Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights

MAY 16, 2023, work session

  • Equity principles
  • Integrated Comprehensive Systems partnership
  • Treasurer’s report

Present were Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis, James Posch, and Jodi Sourini. President Beverly Wright was absent. Also present were Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby and Treasurer Scott Gainer. The meeting lasted about one hour and thirty minutes.

The meeting focused on equity core ideas and how these align with instruction and raise academic achievement.  Presenters also stressed how the district equity policy impacts programs and procedures. 

Equity principles

Dr. Felisha Gould, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, emphasized that the principle of equity is one of fair – rather than equal – treatment to help students achieve. She presented the six goals of the district’s equity policy: equitable access to instruction, equitable distribution of staff, creation of pathways of success for students from all groups, development of an equity analysis tool, provision of opportunities to understand the impact of one’s identity, and empowerment of all students and families in educational decision-making.

Integrated Comprehensive Systems (ICS) partnership 

Dr. Gould presented the district partnership in ICS for equity. [From the ICS website: ICS provides a framework and training for educational partners who seek to transform their entire educational system to eliminate inequities.] The ICS approach has four cornerstones: focus on equity, align staff and students, transform teaching and learning, and leverage policy and funding.  With this approach, equity is non-negotiable and aligns all district policies, procedures, and funding.

Noble Elementary Principal Patrick Carpenter, Gearity Elementary Principal Patrick McNichols, and Gearity second-grade teacher Angela Hoang, representing the Nobel and Gearity leadership teams, discussed how programs in their schools aligned with the ICS cornerstones. They emphasized inclusive classrooms, more supports to reduce the need for intervention, and a focus on positives. Family engagement is important so that teachers understand family goals for their students.

Karlene Sa’ad, Gearity instructional coach, provides support for all Gearity teachers to improve instruction and support the diverse needs of the students. She assists with Gearity Goal Getters, a student-led initiative that celebrates the success of a student’s personal growth journey, and Springboard, an afterschool reading program for kindergarten through third grade students. 

Steve Walker, TASSEL coordinator, presented how TASSEL (Toward a Skillful and Successful Empowered Life) focuses on credit recovery and credit flex for current ninth and tenth graders as well as micro-credentials and internship opportunities with the city of Cleveland Heights for eleventh and twelfth graders. Eleventh grader Aniyah Idom was very positive about the student discussions after viewing the film, “Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America,” shown as part of the TASSEL program. She also praised the Heights Family Academy webinars, which have been developed to engage families as part of the equity initiative.

Treasurer’s report

Mr. Gainer presented the five-year forecast. A positive cash balance is anticipated through 2027; however, he noted that the financial situation remains fluid and contains significant uncertainty. The forecast could change depending on the state budget.

LWV Observer: Rosemarie Fairman.

LWV had no observers at the May 22 and June 7 meetings, which were not videotaped. The agenda for both meetings comprised consent agendas to approve personnel items not requiring discussion. Included was the May 22 appointment of Rebekah Sharpe as the new principal at Roxboro Middle School (

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.


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Volume 16, Issue 7, Posted 2:48 PM, 07.10.2023