My Quest To Teach

May 25, 2012

DA Mentoring with Song and Dance

Filed under: Uncategorized — William Jackson @ 7:26 pm

DA student mentoring youth

DA student mentoring youth

DA Students directing instuction

DA Students directing instuction

DA Mentoring with Song and Dance

Pictures can be found at:

Traditional methods of mentoring do not always
apply to encouraging and empowering youth. Sometimes
creativity and ingenuity are required to influence and
reach young minds. In this age of high tech, high speed,
multitasking, academic benchmarks and assessment
standards new ways are needed to reach children to
influence academic success and social behaviors.

The students at Andrew Robinson Elementary; a Magnet
school located in Historic Springfield, where entertained,
encouraged and inspired. All this in the form of mentorship,
role modeling and teaching.

Traditional mentoring programs that are in existence
at ARE “Real Men Wear Pink” allow men/fathers the
opportunity to create Building Blocks for Success in
academics and social behaviours while students are still
in elementary school.

Statistics show that if a child can be reached in primary
and intermediate grades of elementary schools they are
less likely to fail or have social challenges. Students do
not have to come from so called poverty, depressed or
challenged neighbourhoods or homes. Children that are
in perceived stable homes or environments may also
need a little push or attention to keep them directed
on the proper path.

The men/fathers volunteer their time for “Real Men
Wear Pink” to mentor students to better guide them to
success not just academically which is important, but
social elements are also important. Even such city wide
programs as Mayor Alvin Brown’s Mayor’s
Mentors Initiative, United Way of Northeast Florida
Mentoring and Leaders in Training Program an Internship/
Mentoring Program in Jacksonville. These programs at
various levels involve business professionals seeking
to positively influence young people, to be mentors
and role models as future leaders in Jacksonville.

Andrew Robinson’s Kindergarten and Third grade students
were involved in games, song and dance as a form of
mentoring, role modeling and role playing when Douglas
Anderson School of the Arts visited.

The Douglas Anderson group called Vitamin DA an Issue
Based Theatre class uses their arts area talents.
Bonnie Harrison (M.F.A Theatre Performance) of Douglas
Anderson School of the Arts, the Vitamin DA program
that puts together scenes that encourage young people
to make positive life choices.

The interaction of these students were engaged,
involved and created a professional production and
presentation that had all students engaged.

The students at ARE participated in making safe
and healthy choices by watching dramatic scenes
about exercise, eating right, stranger danger,
bullying and setting goals for the future. The
use of interactive discussion and even group
discussion was used when ARE students were paired
in groups with DA students to talk about their
dreams for the future in careers, interests and

At the conclusion of the program students were
very appreciative of their interaction with the
DA students. This program shows that color,
nationality, ethnic background and gender does
not matter when mentoring, provide opportunities
for engaging activities that are fun, interactive
and even educational.

As Mayor Alvin Brown has stated, “Mentoring only
takes one hour a week and the reward is helping a
child reach their full potential.”
Mentors may not realize the full influence they
have on a child’s life and the lifelong influence
that is created, but the exposure, modeling, trust,
attention goes a long way to motivate a child to
reach their potential.

Pictures can be found at:
Bonnie Harrison (M.F.A Theatre Performance)
Douglas Anderson School of the Arts,
Vitamin DA program
904 346-5620 ext.133
Resources for Mentoring:
The United Way, Big Brothers Big Sisters,
Take Stock in Children, Communities in Schools,
Mayor’s Mentors Program, The Bridge of Northeast
Florida and Duval County Public Schools’
Read it Forward Jax Program,
Girls Inc. Boys and Girls Club and a host of others.

Google mentoring programs in Jacksonville, Florida
to gain a listing of mentoring opportunities.


May 24, 2012

May 24th Teacher Town Hall on WJCT

Filed under: Uncategorized — William Jackson @ 7:50 pm
Teacher Town Hall

Teacher Town Hall

May 24th Teacher Town Hall on WJCT

The recorded Teacher Town Hall
will be shown tonight on WJCT
Public Broadcasting at 9pm

Educators from across the state of Florida gathered
to share their experiences, challenges,
frustrations, and professional skill sets in a state
wide dialogue on the high school dropout rate in
the Florida educational system of high schools.

Florida is unique in its graduation standards for
students and state wide assessment tool FCAT
Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.
The test is designed to challenge students learning,
prepare students for the work force and entrance
into higher education. The use of higher order
thinking skills, critical thinking skills and
reasoning are assessed based on standards of
academic progression.

The best intentions of the state legislature is
assessing student growth, student performance
and the ability of students to show AYP or
Annual Yearly Progress, but the results are
tragic and demoralizing for many students.
There are many successes, but the road
to student success is paved with students that
are frustrated, feel unsupported, and
stressed, there are is a growing minds set
there is a one size fits all to education.
Many students moral is lowered or crushed
because their academic
lives when they enter third grade and progress
to 12th grade are ruled by one assessment FCAT.

Teachers are rarely provided the opportunity
to share their experiences and wisdom even though
they are the important link and are professionals
in education. Teachers are expected to provide
all the necessary services to students even though
a teacher’s profession is to teach. Teachers are
certified to be professional educators, but
sometimes not listened to by the politicians of
state and national government that neither
understand or are willing to listen to dedicated
professionals with years of experience, professional
development and higher educational degrees.

The experience level attending the Teacher Town
Hall at WJCT ranged from college students like
those attending
Edward Waters College (Michelle McNealy and
Brittany Glover) to professional educators,
administrators, guidance counselors, teachers
of the Arts, Sciences, Physical Education and
other disciplines. Several educators attending had
over 30 years of teaching experience. It was asked
how can someone in political office tell an educated
professional educator with over 15, 20 and 25 years
how to manage and teach students and legislative
members have never visited a classroom long
enough to learn the environment or know the curriculum.

Al Letson (a product of Clay County School District)
hosted the conversations, he expertly guided the
energy of the professional educators making sure that
key points were addressed and important elements
elaborated upon. Questions asked were relevant to
the classrooms of schools. Teachers from Tampa,
Daytona Beach and other schools districts were even
provided transportation so their collective voices
could be heard.

American Graduate’s Teacher Town Hall
“Addressing Florida’s Dropout Rate” had teachers
from Duval, Clay, Volusia, Orange, and those located
in Tampa, Daytona Beach as stated and other districts
expressed and demonstrated their solidarity to
their profession. The admiration and respect to
each other as professional educators not “baby sitters”
as some negatively address teachers was evident in their
combined agreement on key issues.

During the discussion many key areas were addressed:
Students should be directed to higher education after
high school, but also to vocational skills that are still
needed in society. The importance of The Arts in
education; The Arts help students to think on different
levels that help creativity in academics subject areas.
The importance of Physical Education programs to
curve obesity in children and teach about additional
health related issues. Instead of focusing on
STEM – Science Technology Engineering Mathematics
Focus on:
STEAM – Science Technology Engineering Arts Mathematics

The importance of technology integration in schools
because that is the direction the country and world is going.
The need for more Professional Development and attendance
at educational conferences. Smaller classes sizes are need
not just for elementary schools, but middle and high
because many students require a teacher’s attention, but
cannot get it.
Legislators before they make any changes should teach
for two weeks in public schools, not show up for photo
opportunities in selected educational environments like
Charter Schools, but in inner city schools with
real challenges.

Too many legislators are scared to get their hands dirty
and do not see the reality of real teaching. They are not
involved in the real learning environments so are
disconnected to what teachers are actually experiencing
from day to day. Student’s moral is declining because
they only see learning is geared to testing
not for real world application.

More students claim to hate going to school because
they are being made to learn testing strategies and bench
marks that focus on testing. Emphasis on more field trips
for career choices and mentors increased presence
in schools is needed.

The discussions continued even past the designed time
of the event. What was needed were the ears of those in
the political environment of Tallahassee to really learn
from professional educators. Not just to react to angry
parents that do not have public education best interest
at heart. $40,000 dollars a year is spent on prison inmates,
spending on education per pupil is not even close.
The understanding is that if even $20,000 or $30,000
dollars is spent on students then incarceration rates
would drop and graduation rates would
increase. There would be more services to help struggling
students and their families. The danger of equitability is
that challenges school do not receive the “real” resources
needed. Not that money can solve all problems, but the
need for parents, businesses and community stakeholders
and politicians to be visible, involved and concerned.

There are over 180,000 teachers in the state of Florida, but
legislators and the Governor may not be listening to teachers.
If this disconnect continues then drop out rates will increase,
and potentially incarceration rates will increase, because the
value for education will be lost. Damaging an already
economic system because of the decrease in a
skilled workforce and tax foundation that supports schools,
law enforcement and other services that communities
and cities depend on to survive.

The recorded Teacher Town Hall
will be shown tonight on WJCT
Public Broadcasting at 9pm

Five Florida stations:
WFSU/Tallahassee, WJCT/Jacksonville,
WDSC/Daytona and WLRN/Miami are providing
their resources and services to raise awareness,
coordinate action with community partners
and educators while working directly with students, parents,
teachers, mentors, volunteers and leaders to develop locally
based solutions to address the dropout crisis in their
respective communities.

For more information contact:
Email: or
Call: Circe LeNoble at 904-358-6329

Kelly Seay, M.Ed.
Teacher Liaison Florida Department of Education
Office of Communications

May 23, 2012

Mia Jones; Teen Dating Violence

Filed under: Uncategorized — William Jackson @ 7:34 pm

Empower Yourself with Knowledge

Empower Yourself with Knowledge

Mia Jones; Teen Dating Violence

Teen Dating and Violence Summit

This is a longer than normal blog, but the
subject is very important and a
Life and Death issue. The Prom season
and summer months there is increased
dating by teens. Parents should be talking
to their teens about Dating Safety both young
men and women. Women particularly because
of the increased violence and deaths of young
women in our community.

May is Mental Health Month, too many
girls and young ladies are suffering the
mental anguish and consequences of
violence and abuse. The recent
Teen Dating Violence Summit of State
Representative Mia Jones hosted at
Florida State College of Jacksonville
North campus focused on the events
that are happening to girls and young
ladies in Jacksonville, Florida. The issue
of violence against girls / young ladies.

The discussion of teen violence and aggression
to girls and women should not be silenced.
Recent media reports of violence against
girls, young women, adult women seem to
be increasing. Even the recent trials
of men killing young women are making
front page reporting in news media and television.

The recent deaths, suicides and reported
bullying actions of others either through physical
violence or cyber-bullying is creating a need for
increased involvement of community organizations,
educators, clergy, and those in political office like
St. Rep. Mia Jones.

Communities cannot be scared to talk about
issues of violence against girls and women because
youth that are full of life and potential are dying,

Violence against women and youth are happening
weekly, just read the Times Union, Florida Star,
and other print media. Online media shows
nationally deaths happening from dating and
relationship violence.

The inhumanity and violation of a woman’s person’s
Constitutional Rights, Human Rights and Civil
Rights in the actions of Bullying and physical
violence is seen increasingly in the news media.
Bullying/Cyberbullying is creating tragedies for
too many girls / women.

Girls / young women should not be uncertain about
their safety. This issue of violence will not go away
and cannot be brushed under the proverbial rug
of ignorance and denial.

Bullying along with violence has grown past the
idea that “Kids will be kids” mentality. President
Obama states in the
White House Conference on Bullying
Prevention that no longer can Bullying
be thought of as boys will be boys or girls
will be girls. No child should feel threatened
with any type of bullying, cyberbullying or even

Girls today face extreme societal and peer
pressures, bullying, hazing and violence
should not be one other struggle to deal with.
Girls no matter their color, nationality, sexual
orientation, or differences that make them unique
should be disrespected. All youth deserve to be
treated with respect and dignity.

Violence has created human tragedies that state
and national laws are enacted to keep girls
safe from assaults. Assaults can be emotional,
psychological and even through sexual and
religious condemnation. Girls are exposed to
so much that too many by their late 30’s may
require mental health counselling services.

Mia Jones, State Rep. D – Jacksonville, and a
member of Mayor Alvin Brown’s staff recently
held a summit called:
“Teen Dating Violence Summit:
Empower Yourself! “

I had the honor of presenting at the Summit.
St. Rep. Jones objectives were for 7th-12th grade
students invited to attend this important event,
where the mission was to empower youth
with the tools that they need to prevent dating
violence, and safely exit a relationship should
they experience abuse or potential abuse.

St. Rep. Jones stated, “I believe that teens today
are not receiving enough messages about what
a healthy dating relationships look like, and in
some cases, that can lead to an unhealthy and
dangerous relationship. Teens are especially
susceptible to dating violence, because they are
inexperienced at dating relationships. As such,
they may be pressured by peers to act violently,
seek to be independent from their parents, and
subscribe to their own romantic views of love.”
The various workshops were:
What is Teen Dating Abuse, Patterns of Abuse,
Digital Abuse, Mis-education of Hip Hop in Teen
Dating, and Ending Teen Dating Abuse.

Violence from bullying, sexual aggression,
cyberbullying and other forms of control
are used to control behaviors of girls and young
women and actions. Using role playing as a model
the youth created strategies to prevent potential
situations and what strategies to use to
keep violence from occurring or increasing.

During my presentation with the youth I encouraged
role playing as an effective tool allowing youth to set
barriers to being disrespected. To mentally draw a line
not to be crossed with inappropriate or violent behaviors.
Inappropriate touching or verbally harassed in any way.
Physical violence is always predated by verbal assaults.
So if young ladies allow someone to cuss them once
t hey will continue to do this. It will eventually turn
to violence.

Media reports show the severity and brutality of
violence that girls are exposed to. The severity of
teen violence and degree to the levels of violence
would be gauged as War Crimes if actual war was
involved. Civil and Human Rights Violations could be
among the other infringements.
In some cases girls / young women and even
older women are on survival mode,
using “survival tools” to protect themselves.
Parents if you have not, now is the time to talk to
your girls, find out what is going on in their
life. The involvement by parents, schools,
clergy, law enforcement and even the medical
community with Mental Health Services may be
needed. Never assume your child is not facing
struggles or challenges. Keep open and non
judgmental communication between

you and your child or children.

May is Mental Health Month. Events like:
Teen Dating Violence Summit need to be
supported by parents, clergy and others to
support efforts to keep girls safe. It should
not be a one Saturday event, but a continuous
discussion, solidarity in preventing violence
against girls.

If parents are not involved the outcomes
may be more grievous with more girls
stressed, scared and feeling the only option
of escape is substance abuse, attempting
suicide and death.

Photos Teen Dating Violence Prevention
can be found at:

Teen Dating and Violence Summit


Domestic Hotline:
Domestic Violence1-800-799-SAFE97233) or
TTY 1-800-787-9884

Florida House of Representatives
Mia Jones Office
Bobbi Warford
District Office
Suite 901
3890 Dunn Avenue
Jacksonville, FL 32218-6431
Phone: (904) 924-1615
Dr. Shalanda Moten
CEO of the Dating Violence Prevention Center (DVPC)
Preventing Dating Violence Through Community Education
P.O. Box 947947 Maitland, FL 32794
Office: 407.852.8489
Facebook: www.

Teen Leaders – Educating Youth Through Positive Activities

Domestic Violence
Youth Data
Kids Count Data Center

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