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Cleveland Schools Excellence Project (2007)


In 2007, the Cleveland and Gund Foundations asked the Institute for Student Achievement (ISA) and NCREST to identify, describe, and share best practices that exist within Cleveland public, private and charter schools. Their desire was to provide tangible evidence that excellent educational opportunities can be—and have been—created within the Cleveland school system.  These schools could serve as models from which other schools could learn locally-tested, effective strategies and practices.  In addition, they would serve as partners to the two foundations in their efforts to spread knowledge of successful educational practices and to raise community awareness of the need to provide an excellent education to all of Cleveland’s children and youth.

About the Project

A total of 12 schools were selected by an independent researcher based on evidence of their effectiveness, with a focus on their ability to “add value” or help students progress faster than might be predicted based on their prior achievement. The schools selected included elementary, middle and high schools and public, charter, parochial and private schools. NCREST sought to identify and document best practices found in these schools.

To learn about the selected schools, NCREST:

  • Developed the research-based Cleveland Schools Excellence Framework, used to identify, classify, and describe successful instructional practice.
  • Conducted site visits to the 12 successful schools to document their strong practices, particularly those with potential for replication.
  • With ISA, hosted a roundtable with school leaders intended to discuss best practices, exchange ideas, and collaboratively address challenges.
  • Created individual school reports and an overall final report designed to promote the sharing of information among schools and the implementation of identified best practices. 

For more information, contact Elisabeth Barnett at

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