Straight Talk With Vicki Posts

WPTV News Interviews teacher/parent Franklin Academy

WPTV -Firing of Teacher (NO CAUSE)

 

Here is a story by our local tv, WPTV News interviewing an amazing teacher at Franklin Academy. They fired him for wanting more of his kids and teaching them to read chapter books. The school only wanted teachers to prepare the kids for “testing”…….. Watch the video and read my letter to the reporter asking for her to do her reporting duty.

Alyssa, I watched a very quick news report where you were listed as author. It aired on November 18 of this year and concerned Franklin Academy, Palm Beach Gardens along with unhappy parents. I am one of the unhappy parents. If I have mistaken the author of this news clip please accept my apology and kindly allow me the opportunity to write to the correct person by responding to me.

If you have children then you should be aware we only want the best for them. FSA rated school’s do not guarantee the best for our students. It is a good, think outside the box, teacher does guarantee good scores. It is my belief that if you have happy learners; the grades will automatically improve. Children will be more willing and eager to conform and trust will be shared between teacher/student allowing them to know their teacher has their best interest at heart. There is a difference in standards for teachers – some simply want to do what they are told and collect pay; others want to do what is best and what they find works for their students. I know this is hard to believe but kids are not robots – they are different from one another (not only in looks but also in behavior and learning) and one style of teaching is not for everyone.

Even if you do not have kids, you can look back and remember those teacher (which you can count on one hand) who had a tremendous influence in a positive way on you. It was that teacher that pulled you through when you felt like no one else cared or even thought of you as a person. This is the story taking place at Franklin. It is more than your story reports.

I was saddened to hear that more effort was not given to this story and it appeared you simply needed spaced filled when you chose to add it I felt you had no real concern for the content of the situation. I am aware of the training you receive to be a broadcaster and know that you would not be trusted with valuable air time if not worthy (earned your stripes), so I ask you “what happened to your passion and what brought you to be a reporter in the first place?”

The ironic issue here is that my son was in Mr. Herman’s class. The school fired him for his teaching methods and not working toward FSA training for the success of the school (to get funding). Currently, Mr. Herman’s class is being taught or babysat (more accurately) by fill in people until a suitable replacement is found. This means that the class is still not working towards FSA training. Degrees stand for a lot however; they can never replace a degree in Common Sense.

My son loves Mr. Herman and felt Mr. Herman had his back and wanted him to succeed. Nick has struggled with writing for a long time. In a past school I had a meeting with a teacher and principal regarding his writing and preparation for the “test”. I was told how the teacher watched my son for 40 minutes while he did not write anything. Is that teaching? To me that is trying to have the upper hand and getting angry over a student not conforming to your demands instead of asking the student about the problem. Too much of this happens and goes unseen and yet we wonder why the children of today are so far behind.

This all changed this year. He could barely write a few lines the first day school started and when he did, his stories contained no beginning-middle-end. Through Mr. Herman’s proven method of teaching, my son, was beginning to complete writing assignments far beyond what I have ever seen him do and in only 5 minutes he could knock out a first draft. This is huge for a parent and should be huge to the school the child attends. This shows tremendous progress and also potential. I did not hear anything in your story that displayed Mr. Herman’s proven method. Maybe your never asked him “how he got through to his students” or “what makes him shine in the teaching world”. Did you even know that Mr. Herman comes from the corporate world where he trained employees of huge companies? He flew around the world teaching and was requested for his training abilities. This might be the reason he was able to get through to so many students and at a fast rate. He has abilities far beyond that of classic college; he has experience.

If you took the time to speak a little longer with Mr. Herman he could show you his excel document where he tracks the progress of students. These are not just his students but the students of other teachers as well. This tracking system will show you just how well his students perform, all based on testing given by the school, compared to how they performed last year and how they compare to students in other classes. He was even willing to assist other teachers, who wanted help, learn how to improve their students as well.

My hope is that you take another look at the material given to you, do a little more research on the topic, and then report back via the news on your findings.

Thank you in advance for all the wonderful stories you have given the world, it is through your findings that a light will shine and darkness will be eliminated.

Vicki

 

 

 

 

Superintendent Of Franklin Academy – What about the kids?

I tried to find information regarding you on the internet without any luck. Are you superintendent of all Palm Beach County School or just Franklin Academy? 
I am one of the the concerned parents. My children have attended Franklin Academy since it opened in Palm Beach Gardens. At that time there were a lot of promises for a bright future with this school. Each year that passes it moves in a different direction and becomes less and less of what seemed to be a great opportunity. I remember sitting in a hotel banquet room filled with parents learning about this school. Dr. Paine was giving speeches along with a variety of others, to include Ms. Bernardo. I also met with Ms. Bernardo in an office space set up before the school ever opened to collect registrations and to give facts about the school. I was so hopeful that this school would be the change I wished for.
My children have been in choice programs in the past and we moved to the Charter School because of art and gender separated classes. I was told the teachers were sent to training to learn the difference in teaching boys and girls and were prepared to help each thrive in this female catered school system. With teachers leaving so fast I have my doubts that the new ones are training according to the promise. Also, art is not the way it was promised; where is the pottery and more. My son is a wonderful artist and I was hoping this school would help him perfect this skill. 
Not long after starting Dr. Paine left. This caused me to wonder why, but I continued to have faith in the school and thought a board of educated adults with well paid jobs would look out for the best interest of my children. I believed they wanted more from the school system that I had grown to distrust and that they would push for better education since they themselves had a better education.
At that time Ms. Bernardo was filling in while the school looked for a qualified (educated and someone interested in the kids as well) replacement. This went on for months and I started to feel deflated with their efforts. Teachers can be found in a day so why was it taking so long to find a principal? Was it because there was a hidden agenda all along, and Ms. Bernardo was the trophy they selected?  What makes her qualified to care for our students? She is nothing like Dr. Paine was. Dr. Paine was always in car line talking to the kids. She always made time to converse or give encouragement and the kids learned they could trust and count on her. The kids learned about respect and caring from her. She seems to play fair with the staff and maybe that was the problem, she was too good for Franklin. Maybe she would not be the puppet necessary to run the school like a communist country where no one has freedom of speech and when they speak out they are reprimanded by firing.
Many of the fine teachers have left this school. This leads me to question why? as it should lead you to do the same. This was just the straw that broke the camels back with Mr. Herman, which you know this email refers to but you choose not to speak his name as if it were a curse word. Honesty is the best policy and maybe your email should have just addressed the real issue parents are upset about, if you even know it. I guess that would depend on where your data is coming from, if it is administration then you are getting their side.
Mr. Cramer left the first day of school, this year. He was an awesome teacher and had values which are important to teaching a child to be humans. Mr. Georgia left the school (and in my eyes and many of the kids and parents) should have been the replacement principal for Franklin. My guess is that he did not feel valued but rather bullied by this school and chose to take his talents elsewhere. Franklin has dug a hole that will not soon recover by playing in the dark instead of the light. And now with the release of Mr. Herman, who was an excellent teacher. He may not have followed all the rules but his teachings got the kids the push they needed to do it on their own. They grew confidence in their abilities and they learned how to write effectively. They learned the basics of writing that others failed to teach them – teachers that were paid to teach and simply gave up on inspiring students due to the pressure to conform with administration, not only at this school but others around the county. He kept of chart of how well his students did and improved and was willing to help any other teacher out that wished to be great and remember the reason they decided to be a teacher in the first place – To Teach. His methods were proven.
I find no regard for those who love to put their thumb upon free thinkers. In Outwitting the Devil, a Napoleon Hill book, it speaks of these teachers and staff who want children to be robots and take orders. They work for the Devil. And it also speaks of those teachers who teach outside the box, get through to the students, and make a huge impression on their lives. In the end – which type of teacher would you want to teach your children, no need to answer as I know the answer. And that answer should be the same for mine.
In my eyes Franklin Academy has tarnished it name by allowing such events to transpire on its soil. It has let the parents down by lying to our faces that very first day and telling us that the teacher would trained to handle both boys and girls and that the classes for boys would be handled differently to assist in their learning. It has let us down by not overseeing and evaluating teachers to successfully teach our children  (getting rid of the good free thinkers that are showing proof of child improvement, vs keeping teachers that follow a structure of never giving in and only reciting the material in the book and not encouraging our kids to ask questions).
Just in case you are unaware, I am dealing with a Science teacher at Franklin who prefers her girls class to her boys class. She has written on her board that her 5th period class is her favorite. Even though she has lied to me about writing this, I have proof. She teaches from the book as Franklin has instructed her to do however; at the end of the lessons there are experiments that are suggested by the book to assist the kids in remembering the material and also something the boys class would love to do, but she has told me “why would we do experiments? that is for elementary school”. Then I ask you, why are they in a book for middle school if they are expected to be preformed for a much younger childl? She also is unaware of brain breaks (something I first heard of at Franklin Academy) and something that is supposed to be incorporated in the boys classes to give them time get back in work mode. She gives more detentions than any other teacher and just recently my son was in trouble for raising his hand too much. I specifically told him to do this because he was in trouble for just getting out of his seat and not showing regard for the teacher but now that he does what I consider correct behavior he is in trouble still.
I know your letter was probably just to pacify us until someone can figure out what the next step is but since you wrote to me, I find it my duty to inform you of happening on campus. I have more to share with you but think this is enough to start the ball rolling, if in fact, you have any concern for my child and the other children that attend the Garden’s Campus, as you stated you do.
Vicki

What is wrong with ReaDing in School -Franklin Academy

November 12….

My son was reading a book “The Giver” which to my knowledge he utilized for both the Intensive Reading and On-Grade Reading classes during this year. He also watched the movie to help him visualize and see the difference/connection the book and the movie had; a different perspective between a writer and a producer. He seemed to enjoy the book even though he is not quick to pick any book up. When he was quizzed, at home, about the chapters to make sure he understood the material, he performed at 90% correct. This impressed me and showed me that something good was happening in his classroom and with this book. He had just started the book and had finished chapters 1-3 to prepare for classroom discussion and creativity sessions with other students and I am now under the impression that someone from the school has vetoed this decision and the book is no longer being discussed. This information comes from my child and further investigation on my part has confirmed it. I am to question why?

I chose Franklin Academy several years ago based upon meeting you in a tiny plaza before the school ever opened and based on the material given to me and a room full of other parents seeking a change, during a hotel meeting (Franklin provided). I know you were in attendance because we spoke. You appeared so ready and eager to open the school and looked forward to furthering the education of the children. Back then, you were the Assistant Principal, if I remember correctly and now that you run the entire show I am concerned that you might be way too busy with paperwork and meetings to pursue the passion I saw in you. The school was different and innovative and seemed interested in the learning of the students; something different than standard public school. This was the appeal for parents and there were no shortage of them eager to learn more about Franklin. Even the name was intriguing. The name alone stands for thinking outside the box, an innovator, and up for the challenge. A quote I have on my laptop is this : “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing” fitting for this email I think. This quote is a Ben Franklin quote by the way. What happened to this philosophy?
At no time was I under the impression that all that mattered to Franklin Academy was testing and funding. I really hope my view is skewed and that there was miscommunication on this.

It is my belief that if you teach the children and they are (happy) learners they will automatically do better on any test you provide them and it won’t be necessary to choke them to death with memorization or test preparation.
Being the mother of two children and reading hundreds of books on the subject of learning gives me a different perspective to the average thinker. I am sadly disappointed by this decision to get rid of chapter books and to only choose short reading (mindless) works such as one-page material. I know for a fact, if I spoke with the people on your board they would all have a higher reading ability than to only read a one-page article. This is what should be the goal for the students at Franklin as well. A mortgage document and any court document is always more than one page so I guess we can’t encourage the kids here to be lawyers or judges or mortgage brokers, or much of anything because we don’t want to develop the skills necessary to do so? I find it hard to believe this change was even brought to the forefront of educated adults running the school.

Reading books requires past knowledge of what was read a day or so prior in order to build on what is currently being read. It requires recall ability and a mind that can envision what is happening (similar to watching a movie vs a cartoon). I am sure you are too young to remember (as I am too) but before television, news and stories were on radio. It helped those to see (in their minds) what was being read to them and to be creative with it. Each person who listened heard and pictured something different. Let’s take that one step further; I remember my dad telling me that when white / black people were divided there was a singer who was on the radio and when many pictured him they thought he sounded white but to their amazement, he was black. The only point I am referencing this for is to show you how the mind works and this is the way reading long stories works in the mind as well. It helps to build that creativity which seems to have been replaced with memorization. Maybe this could be the problem with children writers of today. It is essential for the minds of boy writers, in particular, to have the ability to be creative and see creativity found within the pages of books. This school was to know how to teach both the boy and the girl and this year I am seeing a much different theme being played out on campus. I implore you to reconsider this decision in light of looking back and seeing the vision that was laid out for the parents and the staff when the school opened and based upon the fact that you must care for the children to do the job you do, remember they are our future; bleak or bright?

If this email falls on deaf ears please instruct me as to whom I may contact regarding this decision to see if we can please change this back to incorporate some books into the curriculum? I usually take to Facebook and YouTube to voice my opinions on school teaching, but the last time I did this your phones blew up with parents, which administration kindly asked me to rectify, and I did.

Hoping to hear from you soon.

Vicki

Interesting Facts About Blood Types

Which Blood Type Are You?

I found some interesting facts about blood types recently. I am 0-, the universal donor for emergencies. However, my dilemma is that I can only receive my blood type. Being the universal donor had me thinking that 0 people could save the world until I realized exactly what a universal donor really is.

Being a universal donor does not mean you can just give your blood to anyone, but rather in an emergency you are able to give blood to other people with different blood types because you have no antigens on the surface of the blood. It is for this reason that my blood type is used during emergencies when a persons blood type is unknown and typing it would take too long.

I am also Rh-negative. That means I don’t have a certain protein (D antigen) on the surface of my red blood cells. Caucasians make up the highest group of people who are Rh-negative. It is not good or bad but merely further defines the blood type. It can be a problem when getting pregnant. This was the case with my second child who is Rh-positive. My body would attack her and possibly kill her before birth if steps were not taken to correct this. I was given a shot.

It is scientifically speculated that A blood type was first. Through mutations we developed other blood types. These mutations were devised to help us survive. Think about this;  If we started with type A and where we lived a lot of people caught malaria, they would start dying. To prevent our species from phasing out, a mutation happened and developed a new blood type that would help us ward off malaria. This new blood type was 0. The 0 blood type is missing the protein that malaria needs to bind to a human. You can still get malaria however; it can’t stay in the systems of (0) people giving them a higher survival rate. Interesting, isn’t it. I don’t want to test that theory out though.

 

bloodtype

 

As these mutations developed blood type A produced blood types 0 and B.  It is believed in Japanese culture that a person’s blood determines his/her personality traits. O-negative persons are believed to be more self-confident, loyal, competent and passionate. They are believed to have leadership qualities and are considered innovators and trend setters. However, there is little scientific evidence in favor of this. Find out more on how the Japanese see blood types.

Did you know we have 32 blood types? I thought there were only a few, boy was I wrong. According to an article in Popular Science from 2012 we now have 32 blood types. Read it for yourself here:

Thanks for visiting and come back again

Vicki

Vicki

 

 

Posted by Vicki Brown in Straight Talk With Vicki

Why You Shouldn’t Give Up On Marriage

 

 

I believe in the commitment of marriage. I don’t remember ever thinking to myself that I would not get married. Maybe this was because I came from a family with two parents, I really don’t know. All I know is that marriage can be a beautiful thing if you let it.

I never put much stock in the idea of being a princess. I was brought up to believe that I could be whatever I wanted to be and I could do anything I desired, as long as it was legal. My dad and mom showed me, through their marriage, that it is a union of two people. Everyone needs to be involved for it to work. Both the husband and the wife must pull their weight and work together on everything.

The minute you say “I do” everything changes; it really does.

 

This is me and my husband, Brian. Happily living our fairy tale for 16 years and counting.

This is me and my husband, Brian. Happily living our fairy tale for 16 years and counting.

 

I know people move in together to see if they will work as a couple. The minute they marry they realize that what they had was not the same. This is not a marriage and it will never be like a marriage. There is no obligation in this relationship and each party still functions as an independent person. They may say they are committed to one another and they may actually love each other but nothing takes the place of that paper committing to work with one another forever.

I know people say “it’s just a paper” and I will not be owned. I guess you can say the same of a birth certificate, but you have one of those, don’t you? Marriage is not ownership it is a partnership of love. You agree to do whatever you can to work with this person that you treasure above all others by promising to love them, be true to them, honor (with goes both ways) them, and obey them. Obey can be taken in any manner that you choose to. For me it means coming to an agreement that both of you decided on and sticking to it. Not obey in the sense of “I said so”.

Why it is so many marriages fail? Well, my thoughts are that divorce is an easy option. Yes, they said the vows but did they stop and consider that this is a lifetime commitment, similar to having a child? No. People get fed up with one another at the drop of a hat and then divorce is advertised all over the place making the thought of a divorce seem so easy. Females are looking for the white horse and prince charming. When he isn’t there 100% of the time they want out. Men communicate differently than women and can be hard to understand. Instead of working on the differences and making them unite us we bail.

If we put as much effort into working our relationship like we do our social media and friendships maybe we could work things out. When you accept that ring, it symbolizes to you that a union has just formed. It isn’t just a piece of jewelry that you flash around to your friends. You didn’t marry someone so they could take care of you. You married them so you could take care of each other. Maybe people just don’t realize how big a deal marriage really is. There will be tough times, believe me, but those tough times make your marriage stronger. If you never have any tough times then you need to evaluate your union. Maybe you really don’t know the person you married at all or you don’t communicate enough. Each of us has our own mind and each of us believe our opinion is the right one. I am here to tell you that the grass is not always greener on the other side and stop looking for an easy way out when something doesn’t go your way.

Marriage is not a Disney Movie where you play the role of Cinderella and live happily ever after. I see so many people plan their wedding like a fairy tale only to be disappointed when life doesn’t live up to it. Marriage is a fairy tale but not like you see in the movies. When you and your spouse communicate and form a bond that is unbreakable this is a fairy tale. It is a wonderful feeling to know that someone can have your back no matter what. They will drop everything to be at your side during a so-called disaster and you will do the same for them. It brings as sense of calm to your day knowing you have that special someone whom you trust will all your heart to come home to. This is what makes marriage a fairy tale.

When you get married please give it some thought. Marriage is not the same as living together and it is like nothing else you will ever experience. That ring, big or small, is only a symbol of the love you share. Wear it with pride and with the thought that you have another heart to consider when making life choices.

Thanks for spending some time with me and cheers to marriage. Make it all it can be and live your own fairy tale.

Vicki

Posted by Vicki Brown in Straight Talk With Vicki