Cleveland Metropolitan School District banks on investment schools to improve student achievement

CLEVELAND - It's a brand new day at Alfred A. Benesch Elementary School in Cleveland.

The school has new teachers, a new principal, and for students who went to Carl and Louis Stokes Central Academy last year, it's a new building. The students were struggling at Stokes academically, so they were moved into the Benesch building as part of the plan to raise academic achievement.

"At the end of the day, it's about achievement," Cleveland Schools CEO Eric Gordon said.

There's a complete culture change at Benesch. Every classroom is named after a college or university to instill that goal into students at an early age.

Principal Sh'Annon Caldwell said there's a rigorous curriculum, more instruction time and teachers meetings at the end of each day to make sure they're getting the desired results.

"We have to have student growth," she said. "We have to have great gains."

Benesch is one of 13 investment schools in Cleveland, where some of the tax dollars from the levy that voters approved last November are being spent to improve achievement.

Gordon said outcomes will be measured every quarter.

"We weren't getting the results we wanted for kids," he said. "The teachers weren't getting those results that they wanted for kids. So it's not a blame game. It is just an honest acknowledgement that we have schools that have an ‘F' rating on the state report card and that it's our responsibility to do something about it."

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