Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Attention all personnel!!! We are MOVING!!!

It has come to my attention that I haven't updated this blog for some time. I apologize for this but have been working on another blog.  Here it is,

Thanks for paying attention to what I have been ranting about on this I will rant over there.

Thank you very much for taking some time out to read about what we are trying to do.  Whatever you do from here, just make sure you do something.  Take Care


Monday, March 8, 2010

For her

This is my inspiration. I love you very much mamas.  Be ready.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Education and Communication - Why this?

   First off...Education is THE most important aspect of our lives.  Without it, nothing gets done.  What are some of the problems that we see with Education?

  1. Education is totally relevant to location.  This doesn't just mean a geographic location, physical street address, but also the people that are there - the administration, teachers and students.  This may seem silly or obvious but what it means is that people are dependant on what is going on around them and though they may technically have the ability to change what goes on at their local schools, the reality is that change seems near impossible.  
  2. Education is only as useful as the people who teach it - once again something obvious.  Students only learn what teachers are willing to teach.  The attitude of teachers is in direct relationship with their personal lives: emotional status, financial order, and experience play key roles in what their students will learn from them.  
  3. Parents don't place a priority on education.  Parents see education as a babysitter...this automatically demeans the position of teacher and puts them behind the 8 ball.  On top of that, the majority of teachers realize that and may teach according to what's expected of them.  
     This illustrates a point that we have taken to heart - people will do what is expected of them.  Children will rise or fall to the expectations that are put to them.  Teachers as well.  Parents are the one that exercise the most control of this entire situation.  Parents place the expectations on their children as students to succeed or to fail.  Parents, through their actions, also place expectations on the teacher - If a parent does not stay in contact with a teacher to show that they are involved in their children's lives, the teacher just goes on with what they are doing.  This leads to a sort of apathy...not apathetic in the sense of a destructive behavior but one that kind of affirms what they are doing-that everything is status quo when in reality it could be changed for the better. This brings me to my point:  In this triadic relationship between educator(educational system), student, and parent, who really has the power?  Who has the responsibility to the other 2 to assure that people are getting the information that they need?  Why the hell can't parents be more involved in their children's lives and what is it about this that makes people think that once they drop their kids off at school that, that's that?

     Now what are we going to do about this?  Education is something that gets a bad rap but the truth is that people like myself who left school or dropped out are responsible for those actions ourselves.  We can make up all the excuses that we want about bad teachers and subjects that we'll never need in real life (Algebra, any one?) but the bottom line is that I was scared about something...personally, I think the feeling of failure was much stronger than the idea that I could learn.  It robbed me but only because I gave it my wallet.

   What went on was something that could have been fixed if it had been called into question at an early enough time.  My parents are great parents.  Like all families we have had our disagreements but I wouldn't trade them for anyone on earth.  They raised my brother, sister, and I as well as they could.  They were involved in our lives at school, they provided us plenty of opportunity growing up and there was lots of love in the household.  What I learned to do was to do things at a minimum so that they would leave me be.  If there was anything that I wish they would have done differently, it would have been to not let me get away with things as much.  They loved me so much, they would ease on me when I didn't do what I was supposed to.

     Here's the thing, it all falls on me.  I realized this but only within the last 5 years - coincidentally, the amount of years that my daughter has been on Earth.  My parents expected great things from me and I will fulfill them, it's just gonna take me a little longer than they had hoped for.  In turn, great things are expected of our children.  Lillie is growing up with that and Alexa is beginning to realize that and is starting to fulfill some of that promise.  For her, life has been tough and I wish to hell it hadn't been so tough...but she's going to do great things because she has lived through this and is seeing how things can be if we expect great things from her.  As parents, we need to expect great things from our kids.

     So what does this mean?  This means that we are going to do what we can to change the culture of education.  Education itself can be amazing...maybe not always fun but even things we love aren't always fun.  How do we get children to understand that education isn't just about school?  How do we get children to understand that there are expectations of them and of those expectations, Education is the first and foremost of them?  Why do children fail when in reality, failure isn't's a learning tool.  Failure isn't actually as scary as we have been taught to's accepting failure that is the scary part.  People who expect and accept failure are not acceptable.  I don't mean that we go out and eliminate these people but what we have to do is create a culture where this mentality is unacceptable, where failure is truly looked at as a tool to succeed.  It's given lip service but when in early classrooms, failure is slowly reinforced with shame and embarrassment.  Kids can be jerks and some love nothing more than feeling better about themselves by putting others down (Bullying) - This is one of those things that exhibits people's willingness to accept failure: They decide that failure is acceptable because they slap other people down as soon as they can.
     How do we encourage success?  Parents.  Parents.  Parents and Parents.  Parents have to become more involved, ESPECIALLY at the early stages of education. They need to be on top of their kids so that their kids learn early on that they are expected to be great and early on how failure is OK as long as they don't get frustrated and that they keep moving forward after they experience that failure.  Posters and slogans don't mean much when it isn't truly encouraged.  We need to teach kids HOW to learn and HOW to act responsibly towards each other.  Kids need to really learn accountability and what it means to be person of greatness.  What does it mean to be a person of greatness?  Honestly, I don't know.  I do know that we need to look at people we think are great.  We need to show children that we expect them to be great.  We need to truly understand that children will be great if we expect them to be great.

     This means that Teachers need to be great.  Teachers need to be more than competent.  This may not mean that they graduate top of their class or that they have 50 years of teaching experience.  Hell, I'm not sure if people need a degree.  Of course I don't know how well that works, but we want people who can teach the hell out of some kids.  One of our proposals is - 3 people at the head of a class...a Certified Teacher, and 2 T.A.'s or 2 people of differing opinions that would be able to show children a total of 3 different POV's.  This involves a highly interactive relationship between the 3 teaching figures and automatically improves what the children are learning because the children will learn 3 POV's and all the information that goes with those 3 POV's.  This would be ideal for older students but it may work with younger students in the sense that broken up groups can be shown things by each teacher (reading to small groups, math concepts, things of that nature).  The bottom line is Teachers need to be trained thoroughly in how to teach - right down to how to get children to pull out a piece of paper and pencil and be ready for class.

       The reality of the situation is this:  Our world is becoming more and more isolated and the loudest voices belong to those people who are ready to just shit on everyone else.  The idea of being out for yourself dismisses 6.5 billion other people who could possibly help.  On top of that, this selfishness turns people into tools to be used by those that want to take advantage of people.  We need to teach them to not be tools...they need to learn how to think for themselves.  We need to give children tools so that they don't become tools.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Initial plan for our program

The Students
The Afterschool program - This is a 4 hour after school day.  Keep this in mind:  This is NOT set in of the things that we are trying to teach is that these subjects are NOT independent of each other...often, these subjects will be taught simultaneously.  It just helps people to see what we are trying to get across.

  • 30 minutes - Problem solving, conflict resolution, and thinking skills.
  • 30 minutes - Creative thinking...What does this entail?
  • 45 minutes - Reading skills
  • 45 minutes - Math skills
  • 45 minutes - Creative learning (Sciences, Music, Art, World Religions, Engineering, etc..)
  • 45 minutes - Research skills, Musicianship, Leadership, Etc...

Now, the key here is Triads.  The students would be matched up in Triads so that they learned to help each other.  On top of that, the ideal situation would be 3 teaching positions at once...1 teacher and 2 aides.  The 1st hour of class would be kind of an open session.  All 3 teachers interacting with the students to:

  1.      Decompress from the actual school day
  2.      Teach the students how to interact with one another
  3.      Allow 3 POV on any one situation that can be presented to them

This also allows the class size to increase.  Because of how we are going to set this up, the idea of student to teacher ratio is something that would actually benefit from a bigger class.  Part of what we are teaching is how to lead.  Large groups of kids sounds daunting but we are teaching these kids how to be leaders; If they cannot work amongst themselves then we will have failed.

The Parents
In order for their children to be enrolled in this afterschool program, Parents will be required to attend classes 2 nights a week.  These classes will initially contain:

  •      16 week parent program course - 1 of the nights per week:  The premise of this class is that parents simply need to be more involved in their children's lives.  This class is actually taught as part of a program usually for at risk teens.  However, there are things in this program that will help every parent who is willing to listen.  These things will lay the groundwork for everything else we will do. 

  •      Lessons in the classes their children will be learning the following week.  This will allow the parents to see what their children will be studying coming up.  They will know what projects their children are going to be working on as well as brush up on these skills so that they do not become lost when the time comes to help their children.  This helps with a couple of things:

    1.      Parents are empowered to assist their children whenever they have questions about their homework.  
    2.      Parents cannot help but stay involved with their children's activity because they have to know what is going on so that they can stay a part of the class.

     Part of the classes for parents will be things like cooking for the home and teaching how to make meals as a family, group outings to museums and points of interest.  The idea is that these parents become friends to one another and a community spawns from this.  On top of that, things like Financial Planning, Organizational skills, and anything that parents would be willing to teach one another that would help everyone else would be put on the table.  On top of that, the leadership aspect of their children's learning would be taught to the parents.

Teachers and Administration
Teachers and Administration will be one and the same.  No administration will be just administrators and no teachers will just teach.  They are to be interchangeable...The resources are such that everyone is on equal footing.  All programs and curriculum will be worked out among the teachers that are teaching in the same classroom.  Teachers and Administrators don't have to agree with the core values of the program, but those values must resonate with them.  The noble cause is something that they must be in alignment with.  Authenticity and transparency are of utmost importance.

We are trying to do more than teach students how to be better students or parents how to be better parents or teachers to teach a better way.  We are creating a movement...we want the future to be a place where people are more concerned about those around them than they are for themselves.  The world is in the state that it is in right now because people are too self-centered to worry about those around them.  We want to teach people to lead so that they can teach others to lead.  People will be better towards one another when they realize that they are responsible for and accountable to others.

Some notes:  Triads are key everywhere.  3 students per small group, 3 teachers per class (both students and parents), the initial triad of student - parents - teacher.  We will not fail each other if we have to hold each other up.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Core Values and a Noble Cause

We are working on our Noble Cause and core values.  This page is important because this will have all of the information regarding this.  On top of this, the strategy at the bottom is a work-in-progress as well.

Educational Institutions, the culture change is based on personality...Tribal Leadership teaches how to change things.

Teachers are not teamwork people.  Close the door and things are done their way.
Parents expect teachers to babysit.  The conventional wisdom indirectly confirms this way of thinking.
Children do what is expected of them.  If Parents and Teachers expect greatness, Children will be great.

What are your Core Values?

Propose After School Program - July 1, 2010


- Teachers that we know - How do they want to teach?
Parents that we know - How do they parent?
Students that we know - What is an effective way to learn?
Social Workers that we know - How do they see the interaction among the others?
Friends of ours - From the outside in, Where are there problems?
Internet - Are there programs like this being run elsewhere?
Libraries - Are there programs like this being run?
- Schools - How do we show them that this program will increase their scores thus increasing their funding?
- Christina Reyes - My wife and Staff Accountant at Long Term Healthcare Facility - How will this be funded?  How do we get the capital to begin this project?  How do we get this information out to the community?
Alfredo Reyes - My Father and teacher at a Juvenile Offenders site - Studying for Doctorate:  His dissertation is on the effects sentence reduction has on the learning abilities of juvenile offenders.  Why was this practice stopped?
Michael and Lena Bailey - Social workers that work with troubled children everyday.  Helped to shape the beginning ideas of what the school may consist of.  How does this school differ from others?  Why should I send my child here?
Erica Tumbaga - Social worker. Questions how will this differ from other public programs?  People need to be invested on all ends.  Stated that the Teachers and staff of the program can only give as much as the parents and students are willing to more, no less.  On top of that well-traveled.
Jayson Reyes - My brother and B.S. detector - told me that this was bigger than anything that I have ever done before and that I CANNOT give up on this.  "You can't mess around on this one.  Honestly, How many hours a week do you (me, David) work with Lillie (my daughter) on her homework?"  My answer was roughly 3 - 4 hours directly.  He works with her at least 8 hours per week because he watches her on the days that she is off  from preschool.  On top of that, all of us use moments throughout the day to make sure that she is learning things. Made me question myself...Important mirror.
Omar Tobin - Social worker - Questions on how parents will be asked to attend.  What are the requirements of single parent households versus both parents in the home?
Albert Lozano - Artist at a well known Animation studio - Research on Finnish School system brought up legitimate points on how successful the Finnish school system is in international comparisons.  How different the schools function vs.  What we have here in the United States.  On top of that, well traveled.
Collette Lozano - Mother of Albert and grandmother of 3 who are age of our desired students.  She has raised 2 children who are successful and now is helping to raise 3 grandchildren.  Questions how parents can better help their students when the lessons that they are being taught consist of information that they don't know.  For example, a lot of parents do not understand Algebra, How can they help their children?  How do we help them overcome this obstacle?
Antoinette Bibal - HR director at long term healthcare facility - Ideal for administration.  Passionate about her work and extremely grounded in her core values.  In addition to my wife's questions, How do we work together as a culture?  How do we make this work at an organizational level?
David Reyes - Co-conspirator.   How do we make this real?
John Tosello - Attorney and Parent Program teacher - The hardest part of parent participation is how to get them to show up consistently.  How are you going to do this?  How are you going to fund this?  How is this program going to work exactly?  Why should parents want to participate in this?

    Social Networks

    Books and Documentaries:
     - Tribal Leadership - How to lead.  How do we teach an entire generation how to lead each other?
     Outliers - How success works.  Can we tip learning in our favor?
     The Element - How do we creatively teach?  The current model is not effective for future growth.
      Comeback America - How do we teach people to be financially responsible in everyday facets of their lives?
      - Teach Like A Champion  - How will this book allow our teachers and parents to influence the study habits of our students?
     - TEDtalks - Various talks on how to improve our work.  Amazing source of information.

-Children of friends.  Can we test some of these theories in various settings?  Michael and Lena Bailey proposed that we get some of our children together of like ages and emotional levels and do the following:  Rent a space, perhaps a room at a library.  For a series of time, perhaps 10 weeks, teach the children and parents in the following way:
           -One 4 hour session in the Library room
           -One 4 hour session at a home of one of the participating families
           -One 4 hour session outdoors - at a park or at the zoo or somewhere that everyone can be outdoors and together

-Friends that we haven't met yet.  There are a ton of acquaintances that we have that we are in the process of interviewing.  People who have questions that will allow us to grow and expand and "see blind spots" that we are unable to see.
-We used the California Standard Test score results for the Charter Oak school system for the school year ending June 2009.  What we noticed was at the 3rd grade testing level the percentage of below basic and far below basic test scored increased from the 2nd grade total of 10% to 19%.  Math scores showed a total percentage of 12% up 3 percentage points from the 2nd grade test.  We are using the California Standard Test scores as a benchmark.
-Foundations - Can we submit proposal for partnership?
       - Verizon foundation education grants -
         - Guitar Center Music foundation grants -
        - Community grants available through the Allstate foundation -
        - Grants for Youth promoting Collaboration -
        - Grants for Computer software -
        - Comcast Foundation Grants -
        - CDE Funding -
           - Existing Grants -
           - 3M communtiy giving grants -
        - Charles Stewart Mott foundation -
           - NEA Foundation -
           - Points of Light foundation -
           - The Wallace Foundation -
        - W.K. Kellogg Foundation -
           - Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (High School) -
- No Child Left Behind act has created a vacuum where teachers don't feel secure and parents don't feel that enough is being done.  The students are the ones that are suffering.  Where does the no child left behind program fail?
- Parenting is the key.  Parents need to be held accountable for what their children are doing. 
    Parents are required to meet twice a week and learn:
       - Parenting skills
       - Financial Skills
       - The lessons that their children are learning
       - They will be responsible for teaching a skill to another parent in the class.  Something that will help the others in their everyday lives.  At the end of the year, we are expecting the parents to have a stake in the other parents and children in the class.
- The use of field trips allows children to learn outside of the classroom.
- The first half hour of class if set aside for Problem solving, conflict resolution and thinking skills
- Parents are taught about effective discipline and how to set boundaries.
     - Lena - What is parenting to you?  (Gap baseline) Where are they in their parenting lives?
     - Bailey - What do they think separates our school from a regular school?
- Incorporating Community service.  The children will be doing community services as well during their time in the program.
- The children and parents and teachers and organization members will recognize their responsibilities towards others
- There are more assets to be listed that have not yet occurred...more people to meet and more actions to come from meeting those people.


    - We need to constantly ask Questions of different people.
    - We need to attend conferences and absorb as much information about education and creativity as we can
    - We need to find qualified leaders to help us lead this program
    - We need to meet with important people whenever and wherever we can
    - We need to constantly research new techniques and make sure that our people are qualified to be part of this program
    - We need to work in Triads.  From the teachers to the parents to the students, Triads are key and all meetings must consist of at least 3 people.  Transparency and Authenticity are not just important but vital
    - We will listen to EVERYTHING that everyone involved has to say and we will answer all questions asked of us.  Part of this movement is that everyone is taught that everyone else's input is as important as their own
    - Our Noble Cause is to teach people how to lead and become accountable for their own actions by having them recognize their responsibilities towards others
    - Our resonant values will direct us in everything that we do

    Saturday, February 6, 2010

    After school program

    After discussion on Friday, 02-05-2010, we were pointed in the direction of an After school program. Using the idea of improving the students scores, specifically those that are performing below basic, we would begin the program as follows:

    • Possible after school program consisting of 4 hours after each school day.
    • Parents required to attend 2 nights a week from 6 - 8pm. At this point they are learning parenting classes at the very beginning. Then we will figure out what else to teach. Based heavily on what the kids are learning at that time.
    • Kids are broken into specific triads in which we take 3 diverse background's and put them together.
    • Parents broken down in the same manner. Parents triads are different from their children's triads.
    • The whole goal is that the children learn to pick each other up by learning how to teach each other.

    At the conclusion of each section, we would evaluate and tweak. The majority of the children's curriculum is based on the schoolwork that they are doing at that time. Here are some of the actual program highlights:

    1. Program takes place over an entire school year.
    2. We take 3 kids, 1 who is stronger in school, 1 who is weaker, and 1 who is a balance of both and we team them up for the duration of the school year.
    3. The initial class would consist of 2nd and 3rd graders. In reading comprehension, the 3rd graders, who might have poor reading skills, improve their reading skills by teaching the 2nd graders who are learning how to read. They are teaching the 2nd graders how to read with 2nd grade level readers so the work is not too hard for them.
    4. In the meantime, the parents are working together building a community. The parents are required to commit to 2 nights a week participation. These 2 nights consist of 2 hours each night teaching things that encourage the parents on how to raise their kids - parenting, finance, the same subjects their kids are learning so that they can help their children in the subjects their children are learning about. for example, kids are learning a certain type of math in a week. The week prior, the parents are given a lesson in this math so that the next week they can help. 

    There are 2 advantages to this:

    1. The parents can help and build a better relationship
    2. The parents can teach the kids a little of it the week prior to them actually learning it.

    There's more to work out but the key is that this is a program where the parents and teachers have to be 100% committed to this. The parents will fall in line after. Kids will do exactly what is expected of them. 

    This document is a study of after school programs:

    Wednesday, February 3, 2010

    Erica's advice 02-03-10

    Erica gave the following:

    Need to start honing...people may not have actual answers because of the scope of the situation. Are we going to concentrate on this group or that group? How will this "program out"?

    Need to look at making sure we get out what we put in and make sure that everyone knows all that is going on. Erica gave the example of how she has learned to let her clients know first off that she will never put in more than they do. This is an example of how tired people can become. This is when the realization hit that we want to work with people that want to work as hard as we do.

    Need to talk to the members of the parent group as well as other friends that have children and ask what they want for their children. On top of that we want to ask those that are single parents or on limited means what is most important to them when it comes to their children's education as well as their own.

    Need to promote the idea of transparency and teamwork. The whole idea of this is that we all work together as equals. No manager with underlings but teams of leaders with the ability to make decisions based on values that are agreed upon as the most important.