Archive for category VCU

My Art Plunge

My Plunge experience carried me outside my comfort zone. I wanted and needed to embark upon an adventure that did not involve children in public education or children in need. No food bank or homeless shelter for me; I needed a change. It was time for me to engage in a more creative movement to bring the warmth of volunteering and giving to life, support a local agency and have a little fun. That was my mission and I found it. I became a part of the Via Colori of Fredericksburg group to support a nonprofit agency, The Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center. Yes my non-artistic abilities took me to a new and rewarding adventure, Via Colori.

Please visit my plunge video


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Reflecting on Leaders

During the last few months, I have had the chance to talk with several presenters and national speakers who powerfully impacted their audiences. I started to reflect on the remarkable leaders with whom I have worked with over the years and how they have impacted my career and life with their wisdom, insight, guidance and actions. I’m looking for reflections and comments from anyone interested in reflecting on working in public education in these challenging and difficult times. I asked you to share any “aha “moments or take-a-ways you care to share.

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This has been an amazing part of my life. I experienced a huge shift in my sense of identity and in my professional view; as I took on a new position while pursuing this program. At first, I found it difficult to adjust to the fast pace (I didn’t breathe the first few months) and the fact that I am a single mother just compounded the stress. However, I really enjoyed sharing my story recently with a younger single mother that “anything is possible”.

My personal views also changed drastically. As I came to understand the need for balance, I had to learn to let go of my perfect success-oriented approach to life – Type A personality. Some days I am so exhausted that a solid “B” approach seems like a success. As a result of this journey, I have a renewed interest and appreciation for the small moments in life. I am slowing letting go of my old expectations and embracing the new. It was and continues to be a perplexing process for me, to balance career, home and school- I won’t give up.

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A reflection of my writing: What I learned

Writing at the doctoral level at first appeared to be confusing and intimidating. It was difficult to determine exactly what my scholarly voice and style should be. Painful is an under -statement, when I speak of how to transition to graduate-level writing. But, with the help of VCU professors and an intensive study of the elements of writing for a scholarly audience: I am gaining confidence.  I had to identify changes needed in my writing and in my confidence; and how to apply what I learned consistently.

The doctoral writing classes have also provided an outstanding venue for helping students gain an understanding of the program direction and elements of CAPSTONE writing.

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Advocating for Local Programs Big Brothers/Big Sisters

Please take time to review the attached article and video of a local agency that operates out of federal grants and private support from donors and volunteers in the Fredericksburg area. As educators we must continue to advocate for programs that support our children.
This story highlights the 2011 Rappahannock Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Year.

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Technology Plans, the Policy by the People: But is it for the People?

My initial thoughts on the topic of Technology Plans in schools were very chilling. My low technical reasoning score propelled me to emphatically and unyieldingly throw out a variety of other topic ideas. Nevertheless, my colleagues felt this is a topic that is drawing local and national news attention in the public education arena, and a great topic for discussion. My group members went through a questioning process of “How?, Who?, Where? and When?”.

The “How” questions dominated the conversation and lead to very specific questions that forced us to narrow the topic by examining how technology plans and programs work in our respective school divisions. The “How” questioning series gave insight on how long, how often, or how many challenges lie ahead. The “How” questions allowed the group to select a topic that we could speak to intellectually and with confidence, excitement and enthusiasm. One of the easier ways to narrow the focus of our WIMBA discussion was to quickly brainstorm, asking questions and quickly ruling out topics of noninterest. The prepared questions provided by the professional faculty of Virginia Commonwealth University also aided in the topic selection. With the brainstorming activities and the guided questions, the group was able to select the topic of Technology Plans and Virginia Public School Authority (VPSA) Funds.

The group discussed the implementation of the “Who” questions related to stakeholders affected by decisions of the plan and which groups or communities are most affected by the plan. The discussions lead us to the subtopics and agenda items of who benefited from the plan and which groups were marginalized by the plan. The group was eager to share who were affected both positively and negativity by the initiatives of the plan in our schools divisions.

The technology plan was a bit more challenging to narrow down our topic with the “Why” questions and responses as to why we selected this topic. Albeit a difficult process, it allowed the team to brainstorm ideas as to why we selected technology plans as the focus for our topic and ultimately our WIMBA discussion. We asked what drives the decision making bodies to allocate resources and make the decisions on hardware and infrastructure to name a few. Several of my teammates found this to be an easy topic to discuss because their current profession. Once we approached the “Why’” questions, we were truly able to narrow our topic of discussion to Technology Plan Implementation and VPSA Funding. This type of questioning provoked us to think about how resources could be allocated. It allowed us to look at the topic through different lenses and do a self- reflection.

Where? and When?
Understandably, the “Where” questions were related to LEAs and smaller locations within a community. This type of question leads us to a very involved discussion of how prevalent inequities were with the dispersement of resources in different Local Education Associations (LEAs). The topic did not lend itself to an involved discussion on the “When”; however the processes of question lead us to narrow our topic and begin the building of resources for our Wikki site.

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Advocating for Technology in Schools

Please take time a moment to listen to my reflection on advocating for Technology.

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