Parents’ Day: Helping Parents Work, So Children Can Succeed

Parents’ Day: Helping Parents Work, So Children Can Succeed

Parents’ Day

This past Mother’s Day about $1.9 billion dollars’ worth of flowers and $2.2 billion dollars in ties and other clothing items were spent to purchase gifts on Father’s Day. So, why is it that Parents’ Day, held on the fourth Sunday in July, usually passes without anyone noticing?

Secretary Eloise Anderson

Secretary Eloise Anderson

While Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are wonderful tributes to the individual parent, it is Parents’ Day that should be more meaningful because it recognizes that kids do better when both parents are active and engaged in their lives.

Parents’ Day is also an opportunity for us to evaluate what we are doing to uplift and help parents serve as positive role models. At the Department of Children and Families (DCF) is it our job to make sure that parents who are struggling to find a job or stay employed get the support they need to flourish in the workforce and set a good example for their children. In my opinion there are few better ways for parents to be good role models than by showing their children that through hard work, they can achieve almost anything.

One of the greatest barriers to steady employment for low-income couples and single parents is the ability to find affordable child care. The cost of care is an issue for many families, but for low-income parents it can be especially burdensome. Recently, Governor Walker announced significant targeted rate increases to the Wisconsin Shares child care subsidy to take effect on October 1, 2018 with an additional general rate increase implemented in January, 2019. These rate increases continue Governor Walker’s significant investments in early childhood education following his lifting of the child care rate freeze imposed in 2006, and his reform to end the “benefit cliff” in child care assistance, so that parents receiving assistance are always better off taking a raise or accepting a promotion.

Helping low-income parents afford child care is just one way Wisconsin is ensuring that every parent who wants to work has a support system that allows them to enter, stay, and advance in the workforce.

While their probably won’t be many gifts exchanged on Sunday, if we all take a moment to think about what we are doing support parents in our community and commit to giving them a helping hand, this Parents’ Day will be more impactful than any bouquet of flowers or even the most expensive neck tie.

COMMENTARY: You Don’t Have to Break the Bank to Give Back to HBCUs

COMMENTARY: You Don’t Have to Break the Bank to Give Back to HBCUs

By Harry L. Williams

Earlier this year, a man named Jack Weldon Patrick passed away in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. A long-time lawyer, Patrick was remembered as a family man, an advocate for social justice, and a respected community leader.

One day a check arrived by mail for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) in memory of Jack Weldon Patrick. A few days later, another one arrived, and a few weeks later, another check. Individual donations kept coming to support the work of TMCF and our publicly-supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in honor of Jack. His obituary read, “in lieu of flowers the family suggests memorial donations in Jack’s name to causes he cared deeply about.” One of those causes was TMCF.

So many of us outside of TMCF headquarters and Menomonee may have never known Jack as a stalwart of access and opportunity for students attending Black colleges. Many of us aren’t even aware that Jack was part of the reason why in 2016, private giving and contracts earned by HBCUs increased for a second straight year, posting a four-year high of $320 million. But we do know he was a living embodiment of the famous quote by Nelson Henderson: “The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”

While philanthropic anonymity is honorable, philanthropic leadership helps organizations like TMCF reach new supporters, encouraging new donor circles to give. Showcasing the faces and stories of those who give is an important tool in cultivating similar donors, encouraging a culture of giving around our campuses. This is a critical strategy that grows an organization’s base of support every year. For non-profit organizations, individual giving is the largest type of charitable gift – four times the amount as the next largest category in 2015, according to Giving USA.

Organizations like TMCF thrive due to the generosity of individuals who believe in our work and want to expand our impact, through monthly and annual donations, as well as the legacy gift. TMCF combines these individuals’ gifts with foundation grants and partnerships with major corporations and government agencies to provide the funds that allow us to transform lives. It takes a philanthropic village to develop young minds, and we are humbled to be good stewards of the resources that our donors and partners entrust to us.

TMCF, its 47 member-schools and the nearly 300,000 students attending them each year, want to play a role in redefining HBCU philanthropy and support. The data on finances and the number of degrees we produce in areas like STEM, education, social sciences and criminal justice already show just how productive HBCUs continue to be in graduating Black students. Seventy percent of our publicly-supported HBCUs attendees are first generation college students (like I was) and eligible for Pell Grants. In comparison, the national average is only 37 percent for all public schools. By providing this quality education, students transform their lives and prepare to enter economically sustainable careers. Now TMCF wants to illustrate that same culture within our giving networks.

Anyone believing in the power of education to transform lives should invest in HBCUs. This includes alumni who want to have a tangible way to support their schools. All people in our networks at work, at church, in our communities, fraternities and sororities, and other circles of activity are worthy of soliciting for support. Age, earnings and personality are not elements for disqualifying those who might be willing to give, or those who have the capacity to do so.

So today, we honor one man—Jack Weldon Patrick—and his commitment to HBCUs, and we thank his friends and family for their continued investment in the work of TMCF. We hope his example encourages others to consider impacting people’s lives by supporting our nation’s HBCUs.

Summer Reading Programs Coming To An End, But It Doesn’t Stop There

Summer Reading Programs Coming To An End, But It Doesn’t Stop There

By Barney Blakeney

South Carolina Reading Partners in two weeks will wind up its summer reading program at Charleston’s Arthur Christopher Gymnasium after having spent the past month helping participants in the gym’s annual “Jump To It” summer camp prevent ‘Summer Slide’ reading skills loss. The program ends July 26. A second site at Hunley Park Elementary School in North Charleston began June 11 and ends July 19.

Reading is the foundation for all future learning and early reading skills are imperative for success in school and life. Most of Reading Partners’ work is done during the school year as volunteers are paired with students who on average meet twice weekly. The California-based program operates at 17 Title 1 schools in Charleston and Berkeley counties. All but four of the schools are located in Charleston County School District.

Kim Williams Odom, community engagement associate, said some 800 students have participated in the program. Reading Partners went into communities this summer to help ensure the progress those students experienced might be extended to others. “Summer Slide” is the tendency for students, especially those from low-income families, to lose some of the achievement gains they made during the previous school year.

Literature demonstrates that reading over the summer stems summer slide. Children in low socioeconomic families can benefit most from summer reading programs. Survey results are compelling, demonstrating that children’s enjoyment of reading, reading skills, and reading by choice often increased after participating in summer reading, especially among families participating in summer reading for the first time and parents of children ages 4-6.

Odom hopes the intervention will be continual. The program needs volunteers and books. The longer the free voluntary reading is practiced, the more consistent and positive the results. Preventing summer slide is most effective when community organizations work together to encourage kids to read, make reading fun, and to teach families about the importance of reading over the summer.

Odom is asking for volunteers to participate next school year. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, only about one-third of our nation’s fourth graders can read proficiently. Once students start to fall behind in reading, they tend to fall faster and further behind their peers with every year. Nationwide, only 20 percent of low-income students, and 34 percent of students overall, are reading proficiently by the fourth grade. In South Carolina, currently four out of five fourth graders from low-income families cannot read at grade level.

The sessions are a little more than simply reading with a child; volunteers follow a proven, structured curriculum to help students learn specific skills. It’s simple, and it works, Odom says. Each lesson comes with step-by-step instructions and materials and a trained site coordinator is always available to answer questions, assist with the materials, and solve problems.

For more information, to donate books or to volunteer those interested should contact Reading Partners at

‘Juuling’ and Teenagers:  3 Things Principals and Teachers Need to Know

‘Juuling’ and Teenagers: 3 Things Principals and Teachers Need to Know


Education Week logoA trendy product that has stirred concern among many child health advocates went undetected in many school hallways, bathrooms, and even classrooms when students first started using it.

The tiny device, called a Juul, looks more like a USB drive than what it actually is, a form of e-cigarette that allows students to inhale flavored nicotine vapor, often without detection by adults.

Here’s what educators need to know about “juuling” (and vaping in general).

‘Juuling’ can be really difficult for teachers and principals to detect.

Students have become really crafty about concealing their vaping habits, principals told Education Week.

The device’s flavor cartridges come in kid-friendly varieties like mango, creme brulee, and gummi bear. And the scents they give off are not always immediately recognizable to unfamiliar adults, principals say…

There’s also a whole juuling culture online, where students share YouTube videos of how to hollow out highlighters to conceal the compact devices, and how to slide them up shirt sleeves. There are even covert videos of students taking quick puffs in the back of their high school classrooms. And some companies now market specially designed apparel that allow vapers to use their device while it is concealed in the drawstring of a hoodie or the strap of a backpack.

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Most Teens Won’t Have Jobs This Summer, Study Finds

Most Teens Won’t Have Jobs This Summer, Study Finds

By Sarafina Wright, Washington Informer Staff Writer

The proportion of teenagers in the U.S. summer labor force declined for two decades while the number of legal and illegal immigrants holding a job has more than doubled, a new report from Center for Immigration Studies states.

As the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business associations lobby Congress for increases in legal immigration, seasonal workers in particular, the study found the decline in summer employment has affected teenagers from every segment of society.

“The evidence indicates that immigration has likely accounted for a significant share of the decline in teen labor force participation,” wrote Steven Camarota, the center’s director of research. “The decline in teen work is worrisome because research shows that those who do not hold jobs as teenagers often fail to develop the work habits necessary to function in the labor market, creating significant negative consequences for them later in life.”

In the summer of 2017, 41 percent of U.S.-born teenagers counted in the labor force, but just 35 percent held a job, according to the report.

“In 2018, we project only a slight improvement to 42 percent in the labor force and 36 percent actually working — both levels well below what they used to be,” the center said. “Immigrants and teenagers often do the same kind of work. In the summer of 2017, in the 25 occupations employing the most U.S.-born teenagers, more than one in five workers was an immigrant.”

The report stated that over time in 10 states where immigrants increased as the large share of workers, labor force participation of U.S.-born teenagers declined by 26 percentage points.

“The most likely reason immigrants displace U.S.-born teenagers is that the vast majority of immigrants are skilled adults — relatively few people migrate before age 20,” the center said. “This gives immigrants a significant advantage over U.S.-born teenagers who typically have much less work experience.”

This article originally appeared in The Washington Informer.

NNPA ESSA Educator Spotlight: Millennial Jarren Small Brings Innovation to Education with “LegendsDoLive”

NNPA ESSA Educator Spotlight: Millennial Jarren Small Brings Innovation to Education with “LegendsDoLive”

By Lynette Monroe (Program Assistant, NNPA ESSA Public Awareness Campaign)

Jarren Small, a 28 year-old, Missouri City native and community activist, stopped asking, “Why not?” and became the answer that he was looking for when he launched the non-profit organization LegendsDoLive.

In 2014, without any major partners, Small founded LegendsDoLive, an organization committed to funding and coordinating community-based programs for disadvantaged youth.

As a charismatic adolescent, Small was active in various extracurricular activities. He attended Hightower High School, played basketball and earned awards through the Media and Broadcasting Academy. In 2008, Jarren became an Eagle Scout. He credits his accomplishments to the positive impact of his parents’ consistent engagement and strategic exposure to diverse environments.

Shrugging his shoulders, Small downplayed his impressive list of academic and extracurricular accolades.

“Yeah, I guess I was kind of a cool kid in certain aspects,” Small said.

Ironically, Small’s many accomplishments were nearly overshadowed by his difficulty with standardized testing.

“Everyone thought I had it all together, but I failed to pass the math portion of the state standardized test,” called the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS), Small said. “I passed the Math TAKS by one point—my fourth time. I felt like [God] was giving me one final chance to get it together.”

After high school, Small attended Prairie View A & M University in Prairie View, Texas, an hour’s drive to northwest of Missouri City.

“I did very well at [Prairie View A & M University],” Small said. “It was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.”

And once again, Small was quite the standout student. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in mass communication with a minor in marketing. As an undergraduate, he led a movement to bring the first panther statue to campus in reverence of the university’s founding fathers. Small served as the student government association president from 2011 to 2012.

Small’s collegiate career was a stark contrast to the challenges he had faced just a few years earlier as a graduating senior.

When asked if his difficulty with testing was a defining moment, Small responded: “I feel like my entire life has led to this point, like everything I’ve been through and all the experiences I’ve had have been preparation for what I am doing right now.”

Fortunately, for other future leaders like Jarren Small, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), national education law signed by President Barack Obama, seeks to alleviate the burden of ineffective testing. ESSA gives states more flexibility to decide what type of assessments they issue. ESSA also allows states to develop “innovative” assessments or to use other nationally recognized tests like the SAT or ACT.

Small said that children are the nucleus of communities and that the success of our schools is the key to community sustainability.

Smiling, Small explained that, “Kids are not the future; they are the right now.”

The development of positive resources to support children offers a tangible solution to many concerns facing inner-city communities, Small said.

Small emphasized that his methods and approach to education are resources that all students can benefit from.

Likewise, ESSA requires states to prioritize stakeholder engagement in an attempt to better meet the educational needs of local populations in lieu of the national one-size-fits all academic standards promoted by its predecessor, the No Child Left Behind Act, signed into law by President George W. Bush.

Currently, LegendsDoLive works primarily with high school students. This year, their widely anticipated annual “Senior Fest” included an all-star basketball game between Hightower High School and Ridge Point High School, followed by an empowerment forum and concert.

“This concert is happening during school. Something like this has never been done before,” Small explained, as he expounded on the innovation required to engage today’s youth.”

More than 600 students participated in the event. Small said getting students to participate in positive, educational events is not as difficult, as some people might think.

“It’s easy,” Small explained. “You just have to listen to them and then give them what they ask for.”

Small said that he’s applying this same attitude to his newest education focus: literacy. In May, LegendsDoLive launched a hip-hop curriculum called “Reading With a Rapper” to promote reading and writing proficiency. This program is a response to Small’s educational approach of listening to children first and then responding to their needs.

Let’s hope that Small’s enthusiasm about innovative approaches to education radiates throughout the nation as it has in the Houston-metropolitan area.

For more information about the Every Student Succeeds Act, visit

Lynette Monroe is the program assistant for the NNPA’s Every Student Succeeds Act Public Awareness Campaign and a master’s student at Howard University. Her research areas are public policy and national development. Follow Lynette on Twitter @_monroedoctrine.

HISD thanks Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority for Harvey efforts

HISD thanks Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority for Harvey efforts

Defender Network Logo

This week, HISD joined with more than 20,000 members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated to publicly thank them for donating thousands of dollars to district students and staff in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

During Houston’s time of devastation, Alpha Kappa Alpha — one of the oldest African-American and Greek letter organizations — provided thousands of dollars in donations, as well as clothes, shoes, nonperishable food items, toiletries, and school supplies that were distributed districtwide to those impacted by the storm.

Members of local chapters also volunteered at donation sites and distribution centers across the city.

“The members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. immediately came to our aid following Hurricane Harvey,” said HISD Board of Education Trustee Wanda Adams, who served as board president during the storm. “The international president of the sorority, Dorothy Buckhanan Wilson, sent out a notice to her members asking them to direct aid and support to HISD students. The ladies answered in a big way by donating countless supplies and resources.”

Adams joined with Board of Education President Rhonda Skillern-Jones, Trustee Jolanda Jones and Interim Superintendent Dr. Grenita Lathan on Monday to present a resolution of appreciation to the organization during their 68th annual Boule. The Boule — the largest of its kind in the country — is an annual international conference that provides women with networking opportunities, leadership training, and development. It was held at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

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New workshop: Sensory Storytime Programs

New workshop: Sensory Storytime Programs


CHICAGO—ALA Publishing eLearning Solutions announces an exciting new workshop, Sensory Storytime Programs with Jennifer Roy. This workshop will last 90 minutes and take place at 2:30pm Eastern/1:30 Central/12:30 Mountain/11:30am Pacific on Wed., July 25, 2018.

For children with autism or sensory processing issues, a visit to their library’s storytime can be overwhelming and challenging for both parents and children. With as many as 1 in 59 children with autism according to the CDC, libraries across the country have begun to recognize and meet this need for an alternative storytime offering.

Whether you are thinking about starting sensory storytime or are looking to enhance your existing program, this workshop provides you with practical ideas for creating an interactive and responsive program that works for your community.

Jennifer Roy, an experienced children’s librarian, introduces you to sensory processing disorders and offers practical strategies so you can better connect with this target audience. Using step-by-step instructions, Roy teaches you how to structure a sensory storytime program and provides suggestions for selecting books, music, and materials for a range of budget and staffing considerations. You’ll walk away with the knowledge to set goals and objectives for the program that will help define and evaluate success.

About the Instructor

For 20 years, Jennifer Roy has been working with children in public libraries across the country and briefly in the United Kingdom. She has launched new services, reimagined spaces, and established productive partnerships. She earned her MLIS from San Jose State University in California and her BS in Early Childhood Education from Framingham State University in Massachusetts. With a special interest in early literacy, she has worked with non-profit groups, such as Reach Out and Read, Reading is Fundamental, and Imagination Library. She has created and led training programs for library staff at the branch, system, county, and state levels, including the creation of training manuals and evaluation tools. She currently works as an independent library consultant with a focus on training youth services professionals.

Registration for this ALA Publishing eLearning Solutions Workshop is available on the ALA Store. You can purchase registration at both individual and group rates.

ALA Publishing eLearning Solutions Workshops offer a convenient, hands-on learning experience that will help you and your colleagues make the best decisions for your library. This workshop is licensed for use by staff or users of the purchasing institution or library organization.

ALA Publishing eLearning Solutions (ELS) produces high-quality professional development events and materials for the library profession. ELS events cover modern issues on a wide variety of topics in formats that include live workshops, asynchronous eCourses, and print publications. We help ensure that today’s library employees have access to the professional development opportunities they need, whether they are brushing up on the basics or expanding their horizons with cutting-edge tools. Contact us at

ALA Store purchases fund advocacy, awareness, and accreditation programs for library professionals worldwide.

Trump Ed. Dept. Announces New Career and Technical Education Grants

Trump Ed. Dept. Announces New Career and Technical Education Grants

Education Week logoStates: Got an idea for supporting the transition for high school Career and Technical Education students into postsecondary education and the workforce? The U.S. Department of Education wants to hear from you.

The department has created a new, $3 million grant program aimed at helping states provide apprenticeships in STEM fields (that’s science, technology, engineering, and math) during high school. The deadline to apply is July 17. The department will be holding a webinar on the program on June 5, 2018.
You can register for it here.

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