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‘Read Like Me’ wins top prize at 2021 Accelerate competition

Sara Kidner is a CMSD principal aiming to enhance literacy and promote educating as a profession discipline amongst younger Black males

CLEVELAND — A literacy and function mannequin initiative for younger Black males was voted the profitable pitch by a digital viewers final week on the seventh annual Speed up: Residents Make Change civic pitch competitors introduced by the Cleveland Management Heart.

The profitable pitch from Sara Kidner acquired a $5,000 grant for “Learn Like Me.” 

“Learn Like Me” goals to enhance literacy amongst younger Black males and promote educating as a profession discipline for Black males. 

RELATED: Cleveland literacy program serving to encourage younger Black males via studying

As a highschool principal, and a brand new mom, Kidner says her inspiration is twofold.

“‘Learn Like Me’ happened as a result of I used to be working with my son, who’s 15 months outdated, and looking for literacy packages for him,” she mentioned. “And I discovered a whole lot of movies, and everybody within the movies seemed precisely like me. Nobody seemed like him. He is a Black male, as is his father, and it was actually irritating to not have that sort of function mannequin for him.”

Kidner’s plan requires highschool college students to grow to be “reader leaders” who will probably be recruited and educated to work with elementary college college students in grades 3-5 to enhance their literacy outcomes. 

Kidner, of Cleveland, can also be Principal of the John Marshall College of Civic and Enterprise Management within the Cleveland Metropolitan College District.

“I really interviewed a whole lot of my college students about what they needed to be after they grew up,” Kidner mentioned. “And I spotted none of my male college students in any respect needed to be lecturers, not to mention Black male college students.”

RELATED: Making Cleveland a greater place, one concept at a time

Kidner says, curiosity is all about relatability – seeing characters that appear like them, or share related experiences. 

“66 p.c of scholars who’re within the metropolis of Cleveland are Black college students. The scholars we serve, and the people who find themselves serving them ought to be related,” Kidner mentioned in her pitch. 

Kidner crafted “Learn Like Me” to assist fill the literacy hole for males of coloration. And her expertise at Speed up left her with a push to maintain going.

“Being surrounded by different change-agents is a superb a part of Speed up…. and listening to everybody else’s speeches it actually lets you higher perceive how many individuals are working for change on this metropolis.”

Editor’s notice: the video within the participant beneath is from a narrative printed on March 2, 2021.

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