Cleveland Plan News

Highlighting our progress and partners

April 2021

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Gund Foundation gives $1 million to expand CMSD arts education 

Ann Gund is passionate about the arts, and a gift of $1 million given in her honor will allow Cleveland Metropolitan School District students to share in that passion.


The grant from The George Gund Foundation is the inaugural gift to the Cleveland Metropolitan School District Arts Education Fund for musical, performing and visual arts. The fund, managed by the Cleveland Foundation, will grow as other donors contribute.


The tribute to Ann Gund comes as she retires from the Gund Foundation’s Board of Trustees. During nearly 30 years of service, she has been a strong supporter of the arts, including arts education, an area where CMSD is seeking to make major advances.


CEO Eric Gordon took a lead role in crafting an arts plan and included it in commitments that would follow passage of Issue 68 last November. Despite the economic challenges of the pandemic, Cleveland residents easily approved renewal of a 15-mill property tax and added a 5-mill increase.


“I am thankful to The George Gund Foundation for this extremely generous gift,” the CEO said. “We have some amazing educators doing meaningful work with our talented scholars. This will help us take arts instruction to a deeper level and make arts part of the fabric of every CMSD school.”


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U.S. Department of Education showcases CMSD reopening

CMSD’s preparations for hybrid learning shared the spotlight when the U.S. Department of Education hosted a National Safe School Reopening Summit.


The virtual summit, held March 24, was designed to support and share resources with schools where students are returning after shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Watch on YouTube.)


First Lady Jill Biden delivered the welcome, affirming that teaching and learning work best when students attend in person. But, she emphasized, “we have to go back safely.”


CMSD and New York City representatives presented “lessons from the field,” featuring reopening approaches that promote safety while focusing on equity. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control, also participated.


CEO Eric Gordon sat on a panel with Cleveland Teachers Union President Shari Obrenski, Facilities Manager Aaron Creel and Trevon Edwards, a Central State University student working in the CEO’s office.


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City, CMSD seek redevelopment of surplus school sites

The City of Cleveland and CMSD are working together in an effort to spur redevelopment of 12 closed school buildings and seven pieces of vacant District property.


The city and District have jointly issued a request for qualifications to attract developers and proposals. The projects must complement the surrounding neighborhood and help revitalize the community. The RFQ calls for plans that benefit neighborhoods through racial equity, inclusion and wealth building.


Responses to the RFQ are due April 30 and respondents will be notified of preliminary selections at the end of May.


“These vacant former school buildings and vacant land provide opportunities for economic development in neighborhoods across the City of Cleveland,” said Mayor Frank G. Jackson. “In collaborating with CMSD on this redevelopment, the City of Cleveland looks forward to repurposing existing vacant assets to build greater equity in our neighborhoods.”


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Nonprofit would keep Collinwood High, add community uses


Collinwood High School would remain a neighborhood fixture but take on additional roles under a proposal the District is discussing with a Cleveland-based nonprofit.


The WorkRoom Program Alliance would buy the massive building and lease back a portion to CMSD. Plans call for converting remaining space to other uses, including an adult training center for manufacturing and robotics.


“Our mission has been to reconnect communities to the companies doing business in their neighborhoods,” said Jason Drake, WorkRoom’s executive director. “The Collinwood complex would be a huge step forward in that mission.”


In addition to school use and job training, the complex could house recreation and medical facilities.


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TUFF outfits John Adams football team with new uniforms

The John Adams football team is being outfitted in top-of-the-line uniforms, and a premier NFL draft prospect helped players celebrate the news.


University of Michigan defensive lineman Kwity Paye, who has been projected as a first-round draft choice, and linebacker Adam Shibley announced the gift March 30 at the John Adams stadium.


The donation is from The Uniform Funding Foundation, or TUFF, a Mentor-based nonprofit that Shibley started after graduating from Cleveland’s St. Ignatius High School in 2017. TUFF provides uniforms and mentoring to youth athletes.


Shibley previously helped out the team with soft-shell helmets for 7-on-7 drills after he met a John Adams player at a summer program. Shibley wanted to help further and reached out to Coach Gary Jackson.


“We immediately fell in love with the John Adams community,” he told players gathered for the surpirse reveal, which was filmed by an NFL Network crew. “I appreciate your commitment to this school and this team. This foundation is here for you.”


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Wade Park participates in global conference

CMSD students know firsthand how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted their way of learning and interactions with friends -- and they are not alone. Students around the world are also dealing with the digital divide and remote learning.


Wade Park School Principal Lee Buddy Jr. and some of his students recently participated in Learnit Live, a five-day online conference featuring global education leaders who are driving change for their communities while building a “new normal” for academics.


“I am excited that I was able to bring some of my scholars with me during this virtual conference,” Buddy said. “It gives me an opportunity to learn from other districts and share best practices.”


This year’s theme, “The Future of Learning,” allowed educators from nations including the United Kingdom, United States, France, India and Ghana to discuss topics from re-engaging leaners to extending education to the hardest areas to reach.


Current and former Wade Park students recorded a video that played during the conference. Each wrote their own message about what the future of learning looks like to them.


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Contest winners receive breakfast party with Browns linebacker

Winners of the District’s Breakfast Masterpiece contest had the chance to eat the most important meal of the day with a Super Bowl champ.


Cleveland Browns linebacker Malcolm Smith recently joined students from Mound, Robinson G. Jones, Miles Park schools and the Safe Haven learning pod at Jones Road Family Ministry for a virtual breakfast party.


“Breakfast for me is extremely important,” said Smith, who earned MVP honors in 2014 when he helped the Seattle Seahawks win the Super Bowl. “Usually in the morning, I have a lot of meetings, so it is a like going to class, and it is really hard to focus if you don’t have breakfast.”


In February, the CMSD School Nutrition Department encouraged students to show how they win big with school breakfast. They received over 60 submissions of poems, drawings, essays, music videos, collages, verses and short stories.


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2021-3-22 1615 Fox8 Preview