Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 5-15-2018

MAY 15, 2018


  • Administrative staff increases
  • Community in Schools
  • Middle schools renovation update


President Jim Posch, vice president Jodi Sourini, Dan Heintz and Malia Lewis were present. Beverly Wright was absent. Superintendent Dr. Talisa Dixon and Treasurer Scott Gainer were also present. Community in Schools presenters, including United Way CEO August Napoli, and staff from PMC Regency also attended. The meeting was called to order at 7 p.m. and was adjourned at 9:20 p.m.

Administrative staff increases

The board briefly discussed the reappointment of a staff member and other issues concerning administrative staff. Heintz said the community has expressed some concern about the growth of the administrative staff. The middle school appointed a new administrator to address discipline concerns. Other administrative appointments may be considered for a middle school Options program, similar to the high school program, and for the Community in Schools program.

Community in Schools

Community in Schools (CIS) is a national program that began in the 1970s and aims to build relationships so that students stay in school and succeed in school and after graduation. It is founded on the idea of bringing community resources into public schools to partner with teachers and staff to help overcome identified challenges that students face at school and home. Because the community partners are brought into the school, individuals and services are accessible, coordinated, and accountable. The district plans to implement the CIS program in 2019.

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights (CHUH) CIS task force is currently studying why students drop out and is identifying students' physical and mental health needs. The task force is exploring a number of questions, including whether the district should have a community center with wraparound services, and which community partners should provide services. The CIS program would also further the board’s strategic plan goals, which include a four-year graduation rate of at least 90 percent and college and career readiness in graduates; equity, empowerment, and opportunities for all students and parents; and community engagement.

Many community services are available in the areas of physical and mental health, but they must be coordinated and accessible in the schools to students and families. Task force members attended a presentation that reviewed how the Cincinnati school district implemented CIS and its outcomes. Cincinnati's Oyler Community Learning Center has a 16-year history with CIS and substantial community involvement, including an onsite vision center, school-based therapists, the city health department, a dental center and community services for mental health, substance abuse, housing and employment. Other services include a “power pack” program that sends sacks of food home for the weekends, a food bank, an early learning center, an enhanced parenting center and partnerships for college access.

Nationally, schools that use CIS have seen a decrease in grade retention and increases in graduation, attendance, grade point averages and math and reading achievement. Schools become community hubs that are accessible to children and families, including nights and weekends as needed.

August Napoli, CEO of United Way, said the Cleveland and Lakewood districts are CIS members. The CH-UH district is doing a community assessment, conducting focus groups with parents, faculty and students. They have learned that white students are not attending CH-UH district in large numbers relative to the percentage of white families in the district. Access to resources such as community partners and parent engagement are being studied also.

The district will implement CIS in two phases, with phase one requiring hiring of staff, developing an executive committee and taking school inventories. Phase two includes developing partners and creating indicators and reporting structures.

Middle schools renovation update

PMC Regency (owner’s representative) provided updates on the costs for the middle school facilities renovation and presented slides showing progress. Hard costs include construction, whereas soft costs are items such as professional services, fixtures and furniture. Errors or omissions, owner requests, value engineering, conditions that differ from those anticipated, field resolutions and design clarifications will necessitate change orders. Funding for these changes will come from the guaranteed maximum price, buyout savings and permanent improvement funds. The cost summary for Roxboro is $19 million and for Monticello is $17 million, including change orders. Monticello's change orders include additional professional services, a request for kitchen repairs, cupola repairs, interior signage and walk-in cooler relocation. The second-floor walls are not fire-rated partitions and must be replaced. About 20 items have been identified for cost changes in both schools.

Upcoming meetings are a regular board meeting on June 5 at the high school and a work session on June 19 at the board of education offices. All meetings will be held at 7 p.m.

LWV Observer: Lillian Houser.

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These reports contain member observation and selected highlights of public meetings and are not official statements of the Heights Chapter of the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland. This disclaimer must accompany any redistribution of these reports.

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Volume 11, Issue 7, Posted 3:42 PM, 07.07.2018