Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District

Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District News Article

Superintendent's Message: The Importance Of February

Dr. Talisa Dixon

Feb. 2, 2017 -- Despite the snow and the cold weather outside, February is a month I look forward to because it gives us the opportunity to celebrate two important things—Black History Month and American Heart Month.

As an African American superintendent who is leading a school district where the majority of my students look like me, these are two personal issues that I believe are important to highlight.

It is imperative that our students learn about the many contributions of those who look like them. No, I don't believe that we should just celebrate this one month during the year. However, there are some powerful conversations to have, exhibits to see and opportunities for reflection on African Americans’ contributions to this nation.

This is also the time to recognize that heart disease is the number one killer of African Americans, including my mother who passed away from this disease at the unfortunately young age of 52.

This month, I hope that our school community is able to celebrate the accomplishments of African Americans, in addition to learning more about what it takes to keep our hearts healthy.

Book Recommendation

Last month, I suggested you join me in reading the book Hidden Figures and to see the recently-released movie. I’m excited to say that the author of the book, Margot Lee Shetterly, will be speaking at Case Western Reserve this Friday, Feb. 3. This event is first-come, first-served and we have several student groups who plan to attend.

This month’s book selection—Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates—is an opportunity for us to begin a conversation about race with our students and the community. Believe me; this book will challenge you in unexpected ways. I encourage you to form reading groups with students and each other. No, you won’t have the answers to many of the questions asked. However, you, like I, will wrestle within your mind the next steps to take.

The book was suggested by a CH-UH staff member, Joan Webster from Student Services, who like many others, took on the task and recommended the next book as a District read.

I have purchased 20 copies that I am making available to anyone who would like one on a first-come, first-served basis. Thank you, Joan, and the many others who suggested books. Please keep the recommendations coming!

American Heart Month

This Friday, Feb. 3, is National Wear Red Day, and our schools are focusing on a host of activities for American Heart Month during February. As part of Strategic Plan Goal 4, I want to make sure that our staff and our students know the importance of having healthy hearts and a healthy lifestyle.

Each school building is hosting an event in February to raise money on behalf of the American Heart Association. The central office employees are joining the effort this year by wearing Red Out t-shirts every Friday during the month of February.

All proceeds from the District's Heart Month programs will go to the American Heart Association as we continue to bring awareness to our students and community.

Thank you once again for supporting our students and providing meaningful learning experiences during this impactful month of the year.


Dr. Talisa Dixon

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