State of the Schools

Yesterday, the downtown Cleveland Hilton was brimming with more than 900 educators, students, residents and community stakeholders, gathered to hear the latest on Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s progress from CEO Eric Gordon and his “State of the Schools” address.

Cleveland’s public schools have been showing signs of steady improvement in key areas. But challenges remain. Gordon also stressed the importance of Issue 108, a no-tax-increase levy renewal on the ballot this November, to help the district sustain and accelerate progress.

For the past decade, the Cleveland Foundation has been a funder and champion of the Cleveland Plan for Transforming Schools, a blueprint to advance student achievement, and provide every family in every Cleveland neighborhood a variety of great schools from which to choose. The Cleveland Plan was designed to rethink and reinvent what the Cleveland school district and its charter partner schools could offer our children, from the ground up.

And it has. While Gordon acknowledged the long road ahead and areas for continued improvement, he reported on some key victories that impact students at every stage of their education:

  • Our community has expanded access to high-quality preschools by more than 1200 seats. 80% of the students in high-quality preschools are kindergarten-ready afterwards, compared to 50% of those who don’t have access to a high-quality preschool.
  • CMSD has improved third-grade reading scores from 31% of third-graders reading at their grade level, to more than 85% reading at grade level.
  • Unlike comparable urban school districts, CMSD saw gains in 4th and 8th grade reading scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress— the “Nation’s Report Card.”
  • CMSD’s four-year high school graduation rate reached a record high this year at 66.1%— a 14% increase since designing the Cleveland Plan. This means hundreds more students have graduated from CSMD in the last four years.
  • College remediation rates for CMSD students declined 10% in the last year, and CMSD students who have entered Tri-C and CSU have much higher college persistence rates as well.

Gordon also reported on CMSD’s struggle to meet other goals within the Cleveland Plan, such as eliminating failing schools from the city, and tripling the number of students enrolled in high-performing district and charter schools. While progress has been slow, he said Cleveland Plan is producing real results.

As long-time supporters of the Cleveland Plan, the Cleveland Foundation is especially proud of the incredible young people and the people who have helped them succeed—students, teachers, principals, parents and mentors. We recently partnered with CMSD to share some of their inspiring stories on video. Take a look and meet the exceptional students attending CMSD schools.

You can view the full video of Gordon’s remarks right here.