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Education + Learning : For Good

19 Education + Learning Articles | Page: | Show All

program connects students with opportunities in own backyard

During the mid-2000s, local newspapers ran stories with evocative phrases like "quiet crisis" and "brain drain" in lamenting the flight of young, talented minds from Cleveland.

Bob Yanega saw those negative headlines, too, and decided he wanted to do something about it. Yanega, a self-professed "serial entrepreneur" with a background in commercial construction and real estate, is the creator of Choosing Success Programs, a Cleveland-centric advocacy project aimed at area high school students.

The program provides live, in-school presentations showing students how to connect with the opportunities right in their own backyard. The goal is to motivate youth to become passionate, lifelong residents of Northeast Ohio.

"Many kids don't have parents who expose them to what's great here," says Yanega, of Larchmere. "We need to sell Cleveland to young people."

Yanega has been giving Choosing Success talks at local high schools for the last 18 months. Along with providing students with tips on college and career choices, he also mixes in a "sales pitch" about Cleveland, pointing to the city's affordability, increasing job rate and wealth of cultural options.

Choosing Success, under the umbrella of its parent organization The 1990 Project, recently received a boost as one of the winners of The Cleveland Colectivo's fast- pitch presentation event. The program now has a chance to get some much-needed funding from the giving circle, and Yanega believes his brainchild is worth it.

"We're presenting facts about the city," Yanega says. "Keeping the next generation in town is a powerful, broad-based message."

 
SOURCE: Bob Yanega
WRITER: Douglas J. Guth

nonprofit works to bring 'digital literacy' to cleveland's underserved

If Northeast Ohio has a digital divide, then Cleveland-based nonprofit broadband provider OneCommunity wants to lay down enough fiber-optic cable to successfully bridge the gap.

The divide is particularly wide in Cleveland's poorer neighborhoods, says OneCommunity CEO Brett Lindsey. In response, his organization created the Connect Your Community Project (CYC). Since 2010, CYC has provided broadband training, equipment and support for nearly 8,000 Cleveland and East Cleveland residents. The group's work is supported through a $18.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP).

The organization's new adopters receive a refurbished computer at no cost after matriculating through the training program. They also have the opportunity to receive a free modem and affordable, high-speed home Internet service.

In modern society, everything from job postings to health care information is online, notes Lindsey. The idea is not to give Cleveland's underserved access to solitaire or funny YouTube videos, but an electronic education that will allow them to look up information on their child's school system or connect with far flung family members.

"The haves and have nots in terms of technology are significant," says Lindsey. "This is a way to get people engaged."

OneCommunity is also bringing "digital literacy" to Cleveland families with young people on track for college entry but not currently connected to broadband. Computer training and access can go far in spurring parental engagement in a student's post-high school academic career, Lindsey believes.

So far, so good, says the OneCommunity CEO. In its initial CYC data, 75 percent of parents surveyed used their home broadband connection to communicate with their child's teachers and administrators.

"We have to continue to ensure that people don't get left behind," says Lindsey.

 
SOURCE: Brett Lindsey
WRITER: Douglas J. Guth

education the centerpiece of cpl's african american history month programming

Education is on the forefront of Cleveland's transformation plans. The city is aiming to reform its troubled school system as well as increase the number of youth attending and graduating from college.

Cleveland Public Library (CPL) had Cleveland's goals in mind when planning its African American History Month programming for this year. Throughout February, the library will offer a variety of education- and educator-focused programming, music and events at its main facility and branch locations. 

"We try to focus on topics that resonate with the community," says CPL programming director Aaron Mason. "Education is the topic of the day."

Featured programs and events include:

* A showcase of student-produced music and videos created by Cleveland’s youth through the efforts of Reading R.A.M.M. (Recording Arts Music Media) founder Edward “Phatty” Banks. The February 9 event at the main library is designed to connect area children with reading and education through use of pop-culture-style music and media.

* A performance by Ralph Miles Jones and Baba Issa Abramaleem, otherwise known as "The Seekers of Truth Revolutionary Ensemble." Jones is a multi-instrumentalist and recording artist from Oberlin College. Abramaleem is a composer, visual artist, playwright and percussionist-guitarist. The duo plays CPL's Rice Branch on February 15.

* A free screening of the documentary "PUSH: Madison vs. Madison" on February 22 at the Martin Luther King, Jr. branch. The film covers the trials of a talented but dysfunctional high school basketball team.

This year's round of African American History Month programming is meant to look ahead rather than back at history, notes Mason.

"The library should be a place of learning and engagement," he says. "It's about exposing people to new ideas."
 
 
SOURCE: Aaron Mason
WRITER: Douglas J. Guth

innovative new school emphasizes respect, responsibility and lifelong learning

The choices you make in life have an impact on others besides yourself.

That is something the students at Facing History New Tech High School have heard continuously since their school debuted last fall. Happily, the 70-pupil freshman class is taking those words seriously, says founding director Marc Engoglia.

Facing History New Tech is a Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) program now in the middle of its first year with a group of 70 freshmen. Operating out of Charles A. Mooney Middle School, the college-preparatory program blends project-based learning, integration of technology and a strong school culture of trust, respect and responsibility to ready its young charges for college life and beyond.

Students work in groups as if they were members of a workforce, notes Engoglia. "They're responsible for their own learning and [the learning of] other members of the group," he says. "I tell the kids, 'This is your school.'"

The program is a partnership of the New Tech Network and Facing History, groups with the respective goals of implementing innovative schools and teaching students about discrimination in order to develop an informed citizenry. 

"The idea is for students to become life-long learners," says Mark Swaim-Fox, executive director of the local chapter of Facing History. "They have a sense of responsibility in making a difference in the world."

These goals were emphasized by a recent project where participants created a public relations message for a local charity organization. Students then presented their projects to members of the local nonprofit community. Engoglia would like to see his pupils get further involved in the "real world," perhaps working as interns with their chosen organizations before graduation.

"They can be a driving force for change," he says. 


SOURCE: Marc Engoglia, Mark Swaim-Fox
WRITER: Douglas J. Guth

csu produced second most fulbright scholars in 2012-13

Cleveland State University has had a busy year expanding its international reach, and now it has the accolades to prove it.

CSU produced the second highest number of Fulbright scholars in the nation during the 2012-2013 academic year. The second-place ranking was shared among eight universities, with each producing five Fulbright scholars. Tying for runner-up this year with CSU were Arizona State University, University of Arizona, Rutgers, Texas A&M at College Station, University of Florida, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and University of Washington at Seattle.     

CSU's Fulbright grant winners are staff members Jayne Mary Fuglister, Rama K. Jayanti, Brian Edward Ray, Janche Sang and Miena Sterio.

"This is an important distinction," says Joe Mosbrook, CSU's director of strategic communication. "CSU has an outstanding faculty that's been doing some remarkable things."

The Fulbright program allows participants to study, teach and conduct research abroad. CSU's grantees are studying the fields of law, business and computer science, respectively, and within the next year will be headed to far flung destinations including India and Azerbaijan.

The honor is nothing new for CSU. The university achieved the same ranking during the 2010-2011 academic year. With nearly 50 Fulbright grants awarded to CSU faculty in the past decade alone, the school consistently ranks among the nation’s top universities for Fulbright scholars, its supporters note.

"People don't think about Cleveland State as a research institution," Mosbrook says. "Look at the track record and you'll see the work being done. We look forward to continuing that trend."
 
 
SOURCE: Joe Mosbrook
WRITER: Douglas J. Guth

(i)cleveland connects college students to city's live, work and play opportunities

The current generation of soon-to-graduate college students is not just looking for a job, but also a fun and dynamic city that suits its lifestyle needs, says Christy Walkuski, director of (i)Cleveland.

This reality is the impetus behind an upcoming city-centric event hosted by Cleveland Leadership Center. On January 4, (i)Cleveland, a program of the leadership center, will welcome 150 college students and recent graduates to connect with career, civic and social opportunities in Cleveland.

The Winter Edition event will include a networking lunch with downtown executives, a meet with Cleveland's entrenched young professional community, behind-the-scenes tours of East 4th Street's amenities, and an "employer showcase" of current internship and job opportunities.

Combining job and leadership possibilities with highlights of Cleveland lifestyle trumpets a single, distinct message: "The city wants you here," says Walkuski. "Young people have the ability to make their mark on Cleveland."

Walkuski has read the worrisome headlines about young people leaving Northeast Ohio for the bright lights of bigger cities. The (i)Cleveland director herself lived in Chicago and Florida before returning to her home city.

"When I came back, I saw Cleveland with new eyes," says Walkuski.

Opening the eyes of college students requires a community-wide effort. The "Winter Edition" program aligns with (i)Cleveland's mission of using local assets to build relationships and foster lifelong civic engagement. Registration is limited, so Walkuski suggests prospective participants sign up as soon as possible.

"We have a huge education base here," she says. "We must continue to engage this (college-aged) population, because if we don't recruit them, someone else will."

 
SOURCE: Christy Walkuski
WRITER: Douglas J. Guth

mayor jackson wants development projects to yield greater community benefit

Anyone who says that Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson lacks passion or verve when speaking in public hasn't seen him talk about the need to leverage urban development projects to create jobs and opportunities for Clevelanders.

Jackson recently addressed a crowd of 120-plus economic development officials, labor leaders and policy advocates to stress the need for urban development projects in Cleveland that "benefit the least of us and include everyone in prosperity."

"What are we doing for our children? How are we ensuring success?" Jackson asked the crowd. "If it's a matter of having kids who are willing to go into the building trades, well, I got a bunch of kids! I'm not trying to be onerous or impose anything on [developers]. We know that if people do things because they think it's the right thing, we'll get better results."

Jackson spoke last week during the Community Benefits Symposium hosted by the City of Cleveland and Cleveland City Council. Community benefit agreements are agreements between developers or project leaders and municipalities that ensure projects maximize local benefit. This might include hiring of local residents, workforce training efforts that involve youth from the area or other efforts.

The city already has requirements in place mandating that all projects that receive more than $10,000 in city funding must meet hiring requirements for a certain percentage of Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs), Female Business Enterprises and Cleveland-Area Small Businesses (CSBs). City projects over $100,000 must also comply with the "Fannie Lewis Law" mandating that 20 percent of construction worker hours be performed by residents.

Unfortunately, the city's existing policies aren't as comprehensive, effective or inclusive as many advocates would  like them to be, Jackson said. Too many private sector projects slip through the cracks, and the laws themselves only apply to projects using public funding. Jackson cited the construction of 300-plus apartments by Polaris Real Estate Equities on the Cleveland State University campus as one example where the city can do better. Some leaders were upset because the developer did not hire many workers who live in Cleveland.

The goal now is to take the city's existing community benefit policies to the next level, Jackson said. "What we're doing now is pulling the pieces together."

Exactly what that means is still being worked out, but the purpose of the symposium was to bring local leaders together to hear from national leaders in the community benefits movement. A key study of disparity in hiring practices is being released this month. Jackson said the city will be crafting a more comprehensive community benefit policy based on its results.


Source: Frank Jackson
Writer: Lee Chilcote

case researchers discover gene that stops cancer cell proliferation

Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine researchers have made a groundbreaking discovery that could stop the proliferation of cancer cells in patients without the need for toxic chemotherapy.

The researchers discovered a mutant form of the gene Chk1. When expressed in cancer cells, it halted their proliferation and killed them. The finding that artificially activating Chk1 alone is enough to kill cancer cells is unprecedented.

"We have identified a new direction for cancer therapy... leading us to a reduction in toxicity in cancer therapy, compared with chemotherapy or radiation therapy," said Dr. Youwei Zhang, Assistant Professor with the Department of Pharmacology at the School of Medicine and a member of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, in a release. "With this discovery, scientists could stop the proliferation of cancer cells, allowing physicians time to fix cells and genetic errors."

If the researchers' strategy pans out, then cancer patients could potentially be treated by activating Chk1 in cancer cells, rather than using chemotherapy.

Future research by Dr. Zhang and his team will focus on approaches to artificially activating Chk1 in cancer cells.


Source: CWRU School of Medicine
Writer: Lee Chilcote

cleveland foundation awards $19.9m in grants to area nonprofits

The Cleveland Foundation recently awarded $19.9 million in grants, the second highest amount the foundation has awarded in a single quarter, including $2.25 million to strengthen college readiness and graduation rates among Cleveland students.

“Only 11 percent of Cleveland residents 25 and older have a bachelor’s degree or higher,” said Robert Eckardt, executive vice president at the Cleveland Foundation, said in a news release. “Our team created a strategy last year to bolster secondary education success among local students. This quarter’s series of grants is a reflection of that commitment.”

The foundation's grants in this area include $1.01 million to College Now Greater Cleveland, $750,000 to Cuyahoga Community College for the College Success Program and $210,000 to support scholarships for nontraditional students.

The foundation also awarded $2.2 million to support economic development and $1.425 million to support the next phase of the Engaging the Future project, which is an initiative to attract a younger, more diverse audience to the arts.


Source: The Cleveland Foundation
Writer: Lee Chilcote

csu neomed partnership awarded $500k grant to support medical education

A partnership between Cleveland State University and the Northeast Ohio Medical University hopes to reach students as early as middle school and inspire them to consider a career in medicine.

Now, a recently awarded $500,000 grant from the Mt. Sinai Foundation will help to support a crucial piece of this program -- a mentoring program to ensure the success of students being trained as primary care physicians.

The three-year grant will focus on linking students with educators, clinicians and community champions in the neighborhoods where the students will be placed. The new urban-focused medical school, which will begin enrolling its first students in fall of 2013, aims to place students in neighborhoods throughout Cleveland.

Each year, up to 35 qualified NEOMED students will be eligible for full tuition scholarships if they agree to work in Cleveland for five years after receiving their medical degrees. One of the main purposes of the program is to train primary care physicians to serve in urban areas. Many city neighborhoods are currently underserved, and demand is expected to increase in coming years.


Source: Cleveland State University
Writer: Lee Chilcote

cleveland foundation president touts civic innovation at annual meeting

Before a packed house at Severance Hall, Cleveland Foundation President Ronn Richard touted the city's accomplishments in becoming a hub of innovation and taking bold steps to address big problems at the foundation's annual meeting this Tuesday.

Waxing poetic on the gilded stage for a moment, Richard harkened back to the foundation's early days in the 1910's as a time of tremendous innovation in Cleveland. "I still wonder if the past might be prologue," he mused, noting that the foundation's centennial is just two years away. "Can we envision the spirit of a second renaissance in Cleveland?"

Richard also posed a challenge to civic leaders to remain focused on true economic development and social change within the city. "Physical development, as wonderful as it is, must be coupled with investment in people and placemaking," he said, noting that the building spree of the 1990s was too focused on bricks and mortar projects. "We need to invest in connecting communities."

Among the foundation's projects, Richard touted the Cleveland schools plan that recently passed the state legislature, ongoing investments in high quality urban education, economic development programs such as the HealthTech Corridor and the Evergreen Cooperatives, and programs to connect new audiences to the arts.

Richard also told the audience that later this year the Cleveland Foundation will unveil a new microlending program for entrepreneurs seeking loans under $50,000 to help spur job creation and assist the creation of startups.


Source: Ronn Richard
Writer: Lee Chilcote

cleveland 2030 district aims to reduce downtown buildings' carbon footprint

Energy efficiency is no longer simply an option for tenants seeking office space downtown, says Donald Rerko of ka Architecture Inc., one of Cleveland's leading sustainability-minded architecture firms. Instead, it's often a critical "go/no go" decision-making factor that can make or break a deal.

"Tenants want sustainable buildings, and they'll often take the building off their list if it's not energy-efficient," he says. "It's really at the top of their criteria."

Rerko is Chairman of the Cleveland 2030 District, an effort to make downtown office buildings carbon neutral by the year 2030. The group emerged out of the first Sustainable Cleveland 2019 conference and has aligned itself with Architecture 2030, a national group with similar goals. Rerko says the group has targeted 75 million square feet of downtown office space, and has gained soft commitments from 25 percent of owners to make their buildings green.

"Retrofitting a building saves the owner on utility costs, reduces tenants' overall costs and makes the building more competitive," says Rerko. "There are a lot of different funding programs now, such as performance contracting and government programs, that allow owners to retrofit without any money out of pocket."

Comprehensive building retrofits typically include sealing the envelope to reduce energy consumption as much as possible, examining energy usage to find ways to reduce it, automating systems, and investing in renewable energy sources.

As examples of successful retrofits, Mohr cites Cleveland State University, Cuyahoga Community College and Forest City Enterprises, which has made substantial energy-efficiency improvements to the Tower City complex.

Next steps for the Cleveland 2030 District group include obtaining signed letters from owners representing their commitments and raising funds to hire an Executive Director and Program Manager. The group is also holding a kickoff party on May 10th at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. It will feature keynote speaker Edward Mazria, architect and founder of Architecture 2030.


Source: Donald Rerko
Writer: Lee Chilcote

signstage brings hearing and deaf communities together through school-based theatre

When actor Bill Morgan travels into Cleveland schools to create artistic productions that star both hearing and deaf actors, he continues to be amazed by students' reactions and the type of creativity that is often unleashed through nonverbal communication.

Morgan can hear, yet the productions that he creates through SignStage Theatre help to educate hearing individuals on the issues faced by the deaf community. They also bring hearing and deaf students together through entertainment.

"We ask kids to use their physical actions rather than just their voices, and they really start to use their imaginations more," says Morgan. "We have hearing students interacting more with deaf students, whereas normally they're not. That opens kids up to what deaf kids can do, while also empowering deaf students."

SignStage is a program of the Cleveland Hearing and Speech Center (CHSC), a nonprofit originally founded in 1921 to provide lip reading classes for adults who are deaf and hard of hearing. In the past 91 years, the CHSC has grown to serve nearly 8,000 adults and children each year in 14 counties in Northeast Ohio.

Morgan is particularly excited about an upcoming residency through the Ohio Arts Council at a Cincinnati area school. There he will have a chance to create programs at an innovative school that integrates deaf and hearing children using the arts. "Such programs are becoming more acceptable," he says. "I've also found that there is now a better understanding of the needs of the deaf community."

SignStage helps hearing students to overcome prejudice, says Morgan, and to realize deaf people are not handicapped. Deaf people can be found in professions ranging from medicine (including doctors) to manufacturing (they're sometimes hired to work around noisy machines that hearing people can't tolerate).


Source: Bill Morgan
Writer: Lee Chilcote

higher ed compact brings community together to help students succeed

Nearly 60 percent of newly-created jobs require a postsecondary degree, yet only six percent of Cleveland residents hold an associate's degree and just eight percent hold a bachelor's degree.

This stark statistic is one of the driving forces behind the fledgling Higher Education Compact of Greater Cleveland, an unprecedented collaboration among 15 colleges and universities, 25 nonprofit organizations, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and Cuyahoga County. This new effort seeks to boost the number of college graduates in Northeast Ohio.

"Every day, there are 3,000 jobs that the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals and Summa Health Center can't fill," explains Lee Friedman, CEO of College Now Greater Cleveland, a member organization of the Compact. "If you can't increase educational attainment, then you can't fill jobs. At some point, if these organizations can't find talent, then they can't grow."

While this lofty goal is hardly unusual or unique, what makes the Compact stand out is its regional approach towards addressing the higher education gap. Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson is increasingly touting the benefits of addressing such problems on a regional level. Cuyahoga County has not historically been involved in education, yet Executive Ed Fitzgerald has joined the Compact. The Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education (NOCHE) has also been working with the region's colleges and universities as part of the Northeast Ohio Talent Dividend to seek a comprehensive solution to this problem.

"It truly takes a village to help students get to school and graduate from school," says Friedman. "Many of the young people we're helping are first generation college students who don't have anyone to help them get on that path. The commitment of these university presidents is truly best in class."

The goal of the Higher Education Compact is to ensure that students are ready for, have access to and graduate from college. To achieve this goal, leaders will create student-focused action plans, educate the community on why college is important, help students become college ready, link them with scholarship and financial aid opportunities and create a College Success Dashboard that measures results.


Source: Higher Education Compact of Greater Cleveland, Lee Friedman
Writer: Lee Chilcote

new website helps urban parents find best school options where they live

The nonprofit organization LiveCleveland has launched a website which provides urban parents with comprehensive school information for the areas in which they live. Our Neighborhood Schools allows parents to search by community and zip code to determine the best educational opportunities available to them across the spectrum of public, private and parochial schools.

"We wanted to battle head-on the perception that there are a lack of school choices in the City of Cleveland," says Jeff Kipp, Executive Director of LiveCleveland. "Our Neighborhood Schools is a searchable database and resource for parents that highlights high-performing schools in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District as well as charter school and private school options."

The new website was made possible through a partnership with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) and grant funding from the Cleveland Foundation. LiveCleveland shares with CMSD a marketing and web design staff person who works to increase enrollment in the city's public schools.

"CMSD basically had no marketing strategy previously, and was losing hundreds of kids each year to charter schools who were doing a more proactive job," says Kipp. "Now the district is trying to market its own strong schools to parents."

The website, which attracts about 500 unique visitors per month, is a "win-win" for LiveCleveland, CMSD and the city's neighborhoods and schools, Kipp adds.


Source: Jeff Kipp
Writer : Lee Chilcote
19 Education + Learning Articles | Page: | Show All
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