Want to revolutionze adult literacy by testing out the newest, research-based adult literacy mobile apps? Willing to compete for a chance at $1 million by motivating the most adult learners to utilize mobile learning? Register for free lunch and more information at 1pm on September 12th at Cleveland Public Library, Main Branch.
Many years ago, Christine Lee trained me as a volunteer adult literacy tutor, opening my eyes to the depth of the issue and inspiring my future career path.
More recently, Christine continues to inspire awareness and involvement with the crazy, fun idea to host a corporate spelling bee fundraiser to benefit adult literacy.
The whole team at The Literacy Cooperative of Greater Cleveland has worked to make this fun idea a reality. On September 13th, CLE-BEE will celebrate its 3rd year with high energy, local celebrities… and of course some good food and drink.
In August 2017, Ohio Department of Education approved all three national exams as official assessments to earn a High School Equivalency Credential:
TASC Test &
Save yourself from wasting time searching, and spend it getting hands-on with the best resources to get you started navigating all three HSE exams.
The Literacy Cooperative has generously sponsored a live training to help Cleveland-area educators learn about working in a multi-assessment environment, and become more familiar with the TASC and HiSET exams.
Ready to have some fun with literacy learning? Three hours will fly by on Friday, April 21st at The Literacy Cooperative workshop on making your own Mustard Seed Book. Space is limited to 30 participants, so register today.
Mustard Seed Books are leveled readers that can assist your learners–at any age–to become fluent with 1st grade reading. We’ll look at the original series by Dr. Rick Chan Frey to explore the breadth of skills covered at this level.
Then I’ll show you how to create your own fun little books that will truly engage your readers. Warning: This is where it gets addictive!
As a demo, I’ll walk you through the process I took to create my own multi-media reader: Monty the Cat.
Every participant will get a printed book to take home, and we’ll have a drawing for a few to get the whole series.
Last week, I facilitated a short version of the Make & Take: Mustard Seed Books workshop at COABE. Participants found that 75 minutes was way too short! They came up with excellent topics about doctor’s appointments, gardening, cats, family vacations and more.
I’m very excited to offer a full 3-hour version of this engaging workshop. I hope you in the Cleveland area will join me! For learners of all ages, this fun and simple process can help transform beginning readers into lifelong learners.
This FREE training is offered through The Literacy Cooperative of Greater Cleveland on Friday, April 21st at 9:00 to noon. Register here
Interested in bringing a Mustard Seed Books workshop to your organization? Contact Meagen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 216.973.4977.
As famed Bronx, New York environmental activist Majora Carter said, “I believe that you shouldn’t have to move to live in a better neighborhood.” Indeed, the best — and perhaps only — way for the rust belt to be reinvented as a sustainable, thriving, and inclusive region is by accomplishing the task in community after community… one at a time.
After my initial post, Rustwire readers wanted to hear from my neighbors, so I asked Mansfield Frazier, Executive Director of Neighborhood Solutions. You can’t have a conversation about the Hough neighborhood without the his voice. Though I usually hear him advocating for Hough to the Greater Cleveland community, I love this piece because he aims to encourage, celebrate, and challenge fellow Hough residents.
The most valuable takeaway from the decades-old civil rights movement is that, while workplace integration is achievable via legislative mandates and judicial rulings, no amount of governmental pressure can force individuals of different races to live side-by-side if they have no desire to do so. This reality, in spite of the fact minorities have been moving to suburban and exurban enclaves for over four decades, causes America to be more racially stratified today than it was 50 years ago when integration began.
Nonetheless, a grand opportunity currently presents itself to core communities if we can but navigate the sometimes troubled waters. The urban agriculture component of the national sustainability movement is rapidly taking root in rust belt cities, causing young neo-pioneers of all races to look toward inner-city homesteading in growing numbers. The challenge for current residents of these communities is to make all of our new neighbors feel welcome and to encourage diversity by inviting more of them to make their home beside us. In response, all our new residents need to do is engage their neighbors one-on-one and attend community social and political events, such as ward club meetings. They should not be bashful about making their voices heard and running for some position in these community groups. People love it when new people just come right in, roll up their sleeves, and help with the heavy lifting.
The overwhelmingly African-American Cleveland community of Hough, where I’ve resided for over a decade and recently build a three-quarter acre vineyard, is ideally located midpoint (a brisk 15 minute walk in either direction) between downtown and University Circle, a sprawling area comprised of Cleveland Clinic, Case Western Reserve University, University Hospitals, and a plethora of the region’s finest cultural attractions such as the Art and Natural History Museums and Severance Hall, home to the famed Cleveland Symphony Orchestra. It’s a near-perfect neighborhood (in terms of comfort level) for whites and others to move into, considering the fact that over the last 15 years hundreds of upscale, new homes have been built, thus reconstituting the community with an influx of open-minded, welcoming, middle class residents of color.
While blessed by proximity, older residents of Hough have nonetheless occasionally cast a wary eye at its wealthy (and landlocked) neighbors, fearful of gentrification as these entities need to expand. But in the last half-decade these august institutions have done a 180-degree turnabout and now are building bridges to the minority communities they’re completely surrounded by—instead of erecting walls.
Our response to newcomers, as residents of these core communities, should be to extend an outstretched hand and an open invite to all who wish to reside in inner-city neighborhoods and to make them feel safe, secure and welcome. If America is to fulfill its promise of greatness we have to start in local communities with the realization that the door to housing integration—which indeed has been difficult to keep open—works best when it swings both ways.
It bears repeating: African-Americans have to be as welcoming to whites (or any others) who wish to move into our neighborhoods as we would have them be welcoming to us into their communities. Fair always is fair, plus it builds stronger, more viable, and far more interesting neighborhoods.
I am not great at trivia, but am fascinated by local history that you can see, feel, and smell every day. Learning the history of Hough helped me appreciate how the community has pulled itself up by its own bootstraps. It also taught me: never be a slumlord.
1860s. Oliver and Eliza die, and their land is divided into parcels.
1872. Hough incorporated into Cleveland, which doubled in size in 10 years. Millionaire’s Row built on Euclid Avenue.
1890s. Two electric streetcars run down Hough & Euclid Avenues. League Park built at E. 66th and Lexington as home of the Cleveland Spiders (now the Cleveland Indians).
Many of Cleveland’s landmark organizations were founded in this decade. Eliza Bryant built the first “Retirement home for Colored Persons,” later moved into Hough. Area filled with single family homes and exclusive schools like Beaumont School for Girls, University School, Notre Dame Academy, and East High School. Houses of worship built include St. Agnes Parish and Congregational Church.
1900s.Hough Bakeries founded at 8703 Hough Avenue and Rainey Institute on E. 55th. Our two-story, foursquare house was built, along with several blocks of similar structures that same year.
1920s. Apartment buildings constructed as wealthy residents migrate to the Heights to avoid air pollution from their own factories. Millionaires destroy their homes as they move out.
1930s. Hough fills with middle class immigrants and laborers. Homes take in boarders or split into multi-family dwellings.
1950s. Urban renewal and highway development force African-Americans from Central into Hough, increasing from 14% to 75% of its population. Realtors threaten reduced home values; Polish, Irish, and Spanish-speaking immigrants move out.
1960s. Mounting racial tension caused by deteriorating and overcrowded housing owned by whites and occupied by blacks. (Tip: Don’t be a slumlord) Population peaks at 66,000 residents.
July 18-23, 1966.Hough Riots cause massive property damage and four deaths, and required the assistance of the Ohio National Guard. A grand jury ruled that the Communist Party organized the uprising, but poverty and housing issues are more believable causes.
1970s. Middle class families flee the neighborhood while activists work hard to rebuild with little outside support. Religious communities collaborate to provide food and other social service programs. Nonprofits like Hough Multipurpose Center, Fatima Family Center, Famicos Foundation, and Hough Salvation Army are formed.
1976.Jesse Jackson speaks at dedication of new East High School building.
1985. Lexington Village opens, signaling a new era of residential development. Crack and AIDS weaken the community.
1990s & 2000s. Population continues to decline while large number of new, single family homes and townhouses are built. Church Square Shopping Plaza built and visited by President Clinton.
2010-2016. Euclid Avenue significantly rebuilt with Health Line bus connecting Downtown to University Circle, while neighborhood bus lines are cut. Deteriorating schools replaced with new buildings. Funds dedicated to maintain and restore portions of historic League Park. Large scale developers experience community resistance to plans aimed to displace current residents.
This series started in response a simple question by Angie Schmitt, editor of RustWire. The evening I met her and said I lived in Hough, she asked, “What is that like?”
“A lot of things,” I responded.
Ground breaking, right? Even though I’ve been asked that question many times before, I never developed a pithy, insightful response. And Angie’s question was different. Most of the time, people tell me by their face and tone of voice exactly what they think it’s like. And I know I won’t dispel an entire life of prejudice with one casual conversation.
But Angie was genuinely, openly curious. And she has a blog (read the original post here). So I took some time to write out my response, for Angie and her readers. Thanks, Angie, for giving me the space to develop my own long form response at my own slow pace.
What do YOU think it’s like?
Here’s an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at a typical week for me (in 2012) as a white woman living in Hough, a 97% African-American neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio:
Check email and Facebook every day. It’s way better than TV.
Push my kids on the swings in our backyard.
Feed our six chickens.
Teach the neighborhood kids that eggs come from chickens.
Do the laundry and then fall asleep and forget about it in the dryer and my husband has to fold the clothes so our sons have pants to wear.
Convince a screaming three year old that it’s not a big deal his socks have bumps; he still needs to put on his shoes so he can go to pre-school.
Go grocery shopping at Aldi because we ran out of milk and bananas.
Curse the banks for the abandoned house next door.
By the way, I do this all while being one of few white families in the African-American Hough neighborhood. The one that went up in flames in 1966 during the Hough riots because some idiot white restaurant owner put “No water for N*&&#%s” in the window and the National Guard had to come in? Yeah, that one.
How did I get here?
My husband and I met in part because we both independently decided we liked the neighborhood. Many years ago, when I was at Oberlin College, I had friends who drove up to the Afro-centric Catholic Church called St Agnes + Our Lady of Fatima. I was living in the Afrikan Heritage House, and also converting to Catholicism at the same time. I had no idea I would live in Cleveland after graduation, but after getting a job here and visiting other churches, I decided to become a member. Fatima was welcoming, spiritually invigorating, and challenged me to live Gospel values. It felt like home to me.
My now-husband worked in a lab at the Cleveland Clinic and wanted to walk to work. Neither of us let race or abandoned houses distract us from the great things this location has to offer. We had friends, church, and work all in the neighborhood, so when we got married, we decided to live here.
We fixed up a foreclosed house (in 2006, before the recession) and now live there with our two boys, six chickens, and an attack cat.
I wish more people did the same. The neighborhood offers so much!
Think you can handle the neighborhood? I’ll be doing a series of posts about living in Hough: a short history, why Hough is like a small town, things black people say, things white people say, and defending a stigmatized neighborhood.
It was a delight to work with adult educators to share and evaluate a smattering of the free content available out there for adult education and GED Test Prep. Participants at The Literacy Cooperative’s training organized into groups to become the Adult Education Resource Evaluation Team (AERET). After introducing 25 free websites available for Ohio adult educators (18 of those sites are free to a national audience), I sent the teams on a webquest. They have shared their recommendations with you:
Low Level English Proficiency Learners
Our first group were professionals who serve a variety of literacy levels. Their overall finding was that there is not much out there that is intuitive and well paced for low level English readers or speakers. Almost everything requires instructional intervention.
Accessibility : No sign in for this site ; no email address needed.
Site Navigation: No ads on the site but you need to have a higher level English level to understand the choices.
Applications : Navigate in multiple languages to understand what to choose but there is a lot of narrative (content). There are many applications but they are scattered and difficult to navigate by technology.
Accessibility: No sign in required ; no security issues or email address needed.
Site Navigation: The site has too many ads that could be confusing to the low level English learner.
Applications: The quality of the videos is very low; not ESOL teachers on the video which allows for the use of confusing English for low level learners.
Tech Reqs: Speakers and Adobe flash for video component.
NEO Literacy Corps
The next group was a team of AmeriCorps Members serving for a year in adult literacy and workforce development contexts.
We evaluated four different sites for GED preparation. It was our goal to find sites to use in our classrooms, with students ages 17-22 as well as adult learners (22+). All sites evaluated require internet access and access to a computer with a functioning keyboard, mouse or track pad, and monitor. We analyzed the sites based on Usability and Instructional Quality. In the conclusion, we covered Cost Analysis.
This site was one of the only places we could find for Reading Comprehension, which is one of the major components of the GED and one that many sites (including Khan Academy) did not specifically target.
Sleek, appealing layout and appearance.
Reading comprehension, language arts, reading development
Student based but they can track their progress
With respect to analyzing cost, start-up fees are associated with any computer lab or computer based program including location (renting or maintaining available space, as well as associated utilities). Classroom instruction fees could be incurred as well. Maintaining the computers will require IT personnel, which may be volunteers but it is more likely that programs will pay for these services. All of the online programs we analyzed were free to access.
The final group’s target population were low-income, low-literacy un-employed or under employed adults with limited labor market attachment; individuals who need to advance towards self-sufficiency.
Costs: Headphones for computers (if needed), paper, pens, printer
Low-cost/free resources for low-income and low-computer literacy users
Materials written at around a 6th grade level; visually appealing as well to keep users engaged
Sites able to blend smoothly into the job search process AND support career retention and advancement
NEO Literacy Corps is sad to announce it is bidding a fond farewell to its current Program Director. We’re hiring! Interested applicants can submit their résumés to University Settlement. See the attached PDF for full details on the position: