Word from Lowell: 2017 Promises to be an excellent year

Lowell Perry Jr., Executive Director

As 2016 came to a close there seemed to be a resounding feeling that it had been a trying and turbulent year for many. While every year has it’s challenges and obstacles, 2016 was a year of progress in the Promise Neighborhood. Last year, residents, community partners and the Promise team experienced success working together to support families and youth in the Central neighborhood in many ways.

Some highlights from 2016 include:

  • Our partnership with Starting Point continues to produce successes in early learning. The Promise Neighborhood is now home to 13 Step Up To Quality rated early learning programs, with six programs earning five star ratings.
  • Through collaboration with Cleveland Public Library, Family Connections and CMHA HIPPY, the Woodland Wonderland Stay and Play Room expanded hours and increased educational programming.
  • The Promise Ambassador team grew significantly, with nine new ambassadors completing training through Neighborhood Leadership Institute.
  • We expanded our internal team with the addition of an education performance manager and communications specialist.
  • The Promise community engagement team increased their work in supporting stable families and connected communities by engaging in a number of activities aimed at reducing the amount of violence in the community.

These accomplishments, along with the collaborative strategic planning we completed as part of the U. S. Department of Education grant proposal, give us a strong framework on which to further advance the mission this year. Our collective work will continue to focus on the Promise Neighborhood cradle to college/career pipeline: early learning, K-12, high school to college and/or career and family and community supports. This year, data collection and communications will be interwoven throughout the pipeline to further inform and connect our work.

In 2017, our focus includes some of the following:

  • Continue to collaborate with all stakeholders to develop an effective shared data system to better inform decision-making, enhance reporting structure and accountability, and better communicate our collective progress in a timely manner.
  • Increase awareness of early learning programs, grow the number of high-quality rated centers in the neighborhood, and increase enrollment in early learning programs.
  • Support families and schools by helping to reduce barriers to academic achievement, specifically focusing on:
    • Literacy at the third grade and eighth grade levels
    • Chronic absenteeism
    • Parent advocacy in the academic journey
  • Increase the number of Promise Ambassadors and deepen ambassador integration in Promise focus areas.
  • Serve as a connector of community resources and a conduit of information to resident and community partners.

We’ll continue to keep you abreast as these goals transition into specific actions and programs. I hope you will join us at the next Advisory Council and community meeting on March 15, 2017 from 4 – 6 p.m. at the Friendly Inn Settlement. The meeting will focus on the early learning sector and will continue January’s dynamic discussion on solutions to violence. In the meantime, keep fighting the good fight for our kids.