The 2019-2020 school year was a year unlike any before, unlike anything we expected.

But through the determination of our students and families, the ingenuity of our teachers and staff, and the support of our volunteers and donors, we found ways to persevere, adapt and most of all, STAY CONNECTED.

Welcome to the Intergenerational Schools 2019-2020 Annual Report

Dear Friends,

The 2019 – 2020 school year was one for the history books. When we entered the buildings in the fall, we never would have imagined ending the school year learning remotely. The pivot from in-person learning to remote learning was challenging, but our community of Lifelong Learners rallied together to rise to the occasion!

At the core of the Intergenerational Schools’ remote learning plan were centering relationships and recommitting to Lifelong Learning. We took this as an opportunity to dig into our roots as an innovative community-centered learning institution. We were determined to continue delivering high-quality education despite the unprecedented circumstances. The response from our teachers, administrators, and staff was swift and strong. A few of our accomplishments include:

  • Connecting with 98% of our students by the end of the first week of remote learning
  • Providing 53 hot spot devices with wireless internet service to any student who expressed a need
  • Providing 395 Chromebooks to any student who expressed a need
  • Engaging 250 students in summer school and leveraging our social media channels to provide weekly Storytime, Art Lessons, and Yoga classes to everyone.

This year’s Annual Report lifts the stories of our families, teachers, students, and volunteer Learning Partners. Innovative Intergenerational Learning took student writing out of the classroom and into an audiobook recording project, complete with music composed and performed by a student. Specials Teachers kept students' bodies moving and creativity flowing, all while keeping families connected to the school community throughout quarantine. And missing the quality education, engagement, and support provided by the Intergenerational schools, the Floyd family returned to Lakeshore this Fall.

school is where students learn

All of these experiences contributed to the development of our 2020 – 2021 Boundless Learning Reopening Plan. We are saddened to not begin the school year in the buildings with our students, but we also know school is where students learn. Our job as educators is to be the conduit by which students receive instruction, no matter where or how they are connecting. These are new waters for all us, but the opportunity to meet the needs of our families by delivering a high-quality education in a remote environment is invigorating. We look forward to the innovation and new partnerships formed during this year of Boundless Learning!


Brooke King, Executive Director, Intergenerational Schools

Stories from Our Schools


Honor Floyd has always been an eager learner. Her mother Dennia noticed signs of kindergarten readiness when Honor was four, but her home school district had a firm policy on kindergarten age cut-offs. So when Lakeshore Intergenerational School assessed Honor’s skills and welcomed her into kindergarten early, the family was thrilled.

Sure, Lakeshore was a bit out of the way compared with their district school in Richmond Heights, and the weeklong fall break that October of Honor’s kindergarten year posed a childcare challenge, but Honor thrived in her new school.

“We love the closeness—it felt like a family, like a community,” Dennia said. “One of the things we loved about Lakeshore is they meet the students where they are.”

At the end of the school year, Dennia and her partner spoke with Honor about what to do for her first grade year, beginning Fall 2019. They decided to give their nearby district elementary school a try.

While Honor quickly made friends and was enjoying her new school overall, she progressed quickly through first-grade lessons and was feeling unchallenged. When Dennia approached Honor’s teacher to request enrichment opportunities, she was met with a tepid response. In February, Dennia reached out to Lakeshore to see if there was space to return, but ultimately decided it would be too disruptive for Honor to move back in the middle of the school year.

At the same time, Dennia was receiving email updates from Lakeshore. These updates became a stark point of contrast between the two schools when the coronavirus pandemic shut schools down in mid-March.

“We didn’t get Chromebooks or hotspots. Everything was on paper… We had no interactions with teacher besides receiving assignments and prerecorded videos. There was no actual interaction at all with her teacher or classmates,” Dennia said. “We were really frustrated, and on top of that, getting these emails from Lakeshore, ‘Oh, we have Chromebooks, and everybody gets a hotspot, and the students get to meet with their teachers every day!”

Seeing how the Intergenerational Schools responded to the school shutdown affirmed the Floyd family’s decision to go back to Lakeshore for the next school year.

Once the school year ended, Dennia reached back out to get Honor re-enrolled at Lakeshore.  “The attention, the care, the community that overall Lakeshore encompasses and provides to their students and parents, we found that to be unmatched. So we got her signed back up!”

Wwhile the end of Honor’s first-grade year was a challenge for the entire family, Dennia is optimistic about the future.

“This has been a learning experience for everyone, and we’ve really been able to unite as a family,” she said.

“It reunites the unity of community, between school and home, and parents and teachers and students, and really making that work. We’re all in this together,” Dennia said. “Everybody’s experiencing the same thing. We’re making it work, finding a way to push forward in a positive light.”

“We have found a really great place in the Intergenerational Schools. Lakeshore Intergenerational School has really been great to us. Even with us coming back, we felt very welcome. ‘We are so excited to have you back! We really missed Honor.’ It’s hugely important to really be in a place that makes you feel like… home.”

And now that the lines between school and home have blurred, Dennia is glad that Honor and the entire family feel so much at home at Lakeshore.

“We love the closeness—it felt like a family, like a community,” Dennia said. “One of the things we loved about Lakeshore is they meet the students where they are.”

When school shut down statewide in March, schools across Ohio were forced to adapt. For Dennia Floyd and her daughter Honor, Lakeshore's response highlighted what makes the Intergens such a welcoming and special place for our students.

The Characters We Root For:
The Boscars at Near West

Out of Hand in the Best Way

Near West teacher Sarah Tribuzzo knows that sometimes an adult’s role in transformative learning is getting out of the way of a good idea.

So when her Applying Stage English-Language Arts students proposed wrapping up their fiction-writing unit with an awards ceremony, she stepped into the facilitator role and encouraged her class to take the lead on what would go down in Near West history as the first-ever Boscars—that is, of course, the Oscars for books.

After two months of lessons around character, dialogue, setting and other key components of fiction writing, along with intensive personalized instruction and coaching through revisions, Ms. Tribuzzo’s 16      students each had a story they were proud to submit for judging for the Boscars.

While Education Director Molly Toussant organized a panel of guest judges, Ms. Tribuzzo’s class divided themselves into committees to choreograph everything from musical accompaniment, stage management and photography to organizing a decadent spread and “Meet the Author” after party.

Student emcees took turns announcing the winners of each category – categories that included, “Shine a Light” for stories featuring social justice issues, “Best Disaster Story,” “Best Drama,” “All the Feels,” and “Most Un-Put-Downable.”

“I was almost reluctant to let this happen because I didn’t want to discourage the kids who wouldn’t win a Boscar—they had all worked so hard and all their stories were amazing,” Ms. Tribuzzo said. “But they were adamant, and at the end, because everyone came together to make the event happen, they all seemed really proud and gratified of the entire project. It was about so much more than just the awards.”

“The most remarkable thing was how invested they got in it,” Ms. Tribuzzo continued. “When you’ve worked hard on something, you know, we all know that feeling. They got to experience writing their story and being proud of it, but also having a lot of freedom and choice in this idea that got out of hand in the best way.”

“When you’ve worked hard on something, you know, we all know that feeling. They got to experience writing their story and being proud of it, but also having a lot of freedom and choice in this idea that got out of hand in the best way.”

The Characters We Root For

Ms. Tribuzzo’ students worked tirelessly with her to create characters that readers would want to root for—“round” characters rather than flat, with quirks, personalities and relationships that matter.

And in the end, they succeeded.

Ms. Tribuzzo was moved to tears by a few characters, and months after he sat on the judging panel, Friends of the Intergenerational Schools board member Kelly Lytle couldn’t stop thinking about the stories he had read.

He proposed the idea of putting his professional experience and connections to work to elevate the Boscars stories even further, by transforming the ten winning stories into an audiobook. Mr. Lytle had previously worked as a producer for a major audiobook production company, convinced his colleagues to volunteer as narrators, audio mixers and musicians to make the idea a reality.

“The kids freaked out. They were so excited,” said Ms. Tribuzzo, who had been sharing all the positive feedback she had been getting about the project with the class. The winner of Best Disaster Story proposed that Mariah Carey should narrate his story. Niko Antolik, whose grandmother taught him how to play piano beginning when he was six years old, mused that he could compose the musical introduction.

Mariah Carey doesn’t typically narrate audiobooks, but Kelly and the team did engage Niko to compose a melody for the audiobook, taking his inspiration from Debussy’s Children’s Corner, which evokes a wide array of moods, just as the Boscars collection does.

Mr. Lytle isn’t just a board member for Friends of the Intergenerational Schools. As a volunteer Learning Partner, he had spent the 2019-2020 school year meeting once a week with students to discuss readings and learn from one another. Getting to know Ms. Tribuzzo’s students through their stories, Mr. Lytle found himself rooting for them just as he rooted for the characters they created.

“It deepened so many relationships, that unit. So many of those stories were way deeper than they even grasped. They revealed so much of themselves in their stories,” Ms. Tribuzzo said. “It’s hard to put into words as a teacher. It’s just so cool and so special.”

Ms. Tribuzzo's Applying Stage English and Language Arts class spent two months writing, rewriting and perfecting a work of fiction. But this was only the beginning of their creative endeavors, and a volunteer is helping bring their stories to a wider audience.

The Art of Conversation:
A Connected Summer

As The Intergenerational School’s art teacher, Mrs. Lowery uses art instruction to connect students to history, to their community and to their own creativity. When schools abruptly shut down in March, Mrs. Lowery used art—and the art of conversation—to maintain and strengthen the connections that became more important than ever for our extended school family.

In addition to adapting art class to virtual class, using more readily available at-home supplies and recorded lessons to supplement live virtual class, Mrs. Lowery took on a new role.

“The specials teachers and our other support staff—LLI teachers and paraprofessionals—took on the role of communicating with families,” Mrs. Lowery explained. Each one adopted a homeroom class of TIS-East families and committed to checking in with them by phone every week to see how they were faring, provide updates and answer any questions they had.

“We wanted to show them we value their education, make sure we’re still providing education where they can be successful, even if it’s virtually,” Mrs. Lowery explained.

“I think the things that our administration did prior to the pandemic to set up these communication lines with families really helped us in a time of emergency, so that it wasn’t bizarre for a parent to get a phone call, text, email because of the work we had done previously.”

As the 2019-2020 school year drew to a close, Mrs. Lowery knew she wanted to maintain the connections she and her fellow specials teachers had worked so hard to hone throughout the spring, as well as to find a way to help families cope as the pandemic continued.

So Mrs. Lowery and Miss Connie, TIS-East’s yoga instructor, spearheaded Wellness Wednesdays—themed, recorded video art and yoga classes throughout the summer that students and families could participate in each week. They posted these videos to Facebook and invited families to share their creations.

“We’re in the middle of a pandemic,” Mrs. Lowery said. “Anxiety is high. One of the things that’s important for all of us is to maintain our wellness—mentally, physically and emotionally. Yoga and art seemed to really help.”

On their own or alongside their siblings, parents and grandparents, TIS-East students had the opportunity to work through their feelings, express themselves and try new things through Wellness Wednesdays.

Through these concerted efforts at building and maintaining connections, Mrs. Lowery has found a few silver linings during this difficult time. She noticed that some of her most reserved students found their voices and thrived in recorded art presentations; she feels closer than ever to the families that she has been calling each week; and she knows she has the confidence and ability to adapt to even the most unexpected challenges—and so do her students.

"If I had to pinpoint one favorite moment from this, it's seeing students get to do art with their parents," Mrs. Lowery said. "When we go back to school in person and when we’re able to open up more, I would love to be able to have parents and families come in and make art with us, because it has been awesome to be able to see students making art with older and younger siblings, with their parents and grandparents."

"If I had to pinpoint one favorite moment from this, it's seeing students get to do art with their parents," Mrs. Lowery said. "When we go back to school in person and when we’re able to open up more, I would love to be able to have parents and families come in and make art with us, because it has been awesome to be able to see students making art with older and younger siblings, with their parents and grandparents."

Art is one way for our families to stay connected virtually, but Mrs. Lowery didn't stop with just online classes. She and her fellow "specials" teachers made it their mission to keep in touch with every Intergens family every week during the spring shutdown.

Pandemic Pivot

In what felt like an instant, the nature of school completely changed.

Our families rely on the Intergens not just for personalized, adaptive education, but also for a safe place for children to spend the day, a connection to resources like free and reduced lunches, and the sense of community so central to our mission.

We knew that maintaining instruction was just the tip of the iceberg for staying connected to our families.

Our Pandemic Pivot - A Timeline

March 12, 2020

Governor Mike DeWine orders all schools in Ohio closed for an extended three-week spring break.

March 13, 2020

The Intergens close to prepare packets of supplies and educational activities.

March 16, 2020

The packets are distributed to families.

March 31, 2020

Intergens Board of Directors approve the Distance Learning Education Plan.

April 2, 2020

 Chromebooks are distributed to students in need of a device.

April 6, 2020

First Day of Distance Learning. Reached 98% of students by the end of the week.

April 17, 2020

Intergens Executive Director Brooke King hosts "Break with Brooke" to update families on Facebook Live.

April 27, 2020

Our schools celebrated a virtual spirit week.

May 22, 2020

Last day of the 2019-2020 school year.

May 23, 2020

Socially distant celebration for our TK# eighth-grade graduates.


Live Check-Ins

Daily Live Check-Ins

Each day, classes met on Zoom for live check-ins. Friends got to greet each other, teachers were able to see how students were doing, and everyone was able to stay connected.

digital access

Digital Access

Ensuring Digital Access

395 Chromebooks and 53 Hotspots with WiFi service we distributed to any student who expressed a need.


Special Connections

Art, Yoga and Phys. Ed.

Our specials teachers continued to provide art instruction, yoga practice, music class and physical education and took on the added responsibility of calling our families each day.


Staying Social

Staying Social

Intergens teachers and friends organized Spirit Week, storytime, a scavenger hunt and many other ways to stay engaged throughout the spring and summer.

2019-2020 By the Numbers

Volunteer hours

Subjects taught by licensed teachers


Third graders who met 3rd Grade Reading Guarantee requirements for promotion to 4th grade

Student-teacher ratio

Our students come from:

Community% of Students
Cleveland Heights5%
Garfield Heights3%
Richmond Heights2%
East Cleveland2%
South Euclid1%
University Heights1%
Maple Heights1%
North Olmsted1%

Enrollment for the 2019-2020 school year

Community% of Students
Near West254

Supporting Our Schools

We're doing more with (even) less.

The Intergenerational Schools receive 28% less per-student funding than the average Ohio public school district. By running a lean operation, the Intergens are able to keep the average per-student spend at $10,500. This is 10% less than the average Ohio public school district. However, we are still left with a $500,000 funding gap—that’s about $700 per student.

The Governor announced FY20 State Budget cuts in June, including $300 million in K-12 education funding.  Ohio charter schools received an $89/FTE reduction for Fiscal Year 2020. In total, the cut reduced the schools' FY20 state funding by $65,771 (TIS-$21,924, NWIS-$23,077, LIS-$20,770).

Per-student tax revenue and spending

Avg. Ohio public district

Tax Revenue

The Intergens

Tax Revenue
per student

Your support fills the gap.

Friends of the Intergenerational Schools is a 501c(3) nonprofit organization positioned to raise funds on behalf of the Intergens to close this funding gap. Over the course of the 2019-2020 school year, Friends of the Intergenerational Schools disbursed $418,000 to our schools to support instruction, innovation and connection.

Help us transform public school education by making your gift to the Annual Fund at

Download the Report