MetroHealth. Centers for Families and Children. United Way of Greater Cleveland.
Cleveland Public Library. Cleveland Rape Crisis Center. Esperenza, Inc. Cleveland Metropolitan School District. Murtis Taylor

What do all of these nonprofit organizations have in common? Aside from being allies in the effort to support Cleveland families and children, they also represent the first group of local partners with staff and/or volunteers who have completed the recently launched Cleveland Transformation Alliance (CTA) Ambassador Training Program. 

Currently a virtual workshop, the Ambassador Training Program is led by program coordinator Eli Stacy with the goal of building a diverse community of school choice advocates for Cleveland students and families.

Eventually, Cleveland Transformation Alliance plans to expand the program to include parents and other community members, such as PTA volunteers, etc. Anyone can be an advocate for quality schools and school choice, especially in Cleveland, where city leadership has committed to building a portfolio of high-quality public schools, both district and charter, to meet the needs of every student and neighborhood. 

“I’m really excited about this work,” says Stacy, noting that in the short time he’s been doing the training (since July 2020) he already sees a shift in community and family awareness that CTA is a place where parents can reach out for advocacy, information and support. 

His favorite part of the training is being able to familiarize participants with the 3 primary tools that Cleveland Transformation Alliance uses to empower families: 

  1. The Cleveland School Quality Guide (available in print and online) annually with detailed information about all public, district and approved charter schools in Cleveland
  2. The School Finder Tool, an interactive online tool designed to help families navigate school choice options based on the factors that are most important to them
  3. The Family Resource Corner, which highlights resources and information to help families advocate for their children

While the training itself takes between 30-90 minutes (depending on which version is completed) Transformation Alliance sees this as “just the beginning” of their relationship with those who complete the course.  A self-paced, online training module is available at no cost to any participant who wants to become an Ambassador and take the training independently.

“We want to know how to make all of our resources as useful as possible for families,” notes Executive Director Meghann Marnecheck. And they also want trained Ambassadors to reach out for help if they have a student or family who needs additional support. “If it takes longer than 5-10 minutes to guide a family through the educational landscape,” says Stacy “then please use the referral link” and CTA will assign a one-to-one navigator to follow up. “You are not alone in this work, this should be a supplement and resource to you, never a burden.” 

To learn more about the Ambassador Training program, contact info@clevelandta.org.