Trauma training resumes for Promise educators

Trauma training resumes for Promise educators

traumatrainingfeb2019This month, educators at Alfred A. Benesch School resumed their trauma training with support from Promise and FrontLine Services. Trauma training focuses on increasing knowledge and skills for educators to maintain a resilient classroom, which offers the time and space for those affected by trauma to heal and develop new ways to respond to negative thoughts and feelings.

Kim Kiley, therapist and trauma-informed care educator with FrontLine Services, provided a better understanding on how the brain of a child who has experienced trauma responds in stressful or uncomfortable events. Together, the group discussed how those responses can present in a classroom setting.

Kim shared a video that demonstrated an example of what happens when we “flip our lid,” and practices teachers can encourage students to engage in to center themselves. Teachers left with activities that they could use throughout the school day to strengthen the resiliency of students and themselves as educators as well. Sessions will continue later this month, and teacher resiliency training will kick off in the spring.

Legendary Cleveland news anchor reads to Central students

Legendary Cleveland news anchor reads to Central students

See the full story and video at


Leon Bibb tells a fun tale in visit to school book nook

WKYC’s Leon Bibb treats a class of kindergarteners to a fun rendition of “Llama Llama Holiday Drama”

Cleveland teacher Shelby Kammer has a burning desire to instill a love of reading in her kindergarteners.

Earlier this year WKYC fulfilled her wish to establish a cozy reading corner inside her classroom at George Washington Carver School on Cleveland’s East Side. WKYC donated the new rug and bean bag chairs that Kammer  requested on the Donors Choose website.

And on Tuesday we tossed in an extra present, just in time for the holidays.

We sent WKYC special correspondent Leon Bibb over to Kammer’s classroom, where he took a seat in the rocking chair and delivered a spirited reading of “Llama Llama Holiday Drama,” to the children’s delight.

Ever the storyteller, Bibb captivated the kids by reading in singsong rhythm and prompted them to talk about the meaning of the story. Don’t get caught up in the holiday rush, he cautioned them — but take time to enjoy just being home with your family.

The visit was spurred by a heartfelt letter that Kammer wrote recently. “When receiving several large boxes at our door, my students were extremelyIMG_20181218_130807 eager and excited to find out what was inside,” her letter to WKYC began. 

Her students, Kammer wrote, “have loved getting to use these bean bags in our reading corner to get cozy with a new book. They have also loved using this rug to check their alphabet matching or work on their iPads. These products have given so much to my students and to my classroom. We are all eternally grateful.”

WKYC donated the items to support the station’s #PromiseReads collaboration with the Sisters of Charity Foundation, which promotes family literacy in the Central neighborhood.  

After reading two stories in the rocking chair, Bibb handed out cookies to the class. He also encouraged the students to read at least two books at home during the holiday break, and gave away a box of books provided by the Cleveland Kids’ Book Bank. 

New Promise partner helps students transition to high school

New Promise partner helps students transition to high school

In its years of work in the Central community, Promise recognizes that the process of choosing a high school starts in middle school. Unfortunately, many of Promise’s families report that students currently transitioning from middle to high school have access to few resources to motivate them around personal interests and high school choice. To help students better understand their options for high school and recognize what makes a good fit, Promise is working with College Now Greater Cleveland to install a full-time high school transition advisor in Central middle schools.

Funded with generous support from the Reuter Foundation, Promise and College Now welcomed RaShawn Carter to the team in September. His work is modeled on College Now’s district-wide framework of placing college transition counselors in all Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) high schools.RaShawn_Carter

The goal of the program is to work with middle school students and families to understand key milestones of high school, college and career readiness while ensuring that youth are informed and prepared to enroll at a high school aligned with their interests.

As a district focused on school choice, CMSD has created a variety of high school models so students can find the ones that will help them reach their goals. Students can attend any high school they wish if space is available and, in a few cases, they meet admissions requirements.

Since October, Carter has worked with more than 50 students in seventh and eighth grades at three Central schools: George Washington Carver, Alfred A. Benesch and Marion Sterling. He focuses on building relationships, assessing each child’s interests and supporting the Tru2U mentoring program.

Earlier this fall, Carter administered Naviance career exploration assessments for the students to better gauge their strengths and talents. In the Central neighborhood, the top three strengths were most prevalent:
• Competing – Students enjoy measuring their performance against that of others and have a great desire to win
• Confidence – Students believe in themselves and their ability to be successful in their endeavors
• Future thinking – Students tend to think about what’s possible beyond the present time, even beyond their lifetime

“It has been inspiring to watch other classes look up to the older students and genuinely want to engage in their activities,” Carter said. “I have noticed students take initiative and engage in learning about their future.”

Carter said he will use the strength and personality information to help customize his one-on-one work to help students find appropriate college and career pathways. Before college and career, however, Carter is making sure that high school graduation is a reality for all of Central’s students.

In December, Carter coordinated a student panel discussion: “High School: What I Wish I Knew,” where seventh and eighth-graders could hear from current Central high schoolers about their experiences.

“With numerous tools and programs geared toward easing the transition process, it has become imperative for students and their families to get additional help just to navigate what is available,” Carter said. “Each day holds an opportunity to increase their awareness of school choice, as well as their social and emotional intelligence.”

Carter said he’s been grateful that teachers in the schools have been receptive and inclusive of the additional support. At Carver, Carter is partnered with two middle school “model teachers,” who are highly engaged with students, family and staff. These teachers have supported Carter significantly in his relationship-building with students, as well as how to think creatively about use of time, space and school curriculum.

Carter’s position has been funded for two years, so that he is able to work with this year’s seventh graders throughout their eighth grade year and help with their transition to ninth grade.

“With enthusiasm from the students and a strong supporting cast, I’m looking forward to continuing this work,” Carter said.

#PromiseReads and Anthem bring new Little Free Libraries to Central

#PromiseReads and Anthem bring new Little Free Libraries to Central

The Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood is committed to supporting successful educational outcomes for the children of the Central neighborhood. We know that education starts at home, and parents are truly a child’s first teacher. Research shows that the simple presence of books in the home is linked to a child’s educational success.

Promise is proud to have worked with Central residents and partners to establish some of the 11 Little Free Libraries around the neighborhood. These “take a book, leave a book” structures invite residents of all ages to browse a selection of stocked titles and take them home to read.IMG_20181013_121239

As part of the ongoing #PromiseReads initiative, Promise recently presented six new Little Free Libraries to the Central neighborhood, thanks to a generous donation from Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield. In an October event at the Sterling Branch of the Cleveland Public Library, Promise engagement manager Joe Black spoke to the stewards of the new libraries about what it means to care for and support a Little Free Library.

Stewards all received book donations on behalf of the Kids Book Bank and Cleveland Public Library, as well as a supply from Anthem. Promise Ambassador Gwen Garth, a staple of Central’s art community, plans to fill the library she stewards with crayons, coloring books and additional art supplies for the neighborhood. Felton Thomas, executive director of Cleveland Public Library, and Margaret Bernstein, director of advocacy at WKYC, joined the event to talk about the value of Little Free Libraries in our communities, right alongside the invaluable resource of the public libraries.

The event was broadcast on WKYC. View the clip here.

New Little Free Libraries will be installed or updated in the following locations:

  • Alfred A. Benesch School
  • Boys & Girls Club at King Kennedy
  • Gwen Garth’s Community Garden
  • John’s Church
  • William Patrick Day Early Learning Center

Thank you to those who joined us, as well as to Monica Rudzinski, Sterling branch manager, who welcomed Promise to the library on the first chilly day of fall.




NEOSTREAM Conference with Marcia Fudge Oct. 25-27

NEOSTREAM Conference with Marcia Fudge Oct. 25-27

In the Spring of 2017, Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge hosted the inaugural Northeast Ohio Science, Technology, Recreation, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (NEOSTREAM) Conference in conjunction with Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C). Over the course of three days, approximately 930 students, educators, community members and executives participated in innovative workshops, hands-on demonstrations, and tailored lectures.

This year, NEOSTREAM will be hosted in Central, with three days of activities and workshops at Cleveland State University and Tri-C from October 25 to 27.

The schedule is as follows:

Day One: Educators Day – Cleveland State University

8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Educators will participate in an immersive professional development experience – exploring, engaging in and being equipped with practical and readily available classroom strategies in leading STREAM education.

Day Two: Executive Leaders Day and Student Day – Tri-C

7:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. – Executive Leaders Day

School superintendents, CEOs, non-profit leaders and elected officials will convene for a strategic planning session to develop a blueprint that will strengthen and maintain the STREAM pipeline in Northeast Ohio.

8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. – Student Day

Students will participate in hands-on interactive activities and sessions designed to ignite and create awareness of diversity and opportunity in STREAM careers.


Day Three: Community Day – Cleveland State University

8:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Families and community members will participate in activities which promote STREAM education and careers. Community Day will feature hands-on and interactive activities that feed a curiosity for the future.

NEOSTREAM features interactive workshops from organizations like the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, The Music Settlement, NASA, Tri-C Welding and more. Representative Marcia Fudge will be attending, as well as Randi Weingarten of the American Federation of Teachers.

If you are interested in volunteering, reach out to Promise education performance manager Richaun Bunton at

Stay tuned to for further updates, and we look forward to seeing you at NEOSTREAM!

WKYC features Back to School Rally and #PromiseReads kickoff

WKYC features Back to School Rally and #PromiseReads kickoff

Promise kicked off its #PromiseReads campaign at Central’s Back to School Rally at Friendly Inn earlier this month, and WKYC was there to capture all the excitement. Book giveaways, bookmarks, reading circles and a Little Free Library all helped inspire reading in the last days of summer. Promise, Friendly Inn and the Cleveland Transformation Alliance provided backpacks, school supplies, uniforms and haircuts to make sure everyone was ready for their first day.

Click here to watch the video clip, and read the article below.

Central Promise Neighborhood joins WKYC’s literacy campaign

Author: Margaret Bernstein

At a Monday back-to-school rally at Friendly Inn Settlement in Cleveland, a new neighborhood – Central — joined WKYC’s ongoing literacy crusade.

The Central Promise Neighborhood rolled out its new program, called Promise Reads, handing out free books and bookmarks to families.

There was a Little Free Library present inside the Friendly Inn at the rally, symbolic of the fact that Central is now Cleveland’s newest Little Free Library Neighborhood. It’s a designation that simply means that leaders in that neighborhood have committed to hosting regular events around literacy.

 The project, yet another a spinoff of WKYC’s successful Slavic Village Reads and Hough Reads initiatives, is a partnership with the Sisters of Charity Foundation’s Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood program.

And as with Hough and Slavic Village, WKYC will be supporting the Central community by providing media coverage of its literacy events in the months ahead.

WKYC and several other community partners were present for the kickoff of Promise Reads, including The Literacy Cooperative which was signing up families for its Imagination Library free book program. A storyteller from Friendly Inn’s SPARK program kept the little ones captivated by reading a book about counting cookies.

The Cleveland Kids’ Book Bank donated more than 1,500 books for the rally. Some kids stuffed them into their new backpacks, others read them on site while waiting for haircuts and hair braiding.

Back to School Rally preps Central families for first day

Back to School Rally preps Central families for first day

The Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood kicked off its #PromiseReads initiative at Friendly Inn’s Back to School Rally on Monday, August 6. Promise team members handed out #PromiseReads backpacks filled with school supplies, as well as bookmarks and books from the Kids Book Bank, to encourage reading among families and children.

Thanks to all who joined us this year!


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School Quality Navigators join efforts of Transformation Alliance

School Quality Navigators join efforts of Transformation Alliance

The Cleveland Transformation Alliance is a public-private partnership responsible for ensuring accountability for all public schools in the city. The Alliance has four interconnected roles: ensure fidelity to the citywide education plan, assess the quality of all Cleveland schools, communicate with parents about quality school choices and monitor the growth and quality of the charter school sector in ClevelCTAnavand.

Cleveland Transformation Alliance recently hired two individuals to serve as School Quality Navigators in Central. The navigator’s role is to support families and caregivers in finding and enrolling in the school that best fits their children’s needs. The navigator will work directly with families whose children are transitioning from preschool to kindergarten and from eighth grade to high school. Navigators will provide guidance to families, helping them learn about their public school options and decide which best meet the needs of their children. Navigators will also help them enroll in the public schools of their choosing.

CTAlogoSeana Jackson and Brandy Smith have been hired as the school quality navigators for the 2018-2019 school year. Seana and Brandy spent the first week of June in training sessions with the Cleveland Transformation Alliance and members of the Promise team to provide an introduction to the community.

Seana and Brandy will continue their work through the beginning of the school year, so stay tuned to hear results of the program as the Transformation Alliance continues to advance toward its goal to emphasize quality school choice in Cleveland’s families.

Students across Central win bikes for books in Read & Ride

Students across Central win bikes for books in Read & Ride

Early learning and elementary students throughout the Promise neighborhood read hundreds of books and turned in their reading logs in the hopes of winning a brand-new bicycle. As part of the Read & Ride program, students were encouraged to read books outside of school, log what they’d read, and logs would be entered into a drawing to receive a new bike at the end of the school year.

Winners’ names are listed below, and will continue to be updated throughout June. This year, one of the SPARK winners, Sir Eric Bowling, won a bike after reading 91 books. His sister, Diamond Bowling, was a winner last year. Sir Eric and Diamond’s mom said literacy efforts are helping encourage her kids to pick up a book.

“It’s easy now because they are always asking me to read to them,” she said. “They even noticed the little tree houses with books in them (Little Free Libraries) and asked me to get them some books. So now I fill their book bags without three to four books when we’re walking home and I tell Eric he has to carry his book bag with his new books.”

Congratulations to all of this year’s winners!


George Washington Carver:

Grade 1 – Tashawn Jones, Faith Harvey

Grade 2 – Steven Bouyer, Autumn Paschal



Pre-K: Chloe Vason, Corey Vason

Grade 1 – Tayvontay Dennis, Kimora Wilson

Grade 2 – Malayah Randle, Emanuel Marks


Alfred A. Benesch:

Grade 1 – Levi Cook, Josiana Torres

Grade 2 – Akir Taylor, Tredaysia Davis



Sir Eric Bowling, Rha’Xzya Singleton


Daycare for Future Scholars:

A’Miyah Pitmon, Isaac Washington, Jr


William Patrick Day:

Arionna Black, Timothy Yue

A Note from Sue: Making a Literacy Promise

A Note from Sue: Making a Literacy Promise

Sue_headshouldersLooking ahead in the Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood, we are energized and excited to continue working toward our vision to support educational opportunities for Central’s families and children. The area of education is broad and diverse, and this year, Promise is focusing in on building literacy and encouraging reading among families and children in Central.

Our partners at The Literacy Cooperative have shared some staggering statistics: There is a 30-million word gap between 3-year-old children from professional families and their peers who come from families at or below the poverty level. This inequity follows these children into grade school, contributing to lagging kindergarten readiness and reading proficiency at third grade. Given that over 80 percent of Central children are in families at or below poverty, efforts to close this literacy gap are critical.

We are investing in several avenues to help support reading from a young age.

First, our Read and Ride program encourages and motivates young readers to log the books they read and enter into a chance to win bikes, and we’re just about ready to send this year’s students off on two wheels for the summer. First offered to one classroom at George Washington Carver School in 2015, the program now serves all first and second grade students at the three Promise neighborhood schools, as well as pre-K students at 10 early learning centers. In collaboration with the Knights of Pythias, Starting Point and Kids Book Bank, children and families receive books to increase family reading time and build home libraries.

We’ve also partnered with The Literacy Cooperative to expand the Dolly Parton Imagination Library to children under five residing in the Central neighborhood. DPIL is a unique early years book gifting program that mails a brand new, age-appropriate book to enrolled children monthly through their fifth birthday, at no cost to the recipient. TLC will partner with Promise Ambassadors, libraries, early learning and daycare providers, pediatricians and other medical providers to enroll families living in Central. Stay tuned for more about this in the coming months.

Our own #PromiseReads initiative will help put Central’s young readers in the spotlight, offering books and reading opportunities at events throughout the year. #PromiseReads is all about encouraging children and families to read together, and to share that reading time with us on social media – and, later this year, on the local news, with support from WKYC. Over the next several months, we’ll be promoting reading by hosting themed community events, rehabilitating our neighborhood’s Little Free Libraries and sharing photos and videos on our Promise Facebook and Twitter pages.

We know from last year’s data that the 2016-2017 school year was the first time all three Promise neighborhood schools passed the Ohio third-grade reading guarantee. This is an encouraging trend, and one we’re hoping to see maintained in the coming years.

Keep checking back on our website for more updates about our upcoming initiatives, as well as how you can get involved. I know that by continuing to work together, we can truly make change in our community.

Susanna H. Krey, President, Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland