The Cleveland/Bradley Ministerial Association received an update on Cleveland City Schools and brainstormed ways to continue to support students during a meeting Wednesday.
“I have never been to a [city with a] Christian-based foundation like I have been in Cleveland City Schools,” Ringstaff said. “Cleveland is a different place … I would say you have about 80 percent of our kids in your churches.”
Ringstaff said the churches in Cleveland had been very supportive to the schools through donations of school supplies and partnerships. He said these items always go to students who can actually use it.
“We probably have the highest rate of children going to church of any place I have ever been, which means you can greatly help just in the support piece in understanding what we deal with in public school,” Ringstaff said.
Ringstaff said there are always more students who need support and “need to be reached.”
He said he appreciated having members of the church community involved in the schools’ activities.
An association member announced an opportunity to help the school system by getting printer paper on sale and then donating it.
Ringstaff said a lot had changed in education since those in the meeting had been in school.
“Theses are the libraries now. It was not what we went to when we went to school,” Ringstaff said. “They are more technology-based. They are more student-focused.”
The director said the school system is working to incorporate more technology to give students the tools they need for their careers.
He said the changes in education have led “to a shift and change in thinking in the way we do things.”
For example, Algebra I is now taught in middle school. Keyboarding skills are taught in kindergarten.
Textbooks are becoming a thing of the past. Already each student does not have his or her own textbook.
“Now you buy supplemental textbooks and you use them as resources. You don’t use them as the crux of the course anymore,” Ringstaff said.
Classrooms are moving from lines of desks to collaborative work at tables. Ringstaff said the curriculum is now based more on problem solving.
He said none of the classrooms have rows of desks anymore.
Technology is also being incorporated more and more.
Ringstaff said 85 percent of high school students have a smartphone.
“That technology is there, so we can either continue to fight it or find a way to enhance it educationally,” Ringstaff said. “What they really have is their own personal computers.”
The school system is looking at ways of incorporating these devices into instruction.
Middle School is the most challenging age, Ringstaff said. To counter this, Ringstaff said the school system focuses on making each student feel special.
“We push relationships before we push rigor and relevance,” Ringstaff said.
School lunch has also changed in the past five years. Ringstaff said the lunches must now follow strict nutrition guidelines and calorie limits. Creativity is being used to make healthy food tasty to the students
Ringstaff said the high school calorie limits have created some concerns for student athletes. There is an 850-calorie limit for high school students.
“If you have a football player who weighs 270 [pounds], and he eats 850 calories for lunch and he hits that football field at 3 for practice, we have an issue,” Ringstaff said.
Coaching staff and parents have been ensuring that new calorie limits do not create an issue for the athletes.