Educators must prepare themselves for diversity and inclusion. Every K-12 classroom should prepare to support cultural diversity. The class, despite grade level, should be culturally responsive to the needs of the school’s diverse population. To foster cultural awareness, educators will need to consider what influences’ students’ perceptions and behaviors as well as what motivates them. While many resources target how to develop educators’ cultural awareness skills, each educator is obligated to create a personal approach to ensure each student feels they belong. To prepare a classroom that supports all groups, educators must lead by example, foster empathy and emotion, promote equity and equality, and eliminate implicit and explicit bias.
Lead By Example – An educator should lead by example in the classroom. They should be honest and respectful as they build relationships with students while improving how they listen and react. An educator’s action enhances the learning environment. Their efforts give rise to a positive classroom culture as it shapes students’ behaviors while reducing the number of reprimands and consequences delivered within the learning environment.
Foster Empathy and Emotion – An educator should lead in discussing world news to build students’ empathy. They should also discuss with students their level of community commitment as students reflect on the many communities they are apart of. As educators are working to cultivate students’ empathy skills, they should also focus on project-based learning to develop students’ critical thinking skills. It is during this time; students will explore and create a more in-depth understanding of the world around them. By combining their community concerns and their desire to solve problems, students will be able to encompass a broad range of emotional states, thus improving their social and emotional skills.
Promote Equity and Equality– An educator should provide relevant teaching within the classroom. Relevant teaching will celebrate diversity and give students a voice. Providing relevance within the class provides culture context within the learning activity or lecture, which increases students’ level of engagement and academic achievement. By acknowledging students’ identities, experiences, race, gender, and ethnicity, the educator will be able to nurture students’ potential, emotional health, and talents.
Eliminate Implicit and Explicit Bias- Educators should eliminate prejudicial or unfair ideas about a specific group. They can do this by self-reflecting, developing empathy, as well as visiting other cultures and communities. By eliminating implicit (unconscious) bias and explicit (conscious) bias, students have the opportunity to succeed emotionally, socially, and academically.
Read books that help you to cultivate your cultural awareness.
Respectfully explore a culture that is different from yours.
Restructure your content and classroom to benefit students from diverse backgrounds.
Additional resources that address how to prepare for cultural diversity can be found at edutopia.org
Discover my favorite educational resources that will be beneficial to all grade levels. The resources are divided by grade level and include support for parents as well. The majority of these resources are free and will require you to create an account. Please use these resources to aid in academic and career development for students in grades K- 12.
As the first semester ends of the 2019-2020 school year, high school seniors should be identifying where they will begin their post-secondary education journeys. Once the university or college has been selected, students and parents should determine how they will fund the post-secondary journey. There are several ways to support your collegiate journey, including loans, grants, and scholarships. Choosing the best financial aid option will depend on your financial status, the college or university you are attending as well your ACT (SAT) score and GPA (grade point average). Most financial aid packages are a mixture of grants, loans, academic scholarships, and work-study. Maximizing scholarship opportunities are essential in decreasing the amount of money the student or parent will have to borrow or pay while the student is attending college. Students should first begin their financial aid quest by filling out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). The FAFSA will give you several options to fund your educational journey; however, you have the option of choosing which grants, loans, or work-study options that are best for you. Filling out several scholarship applications will also give you more financial options as you fulfill your financial obligation to the university or college.
The websites below are safe websites where you can “surf” for FREE financial aid.
If you need help with understanding the different types of loans, please visit The EdD Series previous post on college preparation. The post is entitled, College Bound and was posted on April 15, 2019.
Winter break is here. This means students (and teachers) will have a break from school as the holidays are celebrated. Although this is a break from school, this does not mean that learning should stop. Education allows students to develop indispensable tools for life. Knowledge will enable students to acquire critical thinking skills as they discover how to relate to others through practical social and communication skills. It is essential that during this time, “off,” we remember to stimulate student growth through engaging activities.
The following tips will help you to develop the ideas that are best for your student.
Create an opportunity for your student to volunteer with a community organization or church. Civic responsibility and leadership are key when teaching students about compassion — allowing students to volunteer will teach them how to work for others and embrace what is unfamiliar as they create solutions to problems that affect their community.
Review and Advance. Have your students spend one hour a day reviewing old learning objectives as well as review or prepare for future learning objectives. Learning objectives past and present can be found on your department of education website. You can also review learning objectives or skills using free education websites.
Create an exercise routine. The body and mind both need to be stimulated during this time of “rest.” Create a routine that allows students to be physically active. This physical activity can be an outside sport, dance (Zumba), yoga, walking, etc. A healthy diet should accommodate exercise. Limit snack consumption that is full of processed (refined) sugars. Focus on giving students nuts, cheeses, fruits, etc. as healthy snacks. Click here to learn more about exercise ideas for your student.
Set Goals. Work with your students to create long term goals. Goal topics should be related to developing your student’s skills and character. Focus on areas the student needs improvement in. An easy way to plan goals with an action plan is by using a SMART goal sheet. It allows students to design an effective timeline as they write out how this goal will positively affect their lives.
Plan a family excursion. Focus on your student(s) during this time. Plan a day together doing your favorite things such as an ice cream date, a sporting event, a concert, or play. During this time, strengthen your relationship with your student(s) as you allow them to share what they are feeling. This is also a great time to use conversation starters to learn about your student’s hopes, worries, and friends. Learn more about conversation starters here.
Have your student write thank you letters. Writing letters creates a genuine connection between others as students develop an essential learning tool, writing. It is crucial that your student understands how to demonstrate gratitude through words. While writing, students learn how to creatively express their emotions as they tell stories of love and appreciation. Letters will be different based on your students grade level. Use the provided examples to give you an idea on how you can help your student to write thank you letters.
College and Career Search. If you have a high school student, your student must use this time to investigate college and career options. College helps to develop mature, responsible adults who are prepared to succeed in the 21st century. Students should think carefully about where they enroll. Urge your student to think about location, enrollment size, tuition cost, as well as majors and programs that are offered. Students should think carefully about what the institution can offer them as they prioritize wants and needs. Once your student has created a shortlist of interested schools, visit all of the colleges to determine if your student’s career goals align with the university. If your student is unsure about the career, they would like to pursue, have them take a career quiz to discover their interests and strengths.
Public schools are run by the public. As engaged citizens, you hire the candidate that will assume a leadership role in overseeing the academic, legal, and financial health of the school district. The candidate you select will represent the public interest as they should have solutions to serve the diverse needs of the community. Aside from your child’s school faculty and staff, a school board candidate will have the most significant effect on your child(ren), because they make the decisions on how the district’s public school funds are spent and how school policies are set to increase students’ social, emotional and academic skills.
School boards make educational choices for their community; therefore, it is incredibly vital to ensure you are selecting candidates who are concerned and aware of the issues our children face in K-12 classrooms. As a concerned citizen, a voter should research and question their school board candidates as they remain engaged in creating educational solutions for their community. The candidates you select have the responsibility of working with all stakeholders as they keep them informed on equitable solutions that will promote students’ academic skills within their district.
A school board candidate must always reflect on the community’s expectations and needs for their school district as they keep in mind their responsibility to help students remove academic barriers.
The business or responsibility of the candidates should include:
Developing revue streams to fund increased teacher salaries, updated school buildings, technology, textbooks and library books.
Address budget issues, which includes the overspending in certain areas or positions
Advocating the needs of the public school system with the students in mind
As you are thinking about your candidate(s) ask yourself these questions:
Do they have a genuine interest in improving the public school system within your area?
Are they aware of the issues (big and small) with in the district?
Do they understand the current curriculum, the district strengths and weaknesses as well as the district policies and state education laws?
Are they truly committed to serving the public through public education? This includes believing every child is deserving of a fair education despite their race, creed or color.
Active school board members are essential to the health of the school district, local colleges, and the economy. They should maintain a healthy organizational and supportive structure within their community as they empower the superintendent and district administrators to manage schools, the teachers to effectively teach students, and the students to thrive in their learning environment. Remember, you want a candidate that is willing to fight for all children as they make decisions that will academically, socially, and emotionally advance all students.
VOTE! Your vote matters!
Stay actively involved in your community schools.
Monitor the choices your school board makes as well the progress of your local schools.
Another edition of Ed Talk took place on Saturday, August 31, 2019, as educators, community leaders, and students came together to learn techniques to improve their social and emotional skills. Participants learned how to encourage and motivate others while sustaining their mental stability. In an era where educational emphases seem to focus solely on how well students perform on a standardized test, Ed Talk embraces a unique curriculum model (SEL) that focuses on developing a students’ social and emotional success. Ed Talk focuses on preparing students to succeed in the 21st century by removing social and psychological barriers that are often roadblocks to academic and social success.
Why Do We Need SEL in K-12 Classrooms?
As described by certified counselors Ms. Danielle Cole and Mrs. Jade Jones, social and emotional learning helps students to identify, manage, and cope with their emotions, thus leading to students who can sustain mental stability. Read as they share their professional opinions on how they implement social and emotional learning into their counseling sessions and why it should be taught in K-12 classrooms.
Ms. Danielle Cole, M.S.
How can social and emotional learning help kids cope with feelings and set goals?
I believe SEL helps kids learn not only to identify their feelings but to manage and cope with them in appropriate ways. Often, kids think it’s not okay to feel or express emotions. This may be because they’ve been teased about it or if they are in an environment where they are not allowed to show what they feel. When exposed to SEL, kids learn that all feelings are okay, and there are appropriate ways to express how they feel. SEL allows students to build self-confidence, thus encouraging students to set goals and believe they are capable of achieving those goals. As adults in helping professions, it is our role to model and be an example of how to form positive relationships with kids, while showing them that we see their potential to achieve greatness.
What are the short and long term benefits you have seen in students who have experienced SEL?
Short and long term benefits I’ve seen include noticing a difference in the way kids carry themselves. Students who participate in SEL activities gain more self-confidence. They have more positive social interactions and a decrease in aggressive behaviors. They begin to think before they act as a result of learning how to self-regulate. Kids develop more meaningful relationships and realize they need to have positive social-emotional connections with others to achieve overall success. Often, the kids we work with have experienced some level of trauma, and it takes time for them to trust the adults they see daily. It is imperative we teach kids how to problem solve and cope with things that happen in their lives, regulate their emotions, and have empathy for others. This comes from creating safe spaces and building positive relationships with all students.
Mrs. Jade Jones, M.S.
How have you used SEL in your counseling session to improve students’ attitudes and behaviors?
SEL focuses on growing student responsibility. As I help students navigate through their situations, I remain supportive as I encourage positive pro-social behavior. The student and I work together to use their strengths to be successful in the classroom and in their community by teaching them techniques that will support positive decision-making skills. Using SEL activities, we work together to create academic and behavior plans that will support their behavioral growth. Once we have identified their goals, we establish an action plan as well as techniques that can be used to help them achieve their goals.
What approach or techniques do you use to apply SEL when teaching students?
Model, model, model! I try to use a language and behavior that is warm, encouraging, and supportive. Working with youth, we must become self- aware of the importance of our word choice, the tone of voice, as well as our body language. All can quickly alter an atmosphere into a positive or negative one, which will either build a relationship or destroy one.
Below are tips that can be shared to help implement SEL at home.
SEL Tips for Parents:
Demonstrate Supportive Behavior – form a relationship with your child’s teacher, administrator, and counselor. Forming relationships with teachers, counselors and administration is vital to student success. Effective relationships between parents, teachers, counselors and administration significantly improves students long term success in K-12 classrooms. Positive and effective relationships between parents and school faculty helps students to prosper while developing academic, social, and emotional skills that are needed for higher levels of prosocial behaviors and academic success.
Self Care – in order to build mental stability, students must understand how to cope with their feelings. They must also understand the importance of healthy eating and exercising habits. Healthy eating and exercising habits help to stabilize energy, their moods, maintain a healthy weight, and prevent mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. Read more about nutrition facts here
Build Healthy Habits – enforce a routine that supports students mental and physical success. Using the tips below will help to create a routine that will promote physical and mental stability.
Understand symptoms of mental health problems. Find more information here on how to identify symptoms.
Promote social and emotional competency to build resilience. Find more information here on how to identify ways to build resilience in your child.
Encourage physical health activities such as walking/running outside, gardening, eating healthy snacks outside, building a birdhouse, join a local nature group such as girl or boy scout and scavenger hunt. Find more ideas here
Teach and reinforce self confidence. A daily tool to use is self affirmations. Self affirmations start with I will and I can and end with a positive word or statement. Self affirmations help to build students confidence as they focus on their attitude and character. Find more about self affirmations here.
Globalization is changing the way we see and live in the world. More companies are demanding culturally diverse employees who can demonstrate empathy and speak at least two languages. With such high expectations, how do future employees gain the cross-cultural competence needed to impress employers while increasing their global, personal, and professional opportunities? This answer is summed in two exciting and cost-effective words: study abroad.
Studying abroad builds global educational opportunities for students who are studying at a four-year college or university. The program allows students to live in a foreign country and attend a foreign partner institution. Based on the partnership between the two universities, students can spend a semester or up to two years studying aboard as they develop life-changing experiences and skills. According to Northeastern University, in the past twenty-five years, the number of students who have studied abroad has tripled. With 100,000 more students participating in traveling abroad programs, colleges and universities, have expanded their programs to accommodate the growing interest in learning and traveling.
Researching the foundation and
international internships are critical in selecting the right country, school,
and program to advance your resume, professional skills, and life.
Most universities require you to be in good academic standing with the university, which includes a GPA (grand point average) cumulative of a 2.5 or above. The university may also require your study abroad plan to align with your major and your career goals as discussed with your academic advisor. Study abroad programs usually are not offered until the second year of your post-secondary career.
The US News has published a list of universities and colleges that have substantial academic work and top study abroad programs. Review the list as you begin your quest for learning more about studying abroad.
Some educational programs and K- 12 boarding schools, allow students to volunteer, study, and intern abroad. Learn about the ten best high school study abroad programs.
If you are interested in becoming a global leader, traveling abroad is for you! Students who participate in study abroad programs improve: their language, social, and leadership skills, experience different teaching styles, enhance their professional network circle, learn new cultures, gain independence and develop professional confidence.
Think about the following steps below as you plan to learn aboard.
1. Write down your educational and career plans.
2. Develop educational goals and a plan that will allow you to obtain your goals.
3. Look for universities that offer study abroad programs.
1. Find a program, school or foundation that offers study abroad options based on your educational and career goals.
2. Write down what are the benefits of travel abroad and how it would help you to reach your career and educational goals.
3. TRAVEL! If traveling at this time is not an option, be sure to read and plan your future excursions.
Ms. Tayana White, is a Human Resource Specialist who is currently working for Facebook. The experienced and educated specialist who has earned a Masters of Business Administration Degree, shares her wisdom on how to be noticed by a hiring manger and or human resource specialist. Below you will find her advice on marketing and networking as well as building a resume that will impress your future employer.
As a HR specialist, what are the key elements of a good resume?
Most recruiters will scan a resume as they have a limited time to review multiple resumes to fill various roles. Relevant skills, buzz words, an easy read–no more than 5 bullet points and what you actually did in the role. Depending on the resume template you use, you want your relevant skills to be listed at the top or on the side of your resume. This allows the recruiter to determine if your skills meet the basic qualifications and if you have transferable skills to be successful within the role. Some companies use an applicant tracker system with rules to either accept or reject resumes based on the words listed on a resume. These are often times referred to as ‘buzzwords or ‘keywords’’. Nailing the ‘buzzwords’ or ‘keywords’ within your resume allow for a better chance that your resume will be reviewed.
Rule of thumb–do not copy and paste the job description to your resume! In some roles, you may wear many hats or be responsible for multiple tasks. However, you want to Keep your resume simple and include only the relevant work experience that applies to the job posting. Also, speak to what you actually did in the role and how you reached results. Did you increase revenue or sales within a specific timeframe? Were you able to improve a process to decrease the overall time to complete a task? For example, you may have decreased payroll processing time by four hours by automating a report within the system.
As you are looking over resumes and cover letters, what are keywords and or phrases that you look for?
When reviewing cover letters and resumes I’m assessing if they both include relevant work experience to the job posting and what would set you apart from others applying for the role. If you notice the role fits some of your work experience, but you don’t have all of the skills they are looking for, be sure to leverage your transferable skills and call that out in your cover letter. Within the resume, I’m examining if those key elements are apparent and easy to read. Make sure your cover letter provides a bit more detail of your work experience relevant to the role you’re applying for. Provide an example of a success at work.
What advice would you share with new graduates and or new professionals as they build their resume?
As a new graduate, companies are aware you may have limited experience and through internships, and this is okay. A few things to increase your skills and experience and free: online courses through different Universities (Harvard, Stanford, etc.), visit your local Urban League or Workforce Solutions agency. An additional alternative, not free, is to sign up for Lynda.com, an online learning through LinkedIn. As a new professional, build your resume as you grow within your role. If you’re learning how to use a new system, functionality of a system, joined a professional network, include it on your resume. The key is to determine the best place to position these details on your resume.
What advice would you share with current students?
As a current student, you have access to various resources, use them! Visit your University’s Career Center and speak with the Director about the services and resources available to you. They will want to discuss your career interests, goals and pull relevant resources to guide your next steps. Also, don’t forget your University library– a gem right in front of you with books and online resources at your fingertips! Connect with your Professor’s or Alumni to provide additional guidance on career options based on your major. The have the experience and knowledge to guide you on things to consider when selecting an internship, job or setting career goals. This is also a good time to shape a relationship with your Professor or Alumni and start building your network. Internships are important!! Having an internship is a foundation to framing your work experience and building your skills. During your internship, you’re able to experience what that ideal role looks like, entails and it helps determine if you actually want to go into that specific role or industry. And again, you also build your network.
To continue this conversation with Ms. White, MBA and or receive her professional services, please contact:
Provided Services: Career Development and Growth Strategy, Resume and Cover Letter Consultation
Resume – it is important as a professional, you have a resume and a cover letter that demonstrates your knowledge and skills of your career cluster. Your resume should be detailed yet short as it highlights your professional objective, qualifications, skills, education and your professional accomplishments. The resume and cover letter will be your voice before you able to physically explain why you are the best candidate for the position. As a recent graduate and or young professional, you should focus on a functional resume. The resume will allow you to list: contact information, professional objectives, education, professional capabilities, valid work experience and accomplishments.
Cover Letter- a well crafted cover letter will go over information on your resume and expand on your qualifications for the position. Many have called a cover letter a “motivation letter” as it will motivate the employer or the HR Specialists to read your resume.
The cover letter should not restate your resume or have a general salutation. It should be directed to someone (Ex. John Smith) as you demonstrate your experience and how it relates to the open position. It should also include accomplishments and knowledge as it pertains to the company and or the company’s industry.
I would suggest using the following format when constructing a cover letter: First Section: Introduction of self and why you are interested in the open position. Discuss your knowledge about the company and the skills you have that match with the open position in which you are applying for.
Middle Section: Prove why are fit for the job (discuss skills and experience that are directly related to the open position) How do you meet the requirements?
Last Section: Let them know how and when you will follow up (email, telephone etc.)
Before Interview: after your professional resume and captivating cover letter has scored you an interview, you should begin preparing for your interview. You should make sure that you are familiar with the company’s goals as well as the duties and responsibilities of the position that you are applying for. You should be researching the company as well as practice questions that relate to the position you are being interviewed for. You can find practice questions by googling. For example: practice questions for assistant principal interviews.
Day of the Interview:
1. Stay Calm and Focused
2. Use GNAP with a firm handshake – (Greeting Name Association Purpose). Make sure you are making eye contact with the person.
Ed Talk is a safe environment where you can learn and grow. The skills obtain in Ed Talk can be used in the classroom, in your workplace, and your home. It is a time where one can discover how to improve their community through small action steps. On May 18, 2019, the Ed Talk topic was: Social and Emotional Learning. Social and Emotional Learning is the process in which a child and or adult has the opportunity to set and obtain goals as well as demonstrate empathy.
The importance of SEL, has given students the feeling of belonging to a community and or classroom as they learn and apply five principles to build their foundation of love, academic success, and community involvement. The implementation of SEL, will motivate a child and or adult, as they develop their critical thinking skills to actively and respectively communicate and connect with others to resolve conflict and set goals. SEL has also been proven to help students self regulate as they cope with challenges and emotion control. The overall goal of teaching SEL is to improve students overall attitude and self worth as they become adults who demonstrate social skills that allow them to complete task and work as an effective team player.
Dreamers who attended Ed Talk, learned what were the five principles of SEL (Self Management, Self Awareness, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills and Responsible Decision Making Skills) and how they can apply and teach the principles in various areas of their lives. Dreamers were taught activities and skills that can be used to improve as a parent, community leader and or as a educator. Dreamers created vision boards that will be displayed in their homes, workplace and or classroom, as they work on ways to positively contribute to the mental growth of others.
Learn more about SEL and how you can improve the mental quality of yourself and others.
Learn about SEL and its purpose.
Write down how you can implement at least two out of the five principles into your life or the life of others.
College, regardless the program and or program length, must be planned. A student should begin exploring career and post secondary options as soon as middle school, as they begin to develop their interest and talents into a career. When reviewing career options students should think about the following:
Where do I want to live once I become independent (state and city)?
What type of lifestyle do I want to live? (think about the hourly pay or salary that will match your chosen lifestyle).
What are my interest, gifts and or talents that lead me to this career?
What are my values? How do those values help me to create my personal and professional goals?
What do I hope to become in life?
Who can I contact to job shadow and or ask questions about this career?
Answering questions that are centered around students interest allow them to be exposed to unfamiliar careers. Below are career interest surveys that can help students begin to pave their road to success.
Key words and definitions that will be used frequently as the student prepares to graduate from high school
Career and Extra Curricular Planning
College Selection and Planning
When an academic plan is developed, the biggest questions still lingers, HOW WILL YOU PAY FOR IT?
With preparation comes success. Once a student (with help from their counselor and or parent) creates a educational plan, they should focus on how to finance their educational dream.
The goal of planning and preparation is to achieve academic excellence. Scholarships should be the goal when creating a educational plan and setting educational goals. If you are not able to fund your educational dream 100% with an academic scholarship, there are other options to fund your post secondary education.
There are two type of student loans: private student loans and federal students loans.
Private student loans are loans that are funded by the bank, credit union or the school. These loans have higher interest rates and payments must be paid to the school, while you are attending school.
Federal student loans are loans that are the most common. They allow students a “grace period”, which is a period of time when a student is not required to make payments on the loan. Grace periods are usually six to nine months, once a student withdraws from the school or when the student graduates from the school. Payments for this loan do not start until after the grace period ends.
There are different types of federal loans, which include direct subsidized loans and direct unsubsidized loans.
Direct Subsidized Loans are available to undergraduate students who have a financial need. Direct Subsidized Loans do not accrue interest while you are in school or the six to nine month grace period. The interest on these loans do not begin until the student goes into repayment.
Direct Unsubsidized Loan are available to undergrad and grad students and do not require a financial need. Your school will determine the amount of money you can borrow. The interest on these loans will be added to the loans, while you are in school and during the grace period.
Another form of fin aid is work study. Work study is a federal funded program that allows students to work on campus to help pay for their educational cost. It is a part time job that is on campus and usually in the college and or field of study chosen by the student. Once students balances are paid, the student will have the opportunity to continue working to earn money that will paid directly to them.
Due to the rising cost of postsecondary education,it is important that a plan is created on how to fund the four to ten year cost (time varies depending on career choice). Here are tips to avoid financial debt when graduating from college:
Know the difference between types of student loans and fin aid.
STAY AWAY FROM CREDIT CARDS!
Have an educational and financial plan that includes goals.
Create an educational plan and goals that will be used to determine major, career, and financial need.
Select a career based on your interest after completing a career interest survey. Once you select a career, find a person and or company that will allow you to job shadow.