07.05.05 Excellence Roundtable NOTES: celebrating successes and pursuing more for the region

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Thu, 07/07/2005 - 13:53.

The July 5th NEO Excellence Roundtable attracted a most diverse and remarkable group of participants and our discussions were bright and impactful.

In collaboration were e-Ventus Managing Partner Joe LaMantia, East Cleveland CIO Abu Alli, Cleveland State Marshall College of Law Assistant Dean and Cleveland Metropolitan School Board Member Louise Dempsey, CyberAccess President Bill Vasu, Max Hayes Vocational School instructor and RAMTEC Co-Founder Mary Beth Mathews, Tremont WiFi Neighborhood Director Steve Goldberg, NEO Telework Founder Vic Voinovich, I-Open Founder Ed Morrison, NEOWind and Cleveland On Fire Co-Founders Jeff Buster and Martha Eakin, Acadia Holdings Partner Blair Whidden, Case Professor, University Hospital Physician and Intergenerational School Co-Founder Peter Whitehouse, REALinks/REALNEO Co-Founders Peter Holmes and Norm Roulet, REALinks/REALNEO IT Specialist Derek Arnold, REALinks/REALNEO AI Specialist and Net Impact Chapter Founder Sudhir Raghupathy, and REALinks/REALNEO Urban Planner and NEO Main Street Founder Joe Stanley.

The fitting theme of the July 5th Roundtable was independence and freedom. And, in acknowledgement that 2005 was half-over, participants also explored successes we’ve seen in our work and civic space so far this year and what we may do to improve outcomes into 2006.

As the roundtable has spent several recent sessions discussing making NEO the world’s most empowering learning community, and this week we were joined by a member of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) Board of Directors, a Cleveland Public Schools educator, and the Founder of Ohio’s top performing charter school, the Intergenerational School, our opening discussions this day revolved around education.

Roundtable participants seem to unanimously support passage of the August 2nd Cleveland schools levy. Further we’re exploring how to expand innovative concepts like intergenerational learning into area public learning. We propose helping organize a series of public forums in September on optimizing learning outcomes region-wide. In this interest, Peter Whitehouse announced that on July 12th a group of innovative education leaders is beginning a series of discussions planning these forums, which Louise Dempsey indicates she supports. Roundtable participants will follow this process and provide updates on this planning.

As part of our Roundtable education outreach, we’ve explored the relationship of lead poisoning and diminished learning outcomes. As a member of the steering committee for the Greater Cleveland Lead Advisory Council (GCLAC), I pursue ways to make the GCLAC sustainable and enhance its effectiveness, which has generated interest from CMSD’s Louise Dempsey and malcognitive impairment expert Peter Whitehouse to connect lead awareness with improving education outcomes. At this Roundtable, Louise asked how the CMSD might become involved with the GCLAC and use its activities to increase support for the schools levy.

July 18-24 is Ohio Lead Awareness Week and, at a planning meeting for that public outreach, I spoke with the coordinator about how the GCLAC may work with CMSD and Peter Whitehouse – the GCLAC sees great value in these alignments and follow-up is proceeding – I’ll keep the Roundtable posted.

See http://gclac.realinks.us for more on the GCLAC and Ohio Lead Awareness Week and how they will operate.

I-Open’s Ed Morrison said he has spoken with his brother Hunter Morrison about lead awareness in Youngstown – we will all explore how to expand the GCLAC outreach regionally. GCLAC is a 2005 success – is doing the right things – expand impact and take it regionally is a great next step.

Question from Vic Voinovich – if we’ve all been exposed to lead in our lives (lead poisoning rates are actually down since lead was removed from gasoline) can we heal from past lead poisoning in our lives? Peter Whitehouse, who is a physician, explains there are ways to reduce lead levels in our bodies but the damage caused to our nervous systems is not reversible.

The concern is greatest for young children exposed before they begin school, as lead exposure reduces their ability to learn. Thus, prevention of exposure is the highest objective.

On another education question, I ask educator Mary Beth Matthews if she believes Cleveland Public Schools have improved this year. She says reduced budgets are causing great harm to the teachers – many excellent young teachers have lost their jobs – extracurriculars have been eliminated – a crisis – need state funding – local funding – any help… Marybeth points out there was an article last year inCrains about her needs for her classes and an area CEO saw the article and cut check for $500 for her supplies.

Mary Beth believes more businesses in the community could do the same – adopt schools and classes. We discuss this opportunity, which has been successful in Baltimore and other communities, and we propose there should be a website to promote and process needs. Louise points out there is information and such a program on the CMSD website - http://www.cmsdnet.net/ - Cleveland Initiative for Education– each school has 4-5 corporations that sponsor the school. The Roundtable discusses that such a public-private partnership must be proactive to succeed – good topic for a future Roundtable and pursuit for the rest of 2005.

Peter Holmes points to a past comment from Louise that some schools have been quite successful this year. Peter Whitehouse points out the Intergenerational School has had a very good year and looks to expand impact of intergenerational learning in the community next school year – points to Experience Corp as way for older adults to adopt schools – Louise says there are lots of older adults who volunteer with the Cleveland public schools and they couldn’t live without them.

Intergenerational School is the only one in country and most successful Charter School in country and they would like to work with CMSD to bring success into public schooling – Vic points out some older adults in trades could help at Max Hayes. Steven Goldberg suggests real mentorship/apprenticeship for schools – like guilds. Louise mentions work with Clinic and CMSB as a best practice. CMSD is huge and lots of the good things get lost.

Ed endorses the power of internal communications – suggests redesign of corporate and seniors partnership programs – connect CMSD to seniors and businesses – need trusted communications – “help a school� site to find volunteers – need to be proactive and reach out to individuals’ networks

Ed suggests process needs personal interactions with accelerations of social networking tools – we’re all in this together – how can we redesign the social networks of a school so people who are working in business work with elders with schools with

Pick one school as model to participate with – Intergenerational School wants to participate and is continuing dialogue next meeting at 4 PM Tuesday at Fairhill Center –next Tuesday I-open will meet from 6-8 at Maple Heights library

As other community dialogue forthcoming, Peter Whitehouse mentions there will be a Business as Agent for World Benefit AI summit in October

Peter Holmes points out East Cleveland is a great success story this year in many ways – I point out that half the people in the room have personally become involved with the city and people there, not because of top down initiative but through flat, ad hoc collaboration – now to see where we can take things

Vic asks Ed what we can do to move Open Source Economic Development forward – Ed says participate in what is happening in the community – Peter Whitehouse’s activities, I-Open and Excellence Roundtables are excellent examples.