Director of Schools Martin Ringstaff and the Cleveland Board of Education welcomed the members of the newly formed Parent Advisory Council to the first meeting Tuesday afternoon.
“We have been trying to reach out to parents and get parents of all natures into our schools, and at the same time sharing a lot of information about how we make the decisions we make,” Ringstaff said. “Just the more communication we have the better, I believe.”
Each board member introduced themselves and thanked the parents for their participation on the council.
The council members followed the lead of the board members by introducing themselves and listing their children currently enrolled with Cleveland City Schools. According to the list of council members, each elementary school has two representatives while both secondary institutions have four.
Ringstaff requested the council members turn their attention to the packets before them. The group went over what it means to be a Focus school, the Cleveland City Schools belief statement, the system’s goals and strategic plan, the student advisory council, an update on the Cleveland High gymnasium construction, the school calendar and testing dates.
The floor was then opened for comments from the council members.
Gina Allison said she spoke with some high school students during a recent field trip. She asked the group of teenage boys what issues they thought needed to be addressed. Their answer surprised her.
“It was good to listen to them, but one of the things that came up was bathrooms at the high school. I know it sounds silly, but one of the boys shared the doors have been removed from stalls and that is frustrating,” she said. “The boys all talked about the bathrooms.”
She said their concern was for a mixture of cleanliness and general maintenance.
Several other council members agreed with Allison.
Kelly Reis said several middle school students said there was a weird smell coming from the bathrooms.
Ringstaff assured the council members both the smell and the maintenance of the bathrooms were “easy fixes.”
Jeanette Adriannse asked whether anything could be done about the recurring flooding of the field at Stuart Elementary. Board member Dawn Robinson said the property the school was built upon has always been a floodplain. She said the land had to be built up when the school was constructed.
Adriannse followed up her initial question with whether anything could be done about the ticks in the field beside Stuart.
Ringstaff said using pesticide on a field students play in is highly regulated within school systems.
“We can’t even use bug spray in the buildings because of the different allergies kids have,” he said. “I am all for ‘pesticiding’ those fields, but we can’t because it is illegal.”
Ringstaff encouraged parents to share with their PTOs and fellow parents anything they learn in the council meetings. The members will continue to bring up issues they see as a concern in their schools and school systems in subsequent meetings.
Representatives of the elementary schools include: Jayne Klinger and Hiawatha Brown, Arnold Elementary; Richard Mason and Dana Russell, Blythe-Bower Elementary; Kelly Reis and Caroline Culpepper, Mayfield Elementary; Reena Soni and Julie Walker, E.L. Ross Elementary; Jeanette Adriannse and Amanda Schaefer, Stuart Elementary; and Traci Fant and Tiffany Thornhill, Yates Primary.
Representatives of the secondary schools include: Erin Holland, Holli Collins, Robert Bradney and Merica Stumm of Cleveland Middle; and Gina Allison, Tonya Cook, Yvonne Newman and Howard Langford.