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

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.

Why parents are the M.V.P. of a student’s special education team

Why parents are the M.V.P. of a student’s special education team

Parent participation in the special education process is very important. The most important thing parents can do is ensure they are involved with and take an active role as a member of the Individual Education Program (IEP) team. This team determines a student’s path, so a parent should be leading the way. The IEP team is charged with making educational decisions for students, and addresses issues such as eligibility, evaluation, program development, and placement of a child in special education or gifted programs.

Promise Neighborhood and Cleveland Transformation Alliance are working together to make sure families know just how important parent involvement is to a student’s success in school. There are more than 300 students in Central’s Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s schools on IEPs. The IEP process can be intimidating and frustrating at times but don’t let that deter you from being as involved as you possibly can.

Here are the top three reasons, from, why parents are the most valuable player on the special education team:

homeworkhelp1. Parents may underestimate their importance to the IEP team
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the IEP team process. They may believe team members perceive them as less knowledgeable about teaching or as obstacles to the decision-making process, especially if they disagree with the educators. Parents and other guardians should not let school personnel intimidate them in this process, because their role as student advocate is paramount.

2. Parents provide critical input
Parents and guardians know their children better than anyone else, and have the most complete understanding of a child’s physical, social, developmental, and family history. Parents are the only adults in the educational process who have been and will continue to be deeply involved throughout the child’s school career.

3. Parents are the best advocates for their child
There is no one as interested in and motivated to see a child succeed and thrive than her own parents, and this alone places the parent in a crucial role on the IEP team.

How can you advocate for your child?

  • Learn as much as you can about their learning differences.
  • Observe your child’s learning styles. Despite the specialized tests which attempt to discern how children learn best, parents are in the best position to watch this in action every single day.
  • Keep careful records of your child’s education, including any testing and any IEP reports. Find a way to file these carefully so that you have them on hand readily if needed.
  • Correspond with teachers and other professionals in writing whenever possible, and hang on to these communications. Hopefully you will not need to refer back to any of these records, but if the need arises, you will have them.

Read more reasons from why parents need to be involved it the IEP process here.