Dragon Dispatch Fall/Winter 21-22

Page 1

Dragon Dispatch


Niles City School District


DISTRICT IN GOOD FISCAL STANDING The Niles City School District has been formally released from Fiscal Emergency by the State of Ohio. The move came from Auditor of State Keith Faber on Thursday, January 27, 2022, during a special meeting between members of the district’s Board of Education, and Financial Planning and Supervision Oversight Committee. "Today is a good day," Auditor Faber stated as he spoke to the group.


The district was placed in Fiscal Emergency on February 26, 2019 after five-year forecast projections showed deficits in the budget. Members of the district, Board of Education, and oversight Committee met monthly to find and implement cost saving measures, which have included the attrition of employees, renegotiated union contracts, a reduction in healthcare costs, and a retirement incentive. In addition to these measures, the renewal of the 5.7 mill levy in November of 2019 assisted in moving the district out of emergency and into good standing. "This is a very good turnaround time, it's not often districts come out of emergency this quickly," Faber said. "You all should be very proud of the work done here in the Niles City School District." "It is such a relief," Superintendent Ann Marie Thigpen says. "This was collaboration and teamwork at its finest between the district and our community. We absolutely would not have made it here this quickly without the support of our families, staff, and community. Thank you for what you did and continue to do for the students of the Niles City School District. We thank you."

McKinley Alma Mater McKinley Alma Mater, Guiding star above, Forever in our gratitude We offer thee our love. In Joys and in all sorrows, We shall e'er be true, While in our hearts we ever love thy flag of Red and Blue! McKinley Alma Mater, Tender, brave and true, So proudly in eternal skies Now gleam thy Red and Blue, Then proudly shall thy mantle, O'er thy children fly, While in our hearts we ever praise Thy name McKinley High!

The Fiscal Services Department is committed to serving the District, the Community and its Stakeholders. Through the implementation of the Board of Education's policies and procedures, our team contributes to the continued improvement and success of our students, staff, and community.



The CFO and the fiscal team are an integral part of a chain of team players which include the Board of Education, Superintendent and Building/Department Administrators and staff. The CFO assures that the District provides relevant, authentic reporting and information that paint an accurate picture of the fiscal condition of the Niles City School District, which includes providing the economic strategy and financial forecasting of the District. In addition, the CFO oversees all receipts and disbursements of all funds of the District. Other designated responsibilities of the public-school treasurer are set forth in Ohio Revised Code sections 3313.22 through 3313.32.

The Fiscal Services Department affects all areas of the educational process. Although the team does not have direct contact with students, it is an integral part of the education of students i.e. paying staff salaries and benefits, purchase of instructional supplies and equipment, paying utility bills, etc. The fiscal team strives to communicate with stakeholders in a professional manner in order to maintain an atmosphere of excellence and provide outstanding services to all they encounter. The Niles fiscal position continues to improve. For the fourth consecutive year, the district’s cash balance is increasing exponentially and is

forecasted to continue to growth through 2026. When the district was designated in Fiscal Emergency in early 2019 (released January 27, 2022), the district began to focus on reducing expenditures across the board without interrupting the educational process. The charts on the following pages portray historical and forecasted “Excess of Revenue over Expenditures” and “Cash Balances at June 30” of each fiscal year (JulyJune.) I invite opportunities to discuss district finances and can be reached at 330-989-5095 ext. 4008 or rhonda.amorganos@ nilesmckinley.org

NILES MCKINLEY high school CHICK-FIL-A STUDENTS & STAFF OF THE MONTH Niles McKinley High School has teamed up with Chickfil-A to recognize and honor four students of the month (one per grade level), and one Niles McKinley staff member for their


outstanding job

Congratulations to this year's Clayman Family Foundation Scholarship winners: Allison Cline, Katherine Buttar, and Brad Isabella! The Clayman Family Foundation Academic Scholarship is one of Niles McKinley High School's most prestigious scholarships. Only Seniors who are in the Top 5% of the class can apply. This year ten students were eligible. In addition to the application, a student's GPA, ACT score, academic honors/awards, extra curricular activities, personal statement, two letters of recommendation, and personal interview are considered in the selection process. The top three students receive scholarships over four years. Congratulations to all of our eligible and selected scholarship recipients and thank you to the Clayman Family Foundation for your continued support of Niles City Schools students!

Nominations are submitted

Winners: 1st Place: Katherine Buttar ($60,000) 2nd Place: Allison Cline ($40,000) 3rd Place: Brad Isabella ($20,000)

performance and/or accomplishments. by school staff and selected by the end of each month. Recipients are shared on social media, given a certificate, and a Chick-fil-A complimentary combo meal! Congratulations to all of our winners so far this school year - keep up the tremendous work!

NATIONAL AWARD Our yearbook team placed third in a national yearbook contest sponsored by TreeRing! Entrants had to choose a yearbook hero and then create a 60-second video explaining how that person helped/inspired them with the yearbook. NHS students working on the project included seniors, and yearbook co-editors Haylie Srbinovich, Katherine Buttar, Hannah Loveless, and Vivian Nash, who chose the students and staff of NHS as their hero. “There is no yearbook without the people in this building,” said Buttar. “After a difficult year during the pandemic we felt everyone here deserved to be recognized as a hero.”


TWENTY UNDER 20 NHS is proud to have two seniors, Katherine Buttar and Logan Lewis, who were selected as Trumbull County Twenty Under 20 winners! The Tribune Chronicle, Akron Children's Hospital Mahoning Valley, and Kent State UniversityTrumbull honored this group of teens for their leadership through community service, academics, and extracurricular activities. In addition, Katherine placed in the top five and received a $125 award. She donated the money to Niles Community Services.

Driver Safety is a big topic of discussion at NHS this year thanks to the S.M.A.S.H. (Students Making A Safer Highway) Club. Seniors Isabella D'Urso and Hannah Loveless, and Junior Nick Velez represent Niles and meet monthly with other Trumbull County teens to brainstorm ideas and messaging about the importance of safe driving.

In conjunction with The Ohio State Highway Patrol, 4-H, and Safe Communities, S.M.A.S.H representatives learn about the four pillars of car crashes (drinking, seatbelts, speeding, texting) and bring the information back to school with assemblies and activities. To kick off the campaign, every NHS student was asked to sign a "Safe Driving Pledge."

NILES MIDDLE SCHOOL KEYS TO LITERACY Over the last four years, NMS Teachers have been participating in Keys to Literacy professional development. Content literacy is embedded in classroom instruction and practiced in all subject areas. Students are able to learn literacy strategies

MORE THAN 3,000 ITEMS DONATED TO DRAGON PANTRY This year's Red Dragon Food Pantry Drive was a HUGE success! Coordinated by the NMS WEB Program, Advisors Ms. Anna Keatley and Ms. Carla Rose, along with The Youngstown State University Pre-Clinical Teaching Candidates program, this year's drive ran from Monday, November 1 - Friday, November 12. Students were encouraged to bring in non-perishable food and toiletry items. Items were collected during first period classes; the class that brought in the most items won donuts! Altogether, our students and families donated more than 3,000 items to our Red Dragon Food Pantry. (Seventh grade student Jada Washington contributed more than 600 nonperishable food items!) All of the items in the pantry go to families here at Niles Middle School. This was the most successful Red Dragon Food Pantry Drive that NMS has held, since its opening four years ago. NMS also has partnered with The Second Harvest Food Bank to continue and keep our Red Dragon Food Pantry stocked for the students and families of the Niles Middle School Community.

and use them in all classes. POSITIVE BEHAVIOR SUPPORTS NMS is implementing Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports (PBIS), an evidence-based tiered framework promoting behavior expectations and strategies. It aims to improve social, emotional, and academic outcomes for all students. The Great Jobs rewards are one example of a PBIS support.

SPELLING BEE WINNERS Congratulations to NMS Spelling Bee winners: 7th grader Addison Martin (1st), 8th grader Andrew Strader (2nd), and 7th grader Jackson Bortmas (3rd)! 20 students in grades 6-8 competed in the bee. Addison won in round 15 after correctly spelling the words 'separate' and then 'scissors.' She will go on to represent NMS at the county spelling bee in March. Congratulations to our top 3 finishers and ALL of our participants - nice work!


ART AWARDS Congratulations to 8th graders Keira Preusser & Alysse D'Errico for winning awards at the Northeast Ohio Scholastic Art Show! Keira won a Gold Key and Alysse won a Silver Key. Their work was on display at Youngstown State University throughout January. Both girls were also recognized during a special awards assembly at YSU.

Four students represented NMS in the District V OMEA Honors Band in November. Our Dragons joined students from more than 70 schools in Trumbull, Mahoning, and Ashtabula counties. The concert was held at Stambaugh Auditorium in Youngstown. The musical event was streamed live online.

Students recognized and chosen to perform were: Torie Nick Trumpet, Third Chair Andrew Strader Baritone, Third Chair Alex Lipp Percussion, Third Chair Jonathan Bell Tuba, First Chair Congratulations to these four aspiring musicians!

intermediate school TOP SCHOOL In their first ever rankings of elementary schools, the U.S. News & World Report has ranked NIS in the top 30% of all public elementary schools in Ohio. Our official ranking is #371 (out of 1,898.) SHOUT OUTS

STUDENT COUNCIL DONATES TREAT-FILLED MUGS TO VFW When Niles Intermediate Student Council members were challenged to find a way to give back to the community during the holidays, they knew exactly who they wanted to support - local Veterans! Council members worked together to come up with an idea about what to give and then how to involve the entire student body. What they did was host an Ugly Sweater Day where students could pay one dollar to participate. All of the money raised would then be used to purchase items to put in mugs and to give to Niles VFW Post 2074. Ugly Sweater Day garnered enough support for Council to purchase and fill 30 coffee mugs. Members spent a morning filling the mugs with treats and snacks, including granola bars, peanuts, cookies, and candy. The goodies were delivered to the local VFW for members to enjoy. NIS Council Members felt this was a nice way to show Veterans their appreciation while giving back to their community.

At NIS we love to SHOUT OUT... our good behavior! Anytime a student is "caught" doing something responsible, respectful, or productive, teachers will email Principal Mr. Staph about it and he then reads the shout out during announcements. The note is then hung outside the cafeteria. Students are earning tickets for shout outs for a chance to win prizes!

SPELLING BEE WINNERS Congratulations to our NIS Spelling Bee winner - 5th grader Arihana Elser! She was the final contestant standing out of 21 third, fourth, and fifth graders who competed. She won the Bee in Round 11 after correctly spelling the words 'operator' and 'distract.' Our runner up is 4th grader Ellie Christensen and our third place finisher was 5th grader Addilyn Dean. Congratulations to ALL of our Spelling Bee participants!


DRAGONS STICK TOGETHER A dragon amongst dragons in 4th grade! Students absolutely LOVE "Johanna" the bearded dragon. She stays in the NIS Resource Room where students can watch her eat crickets during meal time or even read to her. Johanna really enjoys listening to all of their stories and watching them as they work in the classroom. She's been a tremendous motivator and support for students this year!

A group of 14 NIS fourth and fifth graders are working to spread positivity in school. Students are part of the KAB (Kids Against Bullying) Club. Together they work to make the school a kinder place by fostering acceptance, inclusion, and positive self image. Recently, KAB partnered with Trumbull Children's Services for a

personal hygiene and sock drive At the end of the three-week drive, KAB had ten boxes FULL of supplies to give to Children's Services. Thank you to everyone who supported this cause! KAB members are currently organizing upcoming events for students, which include a Spirit Week, teachers vs. students athletic events, and a school-wide scavenger hunt.

niles primary school LETRS TRAINING NPS teachers have gone through extensive professional development in LETRS (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling). The training is providing them with skills needed to implement strategies and interventions based on the science of reading.

STUDENTS DONATE MORE THAN 400 BOXES OF CEREAL Our NPS families sure know how to deliver! When the Niles Primary Home and School Association asked for your help in November to collect boxes of cereal for Niles Community Services, we never imagined we would get the outpouring of support that we did. Students started bringing in boxes of cereal immediately, and within days, our supply room next to the cafeteria was overflowing! It took two cars and well over an hour for Home and School members to load the boxes for delivery. Together, you donated more than 468 boxes of cereal to NCS. Perhaps a little friendly classroom competition had something to do with the outpouring of support. The collection was a competition between classes, with the winning class in each grade receiving a special ice cream treat to celebrate their success. Thank you for your generosity. It's going to make a difference for so many families!

BEHAVIOR MVPs NPS students are earning MVP cards for being respectful, responsible, and safe. Once they fill up their MVP chart, their name and picture goes on a hallway trophy! Classroom and specialist teachers reward students for good behavior and outstanding efforts in class by nominating them for student of the month. Those selected are celebrated at the end of the month during lunch!

NPS HAS HEART During the month of February, students participated in the American Heart Association's Kids Heart Challenge! Students completed various fitness challenges during PE, including jump rope to raise money for Jump Rope for Heart! Students also discovered ways to take care of their hearts and brains while practicing kindness and gratitude. Plus, we have the chance to earn PE equipment for our school! Thank you to everyone who supported our students in this effort to raise money!

STUDENTS' ART WORK FEATURED 18 NPS students have artwork featured in local exhibitions.

READ ACROSS AMERICA March 2 is Read Across America Day, and NPS is looking forward to an "out of this world" event this year! The day was established by the National Education Association (NEA) in 1998 to help get kids excited about reading. NPS staff have a week full of events planned to help students get excited about reading at school and at home!

Students participating in the Mill Creek MetroParks Nature Rocks Juried Art Show February 26th were: 2nd graders: Madilyn Fox, Deano Gossett, Jaxson Lewis, Remi Smith, Arabella Tenney 1st graders: Franklin Bassett, Sophia Lawson, Magdalyn Marcinko Kindergarteners: Bruce Kascak, Ayden Moyer

Those featured in the Trumbull Art Gallery exhibit running March 3- March 26 are: 2nd graders: Annabella Basinger, Finley Christensen, Madilyn Fox, Deano Gossett, Tegan Jenkins, Callie Kibler, Remi Smith 1st graders: Franklin Bassett, Mia Burns, Sophia Lawson, Magdalyn Marcinko, Aubreeah Slusher Kindergarteners: Ava Apodaca, Bruce Kascak, Z'Riyah Wade Congratulations!

OFFICE FOR EXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN The Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law that assures children and youth with disabilities a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE). The Niles City School District provides a continuum of special education programs and services for preschool and school age students with disabilities.


ORNAMENT SALE IS BIG BUSINESS A Christmas ornament sale in December provided job skills students with some insight into running a business. Students in the class had to advertise their goods, fulfill orders, collect money, and then deliver the finished product in a timely manner. The $5 ornaments were popular gift items. Students fulfilled 72 orders and will use proceeds for future projects.

Some of our NHS students are getting hands-on work experience. Students in Ms. Johnson's job skills training class are enhancing their skills by assisting with various projects around the district. Students have been seen around the Board of Education Office assisting with paper shredding, gardening, & recycling.

Students are also assisting at NHS this year, providing paper services, cleaning the stadium after football games, washing cafeteria tables, and making and selling popcorn. They are also helping out at the Niles Wellness Center. In November, the class prepared and ate a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

IMPORTANT UPCOMING DATES MARCH March 18: End Q3 - No School Students / Staff PD Day March 23: Statewide Tornado Drill

CONTACT US Board Office: 330-989-5095

APRIL April 15-22: Spring Break, No School April 25: Classes Resume

McKinley High: 330-652-9968 Niles Middle: 330-652-5656 Niles Intermediate: 330-989-5093

MAY May 22: Graduation at Packard Music Hall, 1:00 p.m. May 26: Students' Last Day of School May 27: Staff in-service day

Niles Primary: 330-989-5091

SPRING TESTING DATES Niles McKinley High School English Language Arts II

Algebra; Biology (9th); US History

Biology (10th/11th); Government


March 29, 2022 (Pt. 1)

April 13, 2022

April 27, 2022

April 28, 2022

March 31, 2022 (Pt. 2) April 1-8, 2022 (Makeups/Retakes)


April 14-May 6, 2022 April 14-May 6, 2022 (Makeups / Retakes) (Makeups / Retakes)

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

(11th Grade Students Only)

Niles Middle School Grade

English Language Arts


Grade 6

March 22 & March 23, 2022

April 13 & April 14, 2022

Grade 7

March 24 & March 25, 2022

April 26 & April 27, 2022

Grade 8

March 29 & March 30, 2022

April 28 & April 29, 2022



April 11 & April 12, 2022

April 28 & April 29, 2022

Niles Intermediate School Grade

English Language Arts


Grade 3

April 5 & April 7, 2022

May 3 & May 5, 2022

Grade 4

March 29 & March 31, 2022

April 12 & April 14, 2022

Grade 5

March 22 & March 24, 2022

April 26 & April 28, 2022


April 11 & April 13, 2022

Go Dragons!