CPS unveils initiative for elementary schools

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Cincinnati Public Schools Interim Superintendent Mary Ronan has introduced an elementary initiative for Cincinnati Public Schools designed to ensure that all students enter high school prepared for rigorous, higher-level learning.

The ambitious initiative, Ready for High School, includes strategies for improving progress at all 42 of the district's elementary schools, with additional intensive support for 15 underperforming elementary schools. It was unveiled at the Cincinnati Board of Education's regular bi-monthly meeting.

"Overall, CPS continues to improve by making test score gains," Ronan said. "Our greatest progress has been at the high school level, where students have made significant strides since we restructured our traditional large comprehensive high schools into smaller schools. However, at the elementary level, results remain uneven."

To ensure that students at all district elementary schools thrive academically, the district will supplement districtwide strategies with extra resources and support for the lowest performing schools, Ronan said.

"Somewhat like the health-care system, we will provide universal, primary care support strategies for all, and more specialized, intense strategies for schools with the most critical needs," she said.

According to Ronan, all schools will benefit from a heightened emphasis on student data analysis, school-based Learning Teams in which teachers lead professional development, teacher content specialists, a new evaluation system for principals and assistant principals, and collaboration with the district's partners to create more family and community friendly schools.

In addition, each of the 15 targeted schools will receive a customized School Assistance Plan; additional help from district coaches, especially for teachers in grades 7-8; a new reading professional development strategy and  instructional structure for grades 4-8; a "fifth quarter" of extended learning  in June immediately after the regular school year; and Individual Learning Plans setting improvement goals for and monitoring progress of each child.

The targeted elementary schools are Carson, Chase, Douglass, Hays-Porter, Mt. Airy, Oyler, J.P. Parker, Pleasant Hill Academy, Pleasant Ridge, Quebec Heights, Rockdale Academy, Roll Hill Academy, Rothenberg Preparatory Academy, South Avondale and Ethel M. Taylor Academy.