BURTON, OhioBerkshire Local Schools opened a new building for the school year with a different concept in mind. 

What You Need To Know

  • John Stoddard is the Berkshire Local Schools superintendent

  • He said the new school has been in the works for the last five years

  • The school took a different approach that allows students to have the ability to work more creatively 

  • Creative labs on each floor allow for students to work inside a creative space

“Hello, eighth graders,” Berkshire Local Schools Superintendent John Stoddard said as he welcomed students to a new school year inside of a new building. “Take advantage of all the nice things we have here. Keep the building looking nice and fresh like this.”

Stoddard said Berkshire schools spent the last five years planning and building the new facility. The building was built on land provided to them by Kent State University and is part of its Kent Geauga branch.

“We’ve been moving to more of a project-based learning mentality, a lot of our teacher training, a lot of our lesson design and lesson development has been focused on project based learning, which is hands-on, engaging students-centered instruction, and so the building was designed to match that,” Stoddard said. 

Stoddard said he believes the building’s non-traditional design will give students the ability to work creatively.

“It just inspires their creativity. It allows them to kind of feed that creativity,” he said. 

Besides creativity, the building also was designed to allow for student collaboration inside the classroom and outside of it.

“Who wouldn’t want to work on a pirate ship?” asked Stoddard as he walked into a giant pirate ship inside the school. 

Working together is something the district wants to emphasize, so the building also was designed specifically to allow for that.

“We have classrooms where walls open up and classes can work together,” said Stoddard. “We have creative spaces at the end of each hall where multiple classes can come together and work on prototyping or brainstorming or building different projects.” 

He said the hope is that with all the spaces, there’s something for everyone.