Wonders await students | News, Sports, Jobs

Staff photo / Mason Cole
From left, Samuel, Sebastian and Serenity Lanham, students at Willard PK-8 School, enjoyed the bubble display at the Warren City Schools back-to-school celebration at Courthouse Square in Warren last week.

WARREN — Many of this year’s changes for public schools throughout Trumbull County are related to remodeling and advances in learning technology as the 2023-24 school year begins.

The Warren City School District’s athletic department, for example, is opening a new portion of its recreational wellness center, funded last year with $16 million in pandemic relief dollars.

The building is expected to welcome visiting and home teams into its locker rooms by week two of high school football season at the latest, Superintendent Steve Chiaro said.

For wellness, the district will continue its partnerships with Akron Children’s Hospital, the Trumbull County Mental Health and Recovery Board, Compass, Valley Counseling and Cadence Care.

For academic success, the district will help guide junior and senior students at Warren G. Harding High School in their credit recovery, and keep younger learners focused on reading.

Chief academic officer Wendy Hartzell said students in grades K-5 will be adopting the same reading program as K-2 in the Wonders curriculum, while the high school will more thoroughly develop professional writing skills.

For credit recovery, the Monroe Learning Center will be open to 30 students at a time, during the morning and afternoon. In the 2021-22 school year, 242.5 credits were recovered, and 165 of them were recovered by seniors. The following year, 166 students enrolled to receive 302 credits through the program, Hartzell recently told the board of education.

After “the old ones couldn’t update anymore,” Chiaro said the district reallocated government funds and purchased 130 new smartboards for virtual field trips and an updated app assortment. Before school starts, teachers operating the boards will have been trained and boards will be mounted in each of their classrooms by early September.

Tech devices for student use also will be issued at at 2:1 ratio, with K-12 students gaining access to Apple iPads and grades 1-12, laptops, for at home use. Carts of computers will be provided for students to use while in their classrooms.

The school district also will be competing in esports this year, after administrators found that their esports program was a success last year. The district also is looking to fulfill drone learning and usage within the student body.

Changes at other districts that responded to Tribune Chronicle inquiries are:


Bristol schools updated safety measures at both schools to detect vape pens, and has updated educational opportunities for students across grades.

College Credit Plus math courses now will be offered to high school students throughout the school year.

For seniors, high school Principal Daniel Collins said, “We are moving the financial literacy course to senior year for 2023-2024. We believe that is the best time to present valuable information to our students. We are going to pair this course with a new class called “Real World Ready.” This course will be all about preparing seniors for life after high school. Community service projects and life skills (basic sewing, basic tools, changing a flat tire, checking car fluids, time management, employability skills, self care, CPR /AED, cursive, tie a tie, etc.) will be the focus for this class.”

Collins advised for the sophomores, “We wanted to add more flexibility for our students to explore different career paths as they work through high school. A class to explore STEM opportunities will enable students to learn more about other options that are available to them as they make choices for high school and beyond.”

A new opportunity in the Panthers’ schedule is the “Panther Period,” which is planned to let students “receive extra help if needed, attend school club meetings, participate in assemblies,” Collins said.

The district also increased student accessibility to school devices to a 2:1 ratio.

Bristol will be asking voters in the spring to consider an emergency levy renewal for a period of five years to produce the annual amount of $400,000 to cover operating costs.


Brookfield’s list of projects has taken about four years to complete. Kristie Steyer of the Trumbull County Educational Service Center said the main issue occurred “when shale under the ground caused parts of the middle school to crack and those areas needed to be completely torn out and redone.” The district finally reached a settlement with the construction company. Middle school students spent the last three weeks of school last year doing remote learning so construction could get started.

The district delayed the start of school this year until after Labor Day to ensure the project would be completed.

“It’ll be nice for them to put this to rest and move on,” Steyer said.

Curriculum will expand with an elementary art and STEM club, as current high school programs such as Industry 4.0, Robotics, MakerSpace, pre-apprentice, drones and career-based intervention continue.

The Warriors are also upgrading the camera system as a result of a $221,000 state K-12 safety grant that was received last school year. The district also has been awarded a few new grants in the last month:

• Equity for Each ($115,000) to create a graphic design course in the middle school, as well as bolster some of the middle school career technical education courses in grades 7-8. The grant also will work to increase the enrollment into high school tech courses;

• Stronger Connections ($18,000): To provide trauma informed care professional development for district staff;

• Ohio Attorney General’s School Safety Grant ($5,300): Purchased “go buckets” and first aid kits for each room in the district.


Building improvements involve a districtwide wireless technology upgrade, Girard Intermediate and Prospect Elementary fire alarm systems are upgraded, plus their classrooms repainted, intermediate and elementary parking lot resurfacing, and Arrowhead Stadium and the bus garage pavement project completed.

Bids have been secured for a new camera security system and safety shield film for common doorways.

The school board also elected Julianne Ware as associate superintendent. Ware, with 19 years of education experience, previously served as principal of Girard’s intermediate school. Bill Bogan, most recently from Parma Community Schools as an intermediate principal, will be replacing Ware. Throughout Bogan’s 17 years in education, he spent time in Ashtabula and Warren City Schools as well, according to Roth.

Some other changes include Michael Cochran’s assignment as supervisor of student wellness and strength, Brenda Madden as transportation director, and Jackie Squibbs as cafeteria manager.

Academic updates in Girard feature Houghton, Mifflin and Harcourt Into Reading and Literature.


Construction updates include the elementary school, H.C. Mines, receiving an “interior facelift,” according to Kate Keller of the Trumbull County ESC. The building jobs include painting of lockers, ceilings and walls, replacing and / or resurfacing cabinets and replacing broken floor tiles.

For new Tiger programs, Howland will be offering additional therapeutic services to students, and esports will be launched within the district during the school year.

Keller also said at the end of last school year, the district used pandemic relief funds to purchase a safety cart for each school building that would allow first responders and staff the ability to access classrooms in the event of an emergency; along with new security glass doors. Some items on the cart are tools to access doors and other areas of the school, “stop the bleed” kits, higher-level first aid kits and protocols for different scenarios.

In the athletic department, Keller said the track was resurfaced in the spring, and the straightaway was expanded to eight lanes. This project was financed 50 percent by district funds, and through the support of PAWS (Partners Advocating and Working for Students) and the Howland Tiger Booster Club.The booster club purchased new hurdles for $25,000 as well.


The district expanded and upgraded its high school weight room. The renovation includes new turf and cardio equipment. This project was completed through private donations, Kristie Steyer of TCESC said.

The middle school launched a new mentorship program this school year. Where Everyone Belongs is for a select group of eighth-grade students to mentor the fifth-graders WEB will be leading activities and giving tours during orientation and progressively through the school year. “It encourages older students to connect with and support our younger students,” Steyer explained. Administration also believes it will help to train the eighth-graders in leadership skills.

The Eagles hired nine new teachers, five new paraprofessionals and new K-8 assistant principal Danielle Leigh.

Hubbard installed new security cameras throughout the K-12 campus.

Greenwood Chevrolet of Hubbard pledged a $10,000 donation to benefit the athletic department and the three schools. Over the last five years, Greenwood of Hubbard has donated $62,000 to Hubbard schools.


Superintendent Edwin Baldwin said there are new intensive intervention services for the high school, continued expansion of the arts and music to elementary students, increasing professional development opportunities for staff regarding school safety, a continued partnership with the Trumbull County Sheriff’s Office, a new fleet of buses, new hardware for improved speeds on internet connectivity, new servers for security cameras, and new software for paying athletic officials at a substantial savings for district.


Schools in LaBrae will have a change of administrators. Superintendent Anthony Calderone said the assistant high school principal position was eliminated and administrators retired, so principals were moved around.

Todd Rowe will be the new principal at LaBrae Middle School and Martin Kelly the new principal at LaBrae Intermediate School.

District administration also approved an agreement with Cadence Care Network for two social workers at $48,000 and $7,000 for a behavioral support specialist. Calderone said funds from a Stronger Communities grant and school wellness grant will cover costs.


Superintendent Velina Jo Taylor said the district hired “lots of new teachers.” Taylor also mentioned that Ron DeJulio, former athletic director, has been elevated to assistant principal for K-8, and Ryan Stowell left Bristol and will be joining as elementary principal. The new athletic director, Mark Novotny, also will serve as transportation supervisor.

Taylor mentioned the district is looking to expand its funding, and hoping for a “boost” from House Bill 33, after needing to follow the $33,000 mandatory starting salary for teachers and spending for health insurance.


Liberty High School will see roof replacement over most of the building, fresh paint jobs along with Blott and Guy elementaries, which each will receive new playground equipment, and a completed QuickMed facility.

The Leopards are partnering with the Cleveland Browns as a part of the “Stay in the Game” attendance program. For security measures, new locks are installed in all classrooms PK-12, adding to a new districtwide security system in the process of implementing bidding, according to Matt Roth, public relations coordinator at the Trumbull County Educational Service Center.

The athletic department’s track has been resurfaced, as a donation by Lena Esmail. Specifically for the football team, there’s a locker room renovation and partnership with the Cleveland Browns for the donation of new helmets and spikes.


Virginia Shank of TCESC said Lordstown will administer STEM curriculum for all students in grades 7-2 through Invent2Make, and a new STEM center. The Red Devils also are installing new cameras at the high school and offering all students at Lordstown breakfast and lunch for free.


The Mathews district replaced Baker Elementary’s roof during the summer. The district will update an HVAC system at Baker and add a 7,400-square-foot addition eventually to house all students and staff in grades K-5. Each update is expected to be completed for the 2024-25 school year and will be funded through a grounds lease.

The Mustangs purchased visitor bleachers at Booster Field. The project is funded through profitability inflex funds and is being completed. The district replaced the high school gymnasium floor with an insurance fund because of a water leak. A new entrance into the high school building was added to increase security, along with additional cameras and lights in the hallways of the elementary buildings.

The district hired a new, full-time psychologist and added new phonics programs.


The district completed the third-phase of an athletic facilities project. Sidewalks and fencing are the latest steps toward the final product.

With athletics, the high school will feature a girls golf team for the upcoming season.

The Blue Devils now have a media production course, and an afterschool program for elementary school. New protective window film is constructed into common entrances.


Ridge is getting involved with the esports through a new advanced computer class that will include work with drones through the Drones in School Drone Racing League.


Superintendent Justin Christopher said, “We are happy to welcome Youth Intensive Services to our Tiger family this upcoming school year, which will provide school-based mental and behavioral counseling to students.”

YIS will provide a variety of programs based on students’ needs, such as positive intervention outside of the classroom, social skills groups, camps during the summer and over extended breaks, Christopher added. The Tigers received a $200,000 energy efficiency grant from the state to update the LED lighting and chiller system at the elementary-middle school. The LED lighting has been installed and the administration anticipates the completion of the chiller installation by the end of winter.

The junior high and high schools will continue the afterschool program for grades 6-8, a result of a grant that the junior high received in conjunction with Alta Behavioral Healthcare, in its second year at Newton Falls.

The Newton Falls junior and senior high cross-country teams, now in their fifth year, host their first-ever home meet Oct. 10.


Niles is adding a second Mini-Dragons preschool classroom. Last year was the first the district did its own preschool classroom. It was successful enough that a second one is added this school year, Steyer of TCESC said.

Additionally, Niles Middle School has transformed one of the classrooms into a physical wellness room where gym classes, sports teams and staff can exercise.

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