We begin with a few important administrative updates and items of interest for the community-at-large. First, the Strategic Planning meeting that had been scheduled for Thursday, February 20th is in the process of being rescheduled. The District views this kickoff meeting as a very significant first step in the community-based effort to launch our new plan for the future, and only under the sad circumstances that occurred would we have canceled the meeting. Once rescheduled, our team will promote the new day and time in every manner available to us, so that we can keep the strategic planning process moving.
February is Black History Month. I would like to thank our schools for celebrating the contributions, accomplishments, and leadership of African Americans both nationally and in the community. Specifically, I would like to single out the high school for participating in the Tri-C African American “Read-In,” the various classroom projects and displays throughout the district, and Maple Leaf’s wonderful Black History Month program. As part of the celebration this month, our Board members, Ashley Thomas and Nichelle Daniels, received proclamations from Mayor Collova celebrating their accomplishments as two of the first African American women board members. Congratulations to all for the wonderful celebration and events this past month.
I want to congratulate everyone who helped to make the Garfield Heights City School’s first-ever Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Week a success. It took place during the week of February 10th through the 13th. Ms. Yolanda Hamilton, the district’s diversity consultant, and Ms. Gina Wilson, the district’s family engagement coordinator, and others played a significant role in promoting the positive impact our DEI week had on the students and staff in the District. We thank Elec Simon for his role in the week. We also thank those who participated in our Cultural Dinner and Celebration that took place on Wednesday, February 12th in the cafeteria and Center for Performing Arts. Our guest speakers that evening, Meryl Johnson from the State Board of Education, Dr. Justin Havermann, Head of Psychiatry at Marymount Hospital and Tiwanna Scott, local business owner, helped to create powerful discussions revolving around diversity, inclusion, and trauma-informed education.
The Garfield Heights City Schools will be hosting a “Little Bulldogs” Kindergarten Information Night on Wednesday, March 11th, from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. in the cafeteria at Garfield Heights High School. The purpose of the event is to begin the kindergarten registration process and to schedule an appointment to complete the in-person portion of registration. In addition, the GHCS will provide information about the district’s free summer Transition to Kindergarten program. Forms that are picked up at this event can then be properly filled out and returned during formal registration. Students and parents will be able to meet their kindergarten teachers for next year. Bus rides will be available for students to experience for the first time. Fun, food and other informative tables will be available. If your child turns five years old before August 1st, then he or she is eligible for kindergarten next year. Please be certain to take advantage of this opportunity to pre-register early at the Little Bulldog Kindergarten Information Night on March 11th from 4:30-6:00 p.m. in the High School cafeteria.
I would also like to share a word about the Coronavirus that is affecting parts of the world. The school district is working with the Centers for Disease Control and the County Board of Health to make information available. As of today, there are no confirmed cases in Ohio. The County Board is still recommending the same precautions as the flu. Wash hands regularly, use hand sanitizer, sneeze into your sleeve, and use generally accepted good hygiene practices. Currently, we have information on our website from the CDC and the County Board of Health. Please keep an eye on our website for any updates.
Finally, I wish to express my personal condolences, and those of the entire staff of the Garfield Heights City Schools, to the family of our late Board Member, Mr. Robert Dobies. Words do little justice during times like these, in describing an individual who personified Bulldog Pride the way Mr. Dobies did. He was an alumnus of the District, the Director of Recreation for the City of Garfield Heights overseeing the youth programs in our community, a proud husband, and a father of graduates of this District, and of course as we all know, a devout member of the Board of Education for more than a decade. What I appreciated most about Bob was his common sense and direct candor. He loved the students of this community and made decisions that he felt would positively impact them as his top priority. His insights to this community were forged over the many, many years of being an unwaveringly proud citizen and community member of Garfield Heights. We thank him, and his family, for his public service to this District. Rest in peace, Mr. Dobies. Our thoughts and prayers are with your entire family.