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Volume  3,   Issue 9         September 2017
Newsletter Editor:  Dr. John E. Holmes
Male educators of color are uniquely positioned to write a new narrative
Profound Gentlemen
May 8, 2017 |
In “The Souls of Black Folk,” W.E.B. Du Bois posed a serious and thought-provoking question about the human condition of black people in 1903 America: “How does it feel to be a problem?” Du Bois was not delving into problems that arose from financial constraints, education depression, or an unfair judicial system, but the problem of simply being a breathing, feeling, and thoughtful black body.
Du Bois wrote about the conditions of Black people in 1903 America, and oddly enough, his words ring true today, especially in relation to our students. If I presented you a school environment where the people who resemble you and your family members were not equitably reflected in advanced placement courses, gifted and talented programs, or even as your instructional leaders, but were the faces of discipline policies and academic interventions programs, you might think there’s a problem.
Either the system is completely broken, or our students are the culprit.
When we see our students, especially our boys, as problems and do not acknowledge their positive attributes, we miss out on the beauty of their perspectives. We miss out on the reality of their dreams, and they miss out on what Aristotle defines as the “good life”—intellectual and character virtues.
Profound Gentlemen was birthed on the idea that our black and brown boys are assets; we equip men of color with the resources, structures, and tools to uncover these assets through education and mentorship. Not only are we preparing men of color to be leaders in their school building, but we empower them to use our Code Orange Curriculum that infuses social emotional learning, college and career readiness, and civic and community engagement to ensure that their students, especially their boys, are on a cradle-to-career pipeline. These educators dedicate additional time to support boys of color by meeting at least 120 minutes a month and facilitating Code Orange activities into their lessons.
Continue Reading >>>
NAEA Board
Dr. Pam Bruening
Kathleen Chronister
Vice President
Pat Conner
Dr. Ja'net Bishop
Kay Davenport
Past President
Jacqueline Whitt, Dr. John E. Holmes, Dr. Ed Lowther, Denise Riley, Richard Thompson, and Dr. Amy Schlessman
Board Members

Connect with NAEA!
Connect with your regional director today 

NAEA Twitter Chat

#NAEACHAT Monthly Twitter Chats - (30 Minute) 

WHO : All Stakeholders in the field of Alternative / Non-Traditional Education
WHAT : A monthly Twitter Chat focused on NAEA's Exemplary Practices
WHERE : On Social Media - Twitter
WHEN : The last Tuesday of each month / 9:00 PM EST / 30 Minute Chat
WHY : To build capacity and awareness
HOW : Twitter
Follow @NAEA_Hope on Twitter and join in using #NAEACHAT
6 Research-Backed Sites and Apps That Can Boost Your Kid's Report Card 
 Improve academic performance with free and low-cost tools that strengthen kids' fundamental reading and math skills. 
Christine Elgersma | August 2016|
Topics: Back to School, Learning with Technology, Reading
For many parents and kids grading season isn't the slam-dunk, high-five, fist-bumping celebration you were hoping for. But you don't need to hire an expensive tutor or run off to the after-school learning center when straight As prove elusive. Plenty of free and low-cost tools can help give your kid high-quality practice in the foundational reading and math skills that are key to students' overall performance. And research proves it. The recommendations below are either aligned with current research about learning or have been the focus of independent research that demonstrates their effectiveness. And that's cause for celebration!
Bedtime Math, Grades K-3, Free
Practicing something every day is the way to make progress, but not all digital practice is created equally. This website offers math problems in the form of a story, usually based on a situation or fact from the real world. Each problem is available at three skill levels. The idea is that families can use the site or app together to build math into each day. Check out the study that demonstrates its effectiveness
Learn With Homer, Grades K-2, Free with in-app purchases
Created with best practices and reading research in mind, this app can get kids pumped about reading with skill-building exercises and supportive materials. Unlike many other reading apps, Learn With Homer not only includes phonics, but it also provides stories, songs, creative play, and a safe social element called "Pigeon Post." Though its intent is very serious, it's kid-friendly, accessible, and fun.
Continue reading post >>>
Share your Ideas!
Have an article you'd like us to include in the NAEA newsletter? Submit an article to Dr. John E. Holmes, Editor at
using “NAEA News” in the subject line. 
Read a previous issue here
24th Annual Conference on Alternative Education
March 5, 2018–March 7, 2018
Conference Registration: $350.00
Call for Proposals (Open thru 11/3/17)
The Big List of Class Discussion Strategies
October 2015 | Jennifer Gonzalez |
When I worked with student teachers on developing effective lesson plans, one thing I always asked them to revise was the phrase “We will discuss.”
We will discuss the video.
We will discuss the story.
We will discuss our results.
Every time I saw it in a lesson plan, I would add a  note: “What format will you use? What questions will you ask? How will you ensure that all students participate?” I was pretty sure that We will discuss actually meant the teacher would do most of the talking; He would throw out a couple of questions like “So what did you think about the video?” or “What was the theme of the story?” and a few students would respond, resulting in something that looked  like a discussion, but was ultimately just a conversation between the teacher and a handful of extroverted students; a classic case of Fisheye Teaching.
The problem wasn’t them; in most of the classrooms where they’d sat as students, that’s exactly what a class discussion looked like. They didn’t know any other “formats.” I have only ever been familiar with a few myself. But when teachers began contacting me recently asking for a more comprehensive list, I knew it was time to do some serious research.
So here they are: 15 formats for structuring a class discussion to make it more engaging, more organized, more equitable, and more academically challenging. If you’ve struggled to find effective ways to develop students’ speaking and listening skills, this is your lucky day.
Continue Reading >>>
2018 NAEA Video Contest!
JOINING HANDS TOWARD ONE DESTINY”    Tell the story of your alternative program in a 2-5 minute video or rap. This contest is open to middle and high school students who attend alternative education programs. Your video should communicate the message and mission of your program and relate it to the annual national NAEA conference theme “Joining Hands Toward One Destiny.” Entries may express this theme in any genre or shooting style, but must be submitted by link containing a YouTube URL.
Winners will receive the following cash awards:
First Prize—$400.00     
Second Prize—$300.00     
Third Prize—$200.00
Up to five Honorable Mentions—$100 each
Entrants must be currently enrolled in and attending a middle or high school alternative education program at the time of the submission.
Entries will be judged on the following criteria:
  • overall impact
  • effectiveness of conveying theme
  • artistic merit
  • technical proficiency
A panel will make the final selection of winners. Judges’ decisions are final.
  • Entrants must be enrolled in and attending alternative education classes.
  • Entries must interpret some variation of the theme, “Joining Hands Toward One Destiny”.  All forms must be signed and may be photocopied.
  • Entries must be 2-5 minutes in length.
  • Entrants who do not obtain and cannot provide written documentation of all necessary rights and permissions for music, images, video clips, and any and all other non-original aspects of their entries will be disqualified.
  • Entries must be submitted by a link to a YouTube URL.
  • Each entry must be labeled with the entrant’s name, school mailing address, and telephone number, as well as the title and length of the entry.
  • Parent permission must be signed for every student participating in the video who is under the age of 18.
  • All entries must be postmarked by DECEMBER 18, 2017.
  • All entries become the property of NAEA. Entries cannot be returned.
  • Judges’ decisions are final. All prizes need not be awarded.
Full Rules and Information here >>>
Commission on School on Accreditation Recommends Establishing New Baseline of Mississippi Statewide Accountability System
August 15, 2017 | Jackson, Miss
JACKSON, Miss – The Commission on School Accreditation (CSA) voted today to recommend that the Mississippi State Board of Education (SBE) establish a new baseline for assigning school and district letter grades for the 2016-17 school year. The 2016-17 accountability grades will be released in October.
The CSA based its decision on the unanimous recommendation of the statewide Accountability Task Force and the Mississippi Department of Education’s (MDE) Technical Advisory Committee (TAC). The three groups agreed that a new baseline is needed to correct artificially high growth rates included in the 2015-16 accountability grades.
“If we don’t make this change now, school and district grades this year and in the future will not give a true picture of their performance,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “The MDE needed two years of results from the Mississippi Academic Assessment Program (MAAP) to conduct an analysis of the data and to establish a stable baseline.”
After the release of the 2015-16 accountability results, some districts raised concerns that their growth rates were abnormally high and could not be sustained over subsequent years. The growth rates were based on multiple assessment programs that were administered over a multi-year period.
Dr. Chris Domaleski, associate director of the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment and chair of the TAC, said the unintended consequence of calculating growth on different assessments was artificially inflated growth.
“Due to the instability in growth, the ability to meaningfully compare performance from year to year is compromised. Therefore, resetting cut scores to establish a new baseline is recommended,” Domaleski said.
Black innovators shine through history in these animated films for kids
July 2017 | Jenna Gray | PBS
An enslaved man who mailed himself in a box to freedom across state lines. A ballerina of color who asked to paint her face white. An inventor whose creations include the traffic signal and oxygen mask.
These are not works of fiction but true tales of American history brought to the screen by Sweet Blackberry, an organization that tells overlooked and little-known stories of African American accomplishments to children through animated short films.
In 2014, ethnic minorities constituted the majority of children under 5 for the first time, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. And in 2015, ethnic minorities under age 18 constituted 48.5 percent of the U.S. population, according to nonpartisan research organization Child Trends.
But children of color have historically received little representation in animated films, with early ones often portraying black characters as aggressive or unintelligent. In a 2016 analysis of the top-viewed cartoons among children ages 6 to 12 by the Children’s Television and Language Project at Tufts University, characters of color only held 17 percent of speaking roles.
On average, kids consume over seven and a half hours of media per day, with the numbers even higher among black and Hispanic children, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
And they deduce information about themselves and others — such as what possible career options are — based on the identities of characters they see on screen. TV consumption strengthens white boys’ self esteem while decreasing that of white girls, black girls and black boys, perhaps because of a lack of positive role models in media, a 2012 study found.
The under-representation of people of color and women on film and television shows mirrors the lack of representation behind the scenes. The 2015 Hollywood Diversity Report from the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies revealed that white people and men dominate executive positions at television networks and film studios, with minorities directing 17.8 percent of the 174 films from 2013 that the report reviewed.
Sweet Blackberry founder Karyn Parsons, who played Hilary Banks on the popular show “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” seeks to combat this underrepresentation. Her organization’s latest project, “The Bessie Coleman Story,” will feature the first female African American and Native American pilot. The short film recently completed its fundraising campaign on Kickstarter, and Parsons expects it will be released in February 2018.
Read more here >>>
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