Thursday, November 30, 2006

Positive encouragement leads to confident children

Wyshina, Sylvia, and I were at a literacy conference today. They told a story about how positive comments can do wonders. Mike Moses (former DISD superintendent) explained that how he grumpily answered his door one day only to have a little girl selling girl scout cookies look at him and tell him, "You are handsome!" As a result, he ended up buying 4 boxes of cookies.

Isn't that the truth? We all want to be affirmed. A lot of times that affirmation will lead us to be better and do better.

Wyshina agreed with Dr. Moses and explained to me that Ariana (I believe she might be in 2nd grade), used to come into the After-School Academy and greet with her head down and her hand covering her mouth in a shy, hesitant way. Wyshina said she would always tell her, "Ariana! You have such a beautiful smile! I want to see that beautiful smile!" The more Wyshina affirmed her, the more confident she became...until now, she greets with a big smile and a good handshake.

Wyshina saw the abilities Ariana possessed and affirmed a quality that Ariana wasn't confident enough to share. As a result, we have yet another confident greeter in the ASA.

Way to go, Wyshina.

Thanks for sharing your smile with us, Ariana. :)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Raising money for the ASA

We had a wonderful turnout for our ASA fundraiser on November 10. We had grilled hamburgers, smores, chips, drinks, candy, etc. The kids enjoyed a couple of activities such as painting socks and t-shirts which both cost $1.25 each. There was a chess game set up where the kids could play for 25 cents per game. Ravyn and Kendell both beat their teammates in chess and recieved a prize. The children played outside until it became dark out. I must say it was fun and exciting for the adults as well as the children. We had extra volunteers that day, some of Ms. Rachel's family and some others. Things went smoothly as expected.

-Ms. Fields

Go on...make my day! :)

Kevin Bryant is one little boy at the ASA who always has a smile and a big hug for me every time I pick him up from school. I always look forward to seeing the kids and Kevin. It makes my day even brighter.


Pre-teens taking initiative

I noticed that in Ms. Wyshina's class they were working on art. Deshala (one of our 6th graders) took the initiative to teach the kids. It was her own idea, she wanted to teach the children art. The volunteer that helped her was Jhor-Dai. They did a very good job. They are showing leadership.

Friday, November 10, 2006


What I like about the ASA is that it partners with St. Phillip's Community School to give the kids opportunities to "Discover Dallas" through field trips that are generally going out and having fun at the roller rink, parades (which sometimes they are able to join in), rodeos, etc.

~Miss Chanel

Bridging the Digital Divide

Monday, November 6, in Computer Class with the 2nd and 3rd graders, we are learning how to type and this week we learned about the home row keys. When we first started, all the kids were asking to get on other programs like paint or the games but when we got started they seemed to really enjoy learning how to type.

Ask our 2nd and 3rd graders, "What is the home row on a keyboard?"

~Ms. Wyshina

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Raising the bar

The coolest thing!! Our kids got their report cards this week and a high percent of our kids went up in their grades. Way to go After-School Academy!

~Ms. Wyshina

Setting limits

Today I noticed all of the kids when they arrived, they ate their snacks and did their homework in record time. This made me realize they are aware and utilizing their time management skills. We have recently changed snack time to only 15 minutes and made homework time only 30 mintues. Everyone manages to complete their tasks in the time allowed. GREAT JOB!


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Coping Skills

I'd like to shine on Danyelle for excellent coping skills. One day at the ASA, another child said something that hurt Danyelle's feelings. I coudl tell because Danyelle became withdrawn and seemed very sad all of a sudden. A little while later, she brought me a picture she had drawn of a girl crying and words saying, "I'm sad because..." I thought this was a very excellent way for her to express her feelings, and it gave me the opportunity to reassure and encourage her.

Miss Rachel

Book Club progress

I'd like to shine on michael and Curtis for suggesting a great activity for Book Club. They suggested we take a ball outside and toss it back and forth while talking about our book. I refined the suggestions, and we turned the game into "Hot Potato." Jazmine, Curtis, Michael, and I each took turns. When the ball was tossed to us, we said something we remembered about the book, and later, what we would have changed to make the book better or worse. My goodness those kids can remember! They were telling all sorts of details I didn't even remember and really got into the game! We had to toss the ball away before a car would pass--everyone was a great sport and really involved. Thanks guys!

~Miss Rachel

Cool things

Every morning after I drop my kids, CJ and Phantasia, over at Ms. Chanel's house, CJ and Kendell play chess until it's time to go to school.

I am very proud of the children on how they are managing their time wisely in completing their homework now that we have our new system that limits the time they have to do their homework.

I've noticed how the Kinder through 1st graders behavior in my class has changed dramatically. They now listen to me and have respect for their classmates.

I also like how the staff is really pulling together ot make the ASA a success amongst ourselves and the children.

I would like to say thank you to Ms. Wyshina and Ms. Janet for believing in me so that I can take a stand at H.S. Thompson with CJ.


Friday, November 03, 2006

Shifting the Tide

The South Dallas Crime and Safety Task Force (an initiative of the FCE, a group involved in working with the community to better South Dallas) met with the ASA staff yesterday to hear what our parents/staff had to say.

Though the task force had originally wanted to do a survey in Turner Courts, Sylvia and Wyshina did an amazing job of communicating more pressing issues specific to our Turner Courts/Rochester Park community. By the end of the meeting the group had changed their agenda somewhat.

They invited a few of us to be on the Put it in Action bus tour (a bus with police, city leaders, and community members that goes through South Dallas so the residents can identify crime spots and police and city leaders will take notice and take action).

They offered to train our key community leaders in some strategies and ways to approach different sectors of our city that we usually have problems with (police and such).

Omar Jahwar, Director of Vision Regeneration and a gang prevention and intervention specialist, is going to work with some of his guys who hang out around Turner Courts to become our “protectors” because little girls are being followed after school by men in cars.

Ms. Hill has invited us to be her guest at the Southeast Dallas crime watch so she can introduce us to Paula Hill, the chief (I believe) of the Southeast division.

Changa, a good friend and leader of the New Black Panthers, has done some great work in organizing communities to help prevent crime. He has agreed to explore some of those options with us.

And, finally, the committee agreed to begin talking to us to find out what is already offered in TC and to look toward an asset approach of what we are already doing in TC.
I felt energized after that meeting. It is encouraging to know that there are people willing to assist us in creating the most positive community possible!

I am also so encouraged by the strong leadership Sylvia and Wyshina demonstrate on a regular basis. We welcome your involvement in this process. Let us know if you want to be involved. We are stronger together than we are separately.