Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights

MARCH 7, 2023, regular meeting


  • Recognitions and awards
  • School Spotlight
  • Diversity and equity
  • ELA curriculum
  • Policies B 
  • Treasurer’s report
  • Board comments and announcements


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.

Recognitions and awards

Winners of the MLK essay contest were recognized. Also recognized were the winners of the first districtwide Every Day Counts public service announcement contest: Aidan Rodney (elementary school category), Cordelia Bender (middle school), Heights High School TV Club (high school). Skylah Gentry (honorable mention) submitted a poem that the superintendent read.

Ninth-grader Jayla Scruggs presented sports updates. Both the girls and boys wrestling teams advanced to the state tournament. Ms. Scruggs also stated her personal appreciation for the numerous opportunities for honors and AP classes at the high school. She appreciates feeling safe at school and in the community.

Allison Craig was honored by Ohio School Social Worker Association as Ohio School Social Worker of the Year.

School Spotlight

Fairfax Elementary School Cabaret celebrated the cooperation between the school and the community. Principal Florence Masella thanked her staff and the very supportive PTA. Vocal music teacher Tamar Gray praised the parents and PTA assistance. PTA president Kelly Sisko presented an overview of the cabaret event and showed a video of the closing Cabaret song.

Monticello Middle School Principal Jeffrey Johnston introduced teacher Jon Diligente who presented the robotics program, which offers Cuyahoga Community College credit to participating eighth-grade students. A video of the sonic sensor was also presented. Students gain programming skills and hone their math skills so they can use Ohm’s law, engineering notation, and scientific notation. They learn to work together and have fun in an innovative environment. The students will be competing in an event at Cedar Point in mid-May.

Teacher Leslie Garrett and students presented the International Baccalaureate (IB) service learning project. The IB students identified a need in the community and developed a plan of action. For the project, IB students tutor at Noble and Oxford Elementary schools. The students appreciate working with the elementary students. 

Diversity and equity

The Equity Task Force Team, staff, and students have watched part two of the documentary “Who We Are.” Cleveland State University’s Dr. Heather Hill facilitated the discussion that followed. Dr. Hill is working with district students as part of a mini-course.

Ms. Lewis commented that she was in conversation with students after the “Who We Are” showing who want to form an afterschool organization to explore equity and racial disparity at the high school.

Concerning other diversity matters, the human resources department will partner with the Insight Education Group to continue work to recruit and retain staff of color. State grant funds will pay for implementation.

ELA curriculum 

Director of Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Christina Bauer presented the recommendation for the ELA (English Language Arts) curriculum and took questions. She discussed other districts that have used the curriculum, the percentage of teachers who recommended the curriculum, and the diversity represented in the materials. Curriculum materials will be available through Clever, the district’s online program. The board will vote whether to accept the curriculum in April.

Policies B

Dr. Lombardo presented the second reading of policies B. The board will vote on the policies next month. 

For one of the policies, there was discussion on forms being developed to address administrative guidelines for responding to requests related to educational material. At present, no policy changes are proposed that would be detrimental to curriculum or library material.

Treasurer’s report

Mr. Gainer gave his “Three Things” presentation. He discussed:

1)    The district earning, for the second year, the Ohio Auditor of State Award with Distinction.

2)    Approval to use an independent public accounting firm for the audit process. The district pays $50,000 to $75,000 per year to be audited by the state. Mr. Heintz noted that private schools are not audited and do not pay the state for the process.

3)    Elimination of the rollback for new levies approved after July 2013. 

He also provided information on current state legislation that could impact the district. If passed, Ohio House Bill 1 (HB 1) would jeopardize public services by eliminating rollbacks, affecting schools, libraries, parks, and more. The effects of “HB 920” [inflation roll-back, which is actually in the Ohio Constitution] would not be eliminated by HB 1.

The Fair School Funding Plan and the voucher program are in the governor’s proposed education budget. The board discussed how HB 1 is not financially feasible.

More information on Mr. Gainer’s report is available at:

Board comments and announcements

Ms. Wright will be part of a Reaching Heights panel and will attend the National School Boards Association Conference. 

On March 8, Reaching Heights is hosting a community event, “Spreading the News about our Schools.”

The Threat Assessment Management Guide has been completed. Teams were trained on Feb. 28. Implementation with fidelity begins in April.

Ms. Sourini asked whether an Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus BC class will be offered every year. [AP Calculus is offered as AB or BC; the latter is more advanced]. Currently, it is offered every other year. Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Felicia Gould said she will review the rotation of AP classes and evaluate the request.

Ms. Sourini said that she appreciates the “shadow” days at the various schools, designed to help students making school transitions, such as from middle school to high school or from elementary school to middle school. Students have expressed their appreciation for the shadow days. 

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 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 16, Issue 4, Posted 9:55 AM, 04.02.2023