Friday, June 23, 2017


In the fall of 2015, I began teaching an engineering class in the gifted and talented program at a local university. My students were a small group of motivated kindergarten and first graders, none of whom were Black or Hispanic; and there was only one female. I loved teaching this class, and I appreciated how the students (and their parents) were involved and engaged, but still in the back of my mind, I wondered where the Black and Hispanic children were.

 About halfway through the semester, it occurred to me that I should find out how much the tuition was for the program. I learned students could take up to five courses per weekend if they could afford the $300-plus per course fee. And there it was: Perhaps the expensive tuition was a barrier for a significant portion of Black and Hispanic students who were identified as gifted?

When I talk about access, I'm talking about students gaining entry to programs and activities, in school and out of school, that will enrich their growth and development as thinkers and learners. Yes, I said in school, because I know that more than a few children of color who should be identified as gifted don't get identified as gifted, and therefore do not have access to the programs that are mandated to meet their needs. 

 And like Frost said, way leads on to way, meaning that without access there is minimal exposure which leads to limited opportunities. What is to be done about this? This is where I'm left scratching my head as I ponder this conundrum. I know that the new math (access+exposure+opportunity =possibility) is a formula for equitable education, but how do we apply it?

Saturday, June 17, 2017

June 2017 Guest Blogger at Classroom Culture

 Guess who is a guest blogger over at Classroom Culture? Uh, that'd be me! Now go on over and check out your girl. Laters!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The New Math

So, here's the thing: I have this idea that I've been wrestling with over the past year or so. I didn't want to call it a "theory" exactly, because that sounds all fancy and technical and legit, like I've been doing research on it and writing theses and dissertations on it and whatever. But when I looked up
"theory" on it told me, essentially, that a theory is a belief that can guide behavior. And this thing I've been thinking about has certainly been guiding my behavior, so I'm calling it a theory. I call this theory The New Math.

Okay, here's the other thing: This theory isn't necessarily new and it really has nothing to do with math, although it kind of involves an equation of sorts. Have I lost you yet?? Here it is:

Access + Exposure + Opportunity = Possibility

Yes, leave it to me to replace numbers with words in a math equation. It's the only way math makes sense to me.  So, what does it all mean?

I teach in an urban school district. In fact, I myself attended school in an urban district, the very one in which I teach, actually. The students in our schools are predominantly Black, with a few other races sprinkled here and there. A significant percentage of our students receive free or reduced lunches. Are resources limited? That's a discussion for another time. I will say, however, that there are other districts with a lot more resources. Let's just stick a pin in that for now, because I don't want to just focus on schools. Parents play a part in this, as well. The resources parents provide for their children are just as important and powerful as the ones from school.

Hmm. I'm beginning to feel like I'm going to have to write multiple posts just to introduce this "theory." There are a lot of moving parts. Just know it has to do with equity in education. I'll be back! 

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Boy Whisperer

I'm beginning to feel like I should change my name to "The Boy Whisperer" because so much of what drives me as an educator and parent has to do with getting our boys to succeed in life. The following book recommendations sort of answers the questions "What happens when being book-smart isn't enough?" and, "How powerful a role does the environment (i.e., neighborhood, community) and peers play in the success or failure of our kids?"

The first book I want to recommend is The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs. 

The second recommendation is America's Massacre: The Audacity of Despair and a Message of Hope, which is a memoir by Tewhan Butler.

Both books are very engaging, relatable and eye-opening. Personally, they both struck a chord because these young men grew up in Essex County, New Jersey, like me. 

Take a gander at these books and drop me a note or two. I would love to hear what you think!

:) Jameelah

Friday, January 2, 2015

Boys & Books

One area of interest I have as an educator is boys; how they learn, how can be successful in the classroom and in life. And then, a passion I have as a human, in general, is books. So, as a human, as an educator, and as the mother of a young boy, I find myself often thinking about the kinds of books boys might find interesting. Linked below is a short video I did a few years back discussing books for boys. Enjoy!