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

APRIL 2, 2024 regular meeting

  • Recognitions and awards
  • T-Mobile contract 
  • Policies group C, first reading 
  • Summer programs
  • Early childhood program
  • Superintendent comments 
  • Treasurer’s report
  • President’s report

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 was called to order at 7 p.m. and adjourned at 8:45 p.m.

Recognitions and awards

The board applauded winter athletes whom the Greater Cleveland Conference had recognized for outstanding performance. They also recognized March Tiger team members.

The superintendent announced that Boulevard Elementary and Monticello Middle schools received Momentum awards from the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce for improvements in the 2022-2023 report cards. She also said that six students from Roxboro Middle placed first in the state-level Ohio championship academic quiz tournament and will move on to multistate competition.

T-Mobile contract 

Coordinator of Technology Tony Slepko explained that the district sought the T-Mobile contract for hot spots when federal Emergency Connectivity Funds ran out. With the contract, the district can provide up to 100 hot spots at 100 gigabytes each although the rules and procedures for the hot spot program are yet to be adopted. 

He also explained E-rate, a federal program that provides funding to augment network connectivity for schools and libraries. E-rate provides sufficient funding to reimburse the district for 85 to 90 percent of its network costs.

Policies group C, first reading 

Superintendent Kirby presented Group C policies for the first reading. These policies address a variety of matters including student assessment, citizen committees, transportation, and employment actions, among other matters. No board action was taken.

Summer programs

Michael Jenkins, director of curriculum and instruction, outlined the summer courses and camps to be offered to grades two through twelve, June 10 through July 12. Course offerings will emphasize math instruction and credit recovery; the new math curriculum will be introduced. Transportation will be provided. A fee is required for some offerings.

In August, the district will offer the phonics-focused 10-day Camp Jump Start for kindergarten through first grade. 

Mr. Heinz said summer school attendance could make up for days students are absent during the school year if the legislature allows this. Ms. Crenshaw asked how success will be measured for the summer program; Mr. Jenkins said that planned assessments will be reviewed at the end of the program.

Early childhood program

Danielle Foran, program specialist for early childhood education, reviewed the early childhood program. Pre-school classes are available at Gearity, Noble, and Oxford. The district offers full-day general and half-day special education preschool classes. The program has been awarded the highest ratings by the state and has received funding from the county’s Universal Pre-Kindergarten program for the past seven years. The cost for families is $575 per month for general preschool education and $106 per month for special education preschool classes. There is no charge for students who have an Individualized Educational Program. Scholarships are available for families in need. About 85 percent of students in pre-kindergarten go on to kindergarten in the district. 

Registration is already full for 2024-2025 with a waiting list of about 45 students. The total capacity is about 170 students. Currently participating pre-school and kindergarten families get priority for registering new students from their families. Due to budgetary limits, the program cannot be expanded to accommodate more students.

The board asked that the district reconsider the prioritization for new students. They also asked for more data on the percentage of preschool students who stay with the district through first grade and for more data on third-grade reading performance for former pre-school students.

Superintendent comments 

Superintendent Kirby said she attended the Ohio State Job Fair in Columbus and was dismayed to see the decreased interest in jobs in the teaching profession.

For the March principals meeting, participants observed a geometry class at Heights High and then discussed best practices and the district’s vertical alignment for math instruction. They also received training on EduClimber. 

The 27th Annual Cleveland Northeast Suburban College Fair took place at Heights High on March 21 with more than 50 colleges participating. The fair was open to any northeast Ohio student and family.

The district will offer students free eye examinations and free eyeglasses to all elementary students who need them.

A fundraiser at a Cavaliers game led to the district receiving a $10,000 donation from the Cavaliers and Kelce family.

Ms. Lewis asked if students who attend classes virtually or at sites other than the district schools will qualify for annual school photos. Superintendent Kirby indicated she will check on this.

Treasurer’s report

Mr. Gainer explained the 2023 Ohio Sunshine Laws regarding school board meetings. Regular meetings are held at pre-scheduled times approved annually in January, and the public must be notified as to those times. Special board meetings are scheduled at other times and notice for them must include the issues to be discussed; discussion is limited to the topics identified in the notices. Executive sessions are held for certain personnel matters, sale of property, court actions, collective bargaining issues, and other confidential matters. The public can be excluded from executive sessions.

The board noted that these notification requirements prevent the board from discussing any topics that were not identified in the notices. 

President’s report

President Sourini said that the annual auditor’s report will be released soon. She also announced that the Heights student art show at Lee Road library will take place April 9 through May 3. Awards will be presented on May 9.

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.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 11:50 AM, 04.30.2024