Cleveland School CEO Finds Positive Path in Incremental Growth

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The CEO of the largest school district in Ohio says the numbers are improving for his district, even if they aren’t yet good.

In his annual State of the Schools address Eric Gordon says Cleveland Municipal School District is on the rebound.

Gordon talked about finding direction by following the north star.  His guiding stars were a number of incremental improvements to let him know he’s on the right path.

With a graduation rate of just 64% Cleveland public schools don’t look very good but that is a 12% jump from 4 years ago.   Only one quarter of the district’s preschoolers are enrolled in high quality preschool, but that’s still up 52% in less than a year and a half. The district has 88 more students this year which isn’t a big gain but Gordon notes it’s a major reversal from the days when they were losing 2000 a year.

“The organization FutureThink which does the projects for the state of Ohio’s construction program projected that we’d be at 36,000 kids this year.  Instead, we’re at 39,000 and about 200 so we’re really excited about to be far above what we were projected to be in student enrollment.

Urycki “What do you think made the difference?

”I don’t think there’s one thing.  I think it’s the point of the speech actually, is that there’s a number of things all working together to improve this system.”

And at a time when some states and districts are having a hard time attracting teachers, they’ve seen new interest

“We’re really fortunate.  We recruited 325 new teachers this year. We had 2200 applications.  Our recruitment team really worked hard to get a diverse pool of candidates who came to Cleveland. We’re really excited.  We hear about the teacher shortage; this is actually one of our best years yet and we’re really excited to have our classes full and ready to go.”

Gordon says Cleveland is well positioned as it plans to build 22 new school buildings and renovate 23 more.

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