City schools look to future
by DELANEY WALKER, Banner Staff Writer
Jun 25, 2013 | 1895 views | 0 0 comments | 59 59 recommendations | email to a friend | print
THE CLEVELAND Board of Education recently met at Cleveland Middle School for a board retreat meeting. Members discussed the upcoming joint Board of Education meeting with Bradley County, capital improvements, goals for the 2013-14 school year and the system’s beliefs. Banner photo, DELANEY WALKER
THE CLEVELAND Board of Education recently met at Cleveland Middle School for a board retreat meeting. Members discussed the upcoming joint Board of Education meeting with Bradley County, capital improvements, goals for the 2013-14 school year and the system’s beliefs. Banner photo, DELANEY WALKER
slideshow
Cleveland Board of Education members took advantage of a recent board retreat meeting to determine their goals for the 2013-14 school year and their overall beliefs for the system.

Dr. Martin Ringstaff, director of city schools, presented a list of focus goals and continuing goals for the coming year.

He said the three biggest issues were highlighted in the focus goals. The focus was placed on the implementation of Common Core State Standards and diversity in the schools.

The goals are as follows: 

- Provide professional development that addresses strategies and techniques necessary for the instruction of Common Core State Standards (with focus on third through 12th grade).

- Increase state standard achievement results by fully implementing Common Core State Standards in grades 3-12 (K-2 occurred in 2012-13).

- Modify the current Response to Intervention plan to align with state guidelines with distinct focus on all diverse populations within the city of Cleveland.

Ringstaff highlighted Latino, African-American and white students along with all the additional subgroups of race and socioeconomic backgrounds. Students targeted for lower test scores will receive the schools’ attention.

“Our principals did a fantastic job with this last year,” Ringstaff said. “We have seen a lot of positive things come out of that.”

Continuing goals for 2013-14 are a little more diverse than the focus goals: 

- Review, align and take action on the Capital Needs Plan.

- Oversee a safe and secure learning environment.

- Provide a systemwide awareness of antibullying strategies and techniques.

- Utilize the latest student data results to refine our curriculum and instruction decisions.

- Maintain a focus on school attendance and the system graduation rate.

Ringstaff reported to the school board there were 10 cases of bullying found in the Cleveland City Schools system over the course of 2012-13. He identified most of these cases as coming from Cleveland Middle School. Ringstaff estimated 80 percent of the issues seen in the school begin through social media.

According to Ringstaff, the key to lowering the incidences of bullying is to get parents involved.

The school’s stance on bullying, resources, tips and the definition of bullying can be found under the “Parents” tab on the city website, www.clevelandschools.org.

Dawn Robinson, board member, said she was appreciative of how Ringstaff was able to focus and narrow down the goals.

Fellow board member Murl Dirksen reminded Ringstaff about the importance of having diversity among school faculty, as well.

Ringstaff agreed and Peggy Pesterfield, board member said, the only factor which mattered in hiring is whether the applicant is qualified.

Board members then reviewed the beliefs for administration, faculty and board members in the city system.

These included:

- “We believe that Cleveland City Schools is a learning organization that focuses on continuous learning at all levels.

- “We believe in mutual respect between and among adults and students.

- “We believe that innovation, creativity and risk-taking in a safe environment allows for a more effective outcome.”

Board members made suggestions to include phrases like “safe, healthy students” and “state of the art facilities” to better capture the school system’s mission.

Several beliefs about the roles of administration, faculty and board members included: 

- “We believe students’ attention and commitment must be earned in order for learning to occur at high levels.

- “We believe parents are our partners and members of the school community.

- “We believe the role of the Director of Schools is one of moral and intellectual leadership and central office staff are collaborative by design and serve as capacity builders.

- “We believe that the school board functions as a team and sees its role as building community and advocating for the students, staff and citizens of Cleveland.

Based on these beliefs, the school system will plan for learning to occur; sustain a collaborative culture with a focus on learning for all; incorporate problem-solving and innovation in teaching and learning; assess our learners to determine next steps; and teach for understanding.”