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Bill Gates and Teacher Effectiveness

Bill Gates, entrepreneur turned philanthropist, says: “Measuring the effectiveness of teachers is vital to creating better schools. He says better measuring will empower teachers to do their best.”

I believe it is a good idea to give teachers ample opportunities to receive feedback on techniques that will enhance learning for all students. However, one must keep in mind not all schools are created equal. Consequently, school districts have a monumental job in figuring how they should implement and measure effective teaching.

Imagine working in a school where most of the students get very little support from home. Is it  fair to assume teachers are not effective because students do not fare well on standardized tests? On the other hand, what happens in a school where students get ample support from home? Research has shown that there is a huge correlation between student achievement and parental support. Even though, it is a great idea to measure teacher effectiveness, but we must consider all the facts before moving forward.

There is one more important factor that I think is critical in helping teachers become effective leaders. To set students up for success a teacher can’t do it alone. He or she needs the support of the principal. The principal sets the tone. During my 25 years of teaching, I experienced firsthand what it is like to have a bad principal. Teaching is hard, and it becomes more challenging when you get very little support from administration. A little bit of encouragement from a caring principal goes a long way.

I consider myself very lucky to be working at a high school where there is a lot of parental support. I love Denver South High School, where I currently teach French and Spanish. There are several reasons why I love my new job:

· The principal is a great leader who treats me with the utmost respect
· The parents are very supportive of their children
· The student body is very diverse
· The faculty and staff are very supportive of each other

I have a great amount of respect for Mr. Gates and his dedication to support the Measures of Effective teaching, or MET, project. Go here to find out more about the MET project.

Article first published as Bill Gates and Teacher Effectiveness on Blogcritics.

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Writing article titled – TURN YOUR BAD EXPERIENCES INTO A BEST-SELLING BOOK -PART TWO – from U Publish free articles. – Summary – Parents and teachers can learn how to help children deal with important issues such as bullying and racial discrimination in the classroom.


Turn Your Bad Experiences into a Best- Selling Book- Part One – written by Nicole Marie Weaver

Writing article titled – Turn Your Bad Experiences into a Best- Selling Book- Part One – from U Publish free articles. – Summary – Learn to let go of bad experiences by writing about them. Writing can be very therapeutic and it will help heal emotional wounds.

via Turn Your Bad Experiences into a Best- Selling Book- Part One – written by Nicole Marie Weaver.

How to Become an Amazon Top 100 Best-Selling Author – written by Nicole Marie Weaver

Writing article titled – How to Become an Amazon Top 100 Best-Selling Author – from U Publish free articles. – Summary – Learn basic tips on how to publish on Amazon\’s CreateSpace .

via How to Become an Amazon Top 100 Best-Selling Author – written by Nicole Marie Weaver.


I do not like spending too much time wallowing in things I have zero control over. Today I found myself knee deep in thoughts about a topic that sends chills up and down my spine. It is not my favorite topic, but after reading Carolyn Meyer’s book White Lilacs and an article about Darrel Brown, I felt compelled to write about my least favorite topic: Racism.

Reading Meyer’s book and the article about Darrel Brown forced me to think about my own experiences with racism. I tried my best to suppress the dormant feelings, but human nature prevailed and steered me in a direction I did not want to go.

Carolyn Meyer’s book chronicled a very dark part of American history. The novel is about true events of a black community in Denton, Texas. The white residents wanted all the blacks to relocate to a new location so they can build a park. The whites did not care that they were destroying the lives of the black people. The worst part is the blacks had no choice but to relocate to the worst section of Dillon Texas. How degrading.

The article about Darrell Brown is even more heart wrenching. A young African American male determined to be the first to integrate football in Arkansas met nothing but one defeat after another.

“Players and assistant coaches freely used racial slurs, a fact denied by none of Brown’s half-dozen teammates interviewed. Some even recalled chants and catcalls. And there was always the kickoff drill to knock him down.”

Racism is a very complex thing. It eats at you like a cancer. It demoralizes you. You have to be very strong to recover from what it does to you mentally.

I have so much respect for Darrell Brown for not giving up, but it gets to a point where one must re-examine ones motives. Darrell reached that point when he got hurt and no one came to his aid.

“Three weeks into practice, during one drill, Brown jammed his thumb and tore the cartilage. He howled in pain. No trainer came to him. They never did. Brown tried to block out the pain until his knee bent awkwardly during a hitting drill, causing a sprain and some torn cartilage. He hobbled to the side, again, he said, without a trainer paying him any mind.

For the first time he was not just hurt, he was injured. He couldn’t stand up. His thumb was killing him. His knee was beginning to swell. Practice ended with no one asking his condition. There was no medical attention. Brown limped to the locker room, undressed and eventually hauled himself up the hill to the campus infirmary for treatment. It was the only place that would see him.”

After getting hurt Brown realized it was time to move on.

As a black female in America, I too have experienced my share of racism. I remembered my first encounter with racism came about as a freshman in high school. Enrolled in the college-bound program, my English teacher made it a point to never give me the “A” I had earned. I worked very hard and made 100% in every test I took. She gave me a “B” instead of the “A.” I went and asked why I got a B on my report card. Her response: “I want you to continue to work hard,” she said. I walked away feeling totally baffled and confused.

Well, I continued to work hard and kept getting high marks, but much to my dismay. She continued to give me a “B” on my report card. The final blow was when I learned she had given my white classmates “A’s” even though they did not earn the grades.

I think she wanted me to drop out of the college-bound program. I was one of the two blacks in the program. I am not a quitter; I did not let this mean-spirited teacher deter me from achieving my goals.

My second encounter with racism occurred during college.  Many of my professors routinely used racial slurs. The one that really cut me through the bone: “You know studies have shown that blacks are inherently inferior to whites in intelligence”

This is what my professor said during a lecture. Being the only person of color in the class, everyone turned and looked at me. I wanted to slap that professor, but I realized I should not stoop down to her level of disrespect.

Then came the debacle with my name not appearing on the honor roll list. I spoke to the dean about why my name was left off, his response: “Sorry it was an accident. Truth be told, it was done intentionally.

I endured every obstacle thrown my way. I graduated with a bachelor of arts in French and Spanish with a minor in psychology. Proud as a peacock, I opened and looked at my diploma and discovered that the official seal of the president was missing. I knew right away why. Of course, I checked the diplomas of my white classmates; sure enough, all of theirs had the seal.

I must also be honest and mention that some of my professors treated me with the utmost respect. I quickly learned some people are just plain mean, but others do have a heart. I will never, ever forget my French professor who was originally from France. Lucky for me she really liked me a lot, and with her guidance, my self-esteem soared like an eagle. She wrote a glowing recommendation for me. Because of her, I got a full ride scholarship to study abroad with Syracuse University in Strasbourg, France. I lived with a French family and got a chance to travel all over Europe. That experience helped me expand my horizons. I learned through firsthand experience to appreciate other people and cultures.

What I learned while living in France helped shape the person I am today. As I ponder upon events of my past, I cannot help but be thankful for the men and women who have made many sacrifices so racism is not as bad as it once was. America has made much progress, but there is always room for improvement.
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I always take time each year to reflect on the true meaning of Black History Month. Martin Luther King Junior paid a monumental price and that is why we can celebrate Black History Month. I am very thankful for that. I often ponder on many other things as well, like how far we have come and where we are going. One thing that always leaves me feeling blue is the number of African American youths who have fallen through the cracks. Most of these youths drop out of school because they do not have the right parental support. How unfortunate is that? There must be a way to make a difference in the lives of these youths.

The sobering truth, as harsh as it may appear, is that unless someone steps in to make a difference most of these youths will end up in jail.

This year of 2011 I am feeling extremely hopeful, because at the school where I currently teach, my principal, Mr. Allen Smith, has taken his leadership to a level I have never seen before. I applaud him very loudly. To start off the school year, Mr. Smith had the faculty return to school two days early. During the two days the staff sat through a very powerful training program called: Education Done the Right Way…Through Relationships.

What do relationships mean to the student? Perhaps school is the only place where he or she feels safe and where an adult actually does care about his or her wellbeing. In order to teach the students at our school, the faculty needs to reach out and build relationships with them. A great leader sees the need and finds ways to help meet those needs. This is why I so appreciate Mr. Allen Smith: he saw a need and made sure to set up his faculty with the necessary training so they can provide the best for all students.

A word of caution: Building relationships does not mean putting into full use the prejudice of low expectations. The last thing we need to do is to feel sorry for these students and let them get away with murder. One can build relationships and still hold the students accountable for their actions. It is the loving thing to do, because anything else will set up these students for failure later on when they become adults. I love Denzel Washington’s statement in the movie Remember the Titans, where he said: “Do not patronize these kids; you will set them up for failure.”

It is never easy to reach every single student. There are a few who are definitely set in their ways and they make it very difficult for the teacher to teach. At the onset of second semester, I had a difficult time with a few students. I had resigned myself to thinking that perhaps there was no way I could help these students. Well, much to my delight, Mr. Allen Smith flew in a guest speaker, Jason L. Perry from Oak Tree Leadership, to speak to the faculty. What Mr. Perry shared infused me with a renewed vigor to reach out to these difficult students. Once again through this training I learned that rules without relationship lead to rebellion. Education is about relationship and friendship. I applied what I learned and thus was able to reach these difficult students.

Mr. Smith has taken his unrelenting desire to help the students at Martin Luther King Jr. Early College to an even higher level by hiring a new assistant principal who in my opinion has the students’ best interest at heart. Mr. Nick Dawkins, a Belfer scholar who also attended a summer programme in literature at Oxford University, is doing an outstanding job helping the teachers with behavioral issues. Just last week, he held a special meeting with a group of boys who were making it extremely difficult to teach.

The meeting proved to be very productive because the boys returned to class with a new attitude. They sat down and completed their work. Today, after a four-day holiday weekend, the same students returned to class, sat down, and did their work.

I am feeling very hopeful that at Martin Luther King Jr. Early College in Denver, Colorado Martin Luther King’s dream is being realized. As a school we strive to make each day a success. Yes! We do encounter challenges, but we never give up.

So in celebration of Black History Month I want to say thank you to Mr. Allen Smith and Mr. Nick Dawkins for their great leadership.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”  – Martin Luther King Jr

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Article first published as Steps to Help Raise Globally Sensitive Children on Blogcritics.


Would you like your children to grow up knowing about other cultures?  If you answered yes, here are a few things you can do to help your children become globally sensitive. 

Firstly, enroll your child in a foreign language class.  It is a very good idea to expose your children to a foreign language at an early age.  The study of a foreign language will teach your child not only the language but about the culture of that country.   There are many long term benefits in doing this.  Statistics have shown that the earlier you learn a language, the easier it is for an individual to master that language.

A child who starts language learning early on will do much better in that language when he or she is ready to attend high school.  Many colleges require a minimum of three years of a foreign language before you can be considered for admittance.  Additionally, a student with prior language exposure will be able to take   advanced placement level classes by the time he or she is a senior.   A student taking AP classes can accrue college credits while in high school.  My niece graduated from college in three years because she took AP classes while in high school.

Secondly, if you have the financial means visit a foreign country.  Travelling can open a brand new world to children, thus opening the doors to see from firsthand experience what other people are like.   Another option is perhaps going on a mission trip with a church group.  A mission trip is real eye opener not only for children but for adults too. 

Thirdly, you can bring another culture and country into your child’s life without leaving your home by sponsoring an exchange student.   There are agencies that will help you locate a suitable student to help meet your specific needs.   There are even grant programs sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.  International educational exchange is the best way to foster mutual understanding between people around the world.  I lived with a French family in France; I still keep in touch with them to this day.  My daughter recently returned from spending the semester in Lausanne, Switzerland.  After her semester of studies ended, she visited with my former host family for two weeks. 

 My daughter helped expand my former host family’s English language skills and understanding of American culture while she learned about the French way of life.  No textbook or movie can do this as effectively as being there in person.

Raising globally responsible children can be a fun adventure.  I believe everyone will benefit from this important endeavor.  In the end we can find joy and peace in knowing we have done our part in making the world a much better place for future generations.


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