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Photo Credit: Nakiea Nakiea (Flickr)
I got up to write this morning but I have been so out of the writing game that I feel overwhelmed by the absence of momentum. In the search for distractions, I decided to read through unpublished poems and essays that I have written.
From this, I realize that I don’t really have to write anything new. I actually have text that I can publish weekly for the next few months. But where? Where will I publish them?
And then I realize that I still have a branding problem.
You see, I spent this summer thinking through my marketing strategy. And, I really thought I had made some real progress. In general, I acknowledged that I had three platforms for producing content and was able to successfully outline a theme for each.
But, in not knowing what to do with the unpublished text I discovered this morning, I realize there is still confusion. There are overlapping areas that make me question the distinctiveness of each platform.
I read somewhere that bloggers should have multiple blogging sites to allow their blogs to really cater to a specific audience and serve a specific purpose. So what do I do now that I see that there are parts of my work that cannot be partitioned into the boxes that I have made available?
One answer could be to cross post these pieces. But, I am not sure about this. I still need a primary platform to give direction and frame to the message. I need to honor the uniqueness of the platform… the message and the followers. Even in the overlap– or even better, especially in the overlap— I need to give these pieces meaningful relevance.
To solve this dilemma, I finally launched a new platform I had been considering for a while: Mary Mariah. I knew that I needed a place to talk through the personal and sociological intersections of my work with empowerment. I believe the absence of this platform caused confusion on how to thematically protect the other three, especially when the parts of the business that constitute the work (the work of empowerment) does in fact overlap.
Please find some time to go check out Mary Mariah. In that PBS Development is about personal development as much as it is about business and school development, I truly believe my personal journey with empowerment (as my business and my deep spiritual conviction) can be helpful. To others also on a journey of trying to live out that which is professed, I hope my story (and my struggle for transparency) can offer insight and encouragement.
In the meantime, I am excited by the heightened clarity that will come through my other blogs as the result of Mary Mariah. And, I look forward to capitalizing on the opportunities that an interrelated, multisite blogging platform will render.
In closing, let me share a quote from the first Mary Mariah post.
(My personal intersections with empowerment) is the impetus of the blog, more so than my love for politics. It is a deep conviction that empowerment is not a text book experience nor is it one that stands alone. It is one where all of us must come face to face with resistance (some more than others) and all must submit to the vulnerability and the learning curve that come along as companions.
Hopefully through the blog, others will be encouraged to embrace their personal intersections and ultimately, clarify their brand as I have.
Executive Director (Interim)
The Empowerment Network
Tags: Blogging · Business and Marketing · Personal Empowerment · Sociological Questions ·
October 24th, 2014 · Comments Off on The Purpose, Passion and Principle of the Volunteer
In a LinkedIn conversation about the abuse of unpaid interns, Dr. Angela Dye (the Interim Executive Director for the Empowerment Network) had this to say…
I am a strong supporter of both paid and unpaid internships as I believe they each offer a special function in the life of the developing practitioner. The key word is “developing”. When an individual needs more experience, needs more exposure, or needs more references, an internship (paid or unpaid) has incredible value. And, in the world of activism and advocacy, the unpaid nature of volunteering is priceless as one does not have to compromise principle for paycheck (which is often the case when one is placed in an employee-status and put on payroll).
Now, in terms of an established practitioner (which I still believe can find value in volunteering), whether or not one works for free is based on his or her self-worth, his or her purpose, and his or her principles. It is an issue of the individual…not necessarily an issue of the industry. And, it is not simply about what talents one brings to the table. It is also about what resources. Employers pay for value and in the nonprofit world, they need more than just “talent”.
I don’t say this to be snarky or insensitive. I say it to empower those out there seeking “employment” to get real, get a strategy, and think about how to increase one’s competitive edge. As a seasoned and proven practitioner in my field, I still volunteer…and I also rely on other volunteers to join me in my efforts. Volunteerism, as both the volunteer and the volunteer director, serves as the catalyst to my purpose as an urban educator as I have found very few organizations with a payrolled position that will allow me to effect the type of educational change that marginalized communities really need.
Before going, I would like to say that I get it. I understand passion and purpose… lol, and I also understand the purpose of a paycheck! Here are final thoughts for encouragement and empowerment:
1. Start your own nonprofit. There is so much power and purpose in fueling your own dreams.
2. Develop grant writing skills so you can bring both talent and resources to an organization.
3. Rethink your approach to job searching. Instead of applying for jobs, go out and network. With the right connection, someone may be willing to create a job just for you. I know, this has happened to me several times as a volunteer and as an employer of paid positions. With the right fit, miracles begin to happen.
Best wishes to all trying to walk through this narrow-hallway of passion and purpose. Not easy, but don’t compromise your talents nor your vision!
Tags: Commentaries/Responses · Jobs/Opportunities · Angela Dye · Internships · Marginalized Communities · social entrepreneurship · Urban Education · Volunteerism · Volunteers
August 9th, 2013 · Comments Off on Be a Part of the Solution! Empowerment Starts Here
PBS Development, LLC is a business dedicated to social entrepreneurial projects that will empower, liberate and transform disadvantaged communities. We currently have our hands on two: 1) Coalition for Black Female Educators and 2) The Empowerment Network. Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn or visit our webpage @ www.pbsdevelopment.com. While we were legally formed in 2007, we are really just getting started! Of course educators are always welcomed; however, we specifically need people with experience in 1) project management; 2) IT; 3) business law; 4) community organizing and/or 5) nonprofit management.
Tags: Jobs/Opportunities · Community Organizing · critical pedagogy · Culturally Relevant Teaching · Empowerment Starts Here · Milwaukee · PBS Development · Shared Power · Social Change · The Empowerment Framework · Volunteerism
July 2nd, 2013 · Comments Off on What I Learned About Behavior Management… I Learned from My Mother in Second Grade
I was in second grade and would frustrate my mother because I could not seem to put my undershirt on the correct way. I always had the tag in the front (which was supposed to be in the back). She would fuss and fuss but no matter how much she yelled, I just could not remember to put my clothes on the right way.
One day, she created a system and made a deal with me. She told me that she would give me a quarter for every time I correctly put on my clothes. I was excited about the challenge and the opportunity to make money. Every day that I put the shirt on correctly, my mother put a check on a daily list that was posted on the refrigerator (each check represented 25 cents). After a month, I had earned approximately $7 .50 as the system had created a consciousness in how I got dressed in the morning. Through this structure, I was able to develop a new behavior.
Ormrod (2008) addressed this issue of behavioral change as an extended adjustment in how one makes mental associations. My mother used a daily reward system to change my behavior by providing a daily reinforcement to her expectations and it worked!
This experience influenced my teaching style later when I became an educator. I have designed a daily management system that immediately identifies when students behave in a way that meets the classroom expectations and immediately identifies when they behave in a way that violates them. Just like my 2nd grade experience, students are able to adjust their choices when there is immediate recognition of that behavior and expectations are reinforced.
Teacher Tip: No amount of yelling is going to get a child to change their behaviors. Create a system that builds students’ consciousness and allows them to make informed choices.
To learn more about our behavior management system (which also blends behaviorism with constructivism), please visit our curriculum page.
Tags: Commentaries/Responses · Behaviorism · Behavor Management · Student Behavors
June 23rd, 2013 · Comments Off on Who’s Talking About Liberation?
Question: Who is most comfortable with talking about liberation… educators or social scientists? Academics or practitioners? Believers or atheists? People in the community or people outside of the community?
Last week I had an opportunity to meet with a social black activist/educator who has about 1000 FB friends. I wanted to know how her followers responded to her very direct posts about race and black power. We ended up questioning the percentage of followers who were licensed educators and the percentage of those who were from the social sciences. Interestingly we discovered and included an additional category into the analysis… community members. She said it is from this category, the community, where she has had the greatest level of dialogue.
The conversation made me think about an observation that I have had since undergraduate school where I was a double major: social science and education. In a glaring way, I noticed a distinctly different thought process and commitment to inclusive, yet diverse perspectives that separated individuals of one program from the other. I guess it is the social scientist in me today that now has me intrigued… who is most comfortable with talking about liberation? Where would I mostly find people who are just as willing to reflect on the issues of liberation (and oppression) as they are to engage in what they perceive to be the solution?
Do you have an answer? Please share your opinion on our Facebook page.
Written by: Angela Dye, M.Ed.
Tags: Sociological Questions · Academics · Black Power · Educators · Empowerment · Liberation · Oppression · Practitioners · Race · Social Scientists
March 27th, 2013 · Comments Off on The Politics of Respectability and Student Empowerment
Question: What actually are “respectful” or “acceptable” ways that students can express their individuality as well their sense of group identification?
Such a question is grounded in the notion of “the politics of respectability” which has been often used by several highly respected scholars that I follow. I am interested in this phrase partially because of my doctoral research with critical theory and social power. However, my life’s work with student empowerment gives a more personal meaning to the phrase.
Question rephrased… who controls the right to determine what is respectable? And, what is the process (cultural or political) by which such determination is made?
My student empowerment framework requires power to be shared with learners which ultimately, by way of the 2nd principle (Dye, 2012), activates their “voice, choice, and dominion” (p. 57). While there is a growing appreciation for student power, such appreciation remains philosophical as the application of such power is stilted when adults come face to face with students’ “Innate Power” (the 2nd principle)… students engaging in their natural drive to use voice, choice, and dominion.
When the ideals of student empowerment come into conflict with adults who try to restrict this power to their level of personal comfort (especially when students sometimes act in a way that causes them discomfort), it often falls under the umbrella of politics… or, the politics of respectability. Adults then begin to use their authority to define what is respectable (or not) and restrict the humanity of the children in which they seek to empower.
Here is a thought… in a democratic (not autocratic) space, the power to define respectable behavior is shared with those who will be judged by such a standard. In the case of student empowerment, defining and applying a standard of respectability cannot be done in the absence of student power. Students must use their voice, choice and dominion to partake in the political process of defining what is acceptable behavior.
There are a total of 7 power sharing strategies within my empowerment framework. However, please know that to really engage in student empowerment, adults cannot take on this mission in an al a carte fashion. To do so frankly limits their humanity and is NOT empowering!
For more information about student empowerment, 7 principles of empowerment/innate power, and the politics of respectability, please click on the appropriate words as they have embedded links.
Please come to our Facebook page to post a response and join the discussion!
Dye, A. (2012). Empowerment starts here: Seven Principles for Empowering Urban Youth. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield Publishing Group.
Tags: Commentaries/Responses · Behavior Management · critical pedagogy · Culturally Relevant Instruction · Empowerment Framework · Empowerment Starts Here · Politics of Respectability · Student Behavior · Student Discipline · Student Empowerment
February 14th, 2013 · Comments Off on WUWM-Talk Radio: Charter Schools and Student Empowerment
“It’s been about (three) years since the Preparatory School for Global Leadership closed its doors in Milwaukee. The school was started by teacher and school administrator Angela Dye with the goal of implementing a progressive vision and model for educating urban youth. But along the way, Dye found many challenges blocking her path. And while she felt that the school model had proven successful in the context of its students, she ultimately closed the school. Since then, Dye has gone on (to) pursue a doctorate in education and has reflected on the experience with the PSGL in a new book called Empowerment Starts Here: 7 Principles to Empowering Urban Youth. She tells Lake Effect’s Stephanie Lecci that educating students is more than just teaching them to read and write – it’s about empowering them with information. To do so, she says educators are obligated to find new ways to teach urban youth using progressive principles.”
The above excerpt was taken from WUWM, Milwaukee Public Talk Radio, 89.9 (January 20, 2013) For the full story and radio interview click here.
For more information on the progressive strategies that Angela Dye uses for student empowerment click here. As always, if you want to share your views on this interview or any other article posted on our website, please go to our Facebook fan page: Empowerment Starts Here.
Tags: Media Presentations · PSGL/Charter Schools · Angela Dye · critical pedagogy · Culturally Relevant Teaching · Empowerment Starts Here · Ju · Milwaukee · Progressive Urban Education · Talk Radio · WUWM
January 16th, 2013 · Comments Off on School Reform that is Culturally Relevant
At a basic level, those that argue for cultural relevance take what is good from two schools of thought, from traditional education in the concrete push for measurable achievement and from critical education in the pragmatic push for contextual relevance in the act of teaching and learning. However, at its most significance, culturally relevant pedagogues make a case for education as a civil rights movement where achievement is not only about capitalism, it is about social justice.
As argued by Ladson-Billings (2009), Dantley (2005) and Delpit (1998) education reform is not just a bottom up endeavor. It is also top down. It is about understanding the pulse and priorities of the people being served and ensuring that education agendas, policies and standards reflect their priorities. As a result, a redefined scope of achievement that transforms the sociopolitical status of disadvantaged communities… in real time (where it is contextually relevant in the present tense) … and is concrete and measurable needs to be incorporated into the close the achievement gap campaign.
Let’s not just close the achievement gap! Let’s close the perception gap as pertaining to how achievement is defined and pursued…especially for those communities that are at a socioeconomic disadvantage.
For assistance with culturally relevant programming and professional development, contact us here.
Dantley, M. (2005). African American spirituality and Cornel West’s notion of prophetic pragmatism: Restructuring educational leadership in American urban schools. Educational Administration Quarterly. Retrieved from http://eaq.sagepub.com/content/41/4/651.
Delpit, L. (1988). The silenced dialogue: Power and pedagogy in educating other people’s children. Harvard Educational Review, 58(3), 280. ProQuest.
Ladson-Billings, G. (2009). The dream keepers: Successful teachers of African American children. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Tags: Commentaries/Responses · culturally relevant · culturally responsive · Delpit · Ladson-Billings · Student Achievement
January 11th, 2013 · Comments Off on Empowerment Message Goes to Racine
Angela Dye, the CEO of PBS Development, LLC. and author of the book “Empowerment Starts Here: 7 Principles to Empowering Urban Youth” will be speaking at the SOAR conference to parents and educators.
- Workshop 1: The Empowermet Framework as Culturally Responsive Teaching (10:3 a.m.).
- Workshop 2: Parents as Agents of Student Empowerment (1pm).
If you are in the area, come learn about the instructional value of student empowerment! It is not too late to register!
Click here to see what their local newspaper had to say.
Tags: Media Presentations · Achievement Gap · Choice Schools · Private Schools · Racine · SOAR
January 1st, 2013 · Comments Off on The Red Light Pursuit of Happiness
Once my dad asked, “when you leave the house for work in the morning, do you wait for all the lights to turn green before heading out?” As an image popped in my head of me sitting in my car literally waiting for every light to turn green within the 20-mile distance between my house and my job, I laughed at the absurdity of his question.
“Of course I don’t wait for all the lights to turn green before driving to work,” I replied.
He then followed up and asked me, “Well… how do you make your trip… how do you take on the drive knowing that you will encounter red lights?” Not sure where he was really going with his line of questioning, I just looked at him. After a brief moment of awkward silence, my dad finally said, “Don’t wait for all things to be perfect in life before you start enjoying it”.
In short, many people wait to start living. They wait to get the perfect job, to make more money, to lose weight, to buy their dream home, to get caught up on their bills, to send their kids to college… and then declare to live and have fun. And for many, we live in a culture that does not believe in fun and happiness… subscribing to a philosophy that life on earth is about storing up rewards for our afterlife. But for those of us who do believe that we can also have happiness and fun while on this side of heaven, we need to be challenged. We need to do a better job living and stop putting life off until all the pieces are in order.
Living and enjoying life in the now… in real time… in the midst of the red lights was the point of my dad’s message. As a person who is very driven in my career and very fulfilled by the pursuit of my professional goals, I found myself as a young adult putting off my fun until I had reached my destination. I had papers to grade, students to mentor, education and degrees to obtain, organizations to start, and books to write. I did not have time for fun… fun would just have to wait until I accomplished the things on my list.
But when I started facing 40 a few of years ago, I finally got it! I understood the red-light-drive-to-work metaphor that my dad tried to share. Life is always going to be filled with red lights…with things to do, with disappointments, with uncertainties. Waiting for life to clear out and make room for fun is like waiting for all the lights to turn green before driving to work in the morning. Those of you who know me from my 30s and now into my 40s can attest to my pursuit for life… for fun… for happiness… so much that I have very little tolerance for environments (professional or personal) that suppress my smile. I am not talking about red-light moments of discomfort… I am talking about situations that require extended periods of darkness and the suspension of my humanity. I prioritize my pursuit for fun just like I prioritize my work. I pursue happiness instead of waiting for happiness to one day show up after all of my work is complete. Each day I start my drive knowing full well that I will encounter some red lights on the way. And, when I get to a red light, I embrace it by sitting and singing with the radio, waiting only for a moment before continuing on in my drive.
I took time to share this story because I personally know there are people who want more out of life but they keep waiting. They keep waiting for all the lights to turn green before being happy, before having fun, before enjoying life. As we leave 2012 behind us, think about my father’s challenge… stop waiting for all of the lights to turn green. Get in the car, embrace the red lights, and drive!
Have fun and be happy in 2013! Make it truly a Happy New Year’s Day!!
PBS Development, LLC.
#Empowerment Starts Here
Tags: Personal Empowerment · New Year · Personal Empowerment · Pursuit of Happiness · Resolutions