Re-Elect Malia Lewis for CHUH School Board 2021
- Equity of opportunity and support across our District
- Commitment to balance competing interests
- Work to have all voices heard
- Respect for family choices made in the best interests of their children
- Acceptance of different points of view
Who I am
I am a Cleveland Heights parent who moved here nearly 17 years ago with my wife and two adopted African American children. We chose to send our children to CH-UH schools. I have been an involved and visible gay parent from pre-school to graduation. When my children were in elementary school, I gave age-appropriate guest lessons on adoption and read the students stories about adoptive families. When chaperoning high school trips, I made close connections with students and mentored several in that informal way which is so valuable to young people and which makes real the old adage about it takes a village.
I work very hard to live my values. Because I have raised (am still raising) Black children in the U.S., I am aware of the inherent injustices in our society, including the juvenile justice system. I know that my children live in a different world than the one I live in. I understand the meaning of otherness from several perspectives and respect the needs of individuals to be seen and respected for all their various facets and identities. No one is just one thing.
Why I am running again
I am running for a second term because I want to finish the work I have started. During my four years on the Board of Education, we have put in place policies which are improving student achievement. But it takes time for those policies to have an impact, especially considering the nationwide setbacks experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic. I would like the opportunity to finish the very important work that I and my colleagues have begun:
- Student Achievement: Our District has seen significant improvement in student achievement in recent years:
- All our preschool programs have received a 5-Star rating from the state of Ohio;
- Heights High made the AP District Honor Roll thanks to both increased enrollment in AP classes and increased scores on AP exams;
- Our graduation rate is now higher than the state average (90% compared to 85%);
- Our graduating seniors receive steadily increasing college scholarship offers from ~$12M in 2019 to ~$14M for the class of 2021.
While we know that test scores are not the determining factor in success, we recognize the importance of ensuring all students are learning and succeeding. We know we have more work to do for our younger students, because improving literacy and math skills in elementary school will help them succeed in high school. And we need to improve post-secondary persistence and Career and Technical Education outcomes for our high school graduates. The gap in test performance between our African-American students and our white students is real, whether we approve of state mandated tests or not. There is also a gap in performance between our English language learners and our native English speakers. Not enough of our students with IEPs are reaching their goals. We must address these gaps head on in order to diminish them. That is the work of Equity.
- Equity: CH-UH was the first District in NE Ohio to pass an Equity Policy. Our Equity Task Force has been in place for over 6 years and has already had measurable impacts (eg.: universal SAT tests at no cost; Advanced Placement enrollment and exam scores; how and who we hire).
- Facilities: Facilities work has been delayed by the pandemic. We were fortunate to have enough physical space to accommodate both 6-foot social distancing and a remote learning center last school year. But we must focus once again on getting our facilities in line with our student needs.
Why you should vote for me
Accomplishments so far:
- I have been part of a Board which successfully completed a Superintendent search that was transparent and guided by public input. We hired a Superintendent of unparalleled caliber, who is focused on what is best for our students and their academic performance.
- We have elevated Equity to the forefront of all decision making throughout the School District. This has resulted in nearly twice as many students taking AP courses and receiving higher scores on their AP exams. This has also led to the Grow Your Own program, which helps classified staff members earn college and teaching degrees.
- We have advocated in Columbus on behalf of our District around many issues: keeping our students safe from firearms in their buildings, school vouchers affecting our local budget, state funding for public education, and our right to teach our students culturally relevant curriculum. Local control of local schools is at the heart of the U.S. public school system; we have worked hard to protect that control when the Statehouse tries to take over.
- My colleagues and I have implemented budget reductions three years in a row for a cumulative savings of $5.2 Million. And we recently refinanced District-issued bonds to save our community $18.5 Million in real estate taxes.
- We have worked to improve relations and communication between local government bodies by holding regular joint meetings with City Councils and the Library Board.
- At the start of the COVID pandemic, we made hard decisions to keep our students and staff safe. As the pandemic progressed, we were responsive to many segments of the community. We met the needs of families who could not work from home during the COVID shutdown. We also met the needs of those families for whom it was not safe to be in the buildings. The needs of our students — academic, emotional, and physical — are always at the forefront of every decision we make.
To be honest, it takes time to become a good board member. The learning curve is steep. Every day that I speak with a teacher or student or family member, I learn more about the needs and aspirations of our community. Every time that I drive to Columbus on behalf of our District, I learn more about how to make the system work for us, instead of against us. Throughout this challenging last year and a half, my colleagues and I have worked hard; we have faced the difficulties of COVID; we have looked at systemic racism head on. Dan Heintz and Jodi Sourini and I are ready to move this district forward in ways that are real and tangible and that will benefit the entire community.
To contribute, request a yard sign, or volunteer visit www.paypal.com/paypalme/MaliaLewis4BOE
Or donate by check payable to:
Friends of Malia Lewis
3274 East Monmouth Road
Cleveland Heights, OH 44118
Malia Lewis asks for your vote on November 2, 2021. Early voting begins on October 5, 2021.
Please visit my colleague's websites
Representative Janine Boyd
Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan
Reginald T. Evans
Lita Gonzales & Mark Phillips
CH Council Member Melody Joy Hart
Pamela Kelly & Bruce Tyler
Jennifer Shriver Lang
Earl Pike & Elizabeth Klein
Melissa & Jeff Rink
David & Saroya Queen Tabor
CH Council Member Mike Ungar