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

JANUARY 23, 2024 - work session

  • SEL model and curriculum
  • Direct support partners and services
  • Indirect support partners and services

Board members present were President Jodi Sourini, Gabe Crenshaw, Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis, and Phil Trimble. Also present were Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby and Treasurer Scott Gainer. The meeting lasted about 1.75 hours.

The meeting focused on social-emotional/mental health support for students and families that aligns with Ohio’s Whole Child Framework. The framework focuses on the integration of interventions and services.

SEL model and curriculum

Kirby stated the importance of making everyone aware of the social-emotional learning (SEL) opportunities in the schools and community. The district shares its educational and social priorities with community partners. 

The schools have a focused SEL curriculum that models ways of understanding emotions and “zones of regulation.” Included in the SEL support services are counseling, mindfulness, restorative practices, and the Responsive Classroom. They also collaborate with partners and community agencies for services and support.

Direct support partners and services

LaShonda Abdussatar, director of SEL & Academic Supports, stated that today’s presentation highlights a small sampling of the partners with which the district collaborates to promote Ohio’s Whole Child Framework, which includes two domains: 1) direct support provided by Bellefaire/JCB and MetroHealth and school social workers and counselors; and 2) indirect support provided by the community organizations Lake Erie Ink, Students of Promise, and Universal Love.

Bellfaire JCB: Christine Ruma-Cullen directs the SAY Program (Social Advocates for Youth), a prevention program for middle school and high school students. The program is grant funded and underwritten by Bellefaire. 

MetroHealth: Lisa Ramirez, director of MetroHealth Community and Behavioral Health, said that MetroHealth’s School Health Program focuses on increasing access to health care and support services. They provide primary care at in-school clinics and the mobile unit clinic for onsite, integrated physical and behavioral health. School nursing and emergency services will still be provided to students as always, whether or not parents choose to take part in the added service. The program screens students over the age of 12, provides team-based care, and supports the Whole Child Framework. A signed parental consent form, which is available on the CH-UH district website, must be on file for the student to receive services. The parent can opt out of specific services they do not want for their child.

Nancy Peppler, supervisor of community and school partnerships, discussed how families still do not understand that providing consent for their student to receive MetroHealth services does not compete with their family’s established healthcare. Rather, MetroHealth adds another layer of support for the student. 

Indirect support partners and services

Lake Erie Ink, represented by Amy Rosenbluth, provides a writing space for youth that supports SEL through creative expression. They have in-school programs as well as out-of-school learning. Creative youth development is fostered through developing creative expression, communication, and collaborative skills.

Students of Promise Director Bob Ivory works with Erin Mims, Promise grant linkage coordinator at Heights High. The program goals are to close the achievement gap and expose students to opportunities for college and other career paths. At-risk ninth- and tenth-graders participate. 

Universal Love, founded and directed by Sherica Daniels, is a nonprofit organization that mentors youth through arts education and programs that promote building healthy relationships and leadership development.

Crenshaw asked whether the community care teams convene with each other. Peppler answered that Reaching Heights holds meetings at each school to provide cross-sharing between the school and programs. Kirby added that district community-of-care meetings bring all the partners together, clarify key policies, and coordinate the work that the partners offer. Partners are required to articulate goals, name the buildings they will work in, and state how progress is measured.

LWV Observer: Rosemarie Fairman.

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.

Read More on Schools
Volume 17, Issue 3, Posted 12:01 PM, 02.29.2024