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March 22, 2020 Message to the Class of 2020

To the CMSD Class of 2020:


As superintendent/CEO of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, I want to personally connect with CMSD seniors during this unanticipated closure of our schools.

As you know, we are facing a public health emergency in our country and this is probably the first time you have experienced this in your lifetime.  I know that means you’re wondering what this means to you, especially as your high school graduation is so near. 

CMSD SENIORS: See the video of this important message from CEO Eric Gordon on the right.

I want you to know that I am aggressively advocating with state leaders that any high school senior in Ohio who was on track for graduation at the end of the third quarter before this statewide school shutdown be granted his or her high school diploma, even if we can’t finish this school year. 

Ultimately, it is up to the Ohio state legislature to determine who is eligible to graduate this year.  I promise you that I will keep advocating for you in the days and weeks ahead and that I will keep you informed as well.  In the meantime, there are a few things you can do for me that will help me make the case to our legislature that they should follow my recommendations. 

Please complete your FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and your Say Yes to Education scholarship application.  Do so even if you don’t plan to go to college after high school.  High numbers of applications will help me prove that CMSD seniors expect to graduate and need the state to allow them to do so.  You can go to the CMSD website to find links to FAFSA and the Say Yes scholarship application. 

I also know that many of you are wondering about your commencement ceremony.  I promise you that you will have the opportunity to walk across the stage! If possible, we will maintain our regular school graduation schedule.  If not, I will organize district-led regional commencement ceremonies where I can personally shake every one of your hands, when we’re allowed to do so, and congratulate you personally. 

My job, right now, is to make sure you get your diploma.  Your job, right now, is to stay safe and healthy and to keep your mind active by completing our academic enrichment activities so that when I do give you your diploma you are prepared to make all of Cleveland proud! 

Congratulations Class of 2020!  I will make sure that you have your well deserved day! 



Eric S. Gordon

Chief Executive Officer