The last full month of the school is BY FAR the busiest time year for a principal, preparing for next school year when this one is still moving full steam ahead. As I catch my collective breath and step away from the paperwork, commitments and deadlines, my attention quickly returns to my true focus—my students and my school—and I realize that I have so much to celebrate as my first year draws to an end.
What am I celebrating?
- The Class of 2016 will leave us soon as the newest group of alumni and venture off into the “real” world...this is worth celebrating.
- 8th graders and 5th graders will soon join our high school and middle school families...this is worth celebrating.
- Our school was selected as a 2016 Silver Medal School by US News & World Report, moving up 78 spots to 77th in Ohio and the top 8% nationally...this is worth celebrating.
- Our outstanding music program was recognized by the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation as a Top-100 “Best Music Communities for Music Education” in the nation for the 11th consecutive year...this is worth celebrating.
- Ohio’s State Report Card Performance Index for Achievement ranks our district 50th of 886 schools in the state...this is worth celebrating.
- Our district earned $240,000 in grants for programs that will take our school to new heights...this is worth celebrating.
- Our students and staff have worked tirelessly to prepare for state and AP testing because they want to be the best...this is worth celebrating.
- Our school is part of a supportive and proud community...this is worth celebrating.
The list could go on. Now, I’m not saying we are perfect, because we are not. We will always strive to be better—to be the best. With that said, I encourage each of you to catch your collective breath and step away from the stress if your life to celebrate the accomplishments and characteristics that make our school district great.
Celebrate our schools and students this May!
We have entered the final quarter of the school year and we have much to do as we prepare for end-of-year events. The month of April is an especially important month in the school year, primarily because Ohio’s Next Generation Assessments are given to students in grades 3 through 8.
Ohio students are required to take grade-level and subject area tests in English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies. State achievement tests tell us how well our students are growing in the knowledge and skills outlined in Ohio’s Learning Standards. These tests help guide and strengthen future teaching so we can be sure that we are preparing our students for long-term success in school, college, careers and life. Test results also allow citizens to know how their local schools are performing compared to others around the state.
For high school students in the Class of 2018 and beyond, per Ohio high school graduation requirements, students must take high school end-of-course tests in English Language Arts I and II, Algebra I, Geometry, Biology, American History and American Government. Scores on these tests are counted for graduation point requirements and to determine college and career readiness.
Students in grades 3 through 8 take subject area tests based on grade-level. Our Middle School students will take tests in Social Studies (Grade 6), Science (Grade 8), English Language Arts (Grades 6, 7, 8) and Mathematics (Grades 6, 7, 8).
Cuyahoga Heights is committed to providing targeted instruction that gives students the skills necessary to apply their knowledge effectively for the purpose of academic achievement and growth. Prior to the administering of the 2015-16 state assessments, all students will be provided skills-based intervention and enrichment based on data provided from last year’s assessments and this year’s classroom performance. In addition, because AP testing begins in May, AP students will also be targeted for additional skills-based intervention/enrichment in preparation for upcoming AP tests. This Intervention and Enrichment requires CHHS and CHMS to operate on an adjusted schedule during the month of April.
I cannot emphasize enough my commitment to raising the bar at Cuyahoga Heights Middle School and High School so that our students will reach their academic potential, allowing them to compete for, and reach, their goals beyond graduation.
Have a Great April!
Matt Young, 6-12 Principal
It’s March at Cuyahoga Heights Schools and spring is around the corner! We only have three months of school remaining and we have much left to accomplish this school year! As we look to the end of one school year, we are already preparing for the next. Specifically, students have been meeting with counselors on their 2016-2017 class schedules. We are implementing some modification to programming as well as offering several new courses. This information was shared at the February 29th parent meeting and the presentation can be found online by clicking the “Program of Studies” link on the High School and Middle School main webpages.
To emphasize what I published last month, the Cuyahoga Heights School District is one of great history, tradition and pride. It’s one where families value the small, intimate experiences their children receive in our schools. Parents respect, entrust and place faith in us to provide students with a challenging, diverse and enriching education that prepares them for college, career and citizenship beyond high school.
In order to meet state and community expectations, Cuyahoga Heights will offer a curriculum that:
· Meets state standards and achieves district goals
· Meets all students at their current aptitude and challenges them to grow and achieve
· Prepares the students for college and career readiness
· Allows our students and educators to perform with the highest achieving local districts in the county and state
· Is more competitive and enriching than local college opportunities
· Attracts non-residential students to our district
· Keeps our residential students in our district
Our students and teachers are capable of competing with the best schools across the state and nation. This can only be achieved by increasing the academic rigor and expectations in our district, as well as implementing and enforcing well-defined, data-driven decisions for placing students in courses that match their actual readiness.
The Middle School and High School Programs of Study are reflective of a specific mission:
Remaining true to Cuyahoga Heights Schools’ core community values, empowering staff to maximize professional responsibilities, and educating our students to reach their academic potential, allowing them to compete for, and reach, their goals beyond graduation.
I am committed to raising the bar at Cuyahoga Heights Middle and High Schools and I embrace the opportunity to work with all involved to get through and celebrate the challenges and triumphs that lie ahead.
Have a great March and an even better spring!
It’s hard to believe we are already into the month of February! I am certainly looking forward to an exciting second semester with our students at CHS. One of the many privileges I have is to sign over 400 student report cards, allowing me to examine each student’s individual progress with pride and optimism. Regardless of the results, I attempt to treat every student positively. The power of praise, motivation and encouragement goes a long way in bringing out the potential in our students.
I recently read the book, What Great Teachers Do Differently, by Todd Whitaker. In his book, he elaborates on five strategies that help praise work. His thoughts not only benefit teachers, but also parents. To be effective, he advises, praise must be authentic, specific, immediate, clean and private.
First, authentic means that we are praising people for something genuine, recognizing them for something that is true. This is an important facet because the recognition of something authentic never grows weary. Sometimes people state that they do not praise more because they feel that it will lose credibility or that it will become less believable if it happens too much. The way to prevent this is to make sure that is always authentic. No one ever feels that they are praised too much for something genuine.
Second, effective praise is specific. The behavior we acknowledge often becomes the behavior that will continue. If we can recognize others positive efforts with specific appreciation, then we can help them recognize the value of these efforts as well.
Third: immediate praise. This means recognizing positive efforts and contributions in a timely manner. Providing authentic and specific feedback when good things happen, or soon afterward, is an important element in making reinforcement effective.
Fourth, praise must be clean. It is important to authentically compliment someone, not just tell a person something meaningless but nice because you hope that they will do something different—and unrelated—tomorrow. Also, if praise and reinforcement is to be clean, then it cannot include the word "but." If we are trying to compliment a student and we say, "I appreciated the work you did on your math today, but you need to finish your social studies assignment," the individual we hoped to praise will very likely only remember the part after "but," which was a criticism.
Finally, effective praise is private. You're always safe to praise someone in private. Recognizing students publicly may seem reinforcing, though many students would rather receive private recognition because it may not be "cool" to be recognized in front of their peers.
We have much to praise at Cuyahoga Height Schools. Look for opportunities to find people doing things right and praise those people so they’ll keep on doing things right.
Have a fabulous February!
Happy New Year to all families within the Cuyahoga Heights School District! I hope that the holidays were enjoyable and allowed you all some time to relax and to spend quality time with both family and friends. Winter has also been kind to us (except to snow sports enthusiasts) and the days are slowly growing longer. The start of a new year is a time to look forward to the graduation of the Class of 2016 and to act upon new resolutions and goals.
Goal setting is an important skill that benefits all. Goals are important for having a long-term vision and short-term motivation. They give us focus, allow us to measure progress, define boundaries and keep us moving forward. Goal setting is especially important for our students as they must decide over their middle and high school years as to which courses to take, in which activities to participate and whether to pursue college, career or military immediately after graduation. This can be difficult for students to do without guidance in setting specific, measureable, achievable, realistic and timely goals.
In an article on TeacherHub.com, the following tips were given to help our students reach their goals:
- Define the Word “Goal”—Make sure students know what the word “goal” means.
- Teach the Importance of Goal Setting—Explain to the student how powerful setting a goal and achieving it can be.
- Set Realistic Goals—Help your students set small, achievable goals that can be achieved quickly.
- Help Improve Unrealistic Goals—Help them refine their goal into something you know they will be able to achieve.
- Develop a Step-by-Step Method to Achieving the Goal—Once students have set their goals, it’s time to develop a step-by-step method to achieving this goal.
- Visually Create Your Goal—A visual reminder is a great way to help students physically see what their goal is.
- Keep in Mind the Time Factor—Make sure students set a timeline to achieve their goal.
- Have a Monthly Conference—Each month, have a conference with each student to see how their goals are developing.
- Set Up a Reward—The reward may be achieving the goal in itself, but for some goals a little something extra will make achieving that goal even better.
- Celebrate Once a Goal is Achieved—Hooray! You have achieved your goal! Now it’s time to celebrate. Then have students set new goals.
As you help your child set goals, always keep professionals in the school in mind. We are available to meet with students and parents to provide information, guidance and support. Once again, I want to wish you all a very Happy New Year. Let’s make 2016 our best year.
Have a terrific January!
It’s hard to believe that December is here and that we are in the midst of the holiday season. In just three short weeks, students and staff will be on Winter Break and looking forward to the new year.
With the month of December comes a full schedule of athletic events as most winter sports teams are in full swing. In addition, we have three winter concerts this month that highlight seasonal instrumental and vocal arrangements. Please check the school calendar for dates and times of all CHHS and CHMS events.
I would like to wish all students, parents and community members a safe Winter Break, Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year. I cannot express how fortunate I feel to be part of an excellent school district and an outstanding community. The opportunities to celebrate our school seem endless. I hope you all find time to reconnect with family and friends, to get some much needed rest, and to look ahead to the exciting opportunities in 2016.
Have a wonderful December!
The first quarter of the school year is behind us and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. As November commences, I have much to be thankful for in our terrific school district. First, I am thankful for our students. I see examples of character and achievement everyday and I continue to be motivated by our students’ leadership, compassion, kindness and respect. As I stated in the past, believe in your students and they will never cease to amaze. The potential of this student body is limitless and I am proud of them all.
Second, I am thankful for the staff. Our professional staff members of teachers, counselors, secretaries, bus drivers, custodians and cafeteria workers all put the safety and success of our students as their highest priorities. They frequently have demonstrated the willingness to go above and beyond so that our students receive the best education our school can offer. They understand the value and importance of their profession and perform responsibly and respectfully on a daily basis.
Next, I am thankful for the parents, families, community members and alumni that entrust us with their children. I have enjoyed and have been privileged to meet so many people in my first three months in the district. I am dedicated to providing the best programming possible to our students—programs the allow our students to compete against students from the highest achieving schools while protecting the values and traditions that make our proud district unique.
In addition, I am thankful for the partnership we have with the safety forces from our three villages. Knowing that we have such skilled police, EMS and fire personnel dedicated to protecting our students provides assurance to our families that our students are as safe as possible. These brave men and women deserve our continuous thanks and gratitude.
Finally, I am thankful for the highly experienced leadership in our district. Our team is strongly devoted to protecting, educating and nurturing our students. We are constantly evaluating and monitoring our systems, our needs and our performance. Our students will graduate from our school knowing they experienced the best all-around education possible.
I hope that you find as much to be thankful as I have. Attend just a single event at our schools and you’ll find your inspiration. I want to take this opportunity to wish you all an early Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy time with family and friends and share with one another how thankful you are for the gifts in your life.
Have a great November,
Dear Middle School and High School Families,
Fall has arrived and as we move into October, we are entering the final month for first quarter grades and nearing the end of the regular fall sports season. Our first weeks of school have been incredible and I continue to be impressed by the level of pride and the sense of responsibility our students demonstrate on a daily basis.
As the 6-12 Principal, one of my goals is to find ways to help our students reach their fullest potential. I want our students to be second to none and to increase their opportunities for success. This not only means setting higher academic and personal expectations but also reinforcing those expectations and rewarding students who meet them as well. In my two decades as an educator, I have found that when you believe in your students, they can profoundly exceed your expectations.
Our students are capable of accomplishing so much. This is largely because of the commitment and partnership between our families and school. It is important that we continue to grow together, find new ways to achieve, and meet the daily challenges which happen each year. I encourage and welcome your involvement in our programs and school.
Thank you for your continued support!
Matt Young, 6-12 Principal
Dear Middle School and High School Families,
On behalf of the administration and staff at Cuyahoga Heights High and Middle Schools, I want to welcome you back for the start of the 2015-2016 school year. I hope that your summer was restful, rewarding and memorable. My name is Matt Young and it is my privilege to serve as your new principal. This begins my 21st year in education and I am proud to be a member of this outstanding school district.
I am joined in the administrative office by another individual new to our school district, Assistant Principal and Co-Curricular Director George Burich, III, who brings an impressive resume from his 17 years in education. We have high expectations for our administration, our staff and our students, and we are devoted to delivering the highest quality programming is academics, arts and athletics in the safest and most effective means possible.
We are so fortunate at the high and middle schools to have a professional, veteran staff of teachers, counselors, secretaries, aides, custodians, food service and transportation employees all dedicated to the safety and education of our students. We continue to achieve above state and national levels on Advanced Placement (AP) tests, the ACT, the SAT and state assessments. In fact, our school was once again named a US News & World Report Silver Medal School for 2015.
Last year marked a significant time of change with the transition to many new state initiatives, including state report card modifications, end-of-course testing and graduation requirements. As modifications to these initiatives continue, we will ensure that our students adapt to the changes and challenges as smoothly as possible.
Cuyahoga Heights also offers a diverse curriculum designed to meet the needs and interests of our students. Along with our partnership with the Cuyahoga Valley Career Center, we are able to offer courses and programs ranging from core level to advanced placement that meet virtually any college or career readiness ambition. Also, students can choose from over several extra-curricular sports, clubs, activities, and organizations to pursue their athletic, musical, artistic, and intellectual endeavors. In addition, opportunities exist for parental involvement by joining/supporting our music/athletic booster clubs or by supporting and attending student functions throughout the year. The support you provide to our students and schools is highly appreciated.
Thank you for being a part of our family and for choosing the Cuyahoga Height School District. I look forward to the coming year and to working with you in this educational partnership. Please feel free to contact me at any time with questions or concerns. Let’s have a great year!