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Saturday, November 19, 2011

random thoughts

 Our inner city communities are beautiful places with each own unique culuture and ways. They are also places where poverty, safety concerns, outright violence and instability is rampant. There is a seperation between the beauty and dispare. How do we get each person to feel safe and see the beauty in life? How do we get everyone to value themselves and one another, no matter who they are, where they come from or where they want to go? How do we bridge the gap? The US is one of the richest countries, yet our equity divide is so vast. Many reasons why, but in terms of community building, I would like to see school buildings more like community centers. I think this model would help make the community more involved, bring neighbors together and put the neighbor back in the hood.
Use the buildings to offer classes that are not offered during the day for kids as well as adults and families. Have resource centers that are like libraries, offer access to a variety of books and computer technology classes so our communities can keep up with the rest of the world as well as meet the needs of each community, which means the community voices need to be part of the design and application.  Also early childhood classes, senior classes and a program that brings seniors together with the youth. There is a divide between the generations. When this happens, respect decreases, understanding becomes less and knowledge of life is not handed down. Our history becomes unknown and is reduced to pieces instead of the whole beautiful enriching picture. Without our history, we have no foundation. This younger generations roots are disappearing. Also investment in our community business. Have wonderful places to shop and meet the needs of each community instead of preying on each other.
I would like to see schools have each teacher be excellent at their craft. Everyone is not meant to be a teacher. Being one is a unique talent and gift blestowed unto you. Principals are in leadership positions. Teachers are too as well as upper management. Being in a leadership position is not about the title, lable or self. A true leader uses the talents they are blessed with to uplift something greatet than self while continuing to build and grown their own blessings. So many misuse their roles.
Classroom size, Teacher voice and not enough time to teach each child, get support from one another and to not have the flexibility to teach creativily are all issues that are being voiced.  If we address and change these big issues will it really make the changes that are needed to truly reduce the academic divide? Will it really change the way our low income neighborhood schools succeed? Will it change the way children feel safe and see themselves and each other?  Will it change the college entry rate or the career readiness? Will it change the school to prison pipeline that relies on data from schools reading rate of 3rd grade readers? How does these issues play a role in schools that have these issues but are successful? What should be the focus to really make change happen so our kids are ready to compete in the world?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

thoughts for ya

If your a true parent and your dedicated to your child, you shouldn't be that available to pursue a real relationship or be available to be pursued. Fun is fun. BS is BS but real relationships take real time to unfold beautifully. Also make sure your truly done with the past or you will bring it with you to your future and that causes you bs. Don't be afraid to truly let go. One must let go in order to truly grow. You are doing yourself, your child and others a disservice if you walk the line. In the end, even if you feel like your being respectful, really your just causing hopefulness that turns to unnecessary grief.
If your always available, you must be desperate or not truly into being the parent that you say you are. You will get what you put out. Fast, fun, no depth, over and done, next!  If one is impatient, they are not one who truly understands what a true parent is or what that is about. Do you really want them in the end? Patience, understanding, friendship, being real and spending time thats what its about. Quanity or quality? thats the question. I say Choose Quality. It last longer!

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Last night  my son and I were wrestling and play fighting. I love tumbling with him. He got some hard kicks and punches too, so workin it out on punching bag is working, lol. Playing and laughing is one my greatest enjoyments and brings such happiness to my life. Playing with our kids, no matter if its games, wrestling, or outside but playing together is so important and brings much pleasure. The art of play. Using imagination, creativity and just each other is enough for hours of fun. Play often!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Flash Card Practice

Flash cards with kids is so important to reinforce skills being learned and help them to retain. Math adding and subtracting. Words, especially words that do not make "sense" phonically in our English language help to keep them on track. Asking your child how they are figuring out the math problems by asking them to talk it through out loud helps us parents be able to help them when we know verbally how they are thinking things through. This also helps build their confidence in themselves and reinforces all of what they know. Make sure there are plenty of positive words and encouragement as this helps build their abilities and self esteem. Tell them how hard they are working and how proud you are of them. Kids need words or encouragement, skills to help themselves, self talk that is positive that they can pull from and lots of practice to be the best they can be!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

how old do you let a child be on their own? go to the park, walk to school? take care of self and others?
I as a single  mother, love the stories of my grand father and the selflessness, hard work ethic. i truly love the conversations and realities! wow, maybe I  need to let go!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Tired of the Blame Game

Why is their an achievement gap and where does it begin? It begins in the home. Parents need to stop putting self first, stop blaming others and expecting others to do their job. It doesn't matter how many kids you have. You choose to have them. It doesn't matter how many hours you work, many parents work long hard hours and raise wonderful children. Why? Because they parent their children. They take parenting as the most important job. They put everything they have into their children. Values, Beliefs, Social Skills, Respect, Responsibility, Accountability and high Expectations. Support, Encouragement and giving each child individual attention, one to one relationships, Experiences and Love is foundations for life. Teaching a child life skills from the start is how we close achievement gap. There wouldn't be one in beginning if all these things were done before they entered school. Learning abilities are only part of a child's success but how strong a foundation one has determines how far a child can go. Parenting does not stop when a child enters school. It never stops. We are always teaching our children. We must walk with them every step of their path until adulthood, than let go gradually and trust our job has been done well but we never stop teaching or being there. They need us until we are no longer here. I am tired of the blame game! How do we make excellent school for all? How does each child get a excellent education. Parents! Parents are the Educators. Parents are responsible for who they are, who they bring into the world and how they raise them up. The better equip students are who show up to school each day, the better the school environment is. The better foundation teachers have who really want to teach and are dedicated to teaching because they were raised with the passion and work ethic, the better the schools are. Everything starts with and ends with Parental Responsibility.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

salt that tenderizes

We must  live a flavorful life. Be the salt that tenderizes the toughest of souls and adds bold, spicy, full flavor to all. We must get in where we fit in and not be the vocal complainer who does nothing but add noise to the room. We must be bold, stand tall, rise up, lead and let our light shine through. As we do and live this way, we  help our children do the same. We must let our spirit guide us so we are able to help others find their light and understand who they are, be proud of themselves and love themselves and each other.  The right amount of salt and light is the balance of a beautiful full happy life.

Rondo Area Meeting Gives Voices To Community

Sonia Sanchez & Dr. Julianne Malveaux

The new school year will begin in a couple of weeks, and a local group of parents are asking what it will take to provide excellent education for every child in every neighborhood.
Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC) held an open discussion Saturday, August 13, at Rondo Library in St. Paul. According to NOC organizer Kerry Felder, it was the first in a series of meetings scheduled in the next couple of months.
“The purpose [of Saturday’s meeting] is to develop a conversation” on the importance of good schools for all, said Victoria Balko, who lives in North Minneapolis and is a mother of one. Many who attended the 90-minute morning session expressed their concerns about the present state of education.
Schools should help all children adjust to life, believes Zong Choua Thao, who lives on St. Paul’s East side.
Brian Smith is a father of two high schoolers and a pre-schooler. “I’ve been involved in my children’s education since the beginning,” he noted, adding that other parents who started out the same but grew frustrated with the attitudes of some educators and administrators toward Black parents who feel “devalued and ignored so much.”
A grandmother told of her experience with school officials in not adequately meeting her grandchild’s educational needs, which resulted in her asking for an emergency transfer to another school. She added that a “teacher bond” with children is necessary for classroom success.
Others complained of uneven handling of discipline, especially when it comes to Black students and other students of color. “Look at the suspension rate, and you can see the unfairness of the Black children versus the White children,” said parent Shatona Groves, who attributed this to a lack of cultural competency among teachers.
“These teachers aren’t teaching,” noted Tonia Collins, a substitute teacher. She strongly supports the idea that more Black teachers should be hired. “I’m hoping that this is going in the right direction, that they will start looking at teachers of color,” Collins pointed out. “If you look around the school and everyone is White, and no one looks like you, how can you relate.”
Collins also believes that a maximum of 25 students per classroom is best, and that each classroom has a teacher’s aide as well.
However, famed educator Mahmoud El-Kati told the group that too much talk is being spent discussing large class sizes and poor test scores as prime reasons why schools aren’t working for our children. “I don’t agree on what you’re talking about,” he pointed out. “Someone’s got to question the American ideology. The system is defining that White people are smarter than Black people. We got to change this fundamental basis because it produces false consciousness.”
Felder added that El-Kati’s comments were very timely. “I’m glad of what he said,” she admitted afterwards.
“Our goal and intent was to have an honest, engaging conversation,” noted Balko, who is chairperson of the NOC’s education committee.
NOC Executive Director Steve Fletcher said that “real tough questions” must be asked of school officials. “I thought this was a real good meeting,” he surmised. “People came with some real strong experiences… We heard some real passion and want to make positive changes in schools.”
Felder said that NOC contacted 400 persons either in person, by phone or by email over a two-month period earlier this summer and asked questions on education. “We had a 90 percent response rate,” she reported, adding that the survey results are still being tabulated with plans to release its findings at a September 24 meeting.
“I think that the people at NOC have good intentions about what they want for our children, which is a quality education for all of our children,” said Smith. “However, I [am] a little bit reluctant when we are still pushing more for others to treat us more fairly. I think that the primary consideration should be to find the resources to educate and take care of our own children in our own school environment.
“We should begin to educate our own children and get the results that we want as opposed to continuing to look to others to do that for us,” he concludes.

Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

mother lion

Being a parent is more than a weekly check in. Or a monthly check in. My son is blessed to have a full time mother who is dedicated fully to him since the day I realized I was carrying him. He is blessed to have a family full of cousins, aunts and grandma who loves him so. along with extended family and friends who will be there along the way. Sadly his dad is not as connected as he should be.  I as a mother am over the excuses. I love the man, we were together for many years, a marriage without paper. I understand and will be his friend until the end but in terms of what our son needs, he is failing truthfully in deed. I have requested a big brother for him and am hopeful a beautiful black strong man will be placed in his life to develop the relationship that he deserves at this point. My son is a beautiful human being, I love him with every fiber I have and thank god daily for blessing me with him. We have begun the year with cub scouts. I am parent volunteer leader. Joining this group brings mixed feelings for me, as the boy scouts bring about fear in me due to fear of inappropriate relations. This is a fear of mine and that is why I am the volunteer parent who is co leader with the group but I also want him to grow in adult male relationships without mom overseeing every piece. Building strong relationships with other boys and men is extremely important, but I am scared of the unknown, so I, at this point must be involved at every level to insure his safety. I am unsure if other parents feel the same protection for their kids but I am a lionist who will slay the mightiest giant for my child and protect along the way to ensure his safety.


Parents! When your teenage and adult children are on Bullshit as you say, Don't wonder why? If they were fed Bullshit from the start, continued to be fed bullshit, lead in the ways of bullshit, saw bullshit daily in their home environment and in the community in which they live and was not given any other food variety and only expectation was what was laid, what the  hell you mad for, shit you did it. You and your Bullshit  laid the foundation for that shit to grow. Don't be mad now, don't point you finger and say you on b.s. they just turn around and say,bullshit.

Stop Excusing Our Young Men

Stop Excusing Our Young Men

Mothers we must stop making excuses for our son's. We must teach them to take responsibility for themselves. If we don't they will grow up to be irresponsible adults who make excuses for why they are not as successful as they could be. Expectations for our boys should be set high. Why? because they can achieve them. If we set low expectations they will meet those expectations and never exceed them. We are doing an injustice to our boys if we don't expect the best for them.We must encourage them, love them, teach them and expect nothing but the best and let them know excuses are not acceptable. In order for them to achieve the highest expectations, we must teach them, give them the foundation, tools, knowledge, self esteem and guide them on the pathway to personal success so they can achieve and hold them responsible for their choices and place. WE must love our son's! Not make excuses for them. Do you want your son who is grown up 35 still living in your home?

Fact Sheet: Outcomes for Young, Black Men

Fact Sheet: Outcomes for Young, Black Men

Monday, September 12, 2011

CDF Cradle to Prison Pipeline® Initiative Slideshow

Five year old girl arrested.

School to Prison pipeline

School-To-Prison Pipeline

watch this video, thoughts?

Private Prisons in a Wider Context (part 1 of 2)

CCA listen people

Colorado prison program teaches inmates renewable energy job skills for a greener life on the outside -

Colorado prison program teaches inmates renewable energy job skills for a greener life on the outside -
School to prison pipeline video watch here.
Children being treated like criminals for being kids!
Children being arrested for child activities.

Colorado prison program teaches inmates renewable energy job skills for a greener life on the outside -

Colorado prison program teaches inmates renewable energy job skills for a greener life on the outside -
Listen To Angela Davis

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Mn used to have one of the better public school systems when I was growing up. Now it is failing our students of color and that is unacceptable. Schools systems are failing our kids across the nation. Race definately plays a role in this and goes back to what our country is founded on and extends to today. It is very sad and there are many pieces that play into why our children are failing but as a mother of a African American boy, it scares me. He will not play into what this country is built on. He will succeed no matter what and he definately will stay on his pathway to success. Why, because he has me who values education, who knows without it, his life will be taken away in some way. He deserves to live, happily and free and be able to do whatever he sets out to do in life and knowledge is one of those foundations that he needs to do this. This knowledge comes from education from me, his life experiences I give him, his daily lessons I teach him, the people around him daily and the schools I place him in.  I am a parent who is with him every step of the way and will do what is needed in order for him to succeed. The sad thing is many children do not have this support or parent who is able to do this. It scares me that if a child does not read by 3rd grade, he is on pipeline to prision. Prison is over populated with children of color, though we make up a small percentage of this country. It takes a village to raise a child. Our schools have to have dedicated leadership that trickles down to every person involved in the school process. Our children deserve caregivers who do not give up on them or the system and who will do what it takes to help their child succeed.....Working towards what is right.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

More Info, thoughts anyone???

Thoughts on achievement gap?
How do we do this?
What about support service/wrap around services in our community schools?
Early intervention/education programs, does this play a role?
Accountability, who?
Turnaround school models, do these work to close achievement gap?
Why is there such an gap between white and non white students?
I posted other article earlier but links won't work about achievement gap, read up! Interesting situation that affects everyone!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Achievement gap resouces info..... -in-minnesota-and-minneapolis-public-schools.html 

Discussing Education Achievement Gap in Minnesota

Updated: Monday, 24 Jan 2011, 7:34 AM CST
Published : Monday, 24 Jan 2011, 7:34 AM CST
ST. PAUL, Minn. - A new Minnesota advocacy group will present its policy ideas for closing the education achievement gap between white students and members of racial minorities in the state. 

The group is called the Minnesota Campaign for Achievement Now, or MinnCAN, and it has scheduled a news conference for 10 a.m. Monday at the state Capitol.

Executive Director Vallay Varro says the group is politically centrist and seeks commonsense solutions to the state's education problems. Varro is a former member of the St. Paul school board. 

Varro says MinnCAN is affiliated with 50Can, a group designed to spread the policies of a Connecticut group called ConnCAN. 

ConnCAN is known for its support of charter schools in that state. 
Article found on Fox 9 news




Thoughts......Achievement Gap

A passion of mine is education. I am a parent and individual who understands that the educational foundation that is laid for our children should be a foundation that promotes a pipeline to success. The achievement gap in the MPLS public schools is the widest in the country between white and non white students, meaning our children of color are farther behind than their white counterparts here in MN than any other state in the US. Not ok. Our public schools are wonderful places that many of us have been educated through as well as our families. Many of us are connected to a public school in some way. Schools are places where our children gain knowledge and is part of building the pathways for their futures. With the many dedicated professionals and education curriculum currently in place, there still is a wide achievement gap and I believe though challenging, we can decrease this gap. One of the ways this can be done is by building on the positive things that work within schools and communities as well as add new and creative pieces that enhance the learning and support so everyone is successful. Funding continues to be cut but working together, dedicated to our children, we can make our schools more successful.

I believe one of the solutions to closing this gap is dedication and stability. 

Families and caregivers are the most important piece of children's success. Being involved in every piece of your child's education process is extremely important and includes having a relationship with your students teachers and school.

Having a school with great leadership, stable teachers and support staff that are enthusiastic and are committed to the children, families and neighborhoods they are located in and demonstrates this daily by working at a school for the long haul, is a piece to this puzzle. This shows students and families that they are committed to them and this can build trust between students, families, neighborhoods and the school. This allows relationships to be built and opens communication. When communication happens, change can be  made. When this happens everyone benefits. 

Housing stability plays another key role in students success.  There are many challenges as to why stable housing is an issue for many. Families that are able to live in a place that allows them to keep their kids in the same school long term benefits the kids, family and helps students be successful. When a student enters and exits different schools throughout the year or from year to year, it breaks the consistency. Each classroom and schools are at different places in their curriculum, activities, supports and teaching styles, not to mention peer relationships, which can be confusing to students, which brings many students needs not to be met.  Trust is not able to be built as strongly because relationships are not formed for the long term. This adds to the decrease in achievement success. 

A school that is dedicated to excellent education for students and allows teachers to teach and gives our kids the best education focused hours each day, lead by dedicated, knowledgeable and excellent leadership is essential to our kids success. A knowledgeable and excellent support staff of EBD personal, social workers, psychologists, special education teachers, parent liasons, volunteers, parents etc... understands that students are members of a family outside of school and building strong relationships with students and their families helps build success for each student.  Relationships need to be built so each child can have their unique needs met. There are many things that affect children outside of school and are brought with the children to school. The more consistent and stable a school is, the better hand they can extend to families and enahance the ability to support the children. If support staff have resources available for families such as housing resources, basic needs etc.. and have them available to families shows students, families and communities dedication, that each person is important, each student and family is wanted here and is valuable.

 Working together to keep our kids in the same schools with the same staff who are dedicated to a pathway of success I believe can begin to address the achievement gap. If the same beautiful and bright students attend the same school where they see the same teachers and staff and the families see the consistency and dedication, this  can build respect between families and schools. If this is grown and shown, communication can be developed and change can happen. 


Early Childhood Intervention - Human Services and Public Health ...

Apr 28, 2010 ... Contact Number: 612-348-TOTS (8687). Program Summary: Team of social workers, ... Call 348-TOTS (8687). Hours: 8 - 4:30, Monday - Friday ...



Thursday, February 3, 2011

educators and care givers working together to benefit child

It is so important to have a supportive school that is able to address education, social emotional and family issues/concerns of each child. When a child begins having difficulty in a certain area, it is important that school and care givers recognize together, that way they can work together for the mutual benefit of the child. Providing adequate support and love is key. Some times kids start out the school year on target but as school year continues more is expected and difficulty can arise. If child is feeling the challenge it may affect self esteem. School performance and self esteem can go hand in hand. This makes feelings of self worth questionable and without support and forward movement it can have a devastating affect on a child. A great school has great educators who can recognize changes in children early on. The earlier something is detected and supports are put in place the better the outcome. This does not mean diagnosis, special education but just can mean extra help in certain areas, pulling a child out of class to give additional support or additional work to do at home to continue building skills. Care givers and educators in consistent communication can build on skills worked on in class at home to keep child on target. Laying positive self talk to promote good self esteem, strong language, counting, letter recognition along with knowing sounds are important since they are the foundation to reading, writing and math which is needed for life. If these skills are not built or addressed early on, we are setting up our children for life struggle. Lets work together, communicate and support and love our children so the best foundation is laid.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Education Reinvestment

As our new Governor gets ready to talk education with Arnie Duncan this Friday he should keep in mind what is really important. Excellent schools for all.  In order for this to be achieved we need to step away from no child left behind which punishes the students by removing their principals and teachers if the school doesn't meet testing standards but does not address the core issues that got them to a failing point in the first place or assist in creating a pathway to success. We should be stepping forward to creating new and exciting curriculum that challenges and engages and puts all of our children on the road to success while addressing each school and communities diversity and specific needs. Adding enrichment activities, advanced placement, individual student support in addition to family and community support that meets the needs for each school plus add music class back into our schools is important. It is essential that we create a pathway from the beginning that sets all children on the road to educational and personal success. Reinvesting in our schools and our community needs really is an investment in our greatest commodity, our children, who are our future.

Who's to blame? What do we do?

Listening to KMOJ radio this morning the discussion was how do we as adults and community help keep our youngsters away from drugs when many of them are exposed to it by their parents or other family members who smoke weed and drink right in front of them and some introduce and share in smoking and drinking with their teenagers. I have spoken to many parents who say they would rather have their children smoke with them instead of out in the streets, at least they can monitor what they are doing. Is this really the role model and value system we want for our children? Is there a correlation between teen parents, teen std's, crime? How than are we shocked when our children become dealers, become sexually active or begin doing harder drugs, since many call marijuana the gateway drug? Is Marijuana a gateway drug? We as adults can say do what I say, but in truth children do what they see. Are us adults and community causing the drug addiction of our youngsters?  Are we saying it is ok? Are we the reason there are so many teen parents? Are we teaching our children destructive ways of self medication? What is our role and responsibility as adults, parents and community to our children?  

Monday, January 17, 2011


Watching children play using their imagination and creativity is extremely enjoyable and participating is a joy. These days children have so many toys, gadgets, and places to go to keep them entertained but remembering that using household things to create imaginative play is a great way to go. Blankets, pillows and chairs make great tents. Helping a child make a costume of favorite super hero brings laughter and smiles a mile wide. Going for a winter walk or just playing in the yard in the snow making snowmen and caves can be fun for hours plus it tires them out and bed time can be much easier.