Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 4-5-22

APRIL 5, 2022 - regular meeting

  • Public comments
  • Recognitions and awards
  • Paper format authorized for test
  • Policy Group C
  • ESSER funds
  • Academic goals
  • Health services
  • Sex-based harassment
  • Treasurer’s report
  • President’s report

Present were Board President Malia Lewis; members Dan Heintz, James Posch, and Jodi Sourini; Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby; and Treasurer Scott Gainer. Beverly Wright was absent. The meeting ran two hours and eight minutes. 

Public comments

A parent asked if there were protocols or procedures for teachers to present personal opinions in the classroom. The parent specifically objected to a teacher stating opinions regarding sororities and fraternities.

Recognitions and awards

The Roxboro Middle School Academic Challenge Team qualified to participate in the National Championship Competition to be held in Chicago. Heights High Boys’ Basketball won the district tournament.

Paper format authorized for test

The board passed a consent agenda; contents can be found on BoardDocs (see below).

On a final reading, the board approved district calendars for 2022-2023 and 2023-2034. 

The board authorized the required Third Grade English Language Arts and Mathematics Assessments to be in paper format for the 2022-2023 School year. The teachers had overwhelmingly recommended a paper and pencil, instead of online, format. 

Policy Group C

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Paul Lombardo presented the first reading of Policy Group C. This policy group, available on BoardDocs, includes guidelines for staff and student dress code, weapons policy, proposals for grant funds, principles for spending federal funds, use of credit cards, and food services.

Ms. Lewis said changes in the weapons policy reflect changes at the state level and include use of theater prop weapons. Ms. Lewis asked that student dress code allow students to dress in accordance with their gender identity. Mr. Heintz maintained the dress code language was subjective and unrealistic. The discussion questioned the difference between dress policy and dress code. Dr. Lombardo will refer to NEOLA regarding why these policies are needed. 

ESSER funds

Ms. Kirby reported that the approximately 17.1 million dollars of ESSER III federal funds, provided to CHUH through the American Rescue Plan (ARP), must be spent by September 2024. Key elements of the ESSER III plan align with the CHUH strategic plan and include academic supports, Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) supports, and Safe School Opening consistent with CDC guidelines for in-person instruction. The CHUH plan for these funds was submitted to the Ohio Board of Education on March 30. (See BoardDocs) 

Academic goals

Ms. Kirby reported that students and families are now able to view Quarter Three on the Infinite Campus portal, which provides secure mobile access to student information. The Springboard Afterschool reading program concluded in March. Over seven weeks, 194 students received literacy skill tutoring. Parents and families participated in five workshops on how to be an at-home reading coach.

Health services

MetroHealth received a 4.5 million dollar grant to support expansion of School-Based Health with Cleveland Municipal School District and CHUH. This will fund expanded services, a telehealth pilot program, construction of additional exam rooms, and a multipurpose/wellness space at the high school.

More than 5,500 PPS (Postsecondary Planning System) surveys were completed by CHUH families, students grades five and above, and staff members. This data will help identify students’ academic, health, and social-emotional needs.

Sex-based harassment

Ms. Kirby updated work addressing sex-based harassment concerns. In January there were a variety of student assemblies to share information. The high school team has asked all students to identify a trusted adult in the school. School social workers are responding to student requests. The Cleveland Rape Crisis Center has held several meetings to review needs and resources. Several high school student groups are meeting to discuss healthy relationships. SWAG (Student Wellness Advisory Group) addresses student concerns and suggestions around physical, mental, and social-emotional health. A student wellness fair is being planned. Staff and administrators have reviewed Title IX requirements. The current curriculum is being reviewed in light of the sexual harassment concerns. Vulnerability assessments have been conducted at the middle and high schools.

Treasurer’s report

Mr. Gainer made the board aware that Ohio House Bill 126, which would limit the district’s ability to deal with property value complaints, is in committee.

President’s report

Ms. Lewis asked that people urge OSBA (Ohio School Boards Association) to rejoin the NSBA (National School Boards Association). In order to attend a NSBA conference, Ms. Lewis had to receive special permission because of the OSBA’s withdrawal from NSBA.

Ms. Lewis thanked Mr. Gainer for mentioning HB 126 and asked that a legislative update be part of the regular board agenda.

Upcoming meetings include work sessions April 12and April 19. 

LWV Observer: Rosemarie Fairman.

Documents for all board meetings can be accessed from the Board of Education webpage: Go to “BoardDocs” in the menu; on BoardDocs go to “MEETINGS” in the top menu; click on “Agenda.” Board meetings are livestreamed on the district’s YouTube channel ( and recorded for later viewing.

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 2:52 PM, 04.18.2022