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Teachers get tips for Census instruction



The 2020 Census represents a chance to help CMSD students see how government affects their lives and how they can do their parts to influence the outcome.

Lavora “Gayle” Gadison, curriculum and instruction manager for social studies, stressed that point Friday to more than 30 social studies teachers who mostly serve the sixth through eight grades.

Gadison led “Authenticating Social Studies Instruction,” one of many professional learning sessions that were going on across the District while students enjoyed a day off. She touched on making real-world connections to other processes like voting and jury duty but devoted the bulk of the day to the once-a-decade headcount.

“We have to show our students that being counted in the Census is one of the ways to be engaged in government,” she said.

Gadison wants students to carry home the message that, among other things, population numbers determine federal funding for a host of school and other programs critical to Cleveland and the region. Accuracy is particularly important in Cleveland, one of the most undercounted areas in the nation for young children.

Teachers can find free resources for Census instruction by going to and clicking on the tab for educators. The resources will be in the spotlight during Statistics in Schools Week, March 2-6.

GiGi Elder is an intervention specialist for nonverbal, medically fragile students at Franklin D. Roosevelt PreK-8 School but has spoken directly to parents about the Census. She also hopes to spread the message through her work with Cleveland’s Neighborhood Leadership Institute, which has made increasing Census participation a priority.

Sarah Hodge teaches credit recovery at Martin Luther King Jr. Career Campus, helping the high school students there get back on track to graduation. She also is active with student government and is confident the school's teenagers will take up the challenge.

“They want to get active around causes,” Hodge said. “The kids at Martin Luther King want people to hear their voices and listen to what they say.”

Gadison, who is known for promoting student voice, doesn’t want the Census to fall off the list of lesson plans after this year.

“Teaching the Census is not ‘something different,” she said. “This something we should teach even after the Census is over.”