Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 5-18-2021

MAY 18, 2021, work session


  • Career and technical education student support
  • Social-emotional learning (SEL)
  • Fair Schools Funding Plan


Present were Board President James Posch and members Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis, Jodi Sourini, and Beverly Wright. Also present were Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby and Treasurer Scott Gainer. The meeting was called to order at 7 p.m. and adjourned at 9 p.m.

Career and technical education student support

Superintendent Kirby recommends adding a new position, coordinator of school technology. The position has two key areas of focus: coordinated, focused support for career and technical education (CTE), and additional professional development for CTE students. This action is consistent with the strategic plan goal to improve the graduation rate and promote post-graduate success. 

Board members Pocsh, Lewis, and Heintz said the presentation led to a better understanding of CTE.

Social-emotional learning (SEL)

The SEL plan will help students to cope with daily challenges by implementing trauma-informed care. Superintendent Kirby introduced seven counselors and social workers in the Educational Services Department. They presented a plan to support students through social-emotional learning and to promote success using the postsecondary planning system. The plan meets Ohio Department of Education standards and follows procedures in the Cleveland State University School Climate 2021 document.

Preassessment for the plan required engaging students, parents, and teachers to collect data concerning loss, anxiety due to on-screen requirements or transitioning back to in-person instruction, feelings of being overwhelmed with options or technology, the need for additional resources, and training for teachers and staff.

Using the preassessment data, social workers and counselors created trauma-informed care plans and strategies specific to the needs of their buildings. Every school in the district has a trauma-informed plan. All schools set aside time for the faculty to discuss trauma. Counselors hold classes with students to discuss behavioral needs and educational needs. Social workers promote self-care. Students and families can be referred to community partners.

The postsecondary planning system measures postsecondary success so the effectiveness of district SEL interventions can be determined. Individual student growth plans have been developed for academic, health, and social domains. The system is tailored to be specific to the school district. The Johns Hopkins University analyzed the surveys to ensure their validity.

Board members commented on the cohesiveness of the plan; the superintendent said that the information in the report was as important as district education metrics. In response to a question about families in trauma, the panel said that more district families were experiencing homelessness and chronic absenteeism has increased.

Providing services or referrals to services is a component of the SEL plan. Ms. Wright and Mr. Heintz asked questions regarding the partnership with The MetroHealth System to provide school-based supplemental health services to the students. MetroHealth has operated a clinic at the high school for several years. Last April, mobile clinics also served middle and elementary schools. Next year, depending on enrollment, mobile units may visit schools monthly. The high school clinic will be open once-a-week during the summer session.

Fair Schools Funding Plan

Jennifer Hogue, director of legislative services for Ohio School Boards Association, discussed advocacy for the Fair Schools Funding Plan. She provided an overview of the biennial budget process and the timeline for a Senate substitute bill on HB110 as it moves through committee. Ms. Hogue warned that HB290 (the “Backpack Bill”) had been introduced and is a threat to HB110. This bill makes vouchers universal, so that any Ohio child would be eligible for a voucher to cover part of private school tuition. The money provided follows the student wherever he or she goes, hence the name “backpack,” Ms. Hogue emphasized the need to contact legislators in support of Fair School Funding Plan.

Upcoming meetings are a regular meeting on June 8 at 7 p.m. and work sessions on June 15 and June 29, both at 6:30 p.m. All meetings will be held in the high school auditorium.

LWV Observer: Rosemarie Fairman.

Documents for all board meetings can be accessed from the Board of Education webpage: Go to “BoardDocs” in the menu; on Board Docs go to “MEETINGS” in the top menu; click on “Agenda.” Board meetings are livestreamed on the district’s YouTube channel ( and recorded for later viewing.

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