Sunday, April 24, 2011

Bullying and Family Violence May Be Linked But Let’s Not Lose Sight of the Act Itself


Michael A. Robinson, Ed.D.

The affects of bullying are harmful to the victim. Research has shown that victims of bullying have life-time scars related to their bullying experiences. Now a recently released report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which was developed in partnership with Massachusetts Department of Public Health suggest children who are bullied and those that commit acts of bullying are very likely to live in a home where violence is prevalent. The study examined middle school and high school students throughout the state of Massachusetts. Their results revealed that acts of violence in the home of a student bullied and that of the person committing the bullying occurred more often than in homes where bullying is not evident. The CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) which outlined the expanding research on the link between family violence and bullying, clearly suggest schools have to involve parents and families more in the development of positive school cultures.

While the report sheds additional light on the issue of bullying, I am concerned! I am very concerned that the report will simply serve as another means by which to persecute the victims of bullying. It remains imperative for school officials, teachers, community leaders, parents and all significant adults and role models in the lives of children not to lose focus on the act of bullying. However, the real issue facing schools, students, families, and communities is simply the acts of bullying. More specifically, the acts of bullying that result in the death of students. School officials and others should never feel comfortable in assuming the behavior of the victim or the student conducting the bullying is related to violence in the home. The focus should be on the act and complying with their public procedures and policies. I cannot stress the importance of focusing on the behavior and not assuming the cause. A lesson can be learned from the death of a young man who committed suicide at Rutgers University after his roommate placed a video of him having a sexual relationship with another man. The actions of the bully and the results of the act, a suicide are far more important than an attempt to explain the factors that may or may not lead to an affinity for bullying on behalf of each of the young men.

The CDC's study offers one of what are multiple lenses by which bullying manifest. The facts are that a large portion of bullying is not physical, but highly mental. Cyber bullying is as demoralizing as traditional playground bullying, but it occurs without the physical connection. Relational bullying designed to ostracized is typically practiced by girls does not involve a physical interaction, but yet its affects can be devastating. The victims of relational bullying have fatally injured themselves.

Exploring the link between bullying and home violence is a legitimate study, but so is the link between bullying and school culture, bullying and peer pressure, bullying and the number of hours of television watching, bullying and teacher supervision, bullying and race, bullying and gender, bullying and socioeconomic status and bullying and adult encouragement. Simply stated bullying is an issue and schools, homes, families, friends, civic leaders and community stakeholders have to take a stance to prevent it.

Dr. Judith White, Receives Distinguished Educational Leadership Award

COLLEGE PARK, MD (April, 2011) – College of Education alumna and Dodge Park Elementary School principal Dr. Judith White (MA '94) will receive The Washington Post Distinguished Educational Leadership Award during a ceremony and reception at The Washington Post on April 28 at 5 p.m.

White was nominated by her school community and selected by a committee of her peers in Prince George's County Public Schools (PGCPS) as the school system’s nominee for this annual award.

"Dr. White is an outstanding principal, and we are proud to add this to her list of achievements," said Dr. William R. Hite, Jr., Superintendent of Schools. "Strong leadership in schools is critical to ensuring all students have effective teachers in the classroom and all students graduate with the skills they need to be successful, productive citizens."

Dr. White was born and raised in Prince George's County and is a graduate of the school system. She went on to earn a bachelor's degree from Salisbury State University, a Masters of Arts in Education from the University of Maryland, and a doctorate in Educational Leadership from Bowie State University. She began her 14–year career as a high school special education teacher at Frederick Douglass High School, and after taking part in the PGCPS Pre-Leadership Program and Aspiring Principals Academy, went on to serve as assistant principal at Cooper Lane Elementary School, and was appointed principal of Dodge Park in 2004.

When she first arrived at Dodge Park, a Title 1 school, Dr. White as faced with many challenges. With a large population of students living in poverty and students who are English language learners, less than 20 percent were identified as proficient on the Maryland School Assessments (MSA). Over her six-year tenure, student achievement has steadily grown – now more than 80 percent of her students are performing at proficient or advanced levels.

"Under her leadership, Dodge Park has moved from one of our lowest performing schools to our highest, gaining an astonishing 60 percentage points in student achievement in both reading and math," said Andrew Zuckerman, Area 2 Assistant Superintendent and White's supervisor. "She inspires teachers, students, and parents to be the very best they can be, and her school community supports her vision for success."

Dr. White uses creative and innovative methods to inspire students and staff, including using cutting–edge technology, hosting weekly cross grade–level planning sessions, scheduling learning walks to observe and share instructional strategies, and providing staff with the latest information in the field of education.

Dedicated to her school community, Dr. White increases parent involvement through frequent communication provided in both English and Spanish, invites parents to visit classrooms and participate in special events, and encourages teachers to make weekly direct communications with parents a high priority.

"Dr. White exemplifies the qualities of a phenomenal principal, and possesses personal integrity and an intuitive leadership style," states a colleague in her letter recommending Dr. White for the award. "I am a fervent admirer of her giving spirit, creative talents, and extraordinary leadership ability. The enthusiasm she portrays as principal inspires her staff and students to someday be great leaders."

The Washington Post Distinguished Educational Leadership Awards seek to recognize those principals who go beyond the day–to–day demands of their position to create an exceptional educational environment.

From Prince George’s County Public Schools Press Release dated April 7, 2011.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Dr. Michael A. Robinson

Parent Talk Live is a weekly radio show for families and members of the community who aspire to become an integral part of their children’s academic success and the growth of communities. Parent Talk is hosted by Dr. Michael A. Robinson.

Rochelle Wilson,
Director School Culture and Student Behavior
District of Columbia Public Schools

Topic: Positive School Culture and Student Achievement
Date: May 1, 2011
Time: 8:30pm-9:30pm
Call-in Number: 914.803.4591

Positive school cultures have been linked to a positive classroom culture, which according to experts increases student achievement. What are your thoughts? Share your opinion and join me in an open discussion on the value of positive school culture and student achievement. If you miss the show, you can catch a re-broadcast online at our Podcast Resource Center

Call in number: 914. 803.4591. You can listen on the internet at or follow us on Twitter at www.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Forest Of The Rain Productions Discusses The Value of Education with an Educator and a Civic Leader

Hello Engaged Parents and Dedicated Educators,

Below you will find two very interesting interviews. Our first interview opens our discussion with five superintendents from across America in what we are calling “The Educational Landscape" with Dr. Joe A. Hairston, Superintendent for Baltimore County Public Schools since 2000.

The second interview is with Mr. Jim Rosapepe, Maryland State Senator for District 21. Mr. Rosapepe discusses his vision for education and the factors impacting education in the state of Maryland.

Dr. Joe A. Hairston
Baltimore County Public Schools
Topic: The Value of Education and The Success of Baltimore County Public School Students
Time: 10:00am
Date: April 21, 2011
Where: The Journey Begins, Internet Radio for the Engaged Parent and Dedicated Educator

A visionary and progressive leader, Dr. Joe A. Hairston has served since 2000 as Superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools, the nation's 26th largest school system. Dr. Hairston’s administration is now among the longest in the modern day history of the school system. Dr. Hairston’s results-based leadership has yielded a growing list of achievements including greater student participation and success in Advanced Placement and national renown for the quality of high schools and arts education, use of technology, greater accountability, and resource conservation.

A career rooted in the classroom

A career educator, Dr. Hairston's ascent in education administration began and is rooted in the classroom. Over the years, he has developed and refined strategies that have proven successful in raising student achievement. Dr. Hairston began his career in 1969 as a teacher in Prince George's County. Within two years of entering the classroom, he was appointed department chairperson and five years after that he became administrative assistant to a principal. He was appointed vice principal in 1977 and was named a principal in 1981. While serving as the principal of Crossland High School, from 1982 to 1986, Dr. Hairston developed an organizational, instructional, and marketing model for high school reform that he next employed at Suitland High School. At Suitland, a low-performing school with almost 2,300 students, Dr. Hairston implemented a nationally recognized visionary magnet program, which increased achievement for all students in the school – not just those in the magnet program. His achievements in turning Suitland around were recognized by President Ronald Reagan, Vice President George Bush, and Secretary of Education William J. Bennett and led the school to receive a National Award of Excellence. Many of the elements of Dr. Hairston's formula for student success – developed throughout the 1980s – are echoed in the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

In 1989, Dr. Hairston was named assistant superintendent of Prince George's County Public Schools. Then in 1995, he became the first appointed (rather than elected) superintendent of Clayton County Public Schools in Jonesboro, Georgia. During his tenure in Clayton County, he earned praise for infusing technology into the administration and schools, increasing business partnerships, and developing community advocacy and fiscal support for the school system.A native of Virginia, Dr. Hairston earned a doctorate in education administration from Virginia Tech (1993), a master's degree in administration and physical education from American University (1976), and bachelor's degree in biology and physical science from Maryland State University (now the University of Maryland Eastern Shore) (1969).

James Carew Rosapepe
Maryland State Senator
District 21
Topic: A Vision for Education and Trends Impacting the Education
Time: 10:00am
Date: April 21, 2011
Where: The Journey Begins, Internet Radio for the Engaged Parent and Dedicated Educator

Member of Senate since January 10, 2007. Assistant Deputy Majority Whip, 2007-. Member, Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee, 2007-; Joint Committee on Base Realignment and Closure, 2007-. Senate Chair, Joint Information Technology and Biotechnology Committee, 2009-; Joint Audit Committee, 2011-. Chair, Joint Technology Oversight Committee, 2007-09. Member, National Conference of State Legislatures (communications, financial services & interstate commerce committee, 2007- ).

Board of Regents, University System of Maryland, 2001-06. Member, Task Force to Improve Child Support Compliance in Prince George's County, 2007-08; Task Force on the Preservation of Heritage Language Skills in Maryland, 2008-09. Chair, Task Force on Solar Hot Water Systems in Prince George's County, 2010. Member of House of Delegates, 1987-97. Vice-Chair, Ways and Means Committee, 1995-97. Resigned from House of Delegates, effective December 31, 1997, to become U.S. Ambassador to Romania. U.S. Ambassador to Romania, January 20, 1998 to February 2001.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Kimberly K. Parker: Get All The Facts


For close to two years, I had the extreme pleasure of serving Prince George’s County Public Schools as a Parent Liaison. Transitioning back into the workforce after being a stay-at-home-Momma for nine and one half years, I excitedly accepted the position with all of its possibilities! What made this opportunity most ideal was being able to fulfill this role at the school my children attended. What more could a Momma request?

Serving as a bridge between home, the school, and the community kept my plate overflowing! Not one to complain about a little hard work, I proudly entered the building ready to rise to every occasion and left that same building feeling I made a difference…daily! The overall experience rewarded me in ways too numerous to name and has changed my life completely. Discontinuing that vital service to the community was most unfortunate. While I am gainfully employed elsewhere by day and run a small publishing company by night, I truly miss “my parents.”

Above all else, my parents knew that I was there to support them. As adults, we should really learn to sit at their feet for a spell. As I reflect on the monthly reports I submitted, contacting a parent or being contacted by a parent via telephone, email, letter, or face to face often times exceeded 200 occurrences per month. Not every missive was laced with sugar and spice. Sometimes, the concerns were both sensitive and serious and demanded immediate attention. I knew that in order to be effective as the parent advocate, I had to remain neutral and get all the facts. Whenever the situation involved a conflict between students, I would obtain permission from the school and the families involved to speak directly with the children.

I will forever embrace that children are out greatest teachers. Yet, their account of what actually happened, who was involved, why it occurred, and how was it handled differed from the initial conversation with the parent. While it appeared that “Kevin” was pushed out of line while walking down the hall, “Simone” actually tripped over her shoestrings and attempted to brace herself before falling. I can still hear my parent say, “Mrs. Parker, I really apologize for blaming that child for pushing my child.”

I can give countless examples of these types of outcomes. Instead, I’d like to offer the following suggestions when getting all the facts: 1. Take great strides to approach any situation calmly. Flared tempers, flowery statements, and threatening body language are such a disservice to you, your child, and the school. 2. No matter how right you think you are, remember that you can only truly testify to what you actually witness. While your child may not be mendacious, perspective and lapse in time from the initial event has the tendency to distort the truth. 3. Provide an opportunity for your child to express his thoughts and concerns without intimidation and listen intently. Children are to be both seen and heard. If you really want to know why children don’t listen to adults, it’s because adults don’t listen to children. 4. Turn every experience (yes, even if it’s unpleasant) into a teachable moment. Discuss with your child the importance of making right choices, honoring another person’s feelings, and standing up for what’s right. Be open to a peaceful resolution while incorporating consequences for unacceptable behavior. It is neither cute nor funny nor justifiable to allow your child to break the rules. Wrong is wrong!

Kimberly K. Parker is the owner of Writing Momma Publishing ( She is hosting “REACH! This workshop is POWER PACKED with great information on preparing for college, investments and savings, buying a home, and more! Visit to purchase tickets and for more information. Kimberly is an author and blogger living in Maryland with her husband and three children.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

2nd Annual Parental Engagement Conference:

2nd Annual Parental Engagement Conference:

"Creating Diversity in Your Parental Engagement Strategies”

October 7, 2011

Featured Speakers

Dr. Anita Reed

“Engaging Foster Care Parents, By Understanding Their Unique Needs”

Mr. James H. Wendorf

“Successful Approaches to Engage Families of Special Needs Students”

Dr. Mavis G. Sanders

“Strategies to Engage Single Parent Households”

Dr. Marlene Snyder

“Successful Ways to Effectively Engage Parents of Students Who Have Been Bullied”

Eric Snow

“Engaging Fathers To Increase Student Achievement”

Tim Stahlke

“How Schools Can Effectively Engage Homeless Families”

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