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Newton Falls – The Newton Falls Classroom Teachers Association is pleased to announce the recipients of three scholarships for seniors entering the field of education this year: (pictured left to right) Nick Mock, first place, $800; Makayla Haines and Jennifer Russell, 2nd place tie, $350.  The family of Arthur J. Prescott, a career teacher in Newton Falls, set up this fund in his memory. The NFCTA contributes to the fund and selects its yearly winner(s) based upon grades, volunteerism, and an essay.

Congratulations to these fine students.

Of the 611 school districts in the state of Ohio James A. Garfield schools are beginning to set themselves apart from most. The dedication and professionalism of teachers, staff and administrators in the district have earned continued academic distinction. Furthermore, wise economic decisions have made the district the best value in Portage County and the third best value in the state when it comes to providing an excellent education to our kids.

The district earned its first state Excellent rating for the 2007/08 year and again in 2008/09; the only other district in Portage County to achieve this was Aurora City Schools. Last year, 2009/10, the James A. Garfield Schools were rated Excellent with Distinction, earning a perfect 26 out of 26 indicators, AYP (average yearly progress), Value Added and the Performance Index (101). The high school has been identified as Excellent for the last seven (7) consecutive years, and last year the elementary school also earned an Excellent with Distinction ‘perfect’ rating, making history as the first Garfield School building with this distinction.

Last week the state reported 74% of our third graders passed the Ohio Reading Achievement Assessment given in October. With that high achievement, we anticipate them scoring in the 90% range on the spring test.

These continued results are achieved by our hard-working and dedicated teachers. They inspire our students to work hard and excel! This Excellent with Distinction rating was achieved with us having the third lowest per pupil expenditure of the 81 districts earning this rating out of 611 school districts. Garfield has spent the least per pupil in Portage County the last ten years. Last year the per pupil amount was $7,697, which is 27% less than the state average of $10,512. It is obvious that both the adults and students are appreciative and work every day to keep the costs down while working to continue to improve the good education for the students. It is heartwarming to feel the warmth and respect that is shared by residents, faculty, staff, administration and kids. Respect, hard work and dedication produces awesome results from everyone working together!

Garrettsville - Anyone driving by the high school the day before Thanksgiving might have been surprised to see a flock of turkeys on the front lawn.  To kick off the 10th Annual James A. Garfield High School Food Drive this year, a new tradition was born, called the Turkey Trot.

Runners collected donations ahead of time to move ahead on the starting line and students bought tickets to watch the race and mashed potato-eating contest in the gym.  Runners dressed up in every interpretation of turkey, with a pilgrim or two thrown in for good measure and raced through the halls, avoiding obstacles along the way.

Mr. Bennett, cross-country coach and highest donation collector, was the race’s victor.  In total, the staff and students raised $817 towards hunger relief in this community.  The Food Drive lasts two weeks and typically helps collect over 10,000 items.

Also new this year will be curbside can collection on Dec. 7th.  Look for the students dressed in hand-painted can outfits in front of the high school all day during their lunch and study halls and consider dropping off a bag of food for the food drive.

Pictured above is the James A. Garfield Band Booster Two Grand Dinner Winner Cathy Lukasko of Brookfield, Ohio.

Garrettsville – The First Annual TWO GRAND DINNER reverse raffle and silent auction was held at the Sugar Bush Golf Club on Saturday, November 13, 2010.  A packed house enjoyed appetizers courtesy of Glenna and Quentin Spaur, dinner courtesy of Guido’s of Ravenna and amazing desserts made by Sherry Jones and Pat Stoneman.  Ticket sales were limited to 300 and each number was drawn randomly from a bingo machine.  Every 10th  number drawn received a prize.  The grand prize winner was Cathy Lukasko of Brookfield, Ohio, aunt of one of the band members.

Throughout the evening, guests participated in a HEADS or TAILS 50/50 raffle (winner, Casey Everett), a weekend getaway in a Pirates’ Treasure Chest (winner, Mary Koval), 50/50 raffle (winner, Jeff Pesecky) and The LOTTERY TREE raffle (winner, Betty Mishler).  Multiple winners took home prizes and Strawberry Daiquiri LolliPops from the LOLLIPOP TREE.

Guests also bid on and won 36 different items in our silent auction ranging from a 3-person Lake Erie Fishing Charter, to Fossil handbags and everything in between.  A huge thank you goes to all who donated, purchased tickets and worked tirelessly to hold this event!

The Garfield Band Boosters sponsored the dinner to raise funds for new uniforms for the marching band and to benefit the band programs, grades 5-12.  The current uniforms worn by the MARCHING PRIDE are 27 + years old and are in dire need of replacement.

Organizers of the event are excited for next year and will have tickets available for purchase in October 2011!   Go Band!!!

Taking the approach that it certainly does take a whole village to raise a healthy child, the state of Ohio now mandates that schools are somewhat responsible for keeping children from becoming obese.

Governor Ted Strickland signed Senate Bill 210 — the Healthy Choices for Healthy Children bill — on June 10, 2010. The law mandates that school districts implement specific activities to inhibit obesity, such as measuring each student’s Body Mass Index, offering healthier meals in lunchroom cafeterias, and providing more opportunities for physical activity.
Childhood obesity is considered one of the most profound public health issues confronting Ohio and the nation today, according to Healthy Choices for Healthy Children, a coalition of organizations dedicated to preventing and decreasing childhood obesity in Ohio. The coalition advocates for public policy in Ohio that supports research-based solutions to the childhood obesity epidemic, such as this new law.

“The ABC’s of ending childhood obesity are accountability, bipartisanship, and comprehensive solutions,” says Nationwide Children’s Hospital CEO Steve Allen, M.D, a coalition leader and promoter of the legislation. “Accountability means holding everyone that interacts with our children accountable to higher standards, from parents to schools to businesses. Bipartisanship means lawmakers from across the political spectrum taking responsibility for our children’s health. And, comprehensive solutions mean making change at all the places our children interact with food and exercise. This legislation accomplishes all three, in a way that will help our children avoid becoming the first generation in Ohio history to live shorter lives than their parents.”

The law is designed to improve the nutritional value of foods offered during the regular and extended school day, and to raise the bar for physical education. The bill also provides for Body Mass Index (BMI) screenings upon school entry and in the 3rd, 5th and 9th grades, and a pilot program for daily physical activity during the school day.

An amended version of the bill includes opt-out waivers for a requirement of 30 minutes of physical activity and BMI screenings for school districts demonstrating financial hardship. The Ohio House of Representatives passed an amended version of the Senate bill, creating a pilot program for districts to provide 30 minutes of daily physical activity in grades K-12. Districts participating in the pilot will be recognized on their district report card.

Key provisions of the bill include offering more nutritional choices for the a la carte menu and vending machines, providing free breakfast to all students eligible for free and reduced-price lunches when funds are appropriated, creating a statewide council with teacher representatives to address childhood obesity, creating a school district waiver for the body mass index (BMI) measurement requirement, and incorporating the importance of healthy eating habits and physical activity into the health curriculum. Implementation will begin during the 2011-12 school year, starting with BMI measurements taken for students.

This is nothing new for local students at Garrettsville’s James A. Garfield School District, says Superintendent Charles Klamer. “For the past five years, freshmen and sophomores have had their BMI measured and we research ways to lower it. In 2008/09 we partnered in a wellness grant with the Portage County Health Department and Kent State for BMI testing in grades 3 and 6.”

Additionally, Sue Rossi, grade 5-8 physical education teacher, was awarded a Kohl’s Fitness Grant last year, and again this year. This includes a partnership with Akron Children’s Hospital for 7th and 8th graders. Along with BMI testing, Rossi incorporates instruction on how to control BMI with physical activity and sensible eating habits.
“I believe Garfield Schools have been proactive with academics but also with solid physical education activities,” says Klamer. “Teaching proper exercise and nutritional information are important.”

In terms of providing healthy eating options, the superintendent says, “Our cafeteria has offered fresh vegetables and fruit
every day with lunch for over 25 years. Our secondary schools only offer limited sweet items. The Garfield Schools will be ahead or on target to implement the activities specified by this new law.”

Considering that 70 percent of the cost in health care is related to chronic disease, and obesity is a major cause of chronic disease, this law is expected to help to reduce the disease burden on taxpayers by helping children learn to lead healthy, active lifestyles early in life. It is hoped to improve students’ future quality of life and also help to take billions of dollars in unnecessary costs out of Ohio’s health care system.

Newton Falls – Newton Falls Exempted Village School District has released the Calamity and Weather Delay Information for the 2010-2011 school year.

New rules on calamity days are as follows: The State of Ohio has mandated new changes on school closings. Beginning this school year, 2010-2011, each school district is limited to three (3) school closing days due to weather or a calamity. Any additional days must be added to the school calendar. Beginning in the 2011-2012 school years, districts will have no weather or calamity days, therefore are required to make up every day missed. Any required make-up day(s) will be added to the end of the school year calendar.

Newton Falls School District may at times use a two (2) hour delay in starting school. Parents will be notified by our electronic telephone messenger system as well as through the local media. School bus runs and building openings will be delayed two (2) hours. Parents are encouraged to plan for such emergency situations in advance. Student dismissal times will remain the same times.

2010 GMS Lady G-Men Cross Country Team

Pictured above are (left to right) Bottom Row: Emily Prigodich , Isabella Scarl , Molly Mathews , Julia Roubic , Amanda Bartlett , Mariah Coulter , Hannah Trent Top Row: Kaylee Martin, Lizzie Gerez, Danielle Keffer, Jessica Moore, Coach Jessica Crookham, Hayliegh Hannigan, Shiann Penna, Megan Ryser, Lindsey Jones , Maddie Lininger, Brittany Alloway.

Garrettsville – The James A. Garfield girl’s Middle School cross country team made school history by winning the PTC Championship meet on October 16, 2010.  Scoring for the team were Mariah Coulter, 2nd in the county with a time of 13:16 followed closely by her teammates Shian Penna 13:51, Molly Matthews 13:58,  Amanda Bartlett 14:19,  Haylie Hannigan 14:49,  Lindsey Jones 14:51,  and Kaylee Martin 15:09.  Congratulations to all of them for a fantastic season of hard work and dedication.

Two years ago Windham football season started with the usual elements, players, coaches, cheerleaders and fans but  one important element was missing on the field. The band.

Two years ago Windham football season started with the usual elements, players, coaches, cheerleaders and fans but one important element was missing on the field. The band.

Windham – Two years ago Windham football season started with the usual elements, players, coaches, cheerleaders and fans but   one important element was missing on the field. The band. The band helps lead cheers and adds to the spirit of the game, but they were absent on that opening day two years ago. They were absent all season except for a brief appearance of a seven-member pep band for homecoming that year. Well, that was then and this is now. This season the band has 26 members, including majorettes and a flag line, and now performs at all football games, home and away. Although they may be small in numbers as far as marching bands go, they are mighty in sound. When I first heard them a few weeks ago I thought they were bigger than 26. They had a rich sound that made one think they were larger than they really are.

What was the change? Everyone says the band director played a big role in the growth and rejuvenation of the marching band. In 2008 Becky Kresen came aboard as the band director bringing with her a fresh vision for the school’s instrumental music department. When Kresen came to the district, she told the board it would take maybe five years to rebuild the band program and probably three years before they would be able to put a marching band on the football field. Well here we are two years into the rebuilding program and she already has developed a quality marching band and so much more.

In the elementary school she started recorders for the fourth graders and then added xylophones for the third graders. She also has plans to add boom whackers to the program for 2nd graders. Kresen explained that when the kids are exposed to musical instruments prior to taking up instrumental instruction  they have less difficulty with the instrument because they already have the concept of reading music under their belts and all they have to do is learn the mechanics of the instrument.

Kresen has impressed the Board of Education so much that they approved the purchase of new uniforms last year. The school board and the music boosters jointly purchased 30 or so uniforms with the plans to have 60 uniforms purchased by the end of three years. When all the uniforms needed are purchased, they will continue to buy a few each year to replace the older ones as they wear out. The uniforms they purchased were $432 each with a reversible/removable breastplate. The band uses the breastplate for marching band and removes it for concert band.

The band that started off as a seven member pep band two years ago has grown beyond just marching at football games. This year they have marched at the Ravenna Balloon- a-Fair, their homecoming parade, Memorial Day Parade, and performed at two band showcase nights at Mogadore and LaBrae Schools. Along with the marching performances, this year they have plans to enter their first solo’s ensemble contest. As they continue to grow and develop, expect to see more of them at area competitions.