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Cleveland Transformation Alliance and PRE4CLE Organize School Quality Fair; Saturday Dinner in the Stacks

On Saturday morning, March 5th, we had a little time to spare so we drove over to the Cleveland Public Auditorium on Lakeside Avenue to check out the School Quality Fair that was put on by the Cleveland Transformation Alliance and PRE4CLE. It was only fitting that both of these organizations collaborate because they are quite similar in purpose.

PRE4CLE "is a plan to ensure all 3 and 4-year old children in Cleveland have access to a high-quality preschool by increasing the number of high-quality preschools in Cleveland; helping preschool providers improve their quality rating; and connecting families to quality preschool programs."

The Cleveland Transformation Alliance "is a public-private partnership dedicated to growing a portfolio of quality district and charter schools. The Alliance works to ensure every child in Cleveland can attend a quality school, and every neighborhood has great schools from which families can choose."IMG_8610

As the Cleveland Transformation Alliance website told us, the School Quality Fair was "designed to serve Cleveland families looking for preschools and public K-8 schools, both district and charter, that best fit their children's needs." We spoke for a minute with Mr. Kevin Allen, Executive Director of School Choice and Enrollment for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District who told us that in January such a fair had been put on for those researching local high schools. As for today, he estimated that there were 33 K-8 schools present, not to mention the number of preschools.

There were also workshops going on at various times regarding "The Cleveland Plan", "Choosing the Right School for Your Child", "Literacy and Library Services for Youth", and "Social Emotional Learning."

IMG_8613 We walked around for a half hour and said hello to representatives of schools that we have attended events at like the Horizon Academy, Global Ambassadors Language Academy (GALA), Citizens Academy, and Campus International School. To his credit, Cleveland City Councilman Anthony Brancatelli took the time to tour the Fair because he realized its importance. Hopefully other elected officials and community leaders stopped by throughout the day.

We also encountered Ms. Stacey M. Stoudemire from "Simply Elegant Catering" who provided the excellent food for a reception that we attended last June at the Karamu House. Ms. Stoudemire was also selected to have her photo on display in the Stefanie Tubbs Jones Gallery at the Cleveland-Hopkins Airport back in 2014 at the same time Ms. Margaret W. Wong's photo appeared as part of the "Reflections" exhibit.

We visited with Mr. Dan McLaughlin, Program Officer for Seeds of Literacy who recalled one referring someone to Margaret W. Wong and Associates. Mr. McLaughlin told us that his organization was there to let parents know that there are programs available to help them improve their own literacy skills which works to the advantage of the entire family because research has shown that a child is more likely to succeed in school if his/her parents appreciate learning because they are the child's first teachers.

On Saturday night we were in the mood for a good dinner so we drove to the Madison Library in Lake County for "Dinner in the Stacks" in which the attendees were treated to all of the spaghetti, salad, and rolls that they could eat. There were also 50/50 raffles, a silent auction and entertainment by "The Real Deal String Band."

We shared a table with a family that owned a farm and a nursery business. When we told them that weIMG_8633 worked for an immigration law firm, a discussion was prompted. They told us that due to the small size of their operation, they decided not to participate in the H2-A visa program but they hired a good number of Hispanic workers on their own and the results were excellent for all concerned.

They particularly liked working with a young man who was very eager to learn so they taught him all about the nursery business. Unfortunately, due to complications, it took him years to obtain his green card but he was finally able to accomplish this along with getting married and starting a family. At this time, he is on the way to becoming a U.S. citizen and has founded his own nursery business. Hi s previous employer and mentor smiled as he told us that his protégé doesn't really mind paying taxes either because it represents participating and contributing.IMG_8628We still had some energy after dinner so we drove over to the East Side Irish American Club on Lakeshore Blvd. in Euclid not far from where we live in order to attend "Guinness and Harp" night.

The entertainment was provided by the Dulahan Band from Dayton, Ohio which has been together 14 years and has 6 CD's to its name. The energy of this Irish band was comparable to that normally associates with rock and roll so we clapped along with the music and enjoyed a dance or two.

IMG_8630What we liked about this band was that their songs had social relevancy pertinent to both the United States and to Ireland. Thus we heard selections dealing with the social divide in Dublin, the aftermath of a violent political episode in Ireland, and the tragic sinking of the Sultana (a steamship) on the Mississippi River after the U.S. civil war.

We really liked a song about the San Patricio Battalion composed of Irish immigrant who joined the U.S. Army because their were no other opportunities for them. To be sure they were treated horribly due to their ethnicity; so much so that they deserted and fought alongside the Mexican Army against the United States in the Mexican-American War of 1846-1848.

We had never heard about this incident before this time so in an hour and a half at the East Side Irish American Club we were exposed to music/social relevancy/history which is pretty good for a Saturday night.

Written by:

Michael Patterson 

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC.

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