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Ted Lysiak

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Garrettsville –  The strongest structures are those built with the strongest foundation. The same is true for education.  Student success is often predicated on a strong foundation of literacy and mathematics. James A. Garfield Elementary has always provided students with a strong academic foundation, and Ohio recently affirmed this effort.  Last week the state of Ohio recognized James A. Garfield Elementary students, teachers, staff, administration and community for maintaining high academic achievement among their students, including many from economically disadvantaged circumstances that can make learning difficult.  They were named a School of Promise as well as a High Performing School of Honor.

The awards are extremely prestigious.  There were only 98 Schools of Promise and 48 High Performing Schools of Honor from around the entire state. Each program has different criteria.

To qualify as a School of Promise, a building must meet these criteria:

• Eighty percent or more of students in grades that took the 2013-2014 Ohio Achievement Assessments must have rated Proficient in reading and math, including economically disadvantaged.

•  Score an Ohio School Report Card grade of A or B on their Annual Measurable Objective, to narrow performance gaps between student groups.

• Receive an A, B or C on student learning progress through the school year and a grade of A or B on high school graduation rate, if they were high schools.

• Serve at least 40 percent economically disadvantaged students (JAG Elementary currently serves 41%).

The Schools of Honor initiative builds on the Schools of Promise program, recognizing schools that exceed Schools of Promise criteria. To be a High Performing School of Honor, a school must:

• Be Title 1 eligible and serve 40 percent or more economically disadvantaged students.

• Have 90 percent or more of all students score Proficient on the Ohio Achievement Assessments over the last five years.

• Have 80 percent of all groups of students (economically disadvantaged, students with disabilities) who are Proficient.

• Show progress in meeting Annual Measurable Objectives and student learning progress over a five-year period.

High Progress Schools of Honor are buildings that have made the greatest five-year gains.

We should all be very proud of our students, staff and administrators.  This award affirms what we have known for some time.  Our teachers work hard to foster great relationships with kids.  They use data to help learn about student strengths and weaknesses and then work together to make sure all students grow. This, coupled with the support of a great community and parents is an obvious recipe for success.  Congratulations to James A. Garfield Elementary School staff, students and administrators on their phenomenal work.

Garrettsville – Our students continue to perform at amazing levels.  Academically they exceed expectations.  On the latest report card they ranked among the best schools in the region. Our sixth graders set a JAG record as 92% passed the state reading test.  Eighth grade students also set a JAG record with 95.8% passing the state reading test. Our seventh graders also set JAG records in math (90.7%) AND reading (96.3%) on the state tests.  Finally, our fourth graders performed at the highest levels as they achieved 100% passage on their state reading test!

While testing is how the state ranks our schools, our students excel in so many more areas.  For example, JAG High School students earned 102 college credits through dual enrollment and AP courses. Our band continues to impress at band shows across the area, and even performed at the Hiram College Homecoming game!

Our teachers are awesome. Students perform at high levels, but behind every high test score, academic accolade or athletic achievement there is a team of hard working teachers.

Members of our community have come to expect to see and experience excellence from their schools. You have supported our school system, and this support has been crucial to our excellence. This is what we all expect from our students and one another. Great communities are made even stronger with great schools.  We are committed to excellence and will continue to look at ways we can improve.

As I reflect on my first year as the Superintendent of your schools, I am assured our community is the best place to live, work and learn. My expectations match those of our students, staff and community……..excellence in all aspects of what we do!

As always, I invite you to contact me directly in the office (330.527.4336), on my cell (216.534.7413) or by email (tlysiak@jagschools.org) if you ever have any questions or ideas to share.

Go G-Men!

We did it!  The James A. Garfield Local Schools used funds from a $5 Million State Grant to create a “Campus of Excellence” that will enhance education for children in our district for decades to come. The district will celebrate this wonderful accomplishment on Saturday, September 20 at 10am with a ribbon cutting ceremony that will be open to the public.

Facility Construction

A 17,000 square foot addition to the elementary school was constructed for our fifth and sixth grade students. This addition brought all 1,500 students to one campus and will save taxpayers over $300,000 annually in operational savings. A professional development center is now open and can be used as a multi-purpose space for staff training and as well as public use.

Technology Enhancements

Upgrades in the district’s technology infrastructure now support a new generation of learning tools for students. Computers have been given to every student in grades 7-12. Laptop carts were purchased for each grade level at the elementary school. We are capable of meeting the demands of 21st Century Learning!

Expanded Partnerships

The Greater Cleveland YMCA is now managing youth soccer, flag football and basketball. The YMCA will also be running a Silver Sneakers program in the Park Avenue School. The Portage County Educational Service Center is using classroom space at the building for a special needs preschool.  Both groups have plans to bring even more services to our community.

We could not have done this alone. Because you play an important role in making education better for our students, we are requesting your attendance at the official ribbon cutting ceremony. The event will take place on Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. at James A. Garfield Elementary School.

We are proud of our accomplishments over the past six months and even more excited about our future. We hope you are able to take the time to celebrate excellence with us.

14-986-Site-Traffic-Plan

The opening of school at James A. Garfield will bring many new things this year.  A new 17,500 square foot addition will welcome our fifth and sixth grade students and staff. All students in grades 7-12 will have new laptops. The construction of the new addition will bring a new traffic pattern for parents during pickup and dropoff times.  This map should help provide some direction for everyone as you return to school on August 26. We will also have staff members at specific areas the first week back to assist everyone with these new traffic patterns.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the district office at 330.527.4336.

 

Garrettsville – The $5M Straight A Grant from the state provided the James A. Garfield Schools with some exceptional opportunities.  With these exceptional opportunities came exceptional challenges. To date, I am happy to report that these challenges have been met. The project is on time and under budget.

Regardless of the obstacles, the addition is on schedule to open for students on August 26.  Here are the latest developments on each component of the grant.

Construction

Our Design/Builder, Hammond Construction, and all of the subcontractors have worked tirelessly to ensure that we receive our building on time.  More importantly,  they are delivering this community a building of excellent quality.

We are also proud to have local contractors working on the project.  Most notably are our electricians, Scotchman Electric, and our painters, Doug Seaman Decorating.

The addition will include 8 classrooms, 2 state-of- the-art science labs, 2 special education classrooms and a professional development center.  The professional development space will comfortably seat 120 adults and contain digital projection equipment for presentations or trainings. While this space will offer a flexible instructional space for students, the district will make this space available to the public for meetings. The project also includes a renovation to the office area, creating a more functional space as well as a secure entrance for visitors and a dual serving line in the cafeteria.

Last February, a “Campus of Excellence Oversight Committee” was established to oversee all aspects of the project.  Over 40 individuals from the community have been actively involved making decisions about the addition.  This group consisted of parents, business owners, community members and school employees.  They have met throughout the project and provided the input necessary to construct a building we can all be proud of for the next 50 years.

While our students will be in the building on August 26, we will be planning an official ribbon cutting ceremony for late September or early October.

Finally, through careful selection of contractors and good planning, the project is coming in under budget. Savings will be used to invest in three areas.  Efficiency items such as HVAC controls and energy efficient windows have been purchased and will save taxpayer money over time.  Security items such as exterior cameras and keypad entry doors will provide for student safety. Instructional upgrades include an enhanced wireless network and 210 laptops on carts for student to use in grades K-6.

Technology

Laptops for staff have been distributed and training is scheduled for next week. Between August 12 and the start of school over 650 laptops will be distributed to students in grades 7-12 (see page 8 for details).  The wireless infrastructure has been upgraded on the entire campus and is ready to support a new era of 21st Century learning.

Partnerships

The Portage County Educational Service Center (ESC) and the Greater Cleveland YMCA are moving forward with their plans to bring their services to the community. The YMCA has brought youth soccer and flag football to our community and already has over sixty students signed up to participate.  The ESC will open two preschool classrooms in the retiring Intermediate School this fall.

With the construction project, technology initiatives and new partnerships developing as planned and on schedule, we have a great deal to celebrate.  The pride of our community continues to drive us towards excellence. Go G-Men!

 

inspector-crestGarrettsville – Technology is today’s pencil. It is becoming an integral part of teaching and learning, and thanks to the $5 Million Straight A Grant, this year every James A. Garfield Student in grades 7-12 will be receiving an HP Chromebook. The devices are being provided to students as learning tools that will allow them to create, collaborate, communicate and engage in critical thinking activities.

Dates have been scheduled for parents to come in with their children to receive their laptops over the coming weeks. Our goal is to distribute all laptops before the first day of school on August 26.

Insurance can be purchased for the device for $23 annually that will cover theft, drops, spills or natural disaster. Families may opt out of the insurance and assume responsibility for the replacement cost ($253) of the device.  Checks should be made payable to the James A. Garfield Local Schools. Parents wishing to purchase insurance for their child’s device should bring their payment to their scheduled pickup time.

 

Pickup times will be as follows:

 

Tuesday, August 12 (6pm) – Seniors

Wednesday, August 13 (6pm) – Juniors

Thursday, August 14 (6pm) – Sophomores

 

Tuesday, August 19 (6pm) – Freshmen

Wednesday, August 20 (6pm) – 8th Grade

Thursday, August 21 (6pm) – 7th Grade

 

Friday, August 22 (6pm) – Makeup Day (anyone who missed their date)

Monday, August 25 (7pm) – Makeup Day (anyone who missed their date)

 

Laptops will be distributed in the Iva Walker Auditorium. A brief presentation for parents and students will follow to cover expectations and procedures for the devices.

Questions can be direct to Jen Mulhern at 330.527.2151.

 

Sherry Jones and Mayor Rick Patrick prepare to draw the winning ticket.

Sherry Jones and Mayor Rick Patrick prepare to draw the winning ticket.

Garrettsville – Months ago I challenged the James A. Garfield students to take an active part in a fundraising effort to kick off renovations to the schools’ athletic facilities. Our students accepted the challenge with great fervor, and I am proud to report that the “Challenge Raffle” winner was drawn at noon on Friday, May 30th by Mayor Rick Patrick in the James A. Garfield Board Office.  The winner of the $1,000 grand prize was Stephanie Kristoff. The winning ticket was sold to her by her son, kindergartner AJ Kristoff.

On behalf of the James A. Garfield Schools I would like to congratulate Mrs. Kristoff and thank everyone who sold and purchased tickets for the raffle.  I would also like to thank Mrs. Sherry Jones for organizing this successful effort.  Without her passion, organization and impeccable record-keeping we never would have been able to experience such success.

The final breakdown for the raffle is as follows:

Total Sales:  $28,260.00

Expenses:     $6,041.86

Net Profit:  $22,218.14

It is important to note that $4,173.14 of the expenses went directly back to the kids in the form of t-shirts, gift cards and a skating party at Roller Hutt.  These rewards kept the excitement and motivation going throughout the raffle.

With the funds collected, improvements will be made to the stadium this summer to make play safer for our athletes. As you drive by the stadium you will begin to see the following work taking place:

Phase 1 – Safety of players and fans – Total Cost:  $17,938.57

?  Replace wood posts and ropes with four foot safety fencing ($6,438.57)

?   Install new goal posts ($0 – donated by G-Men Foundation)

?  Stabilize visitor bleachers with a permanent concrete pad ($11,500)

?  Move field away from home bleachers by 10 feet ($0)

The remaining $4,279.57 will be deposited to the JAG All Sports Booster account and used for Phase 2, which will focus on the spectator experience.  The next steps for the project are outlined by the following Phases:

Phase 2 – Spectator seating

?  Purchase safety and ADA compliant aluminum bleachers

?  Construct new press box

Phase 3 – Fan experience

?  Construct new concession booths

?  Construct permanent ADA compliant restrooms

Phase 4 – Scoreboard and track

?  Construction of all-weather track

?  Installation of new field scoreboards

This is just the beginning of the work that needs to be done.  Our athletic facilities are tired and need attention. It is inspiring to see so many individuals working together toward the goal of making them safer and more enjoyable for our students and spectators.

As always, if you have any questions, please call me directly in the office (330.527.4336) or on my cell (216.534.7413).

 

garfield-campus-of-excellence-garrettsville-constructionGarrettsville – The Straight A Grant from the state provided the James A. Garfield Schools with some exceptional opportunities.  With these exceptional opportunities came exceptional challenges.  The district remains on a very tight timeline required by the grant.  All funds must be committed by June 30, 2014 and spent by September 30, 2014. Those funds not spent must be returned, and the district does not plan to return any of the money. This does present some unique challenges, especially for a construction project.  Regardless of these obstacles, the addition is on schedule to open for school this fall.  Here are the latest developments on each component of the grant.

Construction

Hammond Construction, from Canton, was awarded the Design/Build contract for construction of the 17,000 square foot addition.  Their crews have assembled on site and broke ground last Monday. Parent drop off and pick up traffic will be impacted for the remainder of the school year. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we navigate around the construction site.

The addition will include 8 classrooms, 2 state of the art science labs, 2 special education classrooms and a professional development center.  The professional development space will be able to comfortably seat 120 adults and contain digital projection equipment for presentations or trainings. While this space will offer a flexible instructional space for students, the district also wants to make this space available to the public for meetings.

An official groundbreaking ceremony will be held on Thursday, May 8 at 6:00 pm and is open to the public.

Technology

Laptops for students and staff have arrived and are currently being configured. In May all teachers will receive a district-issued laptop, and in August each student in grades 7-12 will be issued a Chromebook. To support the additional 750 devices, grant funds were recently used to install a substantial upgrade to the wireless network district-wide.

Partnerships

The Portage County Educational Service Center (ESC) and the Greater Cleveland YMCA are moving forward with their plans to bring their services to the community. The YMCA has brought youth soccer back to our community and already has over sixty students signed up to participate.  The ESC will soon be finalizing their space at the Intermediate School to determine how many students they can accept for public preschool this fall.

With the construction project, technology initiative and new partnerships developing as planned and on schedule, there is much to celebrate in our community. While there is a great chance to join in the celebration and excitement by attending the May 8th groundbreaking there are many other opportunities to celebrate. The spring sports season is in full-swing and provides many chances to see our students excel outside the classroom.  Schedules can be found on the district website located at http://garfield.sparcc.org.

garfield-campus-of-excellence-garrettsville-construction1

 

Garrettsville – Last month I challenged the James A. Garfield Community to take an active part in a massive fundraising campaign to kick off renovations to the schools’ athletic facilities. I am proud to report that over the last month more than 325 of our students, parents, staff and community members have accepted the challenge! As of Monday, March 17, ticket sales total $19,660. This is a monumental start!  In just one month we are nearly halfway to our annual minimum goal of $50,000. It is inspiring to see so many individuals working together toward the goal of making our facilities safer and more enjoyable for our students and fans.

There is still time!

Tickets will be on sale through April 30, 2014. Each $10 raffle ticket buys a chance to win a $1,000 cash prize as well as numerous coupons to local businesses.  The winning ticket will be drawn at the School Board Office on Friday, May 30 at noon.

Community members wishing to purchase tickets or acquire tickets to sell can contact Ted Lysiak at 216.534.7413.  Parents with children in grades K-6 can request additional tickets by sending a note with them to school, and students in grades 7-12 wishing to sell tickets should contact Jim Pfleger at 330.527.0039.

We cannot let up now.  With six weeks to go in this first fundraising campaign, we are edging closer to making the first phase of our project a reality!  I challenge all of us to keep the momentum going!

The complete renovation will take four phases to complete and will be completed as follows:

Phase 1 – Safety of players and fans

? Move field away from home bleachers by 10 feet

? Replace wood posts and ropes with four foot safety fencing

? Install new goal posts (donated by G-Men Foundation)

? Stabilize visitor bleachers with a permanent concrete pad

? Completion set for Fall 2014

Phase 2 – Spectator seating

? Purchase safety and ADA compliant aluminum bleachers

? Construct new press box

Phase 3 – Fan experience

? Construct new concession booths

? Construct permanent ADA compliant restrooms

Phase 4 – Scoreboard and track

? Construction of all-weather track

? Installation of new field scoreboards

 

I would like to personally thank everyone who has supported these efforts by selling or buying tickets.  Your commitment to excellence is inspiring!

As always, if you have any questions, please call me directly in the office (330.527.4336) or on my cell (216.534.7413).

Students from the elementary, middle, intermediate, and high schools have been asked to sell raffle tickets. Pictured are those students who have (to date) met the challenge. 

 

Park Avenue Partnerships

Park Avenue School will not sit idle next year! Partnerships with the Greater Cleveland YMCA and the Portage County Educational Service Center are nearly complete, and we have commitments from both entities that will bring some exciting services to the community. You will see a YMCA business trailer appear near the elementary or high school on or around March 15. The YMCA will use this as a visual form of advertising for their summer day camps and youth soccer, which are the first programs they will be introducing to our area. The Portage County ESC is currently working on getting the Park Avenue School approved by the State of Ohio for public preschool. Their plans are to implement preschool for this fall. The district is proud to be a part of expanding the services to our community through the Park Avenue School.

Garrettsville – As you may be aware, the James A. Garfield Local Schools were recently awarded a $5 Million grant to construct an addition on the elementary to create a centralized campus and update our technology.  While this is exciting and will shape the education of kids for years to come, this is just the beginning!  Since grant dollars cannot be used to address other issues like our athletic fields or stadium, we have brought many groups together over the past two months and have everyone’s efforts pointed in the same direction.  Through a concentrated fundraising campaign we will update our athletic facilities in phases without having to raise taxes in our community.