Cleveland Metropolitan School District Human Ware Initiative

AIR is assisting Cleveland Metropolitan School District in its Human Ware Initiative, which is assessing and improving conditions that support learning, teaching, safety, and child and youth development. The district designed this initiative following recommendations from AIR's Human Ware (HW) Audit and subsequent report completed in August 2008. "Human ware" addresses the conditions for learning necessary for all students to be academically and socially equipped to succeed.

The Human Ware Initiative follows a three-tiered public health approach for collecting and using data on all children, youth, neighborhoods and schools to identify needs and assets, parse or triage resources, plan interventions and monitor results. The initiative includes a comprehensive array of activities that are part of 10 strategies (e.g., improve capacity to deploy and monitor resources, provide positive behavioral supports and social-emotional learning).

During year 1 (2008-09) of the implementation support, AIR helped the district foster awareness and understanding of the initiative; engage external community stakeholders; review potential approaches and developing stakeholder consensus; plan implementation of human ware policies and practices; and build district-, community-, and school-level human ware infrastructure.

AIR helped carry out five task forces of community (e.g., mental health agencies, mayor's office) and district stakeholders, which made recommendations on a warning and response system, evidence-based programs and practices (EBPP), quality standards, family engagement, and resources. AIR has also supported a number of workgroups. For example, AIR is co-leading a workgroup on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) issues and is currently finalizing recommendations to support and enhance school climate for staff and students.

During year 2, AIR is continuing its consultation and coaching role. Our goals include supporting the district’s efforts to actively and strategically engage various constituency groups, both within the district and within the greater Cleveland community. We will also guide implementation, expand integration, and help the district institutionalize its Human Ware Initiative so that it can effectively sustain this work once AIR's support has ended.