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County Wants More Partnerships Between Schools, Social Services

A report released last week recommends a regional approach to improve education.

Last week, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald and researchers from New York University took a closer look at how to improve education in the county.

The county executive wants to better define the county’s role in local education and figure out how to make the best use of the available money, said special assistant Justin Bibb. Overall, Bibb said that role is to create the “right conditions and environment” for Cuyahoga County’s districts. 

According to a press release from the county executive, the report focuses on the county’s most vulnerable students—those who live and go to school in economically poor areas. Much of the report pertains to steps the Cleveland Metropolitan School District can take to improve.

But Bibb pointed out that the struggles associated with the city are not confined to Cleveland’s borders. More and more families in the suburbs have been seeking help from social services, he said, referencing a recent New York Times article on poverty in the suburbs.

So what would this plan mean for the ?

If the county decides to follow the recommendations laid out in the report, it would mean that the district could create more formal, structured relationships with other local schools. The report recommends creating a countywide data system and fostering more communication between schools, community organizations and social services—giving them the chance to share what works—and giving schools a “one-stop shop for resources” at the county level, Bibb said. 

The report also recommends better defining the county’s priorities for youth development in academic, social and emotional skills to prepare them for college and careers.

The full report is available here. The report includes the various groups that were interviewed, such as Cuyahoga County's Department of Health and Human Services and the Educational Service Center of Cuyahoga County, and identifies different needs in the county. It was funded by the Third Federal Foundation and carried out by NYU's Metropolitan Center for Urban Education in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.

What do you think? Would you like to see more collaboration between school districts and other organizations, or do you prefer a more local approach? Tell us in the comments.

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