Cleveland Schools open online dialogue to engage citizens

Jan 17, 2013, 07:13 ET from Civic Commons

CLEVELAND, Jan. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Cleveland Metropolitan School District has secured the help of Cleveland-based Civic Commons to enable citizens to participate in online dialogue about changes they want to see in their schools and to suggest ways to increase student achievement.

Beginning today, the Civic Commons, an online engagement organization known for its work with assisting businesses and organizations in productive two-way conversations, will facilitate a range of conversations on its microsite at

CMSD and its community partners, the Cleveland Public Library and the Cleveland Leadership Center, are encouraging citizens to join the online conversations to offer personal insights, experiences and suggestions for how to shape the 4-Year Implementation Plan for improving Cleveland's public schools.

Members of the entire school community—students, families, teachers, business owners, leaders, neighbors—are invited to answer questions about how to fix existing schools, open new ones or sponsor quality charter schools; how best to attract, support and train effective educators, or how to design the most effective curriculum and ensure that needed equipment, technology and instructional materials are available to students, CEO Eric Gordon said.

"It is essential that we engage all stakeholders in the school reform process," said Gordon.  "We are committed to ensuring that the community's voice and vision is at the heart of the plan when finalized."

"Online engagement is a powerful tool for tapping the collective brain-power and energy of the community," said Dan Moulthrop, Curator of Conversation at Civic Commons. "We've found that moderated online conversations in this type of environment yields posts and interactions that are articulate, rich with detail and often build on ideas contributed by others."

Noting the uniqueness of the effort, Civic Commons President Mike Shafarenko added, "The school district has boldly chosen to ride the cutting edge of school reform, so it is not surprising they are also choosing to ride the cutting edge of online engagement."

The Civic Commons, a social media site dedicated to civic good, was founded in 2010 with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Fund for Our Economic Future. In addition to its tools for citizens, the Civic Commons provides subscription-based engagement services for organizations and businesses on a national basis.

CMSD: Roseann Canfora: 216.647.6072
Civic Commons: Dan Moulthrop: 216.548.6423

SOURCE Civic Commons