Beachwood schools recently closed out what had to be one of the strangest and most challenging school years in our history. However, as Benjamin Franklin noted, “Out of adversity comes opportunity,” and the Beachwood schools’ community made the most of the hand we were dealt during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our recently graduated class of 2021 definitely did so, demonstrating resilience and exemplifying our district mission: to develop intellectual entrepreneurs with a social conscience.
Now, we look ahead to next school year with optimism. All our students will return to in-person learning five days per week. An overwhelming majority of our staff is vaccinated and we are confident that Beachwood schools will be safe and healthy for everyone starting in August. The district’s three focus areas will remain the same as they have for the past several years: student achievement, inter-cultural awareness and mental health.
Blue Ribbon Academics
On the heels of Beachwood Middle School earning National Blue Ribbon School honors from the U.S. Department of Education in 2019, we were thrilled to learn that Hilltop School, our grades three to five elementary, earned the same national distinction for 2021. Beachwood remains one of Ohio’s and the nation’s top school districts. This is a credit to our amazing students and their families, the steadfast support of the community, strong board of education leadership, and the district’s dedicated and innovative school staff.
Beachwood schools is proud to boast about our rigorous science, technology, engineering and math programs. More than half of Beachwood Middle School students, for example, are enrolled in math accelerated by one or two grade levels. Beachwood High School’s computer science and advanced math and science courses enjoy an equal enrollment of female students. Multiple Beachwood students won national awards in cybersecurity competitions over the past two years. We are dedicated to preparing our students with the skills they need in our rapidly changing world.
Beachwood students are also learning the skills to connect globally. One way is earning Ohio’s Seal of Biliteracy on their diplomas by demonstrating a high level of proficiency in English and at least one other world language. In 2021, Beachwood High School students earned this distinction for their proficiency in Chinese, Hebrew, Korean and Spanish.
Hundreds of Beachwood students take advantage of the unique opportunities our district offers them -- many explore the field of medicine in University Hospitals’ Beachwood Medical Academy and others, the field of engineering through the Design & Innovation Program partnership with Cleveland State University’s Washkewicz College of Engineering.
Seen, Heard and Respected
Beachwood schools is committed to ensuring every individual in our school community feels seen, heard and respected. We seek to grow by grappling with difficult issues and simultaneously, we celebrate unity within our diverse community. The district has been working diligently to recruit teachers and administrators in order to better mirror the student body. Beachwood High School’s MAC Scholars, a program that focuses on the African American student experience, developed a unique partnership this year with teens from The Temple-Tifereth Israel.
In February, the district kicked off a monthly recognition initiative to visually represent our diverse community. If you travel through Beachwood schools’ grounds or on Richmond Road near Fairmount Boulevard this summer, you will see our “Hometown Heroes” recognition of public servants which we’ve mounted in partnership with the city of Beachwood. The mental wellness of our students remains a priority and we have increased our counseling services and curriculum, as well as programming opportunities for families over the past several years.
Beachwood’s 2021-22 school year holds tremendous promise for our entire community – we are excited to get started.
Robert P. Hardis is superintendent of the Beachwood City School District.