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Thanksgiving Gratitude

Fall is my favorite season and Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.  It is a time to pause and reflect with gratitude on the many things we should be thankful for.  I am personally thankful for our caring and supportive teachers, students, parents, and community.   It has been said that happiness is achieved, when you focus on wanting the things you have, not the things you want.   As a community, we have so much to be thankful for.  Here are just a few examples:
  • Between November 1-3, LB teachers hosted 952 parent teacher conferences k-12
  • November 6, the high school inducted 74 new National Honor Society members and the middle school inducted 51 new members to the National Junio Honor Society
  • Our fall sports teams collected six conference championships, with our boys cross-country team qualifying and placing 15th at state
November is also a time to express gratitude in remembering and honoring our veterans of the armed forces.  There are approximately 23.6 million veterans in the United States with 1.8 million being women.  About 1.1 million veterans have died in battle since the beginning of our country, and remind us that precious freedom is not free.  At Liberty-Benton we honored are local veterans with a Veteran’s Day breakfast and assembly on November 10, 2023 and with   our patriotic Field of Flags display along State Route 12.  
With thanks,
Bruce Otley 

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Posted Thursday, November 9, 2023

Flying Higher into Fall

I would like to thank our teachers, students, and parents for an excellent start to the 2023-2024 school year!   The days are growing shorter, the evenings are cooler, the leaves are changing and it is beginning to feel like fall.   As I've made my rounds through the district, I've been inspired by the great things going in classrooms, on the playground, and in the hallways--and have had fun jumping right in there with some of our students and teachers singing, laughing, and learning!  
On October 9, Liberty-Benton hosted a county wide professional development day for the Hancock County schools.  About 600 educators from Hancock County selected from 31 different presentations that took place in our prek-8 and high school.  A wide range of research based best practices and hot topics were offered including social and emotional learning, brain based learning strategies, dealing with challenging student behaviors, artificial intelligence, autism supports, community and mental health resources, and job readiness and employability skills.  Our teachers will be putting into practice the skills acquired with our students.     
As we approach the end of the first grading period, I can enthusiastically say that we have much to be proud of!  As partners in education, I encourage parents to schedule for parent/teacher conferences November 1-2, from 5-8 p.m. and November 3, from 8:00 a.m.- 3:30 p.m.  
Fly Higher!
Bruce Otley

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Posted Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Liberty-Benton Receives High Marks on the State Report Card

Liberty-Benton had another excellent performance on the district report card, earning 4.5 out of five stars overall.  The star rating system is relatively new, but only tells a portion of our story.  Digging deeper, Liberty-Benton leads all schools in Hancock County academically and is ranked in the top 15% of all school districts in the state of Ohio (88 out of 607 districts) in the overall grade card points rating.  LB outperformed all other county schools on total grade card performance points.  Worth noting, the district had 5-star ratings in Achievement, Gap Closing, Early Literacy, and Graduation.  The district earned 3 stars in Progress, which means the district met, but didn’t exceed expected levels of growth.  Since Liberty-Benton is perennially high performing, it is statistically improbable to exceed expected levels of growth year after year in value added components of the grade card. Phrased another way, a rating of 5 in the Progress category is a place high performing districts visit but can’t indefinitely stay. Overall, LB continues to excel academically.

Our building principals are hard at work interpreting each building’s results, and are developing plans to support our students for another successful measurement in the spring.  

I’d like to congratulate our teachers, principals, and support staff on a job well done!! I’d also like to thank our parents as our partners in education.  Results like this are the culmination of a team effort!  

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Posted Monday, October 2, 2023

Supporting Those Who Serve: Liberty-Benton Elementary and Middle School Receive Purple Star Designation

Liberty-Benton Elementary and Middle School have been honored as Ohio Department of Education Purple Star Schools for the 2023-2024 for their outstanding contributions to students and families in the armed service.  They join Liberty-Benton High School who already earned Purple Star honors.  Elementary Principal Brian Burkett and Middle School Principal Kyle Leatherman will be recognized by the Ohio School Board Association at the Northwest Regional Fall Conference in Fostoria, Ohio on October 26 for this honor.  Both schools can proudly display the Purple Star logo on their respective websites.

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Posted Monday, October 2, 2023

New Facilities Bring Excitement to 2023-2024 School Year

Welcome to the 2023-2024 school year Eagle family! I am honored to have been selected as the district’s next superintendent. 

The Liberty-Benton community has been home to my family and me since 2005. I am entering my 29th year in education, having served as principal at Liberty-Benton Middle School from 2006-2019, and from 2019-2023, as Director of Operations. I have also coached several youth sports teams within the community. My wife, Tricia, and I have three grown children, Hannah, Emma, and Trevor, who are all LB Alumni.. 

As Director of Operations, I had the privilege of providing project oversight for the construction of our new PreK-8 building, high school renovations, and improvements to our athletic facilities. I look forward to seeing how these campus improvements will impact our educational and extra-curricular experiences now and for future generations of Eagles!  I invite you to join us for our New School Grand Opening Celebration on Aug. 28 from 4-8 p.m. Attendees will enjoy food trucks, inflatables, train rides, a ribbon cutting ceremony, and building walk-throughs.    

I hope everyone enjoys their final days of summer break. We’ll see you Sept. 5 for the first day of school!  

Go Eagles!

Bruce Otley


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Posted Monday, August 7, 2023

April Message

L-B Soars with Double Purple Star Award Win
The end of the school year is typically when we bestow accolades and other honors on our students. This year, Liberty-Benton Elementary and Middle Schools are also being recognized. On April 17, the Ohio Department of Education presented our district with not one, but two Purple Star Awards, an honor all three of our schools now hold. 
The distinction is given to schools that show a significant commitment to serving students and families connected to our nation’s armed forces. All awardees meet a set of criteria aimed at meeting the unique wellness and academic needs of Ohio’s military-connected youth. The schools will hold the designation for three years, at which time we may reapply. 
Part of what earned L-B this award is our community. Your input and feedback on what you want to see in our schools is invaluable. That is one of the reasons we conduct the Leader in Me survey each year, and now is the time! The information collected helps our schools plan our district-wide Leader in Me curriculum for the following year. Parents, I encourage you to take a few minutes to let us know your thoughts. The survey will be coming from your building principal (if it has not already). The middle school survey recently closed, but parents of elementary students have from April 19-28 to complete this survey, and high school parents will have from April 29-May 7. 
As a reminder, state testing is underway for many of our grade levels. Please make sure your child gets enough sleep and has a healthy breakfast leading up to these days so they can be successful on the tests they have worked hard to prepare for all year. 
This is the busiest time of year for our students and families, so check out our calendar to make sure you do not miss out! As always … GO EAGLES!
Mark Kowalski

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Posted Monday, April 24, 2023

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