• Principal's Message January 28, 2019

    Hello Cleveland Families,
    Always so much happening at Cleveland High School. We are enjoying an excellent start of the new year. I want to share some updates AND start with some exciting news that we can all celebrate as a school community:

    Cleveland's Graduation Rates Over 90%
    I am proud to announce that Cleveland High School has the highest increase in our four year cohort graduation rate of all the PPS high schools! 87.89% in 16-17 to 91.5% in 17-18. That’s a 3.61% gain! WOW! One of our three school-wide goals was to increase graduation rates by 2% from 16-17 to 17-18, which is a very high bar, actually, and we exceeded it! This is a tribute to all of us, particularly our students and teachers. Our families, counselors, school administrators, and our outstanding support staff are the supports that ensure there is great teaching and learning occurring at Cleveland High School. Congratulations everyone!

    This THURSDAY!
    We have a celebration for our school community this Thursday. We are hosting a special assembly with our student body and staff. I will share more next week AND you can ask your child when you see them after school on Thursday. 

    Coffee Talk with Freeman Last Friday

    This was a very successful event with about 25 parents who showed up. We spoke about our anti-hate action plan, reporting harassment, bullying, and other concerning behavior, as well as safety issues within the community at large, i.e., Powell Park. I will be hosting these talks the last Friday of every month in the Faculty Lounge from 9:30-10:30am. I hope to see you at the next one at the end of February.

    THANK YOU to the Alumni Association
    Something else to celebrate!!! Our generous Alumni Association recently approved the spending of $13,000 for our Woods and Construction CTE (Career Technical Education) Classroom. Thank you so much to the tremendous efforts of our CTE Construction teacher Brian Barnes in organizing a comprehensive supply list of what he needed for his students AND to the Alumni Association for seriously considering his ask and coming through. Much gratitude for our Commerce-Cleveland High School Alumni Association (CCHSAA), and particularly to President Karen Genzer for facilitating this process with the CCHSAA Executive Board. Thank you again!

    The Auction
    I am very excited about the upcoming school-wide auction at the Melody Ballroom on Saturday, March 9th. Last year, we had a full house in a beautiful space where Cleveland families and staff interacted and connected while raising dollars that directly served our school. Last year, the Auction raised funds for our school Foundation so that we could hire one additional full-time staff member. The PTA also raised monies to provide valuable teacher grants along with the need to provide fiscal resources for our much-needed technology upgrades. Your contributions and participation at the Auction is important. I look forward to seeing many of you there as we celebrate together not only Cleveland High School, but also the southeast PDX community that comes together as a result. Here's the link to purchasing auction tickets.

    Safety and Security
    I cannot emphasize enough the need to confidentially report to a school administrator if your student is experiencing or observing bullying, harassment, violence, or threats of violence. If your child does not feel comfortable reporting directly to a school administrator, they can talk with you or another staff member who can inform one of our three Vice Principals or myself. When speaking with a student about a report they need to make, let your child know that you will need to talk to a school administrator. It is the job of school administrators to keep our school safe and we cannot take any action if we are not aware of specific situations where hurt and harm may be occurring. I am hosting grade level meetings within the next few weeks where I will deliver a message to students about when to report and why. I will also take considerable time to hear student's questions and concerns in regards to bullying, harassment, safety, etc. I am hosting our first "Flex Time with Freeman" where students can meet with me during Flex Time for an open discussion. This will take place on Wednesday, Feb 6th, during Flex Time in the Faculty Lounge.

    Updated PPS Drug/Alcohol Policy
    PPS has updated our school drug/alcohol policies to include vape pens, juuls, and all electronic smoking devices. This means if your child is found in possession of, or seen using, an electronic smoking device, there will be a Level A Drug/Alcohol hearing. A “hearing” is a school-based meeting, not a court of law, where the student, family, school administrator, sometimes our campus security agent and counselor, are present. We discuss together what happened and the school administrator makes a decision as to whether a student violated the PPS Drug/Alcohol policy. It is the not the job of administrators to run forensics tests to determine if what is in the glycerin based substance has marijuana product in it. Therefore, being in possession or using an electronic smoking device will result in a Level A (1st time) or Level B (2nd time) infraction. Our school community is concerned about what appears to be an increase in juuling and vaping. We want to help our students make choices that are healthy and safe. There is a school-based Wellness Committee that has formed with the intention of looking more deeply into this subject. Please contact Special Education teachers Sean Murray smurray1@pps.net or our school Social Worker Kate Allen kallen1@pps.net for more.

    Smarter Balanced Assessment for 11th Graders
    The Oregon Department of Education has made it clear that public schools and districts must increase our participation rates of students taking the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBAC) at the 11th grade level. The recent letter from Deputy Superintendent Yvonne Curtis (linked here) explains the need to increase our participation rates. I’d like to share some community SBAC participation data:
    In 17-18: 14% participated in the Math SBAC and 59% in the English Language Arts (ELA) SBAC
    In 16-17: 16% participated in the Match SBAC and 66% in the ELA SBAC
    In 15-16: 62% participated in the Math SBAC and 78% in the ELA SBAC
    Clearly, our participation rates have continued to decline the last three years at Cleveland High School. This has been happening while participation rates remain robust at our middle schools. At our middle schools, last year’s participation rates in SBAC were:
    Hosford: 89% in Math and 91% in ELA
    Sellwood: 91% in Math and 92% in ELA
    Winterhaven: 94% in Math and 95% in ELA 
    Certainly there are multiple perspectives regarding the validity of SBAC and whether or not the assessment data is relevant. I support the right of any parent to opt-out their child from Smarter Balanced, AND, I also appreciate what the data show us when we have a larger participation rate. It shares with us which sub-groups of students are proficient at developmentally appropriate, nationally normed learning targets, AND, it shines a bright light on our sub-groups of students who are not proficient. Dr. Curtis states in her letter to families that SBAC data is important when we are working intentionally, as a school and a district, to support our historically underserved students to be successful in a large comprehensive high schools such as Cleveland. SBAC is one data point that affirms for us, as educators, where we may need to focus particular attention. 

    Please take the decision seriously to allow your 11th grader to take SBAC this spring. We are creating a system where the majority of students will complete the Math and ELA SBAC within the school day and with minimal loss to instruction time. Please feel free to contact me or Vice Principal Kristy Mize if you have any questions about SBAC. VP Kristy Mize is our school administrator in charge of the implementation of SBAC testing. I will be sharing more information as we prepare for SBAC testing to begin in early March for our 11th graders.

    Thank you families for reading this lengthy update. More to follow in almost every Monday e-News.
    Ayesha Freeman