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Tunnel of encouragement: East Cleveland students greeted on first day of school

Push underway to involve fathers more in child education
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Posted at 3:51 PM, Aug 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-22 18:16:27-04

EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio — Students at East Cleveland’s Shaw High School were greeted with quite the welcome for their first day of school — a tunnel of support, made up mostly of about 100 men and fathers from throughout the community, cheering on students.

“It’s important for both parents to stay involved in their children’s lives year-round,” said Al Grimes with the Cuyahoga County Fatherhood Initiative. “We know when dads are involved, children are less likely to live in poverty, less likely to drop out of school, less likely to do drugs. All the research says when dads are involved in their children’s life, they live a more positive and productive life.”

Earlier this year, News 5 highlighted how Shaw High School created a parent, teacher, student association for the first time in decades, and it is made up entirely of men.

RELATED: Shaw High School reinstates school PTSA, adds all-male board

It’s all part of an idea dreamed up by Beverly Bright-Lloyd, family engagement coordinator for the East Cleveland City School District.

“We want to be a family district,” she explained. “It’s a two-generation approach, where we’re educating the children and we also want to help and close the gap between children and their parents.”

Last December, the East Cleveland City School district got the green light from the Ohio Department of Education to start resuming overseeing its own operations after being deemed by the state as a district under “distress.”

As part of that revitalization plan, that district created a parent-teacher-student association for each of its schools.

“We’re just thankful in the first steps of our plan, to partner with our community, to welcome our students back,” superintendent Dr. Henry Pettiegrew said. “We’re doing a handshake with our community so we can get our students on the right track.”