The U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Cindy Marten and her team paid Cleveland schools a visit this Thursday to see CMSD lesson plans in action as part of the Biden-Harris administration’s “Raise the Bar: Lead the World” initiative. 

Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona announced the initiative in a speech last month, saying “Raise the Bar” is not a list of new priorities but an up-close look at school programs that are globally competitive and invest in student mental health and well-being. Cleveland Metropolitan School District was selected as one of eight stops on the tour.

So far, the department has also visited New York City Public Schools, Metro Nashville Public Schools, and Mesa Public Schools in Arizona.

Deputy Secretary Marten visited Memorial School, a PreK-8 school in the North Collinwood neighborhood, and the two high school programs located at the Lakeside campus downtown–Davis Aerospace and Maritime High School and the Cleveland School for Digital Arts.

At Davis, students demonstrated drone technology and a flight simulator, and Digital Arts students showed off their visual and graphic art work, including elements of videogame design.

Deputy Secretary Marten said she was impressed with the project-based learning she witnessed during the visit.

“Teachers are supported here, students are supported,” she said.

A team of student photographers from Digital Arts helped document the visit.

Students from CMSD’s after-school civics program, called Civics 2.0, spoke with the Department of Education team in a roundtable discussion. 

Civics students told the representatives about their anti-gun-violence initiative and their plan to share policy recommendations with legislators in Columbus. Read more about their initiative here.

They told Marten that in order for their anti-violence action plans to work, schools need mental health providers and mediation services. They pointed to the success of existing programs such as CMSD’s conflict resolution program, WAVE.

Marten told the students she appreciated their feedback and praised their advocacy work, saying young people need to hear more from other young people.

Marten and her team also met with small groups of parents and teachers to discuss other district successes.

K-12 Education Reporter (he/him)
Paul, a former City Year Cleveland AmeriCorps member based in a charter school, covered K-12 education for Signal Cleveland until August, 2023. Paul joined us from Cleveland Documenters, where he focused on creating infographics and civic tech to make public information more accessible. Paul is also a musician, photographer and graphic designer.