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INsanity & Butterflies debut


Dear Readers,

As promised, here is the cover and the link to purchase my latest book, INsanity & Butterflies!

I’m so proud of myself. And yes, I’ve been busy. The way that I managed to get through the pain of divorce was to write it out. And boy did I do that!

So far, since July 2021, I’ve self-published five books:

  1. The Ebb & Flow of Life: Stages of Walking in Your Power (book of poetry)
  2. The New Special Education Teacher’s Survival Guide (quick & dirty guide)
  3. The Special Education Teacher’s Guide to a Well-Run Classroom (quick & dirty guide)
  4. Plan B: The Special Education Teacher’s Guide to Life After… (quick & dirty guide)
  5. INsanity & Butterflies (book of poetry)

Link to purchase: @ Barnes & Noble , Amazon, & Take A Lot

UPCOMING:

I’m not going to say much about the next two books, but the title of one of them is going to make you laugh so hard.

I also have other irons in the fire that I’m staying mum on for now. I’ll let you know once it’s a done deal.

So, stay tuned for my next couple of books! As always, I’ll keep you updated!

Posted in teaching

Back to Work


Dear Reader,

School starts next week for teachers. I, for one, am happy to be on the way back. When I was raising my children, I didn’t like being at work for any longer than I had to. Now that I’m a divorced empty nester, I don’t mind working.

So, here’s to returning to work next week.

Posted in teaching

Outlining My New Book


Dear Readers,

I am on a roll. I’m outlining my next book. I’m deciding if it’s going to be a book of poetry or a semi-autobiographical novella or novel. It’s shaping up to be a novella because I don’t want to pick a genre. I feel if you’re a writer, you can write in any genre.

I’ll share the book cover as soon as it’s done.

Bye for now!

Posted in teaching

A Lot Going On!


Hi Dear Readers,

I currently have a lot going on. Personally, I am on Cloud 9. At first my children were playing and I wasn’t a grandmother. Well, that changed in April & in June. I now have two beautiful (And I mean they’re beautiful) grandchildren. Once I have permission from my children, I’ll post their names and pics. If they don’t give permission, I feel bad for you guys that you’ll never get a chance to see two of the most beautiful human beings in creation (besides my own four children)! LOL!

Secondly, I’m learning how to format my books and resize the covers. I don’t think I’m going to stop using my cover creator because they’re great. They’ve designed all five of my covers. Which brings me to the next reason why I’m so busy. I published my fifth book (and second book of poetry), entitled “INsanity & Butterflies”! I’ll write a separate post on that and debut the cover which I love since I designed it with the help of my cover designer.

Thirdly, I’m on a mission to get my books in various libraries across the country and several book stores. This is going to be an ongoing project, so it’ll be awhile.

So, that’s the update on my life! I’ll keep you updated as things progress.

Bye for now!

Posted in teaching

Special Education Resources


Dear Readers,

I’m including this bonus for you since you’ve been such faithful readers. Here are the resources I wrote about in my book:

https://tinyurl.com/SpEdsurvival-resources

I have three guides:

(1) The New Special Education Teacher’s Survival Guide

(2) The Special Education Teacher’s Guide to a Well-Run Classroom

(3) Plan B: The Special Education Teacher’s Guide to Life After…

There’s something for everyone. I wrote the guides in three stages, just as I did my poetry. The first guide (The New Special Education Teacher’s Survival Guide) is for new teachers who are in survival mode. The second guide (The Special Education Teacher’s Guide to a Well-Run Classroom) is for when you’ve moved out of survival mode and want to have a well-run classroom. The last guide (Plan B: The Special Education Teacher’s Guide to Life After…) is for when you’re ready to make a bigger impact, effect more change than just your classroom and move out of the classroom.

Book #1
Book #2
Book #3

If you like the resources, buy the book and leave a positive review on Amazon!

Posted in teaching

Submission for Library Suggest a Purchase


Dear Readers,

I submitted my books for Los Angeles Public Library’s Suggest a Purchase. If accepted, the library does not contact you personally, so you just have to check the library website periodically to see if your book has been accepted. I’ll check in about a month to see if they’ve been accepted.

Next step: Submit my books for libraries across the country.

Wish me well, Dear Readers!

Posted in teaching

The Special Education Teacher’s Guide to A Well-Run Classroom by Carole Leila Cramer


Hello Everyone. I was sick and now I’m not. But, I was sick enough around Christmas time and did not have enough strength to promote my second book in the Special Education Teacher’s series.

All books are a quick and dirty, informative 2 hour read. Giving you the information you need to implement changes right away!

Here are the books in the series:

1. The New Special Education Teacher’s Survival Guide (This is a survival guide for new teachers in survival mode who need a little bit of help.)

Book #1

2. The Special Education Teacher’s Guide to A Well-Run Classroom (This is for teachers now out of survival mode who are ready to run a well-structured classroom).

Book #2
  • The Special Education Teacher’s Guide to Life After… (Ready to move on to bigger and better things, and wondering what you can do with your degrees and years of experience? Well, look no further, this 2 hour guide will inform you of possible careers possible (even entrepreneurial opportunities) and how to write a great cover letter and resume specifically tailored to your next opportunity.
Book #3

Once you purchase, read and love the book, leave a review for me!

I’d like to thank you, in advance, for your support!

Posted in teaching

I Did It Again!


Dear Readers,

I did it again!

My second book will make it’s debut on Black Friday! It’s called, “The New Special Education Teacher’s Survival Guide.”

I’ll post the link once it’s live on Amazon.

I will be running a sale on the ebook for the week of November 27th-29th. The e-book will be $1.99!

Here’s the Table of Contents for a sneak peak at what you’ll get once you purchase your copy on Amazon:

Preface- Good Ole’ Imposter Syndrome & Anxiety
Chapter 1- Building Relationships
Chapter 2- You Fool You
Chapter 3- My Stories of Fantasy, Disillusionment, Mastery, & Impact
Chapter 4- Who or What Exactly Am I K.I.S.S.ing!
Chapter 5- Shoulda’, Woulda’, Coulda’
Chapter 6- What’s So Good About…You?
Chapter 7- Give Yourself Permission
Chapter 8- Putting Systems & Routines Into Place
Chapter 9- The ABC’s of Behavior
Chapter 10- Whose S.E.A.T. is This? Understanding Behavior
Chapter 11- Classroom Economy System, Consequences & Rewards
Chapter 12- Helping Your Students Get to Know What They Don’t Know
Chapter 13- They’ll Manage Themselves Once You Show Them You Care
Chapter 14- Writing Truly Personalized I.E.P.s
Chapter 15- Nothing That A Graphic Organizer & A Timer Can’t Solve
Epilogue- Getting It Together & Keeping It Together

Until next time!

Posted in teaching

Guest Blog Post (Coming Soon)


Dear Readers,

I have been extremely busy and I’ll tell you why later. But, because of my business, I did not make time to post a special guest blog post by author and blogger, Jo Ashline. But, I will have the post up by Tuesday, November 23, 2021!

Posted in teaching

A Busy Month


Hello Dear Readers,

November is going to be a busy month for me. I have 8 IEPs this month, with three of them being Tri’s. I’ve already completed WJIV on one of the students. Next week, I will complete testing on the other two. So, wish me luck, dear readers. I’m going to be super busy!!!

Posted in teaching

A 14 minute I.E.P.!!!


Dear Reader,

14 minutes to hold and facilitate an I.E.P.!!! I have the facilitation of my I.E.P.s down to a science. Some may not believe me, but, I’m here to tell you that it can and has been done.

My IEPs are tight. So tight, in fact, that I had to go back and check to ensure that everything was discussed; and it was!

My secret (Nothing groundbreaking): I talk to the parents ahead of time so they don’t hijack the meetings. I could say more, but that’s a whole other post. (2) I speak with all stakeholders. Once you speak with all stakeholders, the IEP meeting just flows. (3) I use Google Slides. That way, I manage myself and all participants.

So, there you have it. As I said, it’s nothing groundbreaking. It’s just doing the work on the back end to make everything on the front end easier.

If you’d like a copy of the Google slides, you’ll have to pay for that on my upcoming Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Stay tuned!

Posted in teaching

Graphing WJIV Scores! Part 2


Hi Dear Readers,

Here’s the link to the previous post (click here) where I discussed graphing WJIV scores. At the time, I hadn’t chosen scores for Superior and Very Superior because I had not yet tested anyone who scored that high. Well, now I have. So, I have to choose colors for those categories. I think I’ll choose Dark Blue for Superior & Plum for Very Superior.

Stay tuned for my next post about my 14 minute I.E.P.!

Posted in teaching

So, You Want to Become A Special Education Teacher!


Hello Dear Readers,

I’ve noticed that a lot of blogs & other university pages link to my blog. I’d like to thank you for that. However, I use this blog as a catch-all. It’s not just about being a Special Education teacher. If you’d like to read about my early years of teaching, go to the years 2007-2013

Posted in teaching

Book Release Date- Finally!


Hello Dear Readers,

I’ve finally set my book release date. For real, this time! Story behind it?!?!

Well, a memory came up on Facebook from 3 years ago when I first wrote my book. At that time, I gave myself a hard three week deadline. Obviously I didn’t make it. So, I decided, sink or swim, I’m doing this.

So, I opened up my July calendar and narrowed down a date in July.

July 3rd is too soon, so I dismissed that date.

July 10th is my little sister, Danielle’s, birthday and she’s having a party on that date.

July 17th is my brother John’s birthday, but he’s out of state, so this just might do.

July 24th is my son, Dakota’s, 30th birthday. No go!

July 31st, my niece, Mimi, is renewing her vows on my sister’s birthday.

So, winner, winner, chicken dinner is July 17th. This gives me a grand total of 6 weeks.

What I’ve Done So Far!

-Booked the venue

-Contracted someone on Fiverr to create my book cover. I’ll have a product in less than 2 days.

-Set the date

-Contacted some poets regarding their performance at my show

What I Need To Do!

-Book at least 3-5 poets to read.

-Ask Hiram or Camari to host (Camari can’t host. What a bummer!)

-Decide on what snacks to have for the night of

-Create Event Brite page

-Create Facebook page

-Begin to record videos and upload to Facebook and Instagram

-Finish editing manuscript

-Format manuscript

So, now that that’s all said & done, I’m spazzing out. I’m really doing this! I’m so nervous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But, I’m going to push through and get it done. I have to!

*I will update my cover as soon as I get it!

Bye for now!

Posted in teaching

Sestina (Part II)


*Sidenote: This was my first pantoum. Now that I’m a little removed from it, I can see that I can make it better. So, I will be working on it and posting the edited version once I do.

How to write a pantoum.

SESTINA (Inner War)

Self-sabotage     2. self-doubt   3. self-esteem   4. Inner critic  5. Not good enough   6. war

Stanza 1 (1,2,3,4,5,6)- 

Self-sabotage,

Self-doubt,

and low self-esteem,

working in tandem with your negative inner critic

will have you believe that you’re not good enough, 

leading to the inner war.

Stanza 2 (6,1,5,2,4,3)- 

Being at war 

with oneself is self-sabotage 

at its best. Seeing oneself as not good enough

leads to much self-doubt

with a nagging inner critic

that conspires to lower your self-esteem.

Stanza 3 (3,6,4,1,2,5)- 

High self-esteem

negates the inner war,

silencing that obnoxious inner critic,

disallowing self-sabotage,

self-doubt,

and thoughts of not being good enough.

Stanza 4 (5,3,2,6,1,4)- 

Knowing you’re good enough

raises your self-esteem,

lowers self-doubt, 

stops the inner war,

cancels the self-sabotage

and silences that obnoxious inner critic.

SESTINA (Inner War)

Self-sabotage     2. self-doubt   3. self-esteem   4. Inner critic  5. Not good enough   6. war

Stanza 5 (4,5,1,3,6,2)

That obnoxious inner critic,

that tells you that you’re not good enough,

leads to the self-sabotage

lowers your self-esteem,

heightens the war within,

& silences the self-doubt!

Stanza 6 (2,4,6,5,3,1)

Where there is no self-doubt,

no negative annoying inner critic,

no war within,

no voice telling you you’re not good enough,

self-esteems raise

and the self-sabotage stops.

1. Self-sabotage     2. self-doubt   3. self-esteem   4. Inner critic  5. Not good enough   6. war

Stanza 7: Envoi- The envoi is only 3 sentences long and contains all six of your repeating words. The words can be in any order but the end word of each line needs to be one of your repeating words.

Ultimately, high self-esteem has the power to negate the war within. This stops the inner war that led to the self-sabotage, self-doubt, and the voice that tells you that you’re not good enough. Inner critic, take a seat, your time is up!

Posted in teaching

Inner War (Sestina)


Dear Readers,

Here is a sestina I learned a couple of years ago from my esteemed teacher, Nancy Lynee Woo. A sestina is a poem with six stanzas of six lines and a final triplet, all stanzas having the same six words at the line-ends in six different sequences that follow a fixed pattern, and with all six words appearing in the closing three-line envoi.

When I first met Nancy, I had no idea what a sestina was. But, under Nancy’s tutelage, I learned and am still learning what it is. So, without further ado, here is my first sestina, Inner War:

Inner War

Self-sabotage,

Self-doubt,

and low self-esteem,

work in tandem with an unwelcome negative inner critic

to have you believe that you’re not good enough,

leading to an inner war.

Being at war 

with oneself is self-sabotage 

at its best. Seeing oneself as not good enough

leads to much self-doubt

with a nagging inner critic

conspiring to lower your self-esteem.

High self-esteem

negates the inner war,

silences that obnoxious inner critic,

disallowing self-sabotage,

self-doubt,

and thoughts of not being good enough.

Knowing you’re the opposite of that and that you are good enough

raises your self-esteem

lowers self-doubt 

stops the inner war,

cancels the self-sabotage

and silences that obnoxious inner critic.

That obnoxious inner critic,

that tells you that you’re not good enough,

that leads to the self-sabotage

that lowers your self-esteem,

that heightens the war within,

reinforces the self-doubt!

When there is no self-doubt,

no negative annoying inner critic,

no war within,

no voice telling you you’re not good enough,

self-esteems rises

and the self-sabotage stops.

Ultimately, high self-esteem has the power to negate the war within. This is the antidote to the inner war that led to the self-sabotage, self-doubt, and the voice that told you that you’re not good enough. Inner critic, take a seat, your time is up!

Posted in teaching

Teaching is an Abusive Relationship!!!


Dear Readers,

I’ve been talking about teaching being an abusive relationship with a friend of mine. When she first said it, I kinda’ pooh-poohed the idea. However, the more I started thinking about it, the more it made sense to me. I will qualify it by saying that it all depends on the school, the district, the admin., and the students. I know, that’s a lot.

My friend and I began talking about how much anxiety we still had after only being at our last job for at least six months. At my last charter school, Alliance College Ready Schools, we were always on edge.

Lest you think that I’m crazy for entertaining this, here are a couple of other people who thought the same thing:

Although I’m not feeling the heat of teaching anymore, there are plenty of teachers who still feel this way. So, please be kind to teachers that you know. You never know what they may be going through!

As a bonus, here’s a funny meme for you to enjoy!

50 Of The Best Teacher Memes That Will Make You Laugh While Teachers Cry |  Bored Panda

Posted in teaching

Me, as a Reporter (Part II)


Dear Readers,

Even though I wrote the original article nearly three years ago (April 4, 2018 @ https://specialedandme.wordpress.com/2018/04/04/me-as-a-reporter/ ), I have decided to revisit the subject because I’m ready to move forward and get serious about my writing career. As a bonus, I’ve also decided to continue teaching, although in different forms. I mentioned last week or the week before that I was in the process of developing poetry workshops. So, although I will not be in the classroom anymore when I decide to leave, I will still be teaching (just on my own terms).

How to Become a Reporter | Career Girls - Explore Careers
This is not me, but she’s around my color, so I’m able to picture myself in her position!

So, I’ve been sending around feelers for different writing jobs, on the side for now. I’ve even sent some resumes out for internships. I’ll just have to do it on my own time, separate from my teaching job.

I have an article I’m working on regarding distance learning during the pandemic that I hope to finish by the weekend and get published within the next two weeks. Once it publishes, I’ll post the link here.

Once I decided to change my life and things I didn’t like about it, I jumped in with both feet. Come to think of it, I’ve always been like that. So, me and my two-footed-jumping-in-self are on the way to seeing how I like being a writer full-time within the next year.

7 Qualities of a Good News Story | Pivot | Building Community

Stay tuned for me reporting on all the good stuff happening in my life! Bye for now!

Here’s a video to celebrate how I’m feeling: GOOD NEWS by Mandisa

Posted in teaching

[Guest post by Jo Ashline] From Autism to Rare Disease: One Family’s Journey to an Unexpected Diagnosis


by Jo Ashline

Guest Post by Josh Ashline

He had just turned two when he was diagnosed with autism.

It was 2004 then, and autism was rarely discussed in the pediatrician’s office, but Andrew’s missed milestones had begun piling up and his doctor was no longer able to ignore what was right in front of him: a child unable to speak or play with his toys or point to airplanes in the sky. A child who had lost what few vowels and consonants he had managed to string together before his first birthday, and whose chubby arms would begin flapping whenever he was excited or stressed. Gone was his eye contact, his beautiful blue eyes always seemingly fixed on something right past us. Gone too were the silly games we used to play together, his ability to reciprocate having seemingly vanished into thin air overnight.

We watched as our friends’ children, similar in age to our son, met their milestones with ease, while Andrew seemed suspended in developmental limbo. It wasn’t long before those same kids were surpassing Andrew in every way, and our firstborn son was regressing before our very eyes. A few weeks after being diagnosed with autism, Andrew collapsed in our front yard, his first drop seizure rendering him unable to move his body; it’s difficult to describe the fear and helplessness we felt as we watched seizure after seizure take our little boy hostage. As the months passed, epilepsy was added to his autism diagnosis, with global developmental delay and intellectual disability following soon after.

Before the ink had dried on Andrew’s medical records, we had joined local and national autism foundations, hoping to find answers and support in a growing community we now found ourselves a part of. To this day, we remain friends with many of the families we met in those early years of our autism journey, bonded forever by a shared passion for improving quality of life for our children and bringing autism awareness into world. But despite our involvement in these organizations, connections with other autism families, and seeing autism become a mainstream subject in schools, medical communities, and society as a whole, there was a loneliness to the road we were on with our son.

While autism certainly encompassed a part of Andrew’s challenges and unique perspective on the world, so much of our son still seemed unaccounted for. The intractable epilepsy, hypotonia. severe intellectual disability and global developmental delay all remained part of the bigger picture of who our son was and the many struggles he was facing in his life. Years of genetic testing had yielded nothing more than negative results, and though hope remained a quiet background presence, we resigned ourselves to likely never knowing Andrew’s full story, and instead threw ourselves into advocacy work, therapy appointments, IEP meetings, and helping our son live his very best life anyway we could.

And then it happened.

His new epileptologist wanted to run a genetic panel, hoping it would uncover answers about Andrew’s epilepsy and guide us towards better treatments and seizure control. We were sent home with a small box filled with everything our phlebotomist needed to collect the necessary samples. We made the appointment, had Andrew’s labs drawn, scheduled a FEDEX pick up date, and then forgot all about it.

Until the phone rang two weeks later.

He was 16 when we got the news.

I will never forget sitting in the epileptologist’s office, watching as he held Andrew’s genetic report in his hands. He began reading from the first page and my eyes blurred from the tears as I heard him say the words “genetic variant,” “rare disease,” and “SynGAP1.” I didn’t know what any of it meant yet, but in that moment, I knew we finally had the answer we had been so desperate to find. The specialist handed me the report and as I read the symptoms and clinical presentation of SynGAP, it was like reading our son’s own developmental history, as if someone had written nearly word for word what we had witnessed and what he had been through over the years. The missed milestones, the regression, even his clumsy gait was on there. For the first time in sixteen years, we had our child’s complete diagnosis: he had a rare disease called SynGAP, and it caused his epilepsy, global developmental delay, intellectual disability, and autism.

It’s been three years since we found out. There are days I’m still wrapping my brain around the news. Our identity for so long was wrapped up in all of Andrew’s separate diagnoses and while having them all explained by SynGAP has been amazing, it’s also taken some adjustment. Am I still an autism mom? Yes. But now I’m also a SynGAP mom, and in a lot of ways, it feels like we are starting over. Where I have been well-versed in all things ASD, I still stumble when it comes to this rare disease, learning as I go while navigating a new community of families and advocates. One of the greatest gifts of receiving this diagnosis has been the amazing people we’ve met so far along the way. We joined the SynGAP Research Fund founded by two SynGAP parents and dedicated to funding science to accelerate treatments aimed at improving our loved ones’ quality of life. In the same way autism families have propelled meaningful changes over the years, SynGAP families too are doing what is necessary to give their children access to the best treatments and services. While rare disease is very different in a lot of ways from autism, the common denominator among these two groups I am grateful to be a part of remains the same: wanting a better life for the people we love.

Ever since Andrew’s diagnosis, I think about how many more people out there have undiscovered SynGAP. The most current SynGAP census shows 883 patients globally, and 246 in the United States, with the oldest known individual with SynGAP to be in her 60’s. But we know the number of people with SynGAP is much higher, which is why stories like Andrew’s matter, and they need to be shared. As the autism community well knows, there is strength in numbers; it’s how we’ve moved mountains for individuals with ASD. The rare disease has its own mountains we need to move and helping families with SynGAP get

properly diagnosed is imperative for furthering our mission to fund science, expand supports and resources, and bring awareness to the world. Not to mention, every diagnosed family can join the SYNGAP1 Registry which improves the understanding of the disease for all patients, including those not yet diagnosed.

If what you’ve read has resonated in any way, and you suspect your loved one may be a candidate for genetic testing, I urge you to speak to your treating physicians and specialists and share the wealth of information you’ll find on the Syngap Research Fund website. Autism is a diverse spectrum, and certainly not everyone with autism has SynGAP, but maybe you know and love someone like Andrew too, and like us, you too are searching for more. While Andrew remains the same amazing person he’s always been, knowing the full story behind his many challenges has empowered us as a family in ways we never could have imagined, and reignited our hope for giving him the best possible chance at living his very best life.

Posted in teaching

Poetry Workshops Coming Soon


Dear Readers,

As I talked to one of my nieces, Ashley, I was re-inspired to create a series of healing poetry workshops. I had the idea previously, but had to put it on the backburner because of life and its many demands. Now that I’m divorced with an empty nest, I am able to focus more on myself and my dreams and aspirations. One of those dreams is to help people heal through the use of poetry.

I’ve spoken to someone whose opinion I respect who is going to help me get started on making one of my dreams a reality. Not only that, but it will be another source of income.

Upcoming Poetry Workshop | Lackawanna County Library System

So, stay tuned for upcoming poetry workshops. I may even need to practice on some people, so I’d need some volunteers. Let me know if you’d like to volunteer to be a workshop guinea pig.

Here’s a bonus link I found from one of the blogs I subscribe to. Hope you find it helpful @ https://www.whatdowedoallday.com/poetry-writing-for-kids/

Until next time!

Posted in teaching

(Book Review) Chicago Treasure by Larry Broutman, Rich Green, & John Rabias


***All author proceeds go to The Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Disabled and Access Living Chicago, nonprofit organizations who provide services to families living with disability.

Dear Readers,

I was supposed to post this review about eight months ago before I got bogged down & overwhelmed. I owe my sincerest apology to the author of this book- Larry Broutman. I received this book from his people many months ago. So, Mr. Broutman, I apologize. So, without further ado, here is the long overdue review of Chicago Treasure by Larry Broutman, Rich Green, & John Rabais.

Chicago Treasure — Rich Green Art & Illustrations
One of the many pics in the book of children in their very own fairy tale!

In the author’ own words:  …the true heart and the real treasure of the city are its children. This book is devoted to Chicago’s children. Come along as they travel to worlds within worlds, becoming storybook characters who follow the Yellow Brick Road, sip tea in Wonderland, tame a tiger, live in a shoe, climb a magic beanstalk to bring home a golden-egg-laying hen, turn a frog into a prince, meet fairies and dragons.

I have to agree that the kids are the real treasure of this book, aptly named Chicago Treasure by Larry Broutman. They are front and center as they are super imposed into their own fairytale. The book is such a treat. As a Special Education Teacher, I especially loved this book because I know a lot of my former students would have loved it; they are fully represented, from children in wheelchairs to children with Down Syndrome, as well as a myriad of other disabilities/differences.

As you open the colorful pages of the book, you are immediately greeted by wonderful images of children in various fairy tales. If you love fairy tales, like I do, you will not stop turning the pages. Along with the pics of the celebrated children, there’s a story to go along with the pics. Suspend your disbelief for a couple of minutes and you will most probably imagine yourself within the pages of this book; I know I did!

Author incorporates Chicago's real treasures into his new book - Chicago  Parent
As you can see, up above, the pics are the highlight of the book. They are a special treat. The children are superimposed into their own fairy tale.

Why I liked this book?

My final opinion of the book: Did I like this book? Why, yes, yes, I did! On a scale of Meh (1) to Buy It (5)!, I’d definitely recommend buying this book, especially if you have a special needs child or if you’re a Special Education Teacher. It’s a wonderful book.

I liked this book because it is my opinion that everyone needs to see themselves in a book; especially those with differences. As a Special Education Teacher, I am all about inclusion. I remember when one of my students who has Autism, discovered The Good Doctor t.v. show. He was so blown away.

Why this book be displayed everywhere?

I believe that this book should be displayed in Special Education classrooms, first and foremost. Secondly, it should be displayed everywhere else books are displayed because it is my belief that seeing people with differences should be normalized (No pun intended!) That is the beauty of inclusion.

On that note, here’s a video of the creators of the book @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NoqDbNrmLGw (4:49)

Just to tug at your heartstrings a little more, here’s another video showcasing the author on WGN-TV Chicago @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w55sBUKvBlQ (3:49)

The book is available on Amazon , here, & here!

Posted in teaching

Night Shift by Debi Gliori


Hello Dear Readers, it’s been a long time since I’ve written and even longer since I’ve written a book review. I actually have two book reviews due from earlier in the year. I’m going to post this one first since it’s a short book, and will post the late book review entitled, Santander by David Ellison.

For now, on with the book review of Night Shift by Debi Gliori!

So, I happened upon this book in Dollar Tree of all places. I immediately recognized the author’s name since I’ve been reading her books for years. Without a second thought, I put it in my basket and decided to read as I waited to check out. I was pleasantly surprised as I read the tiny book. I was equally as shocked as I am used to Gliori writing children’s books, not books dealing with this heavy subject matter.

Upon opening the book, it’s not immediately apparent that this is not a children’s book. Firstly, it’s small (7.36 x 6.1) and secondly, it has charcoal illustrations that are reminiscent of Peter Reynolds’ work (one of my favorite children’s book authors, mostly known for Ish & The Dot).

I had my first clue that this book was, perhaps, not a children’s book when I read the opening line:

“I don’t know when it began. Perhaps it drifted in at night like fog.” Tears came to my eyes as I read that line as it dawned on me that this book was possibly about depression that I’m all too familiar with since I’ve been dealing with it since elementary school.

Night Shift 1 & 2
The fog!

I understood that line all too well. The message was brought home by the illustrations which shows how perfectly awful depression has been for me. It comes in like a fog; you know how fog rolls in, slowly at first, then it’s all around you- all encompassing. As I read more and looked closely at the illustrations, I began to take in the complete picture. Gliori gives subtle hints throughout the book as she eases the reader into the subject matter. I was quite taken with the illustrations once I realized what the book was about. After that, I looked for clues in everything. It’s funny what you can see when you open your eyes; almost everything takes on a totally different meaning. That’s when I noticed that the drawing had shadows. I then went back to look at the book cover to see if I could find other clues that authors give in the cover of the book. I also saw something I hadn’t seen before- the dragon, the dragon’s tail, and a feather (It’s significant).

The Story – Something Good
What depression feels like sometimes!

The writing is brilliant. I especially liked the book because a child can read this book and not read anything too deep into it. It can literally be a book about fog or dragons or to older readers, what it’s really about.

Gliori has many quotables in the book. Here are some I found particularly moving:

“But I had lost my compass and without it any map was pointless.”

“It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”

This saying goes with the picture below. She then lists night skills: I loved this one- “Night skills: holding fast to nothing in the knowledge that nothing will last forever.” I can tell you that I’ve definitely felt this way too many times in my life. This was particularly relevant to me because I have this saying, “Nothing too good or too bad lasts for long.” When I saw that, I felt that Gliori & I were kindred spirits. She speaks my words.

Finding a Common Language For Depression | Psychology Today
The delicate balancing act of trying to maintain your balance as you teeter on the edge of insanity and normalcy!

Bottom line: I identified so strongly with this book. Tears involuntarily came to my eyes as I read it. I feel like I want to take the book apart and frame the book page by page. I highly recommend it for all ages. Gliori’s transparency as she painfully bares her soul in this book is so heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. She gives a true picture of how depression really feels. Even if her words didn’t capture it perfectly enough, the illustrations definitley did. That leads me to my next point regarding the illustrations. Because of the illustrations, the book can be given as a gift for a school age child, a teenager, or an adult because it can be interpreted in so many ways. For those who can identify with the subject matter, I’m sorry. However, there is comfort knowing that you’re not alone.

On a scale of Meh to Buy It, I’d rate it Buy It. You won’t be disappointed!

Here’s a video of Debi Gliori discussing the book @ https://vimeo.com/260210791 (14:52)

Article by Debi Gliori about the book: https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/lifestyle/health-fitness/night-shift-symbolises-battles-depression-9626567

Posted in teaching

Our Ever-Changing World!


Dear Readers,

So much has changed in our crazy tumultuous world. Although I don’t like the fact that I have to wear a mask everywhere I go, the fact of the matter is that it’s necessary. In this ever-changing world, we do what we need to do. The same is true of distance learning. Although we, as teachers and parents, may not like the current landscape in education, we have to do what we have to do for our students and children to be successful.

Ever Changing World – Salomes Lounge

Stay tuned for some tips I’ve gathered from parents on how to “do” the distance learning thing!

Posted in teaching

Moving Forward!


Hi Dear Readers,

Pretty good Prettay, prettaaay, prettaaaaaaaay, pretty good - Larry David  Pretty Good - quickmeme

I’ve moved forward with my life following my divorce. At the time, I didn’t know how my new normal would look. Now, I have to say that it looks prett-ay, prett-ay good.

I’m being very careful about something new and I’m not ready to say anything about it just yet, but I’m happy about it.

It’s developing! Stay tuned and I might let you know about it!

Posted in teaching

SABOTAGE FORMULA, Part II


Dear Readers,

I’ve been refining my Sabotage formula since I posted it a couple of weeks ago. I don’t think I’ve actually sat down and really written out a formula for success before today.

So, here’s the old Sabotage Formula:
Tentatively making a start (read: half-ass) + giving it my all a short amount of time + sabotaging myself + not treating myself right + feeling like a victim + taking too long to follow through= FAILURE

As I was reading this, I began to make it into a statement, like a Life Vision Statement.
I realized that I did not include trusting myself in this equation. That’s very important because I’m slowly beginning to trust myself again after years of not doing so. So, I included it.

Here’s the revised Life Vision Statement:
I will encourage, love, and trust myself unconditionally as I increase my quality of life by making and following through with a well thought out plan as I surround myself with a life-giving circle of loved ones.

Let me know what you think!

Posted in teaching

SABOTAGE FORMULA, Part I


Dear Readers,

REFLECTION PERSON

Lately, I’ve been in a deeply reflective mood. I’m trying to figure myself and my patterns out. The problem: I’ve quit my second job in less than one year. I’m almost never one to blame someone else for my problems. I like to take full responsibility for my troubles. So, it’s only natural that I look to myself in order to solve what’s wrong with me.

So, I came up with a sabotage formula. I thought of all the ways I’ve been sabotaging myself. Let me just say that I’m so good at sabotaging myself. That’s something I don’t want to be good at. So, I’ve been trying to figure out a way to stop myself from doing it.  Keep in mind, they are a little rough and I will refine them, but this is what I’m working with.

Tentatively making a start (read: half-ass) + giving it my all for a short amount of time + sabotaging myself + not treating myself right + feeling like a victim + taking too long to follow through= FAILURE

On the flip side, it stands to reason that, if I want to be successful, that I would have a formula for success. Here it is:

Make a plan + Follow through on the plan + encourage myself + love myself unconditionally + surround myself with a great circle/tribe= SUCCESS

For most of my life, I have not been good to myself. That changes now. I refuse to not realize my potential. I am more than unrealized potential. I have to, have to get better on follow through. This is what is killing my dreams.

So, today, this is my declaration:

I DECLARE that I will put actions behind my faith. I will not be passive or indifferent. I will demonstrate my faith by taking bold steps to move toward what God has put in my heart. My faith will not be hidden; it will be seen. I know when God sees my faith, HE will show up and do amazing things.

This is MY DECLARATION!!

Posted in teaching

I’m Back (I Mean, Really Back!)


Dear Readers,

I’m back. I honestly did not realize it’d been so long since I’d written on here. So, as a welcome back, I’m going to update you on my life. Like to hear it, here it goes:

Once this COVID lockdown/quarantine is over, I’m going back to teaching. I was actually interviewing before the lockdown. I’m sad that school will not resume until September. But once it does, I’ll be back to teaching. I really did miss it.

I’m divorcing and discovering a whole new side of myself. Somewhere along the line of raising children and being someone’s wife, I lost myself. Now, I am actively discovering myself. I’ll be posting about that. So, be on the lookout!

As I’ve written here before, writing is my outlet- my happy place. So, I’m going to be writing here more and in other outlets, as well.

I’m going to be posting book reviews of some cute little books I bought at this open air flea market that I frequent. The first book I will be reviewing is Ralph Tells A Story by Abby Hanlon.

Posted in teaching

Marshmallow by Clare Turlay Newberry


Dear Readers,

Marshmallow

I’m going to review this wonderful little book. It’s a Caldecott award winning book, entitled Marshmallow by Clare Turlay. I’m so happy with this book. I found it in a thrift store for .10 cents. I didn’t know what it was, but there was no way I was going to pass up a book for .10 cents.

I got it with the intention of passing it on to one of my great nieces or nephews. I’m not sure. I still may. For now, though, I’m keeping it because I love it so.

Summary: Oliver is a tabby cat who is always the center of attention. Marshmallow is a baby rabbit who moves into Oliver’s home. At first Oliver does not welcome Marshmallow, but the little bunny’s charms are impossible to resist. This is the true story of how Oliver and Marshmallow become friends.

Lesson to be learned: Even if someone is not exactly the same as you, it doesn’t matter. Love is love and it can overcome all differences.

Recommendation: Yes, I highly recommend this book.

Posted in teaching

Self-Impression by C.Leila Cramer


Dear Readers,

Here’s a poem I wrote when I was at the height of my depression. So, I have to warn you that it’s pretty depressing.

Self-Impression

Ugly. Stupid. Unsuccessful. Chaotic. Loser. Nothing!

Original poetry by Carole Leila Cramer

I admit that this poem may not be for everyone. However, for those that will understand this, I’m truly sorry that you do. I really just wanted to get it out when I was feeling like this. I was hoping, that by writing it out, that the feelings would magically go away. They didn’t, but I am learning how to deal with them. I hope reading this doesn’t trigger any old or new feelings for you.

Let me know what you think, in the comments!

Posted in teaching

Anxiety & Depression!


Hello Dear Readers,

I was in a bad state last year. I was in a battle with anxiety and depression that I did not think that I could win. But, I did! Hello, Healthy Mind!

It was a struggle, but one strategy I used to combat anxiety and depression was positive self-talk. I’m usually pretty confident, but this battle had me questioning my confidence and competence. I started a new job that I just could not get the hang of.

I found this pic that explained why I was having so much trouble with 
anxiety and depression and is one of the reasons that I tendered my
resignation. 

I and my energy were spent. I had nothing to give. I was overwhelmed, burnt out, and tired. It was so many different areas of my life that were not going well. It was way too much to contend with.

There were no roots. However, now, I have roots growing again. With the help of my support system, I am on the mend and digging deep, once again.

I have started my publishing company. I’ll write more about it later. Just suffice it to say that I am healed and moving on to greater things. Here’s to self-publishing my own and other’s books!

Posted in teaching

Making New Moves!


Dear Readers,

I have made a bold move- I quit teaching. I’m not sure if I’m going to return. I promised myself that if I got to the point that I did not enjoy teaching, that I would quit. Well, I was no longer enjoying. Not only that, I began experiencing anxiety and depression again. I had no peace. It just wasn’t worth it to me anymore.

The only problem is that I looooooovvvvvveeee teaching, if I can actually just teach. I don’t want to deal with administration, I don’t want to deal with parents from hell, I don’t want to deal with students cursing me out… I mean, you get the picture.

As I was looking for the perfect pic to put into this post, I actually came across a teacher resignation template. If you’re also thinking about quitting, here’s a link to the Teacher Resignation Template.

Let me know your thoughts. Have you quit teaching or are you thinking about teaching? Stay tuned for my next article on reasons why I quit teaching and what I’m doing next!

Posted in teaching

Been So Long!


Hi, Dear Readers! It’s been awhile. I promise to write more often. I am doing all I can to conquer anxiety and depression. My number one outlet is writing; followed closely by walking. It’s a park near my house where my husband and I walk for at least an hour on the weekends. My school site is so big that I log at least 3,500-4,300 steps per day. So, I’ve been getting in exercise.

WHAT’S BEEN GOING ON WITH ME?

So, I’ve been battling depression and anxiety with a fierceness. I’ve battled with both of them before. However, since I’ve been battling both of them for the past couple months, I’m tired and they very nearly took me out.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that I honestly did not think that I would make it this time. There were days when I didn’t make it out of my pajamas, didn’t brush my teeth, wash my face, or eat. I just sat in a stupor, staring at the wall, wondering why I was on this earth.

TIRED OF BEING TIRED!

But, I got tired of being tired, so I decided to use writing therapy. That’s one good thing that has come out of this battle. I got another book out of it. When I’ve shared them with friends and family, some have cried and written very heartfelt notes to me because I managed to capture the spirit of depression. When I first wrote some of the poems, they were hard to read because I was still experiencing the situation. Now, that I’m getting a firmer grip on the situation, it’s not as hard to go back and read the poems.

THERAPY

I’ve been using various strategies (as mentioned above) to help. My next step is therapy. Although therapy is sometimes seen as a bad thing among Black people, it is not! Basically, my mind is sick, so I’m taking it to the mind doctor to get it ‘looked at’!

FUTURE PLANS

So, I’m currently researching what I need to know so I can start my own publishing company and self-publish my own books.

CURRENT BOOKS

Last year was a busy year for me. I wrote a chapter in two award-winning teacher anthologies. The first one was, “The Whole Truth & Nothing But the Truth, So Help Me Teacher! Part I with Lead Author Vicki Kirk-May. The second one was The Mediocre Teacher Project with Lead Author Marquita Smith Blades.

UPCOMING BOOKS

My upcoming book is called The Ebb & Flow of Life: Stages of Walking in My Power. It’s a collection of poetry. The book is divided into three sections/chapters. The first section/chapter is called Bitter, Hurt, Angry, & Afraid. The second section/chapter is called Realizations. The third and final section/chapter is called Walking in My Power.

In the book, I take you through times when I was down and out to the times when I began to realize that I don’t have to stay down forever, to the times when I was beginning to awaken to my potential. During those times, you couldn’t tell me nothing.

It will be released by March 2019 at the latest. After that, I plan to finish the book that I wrote when I was really battling anxiety & depression.

MOVING FORWARD!

Moving forward, I will not shut down and stop writing on here, because writing is my lifeblood. I cannot go a day without writing or listening to music.

ON THAT NOTE!

On that note, here’s a little music by Anita Baker to carry you out of this post!

Been So Long by Anita Baker

Enjoy! I’ll see you next time!

Posted in teaching

I’m Baaacccckkkk!!!!


Hello Dear Readers,

Did ya’ miss me? I haven’t written on this blog for quite some time. What can I say? I’ve been busy writing another chapter in an anthology and a book of poetry that’s due out next month, called, “The Ebb & Flow of Life: Stages of Walking in My Power”. I’m super excited about it; even more so than the anthology. It’s because the book is all of me. Sink or swim, it’s me- all of me! I poured my heart and soul into this book. I’ll post more as the day approaches. For now, I just want to get back to writing on here on a regular basis!

Get prepared!

Posted in teaching

Diving Deep into Learning Differences


Learning Differences

Dear Readers,

I’ve re-thought my way of thinking about the term “learning disabilities.” I wish I thought this way when I first started teaching. I kinda’ feel bad for all the years that I’ve been telling students that they have disabilities. It’s so funny (not haha! funny, but ironic) that I’ve come to this conclusion because I feel that having students accept that they have a disability led to them becoming a better version of themselves.  It’s nothing I can do about the past though. However, moving forward,  I’m not going to tell my students that they have learning disabilities, I’m going to tell them that they have learning differences.

Every year, in the Resource Lab, I teach the students “how” they’re smart with the Multiple Intelligence Survey. I then give them several surveys and questionnaires. I will post a link late to the worksheets I created.

Posted in teaching

Trust Circle


Dear Readers,

Early in the school year I was out on sick leave. I thought about my reason for being on  leave- stress! The problem was that I didn’t ask for help. I thought that my students could possibly be experiencing the same thing. That’s when I got the idea to give my students an outlet to express their feelings before they go crazy.

We established some Vegas rules!

They were:

  1. What happens/is discussed during trust circle, stays in trust circle.
  2. It has to be student led.
  3. I can’t do any teaching that day.
  4. Everyone has to participate.
  5. Only the person with the talking stick can speak.

Here’s a picture of the talking stick I bought. A leader is chosen the week before, while the topic is decided the day of.  I had three “enforcers”  who keep the students quiet and get them to participate. It worked out well because the students were able to let off some steam and have fun at the same time. This is something I’ll be doing from years to come. I’ll keep you updated!

Posted in teaching

It Happens Every time!


***WARNING- This post is a little long!***

Dear Readers,

Without fail, whenever I am on a high from something wonderful, something happens immediately afterwards to knock me down a peg or two. Just when I think that I have this teaching thing in a bag and I’m not on the fence anymore about wanting to quit, I will have an unusually bad day. This happened a couple of months ago with two students who I’ll call Jean Luc & Chet.

It was a regular Friday morning with my 2nd period, which I classify as my easy class since I only have seven students. Per usual, I broke the class into three groups, with two groups having two students (10th), and one group having three students (9th). I was super excited because I prepared a Shakespeare lesson for the ninth graders who are reading Romeo & Juliet. I was going to have them watch a video on TEDx Talk with MC Lars, a Stanford educated rapper who produces comical edutainment videos while rapping about Shakespearean lyrics, Edgar Allan Poe, and other literary topics.

The first video is entitled “The hip-hop of Shakespeare” (click here for video). The second video (my favorite) is, “Flow Like Poe!”(click here for video). In the video, he explains iambic pentameter, a trochee, and a host of other Shakespearean terms. The video is seriously goofy, but contains so much useful information. When I put it on, my students usually half-heartedly groan when I put it on the first time, but after I’ve played it and they “get” iambic pentameter, they usually request it.

I wrote/said that to say that, instead of the usual groaning, I got complaints that were above and beyond; they were actually mean. They were doing extras, as the kids say. I have to explain that one student has to something to say about everything; I mean everything. I don’t like his constant complaining, but I’m used to it. However, on Friday, I was not patient with him.

I had to call in the 9th grade counselor for help for Chet because he would not stop talking as I was talking to him. This particular student has made me call my desire to teach into question because I used to be patient with students like him. I used to want to reach them. Now, I do not have the patience nor a desire to reach this particular student.

I feel really bad because I was trying to be patient with Chet because he’s recently had a personal tragedy, but I am at my wits end. I have tried everything that I know and he’s taking advantage of my kindness at this point.

As for Jean Luc, I called his parents and gave him Reflection Hour (detention).

I was so exhausted that I went home and went to bed at 7 p.m. I kept trying to get up to do some work, but I was absolutely exhausted.

The next day, I didn’t have a lot of time and patience to handle the situation again today with the same students.

But, through it all, I had to remind myself that it was a bad day and not a bad career.

bad day 4

Posted in Anecdotes, life, Miscellaneous, teaching

The Act of Creation…


So many times as I’ve been about to embark on a great journey, it’s been started by a quote. Well, this quote by Pablo Picasso is no different. Here’s the quote: Every act of creation is first an act of destruction.”

This is so apropos because I feel like my life has been torn down and is currently in the process of being restructured and rebuilt. I’m on medical leave from work and don’t know what my next steps are. I thought by this time in my life that I’d know for sure what path I’d like to take. Wrong!

Image result for painting showing confusion←I feel like this lady right here. I know that something good is on the horizon because my career is in shambles. I’ve been trying to get my resume together but just can’t seem to get it together. I tell ya’, one of these years I’m going to get it together!

Posted in teaching

Taking a Risk!


Dear Readers,

There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.    ~Anaïs Nin~

Anais Nin quote

I’m not altogether sure if I wrote something about this before since this isn’t the first time I’ve come across this quote. Now, I just felt like I had to write something. For the longest time I’ve been wrapped tightly in a bud. Now, I am blossoming. I am becoming the ME I’ve always been meant to be.

Posted in teaching

Public Crying Undiagnosed Autistic Me!


***WARNING- This post is long ***

Dear Readers,

crying face (KimK)

Yeah, about that title! I’m sure that I shared this before, but I’m going to share it again- I don’t like crying in public. Well, let me correct that. I didn’t used to like crying in public. After today, it doesn’t bother me. Part of what changed is that I’m coming into my own. I’ve been going through an awakening. I see more, I feel more, and I have been sharing more. I’ve gotten more in touch with my feelings. So, things that used to bother me, don’t bother me anymore.

Related image Continue reading “Public Crying Undiagnosed Autistic Me!”

Posted in teaching

It Takes Courage…


Dear Readers,

It’s synchronicity that I found this quote by e.e. cummings because this year has been all about me becoming the ME I intended to be when I was younger. It seems that when you state your intentions and decide to become who you were meant to be, then things begin to happen.

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.

~e.e. cummings~

Posted in teaching

Tough Love


Dear Readers,

It’s that time of year again when I have downtime and really reflect on my school year.

Have you ever had a problem with your students becoming too comfortable in your class? Well, I have! You know what- the fault is all mine. I became too comfortable with them. I would talk to them throughout class; I would accept their excuses; I would get mad at the other teachers for holding them to a higher standard!

Now that I look back on it, I can see where I failed. I had to reflect on their behaviors as I reflected on mine. Going into the next school year, I am going to set boundaries and enforce them religiously. I’m the one who controls my life by making decisions that lead me to being my best self.

If it’s to be, it’s up to me!

Posted in Anecdotes, life

Changing My Playlist!


Dear Readers,

For as long as I can remember, I’ve listened to really sad songs. I think it was because I was afraid to be happy. I didn’t even realize they were really sad until one of my students told me that the song that I loved was really depressing. Depressing?!?! Until then I didn’t connect the two.

After she said that, I started paying attention to my song choices. Sure enough, they were mostly sad and depressing. Almost all of them.

Do you think I changed my playlist then? Nope, I didn’t. Wanna’ know why! I hadn’t changed my way of thinking. Until now!

A couple of months ago, I attended an event through L.A.U.S.D. with Siedah Garrett (writer of Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” & “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You”) as one of the featured performers. She told the story of how she came to write the song, “Answer’s Always Love”.

I know that I keep using this phrase, but I vibed with her explanation and her song so much. I paid full attention to the song as she sang. I was mesmerized. Right then and there, I decided to change my playlist to suit my changed  mindset.

As an added bonus, here’s a poem I wrote in my upcoming book of poetry. Like to hear it, hear it goes:

I Changed My Playlist

My playlist, once so full of sad songs

used to depress me.

But those songs do not represent me 

or my way of thinking anymore.

My way of looking at things shifted.

I’m no longer sad, bitter, hurt, or afraid.

While Keyshia Cole’s “Let It Go”

And Mary J. Blige’s “Not Gon’ Cry”

used to be on repeat,

Now, the lyrics to Frankie Beverly’s “We Are One”

and Siedah Garrett’s “The Answer’s Always Love!”

Speaks to me.

Of necessity, I chose to limit my exposure to songs that kept me

angry, bitter, hurt, & afraid. 

While listening to sad songs.

 I was perpetually in an unproductive state of mind

that did not serve my desire to move forward

and heal. 

When your mindset shifts

and you’re ready to move on and

become a better you,

the way out can be as simple 

as changing your playlist!

© Original poetry by Carole L. Banks
Posted in teaching

Guest Post by Bea Burgess


Dear Readers,

Today’s post is written by Bea Burgess of http://www.abclawcenter.com. I usually don’t post articles that link back to businesses, but this one was quite informative. The article is short, sweet, and to the point. I enjoyed it. Check it out, you might enjoy it, as well! Here’s the title that caught my attention-

Students with Disabilities More Likely to Be Punished in Schools- Especially If They Are Black

Recent reports have indicated that disabled students, and especially black students with disabilities, face inequitable disciplinary action in schools. Here, we’ll first discuss how schools punish students with disabilities at much higher rates than their non-disabled peers. We’ll then examine the intersectionality of disability and race as they pertain to school suspensions and lost instruction.

Across The United States, Students With Disabilities Are Disciplined InequitablyStudents with Disabilities More Likely to Be Punished in School – Especially If They Are Black

About 25 percent of students who are suspended, referred to law enforcement, or arrested while at school have a disability, even though students with disabilities comprise only about 12 percent of all public school students. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently reported that students with disabilities are over-represented by 13 percent for suspensions and 15.5 percent for law enforcement referrals and arrests. There was a substantial disparity in all types of public school, including charters, magnets, alternative schools, and special education programs. Affluent schools were not immune; in fact, there was an over-representation of 20 percent in suspensions (1).

A study by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights revealed similar trends. They found that children with disabilities made up 28 percent of school-related arrests, 26 percent of out-of-school suspensions, and 24 percent of expulsions. Moreover, those served under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) accounted for 71 percent of students restrained and 66 percent secluded. These conclusions come from a dataset that includes over 50 million students at more than 96,000 schools.

The executive director of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, Denise Marshall, told Disability Scoop that she was concerned about these findings:

“Our kids continue to be harmed by the failure of the Department (of Education) to take action to address the gross inequities and disparity in treatment. How many more generations will it take?” (2).

Racial Disparities In School Discipline And Lost Instruction

Researchers from Harvard University and UCLA recently collaborated on a study examining how lost instruction due to discipline varies based on disability and race. Their report is called “Disabling Punishment: The Need for Remedies to the Disparate Loss of Instruction Experience by Black Students with Disabilities.”

They found that black students with disabilities are suspended much more frequently than white students with disabilities – they have on average 77 more days of lost instruction. Of course, this greatly affects how much they learn.

Tomiko Brown-Nagin, director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice at Harvard Law School, told Harvard Law Today that “Far too many school districts are punishing and pushing out black students with disabilities.”

Under IDEA, states must review racial disparities in discipline at the district level, and address the underlying issues.

The Trump administration has made moves toward rescinding certain IDEA regulations, including guidance aimed at reducing disparities in school discipline; this is what prompted the Harvard/UCLA study. Author of the Disabling Punishment report, Daniel J. Losen, told Harvard Law Today that, “We hope the information in this report will serve as a call to action to educators and advocates in every state.”

The report contains recommendations for education policymakers, civil rights advocates, teachers’ unions, and other groups involved in the education system (3).

Conclusions: An Intersectional Approach To Combating Inequality In Our Schools

The high rates of disciplinary action for students with disabilities are fairly distressing even withoutaccounting for racial differences, but when considering the intersectionality between disability and race, the numbers are even more shocking. To promote change, disability rights organizations should collaborate with racial justice advocates. The issues experienced by students with disabilities are not identical to those experienced by racial minorities, but there is certainly a lot of overlap. And for students who are disabled and black, the problem of inequitable punishment must be understood and addressed from both angles.

 

Here’s the link: https://www.abclawcenters.com/blog/2018/05/07/students-with-disabilities-more-likely-to-be-punished-in-schools-especially-if-they-are-black/ 

Posted in Financial stuff, Food for thought, life, teaching, update

Me, As A Reporter! Part 2


Dear Readers,

Do you remember when I posted a couple of weeks ago that I can see myself as a reporter?!?! Well, that was so crazy of me to post. I thought that was a really, really lofty goal. However, I put it out there in the wind. Well, guess what? A friend of mine, Quanda, posted a job on Facebook for a reporter.

WHAT!!!

 

You could have knocked me over with a feather. I proceeded to apply for it and am now waiting on the response. I hope I get it. However, if I do not, then there’s another position ready and waiting for me!

As always, I’ll keep you updated!