Heights community loses beloved teacher

On Monday, April 7, the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District lost Ms. Kate Smoker, a cherished friend, colleague and music teacher. Smoker was only 35 years old, and leaves behind her husband and two young children.

"Smoker was renowned for her drive and passion. She tirelessly worked to positively impact her students and ensure their success, both in and outside of the classroom," stated Superintendent Nylajean R. McDaniel. 

“Kate always recognized the very best qualities in her students and worked hard to get them to recognize their own gifts,” said colleague Ida Bergson, an art teacher who often collaborated with Smoker.

Julie Lustic, the physical education teacher at Canterbury, said, “As an integral member of the Creative Arts Team at Canterbury, [Ms. Smoker] was always up for a challenge. She brought her enthusiasm, creative spirit, and willingness to embrace projects outside her area of expertise to all our collaborations. We will miss her not only as a colleague but as a close friend and confidant.”

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Volume 7, Issue 5, Posted 2:38 PM, 04.10.2014

CH-UH superintendent search narrowed to three finalists

After several hours of discussion on Tuesday evening, April 8, the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District Board of Education (BOE) narrowed its list of five semi-finalist superintendent candidates down to three finalists—Talisa Dixon, Zheadric Barbra and Fred Bolden. The chosen candidate will replace current superintendent Nylajean R. McDaniel, who will retire at the end of this school year.

“These were all very strong candidates; it was a struggle for us to narrow the list from five to three,” said Ron Register, board president. “We feel we have three really exceptional finalists to introduce next week to the staff and community."

During the week of April 14, each of the finalists will spend a day in the district touring schools, meeting staff and students, and completing a second interview with the BOE.

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Volume 7, Issue 5, Posted 2:24 PM, 04.10.2014

School facilities discussion comes to libraries in April

In three April community meetings, the architect team and members of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District staff will share updates about, and gather more information for, the design phase of the Heights High School renovation project.

The meetings, scheduled for April 10, 17 and 24, will each take place at a different Heights Library branch, to make them convenient for all, and Heights residents are invlted to attend any of the the drop-in sessions.

The meeting dates and locations are:

  • Thursday, April 10, 6–7:30 p.m., Coventry Village Library, 1925 Coventry Road
  • Thursday, April 17, 6–7:30 p.m., University Heights Library, 13866 Cedar Road
  • Thursday, April 24, 6–7:30 p.m., Noble Neighborhood Library, 2800 Noble Road
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Volume 7, Issue 5, Posted 11:00 AM, 04.14.2014

CHHS Alumni Foundation hosts annual pancake breakfast

The Cleveland Heights High School Alumni Foundation will host its 18th Annual Pancake Breakfast on Sunday, April 13, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Cleveland Heights High School cafeteria, 13263 Cedar Road.

Proceeds from the all-you-can-eat breakfast will benefit scholarship programs for Heights High seniors. The event is open to the public and will feature tours of Heights High.

"With major renovations planned for Heights in the next three years, this is an excellent opportunity to visit before construction begins," stated Eric Silverman, CHHS Alumni Foundation president.

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Volume 7, Issue 5, Posted 8:50 AM, 04.08.2014

District's Kindergarten Information Night set for April 10

Boulevard Elementary School, 1749 Lee Road, will host the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District’s Kindergarten Information Night on Thursday, April 10, 6:30–8:30 p.m.

Boulevard Principal Shelley Pulling and District Superintendent Nylajean McDaniel will welcome families to the event, and kindergarten teachers from each of the district’s seven elementary schools will be present, to provide information and answer questions. Activities and information to be shared at the Information Nights include:

  • Registration packets for incoming kindergarten students.
  • Virtual school visits: Each of the seven elementary schools will have a room that parents can visit, to learn more about their neighborhood school.
  • Heights Library resources: Library representatives will display books about kindergarten and resources for parents, and will have library card applications available.
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Volume 7, Issue 5, Posted 4:03 PM, 04.04.2014

Heights High spring concert season highlights senior soloists

The Cleveland Heights High Instrumental School Music Department (IMD) spring concert series includes eagerly awaited performances by senior soloists, a tradition that started in 1929. Ben Sperl and Josh Perelman-Hall showcase the breadth and depth of the music program at Heights High. Both are experienced musicians. 

On Friday, May 2, double bassist Ben Sperl will perform “Fantasy on Themes from La Sonnambula” by Giovanni Bottesini. He will be accompanied by the string section of the Heights High Symphony, under the direction of Daniel Heim.

“[Fantasy] is probably one of the most challenging pieces for bass,” said Sperl. He selected the piece because “it’s flashy and fun, and really melodic and singing with lots of fast notes.”

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 11:39 AM, 04.04.2014

School district shares Wiley site plans with UH officials

The CH-UH City School District Board of Education shared its preliminary plans for use of the Wiley Middle School property as “swing space” at a public meeting with University Heights City Council on March 17. The district plans to use the school to house Heights High students and then middle school students while the high school and Roxboro and Monticello middle schools are renovated.

Heights residents passed a $134.8 million bond issue in November 2013 to help fund the first phase of a master plan to renovate all of the district’s facilities. This included about $11.7 million for modifications to the Wiley property, to enable it to be used as swing space for the first phase of the plan.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 8:55 AM, 04.01.2014

Heights Auto Tech program provides hands-on learning

When Heights High assistant head custodian Chris Canter needed to repair the school’s utility cart, he called on the Heights High Auto Tech program. Juniors Michael Hancock and Maxx Marshall, both auto tech students, volunteered to do the work. Canter secured the necessary parts and a donation from Southeast Golf Car Company, and the students did the rest—with the guidance of their teacher Jeff Porter.

“The utility cart is basically a golf cart that carries cargo,” said Porter. “Many of the systems are the same as cars, with some differences of course.”

While the auto tech students repair about 20 cars a month, they occasionally work on golf carts.

The front end of the school’s utility cart was damaged, including the headlight. “We removed the damaged parts, replaced the light, wired it in and replaced the front end,” said Hancock.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 3:01 PM, 03.31.2014

Eighth-graders’ diorama project explores Anne Frank's story

Eighth-grade students from Anisha Mahone and Christy Lemanowicz’s English Language Arts (ELA) classes recently read The Diary of Anne Frank.

The Wiley Middle School students then created and presented visual displays, including dioramas, to their classmates, as part of a discussion of cultural biases, stereotypes and prejudices.

Anne Frank, who would later perish in a concentration camp, was roughly the same age as the Wiley eighth-graders when she wrote her diary, in hiding, during two years of the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 10:07 AM, 03.31.2014

The Ohio Continuous Improvement Process at work

The CH-UH City School District is using the Ohio Improvement Process (OIP) to identify areas that need improving, identify academic goals and define the work needed to reach the goals. With the support of the U.S. Department of Education, the Ohio Department of Education developed the OIP. The process is a unified state system intended to improve academic achievement for all students.

Teacher-Based Teams (TBTs) are using the process in the classrooms to ensure that students learn the concepts outlined in the curriculum, also known as the Common Core Standards. Heights High math teachers Becky McDonald, Rachel Martinez and Joyce Bukovac teach six sections of mathematical decision making for seniors.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 10:03 AM, 03.31.2014

Postponed RH adult spelling bee set for April 2 at Wiley Middle School

The annual Reaching Heights Adult Spelling Bee has been rescheduled for Wednesday, April 2 at 7 p.m., and will take place at Wiley Middle School, 2181 Miramar Blvd.

Teams of three will complete for the “Coveted Big Plastic Bee Trophy” in this community event, now in its 23rd year, that raises funds to support academic and music programs in CH-UH public schools.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 10:50 AM, 03.18.2014

Heights High student embarks on a year abroad

Heights High junior Emoni Brown-Bey always wanted to go to Japan. On March 16, with the help of the AFS Exchange Program and support of her family, Brown-Bey boarded a plane and set off for the Land of the Rising Sun. In Japan, she will live with her host family—a mother, father, and teenage sister and brother—in the eastern coastal city of Toyoshi.

Before she left, Brown-Bey said that while she was a little nervous about speaking Japanese, she was excited about the opportunity. “I am really interested in learning more about Japanese art, fashion and culture while I am there,” said Brown-Bey. She has spent the last several years researching and learning about Japan. A few months ago, she found an app that helped her to learn the Japanese language.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 10:13 AM, 03.18.2014

Heights High to host college fair on March 13

Cleveland Heights High School will host the 20th Annual Cleveland Northeast Suburban College Fair on Thursday, March 13, 7–8:30 p.m. Admission is free, and the fair is open to all local public, private and parochial school students. The fair will take place in the Heights High Social Room and cafeteria.

Students and their families are invited to attend, to meet guidance staff, admissions officers and alumni representatives from more than 100 colleges, universities and technical schools.

They will have the opportunity to learn about a wide variety of post-secondary programs, and the specifics of each school’s student life, programs and majors, post-graduate careers, admissions and financial aid.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 11:49 AM, 03.10.2014

CH-UH City School District launches facilities blog

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District has launched a new Phase 1 Facilities Plan blog,, to communicate new developments during the facilities renovations process. 

"We’re so excited to share the progress of these extraordinary five years to come. We want the community to stay informed by checking our blog regularly—it’s even easier if you 'follow' the blog to get new posts e-mailed to you straight away. Readers can also contact us, ask questions and make suggestions for improving the blog," said Angee Shaker, director of communications and community engagement for the district.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 10:50 AM, 03.07.2014

CH-UH Board of Education's Ron Register wins state award

The Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) has awarded Ron Register, president of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education (BOE), its Award of Achievement. The award is given to fewer than 2 percent of the more than 2,400 school board members in Ohio. Register has served on the CH-UH BOE for more than 10 years.

“OSBA couldn’t have made a better choice for their Award of Achievement than Ron Register,” said Nylajean McDaniel, CH-UH City School District superintendent. “Ron has been an immense asset to our district, and to this community, for years. He always lends a calm and thoughtful voice to our proceedings and few people have done more than Ron to help bring the diverse parts of our district together. We’re very fortunate to have him and we’re thrilled that he’s received this recognition.”

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 11:18 AM, 03.04.2014

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 1-14-2014

JANUARY 14, 2014

All board members were present.

Policy adjustments

Joseph Micheller, director of curriculum and instruction, led board members through a first reading of policy adjustments necessary to keep district policies consistent and up-to-date with state and federal policy changes. Adjustments are prepared for twice-yearly presentations to the board by NEOLA, a manager of documents for school districts.

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Volume 7, Issue 3, Posted 10:01 AM, 02.14.2014

World Beats Drum Festival at Canterbury School

March in Northeast Ohio? Many complain that this is their least favorite month, but Canterbury Elementary School will be hosting an event to shake off the winter blahs and welcome spring with a bang.

The World Beats Drum Festival will bring music, art and culture to the Canterbury stage, and is open to the community. Proceeds will support future arts programs at the school. 

The school has hosted a monthly community concert series for the past year. Organizers wanted to create an interactive event that would appeal to families. Co-organizer Gina Gillombardo spoke to a number of percussion groups in developing the series, and thought it would be fun to bring several groups together for one event.

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Volume 7, Issue 3, Posted 10:51 AM, 02.28.2014

Ruffing Montessori School's partnership with Geauga Family Farms

Ruffing Montessori middle school students have become involved in the local food movement through Ruffing’s curriculum, which encourages students to answer the question: Where does our food come from?

Ruffing students are encouraged to engage with the community through running their own micro-economy. Students have started seeds for local restaurants, helped create urban gardens, and sold handcrafted goods, such as artisan soaps and jewelry.

In 2012, the students began a partnership with Geauga Family Farms (GFF) and the Ruffing campus became a pick-up site for the farm’s community supported agriculture program (CSA).

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Volume 7, Issue 3, Posted 10:27 AM, 02.28.2014

CH-UH middle school students in regional Power of the Pen competition

Monticello Middle School hosted the regional Power of the Pen Competition on Dec. 14. More than 200 seventh- and eighth-grade writers from Greater Cleveland participated in this district-level creative writing competition. The competition consisted of three rounds of writings, and students were given a “prompt” and 40 minutes to develop a creative story. Students who qualified for the regional tournament will write again on Saturday, March 15 at St. Joseph's Academy.

Teams from Roxboro and Wiley middle schools also participated in the competition.

“Hard work paid off, as teams were very successful at their first competition,” said Caitlin Gerber, Roxboro Middle School teacher and co-coach.

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Volume 7, Issue 3, Posted 10:23 AM, 02.28.2014

Heights Barbershoppers are best in the U.S.

The Heights High Barbershoppers scored a high note at the International Youth Chorus Barbershop Festival, taking first place in the nation and second place internationally in their division. Vocal music director Craig McGaughey, 13 students and several chaperones attended the competition on Jan. 31 at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center in Long Beach, Calif.

Unlike many of the groups competing, the Heights Barbershoppers perform without their director in front. “When the boys are on stage by themselves, they build more trust and confidence and they have to really listen to each other,” said McGaughey.

The fierce competition featured groups from all over the U.S. and Canada—many with up to 80 members. The judges were very impressed with the Heights vocalists. After the performance, the judges reviewed their scoring with the young men, citing areas where the group excelled and making suggestions for ways to improve.

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Volume 7, Issue 3, Posted 9:11 AM, 02.28.2014

District embarks on superintendent search

On Feb. 6, the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education (BOE) outlined its superintendent search process and timeline for “identify[ing] the next leader of the CH-UH school district.” According to the news release, “the search is underway for a new superintendent to replace Nylajean McDaniel, who previously announced that she will retire after the end of this school year.” 

The overall timeline set forth by the district commenced with an online community survey, open Feb. 6–19, which asked participants “to help identify the characteristics that are most important for a leader of the CH-UH school district.” In mid-February, the district held “prescheduled interviews” with community groups and staff, and one “open forum” community meeting, in order “to learn desired attributes and characteristics of the next superintendent.” In its release, the district characterized the search process as one that “will place a heavy emphasis on gathering community and staff input.”

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Volume 7, Issue 3, Posted 9:02 AM, 02.28.2014

Next community meeting on the Phase 1 school facilities plan is Feb. 26

Community members are at work, suggesting ideas for the initial phase of redesigning Cleveland Heights High School. There is still time for you to join a community working group, or start one. Bring your ideas to the second community meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 26, 6–8:30 p.m. in the Heights High Social Room, 13263 Cedar Road.

Click here to see the list of community working groups. To join one, contact the group’s leader directly. If you have an idea for a new group that you would like to lead, e-mail Stacey Walker at

Online, community members can participate in a “Create the Future” survey, and weigh in on various design features proposed for Heights High. A YouTube video guides the tour and the survey follows.

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Volume 7, Issue 3, Posted 1:25 PM, 02.25.2014

Facilities Accountability Committee (FAC) elects its officers

The Facilities Accountability Committee (FAC) met Feb. 11 at the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District Board of Education office to review its mission, elect officers, and define and assign roles for each member.

Heights voters approved a $134.8 million bond issue to fund the first phase of a school facilities master renovation plan last November. The FAC will oversee the planning, design and construction phases of the high school and middle school projects, making sure that the projects are on schedule and within budget.

The FAC will report to the school board on the outcomes of specific commitments. FAC members selected Seku Shebazz as chair, Jim Cull as vice chair, and Chanelle Truitt as secretary.

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Volume 7, Issue 3, Posted 12:57 PM, 02.25.2014

Heights High musicians excel in OMEA event

Cleveland Heights High School’s Instrumental Music Department (IMD) excelled at the annual OMEA Solo and Ensembles Contest. The adjudicated event, sponsored by the Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA), took place on Jan. 18 at Heights High.

Four Heights High chamber ensembles and 12 soloists received the contest’s highest possible rating, which is reserved for outstanding performances with very few technical errors, exemplifying a truly musical experience.

Participating ensembles were: Baker’s Dozen with Ann Zicari (trumpet), Samantha Espenschied (trumpet), Cody Radivoyevitch (horn), Gretchen Drushel (trombone), Oleaser Johnson (tuba); Five Guys, Valves and Slides with William van den Bogert (trumpet), Benjamin Gillooly (trumpet), Ian Bartz (French horn), Abraham Mendes (trombone), David Pecoraro (tuba); Rock ‘n Viol’ a viola duo with Mariah Mendes and Christina Wynne; T.A.G. with Gabriella Russo (flute), Alyssa Underwood (oboe), Tanesha Hammond (bassoon); and The Sax Pistols a saxophone quartet with sophomores Genaro Aiken, Noah Gonzalez, GianFranceso Quartell and Ryan Wilson.

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Volume 7, Issue 3, Posted 9:08 AM, 02.11.2014

CH-UH BOE outlines superintendent search process

The CH-UH City School District Board of Education (BOE) has put a process in place to identify the next leader of the CH-UH school district. The search is underway for a new superintendent to replace Nylajean McDaniel, who previously announced that she will retire after the end of this school year.

“This will be a critical decision, and it’s extremely important that we get it right. That’s why we will conduct this superintendent search in a thorough, professional and diligent manner,” said Ron Register, BOE president. “Dr. McDaniel has been a strong and steady leader for this district during a time of change, and her leadership is directly responsible for the historic passage of the bond issue, which will renovate and renew our high school and middle schools. That’s an impressive legacy to leave.”

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Volume 7, Issue 3, Posted 10:26 AM, 02.06.2014

CH-UH students reach semifinal level in Maltz Museum essay contest

More than 2,500 students in grades 6–10, from throughout Northeast Ohio, entered the sixth annual Stop the Hate: Youth Speak Out essay contest created by the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage. The contest encourages middle- and high-school students to focus attention on the corrosive effects of discrimination and intolerance while developing critical thinking, problem solving and communication skills. 

Three finalists from each lower-grade level have been chosen and are eligible for cash prizes to be awarded at a ceremony on Thursday, March 13 at Severance Hall. Among these finalists are four students from the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District.

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Volume 7, Issue 3, Posted 9:14 AM, 02.04.2014

CH-UH middle schools stand out at model United Nations event

Students from the three CH-UH middle schools made a strong showing at the recent Model United Nations simulation at John Carroll University. The event, on Jan. 9 and 10, was conducted by the Cleveland Council on World Affairs conducted the event, which was held on Jan. 9 and 10. Student participants were all members of the Middle School Scholars Program (MSSP). 

Students from Monticello, Roxboro, and Wiley joined more than 200 students from nine middle schools in the region to represent 39 countries at the event. Delegates met in morning and afternoon workshops on both days to make and hear speeches, exchange ideas, debate issues, and contribute to a resolution that would express their collected ideas and opinions.

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Volume 7, Issue 3, Posted 11:13 AM, 02.03.2014

CH-UH schools debut new facilities plan logo

As Phase 1 of the School Facilities Plan gets underway, the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District has debuted a new slogan and logo that will let residents quickly recognize news and content about the renovation revitalization project. 

“The Create the Future slogan and logo were designed to communicate the different aspects of planning, designing, building and completing our new district facilities,” said Angee Shaker, CH-UH district director of communications. “We are creating a new future for our district when we renovate and revitalize the spaces in which our students learn.”

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Volume 7, Issue 3, Posted 11:11 AM, 02.03.2014

District announces new prospective tenant for Millikin

In a Jan. 10 news release, the CH-UH City School District identified the Heights Youth Theatre (HYT) as a potential tenant for its former Millikin School building. It also announced plans to explore installing a playground on the property, for neighborhood use, and moving some district staff to the building.

The release suggests that efforts to come to a lease or sale agreement with Mosdos Ohr Hatorah, a private school in Cleveland Heights, may be at an end: “After years of trying to reach a mutually beneficial agreement with . . . Mosdos Ohr Hatorah for the use of the former Millikin School facility proved ultimately unsuccessful, the CH-UH school district plans on moving forward with other plans that will bring activity and use back to Millikin.”

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Volume 7, Issue 2, Posted 4:44 PM, 01.30.2014

CH-UH kindergarten and preschool open house set for Feb. 4

Parents and guardians of prospective preschool- and kindergarten-age children in Cleveland Heights and University Heights are invited to attend sessions to learn about their local school. The sessions will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 4 from 9:30–11:15 a.m.

Attendees will be able to tour their school building, meet with preschool and kindergarten teachers, and meet principals.

The kindergarten open house sessions take place at all CH-UH elementary schools, and the preschool open house sessions take place at Gearity and Noble elementary schools.

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Volume 7, Issue 2, Posted 2:25 PM, 01.30.2014

Heights High’s instrumental music concert set for Feb. 14

Heights High’s instrumental music department (IMD) will present its midwinter concert on Friday, Feb. 14 at 7:30 p.m. in the school’s Dina Rees Evans Performing Arts Center. The evening features the Symphony and Symphonic Winds, the school’s top performance groups.

Several chamber ensembles will perform in the Social Room at 6:30 p.m., prior to the concert, and two jazz ensembles will perform during the post-concert reception. Tickets will be available at the door the day of the show.

Daniel Heim, IMD director, will conduct the orchestra in the first movement of Beethoven's Symphony No. 1 in C Major and selections from Sergei Prokofiev's “Romeo and Juliet,” and Georges Bizet’s “L’Arlesienne Suite No. 1."

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Volume 7, Issue 2, Posted 2:17 PM, 01.30.2014

Feb. 6 is rescheduled date for CH-UH Phase 1 School Facilities Community Kick-off Meeting

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District has rescheduled its Phase 1 School Facilities Community Kick-off meeting, originally planned for Jan. 28, for Thursday, Feb. 6, 6–8:30 p.m. (The meeting date changed due to the bitterly cold weather, which resulted in district school closures on Jan. 28.)

The community is invited to this gathering, which will take place in the Cleveland Heights High School Social Room, 13263 Cedar Road, to learn about the CH-UH school district’s facilities planning and design process.

"This is a great opportunity for community members to share their hopes and concerns as we begin to redefine the buildings in which our students learn," stated Superintendent Nylajean R. McDaniel.

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Volume 7, Issue 2, Posted 10:22 AM, 01.28.2014

Heights High artists win regional awards

In the 34th annual Regional Scholastic Art Competition, nine Heights High student artists won a total of 14 awards. The students’ work was selected from the more than 2,100 pieces of art that were submitted to the juried contest. The winning pieces will be on display at the Cleveland Institute of Art through Jan. 31. The show is open to the public.

“I am especially excited about this group of seniors—they are such a talented group!” said Susan Hood, Heights art teacher. “It has been exciting to see them learn about the materials and techniques as they developed their skills.”

The group is special to Hood because she plans to retire at the end of this year. “I couldn’t ask for a better group of artists for my last year at Heights!” said Hood.

The Scholastic Art award categories are Gold or Silver Key and Honorable Mention. All Gold Key winners advance to the national competition this spring in New York City.

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Volume 7, Issue 2, Posted 10:37 AM, 01.28.2014

Music Settlement offers new summer 'Camp-tacular' program

At 102 years old, The Music Settlement has long been known for its Suzuki, early childhood Music Builders and Musical Theatre camps.

Now, its new Summer Camp-tacular combines elements from these camps and more to provide a wide-ranging experience that gives children a chance to sample a broad spectrum of musical instruments, genres and styles.

“This is the opportunity for young musicians and musicians-in-training to really spread their wings. Nothing beats two weeks of intensive music instruction while bonding with like-minded peers in a beautiful setting,” said Megan Clay Constantine, chair of The Music Settlement’s Center for Music. “We decided to put all of our camps together to give our campers the full musical experience: a smorgasbord, if you will.”

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Volume 7, Issue 2, Posted 11:12 AM, 01.28.2014

CH-UH BOE appoints Facilities Accountability Commission members

At its Jan. 7 meeting, the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School Board selected 10 community members, from among 39 applicants, for the Facilities Accountability Committee (FAC), which is tasked with overseeing the district’s facilities master plan. Heights voters approved a $134.8 million bond issue to fund the first phase of the plan last November.

The FAC is to monitor the progress of construction and expenditure of funds for Phase 1 and to report to the Board of Education (BOE) on a regular basis. Specifically, the FAC will monitor the implementation of the plan; review the status of construction, financing and fundraising; monitor proposed and actual construction costs, and review community engagement in regard to school planning, construction contracting and the construction workforce.

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Volume 7, Issue 2, Posted 10:17 AM, 01.21.2014

Community invited to attend Jan. 21 CH-UH State of the Schools Address

Superintendent Nylajean R. McDaniel will deliver the annual State of the Schools Address for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District on Tuesday, Jan. 21, at 6 p.m. in the Cleveland Heights High School Social Room, 13263 Cedar Road.

The community is encouraged to arrive at 5:30 p.m. to enjoy light refreshments provided by the CH-UH PTA and music performed by the Cleveland Heights High School Instrumental Music Department ensemble student group, 5ever. 

Superintendent McDaniel will review highlights and achievements of the 2013 calendar year, discuss the Ohio Report Card results and outline the ways that CH-UH educators are working to build on the district’s progress.

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Volume 7, Issue 2, Posted 10:12 AM, 01.17.2014

Cleveland Heights - University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 12-18-13

DECEMBER 18, 2013

All board members were present.

Facilities Plan phase I

This was an introductory meeting for district administrators, the school board, the architecture firm, construction firm, and the owner’s representative. Timelines, board actions, and key milestones were covered. Board decisions included goals, expectations, identification of key participants, and executive-level alignment and reporting.

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Volume 7, Issue 2, Posted 3:43 PM, 01.15.2014

Cleveland Heights - University Heights Board of Education Middle School Consolidation Community Meeting -- meeting highlights 12-16-13

DECEMBER 16, 2013

  • Background
  • Perspectives
  • DeJong-Richter

All board members were present


After welcoming attendees, board president Ron Register explained that the meeting’s purpose was to elicit ideas and concerns from parents and community members regarding middle school consolidation. Enrollment has declined by half in the last forty years, yet there is the same number of middle schools.

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Volume 7, Issue 2, Posted 2:58 PM, 01.15.2014

Jan. 16 public meeting on CH school travel plan

In May 2013, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) awarded the City of Cleveland Heights a consultant to help develop a school travel plan. A public hearing to review a draft of the plan is set for Thursday, Jan. 16, at 6:30 p.m. in council chambers at Cleveland Heights City Hall, with questions and answers to follow. Residents interested in the effort to improve safe walking and biking to school are encouraged to attend, to learn about the plan, and provide input.

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Volume 7, Issue 1, Posted 1:51 PM, 01.09.2014

Heights High students have an action plan for achievement

Last fall, six Heights High students and three adults attended the national Minority Student Achievement Network (MSAN) Conference in Amherst, Mass.

The conference, Take the Road Less Traveled: Courage to Act, included keynote speakers, college tours, workshops and an opportunity for each school team to create an action plan to improve student achievement.

“It was really great to see what other schools are doing and to get ideas about how we can improve,” said Landry Snead, MSAN student leader at Heights High.

The action plan created by the CH-UH team focused on three issues: providing in-school, peer-to-peer tutoring; developing a diversity course; and improving cultural competency training for teachers.

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Volume 7, Issue 1, Posted 1:12 PM, 01.02.2014

Communion of Saints students win scholarships to Beaumont

On Dec. 4, at Beaumont High School, four Communion of Saints students were honored for their performance on Beaumont’s entrance exam. These extraordinary girls—Courtney Foerg, Sarah Kikel, Christy Murgiano and Rose Scalish—have been together since first grade, steadily building their impressive academic résumés. The four are active in parish life and volunteer with various community organizations. They are also athletes and officers on the school’s student council. 

All four have earned academic scholarships for Beaumont’s Class of 2018, the result of scoring in the 90th percentile on the Presidential Academic Scholarship test last October.

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Volume 7, Issue 1, Posted 1:09 PM, 01.02.2014

Heights High alum discusses exploding stars and dark energy

Cleveland Heights High School alumnus Dr. Steven Rodney, Class of ‘99, was the featured speaker at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History’s Frontiers of Astronomy lecture on Dec. 12. Rodney’s presentation was titled “Chasing Supernovae in the Early Universe.”

After graduating from Heights High, Rodney attended Case Western Reserve University and graduated with a degree in astronomy. He then received his Ph.D. from the University of Hawaii and is currently a post-doctoral Hubble Fellow at Johns Hopkins University.

Rodney’s current work is with the Hubble Space Telescope. “The extraordinary capabilities of HST allow me to discover some of the most distant stellar explosions ever seen,” said Rodney. “We're continuing to push those discoveries back into the early universe.” 

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Volume 7, Issue 1, Posted 8:51 AM, 12.23.2013

Middle school consolidation information night planned for Dec. 16; facilities plan underway

In a Dec. 4 news release, the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District announced that its 21-member evaluation committee has selected both a design firm and construction manager at risk, and outlined its work in moving forward with phase one of its facilities plan.

“Now that the bond issue has passed, a lot of work is taking place so the school district can stick to its aggressive Phase 1 timeline,” said Angee Shaker, director of communications, in the press release. “The hiring of contractors, middle school consolidation planning and placing staff and citizens on appropriate committees, are in full swing.”

According to the news release, one can find continuous phase one updates on the district’s website,, by clicking on the Phase 1 Facilities Plan button.

On Nov. 19, two weeks after CH-UH voters approved the bond issue to fund a portion of phase one of the facilities plan, the board of education (BOE) voted to close Wiley Middle School at the end of this school year.

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Volume 7, Issue 1, Posted 10:54 AM, 12.10.2013

Cleveland Heights-University Board of Education meeting highlights 12-3-2013

DECEMBER 3, 2013

All board members were present.

Library board interviews

The only agenda item was to interview and appoint a trustee for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library Board. Appointment of trustees for the Heights Library Board is the responsibility of the board of education.

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Volume 7, Issue 1, Posted 5:56 PM, 12.11.2013

CH-UH school board seeks Facilities Accountability Committee members

In a Nov. 20 news release, received by the Heights Observer on Dec. 2, Angee Shaker, director of communications for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District, announced that the board of education is seeking ten Heights residents to serve on its Facilities Accountability Committee.

The term of service is estimated to coincide with the anticipated completion of renovations to Cleveland Heights High School in 2017.

The nomination period opened on Nov. 20 and the deadline for nominations is Dec. 20. Prospective committee members can nominate themselves.

Below is the full text of the news release.

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Volume 7, Issue 1, Posted 10:37 AM, 12.03.2013

A Holocaust survivor shares her story

Recently, four Heights High students from Mark Sack’s Lessons of the Holocaust class delivered thank-you notes to Holocaust survivor Gita Frankel, in appreciation for her school presentation on Oct. 24.

Frankel spoke to the class about her life story and her experiences during the Holocaust.

Frankel and her family were held in the Lodz ghetto in German-occupied Poland.

“The students were particularly touched when she told us about seeing her father shot by the Nazis, and about holding her brother in her arms as he died of malnutrition,” said Sack.

Frankel also told the students about her experiences on a forced march, as the Germans fled from the Russians at the end of the war.

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Volume 6, Issue 12, Posted 12:02 PM, 12.02.2013

Wiley and Canterbury schools receive grant to fund IB activities

Wiley Middle and Canterbury Elementary schools received a $2,000 Global Competency Grant from the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation ( on Oct. 11, to fund International Baccalaureate (IB) activities.

At Wiley, the grant monies will go towards funding the schoolwide “WATER Initiative”—an inquiry-based project—where students collect rain water in barrels (donated by the Avon Lake Water Department) and use purchased chemical lab kits to learn about the process of water purification. For the global collaboration part of the initiative, Wiley students send self-made and labeled plastic bottles and PUR packets (sponsored by Proctor & Gamble) to distill water, as well as other parcels of necessities, to Wiley’s sister school in Liberia.

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Volume 6, Issue 12, Posted 11:59 AM, 12.02.2013

School board's first action in facilities project will close Wiley after this year

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education (BOE) isn’t wasting any time following passage of Issue 81, the bond issue that updates and overhauls facilities throughout the school district.

On Nov. 19—exactly two weeks after the issue passed with 59 percent of the vote—the school board took its first step in implementing the facilities overhaul. It voted to close Wiley Middle School at the end of this school year, so the Wiley building and adjacent property can be prepared for use by Cleveland Heights High School staff and students while renovations are taking place at Heights High. Modular classrooms will be added to the temporary campus.

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Volume 6, Issue 12, Posted 10:43 AM, 12.02.2013

Wiley Middle School will close at the end of the school year

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education voted on Tuesday, Nov. 19, to approve the initial steps of the comprehensive facilities plan, made possible with the passage of Issue 81.

Those steps included passing a resolution to close Wiley Middle School at the end of this school year so that the Wiley building and property can be used by Cleveland Heights High School staff and students while renovations are taking place at Heights High. Modular classrooms will be added to the campus. 

"We are starting on a path that will revitalize and modernize our schools, and transform our community,” said Ron Register, board president.

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Volume 6, Issue 12, Posted 2:25 PM, 11.21.2013