Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 2-15-22

FEBRUARY 15, 2022, work session


  • 2026 strategic plan update
  • Academic update 
  • Board discussion of the update 


Present were President Malia Lewis, Dan Heintz, James Posch, Jodi Sourini, and Beverly Wright. Also present were Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby and Treasurer Scott Gainer. The meeting began at approximately 7 p.m. and ended at approximately 9 p.m.

2026 strategic plan update

Superintendent Kirby, assisted by Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Felisha Gould, Director of Data Research and Assessment Allison Byrd, and Director of Curriculum and Instruction Robert Swaggard, updated the board on the strategic plan and mid-year academics.

The group briefly reviewed the status of the district’s year one action plans for the five goal areas of the strategic plan. Most of the year one action plans are in progress or have been completed. The next steps are to share the update at the State of the Schools address on March 16 and to take it on a “roadshow” for community stakeholders.

Academic update 

The group presented comparative data for academic years 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 and mid-year data for 2021-2022. Achievement gaps are continuing for minority and special needs students. The overall average for literacy achievement has remained constant during the pandemic, but math achievement has declined across all demographic groups. 

Attendance dropped from 2019-2020 to 2020-2021. Student and staff absenteeism due to COVID infection and quarantine periods has been a challenge, as has an increase in chronic absenteeism (defined as excused and unexcused absences exceeding 10 percent of assigned classes). All students were counted as attending when only remote instruction was provided because of the pandemic (March 16, 2020, to the end of the 2019-2020 academic year), which would artificially increase documented attendance for that year. 

Board discussion of the update 

Ms. Sourini suggested that the “roadshow” include upcoming joint meetings with Cleveland Heights and University Heights councils and the library. Mr. Heinz asked that the dates for those meetings and roadshow events be placed on the district calendar as soon as possible.

Ms. Lewis noted that academic growth has increased from fall to winter of the current academic year, showing that in-person learning is more effective than learning remotely and that attendance matters.

Mr. Posch commented that math scores were much lower than literacy scores. He questioned whether the district was doing enough to address this but deferred to the board president and superintendent on how to increase that focus. Dr. Kirby said that the district is engaging a committee to analyze math achievement. 

Board members generally expressed concern about the gaps between minority and non-minority students and between students with and without disabilities. They asked for comparative data on these gaps, and also transiency, attendance, and math achievement for other inner-ring suburban schools, if available. Several stressed the importance of summer camp, tutoring, and success coaches to help students recover from pandemic-related learning loss.

Ms. Wright said that, looking back at the challenges of remote learning, she now sees improvement, and she wants the teachers and students to be encouraged to keep working, knowing that they will catch up.

Upcoming meetings include a regular meeting March 1 at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium, and a work session March 15. The superintendent will deliver the State of the Schools address on March 16.

LWV Observer: Katherine Petrey.

Documents for all board meetings can be accessed from the Board of Education webpage: Go to “BoardDocs” in the menu; on BoardDocs 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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Volume 15, Issue 4, Posted 4:28 PM, 03.14.2022