Volume 22 | May 2024
We Elevate charter schools.
We Empower students.
We Emulate research-based practices.
We Engage community stakeholders.
EEG News & Updates

The mission of the Educational Empowerment Group is to promote knowledge, wisdom and understanding to all stakeholders that empowers success in our global society.

The vision of the Educational Empowerment Group is to elevate the experience for students and stakeholders by positively changing the landscape of charter school education.
A Message from the CEO

For administrators, the end of a school year triggers the natural and necessary exercise of reflection. Most of us have the tendency to engage in imbalanced thinking by focusing more on negative occurrences rather than the positive experiences. I challenge you to change your perspective and view each negative incident as a learning opportunity.

In order to effectively grow as leader, lessons are paramount in sharpening your leadership skills. Experience is one of the best teachers, personally and professionally. When learning the lesson and applying it when similar situations occur, you will witness individual and collective growth before your eyes.

As we quickly advance to the end of another school year, I encourage you to celebrate the wins. Take time to meet with your staff and reflect upon your accomplishments, such as increased graduation rates, academic growth, staff retention, new experiences, new programs and increased enrollment. As a team, commemorate the victories and extract valuable insight from the obstacles. This practice will allow you to grow as a team and boost confidence.
                               – Wendy Rydarowicz
The 2024 Amazing Shake State Competition
Another “EleVated” EEG event has been printed in the pages of history. Business owners, politicians, community leaders and the news media met our students in Dayton, Ohio for the culminating event of the year, the 2024 Amazing Shake State Competition.

Riverscape Career Tech High School represented the summit of preparation for our students, as each of these champions were tested and tried on the district level to arrive at this pinnacle of competition. Our amazing students advanced through several strategic challenges designed to assess their poise, professionalism, soft skills and public speaking abilities. Each simulation required instantaneous problem solving and decision making skills, and all of our students were remarkable.

Gilescarlo Stillwell, a 7th grader from Cincinnati Technology Academy, achieved 1st place, becoming the Amazing Shake champion. Congratulations to Gilescarlo and CTA for bringing the trophy home! The students and families enjoyed an evening at Scene 75 after the competition.

We would like to extend special thanks to Principal Victoria Carter and the staff and students of RCT for hosting this event; South Side Academy who provided music, lighting and audio; the EEG Operations and Academic Teams for planning and coordinating this event, and every EEG team member who judged stations. Finally, we give kudos to Maria Hejnal and Brooke Yost for a job well done!

This event was featured in the local news media. Take a look!
Who’s in the News?
School Spotlight
“Soar to Success!”

The spirit of Stark High School engulfs each person who enters the doors. At this school, everyone is valued and appreciated for their unique individuality. This culture of inclusivity has become the artist of beautiful patchwork which allows Stark to stand out among other schools.

The students of Stark High School are soaring above mediocrity to achieve extraordinary feats. Located in the heart of Canton, OH, this family-oriented high school motivates and prepares students academically, socially and professionally for life beyond graduation. Principal Carly Hart and her team are leading the way to make an indelible imprint in the Canton community. Let’s learn more about Principal Hart and the Stark High School Hawks.

What motivated you to become an educator?
I started working in education in 2014 after being employed at the Stark County Family Court for a little over ten years. When I worked for the courts, I was in the local schools working with youth and families as a court officer and liaison. I was approached with an opportunity to join Stark High School (previously LifeSkills), and I quickly accepted. I felt it was a great opportunity to better support the youth in my community.
What is your personal educational experience?
Upon graduation from high school, I went to Hocking College, earning an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice. From there, I pursued and received my BA in Sociology and Criminal Justice from the University of Akron.

What are some things you would like to share about yourself? 
I enjoy cooking, gardening and spending time with my family. I live on a farm and support my kids in all of their activities. We are busy all year round!

What is unique about Stark High School, and what sets the apart from other high schools in the Canton area?
Stark is unique because of its strong community support, focusing on bringing resources directly to our students while in school. This sets us apart from other local DOPs, as we offer a holistic approach, supporting our students at school, home and in the community.

What CTE programs are offered at the school?
Stark offers a Culinary CTE program that is AMAZING!! Not only do students learn cooking and professional culinary skills, they give back to the community while learning by volunteering. Each week the culinary program delivers a meal to a local shelter and manages our in-school food pantry.

What are your biggest accomplishments?
One of our biggest accomplishments at Stark is when former students come in for support, advice or just to visit. That’s how we know we are making a difference, and we are considered a safe place.

What are your goals this year?
My personal plan for our school is to grow our resources to meet the always changing needs of our students and to add additional CTE programs. 

What else would you like to tell us about Stark High School?
Stark is one of my favorite places to be; it is full of support, friendships, learning and growth. My hopes are that we spread that feeling to all who walk through our doors!

We are proud of Stark’s progress and excitedly anticipate more great things to come!
Innovation Academy West
“Progress lies not in enhancing what is, but in advancing toward what will be.”  Khalil Gibran
Innovation Academy West is manifesting its name through the advancement of technology and creativity through the school’s STEAM program. In pursuit of achievement, IAW is making a bold statement in the Cleveland community with the construction of a new 7500 sq. ft. multi-purpose facility. This new edifice will accommodate the school’s STEAM lab, host sports and community events and be the premier place for physical education. The Board of Directors and the community united to show solidarity and support for this endeavor. Innovation Academy West will not only enhance its services to our students, but also become a community hub, bridging the gap between the school and resident stakeholders.
Career Readiness
Ohio Construction Academy is a school of action. Workforce development and career readiness are not mere phrases. Each day, OCA infuses academics with Career Technical Education to prepare our students for the world. Its vision to become “a forward-thinking high school, empowering
students through a skills-based approach to prepare them for successful and lucrative careers in construction…” is coming to fruition due to strategic actions designed to launch students into successful careers in the trades.

Eight companies participated in the job fair, and potential employers directly interviewed the students. These companies were comprised of existing and new community partners who are genuinely interested in OCA’s program and skilled students. Further, these companies represented each of the trade programs offered at the school: Welding, Electric, General Carpentry and Construction.
The Community Witnesses Success
Bridge Gate Community School (BGCS) is synonymous with hope. The student body is largely comprised of children of refugees who overcame tremendous obstacles to achievement. Last month, Bridge Gate Community School conducted its District Amazing Shake Competition, and Columbus, Ohio took notice. This school, located in West Columbus, is making a positive contribution in the community, and the Amazing Shake Competition gave stakeholders a front row seat to witness success in the making. Be sure to read the positive highlights in the media here. Congratulations, Bridge Gate!
The Health Corner
Mental Health Awareness

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports the following statistics:

  • 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year.
  • 1 in 20 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year.
  • 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year.
  • 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24.
  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-14.

“Live Well, Work Well” shares additional, important information regarding mental health. Click the link for more details.