LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS / Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights

AUGUST 1, 2023 - regular meeting

  • Recognitions and awards
  • Holocaust education
  • Heights School Foundation update
  • Superintendent announcements
  • Treasurer’s report
  • Board comments

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 lasted about one hour and thirty minutes.

Recognitions and awards

District staff and community partners who provided activities and services for the summer student programs received awards. 

Holocaust education

Heights High Administrative Principal Patrick Townes presented an initiative to commemorate 50 years of Holocaust education at Heights High. He introduced ninth-grade teacher Patrick Fisher, who explained how social studies teacher Mark Sack initiated the project by discussing creating a student-designed mural with Nancy Rich, Heights High art teacher. She then coordinated with art teacher Sara Cooper and alumni artist Nancy Schwartz-Katz to create the mural. More than 100 Heights High students participated in designing and painting the large mural. The mural will be used for education and continued awareness of the Holocaust.

Heights School Foundation update

Laura Loebl, executive director of the Heights School Foundation, and Wesley Williams, marketing and development associate, presented the past year’s progress. The foundation is developing a scholarship program, increasing the number of Hall of Fame recipients, supporting the TASSEL (Toward a Skillful and Successful Empowered Life) program to work with students on public speaking skills, and contributing to the Oxford WPA Preservation project. The foundation presented $65,000 in scholarships on Senior Awards Night.

Superintendent announcements

Superintendent Kirby announced that five teachers had participated in AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) training to gain new teaching strategies and resources that will provide in-school academic support to prepare students for college readiness and success.

Students in grades 10, 11 and 12 participated in a transition activity for ninth-graders to provide a bridge from middle school and an orientation for the class of 2027. GEAR-UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) partners assisted with supplies.

Ninth-grade Principal Leshaun Perry attended the three-day National Council for Community and Education Partnerships/GEAR UP Annual Conference on “The Power of Possibility,” which was held to celebrate successes and to find solutions for education’s most pressing problems. 

Superintendent Kirby thanked Bob Swaggard, director, college and career readiness, for writing the GEAR UP grant to provide educators with these opportunities.

Equity work continues following the ICS (Integrated Children’s System) for equity approach.

Treasurer’s report

Gainer is waiting to see how the changes in the Ohio State Board of Education will affect education funding. He will not be able to make firm predictions until October when the first payment is distributed. He also said that the state department of education is requiring school boards to supply more details when applying for grants.

Board comments 

President Wright attended a meeting on racial justice.

Heintz encouraged people to vote on Aug. 8 and encouraged University Heights voters to check their polling stations because some had changed.

The board encouraged the community to read “When Did We Take the Wrong Road to Education Reform and Where Has It Taken Us?” written by Jan Resseger, a Cleveland Heights resident who writes on education. It was posted on her blog (https://janresseger.wordpress.com) on Aug. 1.

LWV Observer: Rosemarie Fairman.

Documents for all board meetings can be accessed at 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.

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Volume 16, Issue 9, Posted 10:16 AM, 09.12.2023