Thursday, August 22, 2013

Adapt. Believe. Persist.

These are the major lessons I've learned.

I couldn't go to sleep tonight.  I tried sleeping after my 7 mile run.  But I couldn't stop thinking.  I couldn't stop thinking about this article my friend posted from Inc. Magazine, "The Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship."

I couldn't stop thinking about the potential failure of ALMas, of being incapable of ultimately getting everything together, of ultimately lacking the ability to lead and get something meaningful and big done.

I kept thinking about the possibility of failure.  Of resentment.  Of sadness and disappointment that would engulf me. I kept thinking, I'm not done yet.  I haven't put my best foot forward.  If I fail, it's on me.  No one else.

And then I got up and started working, getting work done.  I had to find all the books we would need for a standardized set of books to start our after school program.  First I began with Eric Carle and moved my way through others, like Rikki Tikki Tambo (awesome, b-t-dubs).  Then I moved on to bilingual and Spanish books.  Got them too!

I mapped out local grocery stories, or " las mercaderias" as they are called in the Hispanic neighborhoods.  Looks like my team and I will be going on foot to these locations over the weekend and setting up meetings as well as hopefully getting some snack commitments for our kids!

Fingers crossed!

But now I feel better.  I took control.  I adapted to the situation at hand.  I believed in my abilities and my vision.  And I continued, persisted.

If there's one thing I've learned over the course of "Creating ALMas," it's this fundamental key to change and impact:


Monday, August 19, 2013

Early Childhood and Ability Gaps and Dissolution of the Nuclear Family

Here's an interesting paper from Heckman, "Schools, Skills, Synapses"

He writes about the ability gap that emerges between children almost a year after birth:

"The evidence on the importance of family factors in explaining ability gaps is a source of concern because a greater proportion of American children is being born into disadvantaged families. A divide is opening up in American society. Those born into disadvantaged environments are receiving relatively less stimulation and resources to promote child development than those born into more advantaged families. Figure 13(a) shows the dramatic rise in the proportion of children living in single parent families. The greatest contributor to this growth is the percent living in families with never married mothers. (See the top category.) Such families are much less likely to invest in their children (Moon, 2008). Figure 13(b) shows that the percentage of all children less than age 5 with a never married mother is over 25% for children born into families with dropout mothers. Figure 13(c) shows that this phenomenon is especially pronounced for African American families."

 Why do you think these individuals invest less in their children?

Is it because of financial constraints?  Time constraints?  Do you think they don't care?

Whatever the reason, one thing I've never thought about when it came to early childhood and ability gaps was that these gaps are partially caused by the dissolution of the nuclear family.  Parents getting divorced, leaving children to be raised by one parent or the other.  Parents both working full time without paying for nanny services to invest in their child, leaving their child without cognitive stimulation and warmth in the household from one parent.

It's just something I never really thought about.  Have you?

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Update on Work We Gotta Do!

Check out this super sweet google doc of responsibilities my team and I made last night to get our work done for ALMas!

We've got deadlines and objectives.  I think we're running hot baby!

Last updated:8/16/2013<-- td="" update="">
Responsibility Table for Each ALMas Member
Objective / Task
Member Assigned
Due Date
Days Until Due
Food/Snacks - LiabilityVidal Anguiano8/19/20138/17/20132Summary of meeting with law student.
Food/Snacks - Data CollectionChristian Sanchez8/21/20138/17/20134
Food/Snacks - Data CollectionAdan Meza8/21/20138/17/20134
Classroom Supplies - Data Collection and OutreachMarvin Espinoza8/18/20138/17/20131
Classroom Supplies - Data Collection and OutreachSpencer Claxton8/18/20138/17/20131
Booklet - Best Practices to Follow in the ClassroomCristina Ochoa8/20/20138/17/20133Text for booklet on best practices in classroom
Booklet - Early Childhood Demographics and Early Childhood Research BenefitsJoseline Gomez8/20/20138/17/20133Text for research on early childhood and demographcis for kids
Books - Read ConmigJoseline Gomez8/20/20138/17/20133Sort through read conmigo books and coordinate with Josh
Website - WordpressShuwen Qian8/19/20138/17/20132Wordpress site and text
Training Summary and Best PracticesChristian Sanchez8/23/20138/17/20136Get it done people! :]
Get people to make own spreadsheet of their accomplishmentsMarvin Espinoza8/20/20138/17/20133

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Summer Start Up and Updates

Everyone, I know we've trailed off on the blog, but that doesn't mean we haven't been hustling.

In the past three months, this is what we have accomplished:

  1. Launched a successful panel discussion on the interaction between early childhood, immigration, and economic opportunity.
    • Check out photos here!
    • Commentary from the event:
      • "Dear Marvin
        I'm writing in regards to the panel ALMas organized this evening, which I thought was wonderful. It was informative about the current state of early childhood education, as well as hopeful and constructive about possible directions that early childhood education might take. It highlighted the importance of and challenges that face what I understand to be an often neglected area of concern in the debates about education reform. I let Brandi Snodgrass, my NSP supervisor, know that it was the best-organized, most informative (on the most levels) and most enjoyable panel discussion that I've attended in my four years here. Although I'm graduating in a few weeks and won't be around anymore, please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you in the next few weeks. 

        Take care.
        Robert Blakslee"
  2. Had our college-teacher volunteers trained by our educational PhD consultants in best practices for starting pre-k literacy programs.  
    • Lessons included:  
      • dealing with challenging behavior
      •  choosing the right books
      • dialogic reading
      • evaluating and assessing the teacher
      • encouraging students to learn through positive reinforcement.
  3. Drafted battle plans for out community outreach to get more textbooks for our children as well as coming closer to finalizing our location space for the program's pilot:
    1. You can see the battle plans here
    2. With respect to our program's space, I am meeting Gage Park Library's lead librarian to talk about implementing our program through their space during the school year
    3. Rough sketch of our educational assessment for our children
    4. Revising our lesson plan template
  4. I'm back on a regular running schedule for the ultra marathon!
  5. Website being developed by our own computer programmer, Spencer Claxton!
    1. He's working for the Univ of Chicaog on cloud computing, so we're lucky to have him!
  6. I'm meeting with Leif Elsmo, MBA from booth in Strategy.
    1. Schedule August 20th for coffee, and we're talking abotu how to develop collaborations and sponsorhips with local businesses to help pay for our program.  BOOM