Chardon Local Schools News Article

CMS Earns Prestigious STEM Award for 2nd Consecutive Year



Kelly Misch
Director of Communications
Chardon Local Schools
[email protected]

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September 15, 2023 — Congratulations to Chardon Middle School on being named — for a second consecutive year — a recipient of The Governor’s Thomas Edison Award for Excellence in STEM Education and Student Research. The 2022-23 honor, announced by The Ohio Academy of Science on Sept. 11, recognizes Ohio schools and teachers who stimulate scientific student research and technological design and extend experiential opportunities beyond traditional classroom learning.

group photo of 10 Chardon Middle School science teachers

CMS is one of only 48 schools in Ohio to receive the 2022-23 award and one of only 21 public schools named.

image of certificate:  The Ohio Academy of Science & The Ohio Development Services Agency  Recognize Chardon MS with the Thomas Edison Award for Excellence in STEM Education - September 11, 2023 ; logos

Key Educators Recognized
The OAS also recognizes key educators of each awarded school — individuals who played an integral role in the research, planning and implementation of student opportunities required for award consideration. CMS educators named by The Academy for the 2022-23 award are STEM/science teachers Brent Hilston, Jackie Brown and Melissa Efantis and World Language/Health teacher Laura Taucher who served as an advisor to a science-based leadership organization. 

faculty members Mrs. Jackie Brown, Ms. Melissa Efantis, Mr. Brent Hilston, Mrs. Laura Taucher
CMS will receive a special Governor's Award certificate, and each of the four CMS teachers named will receive a complimentary membership to The OAS.

The Academy’s Executive Director Michael E. Woytek stated of the Ohio school and educator recipients, “These schools and teachers are preparing students for the future through application-based learning.”Their students are learning and gaining confidence by solving complex problems through inquiry and technological design.”

Award Criteria
Among the criteria for award consideration is the school conducting a local science fair and two or more of the student participants advancing to The Academy's District Science Day. 

In the 2022-23 school year, Chardon Middle School hosted a large-scale, judged student science fair with students Lena Bielata and Natasha Sutter ultimately competing in the next tier - The OAS District Science Day. Natasha further advanced to the state event this spring.

Award criteria also includes at least one additional youth science opportunity outside of the classroom. 

For CMS students, Mr. Hilston, Mrs. Brown, Ms. Efantis and Mrs. Taucher set the bar high by offering multiple opportunities for students, including STEM Goes Red for Girls, Arthur Holden Leadership Institute, Battle Bots, Robotics Club and more.

Mrs. Brown stated, “It is a goal of our school to give all students opportunities with STEM experiences, so it's an incredible honor for CMS to be one of the 21 public schools to have received this recognition. It's an even greater honor to have received it two years in a row.  To be recognized for your efforts as an educator and as part of the CMS staff and science department is truly humbling. A special thanks for our department head, Brent Hilston, for compiling all the necessary paperwork needed for this recognition, and our principals, Tracy Paroubek and Adam Tomco for believing in us and their support.”

Defining STEM
The OAS defines STEM education as both the mastery and integration of science technology, engineering, and mathematics, incorporating scientific inquiry and technological design through student-focused, project-based curricula to develop skills of communication, teamwork/collaboration, creativity/innovation, critical thinking, and problem-solving.

Skills include key traits comprising the Chardon Schools Portrait of a Hilltopper!

Portrait of a Hilltopper logo - Communicator, Continuous Learner, Creator, Collaborator & Contributor, Commitment, Critical ThinkerAbout The OAS
Founded in 1891, The OAS is a membership-based, volunteer-driven, not-for-profit organization. The Academy is the leading organization in Ohio to foster curiosity, discovery, innovation, and problem-solving skills. To learn more about The OAS, visit 

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