November 23, 2011 
 Message from the CEO

Nooks replace textbooks with
e-book technology

Sisters of Charity sponsors Carson Reading Room

TopCMSD prepares families for budget cuts impacting pre-school, transportation, summer school
Eric Gordon, CEO

CEO Eric S. Gordon


Dear CMSD Parent,


As you are aware, CMSD recently had to cut an additional $13.2 million out of our 2011-12 budget in order to maintain a balanced budget for this school year. These cuts became necessary after an Ohio law passed last July that changed the way in which schools in Ohio are funded. By law, CMSD and all school districts are required to maintain a balanced budget to avoid being placed in fiscal watch or fiscal emergency by the state of Ohio.


In order to address this budget deficit, we developed a time-phased strategy of budget cuts to be implemented this year that was approved by the Board of Education in October. We immediately began the work of implementing our budget reduction plan and have already reduced our school and office operating budgets and our textbook budget. We also placed a hiring freeze on all non-essential job positions, saving about $4.9 million so far.


We are also currently implementing reductions in the number of principals and assistant principals, cleaning personnel and school security officers, while remaining focused on our commitment to safe, clean and orderly schools. Finally, we are preparing to implement reductions in student transportation, our district pre-school program, our district summer school program and our spring athletics program beginning in the second semester, if necessary.


At the same time that we have planned for implementing these budget reductions, we have continued negotiations with several of our district's labor unions. I have also challenged my staff to look for any innovative cost containment idea or opportunity to increase our district's revenue so that we can, if possible, rescind these program cuts. I remain optimistic that we can and will find solutions for at least some of these program reductions before we must ultimately implement them in January.


While we continue to work to solve the challenges we face, I also realize that parents and families must begin to make plans of their own. Therefore, my staff and I are currently preparing information, which will present families with available options and help families to make decisions for their children. These options include alternative day care and pre-school program choices, options for low-cost transportation and options for summer school credit recovery for those students who need them, as a few examples. It is our goal to provide a comprehensive planning guide to families in early December, when we return from the Thanksgiving recess.

In the meantime, my staff and I will continue to seek alternative funding sources with the goal of restoring these programs for our families before the second semester begins in January. I will keep you informed of our progress.


I wish each of you a wonderful Thanksgiving. Thank you for your continued support of the CMSD. 

Eric Gordon Signature





Eric S. Gordon, CEO

ChiefFinancialOfficerCMSD appoints
chief financial & administrative officer
Scanlan Head Shot
John Scanlan

John Scanlan will be the new chief financial & administrative officer, effective Jan. 1, 2012. Scanlan joins the Cleveland Metropolitan School District after a national executive search, sponsored by the Cleveland Foundation.


CEO Eric Gordon appointed Scanlan with the unanimous support of the CFO Search Advisory Team, which included prominent stakeholders in Cleveland's civic and business communities and the District's senior leadership team.


"John Scanlan is a proven and respected leader that brings a strong record of success to Cleveland," Gordon said. "His strength in two key areas of operation will be instrumental in the realignment of CMSD's financial and administrative practices."


Scanlan will lead two departments, utilizing his expertise in addressing financial challenges and implementing academic transformation goals.


Most recently, Scanlan was deputy superintendent of administration in New York's Rochester City School District. During his three years there, Scanlan led a staff of 1,500, aligning human capital, finance and operations with a strategic plan for the academic achievement of 32,000 urban students.


"Mr. Scanlan's work in Rochester generated improvements in staffing, school safety, transportation and food service that reduced costs by millions of dollars," Gordon said. "His experience closing a $79 million budget gap while improving services for students will be an asset to our district during this critical time."


Scanlan redesigned Rochester's budget system, creating a school-based, student-weighted funding strategy that matches resources with student needs and increases student equity.


Scanlan also served as chief operating officer in the Oklahoma City Public School District, where he applied training in a statistics-based, change management system, known as LEAN/Six-Sigma, which transformed district business operations affecting 40,000 students in 81 schools.


Beyond his work in public schools, Scanlan completed 26 years of service in the U.S. Navy, which he calls the "largest teaching and learning organization in the world."


Upon retiring from the military, Scanlan said he wanted to use his leadership skills to "eliminate the educational and economic divide faced by our nation's children." This sense of mission led Scanlan to win a fellowship within the competitive Broad Superintendents Academy where he worked with experts in K-12 education to understand the most effective practices in public school systems throughout the country.


NooksNooks replace textbooks with e-book technology
Nook Bookshelf Project with training
(Top) The seven-inch Nook Color tablets provide touch-screen technology.
(Below) Teachers receive training on the Nooks prior to the rollout at Mound and Washington Park.
The Bookshelf Project, a pilot project designed to replace outdated printed textbooks with modern technology, will make accessing current information easy for students.
On Nov. 2, students in grades 6-8 at Mound School and Washington Park High School were the first Cleveland Metropolitan School District students to receive Nook Color tablets. The students are able to use the e-book readers in and out of their classrooms, thus replacing worn, outdated textbooks. The donated Nook tablets will also save the schools money because hardbound textbooks are expensive to replace.
"We saw this as a significant opportunity to help our students and teachers embrace the technologies they have already been using outside the classroom," CEO Eric Gordon said. "By using current technology, the students have the most updated information available, and we can further improve our use of both classroom and homework time."
About 400, seven-inch Nooks, which include protective covers, were purchased at a discount from Barnes & Noble through a major grant from the Third Federal Foundation. Educators received training on the touch-screen Nook devices for nearly a month before the launch.
The Nooks, enabled via Wi-Fi, offer students digital content, provided by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; current textbook content; a touch-word dictionary and encyclopedia; access to hundreds of online video tutorials; and book assignments. The Nooks also give students the ability to create electronic notes.
Third Federal Foundation, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, Barnes and Noble, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and other major partners worked with CMSD to launch the Bookshelf Project.
"The Bookshelf Project seeks to reach students where they are," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Duane Deskins, whose office was heavily involved in the Bookshelf Project. "This model recognizes that modern students relentlessly consume great quantities of information through technology."
The Bookshelf Project is a pilot venture to secure a $3 million Investing in Innovation Development Track grant from the U.S. Department of Education. In Phase II, if awarded, 19,932 Nooks would be distributed throughout CMSD to all sixth- through 12th-grade students, teachers, assistant principals and principals. The Department of Education grant winners will be announced by Dec. 31, 2011.

Esperanza and CMSD make efforts to boost
Hispanic graduation rates
Esperanza Logo 

The Cleveland Metropolitan School District and community organizations, such as Esperanza, are trying to increase Cleveland's Hispanic graduation rates and improve communications with the Hispanic community.


College Fair
College fair attracts Hispanic students.

The urgency of these efforts was highlighted this fall when the latest graduation rates for Cleveland high school students were published. While the rates for white students improved from 58 percent to 61 percent and black graduates surged from 58 percent to 75 percent in the past three years, the numbers for Hispanic students dropped from 34 percent to 30 percent over the same time period.


Esperanza, a community group that provides youth literacy training, mentoring and tutoring for Hispanic youth, recently received more than $300,000 from the Cleveland Foundation to help boost the number of Hispanic high school graduates and prepare these students for college.   

On Nov. 18, Lincoln-West International Studies Academy, Esperanza and other Hispanic groups worked together to host a career and college recruitment fair geared to Hispanic high school students grades 10-12. The fair provided information about colleges, financial aid, career options and leadership development.


"The primary purpose of putting this event together was to increase our graduation rate among the Hispanic population," said Irene Javier, principal at Lincoln-West.


Bridging the Language Barrier


Improving Hispanic graduation rates is challenging if communications barriers are not overcome.


To help achieve this goal, CMSD is communicating more with the Hispanic community via translated news articles sent to Hispanic community newspapers and a translation feature on the website. Visitors to the CMSD website can now read the site in various languages, including Spanish, using Google Translate. To use this feature, readers click on the top right corner of the web page and select a language from a drop-down menu.


In addition, the Office of Family and Community Engagement (F.A.C.E.) purchased simultaneous translation equipment, which allows non-English speaking parents or community members to hear workshops and community meetings in Spanish. The equipment consists of small wireless FM transmitters and wireless receivers. A CMSD interpreter wears a wireless transmitter and translates the speaker's words so the non-English speaking audience members, who have the receivers, hear the information at the same time as their English-speaking counterparts.


The equipment is housed at the schools and F.A.C.E. Office. CMSD employees that have undergone training on the equipment can check out the equipment for parent meetings or workshops. For more information, contact F.A.C.E. at 216.858.0117.

LincolnWestLincoln-West celebrates International Studies Week
Students and staff at Lincoln-West celebrated their diversity  with a Parade of Flags among other events.

Students at Lincoln-West's International Studies Academy celebrated their diverse student population during International Studies Week from Nov. 14 to Nov. 18.

"One of our primary goals is to be the center of international education in Cleveland," said Irene Javier, principal at International Studies Academy.

Throughout the week, students learned about each other's cultures, cuisine and countries. Robin Hamrick-Guerrero, who teaches English as a Second Language and Multicultural Studies, organized the week's events.

On Nov. 15, a Cultural Food Tasting during lunch periods gave faculty, staff and students the opportunity to sample internationally inspired cuisine, all prepared by staff and students.

Two of the week's scheduled events were open to the public. They included Cultural Dancing and the Parade of Flags, and Cultural Displays. The dance and parade of flags on Nov. 16 was a colorful, musical display of cultural pride with flags, music, dancing and costumes. Then on Nov. 17, table displays around the auditorium showcased information about various countries.

Principal Javier said events like these help students develop global awareness. "As students investigate the world, they learn more about where people come from and how they live, and come back to reflect on their own lives with more honesty," she explained. "Students learn to recognize various perspectives, communicate and defend ideas while realizing how and why others may think differently than they do."

International Studies Academy, located on the Lincoln-West campus, serves about 350 students in grades 10-12. The student population is comprised of more than 40 nationalities who speak 25 different languages.

ElectionLessonElection lesson teaches students the voting process
election day is teachable moment
A Campus International student casts his ballot for student council representatives.

Election Day became a government lesson for students grades K-3 at Campus International School, located on Cleveland State University's downtown campus. 


Campus International students voted Nov. 7 in their first student council election. Only the third-grade students ran for office, but all 220 students got to vote for their student council representatives, which include a class president, vice president, secretary and two treasurers.
Third-grade teacher Sheila O'Rourke said what began as a classroom discussion turned into an election process with candidates, campaign posters, speeches, ballots and even "I Voted" stickers. O'Rourke said the students came up with the idea of a student council to help set up school programs such as recycling.
The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections provided voting stations, stickers and other election supplies to make the school election as realistic as possible.

O'Rourke said the activity motivated her students to learn more about the Nov. 8 election. And, as in real life, the students didn't know the official results until Nov. 9. 


DeansHonorNational council of college deans honors
Urban Impact Award
(Right) Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, presents CEO Eric Gordon with the Urban Education Impact Award.
The Council of the Great City Colleges of Education awarded Cleveland State University and the Cleveland Metropolitan School District its first Shirley S. Schwartz Urban Education Impact Award, Oct. 28.
Presented in Boston at the Council of Great City Schools' annual fall conference, the award recognizes the Master of Urban Secondary Teaching (MUST) Program - a partnership between the university and CMSD.

A nationally recognized, 14-month graduate program, MUST focuses on urban teaching and social justice and exemplifies a commitment to community renewal. The program culminates in a master of education degree and Ohio teacher licensure in math, science, social studies, English/language arts, foreign language or art for grades 7-12.
The award includes a two-year scholarship, available to a CMSD graduate who attends CSU.
Nearly 1,000  of the nation's urban school leaders converged on Boston in late October to discuss new teacher evaluation models, the implementation of common core standards and the financial crisis impacting urban school districts. The five-day conference, hosted by Boston Public Schools, ended with a National Town Hall Meeting about labor-management relations and collaborative efforts for higher student achievement.

FriendsCleveland Friends in Cleveland
make way to OSU, St. Louis, now Carolina

FootballWhen Jermale Hines and Bryant Browning say they're teammates, they really mean it.


That's because, with the exception of one season, they've been on the same team since 2005 - in high school in Cleveland, college at Ohio State and now as rookies with the Carolina Panthers.


"It's very interesting and exciting at the same time," says Browning, an offensive lineman on the Panthers' practice squad.


In 2005, Hines transferred to Cleveland's Glenville High for his junior season. Already on the roster was Browning, a highly recruited senior who was one of the top offensive linemen prospects in Ohio.


Hines quickly made his mark on coach Ted Ginn Sr.'s team (Ginn's son Ted Ginn Jr. also went on to an All-American career at Ohio State and now plays for the NFL's San Francisco 49ers).


"He played right away at linebacker, and that told everybody something," said Browning. "Because at my high school, you just don't get a lot of playing time unless you can really play."


Browning went off to play for the Buckeyes in 2006, redshirting his freshman season. In 2007, Hines arrived from Glenville. Awaiting was Browning, his friend from high school.


Browning had purchased a used 1995 Ford Taurus - nicknamed the "Ford T" that he drove around Columbus. During their years at Ohio State, Browning often picked up Hines and took him wherever he needed to go - to football practice, class, study hall or to get something to eat.


"That 'Ford T,' it got me everywhere," said Hines. "But (Browning) really was there to act as a big brother to me, to show me the right way to do things."


Browning and Hines played together from 2007-10 at Ohio State, helping the Buckeyes to at least a share of four Big Ten titles and appearances in four Bowl Championship Series games.


During that time, Browning played in 52 games, starting 40. Hines started 29 of the 44 games he played in.


Browning and Hines no doubt thought their days together were finished after their Ohio State careers ended.


Hines was taken in the fifth round of last spring's NFL draft by the St. Louis Rams. When Browning was signed by St. Louis as an undrafted free agent in August, the two went to Rams training camp together.


But they were both waived. Browning was cut in August, when he was picked up by the Panthers; Hines was also waived in the preseason, but was then picked up by the Indianapolis Colts.


Then, one day in October, Browning's cell phone rang. It was Hines.


"Are you still with the Panthers?" Hines asked.


"I'm still with the Panthers," Browning replied.


"Yeah, I'm on my way," said Hines, who had just been waived by the Colts.


Browning is sticking with Carolina on the practice squad. Hines has played in four games, mostly on special teams. He got in the Atlanta game two weeks ago, coming up with a solo tackle after Sherrod Martin and Jordan Pugh went out with injuries.


And Browning is again showing Hines around town. But this time it's Charlotte instead of Columbus. And this time it's in a new SUV, not the Ford T.  Original story with photo of Hines and Browning

CarsonReadingRoomSisters of Charity sponsors Carson Reading Room 
Dr. Benjamin Carson
Dr. Benjamin Carson


The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland is funding a reading room and scholarship opportunities for students in Cleveland's Central Promise Neighborhood.


The foundation is establishing both initiatives through Carson Scholars Fund, a charitable organization founded in 1994 by Dr. Benjamin Carson and his wife to encourage academic excellence.


"By investing in children's minds, we reward today's role models and prepare tomorrow's leaders," said Carson, the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University.


Carson visited Carl and Louis Stokes Central Academy on Nov. 3 to announce that the school would receive Ohio's first Ben Carson Reading Room. During his visit, he addressed middle-school students from each of the three Central Promise Neighborhood K-8 schools - Stokes, Marion Sterling and George Washington Carver. The world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon shared with students how he overcame childhood poverty and went on to college and graduated from medical school because of his passion for reading and learning.


Reading Room at Stokes
(Right) Dr. Benjamin Carson talks to Susanna Krey, Sisters of Charity Foundation's president, before they announced their joint effort to support a reading room.

Sisters of Charity Foundation will give $15,000 to the Ben Carson Reading Room. When completed in 2012, the room will be an attractive environment for children to discover the joy of reading. Yearly, 60 existing Ben Carson Reading Rooms across eight states place more than 30,000 books in students' hands.


Additionally, Sisters of Charity Foundation granted $5,000 to the Carson Scholars Fund for Central Promise Neighborhood students to compete for 2012 Carson Scholarships. The fund awards high academic achievement with $1,000 college scholarships for students in grades 4-8. Each scholarship will be invested in a trust until the recipient attends a four-year college or university.

"The resources provided by the Sisters of Charity Foundation significantly support our efforts to foster a love of learning among our students," CEO Eric Gordon said. "We appreciate our partnership with the foundation and look forward to continued collaboration."

MollyDaySen. Voinovich celebrates Molly Day with
O.H. Perry students 
Molly Day Photo

Every October since the death of his 9-year-old daughter Molly Agnes 32 years ago, Sen. and Mrs. George Voinovich return to Oliver H. Perry School to celebrate Molly Day.


It was only a few days after Cleveland's primary mayoral election when Voinovich received the news Oct. 8, 1979 that his daughter was fatally hit by a van running a red light. Molly was walking back to O.H. Perry after eating lunch at home.     


On Oct. 21, O.H. Perry students remembered Molly with a musical tribute beginning with the Roaring '20s and spanning nine decades, the length of Cleveland's Major Work Program. Afterward, the Senator and Mrs. Voinovich presented their annual gift to the Major Work Program for gifted and talented students - a program that Molly participated in and loved.




Sen. Voinovich and his wife, Janet, receive a gift from an O.H. Perry student at the annual Molly Day event.





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epilepsyCleveland Clinic and CMSD
help families cope with epilepsy  

Project Cope Flier

The Cleveland Clinic is working with CMSD to improve access to mental health care for children and teens with epilepsy.


Children with epilepsy ages 3 to 17 are at greater risk of suffering from depression, anxiety and low self-esteem due to the stigma associated with their disease. Depression is one of the most frequent psychiatric conditions that surfaces. In fact, the prevalence of depression in epilepsy appears higher than in other chronic illness, according to the Cleveland Clinic's Epilepsy Center.


Under a three-year grant from Health Resources and Services Administration, the Clinic has partnered with CMSD, Cleveland's National Alliance for the Mentally Ill and the Epilepsy Association of Cleveland to promote Project COPE.


COPE, or the Collaboration for Outreach and Prevention Education, is a series of educational workshops for children with epilepsy and their parents. The program also connects with school nurses to educate them about epilepsy and the challenges students with epilepsy face.


From early May to early October, the Clinic hosted three workshops - two in English and one in Spanish. Each workshop had four sessions geared toward the parents and children. Participants learned about the importance of emotional and mental health wellness and how to cope with stress. Parents were taught how to recognize the signs of depression or anxiety in their children, how to build their children's confidence and where to go for additional help. Children were taught coping mechanisms, social problem-solving skills and how to take responsibility for their own health and well-being.


Laurie Sperry, the project coordinator, said one unexpected benefit that arose from the workshops was the emotional support participants gained in their group meetings.


"There has been no other time that these parents have sat in a room with another parent who has a child with epilepsy. It was the same for the kids. I was amazed by that," she noted. "They realized that they are not the only ones dealing with mental health issues."


More than 40 participants attended the workshops, but the Clinic hopes to see more participation when the series returns in spring. Workshops will run April through July 2012. The Clinic and CMSD will promote the spring and summer workshops to parents when times and locations are finalized.

For more information about Project Cope, call Laurie Sperry at 216.444.0514.

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NominateNominate a school for Fox 8's 'Cool School'
Lincoln West Cool School
Lincoln-West Cool School

Every week, Fox 8 Cleveland showcases a "Cool School" in the Greater Cleveland area.


Last year, Lincoln-West High School made the cut, and students celebrated this honor with a rally. (Search the Fox 8 Cool Schools gallery to view the 2010 Lincoln-West video.) 


There are many great schools in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District that have reason to brag about their academic achievements, athletic prowess and exceptional teachers. Show your CMSD school spirit and nominate your cool school. Go here, scroll down and look for the "Cool Schools Nomination" box on the right side of the page. Make sure you complete all the boxes and then submit your entry.

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 DiggySimmonsDiggy Simmons surprises
Cleveland School Of The Arts
Diggy Video Image Diggy Simmons visited Cleveland this week for the Scream Tour. He surprised one lucky fan and her classroom. The winner of the z1079 Diggy Jetsetter contest was Kwynn from Cleveland School of the Arts. Diggy surprised Kwynn in her class with an iPad and a pair of front row tickets to the Scream Tour. The full class was treated to a pizza party.

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Choose YOUR Future -  Student Registration Center (SRC) District Registration Fair 

Happy Thanksgiving

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