Return to Headlines

CMSD to launch four new high schools

CMSD will launch four new high schools in the 2014-15 school year, one that will specialize in the digital arts, one that will allow students to earn a both a diploma and an associate degree and two that the District believes will provide a spark at an existing campus.
The news comes just as eighth-graders decide which high schools they want to attend in the fall. Their choices have been expanded to include:
  • Two small schools being developed for John F. Kennedy High School with  $3 million from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The schools will each begin with ninth grade and add a grade level each year. The ninth grades will spend the first year at the former Cranwood School to ensure getting off to a good start; students currently enrolled at JFK can remain there until graduation.
  • Bard High School Early College Cleveland, which will be operated in a partnership with New York-based Bard College and allow students to earn both a high school diploma and two-year college degree in four years. In its inaugural year, the new high school will take over the former Brooklawn School on Worthington Avenue near West 117th Street.
  • The Cleveland High School for the Digital Arts, a collaboration between CMSD and the  Center for Arts-Inspired Learning, formerly Young Audiences. The school will share a downtown building with SuccessTech Academy.
The new schools will increase a menu of high-quality academic options, as called for by The Cleveland Plan, CMSD’s state-approved blueprint for reform. Bard High School Early College Cleveland also responds to calls for more innovation on the city's West Side, said said Christine Fowler-Mack, chief portfolio officer.
“We really have to have strong academic options if our students are going to be career and college ready,” she said.
A team is refining the design of the JFK schools, but plans call for providing two small, personalized settings that enjoy the advantages of a large campus, setting high expectations for learning and behavior and providing instruction to fit a variety of learning styles.
When complete, the JFK schools will have 400 to 500 students. Fowler-Mack said starting at a site away from the campus will allow the schools to “solidify the culture and new practices."
Bard High School Early College Cleveland will be the fourth such partnership for the small liberal-arts institution based in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y. Bard also operates early college high schools in New York City and Newark, N.J., as well as early college centers, which offer courses but not degrees, in New Orleans and the Harlem Children's Zone.
Bard was matched with CMSD by a third party, and the District was eager to work together, said Martha Olson, dean of education initiatives at the college. She said the college and District must still finalize a memorandum of understanding.

“We had been looking to expand what we do because we think it’s an important alternative in urban school districts,” Olson said. “There’s a burgeoning early-college movement across the country. There’s a lot of conversation at the federal level about how do we make these programs happen."

CMSD operates other early-college programs, but the students take their college courses at a local college campus. In this instance, the high school teachers will be Bard adjunct faculty.

The new school’s offerings will include natural sciences, social sciences, mathematics, humanities and the arts. Bard High School Early College Cleveland will have admissions criteria that are still being developed; the other new high schools will be open to all students as long as space is available.

The Cleveland High School School for the Digital Arts will teach game design, recording arts technology and digital filmmaking and integrate digital arts with core courses.
"Young people in high school grow up in technology," said Marsha Dobrzynski, executive director of the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning. "Digital arts can be the thing that engages kids in their own learning."
The school will alternate 10 weeks of school with three-week breaks, with days that run from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.. Students will spend the later part the day serving internships or learning from experts in the field.