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Cleveland Foundation grant helps launch Cleveland Urban Cohort

02/24/2012

A $140,000 grant from the Cleveland Foundation is enabling Miami University's School of Education, Health and Society (EHS) to develop and pilot a Cleveland Urban Cohort program that will create an immersive learning experience for Miami students and faculty in Cleveland's near West Side.

"Many people will benefit from a community-focused approach to education like the Cleveland Urban Cohort program — from the young people in the classrooms on the near West Side of Cleveland to the college students who are drawn to teaching in urban areas,” said Helen Williams, program director for education at the Cleveland Foundation. “We applaud Miami University's efforts to provide culturally proficient teachers and other professionals to our community."

The Cleveland Urban Cohort will follow in the successes of Miami’s Urban Teaching Cohort, which focuses on Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine district and other underserved communities in the Greater Cincinnati area. The program is designed to ease the adjustment for beginning teachers in urban neighborhoods by immersing them in urban communities as students. Throughout the program, students participate in urban immersion experiences, volunteer with community agencies and live in the urban communities in which they student teach.

While the Cleveland Urban Cohort will follow a similar model, it will explore a more holistic approach to meeting the needs of urban families. In addition to its focus on teacher preparation, the Cleveland program will involve students and faculty from other departments within EHS, including family studies, social work, educational leadership and health studies. The program will also utilize faculty scholars, who will work with community leaders on projects to benefit the community while enhancing their own understanding of urban issues.

“The Cleveland Foundation’s partnership is very meaningful as we launch an Urban Cohort program that has tremendous potential to impact not only Miami students but also Cleveland’s near West Side community, said Carine Feyten, EHS Dean. “We are excited to expand this inspiring program into another of Ohio’s urban centers while involving more of our talented students and faculty. This is especially exciting because the Cleveland Urban Cohort signals a shift in which we will expand our focus beyond the classroom to more holistically improve the lives of young people and their families.”

The Cleveland Foundation’s grant, combined with a matching gift from Cleveland-area residents Tom, Miami '59, and Sandy Sullivan, will support a four-year pilot period during the program’s development and implementation. The funding will be crucial to supporting partnerships with near West Side schools and agencies as well as enabling more students to participate in immersion experiences and residential student-teaching opportunities.

Established in 1914, the Cleveland Foundation is the world's first community foundation and the nation's second largest. The foundation improves the lives of Greater Clevelanders by building community endowment, addressing needs through grant making, and providing leadership on vital issues.

The grant adds to the $500-million Miami University campaign For Love and Honor, which, as the university’s most successful fund-raising campaign, has raised more than $435 million in support of Miami’s priority needs.

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