The First Ring Schools Collaborative
(FRSC) is is an association of 17 superintendents of school districts that surround the city of Cleveland, Ohio. The FRSC was established in 2000 to help districts address the interrelated challenges related to poverty, mobility, diversity, and the achievement gap. Since then, the FRSC has sponsored the First Ring Leadership Academy, facilitated partnerships with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD), Cleveland Clinic, and The Literacy Cooperative, and implemented student wellness initiatives, student transition projects, academic achievement programs, and school-based health care. It has also supported networks of colleagues in similar roles, including administrators in Curriculum, Public Relations/Communications, Pupil Services, Safety/Security as well as Treasurers and Principals. There are two task forces: Early Childhood and Career Readiness.
The collaborative includes the following 17 members, serving more than 100,000 students:
- Cleveland Heights-University Heights
- Cleveland Metropolitan School District
- Cuyahoga Heights
- East Cleveland
- Fairview Park
- Garfield Heights
- Maple Heights
- Richmond Heights
- Shaker Heights
- South Euclid-Lyndhurst
- Warrensville Heights
In 2014, the FRSC decided to re-examine how it can have the most impact on students through the development of a new strategic plan. Over a six month period, FRSC superintendents, the CEO of Cleveland Metropolitan School District, and the Executive Director of the FRSC participated in a series of workshops led by an external consulting firm, The People Advantage. The process helped the FRSC determine how it can best leverage its collective power and influence to have the most impact on its students’ education.
The process started with an examination of the educational environment and the characteristics of the FRSC that position it to have impact. Next, the FRSC identified the intersection of its own capabilities and significant educational needs to identify the high level areas in which it would establish goals. Once the goals were set, strategies and action plans were built to enable achievement of the goals. In addition, the FRSC also defined the internal rules to which it will adhere to ensure that results are sustainable and that the strategic plan continues to be the focus of its work.
The new strategic plan has become the foundation for the focus of the FRSC by establishing the following:
- The continuation of the existing programs that are making the most difference.
- The identification and prioritization of twelve new strategies that span three direct-impact goal areas (essential support, advocacy and awareness, and collaboration) and one internally-directed goal area (governance).
- A framework (mission statement, vision statement, guiding principles) that defines the boundaries for the issues in which it will choose to engage.
The FRSC recognizes that there are many stakeholders involved in education and that school districts have the primary responsibility for the delivery of quality education. However, the FRSC also recognizes the special opportunity, and responsibility, it has to leverage its capability to enable First Ring districts to accelerate results. The strategic plan will help the FRSC maximize its impact.
The FRSC is supported by the Cleveland Foundation, the George Gund Foundation, the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation, and the Educational Service Center (ESC) of Northeast Ohio.