Topper Talk

News from Chardon Schools 11.25.2019

Park Elementary Hosts 35 Veterans at 2019 Assembly

A special thank you to the 35 local veterans who took time out of their Veterans Day 2019 to visit with Park Elementary students and staff. Among the attending veterans were moms, dads, grandfathers, and friends of the school's students. Each veteran had the opportunity to speak to the audience about his/her military journey. Also, these inspiring veterans were honored beautifully in song by the school's entire student body, led by music teacher Samantha Puterbaugh.

[photo credit: Jake Leonard Photography]

Photography Visit from Jake Leonard, Chardon High School Class of 2017

Throughout the week of November 11, 2019, Chardon High School alumnus Jake Leonard made multiple photography rounds to each of the five Chardon Schools. Jake is yet another outstanding example of a CHS graduate embracing his purpose through one or more of the 4E's - Enlistment, Entrepreneurship, Enrollment, or Employment.

Jake is currently enlisted in the U.S. Air Force where he is serving as a Network Management Technician in St. Louis, Missouri. In addition, Jake is a freelance photographer specializing in capturing candids of the human experience. Other areas of photographic interest include nature scenes.

The above Veterans Day photos are just a few examples of many of the impressive photographs taken by Jake during his recent visit to the District.

In addition to sharing his photography talents with Park Elementary, Jake also had a turn at the assembly's microphone to talk to students and staff about his current active duty in the U.S. Air Force.

Chardon Schools is thankful to Jake for his generosity in spending a good part of his one-week military leave in November with the District. Above all else, the District is deeply grateful for Jake's service to our country.

Jake Leonard, CHS Class of 2017

A DAY in the 2019-20 LIFE of CHARDON SCHOOLS...



  • Student Chase Jacobs takes a moment out of his wonderfully snowy recess with classmates to smile for the camera with teacher Kristen Sironen.
  • A festive "turkey door" to the school's kitchen is comprised of leaves made by each Tiny Topper in Ms. Kristen's classes.
  • Students Xander Haines and Evelyn Carlson explore field corn at the classroom's sensory table.

Thank you Kristen Sironen for the glimpses into your students' season-themed days!


Gratitude for Veterans...

Munson Elementary had the honor of hosting 16 local veterans ❤️ on November 8.

Gratitude for Unique Opportunities...

Kayden Hosler, an ambitious student in Jennifer Turk’s second-grade class, has a spectacular, self-imposed goal to learn how to play the violin! In response, Kayden has been given the opportunity by the school’s occupational therapist, Deborah Turek-Koers, to practice his finger isolation skills while using a violin, an activity he really looks forward to each week!

Gratitude for Fellow Hilltoppers...
"What a special morning! Thank you to my four former students (Vince Ferrante, Myles Mendeszoon, Nick Fay, and Nathanael Sulka) for reading to my class on November 20! My students were thrilled, and it filled this teacher's ❤️! What special young men!"
~Leigh Ann Ferguson

Munson Elementary hosted 16 local veterans on November 8.



On November 12, Actively Caring for People (AC4P) students got an early start on the following day's purpose (Random Acts of Kindness Day)
by surprising staff members and students at the end of the November 12 school day with the snow already cleaned off their cars.
"I was wondering how my car got cleaned up so nicely when I went out after subbing that day. Muchas gracias!" ~Esther Neumann


On November 14, students from the Chardon Service Learning class, together with Rob Mizen and Scott Brown, helped to package 4,000 pounds of food from the Greater Cleveland Food Bank for distribution to Gearity Professional Development Elementary School in University Heights
. Earlier this year, Gearity was added to Cleveland Foodbank’s School Market Program, an initiative developed to reach more children and young families at risk of hunger.


  • August 13 & October 6: two Poverty Simulation events (in total, approximately 150 students participated)
  • Oct 4: CSL students and Chardon Interact Club students held a chili cookoff at CHS after school; proceeds ($800) were donated to Su Casa, a homeless shelter in Chicago
  • October 6: Poverty Simulation event was followed up with a presentation by a homeless person, and other agencies such as Project Hope and Lake County's Extended Housing program.
  • October 6: 17 Chardon High School students slept out on the football field in tents and cardboard boxes without cellphones or flashlights and with only a very small bowl of soup as nourishment. Significant rain and wind occurred that night, so the students had a much more realistic "homeless" experience than anticipated.
  • October 10 - October 13: six students from the Chardon Service Learning class and three teachers traveled to Chicago to stay at a homeless shelter called Su Casa where they served meals, fixed the compter lab, executed cleaning projects, helped decorate for Halloween, learned about homeless shelter dynamics and funding, learned about the garden that supplies fresh vegetables and homeopathic remedies, and had the opportunity to talk with a number of homeless families
  • October 12 - the six students spent five hours volunteering at the Greater Chicago Food Bank where they helped repackage 12 tons of food into small components for delivery to soup kitchens and military veteran agencies


Students in Jennifer Maheu’s Kindergarten class (currently long-term subbed by Rebecca Klembara) certainly had no shortage of creativity when "dressing up" their turkeys. Through impressive artwork, the Kindergartners disguised their turkeys in hopes of sparing the birds from their dreaded Thanksgiving fate!

Pictured here are just a few examples of the disguised turkeys, including the students' written reflections on what they are grateful for this Thanksgiving...


"Thank you Petty Officer Edward Aurand for sharing (with students) about your time in the U.S. Navy during World War II."

~Christopher Aurand, CMS 5th Grade Teacher

World War II Veteran, Petty Officer Edward Aurand, visits with 5th graders at Chardon Middle School.


"A huge thank you to all of the volunteers who helped make the Turkey Trot amazing!"

~Jessica Rivera, CMS PTO

[Turkey Trot photo credits: Rebekah Havanchak and Kristina King Lester]

"Thankful" artwork made by students at Chardon Middle School's Turkey Trot dance, sponsored by the CMS PTO.

"Students recently built a life-sized food web to better understand producers, consumers, decomposers, predator-prey relationships, the flow of energy in a food web, and the interdependence of life."
~Kristin Burt, 5th Grade Teacher

Fifth grade students in Kristin Burt's class enjoy a hands-on activity wherein they built a life-sized "food web".



Claudia Beasley

Park Elementary Custodian

Welcome Aboard Claudia!
School year 2019-20 is Ms. Beasley's first year serving the Chardon Local School District.

My Typical Work Day

Arriving an hour before school lets out, I assist with parent pickup. Also, I sweep, vacuum and mop classrooms, hallways, bathrooms, and offices; replenish supplies; make sure all garbage is taken out; shut off lights; and secure the buildings.

What I Enjoy Most About My Role in Chardon Schools

I work with a very nice group of people and they have made me feel welcome and needed. I also like to be a part of transforming the school from messy to neat. It helps to give the staff a fresh start in the morning. I enjoy the fact that the job is physical and I'm always moving.
Favorite Vacation Destination

I’m hoping to make vacations a regular thing because I enjoy going to NYC to visit my two sisters. And I would love to go out west soon.
Favorite Books

I enjoy reading factual books about history, and I love biographies.

A Favorite Movie

Who doesn’t love Forrest Gump?


  • I love animals, especially horses and cats
  • Asian and Mexican food

  • garage sales

  • hiking

  • car and motorcycle racing

  • most of all, being with my grandkids!

Best Life Advice

Make a difference in the lives of others even if you feel you have nothing to give but a hug or a listening ear.

What I am Most Thankful for This Thanksgiving

  • my kids
  • my grandkids
  • my friends
  • my siblings
  • and of course, my job!


Tracy Paroubek
Chardon Middle School Band Director
Chardon Middle School Jazz Band Director
Chardon Middle School 4th Grade Music Teacher
Chardon High School 8th Grade Band Director
Music Department Chair

Music Journey

I knew I wanted to be a band director in high school. I had a negative experience at the solo and ensemble contest that caused me to re-evaluate my private study and commitment to band. I went full force into it, found a great new private instructor, and I’m still in band! I really had an amazing middle and high school music experience in Mentor that inspired me to want to offer that same experience to others.

Teaching Career

18 years & counting, of which 14 years have been in Chardon Schools

(previously: 2 years in Cedarville, OH and 2 years in Fairport Harbor, OH)

Instrument Proficiency

Clarinet is my main instrument. I’ve been playing since 5th grade band. I have also studied piano privately but do not perform. In college, part of the course of study for music teachers is learning how to play all the Western instruments, so I can play most instruments at a proficient level, especially other woodwinds.

Past & Present Ensembles

I have been in the Mentor High School Wind Ensemble, Mentor High School Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Youth Wind Symphony, the Ohio State University Symphonic Band, Wind Symphony, University Band, and University Choir.
Over the years I have played in numerous chamber ensembles and community groups, and I currently play in a handbell choir at church and am concert mistress of the Lakeland Civic Band. I perform in church on a regular basis in groups, as an accompaniment to the choir, and as a soloist.

Favorite Instrument

I love the clarinet, of course, but I also have a very soft spot for the sound of the French horn...which is really not totally French.
Favorite Musical Composition

This is a really hard question. I’ve played and heard a lot of amazing music in my career, and so many have nostalgic and sentimental memories along with their musical attributes, so I really can’t give a good answer for that.

Favorite Composer

My favorite composer to listen to is French Impressionist composer Claude Debussy. The music is very complex but also ethereal, so it can be analyzed or just very relaxing.
Favorite Aspects of Teaching

I love watching my students make progress toward our musical goals. Watching them work hard and having successes on a daily basis makes teaching fulfilling!

Congratulations on being named the Ohio Director Who Makes a Difference by School Band & Orchestra magazine!
Several months ago, one of my 8th grade band students nominated me for this honor. I didn’t know she was doing it, and though being chosen is a lovely thing, knowing that a student thought that much of our class and me to take the initiative on this is the real honor.

The magazine will be available in December, and it will also be distributed to the attendees at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago later in December. The issue will be available on their website

Favorite Book

My favorite book is Gone With The Wind. I started reading it as a child and have since read it more than 15 times. Everytime I read it, I learn something new about history and have more life experience to help me understand the characters.

  • I play my clarinet as often as I can.
  • I enjoy reading and make the time to do it almost every day.
  • I spend as much time as I can with my niece and nephew.
  • I enjoy theater and have season tickets to Playhouse Square as well.
What I am Most Thankful for This Thanksgiving:
  • a happy, healthy family
  • my fun job where I get to make music with awesome kids every day
  • the ability to share my talents with people and hopefully enhance their lives


Chardon High School invites you to learn how you can help with this annual initiative, now in its 20th year, via this video. This fundraiser is in memory of Jeremy Mizen, the 6-year-old son (of CHS biology teacher Mr. Rob Mizen). Jeremy died in a car crash on Christmas Eve in 1999. Instead of dwelling on their horrible loss and having this tragic event destroy their lives, Mr. Mizen and his wife decided that they would instead celebrate Jeremy's life, focusing on the positive aspects of his life.

If you are interested in making a donation to the fundraiser, please make your check payable to Chardon Local Schools (with Jeremy's Kids noted in the memo field) and mail to:
Rob Mizen
Chardon Local Schools
151 Chardon Avenue
Chardon, OH 44024

Thank you!


The Westing Game
Two thumbs up for the Chardon High School Drama Department's cast and crew for their energetic and talented production of The Westing Game . Students performed this mystery classic via three truly phenomenal community shows in November!


"On Thursday, November 7, the Chardon High School wrestling team, traded their singlets for suits, in anticipation of helping local veterans with a different type of pin than the wrestlers are used to.

The team was approached by the Geauga County Department on Aging and was asked to assist in a recognition ceremony for veterans in the area. The team helped with event setup, serving lunch, and assisting the veterans on and off the stage, where the veterans each received a pin from Congressman David Joyce."
~Doug Murray, Chardon High School Principal


Congratulations to the Chardon High School Varsity Football Team on an INCREDIBLE season!

And an equally special shout out to the CHS Varsity Cheerleaders, Hilltopper Marching Band, and The Chardon Crazies for sharing your o-u-t-s-t-a-n-d-i-n-g talents and enthusiasm with the football community. You all have SO much to be proud of. The District's heart is full of gratitude to all of the coaches, directors, and parent volunteers for their amazing dedication to our students over the past several months on this thrilling journey.

Big picture


"Superintendent Michael P. Hanlon, Ph.D. has worked for the last two years, volunteering his own time, with 16 other Ohio superintendents and with State legislators Robert Cupp and John Patterson to create a fair system of finance for all schools. This work took more than two years and the resulting bill, now called HB 305, is currently in hearings at the State House. We are indeed fortunate to have this man as our superintendent. This board and the school staff support him completely."
~Chardon Schools Board of Education
[Access the full letter HERE]


Thanks Chardon Middle School PTO for purchasing 3 water fountains and bottle refill stations! Students are loving watching the counter at the top and tracking how many water bottles have been saved!

~Tim Velotta, Chardon Middle School Principal

[photo credit: Heather Greenwood]

Thank you to Director Brandon Lichtinger and the ENTIRE cast and crew of The Westing Game for sharing your amazing talents with the community via three spectacular shows earlier this month! We appreciate you and your dedication.
~Chardon Schools

Thanks to Covia Holdings Corporation for donating the sand to my class' Sand Babies 2019 project! Sand Babies 2019 was a success!
~Jennifer McClintock, Munson Elementary 1st Grade Teacher

Thank you Chardon Middle School for hosting our 2nd annual "PBIS in Award-Winning Schools" event! Many were interested in hearing Assistant Principal Adam Tomco share how PBIS is implemented in their 4-7 building.
~Region 4 State Support Team (SST) of Ohio Department of Education

Thank you to 3-time Guinness World Record Holder Rick Smith Jr. for entertaining us at Munson Elementary! It's always a fun show!
~Michelle Burress, Munson Elementary 3rd Grade Teacher

We are so grateful to our excellent bus drivers!

~Doug Murray, Chardon High School Principal

Thank you to all grant researchers, writers, and presenters who participated in Chardon Schools Foundation's Fall Grants Review 2019. We appreciate the time and effort that you put into developing creative and innovative projects for Chardon Schools students.

~Chardon Schools Foundation

Thank you Geauga Soil & Water Conservation District for teaching our AHLI students about watersheds. ~Patty Pinckard, Chardon Middle School Teacher

Thank you to the amazing Chardon High School students and teachers who helped us sort the food for our Gearity School Market!
~Heather Higham, School Counselor of Cleveland Hts-University Hts School District

Thank you Pastor Photography and Geauga-TV for all you do in your outstanding coverage of our District's special moments, especially braving the elements to cover Fall Sports!

~Chardon Schools

Thank you to Chardon High School juniors Mackenzie Brown and Anna Gerstner for taking time out of your day to share your talents in performing Taps (on trumpet) at the Park Elementary Veterans Day assembly.

~Chardon Schools

Thank you Mrs. Buynak for the decorations for Park Elementary's Veterans Day Assembly.
~Rhonda Garrett, Park Elementary Principal

Thank you to our maintenance crew for stadium turf snow removal!

~Doug Snyder, CHS Athletics Director

Thank you to Chardon High School students Alexis Jahnke, Maci Jahnke, Faith Kilfoyle, and Sydney Murray (and accompanying staff members) for outstanding presentations (on the school’s eighth-grade Circuit of Success curriculum) at the Ohio School Boards Association Capital Conference in Columbus.

~Chardon Schools

Thank you to mystery guest conductor Mr. Jack Blazey, former Painesville City band director and current director of the Geauga County Fair Band, for sharing your time and talents with our band this month!

~Tracy Paroubek, Chardon Middle School Band Director

Thank you Chardon Middle School PTO for so many delicious foods during conferences! We all enjoyed everything so much. Thanks from all of us at CMS!
~Mary Pat Martin, Chardon Middle School PhysEd Teacher

Thank you to Lieutenant Gregory Ivanovics (Euclid Fire Department) for visiting our class! He shared (with our 7th Grade STEM students) the science and technology behind firefighting. He also shared some great career advice with our students.
~Brent Hilston, Chardon Middle School STEM Teacher

Thanks Breakout EDU for providing a creative activity, & to the Chardon Schools Foundation for the grant that made it possible! Our 6th/7th grade social studies classes spent November 11 learning about our Veterans and their sacrifices through problem solving & collaboration.

~Tim Velotta, Chardon Middle School Principal

A HUGE shout out to Chardon Schools' maintenance crew! On November 12, they were up early plowing so we could get into the schools safely. It is greatly appreciated! Thank you! ~Meredith Janek, Munson Elementary Recess Monitor

A huge THANK YOU to all who came out for breakfast at the VFW on Sunday November 3 to support Girl Scout Troop #70563 Gold Awards! We served over 275 meals! The outpouring of community support is truly appreciated.
~Chardon High School Seniors Brigit Morgan, Maddie McDonald, & Natalie Fullerman


NOV 27...NO School for Students (Conference Comp Day)

NOV 28...NO School (Thanksgiving Break)
NOV 29...NO School (Thanksgiving Break)

DEC 16...BOE Regular Meeting (6:30PM )

DEC 23...Winter Break Begins (runs through JAN 2)
JAN 3.....NO School for Students (Records Day)
JAN 6.....SCHOOL RESUMES for Students

UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY for Chardon High School Students & Families

Athens & Islands Greece Adventure - June 2020
Students AND their Families are welcome on this amazing tour!
RSVP today for the informational meeting to learn more.
The student trip info session will be held on Wednesday, December 4th, at 7:00pm in Room 210. CHS Teacher Mrs. Kristen Niedzwiecki will be there to answer any of your questions and help you register for this once-in-a-lifetime trip. Hurry...because time is running out!
Questions? Contact

Stories to Look Forward to in Upcoming Topper Talk Newsletters...

  • Implementation of Universal Design for Learning at CHS
  • "Tackle" Community Service Project

Chardon Local Schools

OUR MISSION: High achievement for all students, where learning is our most important work.