Media Releases

Education Starts Early in Warren City Schools

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School no longer starts in kindergarten. Children and their families across Warren now can get an academic edge, become familiar with the school they will attend, and start play time as early as age three.

Warren City Schools now offers 10 total preschool classrooms throughout the traditional academic year: an all-day program at each of the four PK-8 schools—Jefferson, Lincoln, McGuffey, and Willard—for four year olds, and both morning and afternoon half day programs at each of these schools as well as two more at Warren G. Harding High School for three- and four-year-old children. All preschools have earned the highest 5-star Step Up To Quality rating from State of Ohio, with each lead teacher holding at least a Bachelors degree in their field, and supported by a highly qualified assistant teacher.

Serving more than 300 children, the preschool program provides an early head start for more than 60% of the district’s kindergarten students. And it’s inclusive, offering free door-to-door transportation and tuition for any City of Warren resident. Most begin preschool in the same building they’ll soon be attending for nearly a decade. “It’s important to start kids at their neighborhood school. They and their families become immediately familiar with the building, our teachers and staff, and our policies, reducing transitions they might otherwise have to make later between academic programs,” said Kelly Hutchison, Warren City Schools Preschool Coordinator.

The literacy-based standards-driven program focuses on learning through play, with emphasis on social and emotional learning, oral language, shared reading, and early math skills. It begins with a Reggio Emilia inspired approach, which values every child as strong, capable and resilient—rich with wonder and knowledge. Preschool children construct their own learning, shaping it through the exploration of and reflection on experiences. These experiences allow these children to form an understanding of themselves and their place in the world through interactions with others. The surrounding environment acts as another teacher, with adults serving as mentors and guides, as this hands-on discovery learning lets children use all their senses to express their ideas through actual and symbolic languages.

Within this approach, using Literacy Beginnings framework, preschool students own curiosity and excitement are engaged in unique month-long project-based experiences to build a shared community of learners. From farming to construction to human anatomy, teachers build each month’s entire curriculum, infused with tons of arts and activities, to observe, explore, and understand each given topic. These projects are inclusive of business and community partners as well. To extend the learning experience, every student also receives a book aligned with the monthly topic every two weeks, not just for classroom use but also to take home permanently with corresponding games and enrichment activities to be completed with their parents.

Students learn how to make the world a better place, too, through Warren Kids CARE. Funded in part by a Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership Warren SOUP micro-grant, some students volunteer by caring for local senior communities while others take collections to support youth at Akron Children’s Hospital. The preschool programs also regularly engage out of the classroom with a variety of other community and service agencies, such as Warren-Trumbull County Public Library and Trumbull Art Gallery, among others.

This coming academic year, Warren City Schools are expanding the preschool program by hiring a new Family Liaison. In addition to general day-to-day support and traditional home visits between preschool teachers and their students and families, the new staffer will help parents create positive learning environments at home, cultivate impactful parental engagement in their child’s school and activities, and make connections for them with essential community and social resources. The Family Liaison will also be organizing a new preschool parents group to deepen community relationships and provide essential feedback.

“All of our preschool’s growth and refinement now help us build more personal relationships, increase student stability, and better prepare them for kindergarten,” said Hutchison. “We are always expanding opportunities for our families and with our community partners.”

Warren City Schools Preschool space remains available for 2017-218 academic year. Register by calling (330) 675-4321.

Social and Emotional Learning Skills Are Life Skills

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Social and Emotional Learning for Life, the third in an ongoing educational workshop series hosted by We Are Warren and Eastern Ohio Education Partnership (EOEP), shared with area community and non-profit leaders the importance of teaching other adults and youth how to govern emotions and defuse conflict for educational and life-long success.

“Strong communication skills are at the heart of social and emotional learning strategies, and how we choose to use those skills is extremely important,” explained Jill Merolla, Warren City Schools SEL Director, as well as Supervisor of Community Outreach & Grant Development. “Respect and peaceful resolution ensure our students remain on task, improve performance, and maintain good behaviors.”

Social and Emotional Learning involves teaching and facilitating skills that students and adults need to be successful at home, at school, and in the workplace. When students and adults have social and emotional skills they are self and socially aware, and have the ability to manage themselves both independently and while interacting with others. They can listen to perspectives of others, use positive communication, be aware of cultural issues and differences, set and achieve goals, and take personal responsibility for they learning.

Future educational workshops will be held this fall on topics determined by series participants. Write to info@EOEPartnership.org with a subject line including Educational Series for more information visit online at www.eoepartnership.org/resources/eduseries.

Building Strengths Overcomes Trauma, Cultivates Success

Trauma Class

Community and non-profit leaders from local school districts, area churches, child care providers, and other organizations explored how to identify and emphasize personal strengths, relationships, and crucial opportunities to help young people succeed during today’s Building Resilience to Overcome Trauma workshop, the second of an ongoing educational series hosted by We Are Warren and Eastern Ohio Education Partnership (EOEP).

 

“Anyone can have a powerful impact on children’s behavior,” said Sarah Braun, EOEP Network Action Team Manager and workshop facilitator. “Helping them develop strengths – or build assets – is relatively easy. There are plenty of opportunities every day to engage, encourage, and empower children.”

 

From her extensive experience clinically supporting children in a variety of professional and academic settings, Braun shared with workshop participants a strengths-based resiliency framework for healthy youth development used to assess and address the potential effects of trauma on children’s’ attendance, behavior, relationships, and performance. They learned how to build developmental assets, spread across eight broad areas of human development, in children at home, in schools, in their neighborhood, and across the community. The workshop also explored how caregivers and instructors can maintain their own self-care to avoid compassion fatigue and secondary trauma.

 

The next session in the series, Social and Emotional Learning for Life, will teach leaders strategies for helping youth recognize and manage emotions, develop care and concern for others, make responsible decisions, establish positive relationships, and handle challenging situations effectively. The ability to govern emotions and defuse conflict then allows children to remain on task, increases good behavior, and improves performance.

 

Jill Merolla, Warren City Schools Supervisor of Community Outreach & Grant Development, will lead the April 11 session, also to be held 10 am – 1 pm at Warren City Schools Administration Building. She provides the district with immediate crisis management and support, along with managing counseling, family coordinators, and community liaisons.

 

Future educational sessions will be held this summer on topics determined by series participants. Write to info@EOEPartnership.org with a subject line including Educational Series for more information, or register online at http://www.eoepartnership.org/resources/eduseries.

Trauma Resilience and Social, Emotional Learning Classes Next for WAW, EOEP Education Series

Young, serious African American woman (19 years) standing outside building.

We are Warren and Eastern Ohio Education Partnership (EOEP) announced today the second and third sessions in their continuing education series for community and non-profit leaders. The initial session on February 21 shared ways to add engaging, entertaining, district-aligned mathematics curriculum into existing student after-school programs.

The next session, Building Resilience to Overcome Trauma, will empower adults to assess and address the potential effects of trauma on children’s’ attendance, behavior, relationships, and performance. Anyone working with young people – child care providers, educators, youth leaders, coaches, mentors, and more – can benefit from using this strengths-based resiliency framework for healthy youth development, while also learning how to maintain their own self-care to avoid compassion fatigue and secondary trauma.

The March 28 session, held 10 am – 1 pm at Warren City Schools Administration Building, will be facilitated by Sarah Braun, EOEP Network Action Team Manager. She has extensive experience clinically supporting children in a variety of professional and academic settings, serves as an adjunct professor with the Department of Social Work at Youngstown State University, and holds a Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University and Bachelor of Arts in Community Health and Sociology from Brown University.

The third session, Social and Emotional Learning for Life, will teach leaders strategies for helping youth recognize and manage emotions, develop care and concern for others, make responsible decisions, establish positive relationships, and handle challenging situations effectively. The ability to govern emotions and defuse conflict then allows children to remain on task, increases good behavior, and improves performance.

Jill Merolla, Warren City Schools Supervisor of Community Outreach & Grant Development, will lead the April 11 session, also to be held 10 am – 1 pm at Warren City Schools Administration Building. She provides the district with immediate crisis management and support, along with managing counseling, family coordinators, and community liaisons.

Future educational sessions will be held this summer on topics determined by series participants. Write to info@EOEPartnership.org with a subject line including Educational Series for more information, or register online at www.eoepartnership.org/resources/eduseries.

Skills Summary Smooths Transition to Kindergarten

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In partnership with Child Care Connection, Eastern Ohio Education Partnership (EOEP) is expanding efforts to ensure students smooth transition from preschool to kindergarten, providing training today at Kent State University at Trumbull for childcare teachers and administrators alongside their colleagues from area school districts.

EOEP Early Childhood Network Action Team launched the Preschool Transition Skills Summary (PTSS) program late in the 2015-2016 academic year, engaging eleven preschools with other community partners. Transition skills forms were completed for nearly 100 students, helping preschool staff and parents transfer information about individual student’s strengths and opportunities for improvement to kindergarten teachers and elementary school administrators. Aligned with Ohio’s Early Learning and Development standards, the PTSS form identifies students as on track, developing, or beginning to develop skills and strengths in language and literacy, social emotional, cognition general knowledge, math, social studies, science, physical well-being (hyphen?) and motor development, and approaches toward learning.

The training expands the PTSS program to reach even more students in more schools as they conclude the 2016-2017 and begin the 2017-2018 academic years. Thanks to local, state, and national program support, EOEP is broadening its collaborations with Child Care Connection, State Support Team Region 5, and other community partners to offer joint preschool and kindergarten teacher training, peer teacher mentoring, and related family engagement activities during the upcoming school year.

“By encouraging families to read with young children, aligning education strategies, and engaging families in meaningful district-wide activities, we work to have students who perform better in school and on standardized tests,” said Stephanie Shaw, EOEP Executive Director. “Our goal is to have families become more active partners with local preschools, school districts, and community service organizations to ensure student success, cradle to career.”

Math Matters in After-School Programs

Small children at a daycare center.

We are Warren and Eastern Ohio Education Partnership (EOEP) launched today a new four-part educational series for community and non-profit organization leaders to develop the necessary skills, process, and resources to adapt and thrive in a new global environment. The first session shared ways to add engaging, entertaining, district-aligned mathematics curriculum into existing student after-school programs.

“There are so many ways to engage youth in fun math activities, both in and out of school,” explained Stephanie Shaw, EOEP Executive Director. “These activities often draw them toward math instead of pushing them away. It also helps them learn to solve problems and reason logically, improving their learning and performance.”

The first session was facilitated by Dr. Kim Yoak in the Warren City Schools Board of Education offices. Dr. Yoak spent a decade as a K-12 mathematics consultant for Stow-Munroe Falls City School District, and is now an independent specialist working with the Warren City School District and across Ohio, focusing on empowering students and educators with deep learning experiences in mathematics.

Participants from the City of Warren, local school districts, area churches, and other non-profit organizations learned how to encourage after-school program students into a “growth mindset,” praising their math efforts as well as achievements. They discussed in single large and then smaller groups how math is about creativity, connections, and communicating, where questions are really important and mistakes are valuable opportunities for them and their classmates. The group also reviewed how math is more about learning then performing, and depth of understanding is more critical than swift completion.

In addition, the class considered eight standards for mathematical practice from the Common Core State Standards. In addition, Corrie Adams of The Raymond John Wean Foundation shared with participants’ valuable information and examples of the Foundation’s Educational Opportunity strategic priority. The Foundation prioritizes systematic change initiatives supporting Warren and Youngstown City School students’ academic success, primarily in early childhood readiness and access, attainment of skills that improve student outcomes, and readiness, access, and completion of postsecondary education and job training. This educational series was designed to support the alignment of the Foundation’s grantees with the work that takes place in local school districts.

Future educational series sessions will focus on social emotional learning, capacity building, and other topics will be held during winter and spring. Interested community leaders can find out more by writing to info@EOEPartnership.org with a subject line including Educational Series.

Educational Series to Support, Train Local Non-Profit Organizations

Office colleagues working together on a problem in front of a laptop

We Are Warren and Eastern Ohio Education Partnership invite community and non-profit organization leaders to join us for a new four-part educational series designed to help develop the necessary skills, processes, and resources to ensure they can adapt and thrive in a new global environment.

 

The first session, Aligning Mathematics with After-School Curriculum, will be facilitated by Dr. Kim Yoak at 10 am, February 21, 2017, in the Warren City Schools Board of Education Technology Lab. The 90-minute session will show ways to implement engaging, entertaining, district-aligned mathematics curriculum into existing student programs. Subsequent sessions on social emotional learning, capacity building, and other topics will be held during winter and spring. Light refreshments will be served.

 

With a strong track record of community engagement, Corrie Adams of The Raymond John Wean Foundation will share with participants valuable information and examples that represent the Foundation’s Educational Opportunity strategic priority. The Foundation prioritizes systematic change initiatives supporting Warren and Youngstown City School students’ academic success, primarily in early childhood readiness and access, attainment of skills that improve student outcomes, and readiness, access, and completion of postsecondary education and job training. This educational series was designed to support the alignment of the Foundation’s grantees and the work that takes place in local school districts.

 

Interested community leaders can discover more information and RSVP for the educational series by emailing their name, title, and organization name to info@EOEPartnership.org.

Braun Named Network Action Team Manager

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Sarah Braun, former School Program Supervisor at Homes of Kids Inc. / Child and Family Solutions, will join the Eastern Ohio Education Partnership (EOEP) team on Wednesday, February 1, 2017.

Braun, who holds a Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University and Bachelor of Arts in Community Health and Sociology from Brown University, will serve as EOEP Network Action Team Manager. Her primary role will be as a catalyst for cross-sector collective impact across the Mahoning Valley in four focus areas; early childhood education, third grade reading and eighth grade mathematics proficiency, and postsecondary and career readiness.

She will formulate, organize, and coordinate network action teams comprised of community volunteer leaders in education, business, government, philanthropy, and other local agencies. Together, they will align goals, share relevant data, institute proven practices, and measure results to ensure quality education for all area children. With continuous communication, they will also continue making data-driven decisions for educational success, cradle to career.

Braun previously served as clinical outpatient therapist and community psychiatric supportive treatment worker at Homes for Kids. She engaged elementary students and their families with school teachers and administrators in counseling and multi-tiered support services at Public School 130 in the Bronx earlier in her career. In addition, Braun partnered with the school’s Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports team to integrate evidence-based conflict resolution training into existing classroom curricula.

Locally, Braun is an adjunct professor with the Department of Social Work at Youngstown State University and serves as Treasurer on the Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership Board of Directors. She is also an Aerial Yoga Instructor at Body Bliss Connections, and resides in Warren.

Turning Foundation Awards 2016 Innovative Teacher Mini-Grants

Diverse elementary students in the classroom.

Warren, OH – Classroom dreams will soon become a reality for thousands of students across Northeast Ohio. Turning Foundation, a not-for-profit arm of Turning Technologies along with The Raymond John Wean Foundation and Eastern Ohio Education Partnership, announced recipients of this year’s Innovative Teacher Mini Grants. Across Ashtabula, Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties, 17 teachers were awarded up to $5,000 each for sharing new and creative classroom practices supporting 21st century teaching and learning.

2016 Innovative Mini Grant Recipients:

  • Linda Holler – Saint John School – Ashtabula/Catholic Diocese
  • Tracy Archuleta – Jefferson Senior High School – Jefferson Local
  • Sarah Lowe – Beaver Local Middle School – Beaver Local
  • Michelle Rhodes – Beaver Local Elementary and High School – Beaver Local
  • Kathy Bennett – Crestview High School – Crestview Local
  • Mark Robinson – Youngstown Early College – Youngstown City
  • Stephanie Greathouse – Chaney STEM & VPA – Youngstown City
  • Jordan Moxley – Maplewood High School – Maplewood Local
  • Jill Redmond – McGuffey PK-8 – Warren City
  • Dave Nelson – McGuffey PK-8 – Warren City
  • Brianna Cohen – Jefferson PK-8 – Warren City
  • Marian Mihas – Jefferson PK-8 – Warren City
  • Alexis Williams – Jefferson PK-8 – Warren City
  • Carole Goffus – Willard PK-8 – Warren City
  • Heather Eich – McGuffey PK-8 – Warren City
  • Eugene Mach II – Warren G. Harding High School – Warren City
  • Patricia Fisher – Warren City Schools

A total of $52,096 in cash awards will impact more than 6,200 students in classrooms throughout the region. “I’m passionate about education and to read the many thoughtful and innovative ways of incorporating technology in the classroom was incredible,” stated John Wilson, Director of the Turning Foundation. “I applaud the teachers who participated and put such energy and effort into supporting and sharing their classroom dreams.”

The challenge at hand involved sharing creative ideas, but remaining realistic on being able to implement them in the classroom today. Projects included the use of a 3D printer to combine postsecondary/career readiness with math, technology and creativity, utilizing a makerspace to help students research and experiment with different career fields and incorporating coding to solve real problems.

Grant awards ranged from $2,000 for individual teachers to $5,000 for larger collaboration efforts involving multiple educators and community partners. “During the transition of combining the Neighborhood SUCCESS School Grants and the Innovative Teacher Mini Grants, our teachers didn’t miss a beat.” said Jennifer Roller, president of The Raymond John Wean Foundation. “The program begot just what we intended – innovative grants, new partnerships and an alignment of strategies. I’m excited about the possibilities of what these projects will produce.”

 

About Turning Foundation:

Turning Technologies, a global leader in learning engagement and assessment services, established the Turning Foundation in 2009 as a separate non-profit 501(c)3 organization. The mission of the foundation is to seek, secure and distribute resources in support of improving educational opportunities and student achievement in PK-16 settings and enhancing community well-being. The foundation supports efforts in the greater Mahoning Valley to enhance and improve education for all and with supports also directed toward the community in general. Turning Foundation also works to connect efforts locally to a broader national education and community development agenda. We hope to help facilitate the connections between education and community well-being, here in the greater Mahoning Valley and nationally.

Ohio Report Cards Not The Whole Story

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Warren, OH – Community leaders recognized local school district student, teacher and administrator achievements, and renewed their vows to continue advocating on their behalf to State of Ohio executive and education leadership, at the October 27th Ohio School Report Card luncheon. Hosted by Eastern Ohio Education Partnership and held at The Raymond John Wean Foundation in Warren, nearly 100 school officials, business executives, and community service organizations reviewed 2016 Ohio School Report Card results and discussed how improvements could be seen on future exams.

“These public report cards should not necessarily invoke criticism or praise for our schools,” said Stephanie Shaw, Executive Director, Eastern Ohio Education Partnership. “There are any number of factors impacting teacher and student success, and these tests are but one measurement for evaluating our schools. We are looking at, and then beyond, the report card letter grades to support the exceptional efforts taking place behind the scenes.”

The ongoing transition of testing systems, including the most recent State of Ohio changes from PARCC to AIR math and English exams, have made preparation difficult for teachers, students, and their parents, explained Ron Iarussi, Superintendent, Mahoning County Educational Service Center. In addition, changes from pen and paper to computerized testing models are another likely factor in diminished test scores.

“Standardized tests are designed to equally evaluate student performance by applying the same test in the same condition at the same time each year,” said Iarussi. “The incessant changes we’ve seen each of the last three years in test formats and content introduces inconsistent variables that impact scoring, and recent test scores may, in fact, reflect exam changes as much as student performance.”

With these factors in mind, Mahoning ESC Director of Teaching and Learning Kim Davis presented through a mock report card how State of Ohio Department of Education annually attempt to measure school districts’ successes and areas for improvement in six key components; Achievement, Gap Closing, K-3 Literacy, Progress, Graduation Rate and Prepared for Success. Davis also showed how the decline in this year’s local district test scores mirror a pattern statewide due in part, according to state education officials, changing exam standards and increased scoring expectations.

“Our schools are doing great and improving every year,” said John Wilson, Director, Turning Foundation. “We need to continue as a community – our business, government, and non-profit sectors – working together to align goals, share data, institute programs, and measure results to ensure quality education for every child.” For example, Wilson gave a hands-on demonstration of Turning Technologies audience response systems designed to help instructors identify student progress through real-time feedback, increase learning material effectiveness.

Wilson also led a post-event conversation with several community and business leaders to begin shaping a plan to raise awareness of and advocate for area school districts at the state and local level. Warren City Schools Assistant Superintendent Wendy Hartzell and Senator Joe Schiavoni were on hand to share their feedback and lend support. “This is simply the first in an ongoing series of conversations about how we can and will support our schools,” said Jennifer Roller, President, The Raymond John Wean Foundation. “We recognize the opportunities and challenges presented by standardized testing, and are committed to playing active vocal roles to ensure our schools are successful.”

Eastern Ohio Education Partnership will next publically recognize Ashtabula, Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull County school district partners for their exceptional efforts in student growth, valued added, and overall progress, as rated by the Ohio Schools Report Card, at their Excellence in Education 2016 awards luncheon on Thursday, November 10. More information about and reservations for the luncheon can be made online at www.eoepartnership.org or by writing info@eoepartnership.org.

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