Living Education eMagazine A magazine that discusses education in our everyday lives Summer edition 2017 Vol. XVIII
It Is Not Enough to Claim Inclusion. Mainstreaming Requires Training, Effort and a Focus on Student Needs
Safe Haven Laws
How to Remove the Barriers to Reading Success
Graduation Messages from Thom D. Chesney, Ph.D. President, Brookhaven College Kelly Fair Founder of Polished Pebbles
Why Become a Teacher
Call for Chapters â€“ Edited Book Information Age Publishing, Inc.
Gumbo for the Soul: #gumboformales Males of Color Share Their Stories, Meditations, Affirmations, and Inspirations
Editors: Dr. Brian L. Wright, Dr. Nathaniel Bryan, Dr. Christopher Sewell, Dr. Kianga Thomas, Dr. Lucian Yates, Dr. Charles Barrett, and Dr. Michael Robinson
In general, Boys and Men of Color in the U.S. face a number of critical academic, social, psychological and environmental issues. These academic issues include, but are not limited to, disproportional rates of suspensions and expulsions, overrepresentation in special education programs, underrepresentation in gifted education, Advanced Placement and college-preparatory programs, excessively high dropout/pushout rates, and high incidence of stereotype threat. These academic disparities are inextricably linked to negative social and environmental outcomes. These include racial discrimination, high rates of unemployment, economic hardship, adverse health conditions, drug and alcohol abuse, sexual abuse, homophobia, negative media portrayal, and racial hate-crime violence, and police brutality (Wright, 2017) While it is impossible to examine all of the institutional challenges facing Boys and Men of Color, this edited book will document the stories, meditations, affirmations, and inspirations of Men of Color. Moreover, it offers counter-stories authored by many generation of Men of Color that brings attention to the myriad spaces and places that oppress, repress, objectify, and deny the strengths, assets, and more importantly, the humanity of Boys and Men of Color. Particular attention will be given to stories that describe and explain trials, tribulations, and triumphs to validate, empower, and situate cultural and personal identities of Boys and Men of Color who have successfully navigated and negotiated spaces within schools, family settings, and communities to maximize their promise, potential, and possibility. Potential Topics – Chapters submitted are from Men of Color who have overcome one or more of these challenges mentioned above. Be sure to specifically note how you “beat the odds” or overcame these adversities to become successful, and end your chapter with 2-3 pieces of advice you would leave to someone going through similar trials and tribulations. The age of authors is 24 years and older. Submission and Timeline - Submit your manuscript by August 1, 2017. All correspondence, inquiries, and manuscripts should be emailed to GUMBOMOC@gmail.com. The subject line of your email should read “Gumbo Males of Color.” Please also submit your chapter at http://tinyurl.com/GumboMOC. All manuscripts must follow APA 6th Edition. Manuscript length: 1500 to 1750 words max. (Double-spaced). NOTE: Your full name (first and last name) and email address must be included on your manuscript. • October 1, 2017 - Authors will receive notification of manuscript status with feedback from editors • November 1, 2017 – Accepted manuscripts with revisions will be returned to editors • December 1, 2017 - Final review of revised and resubmitted manuscripts by editors with decision • December 30, 2017 - Editors finalize edited book for submission to Information Age Publishing, Inc. Thank you for choosing to submit to our volume. Please be sure to complete the Call for Chapters form AND email a version (.docx, .doc, or .pdf) to GUMBOMOC@GMAIL.COM by August 1, 2017 You can submit your chapters by clicking here! https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdK1OooOgDHM6mqTuGCAbEIaP4WMSF721_ 8fL2CDO7h2P-o8w/viewform?c=0&w=1
This is a publishing opportunity only.
Why BecomeGRIT: Contributors
TO BE OR NOT a Teacher How to Remove the Barriers to TO BE Reading Success
Stephanie V. Fitzgerald
Dr. Luican Yates
How to Remove the Barriers to Reading Success
GRIT: TO BE OR NOT TO BE
Why Become a Teacher
Changing The Top 5 Strategies Professional Contributors Every Teacher Can Development to Meet Helping Make Better Easily Use in Any the NeedsStudents of “Bad” Decisions: The Infinite Changing Educators Classroom Value of Critical Thinking
Dr. Craig T. Follins
Phyl T. Macomber, M.S. ATP
Dr. Karen M. Johnson
Helping Students Make Better “Bad” Decisions: The Infinite Value of Critical Thinking
& Brittany Preston @bpreston24 The Top 5 Strategies Every Teacher Can Easily Use in Any Classroom
Changing Professional Development to Meet the Needs of Changing Educators
It Is Not Enough to Claim The Power of Positive Contributors Relationships:Inclusion. Mainstreaming Top Four Ways to Build Strong Requires Training, Effort Homework Relationships With Your and a Focus on Student Students Needs
Brittany Preston, M. Ed.
It Is Not Enough to Claim Inclusion. Mainstreaming Requires Training, Effort and a Focus on Student Needs
The Power of Positive Relationships: Top Four Ways to Build Strong Relationships With Your Students
Carol A. Josel @schoolwise
eCommencement Address Writers
Dr. Thom Chesney @ThomChesney
Suzanne Hobbs @suzannehobbs365 Safe Haven Laws
Living Education Everyday
2017 eCommencement Address Graduates worldwide Thom D. Chesney, Ph.D. @ThomChesney
President, Brookhaven College I want to begin by congratulating you on your simultaneous completion of one significant journey and the beginning of another—why we so often call graduation ceremonies commencements, as you likely know already. I also want to thank everyone who may have helped you along the way, as this is a journey that few if any ever make entirely alone. Whether or not you noticed it, you had dozens of fans in your teachers and faculty, advisors and counselors, parents and family, friends and neighbors, employers, coaches and other supporters. Sometimes they were actively engaged and at your side or maybe even in your face to ensure that you would persist and succeed. At other times, they were the voice within that encouraged you in the hard times and celebrated successes. I urge you to thank them today and again every year from now, but wait a few minutes before doing so—just long enough for me to share a personal message with you. If there’s one thing that I remember from each of the four graduations at which I received a diploma and a credential, it is that I always felt on that occasion like I had learned all there was to learn and knew all there was to know. I was prepared for whatever might come next, and short of a bit of specific basic training and orientation, I could succeed in whatever lay ahead of me. You might feel the same today. After all, you are entitled to some selfsatisfaction in a job well done. You have fought the good fight and finished your work. You kept your eyes on the prize and grabbed it. It is yours for the keeping. <Insert your favorite other self-congratulatory platitude here.> I am not going to debate any of this, but I would like for you to consider just three takeaways from this fifty-year-old who can finally say with a modicum of credibility, “I’ve been there, and I think you should know this before you come along too.” #1: Never confuse curiosity with criticism. Hopefully your education so far has been rich with teachers who encouraged you to be inquisitive and to ask how and why things work the way they do or are performed a certain way. I remember watching a friend of mine at lunch one afternoon immediately lift his just-served iced tea from its cardboard coaster and shake table salt on the latter before replacing the glass. When I asked why, he said he didn’t like the coaster sticking to the bottom of the glass. This bit of simple chemistry prevented it. I was amused (and educated) and have done the same myself ever since.
But I have also encountered an opposite reaction to my inquisitiveness, like when I asked a supervisor why four people had to sign off before one person could receive overtime pay. I never really learned why, but I certainly grasped from the ensuing, lengthy lecture I received that as a new employee it was not my place to redesign established processes but rather to follow them without questioning. Although my query was based in curiosity, it was clearly received as criticism. Had I erred in being curious? Or had I failed to introduce it? As you go forward from today, I encourage you to sustain and invite curiosity alike. It may help to say, “Just out of curiosity, I have a question,” in order to lift from the beginning of the dialogue the specter of criticism. Similarly, if you assume from the start that people who come to you with why and how questions are just curious, you will be more likely to build lasting relationships and work better together—a good transition to my next point. #2: The most important person in the room is a matter of perspective. Some years ago, when I was a student, I had the honor and opportunity to meet throughout the year with the president of the institution. He invited me to a numerous meetings, meals, and events during which I was introduced to dozens of business leaders, elected officials, prominent alumni, and his colleagues. I enjoyed this broad, unexpected access to influential people, interesting conversations, and learning beyond the classroom. In the month before I was to graduate, one of the guests mentioned of the president that, “One would never know that he ran a $3 billion organization for which he was charged with raising another $1 billion to ensure its sustainability.” Though the remark was clearly not aimed at me, I suddenly felt small and unworthy to be taking up the valuable time of the president so often. At our final one-to-one meeting, I mentioned this to him and how I had to that point not realized how busy he must be and could not imagine why he would include me in his schedule. His response was— you guessed it— “The most important person in the room is a matter of perspective.” He went on to ask of me what I would ask of you, graduates. Considering what you have accomplished, how will you assure that others who follow will be able to do the same; perhaps, with even greater access, success and opportunity? For whom will you be a sponsor and provide a voice when they are not in the room? For whom will you create a space and environment where they are the most important person in the room? Which leads me to my final comment. #3: Given a pile of rocks or stack of wood, you can choose to build a wall or a bridge. One of my grandfathers used to say, “It is okay to burn guardrails, but never bridges.” You will be presented with countless opportunities and tools in the years ahead, which you will have to survey and consider whether and how to proceed. Every such human interaction holds the potential for initiating, growing and sustaining a relationship. Where there is goodwill, there are usually good works. While the margins of even strong relationships will be tested and even eroded, the foundations of the best never crumble, because the participants have committed passionately to building bridges not barriers and are recognized for whom they include and not those they exclude. Virtually every opportunity I have today to listen to, learn from, support, mentor, guide, or teach someone has its roots in someone else having previously done the same for me. You begin writing your legacy the first time you say, “How can I help?” You affirm it by modeling the way thereafter. So, I leave you with this. Over thirty years ago I prepared for the first time to cross a graduation platform. Even as a high school senior I thought I knew everything there was to know and had learned all there was to learn. It is students—now graduates—like you who remind me how much I have yet to learn and that—in the words of Bob Dylan—“I was so much older then. I’m younger than that now.” Graduates, may you continue to grow younger and wiser in a world that needs your wisdom, requires your risk-taking inclusion, and may test your resolve and resilience at every stage of your journey. If it should turn out that in the story of your own life you are not the main character, know that you will have lived a pretty good life.
2017 eCommencement Address Taking Risk Kelly Fair @kfairthementor
Founder @polishedpebbles To the Class of 2017, you are here, you made it. You have struggled and forged your way to this moment when you graduate. Congratulations! Earning this level of education is not easy. It takes discipline, humility, and respect. Not only respect for yourself and your educators, but also respect for the education process to make you stronger; to make you a leader. But now comes the more difficult point in your life. It is now up to you to keep pushing yourself forward, to take those risks that will make you a better person and even better your community. The decision to start my mentoring program was made on the heels of a series of major risks that I took in the earliest stages of my own career. These included switching industries, taking positions that I did not seem qualified for, and having the courage at times to call it quits. While I’ve been working in education for the past thirteen years, my professional training is as a speech pathologist. I took a risk not long after receiving my master’s degree to accept a job offer that was a dream come true. I was offered a full-time position as a program manager for a sizeable college prep program for students at a large, faith-based institution on the south side of Chicago. Veering from the straight and narrow path of speech pathology to pursue a management position at an NFP seemed to many like too much of a risk, and a waste of my academic training. But it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up, and although I didn’t completely understand it, I knew that leadership in the NFP sector was in my future. Then I was offered another once in a lifetime opportunity that, again, I knew I had to take advantage of. Some of my college professors were involved with a research study reviewing a literacy intervention that they created in the Chicago Public Schools system. They needed a local project manager. They thought I’d be a good fit for the position and I gladly accepted. The added benefit of this career move was that a major educational publisher owned the literacy product that we were implementing. So, this little speech pathologist, and non-profit girl, was going to make her mark in corporate America. I was able to play on my strengths in project management and relationship building as I managed relationships with about twenty schools throughout the city of Chicago. I also provided professional development for over 100 preschool and kindergarten teachers participating in the study. This position also made available some early opportunities to build my entrepreneurial skills because I had the responsibility of managing as an independent contractor. I also was able to travel nationally to participate in company meetings and trainings. I learned to develop the skills that would make me a consummate and highly respected manager not only in my own project and city, but also as one who knew what strong leadership should
look like in several national markets. You never really know what you’re being prepared for at times. National leadership was something that I didn’t realize I was being prepared for, but it was dropped off right in my lap. Pleased with my performance in managing the research study, and recognizing potential I didn’t even know I had, the company offered me a national marketing manager position in their literacy division. At the age of twenty-six I quickly became one of the highest ranking African-American managers in my company, had a great office in the company’s headquarters, had staff and a corporate credit card. In my position, I led the creation of several major marketing and PR campaigns for the company’s prominent literacy products, forecasted sales for all my product lines, and trained national sales management teams. Perhaps the biggest accomplishment was that I had to learn all of this on the job by either teaching myself or learning from others. I’ve always been a hard worker, but this position required my days to often start at 3:00 a.m. to meet and exceed the company’s expectations of me. I was responsible for learning so many new things all at once from anyone I could—colleagues, others on the leadership team, my boss—and was sitting at the feet of our company’s president to learn as much as I could to not only do my job, but to do it with excellence. There were many moments of feeling lonely and lost, many days of closing my office doors and crying, of wanting, quite frankly, to give up. It was a lot of pressure being this young woman in her late twenties, hailing from the south side of Chicago, who was now traveling throughout the country as an authority on training and boosting sales for some of the company’s most critical products. I remember being responsible for boosting sales of one of the most hated products by the entire company’s sales team. It was way too complex to sell because it had a lot of components, didn’t have effective marketing materials, and was far too expensive. And guess what? At the company’s annual sales meeting, it was my job to encourage them to sell the newest version of the product, and unveil new marketing materials that I had created to make selling the product easier. But this was my very first sales meeting, in Las Vegas, a city I had never visited before. And the sales team for the company sincerely hated this product so much, I thought, “Why would they listen to this young black woman who they probably thought was totally inexperienced and lacked validity?” So, I knew I needed to do something bold to get their attention, and gain their respect. The mascot for this literacy product was an elephant. So, to clear the air, and acknowledge their frustrations with the product, I decided to open up my presentation by holding a fake mini funeral for the elephant! I took the risk of making some people uncomfortable, and having others not understand where I was going with it. I created a graphic putting the elephant’s picture on a funeral wreath with the dates of when the product was founded and its death date that day. Of course, I knew I needed to create the whole funeral experience, so I had music, Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come,” a box of tissues, and I had on the weeping widow’s funeral hat complete with a veil. There seemed to be silence for a split second, and then the entire room busted wide open with laughter! It was risky, but it was also just what was needed to acknowledge their challenges with the product and clear the air so I could pitch them on the new, improved version. Of course, this also helped to establish me as a credible yet relatable colleague and expert on the product. After being acknowledged with one of the company’s highest achievement honors, I went on to eventually leave that position with the publishing company after a couple of years. I didn’t have another job to go to, but my intuition was telling me it was time to return to the non-profit sector. It was no easy task to walk away from the comforts of my secure corporate career. But, what happened was, I started developing some of my own concepts, and potential programs, and Polished Pebbles was one of them. I was able to take the idea of Polished Pebbles from paper to our first meeting in which two girls attended, to what we know the program to be today. The foundation of my success is relying on the lessons learned from the various experiences I had early in my career. The successful risks that I took in corporate America gave me the courage to take such risks when creating innovative programs for our girls today, trying new marketing approaches, and really trying to think out of the box. Very soon it will be you standing on the edge of these opportunities. It will be your decision whether to take the risk or remain in the box. While the box is secure and comfortable, all the rewarding challenges in life lie on the outside. I want to encourage you to take those risks, to put all of your confidence inside yourself and truly believe that you can. You can be a leader, you can be better, and you can make a difference in your communities. It is because of risk-takers that our society moves forward. Let that be you.
Congratulations to the class of 2017 Live Education Everyday
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How to Remove the Barriers to Reading Success By Stephanie V. Fitzgerald @CrownVictoria8 As a secondary reading teacher, it breaks my heart when I see students struggling with their reading. Further, with burgeoning class sizes it wasn’t always feasible for me to focus my attention on one student while neglecting the other 30+ students. Early in my teaching career, I sought to correct this by opening an educational services company that focused on one-on-one reading (and math) instruction, providing the individualized attention many students needed. In our first session, I would provide the student with a reading diagnostic to pinpoint their specific knowledge gaps. Overwhelmingly, I would see two culprits impeding the student’s success: a lack of phonemic and phonological awareness, and low reading stamina. According to Karen Tankersley’s book, The Threads of Reading: Strategies for Literacy Development, “Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear and manipulate phonemes...” (2003, Tankersley). Phonemes are the sounds that letters make when they are spoken (2013, Murray). Students must be able to connect “k” with kite, but not confuse it with “cat”. Further, their recognition of digraphs - letter pairings that create another sound- is crucial so that “knife” is not spelled or
interpreted as “nife”. This is an actual skill that, for many students, has not been taught. At a certain point in education, the skill of phonemic awareness was replaced with the memorization of sight words. Students could readily see and memorize the words, but had no clue about its origin, meaning, or context in the sentence. Inevitably, the student’s lack of phonemic awareness would bubble up around sixth or seventh grade when the words became more complex and their overloaded minds had no more room to memorize multi-syllabic words. Further, those same students would struggle with standardized tests that required them to do more than read the words, but to comprehend them and place them in context. It frustrated me that students were stumbling through their educational journey because they simply lacked a skill- not the capacity to learn. Immediately, I would have to build up the student’s confidence by assuring them that they were going to be a fantastic reader and our sessions were a safe space. Further, that they would be soaring very soon, but they had to follow the rules. What are the rules? Using
syllabication-breaking words down by their syllabic roots- and their fingers to understand the sounds each letter or digraph made until they could pull them together to pronounce the word. This was important, because many of my older students saw it as a juvenile practice further reinforcing their legitimate fears of being behind their peers. By the third session, my students no longer needed their fingers to guide them and their confidence had grown. To reinforce their progress, I would assign the student an appropriate book based upon their reading level. This brings me to culprit #2: low reading stamina. Often, to get students to read, they are told they can read anything as long as they are reading. I will ruffle some feathers with my next statement, but I politely beg to differ. Once students have mastered the skill of reading, they must also build up their reading stamina- an important key to being college and career ready. When I taught 8th grade Reading, I would watch students with high capabilities read the same Diary of a Wimpy Kid book that they were introduced to in fourth or fifth grade. Not only did they already know the plot, they werenâ€™t being challenged with new vocabulary or building their critical thinking with sophisticated language, writing, and complex themes. I would see those same eighth graders later as juniors and seniors
in high school attending my SAT workshops, struggling with passages for the verbal section of the exam. Why? They were never challenged, so they remained stagnant. Now, anything past the Diary of a Wimpy Kid level leaves them intellectually panting. How do you overcome these detractors and lead your student to success? To begin, make sure that your student is reading a book at or above their Lexile level for at least 30 minutes each day. Further, assist them in sounding out words when they are struggling. Download a dictionary and thesaurus app to define new words and find word pairings. Finally, when students see their caregivers and support groups avidly and enthusiastically reading- they will too! References Murray, B. (2013). Making Sight Words: Teaching Word Recognition from Phoneme Awareness to Fluency. Ronkonkoma , NY: Linus Publications. Tankersley, K. (2003). Threads of reading: strategies for literacy development. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Living Education Everyday National African American Museum Washington, D.C.
You have learned your learning strengths and how to apply them successfully. It’s time to plan your next steps, which can have ‘ups and downs’ like steering a ship with waves moving towards you at many angles. Pursue vocations where you can readily apply your talents, knowing you cannot control the waves around you but you can control your thoughts – so stay focused. Find out what you need to do to work for yourself or work for someone else. Aim to learn from your past experiences while looking forward to your future. George Noble @noble_ga
One of the most misunderstood and misapplied educational concepts in today’s educational literature is the phenomena that Duckworth and her colleagues called “grit” (Duckworth, 2016; Duckworth, Peterson, Matthews, & Kelly, 2007; Shechtman, DeBarger, Dornsife, Rosier, & Yarnall, 2013; & Tough, 2012). Grit is defined as “the perseverance and passion for long-term goals. Grit entails working strenuously toward challenges, maintaining effort and interest over years despite failure, adversity, and plateaus in progress” (Duckworth, Peterson, Matthews, & Kelly, 2007, p. 1087-1088. Also see, Fitzgerald, & Laurian-Fitzgerald, 2016). Grit is “… not just resilience in the face of failure, but also having deep commitments that you remain loyal to over many years” (Duckworth as quoted in PerkinsGough, 2013, p. 16). Grit is further described as a trait-level skill and several studies have shown that grit predicted achievement beyond measures of talent (Duckworth, et al., 2007; Duckworth & Quinn, 2009). For instance, Duckworth and her colleagues studied 1218 freshman cadets at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point (Duckworth et al., 2007, and Duckworth and Quinn, 2009). Results showed that grit was a better predictor of summer retention than any other variable studied, such as Whole Candidate Score, high school rank, SAT, Leadership Potential Score, or Physical Aptitude Exam. In another study, Duckworth and her colleagues studied the participants of the 2005 Scripps National Spelling Bee (Duckworth et al., 2007, & Duckworth & Quinn, 2009). Of the 273 finalists, 175 elected to participate in the study. It was found that grit Strayhorn (2014) studied the role grit played in the academic success of Black male collegians at predominantly White institutions (PWIs). His sample was 140 full time Black male students in a large research university in the southeast. He found that: 1. Grit was positively associated with academic outcomes such as grades in college for black males at PWI’s; 2. Grit positively predicted achievement even more so than did talent; 3. Grit was positively associated with Black males’ grades at PWIs; 4. Achievement was a product of talent
and effort. (Strayhorn, 2014, p. 7). Yates, et al. (2015) studied the grit of African American male pre-service teachers. The participants were fifteen African American male preservice teachers enrolled in the Thurgood Marshall College Fund’s Teacher
TO BE OR NOT TO BE Lucian Yates, III, Ph.D. @lucianyatesiii
Quality Institute. -service teachers enrolled in the Thurgood Marshall College Fund’s Teacher Quality Institute. It was found that these African American males’ grit scores were higher than the cadets in Duckworth’s study (Duckworth, et al., 2007; Duckworth & Quinn, 2009). The authors conducted a qualitative portion of the study to ascertain the source of the students’ grit. Data were organized and coded as outlined by Creswell (2003) and following Lincoln and Guba’s (1985) standards for trustworthiness in qualitative research (credibility, transferability, dependability, and conformability). Three themes emerged that explained the participants’ acquisition of grit:
the student didn’t have grit; or we argue that poverty damaged him, or the teachers didn’t provide the correct instruction. Golden (2017, p. 343) argued that we must look at social inequities present in our educational systems and our broader society. Grit alone, without the understanding of injustice, race and class bias, discrimination and inequities in our schools only served to mask what really is needed in our schools. One writer for the New Yorker, David Denby, argued that reformers in the country must admit that we don’t know how to educate poor children (Denby, 2016). Duckworth, according the Denby, only casually acknowledged the relation of student success to family income. He further asserted, “family background, opportunity, culture, landing at the right place at the right time” often trumps grit, and is the difference in success of people (Denby, 2016).
1. The role of the family in teaching grit; 2. The role of life circumstances in teaching grit; 3. The role of spirituality in teaching grit (Yates et al., 2015). Although the research is relatively clear that grittier students, students with higher grit scores perform better in our schools (GPAs), there are those who deny grit as a viable strategy for increasing student achievement in our schools. For instance, Brooks (2016) in an op-ed in The New York Times argued that using grit to better students’ GPAs was a waste of time because GPAs was “one of the more destructive elements in American education”, (p. A23). He posited that GPAs “rewards those who can answer other people’s questions and stifles creativity” (p. A23). Golden, an assistant professor at Chapman University, in a case study tells the story of a twenty-year old African American male named Elijah who did not complete his studies for his High School Equivalency diploma (Golden, 2017). He argued that when a student fails, we say
Perry (2016) argued in the Hechniger Report that ‘Black and Brown boys don’t need to learn “grit”, they need schools to stop being racist’. He saw grit as a call for students to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. His major contention was students are not being successful because of structural and societal inequality and discriminatory public policy. He ends his argument by stating that “students need highly trained teachers, nurturing climates, scholarships, and hard human capital to make a real difference” (Perry (2016). Fundamentally, I agree with Brooks (2016), Golden (2017), Denby 2016), and Perry (2016) that there are other issues that must be addressed for our students to be successful. However, until such time that racism, race and class bias, discrimination, and grades are abolished what should our students do? Since these issues are not new and many of our ancestors have navigated these same waters, and as I have tried to rectify my own beliefs about grit and the education of students of color, I think we should consult history and how we have managed to maneuver these racialized waters before. From the Mayflower to the Age of Trumpism, we as a people have been successful in large part because we have believed in ourselves and worked around and through structural racism. As in Yates, et al. (2015), the extent to which one has been successful,
is because our families, nuclear and extended, taught us to be “Gritty”? Consider the following: 1. I can do all things through Christ who gives me the strength. 2. Boy, if you get an education, no one can take that from you. 3. You can’t do what the white folks do. You must be better! 4. Go out there and “act like you got some sense”. 5. You must work smarter, not harder. 6. Remember you are a representative of me. 7. We owe it to our ancestors to be successful. 8. People died so you could have the right to go to school 9. You are from kings and queens, you are royalty. These are just some of the statements that I remember were pounded into my head from early childhood through adulthood by my parents, my grandparents, teachers, and the extended family. These lessons were internalized and became the essence of our beings. I’m pretty sure this was a universal truth in the African American community. In a way, our forefathers were teaching us grit. Part of why I am successful is due to these lessons and my willingness to incorporate these teachings into my daily life. It would be a shame to rob this current generation, who need these teachings, just as much, if not more than any generation before, by denying the essence, significance, and power of grit. It would be paramount to professional malpractice! References Brooks, D. (May 10, 2016). Putting grit in its place. The New York Times, p. A23. Creswell, J.W. (2003). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Denny, D. (June 21, 2016). The limits of Grit, The New Yorker. Duckworth, A. (2016). Grit: The power of passion, and perseverance. NY: Scribner. Duckworth, A.L., Peterson, C., Matthews, M.D., and Kelly, D.R. (2007) Grit: Perseverance and passion or long-term goals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92(6), 1087-1101.
Duckworth, A.L. & Quinn, P.D. (2009). Development and validation of the Short Grit Scale (ScaleS). Journal of Personality Assessment, 91(2), 166174. DOI:10.1080/00223890802634290 Fitzgerald, C.J. & Laurian-Fitzgerald, S. (2016). Helping students enhance their grit and growth mindsets. Journal Plus Education/Educatia Plus, 14, 52-67. Golden, N.A. (Mar 2017). There’s still that window that’s open: The problem with Grit, Urban Education, 52(3), 343-369. Doi:10.1177/0042085915613557 Lincoln, Y.S. & Guba, E.G (1985). Naturalistic Inquiry. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications. Perkins-Gough, D. (2013). The significance of grit: A conversation with Angela Lee Duckworth. Educational Leadership, 71(1), 14-20. Perry, A. (May 2, 2016). Black and Brown boys don’t need to learn “grit”, they need schools to stop being racist. Hechinger Report, May 2, 2016. Shechtman, N., DeBarger, A.H., Dornsife, C., Rosier, S., & Yarnall, L. (2013). Promoting grit, tenacity, and perseverance: Critical factors for success in the 21st century. Washington, D.C., U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology, Center for Technology in Learning, SRI International). http://www.ed.gov/edblogs/technology/fi les,2. Strayhorn, T.L. (2014). What role does grit play in the academic success of Black male collegians at predominantly White institutions? Journal of African American Studies, 18, 1-10. Doi:10.1007/s12111-0129243-0. Tough, P. (2012). How children succeed: Grit, curiosity, and the hidden power of character. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Yates, L. III, Moore, J., Vairez, M.R., Jr., BarberFreeman, P.T., Ross, W., Parker, W.H., & Bautista, R. (2015). The grit of African American male pre-service teachers. Journal of the Texas Alliance of Black School Educators, 1(2), 11-38.
Now that you are a high school graduate, youâ€™re heading off into college and into adulthood. This is a wonderful time to discover who you are as a young adult. There are so many exciting opportunities waiting for you, and you will be learning how to make your own decisions that will impact your life in a positive or negative manner. I encourage you to seek Godâ€™s wisdom in every choice that you make. Allow Him to guide you to the right path for your future endeavors, and every area of your life (Proverbs 3:5-6). Kristi Goines @LadyKnoel
Living Education Everyday
National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, D.C.
Every year, thousands of students begin the school year with a lack of school supplies, and every year, administrators and school boards wonder why the children are failing. Does an endless stock of school supplies lead to instant success? Of course not. But does a dearth of supplies contribute to a lack of success. Yes, and I know this from my 37 years in the classroom as a high school English teacher. But, the answer is about more than just school supplies; students must be taught how to use their supplies.
School Supplies and Student Success Dede Faltot Rittman @dederittman
Just as adults have the chance for a “fresh start” every year on January 1, when all things are possible, school students have a chance for a new beginning at the opening of each new school year, also when all things are possible. I believe they should make that start with a new backpack, filled with pencils, pens, highlighters, a soft eraser, a three-ring binder, and an assignment book. These tools will provide the foundation for their success, should the student choose to use them properly. Both short and long-term assignments can be written into the assignment book, which is available for a full view of weeks and months, rather than putting assignments into a phone calendar, which limits the overall view on the small screen. Assignment notebooks help students to become organized, and organization is necessary for success. A three-ring binder should be separated into a section for each class, and all handouts, notes, etc., should be dated at the top, three-hole punched, and put into the proper section in order. This program helps the student to be completely organized, with no lost papers or homework squashed in the bottom of the backpack, papers which were not turned in, and therefore, not graded. I can’t tell you how many students in my 37 years as a high school teacher lacked a writing utensil! A pencil or pen is essential for classroom success, even with classroom use of computers. I suggest a three-ring punched pencil pouch, so a pencil, pen, or highlighter is always available. This pouch is a good place to keep a soft eraser, too, since no one is infallible! A backpack will also help students to be organized, with all their school “stuff” in one place. I bought many of my own school supplies through
the years, because I did not want my students to think they had a “pass” on classwork because they didn’t have a pencil. (Lots of kids will try this.) At my school, the Guidance department even bought assignment books for students who needed them, and teachers could request assignment books to hand out. Kids react strongly to their school environment and to what is presented to them. May I suggest you go back in time to your own childhood? Think of the feeling of opening a new box of crayons, rather than using leftover crayon nubs. Think of the promise of adventure in reading a new copy of To Kill a Mockingbird, rather than reading a book that has been taped together with masking tape and has missing pages or chapters. Can you remember when your class received new textbooks? I love the smell of new books, and I was thrilled when my name was the first one to go inside the front cover under the THIS BOOK IS THE PROPERTY OF HIGHLANDS SCHOOL DISTRICT. Students feel special when they are the first class to receive something new. It is the same with school supplies at the beginning of the new year - they encourage success. Teachers and administrators need to know that it is not enough to provide school supplies for the beginning of the school year; they must also give instruction on how to use them. At the end of each class period, teachers need to say, “Please take out your assignment book, and copy the assignment from the board.” They must remind students to write in reminders of “mile markers” for where they should be in the construction of long-term projects, research papers, or in the studying for a big test. Teachers need to have handouts three-hole punched, and remind students to write the date at the top of the paper, and to place the paper in the correct section of the binder, in order. Organization does not come naturally to most students, but I have found they will quickly learn this method, and when their grades improve from their newfound organizational skills, they will embrace this method. Administrators, school boards, teachers, and parents want students to be successful. We must provide them with the tools to help them on their way, and to teach them to use those tools for the maximum benefit. As Marshall McLuhan said: “We become what we behold. We shape our tools, and then our tools shape us.”
Helping Students Make Better “Bad” Decisions: The Infinite Value of Critical Thinking Dr. Craig T. Follins @DrFollins1
THE CONTEXT Several years ago, I had the honor and privilege to be part of a federal grant program while serving as an administrator at a higher education institution. The name or location of the institution is not as important as the challenges that I observed in students’ lives. The typical public higher educational student may be first or second generation and often navigating work, school, family, strife and other “life” issues in addition to school. Students faced with the multiplicity of day to day issues often struggle with the ability to make clear, rational, life enhancing decisions. Because of the confluence of these intractable problems, students sometimes make “bad “decisions. THE CASES IN POINT As an educational leader and advocate of social change, I have taken it upon myself to observe, listen, teach and empower students to make better “bad “decisions. Admittedly, students should not make “bad” decisions if they can avoid them. However, this paper suggests that as a matter of simple percentages, students somewhere are making a bad decision every minute of every day. To that end, I recall a student who enrolled in a full-time credit load of 12 semester hours with the intent on gaining a credential that would change the trajectory of their life. The student in question was also working a part-time job in addition to receiving financial aid. Over the course of the semester the student moved out of the family home into an apartment. The student enjoyed the opportunity to be on their own with the freedom to not make their bed, wash dishes, clean up after themselves and to sleep in when the impulse surfaced. As the
semester wore on the student received their financial aid, but stopped working the part-time job, as the college developmental courses were more difficult than originally assumed. Requiring lots of time (the suggested ratio is 2:1, that is, 2 hours of study time for every hour of class) to study to pass the courses with at least a grade of C. The student did not learn to budget and quickly fell behind on rent and utilities after paying over $500.00 for books in addition to the cost of tuition. The student, now nearing some level of panic and financial desperation approached another student with a very perplexing question: Should they pay their cable bill or the electric bill?” At first blush, the question sounded a bit nonsensical, but not to the student. In their zeal to take on the very difficult challenges they face each day, students often make “bad” decisions. This was a case in point. While it is certainly noted that the cable bill, once paid, would be of little use without electricity somehow was not realized by this student. Perhaps the question to ask is did the student really think through his question critically? Beyond the question, we as educators might ask if the student had, or should have had any critical thinking instruction up to that point. Would it have made a difference in the thought or action process? To be sure, this was both a “bad” question as well as a potentially “bad” decision. We must find a way to incorporate critical thinking into our foundational instruction across the curriculum. Let’s help students make better “bad” decisions. THE CURSE As part of my role as an administrator during this time I was blessed with helping another student find employment at a local, large, big-box retailer who shall remain nameless (but they certainly do help you live better and save you money). It was just before the holiday season as we were winding down another calendar year when I was able to convince this retailer to hire the student. Albeit, the student had heretofore unknown behavioral issues, she nonetheless had mouths to feed and rent to would have to deal with the veritable cornucopia of attitudes, moods, languages, arguments, impatience, discussions, and situations with care, concern and outstanding customer service. A few days or so after the hire I checked back with the store manager who was gracious enough to develop a win-win employment pipeline for our
students. I inquired as to how the student was faring after the first few days only to be told that she was no longer employed there. As per regulation and law he could not share anything beyond that simple, short, but impactful statement. Our staff questioned what could have gone wrong? Was it something that we could have done differently? We asked the student to come in with the hope that perhaps she may want to share thoughts about the former position. As it turns out, the student was eager to share that she had been let go after she “cussed a customer out.” She went on to explain the various and sundry details. The details did not alarm us as much as the student relating almost boastfully that she “cussed the customer out and that she was proud of it.” Taken aback, we had to gather ourselves as we could not believe the bravado and matter-offactness in the students’ response to her action. Clearly, she made a “bad” decision, but, not realizing the consequences of her own actions and responsibility to the customer, she was therefore unable to grasp the seriousness of it all. It was our “aha” moment and we knew then that critical thinking had to be deeply woven into the fabric of our curriculum and training. Education matters and critical thinking must be embedded in our curriculum to help students make better “bad” decisions. While this sounds like an oxymoron, that one would have to make a “bad” decision, we know that critical thinking may create that important self-awareness that allows time to reflect on the consequences of any action or reaction. As an educator, recognized national workforce development expert and observer of the human condition, I remain fascinated by the wide range of behaviors gifted to and exhibited by mankind. I marvel at our ability to change, learn, grow, endure, modify our behavior through deep analysis, increased self-awareness, significant mindfulness, critical thinking and to create more positive outcomes.
Benjamin Lloyd Crump, Esq. @AttorneyCrump
Lack of criminal convictions in the fatal policeinvolved shootings of unarmed African Americans
Living Education Everyday
Living Education Everyday
The Top 5 Strategies Every Teacher Can Easily Use in Any Classroom Phyl T. Macomber, M.S. ATP & Brittany Preston @bpreston24
Each day, we walk into our school, go inside our classroom, or arrive at our learning center - and face trying to simply keep our head above water. We all attempt to cover an incredible amount of information in an unrealistic (often impossible), limited amount of time. Instruction in todayâ€™s educational system is typically delivered in days filled with multiple things to do and just not enough time in which to do them. But, most importantly, we show up each day trying to make a difference with the students we serve in education.
on a regular basis, regardless of what subject or topic being taught. These proven strategies are aligned with the foundational principles of the research-based teaching framework, T.H.E. P.A.C.T. (AboutTHEPACT.com), which is being used across the United States, in provinces of Canada, and in parts of Australia, Italy, South Africa, and Saudi Arabia.
Education has become very complicated. We need to simplify, simplify, simplify. This will allow us to gain more control of our instruction, focus on doing a handful of meaningful things, and do them not only well, but consistently in our classrooms.
What does this mean?
Scott Blood, K-12 principal, explains: "It is critical at this point in our education era that teachers have a strategic way to structure lesson planning. While attempting to deliver the best instruction and taking care of whole child supports, teachers need a system that is conducive to efficient output and effective outcomes." This article highlights the top five strategies that every teacher could easily integrate into any classroom
Use Opening & Closing Lesson Ceremonies
Oftentimes, the fast pace of our day - whether teaching children or adults - makes us feel like we are trying to beat the clock. Because of this, sometimes when we start to teach a lesson, we dive right into the middle of it to "get to business" to best use the limited amount of time we have to instruct, which results in us forgetting the importance of what we call, "Opening and Closing Ceremonies." When starting any instructional lesson, it is important to view it as a conversation: gain attention, start the conversation by introducing the topic, take turns on the topic, periodically review the topic you are talking about, and end the conversation.
As instructors, we need to make sure that we are "connecting the dots" to ensure that our students understand what the task, project, or activity is and why they are doing it. Introducing the subject area and topic, along with the lesson activity, is critical at the start of any instruction to make certain that all learners are “on the same page.” This should then be followed by clear and coherent directions that are not only spoken, but also presented visually. Here is a real-life example . . . When teaching a book in language arts in a vocabulary lesson, an opening ceremony to the classroom vocabulary project was: "Time to learn about the book, Gruffalo. There are many characters in this book. Today, we are going to do a project and make one of the characters." Then, there was a review of the materials in the project as part of the opening ceremony to the lesson: "One character in the book is a fox. Here are all the parts of the fox to put together..." Throughout the activity, the staff referred back to the lesson topic or to what the students were doing: "We are making a character in the book, Gruffalo. It is a fox. Let's find it in the book." The students in this class made character puppet sticks to correspond with the book, which increased their participation and improved understanding.
learners transitioned to their next activity. Why is this important? By giving students this type of structure and routine in a lesson, it helps them succeed. This is critical for students of all abilities, related to building comprehension, memory, and retention of information as documented in brain-based research. What the research shows is that students will learn the most during “prime times,” which are at the beginning of the lesson and at the end of the lesson. These, in fact, are the “Opening and Closing Ceremonies,” which must be used consistently to take advantage of these ideal learning times. They are an essential lesson strategy when teaching any subject or topic: math, science, social studies, life skills, or social communication.
Teach Students the “What” and “Why” of Their Learning
What does this mean? When planning a lesson, it is crucial that we establish the “what” and the “why” of the lesson: “WHAT” do we want our students to learn and “WHY” is it important for them to learn it. This should be the basis of every lesson that we teach, as it lays the groundwork for an effective and rich lesson. By determining the “what” and “why” of our
Opening & Closing Ceremonies Reach Students at “Ideal” Learning Times
When the project was complete, it was put on the Learn About vocabulary board with the other characters and a closing ceremony comment served a wrap-up: "We are done creating our fox character in our book, Gruffalo. Let's review all of the characters we have made so far!" The class then moved on to the next part of the lesson or the
lessons - otherwise known as a learning intention - we are planning for the outcomes we wish to see. A learning intention should be linked to educational standards and should represent exactly what we want to see as a result of our instruction Learning intentions keep our instruction focused, so that all activities are meaningful and linked. It is not only important for us to establish learning intentions for every lesson, but we must then take it one step further and teach them to our students. Here is a real-life example . . .
When teaching a lesson, a sixth-grade teacher posts her learning intentions in the form of “I CAN” statements: • •
I CAN multiply single digit numbers I CAN identify and/or write three key details in a paragraph
The “I CAN” statements are posted in plastic paper stands in the center of each table in the room. The teacher reviews the “I CAN” statement with the students at the beginning of each lesson during the Opening Ceremony. Then, the students reference the posted statements throughout the lesson. When asked by a classroom visitor, “What are you doing in class today?” the student easily references the “I CAN” statement and expands on how the task they are working on directly relates to the goals - the “I CAN” statement - of the lesson. In a high school social studies class, the learning intentions are given to every student, along with the daily agenda and any necessary resources for the day, in the form of a handout. Anyone entering the room in the middle of the lesson is able to reference the handout and know exactly what the learning intentions are and the process by which they will be reached.
What does this mean? The brain can easily get bogged down with information, such as how the information is being presented and what the vocabulary means. If our students do not understand the vocabulary being used in the lesson, then they are lost before they even start. We should not take for granted that our students “know” the meaning of the words we use! Vocabulary reminders are visual and auditory tips to review the definition of a word or key concept, and also to explain how the specific vocabulary item fits into the instructional lesson. Vocabulary reminders assure comprehension of the words that are being used in any instructional lesson. Here is a real-life example . . . An instructional technology specialist and math teacher was preparing to teach the Pythagorean Theorem to her eighth-grade students. She developed her vocabulary resources for introducing this unit, but did not assume that all of her students had an understanding of some basic and crucial key concepts prior to diving in.
Why is this important? When we have very clearly established learning intentions for every lesson, we are more likely to plan meaningful and focused lessons for our students that are directly linked to the outcomes we wish to see as a result of the lesson. Learners are more likely to be invested and engaged in the learning process if they understand “what” they are
Using Creative Ways to Teach the “What” & “Why” of a Lesson
learning (what the expected outcomes are of the activity) and “why” they need to learn it. Students also have a better understanding of how one lesson connects to the next, which again results in increased student engagement and buy-in. Posting our learning intentions for lessons in the classroom is a simple way to make sure that our students have easy access to the “what” and “why” of the lesson. This also serves as a reminder to us to continually reference the learning intention throughout the lesson. It helps keep everyone on track and properly focused on the overall goals of the learning for the day.
Provide Vocabulary Reminders
Vocabulary reminders were given for the math terms of “theorem,” “triangle,”
and “angle” in a mini-vocabulary lesson to ensure that all of her students (a total of 82 students across three math classes) had a solid understanding of these concepts for background knowledge. To her surprise, many of the students could not define these terms accurately. As a result, these vocabulary reminders were critical to the students’ future success in the upcoming math lessons. Why is this important? It is impossible to overstate the importance of building a solid foundation of word knowledge to be successful in life. Vocabulary knowledge is something that should expand and deepen over
time. If our students do not know the meanings of the words they read about and hear, they will not have a full understanding of what they are listening to, reading about, or, even more abstractly, writing and talking about. By using vocabulary reminders, we can easily reach more of our students to guarantee more meaningful participation and deeper understanding of
Classroom teachers at elementary, middle school, and high levels regularly engaged their students in creating “Lesson Boards.” in their classrooms. A lesson board is a visual display of information that students put together in a collaborative lesson that is explicitly taught by the teacher. Some examples include: • Building vocabulary skills Vocabulary Reminders Ensure a Deeper Understanding of Content
Create a Bank of Classroom Visuals With Your Students
What does this mean? • Classroom visuals motivate students to interact with the content of curriculum and provide our students with essential and meaningful context. Using visuals in our lessons help students grasp a concept and remember it. Students say that having visuals around the classroom significantly help them remember key concepts. Oftentimes, as teachers, we have our visuals “prepared and displayed” - thinking that this is the best strategy to be organized and ready to teach a lesson. We come in early, or leave very late, to create these visual anchors for our students. What we may not realize, however, is that by not involving our students in a “lesson” to create these visual displays, we are actually taking a critical language experience away from our students. When we involve our students in creating curriculum visuals, and teach the content as these visuals are being built by our students, we greatly increase opportunities for a better understanding and expression of the curriculum content. Here is a real-life example . . .
Previewing main ideas, details, and summary points Brainstorming ideas and composing writing prompts Sharing opinions supported by facts
The teachers in this school involved their students in the creation of visual content in the areas of language, reading informational text and literature, writing, and speaking and listening tasks. The students were highly engaged in the lesson board creation and had meaningful participation related to the curriculum content. The teachers found that this strategy allowed them to teach from different parts of the classroom - not only the front of the room - and offered their students multiple opportunities to link ideas and initiate discussions about the classroom content that were student-led. In addition, this also helped the teachers, regardless of grade, with time management. In fact, this resulted in decreased lesson prep time, as the teachers reduced their own materials creation time by involving the students and making it a series of teachable moments. Why is this important? Continue on page 45
Living Education Everyday National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, D.C.
Changing Professional Development to Meet the Needs of Changing Educators Dr. Karen M. Johnson @iamdrmojo In most PK-12 settings, professional development sessions are a necessary evil. Many attend because their districts require them or so the educator can obtain continuing education units (CEU) to help with maintaining their certification and teaching credentials. There must be a shift in the way we view professional development. It should be an opportunity to provide real growth for its participants instead of a form of professional torture. According to Gulamhussein (2013), effective professional development should be ongoing to allow teachers time to learn new strategies and provide modeling to assist teachers with learning and implementing those new strategies. Past issues suggest that this has not been taking place. The question then becomes what can be done to help improve professional development. One of the first steps that can be done is to identify several instructional goals and let those goals be the focus to build professional development priorities. According to Zarrow (2013), this has to take place on the district level as well as including the staff to have an active role in those priorities. This can be done by allowing teachers to provide input on what they feel is beneficial for their continued growth. Participating in professional development that interests them is more effective and teachers are more likely to implement what they have learned. Districts must ensure that teachers are provided support after the initial training and give teachers the opportunities to teach each other, providing a learning environment that will allow teachers to collaborate and grow. There has to be buy-in for the goals on all levels for this approach to be successful. Teachers have to be willing to learn, share, and mentor while districts have to be will to provide the opportunities for these activities to take place. Content is also important with professional development. Providing useful content that aligns with the priorities of the professional development goals add value for the participants. Providing formal and informal opportunities for professional development allows teachers to build a collective expertise within the building, allowing them to problem solve and innovate without having to call in someone from outside of their school community. According to Little (2006), professional development should be
used to continuously build knowledge and cultivate continuous learning by building a strong, professional community. Another way to help continue the growth is by developing professional learning communities (PLC) within the school building. As noted by Walker (2013), PLCs allow teachers to build a community of support while having a group of knowledgeable teachers to learn from and grow while still in the classroom. PLCs also allow teachers to make decisions regarding what is effective in the classroom and what can be done to help improve instruction. It gives teachers more decision-making authority, allowing them to develop into teacherleaders through teaching each other and mentoring those who are new to the education field or new to their PLC community. Professional development can also be used to help develop teacher-leaders within the school. Teachers can be provided opportunities to learn the processes and polices that are involved in developing successful schools. According to Vega (2015), teacher leaders help provide support for district and school wide initiatives by providing support to teachers as well as leading PLCs and curriculum development sessions. The teacher leaders can also observe instruction, provide feedback to colleagues, and help accomplish the professional development goals by being available to provide additional instruction or modeling as needed. Professional development should provide value for the participants as well as for those who may benefit later. No professional development has to be all
academic in nature. Depending on the programs offered writing the school districts, professional development can be created with local agencies that are willing to offer their services to reach out the students. This provides a chance for the community to build a relationship with the school district and give educators opportunities to learn how to incorporate real life activities with their academic lessons. For high school educators, it also opens the door to allowing students to gain mentors in careers they may be interested in pursuing. With the changes that are constantly occurring in education, it is important that teachers have the ability to develop autonomy in the classroom and continue to grow to meet the changing needs of their students. Using professional development as a way to develop effective teachers and encourage growth can lead to improved teacher instruction and gains in the academic performance of students. School leaders have to be willing to invest the time and effort to make professional development more than just “a necessary evil”. References Gulamhussein, A. (2013). The core of professional development. Retrieved from http://www.centerforpubliceducation.org/MainMenu/Staffingstudents/Teaching-the-Teachers-Effective-ProfessionalDevelopment-in-an-Era-of-High-Stakes-Accountability/The-Core-ofProfessional-Development-ASBJ-article-PDF.pdf Little, J.W. (2006). Professional community and professional development. Retrieved from http://www.nea.org/assets/docs/professionalcommunitypd06.pdf. Vega, V. (2015). Teacher development research review: Keys to educator success. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/teacherdevelopment-research-keys-success. Walker, T (2013) No more ‘Sit and Get’: Rebooting teacher professional development. Retrieved from http://neatoday.org/2013/04/29/no-moresit-and-get-rebooting-teacher-professional-development/. Zarrow, J. (2013). 5 strategies for better teacher professional development. Retrieved from http://www.teachthought.com/pedagogy/5strategies-better-teacher-professional-development/
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Ethical Issues in Special Education
It Is Not Enough to Claim Inclusion. Mainstreaming Requires Training, Effort and a Focus on Student Needs Carl Petersen @ChangeTheLAUSD My wife sat heartbroken as she watched my daughter’s classmates shunned her as she tried to interact with them. Despite the fact that most children on the autism spectrum have difficulties establishing social interactions, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) had decided that the chaos of lunch period was an appropriate time to provide a “mainstreaming” opportunity. Without any professional assistance, she would leave the confines of her self-contained classroom to eat with children without disabilities in an effort to improve “academic achievement, self-esteem, and social skills.” She was making a valiant effort, but the other students also lacked training and could not get past
her quirks. It was hard to see how this was doing anything but damaging her self-esteem. The results did not get any better as my wife entered into a general education classroom to observe another effort at mainstreaming. While in the special day classroom, my daughter had received focused attention to keep her on task in the curriculum. However, in this general education classroom the teacher was responsible for teaching an entire class and did not have time for students who could not keep up. Therefore, the students with special needs were placed in the back of the room and given games to play with on their computers. Was just being in the same classroom as students without disabilities supposed to provide academic achievement? Segregated from the rest of the class, she certainly was not improving her social skills. Unfortunately, pushing for individual results is easier than changing a bureaucratic system the size of the LAUSD. Therefore, while we were able to move our daughter into a different program for the next school year, the fatally flawed system remained in place, continuing to harm the students it was supposed to serve; it is an environment built on good intentions but not properly designed. My daughter now attends John F. Kennedy High School in Granada Hills where, in the 2012-13 school year, 16% of the students had special education needs. Like her previous school, Kennedy also integrates my daughter and her classmates into general education environments, but in a more thoughtful manner. In her freshman year, tears were brought to our eyes as we watched her participate in her ROTC class inspection, with her typical peers gently encouraging her back into line when she became distracted. This year we watched with excitement as she participated in the school’s choir recital, concentrating intently and literally finding her voice. There are several factors that allow this program to succeed while where the other failed. The first is a classroom teacher, Ms. Mary Jo Cormier, who is dedicated to making sure
her students reach their full potential. This includes selecting elective subjects that will suit her students' interests and working with the general education teachers to ensure they are prepared to meet each student’s individual needs. For most of the day, my daughter is also helped by a behaviorist who can reinforce social cues that she may miss due to her disability and helps keep her on task. Most importantly, the school has an active peer buddy program that allows students in general education to interact with my daughter and her classmates in a supervised setting. They are, therefore, better able to understand the challenges their classmates face and learn how to have meaningful interactions with them. This culminated in the end of the year “buddy prom” where both sets of students celebrated their achievements. While this program has been a good fit for my one daughter, it must be emphasized that Special Education derives its name from the fact that the needs of each student are unique. For some students, especially those who are physically fragile, a general education campus is not an appropriate placement. For this reason, the LAUSD developed Special Education Centers that were specially designed and operated to serve the most vulnerable students. Unfortunately, in an effort to reduce costs, the District has chosen to focus on the part of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that says “that children who receive special education should learn in the least restrictive environment” while ignoring the section that states to the “maximum extent that is appropriate.” Instead of using what Dr. Joy Efron, a retired principal of one of these centers, calls a “success experience”, children must now fail in a general education environment before being admitted into these centers. “At Frances Blend School (which was one of several options for blind students), we concentrated on teaching braille, orientation and mobility, listening skills, a variety of access/adaptive skills and as soon as the student had sufficient skills to move on to a more ‘integrated’ or ‘mainstreamed’ setting, a decision would be made, involving the parents,” Dr. Efron explains. “Now, with that option eliminated, a student Continue on page 49
To the Class of 2017 Allow your voices to be heard like musical instruments and allow your light to shine as beacons of hope and promise throughout this world. You have earned your place on this journey we call ‘life’ and we look forward to seeing the future foundations you will lay. Celebrate your excellence as you’ve made it! You ARE the Class of 2017 April Peoples @raiseurvisions
The Top 5 Strategies continued from page 36
Visual anchors in the classroom provide quick reference guides by using recognition strategies to decrease cognitive load for learning new material. Hands-on activities and experiential learning events foster more active learning for our students in a classroom lesson. When students participate in activities that involve them in the creation of classroom visuals, it expands their inquiry and problem-solving skills. Employing inclusive teaching strategies, meaning teaching in ways that do not exclude students from opportunities to learn, increases the focus and attention of our students. In addition, it motivates them to practice higher-level critical thinking skills for a more meaningful learning experience. Our students end up becoming much more actively involved in our lessons and pose more relevant questions - not only to us as teachers, but also to each other.
and posted on a board in the front of the room During the closing ceremony, the teacher asked each student to make a statement reflecting on the following three questions: • • •
What did they do to work on their goal that day? Did they achieve their goal that day? What will they do next time to work on their goal?
Monitoring progress is not only important for goal setting, but also for classroom performance. For example, after giving an oral presentation, students participate in what is called a “3/3 Exercise” - “Three things I did well” and “Three things I feel that I can improve on.” This helps students improve their self-evaluation skills.
Offer Consistent Opportunities for Self-Reflection
What does this mean? Self-reflection is one of the most meaningful tools we can teach, model, and offer our students. It helps students move from merely “thinking” about their performance, achievement, or contribution to an actual “understanding” of it. Teaching our students that self-reflection is not only focusing on what they need to improve upon, but also identifying what they are doing well. Setting goals, encouraging students to reflect on them, and adjusting their goals as needed encourages not only reflection, but also a growth mindset. Our students need to be taught how to select and draft their goals. They then can be guided on how to monitor and assess their progress. By giving students a structured method to self-reflect on a regular basis, we are actually giving them the opportunity to form the important habit of evaluation and, more importantly, to be honest with themselves. Here is a real-life example . . . At the beginning of a writing lesson during an opening ceremony, the teacher guided her kindergarten students in setting individualized goals for the week. The goals were written on a sticky note
Content Sticks When Students Help Create Classroom Visuals
Students of Any Age Can Build Self-Reflection Skills Why is this important? It is crucial that we instill in our students, at a young age, a growth mindset by supporting them in learning how to reflect on their work and set goals for improvement. All too often we see students who are fearful to get something wrong, reflect, or take constructive feedback. Instead of looking at these as opportunities to grow and develop as a learner, many students recoil. Learning self-reflection strategies, and providing frequent opportunities for reflection, support students in recognizing themselves as lifelong learners and ensure the development of a growth mindset. One important aspect of successful reflection is that the process must be meaningful to students. They must be invested in the process. The students should be involved in setting their goals and determining what it will take to achieve them. As teachers, we can facilitate learning and guide our students through the reflection and growth process, while the students learn to take more responsibility for reaching their goals.
time constraints and schedule demands. We do not want to be engaging in “drive-by” lessons and assuming knowledge of language that students do not possess. As teachers, we sometimes need to be reminded of this, for we often know our content so well that we may forget what it is like to “not know it.” Integrating these simple multisensory strategies into a system of instruction is essential when needing to reach students of all abilities in our classrooms. These “Top 5 Strategies” are doable, essential, and most importantly, sustainable, for any classroom teacher to implement during a jam-packed school day at any grade level. As Curriculum Director, John Barone, describes: “Each of the strategies discussed in this article focus on clarity and relevance. When the learning is clear to students, the purpose of the learning is clear. In turn, the students understand the relevance of what they are learning. This results in greater engagement and, therefore, greater and deeper learning.”
Summary It is important to remember that we should not cut corners in teaching due to
For more information on T.H.E. P.A.C.T., please go to: www.AboutTHEPACT.com.
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It Is Not Enough to Claim Inclusion continued from 43
must FAIL before getting what that student needs. We don't send a high school student to a graduate physics class at Caltech and make him/her fail before the student can enroll in a beginning high school physics class.” If the focus was returned to the needs of the students instead of the needs of the District, these centers could be operated in a way that provides integration along with the required special services. For example, much like the peer buddy system at Kennedy, students who are interested in careers in special education and health care could be enrolled in magnet programs co-located at these schools. This would benefit both sets of students as those with special needs receive meaningful interaction with non-disabled peers and these students receive a jump start to a career. This helps all students reach their full potential. Isn’t that the purpose of a high-quality education system?
Carl Petersen is a parent and special education advocate and was a Green Party candidate in LAUSD’s District 2 School Board race. He was endorsed by Network for Public Education (NPE) Action and Dr. Diane Ravitch called him a “strong supporter of public schools.” His past blogs can be found at www.ChangeTheLAUSD.com.
Richard Gallot, Jr. @RickGallot President Grambling State University
HBCU Presidents Meet with President Donald Trump
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The Power of Positive
Relationships Top Four Ways to Build Strong Relationships With Your Students
Brittany Preston, M. Ed. @bpreston24
Every school year, a group of students enter our classrooms, eager to meet their teacher and see their friends after a long summer break. We, as teachers, have worked very hard to get our classrooms ready and plan lessons for the first week of school. In most classrooms, the first week is used to get to know the students, and establish classroom routines and expectations. This crucial time period is when we try to build learning community and begin the process of building positive relationships with our students. When we have positive relationships with our students, the difference can be seen in how students respond to behavioral interventions, demonstrate social skills growth, accept help, and develop positive relationships with peers. Scott Blood, Blue Mountain Union School, K-12 principal, explains, â€œTaking the time to build a positive relationship with all students is especially critical when challenges appear surrounding content. If the strength of the relationship is strong, the student will recognize errors regarding critical feedback. When the strength of the relationship is strong, the student will recognize errors and work to fix them, which results in greater learning outcomes.â€? Building positive relationships may come easily for some, but for others it may take more time and effort to develop and maintain. There are many strategies we employ to foster these relationships. Below are four strategies to build and maintain positive relationships with our students.
Maximize Your Mornings Every morning 15-20 young people join you in your classroom Each student comes in with any number of feelings and experiences which change on a daily basis. It is our job to create a structured morning routine that supports a positive start to the day. In order to utilize this early morning time to its fullest, we must create a very thoughtful plan which includes a relationship building component. There are two important elements that support positive relationships between students and teachers that should be included in every morning routine; hold an individual check in with every student and build in time for success. Checking in with every student each morning allows the teacher an opportunity
to gage how the student is doing and often allows the teacher to ensure the student has exactly what they need to be successful each day. It’s important to take the opportunity to connect on a personal level with the student during these check-ins. You can ask questions about their interests or check in regarding something you remember them saying they were going to be doing the night before. This sends the message the teacher (1) cares enough to remember and ask about it, and (2) thinks about them as a person and not just as a student. Another important component that should be built into every morning routine to foster positive relationships is providing opportunities for each student to feel successful. One way to do this is by assigning special jobs or class work you know fits the student’s strengths. By creating this opportunity for success early in the day, it sets up the student for a good morning that includes positive interactions.
Recognizing behaviors do not define the student As part of the learning process, children often test boundaries and make choices that don’t always align with our expectations. We are well versed in strategies to support students as they work through these learning opportunities. When a student is demonstrating unexpected behaviors in the classroom, remember the following: 1. You must separate the behavior of the student from the student themselves. The behaviors do not define the student and we must make this clear to them. Regardless of how bad the behavior was, the student needs to know he/she is still liked, appreciated and valued within the classroom community. The behaviors should not decrease the student’s value. 2. Every behavior is a learning opportunity and we must emphasize this with the student. The learning that comes after the incident is more important than the behavior itself.
Strategy 3: Ensure each student has unique value in the classroom Early on in the school year, we assess the academic strengths and weaknesses of our students. This helps us plan our lessons and support differentiation. There are other strengths and weaknesses students may have that are just as important especially when it comes to building relationships. By recognizing various strengths, a student may have (both academic and nonacademic), we can create a classroom where everyone is a pro at something. Early on, start a list of each studentâ€™s strengths, not weaknesses. We often consider the studentâ€™s weaknesses so we can support them and put interventions in place. This is important, but by finding creative ways to utilize their strengths, the students will relate to you better and trust you more if they know you value them for their strengths. Since you will be emphasizing the strengths of each student, the other students in your class will also begin to recognize those strengths in their peers. When students are having a problem, encourage them to seek out another student who may have a particular strength in that area. Another way to make sure each student has value in the classroom is to ensure all students get an equal amount of your time and attention, or we give each student time when they need it. This can be a very difficult task. We tend to call on the student who always raises their hand or help the student who asks or who we know may struggle on a particular task. Though it can be challenging, the goal should be providing each student with equal time.
Strategy 4: Celebrate the good Whether you are in school, at work, or home with family, everyone wants to be appreciated for the good things they do. When someone makes a positive comment about something we did, we tend to think of that person in a more positive light because we associate the satisfying experience and comment to the person who made it. If we transfer this positive experience into the classroom and focus on celebrating the good as often as possible, students will relate positive experiences to the classroom and, ultimately, the classroom teacher, leading to a stronger and more positive relationship. Recognizing positive behaviors or academic successes can be done in many
ways. We can privately recognize students through comments made one on one, notes on an assignment, or small tokens from the teacher that represent positive recognition. We can also provide students with public recognition in class through comments that we make in front of the group or small celebrations involving many students. One very effective way to recognize students, especially those who donâ€™t like being called out in class, is to call the student's parents or send a positive postcard. Superintendent Emilie Knisley from the Blue Mountain Union School remarks, â€œCelebrating positive behaviors in students by reaching out to their families gains us a lot of ground in terms of building positive relationships. Often for students that struggle there is very little positive interaction between the school and the family. Bridging that gap with a simple phone call home can go a long way.â€?
The more time we spend taking advantage of celebrating the successes of our students and supporting them by showing understanding, the more trust will be built and the more positive interactions will take place between the student and teacher. For some of our students, building relationships can be extremely challenging which is why we have to be diligent and methodical regarding the strategies we use and the approach we take to build a relationship with each individual student. Building positive relationships with our students early on can help foster a classroom environment where all students feel safe, accepted, and valued. These positive feelings in the classroom support student success academically, behaviorally and socially.
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In the ongoing debate between advocates and proponents, homework keeps making headlines, with the upshot being that several schools and a few individual teachers, too, have given it the axe. Among them, instructor, author, and ASCD blogger Mark Barnes who took that stand because: ✓ “Virtually all homework involves rote memory practice, which is always a waste of time.” ✓ “Homework has nothing to do with teaching responsibility. (HW advocates love this claim.”) ✓ “Homework impinges upon a student’s time with family and on other, more valuable, activities.” ✓ “I can teach the material in the time I’m with my students in the classroom.” ✓ “Students hate homework.” As for that all-important #1 item, many parents hate it, too. As 8th grader Zach’s mom put it: “It’s World War III in my house every day, with me running after him begging and yelling for him to get it done. Sometimes he tells me there is none, but I know better than to buy that.” Said a stressed-out dad, “It’s making us all crazy, and she’s only in elementary school! God help us when she’s older and they really pile on the homework.” Meanwhile and not surprisingly, such sentiments are nothing new. In fact, way back in 1900 Edward Bok, editor of The Ladies Home Journal, published his “A National Crime at the Feet of Parents.” Positing that homework destroys childhood, he asked, “When are parents going to open their eyes to this fearful evil? Are they as blind as bats that they do not see what is being wrought by this crowning folly of night study?” Fast forward to today and likeminded Alfie Kohn. An expert on human behavior, parenting, and education, he’s written countless articles, together with 14 books. Among the best known is The Homework Myth, described as “a compelling expose of homework— how it fails our children, why it is so widely accepted, and what we can do about it.”
Homework Done Right Carol A. Josel @schoolwise
Says Kohn, “Death and taxes come later; what seems inevitable for children is the idea that, after spending the day at school, they must then complete more academic assignments at home. The predictable results: stress and conflict, frustration and exhaustion. Parents respond by reassuring themselves that at least the benefits outweigh the costs. But what if they don’t?” And therein lies the rub. As one recent survey discovered, 40% of responding parents said the benefits don’t outweigh the costs and that “some or a great deal of homework is busy work.” Be that as it may, though, and despite a few pockets of resistance, home assignments remain an education mainstay. And while Time for Kids found that 58% of kids say they get too much, the National Education Association found that “Homework overload is the exception rather than the norm.” That’s consistent with education guru Harris Cooper’s “10-Minute Rule,” which plays out like this: ✓ 10 to 20 minutes per night for 1st graders ✓ 20 minutes for second graders ✓ An additional 10 minutes per grade level, with up to 120 minutes for seniors And truth be told, an analysis by the Brookings Institute and the Rand Corporation concluded that most kids actually spend less than one hour a day on homework, regardless of grade
level—and that’s held true for over 50 years. The only exception is an uptick in the amount assigned to elementary-aged children, a trend that might accelerate for all students as the Common Core Standards continue to take hold across the country. As writer/editor Leah Rocketto recently put it: “While most parents' concerns stem from the testing methods used to measure students' success, the other issue is the homework their kids must complete. Gone are the days of simple word problems and showing your work with numbers. Now, kids must decode confusingly phrased equations and use number lines, blank circles, and "hidden partners" to solve them. Sound complicated? That's because it is…” Nevertheless, most assignments: ✓ Provide skills practice, ✓ Reinforce learning and help commit information to memory, ✓ Act as a check on understanding, ✓ Provide ongoing feedback, and ✓ Serve as a test review. After all, say proponents, there simply isn’t enough time in the school day to get the job done. Plus, many teachers—and parents, too—believe in homework’s merits and the sense of responsibility and independence it engenders. You don’t have to agree, but, for your kid’s sake, be sure to: ✓ Provide after-school “down time.” A dose of physical activity and a nutritious snack, such as peanut butter-smeared apple slices, deliver the energy needed for the upcoming homework/study session. ✓ Get your child right to work after that short break when energy is higher; fatigue usually sets in after dinner. ✓ Make the kitchen or dining room table the initial homework station to get things rolling. Your background presence and monitoring ensure that progress is being made. ✓ Tackling hardest subjects first while energy is highest is best. This way, less taxing work is all that’s left for later when tiredness sets in. ✓ Insist on a call to a classmate and/ or
saving questions for class the next day if stumped; this is a far more sensible option than simply giving up. ✓ Check that assignments are carefully completed every day and placed in a 2pocket folder for easy access in class the next day. ✓ Encourage textbook note-taking, flash cards, reviewing, and leisure reading when no formal homework is assigned. This keeps your child well ahead of the curve and prepared, even for pop quizzes. ✓ In case of absence, see that your child calls a classmate for missed work to be collected and brought home or left in the main office for pick up. Even one missed day can set a student back and playing catch-up is a no-win situation. Also helpful are: ✓ A quiet, well-lit study spot. ✓ A constantly replenished store of school supplies. ✓ A dictionary, thesaurus, daily newspaper, pencil sharpener, and 3-hole punch. The rest is up to your child, so be sure not to step in and take over, as tempting as that may sometimes be.
African American Male Scholars, Researchers, and Educators Discuss The Impact of Urban Blight Urban Decay on
Dr. Marrix Seymore @amcelincolnu The Impact of Urban Blight/Urban Decay on the Academic Success of Students How HBCUs and Student Development Programs Can Play a Role in Reclaiming Urban Communities Dr. Walter Greason @WorldProfessor Historian's View The Impact of Urban Blight/Urban Decay on the Academic Success of Students Dr. Mordecai I. Brownlee @ItsDrMordecai The Impact of Urban Blight/Urban Decay on the Academic Success of Community College Students Dr. Elliott Heflin The Impact of Urban Blight/Urban Decay on the Academic Success of Students Dr. William "Flip" Clay @Dr_Flip The Impact of Urban Blight/Urban Decay on the Academic Success of Students Dr. Kyle Randolph Bacon @88Que The Impact of Urban Blight/Urban Decay on the Academic Success of Students
the Academic Success of Students
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Saving Abandoned Babies. A Defining Moment for Change. By Suzanne Hobbs @suzannehobbs365
In October of 2000, I was an investigative television crime reporter. I got a new tip about a newborn's body found among the trash in an alley dumpster. That was the moment my life changed. I stood there, my mind not believing what I was seeing. My cameraman was capturing video of police pulling the yellow crime scene tape to protect the scene, while the lifeless body of a day-old baby, wrapped in a bath towel, was gently lifted out. I had covered countless horrific crimes over the years, but this one hit me hard. That is an image I will never forget. It was a defining moment for me. I felt deep inside I had a mission and it was personal. Why? At the time, I had been struggling for years to get pregnant. My husband and I would have gladly taken that unwanted baby. I never wanted to report on a news story like this again in Idaho. In the days that followed, I learned about the young girl who hid her pregnancy and delivered the baby alone in her bathroom. She then made a heartless choice out of fear to hide the birth. She would later learn about a law that was in other states, but not hers. At the time, it was only in a handful of states. Itâ€™s a law that allows mothers to leave their unwanted new-born at specified locations like medical offices and fire stations and simply walk away, no
criminal charges will be filed for simply walking away.
is struggling. You don’t know who might be scared, thinking they can’t care for their
It’s a law that saves the lives of the newborn and the life of the parent who might otherwise feel like doing the unthinkable.
baby Just share this law and this article with others. You may
That was my mission: to get the law in Idaho. In 2001 the Governor of Idaho signed the Safe Haven Law. He handed me one of the pens he used, thanking me for initiating the push the previous year. Since then, more than 25 babies have been safely surrendered in Idaho. I have also advocated for legislation and education about the law in other states. Over the years, similar laws were passed and now all 50 states, and other countries around the world have similar laws. But the story doesn't end there. I still ached to be a mother. My husband and I started the process to adopt a child through the State of Idaho. I call it my miracle. Two years after the law was put in place, and we adopted a baby who was abandoned under the protection of that law. My little girl, named Lilly Love, is the 5th Safe Haven baby in Idaho. Her birth mother knew about the law and left her at the hospital, with a note asking that the baby be given to a loving family. Education about this law is key! For more than 15 years, I have shared my story with both large and small audiences. My message: when you have a set-back, you're being prepared for a set-up. Had I not struggled to have a child of my own, I would have covered that dumpster baby story differently, not made it as personal. But because I was struggling to have a child, I felt driven and made something good come from that tragedy. Sometimes our struggles are actually part of a bigger plan for good. I do believe that! Another lesson that I ask everyone reading this to share is about the law. You don’t know who
save two lives. The life of the baby, and the life of the scared mother. Lilly is now 14 years old. She knows her story She knows she is a special child and helps me promote the law in any way she can. She and I are thankful every day for her birth mother, who knew about the law and left her at the hospital. A much better place over an alley dumpster. Sadly, not everyone knows there is a Baby Safe Haven location in all 50 states. Here are some numbers: 3,370 newborns have been saved with Safe Haven law since 1999 1,359 newborns have been illegally abandoned 446 of those were alive 749 newborns were deceased That means that 3370 children have been adopted tin loving families and given a chance at life! All babies should be given that chance. More has to be done with education. The law varies, state by state. But every hospital in the United States is a designated Safe Haven location. The number of days varies state by state. You can check out the map and learn about the law for your state at http://www.nationalsafehavenalliance.org/
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The Art of Parental Engagement How Can Parents Help To Ensure The Academic Success Of Their Scholars? View these educatorsâ€™ perspectives on the following questions. 1. How important is family in the academic success or failure of a student? 2. What can educators or school systems do to help those
families who may not make the connection they have an important role in the academic success of their scholar?
3. 3. Do you find there is at times a communication gap
between school and the home of students? What are the causes you have observed, and how frequently are these communication gaps occurring at all levels of a school system?
Dr. Shanelle R. Benson Reid @ACCESSACandC
Phyl Macomber @AllAboutTHEPACT
Gina Humber @ghumber720
Dan Blanchard @GranddaddysSecr Attention! Old Friends From The Past Can Teach Us Plenty If We Take The Time To Pay As an award-winning author, speaker, and educator Dan Blanchard shares real-life lessons and inspiring stories with audiences of teens, adults, educators, and sometimes a mixture of all three. His goal is to positively think what we think is possible, regardless of how old we are. Dan has seven educational degrees, has been an inner-city school teacher and athletic coach for over 20 years, and has a passion for teaching, inspiring, and working with teens. His “Granddaddy’s Secrets” book series was inspired by their lives, accomplishments, and struggles, and his own absolute belief in every teen’s potential. Dr. Thom Chesney @ThomChesney 2017 eCommencement Addresses Thom D. Chesney, PhD, has been president of Brookhaven College since August 2011. For three years prior he served as associate provost for student success and assessment, associate professor of arts and humanities, and accreditation liaison for The University of Texas (UT) at Dallas. While at UT Dallas, he initiated the university’s GEMS (Gateways to Excellence in Math and Science) quality enhancement plan, which helped effect dramatic improvements in undergraduate student performance in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics courses. From 2004 to 2008, Thom served as district vice president of academic affairs and provost of Collin College (TX), having joined the college as district dean of communications and humanities in 2003. He previously held administrative and faculty positions in Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania College of Technology), Texas (Texas Wesleyan University), and Washington (Whitman College). He earned his doctorate in English literature from Florida State University, completing a dissertation on George Orwell; a Master of Arts degree in creative writing from Minnesota State University, Mankato; and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish with a minor in business administration from Washington University in St Louis.
& Kelly Fair @Kfairthementor Kelly Fair, founded Polished Pebbles Girls Mentoring Program in 2009. Kelly was recently recognized by ComEd as one of Chicagoland's "Neighborhood Heroes" for her outstanding work in the local community and Chicago neighborhood, Roseland. Kelly has also been honored by Walker's Legacy and Accelerate with Google in celebration of Women's History Month, and is a recipient of the 2014 Margaret Burroughs Award from the DuSable Museum Women's Board, as well as an American Red Cross Heroes Award recipient. Additionally, Kelly received recognition in 2013 from Verizon Wireless' "Everyday Heroes" initiative for her service in the community. Kelly Fair 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. She uses her educational background to instill effective communication skills via the Polished Pebbles S.H.I.N.E. : Smile, Hello, Introduce, Nod your head, End the conversation
Stephanie V. Fitzgerald @CrownVictoria8 How to Remove the Barriers to Reading Success Dr. Craig T. Follins @DrFollins1 Helping Students Make Better “Bad” Decisions: The Infinite Value of Critical Thinking Dr. Follins is a higher education senior executive with deep leadership experiences in community colleges. A big picture thinker with a combined management, P&L, and operations mindset, his organizational, communication, and people skills, and his ability to develop programs and best practices have all contributed to his successful career as a community college leader. Previously serving as Special Assistant to the Alamo Colleges Chancellor for Special Projects, Dr. Follins recently completed a comprehensive national study on best practices in Distance Learning, Competency Based Education (CBE), Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) and Workforce Development. A summary of this recent work was published as a League for Innovation Learning Abstract and a NISOD Paper, respectively. He is an award-winning faculty member at the University of Phoenix School Of Advanced Studies (SAS). He has also been a faculty member at Lonestar College, Walden University, Capella University and Kaplan College. Suzanne Hobbs @suzannehobbs365 Safe Haven Laws Suzanne Hobbs is a best-selling children's author of The Hungry Snake, and a national Baby Safe Haven Law advocate, but her favorite title is "Mom". She worked for nearly 14 years in Idaho as a news anchor and court and crime reporter for both NBC and CBS affiliate stations in Idaho. One news story she covered changed her life forever. The body of a newborn found in a dumpster. Suzanne turned tragedy into a life-long mission. Her story has been told in magazines, two books, on television, radio and she even appeared as a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2006. Suzanne was recently chosen to be the Media and Communications Director of The National Safe Haven Alliance, a non-profit organization that promotes the Baby Safe Haven Laws. Dr. Karen M. Johnson @iamdrmojo Changing Professional Development to Meet the Needs of Changing Educators Dr. Karen M. Johnson has been an expert in science education and teacher leadership for over 19 years. She is a member of the National Educators Association’s Teacher Leadership Institute and has received numerous awards for excellence in teaching. Karen possess a wealth of experience in high stakes testing, teacher mentoring, curriculum design and management, data collection, and coaching. Her research centers on learning outcomes of students in both urban and rural school districts, which includes small group tutorial and literacy. Carol A. Josel @schoolwise Homework Carol A. Josel is a learning specialist who worked with middle school children and their parents at the Methacton School District in Pennsylvania for more than 25 years and now supervises student teachers at Gwynedd-Mercy University and Ursinus College. Along with the booklet, 149 Parenting School-Wise Tips: Intermediate Grades & Up, and numerous articles in such publications as
Teaching Pre-K-8 and Curious Parents, she has authored three successful learning guidebooks: Getting School-Wise: A Student Guidebook, Other-Wise and School-Wise: A Parent Guidebook, and ESL Activities for Every Month of the School Year. For more information and resources, go to http://www.schoolwisebooks.com. Phyl T. Macomber, M.S. ATP @AllAboutTHEPACT The Top 5 Strategies Every Teacher Can Easily Use in Any Classroom Phyl T. Macomber, M.S. ATP Since completing a fellowship at Johns Hopkins Hospitalâ€™s Kennedy-Krieger Institute in 1988, Phyl Macomber has become an award-winning national speaker, author, inclusion specialist, and curriculum strategist. As President of Make A Difference, Inc., Phyl has consulted with and trained thousands of teaching staff and is a passionate catalyst for systems change in education. Phyl was featured in the Common Threads Trilogy book series in 2015 as one of the top 100 empowering women from around the globe and has been a guest on several radio shows to discuss simplifying instruction for students of all abilities. In 2016, Phyl was appointed the first ambassador of the educational affairs organization, I AM L.E.E. (I AM Living Education Everyday), whose goal is to expand conversations on educational issues and challenges impacting families and communities. Brittany Preston @bpreston24 The Top 5 Strategies Every Teacher Can Easily Use in Any Classroom The Power of Positive Relationships: Top Four Ways to Build Strong Relationships With Your Students After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and Special Education in 2008, Brittany Preston moved to Vermont with her family to become a Special Education Teacher, providing individualized educational programs students with a variety of disabilities. Over the course of the next several years, she worked at two different schools within the Hartford School District, gaining extensive training in the areas of inclusion, behavior intervention, supervision, and curriculum. This training allowed her to take on the Summer School Coordinator position for the district, which she held for several years. During her time in Hartford, Brittany earned her masterâ€™s degree in Educational Leadership from the University of New England. After gaining experience at the elementary level, she accepted a position as the middle school special educator for the Windsor Southeast Supervisory Union. During her time in Hartford and Windsor, she worked with consultants to develop unique educational programs for the students with whom she worked. Brittany has worked with Make A Difference, Inc. to provide students with differentiated educational opportunities through the use of T.H.E. P.A.C.T framework. The experiences she gained in Hartford and Windsor led her to her current position as an Assistant Principal at the Blue Mountain Union School in Wells River, Vermont. In this position, Brittany has used her connections with experts in the field of education and her experiences in the areas of supervision, evaluation, behavior modification, and instruction to provide the most valuable learning experiences for the students.
Dede Rittman @dederittman Why Become a Teacher Dede Faltot Rittman loved teaching school, and she thought she would stay for 40 years, but when her husband and best friend Scott was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer, she had to retire to care for him in June of 2011. When Scott died in May of 2012, Dede returned to her love of education, not in the classroom, but by using her 37 years of teaching experience to write a book to help new teachers to be successful. She focused on the three C's of her own personal success: Confidence, Communication, and Creativity. Dede is thrilled that colleges are now making her book required reading and inviting her to speak to their students. Colleges and universities are using Dede's book with much success! Dede is also a motivational speaker, and a frequent radio guests, discussing important topics in education. Dr. Luican Yates @lucianyatesiii GRIT: TO BE OR NOT TO BE Dr. Yates has served in a variety of education roles in five statesâ€”Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Tennessee. Dr. Yates has served as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent and superintendent. He also served as an adjunct university professor at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania and Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. He was invited to the former Soviet Union to work with teachers and principals as they moved from Communism to Democracy. Dr. Yates has studied with Dr. Madeline Hunter, Drs. Kenneth and Rita Dunn, Dr. Bernice McCarthy, Dr. Ted Sizer, and many, many more. Dr. Yates was featured on a call-in talk show with Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich, Secretary of Education, Richard Reilly and President Bill Clinton to discuss school-to-work initiatives. Dr. Yatesâ€™ role as superintendent was featured in the December 2002 edition of U.S. News and World Report and the January New Yorker. Additionally, he was awarded the Ohio Social Studies Teacher of the Year and the Outstanding Young Professional award.
Well-Wish Contributors George Noble @noble_ga
Kristi Goines @LadyKnoel
April Peoples @raiseurvisions
, i Wr ter s
Parent Talk Live
Bl o ck Dan Blanchard @GranddaddysSecr
Mike Robinson on Parent Talk Live to discusses the challenges facing aspiring writers with Dan Blanchard, Suzanne Hobbs and Gina Humber
Suzanne Hobbs @suzannehobbs365
Dr. Michael A. Robinson Host @DrMikeRobinson
Gina Humber @ghumber720
Forest Of The Rain Productions The Author's Corner Great books from great authors
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Forest Of The Rain Productions is an Educational Affairs Organization
Published on Jul 28, 2017
In an effort to bolster and expand the dialogue about the role education plays in the lives of all Americans, we created Living Education eM...