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Cleveland’s educational infrastructure has several components, none of which can be left out of the equation. The revitalization of the city’s public schools justifiably commands the lion’s share of attention. But it must not be forgotten that Cleveland’s educational resources also comprise a large number of private schools, several colleges and universities, as well as community facilities and training centers. Let us look briefly at each of these community assets, since the work ahead will involve not only taking the necessary steps to maximize the effectiveness of each, but to explore and build useful connections between these entities, and to find ways of creating greater access by the surrounding communities to these valuable programs and facilities.


  • CMSD Administration Building located in downtown Cleveland is the headquarters of the Cleveland Public Schools
    The Cleveland Municipal School District (CMSD), which operates 121 schools, has the responsibility, at any one time, for about 72,000 of the city’s future employers, employees, managers, voters and parents. Its work is, quite appropriately, the business of the City and all of its residents, since it is driven by tax dollars and must therefore answer to the mayor and the citizens. Among the dramatic innovations introduced since 1998, when voters gave Cleveland’s mayor control of the public schools is a strong focus on the connection between education and a student’s eventual livelihood. Six “Career Clusters” have been identified—Arts & Communication, Business & Management, Environmental & Agricultural Systems, Health Services, Human Resources, and Industrial & Engineering Systems; an extensive list of jobs possible in each area have been identified along with the level of education required for each (high school diploma, two-year college or technical school, four-year college and beyond); and help in offering students to identify how their talents and interests correspond. (e.g., “able to dissect smaller pieces from the big picture,” “work with critical details” -Industrial & Engineering Systems or “work physically close to people,” “respond quickly and clearly in emergencies,” “have strong memorization and problem-solving skills” - Health Services Career )

    “Career Pathways” for each cluster are laid out in detail, with additional information about what high school courses and subsequent education or special training a student interested in a particular career will need to pursue. The CMSD Web site even provides an Individual Career Planning Guide, with spaces to be filled in, that charts the course—all part of a new effort to get high school students to think about the future they want for themselves and how what they do now will open those doors one by one. A number of schools, some beginning with kindergarten, have developed specialties in particular subject areas such as science (3), foreign languages/international studies (1) or computer technology (5) –nine areas in all—while several others offer special teaching approaches (Montessori, Accelerated Learning, Year-round Classes). Several schools have dress codes. Several offer Enrichment Center programs before and after regular hours.

    Proficiency-test scores have improved dramatically. In the critical subjects of math and reading—the keys to so many well-paying careers—the scores of Cleveland’s fourth-and sixth-graders have improved more than twice as fast as the statewide averages—increasing by an average of more than 160% between 1998 and 2003—and leaving Columbus, Dayton, Cincinnati, Toledo and the rest of Ohio’s major urban centers behind. Cleveland’s public school graduation rate has gone from 28% to 50.2%, and CMSD now offers a number of Continuing Education programs for adults. Though the system, admittedly, still has a long way to go, these certainly constitute hopeful signs, and new strengths that can be built upon if the funds can be found.


  • Benedictine High School is one of three all male high schools within the City of Cleveland serving young men from all over the region
    Cleveland’s private or parochial schools have long operated on the K-8 model, and many have fine track records. But private education is not an economically viable option for most of the city’s residents, with tuition costs continuing to increase on an annual basis. Indeed, recent years have seen the closing and/or consolidation of several of these so-called “college preparatory” schools. The city of Cleveland is home to three prep schools for boys: Cleveland Benedictine, and St. Ignatius, and one co-ed high school, Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School, formed by the merger in the early 90’s of exclusively male St. Joseph High School, and Villa Angela Academy, a high school for girls. The latter, along with the now closed Erieview Catholic, were the longest standing all-female schools in Cleveland. The only options for girls and families able to afford this type of education now exist only in nearby suburbs. Meanwhile, the challenges being faced by public education and the high cost of traditional private institutions, have led to innovative (if controversial) experiments in alternative forms of education throughout the country, and locally, that include magnet schools, charter schools, home schooling, and technical schools, of which Cleveland has its share.


  • CWRU is a major anchor of University Circle providing degrees and course of study in numerous fields including engineering, law, medicine, businesses, arts and social sciences.
    Few people, asked to guess the number of colleges and universities make Greater Cleveland their home, would guess 22. But that is how many there are, with a combined student population of 143,000. And if you took an expanding compass like the one you used in high school geometry, and stuck the metal end in a map of northeast Ohio at a point just a little further south and east around, say, Akron, and scored a circle with a 50-mile radius, that circle would encompass an even larger number—32 to be precise. No other region in the country, outside of New York, can boast so many institutions of higher learning. With such a multitude of educational opportunities right here, this area could be way ahead of many other parts of the country in earning-power and the generation of new jobs. As a perusal of their respective Web sites attests, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland State University, John Carroll University, Ursuline College, Baldwin-Wallace College and Cuyahoga Community College offer unique programs and partnerships that prepare students for work in business and industry and the leading professions as well as in exciting new fields; and, less than an hour’s drive away, other distinguished institutions such as Oberlin College, Kent State University, the University of Akron, Hiram College, Lorain County and Lakeland Community Colleges, and the College of Wooster offer outstanding opportunities and innovative curricula.

    Seeing our colleges and universities as community assets and resources means finding ways to utilize them to create a competitive advantage for the residents of the surrounding neighborhoods. It also means spinning off new research and discoveries into new companies and jobs. Unless we can find ways, working with these institutions and other entities here, to give neighborhood residents real access to opportunity at the front end, there will be nobody to take advantage of the opportunities being generated by our universities at the other end. And the great new ideas will, as in the past, have to be taken elsewhere to find the people to turn them into money.


Some other programs or institutions that constitute important educational resources for Cleveland residents include:

  • The Cleveland Public Library (“The People’s University”), with 28 branches and extensive 24-hour on-line services. The main library has 30 miles of bookshelves and 10 million catalogued items and is equipped with the latest electronic resources. Among the first major public libraries in the country to offer 24-hour dial-up access to its online catalogue and various electronic databases, in 1991 the Library was again a national leader by making Internet databases available to the public.

  • The Cuyahoga County Early Childhood Initiative , a county-wide collaboration of public, private, and non-profit groups launched in 1999, that seeks to eliminate service gaps and barriers to opportunity for children from birth to age five by improving service coordination and interagency communication. Focusing on effective parenting, child care and child health, this program has, through home visits by a professional nurse to every new or teen mother, identified more than 4,000 children with developmental delays and disabilities and linked them and their families to early intervention services.

  • City Year Cleveland , a member of AmeriCorps, recruits young people of all backgrounds, ages 17-24, for a demanding year of community service and leadership development in 16 U.S. communities and Johannesburg, South Africa. (City Year Louisiana, 50 members strong, will be helping to rebuild an area devastated by Hurricane Katrina and serving the needs of displaced children and families.) One of those cities is Cleveland, where City Year volunteers staff tutoring programs and other services geared to strengthen literacy and improve the academic performance of children in the Cleveland Municipal School District.

  • Cleveland Job Corps and One-Stop System offers job placement assistance and workforce development services to job seekers and businesses.

  • The Urban Community School , a non-graded, multicultural school with two campuses founded in 1968 serves the at-risk children of Cleveland’s west side through junior high school. More than 91% of UCS graduates go on to college.

  • TheGestalt Institute of Cleveland, an internationally recognized center that trains organizational consultants, psychologists, social workers, teachers, health care providers, and individuals who work with families, children or adolescents in a cutting-edge, integrative approach to facilitating real change and growth.

  • WVIZ /PBS-90.3 WCPN ideastream and its new Idea Center on Playhouse Square, where glass-windowed hallways let school children and others watch shows being produced and edited. WVIZ/PBS ideastream’s Educational Services (ranked the best in Ohio) include helping teachers to teach, and students to learn, with technology-based tools; running workshops that help parents and childcare professionals build effective learning environments for children using public television and other media; providing innovative multiple-media products, interactive video distance learning, and professional development courses online and in workshop settings; and, in partnership with various colleges and universities, college credits. WCPN, northeast Ohio’s NPR station, has won the Society of Professional Journalists’ award for Best News Room Operation several times during the past decade.

  • An array of museums and cultural institutions, a number of which operate special outreach or on-site programs for school-age youth. These include two indisputably world-class treasures—the Cleveland Orchestra and Cleveland Museum of Art —and such nationally recognized cultural venues as the Cleveland Play House, Great Lakes Theater Festival, Cleveland Opera, Cleveland Music School Settlement, Cleveland Botanical Garden, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Karamu, Western Reserve Historical Society, Crawford Auto & Aviation Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Playhouse Square Center, Rainy Institute, the Children’s Museum of Cleveland and Cleveland Metroparks Zoo .


Besides such nationally ranked facilities as the Cleveland Clinic , University Hospitals of Cleveland, and MetroHealth Medical Center , Cleveland has a number of neighborhood-based facilities that include:

  • NEON (Northeast Ohio Neighborhood Health Services) East 123 rd & Superior Avenue in Forest Hills.
    Northeast Ohio Neighborhood Health Services Inc. (NEON) , with facilities in Hough and Collinwood, provides underserved and low-income women with access to a comprehensive array of health care services, including pediatrics, adult medicine, family medicine, geriatric medicine, OB/GYN, family planning, mammography, ultrasound, dentistry, optometry, podiatry and dermatology, along with nutritional, social work, health education and outreach services.
  • MetroHealth Buckeye Health Center As part of an effort to provide neighborhood level medical care to residents in Cleveland Metro Health developed neighborhood health centers throughout neighborhoods citywide. The Buckeye Medical Center completed in 2003 provides multi-specialty services for residents living in the neighborhood. Its programs are built through partnerships with the communities served, and with other development organizations and health providers.
  • The Free Clinic of Greater Cleveland (founded in 1970), one of the few such facilities in the nation to have survived,provides a wide range of services to the working poor at no charge.

  • The Otis Moss Jr. University Hospitals medical Center in Fairfax provides high quality patient care in a spiritually supportive environment.
    Otis Moss Jr. University Hospitals Medical Center, established in 1997 by Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in conjunction with University Hospitals of Cleveland, provides high quality patient care in a spiritually supportive environment. Offering a wide range of primary and specialty care medical services, including pain management, OB/GYN, pediatrics and rheumatology, features an on-site laboratory.

Other community-based health care resources in Cleveland are listed by neighborhood in the individual district chapters.

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