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Congratulations to December Educator Spotlight honorees, Lauren Flynn of Lakewood High School and Stephanie Oliveri of Grant Elementary! These two have been singled out by their peers as outstanding employees and colleagues. Click on Read More below to find out more about this fabulous pair!
Lakewood High School social studies teacher Lauren Flynn is not a fan of the spotlight. She prefers to work quietly as a teacher nurturing relationships with students and staff built on the competencies of our Vision of a Lakewood Educator. They are competencies that Lauren has displayed throughout her 22 years with the District, not only through her teaching but also through her work over the years with Peer Mediation, Facing Our History group and her proactivity when it comes to raising awareness surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion.
Early in her career, Lauren created the popular LHS elective, Pop Culture, specifically to raise awareness about representation in the media and initiate discussions around race in an engaging way with students. The discussions continue more than a decade later.
Lauren’s nominator, Principal Joy Morgan, praises Lauren for her straightforward communication and willingness as department facilitator to have tough conversations.
“Lauren consistently communicates with me and her department to provide feedback and direction when needed. She is approachable and is willing to have difficult conversations for the benefit of her students and colleagues,” Joy says. “I can rely on her to give me helpful feedback to move LHS in the right direction.”
Growth mindset is another strong suit for Lauren, who strives to remain flexible and adaptable in order to keep up with her students. “We need to be willing to change with our students,” she says.
Lauren’s time as department facilitator these past two years has also offered her a chance to flex her growth mindset skills as she stepped out of her comfort zone to take on the role. Her boss has taken notice: “Lauren is a model for her department in terms of taking on new challenges and persevering through change,” Joy says, adding “Lauren is a leader at LHS and tries to create an environment that is welcoming for teachers and students.”
Grant Elementary cafeteria lead Stephanie Oliveri thought she was going to be a teacher when she started college, but learned it wasn’t for her. However, her desire to work with children still burned bright and she is grateful to have found a job where she is able to be a small part of students’ day - for some, it may be the best part of their day!
“If I can help bring them something positive when they are having a bad day, I like to do that,” says Stephanie.
Stephanie, who joined the District in 2018 as a cashier at Emerson, often finds herself calling on her Vision of a Lakewood Educator competencies in order to provide the best dining experience for Grant students as she is able. With the green light from her boss, nutrition services supervisor Jacob Green, Stephanie has tapped into her creativity to try out new recipes in her effort to keep the menu exciting for students.
Her boss appreciates this willingness on Stephanie’s part to stretch her skills. “Stephanie is always very willing to try new things and seeks to provide her students with new and healthy foods,” Jacob says.
Although the tinkering and changing of menus can cause more work initially, Stephanie feels the payoff is worth it. “It makes me so excited to see the kids excited about coming into the cafeteria” when they know there is a food item on the menu they like or want to try,” she says.
Stephanie also keeps the Vision’s global awareness competency in the forefront of her mind as has goals of eventually bringing food recycling and sustainable trays to her cafeteria. It’s one of the many ways that Stephanie is striving to make a difference for her school community.
Student Wellness Specialist Julie May has been awarded a NEA Foundations Student Success Grant of $3,176. The grant will provide the funding to replenish materials for Grant classrooms' calming corner, materials for the Tier 2 social skills and self-regulation groups, and materials for our SEL/Service Learning Project groups. "We are excited to have been given this opportunity to continue to grow great things at Grant," May said.
On May 9, Grant students took their Vision of a Lakewood Graduate focus on collaboration to the ultimate degree as they all became "boxitects" and worked together to build a carboard city! Students beamed as they watched their design ideas come to life as a pet shop, castle, dog house and more! The project was inspired by the book "Boxitect", read schoolwide, and came together thanks to the leadership of Grant PTA and generous donations from Larsen Architects and Dimit Architects LLC of Lakewood. Click on Read More to see photos!
Last week, Grant students participated in sessions with the Cleveland Anti-Defamation League as part of the process to earn the ADL’s No Place for Hate designation for the school. No Place for Hate is an initiative sponsored by the ADL aimed at providing a model for combating intolerance, bullying, and hatred.
Schools must complete three steps during the school year to earn the label. The steps include creating a No Place for Hate Committee, having students and staff take a pledge to create an inclusive school environment, and completing three anti-bias schoolwide activities.
In the sessions, which were made possible by the PTA's generosity, an ADL representative talked with the students about being allies for each other and what that means. Students then broke into groups and created their own paper allies on which they were asked to share thoughts and feelings about being an ally. Thanks to the kindness and creativity of staff members Beth Kiraly and Laura George, each Grant student and staff member received a kindness button at the assembly to reinforce the message of the day.
Any school building can apply to be a No Place for Hate school. Lakewood High is also working toward the No Place for Hate designation. Last school year, 27 schools in Northeast Ohio became No Place for Hate schools.
In next steps, all Grant students and staff will sign their names to the No Place for Hate pledge on a poster that will hang near the cafe. The school also has started a new student club for PreK-5 students called, "Grant's No Place for Hate Club '' that will focus on ways that the school can continue to grow with learning about diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.
Congratulations to Grant Elementary fourth grader Landon Metz on winning the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce's annual "Why I Love Lakewood" contest! Landon earned the right to flip the switch with Santa on the city holiday lights at Light Up Lakewood and read his essay as well at the Dec. 3 event. You can read Landon's essay by clicking on "Read More".
Why I Love Lakewood
By: Landon Metz
I love this small but big community called Lakewood. This is my dream town! My parents moved us
here a few years ago from the eastside because they loved it so much. There are so many things to love
it’s hard to narrow it down!
First, Lakewood is an interesting historical city. There are so many old houses and buildings. It’s
great to see people fixing up their old houses to make them beautiful and charming again. My family is
working on fixing up our house that just turned 101 years old. I like to think about all of the families that
have lived here before us.
Second, Lakewood has an awesome variety of food options. If someone came up and asked me
“What food places are nearby?” I’ll say “I can walk right to the end of my street and find Angelo’s, Taco
Tantos, Sushi, Thai, Barbeque, Eugene’s Kitchen, Frosty’s ice cream and cookies. So many options!” My
favorites are Angelo’s, Taco Tantos, and Frosty’s.
Our location is what gives Lakewood its name! I really like that we are close to the great Lake Erie,
we have a beach nearby and we are close to downtown for all the sporting events. It’s amazing how much
the lake affects our weather! And the view from the Solstice Steps across the lake and back toward
downtown is beautiful.
And last, no other town puts on as many great events as Lakewood, like music and movies in the
park, the 4th of July fireworks, the Spooky Pooch Parade, and the Summer Meltdown. Plus, around
Lakewood there are many amazing murals to see, scooters to borrow, community gardens, and now the
sports lending lockers in Madison Park.
In conclusion, there are so many reasons to love Lakewood. It’s an awesome city with lots of
different kinds of people, great food, great history, great location, and great community activities. What’s not to love!