Community meeting generates ideas for school district's next five years

Participants at the Strategic Planning Committee community meeting March 4 at Heights High.

Nearly 70 people participated in a Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) community meeting on March 4, in the Heights High Social Room. For nearly two-and-a-half hours, parents, students, teachers and staff provided ideas about how to plot the future of the district’s next five years.

Parents, community members and alumni who weren't able to attend to March 4 meeting can contribute to the planning by taking this online survey by March 22. [Separate surveys for students and teachers/staff also will be shared in March.]

“Everyone had an opportunity to share their hopes and dreams for the district,” stated Jane Harris, SPC member. “Anyone who couldn't be here [at the March 4 meeting] should take the online survey.”

At the meeting, Amy Morgenstern, strategic planning consultant, challenged participants to think outside the box and share ideas at their individual tables with a “popcorn approach”—participants commenting, one after another.

A member of the Strategic Planning Committee served as a facilitator at each table to ensure that everyone was able to share concerns and ideas. Questions—such as What should the district set as its number-one priority over the next five years?  How important are test scores? and What has the district been doing that it should stop doing?—prompted discussion.

As questions appeared on the projector, hands went up to share suggestions and opinions for the district. Among the comments related to teaching students were:

  •  “We must teach them that success is not immediate, but it’s a process.”

  • “Schools must form citizens.”

  • "Students must understand the importance of having a moral compass."

  • "Students must create and contribute." 

Heights High students Akash Bartlett and Emma Zordan were among the participants, and they said they appreciated the opportunity add their voices to the discussion. "This was very beneficial to hear the viewpoints from our staff and parents,” Zordan stated.

“It was great to see how the process works and that people are trying to make a difference," added Bartlett.

The SPC held several small-group facilitated discussions in January and February with key stakeholders, including community members, parents, students, staff, teachers, and parents of charter and private school students who live in the Heights.

The SPC plans a six-hour joint board/SPC meeting on Tuesday, April 14, 3–9 p.m. at the Board of Education building, 2155 Miramar Blvd., University Heights.

The purpose of this collaborative meeting is for both parties to engage around and discuss key implications of stakeholders’ input and hard data from the district, to determine what the CH-UH district should seek to accomplish over the next five years.

Information from all of the SPC meetings and online surveys will be assimilated and made available to the community.

Cynthia Barnes

Cynthia Barnes is the public relations liaison in the communications and community engagement department at Cleveland Heights-University Heights School District.

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Volume 8, Issue 4, Posted 12:02 PM, 03.10.2015