The motto of the Near West Family Network (
) is "Stronger Families, Stronger Cleveland." Good schools are an important means of bringing those families into town, maintains the volunteer group's founders, hence the forthcoming Near West Cleveland PreK-8 School Fair.
The fair takes place February 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at St. Ignatius High School. Sponsored by NWFN and advocacy group Ohio City, Inc.,
participants will get information about the private, charter, public and parochial schools found in Ohio City, Detroit Shoreway, Tremont and other Near West Side neighborhoods. School representatives will be on hand to provide information and answer questions.
"There will be a gamut of educational options available," says NWFN co-founder and Ohio City resident Norma Polanco-Boyd.
The mother of two daughters expects between 18 to 20 schools to be represented at the fair. "The goal goes back to the reason we started this organization [in November 2012,] says Polanco-Boyd. "We wanted to create a resource-based organization to retain families or attract them to these neighborhoods."
Along with the schools, Polanco-Boyd expects attendance from a handful of non-academic groups as well. These entities will provide yet another source of information for participating parents.
The NWFN website has a list of schools
serving the Near West Side. Polanco-Boyd, a community affairs officer with a bank regulator, moved to Cleveland from Chicago with her husband, Joe. At the time, the couple didn't know anyone; Polanco-Boyd helped create NWFN for young families in similar straits.
The school fair is a critical to her group's mission, Polanco-Boyd believes. "We want to grow Cleveland and help maintain its vibrancy," she says.
SOURCE: Norma Polanco-Boyd
WRITER: Douglas J. Guth