CMS Earns Dual Recognition and Celebrates Performance Index
Chardon Middle School received a congratulatory letter on Oct. 26 from U.S. News and World Reports, announcing CMS as a recipient of both a U.S. News Best Middle Schools 2022 award and a U.S. News Best Elementary Schools 2022 award, ranking the school among the top 30-percent of elementary and middle schools in the state of Ohio.
Of the 80,000 public elementary and middle schools in the country that were analyzed by U.S. News for 2022 rankings, less than 1,000 earned both awards, positioning CMS among the approximate 1.5-percent of public elementary and middle schools nationwide to earn this dual recognition.
The 2022 middle schools and elementary schools awards represent the first time ever that U.S. News has ranked schools at these grade levels. Additional details regarding the 2022 recognitions can be found at https://www.usnews.com/.
During the school’s Nov. 3 faculty meeting, principal Tim Velotta proudly shared the news of the school’s U.S. News 2022 recognitions with staff, thanking them for their diligent work with students as every extra mile helps make students’ strides and successes in the classroom possible. Mr. Velotta also noted during the meeting that the school’s Performance Index for the 2020-21 school year was 101.5.
“Our PI of 101.5 places CMS in the top three-percent of all schools in the state of Ohio,” said Mr. Velotta.
The Performance Index, which is reported by the Ohio Department of Education in the district report card each fall, measures the previous school year’s achievement of every student, not just whether or not they reach “proficient.” Districts and schools receive points for every student’s level of achievement. The higher each student’s level, the more points the school earns toward its index, thereby rewarding schools for working to improve the performance of all students.
A detailed presentation of the district’s local report card can be accessed through BoardDocs as presented by Assistant Superintendent Ed Klein at the Oct. 18 board meeting.
Language Arts Live! Welcomes Panelists
Chardon High School senior English Language Arts classes taught by teachers Allen Herner, Lynn Monaco and Joy Tersigni launched this school year’s installment of the Language Arts Live! speaker series on Nov. 9, welcoming five community member panelists.
Language Arts Live!, originally developed by CHS ELA teacher Dawn Weaver, is a speaker and resource program through which parents and community professionals visit CHS ELA classes and participate in a panel discussion regarding the use of language and communication skills in various settings. The program provides students with examples of how they can apply the 21st century reading, writing and communication skills they acquire in the classroom to the professional world and life beyond high school.
The five panelists welcomed into the program on Nov. 9 are as follows: Michael Daniel, regional vice-president of Trader Joe’s Company for the Midwest; Michael McGreevy, P.E., mechanical application engineer for the Parker Hose Products division of Parker-Hannifin Corp.; Laura Snyder, a freelance writer for the Candy & Snack Today trade magazine; Jason Soncrant, DPT, SCS, CSCS, FAAOMPT, doctor of physical therapy whose professional roles include clinician and center manager for the NovaCare Rehabilitation division of Select Medical Corp.; and Allison Zeiger, a pediatric nurse practitioner in the pediatric intensive care unit at the Cleveland Clinic.
“These presentations, while all different, were interesting to see how each of their jobs function like an essential gear in a clock to help the world function,” said senior Jack Horton.
Senior Caroline Gaertner shared that after hearing all the speakers talk about their careers, it made her less scared of having her own career and eager to start it.
“We are appreciative of the panelists’ time and commitment to our seniors,” said Mrs. Monaco. “I was impressed with the knowledge and enthusiasm of the speakers today. My main takeaway was the importance of understanding clear communication skills. That the message sent isn’t always the message received.”
CHS welcomes additional parents and community members to reach out to Mrs. Monaco if they have interest in being part of a second panel for the Language Arts Live! program this school year. Mrs. Monaco can be reached through email at email@example.com or by contacting the school’s main office at 440-285-4057.
Toma the Mime Visits Park
Park Elementary hosted Toma the Mime (Thomas K. Johnson) on Nov. 9 to present his interactive Young Authors Day program. Toma, a one-person mime performer who studied with French actor and mime artist Marcel Marceau, brings his interactive programs to schools throughout the country to support creative writing curriculums.
The event at Park was sponsored and funded by Park’s PTO and planned and organized by Park second-grade teacher Jennifer Kreuz.
“Thanks to our PTO, we have been gifted with amazing performances from a variety of artistic avenues,” Mrs. Kreuz added.
The Nov. 9 program began with an all-school assembly wherein students were introduced to the art of mime through an interactive sketch-comedy mime show performed by Toma. After each sketch, Toma broke out of character to talk to students about the importance of story structure.
Students then returned to their classrooms to write their own short stories. Toma visited each classroom and worked with students to help them convey their story ideas. Afterwards, he and all of the school’s students reconvened in the auditorium for a second assembly — this time with Toma performing several of the class’ stories that he hand-selected.
“The assembly inspired our students to be excited about writing, expressing themselves, and the art of mime itself,” said Mrs. Kreuz. “It was great to see Park Hilltoppers all through the halls practicing mime, in particular their mime of being trapped in an imaginary box.”
First-grade teacher Rebecca Klembara described Young Authors Day as magical.
“I am so proud of the young authors that wrote their stories today and the many that Toma the Mime was able to bring to life,” she added. “Our class’ story was lucky enough to be picked: “T-Rex and the Toothbrush”. Young Authors Day was an awesome way to inspire our young learners to write.”
Park Honors Veterans Through Traditions and Presentations
Opportunities for Park Elementary students to honor and learn from military veterans on Veterans Day (Nov. 11) were in abundance as is tradition for the school each year. Activities included attendance at the ceremony on Chardon Square, special events during the school’s morning announcements, presentations in second-grade classes, and a military personnel visit for first-grade classes.
Park has been participating in the Veterans Day celebration at the Geauga County courthouse for seven years. This year, there were 108 third-grade students and 66 first-grade students in attendance at the ceremony on what was an unseasonably warm November day.
During Park’s morning announcements, school nurse Chelsie Jackson sang the National Anthem, and students who are members of scouts troops led the whole school in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Second-grade students had the opportunity to hear presentations explaining the history behind Veterans Day.
First-grade teacher Mrs. Carver’s son and daughter-in-law — U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Travis Carver and U.S. Army Sergeant Hailey Carver — came to visit all of the school’s first-grade classes in an assembly in the school cafeteria.
Staff Sergeant Carver and Sergeant Carver are married to each other and are both on active duty with the U.S. Army. They work at the Fort Bragg, North Carolina base in the Airborne and Criminal Investigation Divisions, respectively.
Staff Sergeant Carver began today’s 40-minute, interactive assembly by asking students if they know what Veterans Day is. He helped them develop their descriptions of who we honor on Veterans Day and shared age-appropriate information about what a day in the life is like in the Airborne division, including details about military apparel, equipment, badges, housing, radar, and more.
Students were attentive and had great interest along with terrific questions, including a desire to understand the size of a military base. Hilltoppers learned that a military base is much bigger than one building.
Staff Sergeant Carver did an outstanding job explaining topics to the first-grade students with helpful analogies to aid comprehension e.g. the size of a military base is such that traveling from one end to another requires a vehicle just as we get in a car to drive from Chardon to Great Lakes Mall in Mentor.
Students also asked questions geared towards learning what they may have in common with the two special visitors, including the time that their workday begins, the time of day they eat lunch, what type of food they eat, where they slept when they lived on base, and if they have pets.
Among other similarities that generated excitement from the students was learning that the Carvers enjoy pizza and macaroni and cheese just like us and that they currently have two Black Labradors who they just adore.
Munson Honors Veterans Through Service and Assemblies
Each November, the Veterans Day planning committee at Munson Elementary, which comprises approximately 10 staff members, dedicates itself to organizing a wide variety of meaningful hallway decorations, service projects, and veterans presentations to support student learning about the importance of Veterans Day and recognition of the sacrifices made by U.S. military members.
Adorning the hallways of Munson Elementary are informational bulletin boards and students’ own short essay and photo highlights of veteran family members and friends who are near and dear to them.
Just inside the building’s main entrance, visitors readily see “America’s White Table”, a sacred symbol that the school’s kitchen assistant Molly Thomas has now made an annual tradition each November.
Together with this sacred table visual and a short video, Ms. Thomas introduces students to the book “America’s White Table” by Margot Theis Raven. The book tells the story of the symbolic table set in U.S. military mess halls in honor of troops who have fallen, are missing or held captive in the line of duty.
Just as described in Raven’s story, the small table at Munson Elementary shows one soldier’s lonely battle against many; the white tablecloth honors a soldier’s pure heart when he answers this country’s call to duty; the lemon slice and grains of salt on the plate show a captive soldier’s bitter fate and the tears of families waiting for loved ones to return; and the empty chair is for the missing soldiers who are not here.
Service projects organized by the Veterans Day planning committee included a warming drive, a monetary drive and stuffed stockings.
On Nov. 6, Munson Elementary students and staff hosted a “warming drive’ at Chardon Walmart, an event facilitated by Sub Zero Mission based in Painesville. Sub Zero is dedicated to providing hats, coats, gloves, boots, socks, sleeping bags, tents and other warming items for the homeless in Northeast Ohio and other regions during the winter.
Through a second service project that ran from Nov. 8 through Nov 12., Munson Hilltoppers engaged in “Penny Wars” wherein each class has a jar for coins in the hallway and students (with parent permission) donate pennies throughout the week to their class jar. Students are challenged to bring in slightly larger currency, also with parent permission, as part of the friendly competition among classes. At the end of the week, all of the money collected in the jars is donated to local veterans’ projects and groups that serve veterans.
The Veterans Day planning committee’s third service project is the DeJohn Funeral Homes’ annual Stockings for Soldiers drive, a public service event spearheaded each year by DeJohn and now an annual tradition to which Munson Elementary families generously contribute. The stockings are provided by DeJohn, and community members fill the stockings with essential items for distribution by DeJohn to U.S. military troops overseas, to military troops’ families, and to local veterans. As of Nov. 11, Munson Elementary families had filled nearly 90 stockings.
An on-site highlight of Munson Elementary’s Veterans Day activities are the in-person visits from local veterans. This year, on Nov. 9, several veterans who are family members of students, including grandparents, parents and aunts and uncles, generously gave of their time to introduce themselves during grade-level assemblies and provide age-appropriate presentations on their time spent enlisted in the military and share inspiring life lessons.
Hilltoppers were attentive and respectful of the presenters’ time and words. Among the takeaway messages from the presentations were bravery and courage and how preparedness can help you feel less fear and more courage.
“My Man Godfrey” Brings Down the House on Opening Night
With boundless talent from both cast and crews, the Chardon High School Drama’s production of Eric K. Hatch’s “My Man Godfrey” screenplay hit the ground running and brought down the house on opening night, Nov. 11, at Park Auditorium.
The set, music and costumes alone easily harken the audience back to the 1930s, while the crews make every swift scene, costume, makeup and technical change appear seamless.
With the scene well set by the crews, the cast equally did not disappoint in bringing to life “My Man Godfrey”, including the story’s hallmark theatrics and slapstick comedy, eliciting no shortage of hearty laughter from the show’s live audience.
Among the attendees on opening night were many of the cast’s and crews’ peers and family members, as well as additional familiar friendly faces that included community members, school board members, and school administrators and staff.
All in attendance were there for the same reason — to witness Hilltopper performing arts talents take the stage for a full production since the pandemic-induced cancellations of 2020. And to enthusiastically cheer them on in between scenes and quite audibly so at the play’s end.
CHS Drama director Brandon Lichtinger said after a year’s absence, students were delighted to be treading the boards of good old Park Auditorium once again.
Originally released as a film in 1936, “My Man Godfrey” depicts the economic struggles of the Great Depression, the divisions between rich and poor, and the culture of a country tightening its belt.
“It also deals with universal themes like family, the importance of taking pride in one’s work, and of course, the power of love to conquer all, including class differences, miscommunications, and spoiled, vindictive adult children,” wrote Mr. Lichtinger in the playbill’s introductory passage.
The playbill’s introduction states what the audience will learn firsthand quite quickly — that the cast and crew have worked very hard.
“And as always, we could not have done it without the guidance and efforts of our adult crew coordinators,” wrote Mr. Lichtinger.
“Thanks to CHS staff Heather Biernacki, Madam Shannon Dalton and Fritz Streiff for their continued expertise in business, props, and lights and sound, respectively. I would also like to thank and welcome our new team members CHS teacher Allen Herner and CHS ’21 Hayden Coe in the stage crew and parent/community member Heather Kilfoyle in makeup and costume crew who joined us for the first time. They are all indispensable.”
More information, including the full cast and crew list and additional photos can be accessed at https://bit.ly/