2016 Fall Special Edition Living Education eMagazine (Vol.17A)

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LIVING EDUCATION eMAGAZINE A magazine that discusses education in our everyday lives Fall special edition 2016 Vol. XVII



1. a disease or injury of plants marked by the formation of lesions, withering, and death of parts (as leaves and tubers) b: an organism (as an insect or a fungus) that causes blight 2. something that frustrates plans or hopes 3. something that impairs or destroys 4. a deteriorated condition

Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary (2016)

The Effects of Community Blight Economic Losses Education Depopulation Loss of Jobs Unemployment Marginalization Pollution Loss of Property Value Crime Social Injustice Disenfranchisement Failing Schools Poverty Health/Mental Health Cultural Destruction Homelessness Access to Quality Food Hunger Abandoned Landscape Truancy Rates Attitude of Educators

The Influence of an Urban Educational Leadership Doctoral Program on the Social Justice Leadership Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions of Its Graduates: A Case Study. Researcher: Dr. Nilajah Nyasuma Sims @nilajahnyasuma An abundance of data indicates that social inequality contributes to the school failure of African American and other children of color. Despite this finding, educational leadership preparation programs, have not, overwhelmingly embraced a social justice curriculum (Lopez, 2003). The purpose of this study was to understand faculty and student perceptions regarding the extent to which the doctoral program in Urban Educational Leadership at a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) explicitly or implicitly espouses a social justice agenda in the preparation of leaders. Additionally, its purpose was to study stakeholder perceptions of the extent to which the program succeeds in advancing such an agenda.

Executive Perspective

There is Beauty Among the Ruins The Academic Resiliency of Students from Blighted Communities Michael A. Robinson, Ed.D. @DrMikeRobinson Often on my way to the offices of Forest Of The Rain Productions, I pass communities that have been decimated by government neglect, crime, and poverty. And, I wonder aloud what about the children? How are they managing and navigating the abandoned, depilated, and structurally rotting homes and buildings on their way to school? What must our children think when they pass more liquor stores than grocery stores? How are their bodies being nourished, when for many it is easier to purchase fast foods than fresh vegetables? What is going through their minds? Do they see hope or despair? Do they believe they can overcome their environments or do they accept the false narrative that their lives do not matter and they are destined to spend it living in communities that have been left behind by so many? The depth of the issues and challenges confronting communities grounded in blight, neglect, crime, and poverty is well documented and just as well ignored. However, what is known by just as many is the fact the residents, the families, and especially the children of these abused communities are RESILIENT! Their resiliency is seldom championed and in those rare moments when their resiliency is on displayed and cannot be ignored; they are defined as an anomaly; an outlier. What has become the failure of Sociologist, Ecologists, Psychologist, Educators, and others is an ability to understand how these students who attend schools that rest among ruins and rubbles of communities, that have been tattered by blight; are not all without hope. I am amazed at the ability of so many of these students to make it through to the other side. They find a way to push themselves academically; they have “Academic Resiliency”. They have the inner strength to overcome the impossible and to change their world and eventually our world. If there is a theme which represents the resiliency of those scholars and their communities, it could easily be “There is Beauty Among the Ruins”. It is this awareness that has driven the focus of the 2016 fall edition of Living Education eMagazine. In this edition, our contributors will examine the various central and ancillary issues related to urban, indigenous, and International factors of environmental blight and its impact on the academic resiliency of children of all ethnicities.

Contributors Dr. Stephen Jones Bio page: 69

Academic Motivation and Success A Phenomenological Study of 8th Grade African American Boys in Two Suburban Maryland Middle Schools p. 12 Kyle Randolph Bacon, Ed.D. • How to Revive our Imperiled Education System p. 16 Dr. Stephen Jones • How Poverty Impacts Education p. 19 Nekeshia Hammond, Psy.D. • Poverty, Education’s Biggest Obstacle p. 26 Rinata Tanks, Ed.D. • Is the Food Served at Your School Safe? p. 28 Gary Stueven, M.D. Harlan Stueven, M.D. •

Kyle Randolph Bacon, Ed.D. Bio page: 69

Nekeshia Hammond, Psy.D. Bio page: 69

Rinata Tanks, Ed.D. Bio page: 69

Gary Stueven, M.D. Bio page: 70

Harlan Stueven, M.D. Bio page: 70


Dr. LaShonda M. Jackson-Dean Bio page: 70 Jeromie Heath Bio page: 70

Avis B. Williams, Ed.D. Bio page: 70

John C. Turner, M.S. Bio page: 70

Rafael Tapia Jr. Bio page: 71

Donna Y. Ford, Ph.D. Bio page: 71

Nurturing the Intellect of our African American Poor Youth p. 31 Dr. LaShonda M. Jackson-Dean • Defeating; I Can’t Creating A Positive Learning Environment p. 38 Jeromie Heath • •Why Can’t You Reach Me? Improving Academic Outcomes for Black Boys p. 43 Avis B. Williams, Ed.D. • “Got GUMPTION?” Cultivating Students & Professionals of Color Success in Higher Education p. 46 John C. Turner, M.S. • Native American Education: Challenging Environments and Conditions p. 63 Rafael Tapia Jr. •

Book 2 • Recommendations Culturally Relevant (CR) Leaders Can Do to Support Black Children Living in Poverty p. 6 By Nicole McZeal Walters, Ed.D., Donna Y. Ford, Ph.D., Sheree N. Alexander, Ed.D. •

Nicole McZeal Walters, Ed.D. Bio page: 71 Sheree N. Alexander, Ed.D. Bio page: 72

Contributors Dede Rittman Bio page: 72

Special Education and Inclusion – Enriching School Classrooms and Climate p. 10 By Dede Rittman • Making a Difference by Daring to be Different Nikkia Rowe, Renaissance Academy Principal An Urban Educator p. 13 • Homelessness and Education: The Role of Housing p. 20 By Samantha Batko • The Role of the Local Church in Guiding and Restoring Hope in Marginalized Communities p. 28 By Dr. James R. Riley • Why Burma p. 32 By Paul Jeffress •

Nikkia Rowe Bio page: 72

Samantha Batko Bio page: 72

Paul Jeffress Bio Page: 73

Dr. James R. Riley Bio Page: 73

In 2015, Baltimore, Maryland had over 16,000 abandoned houses standing. Source: Baltimore Housing

Academic Motivation and Success:

A Phenomenological Study of 8th Grade

African American Boys in Two Suburban Maryland Middle Schools By Kyle Randolph Bacon, Ed.D., The University of Maryland Eastern Shore, USA

ABSTRACT A review of the existing literature illuminated a gap in the current research on academic motivation and success for 8th grade African American male students in the state of Maryland. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to understand the perceptions of factors contributing to the academic motivation and success of 8th grade African American male students’ in two suburban Maryland middle schools. From the research, eight major themes emerged from the study; goal setting, highly academic performance, increased peer accountability, parental support and accountability, classroom environment, more principal-led focus groups, specific career aspirations, and negative school images. Based on the themes the researcher collected, the results suggested that peer accountability, parental involvement, and committed educators have a direct correlation with the academic motivation and success of the selected participants. The research may be of interest to K–12 administrators, teachers, and parents seeking instructional and cognitive strategies to address how 8th grade African American male students process their perceptions and emotions attached to their learning. Keywords: Academic Motivation; African American Males; Middle Schools; Parental Involvement INTRODUCTION In the United States, African American men are in a state of crisis and present a complex picture for those observing and analyzing them (Hall, Critcher, Jefferson, Clarke, & Roberts, 2013; Noguera, 2009). Educating, motivating, and encouraging 8th grade African American boys within a suburban educational setting is a national concern (Allen, 2015; Davis & Jordan, 1994; Harry & Klingner, 2014; Stinson, 2013).

The problem is the lack of empirical research concerning the motivation and success strategies of 8th grade African American male middle school students in suburban Maryland schools.

Faced with severe life challenges from birth, African American boys endure high infant mortality rates, live in challenging neighborhoods, and are labeled at-risk, dysfunctional, and uneducable (Close, Suther, Foster, El-Amin, & Battle, 2013). These boys enter school with a myriad of issues: poor economic conditions, lack of father figures, and family members who may not have experienced success in school (Conchas, 2012; Gurian, 2010). Though multiple initiatives, programs, and interventions have attempted to alleviate this problem, the achievement gap continues to widen (Desimone & Long, 2010; Hill, Moser, Shannon, & Louis, 2013). 8th grade African American and Latino boys are more likely than other subgroups to be suspended from school; these groups also have lower graduation rates than other subgroups (Adelman & Taylor, 2014; Dobbie & Fryer, 2009; Howard, 2013; Noguera & Wells, 2011). African American boys are frequently excluded from the gifted and talented classes, and they are more likely to be placed in special education classes based on their behavior rather than their academics (Ford & Moore, 2013; Harry & Klingner, 2014; Morgan, Frisco, Farkas, & Hibel, 2008). Problem Statement The problem is the lack of empirical research concerning the motivation and success strategies of 8th grade African American male middle school students in suburban Maryland schools. Developing a positive self-image, understanding their racial identity, and enhancing their critical thinking skills are important for 8th grade African

Educational research has positioned 8th grade African American boys as being slower, undeveloped, and possessing inferior abilities in comparison to their White counterparts in mathematics on school district and state-mandated assessments (Bush & Bush, 2010; Cook, 2008). American boys’ academic motivation and success (Berry, Thunder, & McClain, 2011; RozanskyLloyd, 2005; Walton, 2010). Educational research has positioned 8th grade African American boys as being slower, undeveloped, and possessing inferior abilities in comparison to their White counterparts in mathematics on school district and state-mandated assessments (Bush & Bush, 2010; Cook, 2008). African American children’s lack of achievement in mathematics is staggering (Boaler & Staples, 2008; Lewis, James, Hancock, & Hill-Jackson, 2008). The 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress data (as cited in Tyler, 2013) suggested only 7% of African American children were proficient in mathematics. The average math score for African American students was higher in 2013 than in 2005; however, it was the lowest percentile score for all subgroups assessed (Dee & Jacob, 2011; Reardon & Robinson, 2008). RESEARCH QUESTIONS The following research questions were salient in determining specific factors impacting the academic motivation and success of the participants. 1. What factors do 8th grade African American male middle school students perceive as contributing to their academic motivation and academic success? 2. What roles do peers, parents, and teachers play in 8th grade African American male students’ academic motivation and academic success?

3. What role does school environment play in 8th grade African American male students’ academic motivation and academic success? BACKGROUND Several studies have addressed academic motivation and the limited success of African American boys in the United States, but few have addressed successful African American middle school boys (Berry, 2008; Gordon, Iwamoto, Ward, Potts, & Boyd, 2009; Noguera, 2009; SuárezOrozco, Rhodes, & Milburn, 2009; Wood & Turner, 2010; Woodland, 2008). African American Male Educational Experiences Educating 8th grade African American boys in 21st-century schools is today’s most pertinent, daunting, and challenging social issue facing educators (McCray, Beachum, & Yawn, 2012). African American children have different educational experiences than White children (Jencks & Phillips, 2011; Ladson-Billings, 2009). The educational disparities are based on White students seeking additional educational supports, such as after-school tutoring, summer school, and early childhood educational opportunities (Calderón, Slavin, & Sánchez, 2011; Ladd, 2012). Eighth-grade African American students wear socially conscious masks to protect and disguise any inadequacies they may possess (Fanon, 2008). For some, their schooling experience mirrors what they see outside of school (Eshach, 2007). Many of their schools are equipped with metal detectors and the students are greeted by security guards to maintain a safe and orderly environment (Thurau & Wald, 2009). African American males learn society will not provide them with multiple chances to recover from life-altering decisions (Gottesdiener, 2013).

Some perceive the school as a haven from the crime and infestation of negative influences (Waymer, 2009). The problem is the issues from their immediate environments spill over into the schools, causing even more distractions (Duncan & Magnuson, 2011; Repetti, Wang, & Saxbe, 2009). Eighth-grade African American boys need

consistent and effective support from concerned parents, teachers, and administrators (Grissom & Loeb, 2011; Perry, Liu, & Pabian, 2010). The support can reflect positive reinforcement of successful behaviors, acknowledgment of improved academic growth, established mentoring relationships, and reinforcement of coping strategies (Ward, Thomas, & Disch, 2012; Young & Caldarella, 2011). Conversely, when 8th grade African American boys sense their school environment is unsupportive, they may withdraw and demonstrate minimal academic motivation and success (Gordon et al., 2009; Whaley & Noel, 2011). The media’s portrayals of African American male students as lower performing, aggressive, and disengaged permeate their psyches and reinforce the mindset of academic inferiority (Jones-Parks, 2011). In African American culture, immediate gratification of material possessions outweighs the lengthy process of obtaining academic success (Smith, 2007). From the perspective of 8th grade African American male students, immediate self-gratification outweighs arduous, lengthy, academic preparation (Bandura, 1977a). In their minds, school is in stark contrast to their norms; therefore, some 8th grade African American boys’ insecurities surface, defiant behaviors emerge, thus masking their academic deficiencies, and they become internally conflicted against school structures and expectations (Kincheloe & Hayes, 2007). In not drawing attention to themselves, some may purposely choose not to excel, in order to gain peer approval and group acceptance (Bosacki, 2012). Some 8th grade African American boys reported facing multiple environmental distractions before coming to school, working through difficult family issues with parents, observing unhealthy relationships, and working through their feelings of abandonment and anger issues that impact their concentration (Wilson, 2011). Once in school, their chaotic classroom environments further affect their concentration and comprehending of difficult concepts (Danielson, 2007). They are interested in learning, but grow fearful and become overwhelmed by massive responsibilities of being effective students (Bullough & Gitlin, 2013; Gootman, 2008). Therefore, it was easier for them to rationalize their poor performance and accept Continue on page 17

How to Revive our Imperiled Education System Dr. Stephen Jones @DrStephenJones The African American community needs more government officials who are in touch with individuals whose K12 education is in crisis. Too many youth in our communities suffer due to the high rate of crime and lack of commitment to education. We need educators who are committed to implementing strategies that bring about access to the best education for all students. It is critical to our nation’s future. With all of the talk about the education crisis it seems like America is at a standstill. We need to make education a major priority. We are fast approaching a significant period where large numbers of workers will retire. There is potential for a largely underutilized workforce that needs more education to help the country survive. As the states continue to struggle due to a loss of tax revenue more must be done to keep education funding afloat. The inner cities cannot be ignored while legislatures are just trying to get reelected. When people are employed it creates an opportunity for progressive and growing communities across each state. More needs to be done to highlight the education funding crisis that students and parents face today. Education is not affordable at all levels. There needs to be a serious discussion between each state’s governor and the House of Representatives. Many of the larger cities and rural school districts are underfunding the education investment that should be received for each student. One idea is to have corporations to receive some type of tax credit. The companies could make an investment in local

schools. This type of innovative idea would provide more qualified employees for each company to employ. It would help more students to prepare for the current world of work. More mentors are also needed in all of the schools because students are unaware of potential jobs. Poor neighborhoods have high levels of unemployment and the education crisis persists. If the country does not address the education crisis we will suffer severely. Too many students already come to K12 school unprepared to learn. Their parents are unaware of the role that they play in their child’s education or they are too busy working. America needs to invest in education programs that support parents There needs to be encouragement so that parents will talk to their children about their education goals. Colleges must play a role in support K12 schools in neighborhoods where poverty is high. College students can help to make a difference by tutoring students It would be great to say education gained ground in the war against economic instability in the next few years. There should be a plan in place that talks about how education in this country must change. Just like we have witnessed what a weak infrastructure can do to a country we are witnessing a national school crisis will do to employment. The president must be willing to fight for the education of the poor and middle income families. The country needs more adult learners to pursue additional education too.

Local and state politicians have an opportunity to create a lot of good will within the community. Educating the poor should be viewed as an opportunity to raise the socio-economic status of a diverse population of workers. There are K12 schools and colleges that need to know that their contributions to society are very important too. Now is the time to let each local congressperson know that we can stimulate the economy by supporting education. Our country needs an education revolution. It must involve everyone including students, parents, teachers the government and corporations. Now is the time. Dr. Stephen Jones is an education advocate and the author of three K12 college success books at http://www.DrStephenJones.net or email Learn@DrStephenJones.net African American Boys in Two Suburban Maryland Middle Schools continued from page 14

Conversely, for high-achieving 8th grade African American boys, school represented a place where they could excel (Ford & Moore, 2013; LadsonBillings, 2009). They realized learning was their responsibility, and they must seek additional resources to reinforce their learning and support their future success (Tomlinson, 2014). Perspectives of African American Males The African American male conjures multiple images of positive and negative traits. Understanding the complexities and contradictions of the African American male is intriguing (Kerpelman et al., 2008; Reynolds, Sneva, & Beehler, 2010; Tatum, 2003). From one perspective, African American men have been described as caring, warm individuals, resilient caregivers, intelligent motivators, and powerful leaders (Ellison, 2013; Hughes & Terrell, 2011). Conversely, African American men have been viewed as irresponsible in their homes, violent toward their spouses and children, and dysfunctional in society (Kershaw, Pulkingham, & Fuller, 2008; Norton, 2011; Oware, 2011). From a societal perspective, African American men are complex because they possess many positive and negative characteristics (Gauntlett, 2008; Jackson, 2012). This section describes the literature discussing these societal perspectives from opposing spectrums. Positive portrayals of the African American males

African American men can be described as selfmotivated, family-oriented, servant leaders who provide love, financial resources, and stability for their spouses and children (Barnett & Rivers, 2009; Eliot, 2012; Folbre, 2010). These men assume leadership roles in churches, corporate America, fraternal organizations, and school boards with integrity, a tenacious work ethic, and a sense of purpose (Goldberg, 2008; Luders, 2010; Martin, 2013). The United States witnessed the positive African American male presence during the 1995 Million Man March that revealed the importance of their collective voices being heard, a demonstrated sense of unity, and the responsibility of building stronger generational relationships (Conyers, 2015; Philipp & Thanheiser, 2010). The Black Man Can depicted accounts through an online forum of positive African American male representations (Dreilinger, 2014; Harper, 2009). Negative portrayals of the African American males Although the literature has portrayed African American men in favorable and respectful societal roles, a significant portion of the literature also portrays African American men as dumb, deprived, dangerous, deviant, and disturbed (Crain, 2008; Smith, 1979). Alarming statistics suggest although African American males represent only 6% of the U.S. population, 29% of African American boys born in 2010 will be incarcerated in their lifetime(Lee & Ransom, 2011; Pettit, 2012). Of the current prison population, 44% are African American men (Howard, 2008; Wakefield & Uggen, 2010). Mostly feared, mostly misunderstood, and most likely to be uneducated, African American men’s plight has been illuminated through increased unemployment rates, a deficit-based educational experience, and rising alcohol and substance abuse rates. African American men present a complex picture to assess; their resilience to overcome generational racism is laudable, but society’s view of them as non-threatening individuals remains clouded (Rhodes & Rhodes, 2009; Robinson, 2014). Differential Treatment of African American Boys The differential treatment 8th grade African American boys experience at school can Continue on page 21

How Poverty Impacts Education By Nekeshia Hammond, Psy.D. @Dr_Hammond

Poverty and/or homelessness play vital roles in understanding the needs of students. When students do not have access to the appropriate mental health services, social support systems, and positive influences, they are at a disadvantage in their academic environment.

Jenson (2013) expressed in an article in Educational Leadership the seven differences as to why children from low-income backgrounds do not fare as well in school as their middle class counterparts. The reasons Jenson discussed were health and nutrition, vocabulary, effort, hope and growth mindset, cognition, relationships, and distress. While we can more readily understand why a child without much food, water, or shelter may struggle in school, we often forget about the role that economic factors play in a student’s emotional health. Poverty and/or homelessness play vital roles in understanding the needs of students. When students do not have access to the appropriate mental health services, social support systems, and positive influences, they are at a disadvantage in their academic environment. If you are a child worrying about your next meal, it would be more difficult to concentrate on addition and subtraction. Similarly, a child that has recently been evicted from their home, recognizing the financial burden on their family, could withdraw from peers or have trouble making friends. With all of this in mind, what can be done to help? Educators have a role in paying attention to warning signs for a child. Although the primary role is to teach, it’s also critical to observe “red flags” in the classroom, such as the child sleeping often in class, eating a lot more or less, withdrawing from others, making negative comments about themselves, talking about how they want to hurt or kill themselves, etc... Although poverty is not always the culprit, sometimes it is the reason for a child's change in behavior. It’s also vital for the schools overall to have adequate systems in place for students who may be from a low-income household, or are experiencing homelessness. However, community resources are useless if families do not know about them. It is imperative that the community referrals are given to families. The community itself can play a role in helping students from low

income households as well. For example, if you know of a failing school, you could simply call the school and ask “what are your greatest needs?” Perhaps you cannot cut a check for $10,000 to help the school, but bringing a ream of copy paper, donating clothing, or helping provide back to school supplies can go a long way. We owe it to our communities to take a vested interest in them, so that they can grow and prosper. Remember, every little bit counts. We cannot allow ourselves to sit back and continue to watch our schools and school systems fail. We cannot allow the old adage of chalking it up to “the school is just in a bad area” to continue. The fact is there are many schools around the country with children from “low income backgrounds”…who are not “supposed to make it” – and they are thriving! Why? Because of people who care, educators who are committed no matter what, teachers who believe in the potential of their students, communities that support, and a belief that children from poverty-stricken homes can succeed too. Another factor to consider in the impact that poverty has on education is the dropout rate. According to Rumberger (2013), “While family poverty is clearly related to dropping out, poverty associated with schools and communities also contributes to the dropout crisis. It is also well documented that schools in the United States are highly segregated by income, social class, and race/ethnicity.”

Personally for myself, working in many “high need schools” throughout my career (essentially various “F” schools), it was heartbreaking to view the physical conditions of some of the schools. There were schools with dirty walls and floors, textbooks with many pages ripped out, graffiti on the walls in some instances, and trash throughout the school. This sets a dangerous precedence that no one cares for the school. For students living in poverty at home and going to school that does not take care of its property, it stands to reason that students could lose hope because of their school conditions being just as negative as their home conditions. That loss of hope is what makes many students eventually drop out of school. There are just so many factors to consider in the face of poverty. Further, the American Psychological Association (2014) completed a Stress In America survey and reported, “American teens report experiences with stress that follow a similar pattern as adults, according to a new survey released today by the American Psychological Association (APA). In fact, during the school year, teens say their stress level is higher than levels reported by adults in the past month.” Consequently, the stress of school combined with poverty, along with many other variables can contribute negatively on students. Poverty in education is a complex issue indeed, and when health concerns, academic combined with other risk factors such as mental struggles, behavioral issues, homelessness, family conflict,

lack of nutrition, etc..., all of these issues can certainly decrease the quality of a child’s learning experience. Educators need to remain cognizant of poverty and the compounding effects of stress that can affect the student. This level of chronic stress impedes student learning, and sometimes leads to refusal to do work, increased verbal or physical aggression, substance abuse, and other risky behaviors which in turn prevent the student from excelling in a school environment. Just as the factors related to poverty are complex, so are the solutions, and it's not a problem that can be solved overnight. Hopefully, this article will at least encourage communities to come together to reduce the negative impacts students are currently facing as a result of poverty. As a united group, working together, vast changes can be made swiftly and for the benefit of everyone. References Jensen, E. (2013). How Poverty Affects Classroom Engagement. Educational Leadership, 70, 8. http://www.ascd.org/publications/educationalleadership/may13/vol70/num08/How-Poverty-AffectsClassroom-Engagement.aspx Rumberger, R. W. (2013). Poverty and High School Dropouts: The impact of family and community poverty on high school dropouts. The SES Indicator, 6, 2. http://www.apa.org/pi/ses/resources/indicator/2013/05/ poverty-dropouts.aspx American Psychological Association (2014). American Psychological Association Survey Shows Teen Stress Rivals That of Adults. African American Boys in Two Suburban Maryland Middle Schools continued from page 17

hinder their academic motivation and success (Davis, 2003). For them, the expectation of inequitable treatment from school administrators’ handling of disciplinary issues impacts their academic performance (O’Connor, Hill, & Robinson, 2009). Researchers have revealed that an excessively disproportionate number of discipline referrals, suspensions, and expulsions are being given to 8th grade African American middle school boys for loitering, insubordination, and physical violence based on teacher and administrator subjectivity (Skiba, Eckes, & Brown, 2009). 8th grade African American male students perceived racial discrepancies as a reason for

having been removed from the classroom. 8th grade African American boys have identified a lack of interest on the part of the teachers, differences in communication style, and lack of respect from teachers as underlying causes of referrals (Clark, Lee, Goodman, & Yacco, 2008; Ladson-Billings, 2009). In addition, 8th grade African American students believed strongly that teachers purposely chastised them to the point of being disrespectful and hostile, thereby leading to office referrals (Jai, 2011; E. W. Morris, 2006). However, educators often perpetuate the difficult challenges 8th grade African American students face in their educational development. According to Losen and Gillespie (2012), 8th grade African American students are three times more likely to receive out-of-school suspensions than White students. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (as cited in A. Gregory et al., 2010), although 8th grade African American students represented 17% of the general student population in 2010, they accounted for 32% of suspensions and 30% of expulsions in U.S. schools. Respondent 2 (My Brother’s Keeper). My Brother’s Keeper, age 14, was a quiet, conscientious, 8th grade student who self-reported as the oldest of four children. Respondent 3 (The Artist). The Artist, age 13, was a gentle, mild-mannered, 8th grade African American male who wore glasses and viewed himself as a future graphic artist and publisher. In revealing his home life, he noted he came from a two-parent household and enjoyed tennis and soccer. Respondent 4 (The Technology Guru). The Technology Guru, age 14, was an extremely lanky, mild-mannered, only child who wears glasses. He lived with his parents in their suburban Maryland neighborhood, and he had a few close friends. He struggled with his academic transition from elementary to middle school. Respondent 5 (The Inquisitive One). The Inquisitive One, age 13, was a bright 8th grade African American male with a slight stutter. He was being raised by his father and did not reveal much about his mother. Respondent 6 (The Well Rounded One). Continue on page 33

Dr. Breea Chaunte Willingham “What Good Would A College Degree Do For These Women?” The Politics And Paradox Of Teaching Higher Education In Women’s Prisons Researcher: Dr. Breea Chaunte Willingham @drbreewill The instructors I interviewed for this study are among the pioneers in a revitalization of prison education during a period in which it has suffered one of its greatest setbacks – the government pulling out of the prison education business. They develop and teach their courses with little to no pedagogical support or training, and at a great personal cost for some. They deliver a bare-bones yet imaginative education whose benefits suggest that state governments should return to the business of college inprison programs. This study examines the ways these instructors navigate the politics of teaching in prisons and jails to create safe learning spaces for incarcerated women to challenge the disempowering environment of their confinement. I argue that while teaching in prison may not be an intentional political act, the very location of a prison makes it political. My findings in this qualitative analysis are based on in-depth interviews with professors, community volunteers and formerly incarcerated women who teach in women’s prisons and jails. These instructors must negotiate power relations with prison administration and staff, including navigating their place in the typically male dominated hierarchical power structure of prisons and jails.

Over the last quarter century, homelessness has become one of the symbols of urban blight. Regardless of the accuracy of this perception, homelessness is indeed a serious issue in many cities. Stephen W. Hwang and James R. Dunn, 2005

What Affects the Academic Success of Poor Children? By Phyl T. Macomber, M.S. ATP @AllAboutTHEPACT For children living in poverty, sometimes education is their only hope. The psychosocial effect of learning, and engaging in creative instructional activities with other children, can be a lifeline for poor children of any age or ability. Children in poverty need psychosocial support, life skills training, and selfdevelopment education, as well as academics. Children respond very well to increased structure, routine, and predictability in their lives. Consistency and predictability provide the school day – regardless of what type of classroom setting exists in any part of the world - with a framework that orders a learner’s world. Children thrive on sameness and repetition. In addition, when children know what to expect, it decreases their cognitive load, increases their participation, and improves their self-esteem and independence. We need to not only teach these children that no one can take their hope away, but also teach them, that through education, all children can reach their full potential.

Poverty, Education’s Biggest Obstacle Rinata Tanks @tanks_rinata Periodically throughout my career, I’ve worked within underprivileged neighborhoods. Those experiences were in both rural areas, as well as, urban educational environments. What I’ve found astounding is that results are generally the same regardless of where you reside. It is through the implementation of appropriate structures and interventions, which support students and families that truly make a difference. Today more than ever, education is fundamental in preventing poverty. However, students in poverty are disadvantaged even before birth. Overall, there is a lack of adequate pre-natal health care, drug use, and exposure to stress and violence that plagues impoverished neighborhoods (Birdsong, 2016). These disheartening revelations can result in premature and/or low birth weights that frequently affect students’ physical and intellectual development. Gray and Thompson (2004), two leading neuroscientist, assert that intelligence is directly related to health. Even after birth, according to a 1995 study, poorer students hear 33 million fewer spoken words than their counterparts by age four (Hart & Risley). Children of low-income families hear, on average, 13 million words by age 4; however, upper class families, hear a staggering 46 million words during the same time period. Poorer students are exposed to fewer conversations filled with questions and in-depth responses; making it hard for disadvantaged students to sufficiently learn

new words, and to distinguish among words (Neuman, 2008). As well, there’s limited access to reading materials by students from low-income families, in comparison to their more prosperous peers (Allington & McGill-Franzen, 2008). Quality day care is almost non-existent; with limited access to before- and after-care programs. Programs such as this provide additional opportunities for remediation and exposure to basic reading and math fundamentals, all of which are extremely vital at this early age of development. Furthermore, families that live in poverty often have trouble maintaining stable housing which often times results in homelessness. Students become transient, moving from one location to another and from one school to another. Frequent changes in employment time and again create a financial strain on the entire family. This ultimately results in a lack of stability and steady housing, which can have a negative impact on academics. Therefore, it is imperative that educators gain a deep understanding of the effects that extended poverty can have on education. By understanding this dynamic, educators possess invaluable knowledge which will enable them to support and educate children who reside live in high poverty areas.

What needs to be done?


Educators are obliged to address both underprivileged students’ academic, as well as, physical needs. Districts, schools, and teachers must develop targeted interventions such as extended school hours, free breakfast, lunch, and dinner programs (snacks included); and develop partnerships with the local health departments to include health care and nutritional support, as well as, parent training workshops and mentoring programs to improve household stability.

In addition to setting high expectations and developing relationships, educators in highperforming, high-poverty schools, can provide students with the tools needed to succeed by incorporating quality curricula and implementing a number of instructional strategies that boost instruction. They include strategies such as vocabulary building, differentiation exercises, and scaffolding to help students meet and exceed their current academic potential. Additionally, students are exposed to and participate in advanced, rigorous coursework and consistently make connections to the real world during instruction. Teachers plan homework help or tutoring by offering group sessions such as “Lunch & Learns.” Schools create fun innovative after-school programs that not only, support academics, but also foster students’ interest and career goals.

Schools can establish parent resource rooms that allows parents to check-out resource books free of charge. I’ve even heard of schools developing Parent Universities where they offer various parent workshops (i.e. job/career readiness), GED prep classes, and host job fairs. However, the most important strategy that schools can implement and it is completely free; is to develop quality, trusting relationships with students and families. This is one of many strategies that high-performing, high- poverty schools do well. In these type of school environments, educators gain an understanding of students’ life circumstances and needs, which can inevitably reveal more about themselves. Educators possess empathy; while simultaneously establishing high expectations, and providing equal support, so that students can meet those expectations, which also incorporates addressing students’ most basic needs. For example, a number of schools operate a food pantry directly within the community. As a teacher, I would keep snacks on hand for times when students were hungry. One Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) purchased a washer and dryer through fundraisers, so that students could lauder their clothes on a regular basis. I’ve known numerous schools to form community partnerships that allow students to participate in community based learning, field trips, job opportunities, internships, etc. In previous years, schools have solicited local barbershop owners in their community, requesting for barbers to volunteer their time by providing free haircuts to students once per week. As well, the schools and local health department work collaboratively to provide yearly vision and dental screenings, as well as, offering free flu shots during the flu

However, students in poverty are disadvantaged even before birth. Overall, there is a lack of adequate pre-natal health care, drug use, and exposure to stress and violence that plagues impoverished neighborhoods (Birdsong, 2016).

According to the U.S. Census Bureau in 2015, 43.1 million people were living in poverty. 19.7 percent were children under 18 years of age. It is incumbent upon all of us, educators, community members, and policy makers, to narrow and eventually close this growing gap. If we don’t address these critical issues regarding poverty among less

educational inequity, will persist for future generations to come. References Allington, R., & McGill-Franzen, A. (2008). "Got books?" Educational Leadership, 65(7), pp.20-23. Birdsong, K., (2016). 10 facts about how poverty impacts education. Retrieved from http://www.scilearn.com/blog/ten-facts-about-howpoverty-impacts-education.

Gray, J. R., & Thompson, P. M. (2004). Neurobiology of intelligence. Discovery Medicine, 4(22), 157–162. Hart, B., & Risley, T. R. (1995). Meaningful differences in the everyday experience of young American children. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing.

Neuman, S. B. (2008). Educating the other America: Top experts tackle poverty, literacy, and achievement in our schools. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on September 17, 2016 from http://www.census.gov/library/publications/2016/demo/p 60-256.html

Gary Stueven, M.D. Harlan Stueven, M.D. @DiningGrades

Is the Food Served at Your School Safe? Does the incidence of food borne illness, or its potential, in our schools deserve our attention? A 2002 study reviewed data of foodborne disease outbreaks in United States schools over a 24-year period from 1973 to 1997. It found that the number of food borne outbreaks in American schools as investigated by health department officials ranged from nine to 44 events per year with a median of 25 outbreaks. A second study (Analyses of the Contributing Factors Associated with Foodborne Outbreaks in School Settings) published nearly a decade later and which reviewed years 2000 to 2010, reported an average of 46 outbreaks per year during that ten-year period of time. In 2011 reporting from the Centers for Disease Control CDC became more detailed. Three outbreaks were reported for that year, twelve in 2012, and ten in 2013. The most recent CDC report (2014) confirmed nine outbreaks. This would appear to be good news. However, whether this is a true decline or a variation that has been noted over the past 40 years is unclear at this point. What are the causes for these outbreaks? The data in the study that covered 1973-1997 indicated that “the most commonly reported food preparation practices that contributed to these school-related outbreaks were improper food storage and holding temperatures and food contaminated by a food handler.” Similarly,

the study that reviewed years 2000-2010 reported that 42% of time food borne illness outbreaks were from poor food handling.

of that was the use of raw milk brought from home and served in a school. WI Campylobacter Outbreak Traced to Raw Milk Served at School. The Denver Public School system has developed a procedure addressing “Food Prepared in Private Homes”

When it could be determined what the contributing factors were to causing an outbreak, the report noted that 56% of the outbreaks involved multiple reported food safety errors with contamination factors accounting for the greatest proportion (49.2%) of reported food safety errors.

What are the school's responsibilities as it relates to food safety?

There are likely at least four major food safety risk events in our schools.

The Child Nutrition and WIC reauthorization Act of 2004 outlines some very specific requirements:

Many schools have foods prepared and delivered from a caterer. While we might hope that reduces the risk of food borne illness in the school, transported food requires strict time and temperature compliance to thwart risk. If food is not held at the appropriate temperature, it can quickly become a breeding ground for infectious bacteria or viruses. At room temperature both E Coli and Staph can double in less than 30 minutes. In the headlined luncheon for teachers, catered food was the source of infection for 58 people. Almost all foods require final preparation or handling at the local cafeteria. The food handler, who is responsible for preparing the food to the appropriate temperatures, washing fruits or vegetables, and/or displaying the food in self-help counters, could further contaminate the food. In some schools, parent volunteers are involved in the cafeteria and serving lunch to students. A school administrator should confirm the level of food safety education of these important and well-meaning volunteers and their compliance with food safety rules Finally, there is the risk of home prepared foods or with foods purchased at a grocery store and then transported to the school. In the Hollister High School event, volunteers obtained food from a grocery store, transported it, and then served the food to students leaving on a senior trip. School bake sales and/or classroom treats for special events also carry a risk for food borne illness outbreaks. A recent example

• • • • •

Requires school food safety inspections twice during each school year. Requires a report of the most recent inspection to be posted in a publicly visible location. Requires copies of such report to be provided upon request to members of the public. Directed the Secretary of Agriculture to audit annually State reports for such period. Requires each school food authority to implement a school food safety program for meal preparation and service that complies with a hazard analysis and critical control point system established by the Secretary.

Are there risks to the school and/or school district for food borne illnesses and/or outbreaks? There are legal risks. On the Pritzker Law firm website, it is stated, “You can sue a school for food poisoning if the facts of your case support a food poisoning claim against a school, private or public, you can sue the school for compensation (called “damages”). There is legal precedent. “In 2003, the Washington State Supreme Court upheld a $4.6 million verdict against a school district after 11 children were sickened from E. coli linked to ground beef in tacos.” The Marler Clark Law firm reported in its Food Poison Journal on A E. coli O157:H7 an outbreak that cost a school district $6,100,000 “After a six week trial and four years of appeals, the children received compensation.” Finally, negligent handling of food can result potentially in incarceration time. Two were indicted over food poisoning at school for failing to report a probable contaminate in food that was served. There is a responsibility to report. If there are two or Continue on page 54

Child Poverty In 2014, one-fourth (25.2 percent) of children in rural (non-metropolitan) areas were poor. The highest non-metro county child poverty rates were in Jefferson County, Mississippi (69.5 percent), East Carroll Parish, Louisiana (67.5 percent), and Clay County, Georgia (66.3 percent). United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service

Nurturing the Intellect of our African American Poor Youth By Dr. LaShonda M. Jackson-Dean @DrLaShondaJD According to the 2016 edition of National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES), the U.S. is above the average in education on some measures, but there are others presented in the report in which the U.S. lags behind our international peers. With a larger proportion of educational support during the elementary years along with increased support throughout the educational journey, the educational gap could tighten and lag would decrease. Examples of educational support included increased funding for better curriculum, better facilities, and additional and intellectually challenging knowledge builders such as Gifted and Talented programs. This brings me to the question: Why are poor (Black) African American children less likely to have the Gifted and Talented experience? Among racial and ethnic groups, African Americans had the highest poverty rate, 27.4 percent, followed by Hispanics at 26.6 percent and whites at 9.9 percent. 45.8 percent of young black children (under age 6) live in poverty, compared to 14.5 percent of white children according to the reporting of the State of Working America. Poverty stricken African American youth live life differently than most youth contending with issues no youth should have to. They struggle with the quagmire of poverty, disparities of societal sidelining, and a greater intensification of racial profiling, police brutality, and judicial injustice; all before stepping

into a school institution. Some of these disparities are indeed racial discrimination flowing into the school system. We as African-American parents, educators, community leaders, and education supporters must devise measures to combat the educational exclusion of our children. Our under promoted African American children, who are mostly Gifted and Talented, deserve programs encouraging mental challenges and growth. The underrepresentation of AfricanAmerican children in Gifted and Talented programs has become a topic of concern. The majority of Gifted and Talented programs are highly populated with nonminority participants. Increasing the emergence of African-American children into these programs is essential to them being academically prepared for college. Identifying gifted African-American children within the public education system has been a debatable issue for several years. To date, programs of such include Advanced Placement and Honors Placement in courses of Math, English, and History. These courses can lead to receiving college credit while in High School. With all of the potential at stake, knowing the actions parents should take to ensure proper placement of their children in Gifted and Talented programs is vital. Being the parent of two extremely gifted and talented sons, I have discovered, advocating for proper education is a never-ending journey. Many of our African-American children experience the marginalizing effect of the lack of talent recognition during their school years. We, as parents have to not only recognize our children’s gifted and talented ability but also when it is not being recognized within the education system. Parental engagement and support of their children’s education encouraged better scholastic performance. We have all heard the African proverb “It takes a village, to raise a child.” This has never been truer than in today’s time. Our

children’s potential for excellence increases with continued love and support. Teaching our children to be well-rounded individuals, involves excellence inside and outside the classroom. The responsibility of the academic excellence of our children includes the active support of the parents, school administration, and the community. Knowing whom to contact at your child’s school is the beginning of the quest for knowledge for better education. I recommend scheduling a conference with the education and guidance counselor to discuss the available options for the district. The district should provide an environment for conferences between parents and school administration. The conference will provide the opportunity for gaining insight into your child’s educational progress. It will also lend way to becoming more knowledgeable of the district’s program availability. Both, the parents and the administration should be interactively involved. Take time to listen and be heard. Prior to the conference, request a copy of child’s educational records to prepare for the meeting. Research the records for proven academic results. Determine the subjects where your child identifies as GT. Search outside the school system for additional information on the subjects to bring to the conference. At the conference, listen attentively to the counselor’s program description; inquire about the requirements and placement tests. It is important to take notes as the requirements are described. Ask questions concerning the placement tests and the preparation for them. While in the conference, observe the demeanor and attitude of the participants. Ensuring the support of the administration will be available to encourage your child throughout the program is of absolute necessity. The educational atmosphere must be nurturing and comfortable in order to cultivate an environment for learning. This is an important element of your child’s education. The administration should welcome your input and interest in your child’s education. They input and interest should be at a level where you, the parent are comfortable with the process of the program. After learning about the programs, use your child’s education records as a justification for testing and placement. This information will provide the parent with the ammunition to determine the true skill level of their child on a more personal basis. The parent will be more cognizant in determining if their child is truly gifted or in need of a more challenging curriculum. Higher learning opposed to advanced placement may be key in challenging those students. If the parent determines their child is truly gifted or in need of a more challenging curriculum. Higher learning opposed to advanced placement may be key in challenging those students. If the parent determines their child is truly gifted, continue the process of getting the child tested and placed. Communicate with the administration the expectations you have for your child regarding the program and align them with goals

of the program. There must be a commitment to the program from your child and the administrators of the program. Your child must know the administrator is there to assist with their success. Knowing there are custodians available to ask questions will provide an even greater success rate. Your child has to know the parent is committed to them and the program, as well. Provide your contact information to the administration to demonstrate your availability and support for the growth and learning of your child. Ensure your child is prepared for the testing. Attend available functions and meetings regarding the program.

#JacksonDeanProfessionalServices @DrLaShondaJD https://www.facebook.com/Dr.LaShondaJacksonD eanDM/?ref=page_internal Future correspondence can be forwarded to DrLaShondaJacksonDean@gmail.com. Visit us online at www.DrLaShondaJacksonDean.com References: http://nces.ed.gov/surveys http://www.stateofworkingamerica.org

Here are ten tips for inquiring about Gifted and Talented Programs within school system your child attends 1. Get to know the school’s administration and your child’s teachers.

2. Perform your own research of current and available programs within the school district. 3. Acquire as much literature about the available programs and read it. 4. Obtain a copy of your child’s academic records. 5. Have a sit down discussion with your children regarding the benefits of the programs. 6. Contact the school’s counselor to schedule an appointment to discuss your child’s testing and enrollment. 7. Attend the testing for the enrollment to the Gifted and Talented programs. 8. Schedule an appointment to discuss your child’s testing scores. 9. If a retake is necessary, then schedule it. 10. Partner and advocate for your child by joining the PTA and attending the school board meetings. Research every opportunity to enhance your child’s knowledge, whether it is through books, online courses, or tutoring. As a parent, you have to be vigilant and vocal in ensuring your child receives the proper education to assist in releasing the greatest within. VigilantAndVocal #GiftedAndTalented #WeAreGifted2 #GiftedAndTalentedBlackChildren #DrLaShondaJacksonDean

African American Boys in Two Suburban Maryland Middle Schools continued from page 21

The Well Rounded One, age 13, was an articulate, thoughtful, 8th grade African American male who lived with his father. He stated he came to the United States when he was 6 years old from Ghana because his father wanted a better life for him. Respondent 7 (Coming To America). Coming to America, age 14, was of medium build, mature, well-traveled, and a slightly guarded, 8thgrade African American male who lived with his mother and older sister. Respondent 8 (The Driven One). The Driven One, age 14, was an articulate, thoughtful, 8th-gradeAfrican American male who wore glasses that lived with his parents. He confidently shared he lived in Germany for six years before his family moved back to the United States. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK Bandura’s social learning theory has had significant implications on the existing research regarding student motivation (Hsieh & Schallert, 2008; Ushioda, 2011; van Dinther, Dochy, & Segers, 2011). His research presented a perspective consistent with the proposed researchbecause students were motivated by peer

influence, their beliefs of their own academic abilities, extrinsic rewards, and direct feedback from teachers (Alderman, 2013; Beltman, Mansfield, & Price, 2011; Jennings & Greenberg, 2009). While several researchers have studied middle and high school African American boys and the factors contributing to their lack of academic motivation and success, a paucity of research exists regarding factors which contribute to their academic motivation and success (Abel, 2013; Ford, 2010; Zedan, 2012). Identifying these factors may provide a muchneeded template for school districts, administrators, and teachers in developing professional development opportunities (Bryk, Sebring, Allensworth, Easton, & Luppescu, 2010; Leithwood et al., 2009). Bandura (1977b) hypothesized students learn through observing another person’s behavior, emotional state, and resilience to the external environment. For students, learning takes place through their immediate environment, attitudes, and perceptions based on multiple variables. Students’ selfimages and beliefs impact their efforts and exertions in problem solving (Bright, 2012; Tavris & Aronson, 2008). Each student possesses varying levels of self-efficacy based on how their self-efficacy is developed and the socioeconomic factors that impact their lives (Caprara et al., 2008; Pastorelli et al., 2001). Bandura (1984) suggested efficacy focuses on one’s selfperceptions to complete tasks confidently. Bandura (1995) proposed as learners overcome academic difficulties, it increases their self-confidence to complete more difficult tasks. Social persuasion, another impact of self-efficacy, influences learners through verbal praise from peers, teachers, family members, and involved community members (Bandura, 1993). Bandura (1977b) suggested the more learners hear positive reinforcements regarding their abilities, the more they believed in themselves. For learners who engaged in negative self-talk, it decreased their ability to complete tasks (Järvelä, Järvenoja, & Veermans, 2008; Robertson, 2011; Usher & Pajares, 2009). For African American boys, some experience academic success through their intrinsic motivation (Turner, Chandler, & Heffer, 2009; Valiente, Lemery-Chalfant, Swanson, & Reiser, 2008). Conversely, others may not experience academic success because of limited academic ability, misconstrued selfperceptions, and repeated disappointments (Bhutto, 2011; Hughes, 2011). Bandura suggested self-efficacy impacts the learning process through unique processes (Bell & Kozlowski, 2008; Mayer, Aquino, Greenbaum, & Kuenzi, 2012; Walumbwa et al., 2011). The cognitive process examines the decoding process Continue on page 42

Dr. Kathryn Bell McKenzie Director of the Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership California State University, Stanislaus Using Equity in Teaching (podcast) Dr. Kathryn Bell McKenzie is professor of Advanced Studies and director of the Educational Leadership Program at California State University Stanislaus, as well as associate professor emerita at Texas A&M University. Prior to becoming a professor Dr. McKenzie was a public-school educator serving as a teacher, curriculum specialist, and principal for nearly 25 years. She has an international reputation with both P-12 and university educators who have used her work on equity traps and equity audits to improve educational practices that advance equity and excellence. She has numerous journal publications and books.

Dr. Cynthia A. Tyson The Value of Multicultural Literature for Children and Young Adults Cynthia A. Tyson, Ph.D. is Professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning at The Ohio State University where she teaches courses in Multicultural and Equity Studies in Education, Early childhood Social Studies and Multicultural Literature for Children and Young Adults. Her research interests include inquiry into the social, historical, and cultural intersections of teaching, learning, and educational research. Her teaching, research and service commitments are rooted in these constructs as interrelated, theoretically mutually reinforcing, and fundamental to the study of multicultural education and teaching for social justice. Dr. Tyson has served on many boards and committees in her field and has published widely, with numerous book chapters and articles in journals, presented numerous research papers at national and international meetings and conferences. She is the co-editor of The Handbook of Social Studies Research and Studying Diversity in Teacher Education, and co-author of Charlotte Huck’s Children’s Literature-Briefly 2nd.

by Jeromie Heath @teachheath When did “I can’t” become so powerful? “I can’t” is difficult to defeat. It can destroy self-image and confidence. And, worst of all, it can cause a person to HATE school. The power of “I can’t” grows stronger. Having taught in high and low poverty, I believe that the power of “I can’t” is equally as destructive. If we do nothing, students struggle and continue to live in a self-created negative learning environment where he/she feels useless. How do we support and encourage students who continually feel like failures and have that self-talk of “I can’t” consistently running through his/her thinking? Creating a positive learning environment where every student feels safe, confident, and successful is, of course, our goal as educators. I set out to defeat “I can’t” and created a series of mini-lessons that focused on creating a positive attitude and mindset when it comes to learning. The result was a classroom where “I can’t” had no power! My students were taking more risks, tackling obstacles and challenges, and most importantly focusing on their growth and progress. They had a renewed sense of self and their experience became a positive one. These tips and lessons were created to draw out students’ misconceptions about what “learning” really is. I will outline and briefly highlight the

Ideas and tips that lead to this rejuvenation in hopes that you can and will have a similar positive outcome and defeat “I can’t”. Idea 1: What is school? I was finding that students were ‘forgetting’ the essence of what school really is all about. So, our first topic of discussion was what school is – a place to get an education. Sounds easy enough, but I found that my students have forgotten that. I began with this mantra to remind my students what the point of school was. This mantra repeats the word ‘opportunity’ because I wanted my students to understand that getting an education was not me ‘giving’ it to you, but you taking it! On the first day of school, I greeted my students with reading it aloud. I did this each morning for the first month of school. Then, we discussed how seizing every opportunity is difficult and definitely challenging, but the rewards are great. We also discussed what would happen if you let each opportunity slip away. This was important to defeat “I can’t” because the “I cant's” were just seeing school as a place where they had to go and survive. Students realized that school can be a whole lot more – if they seized the opportunity. Idea 2: What is education?

Similarly, we took the time to discuss what ‘education’ and ‘learning’ really was. We kicked off our newest topic with graduation speeches (found online) where valedictorians do an amazing job of outlining the importance of learning and how it connects to ‘life’. We then all made posters about what we thought “education means…”. I asked, “What does education mean to you?” Answers included: Education is working hard. Education is when you are proud of what you learned. Education is important. Then, we transited to what ‘learning’ is. I came up with the acronym (seen in the picture) and displayed it on our door (so this is the first thing students see as they enter). We discussed each of these learning components and how it applied to us as individual learners. Then, I asked students to choose one letter to focus on improving for the next few weeks – for

We broke down its components to see that in life and in academics we learn in stages. This poster went a long way to show students how to achieve their own success. I displayed it prominently in the front of the classroom and referred to it all year. This visual gives the “I cant's” a way referred to it all year. This visual gives the “I cant's” a way to see the learning path of how to achieve goals. Additionally, we held a class discussion about how negative thinking can prevent us from taking this path towards learning. So we brainstormed ideas of how to take negative thinking and make it positive. I wrote 3

example – If you have difficulty with tasks that seem hard or difficult, then perhaps choose to focus on “I – Improve by embracing challenges”. This was a type of ‘reminder’ or self-affirmation for students to remind them that it’s not just about getting better at learning new topics, but it’s also about improving yourself as a learner. I included myself in this activity as well. Then, we return to this same activity every few weeks. Interestingly, the “I can’ts” seemed to feel at ease with this activity as they could see that others around them also shared in their obstacles of different facets of learning. It makes the learning environment feel like we are all equals as we are all improving in some area or another. In other words, this activity ‘levels the playing field’. Idea 3: What is success? I learned that my “I cant's” students viewed school as a cut and dry place where you were ‘good’ or ‘bad’ at school. As you can imagine, once someone has the perspective that he/she is ‘bad’, then it is exceedingly difficult to overcome that mentality. So, we held another series of lessons on what ‘success’ was. We discussed how we as learners are all on different levels and that success means different things to different people at different stages. We defined what success was as a class. After brainstorming and discussion, we arrived at a common definition: success is when you master something that you didn’t know before. We wrote this definition on the board. Then, we discussed this poster about ‘steps to success’.

phrases on the board: I don’t know, I can’t, and I already know it. We discussed how each phrase could lead toward ‘shutting down’ and not learning. Then, I challenged students to change each phrase into a positive statement. After collecting multiple examples, we settled on a select few and I created this visual for the front of the classroom.

case, there was failure – but – the failure taught the person ‘what not to do’ as he/she tried again. We learned that failure is a part of the learning process. I created this acronym and put it on a poster.

Now, whenever I heard “I can’t”, I would direct that student to look at the poster and say his/her statement again with a more positive phrase. After a while, students were consistently using the positive phrases. This uplifts the mood of the classroom and really focuses student energies around overcoming the obstacle and not focusing on the obstacle itself. Idea 4: What is failure? After discussing what success is, it was natural to discuss the function of failure. Some students were so afraid of failure that they allowed the fear to completely shut them down. These students weren’t taking risks, weren’t trying anything new, stopped participating or sharing ideas, and overall stopped learning. So, we first discussed how this ‘fear’ of failure could negatively affect a students’ education. We wrote many different ways on a thinking map. Then, we created a cause and effect map for each ‘fear’. Students then realized that true learning couldn’t take place without failure. Students watched YouTube videos (that I preselected) about babies learning how to walk, kids learning how to ride a bike, and people learning new sports. In each

Then, students all created mini-posters about their personal experiences with this acronym. They wrote about times that they ‘failed’ and learned how to succeed. Students clapped as we each took turns to share our posters and experiences with failure and how the outcome was positive. Afterwards, I explain, “Although at the time of failure we feel many negative emotions (like embarrassed, sad, upset, angry), we can push through them and use those emotions to drive our motivation in succeeding. At those low times, remember to focus on how great it will feel to succeed.” We discussed ideas of how to ‘push’ ourselves through failure. The lessons about success and failure both create an easier and safer learning environment for students who find school a challenging and difficult place to survive. It changes mentalities from “I am good” or “I am bad” into “I can improve” or “I am great and will get greater”. However you decide to use these ideas or tips – I believe the most important thing an educator can do is to draw attention to these topics of school, education, success, and failure and take the time to discuss each one. “I can’t” is difficult to defeat, but with these integral conversations with students, you can help to weaken its power. And, in the long run, the class environment, dynamic, and overall experience will be a more positive one. An environment filled with a focus on progress, on learning, on positive attitudes. In essence – an environment where students say “I CAN!”


African American Boys in Two Suburban Maryland Middle Schools continued from page 33

for learners and how information is synthesized to create future goals (Friedlander et al., 2011; Gurlitt & Renkl, 2010; Hamada & Koda, 2008). This process can include goal setting to accomplish specific goals or tasks. The motivational process explores how learners’ self-confidence, selfconcept, and self-esteem influence their actions (Alderman, 2013; Usher & Pajares, 2008). Those who feel confident in their abilities will appear selfmotivated and willing to persevere through difficult tasks (Lovitts, 2008). Maslow’s Theory of Motivation Maslow described emotional, physical, and psychological needs coupled with critical milestones in his theory of motivation. Maslow’s (1943) premise was people are motivated to achieve particular needs, and once these requirements are achieved, people continually move through the hierarchy seeking to fulfill deeper and more intrinsic needs (Pink, 2011). Many African American boys witness or participate in violence in route to school and others live in environments where they assume adult responsibilities, causing lack of sleep and consequential lack of focus in the classroom (Charlton & David, 2013; Siegel, 2011). Transitioning higher in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, children want to be perceived as intelligent by their peers (LaFontana & Cillessen, 2002; Rozansky-Lloyd, 2005; Walton, 2010). Their knowledge, or lack thereof, can be regarded as a litmus test for acceptance (Ogloff, 1999). Knowledge was viewed as a stronger attribute to possess than no intelligence (Wenger, 2014; Zahn & Lacey, 2007). The stigma of being perceived as inferior among one’s peers may evoke multiple responses (Cohen & Garcia, 2005; Johnson, Richeson, & Finkel, 2011). According to Maslow (1943), African American boys’ safety needs of security, stability, and freedom of fear also come into play in a classroom setting. For African American boys, answering classroom questions or providing an in-depth justification of a response to their teacher can create anxiety (Johnson et al., 2011; Lynn et al., 2010; Stephens, Markus, & Fryberg, 2012). Based on their content mastery, their confidence may increase or decrease based on external peer feedback (Hattie & Gan, 2011;

A phenomenological research design was the approach chosen for this study because it provided a forum to identify the academic motivation and success factors of African American male students in suburban Maryland schools. This approach provided the researcher an understanding of the participants’ consciousness, intuition, and intentionality (Charmaz & McMullen, 2011). The interviews were one hour in length, digitally recorded, transcribed verbatim, and checked by participants to ensure the accuracy of the data. To ensure participant anonymity, each participant was coded with a number for identification purposes instead of using the participant’s name. To ensure the validity of the collected responses, the data was cycled through the triangulation process. Triangulation employs multiple approaches to the investigation of a research question to test its validity. The triangulation process included interviews, observations, and surveys to decrease potential limitations of the study. The collected data was also assessed through member checks. This process encompassed sharing the collected data with the participants to ensure the researcher had collected and analyzed the data appropriately. As opportunities presented themselves throughout the interview process, the researcher conducted member checks informally and formally to assess the validity of the respondent’s thoughts. Moreover, respondents supplemented their thoughts, clarified expressions or words misunderstood. FINDINGS In this study, eight themes were found: Goal Setting, Highly Academic Performance, increased peer accountability, parental support and accountability, classroom environment, more principal-led focus groups, specific career aspirations, and negative school images. The meaning the participants conveyed was interpreted based on their shared experiences. Goal Setting Continue on page 50

A 2010 Census survey reports that the poverty rate for black children is the highest rate of any race group—38.2% live below the US average. Why it Matters Young Black men — across the board — score lower than their peers in other racial and ethnic groups when it comes to graduation rates, literacy rates and college preparedness. As a result, many African American men are virtually locked out of employment and are filling up the nation’s prisons in disproportionate numbers. It matters. Many young African Americans live in deep poverty, crippling their chances of achieving high education outcomes and, ultimately, upward mobility. A 2010 Census survey reports that the poverty rate for black children is the highest rate of any race group—38.2% live below the US average. For them, obtaining and consistently holding a job is significantly more challenging. It matters. Few would argue that reaching our most disenfranchised students should be a priority. So why can’t we reach our Black boys and make real strides in improving their academic outcomes? True Cultural Responsiveness We must reach students before we can teach students. Viewing Culturally Responsive Teaching as more than a catch-phrase or a soon-to-pass trend is key. To do this, we must be clear on what Culturally Responsive Teaching (CRT) is NOT. CRT

is not:       

One size fits all Another teaching method Teaching to Black/Hispanic students Teaching to poor students A curriculum A “fix-all” Just “one more thing!

According to Lynch (2012), CRT is a student-centered approach to teaching in which the students’ unique cultural strengths are identified and nurtured to promote student achievement and a sense of well-being about the student’s cultural place in the world. For our Black boys this means that their teachers will recognize their differences and make every effort to meet their unique needs. This is done through being intentional in providing rigor, relevance and relationships in a meaningful, culturally responsive setting. Rigor and Relevance in CRT Rigor is an often misunderstood concept. It is much more than increasing homework or giving more assignments. Rigor is for all students, not just those who excel academically (Blackburn, 2013). In a culturally responsive classroom this means that teachers purposefully plan quality instruction that includes higherorder questioning that engages students’ creatively. Low-level, recall questions cannot do this.

Here’s the difference. A teacher could ask “Which Amendment of the Constitution regulates gun ownership?” This question will generate a simplistic answer that requires little thinking from the student. Imagine if, instead, she pushed the students with this prompt, “Describe how the 2nd Amendment influences our lives today. Work with a partner and take a stance relating to how or if you would change this Amendment. Cite evidence from the text or approved news outlets to support your claim.” Far more engaging than journal writing, Write for Justice is a skillful teaching method that can engage Black boys (and all students). Make it relevant and personal by using guided discussions where students serve in leadership roles. Take it a step further, and complete writing in a personalized interactive notebooks for their writings. Have students create picture collages on the cover of their notebooks. This is an effective way to begin learning about students’ likes, families, hobbies and what brings meaning to their lives. Real Relationships Before building real relationships, educators must recognize differences, biases, and backgrounds. Acknowledging and appreciating differences is akin to showing acceptance to others who may or may not look

like us. How many times have we heard teachers state, “I don’t see color”? This statement is counterintuitive to the idea of recognizing and honoring differences. Being Black is fine and seeing Black is expected. Noticing that a student is Black becomes a concern when that notice is clouded by implicit bias. Especially when the bias impacts teacher expectations. Unlike explicit bias (which reflects the attitudes or beliefs that an individual endorses at a conscious level), implicit bias is the bias in judgment and/or behavior that results from subtle cognitive processes (e.g., implicit attitudes and implicit stereotypes) that often operate at a level beneath conscious awareness and with little or no intentional control (Dovidio, Gaertner, Kawakami, & Hudson, 2002). In a recent study that reviewed interviews involving 16,000 U.S. teachers, Black and non-Black teachers were asked to predict their 10th-graders’ future educational attainment. Would he or she graduate from high school? How about getting accepted and attending college? When asked about any specific Black student, White teachers were about 30 percent less likely than Black teachers to predict he or she would someday earn a college degree (Flannery, 2015). According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, we all have biases. It is necessary to acknowledge and counter our negative biases in order to develop meaningful relationships with students that ultimately lead to improved academic outcomes while also maintaining high

expectations for all students. Before a teacher can be truly relational, she must begin to understand student’s background. Try using a Me Bag as a means of introductions. Students simply place numerous meaningful items in a bag and upon pulling them out, tell their meaning. The teacher can model this and it could also be a great icebreaker for teachers and staff. In high poverty districts, the use of Poverty Simulations may prove to be a useful tool in understanding students’ background. Check out the United Way or other agencies that may conduct simulations in your area. Or contact Community Action Poverty Simulations to consider hosting you own. Pulling the pieces together There are a number of big ideas (in bold) throughout this article that can push us forward so that we can reach and teach our Black boys. Be intentional and pull it all together. Here are a few closing thoughts and tips to get you started: 

Do teachers in your school believe that all students can learn? Consider a teacher selfefficacy assessment. Are teachers evaluated based on culturally responsive practices and interactions with ALL students? Consider including CRT in your teacher evaluation or walkthrough instrument.

How many times have we heard teachers state, “I don’t see color”? This statement is counterintuitive to the idea of recognizing and honoring differences. Being Black is fine and seeing Black is expected. Noticing that a student is Black becomes a concern when that notice is clouded by implicit bias. 

Are you comfortable having conversations about race and equity for Black male students? Consider joining a Twitter chat or joining/creating a Think Tank

References Blackburn, B. (2013). Rigor made easy. Routledge, 711Third Ave, New York, NY 10017. Dovidio, J., Gaertner, S., Kawakami, K., & Hodson, G. (2002). Why can’t we just get along? Interpersonal biases and interracial distrust. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 8, 88-102. Flannery, M.E. (2015). When implicit bias shapes teacher expectations. www.neatoday.org. Lynch, M. (2012). What is culturally responsive pedagogy? The Huffington Post. The Blog.

Got GUMPTION?” Cultivating Students & Professionals of Color Success in Higher Education “

By John C. Turner, M.S. “The Greeks called it Enthousiasmos, the root of ‘enthusiasm,’ which means literally ‘Filled w/ theos or God’, or ‘Quality.’ A person filled with gumption doesn’t sit around dissipating and stewing about things. He’s at that the front of the train of his own awareness, watching to see what’s up the track and meeting it when it comes. That’s Gumption” (Pirsig, 1974, p. 389). For many youth, the transition between high school to college can be fraught with particular difficulties. Even the transition from college to working professionally in higher education can be arduous, but particularly, there is evidence that for students of color (SOC) and people of color (POC), such situations can be traumatizing. Truly, I have experienced this on both ends of this spectrum. As a young man, I graduated from an inner city, Catholic high school with a perhaps, less than stellar GPA of 2.2 GPA. Consequently, I had only been accepted to one university. Once I stepped foot on campus, I felt I had one chance, where either I make myself successful through higher education, or end up possibly back home for me to my Grandmother’s house, and find, more than likely, a dead end job somewhere in the city. However, this chance was not just about my future, but for others as well, in helping student’s succeed. After completing my Bachelors and Masters degrees from Indiana State University, I faced another task, I took a job as a Hall Director, and it was here that I had to find out how to navigate through the politics and system of higher education as a professional. This was something I had never seen before and I saw many different things and went through many experiences as an higher education professional of color that I wouldn’t wish my worst enemy would have to experience. Every level of success for students and professionals of color brings a different level of challenges and issues that have to be faced. Sadly, a lot of these issues and situations are faced with very little preparation and assistance from others on how people can make it through them without ruining their creditability and stressing themselves out to the point of giving up. That’s where this concept of “gumption.” Author Robert Pirsig of the 1974 novel Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, labeled this phenomenon of “Gumption” (or GRIT) by talking about how it helped him in maintaining his motorcycle

during and after trips with his son and friends across the country. This “Gumption” concept helps individuals stay focused, keep on task, and overcome any obstacles to overcome test and trials that come their way to hinder the success or completion of their desired task. The thought of “Gumption” comes in lack of SOC success in higher education. Racial or ethnic minority students have a higher probability of leaving post-secondary education than ethnic majority students (Carter, 2006). Although students received about $122 billion in financial aid from all sources in 2003–04 (The College Board, 2004), individuals with low family incomes, individuals whose parents have not attended college, African-Americans, and Hispanics are less likely than other individuals to enroll in college (Perna, 2006). Although blacks and Hispanics would benefit disproportionately from policies favoring low-income applicants, minorities constitute only a small fraction of all high-scoring disadvantaged youth (Kane, 1998). Whatever may be the case for the non-success of a lot of students in higher education, many of these students are accepted and many overcome several obstacles or “Gumption Traps” in order to beat out the status quo of students of color. Once students are accepted and admitted, many admissions offices around the country continually monitor statistics on what group of students is predicted to be more and less successful, which usually is correlated with high school grade point averages, standardized testing scores, and high school involvement. Even though some have said “focusing on grit (or gumption) has distracted educators and policy makers from the real issue of structural obstacles in the path of student success” (Kundu, 2014), one thing that cannot be measured is “Gumption”. As political support for the use of racial and ethnic preferences in college admissions has eroded, some have argued that colleges should replace racial preferences with a system of class-based preferences (Kane, 1998). At these colleges, otherwise average applicants were 8 to 10 percent more likely to be admitted if they were Black or Hispanic. (Kane, 1998).

Although, as a result, substituting socioeconomically based for race-based preferences would not suffice to maintain racial diversity at academically selective colleges (Kane, 1998). Correspondingly, this would provide an opportunity for SOC’s and POC’s to come on these campuses to learn and work can not only energize the Gumption that they have inside of them to succeed; more so, it could afford them opportunities to help other SOC’s and POC’s to succeed at higher education institutions as well. The main thing that SOC’s and POC’s have to overcome once they are on higher education campuses are the “Gumption Traps” that can hinder their success. Here is an overview of the “Gumption Trap” discussed by Pirsig: Internal – “Hang-ups” Value Traps, Truth Traps, Muscle Traps External – “Set-backs” Out-of-sequence reassembly, Intermittent failure, Parts problems Gumption Traps (Pirsig, p. 398) “Gumption is the psychic gasoline that keeps the whole thing going” (Pirsig, p. 390). When SOC’s and POC’s tap into the Gumption that they have, they start to face their issues, find ways and methods to overcome them, and are able to tell others like them how they can overcome the Gumption Traps that come their way as well. These “Gumption Traps” can be of the “Internal” kind, which could be ego, anxiety, boredom, loneliness, isolation, and not thinking they are good enough or have enough value to be successful in higher education. Also, Gumption Traps can be those of the “External” kind, which could be money, housing, and car issues, family, friends, relationship problems, teacher and campus hindrances, low resources or opportunities for success, and even times of culture shock on their particular campuses. I had the opportunity present on the topic of “Got Gumption” to higher education students and professionals in the spring of 2016. There were certain questions that I asked to get students

Continue on page 61

Incorporating Music Strategies into Early Spanish Language Acquisition Researcher: Maria Alexandra Barreiro-Futterman Alexandra Marie is an Argentinean-American Lyric Soprano who arrived in the United States in 1990. She received scholarships from NWSA/MDCC and Later FUI, earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Music and Performance in 1996. Alexandra Marie has appeared with Symphony Orchestras and Zarzuela companies around the U.S. and South America. Alexandra Marie recorded in Buenos Aires “Esencia de Mujer”, a tribute to Latin Women in Music and History. Alexandra was featured in the 2013 CD compilation: “TANGO in Miami “a cultural initiative by the Consulate general of the Argentine Republic in Miami. In 2015, Alexandra will perform for Hispanic Heritage “From Spain and Beyond” at Palm Beach Auditorium, “Festival de Cine Argentino” in Nova University and CCE / Ginastera in 2016.

African American Boys in Two Suburban Maryland Middle Schools continued from page 42

For 8th-grade African American male students, the importance of having clearly defined academic objectives and an articulated strategy were paramount to their academic motivation and success. The theme of goal setting was an essential component in answering the initial research question of perceived factors that were contributing to their academic success. The respondents understood that their selfesteem directly impacted their motivation to learn. As the researcher pressed participants as a collective body, their responses were in alignment with the social learning theory belief that student learning and perceptions are based on ones' ability to accomplish a task and overcome academic difficulties (Bandura, 1995). Lovitts (2008) supported this component by validating Bandura’s (1995) earlier research which states that through the synthesis of information, goal setting processes begin, and that confident subjects can persevere through difficult tasks. Markus and Wurf (1987) further supported this premise by suggesting that highly-motivated students set obtainable goals, seek high achievement over immediate gratification, and seek performance-based feedback. From Markus and Wurf’s (1987) lens, highly motivated students continuously assessed their performance and strategized methods for academic improvement. From this, they suggested that African American male students sought the reassurance of their performance from their peer group. From Maslow’s (1943) theory of motivation, it is possible that the participants strove for academic excellence based on their need for acceptance from their immediate peer groups that would transcend them through the higher levels of Maslow’s hierarchy as they strove toward selfactualization. The respondents offered the following perspectives around factors impacting their goal setting processes: Academic success is doing well in school and having long and short-term goals. A short-term

goal is wanting to get an A on this next test or get into this program. It’s me taking the steps to get and constantly saying I can do it even when it’s hard. This will benefit me in the future. It not only helps with your grades but with any activity that you are doing. It is paying attention in class, constantly staying after school, and talking with the teacher when I don’t understand something. Academic success is when you reach your full potential and apply it to what you have learned or what you are learning in life. If you have all B’s in class and want to get all A’s, academic success is when you put your nose to the grind to get those straight A’s. Academic success is working hard in class and being focused. It is being able to understand the directions and apply the directions to the work that I do. I try to make my work the best I can make it. Highly Proficient Academic Performance Successful student achievement was a paramount concern for schools and its students. For the respondents, highly proficient academic performance was a theme that emerged from their collective interviews. The relationship of the theme and social learning theory suggested that motivated participants need to perform well in school. Bandura (1984) noted that motivated students were extremely driven, assessed their own current academic performance, and self-regulated themselves using goal setting to attain their concrete and measurable goals. The respondents voiced their perspectives regarding their highly proficient academic performance: I haven’t gotten any lower than a 3.61, and whenever I get a B, I try to bring it up to an A before the end of the quarter. Usually, the work is easy for me. I mean it is straightforward. It would be nice if the teachers pushed me. I want to get 4.0s for the rest of my years in school. I want to be able to draw a lot. I want to make people interested in what I do. I want people to know my work, from my sketches to my video games. I want to keep my grades up as I enter high school and work hard. Talking with my friends, high school is an enormous step up. I will need to spend

the majority of my day studying. My performance is proficient. I am described as an overachiever kid; as one who does not try in class but gets A’s and B’s. Classes are starting to become harder. My goal is to get straight A’s in eighth grade. I could start turning in my classwork. I am smart and know my work. I just forget to turn it in. I find myself not doing homework and waiting until the last minute to get it done. I feel I am doing very well right now, and I am at the top of my classes. I believe I can do way better with responsibility. I could try studying for tests more. I do my homework or my project. I don’t usually go over my notes or anything. I probably should have reviewed my notes; I would probably know the material way better. Imagine how good I would be if I took the time to study more and put down the video games. Increased Peer Accountability Peer influence was an important element in influencing academic motivation (Hattie & Anderman, 2013). When developed with consistent group norms, peer accountability created a synergistic effect amongst its group members causing members to rise to or exceed the established standards and can propel them to high academic levels (Chin & Osborne, 2010). As group members engage in daily interactions, the group’s collective power can provide positive reinforcement impelling greater efforts to achieve high academic standards and receive more positive feedback (Goleman, Boyatzis, & McKee, 2013). This structured environment can strongly influence African American male students to remain highly motivated and excel academically. Bandura (1984) noted self-efficacy impacts the level of individual self-efficacy and its by-products on academic achievement. Besides, the respondents were aware that the expectation of future reinforcements or negative group norms had a significant impact on the behavior. The participants conveyed their expressed remarks with the following statements: Friends can be very supportive, and they have to be able to know what you do. It is also important that your friend makes sure that you are doing the right thing. They can offer help and be more

willing to help and be prepared to hear what you have to say and feel what you have to say. Friends can be focused on the work you both are working on. They can ask how things are going. Friends can serve as tutors because you are talking about the same subject, and you will ask each other questions that will help you better understand what the teacher is talking about. My peers remind me to be consistent and focus on one task a time. They are mostly honor roll students. We all know each other’s families. We all hang out together after school. They all care about their academics. They are the type of friends that will go out of their way to make sure we do well. Parental Support and Accountability Parental support and accountability were paramount issues facing African American parents with their sons (Hill & Tyson, 2009). Active and consistent academic parental involvements were important elements when motivating, supporting, and encouraging African I American males’ academic motivation and success (Prince & Nurius, 2014). Parents who created an emotionally supportive bond through the development of healthy relationships with teachers and administrative staff, established high expectations for their offspring’s postsecondary education, for future firm and supportive parenting skills, and for the reinforcement of positive achievement that could create opportunities for each child’s future success (Ross-Aseme, 2012). By maintaining a consistent presence in their lives, the participants internalized the values of their parents that academics mattered, and it motivated them to perform well in school (Ryan & Deci, 2012). As African American male students matriculate through the different levels of Maslow’s (1943) hierarchy of needs, their parents’ role in their character development and their increased selfesteem plays a critical measure in fulfilling their academic motivation and achieving academic success. Based on the participants’ remarks, there was a relationship between this identified theme and Maslow’s theory of motivation The respondents voiced their parents’ influence

on their academic motivation and success: My parents’ role in education is enormous. My parents push me to get good grades. My parents reward me for the good work that I do. They make it easy for me. They give me advice and always tell me things that will put me at ease. They motivate and make me feel relaxed. Sometimes when I ask my parents for things . . . a new video game or book . . . if I can prove myself with my grades . . . they will buy me these things. I used to shove things in my binder and I would lose things. Between the summer of fifth/sixth grade, I became more organized. As an only child, my dad makes sure I am on top of things. My mom checks my work for me. My dad is a teacher; helped me become very organized; my mom is also highly involved in education as well. Now, when I get home, I organize and scan my notes if we are going over a unit in class. I ask my teachers in class or over lunch for help. Classroom Environment The teacher was an integral component in developing a safe learning environment, encouraging mutual trust and respect, and initiating healthy student discourse that may influence high levels of student engagement and academic achievement (Brophy, 2013). According to Gay (2010), teachers must self-reflect on their instructional practices, examine their belief systems around student learning, and develop healthy strategies for engaging meaningful student relationships. One of the essential components of Bandura’s (1997) social learning theory is attention, retention, reproduction, and motivation. The findings of this study suggested, through observations of verbal and nonverbal behaviors, African American male learners tended to work harder, engaged more with their teachers, and sought their teacher’s approval when in structured learning environment. According to Alderman (2013), effective teachers of eighthgrade African American male students were committed to their students’ learning, had faith in their pupils’ ability to master rigorous concepts, their students’ achievement was based on their diligent study and not solely on innate ability and, as teachers, they must of had a firm grasp of their pedagogy. According to Ladson-Billings (2009),

these effective teachers established healthy relationships with their students where intimate personal details of the students’ lives were shared in a private setting beyond formal classroom instruction. The theme of class environment was a key provision in helping to answer the research question concerning the roles that peers, parents, and educators play in eighth-grade African American male students’ ability to achieve academic success. The respondents shared the impact of the classroom environment on their academic motivation and success: For me, making myself known to my teachers has made a difference. I have been able to build trust with them that has made my experience much better. My teachers have times where they work with students one on one. They can come in for help in English or math if they need help. We have after school help. They have these resources for struggling students that need help. I had used these from time to time when I did not understand a topic. Our teachers talk with us and encourage us to do well in school. Teachers will help us with extra help during test times and provide additional help when we need it. My math teacher has been an excellent resource for me. I can come in for extra help during lunchtime on my free mods to get additional help in things that I do not understand. It has made the difference for me. Principal Led Focus Groups Student concerns and expressions were important in an academic setting. It provided a forum for hidden concerns to be expressed; for action plans to be generated from the responses, and for ways to measure eventual growth from these concerns to be developed. The theme of more principal-led focus groups was a key provision in helping to answer the research question regarding the roles peers, parents, and educators play in the ability to achieve academic success for eighth-grade African American male students in two suburban Maryland middle

Some of the respondents felt that though their principal was visible, more accessibility was needed to develop a connectedness to their school environments. For this one, there were some disconnects with Maslow’s (1943) theory of motivation in that some of the students felt that there were incidents that their physical needs were not entirely met.

I will need to create a master schedule of my homework.

The respondents voiced the impact of their respective principals on their academic motivation and success.

Negative School Images Student perceptions of their academic environment enhanced or diminished their perception of their own self-worth, influenced their desire to learn, and impacted their performance in school (Brophy, 2013).

Though our principal speaks with us in private and encourages us, we should have a gathering of African American families and talk about the importance of academics and emphasize the importance of it in our lives. They should ask the young men what they want to be when they grow up. The benefit of the meeting is that the African American male success rate would skyrocket.

I want to become a sketch artist or graphic designer. I want to get accepted into the University of Maryland’s technology program.

For 8th-grade African American male, middle school students, experiencing and internalizing negative school images can affect their academic motivation (Sakiz, Pape, & Hoy, 2012). These constant reminders can perpetuate negative thoughts, create self-doubt, and, eventually, cause Specific Career Aspirations a paradigm shift in behavior and academic focus (Peters, Eisenlohr-Moul, Upton, & Baer, 2013). As For African American male students, clearly defined the researcher interviewed the respondents, the career goals provided them a definitive plan for theme of negative school images was identified as achieving their future goals. This issue was significant. For the participants, this theme was in paramount in helping to answer the research direct conflict with Maslow’s (1943) theory of question concerning the role the school environment motivation. Their repeated viewing of negative plays in eighth-grade African American male school images and comments overheard in their students’ ability to achieve academic success. The respective school environments affected the relationship between this theme and the conceptual respondent's security. From prior statements, the framework was evident when considering the respondents’ academic performance thrived when theories surrounding social learning theory and surrounded by other highly motivated peers Maslow’s (1943) theory of motivation. The students because they felt safe, and they received positive were engaged with other highly motivated African reinforcement from them. From a social learning American males that provided opportunities for them theory perspective, they learned through to replicate these highly engaged academic observation and desired to mimic positive behaviors. academic behaviors. The negative school images were in direct conflict, and they voiced their The respondents shared their specific career concerns. aspirations and its impact on their academic motivation and success. The respondents shared poignant views on concerns they viewed critically impacting their My dream is become a pilot. One of my goals is to academic motivation and success: get into an academy. The best way to become a pilot is that you need hours. One of the best ways is The school is criticized because it is an older to go into the military. I would like to get into the Air school. Some students think that the school is Force or Naval Academy. I need to get my grades ratchet. People have a low expectation of that up and try and see if I can get recommendations image and our performance from my congressmen. Our school is a harsh environment where the I want to get straight A’s and become an engineer students are more interested in their popularity and Continue on page 58

Blight is a drag on community energy, a siphon on city vitality, and a strong deterrent to economic investment. It can be a source of despair or cynicism for people who have witnessed the decline of a particular building or neighborhood over time. City of Jacksonville

Is the Food Served at Your School Safe? Continued from page

However, there were observable concerns with how the hot lunches were being served. These concerns ranged from how the food was being stored and kept at certain temperatures during and between lunch periods to the handling/serving of the food by volunteers. more persons that have suffered a suspected food borne illness event it is considered a potential outbreak. To facilitate reporting it would be prudent to have a standard operating procedure. The National Food Service Management Institute (NFSMI) has created a model form format for Communicating During a Foodborne Illness Outbreak The first point of contact should be with the municipal health department responsible for the school district’s region. Be sure to retain a paper trail. What can be done to reduce food borne illness risk in a school system? Awareness, education and creating a food safe culture are keys. Dining grades.com in collaboration with Platte River Academy (Highlands Ranch, Colorado) piloted a project designed to do just that. The question asked: “Was Platte River Academy as safe for children as It could be?” We started with the premise that school safety is of interest to many people whether as a parent, staff member, or community member. Nonetheless, as the principal, Dr. Gary Stueven was sometimes surprised as to what parents found to be especially important in creating a safe school environment for their child. For some parents it was all about restricting and controlling adult access to the building. For others it was a priority to create a playground safe from injuries on the equipment or the actions of peer conflict or bullying, and for a few it was about implementing a Stranger Safety Program. Then there were parents asking about the steps that would be taken when severe weather approaches the school. Yes, these are all very important and creating an all-inclusive safety plan points out the responsibility that schools have while caring for children under its legal authority

to act in loco parentis. Parents and District officials consistently (and rightly so) seem to stay focused on efforts and plans to ensure the physical safety of the students from violent scenarios that could occur either inside the school building or on campus outside. These efforts, and the vigilance that comes with it, are to be commended. Nonetheless, we reasoned, “Shouldn’t schools have a broader vision of what makes a school safe for its students by asking ‘Where does food safety fit in providing a safe school environment?” In 2009, Dr. Harlan Stueven presented data that addressed food safety issues and food borne illness incidents at schools given that every day many of PRA’s students eat a lunch that has been delivered to and served at school. After collaboratively reviewing the data, Stueven, as the school principal, investigated how hot lunches were being stored, handled, and served at Platte River Academy. PRA is a charter school and manages its hot lunch program using parent volunteers, as is case for many charter schools. Dr. Gary Stueven was comfortable with how the lunches were being prepared and delivered by the vendors. However, there were observable concerns with how the hot lunches were being served. These concerns ranged from how the food was being stored and kept at certain temperatures during and between lunch periods to the handling/serving of the food by volunteers. Based on these concerns he worked with the PRA Board, the Parent Teacher Organization, the lunchroom manager, and the parent volunteers to take steps to improve their food safety.

“DiningGrades.com had developed an excellent online Food Handler’s Course that was intended to inform and teach best practices for food safety to those who prepare, handle, and serve food. I received approval to fund and launch this training for all who were involved with PRA’s hot lunch program. Fifty-two volunteers and staff took and passed the online course and received a certificate of completion which was required to continue as a volunteer.” Dr. Gary Stueven Every one of the volunteers, as did the Board and PTO, appreciated the emphasis on food safety at school. There were volunteers who mentioned that this new knowledge had led to a change with some of their food preparation steps at home. “While thinking of food safety in a school lunchroom is not as pressing as ensuring a safe and secure facility, for me as principal, I knew that this effort regarding food safety made PRA even a safer place for the students.” Dr. Gary Stueven. In a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) report entitled Analyses of the Contributing Factors Associated with Foodborne Outbreaks in School Settings the following conclusions are offered: • •

School food service workers must have a thorough understanding of the role of contributing factors in the spread of food borne disease (Gould, Walsh et al., 2013). Effective food safety education programs must focus on contributing factors, how factors cause food borne disease, and how to prevent food safety errors.

Effective food safety education programs must focus on time/ temperature control compliance procedures for foods and food holding equipment as well as the importance of taking corrective actions when foods or food holding equipment temperatures are not in compliance. Effective food safety education programs must also target the broader school community in training all individuals involved in school food preparation (i.e., food service workers, teachers, parents, students, etc.) as well as the variety of settings and activities where food may be prepared and served to school-aged children (e.g., field trips, class parties, fundraisers, etc.).

There are excellent free or inexpensive opportunities for school districts to improve food safety. Cornell University has prepared Middle and High School Teacher Food Safety Programs that are focused for that specific target group. The NFSMI has developed specific School Nutrition Expert Food Safety Training. The USDA Food Safety Network provides specific training for food service professionals. The FNS Office of Food Safety web site provides food safety education and training resources for school food service professionals and child nutrition program operators. Finally, DiningGrades.com has developed a Food Server/Handler course directed toward the volunteers and occasional food handler. This course is online and available anytime, in English and Spanish with a corresponding quiz that ensures a level of comprehension. Continue on page 66

The economic consequences of urban blight are obvious: depressed property values for individuals and increased maintenance costs with reduced tax revenue for local government. Diez Roux A V., Mair C. Neighborhoods and health. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2010

African American Boys in Two Suburban Maryland Middle Schools continued from page 53

looks rather than studying. It’s not the best environment. I don’t blame the school. They don’t have the best environment for academics for African American students. African American kids use what is around them. If they see that the school is bad, then they will act badly. They are more like followers. It’s not the school’s fault. I think it’s the board’s fault because they do not provide enough money for the African American students to do better. It’s the board. They do not offer enough money because I see old textbooks from when my brother was back in middle school, and I don’t think they get new supplies; so I think that can affect something. LIMITATIONS Several limitations surfaced in this research study including the bias of the researcher. Initially, the researcher selected five suburban Maryland middle schools with 8th grade African American male students from their respective National Junior Honor Societies to participate in the study. From this sample, only two middle schools chose to participate, which was a limitation in this study. The researcher attempted multiple instances to communicate with the respective principals via email and telephone. One principal chose not to participate and the remaining two indicated that their administrative duties maximized their time. Of the two middle schools that participated, the researcher sought 10 participants as members of the sample size, but the data reported is from eight participants. The remaining two participants chose not to be a part of the study. The inability to gain complete participant involvement served as a limitation in this study, which does not reflect the overall student population but rather the selected population. Once the initial semi-structured interviews unfolded, the researcher visited the respective middle schools on several occasions. Due to time constraints, the researcher interviewed students immediately after their academic day concluded. A possible limitation to the research was that the researcher may have formed impressions based on interactions with school personnel; this may have interfered with the researcher’ ability to be impartial. During the semistructured interview process, participant responses

may have been impacted by their comfort level with the researcher, the overall interview process, and their recall or choice of selective memory regarding previous academic experiences. These experiences may have limited or challenged the quality and depth of the participant responses. IMPLICATIONS As a subgroup, 8th grade African American male students face multiple challenges in their pursuit of academic excellence. Often they academically perform lower than other subgroups on standardized assessments, receive higher rates of disciplinary actions, and experience more familial concerns in their homes. They are also navigating through the challenges of their transition to high school, the pressure to remain highly motivated and successful when faced with rigorous Common Core Standards, and enhance their peer relationships. During the recruitment process of potential participants, the researcher attempted to secure students who were 8th grade African American males within the chosen school districts. In order to be approved from the Office of Shared Accountability, the prerequisites of the selected participants shifted to students who were members of their respective National Junior Honor Societies at their respective schools. For future studies, it may be beneficial to access varied levels of student performance to diversify the participant responses. A lack of empirical research existed on academic motivation and the success of 8th grade African American male students in suburban Maryland middle schools. This study can contribute to existing literature and provide K–12 educators and administrators with insights into best practices into how best to educate 8th grade African American male students. Several implications arose from this research study that directly impact academic success and motivation for 8th grade African American male students. Nationwide, middle schools experience significant incidents of bullying, threats of physical harm, and psychological intimation among African American male middle school students which can have

Parental support and accountability need even more advocacy and increased importance in the lives of the African American male students. There is a need to look at how to engage parents who are not as motivated or comfortable as the parents in this study in order to find ways to help them become more involved with their children’s education. devastating impacts on their student engagement and academic performance (Copeland, Shanahan, Costello, & Angold, 2009). These violent occurrences threaten their physical safety and influence their progression through their hierarchical needs of Maslow’s theory of motivation. When probing the participants for their final comments, the researcher identified bullying and stereotyping as themes, since a majority of the respondents identified this as significant. This was important because it was in direct conflict with the conceptual frameworks of Bandura’s social learning theory and Maslow’s theory of motivation. The findings of this study suggested that bullying and stereotypes unearthed covert student racial issues among the pupils, affected their academic performance, and impacted their self-esteem. This theme provided unique insights into the participants’ perspectives and allowed the researcher to experience their daily lives. More empirical research needs to be done on the effects of bullying and stereotyping on our highly motivated African American middle school males and its impacts on their self-concept and motivation. Bullying is an issue that has affects schools both in suburban and urban settings. Second, the powers of peer accountability and influence strongly affect African American male students’ success or failure in school. As noted in

the findings that support social learning theory’s components, when highly motivated students are surrounded with other highly successful students, these synergistic behaviors replicate and students are more prone to want to achieve at high levels. Parental support and accountability need even more advocacy and increased importance in the lives of the African American male students. There is a need to look at how to engage parents who are not as motivated or comfortable as the parents in this study in order to find ways to help them become more involved with their children’s education. CONCLUSION Academic motivation and success research is vital to improving the academic success and motivation of 8th grade African American male students. Research shows that African American male students face unique challenges. Overall, the results led the researcher to conclude that the participants’ self-efficacy and desire to achieve their career aspirations motivated them in their academic settings. They recognized that their present academic success could propel them toward their future goals. Based on the research findings, 8th grade African American males perceived peer accountability, parental support, and committed and caring educators as the three major themes that contributed to their academic motivation and success. Participants noted that their peers positively impacted and supported their academic performance and reinforced their positive attitude toward school. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The author would like to thank the principals, teachers, and students at the school sites that participated in the study. AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY Kyle Randolph Bacon, Ed.D. is an educator within a suburban Maryland school district. He is a former principal and 2003 Maryland Middle School Math Teacher of the Year for the Maryland Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Campus Leadership Institutional Process Practices That Positively Impact the Completion Rate of Economically Disadvantaged Students Researcher: Dr. Delic Loyde Dr. Delic Loyde is a graduate of Angelo State University with a Bachelor of Music Education, earned her Masters of Education and Superintendent’s Certification from Stephen F. Austin University, and her terminal degree of Doctor of Education with a specialization in Educational Leadership from the University of Houston, Main Campus. Dr. Delic Loyde completed the Harvard Principal Institute on the Urban Principalship and maintains membership via the Raise Your Hand Texas Alumni Harvard Updates. She has served as a teacher, middle school and high school principal, and central office director. She has been recognized by the National Secondary School Principal's Association, and the International Center for Excellence in Education for her effective leadership efforts.

“Got GUMPTION?” continued from page 47

and professionals thinking about what not only helped them succeed and overcome their gumption traps, but what advice would they give to others try to succeed at higher education institutions as well. QUESTION: What pushes you to succeed as a student or professional in Higher Education when everyone else around you decided NOT to make it or thought you were WEIRD for wanting to make it in college? QUESTION: What are some of the “Gumption Traps” that you face as a student or professional of color on the college campus and off the college campus that can hinder yours and other student’s/Professional’s success? QUESTION: What are some songs, movies, activities, motivations, or memories that get your Gumption Juices flowing in you to help you complete the task you need to your Institution? QUESTION: (2 Volunteers) Tell me about your own personal story of how you used “Gumption” to overcome obstacles that you had in your life to get to a point of success in Higher Education today? ACTIVITY: Write out possible ideas for students and professionals to succeed pass “Gumption Traps” to be successful in higher education. (Discuss in small groups & wrote answers on Large Post-It Note Paper & presented to entire group) Professionals Ideas Included: (From the Ivy Tech Community College – Central Indiana Student Affairs Professional Development Day 2016) Engagement Encouragement Resources and Knowing What Your Resources Are Opportunities Accountability Strategic Planning Listen Objection Opinion Connecting with the Student

Student Ideas Included: (From the University of Illinois Black and Latino Male Summit 2016) Multiple Paths of Success Manage Stress Know that “YOU BELONG” Research – Don’t take things at Face Value Know that it won’t be easy Love Yourself Don’t get distracted Save Money Get out of comfort zone Know your limits Using personal experiences has motivation Learn utility of degree Have an Educational Plan Help with life skills Receive Feedback Being Genuine Building from Strengths Being Non-Judgmental Mentoring/Coaching/Teaching/Training Networking Being a Cheerleader for Students Peer Groups Providing Support Providing Attention Preparation Make an impact through leadership Don’t be afraid to ask for help Involve yourself with like-minded people Find positivity in all situations Find a mentor No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, & show up Be humble Utilize available resources Pursue your dreams; be a Visionary Network Find an edifying community Endeavor & Press Through (Never Give Up) Invest in your gifts, intellect, etc. Be Ambitious Find and Keep Unity Elimination Distractions Belief in yourself/Faith Eliminate Self-Hatred / Inferiority Complex Willpower Sacrifice Resilience/Grit Goal-Setting Stay Hungry Continue on page 66

Dr. Billie Jo Kipp President of Blackfeet Community College Blackfeet Community College Higher Education and the Community College Landscape Dr. Billie Jo Kipp, a clinical and experimental psychologist and a member of the Blackfeet Tribe, will be the Pl of this project. Dr. Kipp worked concurrently as a facilitator for the Department of Veterans Affairs Black Hills Healthcare System at Ft. Meade, SD and as a data analyst at Montana's Salish Kootenai College's All Nations Alliance for Minority Participation Program. Dr. Kipp also worked as a research associate at the University of New Mexico Center of Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Addiction, and she assisted New Mexico's Head Start programs through her work as a local specialist for the Academy for Educational Development's American Indian Technical Assistance Network in Washington, D.C. As an associate scientist at the University of New Mexico Masters in Public Health's School of Medicine, Department of Family and Community Medicine in Albuquerque, Dr. Kipp coordinated her department in the establishment of a range of collaborative laboratory and/or field research projects. She also worked as a child and clinical psychologist.

Native American Education: Challenging Environments and Conditions By Rafael Tapia Jr.

Obtaining a postsecondary education often seems unattainable for many Native American students. Despite facing a set of unique challenging environments and conditions, 13 percent of Native American students go on to earn a college degree. In comparison to the 28 percent of other U.S. ethnic groups who earn a degree, however, it’s evident that there is a

need to better assist Native American students in educational attainment and to divert those challenges that deter them from achieving their education goals. Native-serving nonprofit Partnership With Native Americans (PWNA) aims to combat these distinctive barriers through its education program, the American Indian Education Fund (AIEF). The American

Indian Education Fund focuses on helping students get to, pay for, and complete college. Native Americans overcome the odds day in and day out, and through the support of organizations such as PWNA and its AIEF program, have defied expectations in spite of their struggles. Education Systems That Fail Reservation and education systems tend to fail the Native American student population. Early reservations served as prison camps intended to remove Native Americans from the general.

country. Long before many Native students even consider college, their experience and perception of school is negatively tainted. This, along with the history of Indian education, directly impacts student achievement levels and their pursuit of college. The majority of Native American students considering college are also often the first in their family to do so, and in remote and geographically-isolated communities, there are fewer role models with college degrees to motivate pursuit of a college education. population. Early school systems, such as boarding schools, were intended to assimilate Native American people and eliminate the Indian way of life, language and culture. Even today, the reservation system, and especially federally funded schools, continue to fail Native American students. From elementary to postsecondary school, poverty and disparity touch the lives of many Native American students. The Bureau of Indian Education’s (BIE) schools located on many reservations, for example, receive among the least amount in federal funding. This fuels a situation in where only 70 percent of Native American high school students earn their diploma, compared to a national average of 82 percent. Western education systems beyond the BIE schools, both on and off the reservation, often lack cultural understanding, relevance and a sense of inclusion for Native American students. Consider the inaccuracies taught in U.S. history about Christopher Columbus, the pilgrims, and the founding fathers, in classrooms across the

other professionals making positive changes in tribal communities, they’re encouraged to look beyond what’s familiar and work toward similar goals. These community figures serve as signs of hope for students who want to step out and break the cycle of poverty The AIEF program serves as an added support system for Native American college students. AIEF staff stays in touch with its scholarship recipients throughout the semester, provides school supplies at the beginning of the semester, and sends care packages to students and their families over the holidays. Student scholars say this added support is unexpected and they are thankful AIEF stays connected with them. Misconceptions in collegiate funding Contrary to public perception, a college education is not free for Native Americans. Joe Shields Sr., director of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe Housing Authority in South Dakota, struggles just like many other non-Native American parents when it comes to supporting his daughter’s college education. Tuition is not waived solely because of one’s heritage. “We don’t get free government assistance,” said Shields Sr. “I’ve been working since I was 16 years old.” Despite the economic obstacles many families face, more Native Americans are striving to complete a postsecondary education. The AIEF program awards scholarships to both undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrate a serious drive to attain a degree but lack the financial support to do so. More than 200 college students are assisted each year through scholarships and supplies, as well as emergency funds and challenge grants to universities, tribal colleges and other groups serving large Native student populations. Unexpected expenses, from vehicle repairs to emergency travel home, can also challenge a Native American student’s ability to stay in

Even today, the reservation system, and especially federally funded schools, continue to fail Native American students. From elementary to postsecondary school, poverty and disparity touch the lives of many Native American students. The Bureau of Indian Education’s (BIE) schools located on many reservations, for example, receive among the least amount in federal funding. school once they’ve enrolled in college. AIEF awards emergency funds to its college partners to assist Native American students with these unanticipated circumstances, ensuring they do not drop out of college on account of short-term expenses College degrees as the unattainable Many American Indian students believe that college is not an option, but rather a dream out of reach. Often times, indigenous students do not apply for college simply because they lack information about the process. Students sometimes find themselves at a loss when it comes to searching for university options, selecting the right school and seeking financial assistance. Computer access for such research is also limited. Adding to this challenge, BIE schools are notoriously underfunded and turnover in BIE schools is unparalleled, leaving many Native students with inadequate access to college and career advisement. AIEF encourages Native American students and supports high school counselors throughout its national service area in shifting perceptions about a college education from an afterthought to a reality. Former AIEF scholarship recipient Aaron Sparks looked beyond the academic challenges he faced while in high school in remote Montana and successfully enrolled in a four-year university.

“There is no substitute for hard work,” said Sparks. “Only when the desire for change comes from within will one truly be successful.” Aaron, like many scholarship students awarded by AIEF is motivated by a strong desire to help his tribe. Championing brighter futures The opportunities are endless for Native American youth seeking higher education and organizations such as PWNA are working every single day to ensure students understand this. While the need for community role models, interpersonal encouragement and support, and improved retention remains, AIEF and its college partners have made tremendous strides in creating awareness and impact over the years. Now, more than ever, American Indian students are applying for college. Even more so, hundreds of those students seek scholarship support – whether through AIEF or other nonprofit or federal programs. From tribal colleges, to trade schools and four-year universities, students are reaching out for a better future and way to support positive change for their tribes and society at large. Each year, 90 to 95 percent of AIEF’s first-year scholarship recipients complete the academic year, compared to 21 percent of first-year students nationwide. For PWNA, education is a foundation for sustainable change and their vision of strong, self-sufficient Native American communities.

“Got GUMPTION?” continued from page 61

In order to combat some of the Gumption Traps that SOC’s and POC’s run into, they have to find ways to invigorate the Gumption that they have inside of them. That passion, that inner fire, there forms an inextinguishable determination them to succeed as a student or professional has to be cultivated in order for their dreams and achievements to be accomplished. For many students, they have never thought about their own gumption, so in discussing this with our students, we realize there are several ways for students and professionals to pull on that Gumption when needed; this can take shape in various forms. Whether it’s listening to that song or artist that gets someone “HYPE” to get work done, connecting with friends, family, or mentors that inspire them to push through hard times. Sometimes, it is encouraging students and professionals to walk away, but in an understanding they will come back to the issue later. For example, a simple walk around the block, a jog up the stairs, stopping to enjoy a favorite activity, or even taking a nap, can all provide the mental stamina for someone’s focus to become more clear and come back to complete the task. At the end of the day, we want to make sure that all students and professionals of color in higher education get the assistance that they need to succeed and fire up the Gumption inside of them to become the great leaders of tomorrow that we need in our communities and nations. References Carter, D. F. (2006). Key issues in the persistence of underrepresented minority students. New Directions for Institutional Research, 130, 33. Kane, T. J. (1998). Racial and ethnic preferences in college admissions. Ohio St. LJ, 59, 971.

Is the Food Served at Your School Safe? Continued from page 56

We all share a passion for keeping our school children and young adults safe. But that passion needs action. Our hope is that this summary will motivate and guide school leaders in that action.

Kundu, A. (2014). BACKTALK Grit, overemphasized; agency, overlooked. Phi Delta Kappan, 96(1), 80-80. Perna, L. W. (2006). Studying college access and choice: A proposed conceptual model. In HIGHER EDUCATION: (pp. 99-157). Springer Netherlands. Pirsig, R. (1974). Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance: an inquiry into values.

Police Professional Development The Impact of Job-Related Stressors on Incidents of Excessive Force by Police Officers. Researcher: Dr. Phillip R. Neely, Jr. The Relationship Between Police Supervisor Training and Job Satisfaction Levels As Reported By Patrol Officers Researcher: Dr. Lynn DeSpain Neely’s Abstract: The present study addresses the relationship between job-related stressors and incidents of police misconduct, a concept that has largely been neglected in policing literature. Manzoni and Eisner’s conceptualization of stress-strain theory provided the foundation for the research. Specifically, this study examines individual differences in the perception of how job-related stressors such as departmental leadership, departmental policies and regulations, and departmental climate are related to incidents of police misconduct expressed through the exercise of excessive force. DeSpain’s Abstract: This study aimed to determine the relationship between supervisor training completed by first-line police officers and the level of job satisfaction reported by the police officers they supervise. This non-experimental, quantitative, comparative study used leadership theory to establish research questions. A comprehensive literature review developed considerations for training for police supervisors as well as the impact of job satisfaction in law enforcement.

CONTRUBUTORS’ BIO Kyle Randolph Bacon, Ed.D Dr. Bacon is an educational recruiter, award-winning teacher, and former principal who completed his doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. He also holds a Master's degree in Educational Leadership from Trinity University; a Master's Degree in Counseling from the University of the District of Columbia; and a Bachelor's of Social Work from Howard University. •

Dr. Stephen Jones Dr. Stephen Jones is an outstanding educator who has spent his career helping students to succeed in K-12 schools and college. He has been instrumental in helping thousands of students realize their dream to earn a degree. He has authored the Seven Secrets of How to Study series, including "Mapping Your Strategy for Better Grades", the "Parent’s Ultimate Education Guide" and the "Ultimate Scholarship Guide." The books provide an understanding of the seven pillars that are essential to learning effective study techniques. Dr. Stephen Jones is an education advocate and the author of three K12 college success books at •

Nekeshia Hammond, Psy.D. Dr. Nekeshia Hammond is a licensed psychologist and owner of Hammond Psychology & Associates, P.A. Her current focus is completing psychological evaluations (Gifted, learning disorders, ADHD, depression, anxiety, etc.). She is heavily involved in community endeavors with a motto of “give back” in addition to her private practice work. Dr. Hammond has also been a contributor for WFLA News Channel 8 and a contributing writer for Tampa Bay Parenting magazine. In August 2015, Dr. Hammond was one of 25 psychologists in the country to receive the Early Career Achievement Award from the American Psychological Association. She was also one of 30 individuals selected out of hundreds of applicants in October 2015 to receive an Up and Comers Award from the Tampa Bay Business Journal for the Under 40 years old category. Dr. Hammond is honored to consult with the media to increase public education about mental health issues, and she has been featured in Life Improvement Radio, CBS Boston, Essence, WFLA News Channel 8, Tampa Bay Times, Deseret News, Tampa Bay Parenting, AM 1150 WTMP, Ebony, 105.5 WDUV, News 4 San Antonio, In the community, Dr. Hammond has been actively involved with the Florida Psychological Association, where she is a key psychologist at the state and federal levels, advocating for patients of mental health and mental health professionals. •

Dr. Rinata Tanks Dr. Rinata Tanks is currently employed with Baltimore City Public Schools as a Coordinator of Multiple Pathways within the Department of Specialized Services. She has worked extensively around the development and implementation of various initiatives within Multiple Pathways, specifically with the establishment of the Re-Engagement Center. She also served as a School Support Liaison supporting schools around the creation of school-wide behavior intervention systems, coaching, and facilitating professional development. Prior to joining Baltimore City Public Schools, Dr. Tanks served as an Assistant Principal for Duval County Public Schools and functioned as a Special Education lead teacher for several years. Dr. Tanks currently holds a Doctorate Degree in Education Leadership with a dissertation focus on Multi-Component Intervention Strategies for Students with Disabilities from Nova Southeastern University, as well as, a Master of Science degree in Emotional Disturbances and Learning Disabilities; and a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology, both from Florida State University. She is a published writer and participated in various discussions and panels around effective implementation of behavior intervention strategies in a classroom environments.

CONTRUBUTORS’ BIO Dr. Gary Stueven Dr. Gary Stueven worked in education for 42 years serving as a school principal for thirty years. He retired in 2014 after ten years as principal at Platte River Academy and now consults, trains, and mentors part-time for the Colorado League of Charter Schools and the Colorado Department of Education. He received his Doctor of Education Degree in Educational Administration from the University of Wyoming. He has been a Coloradan since 1974. •

Harlan Stueven M.D. Harlan Stueven M.D. was an Emergency physician and poisoning specialist for 36 years treating patients suffering from a range of emergencies. He has been a Medical Director and Chairman of hospital based Emergency Medicine Departments, formerly a President of Emergency and Environmental Medicine consulting group, a physician group Chief Financial Officer, has served on multiple professional committees and is Founder of DiningGrades.com. He is an accomplished leader, researcher, a champion of process improvement, author, national and international speaker. Dr. Harlan Stueven is available as a consulting expert on food safety and food poisoning prevention. •

LaShonda M. Jackson-Dean, Ph.D. Bio Unavailable •

Jeromie Heath Jeromie Heath is a National Board Certified Elementary School Teacher currently teaching in Seattle, WA. He has taught grades 1-5 and is currently in his 13th year of teaching. He has a passion for making learning exciting and engaging for students. He continuously collects and creates new ideas that unleash engagement, imagination, enthusiasm, motivation, and overall fun in the classroom. He believes that engaging a student by customizing the learning experience to meet their academic, social, behavioral, and cultural needs leads to a better education and overall a better life. •

Dr. Avis Williams Dr. Avis Williams has served in leadership positions in the US Army, as an entrepreneur and as an educational administrator. She is passionate about empowering people to reach their personal best. A researcher and a scholar, she is certified to teach English, Physical Education and as an educational administrator. She earned her doctorate from the University of Alabama and is a proud graduate of Leadership Huntsville/Madison County Connect and the University of Alabama's Superintendents Academy. Dr. Williams has served as an elementary, middle and high school principal giving her a widerange of knowledge and practical experience. Prior to her current position as Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction in Tuscaloosa City Schools, Dr. Williams served as the Executive Director of Secondary Curriculum and Instruction in Guilford County Schools, North Carolina. She is the author of a children’s chapter book, Welcome to Chase Shadows. She is the CEO of Learn Lead Read

CONTRUBUTORS’ BIO John C. Turner John C. Turner, M.S. AKA Professor JT is a native of and current resident in Indianapolis, Indiana. John is an alum of Indiana State University (Terre Haute, IN), where he received his B.S. in Electronics Technology (2005) and M.S. in Student Affairs and Higher Education (2007). John works as an Assistant Director of Academic Advising and Adjunct Professor at Ivy Tech Community College, Central Indiana. John is “The Black Man Can” 2013 Award Winner in Higher Education and is currently pursuing his PhD in Urban Education at IUPUI in the City of Indianapolis, IN. •

Rafael Tapia Jr. Rafael F. Tapia, Jr. is the vice president of programs for Partnership With Native Americans and a member of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona. Rafael’s professional background in public service, directing social, economic and behavioral health programs has primarily focused on working with Native American communities. Rafael has previously held senior-level positions in tribal and state government and nonprofit organizations. Rafael earned his Master’s in Business Administration from the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona, as well as an Economic Development Certificate from Oklahoma University College of Continuing Education. •

Donna Y. Ford, PhD Dr. Donna Y. Ford is Professor of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University. She is the former Betts Chair of Education & Human Development, and currently holds a joint appointment in the Department of Special Education and Department of Teaching and Learning. Dr. Ford has been a Professor of Special Education at the Ohio State University, an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Virginia, and an Assistant Professor at the University of Kentucky. Professor Ford earned her Doctor of Philosophy degree in Urban Education (educational psychology) (1991), Masters of Education degree (counseling) (1988), and Bachelor of Arts degree in communications and Spanish (1984) from Cleveland State University. Professor Ford conducts research primarily in gifted education and multicultural/urban education. Specifically, her work focuses on: (1) the achievement gap; (2) recruiting and retaining culturally different students in gifted education; (3) multicultural curriculum and instruction; (4) culturally competent teacher training and development; (5) African-American identity; and (6) African-American family involvement. •

Nicole McZeal Walters, Ed.D Dr. Nicole McZeal Walters is a skilled educator with 19 years of professional educational experience holding teaching, administrative, consulting, and instructional design positions in schools and non-profit organizations. Her public-school career spanned 10 years as an early childhood educator, elementary teacher and administrator in the Aldine Independent School District. Dr. Walters presently serves as the Associate Dean of Graduate Programs at the University of St. Thomas in the School of Education and is an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership. In her role as Associate Dean, Dr. Walters is responsible for the academic leadership and coordination of all graduate academic programs, including strategic planning, resource allocation, implementation, evaluation, continuous improvement and academic advising of students.. •

CONTRUBUTORS’ BIO Sheree Cook Alexander, Ed.D. Dr. Sheree N. Alexander is a K-12 public school administrator, educational researcher, and serves as an adjunct faculty member at Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ. With twenty-three years of experience in various roles within educational settings, she has taught Language Arts Literacy in both urban and suburban school districts in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Ohio. Dr. Alexander was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is a proud product of the School District of Philadelphia as a Girls’ High School graduate. She also had the honor and pleasure of returning “home” to teach 6th, 7th and 8th grade at E.W. Rhodes Middle School, the middle school she attended as student. Dr. Alexander is a recipient of the Gloucester Township Community Service Award and the Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Medal. Dr. Alexander has been a presenter at the Achievement Gap Midwest Regional Conference in Chicago, IL, Roberto Clemente Alternative School in Ann Arbor, Michigan, provided District-Wide Professional Development for The School District of Philadelphia, and was a keynote speaker for Ypsilanti Schools. Her research interests include restorative practice, instructional leadership, building capacity for culturally responsive teaching, critical pedagogy and creating professional learning communities to improve the schooling experience of diverse student populations. •

Dede Rittman Dede Rittman is an author, speaker, and teacher. After teaching high school English and Theater for 37 years, Dede published her first book Student Teaching: The Inside Scoop from a Master Teacher in 2014. (www.dederittman.com) Her children’s book Grady Gets Glasses, the first in the Grady series, debuted in February, 2016. (www.gradygetsglasses.com). Dede often writes about the inspirational lessons shared by golf, teaching, and life at www.bunnyteacher.blogspot.com. •

Nikkia Rowe Bio Unavailable •

Samantha Batko Samantha Batko, Director of the Homelessness Research Institute, leads the research arm of the National Alliance to End Homelessness. In that role, she monitors trends in homelessness, homeless assistance, and at-risk populations; identifies and promotes promising local practices; and translates research to improve homelessness policy and practice. Ms. Batko also serves as the co-chair of the Alliance’s Research Council. Prior to this position, Ms. Batko focused on crafting policy and identifying promising programs that end homelessness for unaccompanied youth and young parents as a member of the Alliance’s policy team. She also served as the Alliance’s lead staff person on issues affecting survivors of domestic violence. She has previous experience helping state and local governments, communities, and nonprofits design and implement rapid re-housing/Housing First systems and programs. Ms. Batko joined the Alliance in February 2006 after graduating from Virginia Tech with a B.S. in Psychology. •

CONTRUBUTORS’ BIO Dr. James R. Riley Rev. James Ray Riley was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to Rayfield and Rev. Vernita P. Riley. He confessed his sins and received The Lord Jesus Christ into his heart in 1985. Pastor Riley married the love of his life Crystal M. Riley on February 12, 2011. They have their beautiful children Jordan (6) JaMarion (8) and Johnicia (11). Pastor Riley and Lady Crystal will be celebrating 6 years of marriage this coming year. In September of 2000 Rev. Riley left Baton Rouge to join the United States Marine Corp. From 2002-2004 Rev. Riley served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Iraq. • Paul Jeffress Paul is a Chartered Tax Adviser and founder of e-Quality. He has a deep interest in helping landmine victims after witnessing the first-hand devastation these weapons cause.

Ameer Baraka @LetTheHoodTalk

Candidly Discusses His Struggles with Dyslexia and How it Impacted His Life Growing up in the streets of New Orleans, Ameer Baraka found himself in constant trouble with the law, which eventually led to his incarceration. Through inspiration and determination, he has turned his life around. He is now an author, activist and actor. Baraka hopes that in sharing his struggle, he can encourage others.

Racial Discrimination and Resilience in African American Young Adults: Examining Racial Socialization as a Moderator Researchers: Dr. Danice Brown and Dr. Tracy Tylka Research has indicated that racial discrimination places African Americans at risk for psychological distress, in which they experience low levels of well-being. Yet many African Americans are resilient, or have preserved well-being, when faced with this adversity. Using a strength-based approach, this study determined whether racial socialization messages preserved African Americans’ resilience when experiencing racial discrimination. Results with a sample of 290 young adult African American college students indicated that overall racial socialization messages, as well as specific messages to appreciate cultural legacy, moderated the relationship between racial discrimination and resilience. As expected, racial discrimination was negatively related to resilience for students who reported fewer racial socialization messages, and racial discrimination was no longer negatively associated with resilience for students reporting a greater number of these messages. Additionally, racial socialization messages predicted unique variance in resilience.

Dr. Danice Brown

Dr. Tracy Tylka

CEOs are available for speaking events. To schedule Michel Davis Robinson or Dr. Michael A. Robinson for your educational events email: forestoftherain@gmail.com Follow us on: Twitter: @anaturalbridge Facebook: Forest Of The Rain Productions Twitter: @DrMikeRobinson Mail us: Forest Of The Rain Productions P.O. Box 12 Savage, Maryland 20763 Forest Of The Rain Productions is an educational affairs organization .