Heights High opens on Wiley campus

Students in the older part of the temporary Heights High, at class change, working their way to their next classes.

The temporary Heights High in University Heights opened for the first day of school on Aug. 31. The building, the former Wiley Middle School on Miramar Boulevard, will house Heights High students for two years while Cleveland Heights High School, at the corner of Cedar and Lee roads, is partially demolished and rebuilt.

A tremendous amount of work went into preparing the Wiley building to meet the needs of high school students, including adding modular classrooms, plus a music wing and a gymnasium, that are all connected to the school.

After students were dismissed for the year on June 12, truckloads of classroom and office furniture and equipment, library books, computers, the auditorium stage props, cafeteria equipment and other materials were moved to the temporary Heights High. 

After several weeks of school in this temporary location, the staff and students are finding their way around the building, adjusting to the new space and a different academic model. The school has adopted a comprehensive high school structure and has discontinued the small school model. All students have access to a rigorous, engaging curriculum that prepares students for college or a career.

“Teachers have done an amazing job of unpacking and setting up classrooms to welcome students and begin teaching,” said Administrative Principal Zoraba Ross. “Even with a major move, the teachers have remained focused on teaching and helping each other.”

There have been challenges to overcome—traffic on the first day was one. But, as parent Malia Lewis noted at the Sept. 1 board of education meeting, “Traffic on the first day was a snarly mess, but by the second day, the traffic flow was smooth as butter.”

Some features of the temporary building have been a welcome change. Many students and families have been pleased to see the 74 student parking spots. Both staff and students have appreciated the air conditioning in the modular classrooms. 

And some things have not changed at all. During the first weeks of the school year, both students and staff connected with old friends and colleagues, and everyone was busy getting to know new members of their class and team. 

For school staff and students, it is easy to lose sight of the long-term goal of their temporary home—their energy is rightly placed on teaching and learning. However, the facilities team has its eyes on the prize of a beautifully updated, 21st-century building at the corner of Cedar and Lee roads.

Joy Henderson

Joy Henderson is the parent/community liaison for Heights High.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 6:30 PM, 09.30.2015