International Philanthropist Alina Reyzelman to Produce New Documentary Sunshine Baby, Bringing Awareness to Healthy Pregnancy Practices

Los Angeles (PRWEB) April 14, 2014

Entrepreneur and philanthropist Alina Reyzelman announces plans to produce “Sunshine Baby,” a documentary focusing on helping families understand the truth about healthy pregnancies as they prepare for their newborn.

According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the United States spends $ 98 billion every year on hospitalization for pregnancy and childbirth. Despite this, women in the United States have a higher risk of dying of pregnancy-related complications than those in 49 other countries, including Kuwait, Bulgaria, and South Korea.

In an effort to learn more about pregnancy when expecting their first child, Reyzelman and her husband found a multitude of books on the subject, but little to no educational documentaries or short films about pregnancy. In their research, they found that other young families had also noticed the void.

This inspired Reyzelman to want to create a video guide on pregnancy that could help first time parents cope with pregnancy questions, fears, and issues. The documentary to be produced by Reyzelman will be filmed in collaboration with Blue Collar Productions.

The documentary will serve as the educational answer to many questions had by new families about pregnancy and childbirth. As the maternal mortality rate is increasing in the United States and United Kingdom, “Sunshine Baby” will visually tell the truth about fertility issues, different stages of pregnancy, alternative methods, organic foods, fitness, and other aspects of a healthy pregnancy. Although it serves an educational function, “Sunshine Baby” will also cover intimacy during pregnancy, maternity style, and interviews with celebrities. Both informational and entertaining, “Sunshine Baby” will share perspectives from a diverse array of families ranging from Hollywood mothers to new and experienced mothers.

As what will be the first educational documentary on pregnancy, “Sunshine Baby” will provide parents access to first class information and awareness about a healthy pregnancy.

“During the nine months that a woman is pregnant, important developments are occurring that can affect a baby for the rest of their life,” said Reyzelman. “I aim to create a product that will help parents understand everything they need to know about pregnancy including the joys, risks, and challenges associated with it. I want to help people feel confident and prepared as they begin this journey toward parenthood.”

Once plans for this project are finalized, Reyzelman plans to donate 20 percent of all profits from “Sunshine Baby” to a charity promoting maternity care and pregnancy treatments in order to promote the knowledge and awareness of issues associated with pregnancy. They also plan on donating DVDs and free download options to various charity organizations around the world to promote knowledge of pregnancy risks.

Reyzelman will be focusing on raising awareness for “Sunshine Baby” and reaching out to corporate sponsors and equity investors in an effort to raise funds for her first independent creative project.

If interested in learning more about Reyzelman’s global expertise and production planning progress for “Sunshine Baby,” please visit

About Blue Collar Productions, Inc.

Blue Collar Productions (BCP) is a proven leader, innovator and established producer of content, creative advertising and marketing materials. In collaboration with the world’s top filmmakers, entertainment studios, Fortune 500 companies and non-profits, BCP helps strengthen brands by bringing creative visions to life.

BCP provides brand marketing and creative solutions as well as field and studio production services globally utilizing its own crews and HD camera packages. As a full-service production company, BCP also has extensive in-house post-production capabilities, an interactive division and a full graphics design team. The company’s location on ‘The Lot’ studios in Hollywood also provides access to soundstages, green screens and a wide array of production resources.

About Alina Reyzelman

Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Alina Reyzelman started her career working for energy companies and consulting firms holding various senior roles. With 15 years of commercial business expertise, she founded Elite Club Ltd. and Eat Well Co projects to share her experiences driven by an exciting lifestyle defined by world traveling. Her international lifestyles led her to become a self-taught expert on exclusive travel and healthy eating, and create a guide to living and dining luxuriously around the world. Her research on the power of aphrodisiacs led to her book Sex Diet, which provides a new take on nutrition and healthy eating. Alina is actively involved in charity work and admires classics and fine art as an artist herself. Alina is a Ph.D. student, a connoisseur of wines and foods, and the author of World Restaurant Guide. Alina is involved in the motion picture development with Landscape Films and producer Anthony Jabre. She writes movie scripts and plans to produce and direct documentaries in Hollywood.

Profiles International Acquired by John Wiley and Sons

Waco, TX (PRWEB) April 02, 2014

Global talent management solutions provider, Profiles International, announced their acquisition today by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (NYSE: JWa and JWb), a global provider of knowledge and knowledge-enabled solutions that improve outcomes in research, professional practice, and education, announced today that it has acquired Profiles International, a provider of employment assessment and talent management solutions.

Bud Haney, CEO and Chairman said, “We are dedicated to becoming the number one global talent management solutions provider. With this goal in mind, we embarked on a search over two years ago to find the right business partner that fit our culture, goals, and mission. I am proud and excited to announce that John Wiley & Sons is that organization.”

“Research shows that the direct and indirect cost of one hiring error can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars,” said Wiley President and CEO, Stephen Smith. “Profiles International provides scientifically-driven assessment solutions that help employers screen-out unsuitable candidates, match others with jobs that fit their inherent capabilities, and identify opportunities to enhance performance of existing employees and maximize long-term contributions to the organization. By mapping candidate attributes against those of existing high-performing employees, Profiles international assessments are a valuable predictor of likely success. Wiley can now add Profiles’ pre-hire assessment solutions to its successful post-hire assessment platform for an end-to-end solution that addresses critical pain points in the hiring and development process.”

Profiles International will continue to provide the same dedicated customer service, product support, leading-edge technology, and top-notch talent management solutions their clients have become accustomed. They will remain Profiles International and operate as they do today with their corporate headquarters in Waco, Texas. All facets of their operations will remain intact.

John Wiley & Sons is committed to continuing Profiles International’s client-centric culture. This acquisition will allow Profiles International to provide greater focus and resources to continue delivering the best assessment solutions available.


Wiley is a global provider of knowledge and knowledge-enabled services that improve outcomes in areas of research, professional practice and education. Through the Research segment, the Company provides digital and print scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly journals, reference works, books, database services, and advertising. The Professional Development segment provides digital and print books, online assessment and training services, and test prep and certification. In Education, Wiley provides print and digital content, and education solutions including online program management services for higher education institutions and course management tools for instructors and students.


Profiles International is the best source for talent management solutions, with over 20 years’ experience and more than 40,000 clients in over 120 countries. Profiles knows how people work and what motivates them. Their data-driven talent management solutions–built on complex behavioral science, yet simple to administer and read–help organizations find the right people, shape them into a winning team, and lead them to their full potential.

Dental Sleep Medicine CE Courses Teach Dental Offices How to Properly Screen and Treat Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Miami, FL (PRWEB) March 21, 2014

Dentists across the US are attending dental continuing education courses, which teach dental professionals how to screen and treat snoring and sleep apnea, through Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT).  Dental sleep medicine expert, Dr. Jeffrey Horowitz, a Sleep Group Solutions Instructor, explains the dangers of OSA, and how snoring affects the sleep partner. Dr. Horowitz’s upcoming live lectures include Miami on May 2-3, and Boston on May 16-17th, dentists and hygienists are encourage to attend.

According to the National Sleep Foundation,  more than 80 million Americans snore.  Snoring, along with high blood pressure, hypertension, and daytime fatigue, are signs you may have sleep apnea.  As dangerous as OSA is on an individuals health, the loud snoring also brings a negative affect on the bed partner’s health. According to a poll in USA Today, 45 percent of spouses reported that their bed-partner snores loudly, yet only 5 percent of their counterparts even admit that they snore. This is alarming, because whether it stems from denial or ignorance, the end result is anything but bliss. Dr. Jeffrey Horowitz, a Dentist serving the Myrtle Beach and Conway area, treats patients for Sleep Apnea, as well as educates other dentists on providing treatment. “I know the signs and symptoms of sleep disordered breathing and I often hear the primary complaint directly from the bed-partner,” explains Dr. Horowitz. “Let’s start with just the sound of snoring which is often louder than 60 decibels.  For reference, a pneumatic drill is the equivalent of 70 decibels. Imagine sleeping next to a pneumatic drill!”

Aside from the physical and emotional side effects of lack of sleep, one major concern for the bed partner is hearing loss with continued exposure to snoring. “What concerns me the most is when faced with a partner who is snoring loudly, bed-partners will respond in one of two ways. They will either tough it out, resulting in significant sleep deprivation with physiological consequences, or move to another bed which can have serious long-term emotional consequences on a relationship,” says Dr. Horowitz.

When discussing sleep disordered breathing, many of the presenting symptoms revolve around sleep deprivation. The lack of oxygen in the apnea patient is a primary concern; however this also leads to arousals, and disruption of the normal sleep cycle. When sleep cycles are disrupted, so too is critical hormone regulation, which ultimately can affect mood, hunger, insulin dynamics, and many other body systems. Daytime fatigue ensues, which can mimic legal alcohol intoxication with 4 hours or less of quality sleep. Both the snorer, and the sufferer, are affected.

For Dentists looking to learn more about Sleep Disordered Breathing, log onto, or attend a lecture with Dr. Horowitz. His upcoming lectures include Miami on May 2-3, and Boston on May 16-17th. For the snorers, please take your bed-partner’s concerns seriously. Treating sleep disordered breathing is not difficult. Doing so can not only add 12-15 years to your life, but improve the quality of your relationship as you live.

About Dr. Jeff Horowitz

Dr. Jeff Horowitz, a native of Old Bridge, New Jersey, completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh , receiving early admission to dental school after his junior year. In 1991 he earned his Doctorate of Dental Medicine degree from the Medical University of South Carolina. Dr Horowitz has dedicated himself to continuing education, earning him the fellowship award from the Academy of General Dentistry, Mentorship status at the prestigious Kois Center for Advanced Dental Studies, and fellowship in the Pierre Fauchard Academy. Dr. Horowitz is also a member of the American Association of Dental Sleep Medicine.

About Sleep Group Solution 

Sleep Group Solutions is an airway diagnostic technology company serving the needs of physicians and dentists interested in screening, diagnosing and treating sleep apnea and other upper airway disorders.  Sleep Group Solutions offers the latest screening and diagnostic equipment solutions for patients with allergy, sinus congestion, rhinitis, deviated septum, nasal polyps, snoring and sleep apnea.  SGS offers the most comprehensive dental sleep medicine CE seminars in the industry focused on teaching dentists the protocols needed to make the treatment of snoring and sleep apnea part of their practice.  Sleep Group Solutions offers sleep study interpretation, oral appliances (Norad Boil & Bite, Respire), online directory and online marketing for CPAP Intolerant patients.  SGS is the manufacturer of the Eccovision Systems Rhinometer and Pharyngometer, and offers Home Sleep Testing devices from Watermark Medical.

More Education In USA Press Releases

Advanta IRA Administration Holds Two Events for Investors to Learn How to Use Self-Directed IRAs to Invest in LLCs and Private Placements

Atlanta, Georgia (PRWEB) March 09, 2014

Advanta IRA is a self-directed IRA administrator that provides critical oversight of self-directed plans to ensure the administration of these accounts complies with IRS rules that govern them. While Advanta IRA neither sells investments, nor offers investment advice, their team of experts does provide cutting-edge educational curriculum designed for both novice and experienced investors to learn how to use self-directed IRAs and other plans.

Investors desiring to learn more about LLCs and private placements in self-directed IRAs are urged to attend one of these events—offered at no cost—that provide extensive information on the following topics:

    Alternative investment options available for self-directed IRAs in comparison to options of conventional IRAs held at brokerages and banks
    Investing IRA funds into trusts, LLCs, private placements and other entities
    How these entities must be structured and operate within IRS rules and regulations
    Prohibited transactions IRAs are not allowed to perform and disqualified persons IRAs may not do business with per IRC 4975
    Unrelated Business Income Tax IRAs may incur relevant to holding these types of assets
Self-directed IRAs offer account owners total control in choosing their own investments to secure a successful retirement. “Self-directed plans are allowed to hold many alternative investments that more conventional plans may not offer,” says Jack Callahan, Managing Partner of Advanta IRA Administration.

These particular events are designed specifically for investors who are considering investing in LLCs and private placements, which are just a few of the multitude of assets permissible in self-directed plans. “Investing self-directed IRA funds into LLCs and private placements can be a promising but complex option to build wealth for retirement. Advanta IRA’s goal is to empower investors by providing the knowledge needed to take control of their retirement plans and investment choices,” says Callahan.

Nationwide webinar – Investing in LLCs and Private Placements with Your Self-Directed IRA

Date: March 11, 2014

Time: 7:00 p.m. – 7:45 p.m.

Location: Online

Cost: No charge

Register: By contacting Teresa Chin at tchin(at)advantairagroup(dot)com or by calling (800) 425-0643, ext. 1147.

Lunch & Learn – Investing in LLCs and Private Placements with Your Self-Directed IRA

Date: March 14, 2014

Time: 11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Location: Advanta IRA Administration, 3525 Piedmont Rd., NE, Bld. 8, Ste. 101, Atlanta, GA 30305

Cost: No charge; lunch is provided

Register: Before 5:00 p.m. on March 13th by contacting Teresa Chin at tchin(at)advantairagroup(dot)com or by calling (800) 425-0643, ext. 1147.

About Advanta IRA Administration

Advanta IRA Services, located in Largo, Florida, has been in operation for over 10 years, providing administrative service to owners of self-directed retirement accounts throughout the Tampa Bay and Sarasota, Florida regions. Advanta IRA Administration offers a second location serving the Atlanta, Georgia area and surrounding regions. Both offices are managed by Jack Callahan, J.D., CFP™. Advanta IRA offers classes, seminars and other educational tools designed to assist clients and other investors in managing self-directed IRAs by investing in real estate, notes, private placements and other non-traditional assets that have the potential to maximize retirement earnings on a tax-free or tax-deferred basis.

About Jack Callahan

Jack M. Callahan, J.D., CFP™, is the managing partner at Advanta IRA Services in Largo, FL and Advanta IRA Administration in Atlanta, GA. Jack established the corporate office, Advanta IRA Services, in 2003. Prior to that, Jack delivered specialized counsel to real estate investors, small business owners and real estate professionals on tax, legal and financial matters. As an industry expert, Jack is a frequent speaker on the topic of self-directed retirement plans and an accredited continuing education instructor for the Florida and Georgia Bar Associations, Florida and Georgia Real Estate Commissions, and The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He earned his bachelor of science degree in finance and multinational business from Florida State University and his law degree from the University of Florida College of Law.

More Accredited Online Colleges Press Releases

Official Library Study Collection – Ave Maria: Background Music for Online U Courses Research, Web Browsing

Official Library Study Collection – Ave Maria: Background Music for Online U Courses Research, Web Browsing

from Brain Music (Songs for Studying, Reading, Concentrating & Mental Focus)

Price: USD 0.99
View Details about Official Library Study Collection

LabourTrack Gamifies Time Tracking to Promote Workplace Productivity

Winnipeg, MB (PRWEB) February 13, 2014

Grants International announced the launch of its advanced time tracking program today that uses game theory to turn the dreaded time sheet into a source of productivity and profitability. By adding simple game concepts, LabourTrack ( makes tracking time more fun and rewarding.

“The old saying is true: time is money. Time is our most valuable commodity in life, and we want to help people make the most of it,” said Jason Fuith who heads LabourTrack’s software development team at Grants International. “LabourTrack is a better way to track time for anyone who needs to keep detailed records of what they’re working on – for their clients, for government or for their own project management.”

Forbes and the Wall Street Journal list gamification as a business trend to watch in 2014. Today, LabourTrack users collect points two ways: by making time entries immediately and by providing complete descriptions (more than 10 words) of the work they did. The program makes it easy for companies to create leaderboards, offer prizes and other incentives, and generally promote good time tracking. Programmers are working on adding new game concepts based on customer feedback. It’s ideal for lawyers, consultants, engineers, researchers and anyone else who is compensated based on their time sheet entries.

“Most people who have to fill out time sheets don’t do it well or accurately. We tend to wait too long before entering our time and we don’t make good records of our work,” said Fuith. “With LabourTrack, we started with a simple user interface and added a points system that rewards people for entering their activities accurately and quickly. We believe we’ve gone where no time tracking program has gone before.”

LabourTrack is a web-based program built with a responsive design for easy viewing on desktops and mobile devices alike. Users can add photographs and screenshots of their work to create an even more accurate audit trail and provide proof of work later on. The gamified elements encourage accuracy, making the data collected more valuable for reviews and audits. Daily emails remind users of their previous activity or missing time entries.

Grants International developed LabourTrack as a way to help customers who were applying for the Government of Canada’s Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax credit for innovation. The company quickly saw how it could be applied to a much wider range of customers.

“We have seen for years how time sheet procrastination can cost companies real dollars. LabourTrack started as our way of trying to help our clients get more money for their R&D.” said Darren Earn, President of Grants International. “As game lovers and parents, we knew how simple game concepts can encourage learning and good habits. Once we began testing it, we saw immediately how well it worked. If you haven’t encountered gamification in the workplace yet, you will. LabourTrack is a great example why.”

Gamification is the process of applying game theory to life. By awarding points, badges or leader boards to everyday processes, gamification can make tasks more fun, engaging and productive.


Note: Related images and screenshots available for download from Dropbox here.

Jason Fuith. P.Eng.

Grants International Inc.

204-989-5666 ext 150


Adam Dooley

Dooley Communications Inc.

204-415-0688 – office

204-291-4092 – mobile


Library Offers a Wide Variety of Online Learning Opportunities

Library Offers a Wide Variety of Online Learning Opportunities
From technology to languages to career skills, the Schaumburg Township District Library (STDL) offers a wide range of free online learning opportunities for cardholders. Online classes can be taken from home, work or anyplace a laptop can go. To access …
Read more on Chicago Tribune

United States Sanctions On Exporting Open Online Learning Courses Are
Between Syria, Cuba, Iran and Sudan, Americans bothering to pay attention to the world around them are becoming increasingly familiar with how we sanction other countries and the intricacies of those sanctions. The intersection of sanctions and …
Read more on Techdirt

Can Online Learning Solve The Global Health Care Capacity Crisis?
Health care systems cannot be supported by the efforts of a few. But in many low- and middle-income countries worldwide, one medical specialist may be responsible for the health of millions. In Vietnam, where I work, there is one psychiatrist for 300 …
Read more on Health Affairs (blog)

State Theatre, NJ Presents MEMPHIS, the 4-time Tony Award-Winning Musical on February 7 and 8, 2014

(PRWEB) January 20, 2014

State Theatre presents three performances of the Broadway musical, Memphis, on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. A free Pre-Performance Insights lecture is available for each performance, one hour prior to show time at the United Methodist Church, located at 323 George Street. Tickets for Memphis range from $ 35-75.

The Memphis cast includes Joey Elrose as Huey Calhoun, Jasmin Richardson as Felicia, Ramond Thomas as Delray, D. Scott Withers as Mr. Simmons, Avionce Hoyles as Gator, Jerrial T. Young as Bobby, and Pat Sibley as Mama. The ensemble includes Keely Beirne (of Manalapan NJ), Oyoyo Joi Bonner, Taylor Broadard, Sidney DuPont, Kenny Francoeur, Laurie Elizabeth Gardner, Daniel S. Hines, Kyshawn K. Lane, JT Mckenzie, Kaitlin Niewoehner, Jonathan Ragsdale, Jonas Shumpert, and Eddie Urish, with Erika Conaway as swing/dance captain and Jose Gonzalez as swing/assistant dance captain.

Critically acclaimed Memphis won four 2010 Tony® Awards including Best Musical, Best Original Score (David Bryan and Joe DiPietro); four Drama Desk Awards including Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Music (David Bryan) and four Outer Critic Circle Awards including Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Score (David Bryan & Joe DiPietro), and Outstanding Choreography (Sergio Trujillo).

The show features a Tony® winning score with music by Bon Jovi’s founding member and keyboardist David Bryan and lyrics by Bryan and Joe DiPietro (I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change), who also pens the musical’s book. Bryan and DiPietro also collaborated on the award-winning off-Broadway hit, The Toxic Avenger.

New Jersey native David Bryan is a Grammy® Award-winning keyboard player and founding member of Bon Jovi. Over the past 26 years the band has sold more than 130 million records and toured the world, playing to millions of people. Their recent Lost Highway Tour was the #1 grossing tour in the world. He is also a National Spokesperson for VH1′s Save The Music Program.

Adam Arian will re-create the original direction by Tony® nominee Christopher Ashley (Xanadu), Jermaine Rembert will re-create the original choreography by Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys).

Scenic Design for Memphis is by Tony® Award-winner David Gallo (The Drowsy Chaperone, Reasons to Be Pretty), Costume Design is by Tony nominee Paul Tazewell (In the Heights), Lighting Design is by Tony Award winner Howell Binkley (Jersey Boys) and Sound Design is by Shannon Slaton.

Memphis takes place in the smoky halls and underground clubs of the segregated 50’s, where a young white DJ named Huey Calhoun fell in love with everything he shouldn’t: rock and roll and an electrifying black singer. Memphis is an original story about the cultural revolution that erupted when his vision met her voice, and the music changed forever. Come along on their incredible journey to the ends of the airwaves—filled with laughter, vibrant choreography, and roof-raising rock ‘n’ roll.

For tickets or more information, call the State Theatre ticket office at 732-246-SHOW (7469), or visit us online at The State Theatre ticket office, located at 15 Livingston Ave, New Brunswick NJ, is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Wednesday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.; and at least three hours prior to curtain on performance dates, unless otherwise specified. For information on group outings and discounts, call 732-247-7200, ext. 517. Some additional ticket and transaction fees may apply.

State Theatre, a premier nonprofit venue for the performing arts and entertainment. The theater exists to enrich people’s lives, contribute to a vital urban environment, and build future audiences by presenting the finest performing artists and entertainers and fostering lifetime appreciation for the performing arts through education. The State Theatre’s programs are made possible, in part, by funding from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, and contributions from numerous corporations, foundations, and individuals. The Heldrich is the official hotel of the State Theatre. Magic 98.3 is the official radio station of the State Theatre. The Star-Ledger is the official newspaper of the State Theatre. United is the official airline of the State Theatre.


15 Livingston Ave

New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Ticket Office – 732-246-SHOW (7469)

Online –


Please contact Kelly Blithe at

732-247-7200, ext. 542 or by email at kblithe(at)StateTheatreNJ(dot)org.

Up-to-the-minute information on events and State Theatre news,

online at

# # #

my edu180atl post from 5.21.12

June 11, 2012 1 comment

The following post was my contribution to the edu180atl project for the 2011-12 school year. During the final week in May, members of the founding team wrote reflections on the power of this learning project and all 180 posts of learning are archived on the site. My reflections centered on the concept of wide-awakeness…something I am trying to grow in myself and also the inspiration for this blog.

Without the ability to think about yourself, to reflect on your life, there’s really no awareness, no consciousness. Consciousness doesn’t come automatically; it comes through being alive, awake, curious, and often furious. ~Maxine Greene

I have felt alive, awake, curious, and furious this 2011-12 school year. Consuming the wisdom generated from 175 posts, and now creating this 176th post, I have gained greater consciousness about learning and schooling and being in this world.

And I feel wide-awake to possibility.

Maxine Greene’s words about being wide-awake in the world serve as a reminder…and so will the 45,000 words posted to this site from August 1st to May 25th. Open eyes, open ears, and open hearts allow for learning to happen. The edu180atl project, a small-seed-of-an-idea back in the spring of 2011, blossomed in the fall and has been producing the most diverse and substantive fruit for 175 days. For that I am grateful.

And on this 176th day, I feel wide-awake to possibility.

What if all of our classrooms and teams and schools and school systems sought to cultivate students’ spirit of wide-awakeness — their spirit of wanting to know and learn? What if we educators — both teachers and administrators — sought to cultivate that spirit in ourselves and in others? How might we change? What would the possibilities look like?

If we all had greater consciousness about learning and schooling and being in this world, the possibilites would be endless…for our students…for our selves…for our schools…and maybe even for our society. So, what have I learned? That it’s time to pursue such wide-awakeness with the reckless abandon of being alive, awake, curious, and furious every day. Not just during the 180 days of the school year. Or on the 176th.

About the Author: Megan Howard (@mmhoward), co-founder of edu180atl and passionate learner, is grateful for what the edu180atl project has taught her this year. She can’t wait for August 1, 2012, which will mark the second year of this important and inspiring project.

Categories: edu180atl

the edu180atl project and #180voices180stories

May 25, 2012 2 comments

The first year of the edu180atl project came to a close today. And after 180 days, 180 posts, 180 voices, and 180 stories of learning, I am better for it. The project, born out of a back-and-forth on Twitter in January 2011 has been a powerful vehicle for nurturing and encouraging the spirits of those who love to learn, connecting learners across the city, and deepening the national conversation about education over the course of the past 180 school days.

This week, members of the founding edu180atl team took time to reflect on what this project has meant to us (the full posts are linked below). Today, Holly Chesser wrote a post looking toward the future and also sharing what this project has meant to her. She will be leading the edu180atl team alongside Jennifer Murphy for the 2012-13 school year.

I am proud to have been a part of this project and the edu180atl team.

edu180atl: megan howard 5.21.12:

I have felt alive, awake, curious, and furious this 2011-12 school year. Consuming the wisdom generated from 175 posts, and now creating this 176th post, I have gained greater consciousness about learning and schooling and being in this world.

And I feel wide-awake to possibility.

edu180atl: john burk 5.22.12:

Through the edu180atl project, I’ve connected with countless learners and their stories of learning—stories filled with struggle and challenge, but also fulfillment and joy. These connections make me feel even more empowered to persevere through my own difficulties, and give me a great sense of gratitude.

edu180atl: ted sadtler 5.23.12:

Since August I too have leaned toward the sun, toward the bright spots of reflection and dialogue in Atlanta: students expressing their uniqueness and creativity, adults facing cataclysmic change in their lives, teachers reveling in the endearing moments of their day, parents expressing their hopes for their children. I really do think that the 170+ authors have captured the full range of experience that comes with devoting oneself to a lifetime of learning. And yet, there are so many degrees yet to capture. So I continue leaning toward the brightness of our community’s reflections, waiting with anticipation as the next group of volunteers write, read, comment, edit, and share what it means to be a learner.

edu180atl: laura deisley 5.24.12:

Indeed, it is this kind of spirit that inspired us to create edu180atl — a place where individuals have dared to share, to be transparent, to struggle, to reinvent themselves. By so doing, the hallmark of a healthy community is evolving: empathy for one another. Isn’t that a fundamental condition for learning? People may say education in Atlanta is broken. Institutionally, as a whole, maybe it is. But, I believe. I believe that this edu180atl community is designing a future for education in Atlanta built on empathy.

edu180atl: holly chesser 5.25.12:

This desire to find our commonalities and to appreciate our uniqueness lies at the heart of edu180atl’s mission: “to nurture and encourage the spirits of those who love to learn,” “to connect learners,” and “to deepen the national conversation about education.”

Today marks the sunset of this school year: post # 180. Time to seek relaxation and renewal. But like any good teacher, I’m thinking back over all the posts I’ve read and wondered, “”What’s the take away? What did I learn?” In re-reading many posts this week, I discovered a harmonious refrain – a gratitude for those who care, a discovery of something hidden within, and a wish for what could be. As I tell my students, there’s only one story – the human story – and we each keeping telling it with infinite variation.

Categories: edu180atl

Remembering the Importance of Resilience

May 13, 2012 1 comment

This was my final contribution to Trinity This Week, the School’s weekly publication which highlights “Notes from the Administrative Leadership Team” in the form of a short blog post on a weekly basis. The original post is on the Trinity site and can be found here.

As a young child, my hair tangled easily. I remember sitting on a stool in my parents’ bathroom, looking into the mirror and up at my mother, as she took a comb to my wet head and carefully, slowly, meticulously, combed the tangles out of my long sandy blond hair. As I reflect on those hours spent sitting still and grimacing with each catch in the comb, I can now see that it was really a beautiful time for my mother and me. Time spent talking, problem-solving, musing, laughing, arguing, connecting. Time spent just-the-two-of-us without interruption. Time spent building a stronger mother-daughter bond. Time spent combing out the tangles…literally and metaphorically.

As the end of the school year approaches, it’s easy to think that all of those “tangles” have been combed out of our children. It is natural to think of the end of the year as a time to celebrate all of the great successes and forget, in many ways, about the bumps in the road or even some of the mistakes and failures that happened throughout the year. As our Sixth Graders smile and accept their diplomas in just a few short weeks — in heels, in suits, and perfectly poised and confident — it’s important to remember that their learning process at Trinity has been full of plenty of successes but also a number of tangles as well. And just as I had my mother to help me tease out and recognize those tangles, our Trinity Sixth Graders graduate with the knowledge that their learning experiences have been rich – full of ups and downs and full of the support of parents, siblings, teachers, and of course, their peers.

Resilience is one of those 21st Century skills that is often cited in studies that highlight “the top essential skills for college and career.” At Trinity, we believe that the development of a number of skills is essential, resilience being one of them. From outdoor education trips to cooperative learning experiences in classrooms, the learning process – and not just the product – is something that is celebrated throughout the Trinity community. Carol Dweck’s research on motivation, achievement, and mindsets guides much of our focus on risk-taking and reflection. Developing a growth mindset (as opposed to a fixed mindset) is essential for children in the 21st Century. Trinity students must learn that their abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work – and that their brains and talent are just the starting point. Fostering growth mindsets not only creates a love of learning but also increased resilience in the face of risk-taking, struggles, and even failure as well.

So as we approach the end of the May, a time of year when achievement and accolades are often given so much attention, it’s important to spend time thinking and talking with our children about the process of growing, learning, and developing. Just as Trinity teachers begin each school year focusing on children’s strengths as part of our strengths-based educational approach, our teachers spend time at the end of the year reflecting on the growth that has occurred – academically, socially, emotionally, and in a myriad of other areas as well. Trinity children begin to understand that the journey with all of its ups and downs is something to reflect upon and be proud of. And that is an incredible accomplishment in itself.

If you are interested in learning more about the importance of resilience and child development, the following books may be of interest to you:


May 8, 2012 1 comment

On March 9th, I started this experi(ence)ment by saying, “I have no idea what the two of us will play. And I won’t be able to tell you what it is until it happens.” Today, on May 8th, after 60+ consecutive days of what-ifs and riffs, I’m still not sure that I can say what it is but I can certainly share what all of this thinking and reflecting has meant to me, both personally and professionally.

Thinking about CHANGEd: What if we all tried something new for 30 days (or longer) and learned out loud? 60-60-60 #60 and reflecting…

In his short but powerful TED Talk, Matt Cutts advocates for us all to try something new for a month. Sharing what he’s learned from his own personal experiments and experiences, he highlights that we can all learn to make the days count, to appreciate the boost of confidence that a new habit brings, and to heighten our ability to persevere despite the ups and downs of life. In Bo’s #60 CHANGEd post, he also highlights just a few things he has learned and enjoyed in his 60-60-60 journey. As I think about my own progress and process over the course of the past two months, I can borrow from both Matt and Bo and use their themes as starting points for my reflections…

1. Making the Days Count: Sixty days is a long time. Consistent reflection over the course of two months around a certain theme pushed me in ways that I never imagined. Sure, a number of similar themes emerged. Only one word however — empathy — made an appearance two times in a title post. And as I reflect on CHANGEd 60-60-60, I see that the notion of empathy, especially as it relates to the design process, is having a larger and larger influence on who I am as an educator. There’s still so much that I want to learn about the design process, but I know that I must find ways to cultivate a more empathetic spirit in myself and in others as well. For that, I am motivated.

2. Building Confidence (Motivators and Blockers): At the outset, one of my goals was to learn to write more spontaneously and without as much fear of failure. Writing sixty posts and getting positive feedback from others on my thinking was inspiring. A half-baked blog post (of which there were many) was not considered failure…failure (in my mind) was not seeing this project to its completion. Convinced through Twitter that I had at least one reader (Bo, who was RTing my posts) was a “motivator” for me. Then, when Grant Lichtman began leaving comments on my posts, I knew that I had at least two readers. Normally, such pressure would have been a blocker, but Bo and Grant’s encouragement and what-if questioning only inspired me more. Like Bo, I saw that “learning-out-loud” caused me to double and triple my weekly readership which will only add to a more robust and diverse personal learning network. For that, I am proud.

3. Perseverance (Stick-To-It-Tive-Ness): I had a learning partner whose consistency kept me on track. Never did I think that Bo wouldn’t post and so even when I fell behind in my writing (sometimes days behind), I knew that quitting was not an option. Interestingly, some of my better posts (in my opinion) came when I was writing two or three in one evening. Those evenings, although mentally tiring, were often the nights when I felt most motivated and energized. Sticking to this project, which forced me to spend a significant time (on more than a few occasions) thinking and writing was a hidden gift. For that, I am grateful.

4. I’ve learned and enjoyed… It’s very difficult to catalog my learning and enjoyment in this one post. Even now as I go back and look through the titles of posts 1-30 and 31-60, I see a new pattern in my thinking or notice something different in my writing…just in the titles of the posts. Going through and re-reading each day will prove fruitful as I spend time this summer critiquing my own leadership and developing a personal vision for my work in a new role next school year.

Even this 60th post feels flat…my voice sounds one-dimensional…the topic a bit too navel-gazing. But, what I realize is that making this CHANGEd 60-60-60 music has been one of the more dynamic and enjoyable learning experiences that I have engaged in for quite some time.

And for that, I am inspired.

All in all, this CHANGEd 60-60-60 experi(ence)ment has helped me refine my vision of school in ways that I never thought possible. Never did I expect that this would happen during an incredibly overwhelming end of the school year. Obviously my definition will always be a working definition, but I am proud of where I stand today. So, on May 8th after 60+ days of thinking and reflecting, that I believe that school should be…

…a place where inquiry, imagination, ongoing assessment, reflection, and “what ifs” drive the experiences of adults and children at the school…people of integrity and resilience who honor and promote growth mindsets…programs which reach beyond school walls and into everyday life of the expanding global community.

And, in the words of my CHANGEd partner, so that we can conclude (for now) this musical play with a uniform sound but one which leaves room for possibly new riffs…

We educators should never think that we’ve got schooling as good as it can ever be. We should be seeing our current reality clearly, and we should be envisioning how we can get better. Isn’t such delta-oriented vision what it will take for education and schooling to be CHANGEd?

Categories: 60-60-60


May 6, 2012 1 comment

Thinking about What if we teachers had to enroll in our own classes…and at least one more? 60-60-60 #59 and reflecting…

Here’s an email I received over the weekend from a Trinity Sixth Grader:

Hello Ms. Howard and Ms. Chapman!

Do either of you know someone named Kirby Lui? Well, he commented on my blog and check out what he said!

I’ve been a photographer for quite a while and have seen many different types of photographers, and I must say that I’m very impressed at your technical and creative knowledge of photography, the enthusiasm and discipline that you approach your subjects, and your strong photographic compositions. Compared to other students that I have worked with, you have a definite edge over most of the people that I have seen.

If you continue to approach photography with the same level of dedication as I’ve seen on your website, I believe that you have a talent that could be developed to a remarkable high level if you choose to continue cultivating it. Don’t let the talent go to waste. Keep up the hard work, it is obvious from your website. I look forward to your next post.


Isn’t that really nice?


The first art class that I remember actually enjoying was Photography 101 with Mrs. Harris in Eighth Grade. For much of my high school career, I was passionate about black and white photography but due to the demands of academics and athletics, my experimenting with this art happened only in the summer during long walks in the woods or at the beach on vacation. I am still proud of the prints I made of the massive St. Simons Island palm trees that a family friend framed and put in a guest bedroom of a beach house in Florida. I always wonder what would have happened if I had more time to devote to building upon those skills and passions that I began to uncover just before high school began.

“Megan, you have a real gift for teaching.” That’s the first comment I remember hearing about my natural ease in the classroom with elementary students…uttered first when I was in high school and then in college multiple times throughout my volunteer tutoring times and later during an internship I created with the help of a teacher-mentor. The skills and passions — similar to those I possessed with black and white photography — were there but so was the echo of a believing voice.

I believe that all students need to hear the following words:

I believe that you have a talent that could be developed to a remarkable high level if you choose to continue cultivating it. Don’t let the talent go to waste.

Those are the words that I heard over and over again about my work in classrooms and in schools. I realize that there are some students — adults too — who never hear such words or affirmations.

I wonder, if we enrolled ourselves in our own classes, would we hear ourselves offering such words of support to the budding biologists, teachers, doctors, pilots, directors, caregivers, and entrepreneurs in our classrooms? Would we hear ourselves connecting the subject areas we are teaching with the real-life learning our students are longing for? Would we be inspiring students in the way that Kirby is inspiring Julia — to keep working hard, to overcome obstacles, and to pursue an area of interest that has potential for greater learning and…life?

Categories: 60-60-60


May 6, 2012 Leave a comment

Thinking about What if we really reflected on what former students remember? 60-60-60 #58 and reflecting…

I’ve been catching up on the Trinity-Fac&Stu folder of my GoogleReader account. I rarely let that folder go unread for as long as I have this week, but what a surprise I found this evening as I was reading last week’s posts.

Bo writes about how students remember what they craft and create. As I think about a learning experience that Trinity sixth graders will likely remember alongside their outdoor education trips and musical performances and academic experiences from their final year at the school, at the top of the list is the QUEST and Capstone project. It’s not a coincidence that Andrew Hennessy took his sixth grade project all the way to the TEDxKIDS@BC stage in Vancouver in September 2011.

As I read the students’ memories and reflections, all of which were written upon completion of the QUEST research paper, I was struck at how almost every student spoke to one, two, or all three elements of true motivation as categorized by Dan Pink: autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

We must allow students to craft and create. We certainly need more Dolphin Tale experiences and internships than we have now, but let’s not forget that even the more traditional experiences (even those research papers!) — if crafted innovatively and created with care by the lead learners in the school — can be memorable and powerful.

Check out these four reflections from sixth graders about what they’ve learned through their QUEST research experience. The reverberating sound of autonomy-mastery-purpose through these students’ words provides the perfect riff for today’s CHANGEd 60-60-60 post:

I learned many things about myself as a student through the QUEST paper. I learned that I write a good first rough draft and that I should trust that I can. I also learned that I am good at managing my time because I turn most of my long term projects in early. I also learned things about myself. I learned that I am capable of any task if I take the time and work as hard as I can. ~ Matt

As a student, I learned that i can write something cool and put a lot of effort into something in school and acquire your future talents in 6th grade. As a person I found out how to solve problems between people. My mentor took a while to e-mail me so I took charge.~ Pete

As a student I have learned that I can be very organized. I also can be very conscientious about creating good presentation. I have also learned that I love to do hands on projects. If I set my mind to a topic that I find interesting, then I can create a good presentation. On my next project I think I will be more conscientious about my time-line. I also should plan ahead of what my goals are going to be. I will definitely bring in more analytically and organizational skills. I think through this project I have learned to always have perseverance which I will definitely use in all my assignments. ~ McKenzie

I learned that as a student I can always work better when I am really into the topic and I enjoy learning about it and working on it all of the time. I learned that I love to learn more anytime I can and I love to hear from the best people that I can so I can learn the most and learn from the best. ~ Emerson

As a student, I really realized that I work best when studying a topic I love. I also learned that doing the most boring things like writing long essays are more fun when they are about something I love. I love dogs more than words can describe, and I cannot wait for the Capstone project…Next year, I will bring the note card organization method in my ‘student tool box’ when writing papers next year. It is an excellent way of grouping the facts into topics, later to be made into paragraphs. ~ Julie

I learned different things about myself too. As a student, I feel like I learned better ways about finding information for anything and being able to figure out what is important and whats not. I also think that I learned how to stay more organized by using note cards to write down my facts. As a person, I feel like I learned to trust in myself more about what I think I should do when working on something. Second, I learned to feel more confident about my work and am better at managing my time…In the future, I think that I would change the way I researched. I would read more about the topic to make sure I am more comfortable with it. I would do this because I feel like I started the QUEST project kind of clueless about cake decorating. I wish I had known more about my topic so I would feel more comfortable about the whole thing during the beginning of the process. During this whole QUEST project I learned lots of facts, but mostly I learned about myself as a student and a learner. ~Emily

Categories: 60-60-60


May 6, 2012 3 comments

Thinking about What if school leaders practiced the change they preach…and developed a people strategy? 60-60-60 #57 and reflecting…

A people strategy begins with EMPATHY. It moves along the stepping stones of the Golden Rule. A people strategy refuses to commit the fundamental attribution error (see the Heath Bros’ Switch).

Bo’s reflections on “The Big Shifts” are ones that I want to save here on my blog, thus making today’s riff a re-post of his questions…in hopes that they will inspire future posts about how I, in my future work in school administration, am striving to proactively respond to the shifting notions of what it means to create the right learning environments for both children and adults in the 21st century.

So, for this 57th post…

If we administrators expect teachers to proactively respond to these big shifts for the futures of their students, mustn’t we do so ourselves?

  • Shouldn’t we be transforming faculty meetings (and other “PD”) into faculty doings? Shouldn’t we be experimenting with PBL with adults…and with projects that are relevant and meaningful to teachers? Are we even asking them what they want and need?
  • From the admin view, how can we make school more “teacher-centered” so that teachers can, in turn, make school more student-centered? Shouldn’t we admin be modeling “student voice and choice” by providing such to our faculties?
  • How are we un-silo-ing our schools to facilitate teachers working in teams?
  • How are we facilitating the construction of meaning among our faculties, instead of asking them to consume information? Do decisions feel top-down or bottom-up? Or inside-out? Or outside-in?
  • How are we admin employing and engaging learning networks and advocating for OPEN and SAFE and THOUGHTFUL use of such endless learning resources in the network…outside our school walls?
  • How are we crowd-sourcing our collective wisdom within our faculties and among our faculties from school to school? How are we refusing to re-invent the wheel and instead partnering with the crowds of other doing schools…I mean networks?
  • How are we refusing the high stakes testing of teachers and engaging high value demonstrations of professional practice?

Thanks for creating and categorizing these questions, Bo. They are important ones that we must tackle…and not necessary in isolation!

Categories: 60-60-60

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