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More parents visiting CMSD schools

Parents and caregivers representing three-fourths of CMSD's students have visited their children's schools this school year, surpassing numbers recorded for all of the previous school year.
The participation falls short of The Cleveland Plan requirement that parents and caregivers of all District students have face-to-face contact with the schools by mid-December. State Sen. Sandra Williams, then a member of the House, pushed to include the provision in the plan, a customized education reform plan written into state law.
But the showing is impressive nonetheless, said Tracy Hill, executive director of family and community engagement. Hill, whose initial response to the new numbers was "Wow," said the schools are working harder to engage parents, which includes strengthening parent organizations, and are rebuilding trust that in many cases had been broken.
"We are creating a culture of collaboration and partnership between our educators and our parents," she said.
The contact came in various forms, including open houses, meetings to discuss special-education plans and parent-teacher conferences. The District, with agreement from the Cleveland Teachers Union, extended conference hours from afternoon into the evening to make the times more convenient.
Overall, face-to-face contact was up 12 percentage points from fall of 2013, the first time the District kept such data. K-8 schools reported 80 percent participation, an increase of 11 points, and high schools had just under 64 percent, a jump of nearly 15 percent.  
Though The Cleveland Plan deadline has passed for this school year, the District will continue to promote opportunities for parents to visit schools.
Parent-teacher conferences will be held again from 12:30 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24. Conferences also may be scheduled on Thursday, Feb. 12 and Wednesday, April 29, days when students will be released two hours early.
By the end of last school year, 73 percent of parents had visited their children's schools.