National Honor Roll

Chagrin Falls Intermediate School fourth-graders Peter Mitchell, from left, Graeme Blair and Brooke Lawrence show off their certificates, along with Jack Shein and Anton Flach, not pictured, while sporting their National Honor Roll Medals for being the winning team and scoring in the top 10 percent in the Noetic Learning Math Contest.

Charlene Paparizos


Fourth-graders receive high scores

Students in Amy Acton’s fourth-grade advanced math 4 classes participated in the Noetic Learning Math Contest (NLMC) this spring. The NLMC is a national semiannual problem-solving contest for elementary and middle school students. The goal of the competition is to encourage students’ interest in math, to develop their problem-solving skills and to inspire them to excel in math. During the contest, students are given 45 minutes to solve 20 problems. Many problems are designed to challenge students and to enrich their problem solving experiences. The team winners were Brooke Lawrence, Graeme Blair, Jack Shein, Peter Mitchell and Anton Flach. These students also won National Honor Roll Medals, as their scores were in the top 10 percent of all participants in their grade level.

Sixth-graders enjoy retreat

In early May, Chagrin Falls Intermediate School sixth-graders attended a retreat at the Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Center (CVEC). Lessons were centered on the Cuyahoga River Watershed.

“The watershed provides a framework for exploring major ecological concepts in biotic communities, testing and analyzing water quality, discovering American history concepts relative to the watershed and examining environmental issues,” said teacher Ellen McKelvey.

Using the Cuyahoga Valley National Park as a backdrop, students were immersed in the environment, which allowed them to create connections to the natural world around them. Curricula at the CVEC are designed to foster a hands-on, minds-on approach to learning. Students used a variety of tools for discovery including journals, GPS units, quests, digital cameras, testing equipment and more to learn how to collect and analyze data, work cooperatively with peers and create presentations for audiences.

CFMS earns award from OMLA

Chagrin Falls Middle School has won a Component Award from the Ohio Middle Level Association (OMLA). This award is given to identify and recognize schools that implemented concept components in middle schools in an exemplary manner. Those who are recognized serve as models for other schools looking to improve their own middle school components.

The awards are given in several categories including advisor, staff development, scheduling and teaming among others. CFMS’s application for this award had to document what makes their practices exemplary in the category of interdisciplinary units and included a site visit from three representatives of the OMLA board. This award is for the seventh-grade cardboard Rec regatta unit of study.

In an email sent to CFMS Principal Laila Discenza, the OMLA Northeast Regional representative wrote, “Thank you for your commitment to middle-level education. You are a powerful force for good and an inspiration to our region and state.”

The teacher team consists of Brian Johnson, Alison Hinesman, Jessica Johnson, Janet Adamoski, Courtney Polcar, Brooke Campbell, Cynthia Dean and Larry Richmond. These teachers are invited to the annual OMLA State Conference in Columbus on November 7-8 where they will receive their award and present their work. Ms. Discenza said that the unit is impressive but only accomplished due to their high functioning teamwork, collaboration and continued refinement.

Recognition from Ohio Senate

The Ohio Senate sent a proclamation honoring Chagrin Falls Middle School for exemplary distinction. The proclamation was signed by President of the Ohio Senate Larry Obhof, R-Medina, and Sen. Matthew Dolan, R-Chagrin Falls. The proclamation states that CFMS was designated as an “Ohio School to Watch” by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform.

This forum aims to promote academic performance and healthy development of young adolescents. They seek to make every middle-grade school academically excellent, socially equitable and responsive to the needs and interests of the youth. Their “Schools to Watch Program” developed criteria to identify high-performing middle-grade schools and have honored 465 schools across the country during their annual Schools to Watch conference.

The proclamation sent to CFMS said that each member of the staff has shown dedication in helping students attain their full potential. It went on to say, “Chagrin Falls Middle School has maintained high standards of academic excellence and increased teacher and student performance, and these achievements will serve as a model for others throughout the state to emulate.”

CSWD recognizes student drawing

Katie Jones, a fifth-grader at Chagrin Falls Intermediate School, received recognition by the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District for her entry into the “3Rs” contest.

The Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District “3Rs” contest is held in honor of Earth Day to remind people to “reduce, reuse and recycle.” Students in grades kindergarten to 12 throughout Cuyahoga County submitted entries to this annual contest in the form of a photo or drawn picture. Entries were broken down into age groups and Katie was one of three entries in the age 11 category.

Katie’s picture was entitled, “Which World Would You Rather Live In?” and showed the difference between a world full of factories and industrialization compared to a world with trees, sun and clean air.

Entering the contest was voluntary and Katie was rewarded for her efforts with a box of fun prizes from the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District. See Katie’s work at

Seniors earn Seal of Biliteracy

World language teachers at Chagrin Falls Schools have developed and implemented a successful kindergarten to 12 world language program that acknowledges and reinforces the language proficiency and cultural awareness by encouraging students’ proficiency in multiple world languages. The state of Ohio recently passed a law allowing a Seal of Biliteracy to be affixed to high school diplomas. This prestigious designation means that the student is proficient in two languages after taking a nationally normed assessment. Students must score at a proficiency level of at least Intermediate High in all modes of the tested language, which indicates that they would be able to effectively use their language skills in a business or professional setting.

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