Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education special session highlights 11-17-2020

NOVEMBER 17, 2020


  • Schools foundation name change
  • Resolution to support Ohio House Bill 305
  • First quarter educational data report


Board President Jodi Sourini and members Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis, James Posch, and Beverly Wright were present. Also attending were Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby; Treasurer Scott Gainer; Assistant Superintendent Felisha Gould; Director of Data, Research, and Assessment Allison Byrd; and six school principals. The meeting was called to order at 7:12 p.m. and adjourned at 9:35 p.m., when the board went into executive session.

Schools foundation name change 

Board member Malia Lewis, who serves as board representative to the Reaching Heights Board of Directors, presented the formal change in name from “Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Schools Foundation” to “Reaching Heights.” Ms. Lewis also said that Reaching Heights will hold its annual meeting on December 8, 2020.

Resolution to support Ohio House Bill 305

President Sourini presented a resolution in support of the Fair Schools Funding Plan proposed in Ohio House Bill 305 (also referred to as the Cupp-Patterson Bill). 

During discussion, Superintendent Kirby noted that she had presented testimony on the bill and that testimony is still being given in the state senate on the companion bill. Ms. Sourini suggested that the resolution be circulated to city governments with a request that they also support the funding plan.

The board unanimously approved the resolution. 

First quarter educational data report

Presentation: Ms. Kirby stated her continued commitment to the strategic plan and that data must be presented and analyzed to determine whether adjustments are needed. The strategic plan’s equity policy was developed to close achievement gaps. Data analysis will assist teachers in developing and using best practices. 

Ms. Byrd explained the importance of monitoring student attendance. First quarter attendance reports and grades were compared with 2019-2020 reports. The analysis extended to student subgroups, comparing the subgroup data to that of all students. The subgroups were designated by race, English language learning, and disability. 

Ms. Gould said that all seven elementary schools have attendance rates of at least 90 percent; secondary schools are reporting rates of 85 percent to 90.75 percent. Staff regularly connect with families to provide support and intervention. The Grading Task Force is reviewing the first quarter data to create multiple pathways for student success.

Each of the six school principals recounted using strategies to reduce problems relating to student attendance and difficulty with technology. Their intervention strategies included home visits to assist struggling students and providing vulnerable student groups with the opportunity to come into school to work in a supportive, supervised setting. Discussion included the Saturday School intervention at the high school and middle schools.

Board questions and comments: Mr. Heintz asked why students were not attending school. He also observed that families are overwhelmed and that work done alone, i.e., virtually, takes more time. Mr. Johnson responded that teachers are reviewing how students respond to the level of work and that some students do not have the type of home supervision that would keep them on task.

Both Mr. Posch and Ms. Lewis requested another review in which the data are presented in a format that shows analysis in terms of student learning and how well standards are being met. Ms. Byrd said she will do this. Superintendent Kirby invited the board to join a meeting of the student assistant teams. 

All meetings are held virtually, streamed directly on the district’s YouTube channel (, and recorded for later viewing. They can also be viewed at:

LWV Observer: Rosemarie Fairman.

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Volume 14, Issue 1, Posted 10:32 AM, 12.14.2020