Saturday, April 27, 2013

Dallas ISD students receive scholarships and honors at 50th annual Trailblazer awards luncheon

On March 30, 1964, the South Dallas Business and Professional Women's Club was the first black organization to hold a sit down luncheon at a major hotel in Dallas, the Holiday Inn Central. 

The brainchild of V. Alyce Foster, this prestigious, sold-out event gave public recognition to African Americans with achievements  in various areas of the community.  It was another first for Black people in Dallas that both the Dallas Morning News and the Daily Times Herald publicized news of this successful affair.

Later named for its founder, the V. Alyce Foster Trailblazer Awards Luncheon has now helped members with "Serving, Sharing and Shaping Lives the Dallas Community" for 50 years.

The first scholarships were awarded in 1974. This year, eleven area graduating seniors received scholarships, eight of whom are Dallas ISD students.  

Two of the outstanding student awards went to Aerial King and Aarelle Evans, both seniors at David W. Carter High School in District 6.  Other scholarship recipients are:
  1. LaDarria Arnold
  2. Alexis Garcia
  3. Thommeria Holmes
  4. Arianna C. Kossie
  5. Ja'Mia Mack
  6. Kylan McFail
  7. Jazmine Potts
  8. Demosthenes Sherman
  9. Victoria Upton                         
This year, fourteen Trailblazers and five President's Award winners were honored at the Wyndham Anatole Hotel.

Greg Fields, WFAA-TV and Robbie Owens, KTVT CBS 11 were Master and Mistress of Ceremonies.

The South Dallas Business and Professional Women's Club is an affiliate of The National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women's Clubs, Inc.  Marie E. Castillo is National President/CEO.  LaVerne J. Holyfield, DDS is South Central Governor.
Jacqueline Harrison serves as Dallas president.  Yvonne Upton chaired the 2013 Trailblazer Awards Luncheon.
I am grateful to have been selected to serve as Honorary Chairperson for this Golden Anniversary event "A Celebration of the Past-A Salute to the Present."

Congratulations, South Dallas Business and Professional Women's Club, Inc.!  

Thank you for what you do in our community and for Dallas ISD students.   May you continue "serving, sharing and shaping lives" for the next 50 years.



Ursula Walker
Gates Millennium Scholarship - University of Texas
Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing & Visual Arts
Adrianna C. Kossie
Youth Achievement
Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing & Visual Arts
Scholarship Winners   


Barbara Jordan Elementary School and community install a REAL School Garden

"Just remember the world is not a playground but a school room. Life is not a holiday but an education ..." Barbara Jordan
Shortly after sunrise this morning, community volunteers created a flurry of activity on the grounds of Barbara Jordan Elementary School.  Parents, students, teachers, and staff, along with FedEx, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and United Way volunteers began a day of clearing, hauling, digging, shoveling and other lawn labor to install a campus community garden.

As a result of the generous partnership, planning and support of REAL School Gardens (RSG), Barbara Jordan Elementary joins 92 elementary schools, 3,100 teachers and more than 50,000 children across North Texas who benefit from learning gardens. Barbara Jordan students will now have daily access to hands-on learning in an outdoors schoolroom.

REAL School Gardens designs and installs school gardens and "trains teachers to use them to improve  children's learning." Gardens also bring about community building "to nurture support for urban schools."

Real School Gardens believes, "when teachers take learning outdoors, children achieve greater success in school by becoming more engaged learners, more effective team members and healthier people."

Thanks to Nancy Payne, project manager, and the entire Real School Gardens team. 

We also appreciate these sponsors: FedEx, Esping Family Foundation, Rudine Family via The Communities Foundation of Texas, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. 

Principal Lucy Hopkins, the staff, faculty, students, parents and community are Excited about their REAL School Garden.  At Barbara Jordan Elementary, the garden will be another schoolroom where everyone can go and grow.




Friday, April 26, 2013

One size does not fit all

"To the millions of children whose voices are not heard."

"Every nine seconds, a student drops out of school. Why? For a majority, school was not relevant to them. The education system isn't broken - it's doing exactly what it was intended to do so - create compliant cogs in machines. It's outdated. It's dangerous. And it's suppressing millions of children around the country."

"This top-down approach to education has not and will never work. In parallel, Dov Seidman, the CEO of LRN and the author of How, put it best to the New York Times:
"The days of leading countries or companies via a one-way conversation are over. The old system of 'command and control' - using carrots and sticks - to exert power over people is fast being replaced by 'connect and collaborate' - to generate power through people."
"Alvin Toffler once remarked, "The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn."

" must learn how to face a world no one can predict ... 65 percent of today's grade-school kids may end up doing work that hasn't been invented yet."

" I asked high school dropout Nick Perez the question, "If you could create a school your younger self would attend, what would be the important part of it?"

"Freedom," he replied.

The Fallacy of a “One Size Fits All” Education

Special education students will automatically fail the STARR test - another face of rigor

This is what rigor looks like in Texas. 

What absolute absurdity will be next? This is a disgrace.
From Dallas Morning News 
New STAAR test standards guarantee some Texas special education students will fail

Staff Writer
Published: 22 April 2013 11:18 PM 

"Spring is the stressful STAAR testing season across Texas, but special education teachers and students carry extra challenges and responsibilities. Not only are those teachers responsible for designing the exams, but a new state scoring system means that some students will fail no matter what they answer.

This year, for the first time, students who are able to complete only the simplest tasks on the test will no longer pass. State officials say the standard is a way to challenge a population that was too often warehoused. Many teachers say the rule unfairly stigmatizes some students while penalizing schools, school districts and individual teachers.

There is no validity in this test that is going to help that child or is really assessing things that will help that child,” said Sara Baker, director of the Fannin County special education office that serves 10 school districts.

"Some of our students cannot perform at a performance Level 2,” said Vicky Templeton, program specialist for developmental programs for the Richardson school district. “I think it is very unfair to say that a student who can only perform at a performance level of 1 is an automatic failure.”

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