Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Divorced Fathers Use Tech To Connect

William Jackson, Contributor Living Education eMagazine

Fathering is a balance of love, negotiation, trust, setting high expectations and communication.What better way to stay connected than to text with your children. Fathers must be hyped to use technology to stay connected to their children with the integration of technology in their lives.

I’m a divorced father over 15 years; it has not been an easy journey. Communication is the key to keeping a relationship close from the challenges of divorce and separation. Military families have embraced technology because of long deployments and long distances by parents in the service of their country. So the use to texting and other Social Media tools is important. I was not always able to drive to see my kids that live over an hour away once their mother and I divorced.

My intent was to live as close as possible, but the responsibilities and realities of employment, finances and my personal / professional growth required me to move further away.

Travels and Distances

At one time I lived in Kingsland, Georgia before moving back to Jacksonville, so I would drive after work on Fridays over an hour to pick my kids up that live in Palatka, Florida and drive almost two (2) hours to bring them home with me. Sunday after church to take them home it was another two hours then back for me. The travel distance was a time for catching up and reflection on the weeks that passed between us. Allowing us the time to adjust to each other again. This travel time was sometimes tense because as many fathers know we have to wean through some of the drama of Baby Mama Drama. To dissolve the negative energy that may come with divorce. Talking is important when you have the F2F – Face Fathers must take advantage of all resources available to keep the lines of communication open and consistent.

In this age of many types of technology, communication should not stop. It can grow because of Texting, Facebook, Twitter and other Social Media tools right through wireless devices like cell phones.

Tech Using Daddy: Connect via Text

Children and Teens have cell phones for safety, there is a connection that can be used. I purchased
my kids first cell phones when they were in Middle School. I got them pre-paid to teach them responsibility and time management using them. This also was not a financial burden to me and
taught us how to manage time, minutes and importantly money. Their mother at first did not agree
to them having a cell phone, but once I pointed out that it was for their safety and our mental stability
and not for me to spy on her, she was more agreeable. Especially when several kids were almost kidnapped in Palatka. What saved them was the fact that they called 911 for help and were not hurt.

Statistics and Data

Statistics show that 75% of teenagers prefer texting to actual voice. Speaking to my kids they agree.
They would rather text so they can multi-task and not let their friends know they are talking to their father. It was not keeping me secrete, but teens have a sense of pride and privacy even with their
friends. Ironically that is true, I have more conversations hrough texting than voice. We share pictures through Instagram, share where we are on Foursquare and interact on Facebook. This is a
win-win situation because we can “see” what each is doing. If I do not approve of their content I
can exert fatherly advice, not in a demeaning way, as guidance and reinforcement.

Cell Phones and Accidents

The power of cell phones did pay off when my son was in a car accident and he texted to ask what
he had to do. Overcoming my brief panic I texted was he ok and with a positive reply I called and
we went through what he should do. This interaction allowed him to contact law enforcement, take pictures for insurance purposes, and keep in contact with me as I drove to him. The ironic aspect to this is that he could not contact his mother by voice, since she was at work and did not text. Even though I was at work texting kept us connected. Children may not admit it, but when you tell them ”have a  great day,” “good luck on your tests,” ”buckle up when you drive” and even the occasional “I love you” they receive that better than hearing you tell them. The beauty is that texting is always there for them to see and reflect on later.

A New Language

Fathers, learn to “speak the language” of your children. The new language today is digital. If you
notice the dialogue is short, direct and to the point. Texting is a great opportunity to span distances
and keep lines of communication open. Allows for more intimate tool when sharing your personal expectations for behaviors of your children. Fathers should be involved and have their children
“teach” them how to use it as a better way to connect, provide advice and not allow distances and
time keep a separation between father and children. At the recent SSTESOL Sunshine State Teachers
of English Speakers of other Languages conference that Ipresented, our discussion on Social Media,
this conference supported teachers that teach foreign language students English.

Even foreign students use technology to span distances and communicate with their parents and friends. The Youtube video “Digital Natives” shows that youth have made the transition from Face to Face (F2F) communication to totally virtual. Fathers embrace the use of technology and don’t be scared to ask your kids to teach you how to use it and take advantage of all the capabilities, this allows for more bonding, personal and digital connections.

Don’t allow divorce, separation or other life challenges keeping you from communicating with your children. There is always a way, but he will has to be there to. Take it from my experience and integrate technology whenever you can to communicate with your children. It will payoff
as they mature. Dad will always be there even if it is just a Text, Facebook,
Tweet or Instagram away.

William Jackson
@wmjackson Twitter

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Message From: President of Prince George's County Branch of the NAACP Mr. Bob Ross

Former Prince George's County Student Board Member Exposes The Truth About Our School Board

On Thursday June 28th student board member Faith Jackson courageously
spoke out against the ineffective Board of Education members in her
final address as student member of the board. In her speech she makes
clear that the Board of Education's priorities have gone far away from
helping to educate students.

Join the #SavePGCPS campaign a campaign to elect Edward Burroughs, Raaheela Ahmed, David Murray, and Micah Watson to the Board of
Education. Get involved by texting takenextstep to 41411 or go to



Prince George's County NAACP Servicing the Community Since 1935

Bob Ross, President

Saturday, July 7, 2012

When looking for the best qualities for a superintendent

Dr. Anna Bucy

When looking for the best qualities for a superintendent, a board need look no further than the superintendent evaluation instruments and handbook available from the Ohio School Boards Association and other well-researched sources. Generally speaking, a school superintendent should be an educator with clear systems-thinking skills. Gone are the days when a district administrator only needed to focus on balls, beans, and buses. District leaders for the 21st century must have a firm grasp on the global marketplace in which the district competes, the myriad stakeholders in the community the district serves, the curricular challenges of the district, and the effective (if not creative) management of the balls, beans, and buses.

Modern superintendents must have a proven track record of academic achievement, which is measured by far more than any standardized test scores. What is the candidate’s history with creating innovative programs for students, professional development for teachers and staff, and with seeking financial support? If the district has specific needs, as Greenon Local does, with respect to funding building projects and operations, the search committee needs to examine the candidate’s history along those lines and whether the candidate has ideas to bring to the district. In short, has the candidate done his/her homework?

Having non-educators evaluating whether a candidate for superintendent has all the necessary skills to be successful is a difficult endeavor. A key issue is that the board looks not at what they as individuals want in the superintendent, but what the district needs—what the students need—to be successful in the changing world.

While it is true that the school board, as representatives of the entire community, sets the mission and vision of the district, the superintendent must be able to implement that mission and vision in every decision he or she makes. A district’s current strategic plan should serve as the guide for any superintendent candidate looking to apply for work, and for boards evaluating candidates. Greenon Local has not publicly evaluated or updated its strategic plan in two years.

Hiring a superintendent means looking for someone to lead into the future—someone with clear leadership skills, a record of goal setting and accomplishing, and a focus on personal lifelong learning. Successful boards look for a superintendent that respects tradition, but is not bound by the way things have always been done when those methods may not move a district forward. This means, of course, that boards must also respect the path that brought the district where it is, but realize that business as usual may not take a district where it needs to go.

Superintendent candidates must also evaluate the board and district to which they are applying for work. A candidate must determine whether the board members work together well, whether there is much conflict within the board or district, what positive and negative information is available about the district, and whether the board seems to be actively addressing district needs. Any candidate that does not ask questions of the board or other search committee and does not appear to have researched the district is not a serious candidate.

In a small community like Greenon Local, the superintendent must be a working superintendent—no time to just delegate and dismiss. A superintendent must be skilled at building bridges within the community with stakeholder groups and within the schools with staff and faculty. Being a superintendent is a very difficult job that requires copious, open communication, respect of self and others, collaboration skills, and the ability to align and articulate mission, vision and goals across all areas of the district.

Friday, July 6, 2012


Hosted by:
Dr. Mike Robinson
Join Dr. Mike Robinson for a very special Parent Talk Live Saturday, July 7th from 9am-11am.
 Dr. Mike Robinson will discuss the future of Prince George's County Public Schools. After the recent departures of Deputy Superintendent Dr. Bonita Coleman Potter and Superintendent Dr. William R. Hite, Jr. how will the educational landscape of our County change?
There are many questions:
  • What will be the impact on the educational landscape in Prince George’s County given the shake-up of the system’s leadership?
  • Who will serve on an interim basis?
  • What role will County Executive Rushern Baker’s Education Commission consisting of some the best minds in the K-12, post-secondary, policy development, research analysis and leadership in the field of education both locally and nationally have in shaping the future of education in the county?
  • How does the specter of a changing Board of Education impact the search process?
  • What role will the community have in the selections process?
Whatever the answers, it is clear the educational system in Prince George’s County is primed for some real changes.
Join the discussion, our guest will included You and many others:
Dr. Anna Bucy, a nationally recognized expert in Board of Education Professional Development and a former member of her local board of education.
Mrs. Zabrina Epps, current candidate for the Prince George's County Board of Education District 1.
Mrs. Jennifer Harris, Political Commentator and national Blogger.
Mr. Micah Watson current candidate for the Prince George's County Board of Education District 4.
Ms Carletta Fellows current candidate for the Prince George's County Board of Education District 7.
Special Parent Talk Live
Subject: The future of Prince George's County Public Schools: What is the impact of the recent departures of Deputy Superintendent Dr. Bonita Coleman Potter and Superintendent Dr. William R. Hite, Jr.?
Date: Saturday, July 7, 2012
Time: 9am-11am
Call-in number: (347) 838-8303

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Kimberly Parker Talks About: Learning Differences Girls and Boys


I am dedicated to endless learning. Daily, I suss for what I call “brain gems.” Brain gems are derived from random insight into the world around me. I will gladly arrest the attention of my children at a moments notice so, together, we can dissect various topics.

“Okay, children. Time for critical thinking! What message do you believe is sent throughout the world when one names an R&B boy’s group ‘Mindless Behavior’?”

Yes. My critical thinking moments are that serious because the fate of our children demands such.

Recently, I chose to dive head first into a book that expounds upon the brain based learning differences between boys and girls. The Boys and Girls Learn Differently Action Guide for Teachers by Michael Gurian and Arlette C. Ballew is one of the most fascinating books I have ever read. I have not been able to peel myself away!

In his introduction, Mr. Gurian states,

“Schools and educators in the United States are struggling to teach all that they need to teach, maintain discipline, build character, and provide for the safety of the children in their care…More and more decisions about education are being made by politicians, rather than educators, and few policy makers understand the differences between how boys’ and girls’ brains work, how they differ, and what they need in order to learn.”

What I’ve gleaned has changed my perspective on the staggering discipline statistics targeted at boys. What’s more, it has challenged the notion that children are so out of control whereby they need to ingest behavior modification drugs like Ritalin and Concerta. Page after heart wrenching page, I was left with this pervasive thought: Poor children. Poor teachers. Poor society.

Here is a bit of what I’ve learned:

• One of the best tools an educator can have is knowledge of the behavioral differences between girls and boys.
• Knowledge of brain based differences fosters the ultimate classroom experience, helps each child optimize natural learning abilities, reduces discipline problems, and removes labels (“Bad”, “ADHD/ADD”, etc.).
• Most female brains mature earlier/more quickly than males.
• Girls acquire complex verbal skills about a year earlier than boys.
• Girls take in more sensory/auditory/visual data than boys.
• Boys have a greater advantage if seated at the head of the class

The more I learn about children and their growing needs, the more equipped I am to assist them throughout their formative years. This book is one of many that can serve as a platform for educational reform in our country. While I do not claim to have all the answers, I strongly suggest that you become a committee, do your research, and implement change. At the very least, change can begin inside the four walls of your home and then spread abroad

  Kimberly K. Parker is the President and CEO of Writing Momma Publishing, LLC (www.writingmomma.com). To date, she has written three books and has helped 12 children between the ages of nine and nineteen write and publish books of their own. This summer, she is offering “The Ultimate Writing Experience!” For more information visit www.writingmomma.com and click on Writing Programs. Kimberly is a professional writer, author, publisher, and blogger living in Maryland with her husband and three children.

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