Dr. Lee Buddy Jr. is a long-time friend of the Learning Counsel, and as the new Chief Engagement Officer at the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Dr. Buddy is rocking Cleveland MSD’s 40,000 students and their families with a more immersive education experience.

According to Buddy, “One thing that we continue to talk about is just active engagement from our parents, so that they are empowered to help their scholars be successful in the classroom. We've done more parent universities because scholars and families did not have Internet or devices in their homes. Just being able to teach our families, how do you use your device? How do you log on to Schoology? How do you log on to see what assignments are due? And then, if any of our families need support or assistance with helping their child complete those assignments, we have some additional support pieces, like a family support specialist that we now have in our buildings.”

When it comes to student engagement, CMSD isn’t stingy on the fun. Elementary students have a kennel around the corner from their building. Once a month, the third-grade scholars go down to the Kennel and they read to the puppies there. “I just can't even explain to you how excited the puppies are to see the scholars when they come read to them,” says Buddy. “Just a really cool activity that the students have to sign up for. It's a reading club. Once a month, they go down to this local kennel to read.”

The district is serious about engagement in its post-pandemic mission, and placed Buddy over nine separate departments, all in an effort to inspire learning with more arts, music, afterschool activities, project-based learning, technology and planning for future careers.

It’s a mindset that is bursting with opportunity. And Buddy seems custom-made to sit at the engagement helm. Be sure to click on the video; the ideas come fast, and you’ll want to take note as they do. It’s rife with everything your district needs to rock your own post-pandemic learning party.