The Drakkar: June 2023

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‘Inside the Box’ RoboVikes offer area youth new learning opportunity

Recognizinganeedforcommunityoutreach,theLaBraeRoboVikeshaveinstalledaSTEM LearningBox(SLB)neartheaquariumattheEastwoodMall.Theteamplacedtheboxatthemall inApril2023.Similartooneofthecommunity’sLittleLibraryboxes,theSLBprovidesafree educationalopportunityforyouth.However,insteadofbooks,theSLBoffersbaggedSTEM projectsgearedtowardslearnersingradesK-4andtheirfamilies.Cont.onpage4.

Retirements ............... 3 Readers ...................... 5 Mentors ..................... 6 Realigning ................. 7 Student Standouts...... 8 L A B R A E L O C A L S C H O O L S
JUNE 2023


LaBrae Schools is excited to announce to our families that we will be using Stopfinder to share transportation schedules! The use of Stopfinder will begin with the coming school year.

What is Stopfinder?

Stopfinder is the all-in-one parent app that allows a school district to share a student’s transportation schedule, announcements, and more. Stopfinder works with our district transportation software to provide you with the most accurate schedule information as quickly as possible.

Stopfinder is secure and only for registered users. LaBrae Schools will send you an invitation providing access to log in to the Stopfinder app. Invitations will be sent to the parent's email account on file with their child's school building.

Stopfinder is available anytime for Stopfinder Subscribers. With Stopfinder, you can view your student’s schedule from your mobile device. Share student schedules with caregivers and family members and view announcements and notifications in the Stopfinder Message Center.

The email invitation will be sent in late July. Be sure to check your email for a Stopfinder invitation and visit the App Store or Google Play to download Stopfinder.


Once A Viking Always A Viking

LaBrae Educators Retire

Congratulations are due to Kay Suzelis, Valerie Staley, and Janice Kovac-Silvers. All three educators are retired from LaBrae at the end of the school year. Kay Suzelis, principal at LIS, is retired with 43 years as an educator. Kay started at LaBrae in 2009 as a 5th-grade math teacher. Valerie Staley, special education interventionist at Bascom, retired with 38 years of service to LaBrae children. Throughout her career, Valerie was a consummate professional, a compassionate educator, and she valued helping younger educators grow professionally as she served many years as a mentor teacher. Lastly, Janice Kovac-Silvers, a math teacher at LaBrae High School, started teaching at LaBrae in 1998, and she retired with 23 years of service to LaBrae students. Janice was a beloved teacher at the high school. Throughout the years she served as the ski advisor and the math club advisor. Her positivity and exuberance were valued by students and staff alike. Each of these women has left an indelible mark on her students and the school community, and LaBrae Local Schools wishes them health and happiness in retirement.

Mrs. Kay Suzelis Mrs. Valerie Staley Mrs. Janice Kovac-Silvers

RoboVikes' create STEM Learning Box opportunity

Each kit contains all/most of the necessary components needed to complete the project.

A pamphlet with instructions is included. There’s also a QR code that can be scanned that directs people to the RoboVikes website, where the robotics team shares information about the kits and student-made YouTube videos explaining the project.

After competing in February, the team worked hard preparing for this project.

The team researched various low-cost, hands-on projects that would fit inside the SLB, put together a parts list of everything that was needed to assemble the kits, and after ordering all the supplies needed, formed an assembly line to put together nearly 1,000 STEM learning kits.

So far, the students have given away nearly 250 kits and plan to provide them throughout the summer for as long as supplies are available.

For more information about the RoboVikes’ STEM Learning Box, to share ideas for future projects, or to help offset the costs of providing STEM kits to the community, feel free to contact Coach Slifka at or Coach McNemar at

The Skill of Motivation

LaBrae's RoboVikes Robotics Club earned the 1st Place Motivate Award at the Kent State University FIRST Robotics Competition earlier this year


Embracing the Science of Reading UPDATE: Making Better Readers

TheScienceofReadingisaresearch-basedapproachtoteachingreadingthathasbeenproven tohelpstudentslearntoread.OnepartoftheScienceofReadingisPhonicsinstruction.Phonics is the ability to use letter sounds to spell and read words. Teachers have been focusing on this for the last two years using Really Great Reading. Next fall, grades 3-5 will begin Sonday Essentialstotargetphonicsatahigherlevel.

VocabularyandcomprehensionareanotherpartoftheScienceofReadingandthenextstepto building great readers. This past year, teachers in grades K-1 started using Core Knowledge Language Arts (CKLA). Next year, grades 2-3 will use CKLA as well. Grades 4-5 will use Magnetic Reading. These programs focus on building background knowledge and vocabulary on topics in science,socialstudies,andclassicliterature. Alltheprogramsweusecomehighlyratedandwe expecttocontinuetoseegreatresults!


Mentoring Moments

District partnership with Cadence Care promotes social-emotional health among students

We recognize there are students who face various issues that impact their learning. LaBrae Local School contracts with Cadence Care Network (CCN), behavioral health to meet the growing needs of our students. CCN is able to offer a school-based program designed to build resiliency and improve social and emotional health among students by using the 40 Developmental Assets Framework to help students build resilience and protective factors and increase their opportunities for success both in and out of a classroom setting.

Our school based social workers, Ben Meardith, Nick Speziale, and Vanessa Perry developed and maintained a Mentorship Program that focused on teaching positive social and emotional strengths through an array of activities.

Students, grades 9th-12th, were either paired or grouped with a student(s) from grades 3rd-6th to help reinforce positive social and emotional strengths.

Students participated in activities such as, Uno, Jenga, Coloring, Outdoor Activities, and general healthy conversation on a weekly basis.

The LaBrae Mentorship Program strives to make a positive impact on students by providing an opportunity for everyone to feel connected with the community that surrounds them.



The LaBrae Board of Education, ever conscious of aligning district staffing to resource levels, voted at its April meeting to realign the district's administrative team by reassigning two certified administrators.

The district has always tried to right-size staffing to changing student enrollment when presented with retirements. With the retirement of Mrs. Suzelis, the LaBrae Intermediate School principal, the time has come for LaBrae to reduce administrative staffing levels. As a result, the Board conducted a reduction in force, or RIF, of the assistant high school principal position, and subsequently approved the reassignment of Mr. Kelly and Mr. Rowe.

Starting with the 2023-2024 school year, Mr. Martin Kelly, longtime principal at LaBrae Middle School, will serve as principal of LaBrae Intermediate School and Mr. Todd Rowe, LaBrae High School assistant principal/athletic director, has been reassigned to the middle school principal position.

Additionally, the Board had previously employed a Supervisor of Transportation/Building and Grounds. After careful evaluation of that role and the responsibilities, the Board decided to move forward with hiring a sole supervisor of transportation. The LaBrae Board of Education hired Carole Misinay as the Transportation Supervisor on a three-year administrative contract. Ms. Misinay has previously served the district as a custodian and a bus driver.

Mr. Martin Kelly Mr. Todd Rowe Mrs. Carole Misinay


Rylee McDonough broke the LaBrae softball season homerun record on May 4th in a home game against Liberty. It was her 11th homerun of the season. She ended the season establishing a new HR b h k ith 14

HURDLING THROUGH Qualifying for State

David Blackmon had the best time at the OHSAA regional tournament earning him the right to compete in the State track tournament in the 110M Hurdles.




LaBraegirlsfinishedtop4atDistrictswith3,340total pins.Threeofourgirlsmadethetop25outofmore than100ofthebestbowlersinthearea.Madison Touartwas9thwitha557series,followedbyJenn Johnson's497(22nd)andCourtneyBates'487(25th).

LaBrae'syoungboysbowlingteamfinishedin5thplace atDistricts,narrowlymissingatriptoStatebyafew pins.However,ChristianHaught's257wasthehighest singlegameattheDistrictTournamentandhis626 seriesputhim5thoverallandqualifiedhimforthe StateTournamentinColumbus.LaBrae'syoungboys bowlingteamfinishedin5thplaceatDistricts,narrowly missingatriptoStatebyafewpins.

Christian Haught LaBrae Girls Bowling: Coach Noble, Jessie Morris, Sarah Reakes, Abigail Khlem, Karli Lancaster, Madison Touart, Courtney Bates, Lindsey Brigham, Jenn Johnson, Coach Huff.


Topping the Gray Division


2023 MVAC Conference Champions of the Gray Division. Overall Record of 22-6 & MVAC Gray Record of 12-2. Eighth-grader Cayman Haynie qualified to compete at the Power of the Pen State Tournament.

LaBrae Replacement Levy on the November Ballot

The LaBrae Board of Education voted at its May board meeting to put before our voters a 30 replacement permanent improvement levy on November 7, 2023. A permanent improvement levy is for improving and maintaining facilities and equipment that has a life of at least five years. By law, this revenue cannot be spent on employee wages or benefits.

The original permanent improvement levy was first approved by voters in 1984 for 30 voted mills Moreover, the Ohio Constitution has inflationary protections to guard against increasing property taxes as property values rise. The Constitution requires that levy millage be reduced as the property valuations in a community increase. Since 1984, LaBrae's voted mills have been reduced to approximately 1.55 mills. The reduced millage is referred to as effective mills This replacement levy is asking LaBrae voters to restore the district to the original 3.0 mills of taxation.

Heating and cooling infrastructure, plumbing equipment, technology, paving, and security upgrades are typical expenditures funded with revenue generated by the permanent improvement levy. Over the course of 40 years, it has become increasingly difficult to afford to fund our permanent improvement efforts due to the rising costs of goods and services.

Successful passage of the replacement levy will position LaBrae to better afford general improvements and upgrades, of which facility upgrades to Bascom, the bus garage, security enhancements, and maintenance of district facilities are included. Furthermore, the final collection of the bond tax from voters will be in August of 2024, of which will be put toward the final bond payment in December of 2024. The December 2024 payment is the final payment on the construction bond, meaning debt to building the LaBrae Complex will be paid in full. If the replacement levy is approved it will not take effect until after the bond debt is paid. Voters would not begin paying on the replacement levy until March 2025 With the bond expiring, and successful passage of the replacement levy, all property owners would still see a net decrease in their overall tax bill.

If you have questions regarding the P.I. levy, please contact the superintendent's office at 330.898.1393.

HVAC Replacement at Bus Garage Booster Pump Installation at the Complex

LaBrae Provides Social-Emotional Support for Parents

In late February, LaBrae was able to welcome Keeth Matheny, or Coach Rudy as he is affectionately known, to provide social-emotional support to parents

LaBrae provided parents an opportunity to bring their children, eat together as a family, and engage children in activities led by LaBrae students as parents learned from Coach Rudy.

Matheny's ultimate goal was to help develop the emotional skills of children, skills such as expressing empathy, managing unhealthy emotions, and inducing positive emotions, which are critical for dealing with life. He asserts that If kids grow up lacking these emotional skills, increasingly negative and unproductive even destructive behavior in our schools and communities is more likely. Thus, helping parents is directly correlated to enhancing these student skills

Matheny presented information to parents to help them better understand brain development and implementation strategies to help students from becoming emotionally hijacked It is a mission to help students better handle their thought processes, their emotions, and improve the choices stemming from their emotions, hopefully, resulting in more positive outcomes at home and at school.

MotivationSelf-Esteem Decision Making Interpersonal Awareness

Empathy Commitment


New Learning Space at LaBrae Intermediate DISTRICT HIGHLIGHTS

In late winter, LaBrae Intermediate was able to convert the building's atrium into a learning space for students with the arrival of new student furniture.

Mrs. Suzelis and a team of LIS teachers met to evaluate how to best use the atrium for student learning. It was important for the team to create a space that didn't resemble the traditional classroom.

Thus, they designed a space and selected furniture that best facilitated independent and small group learning.

The space was put to great use during the remainder of the school year, and is positioned to be a productive student-centered learning space for years to come.


Commemorating Flag Day

Flag Retirement Box at LaBrae

Sam Watkins, a sophomore at LaBrae, and a member of the Boy Scouts of America, was motivated to honor the American Flag with his Eagle Scout project. Watkins designed and built a flag retirement box so local residents could properly dispose of their old flags. Fittingly, he presented LaBrae with its box on Flag Day, June 14th. The retirement box is located at the Middle School doors near the flag pole of the LaBrae Event Entrance.

American Flag Etiquette 14

VIKING SPIRIT on Display at Trumbull County Fair

This 50 gallon barrel, with front and back shown here, was designed and painted by LaBrae HS art students and will be on display at the Trumbull County Fairgrounds. #VikingNation can check out LaBrae's Viking spirit on display during the Trumbull County Fair, which will be held from July 11 through July 16, 2023.




Board Meetings

LaBrae Board of Education meetings are scheduled for the second Monday of each month. Typically, the lone exception is the month of November, when the Board meets on the third Monday of the month. The meeting schedule can be found on the LaBrae website.


LaBrae Local Schools

"Home of the Vikings"

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