~Blogger Challenge Comes to an End~

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I must say that I have had a great time writing and reflecting over the past 10 days! It has truly allowed me to stop and engage in intentional writing, that I know colleagues and the outside world could see. I’ve been able to think about creative ideas, and what I wanted to say that was of value, importance, or simply someone out there would want to read…

Though I struggled some days to come up with topics, or along with my homework, still working over the summer,  and paper writing, didn’t want to make more work for myself; it was often times therapeutic and exciting to blog.

I enjoyed reading and commenting on my fellow bloggers posts! I felt closer to their passions and interests, therefore, I am very excited to continue to follow their blogs.

I can’t make any promises that I can keep it up at this rate, but it definitely got me going! I have a feeling another blogger challenge will come along, and I look forward to possibly taking it on again. I hope to be inspired and make time to blog in between time.

Thank you to anyone and everyone who read Meeting of the Minds! Stay tuned for some more exciting posts in the future.

Blog on friends!

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Believeland!

When your hometown (CLEVELAND!~LeBron Country!) looks like this, and you are all the way down south!

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What does it meant to you to be ALL IN?? 

Are you that way in your personal life? Kids? Career? Workouts? Your hometown?

Recommit yourself to be ‘all in’ to something great!

 

~Doctoral DNA~

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Currently I am in pursuit of becoming a Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership at Grand Canyon University, located in Phoenix, AZ. While I fell in love with more than just the fact that this university’s colors are purple and white, (my favorite color!) I was captivated by their strong online programming and Christian values. At times I grow very weary and tired balancing this on top of a full work load and home life. But, this long and hard journey to becoming a doctor in my field, is nothing short of amazing. 

I never thought I would be one to enjoy online classes, and not being in a physical classroom. However, this is THEE BEST approach to my learning these days based on my very full and busy schedule. It helps  too that Arizona is in another time zone, which always gives me into the ‘wee hours of the morning’ to get my tons and tons of research completed and turned in on time. Although I took a year off when I was blessed with the great new position as Dean of Students (wanted to take time to fully commit to my new role), I understand that it would put me a year behind…however I knew I had to do what was best for me.

My program is based on some strong and very appealing design principles of education:

Program Design Principles

  • Scaffolded curriculum with embedded research skills to support the formation of scholar-practitioners.
  • Integrated dissertation process encourages the scholarly integration of knowledge, research skills and practice.
  • Systematic feedback to achieve dissertation milestones and programmatic competencies.
  • Value-based, transparent curriculum supports the growth of ethical leaders and researchers.
  • Reflective learning structure encourages the development of critical thinking and scholarly reasoning.
  • Innovative Doctoral Community (DC) which engages learners and faculty in collaborative scholarship and collegial development.

The ‘cliff notes version’ of my dissertation as I like to call it, embodies the research of how African-American girls find their voice of leadership from childhood to adulthood. 

In case you are interested, the complete doctoral program set up in it’s entirety is mapped out here through the Doctoral DNA: 

GCU Doctoral DNA

Dissertation Lifecycle

 

Though some times I feel like it will NEVER end, I am yet and still staying the course…

Don’t ever give up on your dreams! I hope and pray I’ll be ‘Dr. Mines’ before I know it.

Ode to Paris….

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ANYone that knows me, understands that I love a good theme. IF you have ever even stepped foot inside my office, you know it is all about PARIS!!!While many have witnessed it first hand, you may not fathom the complete story behind it.

When I was an adjunct professor at Madonna University, one of the full-time faculty professors that I shared the College of Education suite with, had a Paris theme in her office. It was so beautifully decorated with black and white Paris items, pictures, and furniture that was absolutely breath taking. It looked straight out of a magazine! Other than being apart of her cultural background…she always told me that it made her feel like home. That inspired me.

Therefore, I always want any space I dwell in to ‘feel like home.’ Paris is the city of love, and I am all about that! When I complete my doctorate in about another year (more to come in a another blog post!) I plan to spend about 2 weeks in this city, truly taking in when it’s all about live and in color…

A huge part of my role as Dean of Students, (though I embody the complete idea of relationship and culture building), discipline is a huge part of that job title. It is so important to me that students, teachers, parents, co-workers, and friends entering my office feel what I refer to as, “Paris safe…”  It’s the lighting, it’s the mood, the lit candles, the atmosphere, the music that sometimes softly plays in the background…it’s an experience!

People that visit ‘Paris’   know they can trust me and whatever they say won’t leave those walls. It is vital to me that they understand this concept. As a student you are always scared to be ‘called into THEE office..!’ However, students always seem to feel more at ease when I say, “Do you know why I called you into Paris today???” Some look puzzled and begin to look around. Once they realize what I am referring to, a sense of calmness seems to come over their faces. That is apart of the atmosphere that I long to construct….and then proceed to discipline with love and logic.

Some parents come in, laugh, and ask, “How do you stand being in this small office?” Or “What’s with this hole in the wall?” While I typically tend to chuckle at their reaction, I instantly let them know it is the most cozy and perfect magical place, and it works for me! Others feel bad and want to help me paint it, or build a ceiling (which is could seriously use..) and that is nice too.

Though many passions and stories are shared in ‘Paris’, it is surely a place that I pray and meditate each morning. My beautiful Godmother mailed me a ‘prayer before starting work’ from back home in Cleveland. This is apart of my quiet moments before I start my day every morning, and most times, just says it all…

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So I ask you, do you have a theme to any room in you life? A place you can go, escape, pray, meditate, and feel safe? 

I truly have found this to be a game changer in my career, no matter where my classroom or office has been. I challenge you to do the same! (Or at least try it out on a smaller scale…)

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Calling All Makers!

Today was truly a great day to learn and play with our Middle School faculty. How cool is it to gather a team of educators on a Monday afternoon in the summer to ‘tinker?’  Lead by one of our dynamic MS colleagues, Amy Wilkes, she brought us all together for a fun time! Exercising one of our School norms of ‘start with questions’, she simply asked us…

What inspires you? 

I instantly went to my FAITH, and how it truly inspires me to be who and what I am, as well as strive to be, daily. Faith really is the key that ignites all passion for me. I really enjoyed this afternoon together, and look forward to our students discovering their passions and beyond in Studio(i) this fall!

So now I ask too:

What inspires YOU? 

I had an awesome time with colleagues and watching us all work hard to develop our stickers of inspiration!

 

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Who are We? We’re Destiny!

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One place I can’t say enough about is my church, Destiny Metropolitan Worship Church in Marietta, GA. Finding a church home, once moving to Atlanta almost 5 years ago now, was on the top of my priority list. I needed a church home with a modern feel, but still a touch of that ‘old time religion’ that I grew up with in the Baptist faith. Destiny was truly a great fit, and I love my weekly refill of my spiritual cup!

Today my pastor, Pastor Bryan E. Crute, continued his series on Family Treasures. I love how he takes a text from the Bible, and turns into a complete teaching experience. 
Today was based on finding a friend in Jesus, and what it takes to have a relationship with Him. (Hosea 6:6~ The Living Bible) . As much as we all long and need friends, what a Friend is it to have in Jesus. Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 11.12.25 AMScreen Shot 2016-06-12 at 10.59.34 AM

One thing that I always said was when schools took Christ out of it’s midst, is where the world began to go wrong! However, I am so grateful to work at a Christian School, where we are grounded in Christian values, and teach with the love of Christ as our center. God is the true meaning behind who I am, my rock, my fortress, my foundation. He is the reason I make it through tough times, and handle whatever life brings my way. To God be the glory, and in Him do I trust.

I invite you to come have the true Destiny Experience with me anytime! Checkout our church website at: 

https://destiny.city/

We have 3 services every Sunday: 

8:00 a.m.

10:15 a.m.

12:30 p.m.

You can even tune in online, during the listed times at: 

http://destinymetro.churchonline.org/

Try it out at least once…you will never be the same!

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“We are a family who is passionate about family, friendships, and discovering our purpose in this life. Our members call Destiny their church home. A place where they can grow spiritually having a safe place to get help, healing, and hope knowing that their Best and Brightest days are ahead. Come join us! Whether you are a lifetime follower of Christ or an atheist, you are welcome here. There is one Body and one Spirit…there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of us all…”

~Destiny

Breaking ‘EGGS’…

   “You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs…” 

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    During the weekends, some of my best time is spent on one of my favorite activities….watching Lifetime Movies! Sadly, yes this is something I enjoy but proud of it! Lifetime movies were a HUGE part of how my mom, sister, and I spend our time together after hours and hours of shopping on the weekends, growing up. So now living away from home , and ALL of my family are back in Cleveland, OH, I love to still feel that connection…

Silly to think it is through a movie channel right? Especially when the station gets such a bad reputation for affairs, male bashing, and killing. Ironically, there are still so many powerful stories of strong and determined women, with their many stories, that are so inspiring to watch.

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One of the movies I saw today made a reference to eggs…while I love a good egg like the next person, I thrive off of a good metaphor or simile filled with deeper meanings even more. When I heard a character in the movie who was already down and out say,

 “You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs…” 

There were so many things that came to my mind in regards to all facets of life. One being, life is hard. Period. No short cuts or ways around that. Things get broken. You can try to fix them, and sometimes it’s good, while other times we fail…

I thought about in the classroom as educators. Things get broken…objects, materials, technology, pencils, even English! However, sometimes that goes for ‘broken’ lesson plans, rules, routines, time, and feelings. One concept of this ‘lifetime’ is that I learned over and over how beautiful ideas can come from broken places. Being with middle schoolers the majority of my career, I tell them all the time I know right now seems like the worst of the worst that could ever happen to you, but just wait until you run on and see what’s at the finish line ahead…It’s hard to see a child broken, right? We always want them to be whole, pure, and happy…but so much can emerge from a wound that manifests from brokenness.

All and all, LifetimeTV may  not always have the answers, or even an egg for that matter…however, I do know that some of the best omelettes are hatched from a few broken eggs….

FAREWELL to our Fighter…

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Muhammad Ali /ɑːˈliː/; was an American Olympic and professional boxer and activist. He is widely regarded as one of the most significant and celebrated sports figures of the 20th century.
Born: January 17, 1942, Louisville, KY
Died: June 3, 2016, Scottsdale, AZ
Spouse: Lonnie Ali (m. 1986–2016)
(Compliments of Wikipedia)
INFAMOUS Ali Quotes: 
Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.
He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.
The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.

 Today at 3:00 p.m. as thousands gather to say their final farewells to one of the greatest fighters of all time, Muhammad Ali, what comes to mind for me is the literal, spiritual, and figurative meaning of the word FIGHTER. 

He not only fought in the ring, but fought for racial equality, religion, social justice, and flat out what was right in the world.
What do you fight for and believe in?  How can we as educators fight for our students in and out of the classroom? Can you reflect on a time where you had to stand up and fight for what you felt was right? 

Long live the champ. Rest in peace Muhammad Ali…

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So What’s for Dinner?

 

summer mealsThe summer months continue to be my favorite time of the year, as for me it allots more time to cook and explore with fun recipes! I love all of the summer eats and treats that are posted on Pinterest, Facebook, and other outlets of social media. Many friends of mine share their infamous yummy meals, and we try them out together. The summer months are the best for light, easy, and  quick fun meals!

Tonight I was excited to get an evening workout in, and then prepare a good dinner. It was a spaghetti bake with vegetable noodles for a healthier option. The ingredients consisted of: 

  • ground turkey (seasoned well)
  • cut up pieces of kielbasa (can be turkey) 
  • Italian sausage
  • Vegetable spaghetti noodles
  • cut up red peppers
  • yellow peppers
  • green peppers
  • onions
  • mushrooms
  • Rosemary and garlic sauce
  • Italian sausage sauce
  • tomato paste
  • at least 4 seasonings, including olive oil and Italian seasoning
  • Topped with your favorite parmesan cheese (or none) 

This meal should be prepared in at least 3 separate pots/pans, and then combined into one pot. It makes for a great meal for a couple of days! If you are like me, for my household I like to cook meals that can last at least a couple of nights (I love some leftovers!) and not cook everyday. Top this meal off with a baby spinach and spring mixed salad with olives, and Caesar dressing (or dressing of choice! A great balsamic can go well here too), then serve up for everyone to enjoy. A slice of garlic toast goes well with this meal also, but that is where I try to cut back on the complex carbs.

Here is a list from ‘Delish’ of 75 amazing summer recipes to try out…

Summer Recipe Ideas~!

So what are you favorite summer recipes to prepare? Share away!  

 

 

The ‘Responsive Classroom’

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         Back in 2008 when I had the wonderful experience to be a huge part of opening up the doors to a brand new school in the city of Detroit, we wanted to make a better learning life for students in that area. Since I could remember it’s always been a passion of my career, to reach and teach teachers on how to manage their classroom. Here was where I met one of my favorite classroom management series of all time…The Responsive Classroom Approach. The work of this program, by Roxanne Kriete, Carol Davis, and a team of others, spoke volumes to me on how to approach the discipline of a student that is in your classroom environment. The foundation of this approach in summary, is about being responsible of creating class rules (norms) together, being fully responsible for your actions as a student, and letting the ‘time fit the crime’…(how your consequences need to match your offense).

This all made so much sense to me so much that when I was approached to be the representative to teach RC to other teachers on my team, and in my building, I fell in love with it and knew I found my calling. The next level came when I was asked to be an adjunct professor at Madonna University in Michigan,  and teach on the collegiate level in the evenings to up and coming teachers. Three of the RC books were even the required text for my course!

 When I then moved to Atlanta and joined the Lower School team at my current school, even teaching Kindergarten, I brought the same techniques right with me. Other than showing me I could  survive the Kinder years, it helped me to see that middle school or elementary, young or old, when you follow these approaches they work! At the end of that year, I did a professional development series on the Responsive Classroom approach, focusing in on Morning Meeting. The basic 4 steps of how to start the day, coupled with a letter to your class daily was one of my favorite parts of RC. Lower School enjoyed using those strategies, even when I went back to the middle school atmosphere from the divsion.

Here is the book below…definitely worth checking out! Especially for new teachers that want to build a positive classroom culture….so that just means a teacher period right? 

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I could go on and on about this approach. As I work on my doctoral degree in educational leadership, my main focus is training and getting teachers fired up for the classrooms of today and tomorrow. 

I highly recommend that you check out the Responsive Classroom approach as an educator, and even if you use one part of it, like the Zenergy Chime, it will change your classroom culture only for the better~….

Here are a few other dynamic books of the awesome RC program. I’m always happy to chat more on it anytime! 

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