CVT vets

Notre Dame Elementary School students, from left, Evelyn Speece, 4, of Chagrin Falls and Eliza Siegel, 5, of Concord show off their thank you cards they made for veterans. The students celebrated Veterans Day on Nov. 11 at the Louis B. Stokes Medical Center in Cleveland last week.

Students accept challenge

Students in the junior high Instant Challenge and Alpha Jump electives at Notre Dame Elementary School have been enhancing their teamwork, problem solving, critical thinking and creativity skills by working in teams to complete tasks. Some of their recent challenges included building bridges and creating a “grabbing” device for a person with a non-functioning hand. Although most of the devices were unsuccessful, the students gained empathy for a person with this real-life situation and made strides in coming up with ideas on how to make someone’s life easier by creating a device for them.

NDES honors veterans

Teacher Rachel Gardner’s first-grade class at Notre Dame Elementary School had a visit with Veteran Kyle Petersen on Nov. 14 to learn more about the service he provided for the country. Mr. Petersen enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves in 2008 and was stationed in Marjah, Afghanistan in 2009 and 2010. Children had the opportunity to look at pictures, try on gear and see how Mr. Petersen traveled around the globe to protect the U.S.

St. Helen makes real-world connections 

On Nov. 18, St. Helen School seventh-graders braved the cold and lingering snow to study water chemistry at three different area parks: Walter C. Best Wildlife Preserve in Chardon, Burton Wetlands Nature Preserve in Burton and Punderson State Park in Newbury. 

At each site, students split into three study groups. One group used a scientific tool known as a “hydrolab,” which has a variety of sensors for measuring properties of water such as temperature, pH levels, dissolved oxygen content and chlorophyll levels. A second group assessed land use and vegetation in the surrounding area, and they also deployed a Secchi disk to measure the clarity of the water. The third group used a chemical test kit to determine the amounts of dissolved substances, such as nitrates, phosphates and dissolved oxygen, in each sample. Using these measures, students were able to make connections regarding how factors within an ecosystem all impact each other. 

Science teacher Natalie Hudak said she was excited to bring this opportunity to her students with materials and tools supplied through the EPA’s Great Lakes National Program Office and Ohio SeaGrant.

“Students may forget about a lecture on chemistry and solutions in a few weeks’ time,” Mrs. Hudak said, “but taking learning beyond the classroom is something that students will remember years into the future.”

Hawken earns high rank

Niche, a community researching website that ranks schools, colleges and neighborhoods, ranked Hawken School as No. 1 of 141 private high schools and No. 1 of 69 private K-12 schools in Ohio. Hawken was also named No. 2 of 267 best high schools for STEM in Ohio, according to Niche.

Three other schools in Northeast Ohio – Western Reserve Academy, Hathaway Brown and Laurel – were among the top five on the list of top private high schools by Niche. The site uses reviews, SAT/ACT scores, student-teacher ratio and college placement to determine the rankings.

STEM Goes Red for Girls

On Nov. 15, 13 of Notre Dame Elementary School seventh- and eighth-grade girls attended “STEM Goes Red for Girls” at Cuyahoga Community College, Western Campus in Parma. This event, sponsored by the American Heart Association, Parker Hannifin, Key Bank, Cleveland Foundation and Lincoln Electric, provided an interactive hands-on opportunity for young women to discover their passion and future in STEM education and careers.

Private schools to offer transportation

Hathaway Brown School, Laurel School and University School are collaborating to offer expanded transportation options for students throughout 33 Greater Cleveland communities beginning in the 2020-2021 school year. 

Families whose children attend more than one of these schools will be able to use one transportation service. This expanded transportation access will complement bus service offered from many public-school districts.

Transportation to the three independent schools will be available to and from the following communities: Aurora, Avon, Avon Lake, Bainbridge Township, Bath, Bay Village, Brecksville, Broadview Heights, Chagrin Falls, Cleveland (downtown), Cleveland (University Circle), Cleveland Heights, Concord Township. (Lake County), Copley, Coventry, East Cleveland, Edgewater, Garfield Heights, Gates Mills, Hudson, Independence, Kirtland, Lakewood, Mentor, North Royalton, Richfield, Rocky River, Solon, Strongsville, Twinsburg, Westlake, Willoughby and Willoughby Hills.

Giving Tuesday at St. Mary

After Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber-Monday, it will be time to kick off a season of giving. Starting at midnight on Dec. 3, visit and make a donation to St. Mary School of Chardon. You will have 24 hours to make donations, and all giving will end at 11:59 p.m. the same day. St. Mary’s goal this year is to raise money to improve their playground for the students, parish and community. Playing allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination. It also provides physical, mental, intellectual and social well-being. 

If you are interested in donating time or resources toward the construction of the playground, or are interested in donating a piece of equipment, contact Lynn Woolard at For more information or to donate, visit or their Facebook page.

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