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March 8, 2017

Dater High Students Participate in Day of Service

Dater students with large boxAbout 100 juniors from Gilbert A. Dater High School fanned out into the community in January to donate their time in a day of service to others — while building skills that will support their futures.

The students, all members of Dater’s new Junior Seminar class, are participating in a project on philanthropy. The class has partnered with Magnified Giving, a nonprofit organization that provides groups of students with $1,000 to donate to a nonprofit of their choice.

The students have been charged with convincing their peers to choose a Cincinnati-area nonprofit to receive the gift. To do so, they had to select one of 10 nonprofits to research, volunteer at, and promote with a video and presentation.

“We wanted students to not only volunteer their time but to also interview workers to get a better understanding of their mission and values,” said Catherine O’Shea, community resource coordinator at Dater. “It’s hard for them to advocate for an organization if they don’t dig into it.”

For many students, the organizations they picked were personal.

Gabriel Bock-Marshall joined 20 fellow students at the Freestore Foodbank to pack Power Packs — packs of kid-friendly food to feed children in need on weekends. The volunteers packed more than 683 Power Packs in two hours.

“I know there are people out there who need this,” said Bock-Marshall. “I know for a fact that there are people who are grateful to receive anything.”

At Crayons to Computers, eight students spent several hours sorting donations. The organization provides free school supplies to teachers from qualifying schools or to teachers who donate their time. Since July 1, 2016, the organization has benefited 150,000 students and relied on more than 8,000 volunteer hours to keep its shelves stocked.

Von Edwards said her peers should vote for Crayons for Computers because it will help other CPS students.

“I think it’s a good organization because we were all elementary school students once. We all benefitted from the program in some way,” Edwards said.

While the service-learning project focuses on philanthropy, the Junior Seminar students also are honing skills that will be critical to their career prospects. Those skills —including research, collaboration, communication, persuasive speaking and use of technology — tie in with My Tomorrow, Cincinnati Public Schools’ districtwide initiative aimed at ensuring that all students graduate from high school ready for careers of their choice.

The project is also doubling as an opportunity for students to explore potential career pathways, said Junior Seminar teacher Jennifer Franzoi.

“There are a lot of things you can get out of volunteering,” she said. “Obviously, it’s good for the community, but there is also a personal component to it. It’s an opportunity for students to explore what they like to do and to consider their place in the world.”

The day was made possible in part by the Mayerson Foundation, which provided grant money for transportation. LaRosa’s Pizza donated lunch.

“I hope the students see the time, treasure and talent that makes our community better,” said Clare Blankemeyer, director of the high school service-learning program for the Mayerson Foundation. “If they can see themselves in each one of those facets, that’s a dream. We are helping kids do meaningful service and ask the hard questions about why it matters.”

After spending the morning at their chosen nonprofits, the students regrouped for lunch and a period of reflection. In addition to reporting out on their experiences, they were asked to consider their own values and the greater purpose of their work.

“Even if it felt small to you, together we were able to make a huge difference today,” Blankemeyer told the students.

Later this year, students will amplify that difference when they select one nonprofit to receive the Magnified Giving grant.


March 2, 2017

CPS Announces New Neighborhood School Programs and Magnet Schools for 2017-18

Cincinnati Public Schools’ Superintendent Mary Ronan announced eight new programs that will be launched at nine neighborhood schools in time for the 2017-18 school year. In addition, Superintendent Ronan announced the opening of two new magnet schools and a new elementary school, also in time for the new school year.

Last year, CPS conducted a stakeholder survey, which revealed that stronger neighborhood schools should be the district’s top priority. Nine neighborhood schools are being enhanced with special programs that offer students unique ways to apply academic concepts through hands-on activities and project-based learning. These new programs and locations are as follows:

  • Bond Hill Academy - Math and Science Discovery
  • College Hill Fundamental Academy - Expeditionary Learning
  • Ethel M. Taylor Academy - New Tech
  • John P. Parker School - Global Environmental Literacy
  • Mt. Washington School - Expeditionary Learning
  • Rockdale Academy - Global Conservation
  • Roll Hill Academy - High Technology
  • South Avondale School - Creative Integration of Arts and Sciences
  • Frederick Douglass School - Dance and Movement    

These nine schools join seven other neighborhood schools that received new programs in time for the current school year.

New Magnet Schools for 2017-18
Superintendent Ronan also announced the opening of the Spencer Center for Gifted and Exceptional Students, a new citywide magnet school. The success of the Gifted Academies at Hyde Park and Cheviot schools has attracted more students than those schools can accommodate. Spencer Center will help meet the increasing demand and will serve students in grades 3-8 initially, with additional grades added, each year, up to grade 12.

Spencer Center will be located in the former Frederick Douglass School building on Alms Street in Walnut Hills. The building is under renovation.

Cincinnati Public Schools also will open LEAP Academy at North Fairmount as a West-side magnet school offering world language instruction in Spanish. LEAP, which stands for Language Enrichment and Academic Proficiency, initially will serve grades preK-3, and will expand each year up to grade 6.

The North Fairmount building also is under renovation.

New Early Learning Center in Carthage
Cincinnati Public Schools also will open Rising Stars Academy at Carthage inside the former Carthage School. This early learning center will serve preschool and kindergarten students starting next year. Carthage joins Rising Stars Academy at Vine, the district’s other free-standing preschool. With this expansion, Cincinnati Public Schools will add 420 new preschool seats and will be able to serve more than 2,000 preschool students starting next year.

The new neighborhood programs, magnet schools and preschool expansion efforts reflect both Board of Education and stakeholder priorities to improve neighborhood schools and increase quality educational options to meet diverse student needs and expand choices for families.


March 1, 2017

Cincinnati State, CPS unveil new grant program for low-income CPS grads

Grant aims to reduce cost for tuition, books to $0

CPS students showing Cincinnati State T-shirtsCincinnati State’s new Be Great High School Grant program is taking aim at a financial challenge that keeps many low-income students from attending college.

That challenge is the gap that often occurs between the standard financial aid students receive (federal and state aid, and scholarships) and the total cost of tuition and books. For many low-income students, those gaps, even if they are in the hundreds of dollars, may as well be canyons.

The new Be Great Grants will provide low-income graduates of the Cincinnati Public Schools who attend Cincinnati State on a full-time basis with up to $1,000 for tuition and $1,000 for books to help fill gaps beyond their financial aid.

Seventy-five percent of the 14,500-plus students enrolled in CPS high schools are economically disadvantaged, according to data from the Ohio Department of Education. However, in 11 of the 15 CPS high schools for which data is available, that percentage soars to more than 98 percent economically disadvantaged.

“This program will make college possible for many CPS students who might not otherwise be able to pursue a degree,” said Dr. Monica Posey, president of Cincinnati State. “This is also about the future of our region. We must provide students with opportunities to develop the skills needed by employers.”

The Cincinnati State Foundation is providing funds to support the Be Great Grant program, which takes effect beginning with the 2017-2018 academic year. Any student graduating from a CPS high school who qualifies for a federal Pell Grant and who attends Cincinnati State on a full-time, degree-seeking basis will be eligible for a Be Great Grant.

"We’re very excited about this new college grant opportunity for our students,” said Mary Ronan, superintendent for the Cincinnati Public Schools. “While a large majority of CPS graduates are eligible for college financial assistance through federal programs, sometimes that’s not sufficient to overcome all the financial barriers.”

The Be Great Grant program is a key component in Cincinnati State’s efforts to partner with local high schools and four-year colleges to create affordable pathways for students to earn college degrees at both the associate and bachelor level.

For example, Cincinnati State is also working closely with CPS to expand the College Credit Plus program, which allows high school students to earn college credits while still in high school, jumpstarting their education while further reducing the cost of earning a college degree.

And on Feb. 10, Cincinnati State and the University of Cincinnati announced a new transfer agreement through which students who are pursuing bachelor’s degree can save more than $13,000, enough to pay for a full year of tuition and books at UC.

In addition, students receiving Be Great grants who complete a two-year degree at Cincinnati State and continue their education in a degree program at University of Cincinnati will also be eligible for a similar grant from UC called the Cincinnati Pride Grant.

To qualify for a Be Great Grant, students and their parents or guardians will need to complete a free Cincinnati State Admissions Application and a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), help for which can be provided by the Cincinnati State Educational Opportunity Center.

Once a student’s FAFSA is complete and her or his federal, state and institutional aid have been determined, the Be Great grants kick in to cover any gaps in tuition and book costs.

Students, parents and high school counselors interested in learning more about the Be Great High School Grant program can contact Tammie Larkins, Cincinnati State College Representative, at 513-569-1470, or at tammie.larkins@cincinnatistate.edu.

About Cincinnati State

Cincinnati State offers more than 130 associate degree and certificate programs in business technologies, health and public safety, engineering technologies, humanities and sciences and information technologies. It also offers a nationally recognized cooperative education program, and custom training through its Workforce Development Center.

About Cincinnati Public Schools

Cincinnati Public Schools serves 35,000 students (preschool to 12th grade) in 56 schools spread across a 90-square-mile district in southwest Ohio, Cincinnati Public Schools is Greater Cincinnati's largest school district and Ohio's third largest

Photo: L-R Withrow Principal, Paul Daniels and Cincinnati State President, Dr. Monika Posey, with Withrow students Sharrell Lasley, Oscar Martinez and Superintendent Mary Ronan


February 22, 2017

Business Volunteers needed for upcoming Career-Readiness Events

Get a jump on the competition — and contribute to a thriving area economy — by engaging with tomorrow’s workforce today. Businesses from throughout the greater Cincinnati region are invited to help CPS students gain insight into potential careers and build their career-readiness skills.

Get a jump on the competition — and contribute to a thriving area economy — by engaging with tomorrow’s workforce today.

Businesses from throughout the greater Cincinnati region are invited to broaden the horizons of area students through these upcoming opportunities:

Job Shadowing
Student Interviews of Professionals


February 21, 2017

Cincinnati State, CPS to unveil new grant program...

Cincinnati State, CPS to unveil new grant program for low-income CPS grads that takes cost for tuition, books to $0

What: On Tuesday, February 21, Cincinnati State President Monica Posey and CPS Superintendent Mary Ronan will announce the new Be Great Grant program for low-income, Pell-eligible Cincinnati Public Schools graduates, which will cover any gaps between financial aid and the cost of tuition and books at Cincinnati State.

Two students from Withrow High School will also be at the unveiling—both are planning to attend Cincinnati State next year and are eligible for a Be Great Grant.

With more than half of young Cincinnatians age 5-18 living in poverty—a percentage that is even higher in many CPS schools—the new grants will make college possible for many CPS students who might not otherwise be able to pursue a degree.

When: Tuesday, February 21, 2017, 10:00 AM – 10:30 AM      
Location: Cincinnati State College, 3520 Central Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45223, in the Summit Restaurant on the 2nd Floor of ATLC Building.

Parking: Limited parking for media will be available on College Drive at the Summit Restaurant Valet Entrance outside of the ATLC building. Please call if you need directions.


February 6, 2017

Informational Meetings about New Spencer Center

Join Us

Parents are invited to attend informational meetings about Cincinnati Public Schools’ new Spencer Center for Gifted and Exceptional Students. This new school — opening August 2017 in a newly renovated school building in Walnut Hills — offers your child a personalized and rigorous learning experience.

Meeting Dates and Times:

  • Tuesday, February 21, 6:30 p.m., Exceptional* Program, Grades 3-8
  • Wednesday, February 22, 6:30 p.m., Gifted** Program, Grades 3-8 
  • Wednesday, March 22, 6:30 p.m., Exceptional Program, Grades 7-8 (Following Round 1 of CPS’ High School Lottery)


  • Mayerson Academy — 2650 Highland Avenue, 45219 (Corryville) — (Inside same building as CPS’ Education Center)    

* To Qualify as Exceptional Students (grades 3-8) —

• Scores between 85th and 94th percentile on Terra Nova reading test,
• Scores at 123 or above on Inview Cognitive Skills Index,
• Scores at 123 or above on CogAT Student-Aged Score (SAS).

** To Qualify as Gifted Students (grades 3-8) —

• Rank at the Superior Cognitive level on a cognitive abilities test,
• Score at the 95th percentile or higher in two subjects on Terra Nova or other standardized achievement test: Reading, Math, Social Studies or Science; one of the two must be Math or Reading.


January 31, 2017

Cincinnatus Association Honors Three at CPS

A Cincinnati Public Schools’ principal, a teacher and a school volunteer have been selected for the 2017 Cincinnatus Association Education Awards.

Ceair Baggett, principal at Ethel M. Taylor School, won the James N. Jacobs Award for Outstanding Administration in Cincinnati Public Schools.

This award memorializes the outstanding lifetime contributions of James N. Jacobs, superintendent of Cincinnati Public Schools from 1976 to 1985.

Larry Kissel, Cincinnatus with David Fenton

David Fenton, teacher at Woodward Career Technical High School, won the Woodward Trust Distinguished Teacher Award.

This award memorializes the outstanding contributions of William Woodward and the Cincinnatus Association in the development of free education in Cincinnati, Covington and Newport.

Lewis Smith Lewis Smith, a volunteer at Bond Hill School, won the John E. Pepper Award for Outstanding Volunteer in Public Education.

This award memorializes the outstanding volunteer service and leadership to education of John E. Pepper, former Chairman of Procter & Gamble.

The Cincinnatus Association Education Awards are sponsored by The Cincinnatus Association, Mt. St. Joseph University, Northern Kentucky University, the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. Nominations for each award come from the public, and winners are selected by a panel of academic and Association representatives.

Winners, and those who have nominated them, will be guests at a banquet February 14 at the Kingsgate Marriott. Each winner receives a monetary award.

Photos: Top left: Bill Moehring, CPS' Chief Operations Officer, left, who nominated Principal Ceair Baggett, center, for the James N. Jacobs Award for Outstanding Administration, and Larry Kissel, right, with The Cincinnatus Association, surprised Baggett at his school with the announcement of his win.

Center Right: Larry Kissel, left, with The Cincinnatus Association, congratulated teacher David Fenton in his classroom at Woodward Career Technical High School for winning the Woodward Trust Distinguished Teacher Award.

Bottom Left: Lewis Smith, a longtime volunteer at Bond Hill School, won the John E. Pepper Award for Outstanding Volunteer in Public Education.


January 25, 2017

Community Invited to Weigh In on Next CPS Superintendent

The Cincinnati Board of Education and its superintendent search firm consultant today announced upcoming engagement opportunities for the community to play a role in selecting the next superintendent of Cincinnati Public Schools.

Three open meetings will be conducted, during which members of the community are encouraged to express their views on the qualities important in the successor to Superintendent Mary Ronan, who announced her retirement effective Aug. 1, 2017, after nine years at the helm as the district’s top administrator.

    The Board also announced the launch of a survey developed by Ray and Associates through which all district stakeholders may identify the top qualities they most desire in the next superintendent. In addition, the survey provides an opportunity for participants to suggest questions they would like the Board to ask candidates during the interview process.

    The survey may be accessed via the following links:

    Superintendent Search Survey — English

    Supterintendent Search Survey — Spanish

    Superintendent Search Survey — Arabic

    Superintendent Search Survey — French

    Ray and Associates, the search firm selected by the Board, will facilitate the meetings at the following times, dates and locations:

    • Wednesday, February 1 – 10:00-11:30 a.m. – Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio,  Cincinnati Office (Community Room), 3458 Reading Road, Cincinnati 45229 (Avondale)
    • Wednesday, February 1 – 6:00-7:30 p.m. – Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio,  Cincinnati Office (Community Room), 3458 Reading Road, Cincinnati 45229 (Avondale)
    • Thursday, February 2 – 6:00-7:30 p.m. – Cincinnati-Hamilton County Community Action Agency, 1740 Langdon Farm Road, 45237 (Bond Hill)

    The school board previously said the search would include both internal and external candidates and expressed its desire that the new superintendent be committed to building upon the progress the district is achieving through My Tomorrow, a college- and career-readiness initiative, and its Vision 2020 multiyear plan to strengthen neighborhood schools, as well as an expansion of quality preschool.

    “Our district strategies have reflected the priorities of our many stakeholders, which is why we want our stakeholders to continue to make their voices heard in the selection of our next superintendent,” said Board President Ericka Copeland-Dansby. “We encourage widespread participation in the survey and input meetings.”

    The Board’s goal is to complete candidate interviews by the end of April and have the next Superintendent on the job no later than August 1.


    January 24, 2017

    Education-Civic-Business Leaders Appointed to Cincinnati Preschool Program

    United Way - CPS - Preschool Promise logos

    (January 23, 2016 – Cincinnati, OH) – In the next steps toward providing access to quality preschool for 3 and 4 year olds, United Way of Greater Cincinnati’s Executive Committee today appointed a 15-person Board of Directors to lead the preschool expansion effort in Cincinnati. The Board will implement the preschool expansion plan, passed by voters in November 2016 as part of the 5-year Cincinnati Public Schools levy.  United Way of Greater Cincinnati was selected by Cincinnati Public Schools as the trusted entity to oversee preschool expansion in Cincinnati.

    The Board consists of parents, educators, preschool providers, business leaders and community leaders. Board members were nominated by the United Way of Greater Cincinnati, Cincinnati Public Schools and Cincinnati Preschool Promise. The Board will oversee day-to-day operations to ensure families are prepared to take advantage of preschool tuition assistance beginning in fall 2017 and will increase the number of quality rated preschool providers with Quality Improvement Grants expected to be available spring 2017.

    “I am delighted to reach this milestone of having a highly qualified Board in place to act on our community’s desire, and significant investment from taxpayers, to expand preschool within Cincinnati Public Schools and community-based programs,” said Rob Reifsnyder, President and CEO of UWGC.  According to Reifsnyder, “The diverse composition of the Board reflects the cross section of the community that came together to support Issue 44 and quality preschool for all children. Michael Graham’s leadership of this effort as chair, and the competence of the entire Board, gives me confidence that this preschool expansion program will move us closer to our goal: that more of our community’s youngest children will be ready for school.”

    "We are excited to see that the Board is in place and are anxious to enhance our efforts to expand preschool capacity throughout Cincinnati," said Ericka Copeland-Dansby, president of the Cincinnati Board of Education. "The work of this Board will complement our District’s preschool expansion efforts, which will result in hundreds of new preschool seats by this fall."

    “The new Board will ensure the preschool expansion program has all the necessary checks and balances,” said Gwen L. Robinson, president and CEO of the Community Action Agency, which operates one of the largest Head Start programs in the region.  Robinson also serves on the Cincinnati Preschool Promise Steering Committee. “We know how important preschool is to making sure students get a good start in life and become successful adults, so we’ve got to get this right.”

    The preschool program Board of Directors leadership includes:

    • Father Michael Graham, Chair; President, Xavier University
    • Deborah Allsop, Board Secretary; Executive Director and CEO, Families FORWARD
    • Pastor Ennis Tait, Board Treasurer; Pastor, Church of the Living God

    Preschool program Board members include:

    • Terri England, Director and Administrator, New Horizons Child Care Center
    • Jasmine Jones, parent
    • Micah Kamrass, attorney, Manley Burke
    • Gary Lindgren, Executive Director, Cincinnati Business Committee and Cincinnati Regional Business Committee
    • Kimya Moyo, retired teacher
    • Dr. O’dell Owens, President and CEO, Interact for Health
    • John Pepper, retired CEO and Chairman, P&G
    • Cheryl Rose, Senior Vice President, Hawthorn PNC Family Wealth
    • Laura Sanregret, teacher, Dater Montessori
    • Steve Shifman, President and CEO, Michelman
    • Sallie Westheimer, retired President and CEO, 4C for Children
    • Flora (Kathy) Young, Education Committee Chair, NAACP

    Additional information is provided in the attached fact sheet. Parents or preschool providers who have questions can visit www.askpreschoolpromise.org

    In November 2016, voters approved a 5-year Cincinnati Public Schools levy which provides $33 million a year to strengthen K-12 education and $15 million a year to expand access to affordable, quality preschool. The taxpayer investment with this levy is $5.35 per week for a home valued at $100,000. The levy passed with 63% of the votes and was broadly supported by business, community and education leaders. The Cincinnati preschool program goal is to ultimately expand access to two years of quality preschool through tuition assistance for all Cincinnati children. With this funding through the Cincinnati Public Schools levy, the Cincinnati preschool program will begin providing access to those who need it most – primarily families below 200% of the federal poverty level.


    January 10, 2017

    CPS’ Board Re-Elects Copeland-Dansby, Bates as Officers

    The Cincinnati Board of Education has re-elected Ericka Copeland-Dansby and Melanie Bates to leadership positions for the 2017 school year.

    In its organizational meeting on January 9, the Board unanimously elected Ericka Copeland-Dansby of Roselawn, parent of a college student who graduated from Walnut Hills High School last spring, as president. Melanie Bates of Walnut Hills, parent of three Walnut Hills High School graduates, was declared vice president by acclamation.

    Erica Copeland-DansbyCopeland-Dansby is executive director of Wesley Community Services, which supports seniors in need. In remarks after taking her oath of office with her son Jeremiyah by her side, she congratulated her colleagues for milestones achieved during the last year, including higher graduation rates and composite scores on the ACT college entrance test, a 97 percent promotion rate in third grade reading, and meeting the needs of the whole child through Community Learning Centers and school-based health centers.

    Copeland-Dansby also noted that district enrollment rose to more than 35,000 students and voters approved Issue 44 to support priorities for the district including strengthening neighborhood schools, increasing technology and expanding access to quality preschool. “Together as a Board we have accomplished much,” she said.

    Melanie BatesBates, the longest serving board member, said the Board faced a year of important decisions, including the selection of a successor to Superintendent Mary Ronan, who announced she will retire effective August 1 after nine years as superintendent.

    Board Committee memberships were also determined at the organizational meeting:

    Finance — Eve Bolton, Carolyn Jones, Melanie Bates

    Partnership and Public Engagement — All Board Members as Committee of the Whole

    Policy — Elisa Hoffman, Carolyn Jones and A. Chris Nelms

    Student Achievement Committee — Eve Bolton, Elisa Hoffman, Daniel Minera

    Board Ad Hoc Priorities Committee — Carolyn Jones, Eve Bolton, Elisa Hoffman