CH-UH school district selects architect for middle school renovations

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District has selected Moody Nolan as the architectural firm to handle the design of the Monticello and Roxboro middle school renovations.

Moody Nolan, who has received numerous awards for past design projects, was selected from a group of four firms that were interviewed by a committee of district representatives on Oct. 21. The CH-UH Board of Education will officially award the contract to Moody Nolan at its Nov. 2 meeting.

“We are excited to work with Moody Nolan for our middle school renovations,” said Talisa Dixon, CH-UH superintendent. “It became evident very quickly during the interview process that they possessed the experience and the expertise that we were looking for when considering the building designs. Moody Nolan has an impressive track record of working with schools like ours, and we are certain they will deliver top-notch designs for us.”

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Volume 8, Issue 12, Posted 12:50 PM, 11.02.2015

CH-UH school district hosts partnership event for businesses and community organizations

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District hosted businesses, community organizations and partners for a Celebration of a New Era of CH-UH Schools event on Tuesday, Oct. 20, at Heights High.

Each school in the district was represented by the principal and two students, including Heights High students in early college, art, music and career tech programs. They shared the schools’ programming and successes with businesses and community organizations, and told their stories of development and future aspirations.

Superintendent Talisa Dixon also spoke about the district’s facilities plan and its new strategic plan, and goals for the future.

Dixon and Desiree Caliguire-Maier, the districtwide coordinator of business and community partnerships and enrichment programs, recognized five organizations for their key contributions to the development of the strategic plan, and ongoing support of districtwide programming.

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Volume 8, Issue 12, Posted 11:23 AM, 11.02.2015

Beaumont students recognized by National Merit Scholarship program

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) has recognized the academic success of three members of Beaumont School’s class of 2016, two of whom are Heights residents. Anna Zipp (Cleveland Heights) has been named a National Merit semifinalist, and Alena Prcela (Mayfield Heights) and Josie Zucca (University Heights) have been named commended students. 

Altogether, the extracurricular involvement of these three students encompasses membership in five varsity sports teams, and 11 clubs and honor societies, including student council, Academic Scholars, and the National Honor Society.

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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 3:04 PM, 10.30.2015

Three Heights seniors are National Merit commended scholars

Heights High seniors Graham Ball, Aviva Klein and Hannah Smith have been named National Merit Commended Scholars, placing among the top 5 percent of more than 1.5 million students who took the 2014 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). About 34,000 commended students are recognized nationwide for their exceptional academic promise.

Graham Ball is active in the vocal music program. He’ll perform in the upcoming musical, “Grease,” and has had leading roles in three past school musicals. He is a member of the Barbershoppers and A Capella Choir, along with the National Honor Society and Tri-M Music Honor Society. Outside of school, he is a member of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra Choir and a church choir.

Aviva Klein is the principal bassoon player in the Heights Symphony and the Symphonic Winds, and plays the trumpet in the Marching Band and the Jazz Band.

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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 3:02 PM, 10.30.2015

Co-captain leads Heights girls soccer team in scoring

Eryn Bernard, Heights High’s girls soccer senior forward and co-captain, is the team’s leading scorer, with 11 goals at the end of the regular season. The team ended its season on Oct. 15 with a 4-0 win over Brush, and a 10-6-3 record.

Bernard is backed by senior classmates Allegra Steiger, Kelly Moore, Anna Crowley, Kaila Mathis and Francesca Hadden.

The Heights team maintained a solid defense throughout the season, allowing opponents less than a goal and a half per game. The defense is anchored by juniors Emily Benson, Soli Collins, Jessa Lammert, and sophomore Lauren Iott. Sophomores Ally Boyd and Gwen Wright complete the team’s stingy back line.

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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 2:45 PM, 10.30.2015

Heights High students to perform 'Grease'

Heights High will produce the musical “Grease” Nov. 5–7, at 7:30 p.m., and Nov. 8, at 4 p.m., in the auditorium of the temporary Heights High in University Heights. The show features a love story between two teenagers in the 1950s and will showcase student singing, acting and dancing.

More than 130 Heights High students will perform in leading roles and as members of the chorus. The lead male role, Danny, is played by senior Maurice Powers, and the lead female role, Sandy, is played by senior Flannery Jewell and junior Callie Swaim-Fox.

“I have been impressed with the students’ talent and work ethic,” said Jesse Lange, director and vocal music teacher. “And I have seen so many of the experienced students step up to mentor the less experienced students. Their leadership has been invaluable.”

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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 2:42 PM, 10.30.2015

Heights High Options Program hosts community summit

The Options Program, Cleveland Heights High School’s alternative high school program, hosted a community summit on Oct. 8, with local law enforcement and 60 Options Program students participating. Police chiefs, detectives and officers from Cleveland Heights, University Heights, South Euclid, Shaker Heights and Lyndhurst attended the event.

Brian Williams, Options Program coordinator, explained the purpose of the event. “The community summit was designed to provide local law enforcement and our students a space to talk about community, respect and communication,” he said. “Our students had the opportunity to understand what it is like to walk in the shoes of a police officer and the officers were exposed to the success and resiliency of our students.”

The summit began with a brief welcome and introduction of all law enforcement officials, community partners, and school district central office administrators in attendance. Students and guests then attended one of three discussion sessions that were facilitated by Options Program staff, which focused on characteristics of a healthy community, respect and positive communication.

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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 2:40 PM, 10.30.2015

CH-UH school district welcomes new communications coordinator

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District has named Scott Wortman its new coordinator of communications. Wortman joined the district staff on Sept. 28, replacing Angee Shaker, director of communications and community engagement for the district, who left in August for a position with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.

“I am very excited to join such an exceptional team serving this wonderful school district,” said Wortman. “I’ve learned already that this community is remarkably vibrant, amazingly diverse and committed to its children. It’s clearly a special place and I can’t wait to be a part of it. I am committed to making sure parents and community members are fully informed about our schools, and that CH-UH schools are recognized for the excellent education they provide to all students.”

Most recently, Wortman served as the director of athletic communications at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.

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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 9:34 AM, 10.05.2015

Zagara’s new Tiger Snack Pack to benefit Heights High

John Zagara, president of Zagara’s Marketplace, and Zoraba Ross, Cleveland Heights High School principal, have announced a partnership in support of Heights High.

Zagara’s, the long-standing, family-owned grocer in Cleveland Heights, is introducing the Tiger Snack Pack, a package filled with tasty, nutritious snacks to enjoy at Heights High football games this season. For every $4.99 snack pack purchased, Zagara’s will donate $3 to Heights High programs.

“Having been a part of Cleveland Heights since 1936, it makes perfect sense that Zagara’s would support such a fine and beloved institution as Heights High,” Zagara said. “Like the rest of the Cleveland Heights community, we care about our city and its youth, and always root for Tiger Nation.”

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 6:36 PM, 09.30.2015

Heights High opens on Wiley campus

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.

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

CH-UH Board of Education opposes state takeover law

Democratically elected boards of education are a hallmark of the American tradition of public education. At its Sept. 1 meeting, the CH-UH Board of Education (BOE) went on record affirming the importance of local governance of public schools, and criticized the Ohio legislature’s takeover plan for the Youngstown City School District that gave control of this urban district to an appointed CEO.

The Ohio Legislature approved HB 70 in June, without public input. It lays the groundwork for state control of other districts that fail to meet Ohio’s state test performance goals—the latest high-stakes consequence tied to testing. The law takes effect in October and is being challenged in court.

The Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) opposes the law and invited local boards of education to endorse a resolution calling for the legislature, governor, and superintendent of public instruction to restore local board responsibility.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 6:26 PM, 09.30.2015

Heights soccer captain leading team to strong season

Heights High's Senior Boys Soccer team captain Gabriel Pewu has emerged as one of the top scorers for Heights this year. At mid-season (Sept. 15) he had tallied 12 goals and five assists. Pewu is a four-year varsity starter, kicks for the football team, is a member of the National Honor Society and has a 3.5 GPA. As of mid-September, Pewu had helped his team to a 6-1-1 record, building on last year’s strong showing as a Sectional Finalist.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 10:45 AM, 09.22.2015

Monticello student named 'kid reporter' for division of Time magazine

On Aug. 18, Maple Buescher, a Monticello Middle School seventh-grader, got the news that Time For Kids had selected her as one of the weekly classroom news magazine’s 10 kid reporters for the 2015–16 school year.

As a kid reporter, Buescher will conduct interviews and write articles that may appear in the print edition or website of Time For Kids (, a division of Time magazine. She’ll hold the position from September 2015 through August 2016.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 9:16 AM, 09.03.2015

Heights High's science wing is demolished

The demolition of several sections of Heights High is underway. Perhaps the most anticipated is the destruction of the circa-1962 science wing, thought by many to be an unfortunate design that obstructed the beauty of the original building.

At noon on Friday, Aug. 14, a large excavator with a grapple began removing the exterior wall of the swimming pool, at the east end of the science wing. By 1:15 p.m., the entire wall had been removed and the excavator had moved on to the Cedar Road side of the pool and then on to the science wing.

The demolition of the back of the school building began on Aug. 3 with the removal of the East Gym, kitchen and Career Tech portions of the building.

The original 1926 core section of the building will not be demolished, but will be renovated and new additions will be constructed. The design of the new additions will be more closely aligned to the historic style of the original building.

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Volume 8, Issue 9, Posted 6:07 PM, 08.17.2015

CH-UH voters will elect two new school board members on Nov. 3

Residents of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District will elect two new members of the five-member CH-UH Board of Education this fall. The seats of Nancy Peppler and Eric Coble, who each served two four-year terms, are up for grabs as neither is running for re-election.

Three candidates will be on the Nov. 3 ballot: James Posch, CEO of Inc. and former president of the CH-UH Public Library System’s Board of Directors; Katura Simmons, an office administrator for QualaWash Holdings, LLC, and PTA Council co-president for 2014; and Beverly R. Wright.

Peppler and Coble, residents of the Coventry Village neighborhood of Cleveland Heights, were elected to the board in 2007, following the contentious closing of Coventry Elementary School.

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Volume 8, Issue 9, Posted 1:30 PM, 08.31.2015

University Heights hosts Wiley campus welcome reception on Aug. 20

On Aug. 20, University Heights Mayor Susan Infeld and members of UH City Council invite residents of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District to a welcome reception and open house at the newly renovated temporary Heights High, on the Wiley campus at 2181 Miramar Blvd.

From 5:30 to 7 p.m. that evening, residents are invited to tour the building and modular classrooms, and learn more about the expectations for the school year from school district personnel. 

At 6 p.m., a program will begin that includes a welcome from Mayor Infeld and Talisa Dixon, superintendent of Cleveland Heights-University Heights schools, as well as a brief presentation by Zoraba Ross, Heights High’s administrative principal. 

Leaders from both the City of University Heights and the school district will be available to answer questions from community members.

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Volume 8, Issue 9, Posted 6:55 PM, 08.17.2015

Shaker leaves CH-UH district for new role with Cleveland schools

Angee Shaker, director of communications and community engagement for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District, will leave her position at the end of August to become the executive director of strategic engagement for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD). There, she will work within CMSD’s division of portfolio planning to lead engagement activity and provide internal and external communications to support “Cleveland’s Plan for Transforming Schools.”

Shaker served as director of communications and community engagement for the CH-UH district for six years.

“During her time in this role, Ms. Shaker became a trusted advisor, champion of the district’s brand, and a reliable voice for education in the community,” stated Superintendent Talisa L. Dixon. “She has facilitated our strategic planning efforts that engaged over 1,800 stakeholders, including students, staff, families and partners.”

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Volume 8, Issue 9, Posted 11:08 AM, 08.14.2015

Beaumont offers students fair-trade school uniform option

Beaumont School has partnered with One Seed Heritage to offer its students the option of purchasing uniform skirts that are made by fair-trade workers and ethically sourced.

The skirts are handmade by women of the Mayan community of San Juan La Laguna in Guatemala. These women are paid fairly and create the skirts using organic cotton grown on family farms and dye created from plants. Five percent of purchases will fund scholarships for Guatemalan children, whose literacy and school enrollment rates are among the lowest in the world.

“Our women-owned cooperatives are inspired by the Beaumont community's commitment to fair trade and social justice,” said Hilary Dell, founder of One Seed Heritage. “This is just the beginning of our journey to strengthen woman-owned businesses and introduce the next generation of women leaders to global entrepreneurship.”

Beaumont began exploring the option of fair-trade skirts with One Seed Heritage during the 2014–15 school year, with two students testing out prototypes for several months.

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Volume 8, Issue 9, Posted 9:07 AM, 08.10.2015

CHHS grad is new Heights High supervisor of athletics

Dwight Hollins is the new Heights High supervisor of athletics. Hollins takes over the position following the departure of Kristin Hughes, former athletic director, who accepted the position of director of athletics for Smith College in Northampton, Mass. Dwight will help facilitate the transition of athletic programs in the midst of the Heights High construction over the next two years.

"I know the district well and am eager to get started. With the demolition and construction of the high school just starting to take place, I see this transition as a huge opportunity," stated Hollins.  

Hollins, a CHHS graduate himself, has extensive experience in athletics.

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Volume 8, Issue 9, Posted 9:12 AM, 07.28.2015

CH-UH BOE opts against placing levy on 2015 ballot; looks instead to 2016

Despite a significant need for additional operating funds to maintain current staffing and services, the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District Board of Education (BOE) has decided against asking voters to approve a new operating levy in 2015.

Scott Gainer, the district’s chief financial officer, detailed recent spending cuts that have been made, and next steps to offset the lost revenue from the May 2015 levy not passing, the loss of the Tangible Personal Property tax reimbursement from the state, and EdChoice vouchers. [The Educational Choice (EdChoice) Program provides students from underperforming public schools the opportunity to attend participating private schools. The EdChoice scholarship amount is currently $4,250 for grades K–8. When families opt to take advantage of this program, the district loses both the student and the state funding.]

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Volume 8, Issue 9, Posted 5:10 PM, 07.23.2015

School social workers help students and parents

For some students, life gets in the way of academic success. School social workers are charged with reducing or removing non-academic barriers to academic success. As families prepare for the start of a new school year, Reaching Heights—a nonprofit that supports student achievement and teacher recognition, and works to connect the community to our public schools—asked Carmen Kottha to describe the role of social workers like herself:

As a school social worker, I’m taken aback by all the services and activities we provide for the students and families of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District. There really is no typical day in social work.


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Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 10:01 AM, 07.31.2015

Teachers union president offers back-to-school tips for parents

As schools gear up for a new school year, CH Teachers Union President Ari Klein offers back-to-school tips for all parents:

The new school year always comes quicker than anyone anticipates. Before summer break slips by, there are small things that parents and guardians can do to help their children transition successfully back into a school routine. 

For children entering a new school, as well as younger children, getting familiar with the school grounds and location can be very helpful in allaying some natural anxiety about going to school. If there is a playground on the school property, it might help younger children adjust to the school just by being on the grounds and taking some ownership through gaining a sense of familiarity.

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Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 9:35 AM, 07.28.2015

Felisha Gould is new CH-UH assistant superintendent

The Cleveland Heights–University Heights City School District has named Felisha Gould as its new assistant superintendent. Her term will begin Aug. 1. Gould succeeds Andrea Celico, the new superintendent of the Bedford City School District, who came to the CH-UH district as assistant superintendent in July 2013.

Gould comes to the position with extensive experience and leadership skills. She began her career as a high school biology teacher in Akron Public Schools before being promoted to middle school principal and then high school principal.

Gould has received a number of awards, including Akron Urban League Educator of the Year, Akron Alliance of Black School Educators Outstanding Administrator, Ohio Association of Secondary School Administrators Middle School Principal of the Year, and the Ohio Alliance of Black School Educators Principal and Student Appreciation awards.

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Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 3:29 PM, 07.22.2015

New vocal music teacher named for Heights High

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District has hired Jesse Lange to be the new vocal music teacher at Cleveland Heights High School.

“I am excited Jesse Lange is joining our Tiger Nation family,” said Superintendent Talisa L. Dixon. “Mr. Lange is an accomplished vocal music teacher and will help continue our tradition of excellence in the high school’s vocal music program. While we will miss the irreplaceable Craig McCaughey, who served in this role for 15 years, Mr. Lange brings his own unique experience and outlook to the program. I look forward to seeing him in action.”

Lange previously worked as the vocal music director at Cuyahoga Falls High School. In this role, he was tasked with facilitating the successful retention and recruitment of vocal music students to build a flourishing program.

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Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 6:51 PM, 07.20.2015

Heights High hires two basketball head coaches

Two new head basketball coaches will be at the helm of Heights High basketball this fall. Karen A. Battle will be the new girls basketball coach and Heights High graduate Jeremy Holmes will coach the boys’ team.

Holmes returns to his alma mater after coaching this past season at Cleveland Central Catholic, where he led the Ironmen to a 24-5 record and the Division II state title game. Holmes had been an assistant coach for the Heights High boys basketball team for three seasons, prior to being hired by Central Catholic.

Battle is a familiar face to the Lady Tigers at Heights High, where she most recently served as assistant varsity women’s basketball coach. Battle also is a licensed intervention specialist at the high school.

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Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 6:50 PM, 07.20.2015

New Heights High assistant principal is former CHPD officer

The Cleveland Heights–University Heights City School District has named John Fullerman as a new assistant principal of Cleveland Heights High School. Fellow assistant principals are Jane Simeri, Alisa Lawson-McKinnie, and Joseph Nicklos (former Oxford Elementary School principal), with Zoraba Ross as head principal.

Fullerman was previously the principal of Summit Academy Secondary School in Canton, where he was also head coach of the basketball team and director of student council. Prior to entering the education field, initially as a teacher, Fullerman served as a Cleveland Heights police officer, 2003–09.

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Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 10:58 AM, 07.10.2015

Oxford Elementary names Brigitte Pronty new principal

The Cleveland Heights–University Heights City School District has hired Brigitte Pronty as the new principal of Oxford Elementary School. Pronty succeeds Joseph Nicklos, the previous principal, who has accepted the position of assistant principal at Cleveland Heights High School.

Pronty began her career in the CH-UH district as a teacher at the former Coventry Elementary School, 2002–07. She then moved to the Cleveland Metropolitan School District where she served as an assistant principal before becoming a principal in 2010. Pronty holds a B.S. in elementary education from the University of Akron, and certification from Ashland University in administration, as well as curriculum and instruction.

“We were looking for a leader who is going to inspire more family and staff engagement to help meet the needs of our students in the Oxford community. We feel Ms. Pronty’s passion, dedication and focus on engaging instruction is just what is needed at this time,” said Superintendent Talisa L. Dixon.

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Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 9:39 AM, 07.09.2015

Delisle Options Center contractor is Heights High graduate

Ralphael Hill, a 1989 graducate of Heights High, has been awarded a contract to do construction work at the Delisle Options Center, as part of the High School reconstruction project. It’s like a homecoming for Hill, who attended Taylor Elementary School, which later became Taylor Academy and is today the Delisle Options Center.

“It’s rewarding to be granted this opportunity to work at the school where I once attended,” Hill said. “When we did the walk-through of the building, they almost had to kick me out of there.”

Delisle houses the Options Program for high school students, registration and career tech programing that includes cosmetology, auto tech, clinical health services and pharmacy tech.

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Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 9:25 AM, 07.09.2015

New Heights High includes sustainability designs

Students, staff and the community will welcome, two years from now, a new Heights High, designed with sustainability characteristics, including being in the top 5 percent of energy-efficient schools nationwide. “The new Heights High is going to be a high-performing, energy-efficient building," stated Nancy Peppler, CH-UH Board of Education.

Peppler noted that, while students and staff will have to get used to doing things differently in terms of sustainability practices, it could be more difficult for staff members to make changes as adults. "The district needs to focus on behavioral changes over the next two years and these behavioral changes should start at Wiley, the temporary high school,” said Peppler.

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Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 10:12 AM, 07.06.2015

CH-UH assistant superintendent named Bedford superintendent

Andrea Celico, Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District's assistant superintendent, recently accepted the superintendent position for the Bedford City School District, located in southeast Cuyahoga County. The Bedford School Board approved her contract at its June 25 meeting. Celico has served as the assistant superintendent for CH-UH City School District since July 2013. Celico had been assistant superintendent in the Euclid School District in the four years prior.

“Dr. Celico has accomplished a lot during her short tenure in our district. She has led the Ohio Improvement Process, which is an established framework for internal communication, as well as shared best practices that we will continue to use moving forward. We wish her the very best in her new role,” stated CH-UH superintendent Dr. Talisa L. Dixon.

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Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 10:33 AM, 06.30.2015

Renaissance principal James Reed retires

James Reed, Heights High Renaissance School principal, will retire after 27 years of service in the CH-UH City School District. A social studies teacher at Wiley Middle School for 11 years, he moved to the high school in 1999 to be a unit principal, responsible for a class of students as they progressed through the school. In 2003, he became a member of the Small Schools design team and was the founding principal of the Renaissance small school.

One of the guiding tenants of the small school model was an emphasis on strong relationships between students and staff as a basis for instruction and leadership. “One of the most rewarding aspects of working here has been getting to know students,” said Reed. “When I could spend the time to understand students, it made it easier to guide them.”

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Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 9:07 AM, 07.01.2015

Oxford Elementary first-grade teacher Betty Miller retires

All great teachers dedicate their lives to teaching, challenging and loving their students. Betty “Oxford” Miller has been a standout in this regard. She is retiring after 40 years as first-grade teacher at Oxford Elementary School.

With undeniable dedication, Miller has tirelessly advocated for both her students and her colleagues in education. She has done everything possible to challenge her students and see them succeed. Miller has helped generations of Oxford children and their families, often working through lunch and after school.

Throughout her time as an educator, Miller has worked hard for teachers’ rights and better working conditions in Heights schools. She has been an advocate of issues and candidates focused on the needs of students.

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Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 9:05 AM, 07.01.2015

Fairfax school community collaborates on playground projects

Three heartfelt and child-centered innovations to the outdoor area of Fairfax Elementary School, two years in the making, were completed this spring.

Early in 2013, members of the Fairfax PTA entered a national video contest sponsored by Big Lots. Their video, which highlighted the need to accommodate students with physical disabilities during recess, won the $20,000 grand prize. 

That money, with additional funds raised by the PTA, paid for three pieces of adaptive-play equipment that were installed in the spring of 2014.

More recently, the school community was brought together by the addition of some finishing touches. A Buddy Bench was installed as part of the Fifth Grade Legacy Project. Antwuan McKeller, recently promoted fifth-grader, created the sign on it. He also received the school’s Awesome Artist award. The bench was the culmination of an idea that was proposed more than 18 months ago.

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Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 2:58 PM, 06.29.2015

Callender named new CTE director for Heights High

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District has named Duane (Brad) Callender its new Director of Career Technical Education (CTE) at Cleveland Heights High School.

“I am very excited to welcome Brad Callender to our Tiger Nation family,” said Superintendent Talisa L. Dixon. “Mr. Callender is a highly qualified, innovative educator. He was the clear choice for this position because of his years of experience in career technical education and his commitment to transforming and enhancing our current career tech programs. With the new career tech facilities that are going into the renovated high school, now is a perfect time to ensure that our CTE programming offers the latest and best possible programming for our students. We’re confident that Mr. Callender will help establish our Heights High School CTE offerings as one of the strongest, most up-to-date CTE programs in the region.”

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Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 10:28 AM, 06.22.2015

Sustainability in Heights High design is focus of June 16 BOE meeting

The June 16 CH-UH Board of Education work session will focus on sustainable designs in the new high school, including constructing an energy-efficient building and using the building as a teaching tool (known as BaTT). The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. at the Board of Education building.

Laura Steinbrink of HLMS Sustainability Solutions will provide an overview to the board and community on the sustainability goals and individual design concepts that were generated through an integrated design event, called an eco-charrette, last May, and how those ideas have been implemented thus far. The eco-charrette was an all-day session, with attendees from the community, the sustainability working group (SWG), design and construction team and district staff, where concepts were discussed and ideas brought forward to shape the design process with the goal of achieving a sustainable building, as well as identifying areas for sustainable concepts to be integrated into the building’s operations, culture and curriculum.

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Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 12:38 PM, 06.14.2015

BOE approves cost estimate for Heights High reconstruction and announces 'key meetings' timeline

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education approved the design development estimate for the High School Renovation Project at the May 19 board work session. 

The Gilbane & Ozanne construction team that is working on the renovations presented the CHHS Reconstruction Project Design Development Phase estimate, which came in [at] just over $75 million. The board’s approval allows the design team to move forward with next steps. Construction will begin this summer.

Below is a proposed timeline of key meetings that the board has set for the High School Renovation Project. Meetings will take place on Tuesdays, at 7 p.m., at the Board of Education building, with the exception of the June 2 meeting, which will take place in the Heights High Social Room.

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Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 10:41 AM, 06.01.2015

Heights High math teacher receives regional award

The Greater Cleveland Council of Teachers of Mathematics selected Heights High math teacher Joyce Bukovac as one of three 2014–15 Outstanding High School Mathematics Teachers.

Bukovac teaches AP statistics and probability, statistics, and modeling. She is also chair of the math department. Fred Thomas, instructional specialist for mathematics, said Bukovac is “totally new school” in her use of technology in the classroom, but appreciates the history of the old-school slide rule. Thomas, who nominated Bukovac for the award, said that this award validates her work in the classroom and with her peers.

“Joyce has a very deep knowledge of the content and is excellent at teaching simple concepts, as well as more advanced topics,” he said. “As the leader of the math department at the high school, she leads by example and collaborates with her colleagues. She knows how to keep students engaged.”

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Volume 8, Issue 6, Posted 10:26 AM, 06.08.2015

Roxboro Elementary celebrates record-breaking fundraiser

The gymnasium at Roxboro Elementary was the site of an “Eye of the Tiger” all-school assembly and pie-throwing event on May 1. Rox El competed against 168 schools in the Jump Rope for Heart event, including schools in Cuyahoga, Lake, Medina, and Geauga counties, earning $10,654.74 for the American Heart Association (AHA).

Vince Nemeth, Rox El physical education teacher and Jump Rope for Heart coordinator, led the assembly, telling students that this was an assembly where being “loud” was “allowed.” “We’re going to rock the house!” shouted Nemeth.

Principal Mike Jenkins, PTA president Erin Gisel and representatives from the American Heart Association applauded the students, parents, teachers and staff for their efforts.

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Volume 8, Issue 6, Posted 10:25 AM, 06.08.2015

Heights students visit Mentor Marsh ecosystem

The Mentor Marsh Ohio Nature Preserve is the perfect place for biology students to learn about the marsh environment and how humans affect the delicate balance of the ecosystem. For 57 students in Janett Korb and Samantha Greene’s Legacy New Tech’s Biology class at Heights High, a May 8 field trip featured information about the invasive species Garlic Mustard and the plant’s effect on the butterfly population.

Part of the class visit featured a discussion with Mentor Marsh Naturalist Becky Donaldson. She explained that the non-native Garlic Mustard plant has displaced native spring wildflowers that provided food for three butterfly species. To help eliminate the Garlic Mustard plant, the students pulled the plant from a section of the park area. Students also collected and examined macroinvertebrates which can indicate water quality.

The field trip is part of the “Heights Goes Green” biology project in Korb and Greene’s class. “This project teaches students about the human impact on our ecosystem and explores ways to reduce the impact,” said Korb.

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Volume 8, Issue 6, Posted 10:25 AM, 06.08.2015

Heights High musicians select colleges and majors

This year's graduates of Cleveland Heights High School will be attending some of the nation’s best music schools in the fall. 

Heights High's outstanding music students were well-prepared for the competitive auditions that secured the coveted spots. Through the high school's music program, students perform a challenging repertoire and are provided with opportunities to play in the school’s orchestras, bands, jazz ensembles and small chamber groups. 

The following 2015 graduates have plans to major in music performance or composition: Maya Fields at Eastman School of Music, Eli Kauffman at University of Pittsburgh, Mason Spencer at Indiana University Bloomington, Celia van den Bogert at University of Michigan, and Ann Zicari at Oberlin College Conservatory of Music. Ian Bartz and Arsean Cox plan to minor in music.

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Volume 8, Issue 6, Posted 6:25 PM, 05.28.2015

Retiring special education coordinator honored

Holly Munoz, coordinator of special education for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District, was honored on May 15 for her accomplishments in working with students with disabilities and special needs. 

Jeff Johnston, director of student services for the CH-UH district, nominated Munoz for the Outstanding Educator Achievement Award, bestowed by the Educational Service Center of Cuyahoga County (ESC-CC) and State Support Team Region 3.

“Dr. Munoz is most deserving of this prestigious award. Her passion for serving students with disabilities inspires me every day,” said Johnston. “She is an energetic leader with a deep knowledge of instructional practice. She is fearless when it comes to making changes and adapting our educational programs to fit the needs of our students. As she approaches her retirement in June, I can think of no better way to recognize her remarkable career.”

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Volume 8, Issue 6, Posted 6:23 PM, 05.28.2015

Heights High ceremony honors past, looks to the future

The Heights High farewell ceremony and groundbreaking on May 12 brought together alumni, current students, families, community members and staff to honor the school’s history and look forward to a bright future. The future of Heights High includes a renovated building at the current site, with construction to begin this June.

The ceremony included a welcome by Superintendent Talisa L. Dixon, and comments by Dennis Wilcox, Cleveland Heights mayor; Zoraba Ross, principal; Eric Silverman, board of education member and alumni foundation president; and Gary Balog, lead architect.

Will Pritts, a Heights High junior, introduced the video he produced, featuring interviews with alumni, and historic photos and film clips.

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Volume 8, Issue 6, Posted 6:20 PM, 05.28.2015

Heights High Flea to benefit Class of 2016

The junior class at Cleveland Heights High School will host a flea market on June 6, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Monticello Middle School, 3665 Monticello Blvd. Vendors will sell items that include hand-crafted jewelry, antiques, vintage clothing, furniture and salvage, collectibles, baked goods and much more. 

The parents and students in the class of 2016 are raising funds for their senior prom, after-prom party and other senior class activities.

For more information or to reserve a vendor space, contact Valerie Moreland, at or 216-316-7272.

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Volume 8, Issue 6, Posted 11:14 AM, 05.18.2015

CH-UH athletic director Hughes accepts position at alma mater Smith College

Kristin Hughes, the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District’s director of athletics, is resigning to accept the position of Director of Athletics for Smith College in Northampton, Mass. Hughes received her Master of Science in exercise and sports studies from Smith, and will be returning to her alma mater to oversee the college’s athletics program, beginning in July.  

“This has been a very difficult decision,” said Hughes. “The CH-UH school district means so much to me. It has been an ideal home and community for me and my family, and I truly cherish the people I have been so fortunate to work with. The professionals in our Heights schools have motivated me to work hard and raise the bar for our athletes. Tiger Nation is a very special place. I knew that it would take a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make me even consider leaving, but that’s what has come about. I am very excited about the challenges that await me at Smith College, but I will always have a special place in my heart for the students, staff, families and residents of Tiger Nation.”

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Volume 8, Issue 6, Posted 3:18 PM, 05.16.2015

Roxboro Middle named IB World School

Roxboro Middle School has been authorized to become an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School for the three-year Middle Years Programme (MYP).

The IB program, which is implemented in more than 4,000 schools worldwide, emphasizes rigorous study and a focus on providing relevance within a global context. The MYP curriculum includes eight subject groups, encouraging students to make practical connections between their studies and the real world. There are currently 544 schools in the U.S. that offer the IB MYP.

“We are thrilled to become an authorized IB World School. The IB distinction will provide our capable staff with the tools necessary to teach students to one day become caring, thoughtful leaders in the Heights community and out in the world,” said Patrick McNichols, Roxboro Middle School principal.

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Volume 8, Issue 6, Posted 3:18 PM, 05.16.2015