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Agencies recruited for CMSD wraparound schools


The call has gone out for agencies that will organize academic and social support tailored to the needs of nine CMSD schools.

The United Way of Greater Cleveland, working with the District, is seeking proposals (Find more information here.) from prospective lead agencies interested in developing community "wraparound" services for the struggling schools. The deadline is 5 p.m. on Friday, July 11.

The services will buttress Investment Schools, low performing schools singled out for intensive academic and other intervention under The Cleveland Plan, a state-approved blueprint for reform. The schools includes Glenville High School and eight elementary schools: Adlai E. Stevenson, Almira, Bolton, Fullerton, George Washington Carver STEM, Marion-Sterling, Michael R. White STEM and Patrick Henry.

CMSD Chief Executive Officer Eric Gordon has required that the wraparound services include tutoring and extend to after school and during vacations. The services will aid students who are coping with burdens like homelessness and hunger, Juliana Cole of the United Way said at a recent meeting of Investment School principals.

The strategy’s success depends on collaboration between each school’s principal and a site coordinator chosen by the principal and lead agency, Lisa Naylor, CMSD’s wraparound project manager, told the group. The principal and site coordinator, who is paid by the school’s lead agency with money passed through the United Way, work together to ensure students receive the right mix of outside assistance.

“The partners you bring into the building are aligned to your vision,” Naylor said. “This is not, ‘We’re going to come in and tell you what you’re going to do.’ “

CMSD previously selected 17 other schools for wraparound services. Those schools have not had a full year of support but are already reaping benefits.

Maria Sliva, site coordinator at H. Barbara Booker PreK-8 School, recruited 12 volunteer tutors to work with third-graders during lunch and help them meet a state standard required to earn promotion to the fourth grade. In the fall, five of 26 students had complied with Ohio’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee; by spring, the number stood at 16 with a chance to climb in the summer.

“Those kids just enjoyed having that attention,” Principal Katrina Hicks said. “They would literally knock you down so they could get their lunch and go upstairs to the tutoring room.”

The Cleveland Playhouse serves as the lead agency for Robert H. Jamison PreK-8 School.

The Playhouse ran a free two-week enrichment program at the school after classes let out for summer. The program combined theater and what is referred to as social-emotional learning.

Students learned to identify, understand and manage their emotions, said Nina Dominque, a Playhouse performer who serves as Jamison’s site coordinator. But the program also helped feed what she said is a hunger among the children for the arts.

Dominque said the most significant change so far is that she has the support of her principal and teachers and that people in the area are aware of her role.

“Now that the community is beginning to know I’m here,” she said, “people are coming to me and asking, ‘How can I help?’ “