Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 2-7-23
FEBRUARY 7, 2023, regular meeting
- Public comments
- Recognitions and awards
- African-American History and LGBTQ+ Pride months
- School Spotlight: Roxboro
- ELA curriculum recommendations
- Policies group B
- School funding and policy
Present were President Beverly Wright, Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis, James Posch, and Jodi Sourini. Also present were Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby and Treasurer Scott Gainer. The meeting was called to order at 7 p.m. and adjourned at 9:30 p.m.
Krissy Dietrich Gallagher announced the formation of the Heights Athletic Boosters, which will connect students across sports. The Boosters plan to have fundraising efforts to sponsor coaches and students. They intend to create sports-specific user guides so that students and families will have information needed to make sports accessible to all students. A planning meeting will be held on Feb. 15.
Gabe Crenshaw said that she appreciated that equity is a stated goal for the district but that changes are needed to promote equity, notably changing the name of Monticello Middle School because of the name’s link to slavery. She also objected to pictures of students in district publications not correctly presenting the racial balance of the schools.
Recognitions and awards
Twenty-seven Heights students were winners in the Martin Luther King Essay contest. The winners received gift baskets and will have their work displayed at the Cleveland Heights Community Center.
Twenty-four students won awards at the Scholastic Art & Writing competition.
Superintendent Kirby recognized faculty and staff Tiger Team members for December and January.
Student Cadre members Dashara Turner and Taylor Evans reported sports team successes and noted that this is the girls’ wrestling team’s inaugural season.
An AP (Advanced Placement) fair was held during lunch periods to encourage students to enroll in AP classes.
The instrumental music department will celebrate 100 years of instrumental music at the centennial concert.
African-American History and LGBTQ+ Pride months
The board approved a resolution to recognize February as African-American History Month and to focus on its significance to the district. The African pride flag will fly in front of the high school during February. The board also approved a resolution to recognize June as LGBTQ+ Pride Month, during which the Progress Pride flag will fly in front of the high school.
School Spotlight: Roxboro
The School Spotlight, a newly implemented way to recognize points of pride in each school, highlighted Roxboro’s guidance office. Guidance Counselor Lindsy Self provided her schedule and strategies to work with the students. She highlighted how using mindfulness assists students in managing their emotions. She said the biggest gamechanger is that she now has a new room for meeting with students. She has been able to see each student once a week.
ELA curriculum recommendations
Director of Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Christina Bauer presented the first reading of the recommended ELA (English Language Arts) curriculum for kindergarten through twelfth grade. She presented the new ELA English recommendation and how it aligns with the district’s strategic plan. Program Specialist for Literacy Karen Heinsbergen presented the process that was used to review and select the curriculum.
The curriculum is being piloted after 92 teachers participated in professional learning to implement the pilot program. Students and teachers were surveyed in developing the curriculum. The teachers came to a consensus on the recommendations for the curriculum.
The curriculum has online and print components. Dr. Bauer presented the proposed cost to the district for the students to use the program for the next seven years, including consumables.
A three-month professional learning schedule will be held for the teachers who will use the curriculum; support will be ongoing.
Board members asked to see the survey responses and thanked the teachers and staff for their involvement and hard work.
Policies group B
Dr. Paul Lombardo, asst. superintendent, presented the first reading of policies group B. Mr. Heintz asked how people who take on leadership roles in sports or clubs are made aware of the policies. Dr. Lombardo said employees are presented with the policies and must sign a statement that they are aware of the policies.
School funding and policy
Mr. Gainer said it was important to watch the state’s biennial budget because it will focus on vouchers, and money that is left will go to the fair school funding plan.
The Ohio Senate has referred Senate Bills 1 (renames the state department of education and revises the duties of the state board of education), 11 (expands EdChoice private school vouchers), 14 (expands eligibility for US military veterans to be employed as teachers without licensure), and 17 (revises eligibility for SNAP, Medicaid, and unemployment) to the Senate Education Committee. Senate Bill 1, first proposed in 2022, transfers most of the state board of education’s oversight and control of education policy to the governor. President Wright commented that these actions show that the public school system is being attacked.
The Heights Coalition for Public Education is hosting a forum on March 2 to encourage the community to get to know their elected state officials.
Multiple activities celebrating Black History Month will be held throughout the schools.
The Heights Wellness Center at the high school held its grand opening.
The Heights School Foundation wishes to modify and improve hall of fame ceremonies.
Upcoming meetings include a work session on Feb. 21 at 6:30 p.m. and a regular meeting on Mar. 7 at 7 p.m.
LWV Observer: Rosemarie Fairman.
Documents for all board meetings can be accessed from the Board of Education webpage: www.chuh.org/BoardofEducation.aspx. 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 (www.youtube.com/CHUHSchools) and recorded for later viewing