Volunteer program supports families enrolled in special education

Volunteer program supports families enrolled in special education

Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood and Cleveland Transformation Alliance are providing free training for people interested in volunteering to help Central neighborhood parents and families navigate the special education process. Provided by the Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities (OCECD) the volunteer training will consist of four sessions and volunteers that complete the training will be designated as education partners.

The paperwork, jargon and overall process of having a student enrolled in special education can be overwhelming for many families. That’s why it’s essential for families and schools to work together to help special education students succeed. The volunteer education partners will act as a support system for Central families that may not be aware of their role in the special education process and the responsibilities of schools.

Volunteer education partners will support families as they navigate the special education process.
Volunteer education partners will support families as they navigate the special education process.

Research shows that parent involvement in education can predict a child’s academic success. The benefits of parent involvement increase dramatically if a student has learning differences or is on an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP).Volunteer education partners will assist families with preparation for IEP meetings and may even attend IEP meetings or parent-teacher conferences with families to provide support. By partnering families with education partners, Promise Neighborhood and Cleveland Transformation Alliance hope to increase the involvement of parents’ involvement in children’s education, to strengthen relationships between school educators and families and increase understanding and awareness of roles and responsibilities throughout the educational journey.

OCECD training sessions with inform volunteer education partners on topics such as:

  • Understanding and writing the Individualized Educational Plan – Tuesday, Oct. 24, 12:30 – 2:30 p.m.
  • Section 504 – Rehabilitation Act of 1973 which prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities – Thursday, Oct. 26, 1 – 3 p.m.
  • Parent/Professional communication – Thursday, Nov. 16, 1 – 3 p.m.
  • Parent’s rights in the special education process – Tuesday, Nov. 21, 12:30 – 3 p.m.

All trainings will be held at the Sisters of Charity Health System, 2475 East 22nd Street, 6th Floor, Cleveland, Ohio 44115.

If you are interested in attending the OCECD trainings and becoming a volunteer education partner, click on this link to complete registration: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/QHBFRT8.

If you have questions or would like to learn more, please contact Richaun Bunton, Promise Neighborhood education performance manager, at rbunton@socfcleveland.org.

What to expect at CMSD parent-teacher conferences

What to expect at CMSD parent-teacher conferences

Cleveland Metropolitan School District parent-teacher conferences for the 2017-2018 school year are on Wednesday, Oct. 25  for K-8 schools and Thursday, Oct. 26 for high schools. Parent-teacher conferences are a great way to start talking to your child’s teachers. When parents and teachers talk to each other, each person can share important information about your child’s talents and needs. Each of you can also learn something new about how to help your child succeed.

Cleveland Metropolitan School District offers some information on what to expect at parent-teacher conferences:

A two-way conversation. These meetings are best when both people talk and listen. This is a time for parents to learn about your child’s progress in school:PromiseNeighborhood12

  • Ask to see data about your child’s attendance, grades and test scores.
  • Find out whether your child is meeting school expectations and academic standards.
  • Talk with your child’s teacher about what your child is like at home.
  • Share information about your child’s skills, interests, needs and dreams so that you and the teacher can work together to help your child.

Emphasis on learning. Good conferences will focus on how well your child is doing in school. They also talk about how your child can do even better. To get ready for the conversation:

  • Look over your child’s homework, tests and notices.
  • Bring a list of questions to ask the teacher.

Opportunities and challenges. Teachers want your child to succeed. It is important to hear positive feedback about your child’s progress and also about areas for improvement.

  • Think about your child’s strengths and challenges before the conference.
  • Be ready to ask questions about ways you and the teacher can help your child with some of his or her challenges.

Cleveland Metropolitan School District parent-teacher conference guide for parents offers a checklist on how to prepare for the meeting and a guide on topics to discuss. Get the guide here. Make sure you attend parent-teacher conferences on on Wednesday, Oct. 25 (K-8) or Thursday, Oct. 26 (high school).

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown visits Friendly Inn

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown visits Friendly Inn

On Monday, Oct. 9, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) hosted a legislative update at Friendly Inn Settlement for the Central-Kinsman community. During the event, Senator Brown moderated a panel discussion with community stakeholders from the Central and Kinsman communities.

“We are facing awful budget cuts and the message is always that it will trickle down and create jobs. Well, it never trickles down to Central,” Brown said.

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown hosts a legislative update at Friendly Inn.
U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown hosts a legislative update at Friendly Inn.

Central resident and community leader Dwayne Browder coordinated the discussion with the goal of giving residents and members of disadvantaged communities a platform to voice their concerns.

“I want all of us to step up and get the message out about what is going on in our community and how federal budget cuts are going to impact our lives,” Browder said.

Panel participants Jeffery K. Patterson, Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority Chief Executive Officer, Councilwoman Phyllis E. Cleveland, Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood director Lowell Perry Jr., Promise Neighborhood engagement manager Joe Black, Promise Ambassador Delores Gray and others spoke with Senator Brown about a number of issues impacting the quality of life in Central.

“We are now faced with the decision to provide safe and affordable places for people to live or early learning and youth enrichment programs because we can’t do both. At the end of the day we want everything to be done and shouldn’t have to make choices,” Patterson said of how the federal budget cuts will impact CMHA.

In addition to housing, the panel was able to speak with Senator Brown about healthcare, education, job creation and criminal justice reform.

“We keep asking people to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, but forget that we first need to make sure people have boots,” Black said.

Keeping the promise of “residents lead the change”

Keeping the promise of “residents lead the change”

Lowell Perry Jr., director, Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood 

When the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland agreed to be the lead convener of the Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood nearly eight years ago, a central theme of “residents lead the change” resonated among all of our partners. The motto “residents lead the change” is a crucial component of long term transformation in the community because we need to embark on our work with residents not just for them. The most visible evidence of this intention is the individuals who have stepped forward to become Promise Ambassadors. Promise Ambassadors are resident leaders who have gone through formal leadership training to become engaged advocates for the Promise Neighborhood mission in order to ensure that more young people are positioned to move successfully through the cradle to career pipeline.

Now that more than 60 people have undergone Promise Ambassador training the question becomes – what’s next? Additionally, is the current state of resident engagement adequate? When we asked this question of our Promise Ambassadors, the input we received is that residents want to do more than canvass homes, hang flyers on doors, and speak out at advisory council meetings. They want to be involved in the work of Promise Neighborhood and it’s partners from concept to execution.

Using this feedback, Promise Neighborhood is undergoing a process to ensure our work internally, and our  collective work with partner organizations, is more intentional in having residents involved from throughout the entire process of our business. We have made strides in engaging residents in the process through the Promise Ambassador program, but the next phase must involve an evolution in the way all stakeholders (residents, organizations, and conveners like the Promise team) think about what “residents lead the change” means.

We believe the evidence-based approach of Polarity Thinking provides a sound vehicle to help achieve that mind shift.  This idea is characterized by a “both/and” instead of an “either/or” approach when partners in a project may have what on the surface appears to be opposing ways to get to the same result. In reality, both are valid and contribute in their own way in a synergistic fashion.

The Promise design team which included resident participants, have been working with the Enlightenment team over the past couple of months to develop the initial introductory polarity assessment tool to baseline where we are currently in the journey to the goal of a true resident centered culture. It will be a tool that can be used going forward to gauge whether residents are indeed leading the change, and consequently change the way we do business as an initiative.

The integration piece is the next level of the Promise Ambassador journey. Integration includes working with organizational stakeholders to involve Promise Ambassadors on committees, boards, taskforces, etc. The overarching goal is that by participating in the work of our partner organizations, Promise Ambassadors will organically become subject matter experts in areas that interest them. This effort will hopefully lead to internships, long-term employment and greater access and ability for Promise Ambassadors to build their professional networks.

We are excited for this next path on our journey to ensure “residents lead the change” and hope that you will join us.