School Board Candidate Response - Eric Coble
3011 Edgehill Road, Cleveland Heights 44118
Children: 2 Schools: HEIGHTS HIGH
Education: BA from Fort Lewis College, MFA from Ohio University
Qualifications: Served on CH-UH School Board since 2007, Taught classes in area schools since 1993.
Community: Interact Cleveland Homeless StandDown. Coventry Park Clean-Up. Loaves and Fishes Program, Antioch Baptist Church.
QUESTIONS and RESPONSES:
1. The Most Important Thing: We must continue to build the community’s trust in our schools. The district is moving in the right direction – test scores are up, enrollment is up, we continue to win state and national awards, we’ve cut over $6 million from the budget in four years, stretched a three-year levy into four years, and are asking for the smallest levy in over 20 years – but we still have work to do and it takes time to change negative perceptions. Continuing to improve what happens in the classroom and how that is communicated is one of my chief missions.
2. The Budget: Our Superintendent and Chief Financial Officer are charged with continuing to find ways to cut our expenses without harming our students’ education. This has resulted in over 6 million dollars saved over the past four years. The recent agreement by all our teachers and administrators to a two-year pay freeze, and the creative re-use of the Coventry building to serve the community are two successful examples. We must continue to find more of these solutions.
3. Facilities: We are achieving great things in spite of our buildings, not because of them. Our aging facilities are not only draining our funds, but were designed for a factory-model of education, and obviously success in the modern world is not based on factories. We need to teach our students to be flexible, self-motivated, to create and think individually, in small and large groups, as they will in the workplace. Our teachers are practicing innovative data-driven methods, but we increasingly find our buildings hindering our ability to put our students in the forefront of the 21st Century jobs and culture.
4. Communicate: We have expanded our efforts considerably - through articles in the Heights Observer, a much improved website (www.chuh.org), regular email newsletters from each and every school, and a greater regional presence on television and in print. The best thing we can do, however, is to continue to get our citizens into our schools and our students out into our communities. Programs such as the annual high school musical and the public use of the indoor pool at the high school invite people to see our district for themselves. We need more of these opportunities.
5. Student Performance: We’re taking many exciting steps to improve performance. To list a few of the many changes: increased classroom time, strengthened focus on literacy in the first four years of schooling, doubling the Math and English class time in the middle schools, expanding our laptop initiative, and opening the new Options Center for struggling high school students. More college-level courses are available every year, we plan to expand our pre-school program, and are creating the “pathways” program which lets students learn core curriculum in the way that most engages them personally (through the arts, through science, through international studies).