How Has Literacy Empowered You? – International Literacy Day 2017

Photos from last year’s International Literacy Day

On Friday, September 8th the world will join together to celebrate the importance of literacy and reading on International Literacy Day. International Literacy Day is a day created by UNESCO to raise awareness about literacy and what being literate can mean for a person and a community.

For the last 3 years, The Literacy Cooperative has been celebrating International Literacy Day with a social media campaign. Each year we pick a theme and ask everyone in Northeast Ohio, as well as our followers on our social media platforms, to post pictures around that theme. We use your pictures and posts to help raise awareness about the importance of literacy.  To see a wrap up for the last two campaigns, be sure to check out our Storifys here and here.

We have spent most of 2017 raising awareness about the power of words. Since March we have been promoting and raising awareness about the 30 Million Word Gap. The 30 Million Word Gap states that children in low-income families will have heard 30 million fewer words by age 4 than their more affluent peers. (http://bit.ly/11RsCRz)

Speaking, reading and singing are essential actions to build a baby’s brain. (Learn more here). The power of words never fades. Literacy and the skills learned as a child only grow as a child grows. Literacy becomes more and more important as a child becomes an adult.

That is why this year our theme for International Literacy Day is “How has literacy empowered you?” We are asking people to share how being literate has helped their life. Has literacy empowered you to find a voice you never had before? Or has it given you courage or determination to overcome challenges in your life?

On September 8th, share a picture of yourself with a sign displaying a word or phrase about how literacy has empowered you or a picture of you reading and a word or phrase about the power of literacy in your post. We ask that you post the pictures and explanations to your social media platforms with #powerofwordsCLE.

We want to use a day dedicated to the importance of literacy to show the world how words empower us every day. We take for granted the number of words we know and hear day in and day out. By raising awareness about the power of literacy we can help people understand why speaking, reading and singing with children is so important.

We will be posting on our social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, all day on Friday September 8th. We will be sharing and commenting on posts throughout the day. We hope you will join us for this very important celebration. We hope to see #powerofwordsCLE trending to show the world that Cleveland understands the power of literacy and words.

Integrating Brain Building into Your Everyday Routine

Closing the word gap does not require complicated equipment or long hours spent in special classes. There are no PhD degrees needed. It is as simple as talking, singing and reading with your kids every day beginning at birth. Although you may think your baby cannot understand what you are saying, your words help to build and develop their brain. It is as simple as paying attention to the opportunities the day gives you. Your daily routine is full of moments to help build your child’s brain. Many do not realize that it is the short simple moments that can make all the difference.

Take a look at the following example of an average daily routine. Does it sound familiar?

Your alarm goes off and you quickly get up and begin to prepare for the day ahead. You shower and get yourself ready before the baby wakes up and the other children get out of bed.

Once you’ve managed to get the kids out of bed, you move to the baby’s room and get them dressed and change their diaper. Once the kids are up and moving you head to the kitchen to prepare breakfast and lunches. As they eat you get the last things you need for your day set. Then it is finding backpacks, homework and shoes and getting into the car. You drive them to school (or summer camp), drop them off and head off for your day with the baby. Whether that is going to work, running errands, doing housework or whatever else your day may consist of that needs to be done before the school day (or summer camp) is over.

The final bell rings and you gather the kids into the car for the drive home with the baby in the backseat.  Once home it is time for homework, checking in on the day and preparing dinner. Dinner is eaten and you have a few hours to unwind, maybe you switch on the TV, the baby beside you, in a swing or on a play mat with some toys or the kids go off to their rooms while you relax, before it is time for shower/baths and the bedtime routine. Once the kids are asleep you finish up your night and then head off to bed, ready to do it all again tomorrow.

Do bits and pieces of this sound familiar? Are you reading it over and wondering where the extra time needed to build your child’s brain is?  No extra time is needed; it is more about using certain moments differently.

Let’s take another look at that day again.  In the morning as your older kids are dressing you are getting the baby ready for the day. This doesn’t need to be a silent endeavor. As you change and dress your baby, talk about what you are dressing them in. “Let’s wear your green duck shirt today!” Or a simple game of peek-a-boo, “Where’s Mommy/Daddy? Here I am!” would be a great way to start the day.

In the morning as the kids are eating breakfast, what else is going on? Is it quiet? Is everyone absorbed in their own tasks? This moment would be the perfect time to hand them a book or read with them as they eat. Doesn’t even have to be a book; could be the back of the cereal box. Many of the boxes have mini-games to play, such as mazes and breaking codes. Sit down with them and do one of the games together. They get to hear new words and use problem solving skills while you get to have some bonding time with them.

Is the baby babbling away in a high chair as they eat breakfast? Make sure to include them in the conversation too! Ask them about what they are eating, “Are those bananas yummy?” If you are reading a story, be sure to share the pictures and colors with the baby as well. Point out an animal and say “Look at the puppy run!”

Are you making lunches as they eat? Why not talk to them about what you are doing? Instead of just chopping up lettuce, carrots and cucumbers for a salad, talk about the shapes you are cutting them into? Are they rectangles? Squares? Triangles? Talk about the color or smell. Ask your kids if they know how and where each vegetable grows.

The time in the car is another great moment to integrate some brain building tasks into your day. Instead of giving them a tablet or turning on a movie to occupy them, try playing a game of I Spy. As your drive point at a street sign and ask about the color or shape. When you stop at a STOP sign, spell the word out or have them point out the letters to you. You can also find some great silly and fun songs to sing together. (Here, here and here have some great ideas for songs to sing together.) Silly songs are great for all ages from infants to older children. Infants will benefit from the fun music and can babble along as you sing!

Dinner time presents great opportunities for including more talking, reading and singing into your day. As you cook have your children help.  Have them read the recipe with you. Talk about the measurements and the time needed for specific things to cook. You can even put the radio on and sing together as you work.

Helping with dinner doesn’t just have to be something to with only the older children. Make sure to have the baby in a high chair where you can watch them and talk with them as you cook. Narrating what you are doing is great, such as saying “Mommy/Daddy is going to stir the noodles. This is going to be so delicious!”

At the end of the day, instead of turning on the television and watching a rerun you can pull out a board game, build with blocks or color in a coloring book with your child. Those unwind hours can be a great time to do something creative and fun with your child.

For the smaller ones, toddlers and babies, set out a blanket with some interactive toys. (Be sure to limit background noise because too much noise has been shown to inhibit language development.) Let them play and talk with them as they play. Talk about the bunny or puppy stuffed animal they are playing with. If they are playing with a toy piano talk about the sounds it makes and colors on the instrument. Or even pick them up and take them to a window and talk about the stars and animals outside as you bounce them to sleep.

There is no better way to end the day than with a good bedtime story. Read aloud together a favorite book or pick something new. Read with your kids (even the infants) or have them read along with you or for young children, have them tell you the story based off the pictures. Even if your child can read on their own, many still enjoy that time reading together. Pick a longer chapter book and read a chapter a night.

As you can see integrating practices to build your child’s brain into your everyday routine doesn’t take fancy equipment, training or tools. You just need you, your child and a little creativity. Every day occurrences can be ideal times to build skills if you take the time to think about them. Especially for infants and toddlers this is a significant way to help build their skills. Just because they may not understand all the words you are saying does not mean those words aren’t helping their brains to grow. To learn more about how talking, reading and singing helps your baby’s brain grow be sure to read our other blog post here.

Summer is in full swing and you most likely have more time with your kids. Prevent “the summer slide,” the phenomenon where kids can lose some of their learning over the summer, by starting to add some of these things to your routine.

Use this time to test ways of integrating more talking, singing and reading into your everyday routine. Find out what works and what doesn’t. Do your kids prefer singing in the car versus the I Spy game? Do they like to help read the recipe instead of talking about the color or shape of foods? Do they have a favorite story that would be good to read during swim breaks?

Summer provides more time for testing some of these ideas. You have more time with your kids outside of school. As you can see these ideas are simple and quick but they can make all the difference.

We are spending the year raising awareness about the 30-million-word gap (learn more here) and what can be done to close it. Join in the discussion and share what you are doing with #wordgapcle on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

 

Building Your Baby’s Brain

“They grow so fast,” is a common phrase parents of newborns and toddlers hear often. This is a true statement not just for their physical growth but their mental and developmental growth as well. Did you know that by the end of age 3, a child’s brain will have completed 85% of its physical growth? In these handful of years, the brain strengthens many of the areas of the brain that a child will need throughout their lifetime.

The brain is made-up of the neurons which broadcast messages using electrical and chemical signals. The connections between neurons are called synapses. These messages are the physical basis of learning and memory and are what build a baby’s brain. What the brain does is create a surplus of synapses and neurons, twice as many synapses as it will have in adulthood.

Throughout childhood and adolescence, a process called pruning takes place. The process involves keeping synapses that are used often and that are strong while removing synapses that are weak or rarely used. An example would be if a child hears language and conversation often, the language area of their brain strengthens and grows. If a child is rarely spoken to or hears most of their vocabulary and language from a screen, that area weakens and does not develop to its full potential. Genes provide a blueprint for the brain, but a child’s environment and experiences carry out the construction.

This construction and pruning process is why it is so important to talk, read and sing with your child from the very beginning of their lives. Hearing your voice, taking in the sounds and words around them allow them to build that language area of their brain. Strengthening their vocabularies and literacy skills will be essential for their success later on in their lives.

In 1995, Betty Hart and Todd R. Risely conducted a study that found children from low-income families will have heard 30 million less words than children from more affluent families by the age of four. They are not hearing words and are not using the language area of their brain which in turn means the brain is likely to prune those synapses, weakening that area. This is a process not easily reversed. This gap creates a serious disadvantage for children, a disadvantage that will follow them throughout their lives.

Bridging the gap and strengthening these synapses is not a herculean effort. It does not take expensive equipment or extra schooling. It is actually something that can be done easily and every day; talking with your child. Talking, singing and reading may seem like simple tasks but they are simple tasks that can make all the difference.

By talking with your child each day, while driving, cooking or getting ready in the morning, you are strengthening that vital part of their brain. You don’t have to have long complicated conversations. Simply describing how you are cutting up a banana for breakfast or what color the street signs you are driving by are, utilizes these synapses. Reading a book before bed and singing while cooking dinner also increase use of these vital areas of the brain.

The first few years of a child’s life are essential for development.  All parents want their children to succeed. One way to ensure this future success is by making sure that a child’s environment will aid their brain development. You feed your child nutritious food to help their bodies grow. Their brains need the same care and nutrition, provided through daily interactions. Adding talking, singing and reading to your everyday routine will help strengthen these vital areas of the brain.

This year we are working to increase awareness about the 30 million word gap and share ways to close it. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as well as follow #wordgapcle to stay up to date on what we are doing and to learn more about the word gap and to promote the power of parent talk. Also be sure to share how you are working to build your child’s brain. Share pictures or videos of you reading or singing together with #wordgapcle. Help us spread awareness and show that it is possible to begin to close the gap.

(Article used for information in this post: http://www.urbanchildinstitute.org/why-0-3/baby-and-brain)

Read Across America Day & Closing the 30 Million Word Gap

Have you ever stopped and thought about how often you speak with your child throughout the day? Do you talk to them in the car about the color of street signs or point out shapes? When you are cooking do you talk about the steps you are taking or what ingredients you are using? Do you ask them questions about what they are playing or about the TV show they are watching or the book they are reading?

It is probably something you don’t think about often. Many parents don’t realize how important this daily positive interaction with their child can be. From day one, a child’s brain is continuously growing and changing. Connections are being made and others are breaking apart.

Throughout the first few years of a baby’s life, the brain is constantly making and remaking synapses. In the first three years, a child’s brain has up to twice as many synapses as it will in adulthood. As a child grows and takes in the world around them, some connections strengthen while others weaken.

For example, when speech sounds are heard, activity in language-related areas of the brain are stimulated. The more that speech is heard, the more synapses between the neurons in that area will be activated. If speech is not heard often, instead of strengthening, these areas weaken. Talking, singing and reading with your child helps ensure that these connections only grow and become strong.

This year, we at The Literacy Cooperative are working on an initiative focused on raising awareness of the 30 million word gap and what can be done to close it.

In 1995, Betty Hart and Todd R. Risely conducted a study to find out what caused different vocabulary development trajectories in children. What they found has since become known as the 30 million word gap. In affluent professional families, children will have heard about 45 million words by age 4, while children in low-income, welfare families will have heard about 13 million words.

It is hard to imagine, but children of low- income families hear about 30 million fewer words than their more affluent peers. These children are beginning their school lives already behind. Without those strong language neuron connections they have to struggle from day one. They have to work harder to make language connections and comprehend words they hear; forcing them to play catch-up before their school years have even begun. Our initiative aims to bring awareness to this gap and share ways to close it. All children deserve the chance to succeed.

March 2nd, Read Across America Day, will be our kick-off event. Read Across America Day was created by the National Education Association to encourage people all across the country to pick up a book and read together. This year, we are asking everyone to share pictures and videos of either reading with a child, singing a silly song or talking about what is around you, such as shapes and colors. We are asking if you could share ways you find time to interact with your children by using #ReadAcrossCLE.

Don’t have children? Lead by example and share a picture of you reading or show how you carve time out of your day to read.

Our Closing the Word Gap initiative will run until September 8th, International Literacy Day. We will be using #WordGapCLE to promote our efforts and raise awareness on all our social media platforms, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Be sure to track the hashtag for ideas of activities you could do with your children or students or to announce events or activities taking place with other organizations.

Also be sure to use #WordGapCLE to show us and others how you are closing the gap. Are you reading with your child before bed every night? Are you playing word or color games in the car? Are you singing together as you cook?

Make sure to frequently check out our website www.literacycooperative.org and follow our social media accounts, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updated information about the campaign and how we and our partners are working to close the 30 million word gap.

The Literacy Cooperative’s 2016 Year in Review

Pictures from a number of events including, CLE-BEE, International Literacy Day, Read Across America Day, STEP tutoring program, and Teacher Academy.

2016 was a successful and busy year for us. Our mission at The Literacy Cooperative is to work to advance literacy by raising awareness of the issue, promoting effective public advocacy and fostering a delivery system to maximize impact on the region. Every year we center our work on these areas; this year we had some great accomplishments and put many things into motion for the coming years. Great strides and growth were attained in the expansion of our STEP tutoring program. Our social media campaigns for Read Across America Day and International Literacy Day put the issue of low-literacy into the spotlight. Our 1st annual Corporate Spelling Bee was a fun and fantastic night that brought the issue of low literacy to members of the business community. We began working with a number of partner organizations to create contextualized curriculum for adult learners. This curriculum will help low-literate adults access the training programs designed to give them the skills to obtain jobs to help life them out of poverty. The following post is a recap of all that we worked on, accomplished and set into motion during this year. This is a highlight recap, for more information on a specific topic, program, event or campaign be sure to follow the links.

 In Early Literacy:

Children need a strong foundation in order to succeed in school. If they start school behind, they have to play catch-up from day one with their peers. Reading out loud to children every night is a simple task that can do so much to help children be ready to enter school. If children fall behind they need support to catch up and to get back on track to graduate on time. In 2016, we entered a formal partnership with Reach Out and Read to support the program and link families to other literacy partners. Our STEP pilot helped more children increase their reading levels.  Both programs are designed to help children reach their full potential and succeed in school. The use of high school and college students to deliver the structured plan has additional benefits.

 

STEP:

STEP (Supporting Tutors Engaging Pupils) is a volunteer based tutoring intervention developed by The Literacy Cooperative and a group of community literacy programs. The program is designed to structure the volunteer reading intervention in order to build reading and language skills in K-3 students who are below grade level in reading. The STEP model includes a strategic design, training of the volunteers, and the on-site presence of an educator to oversee the tutoring.

For the 2016-2017 school year, STEP will again continue to be facilitated in three school systems, Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Euclid, and Warrensville City School systems and included a formal relationship with John Carroll University (JCU). JCU provides student volunteers through their work-study program at two of our sites.

Over the year 2015-2016 school year, STEP served 61 scholars and trained 40 literacy volunteers, 25 of which were high school students. Over the year thirteen scholars achieved grade level or above, 32 scholars improved by 9-12 months and 16 grew 4-6 months. Our STEP program aims to help kids who have fallen behind get back on grade level so that they can succeed in school and graduate on time.

 

Reach Out and Read:

Reach Out and Read is an organization we have always supported throughout the years and this year started becoming more involved in. “Reach Out and Read is a nonprofit organization that gives young children a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together,” as stated on their website. It makes use of the bond and trust created between a pediatrician and the family. Reading out loud to a child is a simple, yet extremely important step in the successful development of a child. The program provides books, tools and knowledge to parents to help them ensure that their children are ready to start school.

This year the Bruening Foundation facilitated and is funding a partnership between Reach Out and Read Greater Cleveland and The Literacy Cooperative. The goal is to maintain existing sites, explore opportunities to expand and to connect ROR to broader literacy initiatives. The first step was taken in September when we hired a Reach Out and Read coordinator, Lynn Foran. She is currently working to ensure that all sites have the books, training, and support they need to reach every child and parent with advise on the importance of reading aloud together and also connecting them to local literacy programs for further interaction.

 

Adult Literacy:

In Cuyahoga County there are 435,000 adults who read below an 8th grade reading level. To put that into perspective we could fill every seat in First Energy Stadium, Progressive Field, Quicken Loans Arena, Wolstein Center, Public Auditorium, Public Hall and Playhouse Square with the low-literate adults and there would still be 260,000 standing outside. These adults struggle to secure living-wage jobs because they lack the basic reading and math skills to enroll in the vocational training programs that would provide the skills employers are seeking. Low literate adults often spend more on healthcare because they can’t read medications or understand doctor’s suggestions. Their children are behind in school because they can’t help them with their school work.

Low-literacy in adults affects their entire family. We continuously work to bring awareness to this issue of low-literacy in adults and this year we began working on a pilot to create contextualized curriculum programs to help these adults gain the skills they need. Skills that will help them build successful lives for themselves and their families.

 

Talent NEO:

Talent NEO is coordinated by Towards Employment and is a regional initiative launched in Cuyahoga and Summit County. Talent NEO promotes and supports employer’s use of ‘skill scores’ as a point in their hiring process to increase the size of their applicant pool, improve retention rates and reduce costs.

TLC provides leadership and technical assistance to Talent NEO pilot by working with the Cuyahoga County upskilling locations. The upskilling locations work with individuals to increase their WorkKeys skill scores through classroom and computer-led instruction. When job seekers are below the required skill score levels, they can work with upskilling staff to engage in math and reading lessons to work to increase their scores. The tools and lessons have been contextualized to in-demand sectors such as healthcare and manufacturing. Contextualized curriculum uses authentic materials and activities that connect leaders to the occupation and industries they are interested in.

In its first year Talent Neo resulted in 1,461 participants completing WorkKeys assessments and 167 received upskilling services. These upskilling sessions were provided at 5 different locations throughout Cuyahoga County.

 

Advocacy and Awareness:

To understand an issue people need to know that one exists. Low-literacy is an issue that many do not understand the scope of. With our social media campaigns and events we strive to provide a voice to this issue. We use these campaigns and events to bring literacy into the spotlight and hold it in people’s minds. We spent the year increasing the awareness of the low-literacy issue so that more people understand why it is necessary for them to help and fight alongside us.

 

Read Across America Day:

Read Across America Day is a nationwide reading celebration that takes place on March 2nd each year. It coincides with Dr. Seuss’s birthday and is a day to celebrate, not only his life and work, but also the importance of reading. This year we took part in this celebration by asking citizens to snap a picture of themselves reading in groups and post it to their social media profiles with #NEOReads. We had over a 100 pictures shared throughout the day. So many people participated including the Mayors of South Euclid and Rocky River, Councilman Brancatelli, State Representative Stephanie Howse and Joyce Betty the representative of Ohio’s Third Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. We loved seeing all the great pictures and we loved even more that the celebration extended beyond our hashtag campaign. It was a great day celebrating a beloved author and showcasing how important reading is for everyone. To see some pictures from the day be sure to check out our Storify.

 

CLE-BEE:

This year we started an annual tradition of holding a Corporate Spelling Bee to raise awareness not only about the work we do but also putting literacy in the spotlight while also having some fun. This year the bee was held on September 8th.  200 attendees cheered on 24 teams from across Northeast Ohio. The night was emceed by Betsy Kling, Chief Meteorologist from WKYC. Our readers were Mike Snyder, Sports Director from WTAM 1100 and Monyka Price, Chief of Education from City of Cleveland and the Honorable Judge John Russo was our judge. Mayor Frank Jackson and Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish attended and gave compelling speeches to start the night off.

The competition was fierce and fun with Baker Hostetler as the victors. It was a fantastic event that brought The Literacy Cooperative into the spotlight and raised awareness about literacy.

If you would like to read a recap of the event be sure to check out our blog post. If you want to see the event through pictures our Storify has a fun recap for you. Or if you would prefer to watch the event for yourself be sure to check the video on our YouTube channel.

We are already planning our bee for 2017. If you would like to join in the fun contact Elaine Yeip at eyeip@literacycooperative.org for team registration information.

 

International Literacy Day:

International Literacy Day is another day where we use a hashtag picture campaign to raise awareness and get people involved and talking. International Literacy Day falls on September 8th and is a day where the world comes together to raise awareness about literacy and reading. Our theme for our campaign this year was “Recommended Reads.”  We asked everyone to take a picture of themselves with a book that they would recommend for others to read and to use #CLEReads2016 and #RecommendReads to show off the choices. Again we had great participation, including Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish, Councilwoman Phyllis Cleveland and Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Connie Schultz. During the CLE-BEE we also set up a selfie station where we got some great recommendations from attendees.

If you would like to see all the great pictures check out our Storify and if you are looking for a book to read be sure to check out the blog post with all the recommendations.

 

Bridge Builders:

During the winter and spring months we worked with the Cleveland Bridge Builders to highlight literacy programs throughout the city. Cleveland Bridge Builders is a program that prepares mid-career professionals of all ages for meaningful, fulfilling and impactful engagement in the community.

We reached out to a number of organizations and asked them to write a guest blog post about their program and future goals. The organizations that participated were Parma Adult Education program, Reach Out and Read/Ready to Learn from MetroHealth, The Children’s Museum of Cleveland, Playhouse Square, Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland and America Scores Cleveland. Each post gave a snap shot of the variety of literacy programs that can be found throughout our city, some from organizations that many may not have known about before.

To wrap up the campaign a PechaKucha event was held to highlight the organizations. A PechaKecha event is Powerpoint presentation format where someone presents on 20 slides for 20 seconds each. This quick format provides an opportunity to hear many different presenters in one evening. It is a great way to give people a glance at the information and spark their interest to find out more.

The event “Helping to Improve Awareness and Literacy Education in Northeast Ohio,” was held on May 26th of this year. We had some thought provoking presentations from: University Circle Incorporated, America SCORES Cleveland, Reach Out and Read/Ready to Learn MetroHealth, Playhouse Square, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Kids Book Bank, Parma City School District as well as our own executive director Bob Paponetti. The night was a great opportunity for a variety of organizations to come together and to learn more about the literacy programming that is available throughout Cleveland. See some pictures of the event in our Storify.

 

 Professional Development:

Every year we offer a number of professional development workshops for teachers. In 2016, 500 attendees attended 21 professional development sessions and 3 Literacy Learning Network sessions. These sessions always cover a range of topics. This year there were sessions on web-based resources, reading strategies for low-level learners, teaching grammar to English language learners, flexibility in the workplace as well as STEP-UP to quality sessions for early childhood education instructors and many more. This year we also co-sponsored a number of sessions with other organizations such as Seeds of Literacy, WVIZ/PBS Ideastream, The Salvation Army and the Refugees Salvation Collaboration. These sessions are free and aim to provide teachers with some new strategies and ideas to use in their classrooms.

 

Teacher Academy:

This year was our 6th annual Teacher Academy. Every year we hold a professional development retreat day where the goal is to learn best practices from the best resource possible, fellow teachers.

This year was the largest academy we have had to date with more than 100 K-2 teachers and administrators from CMSD and 14 First-Ring School Districts. 20 peer presenters from 10 school districts presented on topics varying from Looping and community engagement to STEM technology and reading and writing. We hope teachers attend the day looking to learn something and walk away with new ideas and new relationships with fellow teachers.

 

Speaking Engagements:

Each year we try to take part in a number of speaking engagements in order to get our message out about who we are and what we do to a larger audience as well as to build connections and share our knowledge and ideas with others.

At the Commission of Adult Basic Education (COABE) conference in Dallas, Texas, Bob Paponetti, our Executive Director and Laurie Atkins, Director of Adult Learning and Career Pathways, presented three different sessions. Bob presented as part of a panel to discuss ways for adult educators to get involved in the implantation of WIOA in their local areas. Laurie presented with representatives from Parma Adult Education, NewBridge, and Project Learn of Summit to showcase the Healthcare Contextualized Curriculum pilot at NewBridge.  Bob and Laurie presented a session on advocacy and awareness detailing the strategy TLC has used in the community in the past two years.

Laurie attended the National Skills Coalition Skills Summit in Washington, DC in February.  As part of the summit, Laurie and the Ohio Delegation went to Capitol Hill to meet with the Ohio U.S. Senators and Representatives.  The message to them was to increase adult education funding, support Ohio’s comprehensive case management pilot that connects TANF and WIOA programs to deliver better services to 18-24 year olds, and to support education and training pathways for TANF participants. As a result, adult education funding did receive a small increase, Ohio received all necessary waivers to implement the case management pilot, and there is increased interest in connecting TANF and low-level learners to education and training pathways.

 

That is a recap of our busy 2016. Our vision is to ensure that all children and adults in Greater Cleveland will reach their highest literacy potential for employment, self-sufficiency and life-long learning. Throughout 2016 we tried to do exactly that with the variety of events we held, campaigns we took part in and through the program and organizations we have supported. It was a year full of hard work that will continue on into 2017. If you would like to help us continue to work towards our vision and mission you can donate here, any and all donations are appreciated!