Saturday, September 20, 2008

P.S. Intermediate School Purchases K Books!!!

NYC's Intermediate School 50 ordered 25 copies of my first book, Before You Fly Off, thanks to Assistant Principal, Dr. Mable Elliot who wanted to offer her most outstanding graduating students a book they not only could relate to but also inspire them as they enter their teen years.

When I first started pitching my book to schools, Black teachers and guidance counselors were immediately impressed with how it promoted classroom management and critical thinking. Their principals and directors, however, handcuffed by curriculum policies that perpetuate the miseducation and warehousing of Black and Brown children, felt obligated to ignore even the success stories of those students and their parents who benefited from reading Before You Fly Off. I've met some Black teens who've asked why my book isn't offered right along with the standards which they feel do not address the everyday struggles of Black girls in the hood; that they would attend classes more if their schools provided books that empowered them, as opposed to training them to glorify dead folks who don't look like them!

I taught high school in New York City before, and I stayed within the alternative education format because it was the only division that allowed me and other alternative ed. educators to step out of the formula-based approach and reach our teens in a way they needed to be reached. That is, not to be talked down to and bombarded with texts and lesson plans that only end up increasing truancy. I even had a shot at principalship but turned it down once I saw how limiting a school official's authorities are, especially when it comes to the education of Black teenagers.

This is all to say how thankful I am for Dr. Elliot's effort to see beyond the bureaucratic barbwires for the sake of saving lives; young Black females' lives. At the same time, I'd be remiss not to mention that the Research Foundation of the City of New York had ordered 200 copies of my book for their own alternative education program soon after my book's publication. A remarkable event in itself for any first time author!!! It's a glance at a possible trend that could very well transcend policies in the name of re-evaluating the concept of educating inner city teens and pre-teens, to the point where academic success is not only judged by standardized tests but also by how well one survives a war zone.

So once again thank you, Dr. Elliot; and thank you, Children's Aid Society for the kind support. It is greatly appeciated!

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