The award-winning Shaker Heights High School student news organization

The Shakerite

The award-winning Shaker Heights High School student news organization

The Shakerite

The award-winning Shaker Heights High School student news organization

The Shakerite

State of Shaker Schools Discussed at Yearly Speech

“We’re doing pretty well,” Superintendent Mark Freeman said at his State of the Schools speech March 12.

Approximately 50 people attended the speech, held in the Upper Cafeteria and reinstituted last year, according to Director of Communications Peggy Caldwell.

Every year, a State of the Schools report is issued and available online at The yearly report provides an overview of the district’s initiatives, student achievement, fiscal accountability and strategic direction for the future. This year, the report starts out by stating the achievements throughout the year by Shaker students including band competitions, National History Day and SAT scores. It then goes on to talk about assessing student achievement, the IB program, fiscal issues and energy conservation measures.

“I’m roughly going to go along with this,” Freeman said while holding the report in hand. In his speech, Freeman covered the topics of remedial students, the band trip, teacher evaluations, healthcare, district finance, personalized learning, WiFi and charter schools. Freeman then answered some questions.

On the topic of health care, Freeman said Shaker should provide basic health clinics for students in schools because schools are the student activity hub. “They’re the important people. They’re the consumer. They’re the client,” he said.

Freeman also explained the use of bond money in the district. He said that the district used bond money, which is designated for uses such as facility upgrades and maintenance, to replace all the district’s light bulbs with those that use half as much electricity and burn longer and brighter. Because of Shaker’s good bond ratings, the district was able to borrow money for the new turf field as well.

Freeman mentioned teacher evaluations in his speech. “There are all kinds of requirements of evaluating teachers that are unrealistic and impossible. But the idea is still good,” he said.

The 2013 State of the Schools report mentions that the district has continually cut its budget and saved costs, allowing for spending such as a high school stadium upgrade. However, class sizes have increased greatly this year, especially English class sizes. After his speech, Freeman was asked whether with any budget surpluses, new English teachers would be hired.

“Some class size has grown, and we have made some reductions,” Freeman said. He said that to reduce class size, teachers could teach five or six classes a day. However Freeman did not mention that doing so would reduce teachers’ planning and grading time and would not reduce teachers’ student load overall.


A veraion of this article appeared in print on 26 March 2013, on page 3 of The Shakerite. 

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