Early Start to School Year May Benefit Testing

Cleveland schools CEO Eric Gordon welcoming pupils to H. Barbara Booker Elementary on the first day of school.
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School started today for students in Cincinnati and Cleveland public schools.

Dayton Public Schools opened last Thursday.

Canton schools are back in session later this week and Akron, Toledo and Columbus City Schools will start next week.

It seems like an early start, but that may be helpful when testing starts in the spring.

If you’re like most of us, when you come back from vacation, your colleagues form a line outside the door and welcome you back to work.

OK, maybe not.  But that’s the way students at Barbara Booker Elementary and many other Cleveland schools were received on the first day of school.

The CEO of Cleveland schools, Eric Gordon was in line along with the principal, city councilman, and about two dozen volunteers.

Gordon said it’s part of a Wraparound School strategy to keep grades up by using everyone from teachers to bus-drivers to neighbors to nudge students not to miss school.  But they can’t do the cheering welcome every day.

“No, but it's every adult, every interaction.  It’s the bus driver who says ‘I missed you yesterday. ‘Get to school you can make it.’ It’s the security officer that greets them ‘get to school you can make it.’  It’s when they’re in the lunch line ‘get to school you can make it’ at that breakfast meeting.  On the way to class where a teacher says ‘I missed you yesterday ‘get to school you can make it.’   So we can clap them in every day -  we just don’t have to line up to do it.”

The early start to the school year, he said, is aimed at getting as much work in as possible before the big standardized test period in the spring.

“More and more school districts like us are going a little bit earlier in the summer so that we end first semester before winter break and then start second semester as soon as we come back. And so we have more time before achievement testing in April.  And then we get out at the end of May at Memorial Day giving the full summer.

Cleveland opened 100 schools, including three brand new high schools.

Canton schools are back in session later this week and Akron, Toledo and Columbus start next week.

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