Lake Local Schools
Mission: Educating generations, serving our community
Vision: To be the leader in addressing educational, social, and physical needs of students and staff
State Superintendent DeMaria Pays Visit to Lake Local Schools
Lake Elementary School regularly has many Lake parents who regularly visit to assist teachers, help with classroom parties, attend special events, etc., but recently one gentleman stopped by who has never been there before.

Paolo DeMaria, Superintendent of Public Instruction for the state of Ohio, came to call to congratulate Lake Elementary School staff members for their receipt of the Momentum Award last November, and to learn more about the partnership between Lake Local and the Stark County Mental Health & Addiction Recovery (SCMHAR) in Canton. Accompanying DeMaria during his visit at Lake was Vice President of the State School Board Nancy Hollister.

The Momentum Award is presented annually by the State Board of Education and recognizes schools for exceeding expectations in student growth for the year. Schools must earn straight A’s on all Value-Added measures on the report card. The school or district must have at least two Value-Added subgroups of students, which includes gifted, the lowest 20 percent of students in achievement, and students with disabilities.

Thomas Gunlock, State Board of Education president, stated in a letter sent last fall to Lake Elementary Principal Donna Bruner that “your report card for the 2015-2016 school year indicates that your pupils made greater than expected progress in reading and math. This is especially commendable because you no doubt have a diverse array of students whose education backgrounds and learning needs vary. As a winner of a Momentum Award, you are part of a group of schools that is showing that children of every background and ability level can achieve.  Members of the State Board of Education appreciate your leadership and dedication of your staff to achieve this success… Yours is a great example for all Ohio schools.”

During his quick visit the state superintendent and Board member also learned how the district has been collaborating with SCMHAR for several years to develop effective drug education/prevention programming in response to the current statewide opioid epidemic. Lake Elementary guidance counselor Shirley Oberdier introduced a new drug prevention curriculum this year to Lake Elementary fourth graders developed by SCMHAR in compliance with new state legislation requiring opioid prevention education at lower grade levels.

In addition, DeMaria and Mrs. Hollister learned about the range of additional drug prevention programing the district is using at other grade levels with support from other staff, agencies, and partnerships:

• fourth grade is taught SCMHAR curriculum with counselor Shirley Oberdier
• kindergarten – third, fifth/seventh grade receives Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) curriculum from district School Resource Officers Dave McKay and Laura Blackstock
• fourth, eighth, tenth grades are exposed to a SAFE Home curriculum, developed by a SCMHAR curriculum writer, which focuses on social, family, and community norms to help students avoid drugs
• a Community Cares committee, including staff and community members led by Lake High School counselor Debbie Marshall, supports student and SCMHAR-led initiatives at the high school level
• A newly instituted CARE team, led by Lake administrator Gary Kandel and Family Support Specialist Chrissy Mudd, provides personalized support and direction to Lake families during times of need

The guests from Columbus were also taken on a one-hour tour of Lake Elementary by Mrs. Bruner and Lake Superintendent Kevin Tobin to see staff and students in classrooms.

“They saw engaged kids doing co-teaching, inclusion, and how lessons are embedded in technology.
They were quite excited to see what we’re doing – to see students in action,” said Mrs. Bruner.

“Meanwhile, our staff appreciated the personal congratulations, and enjoyed our conversations about educational issues here in Ohio. In regards to opioid abuse prevention, it was an especially valuable discussion about how we can be part of the solution to this epidemic. All of us want to do our part to educate students to make positive choices to influence their current and future success.”

DeMaria became Superintendent of the Ohio Department of Education in May of 2016; much of his 30-year career has focused on school finance and promoting higher student achievement, college readiness and completion, and school choice for families.   DeMaria is an ardent supporter for Ohio’s public schools, having sent his children to Columbus Public Schools and The Graham School.

      Paolo DeMaria

Lake Superintendent Kevin Tobin, State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria, and 
State School Board Member Nancy Hollister recently met staff  and went on a
tour of  Lake Elementary.
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Lake Local School District  436 King Church Avenue SW  |  Uniontown, Ohio 44685  |  Phone: 330.877.9383  |  Fax: 330.877.4754
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