Since I left Washington, the weather has gotten hotter and the news has gotten bloodier. Although my town, and my county, has a relatively low homicide rate, my local news still reports tragic, preventable gun deaths in both Hampton Roads and Raleigh/Durham.[Read more…] about But does he know I love him?
Thank God for therapy.
I wish I could say that my move to Conway, North Carolina was uneventful, but it was quite eventful. From the movers not being done until 3:00am to a house with no sinks, there was one surprise after the other which would have left a pre-therapy version of me absolutely undone.[Read more…] about And so began the Conway Years
[Read more…] about Hard to Say Goodbye
It’s not that I don’t love you deeply“Hard to Say Goodbye,” Dreamgirls
You were my family
It’s just that I’m feeling there’s so much more
Waiting out there for you and me.
We had an orientation for our school yesterday. During my part, I explained to potential students and their parents what an average day at the school building would be like from an academic perspective. I also added that if a student has an IEP (Individualized Educational Plan – a Special Education term), has ever had an IEP, or needs some sort of accommodations, the student or parent should disclose that right away so they can hit the ground running with all the supports in place.
I could tell by the reaction of one of the parents that she was not trying to hear it and that IEP was a dirty word to her. This is not the first time I’ve received such a reaction from a parent.
I understand fully that families have been victimized by traditional public school settings. Black boys in particular get singled out for exclusionary services that stigmatize them for years, and black girls’ reactions to trauma also single them out for labeling. However, the legitimate needs of many students with IEPs don’t disappear just because they transfer to a charter school, or to a GED program, or to an adult education program.
In fact (and I believe I said this) your IEP doesn’t disappear just because you age out, either. I’ve had a student for the past two years who only just recently disclosed that he used to have an IEP for reading. And he took it upon himself to ask me to go find it so he could get some of those supports back.
You wouldn’t send your wheelchair-bound child to the foot of a staircase and tell them “See you at the top.” They need a different pathway to reach the same goal.
An IEP is not a label–it’s an instruction manual that helps me personalize your child’s experience. One can’t throw away the manual and then blame the child’s next teachers for the trouble they get in, or their lack of achievement.
Parents should not only trust the IEP process when they find a community of caring and genuine educators, they should become fully engaged in it, with an educational advocate if necessary. These meetings are for the support of the child from a legal perspective, and there are certain rights families have that they should continue to fight for.
And if the proverbial “Little Johnny” experiences gains and growth which suggest that they no longer need an IEP, then yes, students can and do slide out of IEPs all the time.
But I can assure you that in my experience, the IEP has been an excellent guide for caring educators–not weapons used against the families.
Quakers (or Friends) are members of a historically Christian group of religious movements formally known as the Religious Society of Friends… Members of the various Quaker movements are all generally united in a belief in the ability of each human being to experientially access “the light within”, or “that of God in every one”.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quakers
For about a decade, I have identified as a Quaker. Somehow, I fell down a Google rabbit hole, found Quaker websites, and said “Yep, that’s who I am.” Then I read the books. Then I subscribed to the magazine. Then I started attending meetings. In late 2017, I joined Friends Meeting of Washington and I’ve been a member ever since.
Today, it became official official. They had a welcome activity for the nine of us who joined in the past few years. To be honest, I wasn’t really into the idea of celebrating what, to me, was a personal and spiritual decision to join this religious path. I’m already active on a committee (Peace and Social Concerns) and I’m slowly, but surely making friends.
Even though I’ve been part of the meeting for over a year, as a member, and a year or so before that as an attender, it was still important for me to step back and be acknowledged. What’s so wrong with making a concrete decision about your soul and then celebrating it with others in the community?
Nothing at all.
So I surrendered. I handed over my desire to be modest. I stopped being shy about good things that happen to me and I let my faith community to take time to welcome me and the others. Even if it was delayed–it was the thought that counted.
We had cake. We got roses. We got our “official” name tags and we even got our photos taken for the board in the hallway. And most importantly, we got introduced by members of the membership committee, who had recommended each of us.
I joked with other new member that we were part of the same pledge class now.
I talk about being a Quaker openly, but in many ways, I am starting out from scratch in my faith walk. I was raised Baptist, almost became Muslim, and then found my way to the Quakers. It’s a totally different, largely unstructured faith that still has lots of traditions that I am learning.
Perhaps most importantly is that, after years of distance from more formal religion, I am learning that community is always the most important part of the journey.
So thank you, Friends Meeting of Washington, for being the dope ass “church” that I always needed.
Note: The photo is of Paul Cuffe, a famous black Quaker that I just learned about five minutes ago.
Welp, I didn’t publish anything in 2018.
- I did make a decision to expand my one-short short story into an anthology, named it Time, selected a phenomenal cover designer, finished editing it, and now nearly done formatting it.
- I finished editing Yours in the Bond and found a brilliant illustrator to bring the cover to life.
- I devised a plan to become a full-time writer.
- I sketched out/outlined the entire cycle of Dark Nation novels, which seems like it’s going to be a ten book series all together. (Some of those were going to be standalone novels, but I decided to string them together in the same universe.)
- I saw Message from ‘The Legba’ performed!
I think that’s a productive 2018, considering I still had a stressful, but meaningful full-time job. That’s a win.
So for 2019, by this date I should have published the above two projects and completed the first draft for another.
A modest goal, for me, that leads into my full-time goal of writing two to three books a year.
As always, thanks for letting a brother roll with you through this thing called writing. See you in 2019!