Districts Rising

Cleveland Metropolitan School District: A Community Plan for School Transformation

Client: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

In 2011, Cleveland’s schools were in crisis. Led by the mayor, a group of community organizations and district leaders created a plan to transform the district and improve student learning. With the community’s support, the district began transitioning to a portfolio district and implemented a talent management system that prioritizes effectiveness over seniority. In the classroom, educators focused on increasing the rigor of instruction as they implemented new, challenging standards. Cleveland has a long way to go, but early indicators are positive: In a tough year for NAEP scores, Cleveland was one of just six major districts nationwide that saw a significant increase in student performance in 2015.

This brief is part of the Districts Rising series. Each brief in the series tells the story of a school district and its efforts to raise student achievement and prepare students for college and career. The briefs describe the strategies that districts have employed to raise academic standards for students, improve educator effectiveness, and engage stakeholders in the design and implementation of new policies. Kevin Duff was the lead author of this brief.

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