Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 10-3-2023

OCT. 3, 2023 - regular meeting

  • Public comment
  • Recognitions and awards
  • Board resolutions and policy reading
  • School spotlight: Roxboro Middle 
  • Superintendent’s report 
  • Treasurer’s report
  • Board comments

Present were Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis, James Posch, and Jodi Sourini. President Beverly Wright was not present. Also present were Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby and Treasurer Scott Gainer. The meeting lasted about two hours.

Public comment

Laura Marks from Heights Tree People expressed appreciation for being allowed to plant trees on the school grounds. Heights Tree People are honoring this past this year with the planting of the 1,000th tree.

Several parents and a student addressed obstacles to student participation in the music program due to required intervention programs scheduled during music periods. One parent emphasized how a music ensemble is a support group for the students. The student described his investment in the Heights High music program, wants more students to have the same opportunities, and views it as a valuable discipline. Another parent also noted how students cannot participate due to mandated intervention programs and asked for corrective action. Ms. Sourini asked the commenters to reach out to the school board to participate in a discussion about the music program.

A parent said that Edmentum Exact Path, a required program, was poorly implemented and not grade-appropriate for his children; he is opting out of the program. [Edmentum Exact Path is a personalized learning path program based on each student’s test results in the Measures of Academic Progress program.]

Recognitions and awards

Fifty-seven Heights High students were designated as Advanced Placement (AP) Scholars. The award is granted to students who receive a score of three or higher on three AP exams. 

Tiger team members were recognized for September. 

Heights High seniors Dashara Turner and Karim Azzam presented the Student Cadre report. They gave an overview of recent athletic events, the Career and Tech Fair, and the upcoming Red Cross Blood Drive. They closed with statements about Heights High’s unique support system.

Resolutions and policy reading

Upon a request by Heights Libraries, the board created and approved a resolution recognizing Freedom to Read Week. 

Paul Lombardo, assistant superintendent for human resources and operations, presented a resolution, which was requested by the board to prepare for significant changes in the Ohio Board of Education under Ohio House Bill (HB) 33. The board tabled the resolution because HB 33 was under a restraining order and the board wanted more information to perhaps reword the resolution. Board members stated their desire to be in compliance with Ohio board directives.

Lombardo presented the first reading of policies Group B. 

School spotlight: Roxboro Middle 

Rebekah Sharpe, Roxboro Middle School principal; Dylan David, dean of students; and Michelle Watson, administrative support, updated the board on the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support (PBIS) program, instituted schoolwide this year. Sharpe began with a reminder that all school personnel must follow Title IX and are mandated reporters. Roxboro is in compliance with district expectations. 

The vision for PBIS at Roxboro Middle focuses on clearly teaching behavior expectations in all common areas and classrooms. Behavior non-negotiables are to be safe, respectful, and responsible. Appropriate behavior is acknowledged, and the PBIS team uses Tiger Loot as part of their incentive structure for positive behaviors such as being on time, being prepared, doing work, and behaving well. The school stores that accept Tiger Loot will open on Friday, Oct. 6.

Superintendent’s report

Principals and assistant principals met in September for professional development in Building Thinking Classrooms in Mathematics Book Study, MTSS (the multi-tiered system of supports), school report cards, coaching via OTES (Ohio Teacher Evaluation System), and Pacing Guides for all grade levels. The District Leadership Team also met in September.

Students in the clinical health career class practiced taking vitals and their bedside manner. They are preparing for certification exams.

GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) week was held in September with middle and high school activities.

Heights Career Tech invites the community to the Fall In Love With CTE Fair on Saturday, Oct. 21, from noon to 3 p.m. at Heights High.

A Music Root Cause Committee is being formed to address concerns about the music program including lack of student involvement. In mid-October, a survey will be posted on the district website for parents and community. An application to serve on the committee will also be posted and available for two weeks. After applications are reviewed, dates will be set for the committee meetings, which will start in early November.

Treasurer’s report

Treasurer Gainer will update the five-year forecast when the district receives its allocation of state funding in October.

Gainer explained the indirect cost rate, certificate of achievement, and certificate of transition. Indirect costs refer to expenses not specific to a particular grant, contract, or project. The district applied for and received $196,000 for indirect expenses for fiscal year 2023. In 2022, the district received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the twenty-fourth consecutive year. [The award was established in 1945 by the Government Finance Officers Association.] The treasurer has prepared a certificate of transition for his successor to ensure a smooth transition if the treasurer is suddenly unavailable to serve. 

Board comments 

The board recognized October as Right to Read Month.

The Heights Schools Foundation will host the 43rd Cleveland Heights High School Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Oct. 5, at 4:30 p.m. in the Heights High auditorium.

Coffee with the superintendent and the board president will take place Oct. 12 at the board of education offices. This month’s focus is on using data to support student success.

Heights High will hold a community blood drive on Oct. 17.

The next board meetings will be a regular meeting Nov. 7.

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.

Read More on Schools
Volume 16, Issue 11, Posted 2:02 PM, 10.19.2023