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Classes under way at 4 high schools


It’s not even August, and four CMSD high schools have already kicked off the new academic year.

Two brand-new models began classes – and the transformation of Lincoln-West High School – on Monday. The Lincoln-West School of Science and Health opened with ninth- and 10th-graders and the Lincoln-West School of Global Studies was launched with ninth-graders.

Across town, JFK PACT and JFK E³agle Academy entered their third year, expanding to include juniors.

All the schools follow a year-round calendar, generally alternating 10 weeks of classes with three-week breaks.

In each case, Carnegie Corporation of New York provided money to develop and roll out the new models, which are designed to be small.
CMSD’s increasing options make up a portfolio that allows students and families to choose the best fit. Carnegie principles emphasize a tailored approach that meets the specific needs of the school, its students and the community, including a focus on personalized learning and mastery of a rigorous curriculum. 

Schools adopt strategies that include flexible scheduling, more effective use of technology, clear definition of school culture, partnerships with outside organizations and student input in decisions. The schools also adopt the emerging concept of mastery learning, in which students advance toward graduation as they demonstrate that they have mastered content.

The School of Science and Health will partner with the MetroHealth System, and students will attend classes part time at the system’s main campus, exposing them to careers – medical and non-medical. It is believed to be the first school in the country to be based inside a hospital.

“For a first-year teacher in a public school, I don’t think there’s a better opportunity,” said Philip Major, who will teach English as a second language at the ethnically diverse school. “I feel like I’m in a position that’s very unique.”

Science and Health Principal Chris Thompson told the students they are part of a family fortified by a focus on community and service. He led them in a mantra, “If you are strong, I am strong.”

“We are a unit, we are a community,” he said. “We are going to start to understand what that means. We are going to feel that in our school.”

The School of Global Studies has enrolled more than 80 ninth-graders, including some who signed up on the first day of classes. The school has built its own sense of unity, hosting students at a barbecue, a pool party and an Indians game.

Global Studies Principal Irene Javier formerly led the comprehensive Lincoln-West High School, which will be phased out as the small schools grow. She spent a year helping to design the school and taking a deep look at “what strategies are out there that will help the children we serve.”

JFK PACT (Problem-based Academy of Critical Thinking) and E³agle Academy (the E's stand for Envision, Engage and Excel) are project-based schools. PACT emphasizes math and science, while E³agle focuses on social justice.
PACT and E³agle, created to replace the old John F. Kennedy High School, conducted classes in the former Cranwood School for the last two years while building their new culture but have relocated to the JFK building on Harvard Avenue, where only the last 12th graders remain. PACT and E³agle will move again after the District constructs a new building for them near Miles and Lee roads. 
Two more year-round high schools, MC²STEM and the Cleveland High School for Digital Arts, will open Monday. The Cleveland School of Science and Medicine and Cleveland School of Architecture and Design, both based at the John Hay Campus, will start their extended years on Monday, Aug. 8.

The remaining CMSD schools will begin the year on Monday, Aug. 15.