Clifton Area Neighborhood School Visioning

On the evening of October 24, representatives from CTM, CANS Advisory Group, Cincinnati Public Schools, and the Clifton Recreation Center convened a public forum to gather input and have discussion.  The purpose of the meeting was to build consensus recommendations of the collective community in the re-establishment of school operations at the Clifton School, including use of the Rawson property. All community members and those interested in the re-establishment of the school were welcomed to attend.

Greg Otis from AIA facilitated the event.

Click here to see the presentation that happened during the event.

Click here to read the results / outcomes from the event.   Now we seek your feedback on these results / outcomes.  Please email us at contactctm@cliftoncommunity.org.

Below a photo of the nice turnout we had for the discussions. Thank you to all who attended.

New neighborhood school opens

On August 16, 2017, a new neighborhood school serving the neighborhoods of CUF, Clifton, and Spring Grove Village will be launching its inaugural classes of preschool and kindergarteners. The school’s temporary name is Clifton Area Neighborhood School (CANS), and it is part of the Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) district. Enrollment is ALWAYS accepted for this school at any time. Click here to enroll in kindergarten.

The school is temporarily located at the Rising Stars Academy on Vine Street (also operated by CPS), and it will move to its permanent location at 3711 Clifton Avenue as soon as the Cincinnati Public School district completes renovations on the building. Expected move date is for the school year of 2019-2020, but it could happen during the school year of 2018-2019.

The school is planned to grow at one grade level per year. A pre-school class is also part of the inaugural year. Click here to enroll in pre-school.

CPS announced the new school opening on their district website. Click here to see.

There is a large group of parents, volunteers, and community members that have been working on opening the school and creating high quality education outcomes. They are called the CANS Advisory Group. They have created a website that you can see by clicking here. This website has news and events as well as links for how to enroll your child(ren). You can also read about how to get involved in supporting the school and the children.

A neighborhood school allows for all who live in the neighborhood to enroll their children. This is different than a magnet school for which a lottery is required for entry.

CTM Education Letter to CPS Board of Education

The CTM Education Committee prepared and transmitted a letter with attachments to the Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) Board of Education (BOE) and Superintendent Mary Ronan on February 4, 2017. This letter was written to summarize the work of the Committee in advance of a “Fact Finding” meeting with some members of the CPS BOE and CPS Administration on February 7, 2017.

The text of the letter in full is below with links for each attachment.

1/26/17
Attn: Cincinnati Public Schools Board of Education, Superintendent and all other interested parties:

On September 14, 2015 Clifton Town Meeting (CTM) voted to create an ad-hoc committee made up of both CTM Trustees and community members to focus on education and improving access to quality public education seats. Over the past 15 months, this group has worked on community engagement, coordination and teamwork with other neighborhood groups, and collection and analysis of data related to school-aged children in the Clifton area. The following is a description of the educational access challenges that brought the Education Committee together and some of the specific efforts the committee has engaged in over the past 15 months.

A. Educational Access Challenges in Clifton

In the wake of the change in magnet school enrollment, many families in Clifton are unable to gain access to the only public school located within our neighborhood unless they win a lottery spot at age 3 to Rising Stars Academy. For those families who do not win the lottery during this small window of opportunity, significant barriers exist to gain access to quality public education in our neighborhood. We have heard from community members who are struggling right now to get their own children into KG (see Attachment A). To complicate this problem further, census data indicates while a robust number (approximately 180 children per year), are born in Clifton, CUF and SGV combined, many move out by elementary school years and a concerning number attend private schools with use of vouchers or charter schools (see and also see Attachment B). In the year 2015-16 alone, the cost to the taxpayers for oucher/charter enrollment was $895,000 (this number excludes the cost of transportation) just using data for 45220 (see Attachment C1 Voucher School data, Attachment C2 Voucher Charter Data, and Attachment C3 Charter School data $ 45220). With the change in magnet enrollment policy, we have concern that this number will continue to grow if the current situation does not change. The Clifton neighborhood has been negatively impacted by families moving out of the neighborhood and potential buyers deciding against moving here, as described by the realtor who sells more homes in Clifton than any other (see Attachment D ). We have collected other personal accounts giving insight into why many do not choose the Clifton neighborhood or choose to utilize vouchers or charter schools instead of public education (see Attachment E letter 2 and Attachment E letter 1).

B. Coordination with Neighborhood Groups to Identify a Solution

The Education Committee has engaged with representatives of the CCAC to form the “Working Group,” which is comprised of Fairview parents, and representatives of the CCAC, CTM, CUF Council and Spring Grove Village Council. This group has met regularly toward the goal of identifying positive solutions for our neighborhood. Together, we hope to achieve a two-building solution to gaining school access and maintaining the CCAC as a neighborhood asset. (see Attachment F Signed Joint Statement of Spring Grove Village, CUF and Clifton). As outlined in Attachment J, members of both the Working Group and the CTM Education Committee have identified and visited potential sites. Potential spaces for a permanent location are listed in Attachment J.

C. Community Engagement

Our group’s effort follows a detailed community engagement plan (as seen in Attachment G). Pursuant to this plan, we are continuing to implement many outreach activities, including community forums, door to door contact with neighbors, engagement at public events, contact with neighborhood day care and preschool facilities, identifying supporters to sign petitions and intent to enroll forms, social media advertising, mailings, visits to community groups, businesses and organizations, and play groups for families with young children. The community forums and door to door efforts have resulted in positive community feedback for starting a new school. Additionally, we have identified a growing number of supporters through a petition with 261 current signatures and enrollment forms with 38 current
potential students for a new neighborhood school (see Attachment H). Summaries from all 6 community forums in which this group has participated are described in Attachment I. Considering the connections with potential new families ready to attend the proposed neighborhood school together with a formal commitment from CPS, we expect to gather further support enabling a strong start. In addition, we are optimistic about potential Uptown community partners working with us and being a big part of the school’s success once the project has a CPS commitment.

D. Data Collection and Analysis

The Education Committee has collected and analyzed data that demonstrates the potential for our neighborhoods to have a unique and successful neighborhood school. Through our community engagement efforts, we have learned that racial, religious and economic diversity is a priority for a new school environment. We have completed extensive research of the old Clifton School and found that this school did include both racial and economic diversity (see Attachment K Cincinnati Magazine Aug 1975-Clifton and Attachment K Cincinnati Magazine Aug 1975-Clifton-school excerpts) into the 70’s and beyond, and that current data (see Attachment L) shows that diversity does exist in our neighborhoods’ population. We welcome and are open to having boundary lines for the new school that are parallel to old lines which included areas of Avondale (see Attachment M) in addition to the neighborhoods of CUF and Spring Grove Village. We have been working together with both CUF and Spring Grove Village since January of 2016 and look forward to engaging Avondale in addition to Rockdale in relevant conversations moving forward.

E. Proposed Solution

The CTM Education Committee proposes both a short-term and long-term plan for creating a new, successful neighborhood elementary school in the Clifton area. We are eager to form an Advisory Steering Committee and partner with CPS for the purpose of working to finalize a temporary and, in time, a permanent location for a new school. In addition to location, we are ready to work with CPS to initiate programming planning and to establish beneficial partnerships. The CTM Education Committee believes it is important to offer a new opportunity to those who are now in the position of having to decide on public vs. private education. Opening both a preschool classroom along with a KG class this Fall (’17-’18) at Rising Stars Academy on Vine Street would meet an immediate need in the Clifton area and provide additional preschool slots for CPS. Growth of the new elementary school could then be executed by adding a grade each year and consequently would not disrupt other existing schools in the area.

Thank you for your consideration of our plans and we hope to work closely together soon.

Clifton Town Meeting Education Committee

New CTM Education Social Media Groups

The CTM Education Committee has launched a new place on Facebook. & NextDoor Clifton regarding guaranteed access to quality public education with a focus on a new neighborhood area school.

Do you live in or near the neighborhoods of Clifton, CUF, Spring Grove Village, or the zip codes 45220 / 45219? Are you are interested or supportive of access to quality education for all children potentially including a new neighborhood school? Is the current school situation confusing, or do you want more information ?

Join this group today! This group is maintained by the Clifton Town Meeting Education Committee as a way to educate and engage with the community. This group welcomes civil discussion and constructive input.

Click here for Facebook group.
Click here for NextDoor group.

The Community Councils of Clifton, CUF and Spring Grove Village agree that the Clifton Cultural Arts Center must remain in its current building. Plans and designs for a new neighborhood school will be considered only for other locations.

Joint Statement on Education & CCAC to CPS

Working Group

Clifton Town Meeting – CUF Neighborhood Association – Spring Grove Community Council – Clifton Cultural Arts Center – Fairview-Clifton German Language School Parent and Community Representatives

Joint Statement

Over the last several months, representatives from Clifton Town Meeting, CUF Neighborhood Association and the Spring Grove Village Community Council have been meeting with community partners from the Clifton Cultural Arts Center (CCAC) and parent and community representatives of the Fairview-Clifton German Language School LSDMC in an effort to develop a comprehensive, unified plan that guarantees quality school access for all residents of the three communities, ensures that Fairview-Clifton German Language School remains a highly rated school and securely maintains CCAC in their current building under the terms of the 2005 lease agreement.

Throughout the past six months our joint goal has been to identify a solution that addresses both the needs of the District and communities and creates a win for all parties. After many weeks and hours of discussion, we have agreed upon a collaborative, inclusive approach that we believe meets that goal:

  • Expand classroom space on Fairview’s current location to cover a 3-year increase in kindergarten magnet enrollment with a build-out of the current building and the temporary use of modular classrooms during the build-out;
  • Commit and allocate necessary physical, financial and staff resources to ensure that all students at Fairview continue to receive a quality education;
  • Scale back enrollment to the pre-expansion level of 100-125 kindergarten magnet students after three years;
  • Keep CCAC in the 1906 building under the current lease agreement without possibility of termination until the completion of the lease period, and/or CPS to offer CCAC the option to purchase the property;
  • State on all print and electronic documents produced by CTM, CUF or Spring Grove Community Councils that, “The Community Councils of Clifton, CUF and Spring Grove Village agree that the Clifton Cultural Arts Center must remain in its current building. Plans and designs for a new neighborhood school will be considered only for other locations”;
  • Begin a neighborhood school based on an informed community engagement process, for the 2018-19 school year at a temporary location with one grade level, adding another grade level each subsequent year;
  • Create a neighborhood school to a suitable size that accommodates the demand of the neighborhoods. Possible sites include: Fairview expansion build-out, Hughes High School Annex or the former Fairview School Annex.

Click here to see the signed version of the Joint Statement of Spring Grove Village, CUF and Clifton

=== PRESS RELEASE ===

Cincinnati – Representatives from Clifton Town Meeting (CTM), CUF (Clifton Heights-University Heights-Fairview) Neighborhood Association and the Spring Grove Village Community Council (SGV), along with community partners from the Clifton Cultural Arts Center (CCAC) and parent and community representatives of the Fairview-Clifton German Language School Local School Decision Making Committee (LSDMC) will hold a press conference on Monday, August 22, at 5:30 pm at the Cincinnati Public Schools Education Center at 2651 Burnet Avenue in Corryville to release a Joint Statement.
The Joint Statement is the result of months of weekly meetings between these community stakeholder groups who are all deeply engaged and invested in the education, diversity, vibrancy, inclusion, and cohesiveness of our neighborhoods and community institutions.

The solutions presented in the Joint Statement convey the priorities of the communities:
• access to quality education for all children potentially including a new neighborhood school;
• preservation of the high level of educational quality at Fairview-Clifton German Language School in the face of pressure to expand;
• safeguarding of the Clifton Cultural Arts Center, an essential community asset, in its current location.

The collective group, commonly known as the “Working Group,” reflects the interests of thousands of our city’s children, parents, and residents. In early 2016, the Working Group began meeting to address urgent community issues: the challenge of overcrowding at Fairview Clifton German Language School, the threat of losing CCAC, our cultural center and a valued educational partner for CPS schools, including Fairview, and improved access to quality public education for residents of Clifton, CUF and Spring Grove Village.

Members of the Working Group, joined by dozens of community members, are asking to work collaboratively with the CPS Board of Education and Administration to determine the details and specifics of a practical, long-term strategy, which addresses all of the concerns listed in the Joint Statement. “Stakeholders from many different groups and three distinct neighborhoods have come together and worked hard to develop the comprehensive solution embodied in this Joint Statement,” said Clifton Town Meeting Vice President Malcolm Montgomery. “We believe that together with CPS we can give these children a great education and preserve the cultural center of our neighborhoods and beyond.”

###

Agenda for May 12 Public Meeting with CPS

At 9:45pm, May 11, CTM received a copy of the public meeting agenda to be held by CPS Board of Education in conjunction with Clifton Cultural Arts Center, Fairview-Clifton LSDMC, and CTM. All are invited to this meeting at the CPS Administration building on Burnet Woods. Conference Room 1-A. The meeting duration is scheduled for one hour. There is no time on the agenda for public speaking.

A G E N D A

SPECIAL PUBLIC MEETING
CPS Board of Education & Clifton Cultural Arts Center
May 12, 2016
4:00 PM

Vision: Cincinnati Public Schools will be a community that ensures equitable access to a world-class education, unleashing the potential of every student.

Mission: We educate all students with rigor and care in a culture of excellence to develop engaged citizens who are prepared for life.

A. CALL TO ORDER

1. Pledge to Flag
2. Roll Call

NEW BUSINESS

B. Introductions
C. Vision 2020 – Strengthening Neighborhood Schools – Mary Ronan, Superintendent; Laura Mitchell, Deputy Superintendent
D. Lead agency & CLC definitions – Julie Doppler, CLC Coordinator
(Brainbox at Fairview School site)

E. Proposed outcomes – Ericka Copeland-Dansby, CPS Board President
· Carriage House
· Shared Space Agreement

F. Response to zoning issues – Bill Moehring, Interim Chief Operations Officer
G. Other issues
H. Adjournment

Office of the Board Members

May 12, 2016

Strategic Goals

1. Cultivate a robust and inclusive network of engaged parents, community and other stakeholders that work together to build safe, vibrant schools at the center of safe, vibrant communities (GREAT COMMUNITIES);

2. Support the creation of highly engaging learning environments in which every child, every day, engages in an ideal balance between rigorous learning opportunities relevant to our dynamic world, and at the same time enjoys the focused concern of caring adults (GREAT LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS);

3. Provide for expanded learning opportunities and choices for all students that reflect a shared concern for the whole child and demonstrate appreciation for every student as a unique individual (GREAT LEARNING CHOICES);

4. Enable the recruitment, growth, and advancement of distinguished professionals committed to serving diverse students with a high regard for equity, and in a manner characterized by rigor, innovation, and accountability (GREAT PEOPLE); and

5. Ensure that all operations, and resources of every type, are equitably distributed, and singularly and systemically focused on high academic achievement for all students (GREAT SYSTEMS).

CTM Education: Call to Action

Does Your Child Have Access to Quality Education? This is a call to action for Clifton as well as Clifton Heights, University Heights and Fairview (CUF) residents concerned about public education access. Did you know that our neighborhood assigned public school is failing on the state report card?

Access to Fairview-Clifton German Language School, a CPS magnet school, is only available through the CPS lottery. Not having access to quality public education in Clifton could result in fewer families moving to and staying in Clifton, which may also negatively impact our property values.

Let’s join together to improve the ability for all children in our neighborhood to attend a quality public school. Our neighborhood and CTM Education Committee is working hard to make positive change happen.

If you are interested in getting involved in now or would like to be added to our education email list, please click here to subscribe to the email list. Additional information is available here and in other posts on the Community News section.