Principal's Message


Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District

Principal's Message

Principal Katrina Hicks

March 2017

Principal Katrina Hicks

Hello Friends and Families,

Thank you very much to those of you who attended our annual Black History Play. The play was an absolute success! Our students and staff worked hard to put on a fabulous performance and their hard work paid off. Students and staff members gave up their recess period to study and practice for the play. They practiced with excitement on some days and less excitement on others, but they were committed and gave up the time to study and practice. I am so very proud of each and every one of them.

Our next event will be held on Thursday, March 23rd from 6-8 p.m. During that time we will hold our first Family Night. Families are invited to come and play Reading and Math games, create an item in our Makerspace, download a variety of apps and visit the Cleveland Heights Bookmobile. We will end the evening with dinner and reading of a book by Cleveland’s own Wayne Dawson. Please make sure to sign the permission slip that was sent home the week of February 27th. An additional permission slip will be sent home on Friday, March 10th. Please do not complete the second permission slip if you have already completed the first one that was sent home.

Our students in third through fifth grades will soon be taking the Ohio State Tests. The testing scheduled is outline below. Please have students get to bed on time (no later than 9:30 p.m.), and eat a nutritious breakfast if they are eating breakfast at home.

3rd-5th Grade Reading Module 1 – Thursday, April 6th

3rd – 5th Grade Reading Module 1 Make-ups – Friday, April 7th & Monday, April 10th

3rd-5th Grade Reading Module 2 – Tuesday, April 11th

3rd-5th Grade Reading Module 2 Make-ups – Wednesday, April 12th & Thursday, April 13th

3rd-5th Grade Mathematics Module 1 – Tuesday, April 18th

3rd-5th Grade Mathematics Module 1 Make ups – Wednesday, April 19th

3rd-5th Grade Mathematics Module 2 – Thursday, April 20th

3rd-5th Grade Mathematics Module 2 Make ups - Friday, April 21st

4th Grade Social Studies Module 1 – Monday, April 24th

4th Grade Social Studies Module 1 Make-ups – Tuesday, April 25th

4th Grade Social Studies Module 2 – Wednesday, April 26th

4th Grade Social Studies Module 2 – Thursday, April 27th

5th Grade Science Module 1- Monday, April 24th

5th Grade Science Module 1 Make-ups – Tuesday, April 25th

5th Grade Science Module 2 - Wednesday, April 26th

5th Grade Science Module 2 Make-ups – Thursday, April 27th

In closing I would like to wish you all a restful and peaceful spring vacation. I hope you take the time to rest and also spend special time with your children. Reading a book or two with them, or to them is always a special treat!

Ms. Katrina Hicks
Gearity Professional Development School Principal

January 2017

Hello Gearity Families and Friends,

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2017 where great things will happen! We are looking forward to some exciting activities throughout the remainder of the school year. Our monthly design challenges will continue to come home and we are looking forward to our Jump Rope for Heart and Black History play in February, STEMfest in April and our Around the World Event in May. More details to come on all upcoming activities.

Our Fall Third Grade Ohio Reading State Test results have arrived. Forty-seven percent of our third graders have already passed the assessment! That’s outstanding as the test is actually geared for students who have completed their third grade school year. What’s even more exciting is that 67% of our third graders passed the reading component of the test and qualify to move on to fourth grade! Thank you parents for all the hard work you do with your children. Thanks also to our hard working kindergarten through third grade staff! Your persistence with our students pays off each and every time. Last, but not least, thank you third grade students! Continue to work harder and you will get smarter!

On we go to the Ohio State Test for third through fifth graders. Testing will begin on April 3, 2017 and end on April 13, 2017 for ELA grades 3-5. Testing for Math, Social Studies and Science will begin on April 10, 2017 and end on April 28, 2017. Students in grades 3-5 will take the Math Assessment. Fourth graders will take the Social Studies Assessment and fifth graders will take the Science Assessment. Details on exact testing dates and times to come.

February marks Black History Month and we have two events planned to highlight the accomplishments and history of African-Americans. On Thursday, February 9, 2017 at 11 a.m. we will hold a forum to discuss the 50th anniversary of the Hough Riots. Students in grades 3-5 will listen to speakers who lived and/or worked in the Hough area during the riots. Our second event will be our 2nd Annual Black History Play. The play will be held on Tuesday, February 28 at 9:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., please join us if you can.

The last Friday of each month marks “College Day” at Gearity. On Friday, January 27, 2017 at 8:45 a.m. our second graders will do a presentation about Princeton University. All students in grades K-5 will wear their college t-shirts that depicts the name of their college and the year they will graduate. It is a wonderful sight to see all students dressed in their college gear. Come and join us in our celebration and wear your college gear!

Finally, our school is kicking off Jump Rope for Heart in February! The students will be learning new jump rope skills and different ways to keep their hearts healthy. This is a fun and exciting event for our entire school as we work together to raise donations for the American Heart Association and save lives together! Every single dollar we raise will help in the fight against heart disease and stroke.

You can get a jump start by fundraising online at All students who raise $150 before the upcoming American Heart Association Kick-Off Assembly on Thursday, February 22017 will be recognized at the assembly and receive Gabby, one of our Zoo Crew plush characters!

You can sign up online now by following these quick, easy steps to get started raising money and saving lives!

1. Join our school’s team by clicking here:

2. Search for our school by choosing State & City, then select “Join team”

3. Fill out your information to register

4. Get started by taking the Zoo Crew Challenge & sending out your emails to friends & family

You can also use the Jump/Hoops App to ask friends and family to support you! Follow the link below to download the App! It is super easy and fun!

Apple iOS -

Google iOS -

Katrina R. Hicks
Mrs. K. Hicks


December 2016

Hello Gearity Families and Friends,

December is here and it’s time for cold, snow, concerts, holidays and vacations! Please join us at our Annual Winter Concert. The concert will be held on Tuesday, December 13, 2016 at 9:30 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. The concert will include performances from our kindergarten, first and second grade students under the direction of our music teacher Mrs. Grant-Hughes. I can’t wait for our children to perform as the concerts have always proven to be a wonderful event!

Thanks to all of you who assisted your children in completing the November Monthly STEM Challenge. We had our highest rate of completion thanks to the help of all of you! Students created elaborate and detailed designs. Some of the models were as large as 4’x3’. Our students were very proud of the designs they created and were extremely articulate as they informed their classmates of their designs. Photos of the designs can be found on our website. Please take the time to look at them. I am sure you will enjoy them as much as I did. The video for our December challenge can be found on our website here:

Our 5th graders will be having a Give Back hot chocolate drive. Students will receive hot chocolate for bringing in one toiletry; hot chocolate with marshmallows for 2 toiletries or hot chocolate with marshmallows and a candy cane for three toiletries. All toiletries will be donated to families in need. The event will take place on Tuesday, December 13and Wednesday, December 14. Please send in a toiletry (soap, tissue, toothpaste, lotion, shampoo, deodorant, etc.) if you can.

On Friday, December 9, during our Tiger Nation Celebration all students will wear their college t-shirts. Our kindergarteners will wear Bowling Green State University, first graders will wear MIT University, second graders will wear Princeton University, third graders will wear Ohio University, fourth graders will wear John Carroll University and fifth graders will wear Ohio State University t-shirts. Our third graders will present information about their college, Ohio University to the entire school. Students will wear their t-shirts on the last Friday of each month. I’m so excited about having our entire school representing their individual college! Photos will be placed on the website!

Our first trimester Awards Program will be held on Friday, December 16, 2016. Our K-2 program will begin at 9:30 a.m. and our 3rd-5th grade program will begin at 10:15 a.m. Our students will receive recognition for attendance, achievement and displaying excellent Tiger Nation behaviors. Please join us as we take the time to honor and recognize our students.

Our Winter Vacation will begin on Monday, December 19, and we will return to school on Monday, January 2, 2017. Please make sure to have your child read every day for at least 20 minutes. Math activities should be completed as well. Students may log into their RazKids or Study Island accounts during vacation. is also a good site to use for primary students.

Finally, I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and, or a Happy New Year! Please take the time to get some rest and enjoy your family and friends.
Katrina R. Hicks
Mrs. K. Hicks


November 2016

Hello Friends and Families,

Thank you to everyone who attended our K-5 College Graduations. The events were well attended and I received many positive messages about them. On Friday, December 2, 2016 we will continue with our “College Not Just A Dream, But A Plan” theme. During our Tiger Nation Celebration from 8:45am - 9:10am, our third grade students will present information to our school about Ohio University. All students in grades K-5 will wear their college t-shirts. The t-shirt will have the name of their college on the front and the year they will graduate from college on the back. T-shirts will be sent home on Wednesday, November 30, 2016. Please stop by and join in the celebration!

Our third graders will soon be taking the Ohio State Reading Test. There are two components to the test. The test will be administered on Tuesday, November 15th and Wednesday, November 16th. It is important that your child get a full night’s rest prior to taking the test. A mind that is not well rested tends not to perform at its highest ability. Students should also receive a nutritious breakfast. Breakfast will be served here at school, so please make sure your child arrives to school on time. The test will be comprised of 7-15 questions. The questions are higher-level and will require a great deal of thinking and processing of our students. Please encourage them to take their time and to thoroughly process the questions asked. Finally, encourage your child to do his or her best. We don’t want students stressed out while testing because they want to please others. We will be pleased if they do their very best.

Our November Design Challenge has been set. The problem to solve for the challenge is this: Builders need help designing a futuristic city. It needs to be a city that considers all possible futuristic inventions. Students are required to build a futuristic city that will meet the needs of the people of the future. Complete details along with a video can be found on Gearity’s website through the following link

I would like to take this time to wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving. It is my hope that you have the opportunity to enjoy your friends and families. Should you have a need to rid yourself of an extra sweet potato pie, peach cobbler or chocolate cake, you know where to find me. Our Thanksgiving break will begin on Wednesday, November 23rd through Friday, November 25th.   School will resume on Monday, November 28, 2016.


August/September 2016

Hello Gearity Families and Friends,

I hope you were all able to have a fun-filled yet restful summer break. The weather certainly cooperated as we had plenty of sunshine with just a few sprinkles of rain showers here and there. Summers in Northeast Ohio are fantastic! I wish they could last at least four seasons. Unfortunately, summer is quickly coming to a close and the beginning of a new school year is close at hand. The first day of school for the 2016-2017 school year for students in grades 1-5 is Monday, August 22, 2016. Kindergarteners will have a staggered start. Kindergarten students whose last name begins with A-H will report on August 22; I-Q will report on August 23 and R-Z will report on August 24. All kindergarteners are expected to be in attendance on August 25. Please expect full detailed information in the mail.

I am excited about what this school year will bring. Our students designed and created several projects last year and we plan to engage them in design challenges again this school year. Our goal is to have 100% participation from the entire school. Please look for design challenges from your child’s teacher each month.

This year’s Back to School Challenge will be to write an essay about what college your child would like to attend and what career they would like to have as an adult. The essay should be at least 250 words and contain the reason why they have selected the particular career. One student from each grade level will be selected to read their essay during our college graduation ceremonies which will be held in October. All essays are to be completed and turned into classroom teachers by no later than Friday, September 16, 2016.

We will continue this year with departmentalized instruction in first through fifth grade. Students will be taught Math & Science by one teacher and then will receive their English Language Arts and Social Studies instruction by another teacher. Mr. Sullivan will return as our Science Lab instructor, Mrs. Taylor will return as our STEM Specialist and Mrs. Tayek will continue as our Math Specialist. Our teachers are excited to return and get the year started which is sure to be filled with extensive and deep learning.

We will also continue our weekly Tiger Nation Celebrations and our daily video morning announcements. Both of these activities are our ways of highlighting the fantastic students and staff of Gearity. If you ever have the time to stop by on Fridays, please join us in the gymnasium from 8:45am-9:10am as students and teachers recognize students or staff members who have displayed exceptional Tiger Nation behaviors. You can watch the daily video announcements on our website by clicking on the following link

I look forward to all the exhilarating and academically stimulating opportunities our students will experience this year. Please feel free to stop by, call or email with any questions or concerns you may have. Enjoy the rest of your summer and I’ll see you on August 22nd.


Katrina R. Hicks, Principal
Gearity Professional Development School
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