No Zero Grading Policy

The Controversy of the “No Zero” Grading Policy

Essential Question: Does giving learners no lower than a 50 percent as an overall grade, even when they have not done anything, helping or hurting the learner?

In a few states, the no zero grading policy has been making some tremendous waves.

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Teachers and parents have been wondering if this policy really helps the child or does it hinder. The district leaders have said it gives students “a chance” to succeed but does it really?  Hmmm, inquiring minds would like to know.

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I think the grievance that teachers have, is if a student does absolutely nothing in their classes, the student would still receive a 50 percent as an overall grade instead of what they truly deserved. This further supports their argument that if a student receives a 50 percent first quarter, then does enough in class to earn at least a “C” second quarter, and receives a passing grade on the final exam, they could still pass the class with at least a “C”. This fact enrages some teachers for many different reasons.

Reason 1 – Students are receiving credit for doing absolutely nothing.

Reason 2 – This is not preparing students for reality because community colleges, and universities STILL give students what they really earn, not a 50 percent for doing nothing.  

Reason 3 – When a student enters the workplace, they will receive feedback based on their work performance and will not be given anything other than their work performance.

Reason 4 – How would it appear if teachers decided to work 50 percent of the day but STILL expected 100 percent pay? It would be safe to assume they would not have a career in their professional for very long.

The other thing to consider is that there are cases where students still do not pass the class after receiving a 50 percent, so the no-zero policy is not always a win-win situation for learners.

In retrospect, it is about principle

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Giving a grade without having to earn it is an ethical issue because it essentially is saying that it is ok to do nothing and still receive something.

For example, a student that earns a 53 percent by actually turning in work, while another does nothing and earns a 50 percent.

Does this seem ethical? By doing this, is our educational system preparing learners to go as further or preparing them to only go as far as their true intellect?

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As education moves forward, what will happen if this no zero grading policy continues? Will it help or hurt our learners? Will it create the Dunning-Kruger Effect in some of these students, where they feel more qualified than they really are?

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Giving a grade without expecting work, is like giving a cart without wheels. The cart itself may seem like a beneficial resource at the time, but without the wheels it will become more difficult to use as it becomes full. 

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So does giving learners no lower than a 50 percent as an overall grade, even when they have not done anything, helping or hurting the learner? 

Just food for thought
Life is too precious to remain stuck in an unpleasant story, so go ahead and close that story book and began a new one. ~Kamina Fitzgerald
Have a peep at my Books On Kindle or Paperback! 
Schoolspiration
The Value of Career and Technical Education in Addressing College and Career Readiness  and the Ill-Prepared Workforce
Bumperstuckle Village: Patience is a Virtue
return from hiatus

The Hiatus on Double-Minded Island

Good day mate!

I am back from my hiatus on Double-Minded Island. Double-Minded Island, is an Island shaped like a hand and is a place people end up who are in the valley of decisions.

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On the island, as I was reflecting about life and where I wanted to go from this point, a memory of a time come to mind. It was 11 years ago and I had been applying to different alternative teaching programs around the U.S. and internationally. It was a very confusing time. I had been praying for clarification because every opportunity that came appeared to be a good idea, but as we know, not everything that is “good” is of “God.”

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So one day, I was in an old building I used to rent for a business we owned. The new owners had made the building into a used book store that I frequented from time to time. As I stood in line to purchase a book, a man came behind me that looked like a character from a Canterbury Tales novel.

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As I was standing in line, taking my wallet out for payment, the gentleman behind me asked about a picture in my wallet of a family member. After providing some insight about that person, he went on to ask me had I been trying to make a decision lately about moving? I was surprised because I had been trying to decide on whether or not to move.

He told me to hold out my hand, he wanted to use it as an analogy. He held up my pointer finger and said, “This is your who, the middle finger is your what, the ring finger is your when, the pinky finger is your where and your thumb finger is your why.” He went on to say, “Never make a decision to do anything, unless the why makes sense. The why functions like your thumb and without it, you won’t grip very well, or hold on to anything for long.” He told me praying about it will help me make sound decisions.” Afterwards, I thanked him and he mentioned he had to go walk to the store up the road to get medicine for his wife. It was super cold outside that day, as it was circa October 2007, so I was surprised he was walking. After I paid, I went outside to make sure he was ok and there was no sign of him anywhere.

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I got into my car and sat there thinking at how much God must really care to send a man to tell me something like that when I really needed hear it. As I prayed and reflected on the positions I vacillated between; I thought about my hands, my fingers and my why. As I did this, things became much more clear. I began to ask myself, “Self why do I really want to go to these places?” I began to realize a lot of the why was not for me per say, but for the opinions of others.

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We end up on Double-Minded Island because of discontentment. Discontentment usually comes from comparing ourselves to others. It can start small, walking by someone and noticing their designer watch or bag. Trolling through Instagram, FB, or Twitter, and seeing smiling faces on vacations in nice restaurants, water skying and such. It could even come from chatting with a friend and hearing about a really great experience they’ve recently had. All of these happenings could lead to discontentment and unhappiness.

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I am so glad I had that memory after my hiatus to Double-Minded Island because it reminded me the importance of knowing my why behind each decision I make. If you are trying to decide between a decision, and end up on Double-Minded Island and remember:

Pointer Finger – Who

Middle Finger – What

Ring Finger – When

Pinky Finger – Where

Thumb Finger – WHY

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This will get you back on the Boat of Contentment, which is a much joyful and peaceful place.

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I leave you with these last word of encouragement.

Rejoicing in Trials

James 1: 6-8

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith, without doubting, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

 

Have a peep at my Books On Kindle or Paperback! 
Schoolspiration
The Value of Career and Technical Education in Addressing College and Career Readiness  and the Ill-Prepared Workforce
Bumperstuckle Village: Patience is a Virtue
Life is too precious to remain stuck in an unpleasant story, so go ahead and close that story book and began a new one. ~Kamina Fitzgerald
Preparing for College, AP vs Dual Enrollment

AP Courses versus Dual Enrollment Courses: Decide for Yourself

I am in an Advanced Placement Workshop in Chapel Hill, NC and boy have I been enlightened. Being a proponent of Dual Enrollment for years, after this workshop, I have changed my mind. FYI: Dual enrollment students are students enrolled in high school while also taking a few community college courses at the same time. AP students are enrolled in advanced high school courses where they could earn a college credit by scoring 3 or higher on their exams.

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So I felt it was my duty to share with parents and students of Middle and High school the advantage of AP courses. I mentioned middle school so that they could start thinking ahead because the GPA from 8th grade could help qualify or disqualify students for an AP course in 9th grade.

AP Information

  1. Advance Placement courses provides greater educational outcomes for student. Did you know that when students apply to college, having AP courses listed on their transcripts makes them more competitive?
  2. Ap students who score 3 or higher on exams, are more likely than dual enrollment students to earn a college degree within four years, which could save students/families time and money in the long run. Did you know that when students have a choice between going to a community college to take a basic “core” classes or a high school AP core course, the AP course will provide more rigor? This is huge because AP courses was made to prepare students to think more critically, and complete challenging assignments.
  3. AP students have higher college GPAs than dual enrollment students.  Did you know that if an admission team is looking at a dual enrollment student versus an AP students’ transcript, the AP student will look more appealing because of the level of rigor in AP courses?

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What the critics say!

  1. Why should my child take an AP course when they can go ahead and take a core class at the community college and have it count as a college credit automatically? My answer: You should have your child take the AP course because it is more rigorous, it will look better to college admission teams, and statistically AP students will finish college on time due to being able to handle more challenging material.
  2. Wouldn’t a college be more likely to take a dual enrollment student over an AP student, since the dual enrollment student has already taken basic community college courses? My answer: No! There are a lot of admission teams (who wouldn’t admit it in public 😉 and research that shows that most dual enrollment students still has to be remediated once they enter college where as, AP students do not. (This even includes the ones who score under 3 on their exams) because of their rigorous curriculum.

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AP Student Takeaways

  1. AP Students who score a 3 or higher on the exam will get to count that credit as a college credit.
  2. AP Students who score under a 3 on the exam will get to have it on their transcript which will still help with college admissions.
  3. AP students have a higher success rate to complete college on time.
  4. AP students are more likely to out-perform dual enrollment students their first year in college.

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AP Exam and Curriculum Takeaways

  1. Courses and exams are developed by representatives from colleges and universities across the nation and align with standards set by well respected liberal arts and research institutions.
  2. AP teachers’ syllabi go a review by college faculty ensuring consistency in quality and expectations across AP courses.
  3. AP exams provides a standard means of comparison between AP courses nationwide.
  4. AP exams provide external validation of teaching and learning in the classroom. The exams are scores by college professors and expert teachers, not the students’ personal teacher.

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AP vs Dual Enrollment Programs

Dual enrollment programs do not have any external measures, such as a standardized assessment to measure and ensure consistency in quality. It is for this reason it is difficult for admission officers and college faculty to gauge the quality of any given dual enrollment course. http://www.ncappartnership.org/ap-research.html

Access to challenging work is essential for college and career readiness. So parents and students, consider AP classes, you will not regret it, it will only benefit you!

AP-Concurrent

It is the belief that students should challenge themselves and take courses for which they are academically prepared and motivated. ~College Board

Have a peep at my Books On Kindle or Paperback! 
Schoolspiration
The Value of Career and Technical Education in Addressing College and Career Readiness  and the Ill-Prepared Workforce
emotional vampires, life hacks, sound advice

Identify the Emotional Vampires in your Life

When you hear the word “vampire” the images that may come to mind is Barnabas Collins from “Dark Shadows”

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or Edward Cullen from “Twilight”.

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But I have come to inform you that vampires are quite real, maybe not in the sense of these characters, but when it comes to certain individuals we have in our lives, they could very well be Emotional Vampires and if they are, you need to run the other way, fast!

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Now in order to run from the Emotional Vampires, you will need to be able to recognize them. So I will list six ways to identify these horrible creatures.

  1. Emotionally Draining – The first thing you will noticed about this type of individual is how emotionally and physically drained you feel after being in their company. I am not talking about the occasional time when a particular family member or friend share their issues with you and you feel slightly tired after listening to them. I am talking about the individual who does it the emotional vampire way. Instead of sharing a small problem, they bombard you a plethora of  them while sucking you dry of advice and emotional responses ALL THE TIME, barely stopping to allow you a word in edge-wise. You may ask, “What is wrong with doing this? Plenty of people do this, even I do this!”  But that is not what I am referring to. I am talking about feeling like your head is literally spinning after you finish a conversation with them. #abnormalfeeling

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2. Negativity Overload – After the conversation is long over with the emotional vampire in your life, you still experience this nagging negativity hangover. It is like taking a Benadryl too late before bed and waking up feeling the groggy brain-fog, after-affect.

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You probably did not realize until now, but that cloud of negativity was not coming from you; it actually came from the words of that emotional vampire you have been surrounding yourself with.

3. You feel better when they are not around – Picture yourself listening to the individual; while listening to them you feel bad, after listening to them you still feel gloomy. It isn’t until you have gone a few days, weeks or months, without talking/listening to this individual that you start to feel somewhat normal again. This is because while conversing with them, they not only unload a lot of negativity on you; they also tend to not actively listen to anything you have to say, hardly ever. So going on a detox from this individual may show you just how good life could be without them. So go ahead and press the “Reset” button, for lighter and happier times ahead. #letitgo

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4. Simplicity goes out the Window – Another sign of an emotional vampire is when having, what you believe to be, a simple conversation with them, ends up leaving you in a ball of confusion.

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What starts out as a simple statement, ends with the emotional vampire taking things completely out of context; leaving you disoriented and wondering what in the sam hill went wrong. Communication gaps happen, yes, but in the case of the emotional vampire, they are inevitable because the vampire is usually busy being negative, playing mind games, refusing to give straight answers or being overly defensive of their “uncalled for” behavior. This is definitely a trait that you should be on the look out for because simplicity is certainly a thing of the past with them. #byebyesimplicity

5. They make you feel deflated – These emotional vampires tend to deflate everyone around them. They cannot stand to see anyone thriving in anything because they are debbie-downers, and want to make others feel that way too. #downerslovecompany

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A true friend would like for you to be happy and celebrate with you when things are good, and comfort you when things are bad. An emotional vampire does the complete opposite, covertly; they do not bring comfort; nor do they celebrate you. They only do it if it serves themselves in some form or fashion. Most of the time they appear to only “tolerate” you being in their lives. They are really not into you or what you have going on but keep you around for their own purposes. So ask yourself again, why do you entertain such a person? Inquiring minds would like to know.

6. You have a sneaky suspicion the friendship isn’t quite real – With emotional vampires, they only put up with you because a) they need a sounding-board b) they need someone to put down so that they can feel better about themselves c) they need emotional responses to what they are saying [in these cases they will have multiple people they run to for this because your response alone will not be enough] d) they need your energy to empower themselves.

Notice how all of these reasons are about them and not the friendship? This is normally the case with these creatures, I mean, emotional vampires. Once they get the energy and attention they crave, you will be out of sight and out of their narrow minds, until they need another energy fix again.

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What to do if you have been bitten by an emotional vampire:

  1. Establish the no contact rule, this is important because they are sly creatures and can usually lure you back into the friendship before you have time to think about it. Cutting ties will allow you to get back to emotional freedom sooner than later.
  2. Do not try to reason with emotional vampires, it will not work. You will just become tangled up again in their web of deceit.
  3. If you work with the person in a common organization, separate yourself and only deal with them professionally. Do not meet up for dinner, or talk on the phone. Keep everything strictly work related, and AT WORK ONLY.
  4. Develop a support system of people who care about you, and who are willing to talk and actively listen. This marks a healthy relationship.

Well Wishes!

Have a peep at my Books On Kindle or Paperback! 
Schoolspiration
The Value of Career and Technical Education in Addressing College and Career Readiness  and the Ill-Prepared Workforce
Bumperstuckle Village: Patience is a Virtue

 

Journey, Blogging, Be Inspired, story time

SOS, Abandon the Flaky-Ship!

I randomly decided to look up what “SOS” stood for and was surprised to find that it did not stand for anything at all. It simply was chosen as a signal because it could be easily transmitted in Morse Code during distress. So that’s what it is, a signal.

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Some of us right now are knowingly or unknowingly sending out distress signals. We could do this by having a short temper, crying a lot, not eating or eating too much, losing interest in a thing called “life” and becoming reclusive to name a few. We may be distressed about our jobs, distressed about our families, distressed about relationships, distressed about organizations we belong to or volunteer for, distressed about friends or frenemies, distressed, distressed, DiSTRESSED! So in the event of this happening, what should one do?

They should asked for help and communicate with someone but what we tend to do is keep everything bottled up until we one day go bonkers!

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So instead of going bananas, go ahead and send out an SOS; reflect on what has been distressing you and plan to abandon the flaky-ship altogether. By Flaky-Ship, I mean Flaky-Shaky-Relationships with family, friends, jobs, and organizations. Do like the guy below and leave the Flaky-Ship behind you. Yes, it looks sturdy, and seems solid, but it is not. It is full of distress, so off you go!

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Definition of Distress

dis·tress
dəˈstres/noun
1. extreme anxiety, sorrow, or pain.
“to his distress he saw that she was trembling”
synonyms: Anguish, suffering, pain, agony, torment, heartache, heartbreak
2. give (furniture, leather, or clothing) simulated marks of age and wear.
“the manner in which leather jackets are industrially distressed”
Just reading over this definition lets you know that being in “distress” is no cake walk.
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So if you are in a situation that is causing you anguish, torment, pain, anxiety, heartache and sorrow; it may be time to abandon that particular thing FOR GOOD.
Do you ever wonder why it is so hard to exit a bad situation? I mean, you would think it would be quite easy to walk away considering how unpleasant it is for you, but it does not always work that way, does it?
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The reason it is hard to exit bad situations is because we become used to them. We become comfortable feeling the pain, anguish, anxiety and sorrow in our lives; and began to wear them like an old hat. They become our norm. So we walk around knowingly or unknowingly sending out SOS signals, while doing absolutely nothing to address them.
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This has got to stop, I wrote this blog as a reminder to you that it is time to break out the composition notebooks and take inventory of your lives. Are you going to continue on in a distressed state of mind (unhealthy well-being) or a joyful state of mind (healthy well-being)? The choice is yours.
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Family
When it comes to your family, you cannot necessarily “abandon the Flaky-Ship” per say, but you can abandon negative patterns that may occur between you all.
For example, if you tend to argue a lot with a particular family member(s), choose to react in a different manner than you would normally would. Once the argument starts, do not retort with the normal sarcasm.
Instead, allow the person to say their piece and simply say you respect their opinion but have nothing further to say (even if you do).
This way, you are choosing not to argue with them on that day and will leave them perplexed and wondering what in the sam hill just happened.
**This is a great way to throw off the argument pattern.
After a few times of choosing not to engage the family member(s), you will eventually change the argument pattern completely for the better. This method truly works because I have read about it in real-life case studies and it has drastically improved peoples’ relationships with one another.
Please do not get me wrong, I am not saying avoid the pink elephant in the room; I am simply saying, the middle of a heated argument is not the right time to point out the pink elephant. It is best to discuss issues when both parties are not upset, and are ready to listen, offense will be less likely occur at this time.
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It takes two or more people to argue, so if you remove yourself from the equation, the argument cannot occur.
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Friends
When dealing with friends, it can be tricky. There is not a one size fits all method when deciding to abandon a flaky-friendship. This will have to be done on a case by case basis but if you have people in your company that produce constant feelings of pain, sorrow, anguish, anxiety and distress in your life, you may want to consider abandoning that flaky-ship.
Why? Because it is not healthy, and will cause yourself heartache in the long run. Some  of you have been losing sleep, not looking your best, overeating, carry bags under your eyes and nursing constant headaches, all because you have the wrong associations/attachments. Is it really worth it?
*Remember, the reason behind this blog post is to identify, decrease and eliminate “distress” in your lives. 
Organizations
Some of us are linked to organizations that does nothing but bring anxiety, drama, sorrow and pain into our lives. Initially you may of joined for a good cause but “the cause” seemed to have left the building a long time ago.
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When you want to leave, you may be bombarded with these thoughts:
“I may as well stay because it is like this everywhere” or
“I have been in it forever so I can’t leave” or
“my family was in it, if I leave, I will break tradition” or
“I have an important position in this place, I can’t leave my position.”
You get the picture, there will always be something or someone trying to convince you to stay in something, but again, if it is causing you constant “distress”, and your body is sending out SOS signals all over the place, its time to unapologetically, abandon the flaky-ship.
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I hope you all were taking notes in your composition notebooks and are planning to truly reflect on all of these areas in your life after you finish reading, because it is amazing how your body will began to heal itself once you start eliminating rubbish from different areas in your life.
Life is too precious to remain stuck in an unpleasant story, so go ahead and close that story book and began a new one. ~Kamina Fitzgerald
Have a peep at my Books On Kindle or Paperback! 
Schoolspiration
The Value of Career and Technical Education in Addressing College and Career Readiness  and the Ill-Prepared Workforce

 

Bumperstuckle Village: Patience is a Virtue

story time

The Parable of the Tenants

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I was reading a parable called “The Parable of the Tenants” and it really stood out to me so you know I had to share.

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The parable spoke about a landlord that planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it and built a watchtower. After everything was put in place, the landlord decided to lease it out and move to another country.

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Time passed and when harvest time came, the landlord decided to send some of his servants to the tenant, to get some of the fruits he had planted. When the servants arrived, the tenants beat one, killed another and stoned the other.

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The landlord heard of it and decided to send even more servants, in hopes that they would be received but the tenants responded in the same way as before.

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The landlord could not believe it so he decided the best thing to do would be to send his own son to collect his produce/fruit. He sent his son, and when the tenants saw him, they said among themselves, “This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and seize on his inheritance.” So they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard and killed him.

1, The vines

The parable ended with a question by the person telling the parable. The question was, “When the landlord comes back to his vineyard, what do you think he will do to the tenants?”

The people listening to the parable answered that the landlord would surely destroy the wicked tenants, and get new tenants to occupy the land. Tenants that would give the fruits to the landlord during their rightful seasons.

The creator of this parable, asked the people listening another question, a question tying the parable with what was happening at that present time. He asked, “Haven’t you read in the scriptures, the stone (referring to Jesus) which the builders rejected is the same stone, that will become the Head of the corner. And the kingdom of God shall be taken from you (pharisees and other who rejected the deity of Jesus), and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.

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This passage speaks volumes to me and is thought provoking —–> Whoever will fall on the stone shall be broken but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder (Matthew 21: 44)

I like how it said whoever falls on Jesus (the stone) will be broken. Being broken is a good thing because it provides the opportunity for things to be broken off of us that is no longer needed. We should take comfort that brokenness doesn’t last forever, eventually we mend, heal, and become new again. Another thing that is good about being broken is how humbling it is. Once we experience brokenness, it usually gives us an empathy toward others that make us more sensitive and caring human beings.

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The other part of the passage was sobering, it said that whoever the stone falls on, will be ground to powder. Yikes. That is not something I would like to experience. So I will take brokenness over being ground to powder any day, thank you very much.

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I thought it was so interesting how the parable was used to explain to the pharisees in story form, how their disbelief appeared before the landlord (God) who allowed tenants (the pharisees) to managed his land and how the landlord (God) will deal with them (the pharisees and anyone who rejected) for killing/rejecting His son (Jesus).

So when you would like to get a point across to someone and you can’t quite explain it, give them a story/parable, to get your point across. It truly works!

#Shall-We-Bring-Back-Story-Time

 

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Schoolspiration
The Value of Career and Technical Education in Addressing College and Career Readiness  and the Ill-Prepared Workforce

 

Rejection = Re-direction

Rejection = Re-direction

I saw this quote and thought I would share it because of its’ profoundness.

“As I look back over my life, I realize that every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually re-directed to something better.” 

So many times, we reflect on our lives and feel a deep sense of regret.

  • Regret of poor choices that were made
  • Regret of choosing not to do something
  • Regret of not standing up for something
  • Regret of trying to be a people pleaser
  • Regret of taking life too seriously and not taking the time to stop and smell the roses
  • Regret of not preparing children for life
  • Regret of getting involved with the wrong people
  • Regret of choosing the practical job over the one you REALLy wanted
  • Regret of not getting up and speaking at an event
  • Regret of being rejected from something you really wanted to do

This last regret is what I really wanted to touch on. Do not feel so bad about being rejected from a person, job position, club, or organization; because the rejection is simply re-directing you to the area you are supposed to be in.

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*Encourage yourself with these wise words*

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*Here is a video of a comic book about the origins of negative thoughts and how to take control of them. I was happy to see this because I STiLL have my copy of this comic book from when I was younger.*

 

Have a peep at my Books On Kindle or Paperback! 
Schoolspiration
The Value of Career and Technical Education in Addressing College and Career Readiness  and the Ill-Prepared Workforce