CANS Plants a Tree

CANS Plants a Tree

In a meaningful conclusion to Earth Week, the Cincinnati Park Board invited CANS students to take part in a ceremonial tree planting in one of our beautiful local parks – Mt. Storm.    With little shovels in hand and rain boots on feet, our kids helped put a new little redbud into the ground.

An introduction to the new Principal of CANS!!! 💫

I am proud and excited to become the principal of the Clifton Area Neighborhood School. I am passionate about both fostering high academic achievement as well cultivating the social-emotional, artistic, and creative thinking skills instrumental for future student success within and beyond the classroom. I am elated to partner with a school community that shares my values.

I currently work for Cincinnati Public Schools in the curriculum and instruction department. My role is to strengthen classroom instructional practices through data analysis and professional development. I also support the district’s initiative to embed the systems-based Quality Improvement model at the building level. Prior to my work here with Cincinnati Public Schools, I spent four years as a building administrator in the Lakota Local School District. I was also a classroom teacher for nine years with Wyoming City Schools. I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Virginia as well as a Master of Education degree from Xavier University.

Thank you for warmly welcoming me to the CANS community. I believe we have the opportunity to build a remarkable school together. I look forward to meeting you soon and to partnering closely with you to achieve our shared vision.

James Zoller
Principal, Clifton Area Neighborhood School


CANS Principal Search

In conjunction with preparations to move into the new permanent building, CPS started the process for hiring the Principal of CANS during November 2018 by forming an Interim LSDMC (Local School Decision Making Committee) comprised of members of the following stakeholders:

  • Three CFT representatives (teachers);

  • Two non-CFT staff representatives;

  • Three parents selected by the parent organization who are not employees of CPS;

  • Three community members, who are not employees of CPS;

  • Representative from University of Cincinnati, the school’s education partner.

Here is the CPS announcement about the formation of the LSDMC.

During December, the LSDMC met to prepare a needs assessment and develop interview questions. A job posting has now been published, and you can read it here. The expectations are to complete interviews of interested candidates and recommend a final candidate to Superintendent Mitchell for hire before Spring 2019.

Clifton Area Neighborhood School serves 50+ children

As a parent of two young boys, I’m excited they’ll be attending CANS this year.  I’ve always dreamed of my children going to a local public school where they could connect with nearby families and friends from diverse backgrounds.  This personifies Clifton to me, a place where diversity and community are truly interwoven. I’ve met so many amazing Clifton area parents through the school and look forward to connecting to many more through the CANS PTO.  I’ve also met many Clifton residents that want to make certain that we have good schools, retain our residents, and are good stewards of strong values. That is my primary aim as a member of this new community group. To get involved please contact

You will soon see early signs of transformation at the old Clifton School building, CANS permanent location at 3711 Clifton Ave, becoming a place where our children can learn and play together. The school will serve up to 2 classes per grade (PreK-6), with the model of “learning through doing.”  We will be leaning on an important partnership with UC School of Education, who has been very helpful in providing extra resources and information. We are excited to be moving next door to Fairview Clifton German Language School in Fall 2019 and anticipate productive interactions among the families that attend our schools, sharing resources, facilities and events that welcome young families and wider community.

Beginning in August 2017 with two small classes at Rising Stars Academy, CANS now serves 57 children in Pre-K through First Grade.  We anticipate even more rapid growth as we move to our permanent location. Please look to enroll at  CANS families look forward to making their last year at the Rising Stars location another successful one. With our wonderful principal Mrs. Jaren Finney, and our teachers Ms. Wilder, Ms. Cromer and Ms. Fazlani and assistants, we know our kids are in good hands.

Drew Schwetschenau, President CANS PTO

CANS / Clifton Area Neighborhood School serves families in Clifton, Spring Grove Village, Clifton Heights, University Heights and Fairview

CANS / Clifton Area Neighborhood School serves families in Clifton, Spring Grove Village, Clifton Heights, University Heights and Fairview, giving our children guaranteed access to quality public education.

CANS classes are open now for Preschool and Kindergarten at our temporary location, Rising Stars Academy at 2120 Vine Street.  Migration to our permanent location in the Clifton School facility at 3711 Clifton Avenue is anticipated in 2019 after renovations.  Preschoolers (3 yrs old by 9/30/18), Kindergarteners (5 yrs old by 9/30/18) and First Graders can enroll now for the 2018-19 school year!  PreK Enrollment must be completed in person at the Early Childhood Education Office at  Rising Stars Academy, 2120 Vine Street. Kindergarten and First Grade enrollment can be fulfilled online or in person.  For help contact Michelle Senger for in-person and online enrollment support: or call (513) 363-6581.  More info at and at

Community Engagement continues for curriculum models and school facility development. CANS hosted a charette with UC DAAP Landscape Architecture students to study concepts for nature playscapes.  They presented concepts to the community on April 14 at CCAC, where 50+ attendees contributed additional ideas for development.  We’ll deliver these to CPS Facilities as they prepare for renovations.

CANS Advisory Group works with CPS top administrators to establish goals for the size of our student body and best uses of the permanent facility.  Statistical studies confirm that CANS families will always represent broad cultural and economic diversity, establishing our school’s core identity and driving our curriculum.

Partnerships are key!  University of Cincinnati DAAP UC art education teachers and students have created a special project with CANS Kindergartners; UC School of Education helps with development of our curriculum; Kindergartners learn Spanish with UC professor Andres Simon-Perez; UC Classics staff supports research of Rawson Farmhouse.  More strong partnerships will develop within CANS’ Community Learning Center, inviting interaction with all residents.

Expeditionary Learning is now our preferred curriculum model.  CPS has three schools using this approach, described as “Learning by Doing.”  Students actively participate in lessons and social/environmental service activities.  ”EL” not only develops solid academic engagement and achievement, but also critical thinking, problem-solving, independence, collaboration and leadership.

The CANS Advisory Group meets regularly during the month.  Click here to check the calendar of upcoming meetings.  Our PTO welcomes parents and CANS neighbors to establish this unique new school.  Questions are always welcome at  

Welcome to Program Manager Kelley Bagayoko

Please welcome Kelley Bagayoko, CPS Program Manager for the Clifton Area Neighborhood School. Ms. Bagayoko has served as Assistant Principal to Kilgour School and was a fellow in Ohio’s BRIGHT New Leaders for Ohio Schools.” She graduated from Tulane University and Ohio State University, has a background in law and served as Chief of Staff to Louisiana State Representative Helena Moreno. Before working in education Ms. Bagayoko worked in law and governmental affairs.

CPS Superintendent Laura Mitchell appointed Ms. Bagayoko and Assistant Superintendent Susan Bunte to guide establishment of the school. Along with our interim principal Jaren Finney at Rising Stars Academy on Vine, they will advise and support the preparation of the permanent location at former Clifton School building (3711 Clifton Avenue), the hiring of teachers, planning & executing recruitment & enrollment activities, and establishment of community partnerships. Ms. Bagayoko and Ms. Bunte are working in collaborating with the CANS Advisory Group also.  “CPS is strongly committed to the development of this neighborhood school, as we continue to add grades year by year to serve preschool through 6th grades. We’re dedicating resources and staff to grow this new educational entity in partnership with the families and communities it will serve,” said Superintendent Mitchell. “I’m looking forward to working with the families of the Clifton, CUF and Spring Grove Village communities as we continue to move forward.”

Community Engagement Visioning Report

On October 24, 2017, representatives from CTM, Cincinnati Public Schools, Cincinnati Recreation Department and CANS Advisory Group convened a public forum facilitated by Greg Otis, AIA. Over 50 residents shared ideas, building consensus towards re-establishment of school operations at Clifton School.  Key points of recommendations were:

•  The Clifton School should be updated to the latest educational standards and maintained as such.

•  Plan and design for operation of the Clifton School building should complement rather than duplicate total assets on the CPS hilltop campus at McAlpin and Clifton Avenues. CPS is a critical broker in development of relationships among Clifton Recreation Center, Fairview Clifton German Language School, and Clifton Area Neighborhood School for the benefit of the entire community.

• A central means of communication should be created to network all of these geographically-related organizations and facilities.  

• Investigate other successful educational/recreational collaborations, beginning with a visit to Mt. Washington School and Mt. Washington Recreation Center.

•  CPS and the City of Cincinnati should conduct a traffic engineering study and make appropriate changes that will ensure smooth traffic function at all times.  Explore staggered start times of CANS and FCGLS, as well as multiple drop-off and pick-up points to reduce concentration of vehicular traffic.

Read the whole story at

Ice Cream Social

This event could not have happened without a bunch of volunteers who planned and produced this event, CPS Administration for allowing the use of the facility, Cincinnati Neighborhood Games who brought various games to play, and UDF who donated the ice cream.  Below are a collection of photos from the event.  Click on the photos to get them to scroll.

A lot of information was collected from some attendees regarding their feedback on what CPS should do with the Rawson Farmhouse property.  The CANS Advisory Group continues to collect feedback, and will present it all to the public in a community meeting soon this year.