BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Notice anything new on the Home Page of the Berkeley Heights Public Schools website? On the top left-hand line, just before “Berkeley Heights Public Schools,” is the new district logo, complete with a motto.

The change was made during the summer and is just now being announced by the district. A release from the administration reads, “As we begin the 2020-2021 school year, there are unprecedented challenges that we are facing head-on and our students and staff are excited and hopeful to return to a new normal. There is no better time to ask ourselves who are we and who do we strive to be as a district?”

The logo includes a motto,  three words -- “Include, Inspire and Empower,” on a field of blue, which circles the initials “BH,” which are on a field of red. Each color is set off from the other by a circle of white. The logo is an emblem that showcases the district, and designers “focused on who we are” and how the district wants others to see it, according to the release.

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Superintendent of Schools Melissa Varley said she approached the process with enthusiasm, "The words ‘Include, Inspire, and Empower’ mean so much to me. As a district, we put out a survey to parents asking for input on proposed mottos and the initial versions did not use the word 'include'. I received a few emails asking me about adding include...and it became very clear that it should be there and would 'define' the entire motto. If you're not included, you cannot be inspired and you can definitely not be empowered. Berkeley Heights Public Schools includes ALL, and we want to inspire and empower all."

Director of Special Services Michele Gardner explained the cornerstone of the district's educational philosophy and mission is INCLUDE. "We chose "Inclusion" because it captures the essence of all of the other words - inclusion means all children - all children belong, all children can learn, all children will be empowered and all children will be inspired. For more than a decade, the district has committed itself to the all-around achievement and success of all students, while appreciating that ‘achievement’ means many things to many children. Inclusion reflects the diversity of our community and the diversity in our classrooms," she said.

 Director of Elementary Education and Intervention Marybeth Kopacz said, "Inspiration is a feeling of enthusiasm you get from someone or something, that gives you new and creative ideas. As educators, we want to be a force that helps to create inspired, life-long learners. We want students to have a sense of confidence and fulfillment as they begin their own inspired journeys, while working to bring their passions to fruition.” 

District Supervisor of Social Studies, 6-12, and World Languages 1-12, Steve Hopkins said, “Inclusion and Inspiration are critical to the process of educating our students, but Empowerment is the goal.  Simply this means the character and skills to meet and overcome the challenges of their lives. But, it is so much deeper, empowering our students is about the quiet serenity of self, the vision to dream, and the courage to strive.”

The logo will be found on stationary, publications, the website and communications from the district. It replaces the "BHPS" logo, white letters on a field of red.