A Message from The Ohio Hospital Association

December 28, 2021

Dear School Superintendents, Administrators and School Board members:
Each of you has done a remarkable job in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, working hard each day to keep your students safe and in school. We recognize the importance of in-person learning for the cognitive, social, and emotional development of our children, and share your belief that the best place for kids is in school, full-time, in the classroom learning with their peers.

As we have learned during the past two years, things shift quickly with COVID-19. Today, we are faced with a new variant, Omicron, which is more contagious than previous variants. This variant is spreading rapidly through Ohio and is expected to become the dominant variant within the coming weeks. In other parts of the country, where Omicron already has spread rapidly, pediatric hospitalizations have spiked. In New York City and the surrounding areas, pediatric hospitalizations jumped by 395% during December.

With adult hospitalizations already nearing an all-time high, and the positivity rate for those being tested for COVID-19 nearing 25%, we are reminding all Ohioans of the severity of our current situation.

The best protection against developing severe illness from COVID-19, for both school-aged children and adults, remains getting vaccinated. While younger, school-aged Ohioans continue to get vaccinated, it is critical that we keep following protocols to protect students, teachers, staff, and their families at home.

To those of you who are continuing to require masks in school – thank you. This simple step is one of the best ways that we can slow the spread of the virus. To those who do not currently have a mask requirement, we respectfully ask that you consider one as your students return after holiday break. Health experts around Ohio have recommended Ohio schools have masking policies until more students get vaccinated, and that remains their recommendation as students return to school next week. This is even more urgent now because of the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.

We know that the virus that causes COVID-19 is spread when you cough, sneeze, talk, or sing. We know that masks work and are effective at slowing the spread of this virus. The best way to keep kids in school is to slow the spread of the virus. The best ways to slow the spread of the virus are to get vaccinated and wear a mask.

Even students who are asymptomatic or who have relatively mild symptoms have the ability to spread the virus to others. Their fellow students might then carry the virus home, spreading it to brothers and sisters, parents, and grandparents. If those family members are unvaccinated, they are at risk for severe illness and hospitalization while vaccinated family members can remain confident that their risk of severe illness is low.

Our healthcare system already is taxed, with one out of every four patients in the hospital with COVID-19. We’re fighting hard to save their lives, while treating other Ohioans who need our help, like children with broken bones, people suffering from strokes, or those needing emergency care after a car accident. We can’t do this alone. With Omicron spreading quickly through Ohio, we need everyone’s help to make it through the coming weeks. Please help us by requiring students to wear masks when they return to school.

View the Original Letter:

After-school STEM: Bringing Out The Inner Inventor

How can you design and build a structure that can withstand a natural disaster?

Students in Warren City Schools’ After-school STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) explored various ideas and options during a recent activity.

It is among several challenges 5th- and 7th-grade students in the district’s four PK-8 Schools – Lincoln, McGuffey, Jefferson and Willard – have worked to resolve. WCS partnered with the National Inventors Hall of Fame to provide identified programming in the area of STEM.

The program provides opportunities for students to learn the business of innovation, from prototype to product launch; turn ideas into inventions; and discover how to bring those inventions to market, while honing key skills like collaboration, self-expression and entrepreneurship.

“They develop real-world skills while learning to work creatively and collaboratively,” explained Annamarie Buonavolonta, instructor. “Each challenge gets them thinking. They see the challenge or problem and then work together to solve it.”

WGH Students Add CPR Certification to Skills Catalog

Warren G. Harding students now have the opportunity to be CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation ) certified through Warren City Schools Health Classes.

CPR training previously was part of the curriculum. However, this year two of the district’s PE/Health teachers have become certified trainers, making the way for students to become CPR certified after passing the certification test.

CPR certification is one more “real-world” learning opportunity provided to students by our WCS staff.

2021 Twenty Under 20 Event Recognizes 3 WGH Students

Three Harding seniors were recognized Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, at the Tribune Chronicle’s Twenty Under 20 Awards Dinner.

Casey Owsley, Anthony Payiavlas and Camryn Stewart, all 17-years-old, each lit up the platform as they accepted their awards.

Guidance Counselor Sue Mizik says that Casey “understands the value of service to others and has maintained that outlook through great personal loss.” Her family has been hit hard by COVID-19, and experienced the loss of her grandmother and cousin due to the virus. Even so, Casey has maintained a 4.2 GPA, and continues to participate in the WGH marching band and symphonic bands and several extracurricular activities.

Anthony says he likes “helping out the less fortunate, giving them hope.” He likes “being there for someone,” and feels it’s his job to help. Anthony has been captain of the boys golf and tennis teams since 2019. He is active with the Greek Orthodox Youth Association and has been a member of the National Honor Society since 8th grade. He maintains a 4.1 GPA. Harding counselor Erin Kampf-Melillo says of Anthony that he “has engaged himself in our school environment in a way that makes a difference.”

Camryn says it’s her “passion to help others who need it.” She has maintained a 3.9 GPA while taking difficult advanced placement classes and college-credit plus courses. She is active on her school’s volleyball and softball teams, and serves as manager of the girls basketball team. She has added participating with National honor Society’s Big Brother/Big Sister mentor program to her long list of commitments. WGH Englisher teacher Melissa Rentz describes Camryn as someone who “wants to see her peers succeed by helping them with their skills.”

Jefferson PK-8 Serves as Berk Enterprises’ Community Clothing Donation Distribution Site

This is the second consecutive year Warren’s Jefferson PK-8 School served as the location of Berk Enterprises clothing distribution site.

Warren-based berk donated dozens of coats, socks and other clothing items to the community. The items were distributed to various organizations, including the Warren Family Mission, on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021.

The groups arrived at Jefferson where members of the school’s staff, including Campus Leader/Principal Carrie Boyer; Mesa Morlan, special education coordinator; Heidi Cope-Barker, school improvement supervisor; and Dante Campbell, community liaison at Jefferson.

ART WORKS! Any Given Child, Warren Integrates Art Into Learning

Through the past several years the Warren City Schools has partnered with Any Given Child and the Kennedy Center to bring more arts experiences for students in Kindergarten through eighth grades.  This year through Any Given Child and working with the SMARTS organization (Students Motivated by the Arts) we will continue to provide these art opportunities throughout the district.

In four classrooms students experience Beats and Empowers programming.  This allows students with special needs the opportunity to build social-emotional and fine motor skills through the arts and to make core content learning tangible through a creative process in collaboration with the teachers.

We will pilot a program called Early SMARTS  in two classrooms in Warren City School’s early childhood programs to provide a Reggio Emilia approach to learning that engages students in open-ended creative play that is supported by research on brain development in children.

The goal of bringing artists from SMARTS in to work with the teachers in order to collaborate with Warren City School teachers to adapt lessons in the WCS curriculum from a traditional instructional approach to an arts integrated instructional approach. Two PK-8 buildings will receive a visual art teaching artist, one building will receive a theater teaching artist and one a music teaching artist. 

As a district we are also utilizing a percussion-based learning program for students with developmental and behavioral challenges. This program uses hand drums and other percussion instruments to engage students by promoting academic learning, increasing musical knowledge, fostering a sense of community, and developing pride, confidence and satisfaction. Originally developed as a pilot project in 2011, SMARTS Beats centers on four goals:                 

  1. Promote academic learning through unconventional/alternative techniques.
  2. Increase musical knowledge, understanding, and appreciation.
  3. Foster a sense of teamwork and community.
  4. Develop students’ sense of pride, confidence and satisfaction.    

Warren City Schools preschool teachers will work along side Early SMARTS teachers with lessons that will engage students in visual art, music, dance, or theater, depending on the teaching artist present at the Warren City School site for Arts Integration. This aligns with our current curriculum being used in each of our Warren City Schools preschool classrooms.

21st Century Branches into STEM-Based Options

In addition to our traditional programs like Art, Cooking, Yoga and Fitness, the 21st Century After Hours program has added a few STEM-based options for students. 

Stem is Us is a program that explores Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.  Dr. Sheri Cameron (formerly of Youngstown State University) uses engaging lessons to introduce students to the Scientific Method of completing tasks and solving problems. 

C.O.D.E. Warriors is a computer coding program too by computer engineer and district graduate Mr. Jeff Butts.  This program introduces students to the computer codes that enable cell phones, video games and many everyday electronic devices to operate successfully.   

Brite Energy Innovators is a company based in downtown Warren dedicated to finding safe, clean and effective ways to create and store energy.  They are teaching our students how to build batteries as well as simple machines (like mini robots) that are powered by alternative energy sources. 

WGH A Capella Choir Prepares for Holiday Concert Season

The Warren G. Harding A Capella Choir has been busy preparing to carry on the tradition of spreading cheer this holiday season. 

The choir has been rehearsing just in time for holiday events and festivities.

Be sure to tune in for upcoming performances.  

The A Capella Choir will join the Concert Choir and the Madrigals during the Dec. 15 Choir Concert.

Tickets for the in-person concert will be limited due to COVID-19 social distancing protocols. However, the district is planning to livestream the concert.