Cleveland Elementary parents get press

The East Bay Express had an interesting story this week on Cleveland Elementary. Under the leadership of Principal Mia Settles, the diverse school near Lake Merritt has broken down language barriers and encouraged various forms of parent involvement — from stapling papers to picketing the district’s administrative offices because of overcrowding.

photo courtesy of Lynne Wardell

Read the full story here.

I recently talked to one of the parents mentioned in the Express story — Lynne Wardell — who said that overcrowding remains a problem at Cleveland. She said the school community has spent far too much energy this fall “working to undo what the district has done.”

Still, she said, “Compared to other schools, we’re in darn good condition.”

What other schools have seen stepped-up parent involvement in recent years, and to what effect?

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Jose, Former Student

    The former principal at Cleveland was black and she did a great job. She was a nice lady who made all of us feel at home at the school.

    This was a great school before the new principal was hired. I did community service at the school when I was at Skyline and know this first hand. There are too many students in the school and the new pricipal needs to get someone who can teach PE.

  • Katy Murphy

    The current Cleveland principal, Mia Settles, is also African-American.

    But yes, from what I understand, Cleveland’s new P.E. teacher left over the summer, and was not replaced (at least, with anyone capable of teaching P.E.). Now classroom teachers are teaching — or not really teaching — physical education, on top of their other duties.

  • A Life Time Educator

    Anyone that has criticism about Ms. Settles administration does not know her well. As a collegue of 11+ years I can tell you that she is the key to the success of Cleveland. She believes in respectful servant leadership.
    I am honored to be working with her to improve the education of the students of Oaklnd.
    Jose are way off point.

  • Jose, Former Student

    A Life Time Educator,

    Could it be you missed the point of my blog? What was my criticism of Ms. Settles? My point being Cleveland was a great school under the former principal who was also black, before Ms. Settles came to the school.

    The following are facts:

    1. The star test scores of students at Cleveland have droped under Ms. Settle’s leadership.

    2. The number of Hispanic students has also droped at the school during her employment.

    These are facts “A Life Time Educator” seems to have overlooked. You can review this student data on the California Department of Education web site.


    From a 19 year old second year College Student

    P.S. Good luck to your students!

  • Jim Mordecai

    Jose, Former Student:

    The former Cleveland Principal, Sharon Casenares, with whom you had interaction with as a visiting Skyline Student to Cleveland elementary was recognized by the OUSD administration by being promoted to the office of Elementary Executive Officer boss of other principals in one of the four elementary areas.

    The Cleveland principal previous to Principal Casenares was also promoted to the next higher level after service as a Cleveland principal.

    The scores for Cleveland since 2003 have been above 800 the target score for all schools in the State.

    I suspect the good test scores played a role in the promotion of these two Cleveland principals.

    The consistency in high Cleveland test scores over the years reflects positively on both the school’s students and its teachers as well as its principals.

    Because Cleveland Elementary is relatively small it has also had a very low turnover of personnel. The largest share of its success academically has to go to the teachers that have remained year after year.

    Yet, let’s not forget that this story was about the parents finding their voice and the power of the parent voice. The fact that the principal was successful, or lucky, in supporting that outcome does not subtract from what other principals of Cleveland had accomplished.

    Jim Mordecai

    Jim Mordecai

  • Jose, Former Student

    Mr. Mordecai,

    Thanks, I agree 100% with you. The story gave the impression that the new principal was doing something new at the school that did not occur in the past.Which is not the case.

    She needs to make sure the students’ academic performance does not drop during her watch on the job.

    My aunt works for a family in the area. She said the PTA has been asking parents and community members to give more money to the school since the new principal came. The families are already paying high property tax that go to the school. The district needs to stop wasting it on consultants.

    How much money is enough for these people?

    Thanks again,