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Today (Thursday) CEO Gordon announced 13 schools that are to become what the district is calling Investment Schools.  For some time now, from school to school and all through the community - we all knew that this was coming.  During this time I have heard many rumors about the fate of various schools (including school closings)...we can now put those rumors to rest.  Moving forward, these identified Investment Schools are going to be the cornerstone of educational reform in CMSD.  While change is often difficult and especially difficult when waiting to hear what it means for each individual school – this is the one change to the law that can and must have significant impact on student achievement. I know the district is working to communicate with families that no students will be displaced as a result of becoming an Investment School and that this means additional resources, academic enhancement, time, and opportunities for students. 

While rumors about schools on the list will end, rumors about what will happen in each newly identified school have already begun.  I wish I was able to tell each school right now, what the Investment Plan is at each of these schools and how this will impact each individual.  But the truth is that I just do not know.  The CTU does not know the plan for each Investment School, but we are trying to work with the District to aid with logistics and plans to communicate with the full staffs at the Investment Schools.

Here are some things that I do know:

  • No one will lose their job as a result of being in a school identified as an Investment School.  Everyone still has a job in CMSD.
  • The schools identified are NOT CLOSING.
  • These schools are not charter schools....they are CMSD schools and our members.
  • Students that are currently attending these schools will NOT be displaced - these are still their schools.
  • The District will decide what the foundation of the school will look like for next year.  This could include change of academic program, utilization of community or external resources, possibility of extending the school day or year, or the reassignment of staff, etc.
  • Being identified as an Investment School does not mean that the entire staff will automatically be transferred out of the building.
  • Possible options for reassignment of staff could include:  remaining at the school with a commitment to implement the new program, re-interviewing for positions in the building, or reassignment though necessary transfer (part of or all of the staff).
  • At the faculty meeting that is being scheduled by the principal and Chapter Chair with the CEO or CAO, they will tell your staff, in person, what these changes will be for your school

Today's announcement of Investment Schools is a direct result of HB 525 - the Cleveland Plan.   The law states: the CEO shall identify schools in need of intervention, the intervention that is warranted at each school, and what the intervention is that should be implemented.  In the law this is referred to as the “Corrective Plan” for these intervention schools, however the district is naming these  Investment Schools.  The CEO has promised that these changes will be academically significant but not in name only – these schools will also have the Investment of financial and personnel resources that are necessary for real intervention.  The law further states:  these interventions include but are not limited to reallocation of academic and financial resources, reassignment of staff, redesign of academic programs, adjusting the length of the school year or school day, and deploying additional assistance to students.  These corrective actions are not intended to be used as a cost saving measure; rather it is intended to improve student performance at targeted schools.

What this means in practice is that the CEO has chosen the district's first round of Investment Schools.  Very soon the CEO or CAO or someone from Academics will go to the schools identified as Investment Schools to tell the staff in person the academic intervention, any possible change to the school day or school year, the expectations for educators in these schools, and how the schools will be staffed.  The CEO is not bound by the collective bargaining agreement, so staff reassignment will be how it is established by the CEO, the length of the day will be as established by the CEO and so on. 

A portion of the law, requires the CEO to share the Corrective Action Plan with the unions that are impacted by these changes. Today, Representatives of the CTU, other unions, and principals are meeting right after the press conference announcement to make recommendations to the CEO regarding logistics and how to move forward prior to meeting with the individual schools next week.  The interventions are solely up to the CEO, but all of the unions and administrators that were invited to meet with the CEO today believe that there are some things that can be done and details that can be figured out so that the district is able to answer the questions of each staff.  Just remember, even if the Unions disagree with the interventions or the process - the final authority to implement interventions rests solely with the CEO.  These are logistical discussions.   In my mind that means if the CEO is going to have staff members (of all unions) reapply to that school - when that will that happen and who will re-interview.  These discussions will not include which schools should be re-interview (by law that is a decision of the CEO and his team).

If I were the CEO I probably would not leave so much time between my announcement and the time I meet with staff to notify them of the interventions.  However, I do believe that the CEO is trying to do this in a respectful and thoughtful way.  There have been lessons learned from the Transformation Plan announcement in 2010.  While no way of doing this would please everybody, I know from my conversation with the CEO that there is a conscious effort to do this right.

We will work as much as we can with the district and we will work with each school as Investment Schools are transformed.  The promise is there, the hope is there that this is different from past - the future of CMSD depends on it.

In Union,


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