CMSD's Eric Gordon addresses culture change in annual State of the Schools speech

CLEVELAND - It's a brand new day in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. 

Implementation of the sweeping Academic Transformation Plan has led to a new culture of learning not seen in some schools before. There's more instruction time, a rigorous curriculum, smaller class sizes and for the first time in more than a decade 100 to 150 new teachers are being hired to help raise the level of student achievement.

CEO Eric Gordon discussed this new culture during his annual State of the Schools address Wednesday at Public Auditorium.

"CMSD looks and feels different in many ways," he said. "What a difference a year makes."

Gordon said the district is working every day to turn a culture of low expectations into one of high expectations.

The district is specifically targeting 13 low-performing schools where they are investing money from the tax levy that voters approved last November to raise student achievement. 

One of those Investment Schools is Collinwood High School  where Gordon said students no longer wander the hallways or sit in class with their heads on the desk.

"Students are actively engaged in learning every day," he said.

But with the Cleveland School District at the bottom of the state school rankings academically, Gordon said there's much more work to do.

"We must in the year ahead work to see dramatic changes in our ranking on those state measures both in the number of CMSD schools that move up the ranking list and where the district ranks as a whole. That and nothing less than that will be our measure of success or failure in the year to to come," he said.

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