Harold Brown on Dohn History
Vice President of Community Strategies, Greater Cincinnati Foundation
How it All Started – Dohn Community High School
Around the turn of this century, public schools had zero tolerance for drugs and alcohol. Students suffering with these addictions had nowhere to go for education. In 2001, Kate Bower, a local educator, stepped in and created Dohn Community High School as an addiction recovery program for high school students.
In recovery herself, Ms. Bower experienced first-hand the power of turning a life around. Motivated deeply by her recovery, she named our school after her sponsor, Blanche Dohn. An educator herself, Ms. Dohn advocated for those suffering with issues of addiction, particularly youth. This compassion-based resilience over serious social challenges lives on in our thriving charter school, today.
Superintendent Bower secured the purchase of our Main Campus and parking lot for a nominal fee from the City of Cincinnati. Only the annex was habitable, and for the first three years, classes were held there. The Main Campus building was not in usable condition.
Financing was tight during those early years. Every six months the Board had to vote on whether or not to close the school. With grit and tenacity, and one might say, the inherent energy of what the school could become, the Board was able to secure funding to keep the doors open and renovate the first floor of the main building.
In 2007 Kenneth Furrier became Superintendent. Under his leadership, attendance grew, teachers stayed and finances stabilized. In 2009, our current Director, Ramone Davenport, came on board as Assistant Principal, and soon after, Principal.
Under Director Davenport’s unprecedented leadership, our school has grown exponentially. Student enrollment is now over 800 students, from 50 students in 2009. Teacher retention is solid; graduation rates have met or exceeded Ohio Board of Education Standards for the past eight years. The number of staff has doubled over the past two years, to almost 100 staff members in the 2017-18 school year.
We are a school that has grown from one campus to five, with over 800 students enrolled in 2017 and 302 graduates, a library, competitive sports teams, and post-secondary education, vocational training and school-to career options
A renovation was completed on the second floor of our Main Campus building during the summer of 2016. We enjoy a large cafeteria, classrooms and offices on this second floor. Director Davenport has expanded our school from one campus to five campuses, and we continue to grow in enrollment, scholarship awards, sports and school-based extracurricular activities.
Dohn Community High School and Dohn Prep Program, established 2017 for academically gifted athletes from throughout the State of Ohio, is a thriving educational community. We serve students and their families who want a strong, viable option for education that meets the needs of urban, inner-city youth. Our school-to-career focus helps each student prepare for life as adults with post-secondary education, vocational training or careers that recognize and support each student’s unique gifts for themselves, their families and our society.