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Superintendent's Message - February 2017

Dear Bulldog Community, 

For this month’s Board Report, and as I have done at least once per school year during my 5 years as superintendent, I want to share with the Board of Education and the community a general summary of accomplishments that have been achieved by the students and staff at the Garfield Heights City Schools. Without question, the list of accolades is comprehensive, long and reflective of not only academic milestones but co-curricular successes as well. Students in the Garfield Heights City Schools continue to learn, grow, achieve and succeed…but… the most important thing to keep in mind is that each of our students will be members of society one day, and our mission and vision in this school district is to equip our students with the tools that will enable them to be contributing and productive members of our future community. Please consider the following: 

  • The Garfield Heights City Schools is an academic institution first and foremost. Next month, we will honor our High School’s Academic Top Ten, but as a preview, consider that some of those individuals have already been accepted to some of the finest college programs including The Ohio State University, The University of Arizona and the Honors Program at Cleveland State University. This Academic Top Ten has made us all proud, and you can learn more next month.
  • The Garfield Heights City Schools technology team supports nearly 600 desktop computers, 2000 chromebooks and 280 Ipads with more to come.
  • We transport 943 students twice a day. 6 vans and 16 busses are on the road daily, including numerous field trips throughout the district.
  • The schools continue to add a variety of new academic programs including Sign Language, AP Government, AP Studio Art 2-D and AP Studio Art 3-D.
  • The Garfield Heights High School received the Momentum Award from the State of Ohio for receiving A’s on value added test scores.
  • Music Express was recently named “Grand Champion” of the Great Lakes Invitational at Walsh Jesuit High School, continuing a string of successful seasons for this team.
  • Maple Leaf Elementary School was selected from a wide pool of applicants by the Ohio Department of Education to participate in the LETRS program, which “coaches” our teachers to help equip them to further instruct literacy and reading.
  • Students of all ages continue to build further community partnerships with members of our Greatest Generation, the senior citizens. Just consider this year alone, our Music Express team, Marching Band group, Middle School A’Capella organization, the Jazz Band, our Theater Department and Ambassadors from William Foster have all performed for, or engaged, our senior citizens at the Civic Center, furthering a strong partnership we have with the city’s senior organization.
  • In addition, the schools have created a program whereby students now visit and engage with the senior citizen population at Jennings Hall. This year, students have participated in the Veteran’s Day program, our high school forensics class participated in an inter-generational speaker series on the topics of crime in Cleveland in the 1930s…AND….just last week our Students of Promise participated in an inter-generational program regarding Civil Rights… even more…later this spring, elementary students will be engaging in a 3-day-session drama project with senior citizens at Jennings Hall made possible through the Ohio Arts Council.
  • Students in Garfield Heights will participate in the Imagination Library USA Program, made possible by celebrity Dolly Parton, whereby students 0- 5 years old will receive a free book mailed to their house each month courtesy of Dolly… and all they have to do is sign up for the program.
  • The Garfield Heights City Schools have started a Fall Family Fun Night and a Winter Family Fun Night with the idea of younger students coming together to support the district along with their families at a home football game and a home basketball game.
  • Students of Garfield Heights’ band and choir organizations played a critical role in this past summer’s Republican National Convention, helping to inflate 120,000 balloons and raising money for their clubs in the process. They were even featured in the most recent documentary made about President Donald Trump’s path to the White House.
  • Our business partnerships continue to flourish, where just this past year, Overdrive, one of the biggest employers in the City, donated an important programming platform for the Middle School, with an estimated value of $500. The district is planning a promotional event for that donation, to publicly thank Overdrive.
  • The district continues to apply for outside funding, always on the lookout for alternative sources of resources for important projects, once again submitting grants to The Parker Foundation, Universal Pre Kindergarten, Erate Program and to the US Soccer Foundation.
  • The Middle School has been the home to a considerable amount of upgrades, including the addition of new lunch tables, sound system, ceiling lights and TV’s in the cafeteria. All of the classrooms at the Middle School have been painted and the heating system has been maintenanced. Students there are also benefitting from a freshly painted gymnasium, new stands and revised graphics on the wall, along with new window covers. The building has never looked better with more to come!
  • Our Learning Center and our Eighth Grade Academy provides supplemental academic and behavioral support in a flexible environment, ensuring that each student has the opportunity to a quality education and can succeed.
  • Garfield Heights students have the opportunity to access up to 27 career technical programs at the Cuyahoga Valley Career Center, including Engineering, Health Careers and Dental Hygiene.
  • In a proactive move for public education, the district has hired a full-time Dietician/Nutritionist to thoroughly analyze the investment the district makes in serving multiple meals to the student body, and improving our overall menu of food options for students. Do you know how many breakfasts our district prepares on a daily basis???? 1,285 breakfasts each and every day… even more… do you know how many lunches our district prepares on a daily basis???? 2,026… when you multiply that out to the average school year, that’s 360,000 lunches each school year. My hat’s off to the cafeteria staff who performs this critical task for us each and every day.
  • The Garfield Heights City Schools continues to meet the growing matter of bullying head-on by hosting earlier this year a “parents-only” forum on cyber bullying presented by the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force from the County Prosecutor’s Office. Our students have become very engaged with this process, recently having completed a poster-making competition about what the world would be like with no bullying, led by our guidance counselors at the Middle School.
  • Michael Douglas, a graduate of the Garfield Heights City Schools and a diversity consultant, is routinely helping and coaching our staff in diversity initiatives to help staff deal with various certain situations so that they can respond and prepare accordingly.
  • Parental engagement continues to be a top priority, where a resurgence of involvement in the Donuts for Dads, Literacy Nights, Math Nights, Elementary Recognition Nights, Muffins for Moms, Movie Nights, Concerts, Science Fairs, Art Fairs, Pancakes with Principals and All Pro Dads programs all continue to see continued active involvement.
  • For the 5th consecutive year, our Little Bulldogs Kindergarten Registration Program continues to be a hit where parents can start the process early, meet teachers, have food and fun. This just took place last week, and several hundred people were in attendance. The school district made contact with approx. 70 families to help them start the registration process.
  • Kinderbound, our pre-Kindergarten summer program has been a tremendous success, and the schools know that the younger our team can get access to our community’s youngest students… the better prepared those students become.
  • And finally, as you all know, our Basketball team advanced to the regional semi-finals and lost in overtime but would like to thank the basketball team and Coach Johnson for a great season making the Elite 8.


All of these milestones and achievements have been met in the last two years alone… and there are even more than this list. The Board, and the community, can rest assured knowing that students in the Garfield Heights City Schools are developing, growing, stretching and reaching their potential in an academic, community involvement and co-curricular way. This combination makes a student complete, and more entirely prepared to meet the opportunities of the real world head-on. And that’s what we are truly about in the Garfield Heights City Schools… opportunities. Giving students the opportunities to pursue their interests…. Opportunities to expose students to more subject matter, programs, organizations and skills…. This entire report has been about the opportunities our students have to succeed…. For all these, we must thank our teaching staff and principals. It is with their guidance, support and leadership that our students are provided with encouragement and instruction. Thank you, to our teachers and Principals. More details about EACH OF THESE stories are available online on a daily basis. A print and electronic copy of the district’s most recently updated Quality Profile is near-complete… and the Board of Education should have this draft in the very near future for review, and then we will make it available to the community.
I thank you, the Board of Education, for the support you offer in these efforts and in our greater endeavor to prepare students for their future roles in 21st Century society.


Terry Olszewski

Superintendent of Schools

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