Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Education Secretary Arne Duncan weighs in on supercommittee failure: School programs at risk

The failure of the here today, gone tomorrow congressional supercommittee could lead to drastic cuts to education programs nationwide, according to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

This week, the bipartisan supercommittee -- formally known as the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction -- announced that it had failed to combat the country's $15 trillion debt.

"I join the President in his disappointment that the supercommittee has failed to reach a final deal," Duncan said in a statement. "We must reduce America's debt. But we must do so in a thoughtful and deliberate way that protects national priorities like education at such a critical time. Because the supercommittee failed to live up to its responsibility, education programs that affect young Americans across the country now face across-the-board cuts.

"We need to ensure that every child has access to a good teacher and a high quality public education, and that students who want to pursue a college degree can count on federal loans and grants to help them achieve their dreams," he added. "That requires Congress to do some important work in the coming weeks and to show some real leadership. I stand ready to work with them, and I know the President does as well."

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Men Make a Difference Day

Men Make a Difference Day

Posted on October 10, 2011

This has nothing to do with World Languages, but I want to share it with you because it is fantastic!!

Today, our school celebrated Men Make A Difference Day. This is a day created by Dr. Michael A. Robinson, CEO of Forest of the Rain Productions. According to Dr. Robinson, the goal of the day is to create parental engagement among men. There is some good information about this event on this page on EventBrite. Our school is always looking for new ways to engage our students’ families, so we are so thankful for this excellent idea!

Our students were encouraged to invite their fathers (or another important male figure–grandfather, uncle, neighbor, etc.) to school with them for the morning. Any man that wanted to participate had to sign a contract that said that he would be at school for the morning of 10/10/11, would attend one parent/teacher conference, and several other things that I have forgotten (one might have been helping with homework or attending a sporting/music event with his child). I’m not sure what our final participation was, but it was so many that we ran out of room in the breakfast room that we had prepared!

The men were served breakfast (a delicious breakfast with bacon that smelled up the entire school, torturing my pregnant nose!) during first period, and then attended their child’s second period class with their son or daughter. They also had a photo taken together during the breakfast which they were able to pick up before they left for the morning. I had 10 dads in my second period class of 32 students!! How awesome is that! It was so much fun to watch the kids watch their dads try to follow along and participate, and it was great exposure for World Languages–I made sure to plan today as a storytelling day What an excellent way for dads to have insight into the challenges that their children face at school, and for their children to see how much they mean to their dads that they would spend a morning with them and commit to spending more time investing in their education in the future.

I would encourage you to organize some celebration of Men Make a Difference Day for your school next year! It works well for our school because we have class on Columbus Day, but if you are among the lucky ones to have a day off, perhaps you can celebrate it at another time.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Kimberly K. Parker: THE POWER OF ONE WORD

Time was of the essence this morning as I prepared for work. I knew that in order to make it out of the house chop-chop (quickly, right away), I had to pick up the pace. There was literally not a moment to spare because tardiness brings about a bit of anxiety (uneasiness, concern).

It took me a moment to accept my outfit. Although I was not convinced I chose the right two-piece for the day, I gave myself a big “high-five” and celebrated the final touches. I smiled, looked in the mirror, pointed to myself and said, “You’re not going to be late today, Queen!”

Just as I turned to exit the bathroom, there stood my baby boy, Kalonji. It was obvious he had just arisen (got up, awakened); he appeared to be a bit transfixed (motionless, awe struck). I could not tell if he was partially sleep, in a heavy day dream, or asking himself, “What is Momma wearing today?” Before I had an opportunity to inquire (ask, investigate) if he was well, he simply said “Wow!” as he took note of my jewelry matching my outfit.

What a nice way to enhance my day…especially since I had second thoughts about my attire just moments before. With just one word, Kalonji added a little bit more pep to my step. I gave him a tight hug, grabbed my purse, and made my way out of the house. Oh — did I mention I arrived to work on time? Sometimes, all it takes is just one word to put a smile on a persons face. If I may, I’d like to offer a list of words…from A to Z…that is laced with lots of power:

Magnificent Nice

What one word will you choose to add a little pep to someone’s step? I’d really like to know. Let’s keep it moving and make their day!

Kimberly K. Parker is the President and CEO of Writing Momma Publishing, LLC (www.writingmomma.com). 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 www.writingmomma.com for more information. Kimberly is a ghostwriter, author and blogger living in Maryland with her husband and three children.

PGCPS has introduced its e-alert system

PGCPS has introduced its e-alert system as a way to enhance communication to its staff, community members and more importantly parents and family. The staff of Parental Engagement with PGCPS appalaud the efforts of the BOE to improve communication between home, community and schools.

The new systems will provide emergency alerts, newsletters and information regarding upcoming events and activities to all who sign up.

To sign up, visit www.pgcps.org and click the PGCPS Alerts Text and Email button.

For more information, contact senior web specialist Max Pugh at 301-952-6002 or mpugh@pgcps.org.

Change to funding formula gives principals spending power

By: Lisa Gartner

Principals in Prince George's County Public Schools set the course for their campuses -- but only have say over 2 percent of the school's budget. That figure would jump to 50 percent under a proposal from Superintendent William Hite.The primary goal of the new plan is to "weight" funding coming from central office to schools, based on at-risk populations and high-need classrooms. But another prong allows principals, once they receive these weighted funds, much more discretion over how to spend them. They can't paint the walls hot pink or cut vegetables from the school menu, but principals could make decisions about whether to beef up the English department or hire more math instructors.Traditionally, county schools have received central-office dollars based on student enrollment and staffing ratios.

Read more at the Washington Examiner:


Friday, November 11, 2011

PGCPS 2009-2010 Teacher of the Year Spotlighted in Black Enterprise

Greetings Engaged Parents and Dedicated Educators,

“Education is the great equalizer” (I. McPhail, 2001).

Perhaps no greater words have been spoken with regards to the value, importance, and significance of education. However, the great equalizer that Dr. Irving McPhail reference is now facing a myriad of challenges. One looming challenge is the state of the teaching profession, more specifically the number of males entering teaching. There has been a major emphasis on the shortage of African American male teachers. As you know, Forest Of The Rain Productions has been a leading voice on the importance of increasing the number of African American male teachers. Thus the impetus for our national initiative Men Make A Difference Day, our radio discussions and our television interviews with seminal researchers in the area of male teacher recruitment.

The African American male teacher makes up less than 2% of the teaching profession. While increasing the African American male teachers will not end all that ails the educational systems across America, their presence can send a message to all young learners that teaching is profession worthy of your consideration.

There is a great article on the state of education and the need to create a new type of teaching workforce. The article features Mr. Will Thomas, PGCPS 2009-2010 “Teacher of the Year”. Mr. Thomas’ article appears in the November edition of Black Enterprise. Please read and enjoy.

If you are interesting in more information regarding the need for African American male teachers, please visit the links below.

Two Thinkers: The Importance of the African American Male Teacher
Dr. Ivory Toldson, Howard University
Dr. Roy Jones, Clemson University

African American Men in the Classroom

2nd Annual Thanksgiving Basket Outreach

2nd Annual Thanksgiving Basket Outreach

Parent Engagement: A Paradigm Shift

By Stephen Sawchuk on November 1, 2011

Can you improve parental involvement by making engagement with parents part of a teacher's formal duties? A handful of districts are giving it a try in Idaho, according to an interesting story from the Associated Press.

To comply with a new state law, every district had to implement a differentiated pay plan this school year. Many are using guidelines created by the state, AP reports, including consideration of value-added test information.

But several districts, especially in rural locations, are also basing the performance bonuses on whether the teacher engages meaningfully with his or her students' parents.

The plan in Challis, Idaho, requires teachers to make one "general" contact, like a note sent home, and one "personal" contact, in which a parent is informed about how his or her child is performing, over a three-month period.

The state teachers' union is a bit concerned, noting that parental involvement can be limited by factors outside of teachers' control. It opposes the merit-pay program in general.

Parent Engagement: A Paradigm Shift

Written By

Marilyn Price-Mitchell, Ph.D.

Georgia has proclaimed November as Parent Engagement Month and Nov. 17 as National Parent Engagement Day. Pre-K director and parent involvement coordinator Debby Gilliam says it is important for parents to play an active role in their child’s success in school.

“The parent engage- ment program aims to get parents, schools, families and communities working together to create meaningful partnerships that ultimately lead to significant gains across the board in student achievement,” she said. “We’re looking for parents to join our team.”For information on parent engagement at Pike County schools, call Gilliam at 770-567-4769. Go to gadoe.org and click “Parent Engagement” to find information and tips for staying engaged in your child’s education.For the whole story, read the Nov. 9 print/e-edition of the Pike County Journal Reporter.To subscribe, click here.

Tweet Report

Parental Engagement with PGCPS present Tweet Report: A snapshot of what is being said about parental engagement, Prince George’s County Public Schools and the state of Maryland as it relates to education.

PG Politics @pgpolitics retweeted to 1,079 followers:
I am not sure if it is a violation of the law to take campaign funds from a person who later gets a contract and there was no bid process

pgcpsparents Parents and PGCPS
a study recently released states Prince George's teachers are overpaid. I am not sure I agree with that, you cannot over pay a teacher

pgcpsparents Parents and PGCPS
parental intervention is a more important factor than income and family structure (Jasso, 2007).

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