Head of School Letter

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