Ohio

Eye on Education

Cleveland School District Receives $3M Grant

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Nalini Prasanna / Flickr

The Cleveland schools are getting a $3 million dollar grant to develop better ways to inform families of their school choice options, and to standardize the enrollment process district-wide.

The grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation will be shared roughly equally between the Cleveland Transformation Alliance and the district itself.

The alliance, a group formed to monitor quality in public and some charter schools in the district, will use its portion to expand its outreach activities to “create a culture where families are actively choosing a quality school.”

It’s doing that currently through a website that highlights all the schools in the district and their ratings, and for those without ready access to the web, there are print materials at local libraries and other neighborhood locations.

“We’re also working with other groups, like Neighborhood Leadership Institute and the libraries to train people to be talking to families as school ambassadors, if you will – to really talk to them about what the options are and if, as appropriate, help them navigate the system,” said Piet van Lier, Director of School Quality, Policy and Communications for the alliance.

The school district will use its half of the grant to develop a universal enrollment system that will eventually be applied to all schools, including charter schools.  The idea is to complement the transformation Alliance’s outreach project with a “barrier-free” enrollment process.

There are more than 160 public and charter K-12 schools within the Cleveland district’s boundaries.  Under the state-backed Cleveland Plan for Transforming Schools, families’ choices aren’t confined to their neighborhood schools.  Residents can send their kids to any school in the district that they think best suits their needs.

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