As Superintendent of Dohn Community High School in his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, Ramone Davenport provides a value-driven education for at-risk youth.
“Often our students are those that society has given up on and we provide them with a second chance academically,” Mr. Davenport explains. “We offer a mix of on-line and face-to-face instruction in order to meet our students’ varied learning needs, family situations, and life responsibilities. When the COVID-19 crisis hit, we were able to move to fully online instruction literally overnight.”
“The most challenging part of being fully online has been meeting students’ technology and internet access needs,” he noted. “But our teachers have been inspiring throughout the process and we have been able to keep everyone learning. We were able to loan out a number of devices, and our instructors are leading rigorous, live classes online to keep our students on track, while at the same time using hard copy alternatives for students without internet service.”
As the end of the school year neared, Mr. Davenport turned his focus on the graduating seniors. “Many of our students are the first in their families to earn a high school diploma, and their graduation ceremony is a long-awaited dream. I was determined that COVID-19 would not prevent them from celebrating this moment with their families.”
“Since they can’t come to us for graduation, I’m taking graduation to them.” Mr. Davenport is personally delivering diplomas to each of his 250 graduating seniors at their homes, following social distancing guidelines while making remarks about each student and then handing them their diplomas with an extension tool.
His creative solution has caught the attention of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Good Morning America, and ABC Nightline. “I never imagined that we would draw media attention,” Mr. Davenport recalls, “I just knew that I needed to find a way to reward our seniors with the diplomas they have worked so hard to earn.”
Mr. Davenport’s Muskingum education shaped how he mentors his students to success through positive action, responsibility, and respect. “Muskingum was where I grew up to be a man and where I learned to work together with people of diverse backgrounds. As a four-year varsity student-athlete in both football and baseball, I knew that my coaches were always there for me and always guiding me.”
Since 2009, Mr. Davenport has grown The Dohn Community High School from one location with 50 students to seven locations with more than 800 students meeting or exceeding Ohio Board of Education charter school standards. More than 98% of Dohn students live at or near the poverty line. He has received many recognitions for his work, including a 2019 Muskingum Distinguished Alumni Award.