School Board Run

Last night, I lost for the second time trying to run for the NCISD School Board of Trustees. It was in 2016, that I decided to run for the board after hearing that our school’s 7th grade soccer team would not be able to play their last game for the season because the other middle school lost several of their players to the ‘no pass, no play’. I fully understand the Perot’s No Pass, No Play rule for it was initiated when I was in middle school many, many years ago. But what I did not understand is that when the school has progress report 1 and progress report 2 grades prior to the actual report card period, how do these kids fail? So in 2017, I ran for the school board with the focus being on open and effective communication with the parents and the school district, trying to have alternative programs in the schools such as AVID and/or community in schools, continuing to exceed state expectations of our students, teachers and administrators, and receiving top recognition as a district. For that race, I garnered approximately 1/3 of the votes and lost to a returning school board member who had lost the year before. For 2018, I decided to run again and this year I was excited because each incumbent had an opponent and would not be running unopposed. This is great for the district because it demonstrates that others do want to be involved with their community as it relates to the children. Since we had received the A-F grade scoring from the state and we had one of the lowest scores in the area (overall rating 76%), my focus remained the same with more specifics. The focus was to have open communications with the board and the parents and to assist parents in knowing how to advocate for their child within the school district, figure out ways to allow teachers to teach based on the skills they acquired when the graduated from college instead of going into a school districts and learning to teach students to the test and most importantly holding administration accountable for the A-F grading considering the overall C grade received from the state (please note that this C is based on a curve because Infinity Early College High School scored a 94%). Again, I garnered approximately 1/3 of the votes and lost to the incumbent. The other 2 positions were won by newcomers. Maybe the school board is not for me, but there is an arena that is available for parents and educators such as myself, I just need to find it. For those parents who voted for me, I thank you and please know that to be an advocate for your child, to encourage those teachers who do an excellent job with your children and to hold the administrators accountable for how well the district does are all important and can be done easily. May our new board be successful in the upcoming year.

School is in Session

This summer I was curious about what seemed to be a higher turnover rate in education. In the past, most teachers remained with a school district for 20 plus years. Nowadays it seems as if a teacher moves to a new district every 3-5 years or leave the profession all together. Of course, I posted my question on Next-Door and even asked a couple of teachers face to face. As with most professions, the reasons why teachers left varied. There were some teachers who sought higher pay, some felt as if their work was not appreciated and some retired after 20 plus years of teaching.

Now that the students are back in school, we have taken the time to meet with our children’s teachers. Some of the teachers are first year educators, some are new to the district and others have been at NCISD for a while. Regardless of their tenure with the school, what is important is that for 2018-2019, these are the people who will spend on average 40 hours per week with our children. We want to build a partnership with them for the sake of our children. Thus, school is in session for all of us.

Reading, Writing, Math in the Summer ?!?!

As we come into the month of July, we are emphasizing to our children about getting back into their workbooks so that they can be ready for the beginning of the new school year.  Of course they are not excited and swear that we are 'hurting' their summer vibe.  So we find ways to cater to their strengths.  One child enjoys math, the other enjoys reading and the third is captivated by video games.  As parents our philosophy differs on how to get them engaged in their learning.  I believe in schedules and their father believes in providing options.  However, in the end it will depend upon the child and their desires and wants to learn more.  Our reader averages 3-4 books per week; our future professional soccer player, is working on understanding algebra as she prepares to enter the 6th grade; and, our oldest is checking out the latest clothes for the new school year.  So yes we make plans for the summer reading, writing and math, but as they get older we appreciate any efforts that they put forth to stay academically prepared.  Check out this book series, it is really good.

 

Parents, Dignity and Discipline

Parents who take the responsibility of raising their child to be respectful, resourceful and independent realizes that this is no easy task.  As children progress from babies, to toddlers, to preschoolers, to pre-teens, to teenagers and to young adults, their behaviors change from simply following instructions to attempting to understand the importance of the instruction.  For some parents who have fallen into because "I said so" or into the "I am my child's friend" mode, the communication may not be as smooth any more.

As children age, they are seeking their dignity among their friends and among society.  They are wanting to be respected and to be able to make their own decisions. However, sometimes they lack the tools that are needed because they are still growing socially and mentally.  With some of these tools missing, the growing child may become frustrated and finding a means to calm them varies depending of the people involved.

So to what extent should discipline be incorporated into the setting in which a growing child is trying to 'find themselves'.  Recall that according to the Webster dictionary, discipline may be either of the following:

a : control gained by enforcing obedience or order

b : orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior

c : self-control

The ultimate goal should be self-control.  As some parents may have subscribed to time-outs or counting to 3, as the children age they should have a developed understanding of  the proper pattern of behavior.  Once they understand what is considered proper inside and outside of the home, then self-control is what assists them to succeed in their chosen endeavors.

 

 When thinking allows one to center, it provides the self-control needed to allow one the dignity amongst their peers.

When thinking allows one to center, it provides the self-control needed to allow one the dignity amongst their peers.

Primary Ballot for Federal, State and Local Offices in the State of Texas

Our greatest turnout in elections are primarily when we are voting for the United States of America President; however, the greatest impact of our votes are when we elect local, state and federal officials who represent us.  They are the greatest impact because they go to Austin to try and help improve our schools and our communities.  They enact the laws by running for judge positions, district clerk positions and justices of the peace.  Do realize that all votes and non-votes do have an impact.  So please take the time to partake in the right that you have as a USA citizen and vote in 2018.

http://montgomeryvoterinfo.com/texas-statewide-political-races

Remembering When We Were Children

The past allows us to see what we did when we were younger.  Riding our bicycles to the other side of town, trying to see who could make it to the park the fastest.  Playing H-O-R-S-E on the hoop with no net and yes sometimes it was the free throw that won the game.  Lighting the stove with a match to turn it on, so that we could help cook the breakfast.  In the 1980s, when Ross Perot was head of the Select Committee on Public Education, the major "No Pass, No Play" entered the great State of Texas from a Republican billionaire who had his children in private school.  Then the testing of the students began followed by testing the teachers.  This was meant to make Texas' education system better.  What happened?

Net Neutrality (Open Internet Access): Voice Your Opinion

**UPDATE: on Dec. 14, 2017 by a vote of 3-2 Net Neutrality was 'voted out'.  Based on the vote, there will be a change on how streaming and other internet options may be received, of course there will likely be court battles before this fully goes in to effect.**

On December 14, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission will be voting on Net Neutrality.  If Net Neutrality is voted out, then we will begin to hinder the advancement of our children in the world of technology.  You can sign petitions and speak to your neighbors, but the greatest impact will be to contact the FCC and go on record.  Below is their contact information and the comment that I sent to them today.  Please be heard and speak up this week.

FCC 1-888-225-5322 or http://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings/express regarding Proceeding number 17.108

My comment was as follows:

"In order for the citizens of US to continue advancing in technology, it is pertinent to allow all Americans the SAME access to the internet without 'slicing and dicing' it into various portions that require higher payments for faster speeds. Many of our children in public schools are provided chrome books and I-pads in order to do their school work at home and if they are not allowed internet access as it currently stands, then we are only pushing them further behind other countries. Please leave the net neutrality in place. The corporations can make their money elsewhere. Do not let the vast majority of the children suffer because our current administration wants to focus more on corporate America than its American working citizens."

Holiday Season: Communications and Electronics

Within 48 hours many of us will be celebrating Thanksgiving with family and friends; yet, since Monday (11/20/17) students have been home for the holidays.  This is a time to talk to your children about school, the meaning of the holidays, how was their day (especially if you are still working).  If they have primarily watched TV all day, SnapChat with friends or played video games, then ask them about that.  Of course the conversation may be minimal depending on the age of your student with answers like "Yeah, it was OK", "Nothing much" or "Uh-uh", but the fact that you are speaking to them provides an acknowledgement that will be appreciated years later. On the other hand, you may have the students who provides every detail of the day with slight repeats, as parents though, each word they say will be new (smile).  In October 2016, the American Academy of Pediatrics announced recommendations for media time and provided a tool specific to children based on their sleep, daily activities, school, meals etc.  It is known as the Family Media Plan.  The benefit of this plan is that it accounts for family time and for most this is the time when we talk to each other without the smart phones in our hands.  Have a blessed Thanksgiving holiday.

THE ADVENTURE

As I was running for the NCISD Board of Trustees, I made it a point to go into the communities and speak to the people.  My family, friends and I would be at the East Montgomery Courthouse for early voting and at the polling locations speaking to people. The  conversations varied from the weather to why  people home school rather than send their children to public schools.  The conversations focused on individuals who are on the board for the sake of the children and those on the board for the sake of their business.  It was quite interesting.  The adventure continued as I would speak with parents who highly praised NCISD and others who felt as if NCISD was failing their children.  The best part about this adventure is the realization of community efforts to improve one's school district  still begins at home:  when parents are involved with the education of their children.  Thanks to the 1,358 residents who did vote in the election and the 1/3 of those who voted for me.

Infinity Early College High School, IEP/504 PLAN and Staying Engaged

INFINITY EARLY COLLEGE HIGH SCHOOL                                                                                       For those parents with current 8th grade students, if you are interested in the Infinity ECHS, then the application process has begun.  In summary, there are 125 spots available and there will be an open lottery to fill those spots.  Deadline for submission is November 20, 2017 (viewform).  Please note that at Infinity Early College HS, students can earn their high school diploma and an Associate's degree or up to 60 college credit hours from Lone Star College in the time it takes to graduate from high school. Infinity Early College HS is an innovative program designed so that low income youth, first generation college students, English language learners, and others who are typically underrepresented in college can advance their education tuition free. The program is based on the principle that academic rigor, combined with the opportunity to save time and money, is a powerful motivator for students to work hard.

INDIVIDUALIZED EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM AND 504 PLAN The Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) is a plan or program developed to ensure that a child who has a disability identified under the law and is attending an elementary or secondary educational institution receives specialized instruction and related services.  The 504 Plan is a plan developed to ensure that a child who has a disability identified under the law and is attending an elementary or secondary educational institution receives accommodations that will ensure their academic success and access to the learning environment.  Not all students who have disabilities require specialized instruction. For students with disabilities who do require specialized instruction, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) controls the procedural requirements, and an IEP is developed. The IDEA process is more involved than that of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and requires documentation of measurable growth. For students with disabilities who do not require specialized instruction but need the assurance that they will receive equal access to public education and services, a document is created to outline their specific accessibility requirements. Students with 504 Plans do not require specialized instruction, but, like the IEP, a 504 Plan should be updated annually to ensure that the student is receiving the most effective accommodations for his/her specific circumstances.---What's the Difference Between and IEP and a 504 Plan. Accessed on 10/30/17.http://www.washington.edu/doit/what-difference-between-iep-and-504-plan

Although, this video is geared toward Montessori Schools, the overall meaning of the video is important for those parents whose child completes the work early and then waits.  Often time that waiting results in possibly discipline problems if extra, productive (not busy) work is not made available.    Or the waiting time may result in boredom and withdrawal.  To prevent either from occurring parent-teacher discussions are pertinent for the betterment of the child. Montessori Madness