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Valley Vista Elementary’s Buddy Bench . . . Page 3




North Royalton City Schools’ Digital Magazine for the Community

SPRING 2015 SPRING 2015 1



May is a busy time of the year for North Royalton City Schools as we have an abundance of end of year activities, while at the same time, work to prepare for the start of the 2015-16 school year.

we eliminated many positions and took a serious look at where else we could reduce spending.

Six years later, the district continues to examine all positions and is determining what our future looks In one week, our seniors will like financially. This year alone, we walk across the stage at the State have 19.5 retirements/resignations. Theater and commence from North We determined that 7.5 of Royalton High School. We have been those positions can be reduced, fortunate to serve these students restructured, or eliminated. We throughout their educational career need to create four new positions, and hope that we have made as so there is a net loss of 3.5 positions. much of an impact on their lives as These staff changes, coupled with they have made a positive impact the closing of the ECC, will yield a on our district and community. We savings to the district of a little more wish them much success and know than $1 million. that they will make us proud as they move onto their next steps at college This is not accidental and takes a lot or in careers. of effort and dedication. I want to thank our Treasurer, Biagio Sidoti, At May’s Board of Education and our administrative team and meeting, we had many staff for their efforts to provide a presentations, announcements and top-notch educational program actions including the adoption of that is valued by our community at our five-year financial forecast. one of the lowest costs per pupil in Cuyahoga County. As I mentioned at the board meeting, in 2009, our district passed We also congratulate our second an operating levy and at the time, we semester Crystal Starfish Award hoped for it to last three years. Just recipients sponosred by First Federal one year later in 2010, a recession hit of Lakewood ... Mr. Chuck Tesar and the state started making cuts to of North Royalton Middle School public school funding. As a result, and Mrs. Dawn Filippi of North

Royalton High School. It is very clear that both of these individuals deserved to be recognized for their hard work, compassion and dedication not only to the district but to the students and staff and community whose lives they touch on a daily basis. They are a true representation of all of the outstanding staff members that make up the North Royalton Schools. You can read more about the surprise award presentation on Page 36-37 of the Bear Way. I hope that you find this edition of the Bear Way magazine informative and a good way to keep you up to date on the happenings of our schools and the Board of Education. I would welcome any thoughts and comments that you have in regards to this or anything dealing with the North Royalton City Schools. Please call me at 440-582-9030 or email me at greg.gurka@ 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 the 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. 2 • The NR Bear Way

School Buildings Early Childhood Center (ECC) Mike McGinnis, Principal Lil’ Bears Preschool (Preschool and Kindergarten) 9543 Broadview Rd. - Bldg. 16 Broadview Hts., Ohio 44147 Phone 440-582-9039 Albion Elementary School (Grades 1-4) Julie Bogden, Principal 9360 Albion Rd. North Royalton, Ohio 44133 Phone 440-582-9060 Royal View Elementary School (Grades 1-4) Kirk Pavelich, Principal 13220 Ridge Rd. North Royalton, Ohio 44133 Phone 440-582-9080 Valley Vista Elementary School (Grades 1-4) 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) Mic Becerra, Principal 14713 Ridge Rd. North Royalton, Ohio 44133 Phone 440-582-7801

Administration 6579 Royalton Rd. North Royalton, Ohio 44133 Phone 440-237-8800 Superintendent 440-582-9030 Greg Gurka Treasurer 440-582-9045 Biagio Sidoti Assistant Superintendent 440-582-9034 Jim Presot Director of Personnel 440-582-9036 Pat Farrell Director of Curriculum & Instruction 440-582-9038 Melissa Vojta Director of Pupil Services - 440-582-9140 Susan Welch

Valley Vista’s New Buddy Bench Throughout the school year, Valley Vista Elementary has been working to promote character education and foster a positive school climate. In collaboration with PTA, the school has installed a “Buddy Bench” on their playground. This bench will serve as a safe place for students to sit when they may be having a conflict with another student, may not have someone to play with, feeling sad or looking to build a new friendship. “We are hoping that this bench will be a positive reminder to our students to reach out to others who

may be in need of a ‘buddy,’” said Principal Jeff Hill. As part of a district initiative, Valley Vista, Albion and Royal View have developed committees to implement a new OLWEUS bullying prevention program, which is set to launch in the 2015-2016 school year. “Our goal is for the ‘Buddy Bench’ to serve as a simple and visible reminder on our playground, where we collectively will work together to spread kindness throughout our Valley Vista community,” concluded Hill.

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

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

Dr. Susan G. Clark susan.clark@ 440-582-5825

Dr. John H. Kelly john.kelly@ 440-552-0864

(Health/Nursing Services, Home Schooling, Residency/Custody, Special Education Programs & Services, Gifted Services)

Central Registration 440-582-9131 Rosanne Kacenjar Communication 440-582-9031 Charlene Paparizos Food Services 440-582-9041 Sue Rudolph Maintenance 440-582-9043 Dave Albert Technology 440-582-9042 John Nickell Transportation 440-582-9151

Joe Marcinowski

Before and After School Care (at Valley Vista Elementary) 440-582-9108

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

Mrs. Barbara Zindroski barbara.zindroski@ 440-237-9831

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State School Funding System . . . How it Impacts North Royalton City School Taxpayers Biagio Sidoti, Treasurer, North Royalton City Schools

A History ...

The State School Funding System has seen its share of changes over the last decade. It has evolved to our current state funding system that continues to rely on the taxpayers of North Royalton City Schools. Let’s take a look at the evolution of State Funding Formulas since 2007: 2009-2011

Evidenced Based Model


provided for an “adequate amount” of State education aid calculated as the sum of a number of delineated factors calculated based on a school district’s number of “organizational units.”


Foundation Program

utilized a per pupil “formula amount” to computer base-cost funding and some categorical funding.

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State Budget Act

repealed the funding system for the city, exempted village and local school districts. It was enacted as part of the previous State biennial budget act.


The Temporary Formula

allocated state funding to school districts based on a wealth-adjusted portion of their State education aid for fiscal year 2011.

2015-2017 ?

The Complexity of State School Funding ... What is an Opportunity Grant? Under the funding formula established in the State Budget Act, the State Department of Education (the Department) computes and pays to each city, exempted village, and local school district, an annual “Opportunity Grant” determined by multiplying a specified base amount per pupil by:

As with Opportunity Grant funds, special education, kindergarten through third grade literacy, limited English proficiency and career-technical funds are subject to the State Share Index. Certain other categories of funding, including pupil transportation funding, are funded in whole or in part by the State outside of the core funding formula.

1. The school district’s “average daily membership” (ADM), generally a full-time equivalent number of students to be certified biannually by each school district to the Department, and 2. An index (the State Share Index) dependent on factors such as a school district’s tax valuation and wealth indicators. In general, the State Share Index will be higher for school districts with lower tax valuation or lower median income residents, resulting in relatively higher State education aid per ADM unit for such school districts. For Fiscal Year 2014, the base amount was $5,745 and for Fiscal Year 2015 the base amount is $5,800.

Notwithstanding the amount of State education aid a school district would receive under the funding formulas described above, funding increases for core funding and pupil transportation funding were capped at not more than 6.25% of the previous year’s applicable State aid for Fiscal Year 2014 and are capped at not more than 10.5% of the previous year’s applicable State aid for Fiscal Year 2015. All school districts are guaranteed to receive in Fiscal Years 2014 and 2015 at least the amount of State aid as they received in Fiscal Year 2013.

Other Forms of State Education Aid: In addition to such Opportunity Grants, school districts may also receive, as applicable, State education aid in the form of: 1. Targeted assistance based on tax valuation and income factors, 2. Targeted assistance based on a percentage of a school district’s agricultural property, 3. A specific amount based on six categories of disabilities for special education and related services, 4. Kindergarten through third grade literacy funds, 5. Funds related to economic disadvantage, 6. A specific amount for each of three English proficiency categories, 7. Gifted identification funds, 8. Gifted unit funding, 9. A specific amount for each of five career-technical categories, and 10. Career-technical education associated services funds.

What Does this Mean to North Royalton City School Taxpayers? There can be no assurance concerning future funding levels for or the details of State funding for school districts. As indicated above, the General Assembly has the power to amend the system of State school funding. As has been the case with the Temporary Formula, the Evidence Based Model and the Foundation Program, funding has also been subject to adjustment during a biennium. North Royalton City Schools, nor any other school district in the state, cannot predict whether, when or in what form any future system of State school funding will be enacted into law. It is our conclusion that the State Funding System for school districts will continue to have North Royalton City Schools rely on local property owners to fund the educational cost of our students.

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Preschool/Kindergarten To Move Back to Three Elementary Schools The North Royalton City Schools’ Board of Education passed a resolution at its board meeting on March 9 to close the Early Childhood Center (ECC) and move Pre-K and Kindergarten to Albion Elementary, Royal View Elementary, and Valley Vista Elementary for the start of the 2015-16 school year. The discussion was initiated after examining elementary level enrollment for the 2015-2016 school year and the number of retirements in the district. This in turn creates open classrooms that could accommodate the Kindergarten children at all three buildings and the Pre-K moving to Royal View Elementary, with the addition of a possible modular unit at Royal View Elementary. The educational benefits of having the Pre-K and Kindergarten students return to our three elementary schools were a major factor in this decision. Driving factors in the decision-making process include: * Students will have appropriatesized classroom space for early childhood learning and also not have to transition out of one building to another at such an early age. Students will be in one building for five years, with the added benefit of being in a school 6 • The NR Bear Way

environment surrounding by older peers and participating in all school assemblies and educational programs. * Preschool and kindergarten students will be able to utilize the elementary school’s technology and computer labs, as well as receive a more enriching opportunity for special classes such as art, music, and physical education in a gymnasium.

challenges of the Early Childhood Center’s ability to deliver the highest educational experience possible for the district’s youngest learners with no disruption to current programs and services.

“I have been in discussion with Sam Alai, Mayor of the City of Broadview Heights and he understands and supports the move due to the positive educational benefits to the children,” said Superintendent Greg Gurka. “I * There will be transportation want to personally thank Mayor improvements, such as reduced Alai, Director of Economic length of bus rides for preschool and Development Dave Schroedel kindergarten students, being able and the entire City of Broadview to ride the bus with siblings and Heights for their support of our consistent pick up/drop off times students, staff and programs over for families. the years. I know this relationship that we have developed will * Utilize the existing elementary continue to grow in other positive food service program. All students ways as we work together to meet will benefit from the full hot lunch the needs of our students.” program. “It is the responsibility of our While the educational benefits are administration and board to provide the driving force in this discussion, the highest quality education to all there is also a cost-savings of of our students, while at the same between $840,000 to $1.1 million time be fiscally responsible to our to the district. With the elimination residents. The benefits to moving of rent, transportation costs, and out of the ECC, which when started other items, this move can have in 2003 was only supposed to be a a significant financial savings for temporary situation, and into the the district, but that is not the elementary buildings next year are only reason for discussing this numerous and the right decision,” opportunity at this time. Even said Gurka. more importantly, it will solve the

Administrative Positions Appointed at April Board of Education Meeting

At the April North Royalton Board of Education meeting, Julie Bogden was appointed the new Director of Pupil Services for North Royalton City Schools. Bogden has been with the district since 2006, first as principal of the Early Childhood Center and most recently as principal of Albion Elementary. “Julie is first and foremost a child advocate. That, coupled with her knowledge of our district and operation of the special needs preschool has provided her with

buildings, the entire preschool staff and student population will move to Royal View,” said Gurka. “Administrative help is needed at Royal View to assist in various preschool needs such as IEP meetings, preschool licensing programs and other federal and state mandated requirements that are unique to public school preschool programs.” In addition, McGinnis will serve a needed role in the district as Director of Instructional Technology. “Technology is no longer a luxury in our classrooms, it is a necessity. But more important than the actual technology, there is first the educational discussions concerning instruction and how technology can enhance instructional practices.” Mr. McGinnis will work with the staff the background and experience on planning, selection, preparation necessary to be successful in this and most importantly, the role,” said Superintendent Greg professional development needed Gurka. “I know that she will to successfully implement that provide the support and guidance needed to meet the individual needs technology. Mike will work closely with our Curriculum Department of all our students.” The district on initiatives and then work with is interviewing for the principal the Technology Department to position at Albion Elementary. implement the initiatives. “I am confident that Mike will be an asset Mike McGinnis was appointed as Director of Instructional Technology to us all in this role and excited to offer this service to our district.” and Preschool Coordinator. “As we move the students and staff from the ECC to the elementary SPRING 2015 7



Teacher/Support Staff Person of the Y

North Royalton City Schools announced the Teacher of the Year and Support Staff Person of the Year and recognized both individuals at the North Royalton Educational Foundation’s reception on Thursday, April 30. The Teacher of the Year is Paula Ross, an elementary teacher at Albion Elementary. She began her teaching career in the North Royalton City School District in 1987 as a first grade teacher at Valley Vista Elementary. Beginning 8 • The NR Bear Way

with the 1996 school year, Paula moved to Albion Elementary, where she continues today. Paula earned her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Baldwin Wallace College. She received her Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Cleveland State University. Paula has been involved in Safety Town, a Student Council club advisor, grade level representative, entry year consulting teacher and helped with bus duty. She also has

been helpful in working through the implementation of Ohio Teacher Evaluation System. Two years ago, Paula was named as the Cleveland Chapter of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Teacher of the Year at the elementary level. “Paula is an exceptional teacher. Mathematics is her love and her strength. She is a leader in math instruction not only at her grade level but throughout Albion. She has led intervention instruction in math for our first grade students

Year Announced outside of the student day. She is consulted by her peers for instructional strategies. Paula, after 27 years in the district, continues to love her job. She provides for students individual needs while creating a climate of teamwork among her students. She has blended both the Art and Science of teaching, which is what makes her a wonderful example for North Royalton’s Teacher of the Year,” said Julie Bogden, Principal of Albion Elementary. The Support Staff Person of the Year is Richard Hrin. Richard is a classroom aide in the computer lab at Royal View Elementary. Richard started with the North Royalton City Schools as a substitute for two school years, 2003-2004 and 2004-2005. He then became an aide in September 2005. “Richard is a valued employee, who is always helpful, kind, considerate and thorough,” said Kirk Pavelich, Principal of Royal View Elementary. “He always has the best interest of the students and staff of Royal View Elementary at heart.”

“Both Paula and Rich make a difference in the lives of those around them each and every day. They not only do a fantastic job at their daily duties, they also see the bigger picture and help out on a district level. They make North Royalton a great place to teach and learn,” said Greg Gurka, Superintendent of North Royalton City Schools. SPRING 2015 9



Valley Vista Student Art Show Valley Vista Elementary School hosted a carnival-themed student art show and PTA Bookfair on Februrary 19. Student artwork was framed by the Artome and were available at the show for purchase. Anthony Kleem was the visiting artist.

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CVCC Competition Winners CVCC students participated in the Cleveland Graphic Arts Council Competition on January 22. Erin Schnack won Honorable Mention for his Creative Poster. CVCC students also participated in the DECA Regional Competition on January 30. First place winners include Nicholas Arena (Professional Selling Competition), Luciana Maddamma (Entrepreneurship Innovation), Nicholas Palmateer (Entrepreneurship Innovation) and John Pidgorodetskiy (Entrepreneurship Innovation). Lauren Marie Huseman and Lauren Nixon both won second place for their Fashion Merchandising Promotional Plan.

NRHS Bands Earn Superior Rating

NRHS Junior Crowned Miss Greater Cleveland Outstanding Teen 2015 Congratulations to North Royalton Junior Erin Simonek for being crowned Miss Greater Cleveland Outstanding Teen 2015 on February 28. Miss Greater Cleveland Outstanding Teen is part of the Miss America Scholarship Program. Simonek will compete in June for Miss Ohio Outstanding Teen. The winner will go on to Miss America Teen.

The weekend of March 14, all four North Royalton High School Bands went to the Ohio Music Educators Association adjudicated event, and all four bands earned a “Superior Rating.� This qualifies all four bands for the State Finals. North Royalton is the only school district from the Northeast and Northwest Regions to send four concert bands, and have all four of them earn superior ratings. "I am very proud of all four North Royalton High School Bands and I would not only like to congratulate the students, but also Directors David Vitale, Michael Nary, Chris Burdick and Kelly Fadrowski. It is through the hard work of these four talented directors beginning in the 5th grade that allows our students to perform at this level. Congratulations to all and we look forward to good things at State Finals," said Superintendent Greg Gurka.

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St. Patrick’s Day Highlights

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Royal View Elementary Named 2015 Hall of Fame School

The Ohio Association of Elementary School Administrators (OAESA) has selected Royal View Elementary as a 2015 Hall of Fame School. Presented annually since 1984, this award honors educational programs that go above and beyond meeting the needs of students in elementary and middle schools across the state. The school had a site visit on March 20 after completing the 12-page application describing student achievement, student development, personnel, administration, school management, and stakeholders.

all students, as well as the culture of collaboration that has been established between staff, students, and parents,” said Royal View Elementary Principal Kirk Pavelich. “They recognized us as a school that prides itself on being united in the common goal of ensuring that the social and emotional growth of students goes hand-in-hand with their academic achievement. Congratulations to the students, staff, and parents for making Royal View Elementary an amazing place to learn.”

“While there is a strong focus on academics, complete with exemplary Response to Intervention, co-teaching and collaboration, it is the feeling of One of only 10 OAESA Hall of Fame Schools for 2015, Royal View Elementary will receive a plaque, a warmth, welcome, and acceptance that pervades the $1,000 award, and special recognition at the OAESA culture of this building,” said one of the OAESA committee members. Professional Conference Awards Luncheon on Friday, June 12 at the Hilton Columbus at Easton. “According to the representatives from the Visitation Committee, the qualities that distinguish our school from others are the spirit of inclusion for

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NRHS Jazz Band Performed at Aging-Senior Center The North Royalton High School Jazz Band performed for the North Royalton Office on Aging-Senior Center. They were the entertainment at their St. Patrick’s Day party. The party was sponsored by Mayor Stefanik.

Service Projects Teach Middle School Students the Meaning of Giving Back During the last two weeks in March, the North Royalton Middle School Student Council members collected items for the Northeast Ohio Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland. Since Student Council wanted to adopt both service projects, the advisors divided up the responsibilities so that fifth and sixth graders would collect pet supplies for the SPCA and seventh and eighth graders would collect travel size toiletries for the Ronald McDonald House. 14 • The NR Bear Way

“Student Council has always made it their goal to help others both in their community and outside their community,” said Student Council Advisor Beth O’Donnell. For the past seven years, the middle school students, with the help of the elementary schools, have collected pop tabs to send to the Ronald McDonald House. This is the first year that Student Council has collected pet supplies for the SPCA. “The students were motivated for success with these service projects,” said O’Donnell. “Some classrooms even set up competitions to see

who could get the most items for the collection. It’s great to see the students getting excited about these service projects because they do feel like they have made a difference.” Now that the collection is completed, the Student Council advisors will select a few student representatives to help them deliver the collected items. “We want to take a handful of students so they can see the good they are doing for those in need,” said O’Donnell. “We are hoping our students can see first-hand that helping others is a rewarding experience.”

Student Showcase Artwork at Royal View Art Show The students at Royal View Elementary came together on March 25 to display artwork for a spectacular art show celebration. Every student had their own masterpiece framed and on display. There was also an opportunity to purchase the children’s artwork, with proceeds going to the school. In addition to the displays of framed student artwork, representatives from the Cleveland Museum of Art and local artists were present. PTA hosted a Scholastic Buy One, Get One Book Fair that night as well.

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Royal View Elementary Families Celebrate Dr. Seuss’s 101st Birthday On March 2, Royal View Elementary students and their families gathered to celebrate Dr. Seuss’s 101st birthday and the importance of reading. Families were given a map of 14 classrooms where community members were anxiously waiting to read some of Dr. Seuss’s most famous stories. “I get to read Green Eggs and Ham,” said Superintendent Greg Gurka. “It was my favorite Dr. Seuss story when I was young.” Officer Jon Karl, Councilman Paul Marnechek and other community members volunteered their time to read to the families. North Royalton High School’s Key Club also helped with the evening’s festivities. Intervention Specialist Brittany Troyer spear-headed the Family Literacy Night Project along with Royal View’s literacy team

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and Principal Kirk Pavelich. “This is a great way to promote literacy not only in school but at home as well,” said Troyer. “We can show these students that community members like to read, too.”

Upon walking in the doors, families were greeted by the Cat in the Hat and given the opportunity to take a family photo. “We’ve had a great turn out tonight. The families are excited to be here and everyone’s having fun,” said Pavelich. “We are so pleased with the turnout.” For 18 years, the National Education Association (NEA) has stressed the importance of reading through their program Read Across America. Every year on Dr. Seuss’s birthday, schools across the country hold their own events to celebrate reading. This is the first year that Royal View has held the Family Literacy Night and is hoping it will continue to be a yearly event.

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NRMS Student Illustrates Published Book At the April 13 North Royalton Board of Education meeting, one of the district’s own middle school students was recognized for illustrating a new, published book called “I Love You More Than...” North Royalton Middle School sixth grader Noelle Kostyack, 11, partnered with author Maddie Figgie, 7, a second grader at Gilmour Academy and family friend of the Kostyack family. Figgie filled the pages with some of her favorite and most creative love statements such as, “I love you more than all the seashells on the beach” and “I love you more than all the pizzas in Italy.” Kostyack and Figgie plan to donate 20% of the proceeds of the book sales to charity. “We are going to play Rock, Paper, Scissors and whoever wins get to choose the charity (to receive the profits first),” said Kostyack. The real winners are the readers and the two charities the young girls have selected as recipients of their profits. Each year the proceeds will go to either Figgie’s charity of choice, Rescue Mission, or Kostyack’s, Providence House. The girls will alternate between their two charities each year. “I Love You More Than…” is available at and can be purchased in paperback or downloaded to a Kindle device.

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Ms. Mary Ann Trunzo, art teacher at Royal View Elementary, Mrs. Elisabeth Miller, art teacher at North Royalton Middle School, Noelle Kostyack, 6th grade student NRMS and illustrator, Jeff Cicerchi, NRMS principal, and Maddie Figgie, 2nd grade student Gilmour Academy, the author

Bus Drivers Excels in School Bus Road-e-o The Ohio Department of Education north region held its annual School Bus Road-e-o on April 18 at Amherst Steel High School. Seventy-five drivers tested their skills on the course with the goal of finishing in the top six which qualifies those drivers for the state competition held in Columbus. Congratulations to North Royalton City School’s Bruce Abbot who finished fourth and represented the district in Columbus on May 2. Bruce finished ninth place overall (out of 48) and was part of the North Region team that finished first place.

Stuff the Bus Thank you to all those in our community who donated to the annual Stuff the Bus Drive on March 21, 2015.

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NRHS Winter Athletes Recognized at April Board of Education Meeting Right: Congratulations to NRHS wrestler Cameron Mayell for representing NRHS at the State Wrestling Tournament, and for having an outstanding high school wrestling career. Bottom: Congratulations to the NRHS Girls’ Varsity Basketball Team . . . NOC 10-0 Overall: 25-2 NOC Champs Steff Cicerchi: Coach of the Year Alison Smolinski: Player of the Year, Northeast Lake Districts, All Ohio #1 Seed in OHSAA Tournament #1 in final Plain Dealer Northeast Ohio Polls

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Two NRMS Students Receive Inaugural Shepherd Scholarship North Royalton Middle School administered an essay scholarship contest to all eighth graders to honor the memory of Sgt. John Shepherd, who lived nearly 118 years, making him most likely the longestlived veteran of the American Revolution. Shepherd came to North Royalton in 1817 with his daughter, Margaret Engle, and they were one of the first settlers in the area. The goal was to foster an interest in American History and North Royalton history among this age group. The chosen winners, Matthew Lam and Julia Korpusik, received scholarships at the April 13 Board of Education meeting for the school’s annual threeday trip to Washington, D.C. on May 20-22. While in the nation’s capital, students enjoy a tour of key monuments and governmental institutions by Educational Discovery Tours. The scholarship program is headed by Charles Phebus, who is the fourth great-grandson of John Shepherd.

Mr. Phebus has conducted two major events in North Royalton to honor John Shepherd and the American Soldier; the first year event saw the first ever trip to Ohio by the Traveling Liberty Bell from Texas. Sgt. Shepherd fought in Washington’s army not only during the Revolution, but also was with Washington at Braddock’s Defeat of 1755. He was truly “with Washington all the way.”

“We hope this opportunity will have a positive impact on the students at NRMS while keeping Mr. Shepherd’s legacy alive and well,” said the school’s principal, Jeff Cicerchi.

“The majority of these funds were from groups and individuals outside of North Royalton,” said Len Reinhard, retired U.S. History teacher who presented the two scholarships at the board meeting. “If this worthwhile scholarship is to continue, then local funding will be necessary.”

The middle school is a short walking distance from the cemetery where Mr. Shepherd’s remains are located. Mr. Phebus discovered his ancestor’s grave in North Royalton after many years of genealogical research.

More than 20 essays were submitted for evaluation. “I would like to commend all those students who participated and those at the Middle School who made this opportunity a reality,” said Reinhard. SPRING 2015 21



North Royalton Educational Foundation Announces Grant Recipients On April 30, the North Royalton Education Foundation presented grants to several teachers at their annual reception at Carrie Cerino’s. These include:

Liz Kannel – ECC – Hands On Learning Through Games

This grant will be used for materials to create handson activities and games for kindergarten students. The materials will be used in learning centers and intervention time, to make learning fun and increase achievement in mathematics and literacy. Each game will match one of the kindergarten standards.

Briana Raleigh / ECC Shoebox Tasks to support the TEACCH method in preschool classrooms.

The TEACCH program focuses on individualized daily schedules, using visual structure and individual work systems. A single shoebox task will come in one selfcontained box to with simple materials to help promote organization within the task and highlight the purpose of each activity. With this type of learning tool, students

with Autism and other disabilities learn to work in a quiet, distraction- free work space where they can complete their shoebox task and feel a sense of pride and understanding afterward.

Tennille Haugh – ECC – Talk About Language Activities

The grant proposal will impact preschool children at Lil’ Bears Preschool, which provides services to children with special needs, alongside children who are typically developing. The “Talk About Language Activity Set’ will help build vocabulary skills relating to literacy, increase communication throughout all areas and expand overall social development. The set includes activities to help develop a child’s listening, speaking, and vocabulary skills. Children learn to make requests, greet each other, and describe objects using correct grammar, manners, and communication styles, such as appropriate volume and tone.

Examples of last year’s grant projects.

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Kate Hindall – Albion – Third Grade Reading Guarantee Ellie Rechkemmer Grant Submission

The grant will pay for the Praxis Test that is now required to fill the requirements for the third grade guarantee. By taking this test, it will affect all the students in my classroom who do not meet benchmark. Passing this test will enable me to teach at the third grade level.

Amanda McClain – Albion – Fluency Skills Listening Center

This activity will help second grade students learn to read with fluency, accuracy and expression, using four centers that focus on different skills. Kids follow along as the recording models good reading techniques, then guides them through each activity, helping them complete, write and wipe cards as they go. Designed for 4 students at once, each center has 16 activity cards, plus a CD and guide.

Brittany Troyer – Royal View - Third Grade Reading Guarantee - Comprehension Skill Games

The Ellie Rechkemmer Grant would be used to fund the rigorous test of principles of research-based reading instruction for myself, which would allow me to teach reading under the requirements of the third grade reading guarantee. Because I am an Intervention Specialist, this will affect all third and fourth grade students identified with a disability at Royal View Elementary.

3rd Grade Valley Vista – Third Grade Reading Guarantee - Reading Comprehension Skill games The grant will fund action-packed Reading Comprehension Skill Games to help children prepare for classroom and state assessments and PACC testing. The games will allow one whole class, or a few small groups to use each set. The games include Pirate Island: Reading for Details, Kooky Carnival: Context Clues, Adventure Camp: Sequencing, Extra! Extra!: Informational Text, Bike Racers Reading Comprehension. Games will be used during reading

lessons, for enrichment in small groups and during intervention for children who struggle with specific reading skills.

Tiffany Timar – 2nd grade Valley Vista - Miracle migration This project will allow students to experience the life cycle of the Monarch Butterfly first hand by watching the miraculous metamorphosis through all the stages, as well as help to preserve this endangered butterfly. The grant will supply Monarch larvae and some swamp milkweed plants. In the spring, we will design and create a 100 square-foot butterfly garden at Valley Vista (called a Monarch Waystation) and plant milkweed and nectar plants to attract the Monarch butterflies. In August, we hope to have Rearing Kits to introduce the baby caterpillars to the habitat.

Marguerite Greenlee /Maureen Harris / Nancy Presot / Valley Vista Third Grade Guarantee Teacher Requirements The Ellie Reckemer grant would be used to reimburse the cost of the Reading Praxis Exam.

Carmen Rademaker – Middle School Bathroom Advertising Math

Studies have shown that almost everyone reads brightly covered posters or ads, especially in the bathrooms. This grant will be used for acrylic frames and neon paper to print math facts, equations, formulas, etc. which would be displayed on the back of the bathroom door and above the hand dryer or mirror, to give our 5th and 6th Graders something to look at in the bathroom.

Deanna Mikin – Middle School - Bouncing to Success

Grant funds will purchase stability balls for kinesthetic learning, especially for students who need physical activity and movement to achieve success, concentration, and learning in the classroom. We believe this proposal is innovative in the sense that children are excited to sit on a stability ball in the classroom, which ultimately increases student excitement about learning, and class participation. SPRING 2015 23



NREF Grants Continued Chris Boch – High School – Rock and Mineral Sample Storage

The grant will be used to purchase satchel cases to provide permanent protective storage for rock and mineral specimens in the Dynamic Earth identification labs. Specimens are currently stored in large fiberglass tubs, but they are frequently damaged during transport between classrooms due free movement inside the tub. We believe that eighteen Flambeau 1032-2 satchel cases would be the perfect storage arrangement. This would give us eight class sets and an extra set for special education classes. Student achievement will be increased by having larger unbroken specimens with undamaged surfaces.

Beth Quirino / Amy Vance / Sean Drvenkar – High School – Do You See What I See?

The grant will be used to buy Skylight smart phone adaptors for use with the compound microscopes. The adaptors attach to the microscope so that the camera of a smart phone can be used to not only view the specimen, but focus in on it more clearly, zoom in, and even increase the overall magnification. Because the image appears on the smart phone, it can be viewed by multiple observers including the teacher who can confirm that the students have correctly identified the sample in question.

Jess Yappel – High School – Interactive Physics Interactive Physics is an educational software program that enables students to observe and explore physics problems and concepts through simulation. The grant will provide the license to use Interactive Physics on one computer, in room 401. It will be used to aid in lectures, demonstrations, labs and problems. The program will help students visualize what we are discussing or a mathematical problem, or to analyze a demonstration or a lab.

Jennifer Forshey – High School – Teaching Modern Genocide

A component of the Contemporary Issues class is to look at historical and modern cases of genocide, including in Armenia, Nazi controlled areas of WWII and the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The curriculum materials include lesson plans and first person testimony for the Rwandan genocide. Specifically, lessons include: the construction of hatred; how dangerous ideas spread; the moral inhibitions of people; the consequences of the rule of law; and the social effects of war. These materials ask students to question their own belief systems and to put themselves in the places of the survivors and the perpetrators.

Anatomy and Physiology and Biology II Honors classes will be using the adaptors to verify observations, incorporate pictures into their lab reports and have an actual picture to study from for their lab practical exams. The honor’s level students are also going to model the technique of the smart phone adaptors for the students in the special education classroom. Our special education science students will use them for an on-going life science unit throughout the year and will benefit from the expertise of our upper-level students. Example of last year’s grant project.

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North Royalton Educational Foundation Recognizes Retirees Kathy Adams – High School Business Teacher Kathy received her Bachelor of Arts in Business Comprehensive from Baldwin Wallace College. She went on to receive her Master of Arts in Education also from Baldwin Wallace College. Kathy was hired by North Royalton as a substitute in 1991. In June of 1992 Kathy was hired as the Business Teacher at the High School. Some of the courses she taught were Gregg Shorthand Transcription & Speed Building, Typing I, II, III, & IV and Machine Transcription which was utilizing the Dictaphone equipment—courses not found today in High School Business classes. She even taught 8th grade at the Middle School. Kathy spent 23 years her in North Royalton out of a total of 32 years in education. Kathy has served at Yearbook Advisor, taught evening school, was the School Net Instructor, Computer Club Advisor, Mock Trial Club Advisor, Business Department Head for 12 years, and served on the LPDC Committee for the last eight years. Kathy also received the Ohio Master Teacher Award in 2012. Kathy says she plans to travel, read for enjoyment, exercise more, volunteer and spend time with loved ones upon retirement. Pat Clark – Grade 2 Valley Vista Pat received her Bachelor of Science in Education with a major in Early Childhood Education from Kent State University. She earned her Master of Arts in Education majoring in Elementary Education from Baldwin Wallace University. Pat began her teaching career in Charleston, West Virginia as a Kindergarten teacher for Kanawha County Schools. She also taught at Jackson County Schools and Redeemer Lutheran Preschool both in West

Virginia before moving to Ohio. She then taught at Mayfield City Schools for one year before coming to North Royalton School in 1990 as a substitute teacher. In 1992 Pat was hired as the Resource Room tutor at Royal View then in 1993 moved to Valley Vista as the second grade teacher. Pat served a total of 24 years here in North Royalton and 33 overall in education. Pat was awarded the Martha Holden Jennings Scholar Award in June 2006. During her career here she also served as the NREA secretary for the past 17 years, Safety Town Instructor for 11 years, Student Council Club Advisor, Grade Level Representative for second grade and served as a consulting teacher in the Entry Year Program. After Pat retires she plans to visit and play with her two best grandsons in the world. She also plans to travel, volunteer for various organizations, learn to SCUBA dive and enjoy whatever the next phase of her life brings. William Cummins – High School Art Teacher Bill received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Education from Kent State University. He went on to earn his Master of Arts in Education from The University of Akron. Bill began his career in North Royalton as an Art Teacher at Albion Middle School in 1985. In 1987 he was Art Teacher at Albion and part time at the High School until August of 1988 where he was reassigned to full time at the High School. During that time Bill did a lot to restructure the Art Department. Students now have the opportunity to take a variety of 2-D and 3-D courses. Bill has 31 years in education with 30 years teaching in North Royalton. SPRING 2015 25



Bill also served as Art League Advisor for 27 years, was involved in Curriculum Writing, was the Practical Arts Department Head, involved in the Entry Year Program as a consulting teacher, then as a Resident Educator and bus duty. He also coached Cross Country for 12 seasons, nine as Head Coach, and Track Coach for nine seasons, five as head Coach. Bill served on the NREA executive board for six years and was a member of the negotiating team in 2010. He served as a member of the North Central Associating Accreditation team.

earned his Master of Education in Sports Science from Ashland University. Chuck began his career at North Royalton City Schools as the sixth/seventh grade teacher of Science, Communications and Unified Arts at Albion Middle School in 1980. He spent his whole career teaching at the Middle School level.

Bill states that the most important thing to him is his family, especially his wife of 33 years, his four children, grandchild and future grandchild. Bill plans to do some traveling and volunteering, but mostly playing with his grandkids. Pamela Gibel – Aide/Early Childhood Center Pam came to the North Royalton School District in 1998 having substituted for five prior years. She has spent her 17 years in the special needs preschool first at Valley Vista and then to the Early Childhood Center when it opened. In 2013, Pam was the recipient of the Ohio PTA Achievement Award. Her supervisor stated, “Pam displays professionalism and confidence in her interactions with children, parents and team members. Her value to the students is immeasurable.” Pamela grew up in North Royalton and is a 1972 graduate of E.E. Root High School. She plans to spend time with her grandkids and travel. A few things she will miss about work are: the unconditional love from the kids, lunch out on Fridays and sometimes Thursday too, all the crazy fun at Christmastime and Pajama Day. Things she won’t miss are going out in the wind, rain, sleet and cold to get kids out of the cars and buses; wiping all those little noses…..but the best part is that if she wants to she can have a pajama day EVERYDAY!” Charles Tesar – Physical Education Middle School Chuck received his Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Cleveland State University. Chuck 26 • The NR Bear Way

Chuck was quite involved in a coaching career here at North Royalton. Some of his positions were Assistant Boys Basketball Coach, Assistant Boys and Girls Track Coach, JV Boys Basketball Coach, Middle School Football Coach, Assistant Cross Country Coach, Assistant Girls Basketball Coach, Intramural Supervisor and worker and busy duty. Chuck also served as team leader. He coached 34 out of his 35 years here at North Royalton.

Chuck says, “as far as my plans for retirement, that depends on who you ask. If you ask me, I’m looking forward to making frequent visits to see my kids and grandson in Seattle, completing landscape projects in our yard, and spending time with my aging mom. I would also like to learn how to play the guitar and golf. But….if you ask my wife, that’s another story. She is not sure how much time I’ll have for my interests

Sandy’s career began as a tutor at Bedford Junior High, learning disabled level, then went to Nordonia High School, learning disabilities 9-12, then kindergarten teacher at St. Mary School in Bedford. She was hired as a Small Group Instructor for the North Royalton School District in 1997 at Albion Elementary. In 1998 Sandy became the SBH teacher at Albion. In August 2008, Sandy went from Intervention Specialist to Grade 4 (Bridges Program) Albion. In August of 2009, Sandy was transferred to the Middle School as the Intervention Specialist. Sandy served on the Special Education Team Collaboration, was BAT Representative and served on the Entry Year Program as a consulting teacher. Sandy plans to volunteer, travel and play golf with her husband Jeff and babysit her granddaughter Lyla after she retires. Karen Woodruff – Grade 6 Middle School Karen received her Bachelor of Science in Education from Cleveland State University. Karen began her teaching career at Assumption Catholic School teaching Science and Music. She was hired by the North Royalton School district in September 1980 as a Learning Disability Tutor at the high school.

because she plans on stapling a “honey do” list to my butt every morning before she heads to work!” Sandy Twardzik – Intervention Specialist Middle School Sandy received her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education 1-8, Severe Behavior of the Handicapped K-12 and Specific Learning Disabilities K-12 from Miami University. She earned her Masters in the Art of Teaching from Marygrove College.

Karen states, “Over the past 35 years teaching in North Royalton, I have had many experiences and accomplishments while subbing in the 70’s (when Albion was on split sessions), while tutoring at the High School (Intervention Specialist/Tutor), while teaching at Albion as an Intervention Specialist (with the same group of students during their 4th and 5th grade yearsSpecial Project through the State of Ohio) and finally teaching sixth grade at both the old and new Middle School. Some of my accomplishments and experiences have had an impact on what is happening in various buildings today, but the most important part of my teaching career are the personal connections that I have made with my colleagues and the positive life lessons I have tried to instill in the THOUSANDS OF SPRING 2015 27



STUDENTS which I have had the pleasure to teach during my teaching career.” Karen plans to relax, travel and eventually move from Ohio (no more snow), enjoy my family and whatever new adventures she may embark. Paul Buettner – High School Math Teacher Paul received his Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources and earned his teaching certificate from Cleveland State in Mathematics, Biology, General Science and Middle Grades. Before coming to North Royalton, Paul also taught at Heskett Middle School in Bedford, Villa Angela St. Joseph High School in Cleveland, and St. Paul School in Euclid, Ohio. Paul began his career in North Royalton in August of 1999 teaching Mathematics at the High School. Paul’s career consists of 26 years in education and 16 of them in North Royalton. Paul has been nominated three times for “Who’s Who in America Teachers.” Paul also served as JETS Club Advisor and intramural worker. Paul plans to do anything that “he can afford” after retiring. Karen Jacobs – Grade 2 Royal View Elementary Karen earned her Bachelor of Science in Education and Elementary Education from Cleveland State University. Karen began her teaching career at Assumption School in Broadview Heights. In 1987, Karen came to North Royalton City School teaching second grade at Valley Vista Elementary. In 1988, Karen moved to Royal View Elementary as a second grade teacher. Karen’s teaching career consists of 30 years with 28 of them here in North Royalton. During her career, Karen was involved in Curriculum Writing, on the Interventional Assistance Team, Teacher Representative/second grade, Grade Level Representative/second grade and was a consulting 28 • The NR Bear Way

teacher in the Entry Year Program. Karen was also NREA Executive Board member for more than 15 years. Karen plans to spend more time with her grandchildren and travel to California to see her son. Brenda Juszczyk – Grade 8 Middle School Brenda earned her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Slippery Rock University. Brenda began her teaching career in the North Royalton School District at Valley Vista as a second grade teacher in 1985. In 1988, Brenda was transferred to Royal View teaching second grade. In 1991, Brenda was assigned to the sixth grade at the Middle School teaching language arts, then to the eighth grade in 1993 where she taught language arts, history and math. During her career Brenda was involved in Curriculum Writing, was Power of the Pen Club Advisor, Team Leader and Assistant Softball Coach. Brenda says, “I will miss the students of North Royalton but I am looking forward to this new chapter in my life. I will also miss my friends and want to thank them for their continued support and endless love.” Debra Kane – Small Group Instructor – Royal Redeemer Lutheran School Debra earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from Alma College. Debra earned her Master of Arts degree in Early Childhood Administration from Saginaw Valley State University and then went on to receive her teaching certificate in Kindergarten – Elementary Education. Debra served in many capacities as an educator from second grade and kindergarten teacher, preschool teacher, Principal, Early Childhood and Preschool Director, and Gifted Program Coordinator. After moving back to Ohio in 2009, Debra became the small group instructor at Royal Redeemer Lutheran School until her retirement. Debra has a total of 34 years in

education with six years at Royal Redeemer Lutheran School. Debra is planning to move to California to be with her grandkids. David Murphy – Intervention Specialist High School Dave earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from Bowling Green State University. Dave received his Masters of Education in Special Education from the University of Alabama. Dave began his teaching career in Springfield, Ohio in 1980. From there he taught at Wickliffe High School, Rocky River High School, Watterson-Lake Elementary in the Cleveland School District, and Hillside Junior High before coming to North Royalton. In 1998, Dave began his career with us as the SBH teacher at the High School. All in all, he has served 34 years in education, 17 of them being in the North Royalton City School District. During Dave’s career he was Head Boys Basketball Coach for six years and Weight Room Conditioning Club Advisor. Dave is married to his wife Therese, has a son David (a freshmen at the Art Institute in Pittsburgh) and daughter, Lauren (a senior at Rocky River High School who will be attending Ohio University in the fall). Dave plans to travel, fish and start a business upon retirement.

America Teachers.” Mike served over four terms as president of the NREA Association and assisted in negotiating every contract since 1995. Mike was very involved during his career here. He was Team Leader, PANDA Advisor and Student Council Advisor. His coaching career of 31 years includes seventh and eighth Grade Girls Basketball Coach, ninth Grade Girls Basketball Assistant Coach, Girls Varsity Assistant Basketball Coach, eighth Grade Boys Basketball Coach, seventh & eighth Grade Football Coach, Varsity Volleyball Assistant Coach and Varsity Golf Volunteer Assistant Coach. Mike also chaperoned the eighth grade trip to Washington D.C. more than a dozen times. Upon retirement Mike plans to: • Continue pursuing basketball coaching and skill training opportunities. • Enjoy his daughter Ashlyn’s senior year of high school while visiting potential colleges for her to attend • Enjoy time with his son Dominick • Have normal adult conversations with his wife Karen that do not include the following: OTES, IEP’S, 504’s, differentiation, accommodation, behavioral plans, administration, lesson plans, content standards, assessments, curriculum, staff meetings, PARCC testing, supplementals and contract negotiations However, the conversations will include the following: • Improving his golf game, bike rides, home improvements, date nights, trips to Amish country, time with friends and visiting family.

Michael Pissini – Art Teacher Middle School Mike received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Education from Kent State University.

Edith Schatt – Music Techer Valley Vista/Early Childhood Center Edith received her Bachelor degree in Music Education from Bowling Green State University.

Mike began his teaching career at Loudonville Middle School as a Visual Arts Teacher in 1985. He also taught at McDonald Elementary before coming to North Royalton in 1988. Out of 30 years in education, Mike spent 27 of them in the North Royalton City School District. He was also nominated for “Who’s Who in

Edith began her teaching career at BrecksvilleBroadview Heights as a Music Teacher. Later she began an instrumental music program at Bethel Christian Academy in Parma. In 1991, Edith began to substitute for the North Royalton School District. In January of 1995, Edith became the Music Teacher at Valley Vista SPRING 2015 29



Elementary. She has been there since. Edith served 30 years in education with 20 years being in North Royalton. During Edith’s career here she served as Grade Level Representative/Specialist, Resident Educator Mentor and bus duty. She is a lifetime member of the PTA. After retirement Edith plans to spend time with her husband, her adorable grandson and her mom. She plans to take a vacation in the fall and spend lots more time at their condo in South Carolina. Nancy Bruno – Bus Driver/Transportation Nancy began her career her in 1998 as a bus driver with the North Royalton City School District with a total of 18 years of service. As noted by her supervisor, “Nancy is an example of what a bus driver should be; kind, easy going, and dedicated. It is a pleasure working with Nancy.”

Anita plans to move back to Tennessee where she can continue her pastime of ancestral research and spend precious time with family and longtime friends. Anita commented, “I am blessed and honored to have such a supportive family and to have worked with an outstanding group of people throughout my career, especially the NRCS family.” Nancy Sanderson – Receptionist Central Office Nancy began her career at the North Royalton School District as a switchboard operator at the High School in 1983 at $5.79 per hour. In October 1991 Nancy moved up to the Central Office as the receptionist/ switchboard operator. Nancy was a member of the North Royalton Band Boosters for eight years, and worked on the first band bus. She also accompanied the band when they went to the Rose Bowl Parade in 2002-2003.

Nancy plans to spend summers boating with her sailing club, travel, do some remodeling projects and continue to Redcoat Usher at the Ohio Theatres and Play House Nancy stated, “I am blessed with good health and I plan Square. Nancy wants to get together with her friends to travel with my family” upon retirement. and have a lot of fun during her retirement. Anita Payne – Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent/Central Office Anita was hired by the North Royalton School District in 1989 as a secretary at the High School. In 1991 she became Administrative Secretary to the principal. Then, in 1993, Anita resigned to move back to Tennessee, where she is originally from. In 1998 the Payne family moved back to Ohio and Anita was hired as an Administrative Secretary in the Central Office to the Business Manager. In January of 2002, Anita was then promoted to Executive Secretary to the Superintendent until her retirement November 1, 2014. Anita was very involved with her family history and spent many years researching her past. Anita received several service awards from her church and the AfricanAmerican Genealogical Society of Cleveland. She was also a nominee for the North Royalton Crystal Starfish Award. 30 • The NR Bear Way

Barbara Veverka – Cafeteria Worker/Middle School Barbara was hired in 1987 and substituted for two years before being hired full time in August 1989 as a cafeteria worker at Royal View. In 1996, Barbara transferred to the Middle School when it opened. Barb has served the district for 25 years. Her supervisor states, “Barbara is the most dependable, knowledgeable, hardworking person and a very dedicated worker.

North Royalton Educational Foundation Annual Dinner Highlights

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North Royalton PTA Presents Life

Achievement Awards at Founders’ Night On Thursday, April 23, the North Royalton PTA celebrated its founding through its annual Founders’ Night celebration in the North Royalton High School Media Center. Entertainment was provided by Amanda Panfil, junior at North Royalton High School and the welcome and invocation was done by Michelle Yuzwa and Superintendent Greg Gurka. In addition to the recognition of awards and past presidents, the PTA had the installation of new officers. Closing remarks were given by Helen Limberg.

Julie Novak - Parent - awarded by North Royalton High School PTA

Award Recipients Included: Nellie Wislocki - Parent, awarded by the North Royalton Council PTA

Kirk Pavelich - Principal Royal View Elementary, awarded by Royal View PTA

Diane Mastronicolas - North Royalton business owner 3 Spot- awarded by North Royalton Council PTA Jacki Bucchioni -Grandparent - awarded by Royal View Elementary PTA Linda Mincher - Parent - awarded by North Royalton High School

Mike McGinnis - Principal Early Childhood Center, awarded by ECC PTA Julie Bogden - Principal Albion Elementary, awarded by Albion PTA Karen Jones - Teacher, awarded by Albion PTA

Jeff Hill - Valley Vista Elementary Principal, awarded by Valley Vista PTA Cathy Drescher - Teacher, awarded by North Royalton Middle School Jessica Connelly - Teacher, awarded by North Royalton Middle School Back Row: Mike McGinnis, Jeff Hill, Kirk Pavelich, and Julie Novak. Front Row: Nellie Wislocki, Jacki Buccione, and Julie Bogden Not pictured: Diane Mastronicolas, Linda Mincher, Karen Jones, Cathy Drescher, and Jessica Connelly

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Students Enjoy Learning with Students from Uganda Technology made the world a little smaller this spring

for fifth graders at Royal View Elementary School in North Royalton. The students sent two videos to the P5 class at Rwentutu Community School in the western part of Uganda, and received videos in response. The project began when North Royalton City Schools’ Curriculum Facilitator Ann Radefeld learned her neighbor, University of Wisconsin student Sarah Moses, would be student teaching at the African school. Sarah agreed to coordinate the video project for the two schools.

of the video that showed the African students riding a bike on the “playground,” a yard next to the cement block school building. They also played netball, which is like basketball with no dribbling. The students pass the ball around and attempt to throw it into a simple hoop with no actual net, attached to a tall pole. “They were interested in the fact that the students were running barefoot,” Radefeld said. “They speak English, but also a local dialect (Lhukonzo.)” A second video followed, with a second response.

The Royal View students filmed their first video in early March, telling a little bit about themselves and asking questions of their African counterparts. They asked about the school, the playground, what the children eat for lunch, favorite sports, favorite singers, and how the students get to school. The answers came quickly, by way of a return video, which was filmed using Ms. Moses’ laptop because the school has limited technology. The Rwentutu students, wearing uniforms, answered in English that they eat posho (cooked cornmeal) and beans for lunch, like to play football (soccer) and netball, and like many American singers, including Justin Bieber.

“We tried to get the students to ask more meaningful questions, so they could understand more about the culture,” Radefeld said.

One question, “Do you get attacked by lions,” came back with a surprising answer. “No we don’t have lion attacks, but we do have elephant attacks.” The North Royalton students were especially interested in the part

The project ended at the end of March, when the nine weeks of student teaching were over, and Ms. Moses returned home.

The Rwentutu website said the school was founded as Rwentutu Christian Community School in 2007 by former residents who had emmigrated to Canada 25 years earlier. The village of Rwentutu has no accessible power or clean water, and many of the students’ parents are subsistence farmers. The cost of a semester at the school is 80,000 Ugandan Schillings, which is roughly 31 Canadian dollars. Even that amount is difficult for some parents to pay.

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North Royalton City Schools’ Friend of Education of all they do and did as students. She volunteered to work with the teams, coaches and groups to not only make sure that her kids excelled, but make sure that all kids involved in those activities excelled. As a local business owner of 3 Spot, she again makes sure that all of our students and staff are taken care of and make sure that we have the support we need in many ways.”

At the May 11 North Royalton Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Greg Gurka announced that Diane Mastronicolas, owner of Mastro’s The 3 Spot restaurant in North Royalton was the 2014-15 Friend of Education. This annual award goes to a person or persons who have greatly contributed to the school district and helped inspire and empower students and make North Royalton a great place. Diane also recently received a PTA Achievement Award. “I have always said that the schools cannot do what we do alone,” said Gurka. “It is through a collective effort of the entire community that allows us to do what we do, including all the many contributions Diane has made.” “Diane is a perfect example of having the larger picture of the North Royalton community first and foremost in their mind,” said Gurka. “ As a parent, she has been a key player in her children’s education and supporter 34 • The NR Bear Way

Diane has provided services for any one of the numerous North Royalton City School events. She has invested in the Stadium Foundation with significant donations so that all students have the opportunity to experience first class conditions. “And, as a true friend would do, it also means putting your neck out and taking a stance as only a friend would do,” said Gurka. “When asked by the bond issue committee if she would help, she not only stepped up, but did so without regard for herself and put placemats on the tables of her restaurant which displayed bond issue information with no thought or care of losing business because maybe someone disagreed with it.” “Diane has never said no when it comes to supporting the North Royalton Schools and their programs and events,” said Board President Anne Reinkober. “The board salutes Diane for being a true Friend of Education.”

North Royalton High School Students Raise Funds for Nepal When students at North Royalton High School heard about the April 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal, they immediately knew where they could send relief funds. Earlier in the school year, the Student Council had sent proceeds from its GLO-RO charity dance to Sam’s House, an orphanage established a decade ago in Pokhara, Nepal by the in-laws of NRHS teacher Jennifer Forshey.

“Thankfully none of our (Sam’s House) children were hurt in the initial quake or its aftershocks,” said Jennifer Forshey. “Sam’s House has yet up a special fund to respond to the earthquake damage in Nepal.” The website is The students discussed what they could do to help the earthquake efforts, and began making flags, similar to the ones that fly at Mount Everest. They hung the flags around the school and asked students to donate. The fundraising is ongoing, but to date the total is $521.52.

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Second Semester Crystal Starfish Winners Announced

On May 21, North Royalton City Schools announced the winners of the second semester North Royalton City Schools Crystal Starfish Award presented by the First Federal of Lakewood. At North Royalton Middle School, Health, Physical Education Teacher Chuck Tesar was presented the Crystal Starfish Teacher Award. In addition to the award, he also received a $250 professional development grant from First Federal of Lakewood, a $50 gift certificate to Cleats restaurant, flowers and gift certificate from Independence Flowers and Gifts, and a gift basket from Costco. Tesar was nominated by his colleague, Karen Whitely. An excerpt from his nomination reads: “Chuck has been a dedicated teacher and coach for the North Royalton City Schools for more than 30 years. He encompasses what the Crystal Starfish Award is all about. Chuck goes above and beyond when he teachers and he is constantly making a difference in the lives of his students. He is always around to lend a helping hand and encourage both his colleagues and students.”

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Dawn Filippi, an aide at North Royalton High School, was the recipient of the Crystal Starfish Support Staff Award. Along with the award, he received a $50 gift certificate to Cleats restaurant, flowers and gift certificate from Independence Flowers and Gifts, and a gift basket from Costco. Filippi was nominated by her colleague Karen Koegle. An excerpt from her nomination reads: “Dawn is an incredible asset to the main office at the high school. She is extremely bright, creative and talented. Dawn jumps right in and tackles any task given and brings fresh ideas to the table. She is organized and willing to take over projects and see them to successful conclusion.” “The 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,” said Tiffany Cardenas, branch manager of First Federal of Lakewood in North Royalton. “Our bank is proud to sponsor this award and give the opportunity to our teachers and staff to shine.”

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Royal View Elementary Continues its 50th Birthday Celebration People that passed by Royal View Elementary School May 15 just might wonder if they are in a sixties time warp. They saw children on the playground doing the Twist or the Mashed Potatoes, or on the soccer field playing Hula-hoop and Frisbee. The retro activities were part of the 50th birthday party for the North Royalton school. Retirees, former students, parents, and staff from other buildings attended the anniversary bash, which featured a 60s theme to honor the school’s opening in 1964. Students decorated and wore purple and yellow birthday hats and took turns at each station. The PTA sponsored a bounce house, a balloon animal station, yo-yos and face painting, and parents helped monitored each station. Indoor activities included playing Twister in the hallway and a first-season episode of The Jetsons playing in the gym. A 60s museum also was set up in the gym, featuring items loaned by staff, parents and the Red Geranium, a neighboring vintage store. And of course, no party would be complete without a birthday cake.

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North Royalton Middle School Students Get Taste of Real World North Royalton Middle School eighth grade students were able to try their hands at being an adult for a day through a program called Real Money, Real World on May 15. The students were all 27 years old for the day and were given jobs, a spouse and possibly children. They were then instructed to spend their family’s money on needs and wants at various booths run by both professionals and parent volunteers. Then, at the end of the day, students took a self-assessment about what they learned. The program contained four classroom lessons that were taught before the simulation and included how education and occupation effect income, deductions including gross versus net income, checking and savings accounts and budgeting. The hope was that on the day of the spending simulation, the students would take what they learned into account for how to spend their money. Simulation day started with the students choosing an occupation whether by pulling one out of a hat or by

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researching and choosing. The income the student would be receiving was also discovered during this step, as well as whether or not they would need additional education for their career. Then students pulled from another hat to see how many children he or she was responsible for and the children’s ages. Lastly, every student received a spouse named “Chris” who is a full-time college student and works part time, earning a monthly net income of $400. Students then walked around to various booths that included insurance, car buying and cell phones to spend their monthly income. Eighth grade history teacher Paul Hayburn felt this was a great program for the students to be exposed to after his daughter experienced it in her eighth grade class in another district. She explained that the program was “a reality check that made you think about being smart with money.” This is the first year that North Royalton Middle School has done The Ohio State University’s program Real Money, Real World but they are hoping to make it an annual event.

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Highlights of Permanent Impr

The following projects were paid for out of the district’s permanent improvement fund: District-Wide Projects Door Replacements In the fall 2014, North Royalton City Schools made door replacements throughout the district. The new doors are more energy efficient and offer more security compared to the old all-glass and aluminum doors. Doors that were replaced include: High School east entrance (door #21) Middle School east entrance (door #14) Albion Elementary west entrance (door #10) Royal View Elementary south (door #6) Valley Vista Elementary north (main door #1) Cost of project: $39,664

Window Replacements Each classroom window replacement costs approximately $1,500. These new windows are insulated and have screens. Cost of project: $6,000 4 amount of windows replaced in this school year Asphalt and Concrete Repairs The district performs asphalt and concrete repairs annually. Since July 2014, the following is what has been spent through March 2015. Asphalt Repairs - $56,050 Concrete Repairs - $16,980 42 • The NR Bear Way

Bus Facility Storm Sewer Project The district experienced a standing water situation at the bus facility in the fall 2014. If not taken care of, it would cause heaving of asphalt and concrete and cause a slip hazard. The district rented an excavator and dug a 10’x10’ opening that was 12’ deep in order to tie into the existing storm drain that was 16” in diameter. A riser with a crock and grate was installed. Cost of project: $2,000



Door/Window Identification System Doors and windows were identified with a new code system for first responders. The district received a grant from the Cuyahoga County Board of Health for $24,000 to help pay for this project. The district completed this significant project in-house. The high school’s industrial tech teacher was able to make templates through CAD and instead of the project costing $40,000, it only cost $4,000. Grant received: $24,000 Cost to district because it was completed in-house: $4,000 Saving to district: more than $40,000 Phone System Upgrade The call management device for the district was more than eight years old and needed to be replaced this past summer or the district would risk it breaking during the school year and being without a phone system.

rovement Projects Since July 2014 Highlights of Permanent Improvement Projects at the Buildings North Royalton High School Room 423 Renovation This summer, two existing high school classrooms will be converted to a muchneeded physics classroom/lab. In order to accomplish this, the district needed to open a classroom. The old band storage room was converted into a classroom (social studies). The project included repairs to the floor tile, walls, adding insulation, lighting, windows, painting, new ceiling tile, new base cove, and a thorough cleaning and painting. Cost: $6,000 Project done in-house Savings to the district by not hiring an outside contractor: $18,000-20,000 Albion Elementary The school experienced severe flooding of the entire south wing in the fall 2014. The flooding was due to the run off of properties that are at a higher elevation than the district’s property and all the debris that was washed down the ravine located behind the properties. The district fixed the problem without hiring an outside contractor. The path was widened by removing all washed down debris, removing earth, installing additional piping for drainage, and placing gabion baskets filled with stone to help filter and direct water without it corroding the side walls. Cost: $11,000 SAVINGS to district by doing this in-house: $69,000 Middle/Elementary Schools The maintenance department needed to convert one classroom at each of our elementary schools to a computer lab to accommodate the new state-mandated PARCC testing requirements. Internet capability and wiring was added without interrupting classroom learning. Cost: $2,500/each building for a total of $7,500 SAVINGS to district by doing this in-house: $22,500

A Look Ahead to Summer 2015 Projects Roof Project - At North Royalton High School, parts of the roof that will be replaced are above the band and choir area, family and consumer science room, art room, and main office. Cost is estimated at $397,000. At Albion Elementary, only areas of the roof that are leaking will be patched. Cost is estimated at $20,000. PA Systems - The PA systems at the elementary schools are outdated and will be replaced. Cost: $1,700/each building for a total of $5,100 Painting - Each summer, the district hires high school and college students to pain the corridors, classrooms, and high traffic areas. Cost of Paint: $5,000-6,000 Cost of Labor- $14,500 Asphalt and Cement Repairs Cost: $75,000-$100,000 depending on the severity after this winter. North Royalton Middle School ADA Ramp Cost: $20,000 North Royalton High School - Replace and caulk panels above windows at high school – Ridge Road side. Concrete Replacement - Patch/replace concrete at the Heritage Hall/Media Center entrances and the handicap ramp by the community room. Cost: $15,000-20,000 (high school project) District Wide: $40-$45,000 SPRING 2015 43



Follow us on Social Media District: Twitter: @RoyaltonSchools Facebook: Central Office: Greg Gurka, Superintendent: @gurkag North Royalton Early Childhood Center Twitter: @noroecc Royal View Elementary Twitter: @RoyalViewElem Facebook: Kirk Pavelich, Principal Twitter: @Kirk_Pavelich North Royalton Middle School Twitter: @NorthRoyaltonMS Facebook:

The Bear Way Archives May 2014

North Royalton High School Sean Osborne: @NOROguy Sports/Events: @NoRoNation North Royalton Alumni Association Twitter: @NOROAlumni Facebook:

Fall 2014

North Royalton Middle School Twitter: @NorthRoyaltonMS Jeff Cicerchi, Principal: @jeffcicerchi Paying it Forward @NRHSkindness1 Partnership for a Healthy North Royalton Facebook: Twitter: @healthyNR

44 • The NR Bear Way

Winter 2015

The Bear Way - Spring 2015  

A digital magazine published by North Royalton City Schools

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