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Superintendent's Message

John Stoddard

The month of May represents the highpoint of the school year for showcasing individual and collective student achievement, and this past Spring provided the community a similar opportunity to see the successes within our District. Special congratulations go out to several Berkshire High School students on recent accomplishments.  Makayla Hart took home first place honors in the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) Entrepreneurship Development Program. With this victory, Makayla advances to the National Finals which will take place this summer in California.  Makayla won this entrepreneurial competition by demonstrating the top skills in planning for a small business enterprise using family and consumer science skills. She wrote a business plan as well as delivered a compelling verbal presentation.  Gennah Brown finished second place in the Ohio Poetry Association’s annual high school poetry contest for her poem, “Power if I,” and Hannah Keough earned the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa Award, in recognition of her scholarly work, through the Cleveland Association of Phi Beta Kappa.  Those stories and many more are highlighted on our school’s website www.berkshireschools.org.   The success of our students demonstrates why our school district has put deliberate focus on Project Based Learning inside the school, and why we support the outside endeavors of our students as well.

While our high school students represent the accomplishments, and entrepreneurial spirit among the District’s oldest students, a handful of emerging, elementary “businesspersons” are developing their own tenacity for small business ownership at Ledgemont Elementary School, by creating a lemonade stand for building “consumers” to engage in their own mini-building economy. This endeavor was highlighted at our recent Board of Education meeting, and the Berkshire Schools will continue to promote and advance future-ready endeavors of self-reliance and motivation with career skills. Great work to all involved!

The Berkshire Local Schools salutes High School seniors Jacob Smetana and Gage Greer for recently making official their intent to serve our country at a memorable signing ceremony that took place before their respective families, elected officials, friends, administrators and other dignitaries in the Media Center. Both Jacob and Gage have declared their intent to join the United States Marine Corps upon graduation, and Principal Michael King, led the signing ceremony joined by representatives from the offices of U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown and U.S. Congressman David Joyce, State Senator John Eklund, Geauga County Commissioner, and Berkshire alumnus, Jim Dvorak, each of whom made personal congratulatory remarks to these high school seniors. School Board President James Boyd, a member of the Air Force National Guard and combat veteran, praised Jacob and Gage for their willingness to serve their country, along with Staff Sergeant Miguel Tavarez, Jr., who recruited the two young men. In a fitting tribute as to what it truly means to be a Marine, representatives from American Legion Post 459 who were Marines as well, shared words of wisdom to prepare Jacob and Gage for their coming pursuits. In all, the Berkshire Local Schools congratulates and expresses the gratitude of the entire District, to Jacob Smetana and Gage Greer, for making the sacrifice to proudly serve the United States of America.

As a lesson in developing creativity, topic continuity and hands-on writing skills, Burton Elementary and Ledgemont Elementary School recently hosted their yearly Art Show and Young Authors Night for students in grades Kindergarten through 6. With the help of their respective PTO/PTCs, students in various grade levels were encouraged to write a book and then present aspects of it to parents and other participants in this afterschool event. Students were also given the opportunity to design their respective story front covers, and describe various themes in their books including poetry, their favorite aspects of elementary school life and their favorite teachers. Each home room teacher was responsible for promoting the assignments, the products of which were displayed in their gymnasiums. Congratulations to the students who participated in this hands on activity to promote storytelling and creativity, and the parents who supported the building in this clever learning endeavor.


As we make our way toward the end of the school year, please keep in mind a few important dates. Commencement for the Berkshire Class of 2019 will take place on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at 7 p.m. in the Main Gymnasium of Berkshire Jr./Sr. High School. Last day of school for students will be Wednesday, June 5, 2019, while teachers’ last day will be Thursday, June 6, 2019. Thank you for your continued support.



John Stoddard

Superintendent of Schools


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