News You Can Use from Berkshire Schools!

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Berkshire Power of the Pen makes a showing at Districts

On Saturday, February 11th, 11 Berkshire students arrived at Chardon Middle School to compete at the 2017 Power of the Pen District competition. The 7th grade team consisted of Kelsey Adams, Jude Connors, Ian Martin, Eli Ray, and Lizzy Sounik. The 8th grade team included Gennah Brown, Lexi Byler, Courtney Czekaj, Maddie Kotowski, Diana Shale, and Dani Zilka.

These students prepared for this event through weekly writing activities and assignments to strengthen their writing abilities.Writers were coached and guided by Maria Koler and Nichole Kiczek. At the competition, students were required to attend three different 40 minute writing sessions and to respond to a variety of creative writing prompts. The writing pieces were then scored and ranked by area judges and the results announced at a culminating awards ceremony.

An enormous congratulations to Dani Zilka who placed 14th out of 93 eighth grade writers. Jude Connors placed 8th overall and was also recognized for his creative talents, winning a coveted best-of-round award. Congratulations to these hardworking and creative students who did such a fine job representing their school at this event.

Pictured In Photo: Power of the Pen Winners

Burton Elementary puts the focus on Kindness and Growth Mindset

Students at Burton Elementary have been talking a lot about Growth Mindset and having “grit.” As professional development, the staff has been reading Angela Lee Duckworth’s book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, on growth mindset and the idea of students having “grit”, or a stick-to-it-ness to persevere when challenges come their way.

Students have taken home materials to share with their families about how we could all change our thinking from a “fixed” mindset to a “growth” mindset in order to confront challenges and failures more successfully.

A mindset, according to psychologist Carol Dweck who popularized the theory, is a self-perception or “self-theory” that people hold about themselves. Believing that you are either “intelligent” or “unintelligent” is a simple example of a mindset.

“In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort. In a growth mindset.”

Alternatively, “In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment,” writes Dweck.

Additionally, Burton Elementary recently implemented their Acts of Kindness board which incentivizes deliberate and random acts of kindness amongst students in kindergarten through sixth grade. Students “caught” performing an act of kindness are given a Badger Award as well as a sticker to put on a large bulletin board to display their positive behavior.

Principal Mandy Randles has always promoted amongst her student body two qualities that she considers to be the keys to success in life: kindness and hard work. These two recent initiatives reinforce these qualities, put them into practice, and make them real for students.

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