Kwabena Tumaini Wraps Up 2012 By Guest Lecturing At Dewey High School

Jan 1, 2013 – (Oakland, CA) Kelly Miller educator Kwabena Tumaini wrapped up his 2012 speaking season with a guest lecture for poet Jasmine Hudson’s Dewey High School after school program. Friday marks, “Fresh Faces” at Dewey High School so Tumaini presented his piece on destiny, goal setting, and critical thinking skills.

“Giving back to my city is the most important goal I have being a product of this city. It only feels right to give back to the city that shaped me into the man I am today,” said Tumaini.

The one hour long lecture started with a thought provoking lateral thinking question followed by a personal engagement between the students and Tumaini. In 2013 Tumaini hopes to continue giving insight to youth around the nation.

About Kwabena Tumaini

Tumaini has successfully launched his career upon completing his M.Ed at Howard University with a specialization in Math and elementary education. He is now a 7th grade Math Teacher at Kelly Miller Middle School in Washington, DC.

Why Teachers Need a Representative Voice in Policy Making

Whether you’re a teacher in Watts or the Bronx, as both of us were, all educators share the monumental responsibility of having to make important decisions that impact the lives and educational development of countless children inside their classrooms. As second and tenth grade teachers, we understood that to be truly effective educators, we were required to be totally immersed in the task of helping our students become engaged and inspired during the learning process. It was up to us to figure out how to do that. Each day was an exercise in finding the right mix of rigor, fun, and differentiation.

But here lies the inherent tension that comes with teaching: teachers likes us have tremendous responsibility and independence in our classrooms, yet we found we had little to no voice in creating the policies that govern our schools, district, union, and state. We had the responsibility of getting our students to the next level, yet that mission was often completely separated from policy decisions crafted by those outside the classroom.

As teachers, it didn’t take long for us to realize that if we truly wanted to affect change, we needed to elevate our voices beyond our classrooms and local schools and into the arenas where policy is made. This was the genesis of Educators 4 Excellence, an organization founded nearly three years ago to raise the voices and ideas of teachers in the policy debates that affect our classrooms and careers.

Since then, more than 9,000 educators nationwide—including nearly 2,000 in Los Angeles alone—have signed on to our Declaration of Teachers’ Principles and Beliefs, a broad set of ideas that ground our work in three key areas: elevating the profession, focusing on student achievement, and supporting effective teachers. These principles provide a common starting point for debate while recognizing the diversity of our members and perspectives.

Our rapid growth and mission have required us to directly confront some of the status quo thinking on the role of teachers. We are turning the age-old, top-down policy paradigm on its head, and there’s a simple reason why: we believe that when teachers combine their experience as practitioners with sound research and passion for student achievement, we can find rational policy solutions that elevate the teaching profession and improve outcomes for all students. To do this, our members collaborate on a grand scale by stepping out of their classrooms to work in concert with peers from across the district. Similarly, we invite local and state policy makers to step into our classrooms and join us at our policy and networking events to learn from bright and innovative teachers.

Educators 4 Excellence’s policy experts on staff are all educators who taught in public school classrooms. Our board is comprised primarily of active classroom teachers and our research-based policies are designed by teams of outstanding, solutions-oriented current teachers.

The results of our grassroots movement to influence change from the bottom up have been empowering to teachers and promising for our students. In New York, E4E members watched many of their teacher evaluation recommendations get incorporated into state law. In Los Angeles, E4E members helped block the passage of a regressive evaluation bill in the California State Legislature. Now, dozens of our teachers are stepping up and, for the first time, poised to hold leadership positions in the nation’s second largest teachers union, the United Teachers of Los Angeles. Through policy panels, meetings, petition drives, and other grassroots advocacy work, our members are keeping up the pressure on decision makers to consider the ideas of teachers before taking action.

This type of teacher-led, grassroots change is what E4E set out to accomplish when we came together in 2010. Our accomplishments are proof positive that teachers can and should be agents of change, rather than subjects of change. For too long, the professionals who have the greatest day-to-day impact on the educational growth of our students had the least impact on the policies that help guide that growth. Today, teachers are changing that dynamic.

Sydney Morris is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Educators 4 Excellence and Ama Nyamekye is the Executive Director of E4E-Los Angeles. E4E is a teacher-led organization working to ensure teachers have a meaningful voice in the policymaking that impacts their classrooms and careers.

Instructional Strategies

According to key indicator 4.3 which is listed under INSTASC standard 4, the teacher candidate assumes different roles in the instructional process (instructor, facilitator, coach, audience) to accommodate content, purpose, and learner needs. Math and science are two fields that can assist students in other subjects because of the inquiry and understanding it requiress to solve problems. Both disciplines force students to make hypothesis based on observations and calculate problems that will ultimately be a part of their life. Given this reality, teachers in these subject areas must understand that simply lecturing will be counterproductive and unsuitable because of the constructing, coaching, and listening it requires on behalf of the teacher when teaching these topics.

As instructors, we know that each scholar is unique and the way they learn and understand their society mirrors their individuality. In the classroom, educators must use multiple instructional strategies and techniques in order to encourage students in the critical thinking and problem solving process. Jeri Asaro, who is a columnist for Inspiring Teachers, listed a series of fantastic instructional strategies that teachers can incorporate in their classroom. Amongst this list, I found one that was exceptionally relevant and will complement the classroom culture. Asaro entitles this specific strategy as the “Gallery Walk”. On the walls around the room, he states, the teacher should post chart paper. He continues by stating, “Students use post-it notes to answer critical thinking questions about the lesson. Time is then allotted for students to take a gallery walk. Music can be used to begin and end the activity. Students can also use markers to write directly on the chart paper.” This instructional strategy can be modified in several ways but it definitely should be incorporated into math and science classrooms across the country.

Tumaini Prepares for 1st Year Teaching

The 2012-2013 school year is getting ready to start and teachers across the country are preparing for an astonishing year. Tumaini recently accepted an offer to teach 4, 5 and 6th grade Math in Washington D.C. He notes,

“I’m very excited about the first day of school because I get an opportunity to continue my work here in Washington, DC. I have a challenge ahead of me but I am ready. The African-American students that I will be teaching this school year come from one of the toughest neighborhoods in Washington, DC; South East.”

Take an in-depth look at the set up in Tumaini’s album! HERE

10 Colleges That Receive the Most Applications

Of the 1,311 schools that reported application data in an annual survey conducted by U.S. News, the average college received 5,948 applications for fall 2010 admissions—an increase of more than 400 applications from the year before.

Schools that were designated by U.S. News as Unranked were not considered for this report. U.S. News did not calculate a numerical ranking for Unranked programs because the program did not meet certain criteria that U.S. News requires to be numerically ranked.

Below is a table of the 10 universities that received the most student applications for admissions for fall 2010, among all colleges and universities that reported application data to U.S. News.

School name (state)

Applications received

U.S. News rank & category

University of California—Los Angeles


25, National Universities

St. John’s University (NY)


152, National Universities

University of California—Berkeley


21, National Universities

Drexel University (PA)


88, National Universities

University of California—San Diego


37, National Universities

California State University—Long Beach


26, Regional Universities (West)

University of California—Santa Barbara


42, National Universities

University of California—Irvine


45, National Universities

San Diego State University


164, National Universities

Tulane University (LA)


50, National Universities

Kelly Miller Middle School Professional Development Day

Kelly Miller Middle SchoolWashington, DC –  Kelly Miller Middle School Leaders on Monday April 15, 2013 supplemented a day of preparation for the DC-CAS with Professional Development day. This annual practice entails a daylong series of events geared towards helping educators develop their skills and techniques within the profession.

Head Principal, Abdullah Zaki requested for staff members to embark on a treasure hunt to enhance the chemistry amongst all members.

 “During the time when so many educators are entrenched in preparing for standardized test, this was an opportunity for us to create chemistry amongst ourselves”, said 7th grade Math Teacher Kwabena Tumaini.

Activities in the treasure hunt included, finding a place reminiscent of their childhood, taking a picture with a current honor roll student, displaying the many hats a teacher wears, and various other activities. During the duration of the hunt the staff documented their adventures throughout Washington, DC. After their time ended all teams were asked to present a cumulative video of their discoveries.

The book, “Human Resources Administration: A school-based perspective” expresses the importance of professional/staff development in the field of education. Author Richard Smith states, “The better our teachers are equipped to teach, the better they will be able to provide exciting educational experiences and thus, improve academic achievement of their students.” Smith believes that staff within a school not only includes teachers and principals; they also include “secretaries, bus drives, custodians, maintenance workers, instructional assistance, food service workers, substitutes, and administrators.”

Kelly Miller Middle School was constructed in 1949 and opened in September of 1949 as a Junior High School.  It was named after Dr. Kelly Miller, an outstanding Negro educator, author, scholar and orator who served as the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Howard University. The school was founded to specifically offer high quality training in technology and the arts to children ages 11-13. For more information on Kelly Miller Middle School, contact 202-388-6870, email or visit


X Kelly MIller Middle SchoolX District of Columbia Public SchoolsX DCPSX WashingtonX DCX Urban EducationX Kwabena TumainiX Uraban EducationX Professional Development Day

African Children Need ‘Education Friendly’ Laws to Thrive

DAKAR, SENEGAL — A new study finds opportunities for millions of children around the world are being limited by the failure of governments to enact adequate policy measures in areas seen as vital to a child’s healthy development. Researchers say this is particularly true in Africa, where critical gaps exist between what can be done and what is being done.

In a report released Wednesday, the World Policy Analysis Research Center, a University of California-based data center that studies global social and economic policy, said that while many countries around the world have made “impressive advances” when it comes to improving the lives of children, it isn’t enough.

Jody Heymann, founding director of the World Policy Analysis Center and a lead author on the report, and a team of researchers spent seven years looking at data from 193 countries around the world.

Heymann said that many countries have made great progress in improving a child’s welfare, but the goal now should be to see a child not only survive, but also to thrive.

“Certainly, there is no more fundamental goal than child survival. But for any of us – in our own families, communities, neighborhoods – we wouldn’t be satisfied with child survival being enough. So what would a reasonable goal mean? I think an equal chance at healthy development during childhood and an equal chance for a full and productive adulthood that follows it,” said Heymann.

Heymann said this includes such things as providing affordable, quality education to all school-age children, enforcing laws on child labor, enacting measures that allow parents to better provide for their children, and promoting equal rights and anti-discrimination policies, especially for girls and disabled children.

She said that when it comes to implementing and enacting such measures, government action does make a difference. One example is education.

“With the Millennium Development Goals, there was a great commitment to primary education, and in fact, there’s been incredibly important progress. Right now, only eight countries remain that charge any tuition for primary. Because there’s practically no tuition charge, children around the world, regardless of whether their families are living in poverty or not, get to attend primary school,” said Heymann.

Heymann said the same commitment must now be made for secondary education.

In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, more than 60 percent of countries still charge for secondary education. This has forced many students, particularly the poor and marginalized, to drop out after primary school.

Implementing such initiatives isn’t always easy, especially in developing nations, where governments often face disproportionate political and financial challenges.

The African Union’s head of social welfare, John Strydom, recognizes these challenges, but said there is no reason why a country cannot adhere to the AU’s charters and action plans relating to the rights and welfare of children.

“There is no excuse that our children should go uncared for on this continent. Some of our low-income countries are doing very well. So that is not in itself a reason why the needs of children cannot be catered for,” Strydom. “The chances that they implement the provisions of these legal instruments are very good, because they have to report back to the African Union and it will not look good if they haven’t done proper, or good, child-friendly budgeting.”

In cases where funding is a concern, Heymann said there still are many policies with no that have associated financial cost that can improve a child’s opportunities.

“[One example is] child marriage. Child marriage is a huge barrier to girls completing secondary school. It puts their health at tremendous risk because girls are far more likely to marry young than boys. When they do, their own health is threatened by early pregnancy, which tends to follow, and the health of their child,” she said.

Heymann said the data shows that once countries implement and enact measures, such as a minimum age for marriage, major transformations can be seen on the overall welfare of children within the course of just a few years.

By: Jennifer Lazuta