School News from Reaching Heights in this issue of Heights Observer

Patrick Mullen

Citizen engagement is at the heart of what we do at Reaching Heights, so it’s right that we should work with The Heights Observer, home of citizen journalism in our community, to provide this four-page snapshot of teaching and learning in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights public schools. We’re an independent citizen organization that has worked for two decades to mobilize our community in support of excellence in public education in Cleveland Heights, University Heights, and a slice of South Euclid. It’s not work that lends itself to a “Mission Accomplished” moment, but it is important, and, for the most part, fun.

Six principles guide our work:

  • Our children deserve an excellent education; our community is responsible for making it available;
  • We all benefit from valued, successful schools;
  • An informed public is one key to our schools’ success;
  • Vital schools need the support, interest, and involvement of the families and community they serve;
  • An organization like ours — independent, community-based — can build confidence in our schools and help citizens contribute to their success; and
  • Teachers are at the core of our children’s education. Supporting teachers fosters educational success.

To put those principles into action, we support academic success with our School Team Grants and Many Villages academic tutoring program. We support musical excellence by providing private music lesson scholarships and offering a one-week Heights Summer Music Camp each June. Next April 11, we’ll hold the third Reaching Musical Heights concert at Severance Hall, showcasing our students’ rich talents.

And we communicate, widely and often, to tell stories of teaching and learning in our schools. This insert is part of that effort, as are the Neighborhood Newsletters from which these stories are drawn, our monthly email newsletters, and our website,

Teaching and learning are intertwined but distinct. Great teachers identify each child’s strengths and struggles, their style of learning, and perhaps most critically, figure out how to get each child to want to do his or her best. Done well, teaching seems magical. Our shared future depends on its success, because at our best, we’re citizens, not consumers or spectators; all three are learned behaviors.

How do teachers teach? You’ll see a few answers in these pages. We describe students’ classroom experiences and the different ways they learn. And we share the stories of seven recent Heights High graduates, all at college now, who talk about what they learned in our schools.

My thanks go to the team that wrote and edited these stories: Joy Henderson, Krista Hawthorne, Florence D’Emilia and Tricia Springstubb. Let me know what you’d like to see in future newsletters and what you think of this one. You can reach me at 216-932-5110 or

Read More on School News From Reaching Heights
Volume 3, Issue 5, Posted 11:59 AM, 04.16.2010