Cleveland Schools CEO sees positives in district report card

Published: Sep. 15, 2022 at 5:42 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -Graduation rates in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District took a tumble and student achievement scores on the state testing were below state standards according to the latest state of Ohio report card, but district CEO Eric Gordon attributes that to the difficulties that arose during the pandemic.

Gordon chose, instead, to look at the positives of the state report care, significantly he said that the Cleveland District out performed the other seven large urban districts across the state.

The graduation rate in Cleveland dropped from 81% to 74% for the class of 2021, but that class Gordon said spent a good deal of time in remote learning mode, and then in hybrid learning which proved to be ineffective by any standard state wide.

Gordon said not only did students miss a great deal of one on one contact with teachers, they missed in school labs and group learning experiences - with some students simply found other things to do.

“They went to Amazon, the went to fast food where they were making $15 to $20 an hour and so we lost a lot of our kids to the pandemic in that grad year,” Gordon said, “But we can recover, we have 11 years of evidence that we can get the kids to the stage.”

Gordon said that achievement test scores - while not nearly at a level where he wants them to be - did rebound to pre-pandemic levels and the low early literacy scores, “have always been a challenge for us,” but he made a case that two areas of the report show that the district has made strides and is improving.

The district scored four stars out of a possible five in both progress and gap closing, two categories that are important, Gordon said in building the foundation of success.

The report card showed that the district exceeded student growth expectations based on past performances and that student subgroups, including English learners, Hispanics and African Americans had exceeded standards in closing educational gaps.

“The progress measure of four stars and gap closing on four stars shows we are catching up and that is where we have to focus,” said Gordan.

Gordon, who became CEO in 2011, has worked to raise the district graduation rate from a paltry 50% to over 80%, before the pandemic hit, is in his final school year as CEO of the district.

He said he will not let his impending departure keep him from doing what he can to help build on what he said is a report card that offers hope to the community.