My Dearest…Mary

Mary and Me… Celebrating Mary’s 100th birthday!!!

Mary Towers has been an inspiration to both; my professional and personal life…

Our story begins when I was hired by Mr. Bill Irby, principal of Alachua Elementary School, in Alachua, Florida; in the fall of nineteen seventy-three… I was hired for a paraprofessional position…

Before then, I had been a beginning teacher at Browning Pearce Elementary, in Palatka, Florida… traveling ninety miles daily… Alachua Elementary was fifteen miles from my home; so I accepted this position… I was assigned to tutor first grade students who needed extra support…Hoping that if a teaching position would become available…I would be hired…

Mary was one of the five teachers I was to assist in an open classroom; Learning Community A… LCA, as it was called; housed five classrooms, four of which were first grade and one was kindergarten; with over one hundred students separated only by partitions…I was to be placed with my small group, in the middle of this very large room divided by furniture and mobile chalkboards… Believe it or not, it it was not all that noisy…

On my very first day, I will never forget how I met Mary… I was walking through the unit, being introduced by the team leader, Chris Hirsch, to the teachers of the team in LCA… Mary being one of them, was very busy with a particular student…A little girl in her class was in the bathroom dealing with intestinal worms, and Mary was taking care of this most challenging situation…How impressed I was by how Mary was managing such a situation …

It was then, after a year, my wish came true…I did get reassigned to teach a first grade class!

And then, opening up the very next year in nineteen and seventy-five; one of the most special of my teaching opportunities opened up!

I was to team with Mary Towers, a professional relationship lasting nine years…. ending in 1984…when Mary retired…

This special opportunity arose in the summer of seventy-five, when Mr.Irby, offered me a co-teaching position with Mary, in a newly federally funded, early childhood education program called ECPC… The Early Childhood Preventative Curriculum Program...

This innovative program was designed as an intervention for diverse, young children who were screened in kindergarten, exhibiting difficulties with their learning…

This center based program was designed with no more than sixteen students, assisted by a full-time aide who would be responsible for the reinforcement associated with specific activities; that would build upon the deficits, diagnostically determined through pre and post tests through the child’s auditory, visual, kinesthetic, and tactile learning styles…

Mary and I each had our own group of children assisted by our full time aide.. Our class was housed within the large classroom in LCA…which now had mobilized walls separating each of the five classrooms; providing the children less distractions…

Our morning time was devoted to four specific centers that incorporated the curriculum:

Reading; Follow Up Reading, and Language Arts activities: Listening; and last “Willy Worm” an aide directed center with specific activities prescribed by the pre and post testing…

The reading curriculum utilized, the Sullivan Programmed Readers…a successful program of the time…. teaching children decoding skills in reading context within a linguistic progression of sound-symbol relationships...

Teaching those nine years with Mary really flew by!!…Sadly both our Team and ECPC Program ended with Mary’s retirement... Mary and I can look back and be quite proud of what our children accomplished from the Early Childhood Preventative Curriculum Program…

Many of our children went on to have successful lives; some going into local politics and a few playing collegiate and professional football…

Mary made this for me…when she retired…1984….

June 5, 1984…..Mary’s Retirement…

As I have reflect on our years together, this special relationship provided me the knowledge and experiences I learned from teaching with Mary…enabling me to evolve into a strong teacher…

Not only has Mary been such an influence on me professionally…Personally, Mary has been a guiding support even more so…

Having lost my mother when I was a senior in high school…I always felt a little lost…Mary was close in age to what my mother’s age would have been…And having such a warm connection with Mary…I always believed my mother, placed Mary in my life for a special reason…I have felt blessed to have Mary in my corner for these forty plus years…

Through the many years I have learned so much about Mary’s beautiful family; especially now that her husband’s recent passing,..Her four children never leave her side…

Mary will be one hundred this year, and she still lives in the same house that she and her husband built after World War II; on land that has been in her family for generations … There are always family gatherings with her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, other family members and close friends …

What I dearly appreciate truly about Mary is about service and sacrifice, pertaining to her husband Frank Towers ….their story; how they met and married during World War II…Frank was a true hero of the War…He was a commissioned officer in the 30th Infantry Division during the Invasion at Normandy and helped in the liberation of the Jewish Holocaust survivors on a train from the Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp….

Mary was still actively involved in my life even in her early nineties…The years passing we have kept our special lunches just to keep in touch…

Then when I began teaching at Idylwild in 20O7…She and her husband offered to assist me in my move to be closer to Idylwild…Utilizing their large van and Frank’s technological skills….with my computer…

Mary would even volunteer in my classroom…I so loved and appreciated her help…

She did so much: she would help any child that needed assistance with their math or reading; at home she would make all the children flash cards for reading practice; bring in much needed school supplies; make our individual math packets…
Our children and Idywild loved her…And in 2011 Idywild nominated Mary for “Volunteer of the Year…

With my retirement in 2015…I have moved to Palm Coast, to be closer to the ocean…

I am still loving and appreciating Mary…

And… so looking forward to coming back to Gainesville; spring and fall…celebrating our friendship with our special lunch dates…

Thank you Dearest…Mary♥️

My Mission…

I have always believed giving all our children the opportunity for a strong, public school education;

Educating children gives them a “POWER” from within…that which provides them the ability to grow and change…
It is my belief “Children all over the World“.. should have that opportunity…

Children are the future….They will carry on our history…

It is a moral responsibility to instill this knowledge into their lives to further our civilization for the betterment of mankind…

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Sending A Special Love to Parents…

 

Dear Parents… Thank You…

 

Sending a special love to the parents with children isolated in their homes…

Staying strong for our children…is what parents do…

And now providing support with their learning…

Take good care…

 

 

#ParentsAreTheNewTeachers #StayAtHomeAndStaySafe

Our Children… Spring Time

First day of Spring….
Prayers…
Hope and Faith…
Blessings…
Grace…
Gratitude…

SpringTime

🐞☘️🌈🙏🏼💖

Many of our children are now being quarantined because of the coronavirus…

Of these children…there are those that rely on getting breakfast and lunch at school….And now our communities and federal government, hopefully are reaching out to those children and families affected…

There is the unknown as to how long children will be out of schools… Schools and communities are providing resources online and parental support may be providing additional learning…

However, there are definitely those children from challenging home situations who may be at a loss…I do hope that local school communities will be providing support…

Teachers concerned about those children may even drive by their homes just to let them know they are loved..

In addition, here in Florida, standardized test will not be administered this year…And that will take some of the pressure off the lack of classroom learning…

We must do all we can to prevent the spread of this virus… Families… children and those vulnerable especially…are relying on all of us listening and following the necessary protocols…Self distancing especially…

We will come back from this…Our children are depending on their future… better and stronger….

Black History all Year…

In my many years of teaching, my main focus was….to reach all of my children…That….along with the rigors of the required curriculum…I believed in order for young children to be successful…they needed to know I cared…

Since this new millennium, especially teaching children from a diverse African American background…

I believed…those children needed to feel pride in their history…not just in February, when Black History is part of the curriculum…

I felt taking those opportunities when I could to fit in to our day..

Talks about how their values of character such as: kindness, working hard, and … never giving up!
Are those qualities that people should be judged…

And not by what they look like…

I would always call upon that memory of

Dr, Martin Luther King” …

And how much he believed and never giving up on this Dream….

Using myself as an example of when I was a young child I would share that I would watch the news about Dr. King on television… and what a special man…he was…

…My children with eyes wide open felt that he was real , because Ms Sexton saw him!!!

I would also emphasize the story of Rosa Parks, as another real person, I also heard about when I was little, and her bravery in how she spoke out, and took a stand to something that was wrong!

All my personal anecdotes helped convey their history in a very relatable way…Making it relevant and hoping they too would be proud of who the are ; striving for values and achievement

All our children, whatever their ethnicity… race… religion… would be…

In our classroom…they were loved…And accepted…!!!

In State of the Union, Trump makes clear his aversion to public schools – Article by Valerie Strauss…from The Washington Post..

President Trump is definitely not a proponent for children, and those who rely on our public schools for their education…

Just the fact his selection of Betsy DeVos , an unqualified, billionaire who has strong ties to religious, private schools…as secretary of education….
I knew our public schools were in trouble…

With the fewer resources and funding this administration has taken from public education…and putting those funds into privatization…

And Now…this week at the State of the Union, post Impeachment… President Trump had an opportunity to vindicate the past…

 

He most definitely did not… He made his State of the Union Speech…a bid for his reelection….His little regard for our public schools calling them government schools…is absolutely disgraceful!

Taking this momentous occasion as an opportunity to stage a young student, who he said attended a public school,  to be a recipient of the Education Freedom Scholarship…so  she would be able to attend a private school…(Which is reportedly false)
…She is already  attending a prominent private school!He then revealed that he
for wanted Congress to fund 1 million dollars to that Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunity Act- for those worthy students….Adding:

“Because no parent should be forced to send their child to a failing government schools!
 
 
He also urged Congress to pass legislation,
creating a 5 billion federal tax credit program that would fund scholarships to private and religious schools… benefitting individuals and donors…
The scholarships would be funded by individuals and businesses who want to privately donate but who would then receive a federal tax credit…

 

The President did call for more vocational and technical education at the high school level…And  the importance of the constitutional right for prayer in schools...

 

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, the second-largest teachers union, said in a statement: “Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos have made no secret of their antipathy for public education. Rather than strengthen the cornerstone of our democracy and the chief enabler of pluralism and opportunity, they choose to defund and destabilize it. No amount of rebranding vouchers and privatization as ‘choice’ and ‘freedom’ changes that...

 
 
 
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RALLY in TALLAHASSEE – MONDAY, JAN 13TH

Because — public schools have been consistently de-funded for a decade with no end in sight.

Because — despite nearly twenty years of ‘choice,’ 89% of FLs school children still CHOOSE to attend public schools…

Because — public school parents and students must have THEIR CHOICE adequately staffed, compensated, and funded….

Because — new courses such as mental health training should be mandated to ALL students in ALL schools…

Because — we elect school board members to regulate and control our tax dollars locally and do not want to see this stripped away…

FOR THESE REASONS — Parents and teachers…Across Florida supports a rally to speak out to the Florida Legislature on the eve of opening session. We will be #FLPublicEdVoters from this point on until the pendulum swings back towards fairness for all…

Our Chance to get it Right…Vote 2020

New Year…
New Decade…

This November….We will have an opportunity to vote in a very critical, presidential election… We can impact these detrimental changes since the election of Donald Trump…

One being…public education …There has been the ongoing process of weakening public education by both Republican and Democratic political influences since “No Child Left Behind” of the late nineties…and privatization…

However…. When President Trump chose an unqualified, Betsy Devos as the Secretary of Education….who is a strong proponent of charter schools…
Our children who have relied on our public schools have truly suffered….

Our public schools are being dismantled…
Due to those monies that would fund many of the necessary programs and resources helping children succeed in our public schools;

They are now being funneled to private schools…

 

In addition, there is a critical teacher shortage due to poor teacher pay, and the many obstacles teachers deal with everyday…

 

Such as the rise of gun violence in today’s schools… Thus arming teachers as the answer to the extremely important need for gun control… and gun safety in our schools…

Children live in fear each day!

 

Now 2020 is finally here!!!…

We have this wonderful opportunity to all unite behind a strong presidential candidate who will advocate for our children; being that strong supporter for public schools

It is my hope for our children that this election be the hope for our children…
#Vote4Children🇺🇸💙🍎

Our children deserve a strong public school education