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Wednesday
Mar222017

Being Black at School Gala

I'm so pleased with the work that's come out of Being Black at School. I admit that when I first started off on this venture that I wasn't sure where it would lead. Everyone has great ideas about education and some of them are entirely doable. Others, well, let me say here that I bit off a lot and I don't regret any of it. Most of what I'd like to work on in education comes from my 2+ decades of work in it and that includes undergraduate school and student teaching. 

What I noticed, right away, about education is how well we do some things and how poorly we do others. I am reminded, however, that working in education means working in a white institution that was built for white students and is lead, overwhelmingly, by white educators. This is problematic for so many reasons that I'm not even inclined to begin listing them since I've spoken so much about racism in the system for years. 

That said, I'm really proud of the undertaking of sustainability of Being Black at School. Not only did two team members, Joseph Cook and Colin McGinnis, join me right away but my friends and a few new supporters have looked at what we're trying to accomplish and asked, "How can I help?" This means the world to me because my voice is trusted in this space and although I could go on about teaching and learning, best practices, using data for assessment, assessment for learning, and so on... I am more passionate about the work to include multicultural curriculum and frameworks for cultural competency than I've ever been.

While in the system, it was hard to change it. I bumped my head a lot on the glass ceiling that is for women in the workplace but there's another glass ceiling for Black folks that made me look at some of my colleagues with the appropriate side-eye they deserved. The book I'm writing is now about 5,000 words short of being complete. That's been a labor of both love and disdain, I admit. Pouring over my journals about my experiences in schools isn't as cathartic as one might imagine. 

Some days, writing is just downright painful when you re-live your own life. 

That said, I have no book title yet but every speech I've given in the past month (and the travel and speaking engagements have been OFF THE CHARTS) leads me to the working title of I'm Telling On Errbody. It always gets a laugh, but the audience always laughs knowing that there are a lot of secrets in systems but I'm not one who will keep them. 

We are absolutely to blame for the school-to-prison pipeline. That doesn't happen in a vacuum and it's not some arbitrary "no one can tell what it looks like" mystery, either. There's a lot of missed opportunities to learn this and a lot of deflection and sometimes the simple things that seem innocent are, actually, nefarious. 

Like the time a group of teachers asked me to please contact parents for our upcoming parent teacher conferences and wrote a list of "academic" students and a list of "behavior" students. 

The behavior students were incredibly offensive since 80% of them were Black students. 

I hope my Chicago and Chicago-adjacent friends consider joining us for this night, hosted by Ernest Wilkins with performances by Scott Woods and Britt Julious. There are some prizes, awards, good food and drink, and music throughout the night. 

 

You can get your tickets here. Please consider joining us to celebrate the work of two women Doing the Work, Dr. Eve Ewing and Monica Haslip. 

Purchase t-shirts and mugs to support our work here.  

Details: April 1, 2017 at The Currency Exchange Cafe in Chicago. 

 

Wednesday
Mar152017

Dr. Christopher Emdin's 2017 SXSW Keynote

Monday
Feb272017

WeeSchool Baby App or How I'm Learning All Over Again

This is a sponsored post in partnership with WeeSchool. All opinions my own. Download the WeeSchool App here by June 1, and you can register for free, lifetime access to all premium WeeSchool content and features

 

When I started blogging over 10 years ago, I rarely talked about my children in a way that showed how I parented them. Or, at least that’s what I thought. What I realized, later, was that every thing I was sharing actually had some facet of my parenting and it came out anyway. Whether it was about I responded to my daughter as she wanted an expensive dress for homecoming or how I was attending parent-teacher conferences, I was discussing parenting. 

 


Yet, I still hated the term mommy blogger. 

 

 

 

 

How appropriate, then, that I am still writing and doing so as a grandmother. GRANDMOMMYBLOGGING IS TOTALLY A THING.  

 I mean. Just LOOK at this peanut right here.

 

 

Three months ago my oldest daughter gifted us with a granddaughter (and we have another one on the way, too!) who has brought a lot of joy into our lives and she spends quite a bit of time with me since we live so close to one another. The benefit, as you know, to being a grandparent is that you take things slower, have more time to consider choices, and you can send them home at the end of the day and get a full night’s rest. These are not things I was able to enjoy when raising my own children. 

We've nicknamed her Mugsy and she's just giving me all my life right now. Here's a little video of me, her mom, and sweet Mugsy.

 

 

Video by Mason Wickham

That means I’m seeking out things to enhance her upbringing and, with technology growth as it is, have been able to find really good resources that I will be using with her. Enter WeeSchool, an all-in-one smart parenting app that provides parents with everything they need to support their wee one’s preschool readiness, as well as making parenting easier, more effective — and more fun. Sure, she’s only 3 months old now, but I’m already thinking about what it means to be preK ready because I’m also an educator. This is super important to me and I have enough background to really impress this on my daughter as she raises her own child.

 

So, what is WeeSchool? It's an app I'm using to track her growth and development and I'm also using it for educational play when Mugsy comes over on Saturdays for a visit. (Saturdays are for Gigi and Papa, the grandparent names that The Cuban and I have come up with I KNOW LIKE WE NEEDED MORE NAMES.) 

 Here are a few of the features of the WeeSchool app:  

  • More than Milestones: WeeSchool tracks your child’s development through 117 key milestones, providing research-based insights and play prompts for each so you’re not just tracking your baby’s natural development— you’re supporting it.
  • Play smart with Play Plans: The first-ever curriculum for babies from birth to age 3 may sound serious—and it is based on sound education principles—but for the parent and the child, it’s all about play, with recommended activities, toys, books and music.
  • Enrich your daily Routines, with tools created to make WeeSchool the all-in-one go-to resource, with original videos, classic musical tunes, a catalog of original ebooks, and soundtracks and soundscapes to support play time, bath time and bed time.
  • Capture your memories in the Journal: The app will automatically file your monthly photos and your milestones photos and videos into journals you can share with friends and family, or export to save it.
  • Be a smart shopper: with the WeeSchool Toy Store, which showcases the only 43 toys you need to get your child from birth to age 3 with a fully rounded learning experience! 
  • FREE PREMIUM MEMBERSHIP: Parents can sign up until June 1, 2017 to become a Charter Member and receive lifetime access to all Premium WeeSchool content and features.

WeeSchool is an app that enriches the daily routines for children with tools created to make WeeSchool the all-in-one go-to resource. There are original videos, classic musical tunes, a catalog of original ebooks, and soundtracks and soundscapes to support play time, bath time and bed time. THIS is a definite change in how I raised my own children while cobbling together the things I thought they should know in life. Most of all, I appreciate the classical music and the ease of which I can find and play them (something that was made far more difficult before smartphones!) for her while we’re having tummy time or when I’m talking to her and introducing her to sounds. 

  

Right now there is a FREE PREMIUM MEMBERSHIP for WeeSchool and parents can sign up until June 1, 2017 to become a Charter Member and receive lifetime access to all Premium WeeSchool content and features. I highly recommend this and can’t stress enough for parents to get this.

WeeSchool, if you’re wondering, is the brainchild of the creator of  Baby Einstein, Julie Clark. WeeSchool uses today’s technology to create the most complete educational content experience for babies and toddlers. WeeSchool—it’s what comes before preschool.

Since this is my second time around and I've forgotten so much, the app helps me track what Mugsy should be doing and learning each month. I had completely forgotten when babies are supposed to sit up, teethe, and a host of other things that the app is helping me keep track of to ensure she's developmentally appropriate. This is me learning all over again and I can’t stress enough how helpful WeeSchool is for me and my daughter, Mallory, as we monitor her Mugsy's growth.

I highly recommend downloading the app, if there's a baby (or grandbaby!) in your life right now. Parents (and grandparents!) (these parentheticals are out of control!) can sign up from now until June 1, 2017 to become Charter Members and to receive FREE lifetime access to all the Premium WeeSchool content.

 

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