Friday, February 24, 2012
School Academic Spring Tests and Effective Success by Mrs. Dorothy Barron
Spring is right around the corner and soon important and annual academic testing will begin for students. Some students do not become fazed or frazzled, while others become very stressful during this period. Some schools send information to Parents as to ways to best assist their child prior to and during this period. Over the years, Parents have been instructed by some schools to:
· Make sure the child eats a good breakfast during the testing period. Hopefully, the child has been doing so throughout the school year.
· Make sure the child gets plenty of rest. From personal experience and from what has been shared by other Parents, homework keeps many children up past normal bedtime hours.
Be mindful that sometimes abrupt changes in one’s schedule can have the opposite desired affect and effects. Parents, you may want to:
· Assist your child by talking with him/her to obtain a measure as to how your child is feeling about the upcoming testing period.
· We want our children to do well; however, do not add additional stress - encourage your child to do his/her best and reassure the child that you will continue being proud of him/her for doing his/her best.
· If your child appears stressful, talk to his/her teacher; undue stress is not good for the child.
A former blog post, Ending the School Year; http://mrsdbarron.blogspot.com/2011/04/ending-school-year-by-mrs-dorothy.html, provides some tips you many want to consider after the testing period is over and the school receives your child’s test results.
What is also a concern is the amount of time children engage in formal academics. Most children work for the most part six hours without a recess at school and many must start on homework almost immediately upon arrival at home. Homework can often last up until 9:00 or 10:00 p.m., which roughly would be another 5 to six hours and a total of 11-12 hours each school day on academics. Do you realize that such are more hours than some adults work each day? Often when one has worked regular shifts of 10-12 hours continually, such takes a mental toil and if adults become affected in such a manner, what does such do to our children, especially at elementary school level? Under these circumstances, children are not able to perform at or give their best. This is not a recipe for success, but one for failure.
In addition, many children have to spend their entire summer studying just to catch up or keep up. The next school year, the scenario begins all over. All too often, Parents have been made to believe that the problem is with the student when in most instances and instead, something is wrong with the academic program. Many schools still lack effective methods for enabling students to learn at their own pace and level, as well as the best and most effective educators for assisting students with doing so. In order to obtain effective academic success, these issues should be addressed and effective solutions incorporated.
Mrs. Dorothy Barron, Founder
Parents Taking Charge in Education http://mrsdbarron.blogspot.com
Friday, February 17, 2012
A Society Ingrained with Bullying by Mrs. Dorothy Barron
It appears that bullying in our schools has become a national crisis; it is not only a major problem within our schools, we are a society ingrained with bullying. A post was written earlier titled, Bullying and What You, the Parent can do about it! The post can be found at this link: http://mrsdbarron.blogspot.com/2010/11/bullying-and-what-you-parent-can-do.html
Children are the by-product of what they hear and learn from adults within society and because there is so much violence and bullying ingrained within society, perhaps lessons on civics which teach individuals to be good citizens— inclusive of integrity, values, responsibility and respect for self and others should be introduced at an early age, perhaps throughout Grades K-3rd.
I do not recall how early the subject of History was taught at my school, but I do remember civic lesson although they were not termed as such or a part of the regular curriculum at that time. These simple “Lessons about Life” which the teacher spoke of generally took place on Friday afternoons and covered some aspect of life. The teacher did not force us to listen; she did not even ask that we close our books to the Subject at which we had been working. We, at first thought we were getting out of school work, which to an extent we did; what we did not realize was those “Lessons about Life” were more important, information of great importance and that which would continue to impact us for the remainder of our lives. More often in the past, Parents taught lessons about life through/by example; and some teachers with their professional aplomb often explained those lessons about life, verbally.
Now some may complain the responsibility of teaching children to be responsible citizens are up to Parents, but when single or both Parents work 8, 12, or more hours per day (outside the home), certain important things (not to judge or criticize) will go lacking and often the responsibility of children shifted to others in most households.
Actually, the rearing of children is everybody’s responsibility, but it is important to keep in mind that our schools, which were at one time the extension of the home and community, were like-minded with like-minded individuals and goals, inclusive of a safer and more secure environment have for the most part changed profoundly.
In addition to the tips listed in the earlier post mentioned above, may I suggest you monitor that which your child watches on television and computer and take time to talk with your child about the actions which they view of adults and others within society; remember, children are the by-product of what they hear and learn first and foremost from adults and then each other often without having the maturity or mental aptitude to fully understand that to which they have been exposed.
Mrs. Dorothy Barron, Founder
Friday, February 10, 2012
Black History Month - In Honor of Senior African American Women by Mrs. Dorothy Barron
In honor of Black History Month, I wish to pay honor to Senior African American Women, especially those who quietly go about their communities utilizing their abilities, time and talents to make a positive difference and note the deeds of one woman in particular. Such emphasizes the positive difference one individual can make within a community and within the lives of others.
As Co-founder and Director of the Organization, Parents Focused on Education and prior to becoming injured and disabled in a bus accident a valuable lesson about poverty (false assertion and propaganda that the poor do not want to work) was reaffirmed and I was privileged to have met a very special African American Senior Woman. Let me take a few minutes to share a situation which emphasized both. Many women in an impoverished community, which sat in the heart of a major city wanted jobs and approached our organization for assistance. Most did not have adequate attire to wear for seeking jobs or going to job interviews or resume writing skill.
It never ceases to amaze as to what can happen and be accomplished when people work together. Our office sat in a building that housed a number of government service agencies. Bringing those agency heads together solved the job process and preparation issues.
My bright idea for having resolved the attire issue was to teach the women how to sew. A business donated what appeared to have been a ton of patterns in all sizes and quite a bit of sewing material. Things moved along faster than I had expected and I had no seamstress. I could cut and pin, but was learning myself and some of those patterns had so many pieces and instructions that after I removed and viewed them, I had trouble just getting the patterns back into their packages!
And then… with shoulders erect and firm steps, she stepped into the office carrying a bag. She had heard that there was a need for her services as a Seamstress. In her 70s, she appeared no older than 50 years of age. I believe she was a retired school teacher; she certainly spoke like one- proper diction or pronunciation and she walked and sat erect at all times. She would not take monies for her services; she lived in the community and wanted to give back. She taught us much more than sewing, as older people are prone to do. Our Seamstress gave us wisdom, shared her experiences, exuded strength and was a blessing in many ways. She was determined that the sewn outfits meet her exacting standards and many seams were ripped out and re-ripped, but upon completion, each woman had a beautifully sewn outfit of her choosing with the assistance of this Seamstress.
At the end of the sewing class which lasted from 6-8 weeks; unbeknownst to us all, she had been working on her own special project, which she presented. In various African colors and materials, she had sewn an African scarf and hat for each participant. What a wonderful surprise!
Once again and in Celebration of Black History Month, we thank Senior African American Women (and men) for your time, energy, skills, wisdom and contributions; a special thanks to our Seamstress who is no longer among us, but whose impact and deeds, remain.
Mrs. Dorothy Barron, Founder
Posted by Mrs. Dorothy Barron at 8:31 AM
Friday, February 3, 2012
Teaching Race in the Classrooms of America by Mrs. Dorothy Barron
Do not avoid teaching Black History, allow controversy to prevent or become a deterrent to teaching Black History. What is taught, method and how taught are key points to keep in mind when teaching Black History. It is the struggles of a Race of people and much more; you will encounter race and racial issues, a plethora of emotions, as well as unresolved issues.
It is also important to balance the hardships, struggles and abuses with accomplishments and achievements of the Race.
The web was abuzz one or two weeks ago; according to the buzz, Math and History (inclusive of beatings and lynchings) were combined and presented in the form of Math problems as homework to students courtesy of a Second Grade Teacher. Parents expressed their concerns and or displeasure with the school administration.
First of all, to my knowledge and from what I heard, all the relevant details were not forthcoming; therefore, this post is not meant to serve as recrimination, a defense or offense. It offers some general comments and thoughts to consider about teaching race in the classrooms of America. The situation may have offended some, but it directly affected children, Parents and involved teacher at the school and impacted the school as a whole.
What I gleaned:
The Assignment and/or the way the assignment was presented was troubling; raised eyebrows and possibly much more.
Evidently, the teacher did not have knowledge of how deep the issue of race runs in America; was very remorseful and most likely, not inclined to repeat that particular assignment, again.
Information not readily available:
· All relevant details
· Specifically, what the Parents objections were: negative portrayal of the subject(s), manner in which it was introduced; the subject/course, etc.?
Things to Consider:
· If the teacher was/is an effective teacher and no longer teaching at the school due to an honest mistake and poor judgment on an assignment; how does such impact both the teacher and students and what does such say about the nation as a whole?
· Was the teacher approached by Parents first with concerns about the assignment? If the situation occurred with any of us on our jobs, would we desire and appreciate being approached first instead of the boss or company president?
· Controversy can serve as a method to deter the study of Black History.
Consider the following Actions to Take:
· Schools should understand that Black History is more than a Subject. There are individuals and groups that can assist entities with the introduction of Race and race issues in both the classroom, business and other environments.
· When teaching on the subject of Black History, to include only the adverse and negative aspects can produce an inferiority complex among some students. Include accomplishments and achievements of the African-American Race and contributions made by others.
· One major problem is that most fail to teach the entire Black History story.
· Parents who called or visited the school showed interested in their children’s education. Solicit their involvement – establish a committee of culturally diverse Parents and obtain their input on planned Black History activities and/or have them review proposed curriculum and activities. Perhaps, next year, interested Parents will request in advance the activities that will be taught and/or introduced on this subject or any other that you desire.
· Utilize this situation – Parents, take time to share and teach some Black History to your own children.
· Parents, you should be sitting some school committees (do not confuse with PTA/PTO committees).
· Last, but not least, Black History is not an optional course, it is a part of America’s History and should be included in our studies.
Mrs. Dorothy Barron, Founder