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Issue 107: CMSD Board unveils four-year strategic plan

Teacher CLEVELAND -- Tuesday night, at the first meeting of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District Board of Education following the Nov. 6 election and the passage of Issue 107, the board took action to return 50 minutes to the school day, setting in motion three immediate goals for CMSD:

To restore the full school day in all K-8 schools
To increase exposure to art, music and physical education in as many schools as possible
To add reading, mathematics and science intervention where determined.
Effective Jan. 22, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District will restore the full school day for students in all K-8 schools.

CEO Eric Gordon told Board members at the Dec. 4 board meeting the district's ability to add 50 minutes to the school day in January was due to passage of the Nov. 6 levy.

Gordon also presented the board with the promised framework for how the district will move forward with implementing the Cleveland Plan.

The 33-page document, titled "The Cleveland Plan: Four-Year Implementation Strategy," is posted on the district's website and was distributed at the meeting.

Read: The Cleveland Plan: Four-Year Implementation Strategy

In the coming weeks, CEO Eric Gordon said the draft will be distributed throughout the community to solicit input and feedback.

"This document will drive our transformation work going forward, and when it's complete, will be a tool for holding us accountable for results," he said.

"I cannot stress enough how important community feedback and input will be as we refine the document that will guide this important work."

Over the next six weeks, the CEO said CMSD will aggressively engage in the gathering input throughout the community and will revise the strategies in the plan based on the feedback received.

The final version is expected to be presented to the board for adoption in mid- to late-January.

"This year, our staff, our community leaders and our partner stakeholders joined forces to create the conditions we need to put our schools on a path of excellence, and it will take the same level of engagement to turn the Cleveland Plan vision into reality," the CEO told the board.

Board Chair Denise Link joined the CEO in strongly encouraging citizens to take the time to review District progress to date and to share Four-Year Strategic Plan document with others to solicit a broad range of ideas.

"The community has a unique opportunity to play a significant role in directing their investment dollars and in monitoring district progress," said Link.

"We are counting on citizens to work together to ensure the plan truly represents the common vision and goals of the community."

Passage of Issue 107, a four-year, 15-mill operating levy, was Cleveland's first vote of confidence in its public schools in 16 years.

Gordon told the board that approximately $6.8 million tax dollars would be used to restore the lost instructional time, a 50-minute cut to the start and end of the school day that was a priority issue for many families.

This week, new start and end times for K-8 schools will be posted on the District website and distributed through numerous communication channels.

During the month of December, the district will focus on rescheduling students, staffing additional classes, re-routing bus transportation, adjusting breakfast and lunch serving times and informing families of upcoming changes, the CEO said.

In early January, the district will engage in practice runs of the new transportation routes and will inform families of the finalized transportation schedule.

Restoration of the full school day will take effect on Jan. 22, when students return to school from the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend.