Bear Time with the Superintendent  -  October 2019 
Click here to view a message from Superintendent Greg Gurka
I hope that you find this   monthly  newsletter informative and a good way to keep up to date on the happenings of our schools  and the Board of Education.  I would welcome any thoughts and   comments that you have in regards to this or anything dealing with the North  Royalton Ci ty Schools   As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at 440-582-9030 or email me at   

Greg Gurka
North Royalton City Schools
Graph 1 compares our monthly operating receipts to the prior year actual for the first three months of our fiscal year (July 2019 through June 2020). It further estimates our collection through our fiscal year end. You will notice two large collection points in our fiscal year. These two months are considerably higher due to real estate collection representing over 70% of our revenues.   
Graph 2 compares our monthly operating expenditures to the prior year actual for the first three months of our fiscal year (July 2019 through June 2020). It further estimates our expenditures through our fiscal year end. You will notice a consistent expenditure pattern throughout our fiscal year due to salaries and wages evenly distributed throughout our fiscal year.
Graph 3 illustrates the current actual accumulative monthly operating revenues and expenditures for the first three months of our fiscal year (July 2019 through June 2020). It further estimates our accumulative revenues and expenditures through our fiscal year end. You will notice a gradual increase in both revenues and expenditures as we approach our fiscal year end where revenues and expenditures eventually meet.
Graph 4 illustrates our fiscal year to date operating expenditures by category for the first three months of our fiscal year (July 2019 through June 2020). Salaries & Wages represent approximately 58%, Fringe Benefits 24%, Purchased Services 11%, Materials, Supplies & Textbooks, Capital Outlay and Operational Fees 7%.


Click here for the North Royalton City Schools' five-year forecast.

Interested in reading more?  District financial information such as our annual financial reports, forecasts, tax rates, etc., can be found by  clicking here.

Biagio Sidoti, Treasurer
North Royalton City Schools

North Royalton City School District Upgrades Buses with GPS  
North Royalton City Schools has implemented a new GPS system in their school buses and vans.

As a part of this new system, the school offers an app for parents called "Here Comes the Bus." This app can be downloaded on a mobile device in the app store and allows a parent and student to know when the bus is approaching the designated stop or entered the neighborhood depending on the selected settings in the app.

Use of the app is meant as an additional tool to assist parents in planning their morning routines and does not excuse "last minute" arrival to the bus stop, as this can create a potentially dangerous situation.  Students will still be required to be at their bus stop at least five minutes prior to their assigned pickup time and wait in their driver designated place of safety, as this is a state-wide rule as set forth by the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC 3301-83-13).

Parents will receive a notification when the bus is approaching, and the transportation department can send messages to parents in the case that the bus has a delay or breaks down.
First Energy Issues Grant for $6200 to North Royalton City Schools
North Royalton City Schools applied for an energy rebate with First Energy/COSE for the new HVAC equipment that was installed at North Royalton Middle School last year.  As a result, the District just received a rebate check in the amount of $6,239.  Karen Kirsh, manager of external affairs, First Energy, delivered the check to the board office this past month. 
Three North Royalton High School Students Named National Merit Semifinalists; One Student Named Commended Student
North Royalton High School is pleased to announce that Habib Akouri, Breanna Tamoga and Colin Rush have been named National Merit Semifinalists by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.   There are approximately 16,000 Semifinalists in the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. These academically-talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million that will be offered next spring. 

To be considered for a Merit Scholarship® award, Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. About 90 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and about half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title.   
Congratulations also to Alexandra Doehrmann for being named a Commended student in the National Merit Scholarship Program. 
Students Recognized at October 14 Board of Education Meeting 

Albion Elementary School

"The Bear Podcast"  is a new weekly podcast hosted by fourth-grader Daniel Zozulya of Albion Elementary School.  Daniel was recognized by the Board and Principal Vince Ketterer for his ambition and hard work to start a podcast focused on Albion Elementary.  Daniel researched equipment, podcasting programs, designed the cover art and uploads each episode to various social media platforms. Daniel does all of the editing and his weekly podcast will eventually include other students and staff in the recording.  Each week, Daniel will pick a topic or person to interview, with the guidance of Mr. Ketterer, his co-host. Daniel is a true ambassador of the Albion Way exemplifying the core values of curiosity and creativity. The first podcast can be heard at .
Royal View Elementary School

Three students were recognized for their leadership and commitment to the school's "Petty's Pals"- a unique program at Royal View Elementary that promotes inclusion of all students.  These students are Benjamin DeLaney, Brynlee Gainous and Jay Zakel. "We strongly believe that it is important to include all students with disabilities in the general education setting, regardless of whether they have mild to moderate disabilities or severe and intensive needs," said Principal Kirk Pavelich.  "As the only elementary school in the District with a special education multiple disabilities unit, this program encourages students to volunteer every day helping their friends off the bus and working with them in the classroom all while teaching them leadership skills and the importance of team building. 

"We are proud of this inclusive building culture because we feel it empowers all of our students to be advocates for the special education population, as we all strive for the goal of providing every student at Royal View the opportunity to reach their full potential," said Pavelich.

At the Board meeting, fourth-grade student Benjamin DeLaney told everyone why he feels Petty's Pals is important.  "I think it's important because you have to learn what it's like to be someone who needs help. I enjoy helping people and I know they can't do all the stuff that we can so I like to make them feel like they can do anything they want," said DeLaney.

First-grade student Brynlee Gainous is learning about the importance of inclusion and acceptance at a young age.  She was recognized for her kindness and inclusion of all students whether it be at lunch time or while reading a book or building a tower with her friends.

Kindergartner Jay Zakel always goes out of his way to play with the other students on the playground, stop to give a smile or wave hello.  With this being the first year at Royal View Elementary with five sections of kindergarten students, the school has worked hard to instill this culture, beliefs and philosophy with its youngest students. "We have shown them video messages, engaged in conversations and brought in guest speakers to talk to them about inclusion and acceptance," said Pavelich.

"Thank you to these three students as they not only show their Royal Pride every day by being respectful, responsible, active learners, but they are also the main reason our building will continue to stand out as one that understands the importance of maintaining a spirit of inclusion and acceptance for all," said Pavelich.

Valley Vista Elementary School

North Royalton City Schools has specific beliefs that promote maintaining and enhancing a positive school culture at each of the buildings with students and staff. Valley Vista Elementary recognized several students for not only exemplifying the District's core beliefs, but for also starring in the school's welcome back video that was shown on the first day of school.  This video introduces the building's Positive Behavioral Intervention Supports and literacy initiatives. These student leaders who have excellent behavior are Macie Reynolds, Claire Banner, Emma Groves, Joshua Groves, Alayna Valenti, Ben Kutolowski, Bryce Lapka, Quinlin Carlin, Riley Lindsey, Grace Johnson, Lexi Nosal, Emma Garnes, Chloe Michaels, Bryce Mitchell, JasonMichael Spears, Moses Kaspar, Ava Burrows, Carli Nosal, Elliot Garnes and Emerson Lapka.

These students always promote our positive school culture and are dedicated to our Positive Behavioral Intervention Supports and reading initiative," said Principal Jeff Hill. "In addition, on one of the hottest days of summer, they all volunteered to come into the building to help film the video."

Valley Vista staff Dana Kesselem, Amanda Velbeck and Nathan Costello also were acknowledged for their award winning production.

The video can be viewed by CLICKING HERE

North Royalton Middle School

The North Royalton City Schools believe in a culture that promotes respect and integrity.  Eighth-grade students Maya Abdalla, Sarah Burdick, Isabella Goldner, Haylie Horba, Alexa Kaminski, Ashley Oriold, Lily Osborne, Kaitlyn Sexton and Montgomarie Williams do just that.  Without hesitation, they work with their classmates with special needs each and every day to ensure that the start of the school day is smooth and positive. Whether they assist with getting students off the bus, or walk down to the cafeteria to purchase and eat breakfast with them, the day always starts with a lot of laughter and smiles.  These kind actions carry on throughout the entire school day and make the school environment one that allows all students to feel a sense of belonging. These eighth-grade students truly exemplify the Bear Way and the expectation that we all treat others the way we want to be treated. 

North Royalton High School

Junior Nathan Weagraff shared his experience of studying abroad in South Africa this past summer. He chose this experience based on service and leadership. 

Nathan took a three-week study abroad trip with The Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE), a non-profit study abroad and intercultural exchange organization.  He visited Cape Town in South Africa. During his trip, he spent two weeks working with other travelers to design and build gardens at an elementary school with the objective of the school to become a self-sustaining grower of food for the students.  Nathan shared a short slideshow with the Board, spoke of his trip and encouraged other students to study abroad.
State Local Report Card Update
Director of Curriculum Melissa Vojta and Director of Pupil Services Julie Bogden provided a summary of the state's Local Report Card at the October Board of Education meeting.  

Overall Letter Grade - Schools and districts are assigned overall letter grades. This grade is determined by calculating a weighted percentage of the following components: Achievement, Progress, Gap Closing, Graduation Rate, K-3 Literacy and Prepared for Success.

North Royalton City Schools received an overall grade of a "B."  Across the state of Ohio, the overall grades were as follows: A - 31; B - 169; C - 282; D - 122; and F - 4.  The District's "B" also was comparable to neighboring districts in Cuyahoga County. "I continue to be very proud of the students, staff and parents of North Royalton City Schools and the collaborative environment that we have," said Gurka. "In our strategic plan, our vision states our educational community will be a model in identifying individual student needs and providing comprehensive support.  We do this every day in our buildings and we are continuously identifying our weaknesses are and adjusting our curriculum and instruction for improvement."

Achievement - The achievement component represents the number of students who passed the state tests and how well they performed on them.  North Royalton City Schools received a composite score of a "B." "Our focus has been on the Ohio Improvement Process and working with our building leadership team on curriculum maps and common assessments to allow educators to collaborate on best practices and provide individual support for our students," said Superintendent Greg Gurka, North Royalton City Schools.  Included in the achievement component is the District's Performance Index, which measures how well students perform on state assessments. North Royalton City Schools received a 102.1, which was 11th out of 31 in Cuyahoga County and 52nd out of 608 public school districts in the state of Ohio. This means 60.5% of North Royalton City Schools' students perform in the advanced or accelerated ranges on the state assessments.  "This shows that the majority of our students are not only achieving, but are achieving at the highest levels," said Gurka. Our success in this area is reflective of the gains made at the high school level in nearly every subject area, but especially with ELA II scores, where students scoring proficient or higher increased by 16.6%, and geometry increased by 12.6%. Additionally at our middle school, two additional indicators were picked up in sixth grade ELA and math, an improvement from last year.  

Progress - The progress component is intended to reflect the growth that all students are making based on their past state assessment performance. North Royalton City Schools received a composite score of a "B."   The District received an "B" in the category of "overall" for the progress of all students in math, English/Language Arts and science using tests in grades four through eight and some end-of-course exams. The District also received an "A" in the category of "Gifted Students" for the progress of students identified as gifted in reading, math, science and/or superior cognitive ability.  A "C" was given for the category of "Students in the Lowest 20% in Achievement" which measures the progress for students identified as the lowest 20% statewide in reading, math or science. An "F" was given for the category of "Students with Disabilities," which measures the progress for students with disabilities. Various professional development opportunities will take place for both general education teachers and intervention specialists to examine student data further and identify where practices need to be strengthened to improve the progress for students with disabilities. Our District Leadership Team will monitor this process. 

Gap Closing - The gap closing component shows how well schools are meeting the performance expectations for all students and subgroups. North Royalton City Schools received a composite score of a "A." 

Graduation Rate - The graduation rate looks at the percent of students who are successfully finishing high school in four or five years. North Royalton City Schools received a composite score of a "A." 

K-3 Literacy - The K-3 literacy component looks at how successful the school is at getting struggling readers on track to proficiency in kindergarten through grade three.  Of the District's third graders, 100% met the Third Grade Reading Guarantee requirements for promotion to fourth grade. On the ODE Report Card, North Royalton City Schools received a composite score of a "C," which means the District met the expectations of the Ohio Department of Education. This component averages four years of data and shows 55.6% of these students moved to "on track."  "This indicator is another confusing one for the community when you have 100% of your third-graders pass the required assessment, and yet your K-3 literacy score is a C," said Gurka.  "It also is important to note that this measure is inconsistent between districts because it is based on a list of approved diagnostic assessments the state requires districts to choose from and not all districts use the same tests.  Our goal is to ensure our students are reading by the end of the third grade and it is clear we are meeting that goal."

Prepared for Success - The prepared for success component looks at how well prepared students are for all future opportunities. It includes ACT or SAT remediation-free scores; Honors Diploma recipients; Advanced Placement (AP) test scores, International Baccalaureate tests, and College Credit Plus. North Royalton City Schools received a composite score of a "C," which means the District met the expectations of the Ohio Department of Education.

North Royalton High School (NRHS) students have again had immense success with the Advanced Placement (AP) program. The AP program offers college-level curriculum and exams for high school students. Each year, students take AP exams in multiple subjects and by earning a high score on the test, are awarded an AP Scholar Award.  NRHS offers 13 AP courses: American Government, United States History, Microeconomics/Macroeconomics, Psychology, English Literature and Composition, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Statistics, Physics I, Physics II, French, Spanish and Computer Science Principles.     There were 301 students that participated in 532 AP exams with 74.1% of students scoring a three or better in the 2018-19 school year. The AP awards have several categories. NRHS had 29 AP Scholars, 13 AP Scholars with Honors, 33 AP Scholars with Distinction and eight National AP Scholars in the 2018-19 school year. Also, in the class of 2019, 29% received an Honors Diploma.

North Royalton City Schools encourage residents to read its Quality Profile that highlights those areas of our schools that make our District a great place for our children to be educated. The report highlights areas such as academics, digital learning, arts/music, student leadership and activities, parent and community involvement, fiscal stewardship and pupil services.  

Be sure to visit #NRInspireGreat as well as our  
District Facebook page
for pictures and stories from all of our 

Other Useful Links for you . . .  

to read the District's Quality Profile. 

to read the latest edition of the The Bear Way

2019-20 School Calendar
Click here
for the NR Board of Education meeting minutes and agendas.  Click here for meeting dates for 2019.

Cuyahoga Valley Career Center Monthly Newsletter
Click here  to read the latest edition of "News Flash," the monthly  newsletter of the Cuyahoga Valley Career Center featuring stories about stu dents from North Royalton City Schools.