On Wednesday, September 22nd, we went to Renaissance Hotel in downtown Cleveland to attend a forum put on by the City Club of Cleveland wherein Mr. Eric Gordon, CEO of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, delivered his annual State of the Schools address.
(To watch Mr. Gordon’s very worthwhile speech in full, please visit the City Club archives)
During his presentation, Mr. Gordon said that the damage caused to education by the Covid-19 pandemic was unquestionably devastating but, at the same time, it presented a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity we have to not just overcome the effects of the shutdown, not just to return to familiar waters, but to steer CMSD in an entirely new direction and chart a course unlike any in the history of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.”
In short, Mr. Gordon maintained that “we have a moral obligation to create something more fair, just and good for each of our learners.”
To no surprise, the pandemic forced CMSD to set aside old methods of education and begin to utilize promising new ones like competency-based learning, anytime/anywhere learning, learning that is more individualized, and learning that “focuses on the whole child, including his or her social, emotional, cultural, and physical wellness.”
What’s more, “in pursuit of a more fair, just and good system of education, CMSD wants each of its learners-both scholars and their educators-to be individually and collectively presented with academically and intellectually complex tasks that are worthy of their productive struggle, and that enable them to demonstrate their learning and their work in joyful and adventurous environments.”
To accomplish these goals, Mr. Gordon plans to make use of American Rescue Plan funding to “complete the full conversion to a 1:1 technology district, ensuring every student and educator in CMSD has the appropriate modern iPad, Chromebook, or laptop to meet their anytime/anywhere learning needs…”
Other endeavors talked about by Mr. Gordon included having a full-health professional on each CMSD campus and conversion of library/media centers into modern community, college, and career hubs; and expanded art, music, and physical education possibilities.
For sure, when we first arrived at the Renaissance Hotel, we spoke to Mr. Gordon about assistance to refugees or those immigrating to the United States from Afghanistan and, thankfully, he assured us that the CMSD Multilingual/Multicultural Education Office is prepared and ready to help as is Thomas Jefferson International Newcomers Academy.
When we left the locale to return to work, it was windy, and the rain was pouring; so much so that our umbrella was blown out and we were literally drenched by the time we arrived at our car, so we had to drive home to change our clothes before we could return to work at Margaret W. Wong & Associates LLC.
Nevertheless, we didn’t mind the inconvenience because we really liked what Mr. Gordon had to say, and we know that he will do his utmost to make his vision a reality.