Hello Cleveland Community,
Much of our work last spring and this fall has been focused around the goal of building a positive and engaging learning environment. While there are always a number of initiatives happening at a comprehensive high school as large as Cleveland, I wanted to highlight some amazing work designed to support students across classes and throughout the building.
As you know we started the first day of school with every classroom engaging in discussions around the Climate Commitment matrix. We also dove more specifically into the student handbooks so that expectations were clearly communicated to all students. All of the items can be found on our wonderfully new formatted website under “Our School”.
IB Learner Profile
Even though Cleveland has been designated officially as an “International Baccalaureate (IB) School” since 2000, a question that we’ve been asking ourselves ever since is whether we are truly an IB school or a school with an IB program? The distinction is important because we want to ensure that the benefits of a rigorous, college-level curriculum are available to all students, whether they are pursuing the IB Diploma or not.
To that end, a group of teachers, led by Matt Sten and our IB Coordinator, Jennifer Wiandt, designed a plan for all students – at all levels and in all grades – to set goals for themselves based on the IB Learner Profile, which includes essential academic and social qualities such as being Inquisitive, Principled, Caring, Balanced, and others. These are aspects that we hope our students practice regularly at home, school, and elsewhere to set them on the path for being life-long learners.
Please ask your students to share the five characteristics they created goals around so that your families can share in this wonderful work. Here is a link to a video created by last year’s students as part of the development of the project: IB Learner Characteristics Goals.
Grade Nine Health
Without a doubt, the freshman year is the most important and challenging year in a student’s high school experience. Making the transition to high school, maintaining and developing new friendships, and learning to balance their school and social lives can cause significant anxiety for some of our students. When we add additional pressures around sexual activity and drug use, you can understand why we made the decision this year to schedule all of our freshmen into a year-long Health class rather than waiting until their 10th grade year. A team of Cleveland Health teachers spent the summer collaborating to develop an engaging, age-appropriate curriculum that focuses on the key elements of sexual, physical and mental health, with additional support on suicide awareness and managing stress and anxiety. We are very excited about the potential benefits of this class and see it as a jumping off point for a four year plan of support and education.
We recognize that the concerns we have as educators are also felt by family and community members. Drug and alcohol use, relationships, stress management and suicide prevention are areas in which aligned community education and engagement are key to helping students make healthy choices. This year we have hired a .5 social service coordinator and a .5 counselor who are focusing on creating systems of education and support. We are also partnering with the CHS PTA, Multnomah County Health Department, and a variety of community agencies to offer research based programming for students, staff, and parents with the goal of building awareness, understanding, and the skills to collaboratively intervene and educate.
As we work as a school to create additional structural and educational systems to support students, we are also focused on creating space for student-led initiatives. A beautiful and impressive example of the power of student involvement came as the Junior/Senior Leadership class was planning the Homecoming Dance.
I’ll let the Leadership students’ message speak for itself:
"We recognize that some in the student body are frustrated over dance postponements and cancellations due to the inappropriate actions of a small percentage of our school. That said, we, the elected student officials of Cleveland, are taking this opportunity to reform the culture of dances at Cleveland and our attitude towards behavior, sexual assault and the need for all students to feel safe and comfortable.
Students, parents, and administration have expressed concerns about dance behavior. Because the first dance of the year is hosted by the Junior/Senior Leadership class, we have made the decision to postpone the Homecoming dance to a later date, likely in the month of December. This postponement allows us to develop tactics to address the issue of student safety. This decision also comes as a result of decreasing attendance at the Homecoming dance in part due to students feeling unsafe. We will keep the student body informed of our plans going forward.
A drop box will be available in the main office and the SSC for any questions, concerns, or suggestions that will help ensure our ability to continue sponsoring dances at Cleveland High School."
I’m so very proud of the students taking action and I look forward to additional opportunities for the community to work together to support the CHS Vision: “At Cleveland everyone is valued, safe, and connected so that every student graduates.” We are always looking for partners in this work. Please contact me or a PTA representative if you would like to be involved!
With kind regards,
Dear PPS staff and families,
Summer has started, but we want to let you know that the PPS Task Force on the Superintendent Recruitment is continuing to meet on a regular basis and work is happening daily to advance our efforts to find and recruit our next superintendent. We have a final position description and are still actively recruiting candidates. We appreciate the feedback and candidate recommendations we have received from the community to date. Below are highlights of our last meeting. We will keep you informed as we go forward. Thank you.
Julia Brim-Edwards, Chair, Superintendent Recruitment Task Force
Dear PPS Families,
Over the summer, crews will be working in schools throughout the district to address health and safety issues, using funds from the bond that voters approved in May. At the same time, planning is under way for bigger projects to rebuild three high schools and a middle school. We wanted to give you an update on what is coming up.