Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District

Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District News Article

Boulevard Elementary Celebrates Second Momentum Award

Apr. 24, 2024 --  Boulevard Elementary is celebrating its second Momentum Award in the past four years. The honor comes from the Ohio Department of Education and recognizes those buildings across the state that have improved their performance index scores by more than three points between 2021-22 and 2022-23, while also earning a Value Added rating of at least 4. In Boulevard’s case, their performance index score increased by nearly 6.5 points!

According to interim principal Joi-Mahoney-Curry, who served as the building’s Title I lead teacher during those years, Boulevard’s staff has come together with a dedicated plan for how to identify and support struggling students. When classroom teachers recognize that a specific student needs academic or behavioral interventions, they meet with a team that includes the principal, counselor, social worker and any relevant teaching staff to brainstorm appropriate intervention strategies.

“We don’t always have to know the answer,” said Mahoney-Curry. “But we commit to an instructional practice and then go back to evaluate: was the student engaged, did they master the content material, were there notable improvements?” These meetings, which take place twice each week before school, always include follow-up to determine which strategies worked and which need to be tweaked. While the student in question is often struggling academically, sometimes the focus is on providing enrichment for a student who may be moving more quickly than their peers; other times it’s about how to encourage more consistent attendance or manage behavior.

“We’re always monitoring,” said Mahoney-Curry. “And we stay focused and honest with the data.” Staff members have access to an online data wall that goes back six years, so teachers can analyze the performance of an individual student throughout their school career. “Data drives all our decisions,” said Mahoney-Curry.

She admits that the biggest challenge to this practice is time, as the early morning meetings – dedicated to a single student -- usually last just 30 minutes. She’s hopeful that the district will build in more time in the school day for this kind of targeted intervention. Teachers also use their TBT time (Teacher-Based Teams, which meet each week) to analyze and plan instruction to fill in any gaps they see in their grade level performance.

The building is also making best use of its Academic success Tutors, which have been made available across the district following the return to school after the Covid shutdown. “We’ve been really intentional in determining which students we place with tutors and in the work they do. That’s how we help push students forward.”

Mahoney-Curry appreciates the commitment of Boulevard’s teaching staff and their willingness to keep growing. She also recognizes past principal Dr. Michael Jenkins as “an integral part” of this success. Congratulations to Boulevard and Monticello for both achieving this honor. 

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