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

AUGUST 15, 2023 - work session

  • Recognitions and awards
  • Consent agenda
  • Strategic plan presentations

Present were Board President Beverly Wright and members Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis, and James Posch. Jodi Sourini was not present. Also present were Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby and Treasurer Scott Gainer. The meeting ran one hour and 40 minutes.

Recognitions and awards

Malia Lewis congratulated Paul Lombardo, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources and Operations and his staff on hiring all of the Academic Success Tutors.

Superintendent Kirby congratulated Lombardo and his staff for efforts that went into the hiring process for new staff. She met many new staff members, who are enthusiastic about becoming a part of Tiger Nation.

Consent agenda

The board declared transportation for the 2023-24 school year to five private schools as impractical and will offer parents payment in lieu.

Strategic plan presentations:

Staff members presented updates on strategic plan goals three, four, and five along with plans for coming school year. 

Goal 3: Family and Community Engagement, Partnerships and Communications. Supervisor of Communication Cathan Cavanaugh, Supervisor of Community and School Partnerships Nancy Peppler, and Engagement Specialist Lisa Hunt presented the update. Actions for school year 2022-23 include:

  • Marketing outreach using a variety of messaging approaches.
  • Adding a marketing emphasis to the onboarding process for families, such as welcome letters and student shadowing experiences.
  • Developing a consistent communication process within the school system, such as newsletters from each school to the parents and sending district newsletters to parents.
  • Expanding Community Learning Center (CLC) work to include both Noble and Oxford Elementary Schools.
  • Expanding the number of community partnerships.
  • Creating a Family and Community Engagement (FACE) plan in each school.
  • Supporting active parent groups within each school.

Plans for school year 2023-24 include: 

  • Establishing Student Social Media Ambassadors at the high school.
  • Increasing community signage.
  • Developing a brochure for each school.
  • Increasing to four district newsletters/year.
  • Expanding MetroHealth student enrollment to 2,500 from the current 1,300.
  • Launching a Family Resource Center.
  • Increasing staff support to enable positive impact on student behavior issues.

Goal 4: Value Professionals and a Culture of Excellence: Caring, Quality, Diversity and Collaboration. Dr. Lombardo presented the update. Actions for school year 2022-23 include:

  • Promoting equity policy and goals. Potential hirees seek out CH/UH Schools for placement because of the district’s position on equity and diversity.
  • Having inclusive interviewing and hiring techniques, including a question bank for all interviewers to select three questions for use in the interview process.
  • Establishing threat assessment teams in each school building.
  • Establishing the Grow your own Program, which provides $2,500 per semester to an employee engaging in further schooling to become a teacher in the CHUH Schools. The search is on to find future funding for this program as the current grant funding is running out.
  • Establishing a partnership with Howard University.
  • Increasing in the number of certified staff members of color.
  • Continuing a focus on a retention goal of 90 percent.

Plans for school year 2023-24 include: 

  • Increasing support and services to staff to enable them to support the behavioral needs of students.
  • Changing measurement for the retention goal of 90 percent to by building rather than by district.
  • Increasing by 30 percent the number of certified staff members of color hired into open positions, as measured by building.
  • Increasing the number of student athletes with a GPA of 2.5 or higher by 15 percent.
  • Increasing a focus on staff wellness.
  • Seeking grant money to fund the Grow Your Own program.

Ms. Lewis requested that a vaccine clinic be held this fall for the students and the community. Mr. Heintz requested a review of staff absenteeism for patterns and potential remedies. He also requested that the relationship with Howard University include teacher recruitment for CHUH Schools as well as student recruitment for Howard.

Goal 5: Operation Resources: Finance, Technology and Facilities. Dr. Lombardo and Treasurer Scott Gainer presented the update. Actions for school year 2022-23 include:

  • Development of a ten-year roof and facilities plan.
  • Evaluation of HVAC systems.
  • Prioritization of maintenance needs.
  • Establishment of replacement processes.
  • Focus on preventative maintenance.
  • Life cycle planning for equipment.
  • Cyber security plan development and implementation.
  • Improved communication and advocacy regarding finances by placing financial data on the website. 
  • Advocacy around the Fair School Funding Plan and how vouchers will affect the CHUH budget.
  • Bus driver replacement and recruitment program.

Plans for school year 2023-24 include:

  • Implementing a master facilities plan
  • Having positive cash balance through 2023.
  • Keeping the community informed of the district’s fiscal picture.
  • Continuing the programs from last year.
  • Continuing to stay informed about voucher litigation and its effect on CHUH Schools.

Mr. Heintz suggested that succession planning be formalized especially for the most complex positions within finances, technology, and facilities.

LWV observer: Judith Beeler

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.

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Volume 16, Issue 10, Posted 10:31 AM, 10.09.2023