Living Education eMagazine 2015 Special Edition Vol. XII

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Living Education eMagazine 2


Special Edition Vol. XII

A magazine that discusses education in our everyday lives

RE-DEFINING THE NARRATIVE My Turn: Prominent Women Leaders in Today’s Sports Industry On Being Blackballed: UnderRepresentation of Black Students in Gifted Education

Is Your Child Born Smart? Family Life and Academic Achievement

When Violence Goes Viral Black Women and Mental Health

Publisher’s Note The Foundation of Our Voices I am proud of our second special edition of Living Education eMagazine’s Narrative Changer series. This edition features articles, interviews, commentaries, reviews, tips and helpful antidotes from African American women writers. The Narrative Changer series was created to highlight examples of the hard work of many who fight to maintain and strengthen the African American community. These Narrative Changers can be found impacting lives in education, business, family services and community development every day. However, let it be clear, the work of which I speak is not something unusual in the black community; it is as common as the sunrise and as normal as breathing for a community of people who understand the power of love and faith. In this edition, we share the African American woman’s voice; a voice often misrepresented, misinterpreted, under-represented and at times even devalued by society. For many, the African American woman’s voice has been an unprotected but an always constant guiding force that reinforces communities across this country. These voices have held myriad titles and have been called by various names, from Mama, Mom, Grandmother, Madea, Nana, Grandmaee, and Auntie. The list goes on, but they all share a common thread; their readiness to circle the wagons, to protect and shield their families and if need be all our families. These women were self-assured and trained by a legend of Narrative Changers that came before them. As a child when you were sick, you found comfort in their protective voices as they provided both a sense of calm and caring through the night. And with little rest these amazing women went on to work, returning home in time to check homework, cook dinner and prepare for the next day. These are the voices that prayed love ones out of difficult times while volunteering at the church or community centers to help others in need. These are the voices we hear during Sunday morning worship; while wearing their “Sunday Best”. From there these women would proudly join hands with other soldiers for social justice and march in the street chanting “We Shall Overcome” and now “Black Lives Matter”. I was blessed to have a one of those soldiers as a mother. My mother was known throughout St. Louis for her stunning beauty and singing voice. She was asked by two national and international recognized entertainers to travel with them. She declined and remained in St. Louis to raise a family. However, the wisdom she shared with me, my sisters and brother seemed as if she had journeyed the world six times over. Her wisdom about life was unlike anyone I have ever known. It was obvious to me and my siblings her wisdom was guided by her strong faith and a belief no matter what is going on in your life there will be a better day ahead, just keep living. In this edition, we honored those voices, both past and present. We asked some of the best African American women thinkers, educators and writers to discuss issues in education, business, research, and many others from their perspectives. There is no doubt you will find their views interesting.

Michel Davis Robinson CEO and Publisher

Organizations you need to Know Mary-Frances Winters President & CEO @maryfwinters We help clients unlock the unlimited human potential that inherently exists within every individual. We live in a world where technology, demography and globalization are changing at such a rapid rate, successful organizations must anticipate and respond with great agility to myriad issues. When it is all said and done, only those entities able to attract and retain the best minds will survive and thrive in the long term. For three decades, The Winters Group has helped organizations, large and small assess organizational climate, build and implement innovative strategies, design educational interventions, coach and motivate leaders and individual contributors. Our Vision: A world that values, respects and leverages our similarities and differences. Our Mission: To create transformative and sustainable solutions for individuals and organizations in support of their efforts to create more equitable and inclusive environments.

Anita Posey Fendall Founder and CEO @afendall Tease Free Kids was created in April 2000 and since then is responsible for several successful Tease Free kids in the Washington DC Metropolitan area. The Tease Free Kids Program has been introduced in several school and youth organizations, school assemblies, afterschool programs, summer camps, and church events; train the trainer event for The Department of Education, Concerned Parents Seminar for Department of Transportation and much more. The organization has received accolades from Prince Georges County Superintendent, several principals, teachers, parents and most of all students on how the program has helped them. Tease Free Kids has recently celebrated the first of a series of anti-bullying children’s books entitled “That’s Not My Name.” Tease Free Kids has partnered with and will continue to partner with organizations that will impact our children in a positive way. Our goal is to replace negative behavior with acceptance, respect and empathy by “Changing Hearts One Child at a Time.” Terri-Nichelle Bradley, Founder and Chief Strategist @PlaygroundPR_ In the new digital/social media era one way communication is a thing of the past and every day citizens have all the information and communication tools they need to either advocate for a product, brand or an organization. Conversely, they can use their powers and influence to sink those same products, brands, and organizations. Many organizations have learned this the hard way. By not laying the foundation of trust early on public missteps have resulted in community backlash costing them millions of dollars and even worse a diminished public trust. The team at Playground PR works with our clients to establish sustainable relationships early, and in many cases is called upon to help new clients reverse negative perceptions and build positive cooperative relationships with target segment communities.

Re-Defining a Community’s Narrative by Restoring its History

Lillie Velma Pearson, known to all who loved her as “Granny” was an African American woman entrepreneur and activist during the early stages of the Civil Rights Movement. For forty years, from 1948 to 1988, Lillie Velma Pearson at the age of 33 owned and operated a grocery store in The Ville neighborhood of North St. Louis City; which meant much more to residents of the community. Tillie’s Food Shop, named after Pearson’s oldest daughter was a community gathering spot, a place where community leaders met to share their plans for social justice and to galvanize the public. The grocery served as a beacon of hope for many in the community. Often times, elected and aspiring local and statewide political figures would stop by to chat with customers at Tillie’s. It became the hub of the community. Mrs. Pearson’s commitment to the families of her St. Louis neighborhood was never more evident than by her refusal to close her store in the midst of crumbling infrastructure and rising crime rates. She refused to close her store, believing families in African American communities deserved an opportunity to purchase high quality food. Twenty-Seven years since the closing of Tillie’s Food Shop, Carla Alexander, the granddaughter of Mrs. Pearson along with her husband Miguel Alexander have embarked on a missiona neighborhood’s foundation by bringing its history to mission to restore life. Carla and Miguel travel the St. Louis area, visiting schools, libraries and community centers sharing what they call “Granny’s Story”. A story according to Mrs. Alexander that is rich in history and purpose. A few years ago, the Alexanders had gone beyond the telling of life lessons learned from Tillie’s Food Shop, by beginning a preservation project intended to have the site of Tillie’s Food Shop along with two adjacent buildings designated a state historical landmark. The plan included a complete restoration of the aforementioned buildings, after which the location would be renamed Tillie’s Corner. However, a day after receiving notification that the building that formerly housed Tillie’s Food Shop had been approved as a historical site by the state of Missouri, the building which had served as a locus for African American community pride and unity collapsed, leaving nearly half the building

exposed. Ten months after the building was destroyed there was a ground- breaking at the original store’s site for a new Tillie’s Food Shop. This building will be the cornerstone of Tillie’s Corner. The revived location will feature a community garden that is already underway, a fitting tribute to Mrs. Pearson’s desire to nourish The Ville community. The goal of Tillie’s Corner will be to rejuvenate a community, to restore a once bustling area to a place that is thriving and serving as a cultural center-piece for a new generation of African American families.

Mrs. Lillie V. Pearson, age 90 in front of her store

Carla P. Alexander Granddaughter of Mrs. Lillie V. “Granny” Pearson

Carla P. Alexander along with husband Miguel Alexander love working on Granny’s project. Here they are preparing to tell her story to a group of elementary school students. Both Miguel and Carl work tirelessly to keep Mrs. Tillie’s important history alive.

Narrative Changers

Roma Benjamin Is Your Child Born Smart? (P. 68) Bio (P. 104)

Robin T. Dorsey Nine Key Mistakes that cost you the “$1 million” Government Contract (P. 50) Bio (P. 104)

Tara Colquitt What’s Your (FICO) Number? (P. 53) Bio (P. 104)

Narrative Changers

Denise Fawcett Facey Why a Multicultural Classroom Matters (P. 36) Bio (P. 104)

Donna Y Ford, Ph.D On Being Blackballed: UnderRepresentation of Black Students in Gifted Education (P. 28) Bio (P. 104)

Kelly Fair When Violence Goes Viral (P. 47) Bio (P. 105)

Narrative Changers

Karinn Glover, MD Black women and mental health (P. 78) Bio (P. 105)

Mia Jackson My Turn: Prominent Women Leaders in Today’s Sports Industry (P. 44) Bio (P. 106)

Ashley Hill Top 3 Winter College Planning Tips (P. 65)

Bio (P. 106)

Narrative Changers

Yvette mack Social Change: Is It Real or a Mirage? (P. 93) Bio (P. 106)

Sukari Mitchell Transforming your body and mind with yoga (P. 17) Bio (P. 107)

Andrea M. Peoples-Marwah Mathematics and the Relationship of Achievement, Motivation and Concepts of Learning (P. 32) Bio (P. 107)

Gina Byrd-Phelps Parental Advocacy 101 (P. 19) Bio (P. 107)

Narrative Changers

Brittney Pressley Taking Risks: A Needed Motivating Factor for Entrepreneurship (P. 41)

Bio (P. 107)

Monica Randall Four E.A.S.Y College Planning Tips for Parents of CollegeBound Students (P. 55) Bio (P. 108)

Karlene S. Robinson 5 Things Women Need to Know When Investing Their Money (P. 83) Bio (P. 108)

Rinata Tanks Using Multi-Component Behavior Intervention Strategies for Students with Disabilities (P. 57) Bio (P. 108)

Narrative Changers

Michelle Howard-Vital Family Life and Academic Achievement–What Can Families Do? (P. 24) Bio (P. 109)

Karen M.R. Townsend Can You Pass The Test? Identifying African American Women Who Impact The World (P. 62) Bio (P. 108)

Quida Washington Q/A with Quida Washington (P. 76) Bio (P. 109)

Narrative Changers

Tracey West The Best Pound Cake - A Family Affair Makes An Entrepreneur (P. 72) Bio (P. 109)

La Juana Whitmore 6 QUESTIONS with La Juana Whitmore (P. 87) Bio (P. 110)

About Purpose By: Khadijah Z. AliColeman We don’t know why we are here We don’t know why we are here But we create our own meaning interpreting our communion with Creator as our mission, our calling or worse, We close our inner ear and profess to not hear, not feel, not believe that we are here for a reason So our actions don’t matter, Our thoughts don’t matter, We can do any damn thing we want and no one will care No one will see No one will feel the consequence (or so we think) But, is it not a compass we hold in our center that configures and conforms when we are on balance? Isn’t there a ripple in our inner caverns that fills with an energy that warms and radiates when our actions are extended out to mobilize, to embrace, to fellowship, to love? We don’t know why we are here, But we feel why we are here.

Each time we breathe, each time we hear giggles from babies and watch the sun streaked sky glisten in blues, greens and crimson reds, we feel it. Each time we tremble and goose bumps punctuate our skin, when the meeting of our lips to our lover’s can ignite flames of fire in places they aren’t even touching . We know we are conduits. Through us there is a greater mission that is accomplished each time we decide to breathe, each time we decide to engage. Through us, wars are created as we learn strategies for peace. Disease appears as we are required to learn better ways to care for ourselves and each other. Loved ones are lost in physical form so we can engage our spiritual nature in communing with that with which we cannot see. So we can love fully that which we can. We don’t know why we are here. We don’t know why we are here. But what we feel makes it all so clear that we are here to be. We are here to exist. We are here to live. For, through our living, Through authentic, open, honest & present living, We will know why we are here. And, that is called our purpose.

“Yoga, an ancient but perfect science, deals with the evolution of humanity. This evolution includes all aspects of one’s being, from bodily health to self-realization. Yoga means union— the union of body with consciousness and consciousness with the soul. Yoga cultivates the ways of maintaining a balanced attitude in day-to-day life and endows skill in the performance of one’s actions.” ~B.K.S. Iyengar, Astadala Yogamala

Transforming Your Body and Mind with Yoga

Sukari Mitchell @SugaMitch

Sounds very technical, right? Well, it’s not. The word 'yoga' comes from the Sanskrit root 'yuj', which means 'to yoke' the spirit and physical body together. Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual practice or discipline that aims to transform body and mind. Yoga teaches us to focus on ourselves instead of our physical limitations It encourages us to find a calm place and healthier lifestyle. Yoga has also been credited for lowering cholesterol and better immune system function. Pranayama has long been known to lower blood pressure and regulating your heart rate. Basic Asanas (postures) and deep breathing (pranayama) can help you reconnect with your physical body and rejuvenate your mind. Here’s a brief description of some of the benefits of yoga:     

Improves your flexibility Builds muscle strength Perfects your posture Prevents cartilage and joint breakdown Protects your spine

Sounds great, right? Well let’s get started with a few easy steps: Begin by making time to take care of yourself. Find a quiet and comfortable place for your practice. For example: family room, beach, home office or backyard. Allow yourself time. No devices, just you. Reflect on your worth and your health. Create an internal goal for your practice (mentally and physical). Breathe 3 deep breathes. Now begin your asana practice and the steps toward a healthier lifestyle. When choosing a style of yoga an individual should consider the following: Overall health; Current fitness routine and goals; Location; Working with a group or private practice; and the 8 Styles of Yoga. Anusara Developed by American yogi John Friend in 1997, Anusara yoga is a relative newcomer to the yoga world. Based on the belief that we are all filled with an intrinsic goodness, Anusara seeks to use the Continue on page 70

Zakiyah Ansari

Education “Let 2015, be a defining moment in our Nation to try something truly bold and innovative when it comes to improving our public schools, something we have never tried before, Equity! Nelson Mandela said, "There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children." It is time we try Equity!� @zansari8

Literacy has a profound impact on student achievement. The ability to read with understanding is the crux of building lifelong readers, thinkers, and writers. It is my hope that parents know and understand the critical role they play with respect to the impact on literacy development. Parents are the vehicle that can bridge the gap between home and school. According to research, the average student loses more than two months of knowledge over the summer (Cooper, 1996). Often times, parents are warned about the deficits a student can incur throughout the summer when they do not read. What about the winter holiday and spring break? Several cognitive strategies can alleviate gaps in student achievement when implemented with fidelity all year round. Grasping fundamental reading strategies requires intense repetitive practice, especially in seeking out the problems of practice in teaching students how to read. As a practitioner, there is value in diagnosing and treating each student as an individual patient, just as a doctor would. Building student rapport and relationships must be an intentional strategy for checking student understanding. This sounds like a simple task, but how often is the time taken to learn the nuances of how students think? From the perspective of a teacher, this is a valuable strategy. However, parents can use it as well. Have your student to take a modality survey. There are

Parental Advocacy 101 By Mrs. Gina Byrd-Phelps, M. Ed @gina_phelps several online. The results inform you of the type of learner your student is. Examples include, if your modality is learning by singing, writing, hearing, doing, or seeing. Educators focusing on building capacity and staying abreast of academic trends aligned to evidencebased best practices are hallmark to effective reflective practitioners. As a parent, you can be a reflective practitioner as well. One size fits all fails to meet the needs of all learners. Students are unique, and taking time to find out their uniqueness will provide strong data to use when advocating on their behalf. Parental advocacy strengthens children’s voices. Parents are their student’s biggest advocates. You, as a parent can play a vital role in developing your student’s academic growth. This is a sentiment I agree with wholeheartedly and echo to any parent I come in contact with. To fulfill the purpose of educating is to teach with the intent of gaining understanding and deeper meaning. In order for this process to take place, a diagnosis and treatment tailored to a student’s specific needs has to be present. Hence, ask yourself the question, “Who knows my child better than me?” Reflect and discuss with your student. Inquire about what is working for them and where they struggle. This is a great segue into collaborating with your child’s teacher to obtain optimal success in academic growth.

with your student’s teacher is critical in fostering academic growth. You are the conduit between your student and your student’s teacher. Gather information about the latest trends and strategies in education. Generate questions beforehand when preparing for parentteacher conferences. Stay abreast of the events taking place at your child’s school and get involved. You may not be able to attend every event but make it your business to meet your child’s teacher face-to-face! Our children are a reflection of who we are. Talk to your child each day to find out what is taking place in the classroom. Collaborate with the teacher. Teachers need to “look more broadly and carefully at the causes of the behaviors they see, to develop multiple perspectives, and to make a

the same novel. It turned into a friendly competition of who could race to the finish and find out what happened at the end. We were able to discuss the highlights, our favorite characters, and the suspense and make predictions about what might happen next. Most importantly, we bonded. We took time out each day to check in with one another until we finished the book. This collaboration led to many more trips to the library. Additional literacy development strategies are listed below: Literacy Development Checklist:    

Select a set time and cozy place to read together. Visit the grocery story together. Have your child to make a checklist of items needed to find at the grocery store. Visit your local library! Read the newspaper together and discuss the topics to demonstrate understanding.

commitment to working with their students, regardless of parental participation (LadsonBillings, G. 1994). Efforts made on your behalf will contribute to the strong collaboration between the parent and teacher in joint effort to promote student achievement. The term, reading is fundamental, is not just a catch phrase. It evokes a deep sense of urgency with respect to the trajectory of our students, which impacts student achievement. When students develop the academic vocabulary, they are preparing to be successful readers in preparation for college, career, and life. There are several strategies that you can implement immediately to promote gains in your student’s learning. One strategy that works very well is “Buddy Reading”. My daughter selected a novel to read this summer and I read

 

Search for current events online. Read and follow directions to make a recipe.

“If we choose to see the obstacles as hurdles, we can leap over them. Successful people don’t have fewer problems. They have determined that nothing will stop them from going forward.” (Carson, 1990, p 224) Do not let busy schedules; work, or the numerous piles of “to-do lists” get in the way of helping your child succeed in the development of literacy. Continue on page 52



Audio archive interviews discussing recent events of Ferguson, Missouri and the psychological effect on children in the areas of education and housing throughout the Metropolitan St. Louis area. How are and have these events impacted the academic achievement and outlook on the future for the youngest residents of the community?

Dr. Marva M. Robinson Licensed Clinical Psychologist President of the St. Louis Chapter The Association of Black Psychologists @drmarvarobinson

Brittany N. Packnett Executive Director Teach For America-St. Louis @MsPackyetti

Velma Bailey Former St. Louis City Alderwoman Founder and President St. Louis Torchbearers 2

Dr. Shonta Smith Chief Executive Officer and Founder Dr. Shonta Smith International, LLC. @DrShontaSmith

2 Tips Writing the Dissertation

Dr. Wanda P. Gywn

Completing a dissertation is the most challenging, stressful, and lonely experience you will encounter in your journey to earn that terminal degree. To successfully accomplish this you will need an inner determination, awareness of the research area, guidance and support. 1: Build a relationship with your mentor. Make sure that the time you spend with them includes you asking about how they are doing and simply say hello. Mentors/Department Chairs have a heavy schedule and deal with students that are easily angered from reading feedback. There is little thought from the student that due to workload or other obligations sometimes mistakes are made. However, when you build relationships with your mentor and something goes wrong instead of getting angry take the time to call or email and discuss the issue rather than blowing up and calling the college president.


2: Read your feedback with objectivity instead of thinking your mentor/dissertation chair is out to get you or take a personal interest in stopping you from graduating. I've provided as many as 100 comments on a dissertation. Once I emailed my response and the student saw all the changes the student had two choices either feel defeat and not respond timely with the requested changes or request a meeting to discuss the comments further and move forward. However, you would be amazed at how easy a doctoral student allows feedback to defeat them and keep them from their goal. Our goal at Gwyn Consulting Services is to keep you focused on your dissertation by using a dissertation coach, writing specialist and support coach for each client. We can be reached at or via phone at 813618-5306.

Do something healthy for your child. Meet her teacher today.

In contrast, in Family Life and School Achievement, Dr. Clark conducted an ethnographic examination of ten family units, or

What Can Families Do?

Several decades ago, as a newly minted, and optimistic, Ph.D. in public policy analysis, I reviewed the 1983 text, Family Life and School Achievement: Why Poor Black Children Succeed or Fail by Dr. Reginald Clark for The Journal of Negro Education. Around about the same time, the nation’s attention was drawn to the 1983 report, A Nation At Risk, which basically found that American public schools were mediocre and could hinder the future economic status of America. The Nation At Risk report seemed to begin a series of late 20th century and 21st education reforms to “fix” public education (i.e. No Child Left Behind and Common Core Curriculum).

Family Life and Academic Achievement Michelle Howard-Vital, Ph.D. @mrhvital

these families critically observing their family worlds, he was able to identify family activities in two-parent homes with high achieving students, single-headed families with high achieving

students and a similar range of activities of families with low achieving students that positively or negatively influenced academic achievement.

“family worlds,” in urban communities in Chicago to determine if there are identifiable family interactions, values, and other activities in the home that would support or hinder academic achievement of children. In order to determine if there were identifiable differences in family worlds, Dr. Clark conducted several extensive visits with the families of highachieving and low-achieving children. His visits focused on the family background, social history of parents, child-rearing practices, family dynamics, socialization to norms, attitudes and personalities of family members, home living patterns, family relations, parental approach to time and space, and the intellectual orientation of the family members (Clark, 1983). Because Dr. Clark spent time with

After reviewing his findings, Dr. Clark postulated that the characteristics of family worlds such as home activities and parent/child interactions were significant factors in whether children succeeded or languish in school achievement. While Dr. Clark admits these findings are limited by the size of his study, he postulates that there is a significant opportunity for ameliorating some of the recalcitrant achievement gap issues still with us in 2015 by working closely with the range of families and by educating them on a range of positive daily activities that can be constructed, in their family worlds, to achieve more positive academic achievement for their children. Probably because of my varied experiences in higher education, interactions with parents, and actual practice as a parent, Clark’s work on the relationship between family life and academic achievement of children continues to resonate with me and to add to knowledge about the relationship between family worlds and student achievement outcomes. Possibly because of the case study method that Clark employed in his observations of the families, he was able to identify that there were important types of family interactions that should be examined in viewing correlations between family and academic achievement. For instance, Clark noted that even if different

types of families had high aspirations for educational achievement for their children, there were specific activities that reinforced/or did not reinforce these aspirations. For example, in family units with high achieving families some of Clark’s observations were that parents: 1) Expected their child to continue education to postsecondary instruction 2) Established clear, specific role boundaries, and status structures with child and parents were the dominate authority 3) Were psychologically and emotionally calm with the child 4) Expected that the child will play a major role in his/her progress at school 5) Organized siblings interaction as a unit 6) Displayed minimum and infrequent conflict with other family members 7) Encouraged psychologically and emotionally calm interactions with child 8) Engaged in deliberate activities to help increase achievement 9) Furnished a nurturing and supportive home environment 10) Exercised firm, consistent monitoring and clarity regarding rule enforcement (Clark, 1983) On the other hand, Dr. Clark observed different family interactions among families in which students were low-achieving. For example, in families with low-achieving students, parents: 1) Demonstrated lower expectations about post-secondary instruction 2) Allowed less-cleared status structures and role boundaries-parent not as dominate

3) Showed less psychological and emotional calm with child-environment could be loud and disturbing to child 4) Demonstrated less expectations that the child would take initiative in his/her progress at school 5) Did not structure siblings in an effective, interactive group 6) Participated in more frequent conflict among family members 7) Allowed child to be less psychologically and emotionally calm when interacting with them 8) Engaged rarely in activities that would reinforce child’s achievement 9) Demonstrate inconsistent standards and exercised less monitoring of child’s time and space 10) Practiced less consistency in rule enforcement and less monitoring of child’s time and space (Clark, 1983; 200) In my review of his study, I summarized Clark’s finding as: According to Clark, “the forms and substance of the family psychosocial patterns are the most significant components for understanding the educational effects of high achievers’ families and low achievers’ families–not their race or social class per se. (Howard, 1985). I conclude my review of Clark’s work and findings by acknowledging that the family is

usually the first place of learning or “missed learning” and that there should be more attention and study on developing and reinforcing home activities that support academic achievement.

influencing academic outcomes, the Center on Education Policy also discusses factors that sometimes curtail the positive influence that family life can have on the achievement

By 2012, researchers were concluding that over the twenty years since Clark’s work there had been a clear link established between specific family activities and student achievement (Center on Education Policy, 2012). a summary of some of the now generally accepted findings reveals that parents can help influence positive academic outcomes by: 1. Portraying positive attitudes and expectations about the long-term academic potential of their children. 2. Demonstrating a positive attitude towards academic effort. 3. Promoting and discussing reading in the home. 4. Discussing reading and assignments in a way that encourages students to enjoy learning. 5. Setting clear guidelines and expectations regarding homework and other activities such as watching television or engaging in other forms of entertainment. 6. Valuing academic work of the children in the family. 7. Exposing children to new experiences. The Center on Education Policy summarizes most of the researchers’ findings of various research studies drawing the link between family life and school achievement by stating, “In other words, parents who are actively involved in their children’s education and provide a stimulating learning environment at home can help their children develop feelings of competence, control, curiosity, and positive attitudes about academics” (Center on Education Policy, 2012). In addition to developing some very helpful findings from various researchers on the positive role that family life can play in positively

of children. These factors include: 1. Parents’ lack of time because of job responsibilities. 2. Using anger towards children related to academic studies or achievement. 3. Praising children’s intelligence rather than their efforts. 4. Controlling parents who develop extrinsic versus intrinsic motivations for learning and achievement.

In addition to the influence that parents have on academic achievement, the Center on Education Policy also acknowledges that influences of teachers and peers on academic influence of children. They concluded that the “perceived support from both teachers and parents is an important buffer against the general declines in school engagement found during the secondary school years…adolescents continue to be influenced substantially by their teachers and parents when it Continue on page 59

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Abstract This article examines the under-representation of Black students in gifted education. I argue that social inequalities and inequities based on racial prejudice and discrimination contribute to segregated gifted education. Attitudes, policies, and procedures among decision makers represent a form of blackballing Black students from accessing such programs. Gifted education under-representation percentages are presented for Black students, along with an equity allowance formula to guide educational and legal decision makers in desegregating gifted education. Recommendations are shared.

On Being Blackballed: Under-Representation of Black Students in Gifted Education Donna Y Ford, PhD @donnayford To accept and permit the inequitable distribution of resources and opportunities to students based on race is both unprofessional and unethical. This often occurs with Black students in general and gifted Black students in particular. Gifted education has promoted racial inequities in schools. Specifically, many Black students are blackballed from gifted education classes and services. Blackballing is a negative vote, especially one that blocks the admission of an applicant to an organization. Inequitable or unjust resources and opportunities contribute to, promote, and exacerbate educational disparities, and create a brutal cycle whereby Black students are denied access to school programs that are essential to reaching their potential. Because gifted education is not federally mandated, states have much discretion regarding identification and services, including the troubling option to neither identify, nor serve, nor fund such programs. According to National Association for Gifted Children, the following areas of giftedness exist in state definitions: intellectual (n = 34), creativity

(n = 26); visual and performing arts (n = 25); academics (n = 23); specific academics (n = 21); and leadership (n = 17). Too few states include cultural diversity (n = 10) and underachieving students (n = 5) in their definitions (see Essentially, being culturally responsive is not a high priority in state definitions and, thus, instrument selection, policies and procedures. Educational personnel have failed to recruit and retain a representative and, more importantly, equitable percentage of Black students in gifted education (and courses for advanced learners, such as Advanced Placement classes). This lack of accountability results in de jure and de facto segregation. Information from The Office for Civil Rights Gifted Under-Representation Data Most publications on gifted Black students focus on under-representation (See Ford, 2011, 2013a; 2013b).

Several statistical formulae can be used to analyze representation discrepancies. I rely on the Relative Difference in Composition Index (RDCI). The RDCI for a racial group is the difference between their gifted education composition and general education composition, expressed as a discrepancy percentage. The Relative Difference in Composition Index composition, expressed as a discrepancy percentage. The Relative Difference in Composition Index (RDCI) for under-representation is computed as [100% - (Composition (%) of Black students in gifted education) /(Composition (%) of Black students in general education)]. Using decimals is also appropriate and yields the same results. According to the CRDC (2011), Black students comprise 19% of schools but only 10% of gifted programs; this is almost a 50% under-representation. Black students are consistently the most under-represented group in gifted education (See Ford, 2013a for trends since 2002, which often hover around 50% for this group). Black students are also most often the focus of complaints and litigation in gifted education. How Gifted Black Students are Blackballed: A Brief Overview of Barriers Clearly, several factors hinder access to gifted programs, mainly driven by attitudes, instruments, policies and procedures. It is often argued that intelligence tests pose the greatest threat to Black students being identified as gifted. While test bias and unfairness are indeed problems, I believe that attitudes are the main barriers. Attitudes guide decisions and actions, including the instrument selected and how it is interpreted and used. The majority of states rely on referrals and/or checklists for screening and identification by teachers. If Black students are not referred, then they are unlikely to be tested or evaluated for gifted education. In a review of the literature, Ford, Grantham, and Whiting (2008) noted that every study on teacher referrals showed that Black students are under-referred. Hence, educators are key gatekeepers. Page limitations do not allow for a thorough discussion on test bias and unfairness. The debates continue ad nauseum. Each test must be reviewed for bias and fairness. Despite revisions and re-norming, I remain convinced that traditional intelligence tests favor White in general but middle class White students specifically. I also believe that non-verbal tests are less biased and fairer for Black students than traditional tests (see Ford, 2013a). Policies and procedures (guided by beliefs and attitudes) also contribute to segregated gifted programs. These include but are not limited to referral options, which instruments are adopted, cutoff scores for screening and identification, use of standard error of measurement, matrices, when instrument(s) is administered, use of single versus multiple criteria, methods for communicating with families, and more. Policies and procedures often result in gifted Black students being blackballed. Toward Desegregating Gifted Education: An Equity Allowance Formula Discussions and debates are pervasive regarding how to determine when under-representation (in referrals,

screening, identification, and placement) exists, when under-representation is unreasonable and/or inequitable, and when discrimination is at work. Two basic questions are: (1) ‘When is under representation significant?’ and (2) ‘How severe must underrepresentation be in order to be discriminatory and inequitable?’ I rely on the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights’ (2000b) 20% equity allowance (see Griggs vs. Duke Power, 1971; Ford, 2013a) to guide legal and school personnel in determining a targeted goal for the minimally accepted level of under-representation for each racial group (and disaggregated by race, gender, income, etc.). Note that when the percentage of under-representation exceeds the designated threshold in the Equity Allowance Index, it is beyond statistical chance; therefore, human error is operating -- attitudes, instruments, and policies and procedures may be discriminatory against Black students. When examining under-representation, intent matters, depending on the law being applied. The doctrine of disparate impact holds that practices may be considered discriminatory and illegal if they have a disproportionate ‘adverse impact’ on students regarding a protected trait (e.g., Griggs vs. Duke Power, 1971). The protected traits vary by statute, but most federal civil rights laws include race, color, religion, national origin, and gender as protected traits. Under the disparate impact doctrine, a violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act may be proven by demonstrating that an instrument, practice or policy has a disproportionately adverse effect on Black students. The RCDI used in isolation and without context is inadequate for determining unacceptable and possibly illegal and discriminatory under-representation rates. Under-representation for Black students is significant and beyond statistical chance (50% underrepresentation). This is where the Equity Index (EI) is helpful for desegregating gifted education and determining minimal goals. Calculating the Equity Index (EI) takes two-steps. Step 1: [((Composition (%) of Black students in general education) x 20% allowance = B. This is abbreviated as CxT=B. Step 2: ((Composition (%) of Black students in general education)) - B = EI. This is abbreviated as C–B=EI. For example, Black students were 19% of school enrollment in 2011; the Equity Index using a 20% allowance would be: B is 19% x 20% =3.8% and EI is 19% - 3.8% = 15.2%. Thus, to achieve equity, Black

students should represent at minimal 15.2% of students in gifted education nationally. This is a far cry from 10%. Recommendations and Conclusion To achieve equity as just described, attitudes, instruments, and policies and procedures must change. Educators and decision makers must receive substantive and continuous training in higher education and in professional development to become less biased and more culturally competent. This will decrease stereotypes about and biases against Black students, and thus improve referrals to gifted education. This training and PD must also educate decision makers regarding testing issues and non-discriminatory assessment standards/guidelines, and policies and procedures. Also important is communication with Black students, families, and communities about the benefits of gifted education and how to access such classes, programs, and services. Communication must be complimented by support. As I have noted for over a decade, the goal is both the recruitment and retention of Black students in gifted education, and their families. A more detailed list of recommendations and resources to stop gifted Black students from being blackballed appear in Ford (2010, 2013a) and Ford and King (in press). There is no denying that gifted education classes and services are disproportionately represented by and serving students who are White and Asian students, and higher income. Since the inception of gifted education classes and services, Black students have been and are being blackballed from gifted education. Educators, decision makers, and stakeholders must be mindful that the mandates of Brown vs. Board of Education (1954) are not being fulfilled in gifted education. Our children and nation have lost and are losing ground given this loss of potential. References Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. (1954) Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Pub.L. 88-352). Ford, D.Y. (2010). Reversing underachievement among gifted Black students: Theory, Research and Practice (2nd ed.). Waco, TX: Prufrock Press. Continue on page 52

Narrative Changer-Dr. Joy Lawson Davis @davis_joy

Founder Celebrating Black Genius Joy Lawson Davis, Ed.D. is a career educator with four decades of experience. She has served as a teacher, local district gifted education coordinator, and as an Executive Director & Principal at a State Governor’s School for gifted learners (in Virginia). Dr. Davis also served five years as State Specialist for Gifted Programs, K-12 in Virginia from 1993-1998. In this role, Davis was the first African American State Gifted Program director in the nation. Dr. Davis also worked as a grants coordinator managing one of the first federal Javits grants, awarded to The College of William & Mary to identify and develop a comprehensive service model for ‘at-risk’ gifted learners. Dr. Davis holds two degrees in Gifted Education from The College of William & Mary in Virginia. Davis is also author of several publications, including the award-winning Bright, Talented & Black: A guide for Families of African American Gifted Learners. Dr. Davis is a highly sought-out expert and consultant to school districts, organizations, and universities nationally and internationally. Davis is now co-editing a new publication, Gifted Children of Color Around the World, featuring work of national and international scholars who study and develop programs for gifted students in the United States, the Caribbean, South America, and Africa. Since August 2013, Davis has been an Associate Professor & Chair of the Department of Teacher Education at Virginia Union University’s Syphax School of Education, Psychology, and Interdisciplinary Studies. Dr. Davis is a fervent advocate for preparing students of color for the teaching force and enhancing services for culturally and linguistically diverse gifted learners who have been traditionally underserved in gifted & advanced learner programs. Dr. Davis is married, the mother of three adult children and shares six grandchildren with her husband. They live in Walkerton, Virginia. Q. How is their work changing the narrative? I was born with a servant leader’s spirit. I have always been one to feel the need to make a difference in the lives of those around me. This drive to make a difference coupled with an uncanny courage has allowed me to ‘step into’ projects, positions, challenges that others who like me would probably steer away from. It is this spirit that took in me into the field of gifted education three decades ago. I knew from personal experience the depth of genius within the Black culture and I also was deeply troubled by the lack of presence of people of color once I was introduced to this field. I never felt honored to be the ‘only one’, I always came away from meetings, conferences during which I was like a lone raisin in the rice pudding feeling like something was deeply wrong. My heart and mind were troubled. I knew from the very beginning in Continue on page 95

Mathematics and the Relationship of Achievement, Motivation and Concepts of Learning By Dr. Andrea M. Peoples-Marwah @Pdove72 Mathematics has its own language and the acquisition of specialized vocabulary and language patterns is crucial to a student’s understanding and appreciation of the subject. Students should be encouraged to use correctly the concepts, skills, symbols, and vocabulary identified within these standards (Ohio Department of Education, 2003). The development of problem solving skills should be a major goal and will need to be integrated early and continuously into each student’s mathematics education. (APS, 2004). The educational reform movement of recent years has perpetuated the search for new approaches to teaching, thus improving performance within subject areas, more specifically, math (Armstrong, 1983). Administrators and teachers alike have implemented the theory of Multiple Intelligences within their curriculum whereas others wanted to stay with traditional methods. The fundamental truth for searching whether MI (Multiple Intelligence) has a positive effect on performance in math has been questioned and researched within some educational communities using various strategies (Battista, 1999, Feb). For example, the MIND Institute in Irvine, California has tested a pilot program that focuses on the idea that teaching music will increase math test scores on the Stanford 9. The MIND Institute’s results have been inconclusive but they remain positive and certain that there is a correlation between music and Stanford 9 math test scores (Shaw, 1999). The Multiple Intelligences Development Assessment Scales (MIDAS) is a tool used to measure the intelligences of a child in terms of the strengths of MI (Multiple Intelligences) that each student possess. The scale not only provides information regarding intellectual abilities, activities, and propensities not usually attainable from standardized intelligence and other aptitude tests, but provides key information directly from the child’s experience that can be used to guide, improve, or design classroom instruction (Branton-Shearer, 1996, 2000 p 3). “The and philosophy of person-centered assessment instruction” (Branton-Shearer, 1996, 2000). It provides realistic and valid data for making educational choices from the child’s perspective through cautious questioning. The MIDAS asks questions relating to the multiple intelligences so as to make informative and suggestive assessments based on the abilities of the students who answer the questions the MIDAS asks. It is also used as a means for creating a person-centered instruction based on the responses of the participant. The MIDAS is validated and tested for reliability through pilots testing, focus groups, and other interactive groups (Branton-Shearer, 1996, 2000). The MIDAS is applicable to show the strengths some students may have in musical interest which correlates to higher performance in math-based topics. The MIDAS-KIDS tool is based on the theory of MI (Multiple Intelligence) which is the


of various intelligences that creates a unique arrangement of abilities which results in an MI profile for an individual. In reference to musical, artistic and spatial intelligences, a student once said: “I will use my musical interest and artistic style to make studying math easier and more enjoyable. I will organize my notes on the page to visually organize new information. I will use colored- markers to help me organize my work. I will use real-life situations where math problems are used. I will do some drawing or other art so my brain has a chance to warm up before I try to do the hard stuff. . I will use my imagination to make math fun. I will ask someone to show me how the problem works so I can see it with my own eyes.” Some may inquire how music and math could be correlated. Another student provided the following statement: “I will use music to help me learn math by playing familiar and relaxing music as I study. I will make up fun rhymes about the math concepts I must learn. I will listen for rhymes and patterns in the problems. I will warm up my math brain by doing and thinking about musical patterns and problems prior to doing math. I will remind myself that each detail in a math problem is like a musical note. I will learn to play math like it’s some strange new instrument. I will learn to sing the song of the mystery behind math. I will hum to myself as I do my math work. I will remind myself that even musicians need to balance their checkbooks; plan their budgets.” Students come alive when they are given the opportunity to feel comfortable about sharing their life’s issues, thoughts and collective wisdom with each other and with the educator. Life skills, human development, or contemporary issues are all subjects that not only captivate students but can also lead to a greater academic involvement and acquisition of skills. Educators however continuously debate between what constitutes intelligence and how it should be assessed within schools – it manifests itself into discussions about how intelligence should be perceived, assessed, and weighted. Students are precisely providing a strong indication of how they learn and what educators need to do in order to allow students to learn at their own pace and in their own styles. Needless on-going debating is deafening the abilities and senses of educators to listen to what students are saying and how students best learn. Years of research and a commitment

towards educating students and how students best learn/learn best, examines how multiple intelligences work in combination, example musical and visual/spatial or art. It is a variation of abilities that produces an MI profile as shown in the MIDAS Assessment. Arts PROPEL and Project SPECTRUM were established to build research based on the educational implications of multiple intelligence (Gardner, 1999). SPECTRUM researchers highly recommended that educators allow students to grow creatively, imaginatively, and individually based on each individual profile of strengths and weaknesses. Working with the theory of multiple intelligences in the classroom evolves as the instructor and students work in tandem to explore ways to create and establish connections between thinking, learning and knowing. Being aware of these concepts, educators should capitalize on the worth of differences between students while recognizing that each learner is intelligent in his or her own rights and styles of learning. Educators should practice competence in distinguishing important elements of the learning process and balance diverse factors such as histories, traditions, cultures, and different combinations of intelligence when instructing students. Any educational mission should emphasize and support the progress and expansion of student comprehension and mastery, while acknowledging distinctive assemblage of strengths that students bring to the learning environment as well as providing varying styles of learning experiences and ways to encourage their strengths. What defines intelligence has changed throughout the history of education. Twentieth and twenty-first century conceptualizations have focused on the cognitive areas of language and math. Intelligence was defined as the effectiveness and aptitude of an individual’s mental process (Baker & O’Neill, 1994). Intelligence is the ability to solve problems, generate new problems to solve, and have the ability to make a product or offer a service that is valued in one’s culture. This definition places emphasis on the practical, creative, and hypothetical abstract aspects of an individual’s

intellectual abilities (Branton-Shearer, 1996, 2000). MI (Multiple Intelligence) theory is framed in light of the biological origins of each problemsolving skill (Gardner & Walters, 1993). The theory is a product of the synthesis of a survey based on neurology, special populations, development, psychometric anthropology, and evolution. The human organism either responds (or fails to respond) to different kinds of contents in the world, such as language, numbers, and other people (Gardner, 1999). For example, those who are mathematically talented often show noteworthy interest in music. Perhaps this is because music presents itself as an extremely fertile field for the mathematical mind, which is evolved from many different patterns of topics. Multiple intelligences powerful implications lie in its emphasis on providing opportunities for students to identify and build upon their strengths to create successful learning experiences. References APS – Akron Public Schools (2004). Armstrong, T. (1994). Multiple intelligences in the classroom. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Battista, M. (1999, Feb). The mathematical miseducation of America’s youth: Ignoring research and scientific study in education. Phi Delta Kappa, 80(4), 5-11. Branton, S (1996, 2000). The MIDAS: A Professional Manual. Kent, OH: United States of America. 102-103. Gardner, Howard. (1999). The disciplined mind: what all students should understand. Simon and Schuster, New York. Gardner, H., and Walters (1993). “Questions and answers about intelligence theory” in Multiple intelligences: the theory in practice. Basic Books, New York, 35-48. ODE – Ohio Department of Education (2003). Shaw, G.L. (1999). Music training causes longterm enhancement of preschool children’s reasoning. Neurological Research (19), 2-8.

Bachelors of Arts. Masters of Arts. Masters of Education. Professor of Choral Music. @kembacofield

“When aspiring to grow as a young scholar make every moment in school matter. If you want to be something special it takes hard work and diligence. Don't give up! College is not created to be easy. It's created for those who get through it to be trained for that profession. So enjoy your time, but focus on the goal! GRADUATION! And don't let anything get in your way!�


Kemba Cofield

Why a Multicultural Classroom Matters By Denise Fawcett Facey @Edufacey a spectacle to be observed and briefly applauded rather than an element ingrained in classroom culture. Consigning the richness of cultural diversity to such a two-dimensional concept—trotted out at strategic points in the school year—falls far short of the respect due the delightful cultural complexities that our students represent. And that’s an additional reason that having a multicultural classroom matters. In fact, it matters a great deal.

Spanish, French, Chinese, Russian—traverse the halls of virtually any urban school, or even any number of suburban and rural schools across the country, and a symphony of sound wafts through the air in the diversity of languages spoken. Comprising a cultural mélange, our students bring with them a wealth of cultural resources from which we can draw new educational paradigms, enhancing both our lessons and the overall culture of our classrooms. For this reason, our ways of teaching need to be as culturally distinct as our students, encompassing, addressing and celebrating this cultural diversity. After all, culture matters. It’s part of the inherent beauty of our increasingly diverse society. Since culture is integral to who people are as individuals, to ignore it is to ignore our students as well. And how can we genuinely reach and teach someone whom we are ignoring? This is the primary reason that a multicultural classroom matters. Moreover, contrary to popular methodology, interweaving culture into content transcends typical celebrations of food, festivals and fashions, all of which tend to make culture an anomaly or

Finding ways to incorporate and respect diversity actually addresses several key components of 21st century education. Among these are student engagement, whole child education, personalized learning, project or problem-based learning, and social and emotional learning. Together, these elements constitute multicultural education that is relevant, representative and responsive. In the end, all students—not just minority students—benefit from these learning experiences. And isn’t that another good reason for developing and nurturing a multicultural classroom? For all these reasons, culture should be

so inextricably entwined with learning that it feels intrinsic to it—reflective of every student, not just one segment of the student body—deeply embedded in classroom culture. To implement this, consider the following five ways in which a multicultural classroom corresponds with these current education initiatives: 

Student Engagement Often spoken of but nearly as often achieved, student engagement reaches beyond mere entertainment of students to captivate their attention and kindle a fire for further study. Inserting a multicultural aspect heightens students’ sense of engagement as they see themselves reflected in their learning. Therefore, a multicultural classroom is more personally relevant to students than a singleculture classroom, more readily engaging them as it beckons them to envision themselves as part of learning. Simply put, it elicits student interest because it pertains to them individually, touching on core values, symbolizing who they are. Whether that engagement extends to your selection of literature with multicultural characters and themes (bypassing stereotypes, of course), your historical research that ensures the inclusion of all participants in history (Columbus’s multicultural crew, for example, is a worthwhile study for students) or your reflection of diversity in your classroom posters and art, a multicultural classroom engages students, engendering a sense of belonging. Whole Child Education Acknowledging that genuine education goes beyond simple conveyance of content to envelop all aspects of students’ well-being, whole child education has a natural affinity for a multicultural classroom. As it addresses all needs of a child—academically, physically, emotionally, and tenets of whole child education have taken root in progressive classrooms. classrooms. From a multicultural perspective, whole child education lends itself to a focus on fulfilling a child’s cultural needs, from a culturally inclusive classroom environment to the embracement of the aforementioned types of activities to interaction with culturally diverse authority figures (i.e. teachers,

administrators and support staff) to presentations that involve community and cultural traditions, among so many other methods. Inexorably linked with students’ self-image, whole child education also augments learning not only for those whose culture is introduced via their own study and presentations but also those for whom these cultural forays are new experiences as they learn from others, expanding their view of their world and their place in it. 

Personalized Learning The student autonomy that characterizes personalized learning—a major movement in contemporary education, promoting students’ independent learning— lends itself to multicultural education as each student is afforded the opportunity to delve into areas of deep personal curiosity and to present their learning in highly individualized ways. Of course, those areas of curiosity include cultural interests that directly relate to content, from history to literature to world languages to STEM, among others, as well as culturally responsive ways of presenting them, including via the arts. This personalization

Understanding and appreciation of cultures other than their own. 

of learning may be reflected in myriad representations from student-created films that personify their cultures and communities, for example, to studentgenerated musical pieces embodying culture to literary essays evocative of their experiences to robotics with a cultural twist, to name a few. Resonating in very personal ways, a multicultural classroom supports and reinforces personalized learning. 

Project-Based Learning In much the same way as personalized learning offers students the freedom to pursue their own line of study, incorporating cultural aspects, project-based or problem-based learning (PBL) melds symbiotically with a multicultural classroom, offering the possibility to reach new heights of learning. PBL affords students more freedom in the selection of topics for projects, research papers and experiments, allowing them to address real-world issues that affect their communities or the world at large, infusing these projects with socially and culturally relevant inferences. Indeed, culture may even form the basis of PBL in a multicultural classroom, prompting students to study problems cross-culturally, thereby enlarging their

Social and Emotional Learning Multicultural learning syncs perfectly with the growing educational emphasis on social and emotional learning (SEL). Much like whole child education, SEL goes beyond academic aspects of education to focuses on elements that nevertheless impact academic achievement. Foremost among these SEL factors is an ability to understand and express empathy as well as the formation of positive interactions. With these also being core ingredients in a successful multicultural classroom, intermingling SEL with a multicultural classroom is a natural progression. Bolstering emotional intelligence (EQ), both SEL and a multicultural classroom encourage respect for cultural differences, foster social discourse and provoke empathetic responses, all of which promote mutual understanding.

By making learning a personalized experience that addresses the social and emotional needs of the whole child, among other methods, a multicultural classroom matters. It matters for its significant impact on students’ self-efficacy, for its reciprocal relationship with so many aspects of cutting-edge education initiatives, for its undergirding of global education and for its long-term societal effects in our continuously more diverse society.

Book List

The Missing Voices in EdTech: Bringing Diversity Into EdTech (Corwin Connected Educators Series) By Rafranz Davis @RafranzDavis

This book offers leaders and teachers a reflective journey into diverse perspectives on technology as it is used and understood in our schools. Through step-by-step strategies and several powerful vignettes, Davis explores the deep impact inclusive EdTech conversations can have for teachers, students, women, and people of color. Educators learn practical, step-by-step solutions to:  Engage students and give them a voice  Cultivate diverse teacher feedback  Encourage EdTech leadership for women and people of color Includes real-life stories. Transform the EdTech landscape and create lasting change with this one-of-a-kind book! In the Author’s Corner click to hear from Rafranz Davis on why she wrote her book!

Living Education Everyday

Taking Risks: A Needed Motivating Factor for Entrepreneurship By Brittney Pressley @_missbritt2u Being Overwhelmed a Temporary State of Mind When the idea of writing a book was first introduced to me I felt extremely overwhelmed. The thought of having to think of a topic, write about it, remain vulnerable and open throughout the writing process, condense it down, find an editor, find a graphic designer, find a publisher, pay for it, print it and then market it was more than I could handle initially. It was exhausting! I was afraid To step out and do something I hadn’t done before. I was nervous that if I decided to step out and take the risk that I would fail. I never considered myself to be a cautious person but I felt wary about moving forward. I was working a full-time job at the time and had only dreamed of being an entrepreneur as a teenager. Months prior to toying with the idea of writing a book, I completed Graduate School and was looking for something to fill my newly found free time. With an opportunity to juggle both working and becoming an entrepreneur staring me directly in the face, I didn’t know what to think or how to begin. I knew writing a book would be a gigantic risk, especially since I was 24 years old at the time. I was unsure if people would take me seriously as a young Author or if they would completely discount the information that I was looking to present. I was unsure if I would be able to financially fund the project. Those feelings of uncertainty distracted me from wanting to take the risk. The insecurity of being young and having something important to say served as an unwanted distraction from my desire to become an entrepreneur. Conversely, the distraction and selfdoubt led me to understand quickly two very important factors on this journey. Firstly, when something feels right inside of you, go for it! It will not make taking risks easier, but it will give you the confidence to act on what you innately feel is the direction you should be heading. Secondly, risk taking is a needed motivating factor when pursuing your dreams and visions. Without risk there can be no rewards. I knew this to be true internally, but I had to find the strength to address my emotions of fear, risk and failure. Uncomfortable Emotions Stepping out into unchartered waters can cause many uncomfortable emotions. Giving up comfort and familiarity for uncertainty and anxiety in order to experience newness can be frightening. Those feelings deter many people from what their hearts truly desire – change and growth. I refused to be one of those people! The idea of taking a risk and potentially failing stifles many dreams, especially the dream of entrepreneurship – the dream of being your own boss. A fact I discovered about taking risks is how fear of failure truly prevents risks from being taken more than any of factor one will encounter. Taking risk brings with it the fear of not getting it right, or messing up, or potentially embarrassing oneself. However, it is highly unlikely one will become successful without taking risks.

Changing my mindset was the first step in conditioning myself with the concept that I can be comfortable with taking risks in order to achieve my goal. I knew that if I proceeded with fear and uncertainty I would not accomplish much. I brushed aside my fears and trepidations and began to weigh the pros and cons of writing a book from every conceivable angle I could imagine. Framing the Approach for Success Upon ascertaining there were more pros than cons, I was confident this was the right path for me. For example, when I thought of writing a book from the ‘big picture’ perspective; I became easily overwhelmed. I decided to break the project into smaller more manageable steps and upon doing so, I was able to see the bigger picture clearer. I began by focusing on finding a topic that interested me. Finding a topic of interest provided me with the ability to narrow the subject into smaller areas of focus. This approach framed the writing of each chapter of the book. Which each chapter completed and shaped by a sharpened focus of the subject matter; it was time to take one of the biggest risks for me. I had a draft; now it was time to focus on finding an editor. While anxiety and yes fear were rapidly flowing emotions through my soul, I was assured that the house I built one brick at time, a process that resulted in a less than daunting feeling of moving forward had prepared me to take the next step. The next step was to explore the opportunities of becoming an entrepreneur. I used the same approach for writing my first book as I began on my trail of becoming my own boss. I acknowledged there were risk leaving my nine to five to working for myself. This was going to be a huge transition. And even though I balanced both at the same time, I still had to shift my mindset for each. I knew to become a successful entrepreneur it would mean failing and taking risks. However, the challenges of seeking to follow your dreams are easier to overcome when your dreams are grounded in your desire to succeed, inspire, learn from mistakes, keep learning, keep building, have an open mind, share your message, to help, and keep pushing through no matter how tough the road. Entrepreneurship is not easy! It takes round-the-clock work in order to build opportunities for yourself. It takes believing in yourself even when people that you care about don’t believe in you. In takes having thick skin and keeping your eye on where you want to go. It takes sacrifice. It takes determination. And most of all, all it takes is you not giving up on your dream.

Cheryl Wood

International Keynote Speaker & Empowerment Champion

Life “Refuse to throw away valuable time existing in life instead of living it! Make the intentional decision that selfdiscovery, purposeful service, and internal fulfillment will be a mandatory part of your priority list. After all, while you’re creating excuses about why you can’t, somebody else is pushing past their excuses in order to live the life they know they deserve.” (Cheryl Wood, The Empowerment Champion, @CherylEmpowers

My Turn: Prominent Women Leaders in Today’s Sports Industry By: Mia Jackson @SidelinePass “I bet you can tell I’m a woman … and I suspect the rest of the world can, too.” Michele Roberts In 2014, women made significant strides in the sports field. Three women accepted coveted positions in traditionally male sports organizations; another woman accepted in a sport that serves both genders, yet still operated under male leadership. Two were appointed, one elected and one hired. These four professional moves signaled a triumphant shift in each single sport, but the collective change may usher in a long-anticipated era of gender equity in the entire industry. Each move would also generate controversy, some more than others, but none strong enough to upend the ultimate power plays. These new moves were arguably the most significant changes to women’s roles in sport since Title IX passed over forty years ago. Post Title IX, the number of women engaged in sports skyrocketed; however, the impact was not felt in leadership. "Although participation numbers of women in sports continues to grow, there has not been a

corresponding addition in the number of women in top-level administrative positions within the sports industry.” (Acosta & Carpenter, p. 25). Both the NFL and NBA scored poorly on the 2014 Racial and Gender Report Card issued each year by TIDES, The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports. The women featured here may boost those scores. In 2014, Becky Hammon was hired as an assistant coach with the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs. Condoleezza Rice was selected to serve as a member of the inaugural College Football (CFB) Championship Selection Committee. Michele Roberts was elected President of the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Players Union. Both the NBA and the NCAA zipped ahead of the National Football League (NFL) and Major League Baseball (MLB), their multi-billion dollar cohorts, with these groundbreaking moves.

Most recently, Katrina Adams was appointed Chairman of the Board, CEO, and President of the United States Tennis Association (USTA.) The prestige and power that accompany each of the four positions will also attract a high level of scrutiny. This is familiar territory as every one of the women has excelled previously in highpressure situations. Research shows that in spite of naysayers, women tend to exceed expectations in positions of leadership in sports. "Barriers appear to emanate from social constructions of gender whether in regards to the efficacy of social networks or the (mis)alignment of expectations of leadership responsibilities and assumed masculine and feminine skill sets. Despite these perceptions, women tend to fair well when given leadership responsibilities in sport.” An overview of their careers illustrate that they are primed for success. Dr. Condoleezza Rice, Member of The National Football Championship Selection Committee When Dr. Condoleezza Rice accepted a role on the first ever National Championship Selection Committee, rumblings began throughout the NCAA football world. She’s a woman and has never played football were the comments most often heard. Rice countered by pointing out that two other members of the 13-person committee – former Big East commissioner, Mike Tranghese, and former college football writer, Steve Wieberg – also never played the game. She also pointed to her unparalleled experience. “At Stanford, athletics actually reports for its operations to the provost — so athletic facilities, athletic budgets, issues of compliance. I actually hired Ty Willingham to be Stanford’s football coach after Bill Walsh stepped down [in 1994]. It was actually not the first time I’d been involved in the hiring of a football coach. Back in 1988, I sat on a committee with a very small number of people that hired Denny Green, including doing interviews with all the major finalists, among whom was Pete Carroll, for instance. He was one of the

people we had serious interviews with in 1988,” said Rice.” The Selection Committee became the story of the season as conferences and the top-ranked football programs awaited the final rankings. Rice’s seat at the table was motivating for young women seeking careers in sports. As the daughter of a football coach, she was clearly comfortable venturing deep into new waters. Her presence could also boost the image of the NCAA. There has been growth in the NCAA since the 2007-08 TIDES study suggested that “the overwhelming majority of the most powerful people in college sport are white males,” but not enough. Rice’s role on one of the most powerful bodies in college athletics should serve as a game changer. Michele Roberts, NBPA Executive Director "My past is littered with the bones of men who were foolish enough to think I was someone they could sleep on.” Michele Roberts (Helin, 2014) Established in 1954 and recognized by the NBA ten years later, the NBPA is the oldest union of the four major North American sports leagues. Significant negotiation issues are expected on the table in 2017 and the current NBA players were determined to find a trustworthy advocate. More than 300 candidates applied for the position. After vetting and reviewing the qualified applicant pool, the representatives chose Roberts. The accomplished attorney drew 32 of the 34 votes cast – a slam dunk. Discussions around Roberts’ worthiness focus on her stellar legal résumé. In both the public and private law sectors, her track record shines. Her peers would even attend her trials just to see her work. The fact that Roberts had no specific sports background didn’t concern the players when measured against her qualifications. Ironically, her aggressive courtroom style wasn’t the ultimate selling point. The player representatives zeroed in on what some would deem her more feminine leadership qualities, which falls in line with current scholarship on women in executive roles. According to NBPA President Chris Paul: “Michele was amazing. ... One of the biggest things she sold was selflessness and that’s what we needed in a

leader in the players association. We’re excited about moving forward.” [SI Now] Paul’s statement is consistent with recent research from Harvard University Business School suggesting that women’s leadership style described by experts may be what’s necessary in sports. Professor David outlines specific, feminine qualities expected with this new approach.:“…women seem ideally suited to the new leadership style that has been widely embraced. … Think about the words we use to describe the old-style leadership: aggressive, assertive, autocratic, muscular, and closed. When we describe the new leadership, we employ terms like consensual, relational, web-based, caring, inclusive, open, and transparent – all qualities that we associate with the ‘feminine’ style of leadership. … The key point, as Sally Helgesen points out in her book The Female Advantage, is that women are knocking at the door of leadership at the very moment when their talents are especially well matched with the requirements of the day.” (Coughlin, Wingard and Hollihan, 2005, p) Roberts’ skills and style match the NBPA’s needs perfectly. Becky Hammon, San Antonio Spurs Assistant Coach “I thrive on pressure.” “Fewer than 40 percent of all women’s college teams have female head coaches, and fewer than 50 percent of assistant coaches on women’s teams are women, according to the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida.” (Longman, 2014) Women aren’t even the majority of leaders in women’s basketball, so when Coach Gregg Popovich offered Becky Hammon a position on his staff, the basketball world stopped. Hammon’s skills garnered respect from the most respected game minds in the NBA. She had already won over the players. One oft-told story of her shootout wagers against NBA legend Reggie Miller has her winning their first bet and half of the rest. Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers tweeted, “very bright basketball mind,” when he learned of

Hammon’s hiring. How did she get on the radar? First, by being recognized as one of the top fifteen women to ever play in the WNBA. Then, as bad luck would have it, an injury that abruptly ended her WNBA career with the San Antonio Stars positioned her near Popovich who has a nose for talent. During her year-long rehabilitation regimen, she attended Spurs practices and talked to the coach about a range of topics, gaining his trust. Now, Becky is the first ever full-time assistant coach on an NBA payroll. With Hammon’s hiring, “a very high, very thick glass wall cracked.” (Fagan, 2014) The Next Generation: Mo’Ne Davis & Samantha Gordon Two amateurs left indelible impressions on the sports world recently. Mo’Ne Davis captivated the world from the pitcher’s mound in the 2014 Little League World Series while young Sam “Sweet Feet” Gordon became a YouTube sensation. Davis was the first girl to throw a post-season shutout in the Little League World Series, helping her team advance. The jersey she wore sits in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Her next start was a coup for ESPN – the 3.4 overnight rating was the network’s highest ever for a Little League game. Mo’Ne became a beloved celebrity, as did young Sam. In 2012, nine-year-old running back Samantha “Sam” Gordon played so tough that she became a local sensation. The Utah girl is fearless on the field. Her father posted her highlight reel to YouTube and had no idea that his daughter would end up as Commissioner Roger Goodell’s guest at Super Bowl XLVII or tackling Marshall Faulk on national TV. Sam became the first female football Continue on page 52

When Violence Goes Viral By Kelly Fair @kfairthementor With over 5 million hits in less than about a week’s time, it seems that the public has a humongous appetite to see the YouTube video of the guy on the New York subway who “smacks the soul out” out of a woman on the F train, after she and her friends insult and then hit him with a stiletto boot and a purse (MrDratliff23, 2014). It seems much of the debate about this video, especially in social media, has been largely focused on who’s to blame: the 6’6” former pro baseball prospect for retaliating, or the young woman who relentlessly taunted and assaulted him? As community members, why are we not asking what we can do to determine the problem that leads to this behavior and stop it? Are we just as bad as the bystanders in these videos who are cheering and filming these fights and altercations, but never intervening to avoid additional harm from happening? As a mentor who’s worked with more than 1,000 African-American girls, I feel it’s my responsibility to step off the sidelines of being a bystander and provide insight on what may possibly predispose these young women to demonstrate the violent behavior we’ve seen in these viral videos. So much attention has been given to the crisis of lowincome, urban Black boys; however, the effect this crisis has had on adolescent Black girls who live in the same neighborhoods has been largely unaddressed. Girls are witnessing and experiencing the same violence in their schools, neighborhoods, and homes as boys are. As a means for survival, girls have adopted a “street code” to protect their reputation and retaliate when they believe their reputation is

threatened. Sadly, we’ve all witnessed how many young women are only equipped to use fighting and aggression as the primary means to protect their personal respect and security, as well as to gain status. Some research has even referred to this exposure to violence and trauma at such a young age as a form of childhood post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and unfortunately, much of this trauma goes unaddressed (“Posttraumatic Stress Disorder”, 2013). In my work, I’ve personally had girls as young as 8 years old say things like, “I have anger management issues,” or “I’m bipolar,” and wear it proudly like a badge of of Black womanhood. Unfortunately, their homes provide no refuge. Pop culture uses TV, videos and music to bombard them with a barrage of imagery that frequently portrays Black women as loud, obnoxious, aggressive, promiscuous, and innately prone to bad relationships with other women. Current research shows that school isn’t a safe haven either: school suspensions were greatest for middle school Black girls then followed by Black males (Cross, 2014). And, African American girls continue to be disproportionately over-represented among girls in confinement and court-ordered residential placements. They are also significantly over-represented among girls who experience exclusionary discipline, such as out-of-school suspensions, expulsions, and other punishment. So what do we do as community members, parents, and college students to move our concern and activism beyond the constructs of social media? Here are a few suggestions: Mentor/volunteer: Don’t take my word for it. The best way to observe and learn about the challenges

youth face, especially Black girls, is to connect with them directly by volunteering and mentoring in schools or community organizations. You’ll have a chance to talk with kids and be guided by educators and youth professionals who can help you understand the experiences of the kids and their families in our communities. Perhaps this level of involvement will provide insight, understanding, and make us all a little slower to judge without context. Plus, your mere presence and involvement demonstrates to young people new ways of being, life choices, the importance of respecting others, and alternatives to violent reactions. Create dialogue on Black male/female relations: The heart of a lot debate and discussions seems to hint at a breakdown in the relationships between Black men and women. Consider holding forums and discussions in your community and campus to talk about male and female relations in our community, focusing on looming challenges in communication, expectations, and almost a lack of trust between the genders in the African-American community. A forum can open dialogue and provide the platform to identify challenges, and present opportunities to take action in your personal relationships. Advocate: Now that you are mentoring or volunteering in your community, you have an improved understanding of what the needs are to help advocate for improvements. Parents can join the PTA, community members can join local school councils or governing organizations to make sure that often under resourced schools get funding or afterschool programs, mentoring programs, and adequate resources for counselors, and social workers can work to ensure youth and their families receive proper social services.


Stop sharing….stop clicking…stop just #smh: The next time you scroll through your newsfeed and encounter one of the viral videos with Black youth behaving badly, don’t contribute to the hype. Instead of just sharing the video or commenting #smh, put the phone down. Stop being a bystander and get involved in creating solutions, not sharing in the chaos.

“Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).” (2013, October). American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. Retrieved from outh/Facts_for_Families/Facts_fo r_Families_Pages/Posttraumatic_Stress_Disor der_70.aspx

References: Cross, Latoya. (2014, November 14). “School Requires Approval for Suspensions.” JET Magazine. Retrieved from

MrDratliff23. (2014, November 8). Man smacks the soul out of girl on the NY Subway [Video file]. Retrieved from

Book List

April D. Ryan @AprilDRyan In The Presidency in Black and White, journalist April Ryan gives readers a compelling and personal behind-the-scenes look at race relations in contemporary America from the epicenter of American power and policy making—the White House, her beat since 1997. On behalf of the American Urban Radio Networks, and through her "Fabric of America" news blog, she delivers her readership and listeners (millions of African Americans and close to 300 radio affiliates) a “unique urban and minority perspective in news.” Her position as a White House Correspondent has afforded her unique insight into the racial sensitivities, issues, and attendant political struggles of our nation’s last three presidents.

Nine Key Mistakes that cost you the $1 million Government Contract is at the risk of never being reviewed. If it states By Robin T. Dorsey @RobinTDorsey Mistake


You did NOT review the Request for Proposal (RFP) thoroughly

Bidding on Government contracts can be complex yet rewording if you win. The first step is to “PRINT” the “RFP”. The second step is to have a note pad, and highlighter to take notes of key information. The third step is to thoroughly read the “RFP”. While reading the “RFP” write the following critical items on your note pad: 1. RFP due date and time, 2. The type of contract (Firm Fixed Price, Time & Material etc.), 3. Period of Performance (is it one year, does it have on options

the contract, when does it end), 4. What is the delivery method of the proposal (hand delivered, FedEx or UPS, or Email), and 5. What type of work is the Government asking for (do I have key personnel to cover the needs of the contract, can my company do the work). Tip: Make a checklist to ensure you have provided everything that was asked for in the “RFP”.



to provide it in the “RFP” make sure it is included. This method is sometimes utilized to eliminate proposals (as the reasoning is if you cannot provide the minimum asked in the “RFP” then how can you possibly do a thorough job if you win the contract). This process shows how an organization pays attention to detail. Tip: If you took the time to respond to the “RFP”, take the time to do a quality assurance check to ensure you have completely responded to the “RFP”.



You did NOT understand the “RFP” but you did NOT ask questions during the Q&A period

The Government gives each offeror an opportunity to ask questions about the “RFP”. When in doubt just ask. If the “RFP” is not clear submit a question in writing and submit via email during the allotted Q&A period which is listed in the RFP. There is a deadline to ask questions and you must submit those questions on time or they may go answered. This period is the only time you can receive clarity from the Government about this requirement, so use it wisely.

You did NOT provide all the information requested per the “RFP”

Omitting items that was listed in the “RFP” is a “BIG DEFICIENCY”. When a proposal is submitted to the Government the first process administered is to go through the checklist to ensure all items asked for are provided in the proposal (for instance if the proposal states submit six technical notebooks, and three price notebooks and it is not submitted) you can be immediately disqualified because you failed to follow the initial instructions and your proposal

Sometimes the Government makes mistakes and some information may have been omitted (the Q&A period allows us to fix it so you can provide the most accurate proposal). Tip: If you submit a question before the deadline the Government is required to answer the question.



requirement should cost. Over pricing your proposal could possibly knock you out of a competitive range if one is done or can be deemed as excessive. Underpricing your proposal is equally as bad because it tells the Government that you are either low balling the proposal only to win and may try to raise the price once awarded through modifications. Or it could cause the Government to think you do not have a realistic account of what it takes to get the job done. Tip: Do your market research and provide a fair price to the Government, your organization, and your staff and this will create a win-win situation for all. Your Proposed Solution Is Not Clear or Well Written

When submitting a proposal always respond clearly and concisely. Be sure to answer the question and provide some examples of how your solution will fit the need of the requirement. Do not make your solution to complex that it could be overlooked or rated low because no one understood how the work would be completed. Tip: If your solution takes multiple pages to explain chances are the technical panel reviewing your proposal may be confused. Always remember to submit your best proposal as you may not be given an opportunity to clarify or make changes.



The proposed key personnel identified in your proposal do not meet the minimum requirement

The key personnel that will be performing the work is a critical aspect to your proposal. When identifying these individuals ensure their qualifications meets the minimum standards listed in the “RFP”. If a specific skill set is identified be sure to provide it (for instance if they ask for 10 years of experience ensure the years of working experience adds up to 10 years as requested because the Government verifies this information). Tip: Provide and hire quality individuals to work for you because if you win the contract this will be a part of your past performance.



Your prices are NOT competitive



You did NOT deliver your proposal on TIME

Deadlines in “RFP’s” are extremely important. Always follow the submission instructions as per the “RFP” (If the “RFP” states due Monday, December 24, 2014 at 9:00 am, then 9:01 am is late and your proposal will NOT be accepted). All proposals are date and time stamped when they are received to create an accurate log of submission. You took the time to submit a proposal so make sure it is on “TIME”. Tip: If possible hand deliver it and ask for the person accepting it to sign, date, and time stamp your submission sheet for your records. If the proposal is emailed always have a read receipt for all outgoing proposals and print a copy of the message and place in a file.



You did NOT provide any past

performance references Past performance references states how you performed on prior/similar contracts. As per the “RFP” it is your job to ensure you provide the past performance questionnaires to the agencies you previously worked with (ask them in advance if they mind providing this information). Inquire on the status of the completed questionnaire from the prior agency. Tip: Have the agency copy you in on the return submission to the Government.

Mistake So, you did NOT win! However, you FAILED to ask for a DEBRIEF It is extremely important to do your market research on what you are providing because the Unfortunately, everyone will not win a Government is doing the same thing. Before a contract evenGovernment if you follow all of the rules above. You “RFP” is placed for bidding they have done a proposal could have been outstanding and you may thorough market research on how much this have been in the top three and missed winning by a


proposal could have been outstanding and you may have been in the top three and missed winning by a few points however, if you do not ask for a “DEBRIEF” you will not learn some things you did exceptionally well and some things you may need to improve. Tip: Asking for a Debrief is invaluable and it is your right per FAR15.506, which states you have three days to request a debrief in writing once you receive notification that you were an “Unsuccessful Offeror”. The debrief will not tell you line item by line item of what you did wrong or right but it will give you an overview. This information is instrumental because you will have an opportunity in a future proposal to correct that problem so you will not make that same mistake again.

different students in gifted education. Waco, TX: Prufrock Press. Ford, D.Y. (2013b). Gifted under-representation and prejudice: Learning from Allport and Merton. Gifted Child Today, 36, 62-68. Ford, D.Y. (2014). Segregation and the underrepresentation of Blacks and Hispanics in gifted education: Social inequality and deficit paradigms. Roeper Review, 36, 143-154. Ford, D.Y., Grantham, T.C., & Whiting, G.W. (2008). Culturally and linguistically diverse students in gifted education: Recruitment and retention issues. Exceptional Children, 74(3), 289-308.

Parental Advocacy 101 continued from page 20

References Carson, B., & Murphey, C. (1990). Gifted hands. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Books.

Ford, D.Y. & King, R.A. (in press). No Blacks allowed: Segregated gifted education in the context of Brown vs. Board of Education. Journal of Negro Education. Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 401 U.S. 424 (1971).

Cooper, R. (1996). De-tracking reform in an urban California high school: Improving the schooling experience of African American students. Journal of Negro Education, 65.

National Association for Gifted Children. Gifted by state. Retrieved from

Ladson-Billings, G. (1994). The Dreamkeepers: Successful teachers of African American children. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Office for Civil Rights. (2011). Civil Rights Data Collection. Retrieved from

Prince George's County Memorial Library System. (n.d.). Retrieved December 17, 2014, from A parent's guide to the Common Core. (n.d.). Mitchell, C., & Begeny, J. (2014). Improving Student Reading Through Parents' Implementation of a Structured Reading Program. School Psychology Review, 41-58. Under-Representation of Black Students continued from page 30

Ford, D.Y. (2011). Multicultural gifted education (2nd ed.). Waco, TX: Prufrock Press. Ford, D.Y. (2012). Culturally different students in special education: Looking backward to move forward. Exceptional Children, 78(4), 391-405. Ford, D.Y. (2013a). Recruiting and retaining culturally

My Turn: Prominent Women Leaders in Today’s continued from page 46

player featured on a Wheaties box. After a year off to play soccer, Sam returned to her old position and her old winning ways. If the old sports guard hadn’t figured it out, Madison Avenue recognized quickly that including capable, exciting women in prominent sports roles is a win-win-win – for the individuals, gender politics and the bottom line. The next two years will position the four professional leagues squarely in the spotlight. Young Sam’s approach to the game of football could be the winning strategy. As she told her father, “Some kids, right before the contact, they stop. I don’t. I just hit ‘em.” References Boren, C. (2012). Sam Gordon, 9 year-old girl is already a football star. Washington Post. Continue on page 70

What’s Your (FICO) Number? By: Tara Colquitt @thecreditwoman There are a lot of numbers we all should know, but in the world of housing FICO is the most important. Founded in 1956 by Bill Fair and Earl Isaac, it is a measure of consumer credit risk. However, the background of Fair, Isaac and Company is not as important as what it means to you: If you are not a good steward of your money, it will be difficult to obtain a “fair” means to purchase a home. So where should you begin? At the beginning, of course! Obtain your credit reports at or call 877-322-8228. These are made available once a year for free from the credit bureaus (TransUnion, Equifax, Experian). ). If you go online you should be able to obtain your reports immediately. Print them, since you will not be able to access them again for a year. In some cases, you may not answer a question correctly or there may be another reason you cannot obtain them. If so, call and your reports will be delivered in approximately two weeks. Even if you know you have great credit, like good health, it is important to check periodically. In fact, more important since identity theft is rampant. If you have great credit, keep your finger on the pulse by quarterly checking it, i.e., February 1st (TransUnion), June 1st (Equifax) and October 1st (Experian). If you can’t remember if you pulled them recently, still try. The system knows if you have and will not allow you to get another free report. Note that date and try again. Or if you know you need them immediately, pay to get your reports from each of the bureaus. It’s worth the small fee and you get your scores. The free reports do not include scores. If you have multiple negative items on your report, your scores will probably fall under 600 (most lenders require a score of 640, but definitely over 600) and there is no need to pay for them. You can get an indication of your scores from for free. This will give you a good feel for where you fall, but this is not the system used by the lending institutions. It’s like grading on the curve; not a real “A”. This is the reason to use since the data is derived directly from the credit bureaus. It is the most accurate place to ensure you see what is on your reports. Do not be intimated by what you see negatively on your reports. You probably had some inkling of what was on them. It is your past situation, not your present and it does not define who you are. Knowledge is power, but only if followed by action. You may not be able to resolve all your issues today, but you can put a plan in place to handle them. You will need to settle some items. In August 2014, FICO9 went into effect which limits the negative factoring of paid collections and medical bills. By law, certain items age off your report after 7-10 years. However, delinquent taxes, student loans and child support do not. You must deal with these items directly or you will never be worthy Continue on page 59

Instructional Leader, Richland County School District Rebecca D. Huggins “According to Genesis 1:27-29 God blessed Adam and Eve and told them to be fruitful and multiply and the children of Adam and Eve made their families larger. As parents raising children in the 21st Century, it's important that we model for them how to live a fruitful productive life that is filled with abundance, prosperity, and love. Parents continue to speak life into your children and allow them to see the love of God in every aspect of your life!� @rdh_74


Four E.A.S.Y College Planning Tips for Parents of College-Bound Students Monica E. Randall, Ph.D. @bridge2colleges

It is no secret that the college planning process can be a complex and stressful time for families. A key part of managing this stressful and complex process is to learn all of the fine points of helping your child apply for college so that you are able to make well-informed decisions. Below are four E.A.S.Y. college planning tips to guide you and your family through this process. Encourage your child to explore her special interests and think carefully about why she wishes to attend college. Also, encourage your child to think carefully about what she would like to do after high school and have her research possible college majors. Finding the right college means that your child should identify factors that are important to her. So, choose colleges and careers that best match her interests and passion. Arrange for campus visits during summers throughout your child’s high school career. Take advantage of the time that you have during the summer. Start by visiting colleges and universities in your area. Expand your potential choices by arranging campus visits while on vacation or visiting relatives in other states. Use this time to visit admissions offices and participate in student-led tours of campuses. As you are getting to know colleges of interest, have your child keep a journal and write down his/her thoughts and impressions of each college visited. Or use an online website such as Go See Campus to make the most out of your college visits and stay organized. Study financing options and become familiar with financial aid and scholarship opportunities. With college costs averaging more than $440 per week, affordability is a key component in

the college admissions process. Begin early to assess and understand costs prior to selecting colleges. Enhance your knowledge of both the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (known as the FAFSA) and the College Scholarship Search Financial Aid Profile (CSS/Financial Aid Profile). Completing these forms is an important step in determining your family’s eligibility for financial assistance. Get help completing the FAFSA or CSS Profile and learn all of the terminology associated with financial assistance. Understand the difference between a grant and a loan. Use the FAFSA4caster to determine the estimated cost of attending interested colleges. You will find a college that is right for you! Repeat this mantra to your child throughout the college admissions process. Finding the right match means to find a place where your child will thrive and where her academic abilities and social interests match what a college or university has to offer. It is that feeling of 'yes, I belong here' when your child first steps on a campus and she knows that she belongs. Your child will find the right college or university.

Do something healthy for your child. Meet her teacher today.

Using Multi-Component Behavior Intervention Strategies for Students with Disabilities By Rinata Tanks, EdD @tanks_rinata How many times have you heard this statement? “I’ve tried that strategy already; it worked for a while, but then he was back to the same ‘ole negative behavior.” Often times, when we as educators are implementing behavior intervention strategies, we employ only one intervention at a time. It may work for a while and then we’re off to another. This cycle just keeps repeating itself with no end in sight. Some change in student behavior is observed; but the changes are often minimal and only last for a limited amount of time. Yet, a number of studies have shown that the implementation of multicomponent interventions, those that combine more than one behavioral intervention technique, significantly reduce off-task behaviors. Which according to Baker (2007), off- task behaviors in learning environments are defined as behavior “where a student completely disengages from the learning environment and task to engage in an unrelated behavior, such as: talking to a neighbor, out of seat, call outs, beating on the desk, sleeping, and daydreaming. In 2007, I conducted an action research study which evaluated the value of multi-component intervention strategies on students with severe emotional disabilities. Success was measured by the reduction of referrals, timeout logs, and negative marks received on daily point sheets by students within their academic classes. A token economy was applied in sole during a 9-week period for a specific set of students. Token economies are a form of behavior modification in which positive reinforcements such as tokens or points are given for specified desirable behaviors which can be exchanged for desired objects or privileges (e.g., use of video game or play time). Multi-component interventions were utilized for a second set of students which consisted of: token economy, mystery motivator, antecedent strategies, extinction, and response cost. Mystery motivators are incentive techniques intended to provide chance rewards for appropriate behavior. For instance, you could place an envelope labeled with a question mark in a visible spot in the classroom. Inside the envelope is a card stating what the student will win if he displays appropriate behavior (e.g., teacher helper). On the other hand, the intention of antecedent strategies is to replace problem behaviors. Examples of antecedent strategies include teacher movement and assigned seating. Extinction is the procedure in which a behavior that has previously been reinforced is no longer reinforced. In other words, extinction diminishes (extinguishes) the frequency of behavior, so that there is no longer a need to reinforce the behavior. Response cost focuses on the loss of points for noncompliance with classrooms (Nelson, 2007). For the following 9-week period, the interventions conducted were reversed to account for residuals. The token economy on its’ own reduced some off-task behaviors. However, the greatest reduction in off-task behaviors was experienced during the implementation of the multi-component behavior interventions. An important accomplishment of this study is that multicomponent interventions notably impacted students in a positive way by not only, reducing off-task behaviors, but also increasing academic achievement. There are several factors that must be established if you want to maintain and guarantee the success of multi-component interventions. The initial step is to determine the targeted student behaviors

that you want to address. This can easily be done by conducting a treasure hunt. Analyze individual student, classroom, and whole school data to establish which negative behaviors are prevalent and to identify possible antecedents for those behaviors. Once there is a determination of the priority behaviors; an increased awareness of the range of strategies that exist is required in order to develop the most favorable learning environment for all students, but, specifically to address targeted behaviors. Randy Sprick & Mickey Garrison of Safe & Civil Schools, provide a plethora of strategies in their book, Interventions, Evidence-Based Behavioral Strategies for Individual Students that could be utilized in conjunction with other behavior management interventions. Professional learning is vital to the effectiveness of multicomponent behavior interventions. Administrators should structured time embedded throughout the day for teachers to meet and discuss research-based classroom management practices. Leadership teams and professional learning communities, in addition, to their instructional foci must also make certain that professional learning on individual behavior management strategies occurs, so that the components of the multi-component interventions remain operative. This can be in the form of workshops, peer observations, book talks, blogs, coaching, mentoring, shadowing, etc. It is also equally essential for educators to decide which strategies work best together, in regards to both time and implementation. In the previous mentioned study, the only tangible interventions utilized were the token economy and mystery motivator. Extinction and response cost were dependent on those strategies. The antecedent strategies primarily focused on modification of events immediately preceding problem behavior such as changes in the physical environment and adult actions. Therefore, interventions were easy to administer and did not require an excessive amount of time to execute. Continuous monitoring of multi-component behavior intervention strategies must take place in order to sustain success. By having ongoing data collection and analysis, all necessary parties are provided with information that maintains momentum and drives continuous improvement. For example, through an assessment of the data, you may find that you have to either make several adjustments to some of the behavior interventions or possibly find another stratagem that works best for your student population all together. Furthermore, educators need not be apprehensive in applying multi-component interventions in the classroom, as previous research (Bloomquist & Schnell, 2002; Sentelle, 2003; Willie, 2002) supported using a combination of behavioral interventions. With an increased understanding of effective behavior interventions, including multi-component interventions, classroom teachers will be equipped with the necessary instruments required for increasing student behavior and boost student achievement.

References Baker, R.S. (2007). Modeling and understanding students’ off-task behavior in intelligent tutoring systems. Proceedings of ACM CHI 2007: Computer-Human Interaction, 1059-1068. Bloomquist, M. L., & Schnell, S. V. (2002). Helping children with aggression and conduct problems: Best practices for intervention. New York: Guilford Press. Nelson-Tanks, R. (2007). The Effectiveness of Intervention Strategies on Severely Emotionally Disturbed Students Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Nova Southeastern University, Davie, FL. Willie, J. R. (2002). Reducing disruptive classroom behavior with multicomponent intervention: A literature review. Unpublished manuscript, University of Wisconsin-Stout.

out of the storm. If not, please know that as important as credit is, it is not the most important thing. Concentrate on restoring your financial health (income) and when you are ready, deal with your credit. First things first. So, begin the New Year knowing your TransUnion, Equifax and Experian numbers. Here are a few dates to keep you in alignment with meeting your goals: March is Credit Education Month; April is Financial Literacy Month and June is National Home Ownership Month. Look out for additional information to help move you along your path to mortgage readiness and home ownership. Keep it simple. I can almost guarantee if you obtain your reports, review and make a plan and follow your spending plan, you will begin the path to improved credit. Best to you on your journey! What Can Families Do? Continued from page 26

What’s Your (FICO) Number? Continued from page 53

to obtain a mortgage. Building credit is equally as important as resolving prior problems. Begin with secured credit cards at your local financial institutions that preferably report to all three bureaus. Sometimes you may not know the origin of why you have poor credit. I do. Check your relationship with your money. Do you have a written spending plan? This is what you actually do with your money as opposed to a mental budget which is what you think you do with your money. I find if you carry a limited amount of cash ($20) and use the convenience of a debit or credit card, within 2 weeks you will determine where you are spending (and potentially wasting) money. You can see the transactions, then you can determine how you must modify your behavior. Because it all starts with you and your desire for something better. What is your why? No one can give it to you, but it is the most important factor in changing your credit status. This is usually not an overnight process since the deterioration of credit is usually over time. Now life happens. Death, divorce, health issues and un/underemployment have tarnished those with excellent credit because it impacted their finances. There is hope, but only after you are

comes to school engagement…” (Center on Educational Policy, 2012). So, what does all this mean for the average American family? Without a doubt, a parent begins the development of a supportive family life for academic achievement before the child is born, and during the early life of the child, by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and planning for the child’s early learning experiences. These crucial early learning activities could include reading to the child, encouraging appropriate discovery, praising creativity, and rewarding effort. It could also include identifying games that are fun and help students learn. Grandparents can support and nourish family life by exposing young children to travel, cultural events, educated family members, educational games, and books that support learning in a positive and fun manner. In other words, parents who are actively involved in their children’s education and provide a stimulating learning environment at home can help their children develop feelings of competence at an early age. Continue on page 70

Narrative Changers Dr. Crystal A. deGregory Historian Editor and College Professor @HBCUstorian Dr. Crystal A. deGregory is the founder and executive editor of HBCUstory, Inc., an advocacy initiative preserving, presenting and promoting inspiring stories of the Historically Black College and University’s (HBCU) past and present, for their future. A passionate believer in the historic mission and contemporary vision for the nation’s HBCUs she is the convener of the annual HBCUstory Symposium. A native of Freeport, Bahamas, she is a proud alumna of the historic Fisk University; and she received her master's and doctoral degrees from Vanderbilt University. Entitled "Raising a Nonviolent Army: Four Nashville Black Colleges and the Century-Long Struggle for Civil Rights, 1830s-1930s," her dissertation focuses on the role of these colleges and their students in the struggle for equality, justice and civil rights in Nashville, Tennessee. Dr. deGregory’s research and teaching interests include black education in 19th and 20th centuries--with special attention to black colleges as well as the relationship of HBCUs to the modern Civil Rights Movement. She continues to explore interrelationship of these institutions and their civil rights efforts to the wider African Diaspora where they helped engender the social and political development of fledgling black nations such as the modern Bahamas. Her newest work, the chapter “The Relationships of Revolution: Martin Luther King, Jr., the Civil Rights Movement and Political Change in the Bahamas” was published in August 2013, as a part of the book In an Inescapable Network of Mutuality: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Globalization of an Ethical Ideal. Dr. deGregory is also editor of Emancipation and the Fight for Freedom (2013), the sixth volume in the 12-part series Tennessee in the Civil War: The Best of the Tennessee Historical Quarterly. Her other published work includes contributions to The Journal of Tennessee State University (2012), Encyclopedia of African American Popular Culture (2011) and Freedom Facts and Firsts: 400 Years of the African American Civil Rights Continued on page 90

Living Education Everyday

Can You Pass The Test? Identifying African American Women Who Impact The World Karen M.R. Townsend, Ph.D. @DrKarenTownsend As an educator, I understand the importance of not only presenting information and teaching the lesson, but also assessing whether the student has retained, and can truly understand and apply the material. With that said, let’s begin with a test.

   

Now you may be wondering, how does one administer a test without presenting the material? Fear not. All the information on this “test,” is readily available to most readers…especially those who have access to cable television. Get your pens and pencils ready for ten questions that will require “short answer” responses. No True/False, multiple choice or fill in the blank. YOU are smarter than that! Here we go: Part 1 Give two facts about each of the following African American women: 

NeNe Leakes

    

Cynthia Bailey Phaedra Parks Phaedra Parks Kenya Moore Kandi Burruss

Easy enough, right? Let’s move on to the next section of the test: Part 2 To make this a bit easier, you are only required to give one fact about each of the following African American women: 

Dr. Mae Jemison

Mellody Hopson Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry Gina McCauley Rosalind Brewer

media are more likely to be monolithic, shallow or negative rather than positive, I am bothered by the fact that when people see ME (and you!) they see a limited view of who WE really are. As an advocate for women, I want the full breadth of who we are and what we represent to be shared with the world. Yes, some of us are “The Real House Wives of Atlanta,” but we are also doctors, scientists, engineers and astronauts. Thank you Dr. Mae Jemison—who studied engineering, became a medical doctor and was the first African American woman astronaut and the first African American woman in space. Yes, some of us are struggling to make it and may depend on government programs for financial assistance, but we are also leaders of major financial institutions laying the foundation to insure a transfer of wealth to the next generation. Thank you, Mellody Hopson, president Ariel Investments—one of the largest African Americanowned money management funds in the country with over $9 billion dollars in assets. Yes, some of us may be politically disengaged and question whether or not our vote really counts, but we are also nationally recognized Experts in the fields of politics and international affairs. Thank you, Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry— scholar, author, college professor and host of The Melissa Harris-Perry Show which airs on MSNBC and provides practical and relevant news of the day.

Yes, some of us are admired for our physical appearance and our external beauty, but we are also problem-solvers, critical thinkers, and community activists. Thank you, Gina McCauley, founder of What About Our Daughters?—an online forum designed to encourage the women of our community to stand up and speak out against those who produce destructive images of Black women and girls. Yes, some of us may chose occupations that do not tap our full potential, but we are also business leaders who impact the world. Thank you, Rosalind Brewer—president and ceo of Sam’s Club, a worldwide brand with revenues of over $56 billion dollars. It is my hope that all of the “students” who took this test scored extremely well. If not, I encourage you to make a personal commitment to expand your scope and vision of African American women. Let us not be limited by how others define who we are. Rather, let us take responsibility for being our personal best in all our endeavors, and then share those stories with our youth. I applaud all my sisters who work to positively impact our community. So whether you are a reality TV star, a doctor, lawyer, college professor, stay-at-home mom, writer, politician, cook, or housekeeper, let’s make a commitment to protect our image. Why? Because our sisters, nieces and daughters are watching. Let’s make them proud!

Living Education Educational View: Diabetes @RobinTDorsey

Denise Fawcett Facey Educational View: Five Ways to Engage Students through Multicultural Education @Edufacey


Robin T. Dorsey


Michelle Howard-Vital Educational View: Family Life and Academic Achievement– What Can Families Do? @mrhvital

Andrea M. Peoples-Marwah Educational View: Mathematics and the Relationship of Achievement, Motivation and Concepts of Learning @Pdove72

Ronda Racha Penrice Educational View: Black History and Culture Should Play an Integral Role in School Curriculums Beyond Referencing Black Americans as Just Being Enslaved @rondaracha

Top 3 Winter College Planning Tips By Ashely Hill @prepforcollege With the millions of students applying for college as well as college scholarships, students can’t afford to take a break from preparing for college. The winter months are a perfect time to prepare for college and stand out among the competition to get into college 1. Review college success strategy. Before students can review their progress towards gaining admission into the best fit college as well as finding scholarship dollars, they have to have a strategy in place to determine which college preparation activities must be completed by certain deadlines such as college or scholarship application deadlines. Students should set aside a least 1 hour to review what they have accomplished towards preparing for college over the last year. Then, they should take notes of their successes as well as items in their strategy that they were unable to complete successfully. It is vital that students be completely honest with themselves so that they can have the best opportunity to make the necessary improvements for the upcoming year. Most importantly, students must document the reasons behind the goals that they didn't accomplish. This is a very crucial step so that students can steer clear of making the same mistakes in the future. Lastly, students need to create a list of resources that can help them reach their goals for the next 12 months. 2. Search for scholarships. Majority of students will immediately search for scholarships through online resources. The mistake with this approach is that competition for

these scholarships are high because the same students are going to the same top two or three scholarship search websites. The second crucial mistake is that students start searching for scholarships before creating their roadmap also known as a scholarship resume. All students should create a scholarship resume, a list of achievements and talents, to guide where they should search for scholarships to increase their chances of winning money for college. Lastly, students must. 3. Build a network. It truly takes a village to prepare students for college. Students should take their college success strategy and seek out people who can assist them and provide insight into the college admissions process. Students should start locally and consider asking tutors, business owners, and people that work in their desired career field. Ideally, students should make a goal of having a network (also known as a college success team) of at least 3 people in addition to their family to assist with completing college applications, choosing the best-fit college, and financing their college education. Lastly, it is very important that students take the initiative and ask instead of parents asking on behalf of their children. In conclusion, students should maximize the time they have available during the winter months to strengthen their college success strategy to get into the best fit college, search for scholarships to reduce the financial burden of college tuition, and build a network to access even more college preparation resources and opportunities.

Book List

LaSean Rinique @mzoptimizm In this economy, many of those who are struggling would do anything for work. Equally, those who are employed view losing their jobs as a life-destroying dread. However, a group of self-titled ‘dedicated entrepreneurs’ have banded together in a powerful new book to make it clear that losing one’s job can easily become their ticket and fasttrack to a better life. ‘CONGRATULATIONS! YOU JUST LOST YOUR J.O.B!: The Journeys of Dedicated Entrepreneurs’, Compiled by LaSean Rinique, makes its case with plausible clarity; drawing on the experiences and successes of its authors, who each have an affirming story to tell. Losing your job can be traumatic. But it can also be the New Beginning to the rest of your life story. The authors from ‘CONGRATULATIONS! YOU JUST LOST YOUR JOB’ share their journeys from Employees to Entrepreneurs. This masterpiece is from a collection of dedicated Entrepreneurs that finally left the 40/40/40 Club. If you were struggling THEN, well you know the rest! Read about the joys of not having a J.O.B situation- Just Over Broke or Juggling Overdue Bills.

Living Education Everyday

Is Your Child Born Smart? By Roma Benjamin The popular belief that children are born smart because their parents are fairly smart and it’s in their DNA has been the biggest disservice to families worldwide. Despite the predisposition that it’s in a child’s DNA to be smart because their parents are, isn’t a predetermination that the child will be. The fact is that children who

are not taught at home before schooling begins are less likely to succeed in their academic journey, and if they don’t know their letters or the sounds they make to then be able to blend letters together to start learning how to read when they see words on a page, it doesn’t matter if their parents are brilliant, those children will fall behind. If it doesn’t start at home with a child’s first teacher (their parent) showing the basics of all education, which is learning how to read, the chances of that child receiving first class schooling and learning how to read is slim to none; specifically if you preside in a poor economic location. Children’s opportunities start shrinking when this important factor is robbed

from them by both their parents and teachers alike. Yet, there are a variety of ways that parents and family members can impact their child’s reading levels before school starts. To start, parents need to become more aware of the robbery taking place in the classrooms and schools they are forced to send their children to. The tragedy is that our children are no longer being educated to compete in the 21st century. Reading which worldwide is known to be the most important factor in confidently competing in any area isn’t taught to our children and after the third grade isn’t taught at all in American schools. Our children go years in school reading two, three and four grades behind their counterparts, somehow perplexing the schools on why this handicap can’t be fixed. Then somehow the parent becomes the target of blame and accused of not spending enough time at home educating their children because something is wrong with the child’s intelligence. Oddly teachers are still compensated to educate but clearly are not doing it well, and continue ill equipping our children! All other subjects in school will be downright impossible to master if reading comprehension and phonics in the early grades of schooling are not properly learned. Your children will have poor reading skills, poor if any comprehension skills, delayed learning abilities and will suffer cramming to pass a test than actually knowing the material. Spelling can’t be imparted properly because of lack of phonetic awareness and your children will be trained to memorize how to spell words which in time will prove to be too much to keep remembering. This all creates a recipe for disaster that in some way could have been avoided if you as a parent made a sacrifice and started simply teaching your children the letters in the alphabet and the sounds those letters make. I understand some parents lack the skills themselves but wouldn’t you want a different outcome for your child? Make an effort to learn them together, ask a trusted source to help, or stop by a library and take a free class before the damage is too strong to break.

No one will refute learning how to read is the responsibility of the school system and some will even counter and say that learning begins at home. Which in my opinion is true, parents’ play a big role in the regard to which their child takes to learning how to read and in the long run loving to read. Research suggests that if a parent instills excitement and joy when reading a book their child will adapt the same feelings towards reading. Yet other research suggests economic barriers can affect the way parents can teach their children how to read, and however accurate these barriers may be the fact is these children were born to us and they will do whatever we ask of them, show them how to read and they will show us a better way of life. Susan Neuman, author of a “Handbook of Early Literacy Research”, found that even low-income, culturally and linguistically diverse parents- possess the attitudes and at least the sufficient early literacy skills and knowledge to help their children get on the road to literacy. There is actually no more room for excuses; society is demonstrating that if you can’t find time to teach your children how to read before entering school then they will not have time to teach them while in school. The latest excuse utilized is children are damaged by parents before the educational system even starts. Some of the standard excuses are they see too much violence or they’re hungry while they’re in school they can’t focus enough to learn something basic as learning the sounds the letters make in the alphabet. Even good old “Johnny” has a language barrier is yet one more accusation that the schools sling at parents to simply mask they are not teaching your child the basics. If you stop to think how often you browse the web or a social site, take selfies and LIKE everyone’s pictures you could be taking that time to sound out the alphabet with your child, blending those letters together for pronouncement practice. For example, teaching your child to sound out every letter in a word is actually helping their spelling skills, which will improve their reading comprehension in the long run, because they understand the words they are spelling out. The minimal an hour a day, the equivalent of a reality TV show will give your child an extra tool to fight the robbery they endure. Truthfully speaking,

your children have enough weight on their shoulder which is expecting them to fail, to not compete simply because they are of a different culture. Don’t let your selfishness or lack of education create another weight added to an already heavy load. Parents have to focus more on their own child they took the time to make, and worry about what they’re doing to better that child. I always reference a song called “Momma don’t let your boys’ grow up to be cowboys”, and what I think it means, as a community we shouldn’t let our boys grow up to be wild and untamed much like they will be if they can’t read or write, but take control and see how they will change. I now say “Mommas don’t let your boys’ grow up to be illiterate” because the meaning is the same in my eyes. The most important factor parents can control is connecting the school environment while in the home environment, which is key to having your child up to speed with their classmates. Learning doesn’t have to stop when the school bell rings, nor does your child have to see learning as hard work. However, if they lack basic reading skills they will, if reading is challenging for them everything else will seem tough and ultimately boring. Instead try involving them with daily chores so they think it’s fun instead. Provide interesting games while cooking dinner, like who can find an ingredient that starts with the letter F and ask them the sound the letter makes, if they’re older try spelling things out with them. Even if your family spends time watching TV after school, sit down and ask questions about the show you’re watching, “who can spot things that begin with the letter D, who knows the sound that letter makes”, when you see them absorbed in video games ask your child if they know how to spell the main characters name, or do they know the first letter of the character’s name and the sound it makes. Spending less time on video games or computer games and watching TV is more effective but you can still inject education while they are doing these activities as well. In today’s technological world, if you have any question or doubts on something you can look it up on the internet and the answer is readily at your fingertips. Books are audible now, with the words highlighted right on the screen, so that you and your child can read along without having to buy anything! Parents, families, communities and churches, we must go

back to the basis of providing an environment that supports strong readers. This attitude towards knowing how to read and loving it will change the lives of children and the world! Be the champion your child needs fighting for their future, fight for the choice not the chance your child will be an achieving reader. Without this crucial parenting involvement many children will lose the chance to be great. What Can Families Do? Continued from page 59

It means that parents, extended families, and teachers have ample opportunities to positively influence the educational outcomes of students from earlier grades, middle school, through high school into college. Sometimes students excel in college because sports furnish the needed structure, required academic achievement, positive environment, and exposure they need or lacked through family life. The good news is that extended family members can all contribute to positive student outcomes. Bibliography: Clark, Reginald M. (1983). Family Life and School Achievement: Why Poor Black Children Succeed or Fail. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Howard, Michelle R. (1985). [Review of the book, Family Life and School Achievement: Why Poor Black Children Succeed or Fail] by Reginald Clark]. Journal of Negro Education, 54, No. 1, 111-112. Usher, Alexander and Nancy Koher. (2012). Student Motivation: An Overlook Piece of School Reform. Center on Educational Policy. Retrieved from Usher, Alexander and Nancy Koher (2012). 4. What Roles Do Parent Involvement, Family Background, and Culture Play in Student Motivation? Center on Educational Policy. Retrieved from

My Turn: Prominent Women Leaders in Today’s Sports Industry continued from page 52

Coughlin, L., Wingard, E. and Hollihan, K. (2005). Enlightened power. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Fagan, K. (2014). Fagan: Becky Hammon was born to coach. [online] Glass, A. (2014). Condoleezza Rice, A Journey from Coach’s Daughter to the College Football Playoff Selection Committee. Forbes. Helin, K. (2014). Michele Roberts, new NBA players union director, is a person to be reckoned with. Pro Basketball Talk. [online] Longman, J. (2014). Pioneer of a Crossover Move. The New York Times. Yoga continued from page 17

of yoga to help students open their hearts, experience grace, and let their inner goodness shine through. Classes, which are specifically sequenced by the teacher to explore one of Friend's Universal Principles of Alignment, are rigorous for the body and the mind. Ashtanga Ashtanga is based on ancient yoga teachings, but it was popularized and brought to the West by Pattabhi Jois (pronounced "pah-tah-bee joyce") in the 1970s. It's a rigorous style of yoga that follows a specific sequence of postures and is similar to vinyasa yoga, as each style links every movement to a breath. The difference is that Ashtanga always performs the exact same poses in the exact same order. This is a hot, sweaty, physically demanding practice. Bikram Approximately 30 years ago, Bikram Choudhury developed this school of yoga where classes are held in artificially heated rooms. In a Bikram class, you will sweat like you've never sweated before Continue on page 80


Chevonna Johnson

CEO and Founder AAU Teen Talk TV and AAU Teen Talk Radio “Hope is a substance that is not seen, but a faith that will sustain you to believe in the impossible dream. Hope is a piece of you deep within that you hear, feel and experience like a living river flowing through your Soul. Hope is hearing a small inner voice in your heart, seeing signs, wonders, and a dream releasing the key to your very existences that no matter what lies before you Success is your greatest opportunity.� @aautvradio

The Best Pou A Family Affair Makes

Delicious, dense, moist and mouthwatering are all words used to describe my Aunt Ola’s Famous Pound Cake. Whenever my Aunt Ola made her pound cake, it was a family affair. She would surround herself in the kitchen with the kids. Placing the ingredients on the counter, she would explain their purpose. Creaming the butter and sugar until they were light and fluffy was essential to mastering the texture of this cake. As the batter became thicker, once the eggs and flour were added, Aunt Ola would allow the kids to take turns assisting. Her secret ingredients of patience, kindness and love, along with a splash of vanilla flavoring, added the appetizing aroma this cake needed. Back in the good ole days, during her time, there were no electric cake mixers; everything had to be mixed by hand. They creamed and whipped the batter with a wooden spoon for what seemed like hours in a hot kitchen with no air-conditioning, which were typical living conditions in the South. No one complained because they knew if they did, they wouldn't get a chance to lick the bowl - and licking the bowl was the best part! As a kid, this pound cake was the centerpiece for all of my family events. Everyone would take their time eating this cake, just enjoying each and every bite—even the crumbs. It was so good, we would be mad when it was gone. After my aunt passed, no one wanted to continue with her tradition. I knew how special this pound cake was to my family, so I decided to become an entrepreneur to carry on her legacy. Tracey West Irresistible

By Tracey

Pound Cakes, is a wholesale dessert company that I started out of the love and respect for my Aunt Ola and her popular pound cake. My advice to a first-time entrepreneur is that you must be amazing! Being amazing, you have to follow your passion and be creative. For example I don’t have just a regular pound cake. I was able to take my aunt’s pound

cake recipe and turn it into an irresistible gourmet pound cake. I’ve found what separates my irresistible pound cakes from others is the taste, the flavor, and the standards behind the high quality ingredients that I use. My aunt didn’t cut corners or skimp on her measurements to save money when she made her cake, so I honor her every time I bake and follow along the path that she left for me.

nd Cake An Entrepreneur

get the necessary training that is needed. Often times our backgrounds may not be an exact match to our goals and dreams. I graduated from Clark Atlanta University with a Master’s Degree in Computer Science and a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Information Systems. When I decided to pursue my dreams to become an entrepreneur, I completed a baking certification program at The Art Institute of Atlanta. I also completed other baking and business courses that were offered throughout Atlanta. I continue to enroll in courses these days to stay abreast of what’s going on in the industry. You can never know too much in business.

West @irresistiblepc

The most appealing part of being an entrepreneur is knowing that I am an inspiration to others. I hope that my story will inspire and motivate others to take action. Just hearing how I started my business with a family pound cake recipe could be the turning point for someone. My story could be your story. There are plenty of Aunt Ola stories out there. I just hope that today, someone will be inspired to start their family legacy.

Entrepreneurs must invest in themselves and their business. Business coaches have made the pivotal shift in my business. When I started in 2005, I operated alone. What I discovered was that I wasn’t moving fast. I knew I had something special with my pound cakes but I wasn’t making much progress. I had to take a look at what I had done, and then change my focus,

accountability and brand image. In business, you can’t be afraid to acknowledge what you don’t know, and you can’t be afraid to invest in your dreams. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with business coaches over the last few years because they have changed my life and my business. If you have a goal that you want to accomplish but are lacking the skills to achieve it, then you must

There are obstacles to face on every business journey. There will be times when things do not work out as planned. When this happens, you must first evaluate what went wrong. This experience showed up to teach you a lesson. You must identify the lesson and make adjustments to avoid repeating it. It is very important to remember that it’s not about the pursuit of perfection but the pursuit of progress.

If I could rewind the clock and change one part of my journey, it would be the start date for my business. I wish I had started when my aunt was still alive so she could witness how I would live out her legacy. I know that she is beaming down on me with pride. My aunt made her cake every weekend for my uncle, who is still alive and is now 105 years old. If my aunt was here I know she would be extremely proud of what I have done with her famous pound cake recipe. P.S. For Those Special Occasions Have you ever wondered, “What is the best cake to go with any occasion?” The answer – Aunt Ola’s Famous Pound Cake. At Tracey West Irresistible Pound Cakes, our pound cakes come in a variety of flavors and sizes. Our main flavors are Butter, Lemon, Chocolate, Butter Rum, and Red Velvet. Our Specialty flavors are Chocolate Chip and Sour Cream Spice. We are currently working on new flavors and we need your help. You can respond to us via Twitter @irresistiblepc to let us know which flavor we should do next – Key Lime, Caramel or Butter Pecan. All of our pound cake flavors come in two different sizes – 8 inch and a personal mini size. We currently ship nationwide and we are looking to expand internationally. Orders can be placed on our website at or by calling (678) 613-3973. My goal is to share my pound cakes with the world. The more people who try my cakes get me closer to meeting my goal. I love to see the initial reaction on people’s faces when they try my products for the first time. Seeing their reaction brings me pure irresistible pound cake joy because to them, it’s not just a pound cake; it’s a unique experience for their pallet!

2 Tips Writing the Dissertation

By Dr. Breea Willingham@drbreewill

Title: Assistant Professor at Plattsburgh State University of New York Institution: SUNY Plattsburgh


1. You have to get comfortable in your own mess. A former professor of mine told me this when I was analyzing my data, but it also applies to writing. Make a beautiful mess of your writing. Wallow in it. Get comfortable in it like it’s your old favorite, worn-out sweatshirt. Once you get comfortable, the writing won’t be so intimidating.

2. If you look at your writing and swear it’s the worst thing you’ve ever written, keep writing anyway. This advice comes from me. Bad writing is still writing; it leaves you something to edit. Besides, it’s probably not as bad as you think.

Conversation with

Ouida Washington

Co-Founder & Co-Executive Director of

Beyond the Bricks is a documentary created with the goal of promoting solutions for one of America’s critical problems in education: the consistently low performance of African‐American boys in the public school system. The film follows African‐ American students Shaquiel Ingram and Erick Graham as they struggle to stay on track in the Newark, NJ public school system. Fifteen year‐old Shaquiel is a bright student who enjoys writing poems and playing the trumpet, but finds himself a ward of the court system when he can longer take the “chaos” of his local high school and stops going to class. Erick, a nineteen year‐old high school dropout, realizes that the freedom he sought from his former daily school routine is not all it’s cracked up to be. Unemployed and unable to find a job, he spends most of his days bored at home and watching TV. (Beyond the Bricks, 2009).

@BeyondTheBricks wanted to tell a childhood story. Beyond the Bricks is documentary we created in 2009. The organization Beyond the Brick project came out of our work with the film. Once we made the film and had the opportunity to go around the country; we felt like we could not stop, primarily based on a lot of the things that were being said during town hall meetings we were putting together around the film. We could not just lay it down and move on to the next project because it was such a passionate project for us. In some ways, it was the beginning; this sort of new wave of the conversation about Black male achievement. The film was released in 2009 and we did the tour in 2010. It was supported by the Open Society Institute’s Foundation Campaign for Black Male Achievement, who sort of pushed the conversation along to where we are now with My Brother’s Keeper. Open Society Institute was a big catalyst for work on Black male research and they were big supporters of our tour. Their support allowed us to have this conversation on a national level and we used the film to do that. What is the mission of Beyond The Bricks?

You are the Co-Founder & Co-Executive Director of Beyond the Bricks Project, for our readers who may not be familiar with the Beyond the Bricks Project please tell us about your organization?

Ouida Washington: We started the organization to further the work of having the voices of the young men becoming part of our national dialogue. The mission of the organization is to use news media to encourage and promote and increase social and educational outcomes for school age black males.

Ouida Washington: The Beyond the Bricks Project actually stems from the film Beyond the Bricks. We are filmmakers. My partner Derek Koen and I approached this whole thing from that perspective. We

Share why you are so passionate about the work you are doing at Beyond the Brick Project?

Living Education eMagazine interviewed filmmaker and CEO of Beyond the Bricks Quida Washington about her 2009 ground breaking documentary and the lessons learned from the Beyond the Bricks project.

Continue on page 96

Catherine Trotter @catherinetr Community Engagement from Concept to Implementation will reveal eight steps to unlocking your creative ideas around the development, organization and execution of a systemic approach to building community engagement projects. The book will define the concept of "community engagement" and will peel back the layers on how to become an effective leader in “community organizing”. The reader will discover "how to take ideas and turn them into a cohesive strategic plan that can be executed”. Each step will teach readers how to examine their assets, how to develop a strategic alliance, how to create a timeline, how to develop a team, how to execute on the plan and create a ripple effect that will yield results ten years out from the start of the project. In the Author’s Corner click to hear from Catherine Trotter on why she wrote her book!

Did Harriet Tubman get depressed? What about Sojourner Truth or Mary McLeod Bethune? They faced trauma and injustice repeatedly and survived. These women are inspirations for us, but we don’t know much about their inner lives. Did they despair? Wonder about their self-worth? Find themselves unable to function for weeks at a time because of depression? I don’t think we’ll ever know. It's easy to think that since these women went through incredible trials, we shouldn’t complain or even acknowledge the difficulty of our current circumstances. Many of us think that means we shouldn’t experience depression or anxiety. “Black Moses,” aka Harriet Tubman, worked incredibly hard for future generations to live as freely and fully as possible. I’d argue that Ms. Tubman and other outstanding women of African descent gave their time and energy to the struggle so that we could have optimal physical and mental health. So where are we as Black women when it comes to mental health? In some ways, we’re doing well. According to some studies, we’ve got lower rates of depression and anxiety than women of other ethnic backgrounds. We juggle work responsibilities, the needs of our children, parents and siblings and often do an amazing job at it. Here’s what is not OK: research shows that when we do experience an episode of depression, we don’t get professional help. At all. That’s time spent being down, disabled, depressed that we don’t really have, in my opinion. What’s the difference between depression and just having some rough days? Most of us are resilient, able to feel down about circumstances for a few days and then we bounce back. Sometimes, though, we experience low mood for most days of the week, for more than two weeks. If that’s what’s happening, it’s time to ask about other signs of depression. If sleep becomes

a problem (either too much or too little), appetite problems (either gaining or losing weight), and if you or a loved one is feeling hopeless, like you can’t envision a future for yourself, you may be depressed. Some people think of depression as a personal failure and that they should snap out of it.” The biochemistry of depression is more complicated than that. Would you ever tell a diabetic to make more of an effort to create insulin? No way! Depression isn’t usually something one can cure oneself of in a few days, with a few optimistic phrases or by faking it ‘til we make it. It

Black Women By Karinn Glover @drkarinn

deserves real treatment from a qualified professional. Sadly, that’s not happening nearly enough. So, what is happening? Black women have some tried and true techniques for staving off depression. There is good research showing that one of the ways we keep depression at bay is by using food for comfort. Research shows that over half of all Black women are obese compared to White women. We have patterns of health behaviors that might protect us from depression (sitting with friends, eating comfort foods) but may leave us in a bad situation when we get on the scale, risking diabetes and hypertension, heart disease and osteoarthritis. It seems like we’re choosing one sickness over another. Is physical illness much more preferable or acceptable than simply treating depression?

There are many reasons we avoid getting the help we need. We get mixed messages about mental health: we are too blessed to be stressed, right? From the pulpit to radio personalities like Steve Harvey, we hear messages like, “You don’t need a therapist. You just need to

(insert major life/behavior change here) and stop being a child!” Our own families tell us not to talk to a professional, that friends, faith, a pastor and patience are the only way through challenges. If only it were that simple or that easy. Not surprisingly, research shows that we stay depressed longer than any other group of people in the United States. What’s so bad about that? There’s evidence that the longer we are depressed, the more likely we are to have an episode of depression again and that episode might last longer than the episode we just had. That means, the longer we stay depressed, we make ourselves more depressed in the future. Is that what our ancestors wanted for us? Let’s claim the best for ourselves. First, find a good clinician. A great therapist is someone board-certified and licensed, who has years of training equipping them to help


Mental HeaLth

others through depression and other mental disorders. Finding the right therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist is really important. Ask others for recommendations. Yes, that involves talking with someone about your depression/anxiety, but it’s OK. If stigma and anonymity are a serious barrier to care, talk with your physician. He or she might be able to help. Look for the listings provided by The Association of Black Psychologists Sometimes insurance companies can say which of their providers is of a certain background. I’m often asked the difference between types of treatments and treaters. Let’s start with treaters: social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists. Each can do therapy. Only psychiatrists are medical doctors and prescribe medication. Treatments for depression include psychotherapy, medication, or the combination of both. Therapy involves sitting down with a professional on a weekly or biweekly basis, talking through problems, automatic thoughts, assumptions, and developing better coping skills. Both medication and therapy can lead to positive, long-term change, the kind of change that brings us closer to the life we want. Let’s talk a little about what we can do on a regular basis to care for ourselves. What are some healthy ways of coping with stress? Exercise is one critical, time-tested and proven way of lifting one’s mood. Thirty minutes of walking, just getting your heart pumping is very good. Taking a mindful approach to daily tasks can also be a

Yoga continued from page 70

as you work your way through a series of 26 poses (like Ashtanga, a Bikram class always follows the same sequence, although a Bikram sequence is different from an Ashtanga sequence). Bikram is somewhat controversial, as Choudhury has trademarked his sequence and has prosecuted studios who call themselves Bikram but don't teach the poses exactly the way he says they should. It is also wildly popular, making it one of the easiest types of classes to find. Hatha Hatha yoga is a generic term that refers to any type of yoga that teaches physical postures. Nearly every type of yoga class taught in the West is Hatha yoga. When a class is marketed as Hatha, it generally means that you will get a gentle introduction to the most basic yoga postures. You probably won't work up a sweat in a Hatha yoga class, but you should end up leaving class feeling longer, looser, and more relaxed. Mindfulness is simply checking in with yourself a few times throughout your day. Stopping for a brief moment, taking ten seconds to scan your body from top to bottom for signs of stress or tension can help you acknowledge your feelings before they become overwhelming. Noticing your breathing, slowing it down a bit to count to four or eight as you breathe in and out is a powerful way to focus on yourself. In conclusion, self- care is important because it gives us space to connect to ourselves and connect to spirit or inner guidance. Once you notice you’re not quite yourself or that a loved one is suffering, consider depression symptoms and think about seeing a professional. They are highly-trained and very skilled at treating depression. Getting care quickly means we can recover faster and reduce the risk of future episodes of depression. It’s not being indulgent nor does it mean we aren’t blessed or grateful for the things and people in our lives. Getting help is a sign of health, a signal to the Creator that we are willing to work with those created to heal. It is also a way to create the lives we want. Remember, our ancestors didn’t just want us to survive; they wanted us to thrive!

Hot Yoga Basically this form of yoga is similar to that of Bikram. Generally, the only difference between Bikram and Hot Yoga is that the Hot Yoga studio deviates from Bikram's sequence in some small way, and so they must call themselves by another name. The room will be heated, and you will sweat buckets.

6. Iyengar Iyengar yoga was developed and popularized by B.K.S. Iyengar (pronounced "eye-yen-gar"). Iyengar is a very meticulous style of yoga, with utmost attention paid to finding the proper alignment in a pose. In order to help each student find the proper alignment, an Iyengar studio will stock a wide array of yoga props — blocks, blankets, straps, chairs, bolsters, and a rope wall are all common. There isn't a lot of jumping around in Iyengar classes, so you won't get your heart rate up, but you'll be amazed to discover how physically and mentally challenging it is to stay put. Iyengar teachers must undergo a comprehensive Continue on page 90

Living Education Everyday

The Kelley Williams-Bolar Story @kelleywbolar Kelley Williams-Bolar received a felony conviction in the state of Ohio for seeking the same educational opportunities for her children that President Obama’s children receive. Lindsay Lohan was convicted for shoplifting, possession of cocaine and she blatantly violates the terms of her probation. She even goes so far as to tell the judge the “F” word via her creative finger nails, but she still avoids jail time. Between 2005 and 2011, Copley-Fairlawn schools discovered 48 cases of school residency fraud; Kelley Williams-Bolar’s was the only case that ever ended up in court. Many people asked if her case was the result of racial bias. After reading her story… you decide for yourselves.

of women investing or not investing today. What did we see our parents doing in relation to their money – their money habits? Many of us saw our parents hide money under the mattress, in some jar or some other unexpected places. Some spent every cent they earned and ended up with nothing to pass on to their children.

5 Things Women Need to Know When Investing Their Money By Karlene Sinclair-Robinson @KarleneSinRob When the request came for me to write this article, it was a no-brainer as to what I would consider as important factors for women investing their money. There are so many things women don’t know, and too often, we’re not willing to learn. Learning about money is not always sexy. Money is not a topic many women like to discuss. Why? There are a number of reasons why women might not like discussing money or lack an understanding of how to invest. The investing concept of money is not always easy to understand. Just because we make and spend money doesn’t mean we know much about it. The opportunity to grow our money through various investment methods affords us the opportunity to do more. A lack of money investing knowledge stems from our upbringing. Growing up many of us were not exposed to financial literacy. As females, some of us were not considered important enough to teach this type of lesson. When the family unit did not discuss finances, or they too lacked the financial knowledge, the cycle of money and investing illiteracy repeated itself through generations. History plays a major role in the dynamic

There were no talks of stock and bonds, certificates of deposits (CDs) or other such banking instrument. Many had no clue that these types of investing opportunities were available to them. Others tried to keep up with ‘The Jones’ wherein they had to drive the best car or live in the most expensive neighborhood. And so, through generational habits, women are still behind the curve when it comes to money management and investing. With the increase in access to information, today we see women slowly getting ahead in the money game. Letting go of those bad habits will take time. Education is the necessary tool in decreasing this timeline and increase the number of women investing in today’s market. Financial and investing knowledge is the key to future growth in all aspects of our lives. Here are five (5) things to consider before investing your money: Learn the Time Value of Money – (defined as ‘concept that a dollar one has today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow’ – source: Barron’s Dictionary of Accounting Terms)


Every woman must understand the value of

money in order to invest wisely. When she decides to invest, having a clear understanding of the value of money is a critical element to her future financial success. Understanding the value of money today versus three to five months from now, much less three to five years will aid in her plan for financial growth. Understand Return on Investment (ROI) – (defined as ‘measure of the earning power of assets.’ – source: Barron’s Dictionary of Accounting Terms)


Women must understand the concept of ROI. Of course, there are no guarantees that a

proposed ROI will return at the end of said investment term Understanding that the potential rate of return is feasible over time or not is a key point to note.

Know Your Risk Tolerance – How High or Low Will You Go?


Overly enthusiastic women wanting to show they can make it in the investing world sometimes

forget the concept of 'Risk'. Being risk averse doesn’t mean you’re not a savvy investor. You must weigh the pros and cons as to the viability of investing your hard-earned dollars. Where you are on the risk tolerance scale can help you go forward or backwards. It is important to know when to take those calculated risk and jump into that market, business or another opportunity. Before you invest, ask questions, check out the sources; do your due diligence process, as this can help you make a qualified decision. If you set a monetary threshold that you are comfortable with in case you lose it all, and you’ve received answers to all of your questions and concerns, then, go for it. Seek Professional Help – Yes, You Need One.


You don’t know everything. I don’t know everything! Seeking professional advice doesn’t mean

you are clueless; it means you're being proactive and smart. Every savvy investor has some professional, mentor or some other respected individual they can reach out to when they have investing questions. This individual should have some background in the type of financial support you are seeking.

5 Listen to Your Gut – Yes, You Read Correctly! Your intuition plays a role here, and you should listen to it. Sometimes, it might just be an uneasy feeling, an upset

stomach or just something telling you to walk away from the opportunity. When you’ve tapped into all of the other information shared, if you still have misgivings, then stop right there. Don’t do it. If you are feeling great about your decision to invest in whatever method that’s to your liking, then go for it. The best thing for women to do when seeking opportunities to invest their money is to let go of their fears. Get real about what you would like to accomplish and map out a plan for your financial future. Finally, take action. Start today.

Living Education Everyday

Historical Narrative Changing Organizations

African American Sororities Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (AKA) is the first Greek letter organization in the United States established by Black college women. Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated had humble beginnings as the vision of nine college students on the campus of Howard University in 1908. Since then, the sorority has flourished into a globally-impactful organization of over 265,000 college-trained members, bound by the bonds of sisterhood and empowered by a commitment to servant-leadership that is both domestic and international in its scope. Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated (AKA) was founded on a mission comprised of five basic tenets that have remained unchanged since the sorority’s inception more than a century ago. Alpha Kappa Alpha’s mission is to cultivate and encourage high scholastic and ethical standards, to promote unity and friendship among college women, to study and help alleviate problems concerning girls and women in order to improve their social stature, to maintain a progressive interest in college life, and to be of “Service to All Mankind". As Alpha Kappa Alpha has grown, it has maintained its focus in two key arenas: the lifelong personal and professional development of each of its members; and galvanizing its membership into an organization of respected power and influence, consistently at the forefront of effective advocacy and social change that results in equality and equity for all citizens of the world.

Dorothy Buckhanan Wilson, International President Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority was founded on January 13, 1913 by twenty-two collegiate women at Howard University. These students wanted to use their collective strength to promote academic excellence and to provide assistance to persons in need. The first public act performed by the Delta Founders involved their participation in the Women's Suffrage March in Washington D.C., March 1913. Delta Sigma Theta was incorporated in 1930. Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. is a private, not-for-profit organization whose purpose is to provide assistance and support through established programs in local communities throughout the world. Since its founding more than 200,000 women have joined the organization. The organization is a sisterhood of predominantly Black, college educated women. The sorority currently has 1,000 collegiate and alumnae chapters located in the United States, England, Japan (Tokyo and Okinawa), DR. Germany, the Virgin Islands, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Jamaica and PAULETTE C. the Republic of Korea. The major programs of the sorority are based upon the organization's Five Point Programmatic Thrust. More than ten thousand members typically attend Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated's biennial national conventions, and each of the seven regional conferences (held during years when there is no national convention) typically hosts thousands of members. At its recent 51st National convention held in the District of Columbia, more than 38,000 members registered and attended.

WALKER National President, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Continue on page 97


6 QUESTIONS African American Women in Business By La Juana Whitmore @LaJuanaWhitmore Q1. LEeM: According to the Center for American Progress, African American women owned businesses have increased by 258 percent from 1997-2013. What factors would you contribute to this growth? La Juana Whitmore: In my opinion, the rate at which African American, women-owned businesses are being created can, in part, be attributed to a few factors. Organizations that serve small businesses are creating more programs and services that speak to the unique challenges of minority and women entrepreneurs. For example, the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) Business Development Program was created to support minoritycontrolled companies with mentoring, technical assistance, subcontracting opportunities, etc. Likewise, the SBA maintains a network of 100 Women’s Business Centers across the nation. Additionally, colleges and universities that serve a high percentage of minority students offer small business management and entrepreneurship degrees or certifications (i.e., the University of Phoenix currently graduates the most minority students in the United States). In these venues, aspiring business owners are not only receiving an entrepreneurial education, but they also have a place to develop create networks, and find potential partners with whom to begin ventures. Finally, even though there are innate trials with being an African American women to financing continues to be a disproportionate challenge), many feel they would an American, women entrepreneur (e.g., access rather face the uncertainty of business ownership than continue to be disillusioned by the glass ceiling that exists in many corporations; they would simply rather have more control over their own destinies.

Q2. LEeM: What are the benefits for the country with the growth of African American women entrepreneurs? La Juana Whitmore: The most important benefit is that minority-owned companies hire minorities, plain and simple. According to Dr. Thomas Boston, PhD (Georgia Tech), two-thirds of the workforce in African American firms is African American. If we want to see a direct and almost immediate impact on job creation among women and African Americans, we have to continue to create and support programs that foster entrepreneurship in those communities. Q3. LEeM: What are some of the significant challenges African American women entrepreneurs have to overcome to start, grow and maintain a successful business? La Juana Whitmore: African American, women entrepreneurs have two major obstacles to face. First is financing. When it comes to starting or growing a business, access to capital can make or break a company. However,

regardless of how successful an existing business is, or how solid a business idea may be, minority owners have a harder time receiving the funding they need through loans, if they receive it at all. The double challenge of being African American and a woman often means that she is not taken seriously, even if her education is as good as or better than her white, male competition. According to the National Women’s Business Council, women-owned firms have lower financial outcomes than male-owned companies in almost every industry, even in those where women dominate in both numbers and education level. Q4. LEeM: To what extent does race matter? And what are ways for African American women to overcome this obstacle? La Juana Whitmore: Race matters as long as there are discriminatory practices, economic

disparities and inequitable outcomes based on race. I live in Minnesota, which was recently named the secondworst state in America for Black people by 24/7 Wall Street. Minnesota ranks the lowest in the nation for racial disparities in both education and employment attainment. However Minnesota is not alone, these types of statistics are indicative of a national issue, as African American businesses continue to experience the largest gaps (scale, volume, capabilities, etc.) compared to white-owned businesses across the United States. Q5. LEeM: How can African American women business owners introduce their goods, services and products to major corporations? What are the strategies to get past the gatekeepers? La Juana Whitmore: I challenge the thinking that major corporations are needed to sell products and services in 2015. Traditional retailing is

not dead, but its importance to launching a successful business is not as prominent as it used to be. Cards Against Humanity is an adult party game that is not sold at any major retailer it was funded and launched on by giving every $5+ investor a free version of the game. Those backers were the first to receive the game, and contributed to the word-of-mouth needed to sell such a product. The group of college kids that created this game used a clever crowdfunding campaign and a major, coordinated social media presence to launch their product in 2011.

(healthy) ones 

Relevant and profitable revenue streams – Developing and selling products and services are the core capabilities of most entrepreneurial ventures. Ensuring those products and services remain relevant to the target market and profitable for the company is the only way to make a company sustainable.

Fostering an environment of customercentric innovation (getting rid of the Two Cs) – Two reasons that established, major corporations disappear without a trace are Complacency and Cockiness. Resting on one’s laurels and assuming what’s best for your customers (without asking them) are company killers, and possible industry killers.

Even today, if you try to find it at Wal-Mart or Barnes & Noble, you will be in for a long and futile search. However, you can buy it online directly from the company, on or on a few niche websites. Speaking of Amazon, entrepreneurs can utilize marketplaces to sell their products and services. Although Amazon and Best Buy were among the first, we will start to see more traditional retailers add online marketplaces to their websites where anyone can sell just about anything, manage their own listings have them incorporated with the items that the hosting company is selling. That said, no method of selling online, directly to the customer can be successful without a strong marketing plan that incorporates social media, paid adverting, SEO (search engine optimization), and a consistent, relevant brand message.

Watch as traditional taxis fight to keep business against the Ubers and Lyfts of the world. Technology has allowed riders to find rides faster and more cheaply than ever before. With no real outside competition, taxicab companies were left to fight amongst themselves for people in need of a ride. There is no legitimate reason that a taxicab company couldn’t have created a transportation network and mobile application to please its target market. Entrepreneurs must remain aware and foster an environment of innovation to keep the Two Cs (Complacency and Cockiness) out of their companies.

Q6. LEeM: What are the elements of a successful business? And what are the most common mistake aspiring entrepreneurs commit when starting or attempting to grow their business?  La Juana Whitmore: I believe there are four elements that entrepreneurs must nail to have a successful business. 

Relationships (customer, partners, suppliers) – Relationships are key to starting and maintaining a successful venture. Everything a company does should be rooted in its desire to create new relationships and/or deepen existing.

Speed - I recently heard someone say that if you miss a technological innovation by two years, you may as well consider yourself going out of business. Speed to market, speed of development, speed, speed, speed. Customers want what they want when they want it. But, you can’t sacrifice quality for speed (or, maybe you can). Some industries are able to release products and services in bit and pieces, as they are ready. Others can release “beta”

versions and allow their customers to tell them how the next iteration of the product should look. Keep these strategies in mind when trying to balance speed and quality. If being first to market is important, perhaps it doesn’t have to be perfect, because honestly, it will never be perfect. By taking the time to make it perfect you may get left behind. La Juana Whitmore Accredited Small Business Consultant Experienced Public Speaker & Panelist Certified Racial Justice Facilitator Yoga continued from page 80

to keep things lively. The intensity of the practice is similar to Ashtanga, but no two Vinyasa classes are the same. If you hate routine and love to test your physical limits, Vinyasa may be just your ticket. Sited Source For more information follow me on twitter @sugamitch ~Namaste Narrative Changer @HBCUstorian continued from page 60

Experience (2009). Her advocacy work includes serving as one of four doctoral-holding African-American female hosts of Black Docs Radio and regularly contributing to The HBCU Digest. Dr. deGregory serves on the board of Historic Nashville, Inc., is a 2014 fellow of the New Leaders Council's Nashville Chapter, and she is also a member of several professional and service groups including Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. Q. How is their work changing the narrative?

Restorative Restorative yoga is a delicious way to way to relax and soothe frayed nerves. Restorative classes use bolsters, blankets, and blocks to prop students in passive poses so that the body can experience the benefits of a pose without having to exert any effort. A good restorative class is more rejuvenating than a nap. Studios and gyms often offer them on Friday nights, when just about everyone could use a little profound rest. Vinyasa Vinyasa (pronounced "vin-yah-sah") is the Sanskrit word for "flow", and Vinyasa classes are known for their fluid, movement-intensive practices. Vinyasa teachers choreograph their classes to smoothly transition from pose to pose, and often play music

History matters. As a historian, I believe, teach and maintain in the face of all odds that while history is meant to serve many purposes, one of them is not for historians to produce unfeeling and/or uncritical narratives of the past. Teachers matter. As a teacher, what we believe, what we teach and what we write all matters. And what we believe, what we teach and what we write should matter to us. HBCUs matter. As an HBCU advocate, I believe in the transformative power of history and of education. I’ve been a witness to as well as the beneficiary of how the two can come together to change lives. As an HBCU student, they changed mine. HBCUstory matters. As the founder and executive editor of HBCUstory, Inc., I provide an opportunity for members of the HBCU Continue on page 95

Naleighna Kai @NaleighnaKai Naleighna Kai is the national bestselling author of Open Door Marriage, Every Woman Needs a Wife, co-author of Signed, Sealed, Delivered ... I'm Yours, and Baring it All: The Ins and Outs of Publishing. She started writing in December of 1999, independently publishing her first two novels before acquiring a book deal with an imprint of Simon & Schuster and most recently a book deal with an independent publishing house. She is a contributing author to a New York Times Bestseller, an award-winning author, and The E. Lynn Harris Author of Distinction. Naleighna is the CEO of Macro Marketing & Promotions Group, the founder of Macro Literary All-Stars (M-LAS), as well as the marketing consultant to several national bestselling and aspiring writers. She is also the brainchild behind the annual Cavalcade of Authors events which takes place in her hometown of Chicago. Naleighna pens contemporary fiction, erotica, and speculative fiction and is currently working on her next novels: Rich Woman's Fetish and Slaves of Heaven.

Living Education Everyday

Social Change

Is It Real or a Mirage?

By Yvette Mack, B.S. M.B.A. @Ivyprofessor In the wake of the Grand Jury verdicts for Eric Garner and Michael Brown, Jr. and the pending decision from the Grand Jury for Tamir Rice, the 12 year old African American boy also killed by a Police Officer, is it possible the marches and rallies going on across the country will actually lead to change? And if so, what exactly is the change we are hoping to see? As a college administrator surrounded by young adults, the Millennial Generation as defined are often accused of being complacent and introspective. The recent verdicts however, have given way to a grassroots change which in part is a result of many young adults outraged by the continual enduring of Black Men being targets in our society. It is also spurred in part by social media and a generation that has grown up with it. It is my opinion the country is on the brink of social change. Historically, young adults drive major change and our history of marching is a rich one. From the Montgomery Bus Boycott to Ferguson Missouri, New York City, Chicago, Miami and California, protests both violent and peaceful, have shown the world what injustices to some communities look like.

where protests will occur. Twitter and Instagram have in fact become the tools of choice. Recent protests have a different slant, the support of the hashtags #BlackLivesMatter and #ICan’tBreathe. As I watched the news in horror yet again, I turned to my Twitter timeline and was astounded by what the TV news was missing - the realness of the situation as it was unfolding. As a result of smart phones, many police interactions are being recorded. In the face of what appeared to be the clear death of Eric Garner by an outlawed chokehold (NYPD banned it’s use in 1993), public expectations of a Grand Jury finding enough evidence to support the police officer in question being sent to trial, still did not occur. That decision was on the heels of the Ferguson Grand Jury also failing to find enough evidence to warrant a trial, it was social media that served to mobilize many to action. It is social media that has stated loudly, through continual protests sometimes violent, but many peaceful, that the system is broken and change must occur. Our history is rich with marches, protests and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s dream clearly is still alive. As such, we should seek to ask the question, what’s next?

What has been amazing is how fast and organized various groups have become in order to mobilize and get the word out in regard to when and

In communities all across the country, the outrage can be seen


and felt as the call #BlackLivesMattter swept the country. The passion of the protestors and the social media chatter resulted in President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, who are both African American addressing concerns of a community of people who believe their voices have largely been unheard. In New York City, Mayor Bill DiBlasio gave an impassioned speech and for the first time that I can remember, I believe he will sincerely try to make changes in the NYPD. (I do not agree body cameras are an answer as evident by Eric Garner’s death with a video of the chokehold used against him). Mayor DiBlasio has an African American wife, and spoke about the conversation he has with his son regarding interacting with police, just like conversations that go on in many African American households. The Mayor has advised the NYPD will undergo training and other incentives to work with community policing. While not perfect, the solutions are a start. With each new successful generation, there are new challenges that require our attention. Twitter and Instagram has been a force behind strategizing and mobilizing the grassroots efforts of the marches across the country. The voices of the very people that helped get President Obama elected are now demanding they be heard. It's this generation of young adults that are outraged and used social media to gather protests all across the country sometime simultaneously. Does this mean change will happen overnight? Probably not. It does suggest that social media has a way of putting issues “in your face " that can't be swept under the rug. Make no mistake, I believe without social media marches would have occurred as they have in the past but the impact would not have been as swift and might have gone under reported in various parts of the country. NYPD Police Commissioner William Bratton, said “These things peter out on their own. People get tired of marching around aimlessly”.

While this is true, I am compelled to ask what happens over the next six months. Too many of our Black men are shot dead for petty crimes and every day I worry about the men in my life. It seems the more things change, the more they stay the same. I know things have changed, as I sit with my 85 year old mother and recount what it was like to be told to go to the back of the bus or the inability to sit at the lunch counter. One thing is certain, we must vote. Change occurs slowly and incrementally. It is often noticeable change: change that we are on the brink of seeing, that happens quickly, simply because it is demanded by a group of people. Change occurs in many forms and marching, rallies, protests are the beginning. When many communities of color reach up in anger and protest, those in the position of power must act. It is also incumbent upon each community to drive their change as well. Voting is that imperative, given by the numbers of voters who decided to stay home in the mid-term elections in 2014. Voting in the absence of education is futile. Those of us in the position to do so must reach back and educate those often in the poorest of communities who feel that the system has failed, and subsequently decide not to vote. We must educate them that knowing who your community leaders are and voting them into office is MORE important than voting for the President. From our community leaders,

District Attorneys, Sheriffs, ordinances and propositions, all things that can be on the ballot in your local community at any time, demand we insert ourselves in the process of change as much as we demand it of others. District Attorneys, Sheriffs, ordinances and propositions, all things that can be on the ballot in your local community at any time, demand we insert ourselves in the process of change as much as we demand it of others. I am not naïve enough to believe this will happen all across the country given Ferguson took me back to the Watts riots and marches of the 60’s. Some parts of our country are entrenched in a bitter and ugly past more than others. As the demographic makeup of America changes and becomes more multicultural, (race and class rarely spoken about but is tied to race as it’s generally poorer minorities often have less of a voice) more minorities concerns will take precedent. I look at the how far we have come and know that this is the change Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of. It requires all of us, collectively doing our part. It requires us to be present in the fight. To march, to vote, to become Police Officers in our own communities, to become Lawyers, Judges, Defense Attorneys, Prosecutors, business owners and Teachers but most of all take some kind of action.

Narrative Changer @HBCUstorian continued from page 90

community to support positive stories reflecting the great work HBCUs have done and are doing. Our advocacy efforts encourage HBCUs to craft their own stories, and encourages academicians to consider HBCUs as subjects worthy of serious study. And, perhaps, even more importantly, HBCUstory compels HBCU supporters to take an active role in ensuring a bright future for these giants in the pantheon of American educational history. Narrative Changer Celebrating Black Genius continued from page 31

gifted education that I was in for a fight if and when I decided to do my part to change the face of the field. And I started fighting. I read the work of many pioneers in the field from across cultures. Mary Frasier, Alexinia Baldwin, Harry Passow, James Feldhusen, Joyce VanTassel Baska, Asa Hilliard, Barbara Shade. These individuals made a profound impact on my decision to stay in the field of gifted education and work to become a narrative changer. After having served in local district gifted education positions, I entered a graduate degree program in the Gifted Education at the College of William and Mary. That was my first narrative changing experience. I was the first African American in the program and the first to graduate from the program in 1992. With that experience and degree in hand I was able to begin making inroads in this complex and challenging field. It was there that I came face to face with the pioneers and actually worked with them to shape a program for ‘at-risk’ gifted students. I recognized that I now had disciplinary pedagogy and experience to back my drive and that nothing could stop my entering the field and going as far as I needed to make an impact. Later, with the help of a great friend, I was able to apply for and be appointed to the position of K-12 Gifted Education Specialist for the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Education. In that position, once again, I was a first. Not just for Virginia, but for the nation. As I attended my State representative national meetings, I realized that I was the first African American to hold such a position. In that regard, I knew that I had an opportunity to change the narrative once again,

Being a narrative changer means that when you leave ‘the story’ it is not the same as it was at the beginning. My goal in the field of gifted and advanced learner education is to empower educators and families with the tools they need to recognize, nurture and value the gifts of children often overlooked, disenfranchised, under-served in schools nationwide. These children need adults in positions of power and leadership to advocate for a change in classroom conditions so that their intellectual, emotional, academic and artistic gifts are attended to in their learning experience every day! At the state level, I worked hard with likeminded equity advocates to convince the state to change the formula for entry into our Residential Governor’s Schools to allow a fair number of slots for each division/district so that those with the more sophisticated programs would not have an unfair advantage over the poorly funded rural and urban districts. I also helped my colleagues by developing a local plan template and submission process to ensure that all districts used the same strategy to develop service guidelines statewide. The continuity that came about as a result of the new template and strategy was helpful and is still in use today in a modified form in Virginia. As a narrative changer, I feel a responsibility to train educators, tell the stories of the children, give teachers instructional tools that work and most importantly arm families and communities to become the most powerful advocates these students can have! As a narrative changer, it is my goal to do all that I can as long as I can to reach as many as I can with evidence based practices in advanced learner education that will sustain student success through the K-12 experience while preparing them for higher education and lifetime careers. As a narrative changer, I am committed to helping the world view the intellectual and psychosocial needs of diverse gifted learners

as valuable as those of ALL learners. When I leave the narrative, I am confident that I will have touched lives, changed attitudes, and improved conditions in schools and communities worldwide. A shift in this narrative has the potential to improve societal conditions for everyone. As I continue in this work, I always keep in mind that I have a responsibility to work until the narrative is clearly different, until it has truly changed for the better. I’m something of an idealist, but it’s my idealistic spirit that has enabled me to change conditions for so many in my lifetime to date. I don’t give in, nor do I allow what hasn’t been in the past deter me. If I see a situation where change needs to happen and I am in a position to affect that change, then, I’m all in! Being a narrative changer is challenging at times. I have not always been successful. Like others, I have had my share of failures, but I keep pressing forward with the goal of affecting substantive change in mind. For the most part, I’ve been successful in doing just that. Conversation with Ouida Washington continued from page 76

Ouida Washington: I am passionate about our communities more specifically the African-American community. I grew up believing the community had a responsibility to our kids. I also understand, we have this tremendous story– specifically the AfricanAmerican story, which I think is one of the greatest stories and I wanted to share it. We have a marvelous story that society does not know about and we are all complicit in this larger negative narrative of our communities if we do not have a sense of our greatness. Can you talk about the challenges you encountered completing your project that young aspiring film makers should hear? Ouida Washington: One of the major challenges is finding money or financing for this type of project. The funding for projects that were looking at black males was virtually non-exist. The foundations that are going to fund projects like ours said it was too specific. We were told “why can’t it be all boys of color.” or “Why is it just boys and not girls?” Our answer, black males were consistently performing below other students academically and we (society) are not addressing their issues. Continue on page 98

Historical Narrative Changing Organizations

African American Sororities Zeta Phi Beta Sorority was founded on the simple belief that sorority elitism and socializing should not overshadow the real mission for progressive organizations - to address societal mores, ills, prejudices, poverty, and health concerns of the day. Founded January 16, 1920, Zeta began as an idea conceived by five coeds at Howard University in Washington D.C. The purpose of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority is to foster the scholarship, civil and cultural endeavors, sisterhood and finer womanhood. These ideals are reflected in the sorority's national program for which its members and auxiliary groups provide voluntary service to staff, community outreach programs, fund scholarships, support organized charities, and promote legislation for social and civic change. Mary Breaux Since its inception, Zeta has continued its steady climb into the Wright national spotlight with programs designed to demonstrate concern International for the human condition both nationally and internationally. The President organization has been innovative in that it has chronicled a number Zeta Phi Beta of firsts. It was the first National Pan-Hellenic Council Sorority, Incorporated organization to centralize its operations in a national headquarters, first to charter a chapter in Africa, first to form auxiliary groups and first to be constitutionally bound to a fraternity, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. The sorority takes pride in its continued participation in transforming communities through volunteer services from members and its auxiliaries. Zeta Phi Beta has chartered hundreds of chapters worldwide and has a membership of 100,000+.

Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. was organized on November 12, 1922 in Indianapolis, Indiana by seven school teachers. The group became an incorporated national collegiate sorority on December 30, 1929.

Bonita M. Herring 23rd International Grand Basileus

Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority's aim is to enhance the quality of life within the community. Public service, leadership development and education of youth are the hallmark of the organization's programs and activities. Sigma Gamma Rho addresses concerns that impact society educationally, civically, and economically.

Conversation with Ouida Washington continued from page 96 Conversation with Ouida Washington continued from page

Why the emphasis on African American males and education? Ouida Washington: Specifically, we said Black males and that is because there are a lot of Caribbean males who do not necessarily consider themselves African American. This is one of the things we learned as a result of the film. A lot of Hispanic males of African descent did not consider themselves as African American. We wanted to open it up to all young men who are having similar experiences. Beyond the Bricks documentary examined one of America’s critical problems in education: the consistently low performance of African‐American boys in public schools. What lessons or best practices/solutions did you discover as a result of the documentary? Ouida Washington: One of the most important things we kept hearing especially during the focus group as we were looking for the two young men we would follow in the film came from young black males. They indicated they did not feel that people cared about them. We heard statements like “I don’t know if they care about us”; that theme just kept being repeated. That was an interesting lesson…we learned. It suggested that …to know that someone cares about who you are and your education and once you enter that classroom, people who want to see you do well and want to push you to do well is important to those young people. This was a big lesson for us. It was clear, what they (Black males) needed and they were telling us. When the young men describe their desire to know people cared about them was truly an interesting dynamic; as it was often the first thing they mentioned. Their candor speaks to a larger societal it relates to Black people and how we are viewed. If you walk into a situation you do not feel like you are welcome how do you perform there? Schools have to become that place … were students feel they belong and I don’t know if we can

expect more than that. The statistics around 4th grade academic performance has shown Black males tend to lose interest in school and that is interesting. We have talked to Dr. Ivory Toldson who is in the film and who is the author of Breaking Barriers Report. In the report, Dr. Toldson looks at successful African American males in school and has suggested around the ages 10 and 11 young African American male students are becoming self-aware and in that they start to identify with a larger group which somehow tells them they have to be cool. They don’t want to be the smart kid in the room unless they are the cool smart kid in the room; so they start to lose interest at that stage. I think that is great information for people who watch the film to take away. What Dr. Toldson shares is telling us when you really need to start ramping up the attention for young boys of color, this is especially important for the teacher, but more important to take place at home. Please share some of the feedback you received from educators after they viewed the film? Ouida Washington: The film was well received. We had mixed audiences which is cool, especially when you look at the educational workforce. The Black educators would make statement such as “I knew this all along” “I knew this” it was something they could take back and say this is what I have been talking about. Black educators felt validated by the fact what they knew and felt could be found somewhere else. It was obviously for many of the Black educators the opportunity to connect the stories of young men was very important to them. The film is a documentary, but we also wanted to use it… as a way to share data, hard data. There is a lot of data throughout the film. One of several aspects I took away from the film related to solutions. Our film did not present anything new. What the film shows; it comes down to the will of the people to do what they know is the right thing. Doing what is right is our challenge. Our organization is grounded on the idea that

the trials Black boys have to address to become successful or similar to the issues of Black people. As a community our own perceptions and those of others color everything. White teachers entering a room of Black kids; what are their expectations of them before they know the kids? We have done some work in this area; one of the workshops we designed based of town hall meetings was bringing educators together. We invited some folks from Columbia University to work with our group of teachers so they can understand the bias that comes into play when working with children of color.

What role should teacher training have in addressing the academic performance of African American students? Ouida Washington: Teacher training programs aren’t really having this conversation. Every year for the last three years we’ve shown the film to teachers at Columbia University and we have been invited to their class on diversity; which is not something that is required. However, it should be when you look at public schools and their changing demographics. My concern is the workforce continues going in the same direction professionally, while school needs are changing and if their training and preparation doesn’t address what they are going to find when they enter the classroom we will continue in the same direction unfortunately.

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Rhonda L. Slade @RhondaLSlade Rhonda L. Slade is an author, entrepreneur, motivational speaker, mentor, and advocate. She owns two successful businesses - a consulting firm and a fashion jewelry business. She is the Chief Excellence Officer of R. L. SLADE, a management consulting firm specializing in equipping her small business and non-profit clients with the tools to Look, Feel, and Be GREAT! As a Traci Lynn Fashion Jewelry Business Partner, she motivates others to take charge of their lives through the power of entrepreneurship, inspires women to look their best while wearing exquisite and affordable jewelry, and changes lives with the message of empowerment.

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Kimberly K. Parker @KimberlyKParker In 2014, Author Kimberly K. Parker embarked upon a life-altering experience when she moved to China to teach English. I Dream of China: A Glimpse at My Year in Asia carefully chronicles her encounters with people rich in culture, tradition, and values. Through both the pages of her journal as well as candid interviews, this trailblazer shares her amazing experiences and discoveries. Travel with her and read about a Chinese teacher’s views on the American education system, a group of student’s thoughts about the Ferguson events, and a very successful African American entrepreneur who made history in Zhenjiang!

Kimberly K. Parker is an everyday woman who dared to live her dream! She enjoys being of service to others and sitting at the feet of wise people, both young and old. As an International Educator and Speaker and Executive Director of the DeBraux Parker Foundation, Inc. she has been able to share her love of teaching in the US and China. During her year in China, Kimberly worked for an English Learning Center and advanced to Senior Teacher in just five months. Since 2005, Kimberly has written and published 13 books! Along the way, she has helped 29 people between the ages of six and 83 realize their dream of becoming published authors. Her latest work, I Dream of China: A Glimpse At My Year In Asia, chronicles her life-altering experiences of teaching English in China. Through both the pages of her journal as well as candid interviews, this trailblazer shares her amazing encounters with people rich in culture, traditions, and values. Kimberly loves the simplicity of life. Snacking on an over-sized bowl of homemade white popcorn and crocheting beautiful blankets easily puts a smile on her face! Add a little classical music to the mix and she’ll endlessly smile from ear to ear. Kimberly resides in the beautiful state of Maryland with her husband, children, and father. These are the people she loves serving the most. In the Author’s Corner click to hear from Kimberly K. Parker on why she wrote her book!

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Movie Night It is not a myth, men do enjoy romantic movies. Living Education eMagazine asked African American men between the ages 30-55 to share their top romantic movies to enjoy with their wives or girlfriends. Here are the top 15 movies in no specific order. 1. Act Like You Love Me (Starring Essence Atkins and Christian Keyes 2. All About You (Starring RenĂŠe Elise Goldsberry and Terron Brooks) 3. Black Coffee (Starring Darrin Dewitt Henson and Gabrielle Dennis) 4. Best Man Holiday (Starring Morris Chestnut, Taye Diggs, Regina Hall, Terrence Howard, Sanaa Lathan, Nia Long, Harold Perrineau, and Monica Calhoun) 5. Brown Sugar (Starring Taye Diggs and Sanaa Lathan) 6. Jumping The Brown (Starring Paula Patton and Laz Alonso) 7. Just Wright (Starring Queen Latifah and Common) 8. Hav Plenty (Starring Christopher Scott Cherot and Chenoa Maxwell) 9. It Could Happen to You (Starring Nicolas Cage, Bridget Fonda, and Rosie Perez) 10. Love and Basketball (Starring Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps) 11. Love Jones (Starring Larenz Tate and Nia Long) 12. Notebook (Starring Gena Rowlands, James Garner, Rachel McAdams, and Ryan Gosling) 13. Phenomenon (Starring John Travolta and Kyra Sedgwick) 14. 35 and Ticking (Starring Nicole Ari Parker, Tamala Jones, Kevin Hart, and Keith Robinson) 15. Claudine (Starring Diahann Carroll and James Earl Jones)

Narrative changers Khadijah “Moon” AliColeman is founding Director of Liberated Muse Arts Group, a production house for cultural arts events. She has an extensive resume in the performing arts, appearing as a performer on numerous stages across the country. As singer Khadijah Moon she has performed across the country. As an actor and poet, she has won awards and recognition for her moving work as a performer, producing artist and wordsmith, awarded recognition as a “Woman of Power” from eMedia in 2011, and in 2012 recognized by the Prince George’s County, Maryland Innovation Fund as a “Top Forty UNDER 40″ awardee in the Arts & Humanities. She edited the books Liberated Muse Volume I: How I Freed My Soul (Outskirts Press, 2009) and Liberated Muse Volume II: Betrayal Wears a Pretty Face (Liberated Muse Publications, 2012) and released her first poetry chapbook Revisionist Tale in 2010. She has appeared in numerous books, journals and creative writing online sites. Currently, she serves as faculty member at Prince George’s Community College and is a creativity consultant for aspiring artists. Two of her original plays have been produced, her second play “Running: AMOK” debuting in the 2010 Capital Fringe Fest. Her production “In Her Words”, a musical theatrical production

is produced by Liberated Muse and has been touring annually since 2012. Roma Benjamin Roma J. Benjamin is the Senior Pastor and Founder of Roma J. Benjamin Ministries and Greater Faith Ministries of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, which are affiliated with the Church of the Living God. The ministries are designated to provide teaching, preaching, fellow-shipping, counseling and mentoring for members of the congregation as well as the entire Body of Christ. As a former Principal of Rowland School in Harrisburg PA and a youth literacy advocate, Dr, Benjamin has over 20 years of experience and has said enough is enough! Quitting her job to start fresh and really teach children how to learn, Dr. Benjamin has opened an academy "New Sound Literacy & Technology" to better educate Black and Hispanic children for the future at hand. Her experience as both an educator and community leader has really opened her eyes to the injustice happening in America today, OUR CHILDREN CAN NOT READ! Pastor Benjamin is a native New Yorker, now residing in Harrisburg, PA. She is a graduate of Rhema Bible Training Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma where she studied Evangelism. She has received her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education and a Master of Arts in Public School Administration from Oral

Roberts University located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In May 2007, Pastor Benjamin completed and received her Superintendent Certificate from Shippensburg University, Shippensburg, PA. She is currently matriculating through her Doctor’s degree in Education Leadership at Nova Southeastern University, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where she will be confirmed in the winter of 2015. Tara Colquitt Tara Colquitt obtained my BS Degree in Civil Engineering from Howard University. Tara worked as a Project Engineer for the City of Philadelphia for 15 years and invested in real estate (The House Depot/November 2007 Essence magazine article). As TCW, she has written numerous blogs, presented at workshops, media appearances on WURD, KYW, Comcast Money Matters (TV), et, al. In 2013, she co-founded with Nicole Newman to create a series of workshops (Calling All Female Entrepreneurs/C.A.F.E.) to assist new or existing businesses owners in running a successful business. Robin T. Dorsey Robin Dorsey is currently attending Northcentral University pursuing her PhD in Philosophy in Business. Currently, she works for Northcentral University pursuing her PhD in

Narrative changers Philosophy in Business. Currently, she works for the United States Coast Guard as a Contracts professional. Ms. Dorsey is well versed and has a diverse background. She is an Author of "A Mother & Daughter Memoirs of Love, Desire, Pain & Inspiration", and a CEO of a Civic/Social organization "The Gem's Social Club (Going the Extra Mile). In addition, she is a TV Talk Show Host "The Impact with Robin Dorsey" which features Non-Profit organizations, community outreach, and extraordinary individuals. Her show airs on DCTV public access TV. Lastly, Ms. Dorsey is an Ambassador for the American Diabetes Association. She was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes seven years ago after becoming pregnant with her son, unfortunately due to a strong family history it later developed into Type 2 Diabetes. Ms. Dorsey realized she had to make some changes in her life regarding exercise, portion control, and food choices in an effort to manage her Diabetes. Four years ago she began conducting research and learned about the American Diabetes Association (ADA). After learning more about the disease she began volunteering her time, conducting workshop, trainings, and sharing her story Through her tremendous outreach efforts and her determination ADA asked her to become a Diabetes Wellness Ambassador. Her

ultimate goal is to make a difference and to help “Stop Diabetes”. Ms. Dorsey has dedicated her life to giving back and making a difference in others’ lives.

Education degree (counseling) (1988), and Bachelor of Arts degree in communications and Spanish (1984) from Cleveland State University. Kelly Fair

Denise Fawcett Facey Denise Fawcett Facey is an educator, professional development facilitator and the author of two books on education: The Social Studies Helper: Creative Assignments for Exam Success (Rowman and Littlefield Education) and Can I Be in You Class?: Real Education Reform to Motivate Secondary Students (Rowman and Littlefield Education). She can be reached via her website Donna Y Ford, Ph.D Donna Y. Ford, PhD, is Professor of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University. She is the former Betts Chair of Education &Human Development, and currently holds a joint appointment in the Department of Special Education and Department of Teaching and Learning. Dr. Ford has been a Professor of Special Education at the Ohio State University, an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Virginia, and an Assistant Professor at the University of Kentucky. Professor Ford earned her Doctor of Philosophy degree in Urban Education (educational psychology) (1991), Masters of

Literacy advocate and mentor, Kelly Fair founded Polished Pebbles Girls Mentoring Program in 2009. An active member in her community, Kelly’s passion for youth and female-specific enrichment programs inspired her to consult for several other nonprofit organizations as an educational consultant and trainer in addition to Polished Pebbles. Kelly graduated from Howard University with a degree in Speech Pathology minoring in Psychology and completed her master’s degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology at the University of Iowa. Kelly Fair the Mentor became so popular that she was asked to contribute to media outlets such as JET Magazine and CBS Sports Radio's HBCU Report, & the HBCU Nation Radio Show. On, Kelly’s weekly column, “Stomping the Yard” is written to help college students excel in their studies and social lives. On the HBCU Report’s Mentoring Minutes, Kelly Fair presents “Freshman Memoirs,” providing advice for incoming college. Karinn Glover, MD Born in the Bronx and raised in White Plains, New York, Dr. Glover has spent the greater

Narrative changers part of her adult life following her interests in science, health and improving life for women and the underserved. After graduating from Howard University with a BA in History, Dr. Glover worked at Essence Magazine and then as an Account Executive for Verizon. Making a career change, she attended SUNY Downstate College of Medicine and went on to obtain a Master of Public Health from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health as a participant in the highly competitive Macy Scholars Program. Currently Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Dr. Glover has authored a peer-reviewed article on mental disorders in primary care, contributed to a textbook on psychiatric treatment and has extensive training in psychopharmacology and substance abuse treatment. Dr. Glover has also contributed to various media outlets on a range of topics related to mental wellness. In addition to her clinical work, Dr. Glover is also passionate about her new project, Thrive: Mindfulness Project for Women of Color. http://www.thriveleader

Ashley Hill Ashley Hill is an author, College Success coach, Scholarship Search Strategist, and speaker who focuses on teaching college prep and college success tools to assist college-bound students and their college success partners to transition to the college environment successfully and life after college graduation. Ms. Hill’s passion for assisting college-bound teens and families originates from her college prep process and college success with a supportive network of rich resources allowing her to graduate in 3 years and received a $10,000 college internship. Ms. Hill wants to assist college-bound students and their college success partners in building a team of strong supporters around them to open the door to opportunities to achieve college success and a successful life after college. Mia Jackson Why Sideline Pass? There are two kinds of Sideline Passes: the actual football play (requiring accuracy and agility) and the special badge that grants the rare privilege (access) to individuals during the game. The site wants to bring features of both to you. There is limited space along the sideline. When a quarterback lines up midfield behind Center, rolls out and launches the ball along the white stripe running down the side of the field, great things

can happen. A savvy wide receiver always knows where that line is, often staying within a fraction of an inch inside, just to keep a drive alive – or perhaps score and win the game. Exciting things can happen. That’s exactly what we want to offer visitors (and fan architects of the site.) A Sideline Pass is that special access granted to individuals selected by the team officials. The view from downfield must be spectacular. We can’t all fit there, but we can get to the players, coaches and personnel as often as possible so that they can give us a keen look into all facets of the game. What Sideline Pass strives to offer all readers and contributors to the website: Accuracy: We’ll check our facts and figures. We may not always get it right, so tell us if you see something that need editing. Agility: While we have a solid game plan, we’ll move accordingly with flow of the fans – just like a team adjusts its schemes to fit the flow of the game. We can’t change to fit every request but we can review, discuss and evaluate as we grow. Access: We will work as hard as we can to get direct information and material from those closest to the game – the players, the coaches, and personnel. Yvette Mack Yvette Mack has Bachelor Master of Business Administration – Management (1997) Fordham University Master of Science Education –

Narrative changers Counseling Psychology (1999) Fordham University. She 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. She brings 22 years of experience in Higher Education and has worked at several prestigious Universities in the areas of Accounting and Finance including Pratt Institute and Fordham University and is currently the Bursar at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. Sukari Mitchell Sukari teaches a blend of Hatha Yoga and Pranayama into her practice. She believes in the invigorating power that yoga offers the mind, body and spirit. Sukari studied and practiced meditation throughout her pregnancy. At that time she was introduced to Hatha yoga. She attends continuing education workshops and study groups, and is devoted to the on-going learning experience of being teacher and practitioner. Sukari views life as dynamic and believes that the key is to stay flexible. She is focused on caring for the human body as well as attending to

relationships that support our lives. For Sukari, becoming flexible mentally and physically begins on her yoga mat. Her favorite pose is a backbend of any shape and form because of its playful nature and radically transforming essence. If done properly, it imparts sensations of confidence, bliss, strength, and open-heartedness.

health. Her areas of interest also include curriculum development and instruction, administration, and education policy. She hopes to participate in implementing MI policy into programs for educators to craft their teaching methods in favor of Multiple Intelligences to allow for all students to learn. Gina Byrd-Phelps

Andrea M. Peoples-Marwah Andrea Peoples-Marwah has researched Multiple Intelligences with an emphasis on musical and visual/spatial intelligences. She is the author of the book titled Visual/Spatial and Musical Intelligences: The Effects on Sixth Grade Ohio Proficiency (OPT) Math Scores and is currently working on several articles for publication. She studied Education Administration and Policy Studies at The George Washington University, Washington DC. Dr. PeoplesMarwah has had a wide range of students (K thru college) from teaching within the sciences and health to teaching strategies for college math, strategies for the technical professional, and group dynamics. Her expertise lies in Biology, Chemistry, and Alternative Medicine as well as creating laboratory exercises that are considered nontraditional in style but which engages students to excel in learning and to develop an interest in the sciences and in

Mrs. Gina Byrd-Phelps was born to teach! As a product of the Prince George’s County Public School System, she takes pride in returning to pave the way for future scholars. She is a transformational teacher leader and charismatic educator who is a champion for teachers and students in the Prince George’s County Public School System. Mrs. Byrd-Phelps seeks to transform education with innovative ideas in leadership, digital learning, cultural relevancy in curriculum design, and building teacher capacity. Mrs. Byrd-Phelps is passionate about advocating for equity and access in education for all students. She currently works in the Office of Employee Performance and Evaluation as a Peer Assistance and Review (PAR) Consulting Teacher. She has been making a difference in the lives of students for over fourteen years. Brittney Pressley Brittney Pressley was born and raised in Hamden, CT, Brittney has always been passionate

Narrative changers about finding and revealing the truth. She is keen on the importance of self-reflection and the value it has in being successful in all aspects of life. People often ask her, "When did you know that you were going to be a writer? When you were younger, right?" Not quite though! Although Brittney always loved English class (and Gym) becoming a writer was anice treat that she discovered just a few years ago. Monica Randall Dr. Monica E. Randall is the Founder and CEO of Bridge2College Consulting, an independent educational consulting practice located in Bowie, Maryland. She has spent all of her professional career in higher education. As a former higher education executive, she approaches the college admission process keenly aware of how universities function and understands the expectations for student success. As a college completion advocate, she believes that college success begins with properly matching students with colleges that best match their interests, academic abilities, personal, social, and financial needs. Dr. Randall is a member of the Greater Baltimore Committee’s Leadership Class of 2012 and of Harvard University’s Institute for Educational Management Class of 2009. She holds a Ph.D. in Public Policy from the University of Maryland,

Baltimore County where she conducted extensive research on financial aid and student success. She received both a Master of Arts in International Affairs and a Master of Public Administration from Ohio University. Additionally, she holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Virginia. She is proud to be an Associate Member of the IECA (Independent Educational Consultants Association) and attended their intensive Summer Training Institute program in the summer of 2014. Karlene S. Robinson Karlene Sinclair-Robinson, dubbed “The Queen of Business Financing” is the Bestselling Author of two entrepreneurial books, most recent: 'SPANK THE BANK: The Guide to Alternative Business Financing'. She is considered a foremost expert on 'Alternative Business Financing' for startups, small businesses and struggling entrepreneurs. When Karlene is not working with business owners in need, she is in the classroom instructing entrepreneurial. She is speaker, instructor, business consultant and Managing Member of KSR Solutions, LLC, a business consulting and financing firm, based in Northern Virginia. Karlene is also the Director of the Business Finance Center at Community Business Partnership, a non-profit organization serving startups and small businesses. Karlene is also a top business and

financing source. You can find her on Facebook and LinkedIn via her name. Website: Rinata Tanks Dr. Rinata Tanks currently works as a Central Office Administrator with the Office of School Support Networks in conjunction with the Office of Student Support and Safety. Prior to joining Baltimore City Public Schools, Dr. Tanks served as an Assistant Principal for Duval County Public Schools and functioned as a Special Education Lead Teacher for a number of years. Dr. Tanks currently holds a doctoral degree in Education Leadership with a dissertation focus on Multi-Component Intervention Strategies for Students with Disabilities from Nova Southeastern University, as well as, a Master of Science degree in Emotional Disturbances and Learning Disabilities; and a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology both from Florida State University. Karen M.R. Townsend Karen M.R. Townsend, Ph.D. is president of KTownsend Consulting—an organizational development firm which offers expertise in leadership development, 21st Century diversity and personal excellence. Dr. Townsend educates, motivates and inspires professionals across the country to be their best— personally and professionally.

Narrative changers Dr. Townsend is also the founder of About My Sisters— an organization “on a mission to empower one million women and girls!” For two decades, Dr. Townsend has helped women to achieve “life balance” by assisting them in discovering their true passions so that they live their lives “on purpose.” In 2013, her annual empowerment Conference— SISTER TO SISTER— celebrated its twentieth anniversary and was recognized as one of the longest running women’s conferences in the United States. Dr. Townsend is a highly sought after speaker and author of the bestselling book It All Started When I Stopped Using Lotion: One Woman’s Journey From Chaos to Calm. Through the pages of her book, Dr. Townsend encourages women to make themselves a priority and to “Take their TiME: Time for ME!” “The Lotion Book” is currently being used by organizations across the country to support the professional development and career advancement of high potential women leaders. Her next book—Confessions of a Superwoman: Real Stories from Real Women about Real Life—will be released in 2015. Michelle Howard-Vital Michelle Howard-Vital is currently a Senior Fellow at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. She is also on

the Inclusiveness Board of the American Council on Education, and she has participated as a speaker, advisor, and mentor for three years for the ACE Spectrum , constructing a new residence hall and new science center, completing other facilities upgrades, and helping to lead the institution through a successful 2014 Middle States Association reaffirmation of accreditation self-study and visit. Prior to the presidency of Cheyney University, Dr. Howard-Vital served as the interim president at WinstonSalem State University for one year. She also served three years as Associate Vice President for Academic Programs in General Administration of The University of North Carolina system prior to going to Winston-Salem State University. Quida Washington Ouida holds a BFA in Communications Design from Pratt Institute. She worked several years as an accomplished Music Video Producer, producing award winning videos for such top recording artists as Brandy, Biggie, R. Kelly, Jodeci, D'Angelo and others. Ouida has provided producing services to several feature films, 'Francesca Page' (selection for Sundance Film Festival), "A Woman Like That" (winner at Urban World Film Festival), "Love Poem-Un Easy", and "Ghetto Fabulous". She has produced short works including commercials,

corporate videos, documentaries and narratives. Ouida's distinct background includes Associate Producer of the documentary components at the National Civil Rights Museum, Producer of high profile fundraiser for AAIA (African Americans in Advertising), and Director of the Intel Computer Clubhouse, a creative technology programmer children 1119yrs. She was a member of the Advisory Board of the American Museum of Natural History's After- School Technology. Tracey West Tracey West is the owner and CEO of Tracey West Irresistible Pound Cakes, an internet-based wholesale dessert business. A native of Orangeburg, South Carolina, Tracey moved to Atlanta to attend college. She received her Master’s Degree in Computer Science and her Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Information Systems from Clark Atlanta University. With over 15 years of business consulting experience and certification as a Project Management Professional, Tracey has worked with some of the top companies such as Accenture, KPMG, IBM, and AT&T. Her professional experience spans across project management, client relations, training, and business analysis. In 2005, Tracey decided to

pursue her passion for baking. She started Aunt Ola’s Cookies & Cakes out of the love she has for her Aunt Ola and for creating desserts with a southern style flavor. When she baked her aunt’s cake, it brought back many happy childhood memories and the warmth of her Aunt Ola’s embrace. This cake was the centerpiece of every family affair and the glue that kept the family together. In 2012, the company’s name was changed to Tracey West Irresistible Pound Cakes. Aunt Ola's tried-and-true recipe still remains as the company’s signature product. Each cake is made with Aunt Ola’s three secret ingredients of patience, kindness, and love. La Juana Whitmore La Juana Whitmore is a Business Development Consultant and is part of Target's Leadership Management Group focused on cross capability planning and management. La Juana Whitmore on the Board of Directors for Minneapolis Television Network and an appointed member of the Department of Human Services' (MN) Cultural and Ethnic Communities Leadership Council. She currently own a sole proprietorship called Black Twin Cities, the objective of which is to highlight blackowned businesses and events in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.

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