Near West Intergenerational School
- Molly Toussant
- Hours of Operation
- School Type
- Operated By
- The Intergenerational Schools
- Sponsored By
Near West Intergenerational School (NWIS) was founded in 2010 by neighborhood families and residents who were interested in replicating the success of the founding Intergenerational School. The school has since grown to an enrollment of 240 students in grades K-8 and is located in the Kentucky Elementary School building.
In 2017, Near West Intergenerational School along with The Intergenerational School and Lakeshore Intergenerational School formed a new network of high performing schools serving the children of Cleveland and surrounding suburbs
School Mission: Near West Intergenerational School connects, creates and guides a multigenerational community of lifelong learners and spirited citizens.
Our School Values: Personal integrity, work ethic, choice and accountability, celebration of diversity, interpersonal skills, shared and responsible use of resources, and honoring the interconnected web of life and time.
The NWIS mission is the center for all that takes places within our school.
Within our school environment, NWIS wishes to create a true community of individuals that transcends traditional age barriers. This community is organized around the central activity of learning. The community includes children, faculty and staff, family members, community volunteers, and collaborating community organizations.
NWIS welcomes learners of all ages to participate together in the learning life of the school. Our students learn in multi-age classrooms, where older students serve as role models and can assist younger students. Younger students can see what their own learning can and will become. The full life span is represented at NWIS well beyond the traditional elementary school community of students, staff, and parents. NWIS brings together learners and teachers of all ages.
NWIS strives to develop in its students the inclination for lifelong learning and the tools to be an effective lifelong learner as well has helping our students and community members find joyfulness in their learning. It is our greatest expectation that our students will acquire the knowledge, skills, and habits to be effective and empowered members of their community.
Students learn by participating in a student-centered, experiential learning environment. NWIS provides rich and holistic learning experiences so that students can know themselves as learners and can make effective decisions about their own learning. NWIS adopts a process-oriented approach to learning, but balances that with the goal to develop in students certain specific skills that are needed for educational and life success
What Sets Us Apart
The educational philosophy of the school is grounded in two main beliefs:
- Learning is a life-long developmental process
- Knowledge is socially constructed in the context of culture, experience, and community
NWIS believes that all individuals are capable learners. Each individual brings a unique blend of talent, interest, experience, and cultural heritage to the learning situation. Learning takes place best in an environment where such differences are valued and respected. Individuals in such an environment work together to investigate topics and questions that are personally meaningful and important.
NWIS does not look or feel like a traditional elementary school, it is unique and innovative. Instead of learning in traditional graded classrooms, NWIS classrooms are organized by developmental learning levels. As a non-graded, developmental school, benchmarks are based on academic developmental stages that have only approximate correspondence to age/grade.
The stages used are:
- Primary Cluster (Ohio’s K-2 curriculum is taught)
- Developing Stage: (Ohio’s 3-4 curriculum is taught)
- Refining Stage: (Ohio’s 5-6 curriculum is taught)
- Applying Stage: (Ohio’s 7-8 curriculum is taught)
Within our classrooms you will find:
- Non-graded, multi-age groupings
- Individualized learning and instruction
- Mentoring/apprenticeship model
- Real-world experiential learning/ Interdisciplinary approach/ Inquiry-generated and project- based learning
- Collaborative curriculum planning
- Authentic and normative assessment
Highlight Academic Offerings
- Small class sizes
- Looping with teacher between 2-3 years
- Robust collaboration with the local community
- Multi-age classrooms
- Graduates move on to top area high schools
Student Engagement and Activities
- Pre-School and After Care on site through Mi Casita Daycare
- Sports through Near West Rec
- Music programming and after school lessons through The Cleveland Music Settlement
- After school homework help provided by classroom teachers
- Multiple after school art class opportunities
- Garden Club at Kentucky Community Garden through volunteers of the Kentucky Community Garden
- Drama Club in partnership with Talespinner Children’s Theater. Students perform each spring on the Talespinner Children’s Theater stage.
Parent and Community Envolvement
- Monthly evening and daytime Family Group meetings
- Monthly Life Long Learning Series sessions as part of Family Group meetings
- Monthly Community Meeting for all students, families, and community friends the last Friday of every month
- Free legal help through Legal Aid Society with on-site office hours
- Monthly school potlucks or other events to build community among families
Student Resources and Services
- Title I, Special Education Interventions
- In-school counseling
- Free breakfast and lunch for all students through the National School Lunch Program
- Weekly Reading and Math Mentors for students K-8
- All teachers are highly qualified in their area of instruction
- NWIS complies with the ORC in regards to building and student safety.
- We submit an annual emergency operations plan each July to the state and then conduct monthly fire drills, quarterly security drills, and, during season, monthly tornado drills to both comply with the law and best prepare our staff.
- All staff receive tabletop training on fire and security drills at beginning of year to discuss theoretical responses to possible crises.
- NWIS also trains all staff on child abuse, human trafficking, youth suicide, and school violence at time of hire.
- We have automatically locking doors and have increased the camera load each year to better account for what happens in and around our building.
- While NWIS does rent from CMSD, we are always vigilant and expedite building maintenance repairs as possible.
Each classroom of students has an ongoing relationship with a neighboring eldercare facility. Students visit nursing home partners monthly to build community and intergenerational friendship.
Intergenerational reading buddies bring older and younger readers together on a biweekly basis.
Last year senior cluster students embarked on a historical study of the people of the Ohio City neighborhood, with support from volunteers at Monroe Street Cemetary, The Irish Bend Project, and The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum.
RTA Tickets – Families need to live at least 1.75 miles from the school to receive yellow bus transportation. Cleveland residents that don’t choose bus/RTA tickets, may receive a modest transportation stipend from CMSD.