Innovative schools in Cleveland

Last month, we released a few impressive statistics concerning two high schools from our hometown of Dayton, Ohio.  (These schools are being featured in a forthcoming Fordham report profiling high performing urban high schools in Ohio, a follow up to a 2010 report on high-performing elementary schools.) Today we are highlighting two schools in Cleveland that will also be included in our report. And the timing is fitting as Mayor Frank Jackson’s Cleveland Plan has been introduced in both houses of the General Assembly - SB 325 and HB 506 – and is on tap for an expected supportive vote today from a panel of the State Board of Education.)  The proposal intends for Cleveland Metropolitan School District to transition to a portfolio strategy:

  • Increase the number of high-performing district and charter schools and close and replace failing schools
  • Focus district’s central office on key support and governance roles and transfer authority and resources to school
  • Create the Cleveland Transformation Alliance to ensure accountability for all public schools in the city
  • Invest and phase in high-leverage system reforms across all schools from preschool to college and career

Though the Cleveland Metropolitan School District is in dire need of the reforms proposed in the Plan, these two high-performing high schools, John Hay Early College High Schools and Cleveland School of the Arts High School, demonstrate that not everything in Cleveland is broken. The charts below compare John Hay’s and Cleveland School of the Arts’ tenth-grade students’ performance on the math section of last year’s Ohio Graduation Test to their peers in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. The OGT certainly isn’t known for its rigor and we don’t want to overstate a school’s excellence based on its performance on that test. But these results do make clear that John Hay Early College and Cleveland School of the Arts are delivering their students to far higher levels of achievement than the district as a whole. We’re pleased by their successes and look forward to sharing more about these two schools, and four others, in our report. Watch for its release toward the end of this school year.

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