Living Education eMagazine A Magazine That Discusses Education in Our Everyday Lives
Keeping Education Fun During Summer
Summer Edition 2013 Volume VI
Bully Prevention Through Social Ecology The Journey of a Proud Union Teacher
Know When and How to Include Children with Special Needs American Indian Education
When Elected School Boards Disappear
The Entitle-Free Child
Yoga is for you!
“Citizenship…we sometimes forget the larger bonds we share as one American family. But it’s out there, all the time, every day — especially when we need it most. Just look at the past year. When a hurricane struck our mightiest city, and a factory exploded in a small town in Texas, we saw citizenship. When bombs went off in Boston, and when a malevolent spree of gunfire visited a movie theater, a temple, an Ohio high school, a 1st grade classroom in Connecticut, we saw citizenship. In the aftermath of darkest tragedy, we have seen the American spirit at its brightest. We’ve seen courage and compassion, a sense of civic duty, and a recognition we are not a collection of strangers; we are bound to one another by a set of ideals and laws and commitments, and a deep devotion to this country that we love. And that’s what citizenship is. It’s at the heart of our founding — that as Americans, we are blessed with God-given talents and inalienable rights, but with those rights come responsibilities — to ourselves, and to one another, and to future generations” Barack Obama, 2013
Class of 2013
As this academic year comes to an end Living Education eMagazine celebrates the achievements of graduates and their families across the country. The contributions from our writers in this and earlier editions illustrate the conflicts and tragedies met by our schools, teachers, students and communities. Many of the events have caused tremendous sorrow as our nation will mark this academic school year as one of the most difficult of recent memory. These unforgettable moments have served to examine our fundamental beliefs while stirring debates among us. This school year, we saw activism like never before. Parents, teachers and communities took to the streets demanding their concerns be heard. Whether it was the issue of school closures and what those closures mean to the academic success or failure of children, communities galvanized and pushed back. Many community advocates voiced their concern how empty school buildings affect the overall health of their communities. To that end, parents, teachers and advocates fought to protect their vision of a quality education. For parents and educational advocates across this country the issue of school governance has changed the dynamics of their childrenâ€™s education. In several cities there are efforts to re-instate an elected school board and remove Mayoral control. While in other cities several successful campaigns were launched to essentially give control of the public school system to municipalities. In either situation, the activism of parents and the community will determine success or failure. We observed teachers rally for their rights as workers and for the teaching profession itself. Flanked with signs and locked arm-in-arm, teachers in many communities displayed through their solidarity that teachers matter. Despite mounting pressure created by a culture of testing, teachers continued to inspire students. Unfortunately, this year we witnessed just how important, dedicated, and brave teachers perform. As this academic year, six teachers gave the ultimate sacrifice in an effort to save the lives of their students. Teachers and principals equipped with only pencils and crayons willing stood as shields from a gunman and tornados, to protect what we hold so dear, our children. As a parent, I thank all of you for your dedication and sacrifice. Their importance is personified when in many cases they are asked to comfort students when a fellow classmate has succumbed to the violence of their communities. I donâ€™t know what this year will mean to education as we prepare for the next academic calendar. Were there any lessons learned? Were there any healthier platforms of communication developed between opposing sides? Were there any great gains on how to best prepare our K-12 and post-secondary to compete and thrive in a global economy? While this issue does not address all the challenges of the 2013 school year, it is my hope that the educators in this edition have provided insight which will spur healthy conversations regarding the challenges of the 2013-2014 school year.
Michel S. Davis Robinson CEO/Founder Forest OF The Rain Productions
Popular Music Around The world For Your Playlist
Clouds - Single Zach Sobiech US
Blurred Lines (feat. T.I. & Pharrell) - Single Robin Thicke Germany, Australia, US, Belgium, Canada, Denmark
Here I Am - Single Dragon Ash Japan
The Truth About Love P!nk US, France, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Portugal
Beautiful (feat. Miguel) - Single Mariah Carey US, Australia
Popular Music Around The world For Your Playlist
Uncover - Single Zara Larsson Norway
Girl On Fire Alicia Keys US, UK, France, Germany, Australia, Canada, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal
Cero Dani Martín Spain
Confessions Eurovision Song Contest - Malmö 2013 Various Artists Sweden
Usher US, Australia
Articles Bullying Prevention through Social Ecology (Page 67) Dr. Anna Bucy is an educational consultant based in Ohio specializing in gender and bullying with local, state, and national speaking credits. She spent four years on her local school board and earned the Ohio School Boards Association’s lifetime distinction of Master Board Member in 2010. Dr. Bucy has been a college communication and humanities adjunct faculty for 20 years.
How I Learned to Stop Accepting Corporate Reform and Become a Proud Union Teacher (Page 33) Phil Cantor is a science teacher at North-Grand High School on the northwest side of Chicago. He received his bachelors in psychology from Grinnell College, his teaching certification from the GATE Alternative certification program at Northwestern University and has recently completed his master’s in education policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He was a strike captain during the Chicago Teachers Union strike and is a member of Teachers for Social Justice and CODE – Communities Organized for Democracy in Education, which is fighting for an elected school board in Chicago. Cantor serves on the Instructional Leadership Team at North-Grand and is currently the chairman of the science department. He currently lives in the Logan Square neighborhood with his wife Niquie, a clinical psychologist and his three daughters who attend a Chicago Public School.
Determining Who and When to Include (Page 95) Dr. Camilla Ferebee is the founder and CEO of Ferebee Scholastics. She began her career in education as a science, mathematics and special education teacher. Her leadership experience began as department chair of special education. This position helped reinforce her desire to move into an administrative position. Dr. Ferebee now holds the title of Assistant Principle on the middle school level. She earned both her BS in Biology and MS in Urban Education from Norfolk State University. She received her Ed.D in Education Leadership from The University Of Phoenix. “Ferebee Scholastics” is a non-profit company with the mission of “Educating parents and schools on the effectiveness of parental involvement”. Dr. Ferebee is passionate about improving equity and equality in public education. Her education philosophy is as educators, we have a responsibility to educate kids and prepare them to be productive citizens.
Articles Journaling: An Educational Road to Writing (Page 58) Kristi Goines is a freelance writer who resides in Atlanta, Georgia. She received her bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Louisiana State University, where she was a writer for the newspaper The Reveille and an Assistant News Director for radio station KLSU. Her experience extends into the television industry, in which she worked at CNN for six years in the area of production. Kristi Goines is passionate about writing on social and religious issues, networking and entrepreneurship. You can follow Kristi Goines on twitter @mskdmples76.
This Problem Belongs to All of Us (Page 31) Christie Huck is Executive Director of City Garden Montessori Charter School. With a background in community organizing and social activism, Christie entered the education reform movement as a parent and community member concerned about education equity and integration in schools. She worked with City Garden’s founder and parents to develop the first Montessori and neighborhood charter school in St. Louis. City Garden, which opened as a charter school in 2008, provides children with an outstanding individualized education with a focus on respect, cooperation, nonviolence and environmental sustainability. City Garden has recently been recognized as the highest-performing charter school in St. Louis. Christie lives in St. Louis’s Shaw neighborhood with her three children.
Entitlement to Entitlement-Free (Page 51) Karen Deerwester is the owner of Family Time Coaching & Consulting, inspiring and supporting parents and professionals in all aspects of "living with children". Karen is a highly requested speaker/trainer for parents and educators since 1985. Her high energy presentations touch the hearts of teachers and parents everywhere as they renew their commitment to children and to themselves. She is the author of The Entitlement-Free Child (Sourcebooks 2009), The Playskool Guide to Potty Training (Sourcebooks 2008) and The Potty Training Answer Book (Sourcebooks 2007) which won the 2008 NAPPA Gold Award for parenting
Articles resources. Karen was the National Spokesperson for Hasbro Family Game Night and for Clorox Clean-Up Creative Messy Play. Karen writes the “Toddler/Preschooler Column” for South Florida Parenting Magazine and is the “National Parenting Examiner” for Examiner.com. She appeared regularly as the parenting expert on The Morning Show in South Florida. Karen is also the parent "expert" for BlueSuitMom.com and featured on numerous websites and radio shows Karen has contributed parenting/early childhood advice to Parents Magazine, Parenting Magazine, OK Magazine, Life and Style Magazine, Real Simple Magazine, Women's Day, Essence Magazine, and the books: The Experts’ Guide to the Baby Years and Worst Case Scenario: Parenting. Karen has also appeared on MSNBC, NBC, and NPR. How Parents Can Keep Education Fun During the Summer (Page 56) Dr. Stephen Jones is the President of SAJ Publishing, and a Distinguished Toast Master, he is an in-demand speaker who has regular appearances on Blog Talk Radio. He also serves as Associate Dean of Student & Strategic Programs in the College of Engineering at Villanova University. Previously, Dr. Jones served as the Director of the SUCCESS/ACT101 Program at Drexel University. He has received recognition for his dedication to students including the National Society of Black Engineers Award and Drexel University’s named Dr. Stephen Jones Award for Academic Excellence, presented annually to an undergraduate student exhibiting outstanding achievement. Dr. Jones is a Philadelphia public school graduate. He holds Ph.D. and B.S. degrees from Widener University, a Master of Education from Howard University, and a Master of Business Administration from Philadelphia University. Rethinking the Merits of Inflating Self-Esteem (Page 72) Carol Josel is a learning specialist who worked with middle school children and their parents at the Methacton School District in Pennsylvania for more than 25 years and now supervises student teachers at both Gwynedd Mercy College and Ursinus College. Along with the booklet, 149 Parenting School-Wise Tips: Intermediate Grades & Up, and numerous articles in such publications as The Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy and Teaching Pre-K-8, she has authored three successful learning guidebooks: Getting School-Wise: A Student Guidebook, Other-Wise and School-Wise: A Parent Guidebook, and ESL Activities for Every Month of the School Year. Carol also writes for examiner.com; you can find her articles at www.examiner.com/wise-parenting-in-philadelphia/carol-josel. For more information, go to http://www.schoolwisebooks.com or contact Carol at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Articles Protecting Your Identity (Page 36) The Importance of Personal Financial Planning for College Graduates (Page 104) Ryan H. Law is an instructor in the Personal Financial Planning Department at the University of Missouri. He is also the Director of the Office for Financial Success and the Director of the University of Missouri Council on Economic Education. Ryan received his undergraduate degree from Utah State University in Family and Consumer Sciences, with an emphasis in Family Finance. He received his Masterâ€™s degree in Personal Financial Planning from Texas Ryan teaches Financial Counseling (PFP 3282), Financial Survival (PFP 1183) and Financial Success (PFP 4483). His study interests include budgeting, credit and debt management, identity theft, student loans, bankruptcy and financial counseling tools and techniques. Ryan is married to Traci Spotten and they have four children, Elizabeth, Abigail, Samuel and Emma. Reforming Higher Education: A Call for Action (Page 40) Dr. Elwood L. Robinson is the Provost and Vice-President of Academic Affairs at Cambridge College. As the chief academic officer, provides strategic and operational leadership to the College as it rises to new levels of academic achievement. Dr. Robinson is responsible for managing academic planning, academic program review, and overseeing the Collegeâ€™s academic administrators; academic units (regional centers in Massachusetts, Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, California and Puerto); schools of education, management, psychology and counseling, undergraduate studies); library services; academic technology; and licensure and state authorizations. He is also responsible for fostering faculty and student scholarship; oversee program budgets for operational excellence; assure compliance with the academic requirements of accrediting and state agencies, and other support services.
When Elected School Boards Disappear (Page 91) Dr. Francis X. Shen is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota Law School. Dr. Shen conducts empirical and legal research in education and crime, with a focus on the intersection of law and neuroscience. He received his B.A. from the University of Chicago, his J.D. from Harvard Law School, and his Ph.D. from Harvard University. He was a doctoral fellow in the Harvard University Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality & Social Policy, supported by the National Science Foundation. Dr. Shen has published a number of articles on education governance, and co-authored The Education Mayor (2007, Georgetown Univ. Press). Additional information on his research can be found online at: www.fxshen.com
Articles Why Kids Cheat and 7 Ways to Keep Them Honest (Page 60) Jean Tracy grew up in Seattle, Washington, the daughter of an accountant and a music teacher. Life in our neighborhood was kid-centered with biking, tag, kickthe-can, and comic book trading. School teachers filled my head with motivational stories, great quotes, and poetry. This led me to become a teacher too. I taught elementary school in California, Connecticut, and Washington. Because of the problem children in her classes, I decided to further my studies and become a counselor. When I retired from my 22-year family counseling practice, the door to the internet swung wide open. With a website, blog, and newsletter, I love sharing my unique counseling secrets with parents worldwide. Today Iâ€™m greatly rewarded by my loving husband, children, grandchildren, their pets, and our lively family discussions. Look for me in my office typing away on my laptop as I work on my next book or outside in the sunshine picking roses from my garden.
American Indian Education (Page 63) Lyn Tysdal is the Program Manager for the American Indian Education Foundation. She has over 30 yearsâ€™ experience assisting American Indian children and families, as well as rural communities. Lyn was a volunteer teacher with the Red Cloud School system on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. She has significant experience in program development, program research, and training design, and has also worked as an assistant principal, a Head Start/Early Head Start director, a university instructor, an early childhood and elementary teacher, and a family and community partnership consultant. She holds an M.A. in Early Childhood Education, with an emphasis in Indian Studies as well as FASD, from the University of Northern Colorado. She also studied leadership and management at UCLA.
Health Yes Yoga Is For You! (Page 46) A native New Yorker, Robin Rollan is a blogger and a frequent tweeter of all things yoga and mindfulness with a sprinkle of the social and political. After having begun her yoga practice more than 3 years ago she noticed that there was very little representation in the media of the diversity of people who practice yoga, in particular black people. Her response to the lack of diversity was to create the blackyogis tumblr blog. It slowly gained momentum and now has nearly 2 thousand followers. Robin is also a student and practitioner of Buddhist meditation and mindfulness. www.blackyogis.tumblr.com
Parent Tips Entitlement-Free Parenting Tips (Page 28) Karen Deerwester is the owner of Family Time Coaching & Consulting, inspiring and supporting parents and professionals in all aspects of "living with children". Karen is a highly requested speaker/trainer for parents and educators since 1985. Her high energy presentations touch the hearts of teachers and parents everywhere as they renew their commitment to children and to themselves. She is the author of The Entitlement-Free Child (Sourcebooks 2009), The Playskool Guide to Potty Training (Sourcebooks 2008) and The Potty Training Answer Book (Sourcebooks 2007) which won the 2008 NAPPA Gold Award for parenting resources. Karen was the National Spokesperson for Hasbro Family Game Night and for Clorox Clean-Up Creative Messy Play. Karen writes the “Toddler/Preschooler Column” for South Florida Parenting Magazine and is the “National Parenting Examiner” for Examiner.com. She appeared regularly as the parenting expert on The Morning Show in South Florida. Karen is also the parent "expert" for BlueSuitMom.com and featured on numerous websites and radio shows Karen has contributed parenting/early childhood advice to Parents Magazine, Parenting Magazine, OK Magazine, Life and Style Magazine, Real Simple Magazine, Women's Day, Essence Magazine, and the books: The Experts’ Guide to the Baby Years and Worst Case Scenario: Parenting. Karen has also appeared on MSNBC, NBC, and NPR.
Five Life Lessons I’m Teaching My Children (Page 29)
Kimberly K. Parker is the President and CEO of Writing Momma Publishing, LLC (www.writingmomma.com). To date, she has helped over 23 children release five books in less than 13 months. Kimberly offers online writing classes and workshops on this often dismissed subject. Kimberly is a publisher, author, and blogger living in Maryland with her husband and three children.
Well Wishes Dr. Wayne Beckles is Dean of Applied Sciences at Baltimore City Community College. Dr. Beckles is a Licensed Certified Social Worker with a clinical specialization. He has twenty years of experience in the field of social work and his clinical practice focuses on working with men on issues of anger, aggression, depression, identity and loss. Dr. Beckles runs the Men’s Group for the National Family Resiliency Center in Howard County, Maryland.
Joseph Bostic, Jr. is an author, motivational speaker, and the founder and president of Retention Frontiers, Inc. Mr. Bostic founded Retention Frontiers, Inc. in December 2009 on the premise that teens and young adults from all backgrounds could develop a competitive advantage to achieve academic success in college by strengthening them through education, training, and mentoring.
Dr. Susan Gardner is the Vice President for Student Services at Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College in South Charleston, West Virginia where she is responsible for a comprehensive student affairs and enrollment division. She has over 15 years’ experience in higher education and student affairs. Susan is a past president of WVASPA; member NASPA and incoming secretary for the NASPA II Advisory Board; and a graduate of: the AACC Future Leaders Institute (2011), NASPA’s Alice Manicur Alum (2004) and NASPA’s Scott Leadership CSAO Academy. Susan received her Ph.D. in education administration from Capella University in 2001, her M.A. in interpersonal and public communication from Central Michigan University in 1997 and her B.A. in communication studies and political science from Oakland University in 1995. Annie Fox, M.Ed., is an internationally respected educator, award-winning author, and a trusted online adviser. Her life’s work is helping teens become people of good character who've got the social courage to do the right thing online and off. She engages students, parents and teachers through Q&A, events at schools and conferences, and in her books including Teaching Kids to Be Good People and the Middle School Confidential™ series
Well Wishes Walter O. Duncan is a 14 year professional teacher. Mr. Duncan is the creator of the Facebook group The Teachers' Round Table was created to discuss progressive thought in K-12 education. The Round Table was formed by Walter Duncan, a 7th and 8th grade English teacher. Walter is also the Co-Founder of Design by Educators, Inc., a social impact company whose mission is to design technology that works for teachers, rather than making work for teachers.
Ashley Hill, MPH is the Founder and CEO and host of College Prep Ready Radio. She brings knowledge, expertise, and compassion to helping college bound teens and their families to successfully prepare for college. She founded College Prep Ready in July 2010 in response to her personal journey to achieving success in her undergraduate biology program. As a result, she was able to graduate in three years. She is the new author of Celebrating the Journey. Rediscovering Me, a book designed to empower and uplift youth heading to college by sharing her personal experiences during her college years. Hill graduated from Kent State University in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology. She graduated with a Master of Public Health degree from A.T. Still University in June 2011.
Yvette Mack has a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from St. Johnâ€™s University. She holds a Master of Business Administration with a specialization in Management from Fordham University along with a Master of Science Education with emphasis on Counseling Psychology from Fordham University. Ms. Mack has lectured for ten years in various capacities and is currently a lecturer at University of Phoenix Online School of Business. She currently teaches Organizational Behavior and Ethics, and Management Theory in the Undergraduate College of Business and Leadership and Change is the M.B.A. program.
Well Wishes Dr. Karen Reynolds Townsend is a proud graduate of Kentucky State University. She is an educator, organizational development consultant and author with expertise in leadership development, 21st Century diversity and personal excellence. As an “at-risk child” and first-generation college student, over the course of her life, Dr. Townsend has successfully moved “from the projects to a Ph.D.” Dr. Townsend has nearly three decades of experience in education having worked at The Ohio State University, Wright State University and Central State University. While each of these institutions is unique, Dr. Townsend’s commitment was the same: developing and implementing programs to promote student success. Dr. Michael A. Robinson is the CO-CEO of Forest Of The Rain Productions, creator of National Men Make A Difference Day For Academic Success and host of Parent Talk Live Radio. Dr. Robinson earned his Doctorate in Higher Education, with a specialization in Community College Leadership from Morgan State University. Prior to attending Morgan State University, Dr. Robinson earned his Master’s in Public Administration for Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Dr. Robinson is a graduate of Kentucky State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice.
Parthenia Warford is the Founder of The Warford Foundation. Helping others that are less fortunate is something that she loves to do. She served her country honorably from 1981 to 2002. A retired US Army soldier, she is too familiar with the plight of the military spouse. She knows the impact of having a spouse serving their country fighting this Nation's war one day and being told the next day that you're now a widow with children. This life altering event is devastating to anyone and a military wife (or single mother) with limited job skills is left to pick up the pieces to provide the best way she can for her family. Parthenia currently holds two Master of Art Degrees (Acquisitions and Procurement with a sequential in Organizational Security Management, along with a Graduate Certificate in Government Contracting) from Webster University and is currently pursuing a Masters in Non-Profit Management at the University of Maryland University College.
Commencement Address Michelle Howard-Vital, Ph.D. was born and educated in Chicago, Illinois. She earned her undergraduate degree in English Literature and Language from the University of Chicago. She earned a Master’s of Arts in Teaching English also from the University of Chicago. Additionally, President Howard-Vital earned her doctorate in Public Policy Analysis from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Howard-Vital has over 30 years of experience in various roles in higher education, and she has worked in three states—Illinois, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. When starting as an English instructor at Central YMCA Community College, she proclaimed, “I cannot believe they are paying me so much--$10,000—to have so much fun.” Dr. HowardVital has served as interim chancellor at Winston-Salem State University; associate vice president for academic affairs at The University of North Carolina, General Administration—Chapel Hill; vice chancellor for public service and extended education and associate provost at The University of North Carolina at Wilmington; associate vice president for academic programs and dean of the University College at Edinboro University in Edinboro, PA; dean of continuing education and nontraditional degree programs at Chicago State University; and dean of continuing education at Harold Washington College in Chicago. Dr. Howard-Vital has co-authored a book, and authored or co-author book chapters, articles, reviews, and various professional papers. Some of the titles of her works include, “Entrepreneurship Education: A Cautious Ray of Hope in Instructional Reform for Disadvantaged Youth,” (Rasheed & Howard-Vital, 2006); “Listening to Students: The Appeal of For-Profit Institutions” (2006); “Structuring a Supportive Environment for Women in Higher Education,” (2006); and “Precollege Bridge Programs: Lessons learned in preparing students to pursue study and careers in the health sciences, (2007).” Dr. Howard-Vital has received numerous awards and recognitions for her service in higher education including the Association for Black Women in Higher Education Award for Leadership (2002); Million Dollar Club Award for Grants- The University of North Carolina at Wilmington (2001); Recognition as one of the outstanding graduates of the University of Chicago; and the Distinguished Alumni Award, for contributions to education in the form of scholarship, teaching, service and administration, University of Illinois at Chicago, May 7, 2000. Dr. Howard-Vital enjoys gardening, traveling and skating with her husband, Geri Vital, and their daughter, Madelyn Vital.
Executive Perspective Michael A. Robinson, Ed.D.
Advocacy Is Working All across this country, Americans have experienced the power of advocacy. Local governments, schools, community organizations and individuals have broadened their engagement efforts. A legion of community advocates, social justice thinkers and civil rights organizations have reminded us that for which much is given, much is expected. These progressive minded individuals, groups and organizations are seeking to fundamentally change their piece of America and eventually the nation. Through their work, they are leaving an indelible mark on the soul of America. For those advocates who attack injustices with vigor and sense of fairness, it is important you know your advocacy works! As change agents, you have transformed lives, improved communities and made America stronger. You have explored new forms of communication, while respecting the traditions and values in your commitment to embrace diverse populations. Your hard work and tireless energy has provided all Americans with an opportunity for a better life. Your advocacy has secured lifelines for our most vulnerable citizens. The vulnerable tenacity bycitizens which you protect the intrinsic worth of our society is unmatched by those who seek to divide us. So, as we enter the season of summer breaks and family vacations, Living Education eMagazine and its entire staff, writers, contributors and supporters would like to say thank you for being the pillars of strength in our communities. Your advocacy, your engagement, your involvement and it makes a difference!
Entitlement-Free Parenting Tips Karen Deerwester, Ed.S. Parenting Tip #1 How Much is Enough? From The Entitlement-Free Child, Sourcebooks, Inc. Parenting would be so much easier if there were a chart for how much is enough: a kindergartener needs two and a half hours of extracurricular activities per week; birthday gifts for four-year-old classmates should not exceed twenty-five dollars; and six-year-olds can manage three projects before becoming apathetic and careless. Unfortunately, no one can quantify “enough” across the board. Each child is an individual, with individual strengths and interests. Each child has different abilities and motivations, and all children do not need the same things or the same experiences. One child may have a collection of hundreds of cars, dolls, or dinosaurs. This child meticulously studies and appreciates every piece in the collection while another child grows bored after the third one. This other child might truly treasure one object. For one child, one is enough; for another, one hundred is just right. A perfect childhood is not made up of a certain number of toys, books, outfits, and family vacations. You can give your child the best-researched, state-of-the-art educational toys or you can give your child a pile of dirt and giant cardboard box - either one might be enough for your child. You know how much is enough by observing your child. Parenting Tip #2 From The Entitlement-Free Child, Sourcebooks, Inc. Quick Fix Parenting Quick fixes get you through the day, when you don’t have time to deliberate the pros and cons of every parenting choice. Your cleverness will guide you, your child will be safe, and you absolutely don’t need to worry that you’re setting your child on a path of doom. Some quick fixes, however, set a precedent that creates an emotional no-win spiral. Be careful of these: Hysterical or desperate behavior. Parenting is emotional, as it should be, because your job is to raise little people
Karen Deerwester, Ed.S. Family Time Coaching & Consulting 401 NW 10th Court Boca Raton, FL 33486 E-mail: Karen@FamilyTimeInc.com Phone: 561-212-3278
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Five Life Lessons I’m Teaching My Children Kimberly K. Parker I had a family gathering recently and could not help but notice how my niece was blossoming. The little girl with pigtails and untied shoes had become a strikingly beautiful young lady. Jokingly, I said to my brother, “Looks like you’re going to need your boxing gloves. In no time, a young man is going to ask her out on a date.” As we both laughed, my brother simply said, “I don’t need gloves to defend her because her ammunition is her brilliant mind. Everything she needs to defend herself is all up here,” as he pointed to his head. And, without doubt, I know those words to be true. My brother has always been a thinker. His words did what they always do: got me to thinking, too. “What exactly are you teaching your children, Kimberly? Are you equipping them mentally in order to deal with people, life, and uncertainties? Are you instilling solid principles that will carry them wherever they go?” Indeed, I am. Here are five of the many life lessons I teach my children:
Know who you are. I constantly remind my children that they are descendants of great people who made valuable contributions to this and other societies. If our children know from where they come, they’ll navigate their lives with that in mind. They need to know they are not exempt from aspiring to the same greatness that precedes them.
Treat people the way you desire to be treated. The good ol’ “Golden Rule.” The caveat here is children must first learn to love and appreciate themselves. Once this is established, the rest is really quite simple. Always…and I mean always…say “Please” and “Thank you.” Manners will take you places you’d never imagined! I still get pulled aside by an elder now and again simply because I demonstrated manners. Nothing warms my heart more than to hear someone say, “Your mother sure taught you well, dear.”
Remember those you leave behind. I am very proud of my children’s accomplishments in school. They have all maintained the honor roll since kindergarten. So, whenever they come home and share their success I always ask them this question: “Did you go to someone who did not do as well and offer to help them do better?” We have to stop leaving each other behind. Share your time, talent, and money to the extent you can. My children will give a stranger the clothes off their backs. They are known to give to the point where they have nothing left for themselves. So, I had to teach them a very nice word: moderation. Now they no longer get upset with me if I’m not able to give money to a homeless person on the street. Nine time out of ten, I’ve already given to five others that same day. Arming our children with positive ammunition such as these lessons will equip them to become great contributors to our society. Sharing, using manners, and helping others along the way are only the beginning. I challenge you to build upon the life lessons you’re teaching your children by adding more to their repertoire daily. In time, it will make a world of difference.
I am great!
This Problem Belongs to All of Us Three weeks ago, we held our admissions lottery for kindergarten. We had 48 applicants for 30 slots just from the immediate neighborhoods we serve. We were able to accept 30 bright, beautiful children for our kindergarten class of 2013. Eighteen were turned away. The parents of those who were accepted were exuberant. The news for those who were not admitted was met with tears, anger for some, and a very real sense of desperation. This is a microcosm of the reality in our city, and in our country. In St. Louis, only about 50% of students in the public school system graduate from high school. This is not because these children do not have the intellect or ability to graduate. It is because, in our city, and in most urban areas in our country, there simply are not enough great schools for our kids. This is a problem. A big problem! Our futures depend on our children, and their livelihood. This problem belongs to all of us. About seven years ago, several of us with young children, who live in the city, and want very much to raise our children
in the city, in this wonderful, diverse, urban environment, made a decision that we needed to do our part to address this problem. Several of us had been sending our children to City Gardenâ€™s preschool, which was founded by Trish Curtis in 1994. As our children approached kindergarten, we
were faced with the familiar sense of desperation that many families in our city experience. But, we were a stubborn group, and werenâ€™t willing to settle with despair. So we became determined to prove that great education is not something that is only available to families with means, or families that live in particular zip codes. And, we were determined to address not just the academic needs of our children, but the very real segregation that exists in our city, in our neighborhoods, and in our schools. We were determined to create not just a great school, but also a school that breaks down barriers of race, ethnicity, and economics. We knew that these pieces were equally important to creating a stellar academic program. Parents, teachers and community members rolled up their sleeves and got to work, creating a neighborhood charter school, serving this part of the city. We chose this area because it is one of the most racially and economically integrated areas of our region. And, we were guided by the incredible philosophy of Maria Montessori. We knew that change would not happen easily, or quickly. We also knew that we would not be able to change the whole of education in the city, but we were determined to do our small part. Five years ago, City Garden Montessori charter school started with 53 children, in the basement of a church. It is putting it lightly to say that we have faced many challenges and that our process has been far from perfect. But today, we have 221 students, from preschool through eighth grade, and we Continue on page 80
Phillip Cantor @phillipcantor I’m proud to say that I’m a Chicago Public School (CPS) teacher. I’m proud because I believe the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) strike of 2012 was a critical turning point in the progress of public education. When I meet progressive education activists they treat my colleagues and I like rock-stars because we’re Chicago teachers. There is even a great hip-hop song honoring Chicago teachers.
certification programs and found that I could become a science teacher with just a summer of training. As a new teacher I wasn’t all that enthusiastic about joining my union, but it was part of the job so I joined. Even though I had to take a pay cut to become a teacher, I was able to make the change partly because of the promise of decent benefits such as good health insurance and a pension. I knew these benefits were due to the union, but I didn’t see much else good about the CTU at that time. In my first years of teaching, the union magazine usually had a cover story showing the CTU president holding one of those oversized checks trumpeting the fact that the union won a cash settlement over a teacher grievance.
I wasn’t always proud to be a member of the CTU. I’m a career changer. I became a teacher through an alternative certification program 10 years ago. Before that, I was a video producer working on everything from music videos to corporate communications and museum exhibits. I was management, not labor. When we had to use union actors technicians or I found the extra paperwork and work-rules to be a pain in the neck and it added expense that but they were more expensive and less flexible about pay, work hours and working conditions.
I was not impressed.
My twin daughters were born, two months premature, a few days before September 11th, 2001. I was just one of many people who reevaluated their lives after 9/11 and I had plenty of time to think about what was really important in life as I sat with my new babies in the neonatal intensive care unit. I wanted to do something worthwhile. I wanted a life that was in synch with my kids’ lives. I wanted to be like the great teachers I had when I was a kid. That’s when I researched alternative
I was more concerned with trying to teach than about my union anyway. On my first day as a teacher I was so excited sitting in the school library two days before the students arrived. We were given rosters of our homeroom class… my first students. When I looked closely at the rosters there were numbers next to each child’s name. Our principal wrote three ranges of numbers on a whiteboard and handed us highlighters. Green
was for “meets or exceeds”, yellow was for just under “meets”, and red was for far below “meets.” Once we colored our rosters we were told that this year, we’d be focusing our attention on the “yellow” kids - the “bubble kids” - the kids who had the best chance of moving our school off probation with a single test. It was as if I was working in a factory and my main goal was to produce test scores. I was having a hard time figuring out how this test-score obsession related to the child development and inquiry based practices I learned in my certification program. My school wasn’t able to provide me the simplest supplies such as rulers for my science classroom. I taught five classes of about 32 students in addition to a homeroom where we did math and language arts practice to boost test scores. I bought tons of my own supplies that year and did the best I could. From my perspective in the trenches, the union wasn’t doing anything to improve my ability to do my job – to teach. It bothered me that union leadership rarely talked about the students. I didn’t want to be active in that union and I pretty much ignored it until 2009 when CORE – The Caucus of Rank-and-File Educators – came to my attention as they were trying to take over the leadership of the CTU. CORE had a different approach – they seemed to see the bigger picture. They were critical of the system and they talked about all the things that get in the way of students being able to learn. They also talked about standing up to the mayor and his appointed school board – rather than cooperating with them to get a “better contract.” When CORE, headed by Karen Lewis, won the CTU election the union began to transform. They talked about issues such as class size and the number of social workers in our schools. They talked about how misuse of standardized tests was
leading to a narrowed curriculum. When CORE was elected to the leadership of the CTU, I started seeing union leaders at my school. They weren’t just talking about filing grievances they were talking about a strike. There hadn’t been a CTU strike since 1987. Like many other large urban districts CPS is under mayoral control. The mayor singlehandedly appoints the Board of Education and the district CEO. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, decided to lengthen the school day by about 20% without any additional funding. He was proposing adding more standardized tests and tying 30% of teacher evaluations and pay to students’ test scores. Emanuel wanted to remove all class size and other working condition language from the contract. Beyond the teachers’ contract, Mayor Emanuel was continuing to use tax increment financing (TIF) schemes to siphon money away from schools, parks and libraries to fund big downtown real estate projects – while declaring a fiscal crisis in the schools. Emanuel’s declaration of the fiscal crisis allowed him to rescind a contractual 4% pay raise that had been negotiated by his predecessor. Teachers were feeling attacked – we were being made scapegoats. It was as if the mayor was trying his best to provoke a strike. My union – the CTU – under the leadership of Karen Lewis – said “NO.” First they started to organize us – they came out to our schools to educate teachers about the issues. They built a research team to put together reports for union members, but also for parents, community members and the media. One great report is called “The Schools Chicago’s Students Deserve” that put forth a vision of what schools should be. Finally my union was talking about students. Our union field rep came out to help us strategize about building support for this new vision… among teachers, but also among parents. Continue on page 78
Thank you teachers and educators everywhere for helping students come closer to achieving their dreams this academic school year!
Protecting Your Identity
What do Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, Tiger Woods, Ted Turner, John Roberts, Michelle Obama and Joe Biden have in common? Besides being famous, they have all been victims of America’s fastest growing crime - identity theft. Because of some personal experiences identity theft has been on my mind a lot lately and I have taken some steps to further protect my identity. I encourage you to review the
following suggestions to see where you can improve and better protect your identity.
Opt-out of Receiving Pre-Screened Credit Card Offers On the website https://www.optoutpres creen.com/ you can opt-out of receiving pre-approved credit card offers. If you don’t want to do that online there is a phone number to call or an
address to write to on the website. Eliminating these from your mailbox is one less thing for thieves to be able to steal. Mail Speaking of mail – if possible it is best to have your mail delivered to a locked box, but if you can’t do that be sure you know approximately what time the mail carrier comes and retrieve your mail promptly. Be sure to forward your mail to a new address when you move, and place your mail on vacation hold when you are away. Use a Cross-Cut Shredder You should shred any document from a financial institution, any pre-approved credit card offers, and any other information with your personal information on it. Shredders that shred in long strips don’t work – thieves can tape together the strips (and will tape them together) and get your information or apply for credit. Some sites suggest simply tearing up and throwing away pre-approved credit card offers. Does that work? Check out this site for your answer: http://www.cockeyed.co m/citizen/creditcard/appli cation.shtml Social Security Number Don’t carry anything with your Social Security Continue on page 38
Every child deserves to live in a community that will support his academic development.
Fair Housing Today Radio
Protecting Your Identity continued from page 36
number printed on it. Check your wallet or purse to see if you are carrying your social security card OR any other item with your social security number printed on it, like your Driver’s License (go get a new one if it has your social security number on it) or an insurance card. Thieves really only need this one piece of information to steal your identity, so taking steps to keep it safe will help you keep your identity safe. Phishing Never reply to e-mails for requests for any personal information, even if it looks like it is coming from your bank or other well-known company. They will never request personal information via e-mail. Phone Calls Never give personal information over the phone to someone who initiated the call. They may claim they are from your bank and they are just updating their records or they are from a company and want to verify a purchase. If you think it is legitimate, ask them for their name and phone number, then call the number on your statements to verify it. Just this week I got a call from my credit union because of an issue with my debit card. I called the
number listed on the website for my credit union and solved the issue that way. It’s better to take an extra step and keep your personal information safe. Credit Freeze (or Security Freeze) One of the most effective things you can do to protect your identity is to freeze your credit. Here is a statement from the Equifax website: “A security freeze is designed to prevent the information in your credit file from being reported to others, such as credit grantors and other companies , except those exempted by law or those for whom you contacted that we
temporarily lift the security freeze or those that access during a period of time when you requested.” What this means is that if a thief does steal your identity they can’t open new credit because your record is frozen. This will also prevent you from opening new credit unless you plan
plan ahead and “unthaw” your credit report for a period of time. Credit freezes and unthaws do cost money, but think of the money spent like an insurance policy. Here are the websites to freeze your credit report: https://www.freeze.equi fax.com/Freeze/jsp/SF F_PersonalIDInfo.jsp
https://annualcreditrepo rt.transunion.com/fa/se curityFreeze/landing http://www.experian.co m/consumer/security_fr eeze.html Checking Your Credit Report It is important that you check your credit report on a regular basis. You can get one free copy of each of your credit reports annually by visitin g www. annua lcredit report. com.
Continue on page 115
â€œ2013 Graduates this is not the end of your journey, so you must continue pressing towards with your dreams, ambitions, and desires. Over the next several years you will experience a different journey, but some of the common threads are passion, effort, and determination that guided to this day, will serve to guide you again. As you continue on your journey remember the following: - Believe in the Impossible - Passion dies if you do not - Effort results in a reward if you do not quit - Be Thankful for the Joys and Pains Congratulations on your milestone and continue pushing forward!â€? Joseph D. Bostic, Jr. Retention Frontiers, Inc Founder and President www.retentionfrontiers.com
Elwood L. Robinson, Ph.D. The face of higher education has changed drastically over the past two decades. The stereotyped image of the college student as one who is 18-23 years old in residential, full-time study is being challenged by a new reality. The U.S. economy is now information-driven and a college degree has become an increasingly important credential in the marketplace, both for new entrants into the labor force and those already employed. Working adults who want to succeed in the present economic climate are pursuing a college education in increasing numbers, and they are creating a new majority among undergraduates at college campuses across the country. Adult students are loosely identified with a larger group characterized as "non-traditional. “While definitions vary, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has come up with seven characteristics that typically define non-traditional students. According to the NCES1, adult students often:
Have delayed enrollment into postsecondary education Attend part-time Are financially independent of parents Work full-time while enrolled Have dependents other than a spouse
Are single parents Lack a standard high school diploma
The 21st century economy demands a collegeeducated workforce, one that can keep the nation competitive around the globe. However, if current trends hold, the nation will continue to trail global competitors on a number of key measures of educational attainment. How do we meet this challenge? Adult learners are the key. Educating the 60 to 80 million working adults who have no college degree will not only improve the lives of these learners, their families and their communities, but also will strengthen the national economy and social fabric. Despite the urgency of this issue, adult learners get too little attention and too few resources because our system is designed for traditional P-16 students. In other words, the goal of educating adult workers clashes with the structures in place to promote degree attainment. Although many new pathways now exist for adult learners to earn college degrees, these pathways are poorly documented and poorly understood. This is true not only by the policy community, but by institutions of higher education and students themselves. The landscape of higher education is changing rapidly and it includes the issues surrounding the adult learner. The attention grabber, Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), competency-based education, financial aid, cost, and other technological innovations in higher education have overshadowed the conversation on the ever increasing “posttraditional learners.” These adult learners are populating our system of higher education at an ever increasing rate. Higher education, policy and politicians have long conflated the two very different populations that make up today's student population. There is the traditional 18 to 24 year old who garners most of the attention and the older, often referred to as the adult leaner which encompasses those above 24. The
overwhelming majority of students today are older, working and in need of greater flexibility than that offered by most institutions. Instructional delivery models, instructor experience and support services all need to change if we are to do a proper job of educating our work force to succeed in a global knowledge-based economy. The needs of adult students are different. They need more flexibility in advising hours, courses on weekends and evenings, childcare, flexibility when work demands travel or child illnesses keep them home. They are often on the cusp economically and determined to get the degree, but traditional norms do not make it easy and so they drop in and out or take courses piecemeal and certainly do not have the latitude for the rich experiences of clubs and other activities that can reveal capacities that their day jobs mask. The challenge for any educational institution serving adults is to find compassion for their unique situation, while not sacrificing academic rigor in helping them achieve their degree or certification. The reasons that adult students seek higher education are very different. The average adult student is very focused on why they are going to college and typically it is to advance their career. The needs of “posttraditional learners” are being neglected amid all the attention being paid to MOOCs and other technological innovations in higher education, according Continue on page 43
Look whoâ€™s talking on eTalk Radio
The Ashley Hill Show: Host
Know It All ABCs of Education: Host
Allison Brown, Esq.
College Savvy Radio Show: Host
Sia Knight @SiaKnight
The Total Tutor Show: Host
Higher Ed: Called to Action –Continued from page 43
to a new paper commissioned by the American Council on Education2 and written by Louis Soares, a special policy adviser to Molly Corbett Broad, the ACE’s president. In the paper, “Post-traditional Learners and the Transformation of Postsecondary Education: A Manifesto for College Leaders,” Mr. Soares makes a strong cases for the need to reform higher education. It is clear to most of us in higher education that reform is needed. Who should lead this reformation? Currently it is not being led from within. There are lots of ventures and forprofits enterprises that are lining up to address these issues, sometimes under the disguise of innovation and disruption. As a former college professor, now Provost, I am challenging my academic colleagues to exercise academic leadership in this matter. The problems facing higher education today are formidable: college educations are highly desirable and leads to a higher quality of life, admission standards make it exceedingly hard to get into for the majority who seek them; they are hard to complete (retention and completion rates are dismal) and even harder to pay for. I am not being naive when I call for higher education faculty and administrators to fix the problems that confront them. These are problems of cost and economy, shifting demographics, cultural change and values that are outside of the academy. To be sure, there are plenty of calls for change, however, most of them coming from outside the academy. So many, in fact, that if change is conceived as some sort of single monolithic construct, it also seems a juggernaut, creating that feeling that you either get on board or get run over. It is this feeling of being overwhelmed that leads college administrators and faculty to complacency and waiting to see what happens next. The entire process seems out of control. I am simply asking my colleagues to reclaim control of the academy. Innovation and change can only happen from within and in some cases where strategic partnerships share a common mission and shared destiny. In order to move forward, it is sometimes important
to go back to the future. The future of higher education for the adult learner may best be viewed through the historical lens of Cambridge College, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with seven regionals across the country. Cambridge College was established in 1971 by a small group of educators seeking to provide educational opportunities and advanced degree attainment for practicing teachers and other working adults in evening and weekend settings. From its initial degree program, a master of education, Cambridge College has expanded to offer a broad range of programs, including bachelors and master’s degrees for educators, counselors, managers, and human service providers, as well as a doctoral program in educational leadership. Cambridge College is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. (NEASC) through its Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. All of its programs are offered under the authorization of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education. The mission of Cambridge College is to provide academically excellent, time-efficient, and cost-effective higher education for a diverse population of working adults for whom those
Continue on page 76
After moving on from her first love Dean, Kyla finds love with his brother Chris. But when Chris relocates to make a new life for them he discovers lies that could break Kyla's heart but could finally get rid of Keith, Kyla's current boyfriend. Forced to protect her and keep the lies a secret, Chris's choice to be quiet can ruin his chance at love with Kyla. Meanwhile Brittany is prepping to have Michael's baby that is until an unlikely visitor claims she is the one Michael is with when he is not with her. When Chance returns to mend a friendship lost because of lies, Brittany finds comfort in the arms of Chance; the man who once held her heart and her relationship with Michael is put to the ultimate test.
Tamika Newhouse Author
Confidence. Strength. Courage. Success. This “workshop in a book” is a practical guide that helps you improve every moment of your life. Step boldly into your next, deeper level of happiness, wholeness, transformation and success. Why settle for average, when the potential to live an amazing life is inside you, right now. This “workshop in a book,” based upon solid psychological principles and profound spiritual practices will guide and propel you forward in life.
Dr. Jennifer Howard Author
Mike Robbins offers five powerful principles of authenticity and then provides action plans, exercises, resources, and anecdotes that demonstrate how to apply these principles on a daily basis in life. Written for people who want to improve their lives, their work, and their relationships, the book is brimming with inspiration and practical help. Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken, reached #17 overall on the Amazon bestseller list and appeared on the Marin Independent Journal’s list of bestsellers. It also received a coveted “Starred Review” from Publisher’s Weekly.
Mike Robbins shows us that it is our ability to feel and express true appreciation-to focus on the good stuff-that leads us to genuine fulfillment in our lives, not the other way around. The art of appreciating our lives goes way beyond simply saying “thank you” or occasionally noticing nice things. True appreciation is about altering the way we relate to ourselves, others, and the world around us. By living our lives in a grateful way, we put ourselves on a path of deep fulfillment and authentic happiness. Focus on the Good Stuff reached #4 on the Amazon bestseller list and also appeared on the San Francisco Chronicle’s list of bestselling books. In addition, it received the prestigious Silver Nautilus book award.
Mike Robins Author
Robin Rollan Twitter: @blackyogis www.blackyogis.tumblr.com
The Roots of Yoga The word "yoga" is from the ancient language of Sanskrit which is associated with scientific and spiritual traditions in the east. Yoga means “to unite” or “to yoke.” The goal of yoga is to bond mind, body and spirit toward the creation of peace and harmony within oneself. Many new comers to the practice focus on trying to master poses or “asanas (a body position, typically associated with the practice of Yog).” However, yoga is a moving meditation with focus on the breath (deep full breathing.) It is about moving through and within poses connecting with the breath. This process allows the mind to settle and therefore, the practitioner is able to become internally aware and feel the wholeness of the body/mind connection. Yoga practice is a subtle process that requires and cultivates patience and kindness with oneself. The yoga most people are familiar with in the west is derived from a centuries old practice which originated in India. There are some such as the Kemetic Yogis who believe that yoga also has roots in ancient Egypt based on what researchers have described as yoga symbols discovered in ancient hieroglyphs. Mainstream yoga is not religious based, and although I cannot say that for every yoga studio, generally speaking yoga is an exercise and not a cult. There are many different styles and forms of yoga; if at any time you feel uncomfortable with a studio or gym offering yoga lessons exercise your options and choose a new location. Yoga lessons are so available online. The Effect of Yoga After practicing yoga consistently some people have decided to become a vegetarian or a vegan. That’s not a requirement. It is common to feel the urge to seek healthier food choices as a result of incorporating
yoga into your lifestyle. Yoga poses and or positions have a regulating effect on the body which can result in reduced sugar cravings.1 However, this does not happen overnight and everyone’s body reacts differently to exercise and meditation. Do not become disappointed if after your first yoga class your cravings for milkshakes have not subsided, given time they will. When I Started Yoga
less frequently I practice Bikram yoga – a series of postures held for a minute or less practiced in the same sequence every class in 100+ degrees temperature. I find that the combination of both Bikram and Vinyasa works for me. I highly recommend trying various styles and studios to find what fits. The Benefits of Yoga
I began practicing yoga just over three years ago after being laid off by my employer. During the first year, I only practiced once a week. Gradually, I became more consistent and increased the number of classes I took. Being able to barter my services (cleaning mats) for free classes made consistency a nobrainer. There are studios willing to offer this kind of exchange for free
The practice of yoga
classes. I regularly practice Vinyasa or flow yoga – this practice consists of moving from one pose to another in synch with the breath. And
has given me a sense of peace amid the storms along with an ability to heal myself. Numerous scientific studies have revealed the various physical
and mental benefits regarding the practice of yoga. Aside from the obvious of increased flexibility, it also increases muscle strength and tone; improves respiration, energy and vitality; helps to maintain a balanced metabolism; maintain cardio and
circulatory health; and helps prevent injury.2 According to Dr. Oz, “Yoga helps clean blood of waste material … and trains us to loosen muscles and joints that are ignored in our day-to-day lives.”3 Yoga is also known to assist patients suffering from stress-related diseases.3 Why Yoga Is For You I never miss an opportunity to encourage those who are interested in yoga but who may be somewhat intimidated to try it. If you have a body yoga is for you. Yoga can be practiced by
Yoga Resources There are many styles of yoga, yoga studios, yoga teachers and online resources designed to assist the beginner, returning or advance student who aspires to have a healthy and stress free. Notes
anyone at any age4. You can receive all the health benefits of a yoga pose without having to completely emulate the yoga positions of the models which frequent the covers of popular yoga magazines. The point is to work within your bodyâ€™s range of motion and ability. If you are thick and not skinny, you can do yoga. There are many full-figured yoga instructors who advocate for diversity of body type. Across this country it is not uncommon to observe seniors who practice yoga well into their 90s. Yoga is not just for women; in fact it was initially (centuries ago) only practiced by men. Well known men such as business mogul Russell Simons, tennis champion Andy Murray, and basketball superstars LeBron James and Kareem Abdul Jabbar all are enjoying the benefits of yoga in their lives.
1. Curb Cravings with Yoga: http://fitbie.msn.com/yoga-poses/curbcravings-yoga 2. The Benefits of Yoga: http://www.osteopathic.org/osteopathichealth/about-your-health/healthconditions-library/generalhealth/Pages/yoga.aspx 3. Dr. Oz's Guide to Yoga: http://www.oprah.com/oprahdotcom/Th e-Benefits-of-Yoga 4. Yoga After 50: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/0 1/yoga-after-50/ 5. Studies Prove Yoga Relieves Stress, So Why The Absence of Studios In Black Communities?: http://frugivoremag.com/2012/03/studie s-prove-yoga-relieves-stress-so-whythe-absence-of-studios-in-blackcommunities/
Living Education Everyday
From Entitlement to Entitlement-Free Karen Deerwester (Adapted from The Entitlement-Free Child, Sourcebooks, Inc.)
Explain to your child the invisible effort that’s behind the things he takes for granted every day: food that appears in drive-through windows had to be cooked by someone (not to mention grown by someone else and transported there by someone else), and money that is taken out of the ATM has to be earned. Your child wants to know how things work and why. Curiosity inspires effort, as effort inspires curiosity
The entitlement child lives in an artificial world where difficulties never happen. Yet she sees the contradiction every day - those difficult emotions and age-appropriate struggles always return. New baby brothers are brought home. She can’t run as fast or as far as someone at school. Someone she likes doesn’t like her. Without age-appropriate skills for handling difficult emotions, the entitlement child lives in fear. She isn’t sure that others can and will help her if she has a problem, and she questions her own ability to face challenges triumphantly. She screams for attention - ME! She fights for what she thinks she needs - MINE! And she frantically stakes her claim - NOW! The entitlement child behaves this way because underneath her bravado is relentless uncertainty. Her emotions are unsettling. The rules are unpredictable. Every time the people around her scramble to keep her happy, she witnesses her own power to create chaos in the world. Imagine a child who can make adults jump through hoops in desperation or push adults into an emotional frenzy. That’s outright scary to a little person who’s counting on others to be her anchor in a storm. The adults reinforce rather than alleviate the underlying panic. Behind the entitlement child’s demands for Me-Mine-Now is anxiety:
If I don’t get what I want now, it won’t be there for me later.
If you get yours before me, you might take too much.
What if you have something I don’t have?
What if what you have is better than what I have?
Panic Parenting Parenting is filled with panic-driven quick fixes that take care of the moment but don’t solve the problem; these are times when you’re buying yourself time. You never intended to live by the quick fix. Your child sleeps in your bed tonight but not tomorrow. Your child eats chocolate before breakfast, just this time. Or this is the last time you buy another stuffed animal to quiet a tantrum. You are hoping against all reason that the problem will simply go away. These are all times of giving in, not because you want to or because you believe in your decision, but because you just don’t have the energy to do otherwise. All parents have these moments, because they are human. Before you know it though, quick fixes start to define your parenting style, creating a spiral of entitlement. Your child starts to feel entitled to an immediate solution. Pretty soon, you’re not just giving in, you’re giving up. You are exhausted, frustrated, and hopeless. Your child’s sense of entitlement fuels more parenting panic, which escalates to the next quick fix. When you feel the frenzy to fix your child’s unhappiness, you grab for the first solution you see. There’s no time to think. You feel like a person being swallowed in quicksand. As every quick fix falls short, you find yourself sinking deeper and deeper. More often than not, you’ve probably tried other ways, and they just don’t work with your child. You’ve told, asked, threatened, or repeated hundreds of times, and your child isn’t listening. What else can you do? First, understand that real-world parenting often comes into sharp conflict with our image of parenting. For example, when you tell children something, they don’t “get it” immediately. They don’t hear the rules once and comply evermore. You may do everything “right,” and your child will continue to test your sincerity, still make poor choices, and still struggle with maturity. In the real world, it takes a long time to become mature. Taking Time to Learn Children are not deterred by obstacles. They stand up, time and again, learning to walk. They return relentlessly to a locked cabinet. They try and try again, whether it’s puzzles or chopsticks, riding a bike or reading a story. They are not surprised that some things take time to master. “Effort” is not a Continue on page 70
â€œCongratulations! As you move to the next phase in your life remember this: Define "success" for yourself. Too many people believe success is having the right job with the right company, making the right salary; driving the right car; living in the right neighborhood; belonging to the right organizations and interacting with the right people. For a lot of people, everything "looks right," but it is all WRONG. Why? Because they allowed OTHERS to define THEIR success. "To thine own self be true" (Polonius from Hamlet) and you will always be successful!â€? Dr. Karen Reynolds Townsend President and CEO of KTownsend Consulting Author
Seven Secrets of How to Study Seven Secrets of How to Study reminds every student that they have the potential to succeed in college. The study tips will teach students how to get an A+ in 12 hours. This cutting edge book should be in every student's library.
The Parent's Ultimate Education Guide The Parent's Ultimate Education Guide is an outstanding book that teaches parents how to maximize each childâ€™s learning abilities. Keep your K-12 child motivated to stay in school and to engage in creative learning. Prepare your child for college early. The Ultimate Scholarship Guide The Ultimate Scholarship Guide is designed to help every student to gain access to over $90 million in college scholarships. The book consists of seven outstanding chapters that demonstrate how to get scholarship funds right away.
For more information on these and other books contact email@example.com
Dr. Stephan Jones Author
John Reed knows from experience how difficult the life of a biracial person can be. He was born in Germany after World War II to a German-Caucasian mother and an African-American father. The difficulty of finding a place in society was compounded by his mother’s rejection of him; he spent the first year of his life in a convent, cared for by nuns. As the physical, mental, and verbal abuse John suffered from his mother were mirrored by a judgmental and racist society around him, he found himself in a crisis of identity and shattered self-esteem. In this seemingly honest and thought-provoking memoir, John shows us how racism is still very much alive in our current “politically correct” world, and the ways in which biracial people struggle with knowing whether they are truly accepted, or if the people around them are just playing the game.
Dr. John Reed Author
Each divorce story presents a typical problem to solve. With the wise counsel of an adult, the child discusses his difficulty and arrives at a strategy to soothe his feelings and rebuild his self-esteem. With questions to ponder, choices to make, and self-talk to create, your child will design his own book with pictures and captions. Each of the twenty-three divorce stories becomes a treasured chapter to help your child heal. By discussing the stories and using the strategies within, you’ll create a bond of trust, openness, and love. It is this bond that will sustain your relationship with your child from childhood throughout the tumultuous teenage years.
Jean Tracy, MSS Author
One of the biggest challenges for a parent is what to do with their K12 student during the summer. The summer can actually be a fun and educational opportunity for everyone in the family. It is important to start with your own city or town. Make a list of all of the things that there are to do and visit. Get your children involved in coming up with ideas for your list. Talk to other families about what they are doing to keep education as a priority during the summer. Talk to your son or daughter’s school counselor and they may know about special programs that will benefit your child. It is amazing how many free things are going on around town. Of course children will complain but I have found out that once I get them to an event they usually like it. I cannot tell you how many plays and festivals that we have attended and my children actually liked them. Parents need to know the benefits of learning can start early during the summer. Students of all ages can expand their knowledge and they can help tutor other students too. During the summer can work on their study skills and understanding of words by using board
games like Scrabble and Monopoly. There are multiple benefits to learning study strategies during the summer. A student who knows how to study will improve their chances at getting better grades. Students will have an easier time preparing for the future, which may include college or full time employment. Study skills are all a part of the building blocks for a successful future. At all ages, the parent plays a critical role in setting the tone for a student’s motivation to learn. During the summer surround your student with positive images that share individuals who have set goals and obtained them. It’s great to feed their minds with positive images during the summer. Let you child write down a list of positive goals that they intend to accomplish. Early planning each summer will help you to chart a course of action for each child in your house. Often everyone in the house can be on a different schedule. The parent’s goal should be to encourage every child to become a selfstarter. You can help your child to get a jump on the fall semester by having a formal reading list that they start right after school has ended.
You can find these lists in Library and they are usually designed for specific grades. The tendency is to allow your child to take a mental vacation from reading during the summer. Find fun things for you student to read and they will be hooked. Ask your student questions about the books they are reading. Select at least one book thatâ€™s a personal development book so that they will grow emotionally. Engage them in a conversation by asking open ended questions. For example, why did you like the book that you read? Have a competition to see who can read the most book and win a prize. Parents can benefit by taking a global perspective on learning during the summer. If your child wants to learn a new language, you can find someone who speaks the language to help them. You can inquire on a college campus in their languages department. You never know how this exploration will help a student to adopt greater inspiration to stay motivated about school. Go to the library to get books about countries where the language is prominent or go onto the internet to find out more about the language. We live in a global world where learning other languages can give a student an advantage. Make the summer learning exploration fun. You and your student can have a great summer of learning new things and getting prepared for the fall. Summer is a great time to explore and learn without the pressure of school. When you take a trip consider it a learning opportunity. Now is the time to get ready for a fantastic summer adventure. Let this summer be your greatest learning time ever.
Dr. Jones encourages you to add the Seven Secrets of How to study to your summer reading list. The book has helped students to earn A+ grades all over the country. To get the book visit http://studyskills2u.weebly.com/books.html
Kristi Goines: Student Talk
Journaling: An Educational Road to Writing I remember as a teenager the days when I had to return to school after that nice summer vacation. My English teachers gave me that first exciting writing assignment—to write an essay on what I did this summer! Almost each year, I knew that would be the assignment. But as I look back, I understood why. I believe my teachers knew that this would be a topic we could easily write about. The teachers also knew this was a way to warm up students to the art of writing that helps them to effectively communicate. However, when it comes to expressing those thoughts through writing, many students—elementary, middle and high school, and college students—find writing intimidating, tedious, or just plain difficult. But those writing skills are vital to help you persuade the college of your choice why you deserve that full scholarship, or express to the company why you are the best employer for their business. The good news is writing can be fun! There are numerous English and Writing 101 classes you can take, but there is one simple and great way to start improving your writing: Journaling. What is Journaling? Journaling is writing out your personal thoughts and feelings on various situations that occur in your life. Simply put, journaling is that diary you have been keeping since you were younger. That diary is your notebook of thoughts, feelings, and dreams that are only between you and God (smile). So if you’ve been keeping a diary since that time, you have been writing for just about half of your life! Journaling is a practical, excellent starting point to developing necessary communication skills to be successful in school, college and your future profession. Journaling provides invaluable growth educationally and most importantly personal growth in every area of your life. Benefits of Journaling 1. Freedom of Expression, Self Reflection-Journaling provides an outlet where students can freely vent their true feelings on different
Pamela Byrd is a Life Coach, Journal Practitioner who mentors and helps people discover their purpose through her organization Wilderness Journeys in Georgia. Byrd recently held a workshop entitled “Journaling for Teens.” During the workshop she showed them how keeping a journal can help them to deal with problems, clarify ideas and improve their communication skills. The teens engaged in lively dialog where they shared their frustrations and fears. They also gained a sense of association by learning from others that they were not alone in their thoughts and challenges, while also gaining a sense of pride in knowing that they were better off than others who were at the workshop. Roger Hiemstra, Professor Emeritus at Syracuse University in New York added that journaling also provides self-reflection, in which students can see how circumstances formed their own personal beliefs and values. Hiemstra said he urged his students to use their thoughts of self-reflection to development a personal code of ethics. “This recognition of personal values, beliefs, and the various changes a person undergoes throughout life, if combined with a personal philosophy statement, can result in foundational tools useful as guides or mirrors for subsequent professional action and ethical decision making” (Article Uses and Benefits of Journal Writing). Parents can help their children begin to express themselves through journaling. Even young children today have busy lives filled with school, activities, homework and other responsibilities. Journal writing may provide them that personal downtime in the midst of those schedules (“The Benefits of Journal Writing” from www.lifelongmontlearning.com) 2. Grammar and Reading Skills-Journaling can also help improve grammar and reading skills. The more a child writes, the more likely they will be to seek the right way to form letters and spell words. Additionally, regular writing helps children practice structuring sentences and learn a variety of sentence patterns. Though grammar is certainly not a child's focus in journal writing, the act of regular writing is likely to result in improved writing abilities and communication skills (“The Benefits of Journal Writing” from www.lifelongmontlearning.com). Donalee Bowerman, a special education teacher in New York talks of how she has seen improvement in her students’ writing through their daily journal writing. "I have seen major growth in these children!" said Bowerman. "Many are now restating the questions and using complete sentences and punctuation. Those skills were definitely missing (before)!" (“Journal Writing Every Day: Teachers Say It Really Works!” 2010 www.educationworld.com). 3. Areas of Learning and Improvement-Teachers can create journaling activities that provide dialogue between the teachers and students. These types of activities can allow teachers to establish rapport with their students. More importantly, teachers and students can learn from each other! A good example would be that students can journal what they have learned in class that day and what things they found difficult or may need reinforcement. The teachers, in turn, have an opportunity to respond to their students, and use those responses to improve their teaching methods to improve learning for their students. In addition, teachers can journal which teaching methods work and did not work for their students. Kathy Thomson, a teacher in Edmonton, Alberta, says she learns things from her students’ journal responses that might never come up during class. "The Continue on page 89
Why Kids Cheat and 7 Ways to Keep Them Honest By Jean Tracy, MSS Would your child cheat for you? A few years ago, research reported that 64% of high school students cheated on exams. Other studies put the number much higher. Some kids were smart and others were lazy. Many wanted to please their parents with better grades. Would your son or daughter have cheated too? Today we’ll examine how kids think about cheating and 7 ways you can encourage honesty. Inside your child’s head a television blares. It has 3 channels. Two encourage your child to cheat. The other promotes a different message. Channel One The Critical Judge from channel K-CRIT, the criticism station and blasts put downs to shame your child with discouraging feelings. This voice captivates your child’s attention. It persuades him to give up rather than try. Continue on page 75
Hot Summer Nights.
Cool Internet Radio! Living Education eMagazine Radio The very best in classic and contemporary urban music with education information in the mix. Music and information for today
CONFERENCE INFORMATION The 2013 Missouri Charter Schools Conference will take place on the evening of Wednesday, October 2 through Noon on Friday, October 4th at the Intercontinental Kansas City at The Plaza. Once again, we will be hosting a special strand for charter school teachers in the afternoon on Friday, October 4 and the morning of Saturday, October 5, 2013. The Missouri Charter Schools Conference is the annual conference of the Missouri Charter Public School Association. It is a gathering for all stakeholders in Missouriâ€™s charter schools and an excellent opportunity for professional development and networking in the sector. Click here to register and find out all about the conference.
American Indian Education Lyn Tysdal As Program Manager for the American Indian Education Foundation (AIEF), a program of National Relief Charities (NRC), I help provide a number of services that are focused on American Indian education – from cradle to college and career. We partner with schools, both on and off the reservations, that have a high proportion of American Indian students, and we provide support that helps school personnel influence student success. Each year around this time, I see hundreds of scholarship applications from a bright body of college hopefuls. These American Indian students, like other students in the U.S., dream of a college education. But unlike most American students, they face unique challenges. So So, let’s talk about some of the most important things we see happening in American Indian education today.
American Indian students and all students to start and complete college pays off. Students will rise to the level expected of them. It is why we ask students who apply for AIEF scholarships. You can hear a recorded discussion that touches on this in our press room.
2. Second, there’s not so good news: The low matriculation rate of American Indian students into college continues. About 9% earn a college degree, compared to 19% of other US ethnic groups. This stems from tremendous poverty and low access to information Although AIEF awards scholarships to students from reservations across
What’s Happening? 1. First, there’s good news: More than ever before in history, American Indian students are applying for college and scholarships. This includes undergraduate as well as advanced degrees and certificate programs from tribal colleges, community colleges, four-year universities, and trade schools. We are very encouraged by this as we believe that education is the key to long term, sustainable change for the poverty and difficult issues faced by Indian country. Role models, parents, and professionals in reservation and urban communities are motivating more American Indian youth to attend college. Encouraging and expecting
the country, we prioritize students from reservations and Indian boarding schools that we consider to be the most impoverished or to have the least access to outside resources such as scholarships. The poverty and disparity in funding for American Indian education starts at the K-12 level and continues throughout college. This is not new – but sadly, it may be worsened by the proposed sequester cuts to Indian education. Even prior to the recent sequester, the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools were in the lowest 10% of federal funding and their counselors Continue on page 65
“Commencement is a time to look back at all you have accomplished but also a time to look forward to what is yet to come. Looking back is sometimes much easier than looking forward. The future is a blank page filled with uncertainty—success and failure, celebration and challenge, rewards and obstacles. As you graduate, I wish you each the ability to navigate through future problems, embrace opportunities and celebrate triumphs. The measure of a person is not always in where they have been but in how they negotiate the journey ahead. “
Dr. Susan M. Gardner, Vice President for Student Services Kanawha Valley Community & Technical College (WV) http://www.kvctc.edu/
American Indian Education continued from page 63
were overburdened. The high school graduation rate at BIE schools is 61%, compared to a national average of 75%. Many foundations and donors that could help provide funding for American Indian students fail to do so because they believe Native people receive a free college education. This is a misconception related to treaties when, in fact, American Indian students have to work harder than non-Native students to access college scholarships and a college education. You can read more about this on our blog. 3. For many American Indian students, the belief that college is not an option but rather something beyond their reach is a powerful obstacle. It stops some indigenous students from applying for college, when many of the barriers to furthering their education are often quite simple. These include not knowing how to search for a college that suits them, college application and financial assistance processes that are unfamiliar and intimidating, and a lack of access to adequate career advisement from overburdened school counselors. As a long-time educator, the low educational attainment rates concern me, along with AIEF and NRC, because they help sustain poverty on the reservations. Improving access to college and motivating American Indian students to view college as an option can help improve graduation rates and lead to long-term, sustainable solutions in Native communities. Many of our AIEF services are geared to this, starting with our scholarship selection.
Whatâ€™s Working? College can be daunting for Native students, many of whom will live off-reservation for the first time or become the first generation in their families to attend college. Fewer Native students make it through the financial, emotional, and academic challenges of the first year of college. Their adjustment to life on campus far exceeds what non-Native students face, including cultural, spiritual, nutritional, economic, and lifestyle shifts, along with prejudice. Yet AIEF has learned how achieve year-over-year success in retaining most scholarship students through the academic year and seeing many go on to graduate. Over 95% of AIEFâ€™s first-year students complete the college year for which they are awarded. This is a surprisingly high rate for any scholarship program and for the group we serve. The norm for first-year completion by Native American students is about 21%. We mainly credit our success to our scholarship selection process. AIEF scholarship selections are made by a scholarship committee with over 200 years of combined experience in American Indian education. For AIEF, selecting the right students is also a
Continue on page 101
Laura Bednar, Ed.D Superintendent Pulaski County Special School District
Doug LaMunyan Superintendent Pomeroy School District
Robert Kobylski Superintendent Nicolet School District
Bullying Prevention through Social Ecology Anna M. Bucy, Ed.D. Complex gender and sex issues complicate bullying prevention and remediation in the United States. The US struggles with welldocumented biases in education against girls in myriad areas including sports, math, and science, and against boys in the fine and performing arts. These macro issues do not even begin to address gender/sex-based violence or biases against the LGBTQ population. The focus on bullying prevention and remediation and finding programs and methods that work in US public schools is good; however, the efforts are slipshod and uncoordinated overall. The overarching problem with most bullying education programs is favoring a symptombased approach to prevention/remediation over a systemic approach. This is a trend with any sort of change in public policy. The dire need for a major culture shift in America regarding violence in general is apparent. The US ranked 88th out of 158 countries measured on the Global Peace Index, making it one of the least peaceful industrialized nations (Institute for Economics and Peace, 2012). Band-aid approaches to violence reduction in schools have not worked. Focusing that lens on reducing gender-based violence in schools is a manageable step. Anagnostopoulos et al. (2009) called for additional research about factors that facilitate or impede educatorsâ€™ effective responses to gender-based and general forms of bullying and harassment in schools. A coordinated, holistic approach to violence prevention in schools is necessary. To be effective, policy, practice, training, and culturalization must be aligned within individual school systems, building toward alignment in communities as a whole. If high schools in America can be viewed as petri dishes of local culturalization of children, research has indicated that violence in adolescence is common (Catalano, 2012), and bullying and sexual harassment are rampant (Gruber & Fineran, 2007, 2008)
Further, research has shown that gender is a factor in how educators respond to bullying events in high school (Bucy, 2010). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2012) found that nearly 10% of teens that responded to the survey indicated they had been physically assaulted in some way by a boyfriend or girlfriend in the year before the survey. The CDC also noted that 20% of women and 14% of men who have been raped or abused by an intimate partner were first abused between ages 11 and 17. The CDC (2012) data should not be surprising when hitting or uninvitedly touching others is called bullying in childhood instead of assault, battery, and sexual-harassment. Including physical violence in the definition of bullying behaviors in and of itself demonstrates an acceptance of violence as normal in human relationships. Abuse is not normal. Unwanted touching should never be included in the definition of bullying. Unwanted touching is a civil rights violation that must be addressed as such in schools K12 as a critical step to reducing violence. Violations of civil rights in schools are prohibited by the federal government and can elicit large fines if left unaddressed Little research exists examining bullying in high school (Bucy, 2010; Gruber & Fineran, 2007, 2008) and virtually none addresses gender-focused violence. Gender-focused violence can mean violence against any person because of his or her perceived sex, or violence that aims to reinforce strict gender roles. This complicated confluence of gender identity and violence must be addressed before students reach high school. Children have a firm sense of boys versus girls by the time they begin school, and as they age, they adopt culturally normed attitudes about behaviors appropriate for girls and boys. Bronfenbrenner (1977) discussed the complex social-ecology of culturalization culturalization and personal identity development through the relationships of concentric spheres of influence affecting each individual throughout his or her life.
social interactions from the person interacting in any one of many social systems like family or school, to the influence global issues and ideologies have on the person and his or her development. The innermost sphere of social influence is the most influential and comprises the complex set of relationships with which the individual is directly involved (e.g., school, work, family) (Bronfenbrenner, 1977; Espelage & Swearer, 2004). The microsystem features only one social system at a time because an individual cannot simultaneously be at school and at home. Espelage and Swearer (2004) encourage focusing on this level for bullying prevention and remediation. The next sphere of social influence is the mesosystem, which includes the interrelationship between systems in the individualâ€™s life (e.g., school and home). At this level, the individual is comparing and contrasting messages received from the separate systems experienced in the microsystem. The third sphere of social influence is the exosystem, which is an
Bronfenbrennerâ€™s (1977) concentric spheres of influence represent all levels of a personâ€™s Continue on page 84
Living Education Everyday
From Entitlement to Entitlement-Free Continued from page 52
bad word for kids - and an understanding that something good will come from something difficult is essential to raising an entitlement-free child. Explain to your child the invisible effort that’s behind the things he takes for granted every day: food that appears in drive-through windows had to be cooked by someone (not to mention grown by someone else and transported there by someone else), and money that is taken out of the ATM has to be earned. Your child wants to know how things work and why. Curiosity inspires effort, as effort inspires curiosity. The entitlement-free child conquers small frustrations with your help. Don’t give up or give in just because your child is discouraged. Children, like grown-ups, deal with frustration in individual ways; some plow their way through with physical determination, others manage better with reassuring conversations, while others need a hug and gentle coaxing. Help your child find a winning strategy to cut through the particular problems he faces: 1. Identify your child’s strengths that can help him in this situation. Effort is more exhausting when you approach it from weaknesses. What does your child already have to help him to be successful? A love of books or music, for example, can ease a rocky adjustment to a new school. 2. Convert strengths into practical skills that help him over life’s hurdles. For example, if your child is rambunctious future stuntman, emulating a favorite movie hero can help him learn more appropriate social skills. Learn to speak “kid talk” without elaborate rationale: Spiderman knows with "great power comes great responsibility". How can you use your power to help even when you don't feel like it?
3. Encourage him by noticing small successes and letting him see the light at the end of the tunnel. Children give up because they can’t see the big picture. Your child’s effort is worthwhile once he realizes that last month, or last week, he couldn’t do what he can do now. Your love and guidance give your child the support and encouragement he needs. Create an environment where effort is valued. To a child who is discovering the ways of the world, process is more important than product. The entitlement-free child is given the skills to confidently maneuver through ageappropriate situations by parents who continually balance dependence and independence. He can depend on strong, reliable parents who give him a solid foundation from which to grow and who continually teach him think and act on his own. His parents learn, day by day, when to hold on and when to let go.
Carol Josel Indeed, according to Pennsylvania law, “A person with an IQ score lower than 130 may be admitted to gifted programs when other educational criteria in the profile of the person strongly indicate gifted ability.” • Grading scales have taken a hit, too. Many schools now use a grading scale where 90 to 100 constitutes an A, and so on. Only a few call anything lower than a 64 an F; most stick with 59 for that. Red pens are out, replaced by pinks and violets, so as to be less disheartening.
Rethinking the Merits of Inflating Self-Esteem Instilling self-esteem is thought by many to ensure well-adjusted, respectful, motivated kids who are not only loving and lovable, but who accept criticism, exhibit self-control, and challenge themselves, too. Indeed, several websites are dedicated to its promotion, and this past May was Self-Esteem Month, Boost Your Self-Esteem Month, and/or National Teen Self-Esteem Month— take your pick. Meanwhile, the stated purpose of The National Association for Self-Esteem is “to fully integrate self-esteem into the fabric of American society so that every individual, no matter what their age or background, experiences personal worth and happiness.”
And such efforts have been very successful, with countless, well-meaning parents and teachers joining in for kids’ sake. As a result, competition is downplayed, praise is plentiful—deserved or not—and feeling good is the goal. • Many schools have done away with honoring a valedictorian at graduation ceremonies—or they’ve named more than one. • Intelligence is no longer the sole factor in determining giftedness.
• Homework has come under the gun, too, with parents complaining that too much homework is being assigned. As a result, teachers are told to cut back—even when it comes to our gifted students. • To soften failure, some districts insist that teachers record nothing less than a grade of 50% on a student’s report card, regardless of his/her actual and lower percentage. • Countless sports organizations
now hand out trophies to every kid on the team, saying, “We believe everyone is a winner.” • Cars nowadays sport “My child is an honor roll student at . . .” bumper stickers, spreading the praise near and far. And where has this feelgood mentality gotten us? Says Minneapolis author and pediatrician Dr. Ernest Swihart, “It’s had serious repercussions. These young adults who were raised in the 80’s, now in their 20’s and in the workplace—those who received praise, rewards, and prizes for everything they did without working very hard—often are very entitled and self-absorbed, and they don’t understand not being promoted, they don’t understand not even being hired, and they don’t understand not getting praised every day.” Meanwhile . . . 1. According to a University of California, Irvine survey, one-third of the students said they expected B’s just for attending lectures ; 40% said they deserved a B just
for completing the required reading. Said a senior at the University of Maryland, “If you put all the effort you have and get a C, what is the point? If someone goes to
much homework? 2. Praised your child for the very slightest reason? 3. Made excuses for your child’s poor showing on a test or assignment?
every class and reads every chapter in the book and does everything the teacher asks of them and more, then they should be getting an A like their effort deserves. If your maximum effort can only be average in a teacher’s mind, then something is wrong.”
4. Requested that your child retake a test to improve a grade?
2. Regarding a recent Brookings Institution report, Journalist Jay Matthews wrote, “Countries such as the United States that embrace self-esteem , joy,
5. Gone out of your way to make your child feel good about him/herself?
and real-world relevance in learning mathematics are lagging behind others that don’t promote all that self-regard.” According to that report, only 6% of surveyed Korean 8th graders feel confident in their math scores compared with 39% of our students— yet Korean students always outscore ours on international assessments. Indeed, Jean Twenge and W. Keith Campell, authors of The Narcissism Epidemic, say, “We’ve built up the confidence of our kids, but in that process, we’ve created a generation of hot-house flowers puffed with a disproportionate sense of self-worth and without the resiliency skills they need when Mommy and Daddy can’t fix something.” So now the question is, have you ever . .. 1. Complained that your child has too
6. Typed a paper, done an assignment, or helped your child complete a project for a good grade? 7. Questioned a teacher for disciplining your child? \ 8. Refused to have your child to serve a detention? 9. Asked that a teacher offer extra credit and bonus points to bolster grades? Explains award-winning author Melissa Fay Greene, “When we muffle our children in a haze of supportive words and blunt their experiences of consequences, we could be making it harder for them to deal with the real world . . . We must stand back and let, each child enjoy—or suffer Continue on page 101
Why Kids Cheat Continued From Page 60
The Defense Lawyer from channel K-BLAM, the blame channel, skillfully turns your child’s every wrongdoing into blaming others. His strong voice repeats, “It’s their fault.” Your youngster learns to accuse others for his misconduct. The Inner Guide, airing on channel K-TRUE, directs your child toward truth and virtue. He doesn’t shout but your child can hear if he quiets himself and listens. Now suppose your student is taking an exam. What would the channels inside his head be broadcasting? The Critical Judge “You’re stupid, weak, and lazy. You’ve never been a good student. Studying is too hard for you. Everybody cheats. Besides, you like video games. They’re easy and a lot more fun.”
What will he do? Will he study? Will he play video games instead? Will he whine, “I can’t? It’s too hard.” How your boy listens to his Critical Judge will influence his decision. The Defense Lawyer “You wouldn’t have to cheat if your teacher was fair. Her tricky questions purposely mislead you. Only the brainy kids get them right. Why don’t you look at Jack’s paper or use your iphone? Besides, you didn’t have time to study last night because your dad made you go to the basketball game.” Will your boy justify cheating? If your son listens to his Defense Lawyer, will he take his advice? The Inner Guide “It’s true you didn’t study and you might not pass this exam, but just do the best you can.
You’ll feel better because you won’t have to lie to yourself or justify cheating. You can ask your teacher to give you work for extra credit. You’re a smart kid. Next time, study for your test.” Will your child quiet his critical judge or his defense lawyer? Or will he give in to their powerful messages? How can you promote honesty and the voice of his inner guide? Parenting Tips for Raising Honest Kids: 1. Start promoting positive messages about honesty when your child is young. Have a family meeting for encouraging members to create mottoes about honesty. Post a new saying on the refrigerator each week. Use a small marble jar. Each time someone says the motto put a marble in the jar. When the jar is full of marbles, play a family game together. Here are some samples mottoes: a. Be true to yourself. b. Be brave. Be honest. c. You won’t regret being honest. d. Cheating injures the cheater. e. No one trusts a cheater. 2. Teach your child to listen to his inner guide (conscience) as a best friend and follow its voice. His inner guide can be a beloved pet, a wise person, his loving heart, even a cartoon character. It’s up to him. Discuss your youngster’s inner guide with him. Tell him to close his eyes and imagine what his guide looks like. Ask, “What do you like about him?” Urge your boy to take a few minutes now and every evening before he falls asleep to connect with his inner guide. 3. Rather than asking about a test grade say, “How did you feel about the test?” The goal is to avoid making top grades so
Higher Education Reform continued from page 43
important. If your child senses you’re only interested in good grades, he may turn to cheating to please you. 4. Praise effort rather than grades. “I noticed how hard you worked on that project.” “How did you decide to organize your report into these key headings?” Children, like adults, enjoy talking about themselves. When you ask for how your son chose to do things in a certain way, you’ll find out how he thinks. Getting your boy to talk, helps you understand his developing character. 6. Use the word ‘You,’ “Are you proud of how hard you studied for the test?” Again, urge him to share his thoughts and feelings. This is better than saying, “I’m proud of you,” because you want him to bond with his inner motivation. 7. If your child is caught cheating, listen to both the teacher’s side and your child’s side. Don’t criticize the teacher or make excuses for your child. Rather, ask son to come up with a consequence for his cheating. Often kids’ penalties are stiffer than yours. Or have him write a paper with 5 reasons why cheating is wrong and then discuss it. Conclusion for Why Kids Cheat and 7 Ways to Promote Honesty The messages about cheating or honesty can become habitual thoughts inside your child’s head. Don’t let the critical judge or defense lawyer take over. Use the 7 strategies for raising an honest child. Promote the wise advice from you and your child’s inner guide. When you urge your child to become an honest person of great character, you won’t need to worry about his joining the cheating 64%.
those opportunities may have been limited or denied. A national leader in adult education, Cambridge College is a responsive learning community where working adults can find ways to make the personal and professional changes they need to achieve their goals. Learning takes place in an atmosphere of true diversity where students support each other in a collaborative learning process that respects their needs and values, their prior learning and life experiences. The College’s innovative adult-centered learning model links theory and practice, helping students to acquire the academic credentials they seek to enrich their lives and careers and become leaders in their communities. Can something be done to reform higher education today to better serve adult learners? Adherence to sound principles based on mission and values can lead to making it more affordable, more productive, more efficient, and more useful to society. Cambridge College and others have developed alternatives to existing modes of educational delivery that has led to providing a better education to Americans at a lower cost and provided professional changes they need to achieve their goals. In response to reforming higher education, I am suggestion the following: 1. First, we must lead a movement of access, affordability and high-quality. 2. Second, the affordability part of the movement must be pursued with a sense of urgency. This is a crisis that impacts those that are the vulnerable to tuition hikes, those working adults who are paying for college themselves. A broadbased commitment to and a comprehensive system of financial aid distribution that includes need-based assistance would a step in the right direction. 3. Third, we must build a stronger culture of persistence and degree completion. This can be accomplished when institutions make a commitment to this enterprise. It is much more than slogans and Continue on page 78
â€œI wish heartfelt congratulations to the graduating Class of 2013. You have all taken a major step on your "Personal Path to Power!" Please know that many people stand ready to collaborate with you for your continued success.â€? Dr. Wayne Beckles Dean Applied Sciences Baltimore City Community College www.bccc.edu
campaigns. Finally, in this era reduced support and inflated tuition for higher education, we must vigorously pursue new teaching and learning paradigms that offer lower-cost means of delivering highquality higher education. Additionally, this pursuit must be driven from within, by those dedicated faculty and administrators who make up the academy. End Notes 1. National Center for Education Statistics. 2009. Digest of Educational Statistics 2009. Table 192. Total fall enrollment in degree-granting institutions by control and type of institution, age, and attendance status of student: 2007). http://nces. ed.gov/programs/digest/d09/tables/dt09_ 192. 2. Soares, L (2013). Post-traditional Learners and the transformation of Postsecondary Education: A Manifesto for College Leaders. ACE American Council on Education. Become a Proud Union Teacher continued from page 34
Corporate education reformers, led by the Astroturf group “Stand for Children,” had spent millions of dollars in Illinois to get a law passed which gave the mayor even more power and made it – they thought – impossible for the union to strike. This law required a minimum of 75% of all union members to vote in favor of a strike – not 75% of those who vote – 75% of all membership. Historically in votes like this only about 50% of membership had voted at all. The corporate education reformers were very proud of themselves – they thought they had paved the way to steamroll teachers and break the union. This was not a policy problem. It was a power problem. If a mayoral ally could spend $3 million in a month to buy state legislation, how could teachers respond? At this point I thought a strike was impossible and that my chosen profession and the students I teach would bear the brunt of more and more corporate style reforms.
Forcing an unfunded longer school day and tying teacher evaluations and compensation to increased standardized testing is bad policy, that was even rejected by an independent arbitrator as part of the negotiating process. These types of policies are not supported by research, so why was the mayor forcing them on teachers and students? It seemed as if the mayor was instituting these damaging policies to break the union, one of the few institutions that has historically held a check on corporate reforms. The CTU understood this and developed a strategy to push back. Using grassroots organizing and shifting their emphasis toward a student-centered vision for good schools the CTU energized and activated our members. When we had our strike authorization vote, over 90% of members voted… and 98% of those voted to strike. The CTU strike made history internationally. Not only did teachers push back against the damagin g policy of tying student test scores to high stakes teacher evaluations, we also won more art, music and PE for our kids. The strike touched on other issues that parents care about too – class size, the number of social workers, and even the right to have books and materials available on the first day of school. Even after a week-long strike over 54% of Chicago residents and 66% of CPS parents sided with the union. The CTU strike was not the end of a battle… it was the beginning. I believe it marks a turning point in teacher unionism that can counter the “Power Problem” of corporate education reform. For teachers to have a place at the education policy table, we MUST organize and find our own unique power. We must ally ourselves Continue on page 100
Living Education Everyday
This Problem Belongs continued from page
have become a destination for many families, rich and poor, Black and White, Asian and Hispanic. I am so proud to say that our wonderful little school, in the heart of the city, is on par with top-performing suburban districts, even receiving a 100% score recently from the state of Missouri on the state’s annual performance reports. So, though we still have our deep imperfections, something here is going right. So what is it? What’s going on here at City Garden? What makes it possible to bring together children across income and race and to achieve great outcomes? Because I have been told by many that this “simply isn’t possible.” First, you will not find a more brilliant group of people than the teachers and staff at City Garden. Brilliant. Every single one of them. And not only are they brilliant, but they are implementing a philosophy and approach to educating children that is genius. Maria Montessori believed in educating children from the inside out. She was one of the first education reformers to assert that children of ALL backgrounds are born with the same amounts of intelligence, and that all humans come into this world with an inherent longing to learn. This idea is simple, but profound. Montessori asserted that it is our job, as adults, to prepare the environment appropriately. To guide and nurture children. To empower them and, if we give them the tools and honor the process of each child’s development, they will take ownership of their own intellect and spirit and will gladly challenge themselves, absorb all that they can, and ultimately become who they are meant to be. It is simply amazing to watch this process unfold. It works! When you walk through our classrooms there is an overwhelming sense of peace and joy because our children are purposefully engaged in learning that they desire. In our
culture, we have become convinced that children cannot be intrinsically motivated. Montessori education disproves this, over and over again. Our teachers are not only brilliant; they are committed beyond belief. It is not uncommon that teachers stay after school, on their own time, to work with a student to help them in an area of struggle, or to indulge a special project, or area of research. Our teachers’ workdays do not end when children are dismissed. Not only are our staff members brilliant and committed, we are a community. Maria Montessori believed that it is not just children’s intellect that must be nurtured, but that they must know that they belong and that they contribute to a larger community. And that there community is part of the larger world community. One evening a few weeks ago one of our students knocked on the door of a staff member, who lives a few blocks from here, as she was cooking dinner. He said he couldn’t find his brother and he was clearly very upset. She had him come in; made him some nachos, and they started calling people to see if anyone had seen his brother. Meanwhile, his brother had gotten in some trouble, and, afraid to go home, ended up walking back up to school. Another staff member tried calling his mom and, when he couldn’t get in touch with her, took the student home to his house, also in the neighborhood, and had him stay for dinner. Ultimately, both staff members discovered that they each had one of the boys, and they were both returned home safely. This story isn’t particularly unique. You could insert any of our staff members’ names, or one of our students’. The point is our children know that they are surrounded by a community of adults who are 100% committed to them. That they belong to a community where they can ask for help. That their
LEeM Staff Writers
The Partnership of Advocacy The staff of Living Education eMagazine, taught to Sharon Darling, Founder and CEO of the National Center for Family Literacy to capture her thoughts on the significance of this new collaborative effort to impact student success. LEeM:
Why is this partnership important in the efforts to increase student achievement?
Sharon Darling: We see too many communities struggling with how to create meaningful and effective family engagement initiatives." "Children need to learn in ways that are engaging and relevant to real-life situations, but educators and families tell us they need support to make this happen. Simultaneously, the nation's policy-makers are awakening to the potential of learning beyond the school walls. Through years of experience and talking with parents across the country, we have the recipe for successful family engagement. LEeM: What does this partnership represent to the National Center for Family Literacy and your work in the area of Family Literacy? Sharon Darling: Our partnership with the Department of Education is especially precious, as it validates NCFL’s mission—improving family literacy—and gives us hope that family and community engagement will become an undeniable part of education policy. It also validates the incredible and tireless work of our other partners, who are so valuable to us because their support is what enables us to build upon our ideas and continue developing projects. One great example is Toyota, who has been a partner for more than 20 years and recently gave us a significant grant for future work, and the Verizon Foundation, whose ongoing support helped us recently relaunch Wonderopolis, a site that fosters learning through curiosity and technology. To learn more about the National Center for Family Literacy visit their website: http://www.famlit.org/
The National Center for Family Literacy to Spearhead United States Department of Education’s Efforts to Increase Parental Engagement The United States Department of Education announced they have created a new family engagement partnership with the National Center for Family Literacy. The purpose of the partnership is to expand the United States Department of Education’s emphasis on family partnerships as a means to propel school improvement and produce better outcomes for students. Brenda Girton-Mitchell, director of the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, announces the new partnership at the NCFL national conference
According to Michael Robbins, senior advisor for nonprofit partnerships at the U.S. Department of Education “A parent is a child’s first and most important teacher, but our approaches to family engagement
often fall short of recognizing the full potential of partnerships between schools and families. The challenges we face in education require that we go beyond these basic messages on family engagement – moving from communication to collaboration among schools and families.”
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extension of the mesosystem (Bronfenbrenner, 1977) and includes influences encompassing, but outside, studentsâ€™ direct involvement (e.g., the influence of television or the economy). The outermost layer of social influence is the macrosystem, which is fundamentally different from the previous spheres in that it does not address specific contexts affecting the individual but rather ideologies, stereotypes, and overall structure of a culture or subculture (Bronfenbrenner, 1977). Bronfenbrenner (1995) later added the chronosystem to depict the changes that can happen during a personâ€™s life in all systems (Fig. 1). The ecology of human development is the scientific study of the progressive, mutual accommodation, throughout the life span, between a growing human organism and the changing immediate environments in which it lives, as this process is affected by relations obtaining within and between these immediate settings, as well as the larger social contexts, both formal and informal, in which the settings are embedded. (Bronfenbrenner, 1977, p. 514)
Figure 1. Illustration of Bronfenbrennerâ€™s (1995) concentric spheres of influence depicting the socialecology of human personal development (Yingst, 2011).
Applying this social-ecological approach to creating bullying prevention and remediation programs necessitates at least a school districtwide adoption of a program aimed at establishing a culture of mutual respect and acceptance of all people based on skills and personality instead of physical traits like race, sex, disability, ethnicity and the like. This also means that training for adults cannot be driveby in the way most bullying training currently is presented. Having a well-known author speak about his or her book with no further systemwide training or follow up or student involvement will do nothing to improve school culture or reduce violence. This complex approach to reducing sex/gender-based violence may sound overwhelming and impossible to address in one school. Certainly, for a large-scale culture shift to occur, the national discussions about violence and gender issues must continue, and facts about long-term consequences of abusive cultures and gender/sex-based violence must be loud. Schools cannot wait for that shift; they must drive it. Personal autonomy, privacy, and security are critical for healthy psychological development (CDC, 2002; CSSP, 2012). Schools can go a long way to creating the safe environments they want by enforcing rules about unwanted touching. This does not mean zero tolerance, of course. This means teaching students ways to assert control over their own bodies in ageappropriate ways. This, of course, also requires at least a school-district wide approach and full buy-in from all school adults from custodians to school board. The Montessori (Montessori Live, 2011) model that emphasizes personal autonomy and responsibility would serve public schools well.
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â€œI would like to congratulate the graduating class of 2013 for completing one of the many steps to a purposeful path to success. Class of 2013, it is important to remember charity activities are the force which gives our life meaning. â€œ Parthenia Warford Founder & CEO The Warford Foundation Inc. http://thewarfordfoundation.org/home/
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http://www.aera.net/Newsroom/News/Prevention ofBullyingResearchReportandRecomm/tabid/148 65/Default.aspx Anagnostopoulos, D., Buchanan, N. T., Pereira, C., Lichty, L. F. (2009). School staff responses to gender-based bullying as moral interpretation: An exploratory study. Educational Policy, 23(4), 519-553. doi:10.1177/0895904807312469 Bronfenbrenner, U. (1977). Toward an experimental ecology of human development. American Psychologist, 32(7), 513-531. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.32.7.513 The absence of coordinated programs districtwide means any ground gained in elementary school is lost in middle and high school. Recent research has encouraged ending the use of the word “bullying” in schools as well as an increased effort to address gender-based violence (American Educational Research Association, 2013). Overusing bullying to describe all violence in schools has minimized the focus on legally actionable violence like assault and sexual harassment. Reorienting the discussion to aggression and violence, of which bullying is a subset, will improve the ability to involve school stakeholder groups like law enforcement, community government, social service agencies, and churches in a community-wide endeavor to reduce violence with coordinated programs and possibly pooled resources. The goal for reducing violence long-term must be to start with the center of Bronfenbrenner’s (1995) social-ecological framework and develop individuals who are resilient, social interactions that are respectful and responsible, and interactions between societal constructs that work to reduce violence across society. References American Educational Research Association. (2013). Prevention of bullying in schools, colleges, and universities: Research report and recommendations. Washington, DC: AERA. Retrieved from
Bronfenbrenner, U. (1995). Developmental ecology through space and time: A future perspective. In P. Moen, G. H. Elder Jr., & K. Luscher (Eds.), Examining lives in context: Perspectives on the ecology of human development (pp. 619-647). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Bucy, A. M. (2010). Educator interventions in bullying of male and female high school students in Ohio. (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. http://gradworks.umi.com/34/48/3448392.html Catalano, S. (2012). Special report: Intimate partner violence 1993-2010. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice. Retrieved from http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/ipv9310.pdf Center for the Study of Social Policy. (2012). Results-based public policy strategies for promoting children’s social, emotional and behavioral health. Retrieved from http://www.cssp.org/policy/papers/PromoteChildrens-Social-Emotional-and-BehavioralHealth.pdf Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2002). Community interventions to promote healthy social environments: Early childhood development and family housing. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5 101a1.htm
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Fair Housing Organizations You Need To Know Mission Statement: The National Fair Housing Alliance is the voice of fair housing. NFHA works to eliminate housing discrimination and to ensure equal housing opportunity for all people through leadership, education, outreach, membership services, public policy initiatives, advocacy and enforcement. Vision Statement: The National Fair Housing Alliance recognizes the importance of "home" as a component of the American dream and envisions a country free of housing discrimination where every individual, group and community enjoys equal housing opportunity and access in a bias free and open housing market where integrated neighborhoods are the norm, and the private and public sector guarantees civil rights in an open, and barrier free community committed to healing the history of discrimination in America. http://www.nationalfairhousing.org/
The Toledo Fair Housing Center was established in 1975 by The Women of the Old West End and The League of Women Voters in response to blockbusting and other housing discrimination practices. The community organized to fight discriminatory practices that were destroying Toledoâ€™s neighborhoods; the Center was organized as an effort to stop the discriminatory practices. The Toledo Fair Housing Centerâ€™s mission is to eliminate practices of housing discrimination and expand equal housing opportunities. In fulfilling that mission, the Center has set many precedents and increased housing opportunities locally and nationally. http://www.toledofhc.org/ The Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center was established in the summer of 1995 to eradicate housing discrimination throughout the greater New Orleans area. Since its inception, GNOFHAC has built an impressive record of advocating for the fair housing rights of New Orleans consumers through enforcement, education, and homeownership protection. http://www.gnofairhousing.org/
Fair Housing Council of Riverside County, Inc. (FHCRC) is a non-profit, HUD-approved organization that fights to protect the housing rights of all individuals. Since 1986, FHCRC has strived to ensure that all individuals will live free from unlawful housing practices and discrimination. Their mission to provide comprehensive services which affirmatively address and promote fair housing (anti-discrimination) rights and further other housing opportunities for all persons without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, age, sex, familial status (i.e., presence of children), disability, ancestry, marital status, age, source of income, sexual orientation, genetic information, or other arbitrary factors. http://fairhousing.net/
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012). Teen dating violence. Injury prevention and control. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/intimatepart nerviolence/teen_dating_violence.html Espelage, D. & Swearer, S. M. (2004). Bullying in American schools: A social-ecological perspective on prevention and intervention. Mahwah, N.J. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Gruber, J. E., & Fineran, S. (2007). The impact of bullying and sexual harassment on middle and high school girls. Violence Against Women, 13(6), 627-643. doi:10.1177/1077801207301557 Gruber, J. E., Fineran, S. (2008). Comparing the impact of bullying and sexual harassment victimization on the mental and physical health of adolescents. Sex Roles, 59(1-2), 1-13. doi:10.1007/s11199-008-9431-5 Institute for Economics and Peace. (2012). Global Peace Index. Retrieved from http://economicsandpeace.org/research/iep-indicesdata/global-peace-index Montessori Live (2011). Montessori philosophy. Retrieved from http://www.montessorilive.net/montessori/philosoph y.htm Yingst, N. (2011). Bronfenbrenner: Ecological systems model. Retrieved from http://nlyingst.iweb.bsu.edu/edpsy251/courseconcept s/251/bronfenbrenner.html This Problem Belongs continued from page 80
school is their place, a place that they can depend on and go to when they are in trouble. Our parents know that this is their place too. They are partners in our work. We are community. These are the things that make City Garden what it is. Brilliance. Genius. Commitment. Community. Simple, but yet profound. We remain just as determined today to do our part to solve this problem of education, which belongs to all of us. We do not pretend that we do it alone. We invite you into this big work, to be part of the change. To join us in making this problem our problem. To be partners,
and community, with us. Journaling continued from page 59
resulting responses help to make me a more careful teacher the next time," she added (“Journal Writing Every Day: Teachers Say It Really Works!” 2010, www.educationworld.com). 4. Increased Comfort Level with Writing-As students become more comfortable with journaling, the more ideas they may generate. Many of them may begin to realize dreams they did not know were there. Byrd said that the teens at the “Journaling for Teens” workshop were able to identify their aspirations and began to put plans in place for working towards those things they were interested in achieving. They left feeling optimistic about their futures and ready to begin the discipline of journaling. 5. Tracking Progress-Journaling on a regular basis can allow students to see the progress they have made in their school work. This boosts their selfesteem, and can motivate them to continue to do well in their studies. Teachers can journal the success of their teaching methods, their students’ progress to provide during their performance evaluations or when applying for other jobs in the education sector. 6. Personal Well Being-Many teachers can testify on some of the personal issues and burdens that their students bring to school with them. Journaling can provide students and outlet to vent their frustrations and sort out ways to cope with or solve their problems. Otherwise, they may be tempted to “act out”, release their anger in an unhealthy manner How Can You Get Started? Parents and teachers can introduce students to journaling by first making sure they have a notebook or a journal. It can be a plain or decorative journal. The computer is another option. Since most young people communicate faster by phone texting why not? Next provide an environment where students can freely write without pressure or being judged. Parents can help their kids set aside a time where they are free from their own busy schedules (i.e. the weekend) where they can write, whether it’s a paragraph or just two sentences. Finally, provide a variety of topics you feel students may be interested in, or allow the students to provide some subjects Continue on page 115
Living Education Everyday
When Elected School Boards Disappear Francis X. Shen University of Minnesota Law School firstname.lastname@example.org On April 9, 2013, Governor Martin O’Malley signed into law a bill that gives the Prince George’s County Executive new education governance powers. Effective June 1, 2013, County Executive Rushern Baker will have the power to appoint the Prince George’s County School Board superintendent, three members of the school board, and the board chair and vice-chair. In adopting this governance structure, Prince George’s County joins a growing number of large school systems that have moved from elected to executive-appointed school boards. Prominent examples include Chicago, Boston, Cleveland, and New York City. What happens when an elected school board disappears? In a recent report published by the Center for American Progress, my co-author Kenneth Wong and I argued that mayoral governance in large urban school systems has, on average, generated academic improvement. But we also pointed out that the improvement is not consistent over time, or across grade levels and subject matters. This report was the most recent in a decade-long research project on the effects of
executive-appointed school boards. When an executive is given new powers in education governance, attention is often placed (and rightly so) on the nature of those powers. Conversation and headlines focus on who the executive will appoint as superintendent and board members. Something that often gets overlooked – and will be the focus of this short essay – is the extent to which the governance reform is permanent or contingent on performance and citizen approval. Put another way, when an elected school board disappears, we should ask: will it ever re-emerge? The answer depends on how the state law is crafted. Below I review the range of options that states have employed, and situate the recent Maryland legislation within this framework. States have four basic options for statutorily prescribing an “end game” to executive-appointed school boards. These options are: 1. Adopt the reform indefinitely, until new
legislation introduces a governance change (e.g. Chicago). At one extreme, legislatures can move permanently to mayoral control, as the Illinois legislature did in 1995 for Chicago. The benefit of this approach is that it provides consistency, allowing local officials to pursue an education reform agenda free from the state-level negotiations about governance they would otherwise be required to undertake. If the governance reform continues to produce positive results for a long time, this option would seem to be the wisest choice. But that may be a big “if”. If the reform ends up sputtering, or at least stops producing large gains (which might justify other deficiencies, such as less community participation in decision making), then the lack of an end-date looks less appealing. 2. Adopt the reform indefinitely, but require an evaluation that could conclude that a further governance change is necessary (e.g. Washington, D.C.). A modified version of the first option, adopted in the District of Columbia Public Education Reform Amendment Act of 2007, is to keep mayoral control permanently, but also require a high-stakes accountability report – which could, if sufficiently negative, spur a change in the governance model. The primary question with such an approach is whether the report has any real teeth. If it does, then it could serve the purpose of prompting policy dialogue. If, however, the report fails to spur such conversation, it might serve
only as window dressing for continuing the reform. 3. Adopt the reform temporarily, allowing city voters to vote on its (permanent) adoption (e.g. Boston, Cleveland). A popular option, used in Boston, Cleveland, and Detroit, is to require a citywide referendum on the reform after a temporary trial run. The promise of such a strategy is that it allows for direct public engagement with the reform. .It appeals to our desire for democratic participation, while seemingly offering a substantive review of the mayor’s success (or lack thereof). On the surface, the referendum processes in Boston (approved), Cleveland (approved), and Detroit (rejected) suggest that this ideal is met. In Detroit, where performance under the mayor failed to meet expectations, voters voiced their displeasure. By contrast, stronger performances in Boston and Cleveland led voters to support the continuation of the reform. But beneath the surface, the evidence suggests that “rather than establish genuine democratic legitimacy, the referenda in fact mask strong class-based, and in Boston race-based opposition to the reform reform strategy.” Thus, I have previously argued that “the passage of the referenda may thus ironically locks-out critical voices from much of the future policy debate.” 5. Include a sunset provision with an enddate for the reform (e.g. New York City). A fourth option legislatures can use is the inclusion of a sunset provision. The New York state legislature adopted this approach in 2002, as they wrote the law to sunset in Continue on page 111
â€œCongratulations for all the hard work you've done to get you to this moment. Your next challenge, use what you've learned to help others.â€? Annie Fox, M.Ed. Educator and Author http://www.anniefox.com/index.html
Parent Talk Live
Are School Closings Making A Difference? An Exclusive Interview with Dr. Elaine Simon Dr. Mike Robinson, CEO of Forest Of The Rain Productions and Living Education eMagaizne and the host of Parent Talk Live interviewed Dr. Elaine Simon on the impact of school closings on student achievement and neighborhoods. Below is an excerpt of their discussion. To hear the entire interview, click the link below. Dr. Simon is co-director of the Urban Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania and a senior research consultant at Research for Action. Elaine Simon is an anthropologist who has conducted ethnographic research and evaluation in the fields of education, employment and training, and community development. She is CoDirector of Urban Studies in the School of Arts and Sciences and adjunct Associate Professor of Education. Dr. Robinson: You wrote an article in which you suggested school closings hurt neighborhoods. In what ways have school closings impacted communities? Dr. Simon: In my research, I have found that communities identify with their neighborhood schools. They have a sense of pride. Generations have typically gone to that school. These are institutions in neighborhoods that bind people together. Parents meet each other; get to know each other when dropping their kids off at school. Schools provide activities that bring people together. Families can watch over each other’s children. In the best possible world when that happens, schools can be really important institutions in that neighborhood. They serve as meeting places, whereas, people may not otherwise get a chance to interact. It has been well documented in urban literature that when these communities lose institutions such as schools they lose what is known as “Social Capital” Social Capital is important because it gives neighborhoods, oftentimes, neighborhoods without monetary power or power by their connection to powerful people, it gives them the power to make claim on the state, essentially on the city, in other words they can hold the government accountable for meeting their needs and fulfilling their obligations. Dr. Robinson: Why are so many schools being closed and particularly in urban areas? Dr. Simon: There are so many different interpretations of it; there is a recent study that says cities are losing populations, certain neighborhoods are losing populations. Well the nexus would be, if we are losing populations, schools are not going to have as many students; they are going to be less utilized. However, the fact of the matter is, as public schools are being closed, charter schools are being opened. Many of the children have moved to charter schools. In some cities there have even been voucher programs which have taken kids from public schools to charter schools and private schools as well. Another problem is a lot of these schools have lost resources. In Philadelphia there was a movement to create more specialized schools, that had special admissions and so they drained a lot of the neighborhood schools of children. So there has been this long term process, part of it is the population shift, a lot of it is the deliberate decisions that have drained kids from these schools and left the kids in the schools that are the most challenging. As a result schools become the victims who are blamed and since No Child Left Behind was enacted you have a convenient way of labeling schools as failing because you are judging them by test scores. Click Here To Listen
Determining Who and When to Include Dr. Camilla Ferebee Parents of special needs students must understand the most appropriate educational environment for the child to be educated. Because of state assessments and accountability, many special needs students are educated in the general education classroom. Although this placement is more common in recent years, it may not be the least restrictive environment (LRE). The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004 definition of LRE is â€œto the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, including children in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children who are not disabled, and special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability of a child is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.â€? What does this statement mean? Special education students should be educated in the regular education classroom unless the disability is too severe to allow the student to achieve in the regular education environment. The purpose of this article is to provide student friendly procedures to use when determining the most appropriate environment for a student with a disability to be educated. Eligibility Process The process for identifying a student as having a disability is outlined by IDEA. Once the evaluation and eligibility process is complete and the student is classified in one of the special education categories, the Individualized Education Plan (I.E.P.) team determines goals, objectives, services, and placement needed based on the results of psychological testing. In some cases, a conclusive classification is made.
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We are Forest Of The Rain Productions
The mission of Forest Of The Rain Productions is to expand the voices of educational stakeholders. We believe the voices we spotlight help create a richer dialogue which leads to a diverse exchange of knowledge and ideas within the educational landscape.
â€œCongratulations to the class of 2013! Whether graduating from high school or college, now begins a new journey filled with the abstract and the concrete! Learning is truly life long and knowledge reveals itself once the concepts are known and applied! Always strive to make a difference by learning and doing!â€? Yvette Mack, M.S. M.B.A. CEO YMackEnterprises www.ladyyspadiva.blogspot.com Educator, Writer
When to Include continued from page 95
When reviewing the psychological report, the I.E.P. team has to determine the impact of the disability on the student’s ability to achieve at grade level. To help understand the process, the scenarios below will be used to help determine the most appropriate environment for two different students. Both students attend middle school, and are educated in an inclusion environment for English and mathematics. The school does not offer a self-contained classroom for students other than those that meet the requirements for special programs, which are autistic or severely disabled. Psychologist will use assessments they feel more comfortable interpreting. Although the assessment may not be the most appropriate to identify discrepancies. A different psychologist tested each student. Hence of the differences in scores and assessment components used. Scenario Student A has been identified as a student with a disability under the category of specific learning disability (SLD). Student A was administered the Differential Ability Scales (DAS), a psychological assessment used to assess a range of cognitive abilities that represent a sample of what a person has learned and can use at the time of testing. These abilities reflect a person’s current ability to solve problems, think abstractly, deal with new situations, and profit from experience. The verbal cluster is a measure of verbal reasoning and knowledge of word meanings. The nonverbal composite consists of two clusters including spatial skills and nonverbal reasoning skills. Student A’s standard score (ss) was 108, nonverbal
reasoning ss 86, and spatial ss 88. The Woodcock Johnson Tests of Achievement III (WJIII) was used to obtain Student A’s overall reading, written language, and math skills. The broad reading ss was 89. The areas assessed include: word reading, passage comprehension, and reading fluency. The broad math ss was 77, and include calculation, math fluency, and applied problems. The psychological report summary suggests that Student A has significant delays in the areas of written language and math. Student B has also been identified as a student with a disability under the classification of SLD. Student B was administered DAS. The nonverbal cluster was the only cluster administered due to strengths noted in nonverbal skills. Spatial cluster measures the ability to work under time constraints, while incorporating visualperception-motor task and spatial orientation skills. Spatial cluster ss was 75. Spatial subtest scores were copying ss 82 and pattern construction ss 70. Student B’s skills fell within the below average to low range. The WJIII standard scores were: letter-word identification 18, calculation 47, spelling 28, passage comprehension 29, and applied problems 58. When academic achievement was compared to cognitive functioning, severe deficits were noted in the areas of reading, math, and written language. The psychological report summary states that Student B has extreme deficits in auditory processing and relative strengths in visualperceptual-motor processing. Student B’s educational achievement scores are extremely deficient. Making the Placement Decision If found eligible for services, the I.E.P. team can use the results from the educational testing to consider placement options. A student can be placed in an inclusion or selfcontained environment for academics. Inclusion is an approach to educating students with special education needs. Under the inclusion model, students with special Continue on page 101
Become a Proud Union Teacher continued from page 78
with students, parents and community groups and the only way to do this is to have a union that teachers deserve… one that fights for our students and their families. On March 27, 2013 about 2000 parents, students, teachers and other school workers came out to protest the latest attack on public education in Chicago – the closing of 54 elementary schools, 90% of which are in low income African American neighborhoods. 127 of us got arrested doing civil disobedience. The CTU strike was our model for this new education activism… building coalitions, refusing to sit by silently, empowering ourselves by empowering each other. It’s catching on – Parent groups like “Raise Your Hand” on the Northside of the city and “19th Ward Parents” on the south have sprung up to push back against the way our schools are being run. Student groups are popping up in high schools and universities. Multiple websites have sprung up with counternarratives to the CPS propaganda. “Every School is My School” posts stories about the 114 schools affected by these closings – putting a human face on the closings. “Apples 2 Apples” debunks the formula CPS uses to justify closing schools. SchoolCuts.org makes the real data around the closings transparent so people can understand the scope of the problem. Much of this work is being done by CPS parents whose schools are not closing… It’s not about saving “my school” it’s about saving public education. National publications are beginning to connect the dots, even predicting a revolution in public education. The CTU strike was successful, but not because teachers won higher wages or benefits. We fought back against the damaging policy of standardized test-based evaluation and pay. We won more social workers, art, music and PE for our students. The strike wasn’t about money. My paycheck is only about $16 bigger every two weeks compared to last year. The real wins of the strike are not
in the terms of our contract. The CTU strike changed the landscape of public education. We proved that it’s possible to fight back against the corporate style education “reforms”
that have become the status quo over the past thirty years. Links “Chicago Teacher” by Rebel Diaz http://rebeldiaz.bandcamp.com/track/chicagoteacher Joravsky, Ben “The Schools Scam” Chicago Reader http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/theschools-scam/Content?oid=922475 “The Schools Chicago’s Students Deserve” http://www.ctunet.com/blog/schools-chicagosstudents-deserve-presents-comprehensiveplan-to-improve-student-academicperformance-and-strengthen-neighborhoodschools Jonah Edelman of Stand for Children proudly discussing how he used campaign contributions and political influence to make a Chicago Teachers Union strike impossible. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kog8g9sTDS o Weiss, E; Long, D “Market-Oriented Reforms' Rhetoric Trumps Reality” Broader, Bolder Approach to Education Report April, 2013 http://www.boldapproach.org/rhetoric-trumpsreality Rossi, R; Spielman, F., “Nearly 90 percent of
Chicago teachers authorize strike” Chicago Sun-Times June 11, 2012 http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/13 119740-418/nearly-90-percent-of-chicagoteachers-authorize-strike.html Ahmed-Ullah, N.S., Mack, K, “CPS to hire 477 teachers for longer school day” Chicago Tribune, July 25, 2012 http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-0725/news/chi-ctu-longer-school-day-beingscaled-backat-least-for-teachers20120724_1_school-day-president-davidvitale-teachers-union Capitol-Fax Post on CTU strike Poll http://capitolfax.com/2012/09/13/no-hugotheyre-not-supremely-unhappy-yet/ Fact-Finding Report by Independent Arbitrator http://cbschicago.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/ cboe-ctu-fact-finding-report-final.pdf Shipps, D. (2006). School reform, corporate style: Chicago, 1880-2000. Lawrence: University of Kansas Press. http://www.amazon.com/School-ReformCorporate-Style-Government/dp/0700614508 Seymour, R. “Chicago's teachers could strike a blow for organised labour globally” The Guardian, July 2012 http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012 /jul/16/chicago-teachers-strike-blow-organisedlabour Tierney, J., “The Coming Revolution in Public Education” The Atlantic Monthly, April 25, 2013 http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/201 3/04/the-coming-revolution-in-publiceducation/275163/ American Indian Education continued from page 65
key to retention and graduation. We look for students who have faced challenges in their lives and risen to meet them. One student, Alton, grew up on the Pine Ridge Reservation. His family was often homeless so he attended boarding school. When he was 16, his mother died. After years of hardship and loss of hope, he dropped out of high school. Decades later, he discovered that he was a direct descendant of the son of Sitting Bull, a holy man and Chief to the Oglala Sioux. This motivated him to change his life. Battling
a third-grade reading level and learning disability, Alton earned his GED at age 45 and then sought out college scholarships. It was AIEF that awarded him scholarships for his first two years. Today, Alton’s a counselor trainee and helps Native people overcome addiction to set their lives on a positive path. Students such as Alton who stick with it make it through and go on to graduate. These are the students we seek out for scholarships. To learn more about educational solutions that can help American Indian students reach their dream of a college education, please visit our web sites for the American Indian Education Foundation and National Relief Charities. Merits of Inflating Self-Esteem continued from page 72
—the rich, complicated, ambiguous experiences of his or her own life.” Instead, applaud effort and time on task, praise only genuine accomplishment, and help your child see obstacles as opportunities, failure as feedback. As one eighth grader put it: “You never fail until you stop trying.” That, after all, is the heart of true self-esteem. When to Include continued from page 98
spend most or all of their time with nondisabled students. A self-contained classroom is for special education students only would be considered LRE since the student can be placed in either at the zone school. Although each student is classified under the same special education category, an analysis of the data shows different needs. Student A’s disability impacts the ability to perform in math and written language. Student B’s disability impacts the ability to perform in the academic areas of reading, math, and written language. Based on this information, the first step is to decide what goals and objectives to develop. Student A’s goals and objectives should focus on math and written language. Student B’s goals and objectives should focus on reading, math, and written language. The second step is to examine the value assigned to each area tested. Student A’s test scores show some discrepancies, but the student is not Continue on page 102
When to Include continued from page 101
academically performing too far behind age appropriate peers. Student B’s test scores show major discrepancies, and the student is performing below average compared to age appropriate peers.
the student. It is important to understand that data interpretation can be based on the reviewer’s perception. It is essential that each team member provides input and that placement is a team decision.
Many schools use the inclusion model more
Based on a review of all the information provided, the suggestion is that Student A be educated in an inclusion class for math and written language. Since the student has the ability, and is performing at grade level, this environment will be beneficial. In the inclusion class, Student A can receive grade level instruction and support from the special education teacher. Specially designed instruction can be provided for Student A to help close the discrepancy gap, and provide the student with strategies to function in the regular education classroom. On the other hand, Student B’s scores show that there is a need for extensive academic support. The student’s scores are very low indicating that the student does not have the foundation to perform academically at grade level. Based on the data, Student B should be educated in a self-contained environment. In a self-contained environment, Student B can receive instruction based on the student’s academic needs, not the grade level student. In this environment, material can be presented at the grade level in which the student is performing. An example would be spelling, which is not taught in middle school, but the student’s test scores suggest there is some. In a self-contained classroom, the instructor can teach spelling and any other lower level skills to provide the student with the foundation needed to succeed in the real world. CONCLUSION Determining the LRE for a student can be a difficult task. The team making the decision must be knowledgeable of the skills needed by the student to perform at the current grade level, analyzing psychological scores, and the benefits the educational setting will have for
rapidly, since all students are expected to take the end-of-year state assessment. Because all students have to be assessed, many educators feel that the most appropriate environment is inclusion, which allows the student to be introduced to the content information. Although the approach is most common, it is not always realistic. An educator cannot expect a student with limited foundation to perform at grade level. This placement does not benefit the student. Often times, the student becomes frustrated and begins to exhibit negative behaviors. Negative behaviors can be a result of not being able to perform academically. Currently, many states have begun to Continue on page 118
Parent Talk Live Host Dr. Michael Robinson h h t Sunday 8:00 pm EST t t During the Academic Calendar Yeart
p p s s : : / / Podcasts: / / w t w w The Importance of Summer Reading w i Guest: Victoria Baker, Director of Community and District-wide t . Partnerships Scholastic Classroom and Community Group. t f e a r c The Importance of Parental Engagement e Guest: Mrs. Kimberly Hall, parent volunteer at John Hanson .French Immersion c b School in Hillcrest Heights. Mrs. Kimberly Hall has beenonamed a semifinalist and o will represent Prince George's County in the competitiono formthe 2013 Parent Involvement Matters Award (PIMA). / k D . r c School Calendars and Student Achievement M o Guest: Tina Bruno, Program Director with the Coalition for a m i Traditional School Calendar k / e R Are School Closings Making A Difference? o Guest was Dr. Elaine Simon from the University of Pennsylvania. b i n The Influence of Education s Guest: Congressman John Lewis o n
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The Importance of Personal Financial Planning for College Graduates Ryan H. Law During the last 6 weeks of Spring semester we had more than 500 graduating seniors come through our doors to receive student loan exit counseling. Seeing all these seniors come through our doors has caused me to reflect on my own graduation and some things I did well as well as some things I wish I had known or done upon graduation. Today’s tip will focus on some specific steps that I think all graduating seniors should take (but don’t worry – it’s good advice for everyone – even if you haven’t graduated yet or graduated years ago). You will find that this list is not comprehensive, but it’s a great start! Become financially literate Financial literacy in the United States is, unfortunately, not widespread. Most high school students fail a personal finance exam (less than 50% of questions answered correctly) and college students score just 62%. One of the best things you can do for your future is to become financially literate. If you can take a college course in personal finance I highly recommend it. In a 3-credit personal finance class you will learn about everything on this list and you will be more financially literate by the end of the course than most people in America. If you don’t have the option to take one on campus look into one of the many excellent Open Courseware classes – you won’t get any college credit for it, but you can’t beat the price tag – free! As a part of becoming financially literate I recommend you learn the fundamentals of how the U.S. economy works. Learn about the business cycle, unemployment rates, inflation and interest rates. All of these things affect your personal finances, so a basic understanding of them is helpful. Don’t get your financial advice from amateurs Financial advice can be found almost anywhere – it is prolific on the internet and on the bookshelves at libraries and bookstores. However, I would caution you Continue on page 106
"Seniors, you are moving into an exciting time of your life where you will be challenged to pursue your goals and dreams like never before. Take time to celebrate your successes but understand that the greatness in you will be tested from time to time. When you have moments when you don't know if you can move forward, remember your purpose and keep a circle of strong and wise counsel around you. You will make it!" Ashley Hill Founder and CEO Host of College Prep Ready Radio http://collegeprepready.com/
not getting your financial advice from amateurs. For example, a few years back there was a taxi driver who “figured out the system to wealth” day-trading stocks. A lot of people lost a lot of money following his advice. Be careful of advice received from friends or family about the latest “hot tip” on a stock. This tip, like all the others, will take you back to the first recommended suggestion – a good solid class will teach you much about how to win at personal finance. Establish financial goals and take action to achieve them You need to start thinking about some short and long-term financial goals. How soon do you want to pay off your consumer debt? How much money do you need at retirement? Do you plan to buy a home eventually? Do you plan to have children and send them to college? What are your plans for increasing your earning potential? I recommend you take some time to sit down and make some decisions about where you are financially, where you want to be, and how you plan to get there. Learn to budget No company would go one day without a good, solid budget. They understand how much is coming in, how much is going out and exactly where those dollars are going. You should likewise have a budget. A budget is not a record of where your money went (though that is important as well); it is a plan for where you want your money to go. Learn the process for budgeting then discipline yourself to take action and stick to your budget. A key
of your budget should be to spend less than you earn and to pay yourself first. As part of your budget you should work diligently to build up a 3-6 month emergency fund. Develop a net worth statement and update it annually A net worth statement is a snapshot of a particular moment in time. It should list all of your assets (everything you own that is worth money) and all of your liabilities (debts). Minus your liabilities from your assets and you will come up with your net worth. You should update this annually to see how you are doing. Over time this number should increase. Care about your credit You should know what your credit report contains, what your credit score is and what steps you can take to improve that score. Your credit score determines what interest rate you pay on loans, what your auto insurance will cost, if you can rent certain apartments, and in some cases if you can even get a particular job. Pay off consumer debt as quickly as possible Carrying consumer debt, especially credit card debt, is toxic to your financial goals. Pay it off as quickly as possible by paying more than the minimum and refusing to take on additional unnecessary debt. Start saving now for retirement and take advantage of employer-sponsored retirement plans such as a 401(k) or 403(b)
If your employer offers a tax-advantaged retirement savings plan, such as a 401(k) or 403(b), take advantage of it! You will save on taxes now and can often get free money through a company “match” of your savings. Time is your best friend when it comes to saving for retirement. If a 23-year old saves $3000 a year at 8% interest until he or she is age 65 they will have about $912,000 in the bank. If a 33-year old does the same thing they will have about $402,000. That is the power of compound interest! Understand taxes, insurance and basic estate planning
Establish financial goals and take action to achieve them You need to start thinking about some short and long-term financial goals. How soon do you want to pay off your consumer debt? How much money do you need at retirement? Do you plan to buy a home eventually? Do you plan to have children and send them to college? What are your plans for increasing your earning potential? I recommend you take some time to sit down and make some decisions about where you are financially, where you want to be, and how you plan to get there. Learn to budget
Even if you pay someone else to prepare your tax return for you, you need to understand your own taxes. You should know your average tax rate, your marginal tax rate, and some steps you can take to reduce your tax burden. You should understand the difference between taking the standard deduction and itemizing deductions. You also need to understand your insurance products. We spend a lot of money on disability insurance, life insurance, auto insurance, renter’s or homeowner’s insurance and other types of insurance. You should understand what your policy covers, what it doesn’t cover and how much you are paying for each one. You should occasionally check around to see if you can get lower cost insurance. Everyone needs to do some basic estate planning. Even if you are single with no dependents you at least need a basic will, healthcare directives and a power of attorney. As your situation changes you should review these documents and update them and add other important estate planning documents as necessary.
No company would go one day without a good, solid budget. They understand how much is coming in, how much is going out and exactly where those dollars are going. You should likewise have a budget. A budget is not a record of where your money went (though that is important as well); it is a plan for where you want your money to go. Learn the process for budgeting then discipline yourself to take action and stick to your budget. A key component of your budget should be to spend less than you earn and to pay yourself first. As part of your budget you should work diligently to build up a 3-6 month emergency fund. Develop a net worth statement and update it annually A net worth statement is a snapshot of a particular moment in time. It should list all of your assets (everything you own that is worth money) and all of your liabilities (debts). Minus your liabilities from your assets and you will come up with your net worth. You should update this Care about your credit You should know what your credit report contains, what your credit score is and what steps you can take to improve that score. Your credit score determines what interest rate you pay on loans, what your auto insurance will cost, if you can rent certain apartments, and in some cases if you can even get a particular job. Continue on page 117
School is out!
Place To Go This Summer
Bistros, bars, boutiques and bookstores line the streets that come together at Dupont Circle, the meeting place for this cosmopolitan neighborhood. Join in a pick-up game of chess in the Circle, or sit by the fountain and people-watch as locals roll past on bicycles or stroll past with dogs. Stop by the neighborhood farmerâ€™s market on Sunday for fresh local produce and cooking demonstrations by local chefs. The staff at LEeM recommends The Akwaaba Bed and Breakfast in Washington, D.C. a must to experience this summer.
Monique Greenwood Owner
This 1890s historic townhouse mansion is near Howard University and Georgetown University and a short walk from the White House, museums and national monuments. The Akwaaba is decorated to celebrate a rich literary legacy. Guest will enjoy spacious rooms with private baths (including rooms with Jacuzzi tubs and couple showers). Rooms are air conditioned and fully furnished with a TV, DVD, clock radio/CD player, personal telephones, and mini fridges. And yes, for those who are inspired to complete the great American novel or dissertation an extensive library, computer room and Internet are available. Go to www.akwaaba.com find about the Akwaaba D.C. location and others that Akwaaba has to offer. You will see why we choose Akwaaba as the ideal summer vacation escape.
Elected School Boards continued from page 92
2009. By writing the law in this way, local and state authorities, citizens groups, and organized interests were all active during the 2009 re-authorization efforts. The New York City case serves as a reminder that a sunset provision need not mean the end of mayoral control – what it does mean (at least in the period immediately before the sunset) is increased scrutiny, political bargaining, and policy reinvention. Where does the new Maryland legislation fall on this spectrum? Let’s take a look at the actual language (which appears at the very end of the bill): (b) On or before December 31, 2017, the County Executive, the Chief Executive Officer, , and the Prince George's County Board of Education shall submit a final report on academic progress and improvement in the management of the Prince George's County public school system, and recommendations concerning the continuation, modification, or termination of the governance system established by this Act for the public school system, in accordance with § 2-1246 of the State Government Article, to the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee, the House Committee
on Ways and Means, the Prince George's County Senators, and the Prince George's County Delegation. (c) During the 2018 regular legislative session, the General Assembly shall deliberate and determine whether the provisions of this Act shall be terminated and of no further force and effect. If the General Assembly does not take any action to terminate this Act, the provisions of this Act shall continue to be in full force and effect. Read carefully, it seems that Maryland has adopted something in-between options #1 and #2: the governance reform will be permanent unless the 2017 report recommends otherwise and spurs the legislature to action. I have placed in boldface the final line of the bill, which should not be overlooked: unless the legislature acts, the default position is for the new governance structure to remain in place. Note too that there are not further stop -gaps, e.g. no requirement for a 10-year evaluation or county-wide In short, unless a citizen-led effort to produce a referendum is successful, it’s unlikely that – other than voting for (or against) their state legislators and their county executive – the citizens of Prince George’s County will have no direct voice on this governance reform. If I had been writing the legislation, I would have been supportive of creative governance innovation, but would have coupled it with two missing protections. First, I would have allowed for a county-wide referendum at five years, allowing citizens an effort to vote on retention of the reform. Not only does this provide a potential brake (if the vehicle of reform has veered off course), it also allows citizens to voice their support for the program (as they did in Boston and Cleveland). Such support can add to the executive’s political Continue on page 114
Fair Housing Today
Fair Housing and Education Living Education eMagazine Chief Publisher Michel Davis Robinson interviewed Rose Mayes, Executive Director Fair Housing Council of Riverside County, Inc. “How Housing Discrimination Impacts Educational Opportunities” Michel S. Davis Robinson: Please define fair housing and the Fair Housing Act of 1968? Rose Mayes: First and foremost, Fair housing is the law. There are State and Federal fair housing laws. Those laws are enforced primarily through three methods. We can file a complaint with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development; also known as HUD. Secondly, we can file a complaint with the state Department of Housing if the violation is not federally protected and is recognized as a state protected class. Finally, we can exercise a private right of action (law suit) against a property company, its agents or a landlord on behalf of a complainant for a violation of the fair housing act. So what is the Fair Housing Act? Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (Fair Housing Act) prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents or legal custodians, pregnant women, and people securing custody of children under the age of 18), and disability. Simply stated; the fair housing act prohibits refusal to rent or sale housing; refusal to negotiate for housing, making housing unavailable, deny a dwelling; set different terms and conditions or privileges in the sale and or rental of a dwelling. The fair housing act also prohibits housing providers from providing different housing services or facilities. This means anytime someone does any of the actions I stated earlier in sales, renting or even lending they are discriminating against someone. Michel S. Davis Robinson: How would you define the link between housing and education? Rose Mayes: I would begin my response with one key word “stability”. Where you live determines the quality of the education you receive. What we have learned as a result of the recent foreclosure crisis is that it has served to destabilize communities. Families had to move from a community they have lived in for most of their lives. Communities their mothers and fathers were raised and where they call home as adults, many are being forced to leave. The foreclosure crisis devastated these communities basically weakening them. Devastation of communities’ impact schools in a variety of ways; number one, those young people, those students are moving to new schools and communities of which they have no familiarity. In some cases, families are being forced to live in cars, move in with other family members. The lack of housing destabilizes communities and that weakens schools. As we know, most schools are funded based on enrollment sizes and taxes generated by housing. When these two areas are eroded it impacts the quality of the schools. Click Here to Listen
"The chance to follow your dreams always comes with great risk. It never asks you to leave something you hate in order to chase your dreams." Walter O. Duncan Educator and Innovator of Quick Key http://www.power2teach.com/
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capital, and spur further innovations. In addition to the referendum, I would have also added a sunset provision for ten years out. A decade of data and experience allows educational professionals and legislative experts an opportunity to carefully assess the added-value of the governance model. At that point, the legislature can consider whether the reform should be made permanent. Sunset provisions can generate policy reexamination and reinvention – both of which may be needed if the reform path in Prince George’s County follows that in other executive-led districts. Whether the goal is to reignite the system with a renewed vision, or to replace it with an alternative governance structure, the sunset provision provides policymakers with an opportunity to build on previous progress. Maryland legislators did not choose to adopt either of these two provisions, so what is to be done? I recommend three things. First, legislators might revisit this bill in future legislative sessions and consider amending it to allow for more citizen input. Second, the governance team must strive to be as transparent as possible in explaining and executing its decisions. Third, students, parents, and citizens should be vigilant in making their voices heard and their perspectives considered. Already we see such grass-roots opposition emerging in Prince George’s County. In Maryland, the legislation was opposed by members of the current school board, and currently efforts are underway by a group called Citizens for an Elected Board to place a referendum on the ballot in 2014 to return to an elected school board. This is similar to 2009 in New York when debate grew heavy over re-authorizing the law that gives the New York City mayoral school board appointive powers. In New York, while proponents of mayoral control touted improved student outcomes, groups such as the Grassroots Education Movement emphasized the need for transparency and citizen access. In response to such criticism, executives posit a model of executive accountability. Discussing the bill, County Executive Baker reflected that, “They're giving me the ability to say to voters that come June 1, I will be accountable for education…
If it does not improve, you know exactly where to go.” This is similar to the sentiment expressed over fifteen years ago by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino: “Mayor Daley and I share a very important philosophy. Neither one of us is willing to wash our hands of public education. We refuse to let our schools fall by the wayside and join the chorus of politicians saying the failure of the schools isn't their fault. No, Mayor Daley and I believe that when it comes to educating our kids, the buck stops in the mayor's office.” The logic of executive-appointed boards is, as these quotes suggest, that accountability in the education sector is tied to electoral consequences: if you don’t like the way the executive is running the schools, then vote her/him out of office to show your displeasure. This logic, of course, is subject to a variety of criticisms, including the point that executives need not necessarily improve school performance, but merely make it appear that the schools are improving. Also, the mayor need only appease a majority of the electorate (which may be distinct from the citywide population because not all residents are registered and likely voters). We don’t know what will happen in Prince George’s County in terms of future academic achievement and fiscal management, but we do know from the details of the legislation that executive-appointed school governance is here to stay unless legislators act again. Whether, and how, this new state legislative action occurs will depend on district performance and on the level of civic involvement from students, parents, and citizens. Without a formal avenue for changing the governance reform built into the law, grass-roots channels will become all the more important for maintaining accountability over time. 2013 Maryland House Bill No. 1107, Maryland 433rd Session of the General Assembly, 2013 2 Kenneth K. Wong, Francis X. Shen, Dorothea Anagnostopoulos, & Stacey Rutledge, The Education Mayor: Improving America’s Schools
(Georgetown Univ. Press 2007). 3 Kenneth K. Wong & Francis X. Shen, Mayoral Governance and Student Achievement (2013). 4 Francis X. Shen, Community Support For Mayoral Control Of Urban School Districts: A Critical Reexamination, 44 Education and Urban Society 342 (2012). 5 Id. 6 Id. 7 Joseph P. Viteritti, When Mayors Take Charge: School Governance in the City (2009, Brookings Institution Press). 8 Emphasis added. 9
Tracee Wilkins, Effort to Put Prince George's County Schools Changes on Ballot (May 3, 2013) 10 ABC 7 News, Rushern Baker says school takeover bill is a 'good compromise' (April 8, 2013) 11 Quoted in: Mike Brown, Boston: Daley, Menino Say Mayors Key to Better Public Schools, Press Release, The United States Conference of Mayors (1996). 12 Francis X. Shen, Community Support For Mayoral Control Of Urban School Districts: A Critical Reexamination, 44 Education and Urban Society 342 (2012). 13 Id. (2007, Georgetown Univ. Press). Additional information on his research can be found online at: www.fxshen.com
improve by itself is not realistic. Take some time to think about it first. Entitlement-free parenting alerts you to these red flags immediately. There’ll still be days when you wish you had a magic wand to make yourself or your child disappear. And entitlement-free parenting says to take the break you deserve and try not to make choices that undermine what you’re trying to teach. Protecting Your Identity continued from page 38
Journaling continued from page 89
they would like write about. Journaling is only one of the ways to improve writing and communication skills, but the educational and personal benefits can be very rewarding. Entitlement-Free Parenting Tips
who think and feel. But your child cannot hear your message when your emotions are spilling out of control.
Threats and bribes. Behind every threat or bribe is a sense of powerlessness that undermines the value of what you’re trying to teach. Find a strong place to stand before trying to support someone else Appeasement. Giving in buys you only temporary peace of mind. You are setting yourself up for a shakedown next time, and the time after that. Avoidance. Sweeping things under the rug makes for a very bumpy rug. Pretending a problematic situation will
A strategy I use is to check one of the reports every 4 months – that way I am checking it out on a regular basis. If there are any errors or accounts you don’t recognize you need to take steps right away to get it taken care of. Cash About a year ago I got a call at 7:30 in the morning on a Saturday from the Fraud Department at my bank. My credit card number had been used for an online purchase that seemed uncharacteristic (it was a dating site), and the Fraud Department was calling to find out if my wife or I had used our card there. We had not, so they immediately closed down the card and issued a new number. When we tried to figure out how it happened we realized that the most likely scenario was when we used our debit card the last time we ate out. When the waiter/waitress takes your card and disappears with it for 2-3 minutes it is easy for them to snap a photo of the front and back using their cell phone. We now pay with cash anytime we eat out. Online Purchases A few months ago I got an email from a large online retailer stating that they couldn’t ship the 2 Google Nexus tablets I had ordered because they couldn’t verify the address (I live in Missouri and the address was a vacant house in California). I hadn’t ordered any tablets, so I went to the website, found the order and immediately cancelled it. I discovered through some research Continue on page 118
Prince George’s County school board chair begins work By Ovetta Wiggins Segun Eubanks, who on June 1, 2013 took over as chairman of the Prince George’s County Board of Education, said people have been unsure whether to offer him congratulations or condolences. Eubanks takes the helm of a reconstituted board after months of heated debate about the future of the county’s public school system, which has shown improvements in recent years on state testing but continues to languish near the bottom of Maryland’s counties. Eubanks’s appointment was the first action County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) took since Saturday, when the law that restructured the school system took effect. The board moved from an elected body to one that is a hybrid of elected and appointed members and cedes power over hiring a superintendent to the county executive. To read more click here
Morgan State University unveils plan to boost neighborhood By: Elizabeth Heubeck Morgan State University leaders hope to put an end to these complaints with a new initiative, the Morgan Community Mile. By partnering with neighborhood organizations and business groups in the surrounding area, the university hopes to improve the quality of life for students and faculty and encourage living and spending in the neighborhood. It echoes efforts by other area universities that are taking a more active role in their communities as so-called “anchor institutions.” Morgan’s Mary Anne Akers, who is spearheading the initiative, acknowledges this as a priority. “We want to develop the Northwood Shopping Center. Now, there’s no hub where folks can go for a cup of coffee,” says Akers, dean of Morgan's School of Architecture & Planning. To read more click here
Philly public schools to lay off 3,800 staffers Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. announced yesterday afternoon that 3,783 layoff notices were sent out to school personnel, part of a "harsh reality" that will help close the district's $304 million shortfall. Beginning July 1, no guidance counselors. No secretaries. No football. No glee club. Without these employees, "our schools will be just empty shells," Hite said. The district workforce, before layoffs, is 19,530 employees. The layoffs "are nothing less than catastrophic for our schools and students," the superintendent said. Read more at
Financial Planning for College Graduates continued from page 106
Pay off consumer debt as quickly as possible Carrying consumer debt, especially credit card debt, is toxic to your financial goals. Pay it off as quickly as possible by paying more than the minimum and refusing to take on additional unnecessary debt. Start saving now for retirement and take advantage of employer-sponsored retirement plans such as a 401(k) or 403(b) If your employer offers a tax-advantaged retirement savings plan, such as a 401(k) or 403(b), take advantage of it! You will save on taxes now and can often get free money through a company “match” of your savings. Time is your best friend when it comes to saving for retirement. If a 23-year old saves $3000 a year at 8% interest until he or she is age 65 they will have about $912,000 in the bank. If a 33-year old does the same thing they will have about $402,000. That is the power of compound interest! Understand taxes, insurance and basic estate planning Even if you pay someone else to prepare your tax return for you, you need to understand your own taxes. You should know your average tax rate, your marginal tax rate, and some steps you can take to reduce your tax burden. You should understand the difference between taking the standard deduction and itemizing deductions. You also need to understand your insurance products. We spend a lot of money on disability insurance, life insurance, auto insurance, renter’s or homeowner’s insurance and other types of insurance. You should understand what your policy covers, what it doesn’t cover and how much you are paying for each one. You should occasionally check around to see if you can get lower cost insurance. Everyone needs to do some basic estate planning. Even if you are single with no dependents you at least need a basic will, healthcare directives and a power of attorney. As your situation changes you should review these documents and update them and add other important estate planning documents as necessary.
Start an uncomplicated financial record-keeping system You and your loved ones should know where important financial documents are and what each one is for. For example, if I were to pass away today I would want my wife to know exactly where my life insurance policies are and how to begin the process of collecting that money. The system I use is a fireproof file box with the HomeFile Organizer system. With this low-cost system I can file and find auto titles, insurance policies, medical records, warranties and any other financial documents. Give yourself an annual financial checkup I recommend that you set aside a day each year to give yourself a financial checkup. Review your goals, your budget, your net worth, your insurance and estate policies, your savings and your debt level and determine some steps you can take to improve in each area. As part of the review I recommend you choose a new personal finance book to read over the next year. Take this opportunity to reassess where you are and determine a plan for how to get to the next level. Conclusion Hopefully you got some good ideas about
When to Include continued from page 102
improving your financial situation from this list. I recommend you choose just one or two things from this list that you can take action on today. As that becomes a habit you can incorporate another item until you have implemented all of them that fit your situation. Exit counseling is required for graduating seniors with federal student loans. They go over repayment amounts and repayment plans. Students can elect to do this online or in person at the Office for Financial Success at the University of Missouri. 2
change the expectations for students on state assessments. No Child Left Behind (NCLB) has suggested that by 2014, 100 percent of students should pass English and math assessments at grade level. Some states have been granted waivers. The waivers allow states to use growth measures as a means of measuring success. This is beneficial to special education students because if a student is educated in a self-contained environment and assessed using the state assessment, the student only has to show progress.
http://jumpstart.org/survey.html Protecting Your Identity continued from page 115
If you are looking for an excellent course I recommend Alena Johnson’s Family Finance course from Utah State Open Courseware: http://ocw.usu.edu/Family__Consumer____Human _Development/Family_Finance/index.html. This is the course I took that convinced me to change my major and helped determine my life’s work. 4
www.Mint.com is a great, free resource for budgeting. The software I personally use can be found at www.YNAB.com. It isn’t free, but I highly recommend it. 5 www.AnnualCreditReport.com is the only place to get a free copy of all three of your credit reports annually 6 www.MyFico.com has a great explanation of credit scores and is the most reliable place to purchase your score. 7
www.PowerPay.org is a great free resource to figure out how you can pay your debt off quickly 8
that their database was not secured properly and they store your credit card information in order to make purchases faster. I changed my password to the website and went in and found my credit card number in the “My Account” section of the website and deleted my credit card information. I still purchase from their site, but I am completely willing to enter, then delete, my credit card information each time. If you have been the victim of identity theft visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website at www.ftc.gov/idtheft where you will find a list of steps to take to deter, detect and defend against identity theft.
Place to Sit, Surf, and Study Spotlight
Sweet 27 Cafe
Sweet 27 Cafe and Bakery was founded by Richard and Renee D'Souza in 2007. Realizing she had a Gluten allergy (and later dairy), Renee, a graduate of culinary school, wanted to create foods that had flavor AND wouldn't make her sick. At the time, there was very little information on gluten and foods that were available to people that have gluten sensitivities. The couple was determined to change that. With her husband, Renee spent many months of trialand-error to come up with bakery items that not only were Gluten Free, but tasted great. And thus, Sweet 27 Cafe was born!
After a year of being a bakery only, Richard, who spent many years cooking in five star restaurants and cruise ships, added a cafe menu featuring full-flavored dishes inspired by Indian, South American, Mexican, Caribbean, and Asian cuisines. Sweet 27 has made a name for itself in the Gluten Free community as well as the "foodie" crowd. Delicious, healthy, and a great value are the names of the game. Sweet 27 has earned several awards for excellence and quality, and continues to grow. Customers from all over the world stop in on a daily basis as the cafe is a destination for health-conscious eaters. Gluten free, dairy free, soy free, etc, Sweet 27 has something for everyone. There are many vegetarian and vegan options available as well. Even if you just have a sweet tooth, there are 18+ varieties of cupcakes available every day, as well as other baked goods and coffee. Sweet 27 Cafe and Bakery operates on the idea that eating gluten free can be healthy, fulfilling, and delicious For More Information Visit Their Website:
http://sweet27.com or call us at: 410 464 7211 We are located at 123 West 27th Street Baltimore, MD 21218 Hours: Open 7 days: 9:30 am â€“ 11:00 pm
Congratulations to the 2013 graduates. Your hard work and commitment will prove to serve as the foundation of your future achievements. This year, you have conquered one of lifeâ€™s most coveted experiences. Now as you move on to the next stages of your life, I encourage you to become BOLD in your aspirations, act BRAZEN to achieve your dreams and BELIEVE in yourself as your family, friends, teachers and community BELIEVE in you. Dr. Michal A. Robinson, CEO/Editor and Chief Forest Of The Rain Productions Creator of National Men Make A Difference Day For Academic Success Author and Educator http://menmakeadifferenceday.weebl y.com/
Living Education eMagazine Salutes All 2013 Teachers of the Year
Ms. Amey B. James 2013 Teacher of the Year Richmond Public Schools
Chris Shelton 2013 Teacher of the Year St. Louis Public Schools
Albert T. Lewis 2013 Teacher of the Year Prince Georgeâ€™s County Public Schools
Heather Anderson 2013 Teacher of the Year Iowa Public Schools
Adeeb Barqawi 2013 (TACA) Teacher of the Year Texas Alternative Certification Association
Angie Church 2013 Teacher of the Year Berkley School District
What are the best parental engagement practices?
Forest Of The Rain Productions
Best Practices in Parental Engagement: A Perspective from K-12 Public School Leaders Survey The mission of Forest Of The Rain Productions is to expand the voices of all educational stakeholders. These voices will create a richer dialogue; which will lead to a diverse exchange of knowledge and ideas within the educational landscape. Our goal is to increase conversations on educational issues that help in the development of solutions to address the urgent challenges facing all stakeholders in education. If you are a K-12 public school leader responsible for parental engagement and community outreach, you are invited to participate in a study that investigates best practices public schools employ to engage parents and other stakeholders representing the diversity of their communities. Your insight and knowledge will contribute to a better understanding how public K-12 schools engage parents and communities. The intent of this study is to share effective practices and strategies used to expand parental involvement and engagement which lead to improve student achievement with school systems throughout the country. The results of this study will provide guidance to school districts on concrete practices to strengthen parental engagement plans. Your participation is strictly voluntary and your responses are anonymous. To the survey click here
Forest of The Rain Productions, Inc. P.O. Box 12 Savage, MD 20763 301.684.8519 Follow us on Twitter (@ anaturalbridge) www.forestoftherain.net Send Comments and Questions To: editor.forestoftherain.net
The staff of Living Education eMagazine were sent on a mission to find unique views and perspectives on education. The hope of their search...
Published on Jun 22, 2013
The staff of Living Education eMagazine were sent on a mission to find unique views and perspectives on education. The hope of their search...