Friday, May 27, 2011

Summer Fun: Is School Out? By Mrs. Dorothy Barron

                         Summer Fun: Is School Out? By Mrs. Dorothy Barron 
Parents, I hope you have some fun and activities planned for your child/children during their summer vacation from school. Having been a parent, I  know that many Parents will insist on some academics over the summer and course work often depends on how well the child did or did not perform in school during the school year. Hopefully, you took time and held a school conference with your child’s teacher(s) prior to the school year ending. 
It is important that a child rests and relaxes the mind, but I also understand that many Parents prefer to have their children accomplish one or more of the following goals over the summer:
ü  RETAIN knowledge garnered over the year
ü  IMPROVE or work at skills the child did not master or perform well over the school year
ü  LEARN new skills

If a child or even an adult enjoys or has fun at what he or she does, it often  does not appear as work; The “pressure” factor decreases significantly and/or does not exist.  Since learning can be fun, I have for this purpose selected three websites and honed in on a specific feature of each site, as well as a physical site.  Check the sites out; you may be able to accomplish one or more of the aforementioned goals while having fun as you and/or your child learn.

You know what is best for your child; utilize the sites below to assist you and your child over the summer and/or bookmark for future use. Parents, sites you may want to view:  
o   The Free Dictionary: This is a fabulous site to assist in the areas of English and language. It offers educational and fun skills in so many different areas; spelling, language, English, learning new words; history, etc. The information is offered in such a manner that you (along with your child/ren) can pick and choose and structure the information to make learning fun. Website:

o Are you looking for activities that you do not have to search for extensively or create yourself? This site has an array of resources. For busy parents who do not have a lot of time to search and surf the Web, provides a regular newsletter with activities for each specific age group from pre-school through middle school. Website:

o   Khan Academy: If your child needs assistance with Math, Founder & CEO Salman Khan of Khan Academy makes Math look easy and non-threatening, regardless of the type of Math. Getting assistance from him in his short video tutorials is akin to sitting down with a friend or older brother who will patiently work with you until you achieve or master the learning objective – “you can do the Math.” Assistance is provided from basic Math equations to Calculus and beyond. Website:

o   A Physical Site- The local library: Remember the excitement of reading 10 or more books in order to receive a Summer Reading Program Certificate from the local library. I carried on this tradition with our children. Summer break was about 10 weeks and therefore, one book per week could be read.  My husband and I insisted that our sons read at least ten books over the summer; however, I compromised with them and allowed our sons to choose their own books. Needless to say, many of those books they chose were below their reading levels and often consisted of very few pages. As young adult men, one son now is usually reading at least 2-3 different books (not easy reads) in conjunction or at the same time.

You and your child/ren have a good and fun summer; stay safe! 

Notes: 1.) Mrs. Dorothy Barron has listed the above websites and Public Library for informational purposes, only; she has not received any endorsements from the above websites or libraries.                                                                                         
2.) For access and/or use of materials at the aforementioned websites, please check the specific website’s terms/conditions.
3.) A special thank you to Mr. Patrick Barron for courtesy of and his permission to use his photographs (All Rights Reserved) for this blog post.  
Mrs. Dorothy Barron, Author & Founder
Parents Taking Charge in Education:

Friday, May 20, 2011

Two (2) Additional Factors that Can Affect a Child's Learning by Mrs. Dorothy Barron

Two (2) Additional Factors that Can Affect a Child’s Learning by Mrs. Dorothy Barron

Often when we address the issue of barriers that adversely affect and hinder or prevent children from learning, we omit two that will be addressed on today. I have paired these two factors because they transcend socio-economic, racial and national boundaries.

Children of Drug Users and Addicts
From the mid 70’s up through the early 90’s, the use of unlawful drugs and drug users escalated to the point that drug wars occurred. Much emphasis was place on the effects to society from a social and economic standpoint, but not really in terms of the lives of children who were born to drug user and/or addicts.

During the 1980s, sociologist and others opted for discussion and finally warned that at some point in time, society would have to deal with the issue. To my recollection, as a society, we did not or at least not adequately or in a manner as benefiting this issue. The issue was summarily dismissed because the African American race was especially singled out. Of course, as many did then and society has been fully apprised of the fact since then that unlawful drug use and addiction transcended socio-economic, racial and national boundaries; such adversely affected or effected the entire nation in one form or another.

If one does the math, what would be the peak years for first and second generation children of drug users and/or addicts; what affect(s) does such have on a child’s learning and depending on the affects and effects, how do schools handle both the issue and child?

Effects of Electromagnetic Fields, Frequencies and Certain Energies
Most people are not aware of the adverse effects of Electromagnetic fields, frequencies and certain energies on both the environment and human beings. Some electromagnetic energy is part of our natural environment and other parts, manmade. The electromagnetic fields have continued to escalate with man’s advent of manmade products which emit electromagnetic energy and wireless technology. According to some who have studied this field, it has been documented that the human body can be adversely affected physically, neurologically and psychologically, as well as cell structure manipulation. 

It is my understanding that the most common devices that can be most hazardous are overhead power lines, cell phones and computers with the young and elderly being most affected and impacted. From a medical standpoint, some are attributing any number of medical symptoms (such as dizziness, lack of concentration, memory loss, queasiness, nausea, headaches, inability to sleep, unexplained pain, hyper-activeness and even more serious conditions) and unexplained medical conditions to and as a result of the effects of electromagnetic fields and certain energy.

We all understand that technology and wireless communications have and apparently will continue to dominate the future. Simply be cautious, ask questions and as Parents, become well-informed and educated about those things which affect your child/ren and how?
Note: Should you desire to read information about Electromagnetic Fields, Frequencies and Energies, google the terms.

Mrs. Dorothy Barron, Author & Founder
Parents Taking Charge in Education

Friday, May 13, 2011

Parents of School Age Children with Disabilities, Limitations or Challenges Pt.2 of 2 by Mrs. Dorothy Barron

Parents of School Age Children with Disabilities, Limitations or Challenges Pt.2 of 2 by Mrs. Dorothy Barron

In today’s post, Part 2 of Parents of School Age Children with Disabilities, Limitations or Challenges, ten tips are being offered to assist you with navigating and advocating on behalf of your child/ren in Education.
1.      Questions are often raised regarding educational evaluations. Two separate evaluations completed by separate entities are often the recommendation. Perhaps, the school (often free of charge) and one private evaluator or two private evaluators. It is advisable that the evaluations not be shared until both have been completed.
2.      Learn your rights as a parent of a child/ren with disabilities, limitations or challenges (some sources from which you can obtain this information is from your school, school system and online at the US Department of Education).
3.      You are to be a part of the committee that plans your child’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) and are to be notified of any change(s) to that plan.
4.      You can have certain information added and/or removed from your child’s school records
5.      Document, ask for copies of written reports and keep notes and records of your child’s education experiences.
6.      Hearings are available and can be conducted by non-school officials/personnel. You must make the request.
7.      By having knowledge of the proper procedure, you can obtain information from your child/ren’s records even when school officials say, “NO”.
8.      Inclusion; I do not know the present status as it applies to Parents and schools. What I do advise; become knowledgeable and well-informed about the Education process. Understand the pros and cons. As a Parent, you should play a major role in deciding what is in the best interest of your child. Full inclusion is not for every special needs child; what works for one child may be detrimental for another child.
9.      Attend local and state board of education meetings, as well as their Instruction Committee Meetings. Such provides an excellent way to discover the educational programs which the school system contemplates adding, cutting or modifying.
10.  You must have a support group. Get to know other parents, locate or form a Parent Group with those of similar concerns, goals and objectives; work together. Disability Advocacy groups abound, but most are in the information and lobbying business; most do not provide legal representation to individuals.

If change is to occur, Parents you must become knowledgeable and well-informed about the Education System and leaders in the quest for change in Education. You sometimes have tough or difficult choices to make. Finally, to those parents who exhibit untiring patience, fortitude and steadfastness as you attempt to meet the special needs of your special and unique child/ren, we commend, salute and encourage you to continue to keep the faith upon which many of you have come to depend.

Note: Tips reprinted from the March/April 1996 Newsletter by the Co-founder of the Organization, Parents Focused on Education Newsletter with minor revisions.
Mrs. Dorothy Barron, Founder & Author
Parents Taking Charge in Education

Friday, May 6, 2011

Parents of School Age Children with Disabilities, Limitations or Challenges Pt.1 of 2 by Mrs. Dorothy Barron

Parents of School Age Children with Disabilities, Limitations or Challenges Pt.1 of 2 by Mrs. Dorothy Barron

As Co-founder of and when I served as Director of the Organization, Parents Focused on Education, many calls were received by our office from Parents of children with disabilities, limitations or challenges; many calls involved school issues. Sadly, many of the issues and problems in Education that parents experienced, shared and sought solutions for almost twenty years ago in this area are the same which many of today’s Parents face; little seems to have improved. 

This post, Parents of School Age Children with Disabilities, limitations or challenges and who attend school outside the home is a two-part series. Part 1 consists of general information and 3 Action Steps, along with the significance of each step and Part 2 offers ten tips to Parents of Children with disabilities, limitations or challenges, which that can assist you, the Parent, as you navigate and advocate on behalf of your child/ren in Education.

Some Parents (and others) strongly protest to having their children categorized or labeled as a child/ren with disabilities; they prefer other such terms as a child or children with limitations or challenges. We respect such and therefore use all three terms here.

While I cannot speak for what occurs in/at all schools, for most, provisions are both limiting and limited when it comes to what schools are able to provide for this sector of students in Education.

For Parents who have school age children with disabilities, limitation or challenges; may I be frank with you and for two reasons: 1) as many of you are already avid and persistent advocates for your very special and unique child (ren); you want solutions to cut through the Education chase or red tape and 2) I want to prevent you wasting excessive time and exhausting unnecessary efforts and energy as you attempt to have the education needs of your child/ren met in Education.

Please do not become discouraged, but from a realistic point, keep in mind that if a great number of our schools are having trouble accommodating and meeting the needs of mainstream students, what does such say about students who have special needs in Education?

Here are 3 action steps that you can consider immediately taking and the significance of each:
1. Visit your child’s school and tour the school and your child’s actual classroom(s).
Ÿ  Is your child’s class tucked away in some dismal, unsightly and unadorned setting, which bespeaks of out of sight, thus out of mind?
Ÿ  What is his/her daily school routine; does his/her class eat in the school’s cafeteria and attend school functions/activities (a limited form of inclusion) with the rest of the student body?
Ÿ  What students comprise your child’s classroom and how does such affect your child and other students within? Some Special Education classrooms are a combination of slow learners, those who have mental and/or physical disabilities, limitations or challenges, as well as students who have discipline and behavior problems. The significance: Visiting and interacting assists you with becoming an informed and knowledgeable Parent; thus the beginning or starting point of Parental Involvement in your child’s education and/or with your child’s school.
Talk to your Child’s Teacher
Ÿ  Meet your child’s Teacher(s) and School Principal. Schedule a conference(See Parents Taking Charge in Education Parental Mini-Guide Book- How to Hold A School Conference & addition, School Conference Tracker) with the teacher and academic team which oversees your child‘s Individual Education Plan (IEP).
Ÿ  Get the scope of the school’s capability in the area of providing for your child’s academic needs.
Ÿ  Go one step further; get name and contact information for the Special Education Director for the entire school system. The significance: You begin engaging with those with more or higher authority (See Parents Taking Charge in Education Parental Mini-Guide Book- Chain of Command: Who is in Charge) within the Education System and you can obtain resources and resource information that may not readily be available at your local school. Most importantly, with knowledge of who has specific authority and decision making powers, you do not waste excessive and valuable time, effort, energy and frustrations interacting with those who do not have the knowledge or decision making powers to assist you and your child/ren.
Document, Document and Document
Ÿ  Such cannot be over-emphasized. You must keep an on-going and in-depth record of your child’s education/school career (such is pertinent to all Parents).
Ÿ  Document, document, document! The significance: Documentation will withstand and assist you time and time again as you and your child navigate through and work to obtain the most positive learning and fulfilling education experience tailored for your child’s individual needs.

Note: A Parents Taking Charge in Education Mini-Guide Books Series #2 (announced June 2011) New Title: How do I Get Involved in My Child’s Education & School? By Mrs. Dorothy Barron

Mrs. Dorothy Barron, Author & Founder
Parents Taking Charge in Education at