Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Summer Learning


“For many children in America, summer vacation means camp, trips to new or familiar destinations, visits to museums, parks and libraries, and a variety of enriching activities – either with families or as part of a summer learning program. But for millions of others, when schools close for the summer, safe and enriching learning environments are out of reach, replaced by boredom, lost opportunities and risk” (America After 3PM Special Report on Summer, 2010).

Part 1: National Facts about Summer Learning Loss

In the United States today, only 25 percent of school-age children (an estimated 14.3 million children) participate in summer learning programs.

  • Based on parent interest in enrolling their child in a summer learning program, 56 percent of all non-participating children (an estimated 24 million children) would likely enroll in summer learning programs.

  • Parents of only one-third of children show no interest in enrolling their children in summer learning programs.

  • Low-income and ethnic minority children are more likely to attend summer learning programs than other children, but the unmet demand among low-income and minority families are also greatest.

  • By an overwhelming margin, parents support public funding for summer learning programs, with the strongest level of support coming from low-income and ethnic minority parents (America After 3PM Special Report on Summer, 2010).

Part 2: Maryland Facts about Summer Learning

  • Just 31 Percent of Maryland Children Attend Summer Learning Programs

  • An Estimated 358,000 Maryland Kids Would Likely Participate in a Summer Learning Program, Based on Parent Interest

Part 3: Just The Facts and Nothing But The Facts

  • All young people experience learning losses when they don't engage in educational activities during the summer.

  • Students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of summer vacation (Reading Is Fundamental, 2011).

  • Low-income children and youth experience greater summer learning losses than their higher-income peers (Reading Is Fundamental, 2011).

  • On average, students lose approximately 2.6 months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months (Reading Is Fundamental, 2011).

  • Low-income students experience an average summer learning loss in reading achievement of more than 2 months (Reading Is Fundamental, 2011).

  • Studies show that out-of-school time is a dangerous time for unsupervised children and teens. They are more likely to:

    • Use alcohol, drugs, and tobacco

    • Engage in criminal and other high-risk behaviors

    • Receive poor grades; and drop out of school than those who have the opportunity to benefit from constructive activities supervised by responsible adults.

    • Without practice, students lose reading skills over the summer months and children from low-income families lose the most (The National Summer Learning Association’s Research website, 2011).

Part 4: An Interview with Dr. Kim James of Harvard University

  • Here is a snippet of an interview between Dr. James and The National Summer Learning Association.

Q. So it’s not enough to just give a child a book and expect him or her to read it?

A. Access to reading materials is crucial, of course, but according to our research, that’s not enough, especially in the early elementary school years. Many people are aware that children lose reading skills over the summer and that low-income children fall behind, compared to their more advantaged classmates. We also know that kids who read a lot over the summertime sustain reading comprehension and vocabulary. Consequently, some people conclude that, in order to increase reading skills, we need to increase access to books—but the research indicates it’s not that simple. In fact, in one study, when we gave books to kids but did nothing else, they did no better than the kids who did nothing over the summer. There was no difference.

Part 5: Information, Tidbits, and Knowledge about Summer Learning Loss

  • About two-thirds of the ninth-grade achievement gap between lower and higher income youth can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities during the elementary school years. As a result, low-income youth are less likely to graduate from high school or enter college (Alexander et al. 2007).

  • Parents consistently cite summer as the most difficult time to ensure that their children have productive things to do (Duffett et al. 2004).

Guest Blogger Kimberly Parker: My Child Is A Bully


Recent news headlines of how bullying is pervasive in schools all across the nation sounded the alarm in my heart and mind. What’s worse, such incidences have led to “bullycide.” Bullycide, according to Wikipedia, “refers to suicide attributable to the victim having been bullied.” I’m truly saddened that tragedy strikes our children in this manner. To think that a child feels such a sense of hopelessness should sadden us all.

While chatting with a parent not long ago, I began to share my thoughts and concerns on the subject. She, too, was concerned and thought that we should do something about it. After brainstorming for a moment, she suggested that we have a workshop in an attempt to bring awareness to other parents in the community. No longer, we felt, that the subject was taboo; the time was ripe to shed light on this not-so-often spoken of problem. Ironically, neither of us was aware that National Bullying Week was on the horizon.

I will be the first to admit that my expertise was not in “bullying prevention.” While I can speak about it from a victim perspective considering I was bullied from kindergarten through sixth grade, I was not equipped to impart information from the clinical vantage point. With that, I searched the internet and discovered tons of information. In the interest of time, I’ll merely highlight a few thoughts I pulled from a Power Point presentation entitled “Take a Stand Against Bullying”:

1. Bullying is an intentional written, verbal, or physical act that intimidates or subjects a person to hostility or ill treatment.

2. Bullying involves repeated actions which causes another to feel afraid, humiliated, embarrassed, threatened, or shamed.

3. There are four ways bullying happens: verbally, physically, sexually, or whereby property is extorted or vandalized.

4. There is typically an imbalance of power in the relationship whereby the culprit seeks control.

5. Bullying can lead to feelings of alienation, insecurity, anger, and fear. The victim can experience a drop in grades, weight loss or gain, headaches, and even suicide.

6. If you suspect your child is being bullied, talk to your child, contact the school, and/or notify the police. (NOTE: My mother never knew I was being bullied because I was afraid to tell her. I thought I was going to get in trouble and be blamed for what was happening to me. Please assure your child that it’s not their fault if this is taking place and that you are there to advocate and support them.

7. If you suspect your child is a bully, talk to your child, encourage empathy for others, review consequences of bullying behavior, and, if necessary, contact the school for help.

Two days after this presentation, I received this email from a parent:

Good Morning, Mrs. Parker. I was planning to not come to the meeting the other night because I was very tired from working all day. However, I am very glad that I did. The information you shared helped me to realize that my child is a bully. Up until the meeting, I dismissed what he was doing as “kids being kids.” But, when you started sharing those bullying traits and said, “It can lead to the death of another person” I knew I could no longer be in denial.

Initially, I was at a lost for words. I never expected an email like this. In short, I told the parent I was glad to assist and encouraged her to reach out if I could do more.

There is so much more helpful information I gleaned from this presentation. Unfortunately, I can not capture it all here. If you would like a copy, feel free to contact me directly. I will gladly share it with you.

Bullying is very serious. It is neither a normal childhood activity of rite of passage. Please take a moment to share this information with your child. In fact, let them read some of the news articles for themselves, if age appropriate. We can no longer afford to ignore this very serious problem. It’s time to take a stand against bullying.

Kimberly K. Parker is the President and CEO of Writing Momma Publishing, LLC (www.writingmomma.com). On July 23, 2011, she is hosting "The BEST Young Writer’s Workshop EVER” for youth between the ages of nine and 18. Additionally, she is hosting “Write On!”, an eight week summer writing program for youth. Visit www.writeonprogram.eventbrite.com for more information. Kimberly is a ghostwriter, author and blogger living in Maryland with her husband and three children.


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 Live is hosted by Dr. Michael A. Robinson.

Felecia Hatcher
The “C” Students Guide to Scholarships
Topic: “The “C” Students Guide to Scholarships”
Date: June 5, 2011
Time: 8:30pm-9:30pm
Call-in Number: 914.803.4591
Tweet Questions: http://twitter.com/pgcpsparents

Felecia Hatcher was recently named one of the Top 10 Superstar Entrepreneurs under the age of 30 by Allbusiness.com and she has been featured in Essence Magazine, Black Enterprise Magazine, ABC News, Inc.com, Entrepreneur and the Food Network. As an entrepreneur, motivational speaker and author Hatcher has dedicated her life to motivating young people to look past their circumstances and get creative!

Hatcher has recently published her first book titled The 'C' Students Guide To Scholarships, to help students with less then stellar grades beat the odds and put themselves in the running for scholarship funds. As an average high school student - with a GPA that fluctuated between 2.1 and 2.7 - Hatcher beat the odds and managed to pull down over $100,000 in scholarship money to attend Lynn University. At 19, she started her first college coaching business called Urban Excellence. Hatcher has since traveled around the country conducting workshops and building successful college prep programs for companies like DeVry, the YMCA, Texas A&M, TED and the Urban League.

Hatcher has also spearheaded a number of successful experiential marketing campaigns while working for Nintendo, Sony and the WNBA, and in 2008 she embraced her inner foodie and took to the Miami streets with her now wildly successful Feverish Ice Cream Truck and boutique ice cream catering company. In her free time, Felecia Hatcher works with the NFTE (National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship), consults with start-ups, and travels the country speaking to parents and students about scholarships and youth empowerment.

Dr. Jonathan Cohen
Cofounder and President
National School Climate Center
(Formerly the Center for Social and Emotional Education)
Topic: The Importance of a Positive School Climate
Date: June 12, 2011
Time: 8:00pm-8:30pm
Call-in Number: 914.803.4591
Tweet Questions: http://twitter.com/pgcpsparents

Dr. Cohen is an adjunct professor in psychology and education at Columbia University, adjunct professor in education at City University of New York and a practicing clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst. Dr. Cohen has worked in and with K–12 schools for over 30 years in a variety of roles: as a teacher, program developer, school psychologist, consultant, psycho-educational diagnostician and mental health provider.

Dr. William R. Hite
Prince George's County Public Schools
Topic: Leading A Large Urban School System in Times of Fiscal Challenges
Date: June 17, 2011
Time: 2:00pm-2:30pm
Call-in Number: 914.803.4591
Tweet Questions: http://twitter.com/pgcpsparents

Dr. William R. Hite, Jr. was named Superintendent of Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) on April 3, 2009, by the Prince George’s County Board of Education, after serving as Interim Superintendent since December 1, 2008.

In June 2006, Dr. Hite was hired as Deputy Superintendent of PGCPS, Maryland’s second largest school system and the 18th largest system in the nation. During his tenure, he focused on student access and educational equity to ensure that all students graduate college-and work-ready. This work continues at a rapid pace and without interruption.

Among his many leadership responsibilities, Dr. Hite has led major efforts resulting in increased student achievement, significant improvements in teaching and learning, and school improvement status. This included work on the Intensive Support and Intervention Schools (ISIS) that provided significant support to schools most in need based on student and school performance indicators, as well as work in partnership with the Institute for Learning at the University of Pittsburgh, which focused on improving the capacity of teachers and administrators to strengthen the teaching and learning process. Most recently, he oversaw a major reorganization of the district’s regions into zones to reduce cost and provide greater support to schools.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Parent Talk Live will speak with Kim Carrington About Creating an After Prom Safe-Haven for Students

Parent Talk Live
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

This week’s Parent Talk Live will speak with Kim Carrington, a mother of six who has created an alternative after prom event designed to offer students who want to continue to enjoy their prom evening in an environment that is safe and free of drugs and alcohol.

Mrs. Kim Carrington
United Health Heroes
Topic: Creating an After Prom Safe-Haven for Students
Date: May 15, 2011
Time: 8:30pm-9:30pm
Call-in Number: 914.803.4591
Online: Chat Live

Kim Carrington is a mother in Maryland who has created an alternative after prom event designed to offer students who want to continue to enjoy their prom evening an opportunity to do so in an environment that is safe and free of drugs and alcohol.

Proms and graduations are a time for celebration in the lives of students. Teens all over America will be celebrating their prom and graduation with friends and families. All engaged parents and dedicated educators must encourage teens to celebrate responsibly and to arrive home safe and sound from prom and graduation. Underage drinking is real and it cost thousands of lives each year. A large percentage of fatal car crashes involving teens occur during prom and graduation season

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Living Education eMagazine

Living Education eMagazine


Living Education eMagazine discusses the importance of fathers and their impact on the academic lives of children. Host Dr. Michael Robinson will explore the benefits associated with an actively engaged father or significant male role model in the lives of children with a panel of experts. Guest will include:

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