• The Next Phase Begins Now - Get Involved!

    Posted by Dr. Charles J. Pearson on 3/11/2020

     

  • Ready to Serve

    Posted by Dr. Charles J. Pearson on 3/22/2020

    To the Normandy Community,

         Ten days ago, we began having conversations about how school districts would respond to school being out an additional week after spring break. At that time, it was only a thought.

         Within 72 hours that thought became a reality -- school was to be out until April 3, 2020. NSC leadership had four days to redesign our instructional model to become a virtual school. The situation continued to deteriorate and our plans kept adjusting. On Monday, March 23, 2020, we begin a combination of strategies to educate our children in a distance learning model. There is online learning and there are families accessing instruction through packets. The teaching and learning in this new model must continue. The longer we use this model, the better we will get at it.

         We are following all of the safety guidelines while completing our functions as a school district. Providing an education is an “essential function.” This means that we work in alternate ways to meet the educational needs, while practicing “social distancing.” We are working to be sure that our children and families have access to opportunities to learn while school buildings are closed.

         I am placing four guiding principles before us that will drive the work we are doing in this changing environment.

    1. Be safe. We are following all guidelines so that staff are safe as we perform duties.
    2. Support teaching and learning. We are quickly learning how to teach virtually. During the next 10 days, teachers will take professional development online to equip themselves to teach children virtually (technology and packets).
    3. Meet unmet needs. We are collaborating with community partners—Operation Food Search, Beyond Housing, Wyman and others to meet the need for families in receiving food. Many of our children have two of the three meals they eat each day to come from the school. That need must be met. Grab and Go meals are available throughout the district to meet that need. In addition, Wyman continues to work with our service providers so that students may still access mental, emotional, and behavioral support during the pandemic.
    4. Deepen school/families relationships. Our schools and families have an unprecedented opportunity to work more closely in the education of children. Teachers will be proactive in communicating with families and students regularly so parents are equipped to support learning at home. I envision this as a true opportunity. We are being compelled to be in touch to support our children.

         I refer to myself as the “Lead Learner” in Normandy. This means that I will be studying as well. Our Leadership Team and Joint Executive Governing Board join me as learners. We will do more than just get through this. We will be become better.

         And together, those of us in the 24:1, will continue to be #NORMANDYSTRONG.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Charles J. Pearson

     

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  • Black History Month: Celebrating a History of Grit, Determination, & Tenacity

    Posted by Dr. Charles J. Pearson on 2/13/2020

    Inventiveness.

    Character.

    Vision.

    These words describe the men and women we pause and celebrate during Black History Month. Just a short list illustrates their wide range of contributions:

    • Benjamin Banneker, who invented more effective versions of the clock and planned Washington, D.C.
    • Patricia Bath who invented the Laserphaco Probe, which has revolutionized the treatment of cataracts.
    • Charles Drew, who invented the modern blood bank (which also led to blood mobiles).
    • Thomas Elkins, who invented the modern chamber commode.
    • Alexander Myles, who created an automatic device to open and close elevator doors.
    • Garrett Morgan, who invented a traffic signal and created the gas mask which grew in popularity when it was used to aid workers after an underground explosion.
    • Lewis Latimer, who invented carbon filament, a critical component of the light bulb.
    • Marie Ban Britten Brown, who devised a system that would alert her of strangers at her door and contact relevant authorities as quickly as possible—the modern home security system concept.
    • Otis Boykin, who developed circuit improvements in pacemakers after losing his mother to heart failure. 
    • Lisa Gelobter, who was integrally involved with the advent of Shockwave, a technology that formed the beginning of web animation.

    We acknowledge politicians such Rep. Elijah Cummings, Rep. Shirley Chisholm, and President Barack Hussein Obama, who committed their lives to making life better in a system that did not always value them as human beings. It is fitting that we reflect and celebrate, but it is more valuable that we learn from the lives of these men and women.

    From the inventors, we learn that life is full of problems that need solving. People exist that need helping. Our God-given talents are gifts we share to make life better for others. From the politicians, we learn that a life of public service, a life challenging and agitating the system, is a life worth living. We learn that we can work alongside allies — people who do not look like us or sound like us — and actually cause change in the world.

    From the individual stories of artists, performers, athletes, and social activists, we learn the concept of “grit.” We learn that we cannot stop in the face of adversity. We cannot flinch in the face of blatant enemies, or in the face of unjust laws. We celebrate in Black History Month, but we study all year so that we too can make a difference, solve a problem, help people who need help, or serve unselfishly so that others may have better lives.

    Black History Month is full of lessons. My hope, as an educator and a member of a community, is that I can help young people learn these lessons. There are problems to be solved and people to be helped.  Let us work together to help our young people make history.

    Black History Month is Grit. Determination. Tenacity. Perseverance. Inventiveness. Character. Vision. Pride.

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  • The Drum Major Instinct: A Personal Reflection

    Posted by Dr. Charles J. Pearson on 1/20/2020

     

    On February 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached “The Drum Major Instinct.” The sermon dealt with the idea that each of us has an inherent desire, a deep personal desire to be number one, to lead the parade, to be out front. He says that when a baby cries, this is a desire for attention. When we compete, this is a desire for attention. Each of us wants to “lead the parade.” The sermon actually became him preaching his own eulogy. He ended that speech with declaring that he wanted to be remembered as a drum major for justice.

    This “drum major instinct” is a powerful force within us, but rather than us shutting it down, we need this instinct to be harnessed and channeled in ways that truly make a difference in the lives of others. Author and educator Dr. Michael Fullan calls this idea of making a difference in the lives of others “Moral Purpose.” Having a sense of moral purpose means that I see a wrong that needs to be made right, and I know that I am the one to do it. We then combine this with another concept — “Kairos” which means at the right time. Now is the time for us to act! This is the Biblical idea of “Now is the time, at the appointed time, or in due season.”

    Dr. Martin Luther King cast the drive to be the first, to lead the parade, to be the one in the light of the idea of moral purpose by making a difference in the lives of others.

    The Call of the Faith, A Call to Action

    I am driven by my faith. I seek to study and apply the Word of God in my life, so, when I read Isaiah 58, it spoke deeply to me about the call on my life, on our lives. It gives me clear marching orders.

    Isaiah 58:6-7

    Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?

    Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?

    This passage is a call to action, to make life better for others. Likewise, Dr. King’s analysis of the “Drum Major Instinct” is a call to action, to channel our innate desire to be number one, to lead the parade to serve others, to make a difference in the lives of others. This call does not distinguish between different people. It is a call for all of us to serve.

    …Education must enable a man to become more efficient, to achieve with increasing facility the legitimate goals of his life. 

    …Education must also train one for quick, resolute and effective thinking.

    ...The function of education, therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. But education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason, but with no morals

    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


    Quality education and equitable access are critical tools or strategies for our community. Even as I acknowledge the challenges of our school system, our understanding of the mission and our commitment to work with others to provide opportunities for the children we serve remain constant.

    This pursuit of educational equity requires us to re-imagine every institution associated with educating for the future. Dr. King’s vision was about social justice which is both legal, social, economic, and personal. We are called to partner in new ways, to not default to what is conventionally assumed to be best practice.

    We must leverage human capital and human ingenuity. We have emotional investment and passion. We have the capacity to imagine greater for the community, for the state, for the country.

    We must act in new ways. We must imagine a different scenario. In 2020, this work continues for everyone in urban education.


     

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