Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Halloween

Radio Commentary

Halloween comes this Friday, and it is a favorite day for young and old alike.
   
However, adults should take precautions to make sure that the children who go out “trick or treating” have a safe, enjoyable evening.
  
For starters, parents should make sure children wear well-fitted clothing and shoes.  Children should be encouraged to use makeup rather than masks that can obstruct their vision in the dark.

Children should also carry flashlights, and wear light-colored costumes that can easily been seen by drivers.

Children should be selective regarding the homes they visit, and it’s best to have at least one adult accompany each group of children.
  
If children are old enough to be out on their own, parents should know the general path they plan to take. All children should have a specific time limit for when they are to return.

There are also several “don’ts” for children to heed:  Children should not enter any home; they should stay outside, on the front steps.
  
They should go only to homes that have lights on. They should not eat any candy before an adult inspects it. Unwrapped items should be pitched.

Make sure children know to be on the lookout for cars when they cross streets and driveways.

Finally, adults should remember to take extra precautions when driving on Halloween night because children will be everywhere.

It can be a safe, harmless, enjoyable evening for all who take part if simple precautions are followed.  

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

THRIVE Santa Barbara County attends StriveTogether National Conference

News release

Representatives from THRIVE Santa Barbara County joined more than 400 educators, elected officials, community leaders, business executives, nonprofit professionals, and policymakers at the fifth national StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network Convening from Oct. 15-17 in San Diego, California.

“Through this convening, all of the cradle to career partnerships have the opportunity to network and share collective impact lessons from around the country,” said THRIVE Leadership Roundtable Chair, Paul Cordeiro, superintendent of the Carpinteria Unified School District. “We are excited to have this opportunity to share our experiences and to learn what others are doing. Candid discussions about successes and challenges help us all to provide the maximum benefit to our students and communities.”

The StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network brings together cross-sector leaders who are committed to improving educational outcomes for children. Representing more than 50 community partnerships in 28 states and Washington, D.C., attendees at the sold-out event discussed best practices and experiences to unite communities around shared goals, measures, and results in education. StriveTogether’s Cradle to Career Network connects more than 8,000 organizations throughout more than 50 partnerships. Together, the Network impacts more than 5.5 million students. During the past year, StriveTogether’s collective impact approach has gained national attention from the Stanford Social Innovation Review, the U.S. Department of Education, and the White House.

THRIVE Project Manager Laura Camp said, “We are honored to be one of the cradle to career efforts recognized nationally for our work, and to be supported in Santa Barbara County by people with long-term vision and dedication to improving educational outcomes for our children.”

THRIVE Santa Barbara County marks the first time public schools, government agencies, public charities, businesses, private foundations, and other key stakeholders have come together in a long-term partnership to focus on achieving systemic change that will ensure the success of all children in Santa Barbara County. THRIVE offers the leaders of the many excellent youth programs and organizations throughout the county a structured way to share data and align resources around common outcomes so that all children will have the best opportunities in life.

Key outcomes for success on the THRIVE pathway: Kindergarten Readiness, English & Language Arts Literacy, Mathematics Proficiency, College/Career Readiness, Post-Secondary Enrollment, and Post-Secondary Completion.


For more information, contact Laura Camp, THRIVE Project Manager at 964-4710, ext. 4400 or thrive@sbceo.org, or visit www.thrivesbc.org.

Reaching kids

Radio Commentary

There is a quote I really like that says: “Either we teach our children, or we abandon the future to chance and nonsense.”

You don’t have to tell that to parents or educators. Both groups are well aware of the responsibilities they shoulder.

A Gallup Poll on Americans’ attitudes toward public schools reconfirmed a perception that has held steady for more than two decades: the public gives only average marks to the nation’s public schools, but predominantly As or Bs to the schools their own children attend.

We hear reports about the demise of public education, but what parents see for their own children — for whom they are the world’s harshest critics — they rate above average or excellent. Think about that.

Educators recognize that challenges remain, and that until all students reach their potential, closing the achievement gap, work remains.

The one irrefutable truth we have learned from educational research over the years is that every child learns differently. Some must read information to “get” it. Others must hear it, and others need hands-on approaches.

Still others do much better in small groups, while some require the one-to-one attention of a teacher or tutor. Most need a mix of techniques.

The trick for educators lies in identifying the needs for each student and providing strategies to meet those various needs. Not an easy task.

Reform efforts continue. I’ve always considered teachers our unsung heroes and heroines for the work they do, every day, to reach and teach our children. They deserve our support.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Parent role

Radio Commentary

It’s good to remember that parents can play a major role in helping prepare children for the challenges of homework and class work:
  • Make sure your child begins each day with a good breakfast, and arrange to have snacks and other meals at regular times. This helps small bodies adjust and react at maximum capacity.
  • Inform your child of your schedule at home and on the job. This helps establish a sense of time, consistency and order.
  • Read with your child every day that you can. Newspapers, short stories, and books can all be the basis of enjoyable shared experiences.
  • If possible, set aside a specific time each day for homework.
Tell your child that homework is a number one priority, and make sure you mean it. But also remember to be flexible if soccer practice or band tryouts fall during homework time.  Together, set a new time for that day.

Don’t do your children’s homework, but be sure he or she knows you are available for help.  Serve as a “consultant.”

When your child is studying for a test, discourage “cramming” the night before.  Instead, ask your child to bring a textbook home every other night and teach you what he or she has learned in school.
  
The most important point for parents to remember, at all times, is that their own positive attitude toward homework, teachers, and school can have great influence on their child’s success.

And that’s the bottom line for all of us. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Leadership

Radio Commentary

Leadership and service aren’t limited to public roles, according to author Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund.

In fact, she argued that the strongest leadership and most effective service can come from the way individuals handle themselves, day to day, in their normal interactions with others.

In a book for her children, she wrote: “Be a quiet servant-leader and example. You have a role to exercise ... every minute of the day.”

She explained how in the most common of circumstances we can seize the opportunity to resist what is negative and set an example for what can be positive.

She wrote:  “Have you ever noticed how one example — good or bad — can prompt others to follow?

“How one illegally parked car can give permission for others to do likewise?

“How one racial joke can fuel another?

“How one sour person can dampen a meeting?”

Edelman writes that the opposite is also true. “One positive person can set the tone in an office or school. Just doing the right and decent thing can set the pace for others to follow.”

We could all benefit by being one of those people who models positive behavior.
  
Edelman writes: “America is in urgent need of a band of moral guerrillas who simply decide to do what is right, regardless of the immediate consequences.”

This is wonderful advice for young and old alike.