Cincinnati Public Schools

At Cincinnati Public Schools, numerous efforts are being made to accelerate academic achievement for all students – ensuring that they are fully aligned with Strive’s Roadmap to Success. The district has been making strides among all students, with tremendous gains at the high school level. In fact, the graduation rate has increased by more than 30 percent over the last 10 years, and high school students are being exposed to dozens of career interest programs that prepare them for lucrative jobs that are driving our 21st-century marketplace. Recent efforts have been geared toward maintaining the upward trend at the high school level and improving the uneven performance seen in the district’s elementary schools.

CPS has placed a districtwide priority on using data to inform instruction for all students. Teachers are working as instructional teams to develop strategies to meet the individual needs of the students they serve. Data folders are created for every student and are reviewed regularly by school staff. Teachers meet quarterly with parents to ensure that they know where their children stand academically. Thanks to a partnership with Strive and Microsoft, new software is being piloted at three schools to help community partners and teachers to better exchange information to support student needs.

Data show that children who attend CPS’ preschool programs are better prepared for kindergarten than students who did not attend the district’s early childhood programs. As such, the district expanded full-day preschool to all 16 Turnaround Schools, so that more children can enter kindergarten ready to excel. Early childhood teachers are identifying at-risk 4-year-olds to improve their readiness by working with them during the summer. And the district developed a new Early Childhood curriculum based on state indicators for kindergarten, which is shared with preschool collaborative partners to better align programs.

In 2008, the district launched its elementary initiative, Ready for High School, designed to accelerate academic achievement at the district’s lowest-performing schools. As part of this initiative, 16 long-struggling schools were designated as Turnaround Schools and were given additional support, training and resources to strengthen programs, improve teacher effectiveness and raise student achievement. Students at these schools are treated to a Fifth Quarter – an extra month of academic instruction and enrichment designed to give them a head start on the coming school year.

The efforts of the elementary initiative show promise. Carson School moved from Academic Emergency to Continuous Improvement in a single year, and several other schools have seen gains in Ohio Achievement Test scores.

In 2010, CPS began providing the ACT college entrance test to all 11th graders in the district. This helps teachers to better address students’ college readiness as they move into their senior year.