Cleveland Metropolitan School District


CMSD is in its fifth year of implementing its “Humanware” initiative, which seeks to promote student safety, support, and social and emotional development. CMSD has implemented several strategies to support systemic SEL implementation: (1) the PATHS curriculum, (2) student support teams, (3) planning centers, (4) class meetings, and (5) introduction of a scope and sequence and lesson plans for SEL.

The Cleveland SEL leadership team, which includes the active support of and collaboration with the Cleveland Teachers Union, has led continuous discussions on approaches to systemic SEL implementation, including ways to integrate the district’s SEL standards with the Common Core State Standards. Cleveland’s approach focuses on both academic achievement strategies and learning conditions for students and families.

Leaders at CMSD also focus on restorative practices, such as creating instructional planning centers to replace in-school suspension. Educators at the centers work with children who are either referred to the centers or visit them voluntarily, helping them cool down during difficult times and consider positive responses to problems. Teachers and students also use software programs that simulate challenging social situations and present possible outcomes of positive and negative responses.

About the Chief Executive Officer

Eric Gordon was appointed as chief executive officer of the CMSD in 2011. Previously he served as the district’s chief academic officer for four years. Mr. Gordon has overseen implementation of both a districtwide scope and sequence curriculum and the CMSD’s “Humanware” strategy. Prior to joining the leadership team at CMSD, he taught in the New Orleans Public Schools and the Toledo Public Schools and served as a high school principal in urban, rural and suburban school districts.

District Stats

Joined CDI: 2011

Total Student Enrollment: 43,202

  • Largest Racial/Ethnic Student Groups: Black (68.2      percent) and White (14.6 percent)
  • Economically Disadvantaged Students: 100 percent
  • Students with Limited English Proficiency: 6.1      percent
  • Students with Disabilities (Individualized      Education Programs): 22.9 percent

Total Number of Schools: 106

  • Elementary Schools: 79
  • Middle Schools: 0
  • High Schools: 27

SEL Web page:

District Website:


Denine Goolsby
Executive Director of Humanware and Social and Emotional Learning

Deidre Farmbry
Senior District Consultant

Judith Nuss
SEL Specialist