Friday, December 23, 2011

NIN & a teachable moment.

I am not too proud to call out my parenting failures. I had a great one tonight.
I had to run into a corner pharmacy & opted to leave the boys locked in the car versus trying to run in and grab what I needed and fend off  Little's stunts.

It was starting to get dark. I left the radio on some pop song that Big knows all of the lyrics to and hopped out of the car, locking the doors behind me.
I was in the store, less than five minutes... as I approached my vehicle I felt the blood rush to my head as my mind identified a familiar base line pulsing from the car.

I opened the car door to find Big WIDE-EYED in the back seat. Clearly sort of in shock ~ now we are pretty liberal with the music we play around the boys but there are lines~ as Nine Inch Nails sang the rough, industrial chorus about wanting to fornicate with someone in a rather um, animalistic sort of way.

I reached across killing the radio feed with my "soccermom" reflexes. Now the internal mom conversation~

Mom One: ignore it, maybe he didn't get it, you turned it off, now start the car & drive...

Mom two: address it now, make sure he is ok, you pride yourself on being open, be the adult here...

In a split second Big took any choice I was going to have in the matter away.
In his matter of fact voice he said,
"Clearly that song was not appropriate for me or Little for that matter. Next time you should just put on (Michael) Franti at least he is happy when he sings about sex & relationships."


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Cocoa & the Couch

For those of you keeping score at home:
Stone-colored sofa zero
Little & the 4 day old peppermint cocoa 100.

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Better World

August 16, 1967, in Atlanta, Georgia. This is an excerpt of his talk, including the vocal responses from those in attendance. The full speech may be read at
"And the other thing is, I'm concerned about a better world. I'm concerned about justice; I'm concerned about brotherhood; I'm concerned about truth. (That’s right) And when one is concerned about that, he can never advocate violence. For through violence you may murder a murderer, but you can't murder murder. (Yes) Through violence you may murder a liar, but you can't establish truth. (That's right) Through violence you may murder a hater, but you can't murder hate through violence. (All right, That’s right) Darkness cannot put out darkness; only light can do that." MLK Jr.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Big's BIG Moment - MPS Board Hearing April 2011

My name is -<B-I-G>
I am a 4th grade student from a <milwaukee public montessori school>.

I have been at <a milwaukee public montessori school> since I was 3 years old.  It was during this early childhood educational time that I learned how to write the letters of the alphabet, began exploring how words are created, I learned practical life skills like sorting and organizing.  I learned to share in hospitality, interact with my classmates with kindness and how to learn about the world by exploring it.

Now, I have never been to any other type of school.  So I guess I cannot say if it is better at Montessori than traditional school.  I can say that my school works!  It works for all types of kids, all types of learners and it really sets the stage for a lifetime of learning.

My school has changed a lot since I was a K3.  We now have very little gym or art time.  We have lost most of our teaching assistants in the upper grades and next year we are looking at having to dismantle some of our classroom communities because we may be losing some teachers.  I know many other schools will have cuts to their services too.  I hope you will look at the programs and schools that are working and help them to continue to be successful.

I would like my school to have these very basic requests:
Classrooms with teachers with 30 kids per class (10 from each age group by level)
One paraprofessional per classroom every morning every day to assist with the lessons and reinforce the policies of the class
Those same paras would go on in the afternoons to help with recess and lunch and be those special trusted adults every school needs
We would have gym two times per week
We would have art at least one time per week
Finally- our teachers and leaders would be able to implement our Montessori program and train our Montessori teachers in a way that enhances our good thing.

If you strip away all of the things that make our specialty school – a Montessori school- you will find us to be a bunch of kids sitting on rugs with a bunch of beads and some really nice textbooks.

Our school logo has the words: Discover, Grow, Achieve, Inspire.  Those things go on at my school everyday, even with cut after cut.
I ask the Board to help us continue to Discover, Grow, Achieve and Inspire they way we have been.    THANK YOU.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

To those of you who say.. "MPS? Shut it down."

From "Susan" on the JSOnline bulletin board today:

"I hate our public schools. They are a disgrace. The students don't learn. The teachers sit on their fat arses all day and complain about class size, because they are too lazy to work. SHUT DOWN MPS NOW!

From "oneMKEmom MPS Parent/Public Schools Advocate:

I am sorry you feel that way and believe those things about the teachers.  There is a great deal of very positive things happening in MPS everyday and in our public schools systems across the state.

I am not one to say there are not dire problems in MPS; ones that need solutions. Many of the barriers to education in Milwaukee Public Schools have much less to do with the actual schools/classrooms/teachers and much more to do with biopsychosocial barriers the children bring to school with them. Parents/guardians are disengaged, there has been a history of keeping parents out of the loop and one of the biggest problems facing MPS is the community at large not being invested in what is going on in their neighborhood schools.

Teacher blaming is a relatively new phenomenon.  There are few bad teachers out there, what is BAD is the fact that they are expected to be mother/father, social worker, special needs assistant, nurse, counselor, art teacher, gym teacher, music teacher, program implementer, librarian, reading specialist, math specialist, the list goes on an on... in suburban schools or in districts outside of MPS - a teacher may have one or two or three children who require their teacher to be everything and eveyone to them (which is a case-load in itself) in MPS often half of the class comes to school without an adequate or any amount of home support.  Did I mention that the teachers are wearing all of these hats while the class sizes continue to grow and the per pupil dollars and support for schools decrease?

I am not a fat-ass, lazy teacher full of complaints -(I know hundreds of public school teachers and NONE of them fit that description) I am a mother who works everyday to improve the District in which we have chosen to educate our son.  I work with parents, community members, the Board of Directors, the Superintendents office, the City leadership, our law makers in Madison and more in the belief that Public Education should be valued by our society - as a means to help our populous rise up, to make our state an attractive place for businesses, to show that our children really come first!

Hey Village wake up?!? If all you have done to "help" the problem is complain and sit on your ass... I don't want to hear from you.  If you would like to be part of the solution... contact me, I can find you a Public School in your neighborhood who could use your time and talents in helping put CHILDREN FIRST! 

I am not paid for the work I do for the schools in wages - I am paid in smiles, high fives and hugs...

It truly takes a village and I am not going to give up on the children who rely on MPS everyday... I would never say shut it down... DO IT BETTER of course... if you just lock the doors... then what?