on March 31, where they gained an understanding about living with disabilities. Pictured are Jessica Whorton of Jefferson County Joint Vocational School and David Kinney of Edison performing mobility activities. The event also capped off National Developmental Disabilities Month for March.)
George Honored for 30 Years of Service
Posted 4/3/2017 at 10:56:33 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE- A longtime member of the Jefferson County Educational Service Center has been honored for his continued commitment to the betterment of academics.
Larry George, president of the JCESC Governing Board, was lauded for 30 years of service by the Ohio School Board Association’s Northeast Region during its spring conference in North Olmstead on March 22. He received a plaque from regional manager Reno Contipelli and said he was pleased to earn the distinction.
“It’s been a very joyful 30 years,” George said. “This mission has been about informing and educating people about programs. It’s all about the kids, but our responsibility is to the administration and faculty to keep them updated on what is going on in the state.”
He was one of six honorees to be recognized for three decades of service while other commendations were given to those who have served between 10 to 50 years. George became active with the JCESC after being approached by another longtime board member, Geno Morelli, and said he has seen the organization evolve to provide more quality services to educators. He also praised the staff and board for their work and said he was eager to help carry the mission forward.
“It’s been an honor for me to be involved for as long as I have. I never thought I’d be involved for 30 years, but I truly do enjoy it,” he continued. “I have worked with the brightest, most dedicated board members and it’s a great place to work with and for. We have a lot of different programs going on, and from when I started to now our budget has grown and the amount of employees has increased to offer services to the districts. It’s a well-rounded group of educators and we offer help to school districts so they can help the kids.”
George also mentioned the paraprofessional staff, Jefferson Health Plan and other offerings available to districts in Jefferson, Harrison, Columbiana and beyond as a way to save them money and utilize those savings where it counts most—in the education of their students.
In addition to the JCESC, he has also spent three decades with the Jefferson County Joint Vocational School Board and currently acts as president. During his tenure at both sites, he said he has seen them expand with opportunities to benefit students and staff. Among the achievements at JCESC were the Virtual Learning Academy (VLA), Help Me Grow program, shared services between districts, and more recently the formation of the George-Pugliese Training Annex. He added that plans are continuing to construct the Ohio Appalachian Technology Education Center along County Road 43 (Alikanna Road) at the Jefferson County Industrial Park. The two-story, state-of-the-art facility will lodge offices for an estimated 20 employees and expands upon operations at the present JCESC site in Steubenville. Groundbreaking is set for this spring and the facility should be in operation over the next two years.
A 1971 graduate of Wintersville High School, George is a former news photographer and present operator of Photography by George. In addition to his most recent accolade, he received an Outstanding Leadership Award from the Ohio Educational Service Center Association (OESCA) in 2016. JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said the recognition was a testament to George’s unwavering support in local education.
“In a roomful of distinguished board members, Mr. George stood out as part of an elite group serving on boards of education for 30-plus years,” Dr. Kokiko commented. “More important than the years served is the work, time and commitment he has shown to our area schools. We are fortunate to have such a devoted individual as part of the JCESC board and our community.”
JCESC Chief Executive Officer Dr. George Ash echoed those remarks.
“Mr. George tirelessly and enthusiastically works for the students in the four local counties as well as 82 of 88 counties in Ohio,” Dr. Ash continued. “It is a pleasure working with a visionary leader with a focus on helping political subdivisions share services and save local resources.”
The conference also included legislative and other updates by OSBA officials and further recognition of Ohio Teacher of the Year honorees, Award of Achievement recipients and Master Board Member awardees and the Northeast Region Blue Ribbon Schools President’s Award of Excellence. Nineteen counties comprise the OSBA’s Northeast Region, including Ashland, Ashtabula, Carroll, Columbiana, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Harrison, Holmes, Jefferson, Lake, Lorain, Mahoning, Medina, Portage, Stark, Summit, Trumbull, Tuscarawas and Wayne.
JCESC provides services to local school districts including Buckeye Local, Edison, Harrison Hills, Indian Creek, Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Jefferson County Joint Vocational School, Steubenville, Southern Local, Toronto and St. Paul Catholic School in Weirton.(Photo Cutline: Larry George, president of the Jefferson County Educational Service Center Governing Board, was honored for 30 years of service by the Ohio School Boards Association’s Northeast Region during its spring conference in March. George is pictured, at center, with OSBA President Denise Baba and Executive Director Richard Lewis.)
USA Joins Forces with NCST to Offer Welding Program
Posted 3/29/2017 at 10:45:56 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SALINEVILLE-The Utica Shale Academy is teaming up with the New Castle School of Trades to offer welding courses to students at both academy locations to give them even more advantages in the oil and gas industry.
Starting this fall, students at both USA locations at Southern Local and Columbiana High Schools can obtain welding certification, which is a major plus when seeking jobs in the industry. NCST officials worked with John Wilson, superintendent of Southern Local Schools and developer of the Utica Shale Academy, on the program to bring it into fruition.
“We were looking to expand our curriculum and get industry credentials,” Wilson explained. “NCST Director Jim Buttermore and I had discussed what we could do to partner and make it happen- and it will benefit the both of us.”
“Our students will have the same opportunities in both shale academies,” added USA Director Eric Sampson. “We are looking at attending New Castle three afternoons per week throughout the course of the school year with students working towards their welding certification.”
Buttermore said the plan has been in the works for months and will allow students to earn 250 total hours of welding credit for certification.
“That is roughly a quarter of our welding program,” he said. “We want them to be certified at the end, and they will also earn two-quarters credit if they want to complete the program.”
He also was thrilled to be in a partnership with the shale academy and everyone was working towards a common goal.
“I think anything we can do to work together for the students or for the community, that’s all we want.”
NCST, which is based in New Castle, Pa., but has more sites in Maryland and Canada, opened its doors in Columbiana County this January and began conducting classes a month later. It currently has 33 adult pupils in its HVAC, industrial maintenance, and mechanical and electrical courses. However, the number would greatly increase when USA’s students take part in the welding program. As of now, the shale academy has a combined total of 69 students at its two locations and expects to graduate about 27 seniors in May. It also marks a first for the trade school since it will now educate high school students.
Meanwhile, Sampson sees the union as a great benefit for everyone and said it adds another piece to make graduates marketable in the workforce.
“To be able to partner like this expands opportunities for students exponentially,” Sampson added.
Dr. Chuck Kokiko, superintendent of the Jefferson County Educational Service Center which sponsors the shale school, also praised officials for working together to facilitate the latest program.
“USA set out to create learning opportunities related to the oil and gas fields for students. The addition of a welding program is a testament to developer John Wilson and the USA staff’s commitment to creating the best educational experience for students and providing them with additional job-ready skills. I know USA is grateful to New Castle School of Trades for working with school officials and assisting them with making the welding program a reality.”
USA is available to students in grades 9-12 who live across Ohio and provides curricula required by the Ohio Department of Education, as well as and PetroEd industry certification courses. It currently offers a customizable digital curriculum allowing for acceleration or remediation along with flexible scheduling, plus certification courses in SafeLand, OSHA10, First Aid and CPR, hydrogen sulfide (H2S) awareness and confined space certifications. Academy graduates receive a high school diploma, certificates, and college credit options offered through Eastern Gateway Community College.
For more information, contact Sampson at (330) 420-5353 or through the website at uticashaleschool.com.(Photo Cutline: Utica Shale Academy students will have another advantage to work in the oil and gas industry by gaining certification through a new welding program through the New Castle School of Trades in East Liverpool. Officials have announced a new partnership that will benefit the students and make them even more marketable in the workforce. Pictured are, from left, Eric Sampson, USA director; Jim Buttermore, director of NCST; and John Wilson, USA developer and superintendent of Southern Local Schools.)
Online Courses Now Offered to Adults
Posted 3/27/2017 at 2:04:58 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE- Adults looking to sharpen their skills and become more competitive in the workforce can now take advantage of online courses through the Jefferson County Educational Service Center.
JCESC, which is well-known for its successful K-12 Virtual Learning Academy, is expanding its horizons and offering self-paced, non-credit online courses for adult learners. Participants can expand their knowledge, explore their interests, and obtain job skills that will secure a competitive edge in today’s changing economy. Teresa Silvestri, director of education and outreach, said adults can work at their own pace on a wide selection of courses.
“It’s a new program,” Silvestri explained. “Adults are always looking to further their knowledge or skill set and these are online courses they can enroll in. They are self-paced and self-guided to sharpen their skills and become more competitive in the workplace.”
Among the courses offered are Basic Algebra I, which connects the physical, verbal, and symbolic representations of the real number system; Basic Algebra II, which reviews basic algebra and geometry; Career Planning, which includes applying, accepting, and keeping your next job; Citizenship, which focuses on current events and recent history; Computer Applications, which explores the evolution of the computer and contributions of early inventors; Digital Skills, or skills to be successful as a digital citizen in a global economy; Forensic Science, which helps develop and extend scientific skills and processes through problem-based learning; Financial Literacy, which will help you learn financial planning, budgeting, and banking; Government, which focuses on the historic roots of the political system and how it has changed over time; Public Safety, which researches careers in law, public safety, corrections and the security job cluster; and Study Skills, which helps manage study time and routines, note taking strategies, and test-taking skills.
Fees cost $5 for registration with $22 for a nine-lesson course, $45 for 18 lessons, and $90 for a 36-lesson course. Once enrolled, participants have 365 days to complete each course. They are completely self-guided and can accommodate a busy schedule. In addition, certificates are given upon completion and continuing education units (CEUs) can also be earned.
Visit us online at jcesc.org/adultlearnersonline.aspx and enroll today. For more information, call (740) 283-3347 or email email@example.com.
Preschool Educators Learn More about Autism
Posted 3/10/2017 at 11:36:48 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE-Helping preschool students with autism was the focus of a professional development session at the Jefferson County Educational Service Center on March 8.
Preschool teachers and paraprofessionals from 10 school districts gathered at the George-Pugliese Professional Development Annex on Estelle Avenue, where they participated in a program led by Kristine Filhour of the Early Learning Resource Center and Victoria Walker of ABA Outreach Services, both of Canton. The topic of the session was “Understanding Autism in the Preschool Years,” and Filhour, an early childhood specialist, and Walker, a behavioral consultant, provided a PowerPoint presentation on how to identify the characteristics of autism and adjust strategies for individual children to meet their needs.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is described as “a range of complex neurodevelopment disorders, characterized by social impairments, communication difficulties, and restrictive, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior.” The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that one in 68 children across the United States are diagnosed with Autism and boys were 4.5 times more likely to be diagnosed than girls. Officials said 2,272 preschool students with ASD in Ohio received special education services last year, and today many children with the disorder attend regular preschools and childcare facilities. That means childcare providers and school personnel need to understand how to help those children reach their full potential and early intervention is important.
Preschoolers with autism may avoid eye contact, prefer to be alone, have difficulty understanding emotions and feelings of themselves or others, have obsessive interests, get upset over minor changes in routine, have unusual reactions to sensory stimulation, and flap their hands, rock back and forth or spin in circles. They also may not respond to their own name, demonstrate functional communication, show interest in others’ movements, or engage in social or pretend play. Walker noted there was a range of possible challenging behaviors from self-injurious behaviors and obsessions to rituals and tantrums, among others, but the key was to implement positive strategies. She also touched upon early action from setting up a proactive preschool environment to incorporating effective teaching strategies for children with autism and utilizing resources for support.
“As professionals in the field of early childhood, it is up to us to try to determine what is getting in the way of our children doing well,” Walker said. “Understanding what is getting in the way enables us to make changes in ourselves and the environment to help our children reach their full potential.”
A proactive preschool environment may include clearly marked centers or learning areas, a calming corner, predictable routines, consistency and structure, a positive climate, limited distractions, simplifying rules, and providing transitions that are simple and clear. Other discussion included common triggers and functions and officials said positive reinforcement was an important tool to help increase a child’s repertoire of appropriate behaviors. Types of reinforcement include snacks and toys to praising and hugging the child and allowing them time to play, go for walks, or other activities. Meanwhile, intervention for challenging behaviors would include teaching an alternative behavior to stating directions as a command, not a question. Walker said the use of visual supports also help modify behaviors and let children regulate their emotions in high-stress situations. Examples of those include First-Then Boards, which provide a schedule of tasks to be performed first and clearly indicate what happens next; a token economy system that provides stars or other tokens to reinforce desirable behaviors; and positive behavior supports for the whole class. Walker concluded by discussing effective teaching strategies, functional communication training, and developing a team approach. Teachers were also encouraged to develop a positive rapport with families, acknowledge and value family input, communicate frequently with team members, foster a sense of trust, and collaborate with other professionals.
Patty Ferrell, preschool coordinator at JCESC, said the program was inspired by teachers who wanted to learn more about helping kids with autism.
“I always ask the teachers what they want to hear and they wanted to know about autism because some have autistic students,” Ferrell said.
She then contacted the Early Learning Resource Center and the program was created specifically for the session. Ferrell was also establishing a small library of materials in her office to keep teachers informed about autism and educational methods.(Photo Cutline: Kristine Filhour and Victoria Walker, respectively of the Early Learning Resource Center and ABA Consulting, led preschool teachers and paraprofessionals in a professional development session about autism on March 8 at the Jefferson County Educational Service Center.)
Teachers Share Ideas to Aid Related Arts Students
Posted 3/10/2017 at 11:30:03 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE-Twenty teachers from throughout the area converged upon the Jefferson County Educational Service Center on March 8 for professional development centering on related arts classes.
Educators of music, art, career tech and more met with representatives of Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center of Estes Park, Colo., at the Kenneth D. Simeral Building to hone their skills in ensuring student success. Teachers represented Edison Local, Indian Creek, the Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities and St. Paul School of Weirton, while the daylong session included teachers taking part in project-based learning exercises, such as creating project designs based on their discussion and working together to express ideas.
The teachers gave input on such topics as improving student motivation and criteria for success and moved around the room to speak with colleagues from their district and others to exchange ideas and obtain feedback. Anastacia Galloway, professional development associate at Eagle Rock, was joined by art instruction specialist Cindy Elkins and professional development representative Sebastian Franco to lead the session, which was the organization’s third visit to the area.
Galloway said the goal was to inspire teachers in their own lessons for students.
“For the past year, we’ve been diving deep into project-based learning and related arts and we want the teachers to leave with a lesson for their classroom,” Galloway said. “We collaborated with like-minded content. They get to collaborate and get feedback and it’s valuable because [the teachers] don’t always see each other.”
Linda Lenzi, event coordinator with JCESC, said the program was part of a related arts grant the JCESC obtained through the Ohio Arts Council.(Photo Cutline: Sebastian Franco and Cindy Elkins of the Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center of Estes Park, Colo., helped lead the latest professional development session on project-based learning at the Jefferson County Educational Service Center on March 8. About 20 local related arts educators, including music, art, physical education, career tech and more, gathered at the Kenneth D. Simeral Building in Steubenville to share input and learn ways to motivate students and initiate classroom success. The session was part of a related arts grant that JCESC received from the Ohio Arts Council.)
Utica Shale Students Earn Safety Certification
Posted 3/3/2017 at 9:34:09 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SALINEVILLE-Students in the Utica Shale Academy have earned certifications after undergoing a series of trainings to prepare them for the real world.
Director Eric Sampson said nearly two-dozen students from sites at Southern Local and Columbiana High Schools completed safety training to be used in the oil and gas field. The sessions were provided by Amanda Greathouse of Safety Pro Training and Consulting and began at the end of January.
“We have 23 kids in our two schools that have gained their certification to be used in the oil and gas industry,” said Sampson. “These include SafeLand, Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) Awareness, confined space and First Aid/CPR.”
He explained that 16 SLHS and seven Columbiana students had to complete the sessions, which varied between two to five days, and take an assessment at the end of each training to earn their certification. The goal is to prepare them for the job front and also give them an advantage in the workforce.
“They are not only applying with safety and oil and gas certificates, but I’ve spoken to people in the industry who said the students are even more marketable because they already have the training certification, rather than a company having to pay for it,” Sampson added.
Officials are preparing for more field trips to area energy sites and incorporating lectures from professionals into the classroom.
Currently in its third year, the Utica Shale Academy includes about 56 students between the two school buildings. Sponsored by the Jefferson County Educational Service Center, shale school offers flexible scheduling to students in grades 9-12 who live across Ohio. Utica Shale Academy offers all of the courses required by the Ohio Department of Education, as well as PetroEd industry certification courses.
For more information, contact Sampson at (330) 420-5353 or through the website at uticashaleschool.com.
Understanding Trauma Informed Care Focus of Session
Posted 1/30/2017 at 8:53:34 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE-Understanding trauma-informed care and working together to serve those in need were the focus of a special presentation on Jan. 26.
Roughly 50 people representing area school districts, agencies and organizations gathered at the George-Pugliese Professional Training Annex in Steubenville to listen to Ann Brandt, early intervention specialist with Coleman Professional Services, at a session held in collaboration with Jefferson County Family and Children First Council and the Jefferson County Educational Service Center. The session was open to JCFCFC member agencies and included local school districts, Help Me Grow, the Family Recovery Center, the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County, the Jefferson County Prevention and Recovery Board and the county Department of Children’s Services, among other groups. Brandt defined trauma and detailed ways that local groups could pull together to help not only clients, but also each other when aiding someone or facing an emotional incident.
Brandt said research indicated the necessity of establishing a system to fully service people coping with emotional trauma, but it doesn’t only impact clients.
“The trauma-informed approach looks at the agency, who you work with, where you work and how to service people,” she said. “It isn’t just about the clients you serve; it can be a co-worker or a family member. [It’s about] being able to be respectful and get individuals the services they need.”
Trauma is a widespread, harmful and costly public health problem and occurs as a result of violence, abuse, neglect, loss, disaster, war and other emotionally harmful experience. There is no regard to gender, age, race, ethnicity, geography or sexual orientation and it is an almost universal experience of people with mental and substance use disorders. Brandt provided examples of trauma which may impact both individuals and communities, such as shootings, floods, fires, abuse and murder. The need to address trauma is increasingly viewed as an important component of effective behavioral health service delivery, but it requires a multi-pronged, multi-agency approach involving public education, awareness, early identification and effective assessment and treatment. Schools, case managers and emergency personnel also play a role and the development of a framework for the behavioral health specialty sectors could be adapted to other sectors such as child welfare, education, criminal and juvenile justice, primary health care and other settings that have the potential to ease or exacerbate an individual’s capacity to cope with traumatic experience.
“We all have to talk to each other and help people,” she added, saying it helped better understand the connections between trauma and behavioral health issues, as well as in-guide systems to become trauma-informed.
Brandt defined trauma as a “fear-based phenomenon” that impacts people in different ways. Some responses may not develop into a post-traumatic stress disorder while others can endure over time and disrupt a person’s daily life as well as their social and emotional health. She added that not acknowledging trauma only creates a deeper impact and could result in depression, fear or aggression. Brandt then cited the “three E’s of trauma,” or events, experience and effects, and said types of traumatic experiences included sexual, emotional and physical abuse, a serious accident or medical procedure, a natural or man-made disaster, forced displacement, war, school violence and even traumatic grief and separation. Signs and symptoms may include disturbances in eating and sleeping habits; clinginess or separation anxiety; repetitive post-traumatic play; flashbacks; being easily startled; and feelings of helplessness, restlessness, impulsivity, irritability and aggressiveness, to name a few.
Organizations also must realize the widespread impact of trauma and understanding potential paths for recovery; recognize signs and symptoms in clients, family, staff and others involved in the system; respond by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures and practices; and resist re-traumatization. By utilizing these tools and implementing key principles such as safety, peer support and empowerment, it forms the basis of a trauma-informed model. The model provides a foundation of trauma-informed values, robust partnerships, clinic champions, support for providers and ongoing monitoring and evaluation; having a calm, safe and empowering environment for both patients and staff; holding screenings to inquire about current and lifelong abuse, PTSD, depression and substance use; and using on-site and community-based response programs that promote safety and healing.
Brandt said it could be implemented through governance and leadership, policy, cross-sector collaborations, screenings and treatment services and training and workforce development, among other methods. She noted that trauma could impact individuals or a community as a whole, and unless people understand methods to instill healing there could be a lasting effect.
“The goal for all organizations in the helping profession is to build a framework that helps systems ‘talk’ to each other, to understand better the connections between trauma and behavioral health issues and to guide systems to become trauma-informed,” she concluded. “We need to be productive and work together.”
Linda Trushel, JCFCFC coordinator, said the initiative began after officials saw a need in the community and wanted to train local agencies. Trushel added that health professionals were not the only ones to play an integral part in serving others.
“We hope that by educating those staff employed by county agencies about trauma and its effects, it will change the way we communicate to parents and children who have experienced trauma,” Trushel explained. “We hope to have all agency staff, CEO’s, superintendents, secretaries, teachers, janitors and directors attend a session that helps increase their knowledge about trauma.”
More presentations are being scheduled, including another in Steubenville this spring and one being planned in Harrison County.(Photo Cutline: Ann Brandt, early intervention specialist at Coleman Professional Services, led a presentation on how organizations could help each other and the community by understanding trauma-informed care. More programs are being scheduled in Jefferson and Harrison counties.)
Always There: JCBDD Celebrating 50 Years
Posted 1/23/2017 at 5:20:36 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE-The Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities is joining similar panels across the state in celebrating a special milestone during 2017.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the creation of county boards of developmental disabilities, or DD boards, which were implemented under state law to better serve people with special needs. Plans are under way to recognize the achievement following the theme “Always There,” and JCBDD Superintendent Michael Mehalik said the board has long been committed to ensuring that people with developmental disabilities have received quality services and care.
“The primary function of the board is to ensure that residents of the county with developmental disabilities are receiving appropriate services, including early intervention services, preschool and school programs, adult services, residential services and assistance through service and support administration to assist individuals and families make needed connections to other community services,” Mehalik explained.
Known as the 169 board, which is derived from the number of the legislation that established the county panels, the group is charged with overseeing operations of developmental disabilities programs in their respective counties.
Under the Ohio Revised Code, each board is comprised of seven members, five of which are appointed by county commissioners and two which are named by the county probate judge. Qualifications include being a county resident and an American citizen; an individual interested and knowledgeable in the field of developmental disabilities; someone with experience in business management, finance, law, health care, personnel administration or government service; and a person who reflects the composition of the county. However, those not eligible to serve include an elected public official, except for township trustees and fiscal officers or individuals excluded from the definition of a public official or employee; immediate family members of another BDD member; BDD employees or family members thereof; a former employee whose employment ceased less than one full calendar year to beginning a board term; an individual whose immediate family member is a board member or employee of an agency licensed or certified by the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) to provide services to people with developmental disabilities; an individual whose immediate family member is a board member or employee of an agency contracting with the BDD that is not certified or licensed by the state DODD to provide services to individuals with disabilities, unless there is no conflict of interest; and an immediate family member of the county commissioner in the board’s home county.
Each member volunteers to serve four-year terms and can participate for a maximum of three terms, while the board meets 10 times per year. Current members include Jim Padden, Lorie Sullivan, Bill Kerr, Jim Morgan, Chris Irvin, Dick Allen and Dr. Ed Florak, the latter of which recently replaced longtime member and two-time board president Dr. Charles Joyce. On Jan. 12, the board reorganized for the year and named Padden as president for 2017 and also approved general plans to operate services for an estimated 350 county residents with special needs.
Mehalik said since its inception, the JCBDD has helped expand services to fulfill the needs of both children and adults, be it through the School of Bright Promise to adult services at the Jeffco Production and Training centers or Shaffer Plaza or by working with local school districts and community organizations.
“Throughout the years, the Jefferson County board has continued to expand the array of services to meet the needs of the community and has worked cooperatively with local school districts and service providers to make sure services are coordinated for individuals with disabilities. Currently, the board is focused on transitioning the adult services division to a private enterprise as mandated by federal and state requirements and is committed to ensuring that services for adults are high quality and meet all needs.”
Mehalik further praised their efforts in making it all happen.
“The members of the current BDD board are truly committed to the well-being of individuals with disabilities. A number of members have served multiple terms and do an invaluable job in giving direction to the management staff. It is a super board that works hard to benefit the people of the community.”
(Photo Cutline: The Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities is celebrating the golden anniversary of similar county boards across the state. Each of Ohio’s 88 counties formed a BDD to serve the needs of the developmentally disabled and plans are under way for the local panel to mark the milestone with the state’s theme of “Always There.” During the Jan. 12 reorganizational meeting, the group named leaders for 2017 and also lauded them for School Board Recognition Month with handmade cards from School of Bright Promise students. They include, front from left, Bill Kerr and Dick Allen. Back: Superintendent Michael Mehalik, Dr. Ed Florak, Board President Jim Padden, Chris Irvin and James Morgan. Not pictured is member Lorie Sullivan.)
Presentation Set on Understanding Trauma Informed Care
Posted 1/11/2017 at 2:42:11 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE-Trauma informed care is at the center of a special presentation for local agencies later this month.
The Jefferson County Educational Service Center, in conjunction with Coleman Professional Services and the Ohio Family and Children First (OFCF), will host “Understanding Trauma Informed Care” at the JCESC’s George-Pugliese Training Annex, which is located at 1913 Estelle Ave. in Steubenville. The event is slated for Jan. 26 from 8:30 a.m. to noon and will be led by Ann Brandt, an early intervention specialist at Coleman Professional Services. Organizers said it will be open to OFCF members and their staff.
Linda Trushel, local OFCF coordinator, said it was the first time the presentation was being held and the venue was created to help fulfill a need in the community.
“The Family and Children First Council identified the need to increase knowledge about trauma informed care to agencies whose staff work with families who have children ages birth to 21,” said Trushel.
Among the topics discussed will be providing a foundation of trauma-informed values, robust partnerships, clinic champions, support for providers and ongoing monitoring and evaluation; having a calm, safe and empowering environment for both patients and staff; holding screenings to inquire about current and lifelong abuse, PTSD, depression and substance use; and using on-site and community-based response programs that promote safety and healing.
“This is giving a basic overview of the concept of what trauma informed care is and how it relates to the community,” commented Brandt. “Trauma informed care is the framework of how to approach individuals and understand the needs in relation to traumatic events.”
Such events may range from sexual or physical assault and natural disasters to returning from the military or a death in the family, and Brandt said the organizations involved in the program could provide a link to resources to help address issues.
Coleman Professional Services, which is located in seven Ohio counties including Jefferson, is a nationally recognized provider of behavioral health and rehabilitation services such as psychiatry, counseling, crisis intervention, peer support and even residential and employment services for adults. The OFCF is a partnership of state and local government, communities and families that enhances the well-being of Ohio’s children and families by building community capacity, coordinating systems and services, and engaging families. OFCF’s vision is for every child and family to thrive and succeed within healthy communities. The council includes agencies from Belmont, Jefferson, Harrison and Columbiana counties including the Department of Job and Family Services, Brightway Center, the Community Action Council of Columbiana County and area school districts, and officials said another event will be conducted in the spring. Those planning to attend the upcoming event must RSVP by Jan. 20 by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Honoring Dr. Joyce
Posted 1/11/2017 at 2:38:56 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
Photo Cutline: The Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities honored longtime member Dr. Charles Joyce, who completed his third and final term at the end of 2016. Dr. Joyce served with JCBDD for 12 years, leading the board twice as president, and officials said he was instrumental in the development of the Jefferson County Regional Spectrum Center. He is pictured at center with board President Jim Padden, at left, and JCBDD Superintendent Michael Mehalik.
Graham Joins OVPEC Board
Posted 1/6/2017 at 10:16:04 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE-Jefferson County Commissioner Dr. Thomas Graham has joined the Ohio Valley Public Employers Consortium (OVPEC) Managing Board, which oversees a joint self-insurance cooperative for employers throughout Ohio.
Dr. Graham, of Wintersville, began his term after being approved during the board’s Dec. 14 session to replace member David Manning, who served for roughly a year. The OVPEC Managing Board also includes Jim Herring, executive director of the Jefferson Health Plan, and Don Donahue, fiscal agent. The purpose of the board is to oversee the operation of the Employee Benefits Program and determine the general policies of the OVPEC, which is part of the Jefferson Health Plan and primarily serves public employers. It currently includes eight participating members with 10 to 50 employees.
Dr. Graham said he hoped to use his experience with health care savings to benefit his new role on the board.
“I have been overseeing the county health insurance for about 14 years and inherited a $10 million deficit, but I made major changes and we now have a $3 million surplus,” he added. “I hope to use my expertise to assist the board.”
He is currently in his 14th year as county commissioner and also serves as an adjunct professor of sociology at Franciscan University of Steubenville. Dr. Graham holds a doctorate in clinical sociology and also obtained two masters’ degrees in clinical social work and sociology with specialization in sociological analysis.
Dr. George Ash, CEO of the Jefferson County Educational Service Center, which is the fiscal agent for the Jefferson Health Plan, welcomed Dr. Graham aboard and said he would be a vital addition to the OVPEC panel.
“We certainly value the expertise and knowledge he can bring and believe he will be an asset to the board,” Dr. Ash commented.
USA Students Learn Outside the Classroom
Posted 1/4/2017 at 12:55:23 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SALINEVILLE-Students at the Utica Shale Academy have been gaining knowledge outside the classroom with a variety of field trips to schools and energy companies.
Director Eric Sampson said his students have visited colleges and other sites throughout the region to learn what opportunities are available to them after they graduate high school.
“We went to Zane State College in September, Stark State in October and the Ascent [Resources] well pad in November,” Sampson said, adding that about 15 students also had a chance to attend the NFL Football Hall of Fame in Canton. “We went to Zane State and Stark State to see their programs and let the students see what college is like just to give them an idea of what other opportunities exist as opposed to going into the workforce [after graduation].”
He added that both colleges have one- and two-year oil and gas programs and the visits allowed the students to gain some insight and possibly build interest in furthering their education. Additionally, a group also made a stop at the well pad in Harrison County to view the rig. Sampson noted that the trip to the Hall of Fame was part of a Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports reward with SLHS students and included a tour and program with former NFL athlete Andre Reed on integrity and morals.
“We thought it was a great experience for students to go and see something they’ve never seen and hear from a Hall of Famer on character.”
More events were being slated around January and February, including classroom lectures by including Brian Logue of Express Energy; a visit to a fracking site with Ascent Resources officials; and certifications covering hydrogen sulfide (H2S) monitoring, confined space and First Aid/CPR. Sampson said those sessions were being led by Amanda Greathouse, an oil and gas expert with Safety Pro Training and Consulting.
Now in its third year, USA has roughly 60 pupils enrolled for the 2016-17 school year between the main location at Southern Local High School in Salineville and the satellite site at Columbiana High School in Columbiana. It is sponsored by the Jefferson County Educational Service Center and offers flexible scheduling to students in grades 9-12 who live across Ohio with curricula required by the Ohio Department of Education, as well as PetroEd industry certification courses. For more information, contact Sampson at (330) 420-5353 or through the website at uticashaleschool.com.(Photo Cutline: Students in the Utica Shale Academy have been gaining knowledge outside the classroom with trips to regional colleges and energy companies. A group is pictured here at the Ascent Resources well pad near Piedmont in Harrison County and includes Taylor Cunningham, Drake Cunningham, Takoda Kirkpatrick, Zach Robinson-Hunley, Brandy Lemasters, Cody Little, Joe Matheson, Faith Dickson, Jesse Dustin, Pachience Smith and USA Director Eric Sampson.)
JCESC Officials Speak at Conference
Posted 1/4/2017 at 12:31:30 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE- Jefferson County Educational Service Center officials recently had an opportunity to address their peers during the 61st Annual Ohio School Boards Association Capital Conference and Trade Show in Columbus.
JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko and Director of Education and Outreach Teresa Silvestri attended the event in late fall and discussed “Creating a School within a School,” which focused on alternative schools and blended and online learning.
“I have presented at a number of conferences but this was my first presentation at OSBA,” said Dr. Kokiko. “Locally, districts have faced a number of challenges to meet various learning needs from alternative schools, online options and blended learning. Given JCESC’s experience to creating unique learning opportunities, we believed this would be appropriate to share with school leaders from around the state as they may have similar needs.”
Silvestri explained that districts can create a school within a school using online options.
“This model serves students in a non-traditional capacity, offers differentiated instruction opportunities, a blended learning component, fits needs of the families, and reengages students leaving the district by providing online options, in order to stay enrolled in the district. Creating a non-traditional environment utilizing online courses will help reach students who might be disengaged with the brick-and-mortar setting.”
She added that the feedback from their presentation was excellent, saying that many people asked questions and spoke to them afterwards. While it was Dr. Kokiko’s first time addressing the OSBA, Silvestri has spoken at the venue in the past and said JCESC officials submitted a proposal to the association and were accepted to participate.
More than 9,000 people attended this year’s conference at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, which included nearly 150 sessions of panel discussions, workshops, one-on-one assistance and nationally renowned speakers addressing a variety of educational issues. Keynote speakers at the 2016 Capital Conference included actor and activist Ernie Hudson of “Ghostbusters” fame, actor and school board member Steven Michael Quezada of “Breaking Bad” and Emmy Award-winning journalist Leeza Gibbons.
JCESC Earns High-Performance Designation
Posted 12/20/2016 at 1:55:19 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE- The Jefferson County Educational Service Center has been designated by the state as a high-performing ESC for its efforts to provide myriad services in a cost-effective manner.
Officials learned of the distinction through the Ohio Department of Education’s Office of Budget and School Funding after making an application this past summer. ODE officials indicated that ESC’s across the state reported more than $54 million in savings for the services they submitted to the department. This represents significant value that ESC’s are providing to local school districts, which is only a fraction of the total savings provided each year.
JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said documentation was provided to the department for consideration and information included such services as psychologists, speech therapists, legal services, occupational therapists, and a teacher for the visually impaired. In all, the services yielded a total savings of $654,370-- or 36 percent over independent or private vendor costs. According to the ODE, cost savings across all five of the primary services must generate a minimum of 5 percent for an ESC to be classified as high-performing.
“Our goals are to provide quality services in the most cost-effective manner possible,” Dr. Kokiko added. “We’re very pleased to receive this designation and that we’re able to provide that level of savings to the districts so they can re-invest and repurpose those funds for other needs.”
In the application, officials noted that JCESC embraced a system-wide culture of service to help meet a wide array of client needs.
“JCESC coordinates collaborative programs to eliminate duplication of human and financial resources, participates in interagency collaborative programs across Columbiana, Jefferson and Harrison counties to provide efficient, cost-effective responses to at-risk student issues, and provides collaborative, cost-effective direct services for students with disabilities,” it stated. “JCESC client districts are located in the Appalachian region of Ohio covering more than 800 square miles and serving a little more than 11,000 students. Given the vast region and limited resources, collaboration enables the necessary services to be provided in the most economical manner possible.”
JCESC serves Buckeye Local, Edison, Harrison Hills, Indian Creek, Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Jefferson County Joint Vocational School, Southern, Steubenville, and Toronto City Schools in Ohio as well as St. Paul School in Weirton, W.Va.
JCESC Named Effective Sponsor
Posted 12/19/2016 at 10:11:52 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE- The Jefferson County Educational Service Center has earned a rating as an effective sponsor, making it among only five sponsors in the state to achieve that distinction.
Leaders were recently informed via correspondence from Paolo DeMaria, superintendent of public instruction for the Ohio Department of Education. Sponsors are defined as those who provide oversight and ensure that community schools are upheld to meeting the highest standards. The sponsor rating, which comprises the 2015-16 school year, is based on three equally rated components: academic performance, adherence to quality practices, and compliance with all applicable laws and rules. Based on the scores of each component, JCESC received an effective rating and was among only five of the 65 sponsors statewide to achieve the designation. The others include the Buckeye Community Hope Foundation, ESC of Central Ohio, St. Aloysius Orphanage, and the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation.
The sponsor rating scale includes seven to eight points to be considered exemplary; five to six points to be effective; two to four points to be ineffective; and zero to one point to be poor. JCESC obtained an overall score of five points and was found to be effective under the compliance component for meeting all relevant laws and rules and for monitoring their schools’ compliance with the codes.
JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said the state hired a third-party entity to interview the sponsors and a bevy of documentation and evidence was submitted for review. The ESC submitted initial evidence through the ODE to the evaluator and a four-hour phone conference took place in July to provide further dialogue and evidence. Sponsors also had a 24 hour window following the interview to submit additional data for review if necessary.
“I was very excited about the rating the ESC received, knowing the amount of hard work and dedication our staff put into the sponsorship process,” Dr. Kokiko added. “The fact that only 7 percent of the sponsors in the state reached the standard speaks to the rigors of the process. The Ohio Department of Education has tasked sponsors with holding charter schools accountable and to ensure they provide a quality education to the students they serve.”
JCESC serves Buckeye Local, Edison, Harrison Hills, Indian Creek, Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Jefferson County Joint Vocational School, Southern, Steubenville, and Toronto City Schools in Ohio plus St. Paul School in Weirton, W.Va.
Utica Shale Academy Benefits from Mini-Grant
Posted 12/7/2016 at 12:08:26 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SALINEVILLE-The Utica Shale Academy has more equipment on hand to prepare students for work in the oil and gas industry, thanks to a $600 Best Practice Grant from the Jefferson County Educational Service Center.
The program, which is based at Southern Local High School but also has a satellite location at Columbiana High School, will acquire six Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) monitors to help test for dangerous gases at an oil site. H2S is an extremely deadly gas found in some gas wells and the monitors help detect the gas and alert the wearer. U.S.A. Director Eric Sampson said the equipment is a vital safety component in the oil and gas industry and will be very useful learning tools in the classroom, on field trips and for safety training.
“The H2S monitors are used in the industry and they test for colorless, odorless and tasteless gases,” Sampson explained. “We are going to use them as a training tool in class and wear them at the sites.”
There are currently 65 students taking part in the shale school, with 46 pupils based at SLHS and another 19 at Columbiana, and both sites will utilize the monitors. The class visits oil rigs and other sites during field trips and Sampson said the training will be advantageous. This is the second year that the academy received funding through the JCESC’s annual mini-grant and last year’s allocation helped procure maps for the classroom. Sampson said the grants were very much appreciated and make a difference in the students’ education.
“It’s an exciting service provided by JCESC that helps to improve our programs,” he noted.
JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko commented that the mini-grants are a highly valued initiative of the JCESC Governing Board.
“The grants provide an avenue for teachers to create innovative projects that will directly impact student learning,” Dr. Kokiko continued. “One of the goals of the Utica Shale Academy is to graduate students with job-ready skills. We are pleased to be able to provide Eric Sampson and U.S.A. with the resources to help reach their mission.”
Now in its third year, Utica Shale Academy provides a blended learning curriculum and opportunities to obtain safety and related certification with the goal of graduating students who are prepared to join the industry’s workforce. For its part, JCESC has disbursed Best Practice Grants to an estimated 50 applicants during the latest funding round representing Buckeye Local, Edison, Indian Creek, Harrison Hills, Southern Local, Steubenville City and Toronto City Schools.
Lollini Receives Educational Service Award
Posted 11/22/2016 at 9:45:04 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE- A longtime member of two local educational boards was recognized during the Ohio School Boards Association’s 61st Annual Capital Conference and Trade Show earlier this month.
Bill Lollini, a member of the Jefferson County Educational Service Center Governing Board and Jefferson County Joint Vocational School Board, was recognized during the Third General Session of the OSBA Capital Conference on Nov. 16 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. Lollini received the Veteran Board Member Award, which is given to school board members in recognition of 25 and 50 years of service. He was one of 30 board members to earn the award for 2016 and joins JCESC Governing Board President Larry George and Vice President Kenneth Simeral, who previously earned that distinction.
Lollini, of Mount Pleasant, was recognized for 25 years of service. He has served on the JCESC Governing Board for 17 years and previously participated on the Buckeye Local Board of Education for a period of eight years. He is presently enjoying his fifth year as a board member of the JCJVS, where he is honored to help educate vocational students for successful careers.
During his tenure with the Buckeye Local school board, Lollini witnessed the construction of Buckeye Local High School and renovations to the current Buckeye West Elementary School in Adena and Buckeye South Elementary in Tiltonsville. He was also part of a board and administration that worked its way out of the state loan fund that put the district on stable financial footing. Lollini also noted many things the JCESC has accomplished, including the development of the Virtual Learning Academy (VLA), Ohio Cyber Academy, and the Utica Shale Academy.
“There have been many accomplishments, but most important to the students of our area is the fact that we continually innovate, fine tune, and improve the services we provide to local schools,” he said. “I would also add that the development of our Virtual Learning Academy and the continued growth of the Jefferson Health Plan give all of our board members a feeling of satisfaction.”
He was also grateful to be honored for his longtime service to local education.
“I sincerely appreciate being recognized for my service and it has been my pleasure to serve with many great board members, superintendents, and staff,” Lollini concluded. “When I became a board member, I started on a path that gave me the opportunity to meet and become friends with many extremely fine and dedicated individuals. This experience has allowed me to become a better person.”
Dr. Todd Phillipson, superintendent of the JCJVS, credited Lollini for his commitment and said the recognition was well-deserved.
“He’s been a dedicated board member here and has shown a desire to serve and help education have a positive impact on student success,” Dr. Phillipson commented.
JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko echoed those sentiments. “The Jefferson County Educational Service Center has been fortunate to have consistent, dedicated leadership among its board members and Mr. Lollini is a great example, having just received his 25-year service award at the OSBA conference,” Dr. Kokiko noted. “The ESC has benefitted from his governance for many years and we look forward to his guidance in the future as well.”
Now in its 61st year, the Ohio School Boards Association leads the way to educational excellence by serving Ohio’s public school board members and the diverse districts they represent through superior service, unwavering advocacy and creative solutions.(Photo Cutline: Bill Lollini, pictured at center, a longtime member of the Jefferson County Educational Service Center Governing Board, was recognized during the Ohio School Boards Association’s 61st Annual Capital Conference in Columbus this month for 25 years of service to JCESC, the Jefferson County Joint Vocational School Board, and previously the Buckeye Local Board of Education.)
JCBDD Spreads the Word to End the Word
Posted 11/2/2016 at 10:33:08 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE- The Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities is reaching out to area schoolchildren about removing the R-word—a derogatory term referring to people with special needs-- from society’s vocabulary.
Representatives, volunteers and special needs students from the School of Bright Promise kicked off the “Spread the Word to End the Word” program on Oct. 27 in front of an estimated 225 second- through fourth-graders at Pugliese West Elementary School in Steubenville. Officials hope to reach more schools in Jefferson County over the next few months about erasing the R-word from their lexicon. It is based on a national initiative supported by the Special Olympics, Best Buddies and over 200 organizations worldwide.
JCBDD Assistant Superintendent Mike Zinno, School of Bright Promise Principal Rachel Bodo and volunteer program coordinator/advocate Monica Rogers appeared along with program coordinator Paul Smith and assistant Gabriella Page, as well as special needs individuals Alex Talbott, Michael Talbott, Reena Switzer and Kaylee Peckens. Rogers spoke about the differences between people and how to respect those with mental and physical disabilities.
“There’s one thing we all have in common, though, and that is feelings. We all have that, but often we can’t see it and our actions cause others to have their feelings hurt,” Rogers explained. “We are focusing today on our special needs friends that don’t often speak for themselves, and so we want to give them a voice.”
She added that like typical children, those with special needs like to have fun, dance, laugh and socialize, and she wanted youth to understand that their actions and words can impact other people’s lives.
“One of the things that hurt them the most is what they call the ‘R’ word, and most of you know it’s the word retarded,” she continued. “It is used to describe something that went wrong or, more hurtfully, is used to describe a person. Most people use the term not thinking about its meaning or how insensitive and ugly the word sounds. It’s a mean word used for all the wrong reasons and there’s a movement trying to ban this word from our dictionary. People who use it don’t realize the impact on people with disabilities.”
Officials noted that the R-word website has already yielded more than 652,000 pledges online and Rogers encouraged the students to get on board and also ask friends and relatives to do the same. Videos were then shown to spread the message and she also suggested the students make their own production, which would then be posted on the JCBDD website and potentially R-word’s site. The students also signed a traveling banner that officials will ultimately display at the School of Bright Promise.
“Let this change start with you. If you feel like you’re going to say it or call somebody that word just because you’re playing around, think twice,” she continued. “If you hear one of your friends or peers say the word, kindly correct them and remind them that there are children, teen-agers and adults out there with mental and physical disabilities and they go through a lot of difficulties every day, and that’s the last thing they want to hear somebody say. Let’s stop using the R-word!”
Zinno said the idea for the program came about as a way to encourage respect for people with disabilities.
“I’d been thinking about it and brought it to [Principal Bodo]. Our generation says it but don’t mean to be derogatory, so we need to raise awareness for it. Monica had called me about wanting to do a sensory program in
schools, but we got together and decided to do this,” he said. “We want everybody to spread the word to end the word and hope to reach the five school districts in Jefferson County. We want to encourage schools to make their own videos and we’ll post and advertise them and maybe get them on the [R-word] website. We want to make the word extinct from our vocabulary.”
Zinno saying the campaign would lead up to March, which is National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. For more information, contact JCBDD at (740) 264-7176 or go to www.R-word.org.
(Photo Cutline: Representatives of the Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities are spreading the word to end the use of the word “retarded” in society and addressed about 225 second-through fourth-graders at Pugliese West Elementary on Oct. 27. Pictured is volunteer program coordinator/advocate Monica Rogers with Rachel Bodo, principal of the School of Bright Promise, special needs individuals Alex Talbott, Michael Talbott, Reena Switzer and Kaylee Peckens and volunteers Gabriella Page and Paul Smith. Hopes are to travel to the five county school districts and have them pledge not to use the R-word. The visits would lead up to March, which is National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.)
OATEC Facility Plans Unveiled at Session
Posted 10/28/2016 at 10:13:06 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE-Plans were officially unveiled for the K-20 Ohio Appalachian Technology Education Center during a session at the Jefferson County Industrial Park.
State legislators and local educational leaders met at the George-Pugliese Training Annex on Oct. 26 to discuss the facility, which will be constructed along the south side of County Road 43 (Alikanna Road) at the industrial park. JCESC acquired approximately 2.7 acres of land at a cost of $38,000 to establish OATEC and the deal was approved last month by the Jefferson County Port Authority and county commissioners. Plans are to construct a two-story, 10,000-square-foot building to house offices for an estimated 20 employees and a facility equipped with state-of-the-art technology. OATEC will expand upon the main location at the Kenneth D. Simeral Building in Steubenville and serve as a centralized hub for 21st Century skills, focusing on curriculum development, instruction, online learning, assessments, technology, collaboration and communication, and professional growth. The project is currently estimated at between $3 million to $3.5 million and should be completed over the next two years.
JCESC Governing Board President Larry George said the site was a joint decision among the board members and support from local and state officials has been great. The facility will provide a long-term investment in the Virtual Learning Academy (VLA) and the Jefferson Health Plan (JHP), a partially self-funded insurance program established in 1985.
“I work with and for a great board of education. They saw our vision and where we wanted to go and we have a vision and belief in this county because we are from here,” he said. Not only are we expanding to a 10,000-square-foot facility, we are getting the foundation in for a 5,000-square-foot expansion in the future.Ultimately, we hope this project will spark future development of additional professional buildings in the industrial park.”
He also cited the work of legislators to obtain funding for the project, saying that Sen. Lou Gentile (D-30th District) and Rep. Jack Cera (D-96th District) also helped keep the multimillion-dollar plan local.
JCESC formed a collaboration earlier this year with Eastern Gateway Community College and received funding in April when the 131st General Assembly of the Ohio Legislature approved Senate Bill 310, which granted the funds to help construct the site. Sen. Gentile and Rep. Cera were credited with introducing the legislation with bipartisan support within the Statehouse and making the funding possible. Leaders said the project is not only a boost to the county, but also to Eastern Ohio.
“This is a great project,” said Rep. Cera. “I appreciate the work the ESC has done along with EGCC to get this together. The ESC is a statewide and national organization with the services they provide to schools. We were able to give funding in the capital appropriations bill. It’s a perfect example of various government entities coming together and will bring economic activity to the area, and it will be more educational opportunities to Appalachia.”
Sen. Gentile said JCESC and EGCC had a vision that the legislators were pleased to be part of.
“It was a lot of hard work and collaboration and working with Democrats and Republicans,” he added. “We were able to make sure it stayed here instead of going elsewhere. I’m glad to see this coming to a reality here and look forward to more partnerships as we move forward. This is an innovative and visionary process and we’ll continue to support education and economic development in Jefferson County.”
JCESC CEO Dr. George Ash noted that Sen. Gentile and Rep. Cera have always been staunch supporters of education and were instrumental in the passage of legislation which allows JHP to extend beyond Ohio’s borders to help save entities in other states on healthcare costs, plus it aided the creation of an infrastructure bank program that allows members to borrow funds for construction and renovation projects.
“In the last three years, you’ve done so much for us and worked across the aisle and have seen the vision we have,” Dr. Ash told the state leaders.
JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko explained that the K-20 facility would provide resources for students from kindergarten through graduate school.
“We didn’t want to limit the educational possibilities so the vision includes opportunities for K-12, undergraduate and graduate students as well as adult learners” Dr. Kokiko said. “The ESC has done oil and gas training [for adults], and the intent is for the facility to have value for all education levels.”
Meanwhile, EGCC will also utilize the site to develop electronic materials for curriculum and marketing and JCESC is also looking to partner with other local school districts.
“We really appreciate all of the support the college has received from Sen. Gentile and Rep. Cera. We are about improving the lives of students and citizens in the community,” said Dr. Jim Baber, executive director of development for EGCC. “We also appreciate the ESC for all of the services [they provide] to the area and state.”
Patrick Keenan, JCESC’s director of buildings and grounds, gave an overview of the preliminary design and said it involved a brick structure with metal roofing. The site includes a large studio area with a booth to develop materials for teachers to use in their classroom lessons, while there will also be office space for employees and a conference room. Other additions include a potential sandwich shop that could also serve surrounding businesses at the park and a small wellness center, as well as parking for 51 vehicles that could be increased to 75 spaces in the future. The facility will also go green with LED lighting and geothermal heating.
Environmental studies and other analyses are underway on the property. If all goes according to plan, officials could break ground around June.(Photo Cutline: Patrick Keenan, director of buildings and grounds for the Jefferson County Educational Service Center, unveils preliminary designs for the Ohio Appalachian Technology Education Center eyed for the Jefferson County Industrial Park. State legislators and local educators met to discuss the project, which should be complete within two years.)
State BOE Candidate Gathers Insight from School Leaders
Posted 10/24/2016 at 11:25:45 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE-Local educators had a chance to share their thoughts and concerns about school-related issues with a candidate for the Ohio Board of Education during a special gathering on Oct. 20.
Ohio Rep. Debbie Phillips (D-94th District), who is currently running for a seat on the state school board, met with a dozen superintendents, principals, and other school officials from throughout Jefferson and Harrison County to gain their perspective on education-related issues during a gathering at the George-Pugliese Training Annex in Steubenville. In addition to JCESC officials, districts in attendance included Buckeye Local, Edison, Harrison Hills, Indian Creek, Jefferson County Joint Vocational School, Steubenville Catholic Central, the Jefferson County Alternative School, and Toronto.
Rep. Phillips, who is in her last term within the House, has also sat on the House Education Committee during her tenure and focused on educational excellence across Ohio. She said her visit was an ongoing effort to open communication lines between the state and local entities. She questioned leaders about concerns and positive aspects of issues they are facing today and subjects included testing requirements, the state report card, teacher evaluations, and Ohio Graduation Tests.
JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko made the introduction, saying Rep Phillips’ office reached out to the JCESC based on a prior meeting with Dr. T.C. Chappelear, superintendent of Indian Creek Local Schools, and the goal was to have a central meeting place with area educational leaders. Rep. Phillips noted that she worked on school funding reform prior to joining the legislature and had children testify at the Statehouse and legislators visit schools in other attempts to bridge the communication gap.
“There are 60 school districts in the state board’s district. I’ve been trying to meet with different educators in the region to try to get a sense of perspective from people throughout the districts,” she said, adding that she sought input through roundtables and other venues. “I want us to be in communication because it’s a big district and it feels very disconnected from where we are legislatively. I hope we can facilitate more communication and get more educators involved.”
She queried the group about the biggest issues their districts were facing today. Toronto City School Superintendent Fred Burns said testing guidelines are changed without notice while Harrison Hills Superintendent Dana Snider said the bar has been raised for standards and teachers were constantly working to attain them.
Discussion ensued and talks turned to accountability for charter schools while public schools must still work to meet standards. Rep. Phillips said efforts are beginning to place more focus on that matter. She also asked if any legislative decisions proved helpful to the districts. Dr. Chappelear replied that there were aspects of the Third Grade Reading Guarantee that he found positive, particularly the response to intervention that comprises a good, quality education. However, he did not agree with the retention policy. Officials said research has shown that retention negatively impacts students.
Other comments were that the time spent on testing detracted from actual instruction while vocational students found themselves concentrating more on academics than learning their trade in the labs. JVS Superintendent Dr. Todd Phillipson added that the graduation requirements for Career Pathways were difficult to reach under the current point system. “You have industry credentials that’s 12 points and not all of the vocational students are getting industry credentials. The credentials are for a person who is an expert in the field. I think it’s a misnomer and the work keys are difficult.”
Dr. Chappelear agreed that the three Career Pathways were rigorous academically and it was not easy to reach the graduation requirement. He added that too much emphasis was being placed on testing and no credit was given on students’ classwork. Rep. Phillips believed there would be more of a push to discuss graduation requirements.
Indian Creek Assistant Superintendent John Belt also said state testing scores were below the marks set in Columbus. Rep. Phillips hoped that Paolo DeMaria, superintendent of public instruction, would visit the local area because he also wanted to gain insight from school districts. Local leaders said the community may not realize what the scores mean, but Snider said industries do pay attention. She added that education played a vital role in economic growth because companies looked at school systems when establishing a location for a new business in the area.
Mark Masloski, director of the Jefferson County Alternative School, also mentioned that students with severe intellectual disabilities were not taken into consideration and scores still counted against a district.
“If you have a high percentage of student with severe intellectual disabilities, we’re holding them to the same standards, which isn’t fair,” he continued.
Dr. Kokiko later thanked Rep. Phillips for visiting and listening to officials’ concerns.
“The meeting from Rep. Phillips was well received by our educational leaders. The JCESC was pleased to host the event. Having the opportunity to meet with folks who are integral in the development and implementation of policies affecting our education system is a vital part of the process. Rep Phillips facilitated a balanced open discussion around issues concerning area educators as well as those which are working well. We hope the open dialogue continues and conversations center on what is best for our students.”
Dr. Chappelear said he was introduced to the state official by Richard Murray, executive director of the Coalition of Rural Appalachian Schools (CORAS).
“He wanted me to arrange something in the area and I reached out to Dr. Kokiko,” he said. “I think she listened and what was refreshing was she shared a lot of the same concepts.”(Photo Cutline: Ohio Rep. Debbie Phillips (D-94th District) visited with local school leaders at the George-Pugliese Training Annex on Thursday to listen to their thoughts on educational issues impacting them today. Pictured are, front from left, Angela Hicks, director of federal programs at Buckeye Local Schools; Rep. Phillips; Dana Snider, superintendent of Harrison Hills City Schools; and Jude Lucas, guidance counselor at Steubenville Catholic Central. Back: John Belt, assistant superintendent at Indian Creek Local Schools; Dr. Chuck Kokiko, superintendent of the Jefferson County Educational Service Center; Dr. Todd Phillipson, superintendent of the Jefferson County Joint Vocational School; Scott Celestin, interim superintendent of Buckeye Local Schools; Fred Burns, superintendent of Toronto City Schools; Bill Beattie, superintendent of Edison Local Schools; and Dr. T.C. Chappelear, superintendent of Indian Creek.)
George Gains Regional OSBA Award
Posted 10/24/2016 at 11:19:11 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE-A local educational leader has been recognized for his ongoing commitment to student learning.
Larry George, president of the Jefferson County Educational Service Center Governing Board, was one of five officials who earned the Ohio School Board Association’s Northeast Region Outstanding School Board Member Award during the fall conference on Oct. 5 in Wadsworth. George has spent three decades serving the JCESC and 27 years with the Jefferson County Joint Vocational School Board, the latter of which he also acts as president. During his tenure, he has seen both areas grow exponentially with the expansion of programs and opportunities for staff and students alike.
He cited the development of the Virtual Learning Academy (VLA), Help Me Grow program, the addition of shared legal services to benefit area school districts, the creation of the George-Pugliese Training Annex that was dedicated in his honor this summer. George further touted his fellow board members and plans to construct the Ohio Appalachian Technology Education Center along County Road 43 (Alikanna Road) at the Jefferson County Industrial Park. The latter includes a two-story, 10,000-square-foot structure to lodge offices for an estimated 20 employees and a state-of-the-art site to expand upon current operations at the JCESC site in Steubenville.
“I was surprised [by the honor],” he added. “I do what I do for the students of our county through the programs we offer the area teachers and districts. I was appointed to both boards and am proud to get to serve with such great people. Thank you to everyone who has helped me along this journey!”
A 1971 graduate of Wintersville High School, he studies professional photography around the country but said he learned the most from his father, Jim George. He is a former news photographer and present operator of Photography by George. He was appointed to both boards and earned a similar distinction for 25 years of service, as well as the Outstanding Leadership Award from the Ohio Educational Service Center Association during its Capital Conference last year in Columbus.
JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko praised George for his commitment to improving local education.
“The experience was humbling. As you sit and hear the accomplishments of those receiving the award, you begin to realize all the time and effort Mr. George placed into school board positions over the years and how fortunate the JCESC and JVS are to have this level of commitment and service to our schools and community," he said.
JCJVS Superintendent Dr. Todd Phillipson echoed those comments, saying George has been an asset to the school and its programs for the past 27 years.
“He has outstanding board leadership and has the best interests of the students at heart,” Dr. Phillipson concluded. “He’s interested in providing the best education for the students.” The award was presented by OSBA President Eric K. Germann and Executive Director Richard Lewis and other recipients included Thomas F. Brophey of Wellsville Local Schools in Columbiana County, Susie Lawson of Tri-County ESC and Wayne County Schools Career Center, Kathy A. Mock of Austintown Local Schools in Mahoning County, and Ron Register of Cleveland Heights-University Heights City Schools. Nineteen counties comprise the OSBA’s Northeast Region, including Ashland, Ashtabula, Carroll, Columbiana, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Harrison, Holmes, Jefferson, Lake, Lorain, Mahoning, Medina, Portage, Stark, Summit, Trumbull, Tuscarawas and Wayne.
JCESC provides services to local school districts including Buckeye Local, Edison, Harrison Hills, Indian Creek, Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Jefferson County Joint Vocational School, Steubenville, Southern Local, Toronto and St. Paul Catholic School in Weirton.(Photo Cutline: Larry George, president of the Jefferson County Educational Service Center and Jefferson County Joint Vocational School Board, was one of five recipients of the Ohio School Board Association’s Northeast Region Outstanding School Board Member Award during the fall conference on Oct. 5 in Wadsworth. He is pictured at right with Reno Contipelli, regional manager.)
Bethany Team Connects with Special Needs Students
Posted 10/19/2016 at 10:27:29 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE-The Bethany Bison baseball team returned to the School of Bright Promise on Tuesday and deepened the connection they’ve built with special needs students.
About 46 players, coaching staff members and even Boomer the Bison mascot arrived for the third-annual “Fall Out with the Bethany Bison Day,” assisting students in class during the morning and then joining them for lunch and recess. Team members shared some baseball skills outdoors before taking the students back to class and helping them on the bus to go home. School staff and many of the students donned Bethany T-shirts previously gifted to them from the team as they welcomed the athletes for the day. But it was more than just a visit; it was a special time that has had a profound impact on both groups.
Team member Sage Micomonaco, a junior psychology student, said it was his third visit to the school and he looked forward to it each year.
“I enjoy helping the kids and being around them,” he said. “Being able to associate with them, it’s nice. I look forward to the experience and I talk about it all the time at home.”
Fellow ballplayer Tyler Frazee, a sophomore political science major, said he mostly enjoyed the interaction
“It’s nice to know they are having fun with us,” Frazee added.
Student Dale McCoy also noted his enjoyment. What did he like best?
“Baseball,” he smiled.
Teacher Ryan Finney, who instructs youth ages 15-18 years old, was equally touched by the bond that’s occurred.
“I really like their interaction with the students and how they build that bond and relationship so quickly,” Finney said.
Principal Rachel Bodo and baseball Coach Rick Carver, a family friend, formulated the idea as a fun way to make a difference in the lives of those with special needs, but Carver said it has impacted the team on a greater level.
“This is awesome. The key is making them smile and that makes our day,” he said. “They are doing more for us than we are for them. It’s wonderful.”
This year, the team interacted with smaller groups to get to know the students better, and that idea sprung from an ongoing pen pal project. Carver said the time has also given him and the athletes a greater respect for the staff that works with the children.
“These kids have touched our hearts and [as for Principal Bodo] and the staff…, we have much admiration for them.”
Since their first get-together, a true friendship has spawned with students sending handmade cards and mementos that the athletes have kept as good luck charms. The team has gifted them with jerseys, pictures and even some sweet treats around the holidays in return. Additionally, Bison members have daily updates to the school while undergoing spring training in Florida and hosted a School of Bright Promise Day last April with the students as their guests of honor. About 50 students took the trip to the college, where they enjoyed a cookout and interaction with the team prior to taking in the baseball game.
The athletes will plan to welcome the students back at another ballgame while Coach Carver hopes for something even greater in the long-term: the formation of a Miracle League Field for the youth.
Principal Bodo said the day ran smoothly and she loves to see how everyone interacts.
“It’s always such an enjoyable day,” she said. “They enjoy their fellowship.”
(Photo Cutline: Bethany Bison baseball players Tyler Frazee, Adam Becker and Sago Micomonaco work with special needs students Dale McCoy and Kyle Talbott during a visit to the School of Bright Promise in Steubenville on Tuesday. It was the third-annual “Fall Out with the Bethany Bison Day” and the athletes spent the day interacting with the students in class and at recess.)
Cancer Awareness Fundraiser at JCTC
Posted 10/14/2016 at 9:40:27 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE-The Jeffco Training Center has turned pink for the second year and is raising funds and awareness for a cancer cure.
In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month for October, the facility is hosting the Jeffco Training Center Open House Cancer Awareness Event on Oct. 19-20 at 2550 Cherry Ave. in Steubenville. Everything pink will be sold in the recreation room from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and all of the proceeds go to Trinity Health System’s Trinity Emergency Assistance Relief (T.E.A.R.) Fund at the Tony Teramana Cancer Center. The T.E.A.R. Fund’s mission is to provide modest emergency assistance for individuals diagnosed with cancer in order to lessen the burdens associated with diagnosis and treatment.
JCTC operates under the auspices of the Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities and provides services to adults with special needs both on-site and in the community. Manager Conni Giamos said the center raised roughly $1,200 last year which was matched by the Jeffco Workshop Non-Profit Board and organizers were gearing up to make more money for the cause.
“All of the proceeds will go to the T.E.A.R. Fund,” Giamos said. “We are selling wreaths, blankets, scarves, pillows, jewelry, flower arrangements and hats.”
She added that those and other items will be for sale at reasonable prices, while many of the goods were created by the center’s consumers with assistance from staff members. The first day will be open to consumers’ family and friends, JCBDD board members, and local officials and organizations while the second day will be open to the consumers themselves. In addition to the sales, free refreshments will be available plus there are chances to win a blanket or wreath in a 50-50 raffle. Facepainting is also set and cornhole and carnival games will be on hand for consumers during the final day. Giamos said a Tree of Hope will be displayed in the lobby and pink ribbons can be purchased for a $1 donation and hung on the branches.
Much of the center itself is decked out in the pastel hue with a series of slogans such as “Supporting the Fighters, Admiring the Survivors, Honoring the Taken, and Never, Ever Giving Up Hope,” “Crush Cancer,” “Hope for a Cure,” and “Kiss Cancer Goodbye” while more pink décor is displayed throughout the building as part of Paint the Town Pink event sponsored in the community.
She and the consumers were excited to take part since quite frequently they or someone they know has been touched by cancer.
“I like to help others,” said consumer David Verhovic.
“I like helping,” added consumer Rosie Harris.
JCBDD Superintendent Mike Mehalik added that the cancer awareness event is an opportunity for everyone at the training center to participate in a great cause that benefits many families in the community.
“It is a chance for us to give back to the Jefferson County community,” he said. “It is a wonderful event and every connected to it does a fantastic job.”
Last year’s proceeds helped cover costs for gas cards, transportation, medication, insurance co-pays and doctor’s visits, as well as assist with nutrition, utility bills and equipment. The T.E.A.R Fund has aided more than 3,000 people.
(Photo Cutline: Consumers at the Jeffco Training Center are thinking pink and raising money and awareness during the second-annual open house slated for Oct. 19-20 at the facility in Steubenville. Pink hats, scarves, bags and other goods will be sold and all proceeds will go to Trinity Health Systems’ T.E.A.R. Fund. Pictured with a few of the items are, from left, David Verhovic, Brandon Abshire, Nick Tost, Ron Banks and Rosie Harris.)
Gossett Named to OSBA Media Honor Roll
Posted 10/4/2016 at 10:37:19 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE-A local reporter was honored with a special distinction for his coverage of educational issues in the community.
Dave Gossett, a reporter for the Steubenville Herald-Star, was recognized by the Jefferson County Educational Service Center Governing Board for his inclusion in the 2016 Ohio School Boards Association Media Honor Roll. Officials passed a resolution during the Sept. 27 session and thanked him for his ongoing work with the school systems.
The OSBA Media Honor Roll recognizes journalists and news outlets that provide fair and accurate coverage of public schools. Honorees in the print, radio, and television are chosen because they work with school superintendents, board presidents, and officials and report news in a fair, accurate and balanced manner.
“I am very honored,” said Gossett.
Board President Larry George said the award was well-deserved.
“We’re just so proud to give it to Dave because he’s been involved with us and coming to meetings for years,” George added. “He’s been an asset. I’ve known him for a long time and he does an excellent job, and I’m proud to call him my friend.”
Community Partnerships Key to Privatization of Adult Services
Posted 9/30/2016 at 10:55:29 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE- The Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities is continuing its efforts towards privatizing adult services to meet federal mandates, but officials say community partnerships are essential to make it happen.
Superintendent Michael Mehalik said the board has until 2024 to privatize services for adult consumers involved with the Jeffco Production and Training centers and the key is to build partnerships to assist with work and recreational opportunities.
“Over the next five years, our adult services division at Jeffco is going to need to form partnerships with a variety of community entities to create opportunities for more integration of individuals with developmental disabilities,” Mehalik said. “Those partnerships can be with recreational facilities, local gyms, our public libraries, senior centers, state parks and other natural resources-based facilities in the community.”
Officials have established links within the area and are looking for more entities to get involved, while Mehalik said the focus was shifting from a center-based operation at Jeffco Inc. to a more community-based system.
“It’s going to be a big transition,” he added. “As part of the Medicaid waiver, it is being required of all developmental disabilities programs around the State of Ohio. One of the major problems with making that transition is going to be transportation—how we effectively set up a variety of options in the community and handle transporting individuals to those locations. As a result, it may mean that we need to develop additional providers within the community to help make this happen.”
One aspect of the overall plan is recruiting additional providers who will come in and work with the adults, as well.
“The reality is that smaller workshops may be more effective and successful in getting folks integrated into the community. It’s easier to work with smaller groups than 150 individuals on a daily basis,” he added. “As we try to recruit additional providers in the community, we want to make sure they share that vision of community integration for adults with disabilities. Community employment is a natural way to integrate people into society. The more folks we can find jobs for, the more successful we’ll be at developing those relationships for them. It’s going to be a challenge, but we’ve already seen much success here in Jefferson County with community employment. We need businesses and individuals to give people with disabilities a chance for jobs within their operations.”
Assistant Superintendent Mike Zinno said opportunities could also include volunteerism and involvement in local organizations.
“There’s a lot more out there and it’s a matter of us trying to find it, not just Steubenville but around Jefferson County,” Zinno continued. “It would be volunteer work, socialization, clubs and organizations. We’re seeking ideas and have been asking around.”
He noted that they should also align with the consumers’ capabilities to make it the right fit.
“I think we’re scratching the surface. We need to look outside the boundaries of Steubenville, for sure.”
Officials are also looking to improve efforts with community employment. For now, 24 adult consumers work in society while another 55 are at the production center and 74 consumers are at the JCTC on Cherry Avenue. JCTC Manager Conni Giamos said a lot of legwork has been done to prepare for the change.
“The outcome is we can offer something to express their individuality,” she noted. “We’ve become more person-centered.”
To that end, consumers at the production and habilitation centers were surveyed about their interests to match them with available activities in the community. They were queried on art, music, health and wellness, recreation, volunteerism, and other topics. Personal profiles were then created that will enable each individual to work and participate in recreational activities. On-site work is still available at JCTC and consumers have assisted with painting, lawn care, can crushing, gardening, paper shredding, and janitorial work, but the training center also collaborates with Trinity Health System’s T.E.A.R. Fund and Images programs, Weirton Medical Center’s All About Women program, and the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County. The center implemented a Day Hab program in June to provide consumers with events to do both on-site and in the community. Consumers walk five days a week at Fort Steuben Mall, have lunch at local parks, interact with residents at Dixon Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center in Wintersville and Gables Care Center in Hopedale, see a movie at Carmike Cinemas, and travel to the library each month for a social movie event. In addition, they exercise at the Rocky Road Gym in Wintersville and representatives also visit the training center to be more accessible to the clientele. Giamos added that they are also assisting the Urban Mission Inc. with newsletter mailings.
She said the training center also holds community-based events such as a cancer awareness fundraiser for the TEAR Fund at the Tony Teramana Center; a “Go Red” activity for the American Heart Association; and a Christmas shopping mall for consumers to purchase items for the holidays. More ideas include making treat packages and delivering them to animals at the Jefferson County Humane Society; joining the Prime Time senior organization and taking part in their activities; and holding indoor and outdoor games, an art studio, greenhouse gardening, weekly craft and literacy classes, and a breakfast café at JCTC.
Additionally, Shaffer Plaza Residential Apartments has undergone some streamlining so it can increase services to a smaller amount of consumers. The facility now has 27 residents and comes equipped with 24-hour staffing, regular activities to promote self-esteem through socialization and recreation in the community, and individualized program planning and provision of services to meet the resident’s needs.
“We’ve downsized by four beds. The state is saying that individuals can have a better level of care [with] a smaller number of clients,” said Kim Dunlope, director of residential services through JCBDD. “I hope it works out best for the clients involved.”
Meanwhile, Mehalik said that the JCBDD will only monitor and not provide many adult services. While the change may be difficult for employees, it may also pose questions among the parents of those being served by the program.
“It’s something many parents will question simply because it’s different and something they’re not used to, but I think as they see the success of their sons or daughters, they will be in favor of the changes as they are implemented,” he said. “The bottom line is we really don’t have a choice. The federal government indicated that our window of opportunity is by 2024. By then, they expect to see most of the individuals with developmental disabilities have access to the community on a regular basis.”
For more information or to become a community partner, contact the JCBDD at (740) 264-7176.
(Photo Cutline: The Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities is continuing efforts to privatize services and integrate more of its adult consumers into society. The goal is to provide more off-site activities such as jobs and recreational events and leaders say community partnerships are key. Pictured are, from left, consumers Scott Shean and Mark Cashdollar performing work at the Jeffco Production Center.)
Alternative School Finds New Home
Posted 9/26/2016 at 9:13:23 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE- The Jefferson County Alternative School Program has found a new home to help students with disciplinary issues thrive both in school and in life.
Formerly housed at the Jefferson County Justice Center and operated in collaboration with the county juvenile court, the alternative school is now located at the Coleman Professional Building on Johnson Avenue in Steubenville. The program now falls under the auspices of the JCESC but continues to provide students in grades 5-12 an opportunity to succeed academically and progress to graduation outside the traditional class setting. The alternative school provides a structured, behaviorally-enhanced approach to students who demonstrate a pattern of maladaptive behaviors such as poor attendance, aggression toward others, withdrawal, poor peer/adult relationships and court involvement. The primary goal is to teach students the behaviors necessary to return to their home school program and function within acceptable norms of the community, while the school’s curriculum is aligned with Ohio Learning Standards.
The move occurred on Aug. 1 and director Mark Masloski is overseeing the program, which has worked with nine students so far and serves county youth in grades 5-12.
Masloski previously taught at Conotton Valley and Harrison Hills City Schools and was an intervention specialist at Steubenville High School for 15 years, plus he taught scholar history and government and was a department chair. He said his new position allows him to implement programming that would benefit students with disciplinary issues.
“Administrators in the school districts decide after going through the intervention process and disciplinary issues [to send those students to us]. “If an in-school suspension or time out doesn’t work, we are the alternative solution for them,” he explained.
He added that students must attend at least five days, at which time they are assessed so they could receive further assistance.
“My three goals are to ensure that everyone has an [Individualized Educational Plan], so every student gets a baseline assessment in reading and math to determine what their levels are; to give them coping strategies with counseling through Coleman Professional Services; and preparing for career readiness,” Masloski said. “I wanted to provide an entire curriculum in seven academic courses including English, science, social studies and math. Everything’s lined up with state standards and testing is done at the alternative school. After five days, we send an assessment with grades and comments on their strengths and weaknesses.”
And being located at the Coleman Professional Building provides an advantage with counseling programs available to assist the youth.
“We have a new partnership with Coleman for group and individual counseling,” Masloski continued. “We hope to get parents involved, as well.”
JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said many people were involved in the transition to the current ESC-operated program and he thanked the Jefferson County Commissioners and Juvenile Court Judge Joseph Corabi for their support in making the shift seamless, as well as local school boards and superintendents who have backed the alternative school. They include Buckeye Local, Edison Local, Indian Creek Jefferson County Joint Vocational School, Toronto City, and Steubenville City Schools. The JCESC also worked with Sheriff Fred Abdalla and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) to provide security for the site.
“The districts worked as a group with the JCESC to develop a dynamic experience genuinely rooted in education and counseling aimed at correcting behaviors that have led students to the program,” Dr. Kokiko added. “We believed strongly in having an alternative education setting for the both the districts and communities we serve.”
JCSO Deputy John Parker said security is only one of the tasks the sheriff’s office fulfills.
“We are providing security to keep the campus safe so the student has a good, safe learning environment and assist the instructor to try to bridge the gap between law enforcement, education, and whatever social issues that may come forward to the actual school resource officer,” Parker commented. “We are trying to bridge the gap with them and help them get back on track in their academic career and help them be better individuals in society.”
The program also works with Deputy Joe Porter, social educator Alison Burell, Coleman Professional Services Director Lisa Ward, and counselors Daniel Cook and Vivian Minto to help keep the youth on track. For more information, contact the alternative school at (740) 996-7104.(The Jefferson County Alternative School has a new home at the Coleman Professional Building on Johnson Road in Steubenville and is working with youth to keep them on track in education and society. Pictured at the school is director Mark Masloski, who took the post this year.)
Utica Shale Academy Changing Fiscal Agents
Posted 9/23/2016 at 11:25:46 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
SALINEVILLE-The Utica Shale Academy will gain new fiscal agents as leaders get closer to signing a deal with the Warren County Educational Service Center.
Officials met on Wednesday at the Southern Local Board of Education office and reviewed the agreement, which is expected to be formally approved at the October session. Warren County ESC representatives Alleyn Unversaw and Philip Hinson met with USA board members and representatives of the Jefferson County ESC, which sponsors the academy.
“We are working through October and transitioning accounts. On Nov. 1, it will be up and running,” said JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko. “That’s our plan.”
Officials discussed services the Warren ESC will provide in order to complete the move, which was prompted by state legislation.
“Organizations are no longer permitted to be both the fiscal agent and sponsor of a school due to recent legislative changes,” Dr. Kokiko explained. “In order to continue sponsoring the school, JCESC is assisting Utica Shale Academy in the transition to a new fiscal agent. The process of changing fiscal agents can be tedious, so there have been ongoing talks and this is an opportunity for all parties to sit down face-to-face, discuss policies, and meet everyone involved.”
Unversaw said there was an elaborate checklist but the Warren ESC would work closely with JCESC Treasurer Don Donahue to finalize details. He also asked the USA Governing Board to name the Warren ESC as fiscal agent. Leaders reviewed a draft contract and requested to be present when the board went into executive session on financial matters. Other discussion included the length of the contract and reorganizing board agendas and minutes.
“We’ll assist with General Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) conversion and audits,” Unversaw added. “Right now, we do sponsorship and fiscal work at two charter schools. We work with the Greater Ohio Virtual School and Akron Digital School.”
He continued that the Warren ESC does not handle matters involving Education Management Information Systems (EMIS), grant applications, bank fees, audit and GAAP converter fees, and fiscal software fees.
“We’ll get the actual agreement in place and vote at the October meeting,” said Dr. Kokiko.
Meanwhile, the board heard from USA Director Eric Sampson, who said the academy yielded a total of 67 students at its locations at Southern Local and Columbiana high schools. Of those, 45 were from SLHS with 22 students at Columbiana. The breakdown included 25 seniors, 13 juniors, 18 sophomores, and 11 freshmen.
Sampson added that Brian Logue of Express Energy was continuing to speak at both sites and coordinate field trips for students. Several students have also earned RigPass credentials and 23 pupils were in oil and gas certification programs. He was also obtaining information on what was needed to obtain industry credentials and he was speaking with a representative later that week.
“We had submitted an application and will be walked through the process,” he said. “Things seemed positive. My goal is to figure out what we need to do to get approved so next year our students can go through the process.”
In other business, the board:
--Heard from Donahue, who said the present cash balance stood at $143,642 but payments would be due down the line. He added that the state now requires the annual budget to be submitted to the Ohio Department of Education by the end of October. He was working with Unversaw and Hinson to keep them apprised of matters;
--Adopted a resolution approving the Utica Shale Academy’s 2015-16 annual report;
--Adopted a resolution to approve the Sponsor 2015-16 Annual Report;
--Adopted resolutions to approve mercury and student concussion and head injury policies to update the student handbook. Officials also adopted the updated handbook;
--Approved a field trip to Zane State College in Cambridge in early October;
--Adopted a resolution to approve an updated attendance policy;
--Adopted a resolution to approve a federal programs staffing agreement with the Southern Local School District. Leaders said SLHS Principal/District Federal Programs Director Tony Delboccio will handle the duties on a part-time basis;
--Set the next meeting for Oct. 19 at 10:30 a.m. at the JCESC office in Steubenville.
(Photo Cutline: Members of the Utica Shale Academy Governing Board met Wednesday with representatives of the Warren County Educational Service Center, which will act as fiscal agent for the academy once a contract is approved in October. Pictured are, from left, board member Mark Johnson; Alleyn Unversaw and Phil Hinson of Warren ESC; board President Dr. Charles Joyce; USA Director Eric Sampson; Jefferson County ESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko; board member Mike Biasi; JCESC Treasurer Don Donahue, present fiscal agent for USA; and board member Bill Pitts.)
St. Paul Catholic School Joins JCESC
Posted 9/19/2016 at 10:08:56 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
WEIRTON- The Jefferson County Educational Service Center has extended its reach across the Ohio River and now includes St. Paul Catholic School in Weirton under its umbrella.
St. Paul School, which serves about 207 students in grades PreK-8, joined this year and has already seen the benefits of the center’s many services. Principal Lucas Parsons said the parochial school signed on following discussion with JCESC CEO Dr. George Ash and Director of Education and Outreach Teresa Silvestri.
“We discussed trying to get it over here because we thought it would be a great fit. It’s been fantastic,” Parsons said. “We use the ESC to take advantage of professional development for me and my teachers and the eighth-grade takes elective classes twice a week.”
Parsons noted that the site is incorporating the Virtual Learning Academy, which offers an online curriculum of 150 core and elective courses. One advantage is that seventh-grade students can now take Spanish, something which had only been offered to eighth-graders in the past. Meanwhile, the K-8 students can sign up for an afterschool program in October and spend one hour on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday taking elective courses in English, science and other subjects. Another plus is that teachers may incorporate the services into their own classes.
“We’ve also been using [JCESC programs] for enrichment. If a student is behind, we use it to get them at a pace they can handle,” Parsons added. “As of now, we’re the only Catholic school in the area that offers it.”
JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko welcomed St. Paul School into the fold.
“We are pleased to have Mr. Parsons and St. Paul’s become part of the Jefferson County Educational Service Center. As a group, we have a lot to offer our members and one another,” Dr. Kokiko said. “Being involved in education, we share many of the same challenges and having the ability to work together provides the opportunity to capitalize on each other’s strengths and collectively provide the best education possible to those we serve. Having another educator at the table further strengthens our group and increases the positive impact we can have on students.”
Dr. Ash echoed those sentiments.
“I wish to welcome Mr. Parsons and St. Paul Catholic School as they join the Jefferson County Educational Service Center, and I also want to commend Mr. Parsons for having such an innovative educational vision and mission.”
VLA Expands Course Offerings
Posted 9/15/2016 at 1:04:30 PM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE- The Jefferson County Educational Service Center’s Virtual Learning Academy (VLA) has expanded its course catalog to provide even more educational offerings to users.
Teresa Silvestri, director of education and outreach at JCESC, said staff were continually adding courses to the fall 2016 online curriculum.
“We’ve added Intro to Sign Language and Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint and Word 2013,” Silvestri said. “To help better prepare students for testing, we are developing more test prep courses. We already have those for ACT, Ohio Graduation Test (OGT) and basic study skills, but now we are adding AIR.”
AIR, as it is known, stands for American Institute for Research and the new course will center on English and Language Arts. In addition, a revised course is offered for computer applications and U.S. and World History.
“We’ve revised courses to update them and the content and technology changes to make it more relevant,” she added. “We’ve added the Intro to Jazz and Intro to Rock-n-Roll for fine arts. We’re also working on additional test prep courses in American History.”
Currently, the VLA offers more than 150 different courses and Silvestri said they extend beyond classroom subjects.
“There are career training courses for students to find out about careers they may be interested in, as well as interviewing, resumes, and dressing properly. We’ve also added two gaming courses to learn development, marketing and scriptwriting. There are a total of nine entertainment and technology courses.”
She continued that the VLA curriculum strives to stay ahead of Ohio Department of Education standards and requirements while officials also obtain input from the school districts they work with. The courses are based on need or state and national standards and help better prepare students.
VLA is a robust, online educational delivery system that provides full-year and semester courses for students in grades K-12. It works in cooperation with school districts and can be used to service any student who is home-bound, homeschooled, in need of credit reclamation, dropped out, special needs or at risk, and assigned to alternative schools. For more information, call (740) 283-3347 or (888) 283-3347 or go online to www.jcesc.k12.oh.us.
Superintendents Hold First Meeting of the Year
Posted 9/6/2016 at 11:50:53 AM by Kristina Ash [staff member]
STEUBENVILLE-Local superintendents convened at the Jefferson County Educational Service Center for their first meeting of the new school year, where they were updated on issues including increased truancy liaisons through a program with the Jefferson County Juvenile Court.
Juvenile Court Judge Joseph Corabi and members of his staff addressed officials during the monthly superintendent’s cabinet meeting on Sept. 2, saying additional positions were created thanks to a federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) grant the court received this summer. The program began last year with Edison, Indian Creek, Jefferson County Joint Vocational School and Toronto participating but Buckeye Local, Steubenville and the Jefferson County Alternative School have since gotten involved. The court, JCESC, and districts have split the costs but the $225,000 grant will make their contributions significantly lower. The new liaisons include Aaron Hunt, Steve Eft and Denise Rusnak and officials said the overall goal is to substantially reduce the number of excessive absences among students.
“We’ve hired three new liaisons besides [current official Sean Tucker],” Judge Corabi added. “The goal is to give you better coverage more often and get into the lower grades to nip it in the bud.”
Court administrator Joe Colabella said the participating districts will be invoiced over the next few months for a one-time payment of $1,475 and the contracts run from Sept. 1, 2016, to August of next year.
“It’s pretty significant savings with [additional] manpower,” Colabella continued.
Since the program’s inception, the number of absences decreased from 52,000 in 2015 to about 47,000 last year. That is something the court hopes will continue with the increased service. Tucker noted that he would begin training the new liaisons over the coming week and they would be introduced at the schools next Friday. Each liaison will oversee truancy matters in two districts with Tucker also visiting sites for service continuity.
“The following week they will be on a schedule and you will set the school liaisons in the schools twice a week,” Tucker said. He also thanked officials for their cooperation, saying, “We’ve always had a very good rapport with the superintendents.”
Following some discussion, JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko thanked Judge Corabi and the court for their efforts on the grant and the program.
“We are getting a lot more service at a reduction in cost,” Dr. Kokiko added.
“We look forward to working with you and I think it will continue to be a good relationship,” Judge Corabi responded.
Meanwhile, superintendents met Raymond Robinson, program administrator for Children’s Services at the county Department of Job and Family Services, who discussed his new role. Robinson said he worked with delinquents in the Pittsburgh area in the past and was transitioning into his new job but hoped to work collaboratively with the superintendents.
Other matters on the agenda included the following:
--An update from the State Support Team about webinars to prepare for the Every Student Succeeds Act that goes into effect next year;
--An update from Angie Underwood, director of OMERESA, regarding technical programs and shared services through the agency;
--An update from Blair Closser, director of curriculum and professional development at JCESC, about upcoming professional development sessions and related information for educators;
--An update by Linda Lenzi, gifted coordinator for JCESC, on Gifted Enrichment Response to Intervention and Differentiated Instruction (GERD) meetings and other offerings for the year. She noted that an $8,000 Ohio Arts Council grant was received to host a related arts session with Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center on Project Based Learning on Sept 14 from 8:30-2:30 p.m.;
--Southern Local Superintendent John Wilson mentioning a state testing meeting with ODE representatives on Sept. 7 in Salem;
--Dr. Kokiko discussing home visits for prenatal mothers and other services available through the Help Me Grow program. He also offered the George-Pugliese Training Annex for professional development sessions to the school districts.