May 2017
The Shaker Schools Connection

A Message from the Superintendent
Thank you Shaker voters for your continued support of our schools!

As the superintendent, your commitment to helping us ensure that our buildings are warm, safe and dry for our young people and staff is nothing short of exceptional. Here at Shaker, the decision to approach voters with a levy is always made with careful consideration of both the voters' tax burden and the District's need. We take our responsibility to the schools and broader community very seriously and appreciate your confidence as we carry out these much-needed capital improvements.

As a Shaker parent and resident, I understand the financial impact the levy has on the broader population. I'm also proud to be a part of a community that, for more than a century, has shown an unwavering devotion to excellence in education. Indeed, Shaker is a special place.

Again, my gratitude to Shaker voters. You are truly our partners in education.

Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools

Shaker Heights Schools Win State Communications Awards
The Ohio School Public Relations Association (OHSPRA) recently recognized Shaker Heights Schools with three Achievement Awards during its annual state Spring Conference in Columbus, Ohio held on March 23-24.

Shaker Heights Schools received a Mark of Distinction award for the District promotional video,  A World of Opportunities and for the infographic "It Just Adds Up." Also, the District won a Mark of Excellence Award for the annual quality profile  Measuring What Matters. Read more about the awards online.
Brown v. Board at 63: A Journey for Educational Equity
Join us for  Brown v. Board at 63: A Journey for Educational Equity, presented by Shaker Outreach African American Resource & Support Group (SOAAR)  and the Shaker Heights City School District. This free event begins at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 18 in the High School Upper Cafeteria. Special Guest Speaker: The Reverend Dr. Jawanza Karriem Colvin, pastor of Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland.

All Shaker families are invited to this evening of reflection and discussion about the historic Brown case, Shaker's voluntary school integration, and our continuing challenge, as a community and as a nation, of ensuring that all children are afforded high-quality educational opportunities.  Childcare is available. Appetizers and refreshments will be served. RSVP online by May 11.
High School Students are Winners at Playwriting Festival
Congratulations to Shaker Theatre Arts playwrights Harlan Friedman-Romell '19, Gus Mahoney '17 and Ruby Gibson '18, who submitted award-winning plays to the 2017 Marilyn Bianchi Kids' Playwriting Festival at Dobama Theatre. 

Harlan's play, "Intermission," and Gus' play, "I Spy" will be produced as part of the Festival, June 2-4, at Dobama Theatre. 

Ruby's play, "Aaah! The Floor is Lava!" received a Meritorious Distinction Award. Her work will be spotlighted during the Festival's Awards Ceremony on June 2 at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets to the Awards Ceremony/Opening Night are available for $25 each at All proceeds benefit the Kids' Playwriting Festival.
Student Art on Display at Administration Building
Junior Caroline Walsh created this vibrant mixed-media self portrait for IB Painting, taught by Meryl Haring. The piece, which includes meticulously folded blue cotton squares set against Walsh's loose, fiery curls, is on display now in the Administration Building. Walsh began working on the portrait last November and finished in January. 

Walsh says Haring instructed the students to include symbols in their work. In Walsh's piece, the folded blue squares represent her way of dealing with stress. Last summer, Walsh attended a summer program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and used the same folding technique to cover the skirt of a dress she designed. Read more about Walsh's painting.
Woodbury's Rising Stars
Recognizing a gap in minority male representation in enrichment classes at Woodbury Elementary, enriched math teacher Brittany Webb (SHHS '02) and sixth-grade teacher Lloyd Brooks (SHHS '06) collaborated to create the Rising Stars Enrichment Program. The year-long program is designed to help a cohort of fifth-grade minority male students excel in higher level courses, with a particular focus on sixth-grade math standards.
The teachers added extra star power to the program by enlisting the help of four MAC Scholars from the High School: Malik Joseph, Will Clawson, Noah Jalango, and Isaiah Gatheright come to Woodbury every week to work alongside the boys in fun and engaging lessons that require critical thinking and problem solving. Read more about Woodbury's Rising Stars.
Jennifer Weisbarth & Angell Quarterman
Jennifer Weisbarth, Instructional Coach

When someone outside of education asks Jen Weisbarth what she does, she doesn't lead with her job title: Instructional Coach. 

"I typically explain the role and then say the title because not too many people are familiar with the job," she explains. But at Shaker Schools, plenty of Middle School teachers are more than familiar with Weisbarth. Every day, she works alongside them both inside and outside the classroom, sharing best practices and instructional strategies with the goal of increasing student growth and achievement. She is a teacher to teachers, helping them co-plan lessons and, occasionally, co-teach. While her role is technically one of embedded professional learning, her work as an instructional coach produces better teachers and, in turn, better students.  Read more about Jen Weisbarth.

Angell Quarterman, Fernway Special Education Aide

Fernway Special Education Aide Angell Quarterman was a messenger for a downtown law firm when a friend called and asked if he wanted to work with kids. "I told him 'No way.' I said that I don't have any kids, I don't babysit and I have no idea what to do with a kid," Quarterman recalls. 

Still, his friend persisted and wooed him with the promise of summers and holidays off. Quarterman gave it some thought, went to an interview, and a week later, he resigned from the law firm and started his new job at Cleveland Public Schools, where he worked with Emotionally Disturbed (ED) students. "I had no background in working with those kids and I had no clue what I was getting myself into," he admits. But he quickly learned that he'd gotten himself into something that felt less like a job and more like a vocation. Read more about Angell Quarterman.

Art Exposed VII Showcases Art from High School and Middle School Students
Join the opening reception of Art Exposed VIII, an exhibition of outstanding High School and Middle School student artwork, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Friday, May 5, at the Shaker Heights Main Library, 16500 Van Aken Blvd. The evening includes an awards presentation, refreshments and an opportunity to purchase a selection of student-designed ceramics and jewelry.

The exhibition is shown in partnership with Shaker Heights Public Library and runs through May 23. Student paintings, works of sculpture, ceramics, graphics, drawings, photographs  and jewelry will be on display. Download the flyer for more information.

Sixth Grader Ties for 11th at State Geo Bee
Last year as a fifth-grader, Michael Duncan had only a passing interest in geography, so he was pleasantly surprised when he'd made it as far as the runner-up in the 2016 Woodbury Geography Bee. Encouraged by his unexpected success, Michael studied in earnest so that this year, he came fully prepared.  The effort was worth it: the sixth-grader won the 2017 Woodbury Bee and tied for 11th out of 105 qualifying finalists in the State Bee, held on March 31 in Columbus. 

Duncan's mother, Jane, says her son learned about geography initially through his interest in reading and history. He also enjoyed playing the app Stack the Countries, an educational geography game, when he was in elementary school. Read more about Duncan and test your own geography knowledge!

Join the Memorial Day Ceremony and Parade
Be part of Shaker's Memorial Day commemoration and ceremony at the flagpole in front of City Hall, then join friends and neighbors to watch the parade along Van Aken Boulevard to Thornton Park. Call 216-491-1360 or visit   for more information.

Faculty and Staff News

High School Teachers and Students Spend Spring Break in Cambodia

It wasn't the cultural differences or the lack of Western comforts that struck SHHS French and German teacher Andrea Bradd when she and District IB Coordinator John Moore led a group of 14 high school students on a spring break service trip to Cambodia. 
It was the humanity of the Cambodian people. Read more about the trip to Cambodia. .
Shaker Seeks New Fencing Coach

Shaker Heights High School continues its support of the District's fencing program. Members of the high school administration and athletic department are currently reviewing the needs of the program and working to identify potential candidates to serve as its next director. Updates will be provided as they become available throughout the process. Stay tuned!

Recommended Reading

With Just One Black Teacher, Black Students More Likely to Graduate: New research from Johns Hopkins University reveals that the probability of low-income black boys dropping out of high school decreases by 39% if they have had just one black teacher in third, fourth or fifth grade. This research also supports Goal 4 in the District's Strategic Plan, which states our commitment to recruit and retain more teachers of color, more male teachers in elementary schools, and more women in STEAM subjects.

Community Engagement
Choir Performs for New U.S. Citizens

The Honorable Patti Morgenstern-Claren (SHHS '70) invited the High School A Capella Choir to perform at a naturalization ceremony in downtown Cleveland on Friday, April 14. The 31-member choir, led by director Mario Clopton-Zymler, sang "This Land is Your Land" and the Shaker hymn "Simple Gifts." 

Judge Morgenstern-Claren presided over the ceremony and the Shaker Schools Foundation provided Rapid fare for the students. Read more about the A Capella Choir performance.
Shaker Students Transform Public Spaces

Shaker Heights High School and Middle School students who live in the Moreland and Lomond neighborhoods are learning how to transform public spaces in their neighborhoods through a program called Making Our Own Space (MOOS). The students meet after school and during the summer for several hours each week at The Dealership on Lee Road. The City of Shaker Heights provides space and funding for the program, with additional support from the Shaker Heights Youth Center and MyCom.  Read more about MOOS.

Board Issues Statement on Middle School Roof Repairs
On April 11, 2017, the Board of Education issued the following statement:

"In order to keep our students and staff 'warm, safe and dry' and because of recent interior leaks at Shaker Heights Middle School, the District plans to replace portions of roofing at SMS this summer. The Board voted April 11 to approve spending up to $1.56 million on the partial replacement project."  Read full statement.

We Want your Feedback
Have a comment, suggestion or concern? Share it with us using our new Feedback form on the District's website, . Simply choose the "Contact" drop-down menu at the top of the website and click on "Feedback." You can select the particular department you want to receive your message.  

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