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.

Cincinnati Public Schools – New School serving Clifton, CUF, and Spring Grove Village

At our May 1st Regular Board meeting at approximately 7:50PM administration and school board representatives from Cincinnati Public Schools will adress Clifton Town Meeting about a new neighborhood school including plans for use of the Historic Clifton School(3711 Clifton Ave) and adjacent Rawson Farm property as its future home. We invite all members of the community to come out and hear the information CPS has to share with us. There will be an amount of time for Q&A and opportunities to learn how to be a part of the process in shaping this change to our community.

Clifton Town Meeting has over the last almost 2 years worked on the issue of assured high quality education access for children of Clifton and keeping the Clifton Cultural Arts Center in its current building. Early on these two issues became intertwined due to the fact that Cincinnati Public Schools had suggested a new school as an option for solving the education access concern. Of course it was clear a possible location for this school could be the Historic Clifton School Building where the CCAC currently resides.

CTM worked with the several stakeholders and developed a position statement. Our board of Trustees unanimously passed supporting this statement last year. Two goals in that position were:

  1. Assured access to a high quality public school
  2. The CCAC remain in its current building.

This position was clearly and repeatedly provided to CPS.

Recently CPS announced termination of the lease with CCAC and also moved to purchase the neighboring Rawson Farmhouse property. Our understanding is both will be used for a new neighborhood school serving Clifton, CUF, and Spring Grove Village, or parts thereof.

The lease termination action was taken without knowledge or consent of Clifton Town Meeting and in contrary to our stated position of support of which CPS was well aware.

Now that this situation exists it will begin to have many impacts on our neighborhood, other Clifton education institutions, the immediate surrounding property owners, traffic on Clifton Ave, etc. CTM wants to start today to reach out to our community and begin a process of collecting input for the property use as a school. This input will help us formulate the positions we want to take as community with regard to the future development of the property as a school. Our intent will be to again reach out to CPS and advocate these positions with the purpose of helping make this a successful high quality public school.

Comments from the public at the April CTM Board Meeting on this subject are here.

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.”

###

CTM Notifies CPS of Flawed Survey

CTM Trustees voted on May 2 to notify CPS of flaws in the survey that CPS sent to Clifton-area families during April. The full letter is detailed below.

May 9, 2016

Ericka Copeland-Dansby, President Cincinnati Board of Education
Mary Ronan, Superintendent Cincinnati Public Schools
Melanie Bates, Vice President CPS BOE
Eve Bolton, Member CPS BOE
Carolyn Jones, Member CPS BOE
Daniel Minera, Member CPS BOE
A. Chris Nelms, Member CPS BOE

Dear President Copeland-Dansby, Superintendent Ronan, and Members of the Board of Education,

I am writing to you on behalf of Clifton Town Meeting (CTM) regarding the recent survey sent to some of our residents by Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS). Based on recent comments by Superintendent Ronan we understand the intention is to use these survey results for making decisions related to a neighborhood school for Clifton, CUF, and Spring Grove Village. We believe this survey to be incapable of providing any meaningful information on which to base decisions about a neighborhood school.
Please understand that we do not like having to address this problem after the fact, or in public. We regret that we can find no other recourse to prevent the misuse of the survey data. This could have been avoided had we not been shut out of the process:

• Prior to the distribution of the survey, several of our Trustees conveyed concerns to CPS about its questions
• On March 23, the Superintendent agreed to send us the final version with April 15 the due date for comments
• At our April 4 board meeting, President Copeland-Dansby presented a new version of the survey for our review and comment
• We sent it to several experts who found serious problems and offered to work with your survey people, to which Superintendent Ronan agreed (April 11)
• But on April 13, the Superintendent told us we were too late and that the survey had been sent out – without letting us see this new version, and prior to the due date for comments, and inexplicably contrary to her express agreement not two days earlier.
• Since then, our experts have evaluated this new version and are unanimous in finding it unreliable if not misleading. Their complete reviews and credentials are attached.

Clifton has long been a strong supporter of Cincinnati Public Schools and wants to continue this support. We campaign for school levies, raise money for schools, volunteer time and resources to enrich students’ experiences, and are passionate about the value of education for all children. Part of that support includes taking responsibility for helping head off problems we see coming. We tried to head off the survey problem: we warned the Administration that the survey was flawed, but it was sent out anyway. Now we are alerting you that if the survey results are used, they will only lead to bad decisions. That is one very important issue, yet there is a bigger one underlying it, and that is the exclusion of CTM from the planning process. We were led to expect that collaboration would be welcome, but I am sad to report that our experience has not borne this out. What do we need to do to achieve this mutual goal?

At this time, there is a unique opportunity to have a process with strong participation from the community. The need to address the overcrowding at Fairview-Clifton German Language School, the desire to save the CCAC, and the need to provide reliable access to excellent education have inspired our community to work together toward the best outcome possible. Clifton has long been a strong supporter of Cincinnati Public Schools and wants to continue this support. We want to be partners with you and bring our passion, creativity, and all our other resources together to create outstanding educational opportunities for all children in Clifton and beyond.

As previously expressed in motions of our Board and communications from our Trustees, we want to collaborate with CPS to develop a process that includes our participation and involvement in the proposals for Clifton. Please let us work with you to develop this process.

Sincerely,

Eric Urbas
President, Clifton Town Meeting

*** Click Evaluation of April 2016 CPS Survey by Research Professionals to read the analysis referenced in the letter. ***

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.