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Words from a former Student of Promise:

  • “One of the major support groups for me that kept me going and kept me motivated everyday was the Closing the Achievement Gap program”.

    Airman First Class, Andrey Lindsey – John F. Kennedy High School Class of 2011

Dear Students, Parents, Guardians and Learning Communities:

It is indeed an honor to introduce and implement the Students of Promise Closing the Achievement Gap Initiative in the Cleveland Hts. – University Hts., Garfield Hts., Maple Hts., and Warrensville Hts. School Districts! As a result of a lot of hard work, vision and dedication from numerous people, this Cuyahoga County supported program will provide targeted students with additional mentors, support, resources, exposure and advocacy towards their success. All of our students have great potential and promise and it is our determination to help bolster achievement in collaboration with each learning community, parents and support systems.

I am pleased and encouraged by the participation of our students thus far, beginning with an engaging Summer Bridge Program and how the students have connected and worked with their Linkage Coordinators since the start of the school year. The Linkage Coordinators, as they work diligently with students, parents, teachers, administrators and the community, have done a phenomenal job in helping to meet the academic, social and emotional needs of the Students of Promise. I look forward to an enriching and productive school year where students are gaining confidence, putting forth effort, setting and reaching goals, as well as taking pride in their education and surrounding community.

It is my honor to continue to partner with the various learning communities, Cuyahoga County and all who support academic and social excellence. To the Students of Promise, as our Creed states – You are important, you are smart and you can achieve.  "That’s what’s up!"

Best wishes for the best school year ever and for supporting Students of Promise USA!

Bob Ivory, Program Director


Students are selected by the building principal, guidance counselors as well as referred by teachers and support staff within the school to participate in the program. This process may take place at the beginning of the school year, throughout the school year or at the end of the school year for incoming freshmen based on various risk factors and individual needs. The Student is then partnered with the Linkage Coordinator at their school. The Linkage Coordinator is a full-time, caring and skilled adult employed by the school district and located onsite at the student’s school. The Linkage Coordinator helps assess and address the student’s academic, social and emotional needs and works with the student, parents, teachers and other support systems to make a plan for his or her success. A mentor and role model facilitating interventions and programming within the Students of Promise designated classroom, the Linkage Coordinator makes essential connections between the student, family, school staff and community. This is accomplished as the Linkage Coordinator provides academic resources and helps each student build character, self-confidence and raise expectations.

Each child has an individual plan for success, but all students within the program work together to encourage each other’s progress. Social and emotional support are key components of the program. Through mentorship and peer learning, plus intense focus on academic achievement, students are empowered to increase class attendance, improve performance and reduce negative behavior. The Linkage Coordinator is responsible for tracking each student’s progress academically, meeting with each student and their teachers on a regular basis to monitor academic performance, attendance, effort, improvement, classroom participation and goal setting along with addressing any behavior issues or individual needs. In addition to helping each student navigate through high school, the Linkage Coordinator conducts focus group and life skills development sessions with targeted students. These sessions take place within the Students of Promise classroom as scheduled during the school day or during out-of-school time program activities.

* Click to view each quote.

Retired Superintendent Dr. Nylajean McDaniels, Cleveland Heights – University Heights School District

“Closing the achievement gap is the most important civil rights issue of the 21st century. The Achievement Gap is the responsibility of everyone in the schools.”

Dr. Charlie Keenan, Maple Heights Schools Superintendent

“One of the most telling pieces of data that indicates specific children need additional support can be seen in subsets of our graduation rate and in our freshman passage rate. The majority of our seniors begin their education in Maple after their ninth grade year, and a majority of those students come to us deficient of credit and/ or with socio-emotional issues. Students who were in Maple since before third grade had over a 95% graduation rate last year, while the graduation rate of those who came to us during their high school years was below 60%”.

Superintendent Terrence Olszewski. Garfield Heights City Schools

“With the help of such additional resources, programming and initiatives, the Garfield Heights City Schools maintains that further assistance can be effectively provided to our disadvantaged students”.

Cuyahoga County Councilman Anthony Hairston

“The Students of Promise program will offer social services, academic assistance, college access activities, and parent engagement for students with social and emotional problems that can greatly impact their ability to succeed in school”.

Cuyahoga County Councilwoman Shontel M. Brown

"The program gives at risk youth added exposure and broader exposure experiences through activities and events not typical to their everyday learning environment...therefore producing more productive and positive youth."

Dr. Gary M. Zoldesy, Warrensville Heights City Schools Superintendent

"The Program at Warrensville Heights City Schools has helped students both academically and behaviorally. This significant impact is the direct result of how our students have positively responded to our Linkage Coordinator, Miya Nettis. She has developed a trust and rapport with our students that has resulted in positive growth".

Cuyahoga Councilman Pernel Jones Jr.

“Our most vulnerable students lost a valuable path to graduation. We are bringing back a successful program for youth who need extra guidance in reaching their full potential”