Chagrin Falls School News
September 22, 2022 by Staff Report

Chagrin Falls High School (CFHS) senior Avery Polcar has been selected as the September Chagrin Valley Rotary Student of the Month...

Rotary Student Of The Month

Chagrin Falls High School (CFHS) senior Avery Polcar has been selected as the September Chagrin Valley Rotary Student of the Month. Polcar was chosen based on her leadership and service qualities she has displayed in the community.

Polcar has earned several awards during her time at CFHS. She was elected school president in May 2022 and lettered as a varsity cheerleader in 2021. In the school production of “Mamma Mia,” she was the dance captain. Academically, she made the honor roll every semester.

She is an active member of several clubs and participates in sports. As a member of the Chagrin Falls Drama Club since 2016, she has been cast in every yearly musical and was part of the production of “Mamma Mia,” which was nominated for a “Dazzle” award.

Polcar is a Link Crew leader, in which she acts as a student mentor for incoming freshmen, showing them around the school and reviewing underclassmen educational experience. As a Connect Club member, she organizes meetings with special-ed classes and creates after school events. Since 2019, Polcar has been a junior varsity and varsity football cheerleader, where she performs at weekly games.

Polcar is also involved in student council. She began as a sophomore representative, documenting meetings and reviewing her classmates’ requests. She was junior class president for a year, in which she organized functions for junior students, coordinated fundraisers and service projects. She is currently the executive student body president and coordinates school functions, runs monthly meetings with 20 students and organizes service projects and fundraisers.

Outside of school, Polcar attended the Interlochen Center for the Arts-Musical Theater Intensive camp that focused on dancing, singing and acting. She works at the Kelsey Elizabeth Bakery in Chagrin Falls and has provided childcare for families since 2018. Her theater experience continued as a dance choreographer for Stagecrafters.

She is an avid volunteer as an editor and mentor for the Chagrin Falls Speech and Debate team, editing student speeches and preparing students for competition. Polcar also volunteered at vacation bible school at the Church of Aurora. With the Haven Home Shelter, she organizes collections of clothing and school supplies, provides emotional support and works with residents on homework.

In school, Polcar has taken several accelerated classes including AP US History, AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Spanish, AP Language, AP Environmental Science, AP Literature, AP Government, AP Seminar, CCP health and AP Stats.

After high school, Polcar plans to attend a four-year college and major in a subject that prepares her for graduate school in law, business or medicine. Throughout her college career, she hopes to travel, study abroad and participate in internships or co-op opportunities.

Financial Literacy Students Participate In Mock Interviews

Financial literacy students at Chagrin Falls High School had the opportunity to interview for their “dream job” when the school conducted mock interviews in the Innovation Center Sept. 8 and 9.

The school partnered with the Chagrin Valley Chamber of Commerce who reached out to their members and several volunteers from different industries of the business community to interview the students. Chagrin Falls Schools’ faculty also acted as employers and conducted interviews.

“Volunteers were very complimentary of students’ confidence, professionalism and creativity during the interviews while also providing supportive feedback for students moving forward,” said business teacher John Bakalar.

Five Star 2021-22 State Report Card

On Sept. 15, the Ohio Department of Education released the 2021-22 School Report Cards for the more than 600 districts in the state. Chagrin Falls Schools received five stars on every component of the report card. Five stars is the highest rating for districts.

The Ohio School Report Cards include performance information provided by schools and districts including academic, financial, and opportunity to learn data. Some of this data is then combined into six components that receive star ratings to indicate the level of performance for the school and district.

Components include:

Achievement – This component represents whether student performance on state tests met established thresholds and how well students performed on tests overall. Chagrin Falls Schools received five stars and significantly exceeds state standards in academic achievement.

Progress – This component looks closely at the growth all students are making based on their past performances. Chagrin Falls Schools received five stars and showed significant evidence that the District exceeded student growth expectations by a larger magnitude.

Gap Closing – This component is a measure of the reduction in educational gaps for student subgroups. Chagrin Falls Schools received five stars and significantly exceeds state standards in closing educational gaps.

Graduation – This component is a measure of the four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate and the five-year adjusted cohort graduation rate. Chagrin Falls Schools received five stars and significantly exceeds state standards in graduation rates.

Early Literacy – This component is a measure of reading improvement and proficiency for students in kindergarten through third grade. Chagrin Falls School received five stars and significantly exceeds state standards in early literacy (K-3).

“Today, we celebrate the accomplishments of the Chagrin Falls Schools’ staff, students and families,” said Superintendent Jennifer Penczarski. “A five star rating across all domains on the new Ohio Report Card is a direct result of the hard work and strong commitment to excellence from our students, staff, and school community. Although this is only one of many metrics we use to measure our student achievement and success, we are very proud of our staff and students’ accomplishments. The Chagrin Falls Exempted Village School District prides itself in offering the highest quality education possible that allows each student to maximize their potential.”

“The knowledge gained through this process will be used to help guide the future of our District and the strategic planning process,” said Penczarski. “We continue to elevate our learning experiences to reach our full potential of providing each student with a world class education.”

Other statistics from the report card show that Chagrin Falls Schools is one of only five districts in the state of Ohio with a performance index percentage higher than 100 percent; is one of only 12 districts in the entire state to have five stars in every category on the report card; has the third highest performance index score in the State of Ohio (out of 607 school districts); significantly exceeds state standards in academic achievement; significantly exceeds state standards in early literacy (K-3); Chagrin Falls Intermediate School had a second highest performance index score of intermediate schools across the state; Chagrin Falls Middle School had the fifth highest performance index score of middle school/junior high schools across the state; Chagrin Falls High School had the 11th highest performance index score of high schools across the state.

“Excellence at this level doesn’t just happen. It takes dedicated administration and staff, engaged students and support from our families and the community,” said Sharon Broz, president of Chagrin Falls Board of Education. “This is a success to be celebrated by all.”

Students Accepted into Cleveland Contemporary Youth Orchestra

Chagrin Falls High School violinists Sofia Clark and Marley Metzger who both auditioned and were accepted into the Cleveland Contemporary Youth Orchestra.

The orchestra is an ensemble that performs purely contemporary repertoire and is the only youth orchestra to do so in the United States. Advanced high school instrumentalists from across the Cleveland area practice every Saturday morning at the Cuyahoga Community College Metro Campus.

CYO’s season follows the school calendar and hosts up to five concerts per season.

Sofia recently performed this summer at the Machine Gun Kelly Tailgate Party at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She also participated in a recording session for an unmade short film titled “The Resistance.”

3News Education Station All-Star Teacher

WKYC TV3 recognized Gurney Elementary School’s intervention specialist Jackie Gerber as a 3News Education Station All-Star Teacher. A news feature aired the morning of the district’s first day of school on Aug. 18 during the 3News morning newscast.

Principal Rachel Jones nominated Gerber saying, “Mrs. Jackie Gerber can do it all! She is an intervention specialist in our school and works with students in kindergarten through third grade who have a variety of disabilities requiring specialized services outside of the general education classroom.”

Gerber is a certified TEACCH practitioner, certified Wilson Level 1 Tutor, Google Level 1 Certified Teacher and has extensive training in Applied Behavior Analysis, behavior intervention planning and has most recently learned and successfully employed the Autism Level Up program. “All of this training isn’t what makes Mrs. Gerber an all-star teacher – it’s her unwavering compassion and advocacy for all students who live with challenges in their lives,” said Jones. “She demonstrates this in the hours beyond the school day/year she puts into meeting her students’ needs and providing their families with the daily communication, support and strategies they need at home. She demonstrates this in never hesitating to assist other teachers in the building with students who are presenting challenges. She collaborates consistently with speech therapists, occupational therapists, a physical therapist, a school psychologist, a board certified behavior analyst and many different paraprofessionals. When the majority of her students were on the autism spectrum, she threw herself into learning and receiving professional training in programming to meet their needs. When several of her students struggled with reading disorders she made sure to be included in District training to be certified in the Wilson Reading System. Many of her students are also challenged with emotional disorders so she has been reading and learning programming related to social thinking, self-regulation, mindfulness and more to help them be successful. In the face of school being solely virtual, Mrs. Gerber was on Zoom each day with these students to support their social and emotional goals. The result of always doing everything she can to meet the various needs of her students.”

Mrs. Gerber works every year to increase her students’ time with typical peers – in general education classes and/or inviting typical peers into her resource classroom for small group activities. She knows these activities benefit all of us by building acceptance, empathy and an inclusive culture. Not only has she demonstrated an endless capacity to learn, she leads training for her paraprofessionals and provides training to our whole staff in strategies they can apply in classrooms to support the needs of all students. Every April she leads our school in activities for Autism Acceptance Month. She provides staff with titles of books to read to classes, activities to do with students, displays for hallways and discussion topics for morning meetings. Finally, Mrs. Gerber takes her students on functional field trips regularly to grocery stores and restaurants, supporting their participation in the larger community. Most recently, she has jumped into work with our local police department to support them in developing their new at-risk resident program.”

In addition to the on-air recognition, Gerber received $500 in gift cards to Dunkin Donuts along with a variety of Dunkin Donuts mugs.