THE DRAKKAR: LaBrae Local Schools December 2021 Newsletter

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Opening Doors With 'Keys' to Literacy As much of the country, and the world at-large, holed up in their homes in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, LaBrae Intermediate and Bascom Elementary schools moved forward with putting into action a plan to meet the literacy needs of their students. The district began developing the initiative in 2019, started putting the pieces in place in June 2020, and, with the addition of a literacy coach, launched the initiatives of the LaBrae Literacy Plan in October 2020. “With everything going on around us, with COVID and the school shutdown and all that was happening, we knew we still needed to focus on doing what we knew to be best for our students,” explained Kay Suzelis, Intermediate School principal. “LaBrae did not go into the ‘stay-afloat mode’ in those early days of the pandemic, and we haven’t since. We continued moving forward, and we will continue moving forward.”


3-D Pump .................... 5 VNN .............................. 6 Fiscal Trends ............... 7 2022 Bond Rate ............ 8 2021 LaBrae HOF ......... 10

See LaBrae Literacy, p. 3



As our LaBrae families have found their groove and adjusted to the challenges of the pandemic to establish your new normal, I think the same can be said for our students and staff.

This newsletter is an effort to enhance our school communication with our families and our community at large. The moniker for the newsletter was selected in keeping with our mascot's Nordic heritage and the historical longships associated with the Vikings.

Superintendent A.J. Calderone

The current school year has brought on an additional set of challenges as we prepared to resume school this fall with all students in attendance, and to do so in a manner that was safe, while also attempting to restore normal school operations and provide the educational services to which everyone is accustomed. One significant challenge was the issue of managing student attendance under a mask optional policy. This challenge has been reduced significantly with the changing of the quarantine guidance in late October. As a result, LaBrae is no longer quarantining healthy students who have been exposed at school. This change in the Ohio Department of Health's guidelines has reduced student absenteeism and provided for continuity in the delivery of their education. We have resolved this year to provide a learning environment that is as normal as possible in an effort to provide our students all of the curricular and extra-curricular

The Drakkar, the best known of the spectacular longships, were symbolic of the legendary Vikings. These ships were used primarily as vicious and brutal warships. Developed by majestic kings such as Olaf Tryggvasson, they were a symbol of the incredible Scandinavian power and were to these proud owners a highly valued material possession. The Drakkar embodies the spirit of being a Viking! The Drakkar is LaBrae's vehicle to communicate with our constituents. It is our opportunity to celebrate students and staff, as well as another medium for informing the LaBrae educational community about all things LaBrae. LaBrae trusts that you'll find the content herein informative. Thank you for your continued support of LaBrae Local Schools!

opportunities they need and they deserve. I thank our community and our families for your support and patience. Together we have faced our challenges, adapted as necessary, and handled it all gracefully. I am confident we will continue to work effectively together in the best interests of all students, providing them the opportunities to reach their full potential in the face of everchanging circumstances confronting us.


Longtime BOE Member Diane Duncan to Retire Longtime LaBrae School Board of Education member Diane Duncan is retiring when her term expires at the end of the year. Mrs. Duncan has served as a member of the school board for 12 years, from 2010-2021. A graduate of Leavittsburg High School, she taught at LaBrae until she retired in 2008. During her tenure as a board member, Mrs. Duncan worked to ensure board effectiveness, was committed to improving school and community relations, and used her teaching experience to promote literacy instruction and student achievement. Additionally, Mrs. Duncan was a tireless supporter of the LaBrae band and expects to continue to offer her support beyond her term of service. Bradley Gamlin, elected in November, assumes his position on the board in January 2022.

2022 LaBrae Board of Education Mr. Russell Sewell, Email: Mrs. Karen Ancell Email: Mr.Bradley Gamlin Email: Mr. Tim Gibson, Email: Mr. Gary Morton Email:

2022 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 Literacy Enhancing Foundational Skills & Vocabulary based instruction delivered by the teacher to the whole class.

During the 2020-2021 school year, literacy teachers participated in professional development to gain greater understanding of the science behind the development of reading skills.

Further, the district created the literacy coach position in an effort to facilitate teaching and learning as a primary initiative to close foundational reading gaps.

Additionally, a leadership team of teachers, principals, administrators, and board members, spent the better part of last year vetting literacy resources to assure they aligned to Ohio's learning standards and the science of reading. As a result, LaBrae used a portion of its federal pandemic relief dollars to purchase a new phonics based program called Really Great Reading.

Mrs. Glatz, a veteran LaBrae elementary teacher, has now taken on the role of the district’s new literacy coach. She was repositioned as part of the district’s initiative to identify student literacy gaps, assist in implementing research-based practices, and improve student reading, writing, comprehension, vocabulary, and communication skills.

Moreover, LaBrae Local Schools has implemented a universal screener in grades K to 5 to assess student reading abilities. Once students' reading skills are determined, they receive an individualized reading intervention plan in addition to the phonics-

In her new role, Mrs. Glatz works directly with teachers researching best practices, implementing LaBrae's new phonics curriculum, problem solving instructional Cont'd on p. 4


obstacles, assessing student data, and devising further reading interventions according to a student's learning needs. While the literacy efforts in grades K to 5 focus on foundational reading skills, the focus is different for higher grade levels. In grades 6-12, the LaBrae literacy plan calls for a focus on vocabulary development. Teachers across all content areas have collaborated on instructional strategies to implement in the classroom designed to increase student vocabulary acquisition. "We asked ourselves what is best for our students, how do we deliver that and how do we move forward," explained Mrs. Suzelis. Helping LaBrae stay true to this focus throughout the process is its educational partner, the Trumbull County Educational Service Center, or TCESC.


"We asked ourselves what is best for our students, how do we deliver that and how do we move forward." - Principal Kay Suzelis LaBrae Intermediate School

The TCESC Curriculum and Instruction Department, and LaBrae liaison, Angela Guarnieri, have facilitated the professional development of LaBrae teachers, the investigation and alignment of appropriate resources, and the implementation and monitoring of best practices. As the literacy efforts unfold, the Curriculum and Instruction Department of the TCESC continues to work closely with LaBrae teachers and administrators to ensure optimal delivery for students.

Student combines 3-D skills & kindness to help kindergartener Using the skills he learned on the LaBrae robotics team, and with a heart to help others, senior Aidan McManus designed and created a protective case for another student’s insulin pump. Aidan used a 3-D printer to make

a case for 5-year-old Emerson

Masters’ insulin pump after the kindergartener broke hers. Emerson has type 1 diabetes. Aidan used his own insulin pump to develop a design for Emerson’s case, and, after printing a few prototypes, presented her with a pink case with her name on it. Aidan’s and Emerson's story has garnered attention throughout the LaBrae community and beyond.



Viking News: Daily Bulletin Whether it’s a Red Ribbon Week skit reminding viewers of the dangers of substance abuse, or a bulletin of an upcoming school spirit week theme or activity, LaBrae’s Viking News Network (VNN) has raised the high school’s daily information system a notch above what many might expect from their morning announcements. Each day, the core group of five students gather in Erin Fee’s classroom to create and produce LaBrae High School’s morning announcements. But they don’t simply read from a script in front of a green screen. They entertain by acting out the information as they inform. “It really challenges them to take an announcement, create a script and turn it into a story that relays that information in a creative way to viewers,” Fee explained. Fee started the VNN production group by recruiting some of the students in her Spanish class. The VNN staff recently grew to include other students when the production group invited their classmates to audition. The team now has a production room designated for the daily projects. “They do a great job and everyone looks forward to their announcements,” said Principal Jeff Starkey. “They’re entertaining, but they also get the message across. The students and staff look forward to seeing what they come up with next.”


LABRAE FINANCIALS Treasurer Brad Panak

LaBrae General Fund Expenditure Categories

LaBrae General Fund Revenue Sources

LaBrae Locals Schools recently completed the Ohio required financial five-year forecast. The District is forecasted to be in stable financial standing for the next four years. Retirements in fiscal year 2021, along with the assistance from federal funding related to COVID-19, helped the District reduce personnel and benefit costs. Also, Ohio's new funding formula is helping to provide immediate stability this year and next, but there is no guarantee of the current state funding formula being extended beyond the 2022-2023 school year. Primarily, it is the infusion of the temporary federal dollars for the next three years that is the reason for the stability. Further, when these federal funds expire in fiscal year 2025, the District's expenditures are forecasted to exceed revenues by $1 million. The District will continue to monitor expenditures throughout the forecasted years, as cost savings practices may need to be implemented after these funds expire.

LaBrae Revenues v. Expenditures


LaBrae Significantly Reduces 2022 Bond Taxation Rate LaBrae Local Schools is reducing the rate of taxation in 2022 on the outstanding debt incurred when the District built the LaBrae Complex. The construction costs for building the new LaBrae Complex were acquired, as is typical with capital improvement projects of this magnitude, through the sale of bonds on the market. The original debt was refinanced in 2011 so the District could take advantage of historically low interest rates. The refinancing of the debt saved the District, and subsequently, LaBrae taxpayers, $631,644.17 in interest over the remaining life of the debt. In 2022, LaBrae Local Schools is able to compound the aforementioned interest savings by continuing the return of unused principal from the bond levy to the taxpayers. The 2022 tax rate on the LaBrae bond debt will be reduced to 3.8 mills of taxation. For comparison, the 2016 tax rate on the bond debt was 5.7 mills of taxation. From 2017-2019, the tax rate stood at 5.0 mills. The bond millage was lowered to 4.5 mills in 2020, and 4.4 mills in 2021. What does this mean for a property owner in our community? In 2016 at 5.7 mills, the owner of a $100,000 home would have paid $199.50 in taxes to help fund the bond obligation. With a reduction in millage to 3.8 mills this year, that same homeowner will see a lower tax liability of $133.00. The District is able to return the remaining unused principal, because the construction of the building project came in under budget. This unused principal will supplant tax revenue lost when lower tax rates on the bond levy are provided to LaBrae property owners. Each year LaBrae Local Schools evaluates the tax revenue from the bond levy and sets its tax rate with the Trumbull County Auditor's Office to ensure that the rate will generate enough money to make the coming year's debt payments. LaBrae Local Schools will continue to manage this revenue in an efficient and responsible manner. LaBrae will continue to annually evaluate bond revenues and adjust the rates accordingly. The last debt payment will be made in December 2024, which will mark the expiration of the bond levy. Should you have questions regarding the information herein, please do not hesitate to contact the Superintendent or Treasurer at 330.898.0800.


LaBrae Local School District Inducts New Hall of Fame Honorees Inducting the Class of 2020 & the Class of 2021

LaBrae Local Schools is honoring 13 new inductees into the LaBrae Schools Hall of Fame. The new hall of fame is a product of expansion and reconfiguration and is now under the auspices of LaBrae Schools. Since 2009, LaBrae’s Hall of Fame was designated solely for distinguished alumni. The LaBrae Alumni Hall of Fame is now under the direction of LaBrae Local Schools and has been expanded to include inductees who were exemplary student-athletes or significant community contributors, as well as distinguished alumni. Due to the pandemic, the Class of 2020 was not able to be officially inducted. This year, LaBrae’s induction ceremony will be held on Friday, December 17, 2021, at which time LaBrae will induct the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021. A reception will follow the induction ceremony, and inductees will be honored at half-time during the boys basketball game vs. Newton Falls. The Class of 2020 inductees are Lisa Aldridge, James Brewster, Denny Frederick, Gary Glaze, Al Lopez, Todd Rowe, Larry Seafert, Ralph Stringer, and Walter Toles. The 2021 inductees are Al Carrino, Claude Graber, Ken Kilpatrick and Edward Mentzer. Information about the 2021 inductees can be found on pages 10 and 11.

LaBrae Schools Hall of Fame Nomination forms are available online, and completed nominations for the CLASS OF 2022, DUE March 1, 2022, can be mailed to: LaBrae Locals Schools HOF Office of the Superintendent 1001 N. Leavitt Rd. Leavittsburg, Ohio 44430 Nomination applications can also be submitted electronically via email to:


LaBrae Vikings Hall of Fame Class of 2021


Al Carrino Al Carrino was a LaBrae educator who retired in 1984 from LaBrae. Carrino was the head football coach for LaBrae for 11 years, compiling a record of 79-30-3. During his tenure, LaBrae won five Trumbull AA League titles, and qualified for the Ohio playoffs in 1983 where his team beat reigning state champion Akron St. Vincent before losing to eventual champion Elyria Catholic. Carrino’s LaBrae teams qualified for the playoffs on four occasions. Carrino is a member of the Ohio Northern Athletic Hall of Fame and the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Claude Graber Claude Graber, a Braceville High School and Kent State graduate, served as a long-time educator for Warren Township Schools and Braceville Township Schools. As a coach, Graber led Warren Township High School, a.k.a Leavittsburg High School, to a Class B baseball state title in 1943, and his teams were regional champions on three other occasions. He also served as the Athletic Director at Leavittsburg High School. Graber became the superintendent of Braceville Schools in 1952, a position which he held until his retirement in 1968. Graber is a member of the Kent State Athletic Hall of Fame. Following his retirement from education, he served his community as a Braceville Township Trustee.


Ken Kilpatrick Ken Kilpatrick, a graduate of Warren Township High School, served as a teacher and coach for LaBrae Local Schools. Kilpatrick made his mark on LaBrae athletes as the head boys’ track coach, a role he began in 1970. Many of the athletes under Kilpatrick’s tutelage excelled in track and field and were prominent competitors locally, regionally, and statewide. Kilpatrick teams captured six league titles and a district championship in 1994. Kilpatrick led his athletes to a state track and field team title in 1995, and his 1973 and 1984 teams finished second at the state competitions. Several of Kilpatrick’s athletes succeeded at the highest level in individual competitions at the Ohio Track and Field Championships, capturing a total of 18 individual championships through the years. In 1999, Kilpatrick was inducted to the Ohio Association of Track and Cross-Country Coaches Hall of Fame.

Ed Mentzer

Ed Mentzer graduated from Braceville High School in 1954 as valedictorian of his class. He attended Otterbein University as a student-athlete and graduated with a mathematics degree in 1958. Upon graduation, Mentzer enlisted in the U.S. Air Force as a member of the pilot training program. He pursued his post-graduate education in operations research from Southern Methodist University, earning a Master of Science degree in 1972. He amassed over 4,750 flying hours in 13 different kinds of airplanes. His assignments ranged from TX, AL, CA, FL, OH, Washington D.C., Korea, Vietnam and Germany. He flewcombat missions in Vietnam earning the Bronze Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, 112 numerous Air Medals, and many other decorations throughout his 27-year Air Force career. In his civilian life, Mentzer worked as the Midwest Regional Manager for Norden Systems, and for Modern Technologies Corporation. Throughout his life Ed's hallmark was his volunteering. He served on the Otterbein Board of Trustees and served as the President of the Alumni Association.




LaBrae Local School District is looking for BUS DRIVERS: District will pay training costs for acquiring a CDL & Bus Endorsement Flexible hours Great for early retirees

For More Information, Call 330.898.1393 12


Catch the Action! Find the Winter Sports Schedule HERE: and Calendar of Events HERE.


LaBrae Local Schools

"Home of the Vikings"