Friday, September 30, 2011

Partnering with Public Schools and the Community

Posted by Dr. Charlene Dukes on September 29, 2011 at 06:15 PM EDT

Ed. Note: Champions of Change is a weekly initiative to highlight Americans who are making an impact in their communities and helping our country rise to meet the many challenges of the 21st century.

Charlene Dukes

Community colleges across the nation have catapulted into the limelight as a major sector of the higher education landscape. We share a common mission of access and a commitment to student success and completion. We, at Prince George’s Community College, are honored to have been chosen as a ‘Champion of Change’ because of our focus on our mission - to transform the lives of the more than 40,000 diverse students whom we serve.

We open our doors to thousands of students and recently have been acknowledged for our commitment to providing students with a quality education by welcoming 100 rising ninth graders to the Academy of Health Sciences at Prince George’s Community College, the first middle college high school in the state of Maryland. These students, who will be joined each year by another class of ninth graders in the creation of a full high school program of grades 9-12, will realize their dreams and graduate with a high school diploma and an associate’s degree simultaneously; the Class of 2015 will be the first!.

Through a strong partnership with the Prince George’s County Public Schools, the Academy of Health Sciences at Prince George’s Community College was born and unveiled earlier this year. Its opening is evidence that despite the economic challenges of today, our public school and college leaders are facilitating learning in transformational ways for tomorrow’s leaders as one solution to global competitiveness in the decades ahead.

There is another idea central to the creation of the Academy of Health Sciences at Prince George’s Community College – and that is if we believe in seamless learning and a true Pre-K through 20 system of providing access to support an educated citizenry with degrees and credentials, then institutions of learning can no longer exist in a vacuum in our society. We need students to be able to dream beyond the boundaries of their schools, beyond the limits of their neighborhoods, and beyond the shores of this country. They must view themselves and their learning as part of a much larger world. We live in an age of interconnectedness, where technology and the global village allows access to information at a rate faster than any time in human history. We must give students the tools to critically analyze that information, make judgments, draw conclusions and join the debate as informed and impassioned citizens of this country and our world. Our students in the Academy are understanding that learning is not limited by the walls of the school or the hours of the school day, but rather that it is a lifelong, 24/7/365 endeavor.

Prince George’s Community College is dedicated to education and committed to student success and completion. The college’s strategic plan is focused on increasing graduation rates in a rigorous, standards-based environment through a formal pledge of completion that reflects national and statewide efforts to boost the number of graduates and meet the goals issued by President Obama and his administration. To that end, the college has embarked on a completion agenda, known as Envision Success, which is geared toward ensuring students are successful and that they receive degrees, certificates, and certifications as part of their educational objectives.

A great example of how we prepare students to become leaders is evident in our national recognitions. Prince George’s Community College has been named a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Two-year Education by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security for academic years 2010 through 2015, and Community College Week recently named Prince George’s Community College one of the 50 fastest-growing public two-year colleges in the nation.

The college's real strength rests in its people – faculty, staff, and administrators who dedicate themselves daily to responding to students’ intellectual and professional needs. All of what is accomplished here would not be possible without them. They are the real Champions!

Dr. Charlene M. Dukes is the eighth president, and first female president, of Prince George’s Community College and has more than thirty years of progressive leadership experience and administrative responsibility in higher education.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Kimberly K. Parker Tells Us: YOU CAN DO IT

My commute to work this morning was as cool as a cucumber. Listening to the very insightful teachings of Joyce Meyers as I sipped green tea, I coasted with ease over the river and through the woods. There was no traffic as far as my four eyes could see and fellow drivers, at their most courteous best, allowed one another to segue with a smile. This, my friend, was mobile poetry in motion.

As I rounded a corner in a quiet residential neighborhood, I saw a plus size woman jogging with a look of “I can do it” on her face. She had earphones in her ears, weights on her legs and wrists, and a hand towel snuggly tucked in her waist belt. Her gait was slow, steady…which, by the way, wins the race. Victory was definitely in her future.

I became transfixed on that powerful sight. I tried to pull over, but the car behind me was trailing rather closely so my attempts were prevented. I anxiously felt my eyes widening and my smile broadening. My mouth was about to erupt as I struggled to capture what I felt would be appropriately encouraging words to scream out of my window. I could not contain myself any longer! I rolled down my window, gasped and swooned, and slowed down long enough to yell, “Go ‘head! You can do it!” The woman raised her fist in solidarity, smiled, and kept on moving.

Inspiration comes in the most unexpected form. That woman – who I may never see again – served as a reminder of my ability to be, to create, to live! Without speaking a word, she told me that I can do it…whatever “it” may be only if I pattern my actions around these five very simple yet profound thoughts:

1. Decide to take action. As I mentioned, the woman was plus sized. However, she made a decision to take exercise in an attempt to live a healthier life.

2. Determine that you must move forward. I can only imagine the defeating thoughts she internalized as well as heard from other. In spite of it all, she was determined to put one foot in front of the other.

3. Be driven. In case you did not know, you are already empowered. You have the wherewithal to accomplish your goals whether or not someone cheers you onward. Allow the powerful force of God on the inside to steer you in all of the right directions.

4. Just do it. Period.

5. Arrive at your destination. You have a goal in sight and it’s most attainable. As Michael Jackson said, “Keep on with the force…don’t stop! Don’t stop ‘til you get enough!” When you get to your expected end, do as that woman did: raise you fist in solidarity, smile, and keep it moving!

Kimberly K. Parker is the President and CEO of Writing Momma Publishing, LLC ( This past summer, her company published three books for young authors age nine to nineteen! This fall, she will host “Write On!” an eight week writing program for youth and she is currently looking for a few young writers who want to participate. Visit for more information. Kimberly is a ghostwriter, author and blogger living in Maryland with her husband and three children.

Funding Parental Engagement Services Is A Sound School District Policy

Dr. Michael A. Robinson

It has been stated many times over that organizations fund what they believe is crucial to their mission. When a monetary importance is attached to a strategic objective or an organizational goal, one is made aware of its significance to the organization. This basic management concept easily applies to the educational arena. The funding associated with a school district’s departments or units of family and community engagement allows stakeholders to potentially evaluate the significance school districts associate with the importance of parent and community involvement.

If school districts desire a robust and effective parental engagement program, one where families, communities, and schools become authentic partners in forming a high performing school system those departments must be sufficiently funded. A sense of priority is communicated to internal and external stakeholders when parent and community outreach programs are satisfactorily provided resources. Seminal researchers in the area of parental engagement do not suggest parent and community support programs and services be funded at the levels of academic and or student services. Albeit, research has shown effective parental engagement and community involvement policies and programs have a direct impact on student achievement while reducing strain on student service personnel who perform home visits, parent conferences, and or counseling sessions with students.

School districts which have elected to eliminate part or their entire parental engagement department in the name of budget reductions have a very limited understanding of the indispensable role parent involvement plays in relation to the academic success of students and school systems. Abolishing family and community outreach services, specifically those aimed at increasing parental and community connections to their neighborhood schools and the school district overall will result in an eventual eroding of confidence from parents about the real mission of their public school system. Failure of school leadership to embrace the impact of parents supporting learning at home while working in concert with school based leadership can do damage to the educational community that possibly will take years to reverse.

A strong recommendation for school districts considering reducing or eliminating their family and community outreach departments would be not to do so, but to re-consider the benefits to actually adding more resources and what it would mean to overall school performance. Finally, for those school districts which have severely reduced or eliminated their parent and community outreach services restore them as soon as possible. Re-establish the relationship with your families and community by committing to ensure effective two-way unfettered communication. A sound and fully supported program of services in the area of parental engagement will help schools in achieving its schools in closing achievement gaps, increase in the number of students enrolled in advance classes, assist in preparing students to career and college ready.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Comcast offers cheap broadband to poor families

The company announced today its Internet Essentials program that will target low-income families with school-age children and help them get connected to the Internet by offering a combination of discounted broadband service, low-cost computers, and free training programs to teach people how to use the technology.

The company kicked off the program at Ballou High School in the District of Columbia. David Cohen, an executive vice president at Comcast, was joined at the launch for the program by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski and D.C.Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson.

Nearly one-third of the U.S. population, or about 93 million Americans, do not have broadband Internet access at home, according to the FCC's National Broadband Plan presented to Congress in 2010. The report identified three main reasons as barriers to adoption: affordability, digital literacy, and relevance.

Cohen said that Comcast's Internet Essentials program is an attempt to address all of these barriers. And the company targeted low-income families with school-age children because of the educational benefits broadband offers.

"What has become apparent to us as a company is that there is a cruel irony when it comes to broadband," Cohen said in an interview. "We have this wonderful technology which has the potential to be a great equalizer, providing access to education, health care, and jobs information across multiple income populations. But because of the adoption gap, or the digital divide, access to the Internet is actually exacerbating the problem instead of solving it."

How it works

The way the Internet Essentials program works is families with at least one child receiving free lunch as part of the federal government's National School Lunch Program will be eligible to receive Comcast's broadband service for $9.95 per month. Comcast typically charges about $41 a month for this 1.5 Mbps service. (A family of three making $24,000 or less a year qualifies for free lunch (PDF) as part of the national lunch program. )

In addition to offering low-cost broadband, Comcast is also working with Microsoft, Dell, and Acer to offer discounted computers to these households for less than $150. And through partnerships with nonprofits One Economy, Common Sense Media, and iKeepSafe, Comcast has also developed free printed and online digital literacy training that will be available at no cost in schools, libraries and through community organizations to help these families make the most of their broadband resource.

Internet Essentials will be rolled out in more than 4,000 school districts in 39 states and the District of Columbia this school year. Comcast estimates that approximately 1.5 million to 2 million families may be eligible to participate in the program.

Comcast will initially focus its marketing efforts for Internet Essentials in the most impoverished areas and school districts with a high proportion of students receiving free lunch, Cohen said. But he said that even in areas where there is a low-population of free lunch students or in places where the schools themselves are not participating in the program, families whose children qualify for free lunch will be eligible for the program.

They simply need to contact Comcast

Also, as long as the family has a student receiving free lunch through the national program, the family will be eligible for the $9.95 service. And the price will not go up, Cohen said.

Once a student graduates high school and/or if the family no longer qualifies for free lunch, the family will no longer qualify for the Internet Essentials program and will have to pay full price for the broadband service. Comcast is offering more information on this program on its Web site.
Cohen said that Comcast has been developing programs to increase digital literacy and to make Internet access more affordable for low-income populations for several years in cities, such as Philadelphia and Boston. The company has invested in nonprofits, such as OneEconomy to help provide digital literacy training. And it's built community technology labs in places such as Philadelphia.

Unlike some of its other efforts, the Internet Essentials program specifically targets families and children. Offering low-cost access to broadband service and to computers is a key part of this solution, because affordability may be the biggest barrier to adoption in this demographic.
Affordability a key barrier

Analysis of the most recent U.S. Census data shows that more than a third of "young" American families with children were living in poverty last year. Young families are defined as those with parents under the age of 30. In total, 37 percent these young families fell below the poverty line in 2010, eclipsing the previous high of 36 percent set in 1993, according to the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University.

With many families unable to afford broadband service, it potentially puts their children even further behind academically from children who attend schools in wealthier communities. While grants and government funding, such as the FCC-administered E-Rate program, have provided many schools, including those in low-income areas with computers and technology in the classroom to enhance learning and education, too often that technology is left at the door when students leave school.

In higher income neighborhoods, 70 percent to 80 percent of students will likely have access to a computer and broadband connection at home. This allows schools to implement programs such as homework tracking software that gives teachers a way to assess students, as well as offers parents a way to check on their students' progress. But in low-income areas where broadband penetration is closer to 15 percent, offering that extra help and access to materials online at home is a huge hurdle.

Cohen said that Comcast came to the conclusion long ago that it needed to help solve this problem. And as part of its deal to buy NBC Universal, it voluntarily offered to make affordable broadband service available as part of its conditions with the FCC to approve the merger.
"It was a voluntary commitment to offer more affordable broadband service to low-income families," Cohen said. "We are not required to it. But we came to the FCC and offered this as a condition of the merger, because we knew this issue is important to the FCC. And it's important to us. We reached a decision years ago as a company that if we can't stand for digital literacy, then who is going to? It's our business."

FCC Chairman Genachowski said in a statement that he is pleased to see Comcast follow through on its promise.

"This past January, Comcast made a commitment to the FCC and the American people to provide discounted broadband service to millions of low-income families," he said. "The program will prepare the next generation, create new opportunities for more jobs and will make a positive difference in the lives of many Americans. I challenge other service producers to take concrete steps to help close the broadband adoption gap."

Cohen points out that other cable operators in other regions of the country are also addressing broadband affordability and the digital divide issue. He said Comcast got many of its ideas for the Internet Essentials program from a similar program offered by Cox Communications in San Diego.

"We're not trying to embarrass our fellow cable providers or our competitors by touting this program," Cohen said. "There are lots of companies addressing this issue in other ways. And this is another solution that we think is important. We are investing a lot in this, and if it's successful, maybe others will follow it."

Read more:

Men Make A Difference Day - Perrywood

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Father Daughter Relationship Importance

By Francis Hosein

A little girl gives her trust in her father to guide her as she grows up not fully understanding what impact it will have on her.

As a little girl, the first love in her life is her father and how he treats her will have an effect on her relationship with men later on in her life.

Things that are similar

Each child looks up to their father and in many instances imitates his gestures. As daughters grow up they sometimes look for traits and facial expressions that resembles their father's expression.

Building self esteem

Father making time to spend with his daughter helps build his daughter's self esteem. When daughters feel love and support from their father they generally have good relationships in marriage.

Images of the father around the house cleaning, cooking and helping out have an impact on his daughter's perception of what men role in a family relationship is all about.

Things she sees

Things that parents do such as co-operating, responsibility, sharing, compromising, and mutual respecting each other affect his daughter's view of relationships. As the daughter grows up it is both individuals' responsibility to maintain and continue to strengthen their relationship, if this is done when she was younger it will be easy later on.

Daughter grown up

A father may feel his relationship with his daughter becoming distant as she grows older and it is his chance to allow their relationship to grow and change and to remind himself the teachings he has given to her.

Responsibility for the job

When a father takes his responsibility as a guide to his daughter future knowing fully well that this will have an impact on his daughter's life he becomes a co participant in creating a better future for his daughter.

The author grants full reprint rights to this article. You may reprint and electronically distribute this article so long as its contents remain unchanged, and the author's by line remains in place. Francis is the owner of if you want more information on relationships in your life you can Visit
Article Source:

National PTA beams up P.G. schools chief

Comments by Kevin Davis

This is a wonderful personal achievement for Dr. Hite and I wish him all the best in his role of working with parents on a national level. However, his work with parents and for parents at the local level leaves a lot to be desired. Under his leadership, one of the Nation's best parental engagement programs was eliminated. Parental involvement activities such as volunteering among parents have dipped every year under his guidance and he has never shown a willingness to engage the community beyond prescribed community based meetings.

There is little evidence to suggest he is supportive of true parental engagement. The entire department of Family and Community Outreach was shut down and nothing or no one has assumed the role of reaching out to parents beyond cursory attempts.

While I wish him the best, I pray he does not do for parental engagement on a national level that he has done in our County.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Information for the Engaged Parent and Dedicated Educator

BARON HOWARD, Executive Director
Expert Life Principle Coach & Empowerment Speaker
website -
Personal Email -
Business Email -

Cell - 202-580-5817
Fax - 301-932-7047
24 Hour Hotline - 1-800-563-2632

You may have entered believing you are ordinary.
You will leave knowing you can produce extraordinary results.
It's time to BSmart about "EVERYTHING" you do in life!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Mrs. Kimberly K. Parker Discusses WELCOME BACK TO SCHOOL.


The last time we met here was seven weeks ago. Do you remember? I began counting down the number of weeks left for school, marveled at how quickly the time had passed, and offered a few additional ways children can make their time out of school filled with fun. Well, those seven weeks have come and gone and school is once again in session. With that, I bid you a hearty “Welcome back!”

I could not wait for school to begin last week! Now, I’m sure you’re thinking it was because I was ready for my children to get out of the house and out of my hair. Not entirely. My enthusiasm really had more to do with my desire to govern myself differently as a parent and volunteer. In an email to a friend of mine I emphatically wrote, “I have learned many valuable lessons this past school year. I’m very excited about 2011-2012. I look forward to applying what I’ve learned and being of greater service!”

I would be mendacious if I told you my experience last year was laced with peaches and cream. Au contraire! I had more parent/teacher meetings than I’ve had in the eight years I’ve been a parent of a PGCPS child, one of my children has either lost or damaged not one…but two pair of eye glasses, and one of my other children had a substitute for close to six weeks straight. On top of that, I’ve linked arms with many of you at community forums and board meetings and sent countless emails to board members to voice concerns about the budget cuts that ultimately became our fate. In spite of it all, I blew a “Dating Game” kiss to the 2010-2011 school year with both affinity and pride because of the many valuable lessons I learned.

I believe that someone reading this blog is saying, “OMG! You sound just like me!” If in fact you’re not uttering those words, then maybe you know someone like me. Whatever the case may be I’d like to offer these three tips to help you make the most of the 2011-2012 school year:

1. Put the past behind you. It’s challenging to not converse about the negative experiences from last year, but I encourage you to try. It really is a new day and the more positive your outlook on 2011-2012, the more positive your experience will be.

2. Do the best you can with what you have. Look – there is not a single person who is not feeling “the crunch” from the budget cuts. Classes have gotten larger and resources have gotten smaller. Parents, teachers, and stakeholders must pull together for the betterment of our children…ALL children. Make a small sacrifice to donate a box of tissue or a block of time to your child’s school. It really does go a long way.

3. Identify the small stuff and don’t sweat it. To the extent that you can, put minor matters in their proper place. Does your concern really call for you to go to the Board of Education or is it something that can be worked out on the school level first? Analyze a situation from every possible angle before you make a decision to act.

This is not an all inclusive list, but it’s definitely a start. Maybe you have a few ideas of your own that will work just as well. If so, I have just three words to close out this blog: GO FOR IT!

Kimberly K. Parker is the President and CEO of Writing Momma Publishing, LLC ( This past summer, her company published three books for young authors age nine to nineteen! This fall, she will host “Write On!” an eight week writing program for youth and she is currently looking for a few young writers who want to participate. Visit for more information. Kimberly is a ghostwriter, author and blogger living in Maryland with her husband and three children.

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