Cleveland Elementary School
Cleveland, NY
Central Square School District

In the year 2006, after a long history of poor academic achievement, low morale, unimpeded behavioral issues and negative school culture, Cleveland Elementary, in the Central Square School District, was characterized as a failing school. Among the lowest performers on NYS standardized assessments, CE and the Cleveland Community experienced both a self-imposed and culturally assigned stigma. At the center of the illness, a climate of negativism and frustration, existed a flame of hope unwilling to extinguish yet unable to flourish. So was the story of Cleveland. Five years later, following a sweeping culture change, adherence to the 11 Principles of Effective Character Education and the belief in the power of positive attitude as a core value system, CE is now among the best results in the central NY region on NYS standardized assessments. Indeed, CE has recently been named a 2010 USDOE Blue Ribbon School – the highest honor for academic excellence bestowed by the federal government and made the NYS “Highest Performing Schools” list. Our success, particularly the transformation of our school culture and the re-writing of the Cleveland story, has been made a reality by embracing the children and families of our community by building a climate of character one relationship at a time. The sense of pride, trust and love cultivated in our school community directly correlates to a powerful positive culture and core belief that together WE ARE CLEVELAND!

Signature Practices


Lesson Plan: Character Education - Character Plays
Students will read Stories to Light Our Way: Journey to the World of Good Volume 1, identify the theme or moral, and create/perform a play while the remaining students evaluate their performance

Testimonials


In 2006, facing poor academic achievement, low morale, unimpeded behavioral issues and negative school culture, Cleveland Elementary was characterized as a failing school and something needed to change. Under new administrative leadership and with a recommitment to the cause of teaching the whole child, we knew we needed to start with student's character in order to impact academic achievement. Since this shift in culture, our school has increased its academic successes resulting in being named a 2010 USDOE Blue Ribbon School - the highest honor for academic excellence bestowed by the federal government. I believe the success of Cleveland Elementary, particularly the transformation of our school culture/climate has been made a reality by committing ourselves to the children and families of our community and by building a climate of character one relationship at a time.
- Jennifer Poindexter, 4th Grade Teacher, Character Education Committee Co-Chair

Character education is not only just a program at Cleveland Elementary; it's built into our daily curriculum and is viewed to have equal importance to academics. Staff members embrace the philosophy to teach the whole student and instill the core values that Cleveland Elementary believes in including responsibility, respect, self-control, perseverance, tolerance and honesty. The compassion and care the staff felt was evident to the students at Cleveland, and is one example of how staff members model character education at Cleveland Elementary.
- Jenna Koskowski, School Psychologist

I like the teachers the best because they're really nice, smart and funny. They help us learn math, science, social studies and ELA. They talk to us about being honest, responsible and using self-control. These are some of the character education words we've talked about in our assemblies. We also talk about the words in our class.
- Isaac, 5th grade

From the moment my children entered Cleveland Elementary, I felt a sense of community and genuine care for not only my child's education, but also the positive nurturing of their character. The staff members instill positive values that will not only take them through elementary school, but also into adulthood. They utilize many creative ways to reinforce the character values that will help them to be responsible citizens and community members, not merely looking out for their own interests, but also the interests of others.
- Katy Geesaman

Programs at Cleveland Elementary introduce the student to community life, while at the same time engage the residents of our area in the experience. Local organizations including the American Legion, the fire department, ambulance, community spirit organizations, local business, exercise groups, senior citizens, government, and ecumenical church groups interact with the school to make this community a better place to live. The very survival of every small community depends upon the future generation's willingness to make it their home, and raise their children with the supportive and nurturing environment that they experienced.
- John and Joni Hinds, Village of Cleveland Board Members and former Cleveland Elementary students

Contact Information

Michael Smolnik
Principal
140 Bridge Street
Cleveland, NY 13042
Phone: 315-675-3176
Email: msmolnik@cssd.org
Website: http://www.cssd.org/ClevelandElementary.cfm