Aug 22, 2023 - Education

Cleveland Metropolitan School District ushers in a school year of change

Illustration of a pattern of apples and stacks of textbooks.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

It's a new academic year and a new era for Cleveland Metropolitan School District.

Why it matters: Kids returned yesterday for classes in the state's second-largest school district, which is pursuing new goals under a new CEO.

Who's new: Warren Morgan was named CEO of the school district in May, succeeding longtime chief Eric Gordon.

  • Morgan previously was chief academics officer of Indianapolis Public Schools. He also was an academic superintendent and administrator at CMSD from 2014 to 2016.

Meanwhile, in June, Mayor Justin Bibb appointed new members Robert Briggs and Diana Welch Howell to the district's board of education.

  • Last week, Bibb announced board member Anne Bingham will step down. Bingham was a fervent advocate of the city's Say Yes Cleveland program, which provides college scholarships to all district students.

State of play: Morgan will look to improve National Assessment of Educational Progress test scores that were the worst in the nation last year.

  • Scores fell 16 points for fourth grade reading and dropped 15 in fourth grade math. Earlier this year, CMSD instituted an expanded summer learning program, extra homework and an online tutoring program.
  • Morgan has outlined four goals for the school year: promoting the Say Yes Cleveland education program, installing interactive touch screens in all classrooms, creating an easier online system for parents to access records, and equipping the district's bus fleet with Wi-Fi.

Threat level: Another major concern for CMSD is safety.

  • Over the past 11 years, 22 students have died due to gun violence, according to CMSD, including three killed in shootings near district school property last school year.
  • School spokeswoman Roseann Canfora told the district has worked with the city and police officials to plan safe routes for kids to take to school, while increasing security and police presence, as well as security cameras.

What they're saying: "The foundation upon which we have to build here in Cleveland is strong," Morgan said in his welcome message last month.

  • "I have always been impressed by the resilience and resourcefulness of CMSD teachers and building leaders. I am in awe of the sensational level of community support that CMSD schools have historically enjoyed."

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