My Quest To Teach

January 12, 2016

Duval County is Growing in STEAM/STEM and Why Parents Should Care

Filed under: Education — William Jackson @ 05:59
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Duval County is Growing in STEAM/STEM and Why Parents Should Care
By William Jackson, M.Edu


The recent School Choice Expo
with Duval County Public Schools shows the
diversity of educational initiatives that influence
the direction of students not just academically,
but being prepared in choosing career paths
as students transition through the educational

The world is dynamically changing, the incorporation
of technology will not stop, in fact it is increasing, and
integration of technology is changing how students will
learn and function in the world. Educational initiatives
are used to train children for the future is ever progressing
and creating a transformative paradigm shift in how
teachers teach even the basic educational foundations.
The change has been made from teacher centered learning
to student centered learning that involves hands on learning
opportunities and access to technology that does not replace
educators, but is used as a supplement.

Children must be prepared for careers that are not available
now, they must be able to solve complex problems that will
challenge our ability to function in an ever shifting world.
The new term of “Shift Happens” creates a change in the
perception of the transparency and blending of learning
initiatives that affect early learning to high school learning
and the integration of critical thinking, higher order thinking
and building “thought leaders.” If parents don’t think this
learning is important view this YouTube video
“Shift Happens”

The growth and integration of academic elements being
taught in schools across this country have proven beneficial.
High schools in Duval County Public Schools are graduating
more students and students of color and culture. Middle
schools are preparing students for the rigors and academics
of High School as they integrate hands on learning labs.
Because technology has advanced engagement of tools to
be fused into educational initiatives such as:
all connected, each has a powerful academic effect.
“The goal is to engage the whole child and foster high
achievement in all areas,” as defined by STE[+a]M, which
is a website created to share information about the blending
of arts and sciences. The past errors in thinking were
each of these elements were separate and unequal. The
new thinking is that STEAM/STEM creates a curriculum
that embraces all elements which allow students to hone
their personal skills and advance in areas that are new
and transformative.
What is STEM

The School Choice Expo displayed a new way of thinking,
grounded in research and inspiring creativity and innovation
that helps students to learn. The artistic development and
the scientific techniques are complimentary when integrating
elements of STEAM, STEM, STREAM and others.
The blending of these skills requires students to engage in
creative, critical and higher order thinking that supports
collaborative and cooperative learning. Learning that pushes
and challenges, and brings about success that is transferable
in advanced areas of application.

Parents cannot afford to wait for school to start in Pre-K or
Kindergarten, they are placing their children in serious
jeopardy in starting behind others that have pre-learning.
Parents must be the first educators, teaching reading, literacy
and laying a foundation for comprehension.

Many careers are now influenced from STEM curriculum’s,
educators, artists, scientists and those in technology recognize
the importance of blending the arts and sciences and believe
that this will lead to richer student learning. STEAM is
complimentary with 21st artistic, scientific and technological
century skills. There is much more than just videos and
computer game instruction, the student must be the center of
learning and involve the “4 Cs”:
Creativity, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Communication.
Aligned also is reading, literacy and comprehension, if students
cannot read and comprehend they will still struggle and learning
gaps will still be a challenge for teachers, schools and school

Duval County Public Schools are ahead in educational reforms
that provides dynamic educational experiences for children from
early learning to graduating seniors. Parents are encouraged to
keep their children involved in the learning process by taking their
children to libraries, museums and community events. Parents
can participate in Parent Academy’s that aid in being better
educators at home. Using resources available as reading series
that are making a difference in literacy: the Cornbread
Series by Vincent Taylor,
Cornbread Series,
schools like Venetia Elementary are becoming Magnet Schools
focusing on being a STEM2 or STEMsquared that integrates
medical science and math starting in Fall 2016.

The School Choice Expo shows that even inner city schools:
William Raines, Jean Ribault, Andrew Jackson, First Coast High
just to name a few are exposing students to aviation, space
science, academics that embrace innovation and creativity.
Ask a Raines, Ribault or Jackson High School student about
these educational initiatives and watch their eyes light up
because they know their academic and career opportunities
are limitless…………….
They are important to the building of Jacksonville as well.
Jacksonville will only be as strong economically as the level of
its diverse student body that are still challenged with poverty
and learning gaps. These gaps create students that are either
unemployable or under-employed. DCPS as it faces and
overcomes these challenges will increase the need for
“Human Capital” as entrepreneurial opportunities grow.

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow
belongs to those who prepare for it today.” Malcolm X

School Choice Expo with Venetia Elementary Principal
School Choice Information
How To Apply for Schools
Medical Arts Program for Elementary incorporating STEM


August 10, 2015

Ways to Be An Involved and Engaged Father This School Year

Ways to Be An Involved and Engaged Father This School Year

A new school year is quickly approaching; the excitement for
some students is building and the dread of another year of rigor
and regularity for others.

Families are finishing up vacations, promised adventures,
and fun family activities. Fathers are excited about the school
year and with changing parental responsibilities an increasing
number of fathers are taking responsibilities for the needs of
their children.
News reports in some cases have society thinking that fathers
cannot match the intrinsic and instinctual abilities of mothers,
fathers are doing awesome jobs in raising their children either
as single parents, married, with partners, or even the reality
of alternative lifestyles. Fathers are very important in helping
to raise children and laying a foundation for the importance
of education.

As a parent and educator here are some ways that fathers can
be engaged in the new school year, many have already been
doing these and more. The first step is wanting to be a father
and accepting the responsibility to be a responsible, active,
engaged, loving and dedicated father.
Fathers are learning that they are enjoying the role and
accountability of being a father. It is not just a job, but a life
of joy, happiness, bonding and recognitions that they are part
of something bigger than they are.

Being a father leaves no room for selfishness, it requires
continuous giving, generosity, kindness, compassion, empathy,
love and dedication to another life besides their own. Fathers
are doing this every day without recognition praise,
acknowledgement and thanks, but they
continue to perform because they love their children.

“Fathers can and do change the world one child at a time.”
William Jackson, M.Edu.

William Jackson and Shae Jackson, graduate of
Palatka High School

Suggestions from a father, educator, mentor and community activist.
1. Fathers respect your child’s teacher(s)
One way to support education is to model respect for teachers and
administrators. Fathers speak more by their actions than words, so
visit schools and praise teachers and administrators.

2. Fathers spend time in the school
Even though it might be tough to visit schools at least once a month it
makes a world of difference in a child’s behavior and academic success.
Spending time means sacrificing a lunch time, overtime or buddy time.
The rewards are great, just look in your child’s eyes and see.

3. Fathers listen to teachers not talk at them
Sometimes it is more valuable to listen than to speak. Fathers must
trust teachers to tell them the truth about their children even if the
truth hurts or challenges making changes to discipline, doing homework,
requiring tutors or not participating in sports or after school activities.
The priority of school is education.

4. Fathers discipline with Love
Many of us have humorous stories of being disciplined when we were
of youthful vigor and energy. We understood later we were wrong in
some of our actions and choices and that discipline was done with love.
So fathers must continue to have love in their hearts and minds and
discipline fairly and with love.

5. Fathers are Role Models
Fathers are the first role models, even when we don’t think our kids are
watching, they are and other kids do too. So our actions speak louder
than words. We can’t say “do as I say and not do as I do” because we
send the wrong messages and set our actions and words up to be
hypocritical and without meaning.

6. Fathers are Teachers
When a father teaches it is by his actions not always by his words.
The first teacher should be the child’s parents. They establish the
foundation for future success. Even is not a great student in school
fathers can teach their children from their mistakes to help their
children to be better academically and behaviors.

7. Fathers should share meals
A great time to share is when eating together. This is a relaxing time
to joke, share, encourage, engage in fun conversation. Sharing meals
should not be serious times, but memorable ones starting with prayer.

8. Fathers Read to their Children
When my children where toddlers until middle school their mother
and I read to them at various times during the day and when it was
bed time. This created an atmosphere where reading was fun. When
they were able to we allowed them to read to us. Even though we
divorced I still read to my children to keep the consistency and fun
of it. Fathers that are not strong readers should read to their level
and build as their children build. Learning together should not be
an embarrassment it should be a cooperative effort to show
comprehension and literacy are vital.

9. Fathers Show Affection
Fathers cannot afford to be “hard” and unemotional, this creates
unstable emotional behaviors in children that cause confusion and
conflicting emotions for stability and expression. Fathers have to
model love, proper affection, sensitivity, common sense, compassion,
tenderness. These are what children need to learn to function in

10. Fathers Job is Never Done
At the time of this writing 2015 both my children are in college,
working, driving and in some capacity they are still dependent on
me. Fathering is a lifelong responsibility even when children are
maturing into adults themselves. Fathers are the cushions, the barriers
that God has placed to make the world less scary, less threatening and
less depressing when the challenges of life attack our children.

Children need to know that daddy will be there not just for money,
but for encouragement, advice, praise, love, prayers and sometimes
just a silent shoulder to listen and arms for reassuring hugs.
Fathers you must decide what kind of father you want to be, it is
a choice and personal decision.

Sean – Shae – William
Attending World of Nations in Jacksonville, Florida

Sean attending Florida State University
Shae attending University of Central Florida
William teaching with Duval County Public Schools
and Instructor with Edward Waters College teaching
Educational Technology / STEAM / Social Media

Mentoring Children in my community…

Supporting the Jacksonville Jaguars 2014
Mentoring is a great way to get kids involved in positive

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