Principals, Teachers to Move to New Small Schools in Heights High
Staff will be reassigned starting in the 2011 school year to prepare for a university-like high school by the 2012 school year
Cleveland Heights High will look more like a university by the start of the 2012-2013 school year, and the goal is to have all students graduate with college credit.
Earlier this year, the district announced that it would close P.R.I.D.E. (Producing Responsible Individuals Dedicated to Excellence), one of five small schools in the high school, and that principal Joseph Nohra would lead the effort to create a “freshman experience,” or a curriculum and schedule designed to address the needs of ninth-graders, as a quarter fail their first year.
In 2004 and 2005, Heights High split into five small schools, each with a different principal and learning philosophy, with the goal to improve student achievement by giving students individualized attention and a more tight-knit community.
Jeffery Talbert, assistant superintendent, announced a series of changes to earlier plans on Tuesday. James Reed, principal of the Renaissance small school, will take on the freshman experience and lead whole-school decisions. Nicholas Petty will move from Mosaic Experience to Renaissance, and Nohra, who had originally been chosen to lead freshman experience, will move from P.R.I.D.E. to Mosaic Experience. This will be effective at the start of the 2011-2012 school year.
In addition, some teachers will move to new small schools starting in the 2011-2012 school year.
Teachers Reassigned to New Small Schools
The foundation of each small school is tied its philosophy about the way students learn best. For example, Renaissance’s theme is collaboration and cooperation, and compares teachers to coaches. Instructors provide some guidance, but really allow students to discover answers on their own and in groups.
Starting in the 2012-2013 school year, the four small schools will look like individual colleges of a university, with related classes offered in each. Students will pick schools based on their interests, like a college student chooses a major.
“If I’m in Legacy because I want to be a doctor, but I also enjoy singing, I can still be in the choir, I can still be a part of barbershoppers. 'But that’s in another school' you’re going to tell me. Yes, but it’s still that college mentality, that university mentality,” Talbert said. “I may major in science and technology, but I can minor in music … we’re not limiting what kids have exposure to or what kids can take.”
Legacy will be renamed Legacy New Tech and offer classes designed to prepare students for medical and technology fields such as premed, nursing, exercise physiology, engineering and biotechnology. All related specialized courses like calculus, AP biology, biotechnology and AP physics will move to Legacy, which means that the instructors who teach those courses will move as well starting in the 2011 school year. Principal Marc Engoglia will continue to be the principal.
Mosaic Experience will keep its name, and offer classes in arts, communication, auto technology and collision and computer networking. All music and arts courses will be housed in the school, in addition to theater arts, TV production and a new journalism course. Teachers will move at the start of the 2011 school year.
R.E.A.L. will be called R.E.A.L. Early College High School, and Marc Aden will continue to be the principal.
“These students who enroll into (R.E.A.L.), when they leave us, will have the opportunity to leave with an associates degree or have enough college credits to be considered a sophomore or well into being a junior,” Talbert said.
The school will partner with Cuyahoga Community College to offer an associate's degree program, which will include career prep courses like cosmetology and criminal justice.
Students would complete high school credits by sophomore year by taking semester-long and Online courses and work on college material by junior year.
Only 100 students per year will attend this school, Talbert said.
“We believe that the R.E.A.L. Early College High School would be highly selective … we’re actually looking for the non-traditional college student. We’re looking for the student who is a first-generation college (student),” Talbert said. “Students who without our little push might not go to school.”
Renaissance will be renamed the Renaissance School of International Studies and Liberal Arts, and be tailored to students interested in law, marketing and business. Courses such as AP U.S. History, African American Studies, business law, AP psychology and AP Economics will be offered, and staff will move starting in the 2011 school year.
The primary goal is to have all students graduate with some college credit.
Elementary and Middle Schools
Each elementary and middle school will be designated an International Baccalaureate, fine and performing arts or S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) school. Plans are still being worked out, but for now Roxboro Middle School will be an IB school, Wiley Middle School will focus on fine arts and Monticello Middle School will transform into a S.T.E.M. School. Roxboro and Fairfax elementary schools will be IB schools and Boulevard will be a S.T.E.M. school. The other elementary schools will choose their "thematic strands" at a later date.
Talbert said parents and students can choose a school because it's in their neighborhood or because it focuses on a specific area of study the child is interested in.
The more than two hour meeting included other details about programs for students who are behind, have been suspended or expelled and a presentation from Superintendent Douglas Heuer about the departments that help support teachers and students such as human resources and communications.
The board had a handful of questions, but said that they had to let these overarching changes digest and settle before they posed many questions and commented.
Eric Coble, board president, commended the work, and said although there are several details that need to be figured out, the new programs based on choice reflected what students will be exposed to in the real world.
“The idea of choosing the path they want to go on, of learning to work with groups, of learning to work under the supervision of good bosses, bad bosses, figuring out how to manage my own time, is invaluable,” Coble said. “If we can instill that in 16-year-olds, 17-year-olds, 18-year-olds … How do you make those choices, What are the consequences of these choices, in a safe environment where you’re not going to get fired, where you’re not going to lose your livelihood.
“Twenty years down the road we have no idea what kinds of jobs (will be available) … All we can do is teach them how to be self reliant, and teach them how to think on their feet.”
Check Cleveland Heights Patch for more articles on the changes discussed at the meeting.