By: Catrina Leone
Another big move for Cleveland! New tools to help Cleveland families make informed decisions about the schools their children attend, including an interactive and comprehensive “report card” on every public school in the city was unveiled at a Press Conference by Mayor Frank Jackson. The Cleveland Transformation Alliance is a non-profit organization dedicated to growing a portfolio of high-performing district and charter schools in Cleveland.
The report card is now available as the Alliance launches its website and “Choose Your School!”- which is a citywide outreach campaign to help encourage families to become active, engaged, and empowered “school choosers” for 2014-2015. This is a great way to make sure parents are choosing the right school for their children! Mayor Jackson stated, ” This effort reflects my deep committment to Cleveland’s citizens to transform our school system so that all children can experience a quality education. For the first time, comprehensive information on every district and charter schools can be found in one place, so families can learn about their many options when it comes to public schools.”
The Cleveland Transformation Alliance has a mission of ensuring that every child in Cleveland attends an excellent school and that every neighborhood has many great schools to pick from. The organization is a key component of Cleveland’s Plan for Transforming Schools and advocates for progress outlined within the Cleveland Plan, which is the citywide education plan.
“With a growing number of innovative school models and charter school options available to families, our goal through this program is to make the community aware of all public school options across the city,” said Megan O’Bryan, executive director.
At the press conference, it was also announced that the new Alliance website has been launched! This website is where you can view your report card, a great website families can interact with. The “report card” offers information on how to choose a school, special programs and features, state academic rating, enrollment process and more. This website serves as the communication platform for the main goal of the Alliance.
The Cleveland Plan I mentioned earlier, outlines four distinctive work roles for the Alliance:
1. Assess the quality of all district and charter schools in our area.
2. Communicate to parents about quality school choices.
3. Ensure fidelity to the citywide education plan.
4. Monitor charter sector quality and growth.
The Alliance Board of Directors stands unified for quality schools and includes representatives from Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Cleveland Teachers Union, charter school authorizes, the business community, foundations, parents and educators.
The Alliance derives its main mission and scope from Cleveland’s Plan for Transforming Schools, the 2012 blueprint for a comprehensive reinvention of public education in Cleveland. This plan lays out the city’s transition to a portfolio strategy– a new system of district and charter schools held to the highest standard of performance with innovative partnerships to create dramatic achievement gains for every student. It aims to create an environment that empowers and values principles and teachers as professionals and makes certain that our students are held to the highest of expectations.
This plan recognizes that public education in Cleveland has come to a crossroads. Recent reform efforts undertaken by the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and its partners have generated positive results for some students. The number of high performing district and charter schools in Cleveland has grown from 14 in 2006 to 37 in 2011, which means there were more than 11,400 students enrolled.
The “portfolio strategy” has four major components: Grow the number of high-performing district and charter schools in Cleveland, Focus District’s central office on key roles and transfer authority and resources to schools, invest and phase in high-leverage system reforms across all schools, and to create the Cleveland Transformation Alliance to ensure accountability for all public schools. I will give important details about each step:
Grow the number of high-performing district and charter schools:
The main goal is to increase the number of high-performing schools while reducing and eventually eliminating low-performing schools. They will ensure this by; promoting, expanding, and replicating existing high-performing district and charter schools; starting new schools, refocusing and strengthening mid performing schools and lastly, by repurposing and addressing low-performing schools.
Focus district’s central office on key roles and transfer authority and resources to schools
The primary focus of central office will be to oversee the portfolio in three fundamental ways. The primary focus of central office will be to oversee the portfolio of schools to ensure continuous improvement, provide system coordination for essential functions, and provide some targeted services directly to schools.
Invest and phase in high-leverage system reforms
Cleveland will invest in several fundamental building blocks upon which this plan must be built: high quality preschool education, college and workforce readiness, year-round calendar, talent recruitment, and capacity building, academic technology enhancement and support for high-quality charter schools,
Create the Cleveland Transformation Alliance to ensure accountability for all public schools
It will assume the following unique roles: ensure fidelity to the citywide education plan, assess the quality of all Cleveland schools, communicate to parents about quality school choices and serve as a watchdog for charter sector growth in our city. The main goal is by the end of 6 years, the number of Cleveland students enrolled in high-performing district and charter schools will triple.
Education is such an important part of a child’s life. I think this plan will only help families and children grow into who they can be and were meant to be. Mayor Frank Jackson, along with the Cleveland Alliance ensure this will be a great fresh start for the Cleveland School District! Stay tuned to TV20 for more on this story and others in our community!
*All images provided by: Clare Walters, City of Cleveland*