DateDecember 28, 2011 

Students will travel to Big Apple for Poetry SLAM

Gordon Holiday Message
CMSD Decks the Halls Video Link  
StudentsDeckHallsStudents from John Hay, Cleveland School of the Arts, John Marshall and Washington Park help to strengthen the existing partnership with Hopkins International Airport by decorating trees in the main concourse and baggage claim areas.

SherwinWilliansSherwin-Williams employees package holiday cheer

Sherwin Williams Christmas
(Top to Bottom) First-grader Cherrish Maxwell shares her Christmas wish with Santa. Samarah Mills, age 4, shows her new Barbies to classmates. Nadianne Redding, age 5, listens to students sing while seated on Lori Tvrdik's lap. North Royalton resident Tvrdik is a senior systems analyst at Sherwin-Williams.

Belting out "Jingle Bells" as loud as their little vocal chords would allow, the students at H. Barbara Booker were able to summon the big guy himself - Santa.

The audience, filled with eager students and dotted with 60 Sherwin-Williams "elves" in green and red T-shirts, erupted in a collective cheer when the Jolly Ole Elf made his grand entrance Dec. 15. It was a holiday program that made the months of planning worth it for Maria Haller and Paula Kasmer.

"We start planning in September," said Haller, Sherwin-Williams community engagement manager at the company's Cleveland headquarters. "It takes an army to make this happen."

Haller is referring to the hundreds of employees who donate money, shop for toys and clothes, wrap more than 1,000 gifts and then stuff hundreds of stockings.

Barbara Booker special education teacher Paula Kasmer and teaching assistant Diedra Dickerson handle the wish lists on the other end. The two work with the teachers and parents to gather every student's list of wants and needs. The "wants" are the toys. The "needs" are clothes, school supplies, socks, underwear, winter gear and other necessities.

Collecting the information begins at the school's open house. Kasmer will call parents the following months if she doesn't get a child's list. "My biggest fear is I will leave someone out," Kasmer said.

She is just as diligent with the attendance list, making certain even last-minute transfers each receive a box or stocking of goodies. No one is missed. For some of these children, these gifts are the only ones they will receive, Kasmer explained.

The late afternoon before the big celebration, a Sherwin-Williams semi-truck delivers 15 pallets of presents. Haller said the same driver makes the journey every year from Effingham, Ill. Eighth-graders help unload the more than 350 cardboard boxes filled with gifts. The boxes, each labeled with a sheet that shows the student photo and name, is then delivered to the preK through fifth-grade rooms. There they await the students' arrival the next day. The sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students receive stockings filled with goodies and Target and McDonald's gift cards. The preK through third-grade students also receive Sherwin-Williams drawstring bags filled with school supplies and treats.

Colleen Carpenter, Sherwin-Williams vice president of human resources, said the employee-driven gift donations began 12 years ago with Tremont Elementary first-grade students. When Tremont Elementary closed, Sherwin-Williams adopted Barbara Booker, where the Santa project has grown over eight years.  

"It's important for us to support the community where we live and work," said Haller, who explained that Sherwin-Williams employees can see the school's West 67th neighborhood from their offices.

Carpenter noted that Sherwin-Williams employees have made a commitment to Barbara Booker. "These are our kids. We want to influence them in a bigger way than just one holiday," she said, adding that employees volunteer at the school every month.

For Kasmer, satisfaction comes the final day when all the work between the school and Sherwin-Williams culminates. Because many of the younger students don't go to the malls for pictures with Santa, Kasmer said her favorite part of the day is watching the little ones' faces light up when Santa arrives. She also takes pleasure in cooking and serving the volunteers lunch that day. "We want them to feel important. It's our way of giving something back to Sherwin-Williams."


To see Sherwin-Williams elves in action, watch this video.  

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HolidayHappeningsCMSD Holiday Happenings 
Health Careers Photos

Top Photo: Clare Taylor, a therapeutic pathways teacher at Health Careers, encouraged her sophomore students to give back to their communities this holiday season.


Holiday Happenings 2 and 3Livunia Haney, Mary James and Kevanique McClemore took their teacher's suggestion to heart and visited Eliza Bryant senior community on Dec. 19. The three students created treats packaged with holiday wishes for the Eliza Bryant residents.


"The residents were filled with joy in receiving while the students were consumed with joy in giving. It was a wonderful holiday gift for all," said Principal Cynthia Hanish.


Middle Photo: Decked in red and bright green shirts, students at Thomas Jefferson International Newcomers Academy celebrated their last day before the holiday break with music, dance and a little international flair.


Bottom Photo: General Electric and the students at MC2STEM High School, contributed to this year's Winterfest on Public Square. The high school students designed the fractal snowflakes on the perimeter trees and the star atop the big tree. GE continues its 40-year tradition of providing lighting for the displays. This year, its energy-efficient lighting used 21,000 watts of LED, as opposed to 134,000 watts of incandescent.

CMSD's 'Parent University' engages parents as partners in education
Parent University Book

Parents of students attending Cleveland's public schools will attend school themselves from Jan. 9 through March 1 in Cleveland Metropolitan School District's first session of "Parent University," offered at eight schools on the East Side and West Side.


Parents and caregivers of CMSD students that enroll in classes will be better equipped to assist children with math, reading, computer skills, test preparation and study skills through classes designed to help parents become partners in their children's school experience, said Tracy Hill, executive director of CMSD's Family and Community Engagement (F.A.C.E.).


"Technology, teaching methods and nutritional standards have all changed since the days when many of our parents were students," Hill said. "Parent University will bridge the gap that makes it difficult for today's parents to help their children with unfamiliar concepts or coursework and with ever-changing technology."


In cooperation with the Neighborhood Leadership Institute, F.A.C.E. launched Parent University to help students succeed in school and prepare for education beyond high school.


"Most students are more technologically advanced than their parents," said Hill, whose staff is devoted to engaging CMSD families in all aspects of their children's education. "Our students are learning techniques in math that didn't exist when their parents attended school," Hill said. "If we want our students to be successful, we need to show their parents how to help them."


Information about ACT and SAT exams, financial aid and college applications can be overwhelming, said Hill, who noted that Parent University will simplify test preparation and the college application process in ways that will benfit all families.


Hill said she is encouraged by calls she is already receiving from parents eager to enroll in Parent University's first session on Jan. 9.


"As soon as we began promoting Parent University, people were already asking how to sign up for the first session," said Hill, whose work in Cleveland was inspired by similar programs in Baltimore, Boston and Philadelphia.


Parent University offers 19 workshops that are scheduled in afternoons and evenings on weekdays to accommodate parents' schedules. Topics focus on education and partnering with the schools, basic computer skills, college applications, financial aid and promoting reading. There are even two cooking classes that promote healthy food preparation at home.


To ensure uninterrupted workshop training for parents, the Neighborhood Leadership Institute is providing recreational activities for children ages 5 to 18. Dinner for families attending evening workshops will also be provided.


As an added incentive, participants' names will be entered in raffle drawings to win wireless PC tablets, gift cards and other prizes. Drawings will be held for each site at the end of the winter session on March 1.


Only parents and caregivers of CMSD students may register for the free classes, scheduled at eight schools. Registration information, mailed to all Cleveland households at the end of December, is also available on the CMSD website and at the F.A.C.E. office: 216-858-0117. 


Winter Workshop Sites

Collinwood * 15210 St. Clair Ave., Cleveland 44110

East Tech * 2439 East 55th St., Cleveland 44104

James Ford Rhodes * 5100 Biddulph Ave., Cleveland 44144

John Adams * 3817 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Cleveland 44105

John F. Kennedy * 17100 Harvard Ave., Cleveland 44128

John Marshall * 3952 West 140th St., Cleveland 44111

Lincoln-West * 3202 West 30th St., Cleveland 44109

Sunbeam * 11731 Mt. Overlook Ave., Cleveland 44120


Parent University Partner Agencies

Case Western Reserve University

Cleveland Housing Network Community Training Center

College Now!

Educational Service Center of Cuyahoga County


Focus On Education

Help Me Grow

Neighborhood Leadership Institute

Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods

Sisters of Charity Health System - Building Healthy Communities

Starting Point
MemorialStudentGlobetrottersMemorial student wins Globetrotters assembly
Harlem Globetrotters logo

Faith Harrison, a fifth-grader at Memorial School, won The Plain Dealer's "Goodwill Ambassador" Writing Contest.

Harrison chose Mayor Frank Jackson as the subject of her winning essay. For her entry, she won an all-school afternoon assembly on Dec. 16, which featured Harlem Globetrotters Firefly Fisher and Jet Williams.

In addition to the special assembly, Harrison and her teacher Kenethia Holton each received four tickets to the Harlem Globetrotters 2012 World Tour at Quicken Loans Arena on Dec. 27. 


PoetrySLAMStudents will travel to Big Apple for Poetry SLAM 
America Scores

Two Buhrer Dual Language students have a lot to look forward to in 2012.

On Dec. 2, fourth-grader Sebastian Miranda and fifth-grader Tamia Bonilla learned they were chosen to represent America SCORES Cleveland at the 6th Annual America SCORES National Poetry SLAM in New York City. Both winners will receive a four-day, all-expense paid trip to the Big Apple this spring. SCORES coach and staff member Angie Velez-Arias will chaperone the budding artists, who will will perform their original works of poetry at the competition.
"Buhrer Dual Language is fortunate to have a program like America SCORES Cleveland to give our third- and fifth-graders a safe place after school, while also providing several additional hours of physical activity and creative expression," said Principal Sandra Velazquez.
As part of America SCORES, students participate as "poet-athletes" on teams. For 10 weeks, they play soccer, participate in creative writing sessions and compete in poetry competitions.

On Nov. 18, Buhrer boys and girls teams participated in a local Poetry SLAM and earned gold medals for their poetry presentations.


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BrownsPlayersReadBrowns players promote reading  

Cleveland Browns video link

Browns players won over young fans when they visited William Cullen Bryant on Nov. 29.

Defensive players Auston English, Scott Paxson and Usama Young read to nearly 40 first-graders in the school's library. After reading from some Christmas-themed picture books, the players fielded tough questions, such as, "What's your favorite number?" The students also received some Browns fan items. 
The players hope their one-hour visit will encourage reading among the students.
PatrickHenryPatrick Henry chess players compete at state level 

After taking third place in the Greater Cleveland Scholastic League Tournament, the Patrick Henry chess team traveled to the University of Akron on Dec. 10 to compete in its first Ohio Grade Level Championship tournament.
The day was grueling for the seven players, who left for the tournament at 8:30 a.m. and didn't finish playing chess until after 9 p.m. Competing against some of the best chess players in the state, the students played five games, each lasting 90 minutes per game.   


Greg Huff collected 3 points during his five rounds of play and finished 15th overall at his seventh-grade level. Travon Edwards finished 23rd overall with 2 points. Noah Rush and Micquan Goolsby, who was representing his school in his first tournament, each earned 1 point during the five rounds of play.  


For more information about individual performances and photos, go here.    


Following are District-wide final results of Student Activities' 2011-12 Chess League.

Final High School Team Standings
1. John Hay - 20.5 pts.
2. Whitney Young - 14 pts.
3. Cleveland School of the Arts - 13 pts.
4. Max S. Hayes - 12.5 pts.   
5. East Technical - 12 pts.   
6. New Tech West - 11.5 pts.    
7. SuccessTech - 10 pts.
8. John Adams - 5.5 pts.
Individual Tournament Results and Championship Highlights
Dec. 13 at Max S. Hayes High School
* John Hay won the first-place team trophy with a high score of 20.5, a score that had not been reached in eight years since John Marshall achieved it during the 2003-04 chess season.
* John Hay won trophies in all three categories: first-place team trophy, first-place First Board and second-place Second Board.
* Van Darrel Woods, a senior at Whitney Young and Second Board champion, was undefeated during four rounds of play at the final Individual Chess Championship.


First Board       
First Place - Michael Freeman, John Hay
Second Place - Maalik Graves, East Technical


Second Board
First Place - Van Darrel Woods, Whitney Young
Second Place - James San, John Hay  


MissOhioState superintendent notes teen's accomplishments

Stan Heffner, Ohio's superintendent of public instruction, recognized Krystal Milam, a 14-year-old student at John Hay Early College High School in his Dec. 5 e-newsletter, "EdConnection."  


The daughter of CMSD board member Willetta Milam, Krystal met Heffner during the Ohio School Boards Association's conference in November and, apparently, left a positive impression on the state superintendent. Heffner referred to the 4.8 G.P.A. John Hay student as an inspiration and a role model.


He wrote: "Krystal was recently crowned Miss Buckeye State Teen America and will compete in an April pageant for the title of Miss Teen America. She has served as a student ambassador with the People to People Program, traveling around the United States, as well as Japan and Australia. Krystal also was awarded a grant by the Cleveland Browns for a community service project to design arts, crafts and cards for members of the U.S. Army. She aspires to attend Yale or Cornell and hopes to be a constitutional attorney and, eventually, a U.S. senator from Ohio."  

CoolSchoolNominate 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 Northeast Ohio.


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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CMSDinNewsCMSD in the News


Dec. 22
Cleveland school board votes to keep preschool, spring sports, busing for high-schoolers 

By Patrick O'Donnell, The Plain Dealer
The Cleveland school board voted Wednesday night to use savings from a new contract with teachers to head off elimination of preschool, spring sports and busing for high school students. READ MORE



Dec. 14 

Applause for proposed Cleveland teacher concession clauses

The Plain Dealer Editorial Board
Children are worth concessions. That's the positive lesson expressed in a tentative agreement Cleveland teachers will be voting on beginning today. READ MORE 



Dec. 9
More than 800 celebrate Cleveland schools', teachers union's decision not to implement proposed major cuts
By Tonya Sams, The Plain Dealer 

More than 800 people celebrated education at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church Thursday night. READ MORE


WKYC-TV 3: Hundreds gather to show support for Cleveland schools 

Hundreds of people gathered in support of the Cleveland schools ... READ MORE


WEWS-TV 5: Congregations celebrate restoration of school programs at CMSD
Members of 40 religious congregations packed Olivet Baptist Church in Cleveland Thursday night to celebrate the restoration of programs vital for students in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. READ MORE  

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