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May 12 - Graduation Information message

Dear CMSD Seniors and Families:

With the closure of our schools this spring, CMSD has closely followed the guidance of state and local health officials to stop the spread of COVID-19. In the past month, you, and all of us, have waited patiently for that guidance to know what we can and cannot do for graduation.

While we held out hope that each of you would be able to “walk the walk” you envisioned on your graduation day, health officials say it is still too risky to hold traditional gatherings, even small ones.  This decision may be confusing for some seniors and their families, at a time when shopping centers, restaurants and some businesses are being permitted to slowly reopen. But guidance from the Ohio Department of Education outlines clearly what we can and cannot do to celebrate graduation in a way that is safe for our students, family and community during this public health crisis.

In anticipation of graduation restrictions, a team comprised of educators, parents and students worked diligently to plan celebrations that would fall within the state’s strict guidelines and that could also be approved by the Cleveland Board of Public Health (CBPH).  I am pleased to announce that our graduation plan has not only been approved, but includes doing the maximum we are permitted to do under the guidelines for graduation.

To experience as much as possible of a traditional ceremony, CMSD will hold both an In-Person Drive Up graduation and a televised Virtual Graduation. These options will enable you to personally receive your diploma, enjoy the accolades and expressions of pride in your accomplishments and have a meaningful keepsake of this milestone moment in your life as you move on to the colleges, technical schools and career paths that await you.


  • Regalia (Cap & Gown) Pickup:  Your principal will notify you when your caps and gowns are ready for pickup and will provide guidelines for a smooth arrival and departure on pickup during your school’s assigned pick-up days.
  • Preparing for the Graduation Procession:  When you pick up your regalia, you will be provided a number that will be used on graduation day during the Graduation Procession.
  • Each high school’s In-person Graduation Procession will be scheduled June 16-24 on one of two campuses:  East Professional Center at 1349 E. 79th Street or at Max Hayes Campus at 2211 West 65th Street.
  • Detailed information about your school's time and location will be announced next week by your principal through your school’s normal communication channels. Details will also be posted on the CMSD website.  
  • On the Day of your Graduation Procession:  At your school’s designated graduation date/time, scholars and their families will drive to the scholar's assigned location.  The scholar will present the assigned number as they drive through the processional to receive their diploma. Feel free to decorate your car! Your principal will be on-site to hand you your diploma, provide a graduate yard sign and other keepsakes and celebrate with you as your name is read and your car passes through. 


  • At the virtual graduation ceremony, our desire is to replicate as many components of an in-person graduation ceremony as we can for the Class of 2020, so you can experience your graduation day with all of the "pomp and circumstance" that comes with sharing this proud moment with your loved ones, including:
    • Musical Performance for the start of your ceremony
    • Welcome Speech by your School Principal 
    • Keynote Address by the Superintendent/CEO 
    • Valedictorian/Scholar Speeches
    • Honors recognition
    • Reading of the names of graduates (photos/video of each scholar in their cap & gown are displayed, to the music of "Pomp & Circumstance")
    • The official "conferring" of high school diplomas by the Chair of the Board of Education
    • Your school's personalized graduation video.
  • Your Virtual Graduation Ceremony will be aired on CW43, so families can share the experience in the safety and comfort of your homes. The show will also reside on website, on the CMSD website, and be shared through social media so that people who live elsewhere can watch.
  • More specific guidelines will follow from your principal outlining the process for sending your photo and/or video image for inclusion in the virtual graduation ceremony

Thank you for your patience as our staff and your principals worked the details and secured the approvals needed to ensure your safety and to make your graduation day as meaningful and memorable as it can be this year.

Beyond our commitment to your safety, we remain committed to finding a way in the future for the Class of 2020 to have your long-awaited walk across the stage. When it is safe to provide that milestone moment in your life, I look forward to ensuring you have the resounding applause you so deserve. 


 Eric Gordon

Eric S. Gordon

Chief Executive Officer