Sunday, September 26, 2010

NASA Awards Grants For High School Science Education

NASA will award about $4 million in grants to public school districts, state-based education leadership, and not-for-profit education organizations to support academic excellence in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

The first round of awards is valued at $3.1 million. Each award is expected to leverage NASA's unique contributions in STEM education, enhance secondary students' academic experiences, and improve educators' abilities to engage their students.

A total of eight proposals were selected for funding to school districts and organizations in California, Maine, New York (2), North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Texas. The selected proposals illustrate innovative approaches to using NASA-themed content in support of secondary-level teaching and learning, with a particular emphasis on high school education.
The proposals were selected through a two-step process, merit-based, peer-reviewed competition. The awards have a two-year period of performance, and range in value from $350,000 to $400,000.

The Summer of Innovation Capacity Building Awards are valued at $1 million. They will be shared among institutions that showed student participation in summer learning experiences helped academic performances in the following school year. The Summer of Innovation Capacity Building effort also looked for programs with the potential to be a model for middle school education.

Each funding proposal leverages NASA content in STEM education to build successful programs with a special interest in reaching underserved students and strengthening the bridge between out-of-school and in-school learning programs.

There were 16 proposals selected for funding representing the District of Columbia and these 13 states: California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia (2), Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Virginia (2), Washington and Wisconsin.

For a list of selected proposals in both of these award categories, visit:

Bullying, Harassment and Intimidation

If you saw the recent footage of a father storming a school bus to confront students he claims have been bullying his daughter then you have been made aware of just one of the many horrifying aspects of bullying.

As I have written in the past, the act of bullying is no longer confined to the gravel filled play grounds and hallways of school houses. The act of bullying has moved into cyber space or in another more popular term, it has gone viral. What are parents to do? Where can they turn for support when their children are being bullied? These questions and thousands more like them have parents and families struggling to find ways to protect their children from students who prey on them daily.

The action of that irate father is extreme and undoubtedly represents a fringe form of parent behavior. However, whatever it represented, his behavior captured and displayed a level of anxiety many parents feel as it relates to their children being bullied, harassed and intimidated. When one speaks with parents of children who have been subjected to bullying, it is apparent many families are more than upset they are frighten. Parents I have spoken with have asked why their children are are not protected on playgrounds, school houses and buses, especially when there is adult supervision. My response is simply, I have no idea how excessive and dangerous forms of bullying can take place during adult supervision, as later revealed in a video taped released about the father’s daughter. The video clip shows students throwing items at the young lady. It was reported that one item was a condom. It has been alleged that several of the young men on the bus were seen placing the condom on her head, while others pulled her ears. These unspeakable forms of mistreatment (bullying) were occurring on the bus in the presence of a paid school bus driver. I doubt the driver reported the behavior to school officials. If this is the case and perhaps the norm, I plainly see why parents are frighten.

During my research on bullying, harassment and intimidation in the state Maryland, I came across some startling data. According to the Maryland’s Model Policy To Address Bullying, Harassment, or Intimidation released in 2009, the number of student suspensions/expulsions in 2007-2008 were 118,834. A look at the number shows that nearly 4,000 of those suspensions/expulsions were for bullying, harassment or intimidation of students. The report also posited that more than 24 percent of Maryland school districts reported that bullying was a daily or weekly problem. A higher percentage of middle schools reported daily or weekly occurrences of student bullying and student sexual harassment of other students.

What can parents of bullying victims do and what should they know? First, it is important that parents of Prince George's County Public Schools understand the definition of bullying, harassment, and intimidation are anti-social behaviors that are conducted with the intent to cause harm and are characterized by an imbalance of power.

Bullying, harassment, and intimidation is intentional conduct, including verbal, physical, or written conduct, or an intentional electronic communication, that creates a hostile educational environment by substantially interfering with a student’s educational benefits, opportunities, or performance, or with a student’s physical or psychological well-being and is motivated by an actual or a perceived personal characteristic including race, national origin, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, ancestry, physical attributes, socio-economic status, familial status, or physical or mental ability or disability or is threatening or seriously intimidating; and, occurs on school property, at a school activity or event, or on a school bus; or, substantially disrupts the orderly operation of a school. Who should a parent contact regarding as bullying? Dr. Diane Powell, Director Student Services, 301.567.5702.

Next Step: An official from Maryland State Department of Education will be on an upcoming Parent Talk

Visit Parents and PGCPS at:

Take The "Dad's Pledge of Engagement"

Hello Engaged Parents and Dedicated Educators,

Please talk to the men, dads, fathters, unciles and other significant male role models in the lives of children to take the "Dad's Pledge of Engagement"

Forest Of The Rain Productions recognizes that fathers and significant male role models have a considerable role in the academic success of children. Forest Of The Rain Productions acknowledges parents are their children's first and most influential teachers.

We are also acknowledging the successes of students are enhanced when an unbreakable partnership between home and school is created. To solidify this partnership; Forest Of The Rain Productions are asking DADS and significant male role models in the lives of Public Schools students to join us in pledging to remain engaged in the academic lives of students. We are asking DADS to pledge to:

  • Observe my child’s classroom at least twice a year
  • Attend a non-sports related school event
  • Visit my child’s school website for information
  • Join and participate in a school’s formal parent organization
  • Volunteer in my child’s school
  • Attend an informational workshop held at my child’s school
  • Attend a school board meeting
  • Assist my child with homework assignments
  • Review and understand requirements for High School graduation
  • Review and understand the role and expectations of an incoming 9th grader
  • Participate in at least one Parent Teacher Conference

Visit the Men Make A Difference Day website:

Monday, September 20, 2010

Men Make A Difference Day is October 11, 2010

Hello Engaged Parents and Dedicated Educators,

Do not forget Monday, October 11, 2010 is Men Make A Difference Day (MMDD). MMDD has gone National, several organizations in Chicago, Kentucky, Missouri and other state community based organizations have taken up the cause to get more men actively involved in the academic lives of their children..

Please encourage fathers, brothers, uncles, grandfathers, sons and significant male role models to participate in the 2010 Men Make A Difference Day on 10.11. 10. Visit our website at and find out more about this year's Men Make A Difference Day. Please ask the men to take our Dad's Pledge of Engagement.

Coming soon the Male Summit. This event will bring men from Baltimore, Washington, DC, Virginia and Prince George's County together to discuss the importance of their engagement in the academic lives of children. Stay tune for more information.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Show Title: Parent Talk
Date: September 19, 2010
Time: 7:30pm-9:00pm

Do not miss our next Parent Talk. This special Parent Talk will examine the importance of male teachers in the academic success of African American Males. The lack of African American male teachers has been defined as a nationwide problem (Tate-Billingsley, 2010). Data indicates that only two percent of the American five million teachers are African American males. United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan suggested that if America is to reduce the number of African American young men who fail to graduate, it becomes imperative that men of color are teaching (Tate-Billingsley, 2010). During this amazing conversation we will discuss the reasons behind the African American male teacher shortage and its impact on minority students.

In the 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males a study conducted by the Schott Foundation it was reported that the graduation rate for African American Males in the United State has become so dismal that an African American male has a better chance of being incarcerated than they have at earning a high school diploma. According to the report the national graduation rate for African Americans males is 47% compared to 78% of white male students. This represents an achievement gap of 31%. Maryland has a graduation rate of 55% which is 8% higher than the national average and places the state in the top of states with a large minority population. Baltimore County is also making great strives in the number of African American males earning a high school diploma. According to the report, Baltimore County African American male students graduate at a rate of 67% compared to 74% for white male students creating an achievement gap of only 7%.

Invited guest for the first show includes:

Dr. Roy Jones is lecturer and executive director for the Eugene T. Moore School of Education's Call Me MISTER Program at Clemson University. The mission of the Call Me MISTER (acronym for Mentors Instructing Students Toward Effective Role-models) Initiative is to increase the pool of available teachers from a broader more diverse background particularly among the lowest performing elementary schools.

Mr. Bryan G. Nelson
is the Executive Director of MenTeach. He understood the importance of teaching and wondered, "If teaching is so important, then where are all the men?" He began by developing a brochure, Real Men, Real Teachers. He was joined by Bruce Sheppard and other men (and backed by supportive women) to offer a workshop at a state professional conference to find more men (and women) who believed that it is important to have men teachers.

Dr. Wayne A. Beckles
is an Assistant Professor for Human, Public and Legal Services at Baltimore City Community College in Baltimore, Maryland. He is a Licensed Certified Social Worker with a clinical specialization. Mr. Beckles has twenty years of experience in the field of social work and his clinical practice focuses on working with men on issues of anger, aggression, depression, identity and loss.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

An exclusive interview with Dr. Nancy Grasmick, Maryland's State Superintendent of Schools

An exclusive interview with Dr. Nancy Grasmick, Maryland's State Superintendent of Schools can be heard on The Journey Begins Internet Radio for the engaged parent and dedicated educator.
For the second straight year, Maryland’s public education system received number one rankings in 2010 from Education Week; the College Board for Advanced Placement performance; and, once again, Newsweek for the highest percentage of rigorous high schools in America. We should all be truly proud for these consistent and remarkable accomplishments.


First Lady of Education A woman of courage who dared to make a difference. A tireless advocate for education These are just a few of the phrases Maryland’s media and civic leaders have used to describe Dr. Nancy S. Grasmick, Maryland’s first female state superintendent and the U.S.’s longest serving appointed schools chief. Dr. Grasmick is known for her strong focus on student achievement, teacher quality, parent involvement, public school funding, and early childhood education.

Under Dr. Grasmick’s leadership, Maryland is nationally recognized for its many achievements. In January 2008, Education Week—the U.S.’s leading education newspaper—ranked Maryland’s public school system 3rd–best in the nation and said that Maryland is the country’s mostconsistently high–performing state.

The ranking is based on more than 150 indicators, including scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP); high school graduation rates; Advanced Placement performance (an indicator on which Maryland ranks #2 nationwide); and the alignment of preK–12 education with early learning, college, and work place expectations. Many of the pioneering policies enacted over Dr. Grasmick’s 17–year tenure—instituting an explicit preK–12 curriculum; developing statewide assessments and holding schools and school systems accountable for their results; disaggregating performance data by race, poverty, disability, and English fluency—have become commonplace in American classrooms.

Dr. Grasmick’s career in education began as a teacher of deaf children at the William S. Baer School in Baltimore City. She subsequently served as a classroom and resource teacher, principal, supervisor, assistant superintendent, and associate superintendent in the Baltimore County Public Schools. In 1989, Governor William Donald Schaeffer appointed her Special Secretary for Children, Youth, and Families and, in 1991, the Maryland State Board of Education appointed her State Superintendent of Schools.

Dr. Grasmick received her doctorate from the Johns Hopkins University, her master’s degree from Gallaudet University, and her bachelor’s degree from Towson University. Her numerous board and commission appointments include the President’s Commission on Excellence in Special Education, the U.S. Army War College Board of Visitors, the Towson University Board of Visitors, and the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education. In 2005, she was appointed to the National Academy of Sciences committee responsible for Rising Above the Gathering Storm, the landmark report on U.S. economic competitiveness.

Dr. Grasmick has received many awards for her visionary leadership, including the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education. In 2007, Loyola College in Maryland awarded Dr. Grasmick its President’s Medal in honor of her professional accomplishments and service to the community. She was also named a 2007 Influential Marylander by The Daily Record.

Dr. Grasmick is the 2006 recipient of the prestigious Education Commission of the States’ James Bryant Conant Award for her outstanding contributions to American education. In 2005, Maryland’s education head quarters was renamed the Nancy S. Grasmick State Education Building. In 2004, Dr. Grasmick was inducted into the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame. She also received the Johns Hopkins Woodrow Wilson Award for Government Service. In 2003, the Education Commission of the States gave Maryland its State Innovation Award for excellence in education policy development.

That same year, Dr. Grasmick was inducted into The Daily Record’s Circle of Excellence, an honor bestowed only on those named to the newspaper’s Top 100 Women list more than three times. In 2001, Dr. Grasmick was presented the Ronald McDonald Foundation’s Spirit of Children Award for her advocacy and support of young children. Dr. Grasmick is a frequent guest columnist in such journals as Education Week, Educational Leadership, and School Administrator. Her innovative ideas and proven successes have been featured in such media outlets as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and the BBC.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Message From Baron Howard, CEO of Entrepreneurs Success Business Network (ESBN)

Entrepreneurs Success Business Network (ESBN) specializing in creating and delivering Youth and Adult Empowerment programs. ESBN provides a number of programs based on the 12 Successful Life Principles, designed to provide a basis for sound and solid decision making and build future business owners and community leaders.Asbury Economic Development Corporation and ESBN have planned an event Saturday, October 9, 2010 “The Power of Thought” at the Asbury United Methodist Church in Washington DC, with Keynote Speaker Mr. George Curry, to raise funds for the Leaders of Today (LOT) Mentoring Program for Youth.

We are asking for ticket sponsorship for youth and adults to attend this worthwhile event. Tickets are $5 for each youth (17 & under) and $10 for each adult. We are requesting you sponsor a block of 5 tickets @ $25.00 for Youth and @ $50 for Adults. Your effort in ticket sponsoring could make the difference in someone missing an opportunity to partake of this valuable information.

In return for your ticket sponsorship, your company will be included in all promotional materials leading up to the event as well as listed in our program for the day. In addition, 2 of your company representatives are encouraged to attend the event, and will be admitted at no charge.

Our goal is to sponsor at least 100 Youth and 100 Adults. Therefore, any contribution you’re able to provide for this event is welcomed. Please complete the attached Ticket Sponsorship and return by September 15th, along with your tax deductible check made payable to: Asbury Economic Development Corp.For more information on the Leaders of Tomorrow (LOT) Mentoring Program and other programs facilitated by ESBN, we invite you to visit our website, Your consideration in complying with this proposal is greatly appreciated.

Baron J. HowardCEO ESBN – Entrepreneurs Success Business Network

Parent Involvement through PTA Helps to Make Great Schools for All Children

According to the Maryland PTA website:

Parent Involvement through PTA Helps to Make Great Schools for All Children

How often is you school PTA communicating with parents? Do parents know what your PTA does on behalf of children each and everyday in school communities?

Parent involvement spans a broad range, from the parent who makes sure that their child is dressed and fed, to the parent who comes into school to volunteer, to the parent who takes it upon himself to learn all of the school system’s initiatives and programs. Research has shown that when parents are involved in their children’s schools their child is more successful in school. Schools benefit by partnering with parents to have needed support for all children. It is a win-win situation for all.

PTAs should encourage and support all parents in volunteer efforts for children in their school communities each and every day. Each day make it your PTA goal to ask at least one person to join and support your PTA advocacy efforts on behalf of all children. Parent involvement encourages children to be more engaged in their school communities as well as to support the academic success of children.

ABCs of Advocacy by Francis T. Evans ES PTA

Photos of the 2010 Parental Engagement Conference

Your pictures and fotos in a slideshow on MySpace, eBay, Facebook or your website!view all pictures of this slideshow

The Middle School Years

Visits From Engaged Parents and Dedicated Educators