CMSD opens for first day of school, and is working to avoid ‘heat day’ closures

Updated: Aug. 12, 2019 at 5:05 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio WOIO) - On Monday, students returned to class at Cleveland Metropolitan School District campuses.

"I think the first day of school should be a national holiday. I just love it. They've got their new clothes and their new books and their new school supplies," said CEO Eric Gordon.

As thousands of students get back to the books, Gordon says it will be a busy year for CMSD.

“We’re really still focused on making sure we’re improving academically. We’re proud of the gains we’ve made in our graduation rate, but we’ve got more work to do there,” he said.

The school district also has plans in place for weather conditions that impact class time. Last year, several schools across Northeast Ohio were forced to close temporarily in the midst of a heat wave, especially those lacking central air conditioning.

However, changes made in the 2015 school year alleviate some of the pressure on districts caused by so-called "calamity days." Now, state law mandates that students attend schools for a set number of hours, as opposed to a standard number of days. Most districts build a pad of hours that make that a little easier to do.

“It is helpful to have some flexibility with those days,” he said. “It used to be you made them all up all at the end of the year. That doesn’t really help, because all the state tests are over, so you’re extending the year kind of unnecessarily. Now extending throughout the school year has really been helpful for us.”

Gordon says there are also plans in place to ensure students’ safety in city schools without air conditioning.

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