Baltimore City Public Schools re-engage city youth

The Baltimore City Public Schools (BCPS) Re-Engagement Center has shifted the academic trajectory from a bleak past to an optimistic future for 19-year-old Destiney Turner and 15-year-old Donay Sims.

The Re-engagement Center (REC) located at 200 E. North Avenue is a new full-service facility that will serve as as the outreach to students, who have previously dropped out of Baltimore City Public Schools; are at high-risk of dropping out; or have been previously incarcerated back to the school system and also to support students who are in acute crisis.

The center’s priority is to help students identify the most appropriate support and educational environment in order to minimize the likelihood of dropping out and to decrease multiple transfers due to significant lack of progress towards high school graduation, according to officials.

BCPS is committed to the academic success of all city students and the center will provide a myriad of services including, high-impact instructional, social and emotional services to engage and re-engage students.

“There was a lot of turmoil and obstacles in my life,” said Turner, who was a victim of bullying and struggled with mental health issues when she left school at 16. “There are a lot of kids who go through the same things.”

Now three years later, Turner is on the road to success, thanks to the support and strategic direction she received at the center. She is on track to graduate from high school in 2017. Her goal is to study economics at Towson State University.

“I hope to encourage other students and let them know there is hope for anybody,” Turner said.

Each student at the center is assigned a case manager, who works to assess the student’s needs and develop a personalized plan. The REC provides wrap-around services to accommodate education, teen parenting support, counseling services, and behavioral intervention support, if necessary.

Dr. Gregory E. Thornton, Chief Executive Officer of Baltimore City Public Schools addressed a standing-room only crowd at the BCPS district office on Wednesday, February 17, 2016 at the official opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the center.

“This is a hub where you can get all the support that you need,” Dr. Thornton said. “Today we hit a reset button for them [Baltimore City students].”

Donay Sims’ mother passed away when she was only eight years old. She lacked the family support she needed until her aunt encouraged her to go back to school. Sims credits the REC for providing her with the support, direction and opportunity to help her get through school.

“I have hope now— a lot of hope,” said Sims, who plans to attend Morgan State University when she graduates from high school.

Dr. Rinata Tanks, Strategic Climate Specialist with the Baltimore City Public School Re-Engagement Center wants students to understand that past mistakes do not mean the end of opportunity.

“This is just the beginning,” said Dr. Tanks.

“There is no other work that we are doing right now, that is more important,” said Roger Shaw, director of Multiple Pathways for Baltimore City Public Schools.

“We know there are many factors that cause students to be disengaged,” said Shaw. “We take the student where they are and help them to move forward. This Center has the potential to change Baltimore City.”

For more information, about the Re-Engagement Center, visit: or call 443-984-2000.

Windsor Mill Middle School students shine at Night of Innovation

For eleven-year-old sixth-graders Avante Morgan, Temitope Peters, Victor Chongwa and 10-year old Rianna Davis, using their school-issued HP Elitebook Revolve hybrid laptops has become as easy as their traditional textbooks. Infusing technology with traditional educational tools, the Windsor Mill Middle School (WMMS) scholars are embracing change and excelling in their core subjects.

“It’s no longer about the students sitting in rows and columns-sitting still and listening to the teacher talk for 60 to 90 minutes,” said Harvey Chamber, principal of Windsor Mill Middle School. “Students are now facilitators and in charge of their own learning.”

In partnership with Discovery Education and McGraw Hill, Windsor Mill Middle School (WMMS) hosted a Night of Innovation on December 3, 2015 where more than 13 demonstrations were conducted throughout the school to spotlight the impending technological advancements that will occur in all Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS). Part of (S.T.A.T) Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow- the digital instructional and conversion, WMMS is one of 17 Lighthouse Schools within BCPS that will implement the change.

More than 30 trained student leaders escorted parents and guests around the school and served as hosts during breakout sessions. One student served as a reporter and conducted live interviews on the video-streaming app Periscope.

Sherri Jones, the mother of sixth grader Kiersten Jones, appreciates the online learning piece at WMMS that her daughter has embraced. Kiersten was initially apprehensive about attending a new school but once she arrived and saw all of the technology, her excitement increased. Kiersten said learning is fun since she started attending WMMS.

“She loves it,” said Sherri Jones. “The students have math every day and Kiersten is now in the G.T. [gifted and talented] class, which was not the case prior to attending WMMS.”

“Students are reading more, even if it is online,” said Jones. “And that’s a good thing.”

Ryan Imbriale, executive director of Innovative Learning at BCPS is focused on the goal while helping to guide the new program.

“What it boils down to from a pedagogical and mastery standpoint, teachers are the critical glue that holds mastery in the classroom,” said Imbriale.

Imbriale noted that teachers are able to benefit from the knowledge that tech-savvy students bring to the classroom. Educators should take advantage of those students who are able to problem-solve, as it pertains to the use of the technology.

“Overall, it’s a win-win situation,” said Imbriale.

The early evaluation results show that the students are more engaged, which translates into a higher level of collaboration and communication. There is a balance between using paper and pencil and the use of the device. At WMMS, access to digital learning provides real-time information, 3D modeling, science experiments and the ability to connect with others from around the world.

“This is about ensuring every student graduates globally and are competitive,” said Imbriale.

When students are engaged and excited about coming to school, there is a decrease in disciplinary issues and personalized learning is enhanced, according to Imbriale.

Principal Chambers is keenly aware of the area’s changing demographics. He noted WMMS is more of a suburban-urban school.

“Yes, we have a change in the demographics, but our students are not any less able to learn than any child in the county,” said Chambers. “When they have the right teacher in front of them, and the teacher conveys a caring and compassionate demeanor, the student is more engaged,” said Chambers.

According to Principal Chambers, the teacher to student ratio is one to 25, however math classes are much smaller to help raise the students’ scores. Since the change, preliminary math assessments have gained 24 percentage points.

“Technology built on the science of learning has the potential to personalize and improve education, but only if it’s implemented thoughtfully and effectively. The Baltimore County Public Schools are a shining example of how technology can be used strategically to support the art of great teaching,” said Christine Willig, president of McGraw-Hill Education’s K-12 group. “We’re proud to be Baltimore County’s partner in improving learning outcomes district-wide.”

The sixth graders have been using the devices since the school year began. Over the next two years the program is on track to issue the device to seventh and eighth graders, too.

Principal Chambers says he is a proponent of the program and commends Dr. S. Dallas Dance, Superintendent of BCPS, for invigorating the learning and teaching process.

“I’d rather for you to be uncomfortable with learning new things, than to revert back to the old things and changing the date on an old lesson plan,” said Chambers. “I can’t speak for the other kids in other schools, but our students need something to excite them and the technology is doing just that.”

Rising stars being groomed to be ‘Leaders of Tomorrow’

Many words can be used to describe Millennials: tech-savvy, gregarious and dance aficionados and now, articulate, competitive and fearless can be added to the list.

The National Black MBA Association, Inc. (NBMBAA) – District of Columbia Chapter’s Leaders of Tomorrow initiative, mentors and prepares high school students to perform well in the classroom and to compete in the boardroom. Their hard work is paying off.

Members of The Leaders of Tomorrow (LOT) participated in the annual National Business Case Competition at Rice University in Houston earlier this year and brought home the top prize of $15,000 in scholarships.

The high school students outperformed 24 other teams from across the country. The students analyzed a Harvard MBA-level business case. In preparation for the competition, the students mastered advanced math, critical thinking, analytics, writing, research, and public speaking skills. The young scholars presented recommendations, implementation plans, and a 10-year financial forecast for Whole Foods. The competition was presented to and judged by business school faculty and senior corporate executives.

Cedric Mobley, chair of the Leaders of Tomorrow Program, Washington, D. C. Chapter said the high school students were evaluated with the same level of objectivity used to evaluate a graduate student or a professional consultant.

“We tell two lies to young African-Americans. The first is that they can’t accomplish greatness because of their background. With a black president and black billionaires, that one is actually easy to debunk now,” said Cedric Mobley. “The second [lie] is much more insidious–that if you are really talented, success should be easy. It is a very powerful lie that makes it way too easy for young people to trade their hopes and dreams for laziness under the premise of ‘just not being talented enough.’ Our job is to show them that talent comes from practice and it’s not something bestowed at birth from God,” said Mobley. “Therefore, the only person that can keep you from reaching your goals is you.”

The 2015 LOT National Business Case Competition winning team members include: Mufaro Nyermhuka, 18; Aden Coleman, 16; Team Captain Kaaliyah McDowell, 17; Dimitrius Hutcherson, 16; and Michael Boodoo, 16.

The NBMBAA chapters provide mentors who coach students on an ongoing basis in areas that will guide them into personal and professional success. The organization supports high school students in college preparation, academic success, leadership, social engagement, networking and goal setting.

Jazmin Tanner is a testament of the program’s success. Tanner recently received the Mentor of the Year Award from NBMBAA-DC Chapter during the annual scholarship and awards brunch.

“The Leaders of Tomorrow Program exposed me to things that weren’t offered in school. I received real life examples of what it takes to transform dreams into reality, and most importantly, it taught me the vitality of mentorship in our community,” said Tanner.

Currently, she is a consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton and serves as a subject matter expert for the Department of Veteran Affairs’ Project Management

Accountability System. When Tanner participated in LOT in 2009, she served as the Case Competition Team Captain as well as the student president and CEO of the chapter.

In addition to the National Business Case Competition, the organization’s other key initiatives include, a Global Community Service Project and Success Boot Camp, held during the NBMBAA Annual Conference and Exposition.

Since 1991, minority high school students have worked with mentors in the National Black MBA Association Leaders of Tomorrow Mentoring Program to develop discipline and set and achieve high academic standards. Since its inception, more than 8,000 minority high school students have been mentored through the program and more than 95 percent of LOT graduates enroll in a college or university.

For more information and participation details, visit:

Woodlawn senior awarded full engineering scholarship

Weeks before the New Year, Woodlawn High School senior Dameatria Washington had good reason to celebrate.

Washington, 18, received a full scholarship to the engineering program at Morgan State University (MSU), which covers tuition, housing, books and meals, with the caveat that she maintains a high G.P.A in the program.

Washington says she learned the good news after visiting MSU’s admission office on what started out as an ordinary school day and ended with cheers and excitement.

Washington took the bus to her mother’s job and they drove to MSU’s campus to meet with the admissions staff. She presented her SAT scores, high school transcripts and a desire to succeed. After reviewing her documents, she received an acceptance letter and what Washington and her mother, Ethel Joy, initially thought was a partial scholarship. Much to their surprise, it was a full scholarship. The National Honor Society student will begin her freshman year in fall 2016.

Washington says that she had lots of help along her academic journey and her greatest supporter has been her mother. She and her mother relocated to Maryland from South Carolina after a few setbacks. Joy said she wanted her daughter to have a greater chance of succeeding.

“I want her life to be different and better than some things I had to endure growing up,” said Joy. “I want her to understand that a good education can take her far— around the world!”

Washington acknowledged the support she received from Ashley Gallant, a guidance counselor at Woodlawn High School.

“She helped me to fill out my college application and other forms too,” said Washington. “She’s supported and encouraged me every step of the way.”

Washington also credits Alloysius Ndyio, a Morgan college assistant who managed the internship program established through a partnership between Woodlawn High School and Parsons Brickenrhoff, an engineering consulting firm. The competitive program is designed to recruit and train honor roll students who are interested in pursuing a career in engineering. Washington wrote a 500-word essay, which stated why she wanted to study business and engineering in college. She was one of six students selected from the high school who received a letter of recommendation from the guidance counselor and was given an internship or acceptance into the program.

As an active member of the National Honor Society at Woodlawn High School, she helped tutor her peers and collected toiletry items for them too. She also participated in several community events and served dinners at a local homeless shelter.

Joy said that her daughter is “a very strong young lady” that has a “giving spirit.”

“I encourage her every chance I can,” said Joy. “I always tell her, don’t let this world change you. I’m praying that she will be a strong leader for other young ladies to look up to.”

Baltimore students honored as ‘Superhero Recyclers!’

— “Do I have any superheroes here today?” asked Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake as she stood in front of 250 first, second and fifth grade students at Calvin M. Rodwell Elementary School in Baltimore City on Tuesday, December 8, 2015. The answer was a resounding “yes” from the students dressed in khaki pants and green Marvel Universe LIVE! Superhero t-shirts.

Students at the elementary school collected more than 5,000 recycled plastic bottles within a two-week period in a competition for more than 100 Baltimore County and Baltimore City schools to determine which school reigned as “Recycling Superheroes.”

For their effort, the young recyclers received free tickets to the Marvel Universe Live! show at the Royal Farms Arena and bragging rights for being a top collecting school. The students’ recycling and collection efforts translated into a $80,000 benefit to he City of Baltimore and the community in which they live.

Marvel Universe Live!, an action-packed, entertainment experience, teamed up with Repreve® their official recycling partner, to help educate families about the importance of recycling at the shows, in their homes and throughout school districts nationwide.

Every student received a co-branded Repreve® and Marvel t-shirt and knapsack to help celebrate the success of the recycling program.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake told the students how much she appreciated their commitment to creating a cleaner environment. She reminded the students that we don’t get a ‘do-over’ and we only get one planet.

“Participating in programs like this creates a sense of responsibility, even at a young age,” said Samuel A. Rather II, principal of Calvin M. Rodwell Elementary School upon receiving a certificate of commendation for the school’s collection efforts.

Marvel characters Captain America and the Black Widow made an appearance to meet and greet the children. Marvel representatives engaged the students in basic calisthenics and a game of “Simon Says” to promote exercise and the importance of having a strong body— just like a superhero.

Marvel representative Andrew Mihalko who is part of the 52-member cast said all performers must be in top physical condition to endure the short bursts of energy required for being a superhero.

“Encouraging healthy habits is the foundation for fostering a healthy lifestyle. This program— by demonstrating the importance of preserving the environment— is an exciting way to teach children how to make thoughtful decisions that will follow them the rest of their lives,” said Mayor Rawlings-Blake.

Principal Rather applauded the commitment of the eight student leaders and teacher coordinator, Krystal Kessler who organized the program.

“If the students can be recognized for doing something positive, and helping their community, then naturally I will applaud their efforts,” said Rather.

Baltimore City teacher named Maryland Teacher of the Year

Ryan Kaiser, a Baltimore City social studies teacher at Mount Washington Middle School, was selected as Maryland Teacher of the Year for 2015.

Kaiser recalls happy memories of his fourth grade learning experience when he and his parents went on vacation to the Rocky Mountains. That was when he acquired an affinity for environmental exploration. Through a hands-on approach, he enhanced his learning exponentially. The 10-year old Kaiser realized that not everyone has the same learning experiences.

Kaiser comes from a family of educators. Both of his parents worked in the education field. His paternal and maternal grandfathers were both great storytellers, which inspired Kaiser’s love for history. His grandfather met his grandmother at Yellowstone Lodge. His grandparents told him how as a young couple they carved “Buff loves Martha” into a large redwood tree. He says fifty years later the names are still etched in the bark of the tree.

Kaiser is only the second Baltimore City teacher to earn the prestigious title of “Teacher of the Year.” He attributes his scholarly achievement to several components. He says working with other scholars on writing a national curriculum has helped him to hone his skills. Working with his colleagues throughout Baltimore City and building partnerships with other organizations has increased the teaching resources and opportunities.

Inevitably the students benefit from the educational opportunities.

“Without the whole spectrum this wouldn’t happen,” said Kaiser. “We need help from every teacher, administrator and all of the parents. If any one of those pieces were not involved, it would fall apart.”

Kaiser takes his social studies students on scores of field trips during the school year. Some of the trips are low cost, in walking distance or sponsored by one of the many partnerships he has developed over the years.

“It’s helping the learning come alive in the classroom,” Kaiser said.

Kaiser relocated to Maryland nearly 10 years ago. He says he is still learning about the rich history in Baltimore.

“There’s so much to do in Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and the east coast,” said Kaiser. “I’m simultaneously teaching and learning with the students on these field trips.”

He explains that he has to learn more so that he can teach the next group of students.

The social studies teacher continues his personal development by reading about what he loves most— environmental exploration and the great national parks. He is currently reading a book by John Muir who went on environmental vacations in the 1800s. He describes nature’s beauty and his adventures while hiking through the Redwood Forest in California. Subsequently, a national park was named after Muir.

Kaiser encourages parents and guardians to visit local parks that could be explored on the weekends and where hands-on learning can be applied.

“Look for schools that engage in that type of learning,” said Kaiser.

During the summer, Kaiser operates the Baltimore Environmental Explorers Summer Camp. The program was created in 2007. He initiated the outdoor exploration camp because of the lack of summer programming to prepare the students for the upcoming school year. The camp receives approximately $70K in donations from a myriad of organizations and partnerships to sustain it. The camp accommodates 40 students for the summer. He encourages the campers to write letters about their adventures and experiences to mail to their supporters.

For more information about Kaiser’s Baltimore Environmental Explores Summer Camp, visit:

All year round, Kaiser implements creative ideas and resources to help educate area youth— “It’s been a blast! I love it!” he said.

Baltimore Boys and Girls Club honors students for academic excellence

— To highlight the academic and social accomplishments of local graduates, the Boys and Girls Clubs (BGC) of Metropolitan Baltimore hosted an event to honor nearly two-dozen teenagers. The event was held in the historic Engineers Club at the Garrett-Jacobs Mansion on Mount West Vernon Place in Baltimore City.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) offers year-round academic success initiatives and has 4,100 clubs across the country to help teens graduate and pursue academic and career endeavors. BGCA provides education-focused programming and resources that aim to help 1.4 million teens graduate high school on time by 2018.

Bria Brown, who was honored at the event, graduated eighth grade from the Knowledge and Success Academy (KASA) in Baltimore City. She initially heard about BGC from classmates. She researched the organization and explained to her mother the reasons why her participation would be important. As a first year participant of BGC of Metropolitan Baltimore, Bria visited her local BGC three days a week and received homework assistance in math. She plans to study marine biology when she graduates college.

Baltimore Orioles outfielder #23 Travis Snider served as the keynote speaker and addressed the teenagers about leadership, commitment and taking initiative.

“These are the most important four years as you enter into your adult life. Luckily, you have these folks [Boys and Girls Club of Baltimore] to lean on,” said Snider. He encouraged them to ask for assistance when they need it. He also shared with them that their level of success depends upon their individual commitment and determination. “There are two things we can control in life, our attitude and our efforts,” said Snider.

Snider is an alumni of the Boys and Girls Club and joined the organization when he was seven years old. He attributes his success to opportunities and being surrounded by coaches and mentors.

“The more opportunities we give these kids and positively influence them, the better they will become. We have a responsibility to take care of the kids and help them to achieve their dreams,” said Snider.

Tre Madison, a senior at Carver Vocational Technical School, appreciates the people who supported him.

“The Boys and Girls Club allowed me to do some constructive and positive things,” said Madison, who plans to attend Stratford University and study culinary arts. “They look to me as a leader to help with the younger kids. Just like people helped me, I want to help them too.”

Kenneth Brown started participating with BGC when he was in the fifth grade. He recently graduated from eighth grade at Westport Academy where he delivered the salutatorian address and highlighted the importance of overcoming challenges and succeeding academically and socially. Brown said he worked hard and received help from his mentor and the applied physics laboratory to enhance his overall grade point average.

“I was really proud of myself for working hard on my math scores,” said Brown, who plans to study software engineering at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute in the fall. “My greatest accomplishment is seeing my mother proud of me. She showed it by her love, affection and just being there for me.”

The program was sponsored by a $30 million grant from the Taco Bell® Foundation and is dedicated to preparing students for college and the workforce. The students were part of the Graduate for Más, which is a program track offered to Club members in partnership with Taco Bell Foundation, as an extension of its national initiative that provides resources to teenagers while tracking their progress toward graduation and life goals.

Through the partnership, the BGC of Metropolitan Baltimore work to prepare local students for a successful transition into high school, higher education and career opportunities.

Melody Locke, principal of Westport Academy, celebrated her 20th year in academia and attended the event to support her former student Kenneth Bonner. She was extremely pleased with the students’ accomplishments.

“Despite the odds they have to overcome, they are hard-working students and I’m really proud of all of them,” said Locke.

iD Tech Summer Camp takes STEM skills to new heights

— Technology has significantly changed the way people, businesses and institutions interact at a record-breaking pace. Thanks to iDTech Camp, students ages seven to 17 are educated and trained in small class sizes to gain the skills they need to thrive in a tech-driven world.

Businesses understand the importance of having a solid foundation in STEM (science, technology, education, and math) education. STEM disciplines engage students in vital 21st century skills centered on problem-solving, creativity, teamwork, critical thinking and effectively communicating ideas. The iD Tech summer camp hosted 52 students at a local university to engage in hands-on computer coding, App development, game designing, 3D modeling, robotics, digital photography, web design and filmmaking.

Andrew Pham who served as the camp director for four years says his role is to ensure the children’s safety, maintain order and guide the instructors so that they can maximize their time in assisting campers with their daily designing projects. Camp instructors work in the fields they are teaching at the camp. The instructors include a professional biostatistician and video game programmers. Working with a maximum of eight students, camp instructors provide campers with the direction they need to complete their tech projects. Even with its successes, iD Tech has its challenges too. Many of its instructors are eventually recruited by big tech corporations like Google and Microsoft which leaves the organization in a constant mode of hiring qualified camp alumni.

Eleven-year old Ali Brooks attended the camp for the first time this summer. By the fourth day, he had created nine games from newly learned skills using Scratch. Scratch is a programming language where one can design a myriad of video games. Ali designed an age computation, as well as paintball and basketball-themed video games, just to name a few. “What is really exciting about the camp is finishing a big project after working on it for two days,” said Ali. He contributes his success at camp to his classes during the school year where he excels at mathematics and technology education. “I like Scratch because it’s easy for anyone to pick up and learn,” said Ali.

Milo Kiddugavu, 11, wrote coding for Minecraft. He designed, “a creepy apartment building with creepers inside.” The creepers include skeletons, zombies, spawn skeletons and spawn mooshroom- a red and white cow with mushrooms on its back. He also wrote coding commands to teleport his game character from one area to another space in the game. The aspiring game coder input data so that the player will receive an “achievement” which consisted of a new weapon to use during battles and food items to help restore the life of the character.

Milo takes his education and the industry seriously and studies programming an hour each day and watches tutorial videos online. Milo began studying a year ago and aspires to continue when he goes to college. He contributes math to his success in coding and uses division to help him figure out the center of an area during the process. “I love Apple computers but I choose Microsoft for designing, gaming and coding. Macs don’t have the proximity for that,” he said. In his second week of camp, he said he learned a lot about Minecraft, designing new games and meeting new friends.

The campers also gained access to cutting-edge 3D print technology which uses Cura software. The printer has the capability of producing prototypes for game pieces and designing buildings. With variations of the 3D printer, it can develop prototypes using concrete, steel, metal and even gold. Pham, who teaches at Baltimore City Public Schools and at a local university said, “This is what can happen when you have resources.”

Students who study STEM disciplines can position themselves to be highly marketable and be head-and-shoulders above their non-STEM counterparts. There is still plenty of room for more students to embrace STEM. According to data from Burning Glass Technologies, in 2013 there were 5.7 million openings in STEM fields. The data also indicated that 4.4 million openings required at least a bachelor’s degree and 2.3 million of which were entry-level jobs that call for less than two years of experience.

Reinvent your career, retrofit your skills, Part I

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for May 2015, the unemployment rate in Maryland was 5.3 percent; Virginia ranked at 4.9 percent; and the District of Columbia posted at 7.3 percent. The figures released by BLS indicated the national unemployment rate at 5.5 percent for the same timeframe.


Ruth Young Tyler

Unemployment and underemployment is sobering at best. People who find themselves in this situation go into crisis management mode in an effort to keep the necessities intact for their families.

In today’s mercurial employment market there is an increasing need to consistently and systematically retrofit one’s skills to remain relevant and competitive in the marketplace and reinvent your career. Be encouraged! A lot of your competencies and interpersonal skills are transferable, which are welcomed by employers.

Take a personal inventory of your talents, skills, and abilities. Consider the emerging and competitive markets and how you can upgrade your skills to meet the need and exceed it. Allow yourself to experience a paradigm shift from just “getting a job” to securing a career. When one is unemployed or underemployed, devise a strategy to stay intellectually engaged and networking with business professionals or entrepreneurs. During this transition, reinvent your career and update your skills by learning new technologies and software.

Career Resources

Identify the courses that are aligned with your career trajectory and training goals and register with one or more of the following online programs:— Online courses from top universities in the U.S. and abroad.

www.gymnasium.aqu… Students can learn computer coding, coding for

web design, Javascript and several other computer programming courses.

www.gcflearnfree…. Brush up on MS Office skills and algebra. –Earn a nationally accredited online certificate. – From health sciences to international studies, find a course that is best for you.

A Yoruban proverb says, “When the door is closed, you must learn to slide across the crack of the sill.” In essence, find a way to get in!

Individuals who have earned an associate, bachelor’s or master’s degree must remain cutting- edge and competitive. In the age of social media, companies are recognizing the need for an upgrade to a candidate’s knowledge in every industry. The goal is to increase learning, yet still have that human touch and a large network to draw from.

There are numerous online learning tools and each are unique. This style of learning is not designed for everyone. It requires discipline, organization and commitment to thrive. You will have access to trainers, advisers and your online cohorts who are also reinventing themselves.

Upon successful completion of many of the (non-credit) courses, the student will receive a certificate. Use this certificate to your advantage and post it on your Linkedin profile and on your resume.

Taking control of your education and career is a matter of personal economics. Here are five free online, self-pace learning websites ranging from mathematics, science, behavioral sciences and fine arts.

Embarking upon intellectual territory is a challenging yet exciting adventure. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character— that is the goal of true education.”

Summer Academics: Four things to enhance lifelong learning

— When it comes to education there are many prolific leaders and profound quotes that speak to the significance of lifelong learning. Nelson “Madiba” Mandela was the president of South Africa and an anti-apartheid revolutionary. He had a global impact on how we embrace change and education at a fundamental level. He once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon one can use to change the world.” And still we have the power to change.


(Courtesy photo)

Ruth Young Tyler

Although the end of the school year is quickly approaching, there are resources available to maintain a student’s academic involvement and stimulate social learning throughout the summer. In order to keep them intellectually engaged in the educational process, here are four family-oriented activities to enhance lifelong learning.

Reading: Margaret McNamara was ahead of her time when she created “Reading is Fundamental,” a literacy program which originated in Washington, D.C. The organization’s name quickly transitioned into a call to action. Reading comprehension is a critical skill and it’s priceless. In its ongoing effort to increase a love for reading and combating the notorious “summer slide,” The Enoch Pratt Library ( has launched its annual Summer Reading Program at all of its branches (June 6 — August 8, 2015).

The Baltimore County Public Library ( is scheduled to launch its summer reading program, which begins June 15 and runs until August 9, 2015. The program is designed for children, teens and adults. Students can enhance their imagination and academic prowess through reading. Take advantage of the program and register online or go into your local branch.

Preparation: There is a phrase that states, “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.” In action and knowledge, everything we do requires an analytical thought process and intricate planning.

During the hazy and humid days to come, train your child/children on how to prepare meals for the week, camping trips, or when houseguests are scheduled to visit. Train their minds to consider the items they will need for each event and/or activity. Show them how to create a checklist. Explain to them what to expect in preparation for college, learning a trade and/or how to save money. Applying consistent and incremental steps toward a larger goal will secure a desired outcome. Expect the unexpected and prepare for it as well.

Volunteerism: Why should I volunteer? Volunteering at your place of worship, with a community organization or a little league team is an opportunity to learn how to become a “servant leader.”

Students can earn service-learning hours toward graduation and gain skills in high-demand careers including, science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Through volunteering, students can develop a solid network of business professionals who can serve as mentors.

Although students may start off learning how to serve others, they become the benefactors of their own consistent efforts. There are numerous academic grants and scholarships that are given annually just on the basis of volunteering (

Sex education: Empowering your child/children with age appropriate knowledge about sex is the parent’s responsibility. With a myriad of views and moral standards, health and sex education is part of the parent’s curriculum.

The reality is if parents fail to take the initiative in educating their children about puberty and sex, they will soon be mis-educated by their peers, social media and their imagination.

According to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene there were 1,395 adult/adolescent HIV cases (age 13+) diagnosed in Maryland in 2013. Baltimore City and Prince George’s County had the highest rate of new HIV cases.

There is an urgent need and call to action to educate on many levels. To combat what we mentally digest from watching sitcoms and music videos, interactions on social media, and playing video games, education is a matter of life and death. Education and social learning can be transforming and beneficial for the entire family.