Compact Document

last revised September 2016

Compact Document (PDF)

Compact Document (full text below)

Participation Agreement (PDF)

Participation Agreement (Word)

Sample Board Resolution (Word)

Compact Bylaws (PDF)



The Cleveland Education Compact (Compact) creates a framework through which members collaborate as partners in our city-wide effort to improve education for all students. Members of the Compact believe that Cleveland’s families deserve a broader choice of excellent schools. To that end, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) and participating charters commit:

  • To expand collaboration between CMSD and charters and amongst charter schools to better meet the needs of Cleveland’s students;
  • To recognize and respect the uniqueness of each school’s program and to leverage the strengths of each Compact member;
  • To create a broad coalition focused on improving education in the City of Cleveland;
  • To work together in a positive manner to identify barriers to collaboration and mutually beneficial solutions to the challenges; and
  • To adhere to the guiding principles and strategy of the Compact.

By signing this Compact, members agree to work together to improve education for all students in the City of Cleveland.


The Cleveland Education Compact builds upon the current efforts of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD), charter school leaders, and local civic leader, to improve education for all Cleveland children.

Building on Work Already Under Way

Ohio passed its charter law in 1998, and the first charter schools opened the following year. In the mid-2000s, CMSD began to recognize the valuable role charters could play and were playing in providing quality education to Cleveland children. CMSD sponsored its first charter school, the Entrepreneurship Preparatory School, in 2006. This school later became a founding member of the Breakthrough Schools network. In January 2007, in collaboration with the Cleveland Teachers’ Union, the district started Promise Academy, a 9th-12th grade credit recovery charter school. Currently, CMSD sponsors ten charter schools, more than any other district in the state.

Cleveland also has one of the largest charter market shares in the country. In the 2014-2015 school year, 57,000 students attended Cleveland’s public schools, with approximately 68% attending district schools and 32% attending charter schools. Ohio also has a very active sponsoring environment; there are more than ten sponsors contracting with more than sixty charter schools across Cleveland alone.

Despite the positive developments mentioned above, collaboration among CMSD and charter schools often occurred in silos, with partnerships forming between CMSD and a handful of charters, and with few charter-to-charter relationships formed.

The Cleveland Plan

In February 2012, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and CMSD Chief Executive Officer Eric Gordon presented the Cleveland Plan for Transforming Schools (Cleveland Plan) to Ohio’s governor and legislative leadership. The Cleveland Plan was developed by a broad range of stakeholders convened by the Mayor, including the Cleveland Metropolitan School District; the Cleveland Foundation; the George Gund Foundation; the Cleveland Teachers Union; the Greater Cleveland Partnership; and Breakthrough Schools, a charter school network based in Cleveland.

The goals of the Cleveland Plan are to ensure that every child in Cleveland attends a high-quality school and that every neighborhood has a multitude of great public schools from which families can choose, district or charter. The Cleveland Plan is based on the portfolio strategy, an emerging national model that focuses, among other things, on decentralization and performance-based accountability. The Portfolio Model is showing promising results in cities including New York, New Orleans, Chicago, Denver, and Baltimore.

Since the introduction of the Cleveland Plan in 2012, stakeholders have been working to ensure that the policy and financial conditions are in place to support the implementation of the Cleveland Plan. These efforts have resulted in critical developments including the adoption of a groundbreaking teachers’ contract (May 2013) and a voter approved four-year operating levy that provides a portion of money to charter schools who partner with CMSD (November 2012). CMSD is currently sharing levy proceeds with seventeen partner charter schools.

Who We Are: Creation of the Committee

During the summer of 2014, CMSD, in collaboration with the Breakthrough School and the Cleveland Foundation, received a $100,000 planning grant to create a district/charter Compact and join more than 20 other Compact cities across the country. The following year, with help from the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA), CMSD and Breakthrough identified charter school leaders representative of various types of schools (including an online school and a “mom and pop” school) and invited them to participate as members of the Cleveland Education Compact Steering Committee. The group began working in the spring of 2015 to develop a framework to expand collaboration by identifying focus areas that will benefit Compact participants and lead to increased high-quality education options for Cleveland’s children. The following organizations comprised the Steering Committee:

Cleveland Metropolitan School District

Breakthrough Charter Schools

Constellation Schools LLC

I CAN Schools

Ohio Connections Academy

Virtual Schoolhouse

During 2015, the Steering Committee met regularly to create the framework that will support the work of the Compact members going forward. Matters of governance and decision-making have been addressed along with challenges that exist within the Cleveland educational community as potential issues to be addressed through the Compact. The Steering Committee also communicated information regarding the work it was doing through events and social media in an effort to attract additional charter school participants.

This document represents the collaborative efforts of the Steering Committee.

Guiding Principles

The members of the Compact believe all students in the City of Cleveland can achieve and deserve the highest quality education. We engage with one another to eliminate barriers to collaboration and improve the ways we work together for the benefit of all students. The Cleveland Education Compact is guided by a set of agreed upon principles:

  • Decisions are always made in the best interests of Cleveland students
  • Communication should be clear, purposeful, respectful, and honest
  • Mutual respect, inclusiveness, and transparency builds positive relationships and creates a culture that is conducive to collaboration

Guided by these principles, Compact participants will focus on the critical goal of improving education for all of Cleveland’s students through mutually beneficial work and strategies.


Executive Committee

  • The structure of the Cleveland Education Compact is designed to build relationships, share information, monitor progress, and set goals.
  • The Cleveland Education Compact Executive Committee (EC) will meet regularly to guide and oversee the creation and development of the Compact to ensure its success. The meetings will be open to the public.
  • The initial EC will include all members of the Steering Committee. The process for subsequent participation on the Executive Committee is detailed in the bylaws.
  • The EC will appoint subcommittees to develop strategies and action steps toward specific objectives. (Form more information, see Appendix A).
  • The EC will take the lead in maintaining accountability and transparency through regular updates and reports to members of the Cleveland Education Compact.
  • The EC will develop metrics to identify key measures of success. The EC will develop a shared message to all stakeholders, and communicate progress on Compact projects.
  • The Cleveland Education Compact will leverage the combined capacity of CMOs, individual charters, and CMSD to engage and inform parents and the public of the progress and challenges of the Cleveland Education Compact’s efforts.

Executive Committee Voting Structure

  • Subcommittees are tied to specific objectives decided by the EC with input from all Compact members.
  • A member of the EC will chair each subcommittee.
  • Subcommittee members are assigned by the EC based on interest.
  • Subcommittees will include a minimum of three people, including a chair and a secretary. Each subcommittee must include at least on CMSD representative.
  • The EC will review subcommittees periodically for accountability and oversight.
  • Dates, times, and locations of subcommittee meetings are at the discretion of the subcommittee.
  • Visitors/speakers/consultants may participate in subcommittee meetings with an invitation from the subcommittee.

Membership in the Compact

(For more on how to join the Cleveland Education Compact, see Appendix B)

  • Membership into the Compact will be as inclusive as possible.
  • Entry into the Compact will be at the school level, or the charter management organization (CMO) level, or the educational management organization (EMO) level.
  • Entry into the Compact will require board approval and formal documentation.
  • After the initial enrollment period ending January 31, 2016, membership enrollment periods for new members will be June 1-June 30, 2016, and then June 1-June 30 of each subsequent year.


Year 1

Recruit & Formalize Charter Schools Participating in the Compact

Phase 1 Structure

  • Host information sessions to expand charter school engagement.
  • Produce materials for prospective members to support Board approval process.

Phase 2 Produce

  • Design and publish an engaging and dynamic website.
  • Finalize initial Compact membership by January 31, 2016.
  • Accept additional members June 1-30, 2016.

Phase 3 Leverage

  • Leverage Cleveland Education Compact accomplishments and work-products to expand participation.
  • Produce an annual calendar of activities inclusive of dates for prospective members.
  • Advance Cleveland Education Compact Subcommittee Membership and Goals

Advance Cleveland Education Compact Subcommittee Membership and Goals

Phase 1 Structure

  • Determine Initial Subcommittees by February 15, 2016.
  • Subcommittees convened by February 29, 2016.

Phase 2 Produce

  • Initial subcommittee draft objectives and goals produced by April 1, 2016.
  • Metrics and milestones are articulated as appropriate.

Phase 3 Leverage

  • Subcommittee work-products are formally submitted for Executive Board review.
  • Content and work-products are evaluated to determine ongoing Subcommittee structure.


The members of the Cleveland Education Compact believe that families in the Cleveland community should have equitable access to high quality educational choices. We believe all students must learn the skills to be successful in our increasingly global society. Our Compact will form partnerships that will improve charter-to-charter and charter/district collaboration. As a result of our work, we will expand the portfolio of high quality options for families in Cleveland. Our goal is to establish and maintain successful partnerships between and among the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and charter schools that lead to better educational outcomes for all Cleveland students.

Cleveland Education Compact Signatories

We, the undersigned, agree to the terms of the Compact.

Eric Gordon, Chief Executive Officer, Cleveland Metropolitan School District

John Zitzner, Co-Founder, Breakthrough Schools & President of Friends of Breakthrough Schools

Rick Lukich, President, Constellation Schools

Marie Hanna, Superintendent, Ohio Connections Academy

Heather Stevens, Executive Director of School Accountability, I CAN SCHOOLS

Yocheved Belsky, Chief Administrative Officer, Virtual Schoolhouse

Appendix A - Subcommittee Focus Areas

The Steering Committee was initially tasked with identifying and prioritizing a handful of topics which it believed had potential for progress in the first year of the Compact. Subcommittees, made up of individuals from the organizations which sign-on to the Compact, will tackle these topics by developing a plan of action, seeking out applicable resources, and fostering collaborative changes.

In addition to the four areas listed below, there will be additional Standing Subcommittees whose focus may include topics such as governance, fund raising, and communications to help ensure productivity.

The Steering Committee recognizes and appreciates the idea that topics may change or be re-prioritized based on the progress of our collaboration and number of active participants. Additionally, new topics may be presented to the Executive Committee for consideration.

Topic-Based Subcommittees

  • Policy - Coordinate efforts to promote mutually beneficial legislation
  • Professional Development & Shared Best Practices - Seek and share professional development opportunities and facilities
  • Record Sharing - Improve record sharing
  • Special Education - Improve special education delivery and training

Standing Subcommittees

  • Communication - Ensure effective and active communication between and amongst the district and charter schools and other relevant stakeholders
  • Governance - Manage structure and functions of Compact Subcommittees
  • Fund raising - Secure funding for continued collaboration

Other Potential Topics of Interest

  • College & Career Readiness
  • Cost Savings
  • Facilities
  • Transportation
  • Enrollment
  • Funding
  • Human Capital
  • Low Performing Schools

Appendix B - Joining the Compact


Last Updated: December 2015

Thank you for your interest in joining the Cleveland Education Compact!

Your organization should proceed by following these two steps:


Read, sign, & date the Participation Agreement (part B2) and email to


Modify the sample board resolution (part B3), obtain board approval and signatures, and email the signed resolution to

B2. Participation Agreement

The participation agreement represents an intent to join the Compact. An organization must have its board pass a resolution affirming its intent to officially join. Please complete this Participation Agreement, sign, and return to

Organization Information

Organization Name:



Website (if applicable):

Point of Contact

Your Name:




Secondary Point of Contact





Participation Agreement

The undersigned hereby expresses an intent to join the Cleveland Education Compact, recognizing that participation is not official until the board of the organization has passed a resolution.



B3. Sample Board Resolution


WHEREAS, _____________________ have/has been informed of the efforts to collaborate with Cleveland Metropolitan School District and other public charter schools within the city of Cleveland, and

WHEREAS, _____________________ and the Board of Directors believe the collaboration efforts are beneficial to the students we serve.

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Board of ________________________ recognizes the importance of this work and will commit to supporting our organization’s involvement in the development and implementation of continued collaboration efforts and the work towards development of a Compact that will outline our commitments to collaboration to better educate the students we serve.