RECAP: Community Conversation on Education

On Tuesday, October 26, the Strive Partnership, Stand for Kids, and Parents for Public Schools hosted a Community Conversation on Education.  A diverse group of over 200 parents, teachers, and community members attended the event at Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS).  The discussion focused on one of the more important questions we face in Cincinnati: how do we ensure that every student is succeeding academically, and every school is high performing?  

(Read two local stories on the event: Parents, residents discuss ways to reform schools, Documentary Sparks Conversation on Schools)

Coming out of the conversation, a few things were clear.  First, we have truly committed, deeply caring parents, teachers and community members in Cincinnati.  We all want the same thing: great schools and each and every one of our kids succeeding academically.  Working together is the only way, and our student panelist, Kenny Fowler, reminded us that only through collaboration can we make a difference for every child.

It was also clear that most everyone in attendance focused on the need for change and innovation.  People talked about the need to move from “effective” to “excellence” as a district, to better leverage community supports to advance achievement, for an updated teacher evaluation process, for easier access to schools and teachers for parents, for greater flexibility to turnaround failing schools, and to bring to Cincinnati only high performing charter schools.  Everyone expressed their interest in having all of the “adults” working together on those things that will have the greatest impact on kids.

Finally, it was clear that we have great success stories here in Cincinnati.  We heard from the principals of Taft Information Technology High School and Roll Hill Elementary School.  Both leaders have had great success in dramatically improving the level of achievement of their students, despite the fact that both schools had been considered chronically low performing prior to their time at the helm.  They’ve worked effectively with their teachers, parents, students, and community resource providers, and they have found a way to bring everyone involved together around what works best for kids.  We should learn as much from these and other local examples of success, and make sure that learning is being leveraged in all of our schools.

To build on this momentum, we are encouraging people to do two things:

Speak out.  Tell CPS leadership that you want a great school for every student.  We must make sure they hear from us that we support collaboration, reform and innovation, and building on what works for kids.  Call or write, and attend the next CPS Board Meeting. 

Sign the Stand for Kids pledge.  Visit and pledge to support Stand for Kids because you believe we all have to work together - administrators, teachers, parents, students, faith, community, business, nonprofit, and philanthropic leaders - to ensure every student is succeeding academically, and that every school is high performing.