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.

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.

Back to School Rally builds excitement for new school year

Back to School Rally builds excitement for new school year

Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood and Cleveland Transformation Alliance partnered with Friendly Inn Settlement to help Central neighborhood families have a positive start to the new school year with the Back to School Rally.

Children receive haircuts at the Back to School Rally at Friendly Inn.
Children receive haircuts at the Back to School Rally at Friendly Inn.

Now in its sixth year, the 2017 Back to School Rally at Friendly Inn Settlement drew more than 1,500 Central residents who received information about neighborhood schools, educational and family resources, free haircuts, schools uniforms and more.

More than 15 barbers from Urban Kutz and La Barberia donated their time and talents to help children look their best for the start of school on August 14, 2017 by offering free haircuts and braiding. By the end of the event 105 children received free haircuts and 26 had their hair braided.

For this year’s event, Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood wanted to increase families’ access to community schools so the organization partnered with Cleveland Transformation Alliance for the Back to School Rally. Cleveland Transformation Alliance helped bring more than 20 Cleveland schools to the fair to speak with families to make sure parents got all the information they needed to help them decide on the school that is the best fit for their child. Cleveland Transformation Alliance also offered catalogs of all the schools available, both charter and city schools, with mission statements, descriptions and ratings for each school.

“I’ve been in education over 15 years, my entire career,” said Steven Lake, project manager, Cleveland Transformation Alliance . “I’ve worked the majority of that time in the Central neighborhood. It is a wonderful community, with a lot of resources. Today, together with these partners all under one roof, we can get the community excited about education and start the school year off with a bang.”

Cleveland.com noted the longest line in the auditorium was for the Central Promise Neighborhood table, and it was more than a hundred people deep. Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood gave away book bags and school uniforms. As parents waited in line, their children moved from table to table around the auditorium, picking up pencils, crayons, bubbles, sunglasses and many other freebies.

Promise Ambassador Annie Glover and Promise staff Richaun Bunton and Dawn Glasco distribute school uniforms at the Back to School Rally
Promise Ambassador Annie Glover and Promise staff Richaun Bunton and Dawn Glasco distribute school uniforms at the Back to School Rally

“My main goal today is to put a smile on these kids faces,” said event attendee Sierra Bradley. “I want to keep these kids happy. It’s good to see our kids like this, they excited and looking forward to going back to school. That’s what’s up.”

WEWS-TV News Channel 5 also did a feature on the Back to School Rally that can be viewed here.

Pancake breakfast serves-up parent’s guide to special education

Pancake breakfast serves-up parent’s guide to special education

On Saturday, March 4, 2017 dozens of families gathered at East Technical High School for a pancake breakfast, but the main course was an informational seminar on special education. The half-day event featured sessions designed to help parents and families get a better understanding of how to support children on Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and how to get more academic support for children in school.

Families enjoy breakfast at East Technical High School .
Families enjoy breakfast at East Technical High School .

A partnership between Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD), Cleveland Transformation Alliance, Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood and Cuyahoga Community College, the event was designed to raise awareness of the important role parents play in a child’s education and to increase participation in parent-teacher meetings. 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 IEP.

After enjoying a family breakfast, attendees split into groups with adults heading to seminars and children attending drumming and dance classes with the help of City Year Cleveland volunteers.

Timothy Goler, founder and chief executive officer if HBCU Preparatory Schools Network, served as keynote speaker and delivered a passionate, inspirational and personal account of how parental involvement is the most essential factor of a child’s success at school, and often, in life.

“More than anything else in this city, we need conscious, committed, loving parents. Spend quality time with your kids. Don’t just tell them you love them, show them you love them. Give them affection,” Goler said in his address. “Whether you believe it or not, you are the example of success your children will envision. The best way to make our schools stronger is to make our families stronger and more loving. The foundation for school success starts with the family.”

After hearing from Goler, adult attendees chose from a variety of workshops hosted by experts from the CMSD special education department, Cuyahoga Community College Access department and Milestones, an organization dedicated to providing resources to families of children who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

Children get a lesson on African drumming.
Children get a lesson on African drumming.

Workshops were held on the following topics:

  • Middle school to high school transition: how to prepare and what to expect
  • Choosing a high school that meets the needs of your child
  • High school to college transition: How Tri-C supports children and adults with making the jump to higher education
  • Parenting children with challenging behaviors and building the parent-teacher relationship

“We hope the event is able to eliminate some of the stress and intimidating factors that can often go along with the special education process,” said Richaun Bunton, education performance manager, Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood. “It’s really special to see the community, school district and residents rally around this cause and put this event together because ultimately we need educators and parents working together. This event was a true demonstration of the parent-teacher partnership we want to happen.”

The day concluded with giveaways, including 20 Dave’s Supermarket gift cards courtesy of Cleveland Transformation Alliance, one iPad Mini and one Beats by Dre headphones set.

The pancake breakfast was part of a larger initiative by Promise Neighborhood and Cleveland Transformation Alliance to build better partnerships between schools and families.

Promise Neighborhood and Cleveland Transformation Alliance partner to support families and schools working together

Promise Neighborhood and Cleveland Transformation Alliance partner to support families and schools working together

Promise Neighborhood and Cleveland Transformation Alliance have joined forces to raise awareness of the importance of family involvement in the 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 Education Plan (IEP).

Working together with Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD), Promise Neighborhood and Cleveland Transformation Alliance hope to raise awareness and increase understanding of the following:

  • How families can work with schools when there are concerns about a student’s academic or developmental growth
  • When and how to schedule a parent-teacher conference
  • How to navigate the IEP process

“Meaningful parent education and involvement is just as important as academic rigor. By partnering with CMSD and Cleveland Transformation Alliance, we are able to work with our ambassadors and other resident leaders to help parents advocate for their children,” said Richaun Bunton, education performance manager, Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood.  “We want to help parents understand their child’s individual needs and use this understanding to successfully partner with their classroom teacher, which will ultimately shape the best learning environment for their child. Initiatives like this create and support quality school – parent – community partnerships which cultivate student academic growth.”

School partnership flyer
School partnership flyer

To start to raise awareness of the importance of families and schools working together, Promise Ambassadors will canvass the Central neighborhood supplying educational materials to residents on how families can successfully work with schools on student achievement. The project will also train a group of volunteers, called education partners, to serve as in-person support to families throughout the IEP process or during parent-teacher conferences.

Currently, the project will focus on the Central neighborhood schools: Marion-Sterling Elementary School, George Washington Carver STEM, Alfred A. Benesch Elementary School, Stepstone Academy and East Technical High School. If the program is successful, the plan is for this model to expand to neighborhoods and schools throughout CMSD.

“Our community engagement and outreach work has deepened our understanding of the integral role school, family and community partnerships play in supporting student success. Collaborating with Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood on parental and family advocacy for students with learning disabilities allows us to serve as a catalyst to strengthen the bonds between the school and the community in the Central neighborhood,” said Steven Lake, school quality project manager, Cleveland Transformation Alliance. “It is our hope that this initiative provides the foundation for a scale-able campaign that can be infused throughout the many neighborhoods across the city of Cleveland.”

Community canvassing with begin in early 2017. Training of volunteer education partners will start in early 2017 with the goal of having education partners available to support students and families in April 2017.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer education partner please contact Richaun Bunton, education performance manager, Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood at rbunton@socfcleveland.org.

Cleveland Transformation Alliance is a public-private partnership dedicated to growing a portfolio of quality district and charter schools. The Alliance works for ensure every child in Cleveland can attend a quality school, and every neighborhood has great schools from which families can choose.

Ambassadors Help Cleveland Transformation Alliance

The Cleveland Transformation Alliance hired Promise Ambassadors to collect data on its behalf as of Dec. 5. By mid-January, over 200 quality school reviews have been conducted with families and students in the Promise Neighborhood.

The Cleveland Transformation Alliance is a public-private partnership dedicated to growing a portfolio of quality district and charter schools. The alliance works to ensure every child in Cleveland can attend a quality school, and every neighborhood has great schools from which families can choose.