Niles City Schools Dragon Dispatch Winter 2019

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Niles City School District

The Dragon Dispatch Winter Edition 2019

Ruby Payne

nationally recognized educator and author shares her expertise with niles high school staff

On Tuesday, November 5th, Ruby Payne presented to staff and administrators at Niles McKinley High School during Staff Professional Development Day. Payne is an educator and author. Her career-long goal is offering strategies for successfully raising student achievement. As an expert in her field she’s trained hundreds of thousands of professionals such as educators and administrators. The school was able to bring in nationally recognized researchers after being awarded the School Quality Improvement Grant. Payne was able to examine the school’s data and tailor her presentation to fit the needs of Niles High School. "Ruby Payne and the message she shared from her presentation, A Framework for Understanding Poverty, was very impactful for our staff. Understanding the socioeconomic burdens our students and their families face and how that affects the way they learn and process information is essential in helping them succeed academically, socially, and emotionally," said Tracie Parry, Principal, Niles McKinley High School. Ruby Payne is returning for a second presentation in January 2020.

IN THIS ISSUE Striving Readers Grant STEM Programs at Niles Middle School PBIS at Niles Intermediate Read for Fun Program Student Spotlight School Resource Officer

superintendent's message Dear Niles Schools families and the entire Niles community, It is with great pleasure that I address you as we approach the end of 2019, and we are soon to end the first semester of the 2019-2020 school year. First and foremost, thank you to our Niles community for passing the 10 year renewal levy issue that was on the ballot in November. The passage of this levy will add to the level of financial stability and solvency we are working hard to attain in our district. There are many noteworthy items to share from the beginning of this school year. Our district was recently awarded a School Safety and Security grant in the amount of $18,491.66 from the Bureau of Worker’s Compensation to add additional security features to the main entrance of Niles Middle School. Our district was also awarded $9,918.55 from the Attorney General Dave Yost’s office for the School Safety Grant that provides funding for school safety initiatives, training and school programs. The work funded by the literacy grants we have been afforded by the Ohio Department of Education is continuing at every level in our district. Teachers continue to participate in jobembedded professional development. Our fall sports and activities have concluded with many of our student athletes being selected for first, second or honorable mention to either All-County, Conference or All-State teams. Congratulations to those student athletes. Also, congratulations to several of our middle school and high school students who were selected to District V Honors Choir or Honors Band and recently performed with other area student performers last month. We are also so proud of Niles senior Jacob Buttar who just recently won the top prize in the Tribune Chronicle’s Twenty Under 20 Award. Congratulations to Jacob!

Ann Marie Thigpen Superintendent, Niles City School District

Earlier in the year, our Board of Education approved the change in the kindergarten entrance date. Students entering kindergarten need to have turned 5 years old by August 1st. Our district will participate in the Kindergarten Transition Fair scheduled for February 1, 2020, at the Eastwood Mall. We are now in the midst of winter sports and activities. As we approach the end of 2019, we are looking forward to a great second half of the school year!

Congratulations Jacob Buttar

Twenty Under 20 Award Winner from Niles City Schools

Jacob Buttar, senior at Niles McKinley High School, was selected as the Tribune Chronicle's “20 Under Twenty” award winner. The primary emphasis of the program is leadership through community service. Jacob demonstrates this through his involvement in many community service projects, academic achievement and extracurricular activities. Jacob has a 3.9 GPA and is a College Credit Plus student where he is enrolled at Youngstown State University and Eastern Gateway College. Jacob was inducted into National Honor Society in Spring 2019. He is president of the Niles McKinley High School Key Club. He has volunteered over 500 hours through his junior year while being involved in athletics and coordinating many projects, such as, the American Red Cross Blood Drive. Jacob’s leadership contributions are evident throughout Niles McKinley High School.

Niles McKinley High School Utilizing the Striving Readers Grant Teachers Participate in Two-Hour Training Session on Fridays

Teachers at Niles McKinley High School are working along side a Strategic Instruction Model (SIM) certified trainer every Friday. The two-hour training session gives teachers the opportunity to learn new strategies to improve instruction. The goal is to promote effective teaching and learning of critical content in an effort to close achievement gaps in adolescent literacy. This comes as a result of the $600,000 Striving Readers Grant that Niles City Schools received.


Clayman Scholarship Winners The Clayman Scholarship is Niles High School’s most prestigious scholarship. As a result, only the top five percent of the senior class is eligible to apply. Candidates are considered based on their GPA, ACT score, academic honors and awards, extra-curricular activities, a personal statement, two letters of recommendation, and an interview. This year, the Clayman family expanded the scholarships to three. First place winner was Rachel Libert, $60,000. Second place winner was Anthony Elbon, $40,000. Third place winner was Dana Spagnoletta, $20,000.

Niles Middle School niles middle school STEM Programs continue to grow STEM Education at Niles Middle School continues to evolve. Students in 6th grade now have the opportunity to take Advanced Science classes. Students also have five 3D printers to print on, resulting in a record setting number of items printed this school year. Currently, 8th graders are working on printing a school spirit project as well as a car for the year 2050. The 7th grade Advanced Science class will be 3D printing a mulcher. Once this is built, they will be able to compost waste and conduct experiments of plant growth utilizing the compost. The 7th graders will also be competing in the Mars Rover Challenge in May, 2020. Students are using InventorCloud and Invent 3D which is the hardware, software, and curriculum created by Jack Scott of Youngstown. With this, students will be able to learn from digital content, design their own creations and make those items.

Niles Middle School students in advanced science classes go on a field trip to Inventor Cloud in Youngstown.

12th Annual Harvest Dinner

Niles 8th grade students using one of the five 3D printers.

STEam powered learning Eighteen students in grades 6 and 7 at Niles Middle School are taking part in the Trumbull County Educational Service Center’s STEAM Powered Learning program. These students are bused to Lordstown High School every Wednesday for handson activities. The student day consists of two sessions. One session is in their chosen pathway and the other session is in the Innovation Lab where they experience makerspace challenges and choose their own projects. The TCESC offers the five following pathways: Performance Arts, Mixed Media Arts, Engineering, Drone Operation and Coding and Robotics. Dana Butto of the Trumbull County ESC is the Program Supervisor. The students took center stage for the STEAM Showcase Wednesday, Dec. 11.

Niles intermediate school PBIS making an impact at Niles Intermediate School

A noticeable change is felt as you walk down the halls of Niles Intermediate School. The school implemented Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) this year. In this picture, students in Kristin Pishotti’s class pose in front of the “Kindness Wall” created to shout out students for random acts of kindness throughout the year. Throughout the school you will also find murals with positive quotes written on the walls. It’s a step towards changing the culture in the school through positive reinforcement. Niles Intermediate and Primary Schools received the 2019 Ohio School Climate Grant which allowed them to bring PBIS frameworks and research-based social and emotional learning initiatives into the schools. Teachers took two weeks at the beginning of the year to educate and practice expected behaviors with their classes in every student environment. As a result, students know exactly what the behavioral expectations are in every setting during the day, as well as on the bus. The expectations are consistent, which helps to maintain continuity and consistency throughout the building. “So far this school year, the student behavior has improved, the climate has increased in positivity, and the overall atmosphere of NIS is inviting and pleasant,” said Mary Doelling, Teacher at Niles Intermediate School. Doelling says, students greet teachers and others as they pass in the hall, hold doors for adults and others, as well as volunteer to help in the classrooms and cafeteria. On November 5, 2019, staff members also had the opportunity to be trained in PAX during a professional development day. PAX is a set of strategies to help students learn important self-management skills while collaborating to make their classroom a peaceful and productive learning environment. Students and staff are demonstrating this in many ways. In Mrs. Pishotti’s classroom, students write “tootles” which are posted on the wall. These “tootles” allow students to shout out their classmates for positive behavior. “Moving forward, the PBIS program will help Niles Intermediate School maintain and enhance the positive school climate. It will enable both students and staff to work and learn in an atmosphere rich with respect, consistency and community,” said Doelling.

Niles primary school Reading for Fun Program

Niles Mayor Steve Mientkiewicz reads to second graders at Niles Primary School.

Home Savings bank presented a $10,000 check to the United Way of Trumbull County at Niles Primary School. The check presentation took place on Tuesday, October 22. A portion of the money will be used for the “Reading Great by 8” program. The Read for Fun Program brings community readers into classrooms and also sends each child home with a book of their own. The following people read to Niles second graders: Sheila Vandergriff, Anthony Flarey, Mayor Steve Mientkiewicz, Bobby Marino, Erin Fantitis, Mercy, Dana Warren Tolkios – Chemical, Sylvia Pastore - Cortland Bank.

Niles Primary School is going PAX In November, staff members at Niles Primary School were trained in PAX during a professional development day. PAX is trauma-informed, research-based strategies for behavior management that promotes peace, productivity, health, and happiness. Staff members were trained in PAX GBG (Good Behavior Game), which is classroom management based, and PAX Tools, which is behavior management based. The PAX Good Behavior Game is an environmental intervention used in the classroom to create a nurturing environment that is conducive to learning. The intervention is designed to reduce off-task behavior, increase attentiveness, decrease aggression and disruptive behavior, as well as shy and withdrawn behavior. PAX GBG also has been shown to improve academic success, and improve mental health and substance abuse outcomes later in life.

Niles Primary School students put the "I" in KIND on World Kindness Day.

school resource officer steve corll

Niles City School District School Resource Officer

Officer Steve Corll is a familiar face for students and staff throughout the Niles City School District. It’s his fourth year as the full-time School Resource Officer for the district, something Officer Corll takes an immense amount of pride in. “My job is to be a positive influence on students, give them guidance and help prevent them from getting into trouble,” said Corll. Officer Corll has been with the Niles Police Department for eight years. He worked several jobs prior to his start with NPD, including the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office and as a School Resource Officer for Youngstown City Schools. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Ashland University in Criminal Justice. He served in the United States Army, doing a tour in Iraq from 2004-2005. Corll's experience allows him to bring a calming presence and safety element to the district. “Without a doubt, the number one priority is safety. It’s my job to give students and staff a safe learning environment,” says Corll. Corll says it takes a special personality to be able to interact with the students on a daily basis. He’s no stranger to that with five kids of his own. He enjoys being able to be a positive role model for students at Niles City Schools. This year, Officer Corll received a “Master SRO Accreditation” from the Ohio School Resource Officers Association. It’s presently the highest of the three levels of accreditation from the OSROA and is based on the amount of school based law enforcement training received, cumulative years of service in the SRO field, and years of active membership in the OSROA. Officer Corll addresses students during an assembly at the beginning of each school year to set standards and expectations when it comes to behavior. His goal is always to help the students succeed and continue on the right path.

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT Claudia Swauger SENIOR Claudia is an exceptional student, band member, and involved in many school activities. She has a 3.9 GPA and is in the process of taking various college level classes. Claudia is involved in numerous school clubs, and is a four-year class officer. She’s been a baton twirler for fifteen years. She’s been to six different countries for baton twirling. She recently came back from a two week trip to Peru where she was an ambassador for their spring festival. She had the opportunity to perform and hand out gifts at press conferences, children’s homes, and many other places. Claudia will travel to Holland in April, 2020 for her fifth world championship. She will be in Holland for two weeks. Claudia also won a competition called Perform for a Cure where she was able to raise one thousand dollars for breast cancer. On October 4, 2019, Claudia donated the one thousand dollar check to Rock for a Reason, a non-profit organization helping families impacted by cancer. “My mom had breast cancer in 2008, and it came back in 2013 and she’s currently fighting it so when I performed I really just performed for her, and that’s also why I raised money for breast cancer,” said Swauger. Claudia is also a "Twirling to Fight Cancer High School Ambassador" where she focuses on raising money for a cure. Claudia hopes to become a physical therapist after graduation.

NATALIE PARRY 8TH GRADE Natalie is a hard-working student athlete at Niles Middle School. She has a 4.0 GPA and participates in many extracurricular activities while maintaining her academics. Natalie is a setter for the volleyball team, a member of the band, and competes in solo and ensemble. She also cheers for basketball and competes in competitions. One of her biggest accomplishments is succeeding in 8th grade accelerated classes. Natalie was a part of the group of students who competed and won the Mars Rover competition last school year. “I’m just really thankful for the opportunity to be able to take high school classes in 8th grade. It’s a big accomplishment that I pride myself on. I’m glad that our school is able to do that for us, and it will help me get into certain colleges and have a career that I will want in the future,” said Parry.

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT Kyleigh hernandez 3rd grade

Kyen cluckey 4th grade

Kyleigh Hernandez and Kyen Cluckey were selected by their classroom teachers for Student Spotlight. They are both described as good role-models, being responsible and respectful, and being productive students in the classroom.

James and Jessica Holloway 2nd Grade James and Jessica Holloway are second graders at Niles Primary School. These twin siblings have great attendance and work hard at academics. The Holloways are described as team players, polite, kind, and always displaying great behavior. Jessica Holloway competes in soccer and basketball. Her favorite subject is science and her favorite part of school is recess and the teaching staff at Niles Primary School. James Holloway competes in baseball, soccer and basketball. His favorite subject is math and his favorite part of school is learning to spell and working with three-digit numbers.

Joanne Baron, Career/Technology Niles High School

Mary Wike, Intervention Specialist Niles Middle School


Elyssa Herter, School Counselor Niles Primary and Intermediate Schools

Melissa Raeburn, Intervention Specialist/Co-Teacher Niles Intermediate School

Brittany Gebhart, School Psychologist Niles PK-5th Grade

MARK YOUR CALENDAR! Click the links below:

Niles City Schools 2019-2020 School Calendar NILES CITY SCHOOLS 2020-2021 SCHOOL CALENDAR Two-Hour Delay Schedule: If a two-hour delay is implemented, all of our school buildings will open exactly two hours later than their regularly scheduled start time. Bus routes will also be delayed by two hours. When school is delayed by two hours, students cannot be dropped off at their school’s regular start time as no employees will be present. Dismissal times at our schools are not adjusted on days in which two-hour delays are implemented. Cancellation Due to Weather Conditions: In the event of a cancellation, the Niles City School District will utilize several methods of communication to alert families of the closure. Notification of Delays and Cancellations: All Call, Niles City School District Text Alerts, Social Media, Local Media.

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