Head of School Letter

Written by CLA Admin. Posted in CLA News

March 20, 2014



Dear CLA Families,


I thought I would catch up with you while you are at school for student-led conferences. During your conferences you will learn about the strides your scholar is making in the classroom and some exciting curriculum-specific projects and fieldwork.  You will also hear how we are preparing for this year’s OAA’s because test preparation is critical at this time of year.


As you know, Citizens Leadership Academy’s mission and vision are to prepare our students to be academic leaders in high school and college, but also to prepare our students to be well-rounded, confident, respectful, reflective, and engaged citizens who are invested in their community, whether that is their school, their family, their religious institution, their city, or their global community.


To better support our sixth graders, this year we have launched two mentoring programs.  Anne Priemer, our director of curriculum and instruction, has trained several eighth graders to work with our sixth graders to enhance their problem solving and conflict resolution skills.  Cynthia Tancer, our board chair, and Amonica Davis, a board member, are launching an adult – student mentoring program with African American adult mentors who have experience and interest in developing a long-term one-on-one relationship with some of our students who have struggled to find that connection within our school.  Sometimes it takes someone slightly removed from teachers and deans to make that connection.  We are very excited about both these mentoring programs.


In other beyond-academics news, our CLA Panthers and Lady Panthers basketball teams are in the charter league playoffs; the girls were undefeated and the boys lost only one game during the regular season! Kudos to Coach Haffey, Mr. Tengel and all the parents and families who have supported our teams this season.  We had two Power of the Pen interscholastic writing teams this year, and two of our students, Kayla Burns and Erin Sharpley, made it to the regional competition.  Fifty of our CLA scholars will have the unique opportunity on April 4th to spend a day at the Cleveland Clinic Learner Research Institute shadowing biomedical researchers there.  Our seventh graders are not just participating in World Water Day this year, they are presenting water labs to the rest of the participants, and our eighth grade authors are presenting original pieces to students at three Breakthrough elementary schools.


It is exciting to update you on the progress of our first graduating class! At this time, there are some exceptional acceptances:  University School (2), Beaumont (1), Hawken(1), John Hay Early College (11), John Hay Architecture and Design (11), John Hay Science and Medicine (2), Laurel (1), St. Ed’s (1), St. Ignatius (1), St. Martin de Porres (6), Montessori High School (1), Lake Catholic (1), and St. Benedictine (2).  Kudos to Cassie Seiter, our HS transition coordinator and Cynthia Tancer who have met with all our families at least a couple times each!  And building on their first year transition program, they are starting even earlier this spring with seventh grade families:  the first Seventh Grade High School Transition Meeting for families will be Wednesday, April 2 at 5:30 at CLA.


Finally, our CLA community extends beyond teachers and students; it is always exciting to see parents and community partners actively involved at the school.  This March, Ms. Flora Lard, mother of Gregg and Kendall, donated 98 puzzle pieces so each founding eighth grader could contribute a piece to an “Honor Good Deeds Project” puzzle that was displayed during a Greater Cleveland Tolerance Fair this month.  The completed puzzle will eventually be displayed in CLA as a tribute to our first graduating class.  Ms. Griffin continues to coach our Panther Cheerleaders who would win a contest for spirit if there were one!  PAC officers Wendy Murphy and Shawnna Edwards and a host of other parents and relatives did a tremendous job staffing our first ever CLA Carnival! And Ms. Bridget Moreno is a Breakthrough volunteer who has been conducting an enrichment literature circle with a small group of seventh graders twice each week since this fall – she even took them to see The Book Thief after they read and discussed the book, and she attends our basketball games!


Thanks to each of you who attended our set of parent coffees, and to each of you who are so supportive of and proactive for your scholar’s education.  Enjoy your children during our March 21 – March 31 spring break!




Shelly Saltzman

Founder and Head of School

Ohio Achievement Assessment Letter

Written by CLA Admin. Posted in CLA News

Dear Parents and Families:

Our countdown to the Ohio Achievement Assessments (OAA) has begun! The importance of these assessments is paramount.  The results of these assessments allow the State to monitor the academic performance of our students. We also use the results to determine the appropriate academic grade level placement for our scholars.

Our school-wide focus in preparing for the OAAs is on building stamina, increasing students’ understanding and awareness of academic vocabulary, and building students’ confidence in their reading, math and science skills. Stamina is essential for students to persevere through difficult reading passages and math problems across a testing period. Please review the following information in order to support your child in preparing for these very important assessments.

When is the OAA?

Wednesday, April 30th Thursday, May 1st   Monday, May 5th Tuesday, May 6th  
7th grade Reading 7th grade   Math 6th grade   Reading 6th grade   Math
Wednesday, May 7th Thursday, May 8th Friday, May 9th
8th grade Reading 8th grade   Math 8th grade   Science

What is Citizens Leadership Academy doing to prepare my scholar for the OAA?

  • Beginning Monday, March 31st all students will focus exclusively on independent reading, vocabulary work and testing strategies during their daily RES period.
  • Beginning the week of April 14th, the majority of Math, English and 8th grade Science periods will focus on providing your scholar with comprehension and math problem solving strategies so they have the confidence to complete the exams to the best of their ability.


What can I do to help my child prepare for the test?


  • Ensure your scholar arrives to school on time every day so they do not miss any instructional time; if your scholar would like breakfast they must arrive to school by 7:30.
  • Ensure your child is reading every evening for at least 30 minutes. Talk to them about the book they are reading and what they are learning about in school.
  • Have them practice their computation and problem solving skills on XtraMath, Khan Academy, IXL and Arithmetic Four (http://www.shodor.org/interactivate/activities/ArithmeticFour/).

Thank you for working with CLA and for your continued support in advancing the academic achievement of our scholars.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call.



Sydney Gruhin, Principal                                 Anne Priemer, Director of Curriculum & Instruction

March CLA2HS Newsletter

Written by CLA Admin. Posted in CLA News

March 5th , 2014

Dear CLA Students, Parents, Guardians and Families,

Please read the following updates and reminders regarding applications and upcoming events. Remember to notify us as soon as you and your scholar hear from schools and if you receive a letter please send in a copy of the letter (acceptance or denial).

If you are attending a school that requires tuition, please send in a copy of any financial aid information.  This allows us to gather information on the financial reality of private schools so that we are better able to support you, your scholar and future CLA 8th graders.


Cleveland Municipal School District:


If your scholar has not yet been accepted or decided where to go to high school next year and you live in the city of Cleveland, you need to secure their spot for next year.  There are many options within the district for high performing schools as well as some new and innovative schools.  Please contact Ms. Seiter Cassandra.seiter@citizensleadership.org or 216-229-8185 for enrollment papers and suggestions for Cleveland High Schools.



Applications: For those scholars applying to schools requiring applications, families need to contact the schools to ensure that they are still accepting applications.


Once the teacher has completed the form, he or she will turn it into Ms. Seiter.  We will send all necessary documents together in one envelope to the schools.

Financial Aid:

Make sure that you complete the appropriate financial aid applications if you are applying to an independent or private school.


Online Applications:

Horizon Science Academy- http://grades.hsas.org/applyonline.aspx

Please notify us as soon as you and your scholar hear from schools.  Please contact me at Cassandra.seiter@citizensleadership.org or 216-229-8185 if you have any questions.



Cassandra Seiter

High School Placement Advisor

Cc:  Shelly Saltzman, Head of School

7th Grade Spring CLA2HS Letter

Written by CLA Admin. Posted in CLA News

March 5th, 2014

Dear CLA Parents, Guardians and Families,

I hope that your student has had a great start to their spring semester and are eagerly preparing themselves for the OAA!  This letter is intended to provide you with information about the high school placement process at CLA.

As many of you know, seventh grade is the time to start thinking about high school placement.  Students and families begin to ask themselves: “Where do I want to go to how school, What grade point average (GPA) do I need to obtain, Do schools look at my grades and my OAA scores?” and many more questions.

On April 2nd at 5:30 CLA will be hosting “High School 101” for students and parents.  Attendance is strongly encouraged.  We will introduce the high school process and go into details about how your scholar can be preparing for high school now.

As students and families begin to think about high school placement, it is important to remember that grades, OAA scores and community activities are important components to the high school acceptance process.  Using student grades, achievements, extra-curricular activities, attendance and behavior; CLA will suggest schools that will be an appropriate match for your child.

Over the summer your child can do the following things to help prepare for high school:

  • Talk to high school students about their experiences
  • Volunteer in the community (Be sure to keep track of your hours)
  • Join a club or sports team
  • Attend a summer camp
  • Read, Read, Read!

In August, I will be contacting parents and guardians to schedule a high school placement meeting prior to the start of the school year.  At the meeting, CLA will have a list of recommended schools, a calendar of high school open houses and suggestions for next steps.  It will also be a chance to address any specific questions or concerns that you may have.

If you have any further questions about the high school placement process, please contact me at Cassandra.seiter@citizensleadership.org or 216-229-8185.



Cassandra Seiter

Cc:  Shelly Saltzman, Head of School