What Class Is This?

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What Class Is This?

Parents, how many of you are involved in selecting the classes your child is taking in school?  Class selection matters and most guidance counselors are talking to students now for next year.  (Maybe even in January!).  Students who can take higher-level courses are more likely to be accepted into college.  But the importance of class selection starts in elementary school…yes way back there.

Gifted and Talented

Studies show that Black students are least likely to be selected for gifted and talented programs in elementary school compared to their White counterparts.  Many students are selected for gifted and talented programs by academics and teacher referrals or recommendations.  Test scores are usually an indicator of where your child will place in their academic journey and what courses they are allowed to take – even in elementary school.  For example, we discovered that my daughter was a genius when we reviewed her OLSAT scores in 5th grade.  But it was her 3rd-grade scores on this test that put her in the gifted and talented program in her school.

Data from the U.S. Department of Education show that black and Hispanic students makeup 40 percent of public school students but make up only 26 percent of students enrolled in gifted programs. 

Middle School Placement

Students who excelled in elementary school are often placed in Honors or Excel programming in middle school – automatically.  Test scores, placement in the gifted program, and teacher recommendation all play a role in what course your child will take in middle school.  While some schools shy away from discussing test scores, how well your child tests on everyday tests and standardized state tests matter.  When placed in a particular level is limited, schools rely on test scores and classroom teacher recommendations to make selections.

One benefit of middle school is that students often begin learning how to work with their school counselors to create their school schedules. Most middle schools allow students to select their preference for electives like which foreign language to take or which creative arts class to take. This is great practice for high school.  Students should learn to understand how course selections impact their overall growth as a student and the opportunities that they will have later in education because “they took the right classes”.

High School Placement

And as we have seen in the earlier grades, you guessed it, high school placement is based on course grades, test scores, and teacher recommendation.  Students who excelled in middle school courses will often be immediately placed in the advanced or honors classes in high school.  The pattern of opportunity for higher placement in classes began in elementary school for classes your child will take as a freshman in high school.

Parents- please pay attention to what I will say next. Make sure you are a part of your child’s course selection process for high school.  Classes matter if you want your child to go to college.  Every state has on its Department of Education website the requirements for graduation.  Your child should print out the list of courses required and use this as a guide when selecting their courses each year in high school.  I am saddened when a student is not able to get into college or have a half-day in their senior year because they didn’t take the right courses all along.  Planning is key to success when it comes to high school course selection.

Tips for Early Childhood and Elementary Age

Tip: Make sure your child is ready for kindergarten.  Review the school’s website for information on the key items your child needs to know when starting school.

Tip: Practice puzzles.  Many old games like puzzles and mazes help students to score well on IQ tests like the OLSAT. 

Tip: Ask your child’s teacher about placement. Make sure you know where your child stands as far as their academic achievement in the classroom and monitor their progress throughout the school year.  Academic monitoring is different than behavior monitoring.

Tip: Know when they test. Part of being placed in gifted and talented programs require all students to be tested. Check your school’s website or school office for testing dates and be ready.

Tips for Middle School and High School

Tip: Be there. Parents make sure to be there when your child is selecting classes with their guidance counselor.

Tip: Know the requirements. Make sure you know the classes your child needs to take for graduation in your state.

Tip: Focus on your needs not wants. Many students want to take electives but need to take stronger academic courses if they want to get into college. Leave the fun classes for the senior year when college applications are already in.

Tip: Know your college major. Knowing what you want to major in in college helps students select high school courses that align with that major.  If your child wants to major in chemistry, then the high school should be filled with math and science classes for the best chances of getting in.

Tip: Take wood shop. If your child does not want to go to college then make sure they are either in a trade school for high school or that they are taking electives that will give them skills towards a career after high school. Many schools offer carpentry, auto mechanic, culinary, or even sewing courses.

Check out my book on Amazon, Powerful, Peaceful Parenting.  Make sure to look for our videos on Youtube Channel Raising Black Genius.

Share this blog with another parent just like you, Raising Black Genius!

Dr. Stacy

Multiple Intelligence

A commercial aired with Malcolm Gladwell and Kevin Hart sitting across from each other talking about their experience with an audio book platform.  As I watched the commercial, I was intrigued to find two of my favorite geniuses in their own professions sitting across from one another. Kevin Hart is a comedic genius. He has taken everyday life and has made millions laugh with his quick wit and funny stories. Malcolm Gladwell, a New York Times best selling author has wowed audiences with his research and knowledge about every day events.  Both I admire for their unique perspective and their pure genius.

Our children have the ability to be genius in many different areas.  Take an athlete for example. Not just any athlete. The athletic ability of a Serena Williams or a Michael Jordan can be seen as pure genius.  Multiple intelligence exist and not everyone has general intelligence, in the long division or scientific way.  Many athletes for example are considered to have Bodily-Kinesthesis intelligence- the ability to coordinate your mind and your body. 

carello elementary school

Howard Gardner introduced the theory of multiple intelligences in 1983 in his book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences.  Gardner wanted to show that intelligences can be gained over the course of a life span in other areas beside general intelligence.  His eight categories of intelligence included musical-rhythmic, visual-spatial, verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, bodily-kinesthesis, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic intelligence.  While his theory has been widely criticized there is a great balance in encouraging intelligence in many areas for our children not just academics.

As a mom of a Mensan, we had both of our children participate in creative activities while growing up.  We tried several sports and activities until each of our children found the activities that they felt best in.  Each had to play a sport and participate in a creative arts activity.  My daughter played soccer, dance, and took art lessons.  My son was in scouts, played the guitar and trumpet and tennis.  Each child has their own unique gifts but it is important to help them to find their own interests.  

During the summer, we continued to have them participate in activities that helped their well rounded intelligence.  Each summer my children participated in summer camps that were more sports oriented to help with physical activity and to allow them to gain team building skills.  I always provided summer learning activities each summer at home or in the community to help with academics.  From an early age, we always played games like chess, Uno, Yahtzee or Rummikub, that helped them with early academic skills and critical thinking skills.  Children learn when they are having fun and when there is a little competition going on.


Tips for Early Childhood and Elementary Age

Tip- Start early.  Getting children involved in creative activities when they are young helps to create routine and habit.

Tip: Play an instrument.  Research shows that learning to play an instrument will help with verbal memory, spatial reasoning and literacy skills. Instruments such as piano or drums, that require both hands show great benefits to early learners.

Tip: Teach a second language. Children who learn a second language have improved memory, advanced concentration and better listening skills- all key skills for school success.

Tip: Everything with a song.  Music is a great way to help children learn.  Many create concepts like the alphabet or clean up go better with a song.

Tip: Play chess. Chess is a great way to expand the mind and to help with analytical and critical thinking skills.

Tip: Bring on the drama.  Drama and acting helps children to use creative skills including being more aware of their own feelings and social awareness.  Children can also learn more about the world around them and gain appreciation for others.


Tips for Social Studies Middle School and High School

Tip: Debate.  Children can grow their vocabulary and language skills by participating in debate teams in high school.

Tip: Karate.  Individual sports like karate help to build leadership, character and confidence skills in students.

Tip: Be a scout.  Scouting continues to provide opportunities for youth to learn and grow as a team.  Scout troops participate in activities related to life and learning while earning badges.  Leadership, character and community are great values reinforced in scouting.

Tip: Play with robots.  Many schools have embraced robotics clubs and other STEM related clubs to introduce children to fields like engineering.  These teams can provide hands on learning and even scholarship opportunities for college.

Tip: Be in the school play.  Many students benefit from participating in the school drama performances. Whether in front of the stage or behind the stage, many students can find they improve communication, social skills and problem solving when working on a creative project with others.

Tip: Take a hike. Walking in nature can help reduce stress, increase focus and improve overall health and physical well being.  Many students benefit from getting outside daily.


Check out my book on Amazon, Powerful, Peaceful Parenting.  Make sure to look for our videos on Youtube Channel Raising Black Genius.

Share this blog with another parent just like you, Raising Black Genius!

Dr. Stacy

Summer Learning

Summer Learning

The idea of summer learning can be hard for many students and parents when learning during the school year is a challenge.  Whether the learning happens at a summer camp or at home, it is important to start planning now.

Summer camps can be a great way to help bridge the achievement gap with students.  January begins the registration season for many summer programs and camps. Yes January!  Families that wait until May or June may find it very difficult to find learning programs for their child.  Research supports that academic summer programs provide students with enormous opportunities to grow in key academic areas.

Summer Camp

Do academic summer camps make a difference? Many parents are concerned that camps claim to help students but parents often question if a five-week program can actually help their child who is two or three years behind. One study looked at the impact a summer program made on middle school students who were academically behind (Somers, et al, 2015).  They focused on providing students in a voluntary camp environment support with academic instruction in Math and English, educational field trips and guest speakers.  The results indicated that students gained math skills over the summer and would return to the fall with about a month’s difference in math skills.  These types of studies continue to validate the need for summer learning for our children.

STEM Programs

Many schools are creating summer programs to help students gain career knowledge within the STEM world- science, technology engineering and mathematics.  Ortiz et al. (2018) found that students who attend these types of programs do gain more knowledge and understanding of careers that are options for students in these fields.  Summer learning has the ability to help students to discover occupations and careers that they were not exposed to during their normal academic settings. 

Practical application Ortiz et al. (2018) study also revealed that students enjoy learning through projects like building rockets or robots and watching the actually work.  Group projects and hands-on learning help many students connect the academics and the reason for learning with actual careers.

Tips for Summer Camps

Tip- Start looking early.  January is the best time to start looking for registration dates and camp fairs.  Many local centers will have summer camp fairs.

Tip- Get your child involved. What type of camp would they want to be a part of ? Help them to figure out how to use their summer.

Tip- Map out the whole summer. Plan for every week of the summer. Between free activities, paid camps and community festivals you can have an entire summer of learning planned for your child.

Tip- Free is good. Many colleges, schools and non-profit organizations will offer free programs.  Check out the camp literature and brochures to determine the quality of the program. 

Summer Learning Tips Early Learning and Elementary Age at Home

Tip- Go a grade ahead.  Summer learning workbooks and material should be about the content your child is going to learn not what they have already learned.  The goal is to get your child ready for the next grade.

Tip- Dollar stores.  Stock up on learning material for the summer during back to school time.  Usually you can find learning materials at dollar stores or retail stores that sell school supplies. 

Tip- School supplies. Try to have summer learning school supplies on hand.  Workbooks, dry erase markers, color pencils, scissors.  Keep the leftover school supplies from the school year that your child did not use.

Tip- Use online websites and resources online to print free material.  There are plenty of websites that offer free worksheets or learning material you can print at home. 

Tip- Ask the teacher.  Many teachers will create a summer packet of extra work if a parent asks for it.  Teachers recognize the need for students to have summer learning material and will often give parents options to receive a summer packet. 

Summer Learning Tips Middle School and High School Age at Home

Tip- Go to the school website for curriculum.  Most schools post the curriculum for the next year for older students.  Make sure your child is reviewing current up to date material for the upcoming school year.

Tip- Work ahead. If your child is studying Algebra next year, then summer reading should be focused on learning Algebra or reviewing Pre Algebra.  The goal is to have your child be ready for the material they will review in the new year.

Tip- Use current textbooks. If your child did not finish a textbook, then start from where they left off before heading into new material.  Make sure your child has a good foundation with the material learned in the current year before moving on to next year.

Tip- Let them choose.  Summer reading can be tough for any student.  Letting them pick their own workbooks or reading books can help them engage in the process.

Dr. Stacy

My take….

As a mom of a Mensan, summer learning happens every summer. I usually have a folder that has schedules for both of my children for every week of the summer.  I map out who will be attending what programs and the costs.  My children will see the summer calendars posted up by the end of the school year. I post each month up so they can see what is coming up each week.

Saving for camp also starts in January for me as many programs cost about the same as sports camps or childcare.  I have found that a little early planning helps my children to be able to attend the camps and programs that they are interested in.

Check out my book on Amazon, Powerful, Peaceful Parenting.  Make sure to look for our videos on Youtube Channel Raising Black Genius.

Share this blog with another parent just like you, Raising Black Genius!

Dr. Stacy

Sleep Matters

Many of us know that children need sleep.  But how much is enough?

American Academy of Pediatricians supports the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommendations for children

  • “Infants 4 months to 12 months should sleep 12 to 16 hours per 24 hours (including naps) on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
  • Children 1 to 2 years of age should sleep 11 to 14 hours per 24 hours (including naps) on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
  • Children 3 to 5 years of age should sleep 10 to 13 hours per 24 hours (including naps) on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
  • Children 6 to 12 years of age should sleep 9 to 12 hours per 24 hours on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
  • Teenagers 13 to 18 years of age should sleep 8 to 10 hours per 24 hours on a regular basis to promote optimal health. “

Many of you are saying this is hard if not impossible.  How do you feel when you have not gotten enough sleep and it is time for work the next day? Can you focus on work? Are you productive?  This is how our children feel going to school without enough sleep.

Not new information

In 1904, G. Stanley Hall expressed in his book Adolescence “No one should be allowed to go to school at all without nine hours of sleep.”  I agree.  Sleep plays a huge role in our children’s ability to function in the school day.  Studies show that students who have daytime sleepiness have a reduction in executive functioning skills like difficulty focusing and having poor concentration in class. 

Research is beginning to focus on the start time of schools as an indication of school performance as well. One study looked at the difference a one-hour delay made in achievement test scores for middle school students.  Students who attended school one hour later had better achievement in test scores.

Another impact on sleep is living in conditions that are chaotic whether due to poverty, instability in the home, crowding, noise or lack of routine and structure.  Children need secure living environments and need this in order to get a good sleep at night. One study found that children who have chaotic living environments and have sleep problems, have difficulty responding to academic challenges in the classroom.  Children exposed to stressors and have sleep problems are not as equipped biologically to deal with stressors.

We should recognize the individual needs of sleep for our children and create sleep schedules that meet the needs of our children.  Studies have shown that lack of sleep is associated with cognitive impairment, developmental disorders and behavior problems in children.   In layman terms, without sleep your child can not think, learn, control themselves or behave in school.  Sleep is essential to their everyday functioning.

Sleep Tips for All Ages

Tip- Schedule your week with sleep in mind.  We have all of our activities on a weekly calendar. This makes it easy to see when things are over and when we should realistically make it to bed.

Tip- Set a set bedtime as a goal. There are nights when we do not reach the 8pm deadline for bed and that is okay. We try to aim for 8pm on school nights most nights out of the week.

Tip: Keep bedtimes as they age.  We have held 8pm as a firm bedtime for our school age children even in middle school.  They are getting up earlier and need the extra hours of sleep. We can always on demand their favorite shows to watch the next day.

Tip: Create a routine to calm down. When I worked in a residential facility, we would always dim the lights on the unit right before bed. This helped to create an atmosphere of quiet on the unit.  You should have a bedtime routine based on the order of events, not the time it should happen. 

Technology and Sleep

Tip: Limit technology.  Whether it is a tablet or television, electronics should be kept out of the bedrooms and limited in the evening.  This helps to create a space that is calming and quiet in your child’s bedroom. With everything being a handheld device these days, this is often hard for parents to manage. 

Tip: Keep rooms technology free.  Try to determine while your child is still an infant what will be in their bedroom as they age.  Making this a routine from infancy is easier to manage as they grow. 

Tip: Have quiet toys in their room at bedtime. Toddlers can use dolls, blocks, puzzles, cars, and small toys in their room to keep them busy. 

Tip: Use music instead.  Radios and music can be used as a substitute for televisions and screen devices.  Some children benefit from sound machines or a little music to help them to fall asleep at night.

Difficulty Getting to Sleep

Tip: Keep the noise down. Sometimes our homes can be loud with people talking, televisions going and other background noises. Try to limit your child’s exposure to extra noises at bedtime by closing the door or turning down the volume in the house.

Tip: Recognize everyone has a different sleep pattern.  One of my children will fall asleep anywhere- shopping carts, kitchen table, anywhere. My other one is a night owl. Sleep has always been a challenge for her. Getting to bed is easy- getting to sleep not so easy.

Tip: Natural supplements.  Melatonin-  Our body produces this  naturally and some of us produce lower amounts. This is often found over the counter in the vitamins section.

Tip: Warm milk- Yes grandma was right. A glass of warm milk is my daughter’s favorite go to.

Tip: Check the temperature. Children who complain about it being too hot or too cold to sleep may be on to something. Temperature can impact the quality of sleep more than outside noise.  Try to use fans or extra blankets to help manage the temperature.

Tip: Don’t drink liquids. Try to limit drinking liquids 1 to 2 hours before bed. Children will often not get a good night sleep if they are needing to make bathroom runs.

Check out my book on Amazon, Powerful, Peaceful Parenting.  Make sure to look for our videos on Youtube Channel Raising Black Genius.

Share this blog with another parent just like you, Raising Black Genius!

Dr. Stacy

Learning Social Studies

Learning Social Studies By Dr. Stacy Haynes, Ed.D., LPC, ACS

Social studies as a class subject was integrated into education by the National Education Association in 1916.  The goal was to integrate history, geography and political science to help school children understand our American heritage and acquire skills to participate in our nation’s democratic system.  Black students less proficient in Social Studies than other students when looking at subjects like History, Civics, and Geography.

The National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) defines social studies as

…the integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote

civic competence.… The primary purpose of social studies is to help

young people develop the ability to make informed and reasoned

decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse,

democratic society in an interdependent world. (NCSS, 2010, p. 1)

Social studies classrooms use an interactive, problem, and project approach to learning.  Jerome Bruner. In The Process of Education (1960), explored the idea of inquiry based teaching to help children understand the world around them by asking questions and having children “do” the solving of the question together. 

Students who are engaged in problem-solving or project-based learning actually improve their meta cognition skills by exploring problems presented and comparing to their own knowledge and experiences.  Skills like independent thinking, analyzing problems and problem solving are key for a student to find success in social studies classrooms.

The National Council for the Social Studies (2002) created thematic standards for content for teachers for social studies in classrooms while covering the disciplinary standards of history, geography, economics, psychology and civics and government:

Culture and Cultural Diversity

Time, Continuity, and Change

People, Places, and Environments

Individual Development and Identity

Individuals, Groups, and Institutions

Power, Authority, and Governance

Production, Distribution, and Consumption

Science, Technology, and Society

Global Connections

Civic Ideals and Practices

Tips for Early Learning and Elementary Age

Tip- Teach your child their own culture. Make sure children experience an understanding of their own culture through music, arts, language, activities, and traditions. 

Tip- Decorate your home.  Think about small artifacts or symbolic pictures you can use in your home to talk about your culture or other cultures. 

Tip- Write a letter. Have your child write a letter to a friend or family member.  We can focus on the idea of community and connection with others.

Tip- Teaching social concepts.  Children are very self-centered at this age and it can be helpful to teach them about others in your community and in their lives. Concepts like Democracy, Civic Responsibilities etc can be taught at an early age.

Tip- Map it out. Like Dora the Explorer, make a map of your neighborhood and community. Highlight key terms like landmarks, locations and directions. 

Tip- Have a globe.  Having a physical globe at home can help your child visually see where countries are located in the world. Take the time to talk about countries and different parts of the world using your globe.

Tip- Visual vocabulary. Use pictures to show social studies concepts and to introduce new ideas to your child. You can turn these words into visual pages and create a picture book with the social studies vocabulary on each page.

Tip- Teach your child about money.  Teaching your children about how jobs work in our community, about spending and saving money and how our economy operates.

Tips for Social Studies Middle School and High School

Tip- Watch the movie. Many historical events have been made into motion pictures for the big screen. Let your child watch the movie and compare notes to what really happened and maybe what the movie directors added to history.

Tip- Watch mini lessons.  Studies show that students do well with visual learning of social studies concepts through videos or interactive learning modules.  Websites like the National Archives or National Geographic or Youtube can provide great short videos to reinforce historical concepts.

Information for Researchers at the National Archives at Washington, DC | National  Archives

Tip- Ask their opinion.  Ask your child their opinion about what they are learning in social studies. Many classroom lectures in middle and high school follow a conversational/debate format.  This will help your child learn the material and be able to discuss in class.

Tip- Class is about notes.  Many social studies classes require students to maintain notes on the classwork. Students often struggle with the amount of notes in class. Let kids take pictures of notes on the board or use talk to text technology to scribe notes from their textbook.

Tip- Dates matter.  Students are often tested on dates and have a hard time remembering important dates in history.  Try to use creative ways like making a song to remember important dates.

Tip- Study daily. Social studies is a course that becomes overwhelming with information for students. The key is to review notes daily and to try to understand history, not just memorize the dates.

Tip- Watch the news. Part of succeeding in social studies classes is being aware of current events.  Children are not necessarily wanting to watch the news but watching it occasionally will help them to understand the current social climate and concerns.

Check out my book on Amazon, Powerful, Peaceful Parenting.  Make sure to look for our videos on Youtube Channel Raising Black Genius.

Share this blog with another parent just like you, Raising Black Genius!

Dr. Stacy


The most important school readiness skill

Head-Toes-Knees- Shoulders

Remember the song, Head Shoulders Knees and Toes?  What if I told you that performing Head Toes Knees and Shoulders with your child would allow you to know if they were academically ready for school?  This simple task was studied by a group of researchers looking at self-regulation and the impact it has on academic achievement.  McClelland and a team of researchers had preschoolers touch their heads, touch their toes on command.  Then they made the task different by asking preschoolers to do the opposite of what they were saying.  They were looking to see how they pay attention, how they controlled their responses and how they remember rules.  All key skills in classrooms.

What the researchers found was that students who could complete this task had better academic achievement in kindergarten and had more school readiness skills.  Who knew a simple song could help predict your child’s ability to be successful in school?    Students who were able to go with the flow, follow directions and remember information were successful and showed to have higher academic success.

School Readiness

Children require more than just academic skills to be successful in school. Researchers have indicated that key skills in the areas of executive functioning including inhibitory control, working memory, and cognitive flexibility are key in helping children to succeed in school settings.  The ability to have self-regulation begins in preschool ages between 3 and 6 years of age, when many students are beginning their academic journey.  Schools are requiring our children to have this skill by the time they reach preschool in order to be successful.

What is Self-Regulation?

Self-regulation is the act of managing your thoughts and feelings to enable goal directed actions.  This skill is linked to students having higher success, being better members of society and really benefits all of us.  Focusing on developing these skills in preschool is great for getting a head start in academic success and continuing to encourage self-regulation in adolescence helps teens to be able to make better decisions and support their developmental brain growth during this time.

Start singing this song with your preschool and kindergarten age children now.  Children who are able to follow along are showing the ability to manage their impulse, they are able to follow directions and most importantly follow the rules. Self-regulation sets a student up for success when they are in a classroom that has rules.  Cognitive flexibility is also needed when looking at practicing this task, a skill that is needed in any classroom.

Self-regulation is a huge component of school and academic success. Many parents see this as emotional regulation which is a part of self-regulation.  Self-regulation can mean your child’s ability to manage their behavior, emotions and thoughts.  Studies are showing that the more students come to school with the ability to regulate themselves, the better school will be academically for them.  Students who are self-regulated in the classroom are able to follow directions, instructions participate in class with peers, and are able to focus on academic tasks like reading and mathematics.

Self-Regulation Tips for Early Learning and Elementary Age

Tip: Teach by your example. Model for your child a person that is able to manage stress and manage behaviors in a calm and controlled way.

Tip: Read books about calming down, managing emotions and behaviors.  Early exposure to stories help children to understand the concepts of calming down and regulating themselves.

Tip- Breathing exercise. Teaching children the art of breathing and relaxation is a great tool. Many books like Yoga Pretzels has cool breathing techniques for child.

Tip- Use bubbles. Bubbles is a great way to teach relaxation. 

Tip- Watch movies about feelings. Disney’s Inside Out is a great film to show children how emotions are managed in our body.

Tip- Play games.  Games like Simon Says or Red Light Green light are great ways to practice impulse control and help children to tune into their own movements.  It is really hard to win if you are not carefully controlling your movements.

Self-Regulation Tips for Middle School and High School Students

Tip: Play games like Jenga or Chess.  Games that require skill, control and mental focus are great ways to help children learn to manage emotions.

Tip: Keep a journal. Have your child use a journal to write out feelings from the day.  This can give them a safe place to let out their emotions and improve their emotional language.

Tip: Role play.  Have your child actually act out how they will respond in situations. They can become more aware of their verbal and nonverbal behaviors when role playing situations that may be stressful.

Tip: Mindfulness.  Teaching children to take a few minutes or moments a day to self-reflect and to be mindful is a good way to improve self-regulation skills.

Tip: Discuss what if scenarios.  Helping children to prepare for situations before they occur can help them to regulate themselves in the moment.

Check out my book on Amazon, Powerful, Peaceful Parenting.  Make sure to look for our videos on Youtube Channel Raising Black Genius.

Share this blog with another parent just like you, Raising Black Genius!

Dr. Stacy

Preschool Matters

Black students who attend preschool are more likely to be ready for school learning, score higher on standardized tests in 3rd and 4th grade and more likely to graduate high school.  Preschool matters.

Research supports that about 60% of Black students do not attend quality preschool programs. Many students are in lower quality educational settings or in family/home settings for preschool.  This lack of early learning impacts a child’s ability to compete later on in school.

Cost of Preschool

Preschool costs are on the rise.  The average cost of preschool can be anywhere from $372 – $1100 a month for family.  The high cost of preschool can be out of reach for many Black parents.  Schools are offering full day preschool at higher rates but many families still are not able to access them due to limited seats or work schedules of parents.

Preschool at home

Parents can help their child by learning key preschool skills at home even if they are not a trained educator.  Watch this video for tips and strategies on preschool resources.

Parents as Preschool Teachers

Although many of us do not feel qualified to be a teacher, we can all help our children gain preschool and school ready skills.  Fun and easy activities can help any child learn the necessary skills to succeed in preschool.

Parents can use resources like the public library to get early reading books and participate in early learning activities that are free. Most libraries offer preschool age reading time and fun activities related to reading. 

Parents can use the internet to find resources for early learning. Scholastic.com has great printouts that a parent can print at home to review letters, shapes, colors, numbers and all things your child needs to be prepared for preschool.

Parents can go to the nearest dollar store to pick up educational resources to help. Books, coloring books on shapes, and even counting books can be found for only $1.  There is no reason a parent has to not be able to access either free or low-cost resources to help their child prepare for preschool.  They key is do something.

10 minutes a day

One concern many parents have is time. They are busy working, trying to manage their families while keeping a roof over their heads.  Ten minutes a day is all it takes to help a child prepare for preschool.  Example of a ten minute routine:

  1. Reading- Read a story about apples. Ask your child to tell you what the story was about and use who, what, where, when, why and how questions to help your child with learning.
  2. Writing- Trace the letter A. Print out two pages of letters and shapes.  Have your child color the pages.
  3. Science- Cut an apple for snack.  This will help to bring the lesson to life and allow for a quick science lesson on apple seeds and how apple trees grow.
  4. Math- Count the apple slices.  Practice simple addition by adding up the slices to make a whole.

It may not be the ideal situation for your child to complete preschool at home but at least as a parent you are exposing them to opportunities to learn and giving them an opportunity to succeed.  Parents we have to do our part to help our children achieve Black Genius!

Check out my book on Amazon, Powerful, Peaceful Parenting; Guiding Children, Changing Lives.

Make sure to look for our videos on Youtube Channel Raising Black Genius.

Share this blog with another parent just like you, Raising Black Genius!

Dr. Stacy

Remote Learning

Helping Elementary Students Process Their Feelings During Remote Learning |  Edutopia
kate_sept2004 / iStock

Remote Learning

If you told me a year ago that I would be homeschooling my children, I would laugh, out loud and in your face.  Fast forward, and here I am like many parents trying to juggle the world of Zoom classroom meetings, breakout classwork sessions and holding down my job at the same time.  Remote Learning.

I have often said this is a Parent Pandemic- how do parents maintain jobs, educate their children and still not get COVID? The balancing act for the brave at heart.  Yet many of us are doing exactly that- surviving remote learning.

Like me, you have probably already experienced the missing Zoom call, the missed homework assignment we didn’t see in the classroom and let’s not forget the internet that does not seem to keep up with a house full of people on it.

The Great Divide

While my woes seem small- the reality is that remote learning will continue to the divide between the haves and the have nots.  Many children are struggling with learning in the classroom and now we have the bigger challenge of learning from home. 

If college online statistics were any indicator, we know that online schooling is not for everyone. Fifty-six to Sixty percent of students who start an online course, finish the course.  What happens to the other forty to fifty percent of students?  Online courses take skills- skills like time management, organizational skills, independent working skills, many executive functioning skills that most children struggle with. Most college freshman struggle on campus because they are having to use skills they have never had to use before- independently.

Our children are far from college years and are being thrown into a learning environment that is new to them, new to their teachers and new to parents.

College Dropout Rate [2020]: by Year + Demographics

How to Survive

I created this simple workshop to help parents to gain skills to help in the online remote learning world.

Dr. Stacy Haynes Parent Guide to Remote Learning

Key Tips to Online Learning

Be present. Your child is not in college – you need to help them through online learning. We can not leave our children to fend for themselves in the online classroom.

Get organized early.  The key is to organize each class and each day to help your child stay on top of the work.

Stay on schedule.  Visual schedules and timers are a great way to keep everyone on schedule during the day.  Attendance is being taken in most online and hybrid classes. 

Ask for help. Reach out to the teacher to help understand the online classroom, what is expected and even where assignments are turned in. Make sure you can answer your child’s questions even about the platform they are using.

Balance your day.  Try to get into a routine that allows you to work and your child to complete their school work. 

In order to reach their highest potential, Black children need to be in school – every day.  We can do our part to prepare our children for the expectations of school and help them to succeed. 

Email info@littlehandsservices.com to get a Free copy of the Remote Learning Parent Survival Guide by Dr. Stacy.

Check out my book on Amazon- Powerful, Peaceful Parenting: Guiding Children Changing Lives and subscribe to my Youtube channel for weekly tips.

I will be a Keynote Speaker for Lives in the Balance 10th Annual Summit talking about Disproportionality in Schools to register visit Register

Share this blog with another parent just like you, Raising Black Genius!

Dr. Stacy


Suspensions? You are probably wondering what does suspensions have to do with Raising Black Genius? A lot. 

Black children are suspended at higher rates than their White counterparts in schools across America.  The challenge with suspensions translates into Black students missing key learning instruction time.  Research studies look at the amount of time children are spending outside of the learning environment and shows the impact even one suspension has on a child’s learning.

Black Children Are Not Treated Equal

Disproportionality refers to a group’s representation in a particular category that exceeds expectations for that group, or differs substantially from the representation of others in that category. In regards to school discipline, Black children are disproportionally represented in office referrals, school suspension and out of school discipline.  This adds to the preschool to prison pipeline.

Disproportionality research is highlighting the need to focus on what is happening to Black children in school settings?  Research studies have highlighted this concern but provide little understanding of how to stop this complex issue from occurring.


Suspensions Start Early

As a therapist, I work with many 3, 4 and 5 year olds who have been “kicked out” of preschool.  Preschoolers are disciplined at higher rates than K-12 students for age appropriate preschool behaviors.  Many teachers struggle with managing behaviors such as temper tantrums, not sharing, hitting and kicking.  Preschool is where children begin their relationship with school and with learning.

Small children need help with gaining school appropriate skills.

Teaching manners, how to share, getting along when someone has what you want, are all great skills to learn when heading into preschool. 

Make sure your child has the social skills necessary to succeed.

Teach your child to sit in a chair and to write for school. Practicing school can help your child get  ready for school.

Help your child with frustration tolerance- teach them to calm down, walk away, ask for help and to use their words.

Black Students Are Not Behaving Differently

Many of you may be wondering are my children behaving differently than their counterparts? The research supports that there is not a difference in behavior for Black children but a difference in teacher experience with Black students.  Teacher referrals to the office are increased for Black students which often result in a suspension or expulsion. Teacher experience in the classroom and teacher bias about behavior have also been explored in research. 

Yale University Study

How Can You Help Your Child?

Parents check out my Youtube Channel Raising Black Genius for tips to help prevent your child from getting suspended.

Parents can help by understanding the school code of conduct and making sure your child completely understands what is school appropriate behavior. What we do in the neighborhood or at the playground may not be acceptable at the school recess playground. 

Parents can help by attending Back to School Night for your child, which is usually a time where teachers explain their classroom rules and expectations.  Showing up shows the teacher that you are their partner in learning.

Parents can respond early to any notes or indication of concerns in the classroom. I like to use CPS model with families and schools to help problem solve and create solutions that work in the classroom.

Parents can help with reminders to use solutions created and to help your child by encouraging them each day to be their best.  Parents do not give them the list of don’t dos before going to school- let them know all the good you expect to see. Praise them ahead of time for great behavior.

In order to reach their highest potential, Black children need to be in school – every day.  We can do our part to prepare our children for the expectations of school and help them to succeed. 

Check out my book on Amazon- Powerful, Peaceful Parenting: Guiding Children Changing Lives and subscribe to my Youtube channel for weekly tips.

Share this blog with another parent just like you, Raising Black Genius!

Dr. Stacy

Boys and Reading

Raising Black Genius: Boys and Reading

I can tell you as a parent of a son and a daughter, there are definitely gender differences even in learning.  One question parents ask me is “How can I get my son to read?”  I personally had to figure out this question as my son’s early reading habits looked very different than my daughters. Almost immediately he focused more on technology and less on wanting to read a book.  This was a habit I was needing to find a solution to fast. 

I found out I am not alone…

Statistics from http://www.guysread.com/about/

A lot of boys are having trouble reading.

  • The U.S. Department of Education reading tests for the last 30 years show boys scoring worse than girls in every age group, every year.
  • Eighth grade boys are 50 percent more likely to be held back than girls.
  • Two-thirds of Special Education Students in high school are boys.
  • Overall college enrollment is higher for girls than boys.

My biggest advice: start early…probably in the womb.  Yes we are seeing a decrease in reading as our sons age.  Many books and article have looked at this epidemic that is happening. It used to be that we once believed that boys would catch up to girls in the later grades with reading.  That is no longer the case as explored in a New York Times Article Boys and Readings: Is There Any Hope by Robert Lipsyte.

Boys and Reading: Is There Any Hope? By Robert Lipsyte http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/21/books/review/boys-and-reading-is-there-any-hope.html

“this is exactly what boys do, in the classroom and in the library, as well as in the clubhouse. If we’re to counter this tendency and encourage reading among boys who may collectively resist it, boys need to be approached individually with books about their fears, choices, possibilities and relationships — the kind of reading that will prick their dormant empathy, involve them with fictional characters and lead them into deeper engagement with their own lives. This is what turns boys into readers.”

I began very early with my son, working in this field I knew what I was up against.  Let’s face it boys like to be entertained.  So while my daughter was content reading the books sent home from school during the early years, I had to go to the great lengths to find engaging books for my son.  I noticed a huge difference the first time I introduced him to a Hot Wheels Car early reading book set.  He would not put the books down…literally…they went everywhere with him.

So we found every early reader books at the library that were superheroes, or cartoon characters or power rangers.  Yes, the public library has tons of BOY friendly reading books.  This made a huge difference in his desire to read.  Remember Action, Adventure, Animals when picking out books for your son.  Words are words, even if Power Rangers are saying them.

Another great resource are books on tapes. Boys need to learn in three-dimensional learning environments and their brains thrive with this type of learning.  My son would love to sit with the headsets on and listen to the books as he flipped the pages.  Scholastic Books has a great selection of boy friendly books on tape. And yes we found these at the library too. Free is always good for me.

I continue to allow my son to read anything in his pleasure reading.  I have learned the more freedom I give him in selecting his books the more he is willing to read.  My children read 30 minutes a day on weekends to help increase their vocabulary and read their school work during the week.

A big part of our love for reading has also come from going to the library weekly- yes weekly.  We would go for new books each week.  They pick out their own books and then I pick a few educational books that I want them to read.  They have their own library cards and have been able to check out their own books from preschool age.

To get boys to read we have to instill it in them as fun, interesting- not just as homework or a chore that is miserable or punishment. 

I often find my son reading in his free time all on his own without being asked to.  As a mother, this is a great feeling and I will continue to develop his love of reading each step of the way.

Check out my channel on Youtube Raising Black Genius and my video on Boys and Reading for more great tips.

New Videos Every Tuesday

Check out my book on Amazon, Powerful, Peaceful Parenting.

Share this blog with another parent just like you, Raising Black Genius!

Dr. Stacy