Shale academy awarded mini-grant

SALINEVILLE — The Utica Shale Academy has received a financial boost to help students improve proficiency with their math studies.

The energy-based community school, which is lodged at Southern Local High School with a satellite site at Columbiana High School, recently gained a $600 Best Practice Grant from the Jefferson County Educational Service Center to provide graphing calculators for an estimated 60 pupils.

USA Director Rich Wright said the learning tools will assist in updating to the most current technology and help students become more proficient with content. While current calculators only allow students to plot one point, the new version will help pupils develop a stronger understanding of graphing and plotting multiple points, creating an ideal visual for students and an ability to distinguish between graphs and functions.

This is the third grant award for the program, and Wright said he was excited to receive the funding.

“The ESC has been great to us and it will greatly help the kids,” he said.

JCESC Superintendent Chuck Kokiko said the mini-grants enabled educators to provide innovative and important tools to help students in the classroom.

“The JCESC is appreciative of our member school districts and enjoys giving back when the opportunity presents itself. Much of our time is spent with school administration as well as providing teacher professional development and the mini-grants are a way to have a direct impact on the classroom,” he said. “The JCESC Governing Board is grateful to all of our applicants and the hard work teachers do each and every day. We look forward to continuing the program next year.”

Now in its fourth year of operation, USA is available to students in grades ninth through 12th who live across Ohio and provides curricula required by the Ohio Department of Education. It offers a customizable digital curriculum allowing for acceleration or remediation along with flexible scheduling plus SafeLand, OSHA-10, first aid and CPR, hydrogen sulfide awareness and confined space certifications. Academy graduates receive a high school diploma, certificates and college credit options offered through Eastern Gateway Community College. The community school also partners with New Castle School of Trades in East Liverpool to provide welding instruction to students.

JCESC has disbursed an estimated 200 Best Practice Grant funding over the past decade, with the Utica Shale Academy receiving three awards since joining the Educational Service Center in 2015. This year, 21 applications were approved out of more than 50 submissions from Buckeye Local, Edison Local, Indian Creek Local, Harrison Hills City, Southern Local, Steubenville City, Toronto City and the Utica Shale Academy.