The Cuyahoga Heights School District, which serves the villages of Cuyahoga Heights, Brooklyn Heights, and Valley View, is a first ring school district located approximately 4 miles from mid-town Cleveland. Despite its close proximity to Cleveland, part of the $8.4 million Cleveland MetroParks system, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and the scenic Ohio & Erie Canal pass through the school district. The Cuyahoga Heights School District is fortunate in many ways. The villages of Brooklyn Heights, Cuyahoga Heights, and Valley View have a healthy tax base, attractive to businesses and provide terrific amenities to their residents.
Because of the low residential tax and the quality of the school district, available housing in the communities is at a premium. Interstates 77 and 480 run through the three villages and lead directly to Cleveland attractions such as the Cleveland Browns, Cavaliers, and Indians, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, world class symphony, Broadway-like theaters, and nationally rated universities and medical facilities. A superb quality of life is the major reason that living in one of the three villages is attractive.
Community support is a cornerstone to the district’s success. Besides supporting school levies and volunteering in classrooms, residents enjoy using the 25-meter pool, children’s pool, spa, first-rate fitness center, and state-of-the-art track at no charge.
Over 950 students are enrolled in the district’s three schools—high school (9-12), middle school (6-8), elementary school (PreK-5)—located on the same campus. They benefit from the expertise of a highly qualified teaching staff, excellent support staff, and strong parental participation. The Cuyahoga Heights Schools provide a full-range of traditional and non-traditional educational programs and co-curricular activities. These include elementary and secondary curriculum offerings at the general and college preparatory levels and special education programs. Ninety-percent of CHS graduates attend either a 2-year or 4-year college. With over 74 co-curricular activities and 21 varsity sports, a very high percentage of students are involved with extracurricular activities.
Founded in 1938 by the Cuyahoga Heights Manufacturer's Association, the Cuyahoga Heights School District is a metropolitan suburb located five miles south of the center of downtown Cleveland, Ohio. It is located in the northern most section of the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area. The district is comprised of three local communities: Brooklyn Heights, Cuyahoga Heights, and Valley View. With over 600 businesses, the district serves an area of approximately 15 square miles in which about 25,000 people come to work and through which 100,000 pass through each day.
The creation of the present Cuyahoga Heights Village School District resulted from ideas conceived by some industrialists in Cuyahoga Heights and some influential citizens of both Cuyahoga Heights and Valley View. A meeting of all citizens of these districts was called and Assistant Director of Education E. N. Dietrich, was invited to discuss the proposition. Subsequent meetings were conducted to give ample opportunity for all citizens of both villages to be thoroughly informed.
The Boards of Education of the Cuyahoga Heights Village School District and the Valley View School District each presented a petition to the County Board of Education on December 14, 1936, asking that the two districts be consolidated into one school district. The petitions were signed by a large majority of the residents of both districts. Consolidation became effective March 24, 1937.
The voters approved a $500,000 bond issue at the November election. Leo J. Schmidt, Inc. was awarded the building contract, work was begun in March 1938, and school opened September 19, 1938.
At present, the Cuyahoga Heights School District is composed of the aforementioned school district and Brooklyn Heights Village School District. This district was transferred by action of the County Board of Education acting in conformity to a petition presented July 11, 1938, by the Board of Education of Brooklyn Heights Village School District.
The law firm of Locher, Green and Woods represented the village of Cuyahoga Heights and a number of businesses within the village in a study for the creation of a separate school district. The firm was likewise involved in the acquisition of the property and the development of bids for the first building. It was also directly involved with the issuance of bonds for the first building, and in the communication with the Cleveland Board of Education regarding transportation and tuition for students who were still attending the Cleveland schools before the building was first constructed. This firm, which is now Kelley, McCann and Livingstone, has represented the School District for the fifty years, and even earlier, to the period when the District was just becoming a separate school district.
For 50 years, the Cuyahoga Heights School District has been composed of the villages of Brooklyn Heights, Cuyahoga Heights, and Valley View. Industrialists conceived the district.
The constant purpose of Messrs. Fox and Duthie, the architects who designed our school building, was to make it one of the nation's outstanding examples of school architecture. The finished structure speaks for itself and it has already attracted the attention of other school authorities and school architects. The Georgian style was chosen because of its inherent beauty and dignity and because it is America's chief architectural heritage. Time and again since the Independence Hail of colonial times the Georgian style has been chosen for America's important buildings. Especially to be noted in the design is the fine composition of masses and the simplicity of detail. The two largest units, the Auditorium and Gymnasium, were given their particular location so that they, together with the intervening main entrance lobby, would create the dominant mass of the design. Note how effective the result with the central focal point accented by the circular portico, the pediment and tower; the rhythm of the rows of arched windows flanking the central motive, the long roof line terminated by massive chimneys. The plan embodied the latest developments of educational authorities, and in all respects was carefully studied to efficiently house a modern school organization.
Since 1938, the size and number of the buildings has increased. The receiving room, a classroom, a clerk's office, and an elevator were added in 1945. A separate elementary school was built in 1950. An addition to the elementary school was built in 1955. The first high school addition of six classrooms, two athletic locker rooms, a reading lab, and additional library space were added in 1957. The garage was built in 1958. Football seating and the boys' shower was added in 1960. The cafeteria, boys' gym, locker rooms, science department, business department, art room, home economics classrooms, and steam generators were added to the high school in 1962. There was an addition to the garage and the construction of an all-weather track in 1968. The new high school media center, elementary school cafeteria, high school industrial arts classrooms, elementary school library, as well as new electrical wiring, fire detection system, and a new clock and bell system were added in 1971. The swimming pool and ancillary gym were built in 1977.
The high school and pool additions reflect a more modern style, yet have maintained the brick facade, which blends with the original structure and style. The elementary school also reflects the same architectural style as the original high school building.
The central focal point of the high school is the tower and the pillared entrance. The east side of the elementary building demonstrates a certain prominence as evidenced by the arch and recessed entrance doors. The simplicity of structure is such that it blends with the original style of the high school.
Originally, the pupils in the Cuyahoga Heights Elementary School were not regimented into the traditional grade organization. The school was divided into two large areas: the Primary School (corresponding roughly to the Kindergarten and first three grades) and the Intermediate School (which would compare with grades 4, 5 and 6). Within these areas children were grouped with others of the same age and size, in what we termed "Social Groups." Here they learned techniques of living, working and playing together with pupils who are natural companionsãa really democratic arrangement.
Instruction in Reading and in Arithmetic was organized upon levels of difficulty. For these two subjects each pupil were permitted to leave his social group and to receive reading and arithmetic instruction upon whatever level he could best work. This afforded each child optimum opportunity for growth in these fundamentals, and did not hold him back with other slower members of his group.
Social studies, the other content subjects and the arts were, so far as possible, organized about centers of interest for each social group. Relationships and meanings were stressed and the whole instructional program was pointed toward the all-round development of the child rather than the routine acquisition of subject matter.
The Elementary School was a four-year-old through sixth grade structure. A two-year early childhood program made up of a year of preschool and a year of kindergarten enhanced it. The academic structure of the Elementary School consisted of self-contained classrooms and team areas. This is still the case. Small class sizes continue to emphasize the individualization of the Elementary School's curriculum. It continues to be our goal to meet the students at their level and take them as far as they can potentially progress.
All students participate in Art, Computer, Health, Music, Physical Education, and Science. Special programs are available to meet the special needs of students in the areas of learning disabilities and gifted. An extensive library/media center is available for staff and students. Swimming and water safety instruction for grades one through five is a part of the regular school program. Every child learns to swim before leaving the elementary building.
Extra-curricular and enrichment activities include orchestra, band, choir, art club, student council, educational field trips, assemblies, and the gifted and talented program.
The Junior High grades at Cuyahoga Heights were an integral part of the six-year high school organization and enjoyed the full use of the specialized departments provided for the secondary school groups. Opportunity for mastery of the elementary skills was afforded. Major attention was paid to guidance; one member of the teaching staff being specifically assigned to this work. Of special significance are the orientation courses required of all pupils; courses in which they were brought into contact with the fine and practical arts, not only the industrial arts but also the agricultural.
In the upper years of the secondary school pupils were offered three distinct courses:
- Basic - This course provides a general cultural background but stressed the practical arts.
- College Preparatory - The offerings in this sequence were designed for those pupils who planned to attend college.
- Commercial - Students who expected to enter business offices were encouraged to elect this course.
There was a hope to develop additional facilities for vocational education of our older pupils and for adults. The large unfinished area on the ground floor of the building was designed to house this project.
The Cuyahoga Heights High School continues to be a comprehensive high school. Our educational program is very strong and helps prepare students for higher education or employment upon graduation. The school operates on the principle that cooperative efforts help create an environment that seeks to maximize individual achievements. This is accomplished in part through the varied curricular offerings that include: Art, Business Education, Computers, English, French and Spanish languages, Health and Physical Education, Family and Consumer Sciences, Industrial Technology, Mathematics, Music, Social Studies, and Science. There are also special programs for learning disabled and gifted students to help meet unique needs. There is an extensive library/ media center available for staff and students.
In addition to the in-house academic phase, our school is a member of the Cuyahoga Valley Career Center (formerly the Cuyahoga Valley Joint Vocational School). The intent of this program is to create opportunities for students to learn the necessary entry-level skills prior to obtaining a position in the respective student's career choice.
The staff of Cuyahoga Heights High School continues to provide the students with a very diverse and comprehensive program of activities to fit almost any need. This is evidenced by the interscholastic athletic program for both young men and women, student government, National Honor Society, school newspaper and yearbook publications, French and Spanish Clubs, Drama Club, band, choir, orchestra, and drug and alcohol programs.
The following is taken from an article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, written by Grant Segall.
- "A park blending nature and industry. . . The $8.4 million Cleveland Metropark, mostly in Cuyahoga Heights, is nicknamed the Hidden Valley.
- . . . The reservation's 325 acres pass beside the smokestacks, pipelines and landfills, but teem with geese, deer, fox, egrets, and more.
- . . .The Cuyahoga River, where a fire 30 years ago fueled the enviornment movement world-wide, was declared an American heritage river in 1998. A swath of land containing the canal's upper 87 miles was declared a national heritage corridor in 1996 and is quickly being opened to hikers and bicyclists. . . The 308-mile canal, built between 1825 and 1832, went from Portsmouth to Cleveland and brought boom times to Ohio.
- . . .The reservation also has 2.9 additional miles of trails, a 9,152-square-foot visitors center, a canoe launch, fishing piers, and other facilities."