National Bullying Prevention Month

Mark Kowalski.jpgOctober is National Bullying Prevention Month, and at Liberty-Benton Local Schools we make this a focus of the educational experience we provide at all grade levels.

According to, between one in four and one in three U.S. students say they have been bullied at school. Added to that, 70.6% of young people say they have seen bullying in their schools. These numbers are unacceptable.

We place unwavering emphasis on bullying prevention in our schools and we know that bullying prevention starts with the idea that kindness matters – no matter how big or small the child or the act of kindness.

This is why we start bullying prevention awareness in kindergarten with Second Step, a program that addresses bullying as well as focuses on developing empathy, social problem solving and regulating feelings. In grades 3-5, we use Steps to Respect, a program that not only identifies what bullying is, but how to report it and what bystanders can do. Research shows that when bystanders intervene, bullying stops within 10 seconds 57% of the time. By instilling these values early, the goal is to set a strong foundation and culture of respect in our students and schools.

We continue this steady drumbeat of empowerment and awareness into middle school, where statistics show that most bullying happens. We also focus on relationships by taking a systematic, intentional approach to ensuring every student has at least one adult advocate at school who is helpful and vested in the success of that child. According to one study, only about 20-30% of students who are bullied notify adults about the bullying, so ensuring each student has an adult invested in his or her safety and wellbeing is paramount to the child’s success in school. We also partner with Hancock Youth Prevention Education (HYPE) – a countywide club. At Liberty-Benton, our HYPE club is called HAPPY (Healthy Choice, Always Striving for Good Character, Positive Role Model, Proud to be Me, Youth Can Make a Difference) and students participate in activities focused on healthy choices and kindness throughout the year.

And at the high school, all Liberty-Benton students participate in STRIDES – Students Taking Roles In Developing Educational Success. This is a yearlong program where students are teamed up, intermixing grade levels to promote meeting and working with a variety of people. Throughout the year the students accomplish team-building activities as well as service projects.

As educators, we want to ensure that each and every person that walks through the doors of our school buildings feels safe, secure and welcome. Our goal is to provide a place where children not only learn, but grow and thrive. By offering these programs and spaces for our children to show and experience kindness, we hope we are combating bullying in our schools and giving our students the space, opportunities and guidance to be successful in the future, to soar.


Mark Kowalski
Liberty-Benton Local Schools


Our Students Are More Than Just a Number

Mark Kowalski.jpgAt Liberty-Benton Local Schools, our students are more than just a number, ranking or grade. Sure, we are pleased with the recent grade we received on the state report card – B. We were one of only three districts in the county that received this high of a grade. We work hard every day to provide the best experiences for our students, but we could still be – and plan on! – doing more to help our Eagles continue to soar.

The state report card data is a useful tool, but it is just one measure of the work we’re doing in our schools. It does not capture the fact that our district was recently named the #1 district for athletes, the #1 place to teach and the #1 safest school in Hancock County by There is no reference to the six Monarch butterflies our Biology and Environmental Science classes have raised and the two that were recently released to make the journey to Mexico or the incredible growth we’re seeing in our instrumental and vocal music program. In the past year, our band has more than doubled in size and our choir is up 28 students to 172 singers. If we’re going to talk numbers, it is numbers like these that make our district so special.

There truly is something for everyone at Liberty-Benton.

You see, at Liberty-Benton Local Schools, we care about all of our students and support them in reaching their fullest potential. Not only do we want them to achieve in the classroom, but to grow and gain the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in the future. So that is where we send the majority of our money – to the classroom. Sixty-seven percent of our district budget is sent to the classroom, where mission-critical work happens every day. In addition, our classroom spending per pupil is the lowest in the area, meaning we make the most with the money we have. We know that student performance is directly affected by the resources and services that are readily available, so we make that a top priority.

So, as we review our results on the state report card – and all data is important so we will definitely take time to process and apply key takeaways – it is important to keep in mind that the idea of providing an excellent educational experience for our children is at the center of every decision we make.

I am proud of everything we have accomplished in our district and am grateful for the support of our parents and community. I look forward to this year’s achievements and the story our students will be able to tell after another successful year at Liberty-Benton!


Mark Kowalski
Liberty-Benton Local Schools

State’s school superintendent visits Liberty-Benton

Liberty-Benton STRIDES Leaders with State Supt.jpg

Liberty-Benton STRIDES leaders with Paolo DeMaria, Ohio's Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Liberty-Benton Local Schools 2018-2019
Liberty-Benton 2018-2019.jpg

Please check out the online edition of the Eagle Update!

Stories of Soaring Eagles
November 7th
Liberty-Benton High School Students of the Month for October Senior Chloe Wright enjoys playing the guitar, and she is active in varsity football and basketball cheerleading, student council, FCA, choir, musical, Habitudes, National Honor Society, Nationa…
November 7th
Liberty-Benton High School Staff Members of the Month for October This month we have chosen to honor all three of our high school lunch ladies as a way to say “Thank You” for all of their hard work in preparing our daily meals, and we are happ…
October 11th
Liberty-Benton High School Students of the Month for September Senior Grace Schlumbohm is active in musical, FCA, choir, and is the junior-senior choir rep officer. She is a 10-year member of 4-H, the 2018 Poultry Queen, the 2018 Jr. Fair Queen for Hancoc…
October 11th
Liberty-Benton High School Staff Member for the Month of September We welcome Mr. Taylor Pothast to Liberty-Benton High School this Fall. He is currently in his fourth year of teaching, and he earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Tole…
September 27th
Paolo DeMaria, Ohio’s superintendent of public instruction observed STRIDES Leadership Day at Liberty-Benton High School.  He then met with STRIDES leaders for a discussion about education at Liberty-Benton.