The bi-monthly resource for Texas ASCD members
March 2010 Vol. 3, Issue 2
The No Excuses Philosophy: Lessons, Challenges, and Success Strategies for Motivating Students of Color
Letter from Texas ASCD
New Study: College Gender Gap
News and Events
Vol. 3, Issue 2
Features Excuses Philosophy 3 No Lessons, Challenges, and Success
Strategies for Motivating Students of Color
STUDY: College Gender Gap 10 NEW Appears to be Stabilizing with One Notable Exception
In Every Issue 9
Letter from Texas ASCD
News and Events
Texas ASCD Membership Application President Gena Gardiner Vice President Janis Jordan, Ed. D. Secretary Alma Rodriguez, Ph.D. President-Elect Ellen V. Bell, Ph.D. Past President Brad Lancaster, Ed.D. Yolanda M. Rey, Ph.D. Executive Director
March 2010 Leaders of Learners
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The No Excuses Philosophy:
Lessons, Challenges, and Success Strategies for Motivating Students of Color
“Coach D” (middle) with students after an Assembly
by Darrell “Coach D” Andrews
Years ago, my wife and I traveled with several volunteers to take a
large group of African-American and Latino students on a trip to the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania. One hundred percent of the 150 or so students we were spending the weekend with were from the inner city, and our focus was to spend that weekend training minority students on the importance of leadership as well as the need for developing their personal, interpersonal, and communication skills. One group joined us from the town of Perth Amboy, NJ, which is not far outside of New York City. The minute I saw the Perth Amboy March 2010 Leaders of Learners
students, the first words that came out of my mouth were, “We are in for a long weekend working with this group.” I probably surprised 3
The No Excuses Philosophy...continued from page 4
volunteers; after all, not only had I been working with youth from the inner city for years at the time, but I myself am African-American. Still, I couldn’t stop from judging these kids. My words were based upon the way the students were dressed, the way they walked, and the way they communicated. Societal perceptions still exist, even when you are of the race or culture in which the perception is being made! The next day I joined several students, including some of the Perth Amboy students, playing a game of basketball. I’m pretty competitive and soon I forgot I was playing with students who were much younger than I was. In my mind I was reliving my own high school basketball career, and suddenly I found myself flat on my back on the ground, immobile and in incredible pain. For a moment, many of the students simply stared at me in amazement. A split-second later, the students from Perth Amboy ran over to me, lifted me up in the air and ran with me in their arms to the infirmary. They stayed with me while I was looked at, and when the camp doctor determined I
This experience became the catalyst for my “No Excuses” mind set. The reaction of those students compounded the embarrassment of my initial impression of them. Many of us recite the cliché, ‘Never judge a book by its cover.’ Too few of us recite or even remember the rest – that you absolutely must first read the book! Most people refuse to read the book and allow the cover to become their only blueprint for interacting with minority kids. By accepting this paradigm, and allowing it to shape classroom expectations, educators are missing an opportunity to close the achievement gap and many other challenges associated with educating minority youth.
Read the Whole Book, Not Just the Dust Cover. By actually ‘reading the book’ one begins to fully grasp how minority kids not only have ambitions and dreams just like other students, but that minority youth are motivated to achieve their dreams by people who relate to them on a personal level. In our HYPE (Helping Youth Pursue Excellence) Program, my team and I have interacted with thousands of minority and at-risk youth. Over the years, we have engaged in conversations with an increasing number of minority students who have truly big dreams. They desire to grow up and become doctors, teachers, lawyers and business owners. By gaining an understanding of the world in which they live, you begin to uncover some of the societal and interpersonal challenges minority students face that hinder their growth potential. This should be a top priority of any educator. After achieving this understanding, you can finally identify what can be done to reverse the tide of academic failure.
“In all my years of working with
youth, I can say that these students
were by far the most compassionate young people I had ever met.” had to go straight to the hospital, these young men were determined to go all the way there with me. In all my years of working with youth, I can say that these students were by far the most compassionate young people I had ever met. March 2010 Leaders of Learners
The No Excuses Philosophy...continued from page 5
Challenges by Any Other Names Are Still Challenges Kids from challenged backgrounds or from urban communities have a myriad of burdens that hinder their ability to effectively communicate the dreams that have become buried deep inside of them. These challenges are no excuse for failure; however, they do point to areas of concern that successful educators understand and analyze. These educators have made their goal helping their students navigate through challenges in order to succeed in the classroom. Common problems students face are:
• Oppositional Identity – A term created by the late Dr. John Ogbu, a former Cultural Anthropologist out of University of CaliforniaBerkley. His research highlights various minorities and the challenges faced by Involuntary Immigrants (African-Americans, Native Americans, and Chicano’ peoples who came to this country through slavery
or conquest). He points out that many minorities in this category have created a “counter culture” to the majority culture of the population, reaction that is due to years of limited opportunities and denial of assimilation into the American system. The eventual result of this development is that individuals are often considered “sell-outs” if they go against the identity of their culture. • Cultural Sensitivity – A majority of minorities do not see any significance in the American school system, because they do not see many people like themselves succeeding in it. Their parents and grandparents struggled to make it in this county and continue to struggle to this day. Minority students are often only shown images of successful people in history who do not look like them. Secondly, different styles of communication are not often valued in the classroom. For an easy example of how African-Americans often communicate with passion and receive from people who teach in the same manner,
Coach D Speaks Leadership Team
March 2010 Leaders of Learners
The No Excuses Philosophy...continued from page 6
just visit any local African-American church to experience this way of connecting. After being raised in such vivacious cultures, is it any wonder minority students have difficulty in the classroom? Yet we expect them to learn after sitting in a room hearing lectures that are monotone in nature when their culture learns and interacts in a high energy way.
Moving From Challenges to Motivation Kids are not committed to programs, kids are committed to people – this philosophy is a career motto of mine. After nearly twenty years of analyzing and motivating minority youth, I have witnessed over and over again that minority students do not care what your skin color is – if you care about them, they will respond to you. To illustrate the understated importance of this simple concept, I want to share with you the stories of districts that implemented innovative strategies to connect with their students of color: 1. Gadsden County School District, Gadsden County, Florida – When incoming Superintendent Reginald James arrived for his first day at Gadsden County, the school district was ranked in the lower percentiles of both student scores on the Florida Comprehensive Achievement Test (FCAT), as well as schools reaching AYP Goals. James recognized the problem immediately, and implemented a “No-Excuses” school-wide philosophy that included significant input from the students themselves. Based on this input and the wide-spread implementation, in just one calendar school year GCSD had the second highest increase in the state of Florida on FCAT scores and all of their schools achieved AYP. Educators from this district recognized the keys of their success and outlined them for their peers:
March 2010 Leaders of Learners
• Educators related student-connectedness to academic outcomes – They simultaneously built student academic outcomes into their relationship building initiatives. • Based upon the student’s input, they immediately engaged key community stakeholders. Organizations such as community groups and churches became role models and supporters for the “No-Excuses” philosophy. • They had accountability across the board -- from classroom teachers to school administrators to parents and the students themselves, everyone was accountable for success.
“I have witnessed over and over again that minority students do not care what your skin color is – if you care about them, they will respond to you.” 2. Hearne High School, Hearne, TX – After one of my presentations for the Southwest Center for Accelerated Schools Conference in Austin, I had the opportunity to meet several administrators from Hearne High School. The focus of the conference had been helping Texas schools achieve AYP goals, and I shared with the Hearne group that students should be taught to identify their life’s passion and develop a strategy to achieve it that was supported by their school. They made the decision then and there to implement this strategy at their school and soon after invited me down to experience what they had done. I walked through the school in amazement as I saw hundreds of students’ Passion Maps™ posted all over the school. After the conference, 6
The No Excuses Philosophy...continued from page 7
administrators had brought home Passion Maps™, which was created to help students take an affinity toward looking at all of their career possibilities. Hearne took that concept to the next level by posting the dreams of their students all over the school. I had walked into a building of motivated students who came face to face with their future dreams and ambitions every day. Hearne High also had the students create twenty-year timelines of their future achievement. One teacher told me, “Teaching is now fun again. By discussing the dreams of our students and connecting it to their academic experiences, all of our students and our staff are now enjoying the school day.” Hearne’s experience depicts what can happen when:
• Schools encourage and support the dreams of students and connect these dreams back to their educational experience. This is one of the best ways to help minority students see the significance of their dreams. • Schools make a “Big Deal” out of their student’s future. If schools make a big deal of it, so will the students!
March 2010 Leaders of Learners
3. Lincoln College Prep High School, Kansas City, MO – Lincoln High School was the stereotypical high school within the inner city. The school was started years ago for African-American students and years later was still primarily African-American. At the beginning of a new school year, Principal Regina Ellis suddenly realized that her students and her staff did not have any definable goals to attain. She recognized the need for some type of objective the staff and students could embrace, and that this purpose would become inspiration to improve academic and personal outcomes. Her administration chose the goal amount of scholarships their students should aim towards After sharing this goal with students, parents, the community, and other stakeholders, Ellis started to see a synergy take place in her school. Their first year’s goal was to achieve over 5 million dollars in scholarships for their students. Because of the combined dedication of the school and community, not only did they achieve this goal, they exceeded it by several hundred thousand dollars. The next year they set the bar higher by shooting for over 6 million is scholarships. Currently, they have earned over 6.5 million dollars in scholarships. 7
The No Excuses Philosophy...continued from page 8
How did this underestimated school become a flagship school of the state of Missouri?
In each account, effective leadership was the driving force behind the success of these schools and their minority students. Leaders of learners can successfully use these strategies and their own innovative strategies with confidence. These methods will first and foremost improve minority student relations, which is directly connected to improving test scores and a host of other academic expectations. Let me emphasize again that kids are not committed to programs, kids are committed to people. Caring educators and administrators see the potential in their minority students and allows this vision to be the driving force behind their expectation of success!
First, administration recognized that schools need to have a definable goal for the students and staff to work towards. Second, their students were taught to reach beyond any self-perceived limitation. Third, goals that are established were analyzed and discussed frequently in order to keep them alive and well. Finally, educators understood that when you connect goals to academic achievement, academic achievement becomes a quest instead of a routine.
About the Author Darrell “Coach D” Andrews is a keynote speaker, trainer and consultant for schools and districts. He is the author of the book, Believing the HYPE—Seven Keys to Motivating Students of Color. tbc136105_ASCD_6.75x4.75_rSG
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To register, visit http://www.the-breakthrough-coach.com/curriculum/registration.php. March 2010 Leaders of Learners
Celebrating the many shades of spring by Anna McGarity Texas ASCD, Communications Associate
It’s officially spring! After an unusually long, cold, and wet winter here in Texas, the warmer spring is appreciated even more than usual. As many of us use the sighting of bluebonnets as the signal to begin looking forward towards summer break, we’re looking back. This issue of Leaders of Learners recalls February and March and how the theme of diversity is so important in what we do as educators. February was Black History Month, when we honor the African-Americans that have helped our country progress and evolve, as well as looking at what changes still need to be made. The article “The No Excuses Philosophy: Motivating Students of Color,” written by Darrell Andrews, speaks directly to how minority children today require a different kind of support to help them succeed in our schools. He tells of several successful programs around the country, including Hearne, TX, that have helped children through positive goal setting techniques. His story is inspiring, and we hope it helps motivate you to motivate your students. March 2010 Leaders of Learners
March was Women’s history month. Things have changed a lot in this country for girls and women over the course of a couple hundred years: women can now vote and hold political office; they work in maledominated industries and are excelling; they are even joining men on the battle field! In fact, until recently, girls were actually doing better in school than boys and entering college and universities at drastically higher rates than boys, causing some concern over the long term ramifications of fewer boys in higher education. However, it has leveled off, and it is now being reported that boys and girls are succeeding at a similar rate – except among Hispanics. Read about the new study released by the American Education Council on page 10, which talks about what this means to the Hispanic community, and the country as a whole, since it is expect to be minority- majority by 2025. Texas ASCD is holding its first ever Summer Conference in Dallas lead by the Alan November Learning Team. Through the use of technology in education, the playing field can be leveled for all children, helping diminish the challenges of diversity and instead celebrating them. Learn more about the conference under News and Events on page 12. Finally, spring at Texas ASCD also means the Board of Directors elections. Members should be receiving ballots now. Please be sure to make your voice heard and vote! We hope you enjoy the beautiful spring weather and all the amazing diversity that it brings to the Texas landscapes. Let’s remember to take a minute to appreciate it now and all year long– especially in the classroom.
NEW STUDY: College Gender Gap Appears to be Stabilizing with One Notable Exception, American Council on Education finds
It appears the gender gap in higher education has reached a plateau for most groups except Hispanics, where the gap between men and women is on the rise, according to a new analysis by the American Council on Education (ACE). Gender Equity in Higher Education: 2010 is a followup to ACE’s original 2000 study and 2006 update. For the first time, several indicators suggest that the size of the gender gap in higher education may have stabilized. The distribution of enrollment and undergraduate degrees by gender has remained consistent since about 2000, with men representing 43 percent of enrollment and earning 43 percent of bachelor’s degrees. The only group in which the size of the female majority does not yet appear to have stabilized is Hispanics: The percentage of Hispanic undergraduates aged 24 or younger who are male has declined from 45 percent in 1999–2000 to 42 percent in 2007–08. Hispanic young men also have the lowest bachelor’s degree attainment level of any group studied, at only 10 percent. Hispanic women appear to have pulled away from their male peers since the late 1980s, increasing their bachelor’s degree attainment rate while the male rate has March 2010 Leaders of Learners remained flat.
The study’s author cites immigration as a key factor in the low educational performance among Hispanics, with significant differences in educational attainment rates between Hispanics born outside the United States compared with their U.S.-born peers. For example, only 51 percent of Hispanic young adults born outside the United States have completed high school, compared with 81 percent of U.S.-born
“The only group in which the size of the female majority does not yet appear to have stabilized is Hispanics” Hispanics. Male immigrants, who represent one out of every three Hispanic young adults, are at a particular disadvantage. Less than half of these young men have completed high school, and only 6 percent have earned a bachelor’s degree. In contrast, Hispanic women born in the U.S. now attain a bachelor’s degree at the same rate as African-American women (18 percent).
New ACE Study ...continued from page 10
“Raising the attainment rate of Hispanic men— and women—looms as one of the most significant challenges facing American education,” said Jacqueline E. King, assistant vice president of ACE’s Center for Policy Analysis and author of the study. “In order for the attainment rate of Hispanic young men to rise, degree production will have to outpace population growth or immigration will have to slow.” Gender Equity in Higher Education: 2010 analyzes data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Education.
Other Enrollment Findings: ▪ Men aged 25 or older represent just 14 percent of all undergraduates and are outnumbered two to one by women in the same age group.
▪ Despite progress by African Americans of both genders and Hispanic women, the gaps in bachelor’s degree attainment rates between these groups and whites are larger today than they were in the 1960s and 70s. ▪ After a spike in the mid-1970s that reflected the surge in male enrollment during the Vietnam War, the share of young white men with a bachelor’s degree declined and remained flat until the early 1990s. Today, 32 percent of white men aged 25 to 29 hold a bachelor’s degree, compared with 40 percent of white women. For both white and Hispanic young men, increases in the number of degrees earned have been outpaced by population growth, resulting in flat attainment rates.
“While the gender gap is important and should be addressed by educators and policy makers, these findings suggest the current female majority may be higher education’s new normal” ▪ African Americans still have the largest gender gap in enrollment; 63 percent of all African American undergraduates are women. ▪ Among African Americans and American Indians, female undergraduates aged 25 or older outnumber women aged 24 or younger. ▪ Among traditional-age students who are financially dependent on their parents, multiple years of data consistently show that for each racial/ ethnic group, the gender gap in enrollment disappears as family income rises. ▪ Women’s share of graduate enrollment continues to increase, now reaching 60 percent overall, with tremendous variation by race/ethnicity, degree program and field of study.
March 2010 Leaders of Learners
▪ Women now earn as many professional and doctoral degrees as men. Women also earn the majority of master’s degrees due to their predominance in popular fields such as education and nursing. Men continue to earn the majority of master’s degrees in engineering and business administration. “While the gender gap is important and should be addressed by educators and policy makers, these findings suggest the current female majority may be higher education’s new normal,” King added.
October 24 - 26, 2010
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March 2010 Leaders of Learners