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Investment Schools continue to show signs of progress in third-quarter reports

CMSD’s initial Investment Schools continue to show signs of progress as the schools enter the final grading period of their first year under intensive intervention, new reports indicate.

Investment Schools are low-performing schools targeted for special attention under The Cleveland Plan, the District’s state-approved blueprint for reform. Chief Executive Officer Eric Gordon recently singled out another 10 schools for the assistance.

The first group consists of Collinwood, Lincoln-West and John Adams high schools and 10 elementary schools: Robert H. Jamison, Luis Munoz Marin, Mound STEM, Kenneth W. Clement Boys’ Leadership Academy, Case, Robinson G. Jones, Walton, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Anton Grdina and Alfred A. Benesch.

How the high schools are faring academically won’t truly be known until the state releases the results of the Ohio Graduation Test that students just finished taking. But according to the new third-quarter reports, District assessments that help predict OGT scores showed significant improvement at Collinwood and Lincoln-West. John Adams’ scores remained flat.

Chief Academic Officer Michelle Pierre-Farid said the District needs to see more improvement, but the results outlined in the third-quarter reports look promising.

"It shows people are doing the right work to get the right results," she said.
No new academic data is available on the elementary schools.  Midyear reports indicated that, overall, the schools are headed for at least slight increases on state exams they will take in April and May.

The schools also have worked to improve discipline and safety. According to the new reports, the 13 schools, as a group, have cut suspensions by more than half, from 3,793 to 1,459.

Schools also reported sharp gains in family and community participation. Data was not available from four schools, but as of Feb. 28, the others had combined to stage 138 events this school year, up from 64 at the same point last year. 

Attendance at events totaled 6,481, compared with 2,284 last year.

Gordon has emphasized that the schools have a long way to go, and the reports indicate that student and staff attendance are concerns.

Student attendance averaged 80.5 percent from Dec. 16 through Feb. 21, down from 83.9 percent in the second quarter and 86.3 percent in the first quarter. Pierre-Farid said the District needs to dig deeper into the reasons behind the attendance figures because surveys show students feel better about their schools

The Investment Schools’ teachers and other instructional staff had a 93.7 percent attendance rate, down from 95.5 percent in the second quarter and 96.2 percent in the first quarter. The rate dipped just below the District’s overall rate for the first time this school year.

Outside agencies are coordinating customized community “wraparound” services at the schools to help students succeed. CMSD and the United Way of Greater Cleveland provided the bulk of the funding, contributing $500,000 each.

The newest Investment Schools will be connected to outside partners after community meetings that are now under way. The second group includes Glenville and East Tech high schools and eight elementary schools: Adlai Stevenson, Almira, Bolton, Fullerton, George Washington Carver STEM, Marion-Sterling. Michael R. White and Patrick Henry.

The Cleveland Plan requires CMSD to identify at least 10 percent of its schools for “corrective action” every year for three years. The schools are given up to three years to improve or face stronger action.