Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 1-8-2024
JANUARY 9, 2024 - regular meeting
- Approval of transportation policy
- Superintendent’s comments
- Treasurer’s report
- Board comments
Present were board members Gabe Crenshaw, Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis, Phil Trimble, and Jodi Sourini. Also present were Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby and Treasurer Scott Gainer. The meeting lasted about one hour and 45 minutes.
A moment of silence was observed for the Heights High student who died in the last week.
The board swore in new board members Gabe Crenshaw and Phil Trimble and elected Jodi Sourini as board president, Malia Lewis as vice president, and Gabe Crenshaw as treasurer pro tem.
The board approved a consent agenda, which included the approval of legal counsel, school cashiers, the alternative tax budget, and continued membership in the OEPI (Ohio Education Policy Institute) and OSBA (Ohio School Boards Association).
The board recognized Tiger Team members from each school for outstanding contributions in December.
The board accepted, without discussion, the final version of policy 8600, the board’s policies regarding the transportation of students in kindergarten through eighth grade who live in the district.
Superintendent Kirby reported that the Curriculum and Instruction Team continues to work with elementary grade teachers concerning the new ELA (English language arts) assessments and that recommendations will be forthcoming about math curriculum and instruction. Michael Jenkins, director of curriculum and instruction, said that informal feedback has been positive and that the pacing of the instructional material has been a challenge on which they have been working. They are making full use of the purchased materials.
In December, a principals’ meeting addressed MTSS (multi-tiered systems of support).
On Dec. 19, 300 eighth-graders visited TriC for the Annual College and Career Readiness event. A College Credit-Plus night is planned for Jan. 18 for middle- and high-school students. Currently, 33 district students participate in the associate degree program.
The high school provided grief support for students following the recent death of a high school student to gun violence, including healing circles, counseling, and workshops.
On Jan. 17 and 31, the district will conduct information sessions for parents about cell phone and online safety for children. This event is a collaboration with the Shaker Heights and South Euclid-Lyndhurst schools and 21st Century Programs.
A student competition through the Young Entrepreneur’s Institute will be highlighted at the Black History Month celebration on Feb. 24. The event will include a pop-up shop.
Responding to a question from the board, Superintendent Kirby reported on planning for schedule changes at Roxboro. She will provide further information once the planning is complete.
In response to a question from the board, Robert Swaggard, director of career and college readiness, asked Ms. Kirby to report on the high school staff’s efforts to aid parents and students with financial aid applications, including the new FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
Mr. Gainer reported on the value of the district’s membership in the OEPI, a non-profit group that conducts research, analyzes data on state school funding, and makes recommendations. All board members endorsed the value of OEPI’s information and analysis.
Mr. Gainer is the board’s designee to receive public records training for the current term of office.
Mr. Heintz reported on the email response process when multiple individual board members receive emails about the same topic. In this situation, the board president, rather than individual members, responds to avoid any appearance of official action by individual board members.
Mr. Heintz discussed the decline in student enrollment in the district and asked the superintendent to seek information about open school policies. He also noted that gun violence is the leading cause of death for school-age children in the U.S. and asked the board and the superintendent to consider developing and implementing curriculum to address the presence and threat of guns in the students’ lives.
Ms. Lewis reported that after research and with the help of OSBA, she has learned that the board does not have authority to increase residency requirements to become a board member. The current rule is that a person must be registered to vote and a resident of the district for 120 days before the election.
Ms. Lewis announced that the League of Women Voters will host a webinar, “The Wolf at the Door,” on Jan. 24.
The board will designate a member to attend the northeastern OSBA consortium.
LWV Observer: Paula Goodwin.
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.