Page 1






Teacher & Staff Member OF THE YEAR


SPRING 2018 Spring 2018 1



Vision: Our educational community will be a model in identifying individual student needs and providing comprehensive support.

SPRING IS IN THE AIR AT NORTH ROYALTON CITY SCHOOLS By Greg Gurka, Superintendent North Royalton City Schools Dear Community, The end of the year is upon us, and it is a time of mixed feelings. In one sense, it is exciting as we see our graduates walk across the stage of the State Theater and our other students finish their studies and move on to the next grade. However, it is a sad time as we know another year has ended and as our students move on, so do friends and colleagues who finish up their careers with us and embark on the next phase of their lives in retirement. I want to wish our graduates much success and our staff members who are retiring all the best. I also want them to remember that we are a family and to visit us often. As we continue to “Inspire Great” at North Royalton City Schools, we have several things to celebrate. In Moody’s Investor Service annual report released on May 10, North Royalton City Schools showed strong credit position and rating that exceeds other U.S. school districts. The report noted that the District has a strong credit position and its Aa2 rating slightly exceeds the U.S. school districts’ median of Aa3. The notable credit factors include a robust financial position, strong wealth and income

profile, healthy tax base, sizable debt burden, and highly elevated pension liability. On page 5 of the Bear Way, you’ll also read about Treasurer Biagio Sidoti being named the “Best School Treasurer/CFO in the State” by the Association of School Business Officials. Our District’s strong financial position is a collaborative effort of our Board of Education, administrators, teachers, and staff. As we evaluate our finances and work in the best interest of our residents, the North Royalton City Schools’ Financial Advisory and Audit Committee recently met and discussed the renewal of the District’s three upcoming emergency operating levies. After analyzing the costs to the District of placing three separate issues on the ballot, as well as possible voter fatigue from the community, they recommended that the three levies be combined into one renewal levy, at no additional cost to the homeowner, and placed on the November 6, 2018, ballot. The Board of Education began their discussion of this renewal levy at their May 9 work session. To put an issue on the November ballot, the Board of Education must approve two resolutions. The first is a resolution authorizing the treasurer to certify the millage with the Cuyahoga County Fiscal Officer. The Board will consider this resolution at the June 11 regular meeting. The second is a resolution to place the issue on the ballot. Assuming the first resolution

is approved in June, the second resolution will be considered at the July 9 regular meeting. This renewal levy is necessary to provide funding to maintain current programs and services and, again, will not result in any additional costs to homeowners or businesses. Residents are encouraged to contact me, a Board of Education member, or Treasurer Biagio Sidoti with any questions, or attend the June 11 meeting at 7 pm in the Community Room at North Royalton High School. Once again, I want to congratulate the Class of 2018 and wish them all the best in their future endeavors. All of us here in the North Royalton School District wish our school families and residents a happy and relaxing summer. Thank you for all of your support of our students and programs. I hope that you take a moment to read the many ways we are “inspiring great” throughout the District highlighted in this edition of the Bear Way. I welcome your thoughts and comments. Please call me at 440582-9030 or email me at greg.gurka@ Sincerely, Greg Gurka Superintendent North Royalton City Schools

What exactly is the “Bear Way?” It’s not just a saying, or title of a magazine, but a way of life here in our District. It is a sense of pride students have in their schoolwork and how they manage their extracurricular activities while keeping an eye on succeeding academically. It is a sense of pride teachers have when they continually go the extra mile to make sure every student receives a personalized eduation and succeeds.


North Royalton Bear Way

SCHOOL BUILDINGS ALBION ELEMENTARY SCHOOL (Grades K-4) Vince Ketterer, Principal 9360 Albion Rd. North Royalton, Ohio 44133 Phone 440-582-9060


ROYAL VIEW ELEMENTARY SCHOOL (Grades Preschool-4) Kirk Pavelich, Principal 13220 Ridge Rd. North Royalton, Ohio 44133 Phone 440-582-9080 VALLEY VISTA ELEMENTARY SCHOOL (Grades K-4) Jeff Hill, Principal 4049 Wallings Rd. North Royalton, Ohio 44133 Phone 440-582-9101 NORTH ROYALTON MIDDLE SCHOOL (Grades 5-8) Jeff Cicerchi, Principal 14709 Ridge Rd. North Royalton, Ohio 44133 Phone 440-582-9120 NORTH ROYALTON HIGH SCHOOL (Grades 9-12) Sean Osborne, Principal 14713 Ridge Rd. North Royalton, Ohio 44133 Phone 440-582-7801

In the most recent U.S. News & World Report ranking, North Royalton City Schools ranked 88th in the state as one of the best high schools in the country. Last year, we ranked 98th. Congratulations to our staff, students, and families for this accomplishment.

Inspiring and Empowering Learners . . . North Royalton City Schools #NRinspiregreat



6579 Royalton Rd. North Royalton, Ohio 44133 Phone 440-237-8800 Superintendent | Greg Gurka | 440-582-9030 Treasurer | Biagio Sidoti | 440-582-9045 Assistant Superintendent | Jim Presot | 440-582-9034 Director of Personnel | Pat Farrell | 440-582-9036 Director of Curriculum & Instruction | Melissa Vojta | 440-582-9038 Director of Pupil Services | Julie Bogden | 440-582-9140 (Health/Nursing Services, Home Schooling, Residency/Custody, Special Education Programs & Services, Gifted Services)

Mrs. Jackie Arendt jackie.arendt@ 440-230-1567

Dr. Susan G. Clark susan.clark@ 440-390-8794

Mrs. Heidi Dolezal heidi.dolezal@ 440-237-8258

Director of Instructional Technology and Preschool Coordinator | Mike McGinnis | 440-582-9055 Communication | Charlene Paparizos | 440-582-9031 Food Services | Mary Ellen Feigi | 440-582-9041 Maintenance | Dave Albert | 440-582-9043 Transportation | Greg Hovan | 440-582-9151 Before and After School Care (at Valley Vista Elementary) | 440-582-9108 Dr. John H. Kelly john.kelly@ 440-552-0864

Mrs. Anne Reinkober anne.reinkober@ 440-582-3281

Spring 2018 3




BOARD RESOLUTION ON SCHOOL SAFETY AND REDUCING VIOLENCE IN SCHOOLS At the March 12 North Royalton Board of Education meeting, Board members passed a resolution supporting school safety and reducing violence in schools. It reads: WHEREAS, school violence has become an epidemic in the United States of America; WHEREAS, the children and school employees of our nation deserve to attend school without fear of death or injury, and their families deserve to send them to school without the same fear; WHEREAS, there is a mutual responsibility of all citizens to address this problem and the responsibility for preventing violent incidents cannot be relegated to school districts alone; WHEREAS, multiple studies have shown that the majority of Americans support action to eliminate violence in our schools; WHEREAS, school board members, administrators, employees, and community members should work together with lawmakers, legal counsel, law enforcement, and security experts to determine how best to ensure student safety in their district; THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the North Royalton Board of Education implores the President of the United States, the Governor of the State of Ohio, the United States Congress, and the Ohio General


North Royalton Bear Way

Assembly to prioritize the protection of students and school employees by enacting legislation with funding for the following: 1. Enhanced mental health services and substance abuse treatment so that all individuals, including children, have sufficient access to these services. 2. Increased access to school safety measures, including, but not limited to, School Resource Officers (SROs), school safety infrastructure, and other security measures designed to protect students and staff from an active shooter on school grounds. 3. Training for school employees and enhanced coordination with law enforcement agencies and first responders to ensure appropriate responses to incidents of violence in schools. 4. Preserving the balance between the right to own firearms and the protection of students and school employees from any act of violence.


TREASURER NAMED “BEST IN THE STATE” Treasurer Biagio Sidoti of North Royalton City Schools was named one of the best in the State of Ohio. On April 18, Sidoti was named the 2018 Treasurer/CFO of the Year by the Ohio Association of School Business Officials. He received the award at the organization’s state conference in Columbus. School Board Member Dr. John Kelly, on behalf of the Board of Education, along with Assistant Superintendent Jim Presot and Superintendent Greg Gurka, nominated Sidoti for the award. Sidoti has been with the District since 2014. “Biagio has the ability to communicate and discuss all sides of an issue to assure decisions that are made will be the right decisions,” said Gurka. “He understands the bottom line is not just on a balance sheet, but it is the ability of the District to meet the individual needs of the students it serves. Whether it is in small oneon-one conversations or larger group administrative team meetings, Biagio is a resource for our principals and directors to allow them to do their jobs effectively. Biagio cares about the students in our District and he understands the big picture of education. Not only that, he advocates for our students and works to provide the means to support programs that will enhance their learning experiences.” Sidoti and his staff consistently receive the Auditor of State Award with Distinction for a “clean” financial audit report. This year marks the 25th time the District received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association. Sidoti also made sure that the District was one of the first in the State of Ohio to post all records on the State’s online checkbook website. Sidoti has

tripled the District interest revenues by thorough and more lucrative investing practices. He refinanced the North Royalton Middle School bonds saving more than $900,000 for the District. After the approval of our bond issue in May of 2017, he was instrumental in the District receiving an Aa2 bond rating through Moody’s, which allowed him to issue $88.9 million in construction bonds at a very favorable interest rate. “Biagio provides inspiration for our administrative team and staff to allow them to inspire greatness in our students,” said Gurka. “He is conscientious, organized, and is committed to providing our staff with the means to provide students with a high-quality education.” “Biagio is one of those treasurers that is able to see beyond the numbers and is willing to share his insight and provide advice to help our leadership team and our Board of Education,” said Presot. “Everyone has confidence in his preparation of our budget and the day-to-day financial operations of the District under his leadership. He is able to take a complicated topic such as school finance and make it relatable to each person’s knowledge base and level of experience. Biagio works tirelessly to ensure that all stakeholders are informed and well-versed in the financial structure of our District.” “Biagio was at the forefront of discussions with the community over several bond issue campaigns,” said Dr. Kelly. “Over that time, he educated the community and answered complex questions. There is no question his presence and calm demeanor were a huge factor in the eventual passage of a thorough and comprehensive facilities bond issue. The plan that is underway at this time will address and resolve facilities issues in the District for decades. He is continuing those communication efforts even after passage by being available and leading discussions with the Financial Advisory and Audit Committee and the Community Facilities Advisory Committee, a group formed to enhance communication on bond issue expenditures.”

Spring 2018 5



NORTH ROYALTON CITY SCHOOLS RECOGNIZE STUDENTS AT BOARD MEETINGS On March 12, the North Royalton City Schools recognized several students at its Regular Board Meeting.

given him a positive attitude, and makes his school day more enjoyable because he works with such a wonderful mentor.

Albion Elementary

Avery believes to be a good leader you have to help people in any way you can. “We can learn so much from Avery’s example of leadership,” said Principal Jeff Hill. “The Peer Assistance Program will be an experience that students will always be able to look back on and know it made a difference in their lives both in and out of the classroom.” Hill thanked the teachers for their genuine passion and dedication to Valley Vista, as well as the students, for making this program a success.

Kris Mounts, a fourth-grader at Albion Elementary, was recognized for his amazing growth and personal success in school. Kris is part of Albion’s Bridges Classroom where he is a role model and student leader. Kris helps other students learn the tools and strategies of self-control that he has learned and mastered. “His open and honest personality and his hilarious sense of humor win everyone over,” said Principal Vince Ketterer. “Kris is a true ambassador of the Albion Way.”

Valley Vista Elementary Avery Keitlen and Jeremias Benitez Polanco, students at Valley Vista Elementary, were recognized for their involvement in the school’s Peer Assistance Program. The program encourages students to serve as mentors and role models for their peers, whether it is through personal growth or academic excellence. Students are responsible for countless activities and demonstrate effective communication and leadership skills. Avery and Jeremias have been working together for three months, and Jeremias has shown great progress in his academics. This growth has built his self-esteem,


North Royalton Bear Way

Royal View Elementary As the District has been working with ThenDesign Architecture on designing the new elementary building, there have been a number of discussions on ways to reimagine learning spaces and maximize resources for students. “Any time you are asking people to do things differently than the way they are used to, they can feel uncomfortable,” said Principal Kirk Pavelich. “As we plan for different ways to utilize learning space at the new building, staff members are going to need to embrace different ways of using instructional spaces. To help with that shift, I decided to lead by example and change the way I was using the space in my office.” Pavelich teamed with Curriculum Facilitator Ann Radefeld and assembled a group of six Royal View Elementary students who would help him “Ditch the Desk” in the principal’s office. For their efforts with the project, Pavelich and Radefeld recognized

fourth-graders Sienna Bokoch, Roman Gambino, Christopher Hoffman, and Alex Sutkowski, third-grader Cali Wise, and second-grader Sophia Koukios. “Mr. Pavelich saw a picture on Twitter of one of his administrative colleagues in another district who totally redesigned her office to make it more student friendly,” said Radefeld. “That’s when we decided to do the same thing at Royal View so we needed to reach out to the experts - the students - to get ideas on what they wanted to see.” Pavelich said the students immediately recognized that his desk was taking up way too much space in the office and had to go. He swapped it out for a smaller one, and then brought in student recommendations such as a carpeted reading area, a bean bag chair, and other flexible seating options. Per student input, the reading area included a selection of books appropriate to the various levels at Royal View, ranging from Mo Willems’ books for preschool through first-grade, to The Day the Crayons Quit series by Drew Daywalt for second and third-graders. The bottom shelf contains a Treasury of American Presidents, Dr. Seuss classics, and The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. “I knew there had to be a better way of utilizing the space in my office to make it more student-centered and kid friendly,” said Pavelich. “I am grateful for the input of the ‘Ditch the Desk’ design team because they have enabled me to lead the way for my staff in showing how we need to think differently as we prepare for the move to our new elementary building.”

North Royalton Middle School North Royalton Middle School Science Olympiad team members, along with President Halina Tri-Leanza (eighth-grade), Vice President Merlin Scaria (seventhgrade), Secretary Soham Shah (sixth-grade) and Treasurer Sandheep Ranganathan (seventh-grade), were recognized at the March meeting. “This is the first year that Science Olympiad has existed at the middle school, and it certainly is having a positive impact on our students,” said Principal Jeff Cicerchi. They have competed at the Mentor Invitational and the Region 4: Northern Regional Tournament at St. Ignatius.

Team members include Michael Armbruster, Steve Charles, Varuni Chopra, Kyan Davis, Wyatt Davis, Alyssa DeAngelis, Gurucharan Ganapathi, Sunny Jayaram, Joe Joseph, Akshita Kannan, Rishit Kapoor, Harikrishnan Kasi, Prathisha Krishna, Allison Krzywicki, Kripa Kumaran, Arin Mehta, Pankti Mehta, Elizabeth Meyer, Shivam Pandya, Parija Patel, Lily Postma, Arleen Rai, Rasleen Rai, Vedant Rakhonde, Shaun Sekura, Brandon Sekura, Neerja Shah, Aangee Vakil, Aurora Villanueva, Bryna Walker, and Nicholas Wislocki.

North Royalton High School Jim Berry, a sophomore at North Royalton High School, and his mother, Barbara, were recognized for starting a philanthropy effort where they distribute Mrs. Berry’s handmade scarves and neck warmers to those in need. Jim packages the scarves and includes a note on a red tag that says, “I was handmade for you. If you are cold and need me, please take me.” When they have a good stockpile of scarves and neck warmers, they drive into downtown Cleveland where Jim strategically places these handmade items where they can be found by those in need. “This is kindness at the most simple and personal level,” said Principal Sean Osborne. “Jim is not someone who is out looking for attention. In fact, he seems quite shy, but I feel he and his mom deserve our gratitude and admiration for their good works. They represent what is good about our school and community and definitely ‘Inspire Great.’”

Spring 2018 7



On April 9, the North Royalton City Schools recognized several students at its Regular Board Meeting.

Albion Elementary During March, Albion Elementary began a before-school program called “Mindful Mornings.” More than 50 third and fourth-graders dedicated to empowering themselves arrived early to school every Tuesday and Thursday to participate. They showed up ready and eager to engage in a different type of test preparation organized and led by English Language Arts Teacher Shannon Kincaid. Students that attended learned how mindful practices such as breathing, meditation, yoga, and the growth mindset can not only help them before an AIR test but also help them in life. Those in attendance at the April meeting included Leah Thompson, Stefanie Tsybulya, Angela Armbruster, Alyssa Buffa, Naisha Chopra, Morgan Felice, Ava Grugle, Madeline Holloran, Aidan Moroney, and Elizabeth Nuzzo.

Valley Vista Elementary After Valley Vista Elementary’s Veterans Day assembly, the school gave fourth-grade students an opportunity to learn more about the brave men and women who serve the United States. The students learned about the qualifications and training required to become a member of the Special Operations branch of the military. They also wrote letters of support during recess to one of those

units at Fort Bragg. “Recess is a lot to give up when you’re in the fourth grade,” said Principal Jeff Hill. “We were so happy that 37 students chose to join the group under the supervision and direction of Kathy Jayjack.” Letters were mailed to the unit, and a few weeks later, the students received a letter from the Captain. It began: “On behalf of our entire unit, I’d like to thank you for all your kind words. I know you sacrificed valuable recess time to learn about our profession and to write all those wonderful letters. Lately, all of the men on my team have been through some difficult times, and it means the world that you are thinking about us.” Then, one by one, the Captain addressed the questions the students had asked in their letters. The Captain concluded by writing, “Thank you again for taking the time to write all those letters. Everyone on the detachment is very grateful for the time and sacrifice you put into learning about our profession. Keep up the work and study hard. Special Forces isn’t for everyone, but you’re all capable of being great, no matter what profession you choose.” Special recognition also was given to the teachers for their genuine passion and dedication in making this program a success. “Congratulations to our wonderful students for their effort and all their hard work in working together and striving for personal growth and academic excellence at Valley Vista,” said Hill. Students recognized included Lucee Adkins, Arianna Bokman, Kira Caram, Ema Ciric, Jayden Costanzo, Avery Keitlen, Rocco Laurie, Cooper McCarthy, Logan Miller, Thomas Perkins, Olivia Podlogar, Camryn Supelak, and Jackie Yaacoub.

Royal View Elementary Brianna Jacin, a second-grader at Royal View Elementary, was recognized for recently cutting eight inches of her hair to donate to an organization called Children With Hair Loss. “Brianna is an awesome kid and a fantastic student in Mrs. Michelle Fozio’s class,” said Principal Kirk Pavelich. “Also, as an eight-year-old, she already has developed strong compassion and caring for others, which are qualities we love and appreciate in all of our elementary students.” This was the second time Brianna donated to the cause. Children With Hair Loss’ mission is to empower children to become whole again by making hair available to those


North Royalton Bear Way

who may be financially challenged and might otherwise not have a means of obtaining the hair they want and need. Their goal is to assist as many of these children as possible in changing their lives by improving their outlook and empowering them with a degree of self-confidence that will allow them to face the world with renewed selfesteem.

Pennsylvania and passed away at the age of 117 in North Royalton. He is buried in the North Royalton Cemetery.

“Brianna represents herself beautifully in the classroom and at Royal View Elementary,” said Mrs. Fozio. “Her latest report card is a reflection of her academic ability and performance, earning all “S+’s” and “S’s” this quarter, with the highest possible marks across the board in work habits. More importantly, Brianna goes out of her way to include other children and show kindness, making sure nobody is ever left out. She comes to school smiling and ready to start the new day, which always makes me smile.”

Nine students from North Royalton High School who attend Cuyahoga Valley Career Center (CVCC) were recoginzed at the April board meeting. CVCC offers 27 programs available in 13 career fields. Every year, dozens of students from North Royalton High School attend CVCC with students from seven other area schools. Of the 27 programs offered, nine programs have named a North Royalton High School student as their “Outstanding Student” for the 2017-18 school year. Of these students, six are officers of their classes and one, Mike Gilbert, is the President of the National Technical Honor Society.

Also, Brianna recently won a contest at the school’s annual Jump Yard Fundraiser where she got to choose a subject for Mr. Pavelich to teach to her fellow students. After weeks of thought and deliberation, Brianna revealed at the Board meeting that she would like Mr. Pavelich to teach math because she thought her classmates would enjoy a lesson in that subject from the principal.

North Royalton Middle School Each year, all eighth-grade students have the opportunity to commemorate the legacy of John Shepherd, a veteran of George Washington’s Army in the Revolutionary War. North Royalton Middle School eighth-grader Julia Lam was recognized as the recipient of the John Shepherd Scholarship. She will have her entire field trip to Washington, D.C. paid for by the generous donations of many people from across the country who want to help in commemorating Mr. Shepherd’s legacy. To be considered for this scholarship, students were required to write an essay with the goal of commemorating John Shepherd’s legacy. Shepherd was born near Philadelphia,

The conclusion of Lam’s essay reads, “Sergeant John Shepherd lived a remarkable life and is seen as a local hero and a strong man. He survived both the French and Indian War and persevered through hardships of the Revolutionary War. Sergeant John Shepherd took part in the early settlement of North Royalton, and he will be with the city to the end.”

North Royalton High School

These students include: Timothy Deutsch - Programming and Software Developing II Valerie Garrett - Media Technology II Michael Gilbert - Construction Trades II Matt Griffie - Graphic Imaging II Jessica Harsoulas - Dental Assisting II Madelyn Jablonsky - Health Careers II Cameron Kuruc - Heating and Air Conditioning II Michael Kufner - Sales and Service II Jacob Maskovich - Power Equipment Technology II “These students are just another representation of what is great about our school and community,” said Principal Sean Osborne, North Royalton High School. “These students definitely ‘Inspire Great.’”


Spring 2018 9



The North Royalton High School Varsity Gymnastics team was recognized for their outstanding season. They took sixth place as a team in the state tournament, achieving their highest team score of the season with a 140.625. Freshman Mya Costello achieved her personal best of 9.075 on bars and 9.15 on floor. Sophomore Avery Keller achieved a personal best on vault, scoring a huge 9.325. Freshman Hannah Haffner also achieved a personal best on bars, scoring an 8.525. Mya and Avery also hit their best all-arounds of the season. Mya scored a 36.75 and Avery scored a 36.1. The team hit their season high on bars, scoring a 34.625. They also hit their season high on vault, scoring

The North Royalton High School Varsity Swimming team was recognized for their outstanding season.

a 36.375. The Lady Bears were ranked third on the vault out of all of the teams in the state.

Head coach Mike Milliken is especially proud of his seniors and grateful for the fun they brought to swimming every day, even at 5:30 a.m. in the middle of January. “The talent is there with our entire team, and with continued commitment to year-round training and a belief in each other and the process, the Bears have a program that is built to last.”

The second day of the state tournament was individual competitions. Costello was vying for vault, bars, and all-around and Keller was on bars, floor, and allaround. “We started on the vault where Mya put up a huge 9.45,” said head coach Jessica Kaiser. “This was her second highest score of the season. The score ended up holding throughout the competition, and she wound up placing sixth in the state on this event.” Avery had a solid routine on bars scoring a 9.1, placing sixth in the state. “Both girls had solid beam and floor performances as well. Mya achieved a personal best beam with a 9.2. Both girls hit their second highest allarounds of the season: Mya (36.525) and Avery (36.0). Mya narrowly missed the podium, taking seventh place all-around. Avery ended up fourteenth in the all-around, only 0.175 out of tenth. Out of 36 girls on each event and in the all-around, these finishes are huge,” said Kaiser. The assistant coach of the team is Jodi Napier.


North Royalton Bear Way

Highlights of their season include: • 17 new team records • Winning record for the boys and girls in Suburban Conference meets • 2 District Champions (Colton Phelps, Sarah Turchanik) • 8 State Qualifiers (Phelps, Turchanik, Anna Martin, Mason Romstadt, Anna Weber, Andrew Vance, Bobby Bottomley, Rachel Weber) • 5 State Finalists (Phelps – 2 events, Turchanik, Martin, Girls Medley Relay) • 23 All-Ohio recognitions • A High School All-American (Martin – 100 Breaststroke) • Girls Medley Relay (Turchanik, Martin, A. Weber, R. Weber) up for All-American consideration • 13th place finish for girls at State Championship Meet, boys were 15th • In excess of 20 Suburban League Scholar-Athletes (criteria is 3.5 grade point average or above) • 4 swimmers who will compete at the collegiate level next season (Phelps – Oakland University, Romstadt – Cleveland State University, Martin – Miami (OH) University and A. Weber -- Calvin College)

STUDENTS MOVE ON TO STATES IN PTA REFLECTIONS CONTEST Students from all levels of North Royalton City Schools have moved on to the state level in the Ohio PTA “Reflections” contest. Each year, the PTA decides on a theme for students to reflect upon and create something based on that theme under one of 16 categories. This year’s theme was “Within Reach.” The categories cover literature, music composition, photography, visual arts, special artist, film/video production, and dance choreography. North Royalton schools had 70 students participate in all grade levels. First, second, and third place winners received Amazon gift cards.

Literature, Photography, and Dance Choreography Jackson Brihn, second-grade, Royal View Elementary In the intermediate grade levels

Visual Arts - Lily Postma, fifth-grade, NRMS

Literature - Naisha Chopra, fourth-grade, Albion Elementary Photography - Milin Mathur, fourth-grade, Valley Vista Elementary Dance Choreography - Madeline Holloran, fourthgrade, Albion Elementary

First place entries at each school were sent on to be judged at the council level, and North Royalton’s PTA Council received 23 entries. From these entries, the Council announced 16 winners who will be advancing to the state level. These winners received an extra prize from Council PTA. Students are judged in grade ranges of K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. Winners in the following grades:

In the middle school grade levels

In the primary grade levels

In the high school grade levels

Visual Arts - Thomas Visocky, first-grade, Royal View Elementary

Visual Arts - Amulya Tiralapuram Literature - Gabrielle Brihn

Photography - Alexander Brihn Special Artist - Jude Carver

Visual Arts and Photography - Joseph Krzywicki Literature - Rachel Pavelich

Music Composition - Elaine Slaby

Spring 2018 11



On May 14, the North Royalton City Schools recognized several students at its Regular Board Meeting.

Elementary Schools Alex Kelley (Albion Elementary), Zachary Horiba (Royal View Elementary) and Zoe Amburn (Valley Vista Elementary) were recognized for being “Principals of the Day.” These future leaders won this experience at the annual PTA fundraiser held at the Jump Yard. Students shadowed their principals on May 4. The day included supervising bus arrival and dismissal, doing the morning announcements, observing classrooms, meeting with the lunch staff and custodians to get a better understanding of their responsibilities, and attending and being recognized at a District curriculum meeting. The students also enjoyed participating in a working lunch with Superintendent Greg Gurka where they reviewed the designs of the new elementary school. Photo: Zoe Amburn (Valley Vista) and Alex Kelley (Albion) with Superintendent Greg Gurka, Valley Vista Elementary Principal Jeff Hill, Royal View Elementary Principal Kirk Pavelich, and Albion Elementary Principal Vince Ketterer. Not pictured: - Zachary Horiba (Royal View)

North Royalton Middle School On May 3, the North Royalton Middle School Art Department held a Student Art Show to showcase artwork that students created outside the school day. “These students make art because they have a drive and a desire to create,” said Principal Jeff Cicerchi. “It’s an opportunity for them to share their passions and feel the rush of pride as others view their work.” Students recognized were fifth-grader Josh Townley, sixth-grader Alanna Olman, and seventh-grader Andrew Elzholz. Not in attendance at the board meeting were Hope Mlecik, Michaela Mlecik, and Scott Sopata, who also were recognized for their musical performance at the art show. Photo: Andrew Elzholz, Alanna Olman, Josh Townley with Principal Jeff Cicerchi


North Royalton Bear Way


North Royalton High School Elaine Slaby was recognized by the North Royalton Board of Education for her submission of an original composition to the PTA Reflections contest where she took first place in the state. She spent almost a year writing the song in memory of her friend’s mother who passed away. Music Teacher David Vitale encouraged Slaby to submit her composition to the PTA Reflections contest. Slaby performed her song at the May 14 meeting.

Spring 2018 13



NORTH ROYALTON CITY SCHOOLS CELEBRATE NATIONAL SCHOOL BREAKFAST WEEK North Royalton City Schools celebrated National School Breakfast Week during the week of March 5-9. The theme of the week connected school breakfast with familiar and fun hearts, emojis, and smiles. Each school raffled a bike to a lucky winner. Each student’s name was entered every time he/she bought a breakfast meal. National studies have shown that students who eat school breakfast are more likely to maintain a healthy weight, have better concentration and memory, be more alert, reach higher levels of achievement in reading and math, and score higher on standardized tests. In these schools, there are lower rates of absenteeism and tardiness, fewer behavioral problems, and more positive learning environments.

North Royalton Middle School winner Gavin Whitt - Sixth-Grade


North Royalton Bear Way

Royal View Elementary winner Uliana Korpan - First-Grade

Valley Vista Elementary winner Robert Edmiston - Second-Grade

Albion Elementary winner Carter Gaydemski - Kindergarten

NORTH ROYALTON MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS PARTAKE IN “MARVEL MONDAY” Superheroes have character traits that make them well-rounded people that set examples for others. Fifthgraders at North Royalton Middle School have been studying these traits in a lesson called, “Marvel Monday.” These lessons are taught once a month and each month presents a new “superhero” character trait that acts as the theme for the day.

create a structure that will protect an egg from breaking when dropped from a specific height. Throughout the day students used the 4-step decision making model:

On February 26, students participated in the “Marvel Monday” experience through four mini lessons that focus on the whole child rather than academics. Fifthgraders also took part in a team activity, so the trait was reinforced. The trait of the month was “responsibility.”

1. Stop to give yourself time to think. 2. Look at your options. 3. Think about the consequences of the action. 4. Decide what’s best for the majority of people involved.

The day began with a self-reflection, followed by a slideshow about responsibility. The slide show fostered discussion among students by explaining that responsibility means being accountable for your actions and knowing right from wrong. Students also watched a short video explaining that responsibility involves planning ahead, trying your best, and following through on commitments.

Students played responsibility games such as using yarn to create a net that would keep a beach ball in the air. The final activity was reading a book called, But It’s Not My Fault. The book taught the difference between fault and responsibility and students drew comic strips to illustrate these two concepts. The experience ended with students taking a follow up survey for teachers to use in future planning. Teacher Alison Novosel hopes to reinforce with her students from the read aloud, “Don’t be a blamer, you’re better than that.” Other themes for lessons focusing on the whole child included honesty, good judgement, and respect.

Following the introduction, students broke up into groups to create a “humpty dumpty” safety device. This required students to bring in materials from home to

Spring 2018 15



NORTH ROYALTON MIDDLE SCHOOL PHYSICAL EDUCATION TEACHERS NAMED INNOVATIVE EDUCATORS BY IDEASTREAM The Ideastream Education Advisory Council recently named the North Royalton Middle School physical education staff as Innovative Educators. The team of Dean Chuppa, Mario Francescone, Joe Vadini, Anna Koncius, and Karen Whitely presented their best practices on April 10 at the IDEA Center in downtown, Cleveland. They shared examples of how they integrate technology into teaching and learning in their physical education classes. “The North Royalton physical education department has embraced technology in various innovative ways,” said Director of Instructional Technology Mike McGinnis, North Royalton City Schools. “They were early adopters of various forms of technology in the classroom, from the use of music and heart rate monitors in their lessons to instructional apps like Coach’s Eye.” During the 2016-17 school year, the department members committed to implementing Google Classroom in their physical education and health classes. Google Classroom was the gateway which brought the department to further enhance their instruction with more meaningful technology-enhanced, student-centered learning experiences. At the beginning of the 2017 school year, with the incorporation of the District’s 1:1 program, the department decided that they wanted to focus on student-centered instruction rather than teacher-centric lessons. The teachers guided their students to record “howto” videos to teach others how to use the weight equipment. Through the student creation of “how-to” videos, the teachers were able to create a library of videos that they could share with absent students, parents, and future students. “In a discipline where technological innovation is often unheard of, our physical education teachers have proven to be incredible technology leaders in our middle school building and District,” said McGinnis. “We are proud of this group as they incorporate the use of technology into their daily teaching and curriculum.”


North Royalton Bear Way

ROYAL VIEW ELEMENTARY STUDENTS ENGAGE IN RIGHT TO READ WEEK From February 26 to March 2, Royal View Elementary celebrated Right to Read Week by participating in activities under the theme of “Once Upon a Time at Royal View.” On Monday, the theme was “Once Upon a Time in a Royal Land.” Students dressed like a prince, princess, or in fancy partywear. Locker decorations completed the royal day. On Tuesday, the theme was “Once Upon a Time in the Land of Word.” Students wore readable shirts to school. Wednesday’s theme was “Once Upon a Time in the Wild West,” and students dressed up in wild west attire. Thursday’s theme was “Once Upon a Time in the Land of Dr. Seuss.” Students wore Dr. Seuss shirts or red and white attire to school. They also attended FourthGrade Teacher Marta Malutza’s Right to Read Week play. Principal Kirk Pavelich played the character of the Big Bad Wolf in grandma’s clothing, along with other staff members who portrayed characters from famous fairy tales. Thursday evening was the fourth annual Family Literacy Night, as part of Royal View’s Scholastic Book Fair.

Friday ended the week with “Once Upon a Time at Royal View.” Students wore their specially-designed Royal View literacy shirt or purple and gold attire. On March 9, all grade levels attended an assembly with authors Jeanette and Christopher Canyon. The Canyons attended the Columbus College of Art and Design and use their creativity to illustrate award-winning children’s books. Jeanette has taught as an art educator at Columbus School for Girls and has worked as an educational presenter for years. Christopher teaches children’s picture book illustration at the Columbus College of Art and Design and is also a performer who plays guitar and sings. Students also participated in “drop everything and read” times throughout the week.

“I’ve always taken special satisfaction with seeing months of hard work come to fruition with special events and activities for the students,” said Pavelich. “This week was no exception, as our Right to Read Week activities and Family Literacy Night were phenomenal experiences for our students.”

Spring 2018 17



VALLEY VISTA ELEMENTARY STUDENT COUNCIL THANKS COMMUNITY MEMBERS WITH TREATS AND CARDS Valley Vista Elementary Student Council has been thanking community members for their service for several years and 2018 is no exception. In the past, they have sent cards or invited community members to breakfast, but each year is a little different.

On March 15, Student Council provided breakfast treats and thank you cards to the North Royalton police and fire departments. The theme for this act of appreciation was “Heroes Don’t Always Wear Capes.” Student Council members voted to use some of the group’s funding to purchase treats. They also contacted local businesses and received help from Giant Eagle and


North Royalton Bear Way

doughnuts from Becker’s Donuts. When first responders came to pick up their treats, students presented them with thank you cards and notes they created themselves. In addition to thanking first responders, Student Council also thanked Valley Vista bus drivers. They delivered doughnuts and “Outstanding Bus Driver Awards” to each driver in the morning. “We appreciate all they do everyday to get our students to and from school safely,” said Student Council advisors Amy King and Arynn Leety.

ROYAL VIEW ELEMENTARY FUNDRAISES ON NATIONAL BUTTERFLY DAY FOR THIRD-GRADE TEACHER MEMORIAL Butterflies are colorful creatures that bring a sense of joy to all ages. In Andy Andrews book, The Butterfly Effect, he states that everyone’s life has a purpose because no matter how far into the future someone goes, they will find someone affected by their actions. In September 2017, Erin Hassel, a third-grade teacher at Royal View Elementary, passed away after a long battle with cancer. Her life embodied the butterfly effect as she faced multiple challenges and underwent many surgeries and treatments. Through these hardships, she carried herself with joy and strength. She quietly “fluttered” around and did not want to bring attention to her illness. She wanted to continue to teach and make a difference in her students’ lives and planned to return to her third-grade classroom at Royal View Elementary once she recovered. Hassel’s courage, gentle nature, and inner strength made an impact on students, parents, colleagues, and friends today, tomorrow, and well into the future. Royal View Elementary wants to remember Hassel and honor her life with a butterfly bench as a memorial.

Contributions toward the butterfly bench are still being accepted and can be made at the North Royalton Fifth Third Bank, 6465 Royalton Road, in the name of “Butterflies for Hassel/Kleem account #990-300-5636.” Checks may be sent to Royal View Elementary in the name of “Butterflies for Hassel/Kleem” and the committee will deposit the contribution. Overflow donations will be used for Royal View’s annual scholarship for a North Royalton High School senior majoring in Education. The hope is to purchase the butterfly bench to be placed in the Royal View courtyard by spring of next school year. As students and staff look at or rest on the butterfly bench, they will hopefully remember Hassel and her outstanding qualities. If there are any questions, please contact Royal View Elementary at 440-582-9080 or email bethann.kleem@

March 14 was National Butterfly Day, and on this day Royal View Elementary sold paper butterflies that students decorated with glitter in Hassel’s memory. Students and staff who wanted to wear a glitter butterfly were asked to donate 50 cents. Donations are going towards the butterfly bench.

Spring 2018 19



VALLEY VISTA ELEMENTARY STUDENTS HAVE A CHANCE TO “GO” TO MARS On March 7, students at Valley Vista Elementary participated in a video chat with CEO and Co-Founder of Explore Mars, Inc., Chris Cranberry. Explore Mars, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that runs the largest conference in the world focused on sending humans to Mars. They influence policymakers through outreach efforts and promote collaboration and partnerships throughout the space community. Their ultimate goal is to put humans on Mars by 2033. The program was a collaboration between Explore Mars, Inc. and Nepris, an organization that aims to make industry engagement part of the everyday classroom experience. They facilitate virtual connections to allow companies to extend their education efforts to students. Gifted Intervention Specialist and Enriched Language Arts Teacher Samantha Lumpkin at North Royalton City Schools had a student doing an independent study on Mars and decided to invite other students interested in Mars to the video chat as well. The program covered the current plans for sending humans to Mars, the motivation behind organizing the historic missions, and how to get involved personally to make the Mars mission a reality. Questions answered included: When will humans walk on Mars and how will we send them? Will NASA lead these missions? Can humans live on the surface of Mars? Might we find life on Mars? What are the biggest challenges to getting to Mars? Will students today be able to go to Mars? How can I help to make this happen? “It is really incredible because Mrs. Lumpkin brings experts into her classroom to help students with their Individual Student Projects. The students are not only getting to research their topic on the Internet, but they are also talking to an expert for additional insight on the topic they have chosen,” said Curriculum Facilitator Ann Radefeld, North Royalton City Schools. “This technology has opened the doors for a whole new way of learning and we are excited to be able to offer that here in North Royalton.”


North Royalton Bear Way

Spring 2018 21



NORTH ROYALTON MIDDLE SCHOOL RECOGNIZES TWO EIGHTHGRADERS AT OHIO MIDDLE LEVEL ASSOCIATION NORTHEAST REGION “BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS” On March 14, the Ohio Middle Level Association (OMLA) Northeast Region held its annual “Breakfast of Champions” to honor student leaders. North Royalton Middle School recognized two eighth grade students, Elena Hornik and Jayden Wroblesky. Elena and Jayden were joined by 29 other students from 15 other local schools. Jayden Wroblesky has the ability to self-reflect and selfmotivate for the purpose of getting to school each and every day. He has made school attendance a top priority this year and has not missed a single day. “I’m certain that if Jayden continues to do this in high school and works hard in his classes that he will have a successful high school experience,” said Principal Jeff Cicerchi, North Royalton Middle School. Elena Hornik exemplifies the idea of the “All American Kid.” She is respectful to adults and kind to her peers. Elena works hard in all of her academic classes. “She makes the most out of every opportunity and always has a smile on her face,” said Cicerchi. She is involved in Student Council, Eighth-Grade Leadership Team, NRMS Honor Society, Jazz Band, Winter Sports Club, cheerleading, and track. “I am so grateful for being able to attend this event and have the honor of presenting our student leaders with their certificates,” said Fifth-Grade Intervention Specialist Meredith Stanton. “Their joy of accomplishment and the smiles on their faces were priceless.” The Ohio Middle Level Association is a professional organization whose members include people at all levels of education – teachers, administrators, supervisors, college personnel, and state department officials. OMLA’s purpose is to promote the middle-level concept and provide a medium for those involved with the middle-level grades in Ohio’s schools regardless of grade configuration.


North Royalton Bear Way

NORTH ROYALTON CITY SCHOOLS LIBRARY STAFF RECEIVED $500 GRANT The library staff at North Royalton City Schools received a $500 grant for merchandise credit for OverDrive or e-book database providers. This grant was offered through OverDrive, the leading digital distributor of eBooks, audiobooks, music, and video for schools, libraries, and retailers. OverDrive is a free service offered by a library or school that lets individuals borrow digital content (like eBooks and audiobooks) anytime. Every OverDrive collection is slightly different because each library or school pick the digital content they want for their users.

school community. The schools had to currently be using their promotion idea and had to show examples of their efforts through photos, student testimonials, or videos. Media Specialist Laura Whitehead and her team covered old VHS tapes in the library with book cover images, QR codes, book descriptions, and usernames/passwords to ensure people could find this information. North Royalton City Schools was among nine schools who were selected to receive a content credit of $500.

OverDrive held a “School Stars� promotion campaign for schools to show how they were promoting OverDrive in the

Spring 2018 23




North Roy School bro students en visit to FO Morning


North Royalton Bear Way

yalton High oadcasting njoyed their OX8 in the g in April.

Spring 2018 25



NORTH ROYALTON PTA PRESENTS LIFE ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS AT FOUNDERS’ NIGHT On April 19, the North Royalton PTA celebrated its founding through its annual Founders’ Night celebration in the North Royalton High School media center. The North Royalton Middle School Show Choir provided the entertainment and the evening emcees were Chris May and Helena Johnson. Superintendent Greg Gurka recited the invocation. In addition to the recognition of awards and past presidents, the PTA installed their new officers. Nellie Wislocki gave the closing remarks. Dr. John Kelly and June Pinter are the recipients of the National PTA Life Achievement Award. Cristina Hornik, Jason Kimmel, Stephanie Kostyack, Jen Porter, Jamie Steffas, and Lynn Twarog are the recipients of the Ohio PTA Achievement Awards.


North Royalton Bear Way

Spring 2018 27



NORTH ROYALTON EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES GRANT RECIPIENTS The North Royalton Educational Foundation (NREF) presented several grants to teachers and staff at its annual reception on April 24. More than 25 teachers received grants that covered all grade levels and types of learners, a wide range of curriculum subjects that focus on student-centered learning through the 4C’s - communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. The total dollar amount granted to staff this year was more than $15,000. The NREF raises money throughout the year through a number of fundraisers, including the popular Taste of North Royalton held in the fall.

Bri Caruso / Kami Likovic – Middle School – FUNctional Living

Samantha Lumpkin – All Elementary Buildings – Growing Connections through Literature

Cheryl Tenhunfeld - Middle School - Bookbag Bundles

Liz Kannel – Albion – STEM in Kindergarten

Meredith Stanton - Middle School - Math Workshop Manipulatives

Jennifer Paine – Albion – Birdmania Upgraded Amanda Fulton – Royal View – Learning Through Games Leslie Bardwell – Valley Vista - Making Reading Fun


Andrea Lemmer – Middle School – DEAR! In 7th Grade (Drop Everything And Read!) Traci Schon – Middle School – Writing Your Best Sarah Franko - Middle School - Learning with Legos Lorene Cole – Middle School – 40 Book Challenge

Beth O’Donnell / Janele Kauffman - Middle School - Everyone’s Included in Inclusion Don Filips - Middle School - #NRinspiregreat: Pass it on!

Arynn Leety – Valley Vista - Reading in a “SNAP”

Janet Boyer - Middle School - Breakout Treasure Hunt with Locks

Sarah Burrows – Valley Vista - The Magic of Song for Teaching Reading

Amy White - Middle School - Videography for 21st Century Learners

Amanda Velbeck / Marguerite Greenlee – Valley Vista - Increasing Reading Stamina for All Levels

Laura Whitehead - High School - Reading with your Ears

Betsy Meinberg – Valley Vista - Math Enrichment

Rachel Hoag - High School - Caring Closet

Denise Kuchta – Middle School - Mighteor Emotional Regulation Program

Chris Boch - High School - Geiger Counter

North Royalton Bear Way

Stacie Leatherman - High School - Reading for Pleasure and Lit Circle Bookshelf

Spring 2018 29



CONGRATULATIONS TEACHER AND SUPPORT STAFF PERSON OF THE YEAR North Royalton City Schools recognized the Teacher of the Year and Support Staff Person of the Year at the North Royalton Educational Foundation’s reception on April 24.

freshman, junior, and senior classes, advisor of the Teen Institute, Chemical-Free, Key Club, STAND, and Mock Trial. She also was an evening school instructor.

The Teacher of the Year is Kriste Smith, who is a school counselor and department head at North Royalton High School. She is also a member of the Western Cuyahoga County School Crisis Counseling Team. “Kriste leads by example, works hard, and always puts in extra time when needed,” said Superintendent Greg Gurka, North Royalton City Schools. “She is constantly trying to improve how the counseling department services students and their families, while balancing the amount of time students are out of the classroom. She is a true example of all the fine teachers, counselors, psychologists, and therapists in our District.”

“Kriste is the consummate professional who looks at each child as an individual and deeply cares about them and their well-being,” said Gurka.

Smith is a graduate of North Royalton High School and earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Education from Ohio State University. She received her Master of Education in Adult Learning and Development from Cleveland State University. She was initially hired as an aide at North Royalton Middle School in 1991. She resigned in January of 1992, to teach in Parma City Schools. Smith returned as the North Royalton High School business teacher in the fall of 1992. Then in the 2005-2006 school year, Smith was the North Royalton High School interim counselor and a fulltime counselor for the 2006-2007 school year. Smith also coached high school girls volleyball, track, and soccer, and was an assistant cheerleading coach. In her time with North Royalton City Schools, she was the advisor of the


North Royalton Bear Way

The Support Staff Person of the Year is Bob Rodriguez, who is the head custodian at Valley Vista Elementary. “Bob demonstrates outstanding qualities in his work ethic, dependability, attitude, and knowledge, but most importantly in his relationship with people and his dedication to the North Royalton City School District,” said Principal Jeff Hill, Valley Vista Elementary. “Bob has no problem working past his work day to ensure everything is in its proper place and all of his endless jobs are completed. Valley Vista gets nothing but compliments for its cleanliness and attention to detail. Bob’s to-do list is never-ending, and when he feels we are in a great place, he works harder to make things even better.” “The last few years, Bob has helped the District by taking the lead in the summer cleaning program at the elementary buildings,” said Assistant Superintendent Jim Presot, North Royalton City Schools. “All of our buildings now have the ‘Bob touch’ to them each year, and our other building principals and staff have noticed the difference. He is known for going the extra mile to make sure things are done right, and he does not take shortcuts in the process. No matter how long it takes or the effort involved, Bob is someone you can count on.”

The Teacher of the Year is Kriste Smith, who is a school counselor and department head at North Royalton High School.

The Support Staff Person of the Year is Bob Rodriguez (left), who is the head custodian at Valley Vista Elementary.

DISTRICT RECOGNIZES RETIREES Dina Spilker - Aide, Albion Elementary, retired June 8, 2017 Jon Capadona - Mechanic Supervisor, retired July 29, 2017 Walter Woloszynek - Bus Driver, Transportation - retired July 1, 2017 Carolyn Fekete - Bus Driver, Transportation- retired July 31, 2017 Susan Rudolph - Food Service Supervisor - retired March 1, 2018 Sharon Zimmer - Teacher, Middle School - retired April 28, 2018 Cheryl Krejci - Aide, Valley Vista Elementary, retiring July 1, 2018 Rita Daar - Teacher, Middle School - retiring August 1, 2018 June Pinter - Teacher, Albion - retiring August 1, 2018 Beverly Schultz - Teacher, Middle School - retiring August 1, 2018

June Pinter, Rita Daar, and Beverly Schultz attended the NREF annual reception.

Thank You All! Spring 2018 31



CONGRATULATIONS SECOND SEMESTER CRYSTAL STARFISH RECIPIENTS On Wednesday, May 23, North Royalton City Schools announced the winners of the second semester Crystal Starfish Award presented by First Federal of Lakewood. At Royal View Elementary, Jessica Lobaza, a kindergarten teacher, was presented the Crystal Starfish Teacher Award. Besides the award, she also received a $250 professional development grant from First Federal of Lakewood, a $50 gift certificate to Cleat’s restaurant and flowers from Independence Flowers and Gifts. Lobaza was nominated by several parents. Highlights of Lobaza’s nominations state . . .

Jessica Lobaza with those parents and students who nominated her for the Crystal Starfish Award.

• I am impressed with her engaging and creative lessons. Mrs. Lobaza uses creative games such as hopscotch and writing in sand and shaving cream to learn sight words. Mrs. Lobaza utilizes every moment of the day as a learning opportunity. For example, as students are lining up to get hand sanitizer, they practice rhyming words. She has a contagious positive attitude. Sometimes it is hard to tell if the kids are having more fun at the classroom parties or if it’s Mrs. Lobaza. Her enthusiasm for teaching is so important as this is the first experience many students have at school. She supports the struggling students and challenges those who can reach higher. She is excellent at communicating with parents. I have loved following her classroom on Instagram because it gives me insight as to what they are doing in class. It allows me to have more valuable conversations with my daughter when I can say, “Tell me about what are you doing in this


North Royalton Bear Way

picture.” Students are often completing STEM activities in this kindergarten class. Whether is it designing new utensils to eat green eggs and ham, building standing paper snowmen, or creating turkey traps, Mrs. Lobaza’s students are learning while having fun. Mrs. Lobaza is also involved in the planning of the new school. She cares about her current students’ needs as well as what our future students will need. Mrs. Lobaza is making a positive difference in the lives of her students. She is helping them to grow and instilling a love of learning in them. • She has had our daughter, who has down syndrome and severe apraxia, for two years. She works beautifully with her and even got her more time with typical peers. Our daughter has thrived because of Mrs. Lobaza and her ability to play to her strengths and work on her areas that need help.

• My daughter loves school and her teacher. Mrs. Lobaza is kind and patient and an amazing teacher who has introduced my daughter to a world of positive possibilities. She has instilled a love of learning that she will carry throughout life. What more could you ask from a teacher? • Mrs. Lobaza is always very enthusiastic about learning and has instilled a love of lifelong learning in my son. • Mrs. Lobaza has now taught two of my children. She makes learning fun and it is amazing how much the children are learning and don’t even know because they are having so much fun. She has the best personality and the kids naturally just love her. She goes above and beyond for them, and it truly shows. She has a passion for teaching. I know my child is safe in her presence. • When my daughter started kindergarten, she was highly reserved and would rarely participate when in a large group. I have seen such a change in her confidence, and she now actively participates in the classroom. Diana Hudec, an aide at Albion Elementary, was the recipient of the Crystal Starfish Support Staff Award. Along with the award, First

Federal of Lakewood presented her with a $50 gift certificate to Cleat’s restaurant and flowers from Independence Flowers and Gifts. Highlights of Hudec’s parent nomination state . . . • Mrs. Hudec has been an invaluable asset to my son. He is part of the Bridges program at Albion Elementary, and Mrs. Hudec has been working with my son since he started at Albion in first grade. He is now in third grade. She is a constant support to my son and works hard with him through his classwork and when he struggles with his emotions. I feel like Mrs. Hudec loves my son and cares for him like she would her children. He always comes home with stories about Mrs. Hudec and how she helped him throughout the day. I feel at ease knowing that my son goes to school every day and has the support and love of Mrs. Hudec.

“Both Jessica and Diana are deserving of this recognition and really exemplify what it means to inspire great in others. Because they are so dedicated, it inspires those around them to do better and move from good to great. That’s all you can ask for in a person!” said Superintendent Greg Gurka, North Royalton City Schools. First Federal of Lakewood Crystal Starfish awards are presented to support staff members and teachers who make a difference in their schools and go above and beyond in all that they do. “Every day, teachers and staff of North Royalton City Schools are making a difference,” said Branch Operations Manager Tiffany Cardenas, First Federal of Lakewood. “Our bank is honored to partner with the District, enabling these special individuals to be recognized publicly for their contributions.”

Diana Hudec and her classroom teachers and students.

Spring 2018 33




North Royalton Bear Way

The Bear Way - Spring 2018  

The Bear Way is the digital magazine of North Royalton City Schools.

The Bear Way - Spring 2018  

The Bear Way is the digital magazine of North Royalton City Schools.