CLEVELAND -- The state of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District is grim, with many of the schools in academic emergency.
It means a school isn't meeting reading, math and science standards. But teachers and school leaders are determined that label doesn't become a life sentence.
"Michael R. White (school) is like home to me," says Principal Dessie Sanders.
She is in her eighth year as principal. In one word, she can describe all 346 students -- energetic.
But in one year, the Michael R. White school was defined as failing.
"Last year, we were in academic emergency... It was a shocker for me. So, I had to go through, wow, I'm in academic emergency and had to go back and say, what can we do to change this?"
Principal Sanders says her school took on students when others in CMSD had to close. New students presented new challenges. And moving forward is sometimes difficult.
"We go sometimes without teachers," says Sanders.
She says if they lose an eighth grade teacher, sometimes they have to replace her with a kindergarten teacher.
Resources are also scarce.
"There's a lot more resources out there, including technology, and we're a little bit behind but we're still keeping up," says teacher Princess Lane.
This school is like many others around the district. It has its heartbreaks and it has its success stories.
"As a parent, I want what everybody else wants for their kids and that's the best education," says Sanders.
If the school can show "added value," meaning academic growth, they can avoid another year of academic emergency.