Serving Senior Citizens Over 60 in Sunnyside with Mayor of Sunnyside Sandra Massie Hines

by Dr. Sheila Pope

I have loved working with senior citizens for most of my life because of Zeffie Lee Frazier, my aunt, who took care of me while my parents worked. While my cousins Lorraine Joseph, Charlie Mae, and Joann Smith were at school, I was with Muh (Zeffie).

My days were filled with activities. I watched the Edge of Night. I collected the eggs out of the hen house. I ate homemade biscuits and drank coffee at the age of six. I think Muh was around 50 when I was six. Muh’s love and nurturing shielded me from my mother’s and father’s dysfunctional relationship. Muh helped me figure out who I was as a child and as a woman. I thought I was white for a year or two because of my complexion and my long hair (Lol!).

When I was 16, I returned to Winnfield. Louisiana. I would sit on the front porch with Uncle Charlie and Muh and tell them my dreams. I know they were over 65 at the time. I was ambitious at a young age. She believed me. On our many fishing trips, she had me drive her and Alice to go fishing. Alice and Muh we well over sixty and very independent. I dumped spit jars filled with Snuff.

My first job was in Winnfield, Lousiana at Troy’s Supermarket. Muh’s encouraged me to apply for the job. She explained to me why it was important for people to work for a living. She was my first cheerleader. I am not sure when dementia started to steal memories of me from Muh but I never lost my memories of her and my childhood.

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I have advocated for senior citizens because of the love and kindness I received from a senior citizen named Zeffie Frazier. People do not know, I fought for seniors like Marie Johnson from Acres Homes and for the ladies over 55 who worked in the kitchen over at Spring Branch Hospital before I became a teacher. Those ladies almost died from the stress and phsycial requirements of working in a hot industrial sized kitchen. Working with those senior citizens made me respect the value of a college degree. I was not designed to wash dishes in a hospital kitchen. I washed those dishes long enough for me to get to know each of ladies I was assigned to help. I was able to help them obtain their disability, helped one retire (hospital tried to fire her), and helped them obtain their social security. I even learned how to help one senior obtain her widow’s benefits.

I was never paid with money. I gained knowledge of how government systems worked. I learned literacy was critical. Many of the seniors I helped could not read. I learned I was smart and could do more by myself than I thought. After advocating for the seniors at Spring Branch, I thought I was going to become a lawyer. I became an educator instead. I still wonder how those seniors worked in the kitchen for 20 years.

I am sharing my story because the Mayor of Sunnyside, Sandra Massie Hines helped me to refocus my vision. She reminded me that money is not everything. She reminded me that I have a greater calling and God will order my steps to do more than I have ever thought. I woke up ready to continue my passion to do what I am called to do in business and in the Sunnyside community serving children and senior citizens.

Ms. Sandra Massie Hines and Harris County Sheriff Department

You are Appreciated!

God has partnered me with two community leaders in Sunnyside: Mr. Allen Provost, Treasurer of Peoples United Summit and Mayor Sandra Massie Hines, founder of Junior Achievers and Sunnyside Silver Hair Senior Group, Inc so I can stay focused and walk by faith to serve senior citizens and children while I continue to build my businesses.

I want to encourage each my readers to listen to your inner voice to help giuide you do the thing you know you are called to do in business and in the community. I want you to know serving others and volunteering are underrated. Being happy, helping others, and being at peace is priceless.

I Stand with Worthing High School!

by Dr. Sheila Pope

 

Last night, I attended the Worthing High School and Woodson Community Meeting. I wanted to show my support for my former students and my former colleagues at Worthing High School. I went to hear Worthing’s outcome from Wanda Adams, Dr. Latham, and Dr. Cranbill for myself. I am so glad I attended the meeting.

First, it was an awesome feeling to see my former students the moment I got out of my car. They found me with my new vehicle. lol! They still know my voice. They looked

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Worthing High School Graduation June 2018

great! I am so proud of them. I look forward to seeing all of them graduate in June 2018! I have a few more students that I taught that will graduate in 2019. I came for them too! I also enjoyed sitting in a well-lit auditorium! Yes, we could see each other and we could see the data, newsletters, and other handouts due to new lights, new paint, and new SMARTboards used in the auditorium. When I worked at Worthing for three years, we did not have light or technology in the auditorium. I left in 2016. Good leadership understands nothing get recognized in the dark!

 

 

Next, I respected the way Board Trustee Wanda Adams allowed the principals of Woodson and Worthing share all of their positives before sharing the faith of both schools. Both principals acknowledged their staff and their teachers. They were their own press agents! No one could say that new leadership had not made a difference at both schools.

I respect the position Wanda Adams is in, but I wish she had the COURAGE and

Wanda Adams

Board of Trustee Member Wanda Adams

CONVICTION to just shot straight sometimes! I understand she has to be guarded, but you can ADMIT Worthing MIGHT close. You need to have told parents, You cannot control the outcome of 10 years of negligence on and off your watch! Sometimes, you have to address the elephant in the room, but still speak with hope and not recklessness.

Dr. Latham and Wanda Adams acknowledged Dr. Campbell and the principal at Woodson were working hard to change the culture of the schools. Dr. Latham said, she supported their leadership and hoped the new PARTNERS would keep them in their current positions. Unfortunately, both principals might lose their jobs because new organizations tend to bring in their own folks! Under new partnership, HISD does not have ANY say in hiring and firing of staff!

 

It was clear to me that Dr. Latham maybe the new interim Superintendent of HISD; she does not plan to change leadership at the two schools while she has control of Woodson and Worthing. However, it was also clear to me TEA and Dr. Latham did not agree on key points.

Dr. Latham said the district was going to recommend a partnership with a nonprofit that had a successful record of turning schools around. They prefer higher education entities. She said partnership would not be charter schools nor the nonprofit from Boston mentioned earlier this year. The new focus of Worthing and Woodson would be the International Baccalaureate Program. This seems to be an odd choice, but not worth challenging now. New partnerships will have their own plans. Dr. Latham believes both school will benefit from a new rigorous IB program.

Dr. Latham said the partnerships would last for three years. The partnerships would be effective immediately in August 2018-2019 school year. The partnerships would have total control of schools that were failing. The partnerships could hire/fire who they wanted to immediately. Therefore, teachers and staff COULD be FIRED due to performance issues or budget issues by June 2018.

Wanda Adams said she would not SUPPORT closing HISD schools. However, TEA does not need Wanda Adam’s support to make the decisions to close and reopen (reset) failing schools. HISD will submit the application/contract for partnership by April 12th. At the next school board meeting decisions will be finalized by HISD. Dr. Latham said HISD would publish partnership contracts; however, Dr. Cranbill, TEA rep, said the contracts would not be published. TEA will announce their decisions after HISD submits their complete packages for partnerships on April 30th.

 

By April 30th, HISD will submit all the names of staff, teachers, and leadership for all 10 failing schools. Some staff/teachers will know their employment status before/on April 30th. HISD will submit the new configurations of the failing schools by April 30th. For example, Dr. Latham announced Woodson, would only serve Pre-K through 3rd grade under HISD new application/partnership. Teachers in grades 4th-8th will be fired or moved around due restructuring of campuses.

 

TEA will tell the district what it will do on by June 2018. If TEA does not accept HISD application/partnership agreement, Worthing will be RESET. Dr. Latham said under reset plan, Worthing will be a 9th grade center. Students currently in 10th, 11th, and 12th grade will go to another high school that IS NOT in Improvement Required Status. HISD will bus students to their new schools. Dr. Latham did not give the names of new schools nor did she act as if TEA might disregard their partnership agreements.

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In June, TEA Will Announces Its Plans

I was happy to see Dr. Pretta Vandible Stallworth attend the meeting representing Houston Community College as District 9 Trustee. She is an alumna of Worthing. She has great plans to partner with Worthing High School to provide trades/skill credit classes off campus at Houston Community College@ Reed/288 location. However, it seemed like she and Dr. Campbell needed to talk more about their SHARED vision.

 

Dr. Campbell announced Worthing planned to provide Teacher Education classes, Hotel and Restaurant classes, and Agriculture classes during 2018-2019. With all respect to the Worthing Committee for the efforts, but I DO NOT LIKE the choices. Dr. Campbell said they conducted a survey and the choices were a result of survey. Maybe the committee needed to try a couple other methods to get more input from students to see what they wanted. We have to listen to Worthing Students!

Worthing students would benefit from ROTC, welding, cosmetology, air conditioning and refrigeration, auto mechanics, Chef programs, and Dual Credit English, government, history, and psychology courses ON CAMPUS and off too. The classes should be offered to 10th grade -12th grade students. I thought Worthing was offering these classes this school year, but the plans fell through once again!

The community meeting did not have as many people as I had hoped. There were a few incidents but at the end of the meeting, I walked away thinking Wanda Adams and HISDneeded to prepare for TEA rejecting their plans. They needed to start thinking of how to move forward if TEA suggest a RESET. Having a contingency plan is WISE. I also felt they should have invited a potential partner to talk to community and other stakeholders. It would have been nice to hear a potential partners’ plans to turn things around.

 

It was good to see Mr. Marcus McGee, Mr. Gerry Wayne Monroe, Rev. Curtis Dockery, Sheryl Scott Taylor representing State Representative Shawn Thierry, Lighthouse for Students and representatives from Congress Woman Sheila Jackson Lee, Commissioner Rodney Ellis, Urban League, and all of the principals from the South Districts out to support VB Evan E. Worthing and Woodson. I will attend the school board meeting on April 12th! I hope to see you there!

 

At the meeting, we will see the outcomes of the games that have been played with our children’s futures. We will see who can admit change is necessary and see how HISD moves forward. We will see their new vision for 10 failing schools and their new attempt to turn things around.pexels-photo-910330184259237.jpeg

Shocked to See: Slavery in 2017

By Sheila Pope, Ph.D

This morning I was shocked to see Matt Lauer had been fired from the “Today Show”. I was shocked to see so many of my African American political Facebook Friends still support State Representative Ron Reynolds after he was found guilty of stealing his client’s money from settlements. Yes, I question how we can uphold any government officials with serious integrity issues and act as if they need to be in photos with candidates that have yet to prove themselves. It taints their credibility before they get elected.

However, I was more shocked to see that in 2017, we have allowed our people to be sold into slavery in Libya! This image says it all! Black Friday has a whole new meaning in the world. The images of Africans men being hung upside down by their feet should make all Africans and African-Americans living in the USA get up and get active. What about Caucasians you ask? What about them? Our President tells you where he stands on race relations on a daily basis.

We have a responsibility to understand, what happens around the world is a threat to us in America. Dr. King said it best, “Moreover, I am cognizant of the INTERRELATEDNESS of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” (Letter From Birmingham Jail, 1963).

If we allow this to continue to happen in Libya soon, we will find more of our people missing and being shipped overseas into slavery. While some of us travel internationally, we should consider how easy it would be to become “lost” and “found” in shackles. Sounds like hyperbole, but it is real people. The climate is set for more stuff like this to happen in our backyards. Thanks, Steven Solari for the image.24291751_10215594255517246_4536367000504789490_o

Pushing Your Sons Out of the Nest

by Dr. Sheila Pope

Today, I am happy to announce my oldest son was pushed out of the nest last week and on October 13th, he learned to fly independently! He is moving to Mississippi. He is driving with a few friends to Mississippi and living in his own apartment across from his dad, my ex-husband.

Image Credit: Dr. Sheila Pope

For the single mothers struggling to let go of their adult sons, listen to your inner voice and trust God to help you release them. I held on to Chris out of fear that he would not survive without my help. Yet this last year, I realized I prepared him to become an awesome young man. Last week, I realized I needed to let him go before I killed his spirit and before I killed his motivation to survive. 

When I released him, I had peace. I had no worries. When he returned with his plan, I knew I made the right choice as a mother. His sibilings were happy to see him and to know they could talk with him via the phone. Chris was not angry with me. He had his chest stuck out. He is finally getting his road trip. Now, his father in heaven and his dad can help him become a responsible man. 

When he came to say goodbye last night before leaving, I gave him several hugs, told him I loved him, and gave him his cell phone.  I will admit I was proud of him. I asked if he was sure of his plans and he said yes he was sure. 

I have three more children to raise as a single mom and I am excited to start this new journey. Chris has helped me so much with the children, but they are able to rock and roll with me now. My life changes too! However, I will not let fear and discomfort cause me to hinder Christopher’s ability to become the man of his own home. 

Single moms we have to know when to let go of our baby boys. When they are taller than us, can talk back to us, capable of manipulating us, they  are not paying any bills, they are taking more than they give, they are failing to see you as a blessing, they are a high school graduate, they are intelligent, they are physically able to work, and they are 18 years of age with a car, it is time to push them out of the nest.

Moms don’t let fear hold you hostage and cause you to create a irresponsible man. Let go and let God show you how to support him from a distance.

My SMART Board

Written by Dr. Sheila Pope

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Well, it finally happened; I have fallen in love again! For the last 10 years, I have taught my English classes at Texas Southern University (seven years) and Worthing High School with my personal Epson projector, my Logistics speakers, and my laptop computer. Finally, when Worthing’s students and teachers moved into their new building and classrooms, we were given new technology.

I love all things tech! I loved and cherished my Epson because I paid for it out of pocket. I understood the value of having a large screen,  great visuals and clear, loud audio in a classroom. Yet I could not interact with my content until now.

I walked into my new beautiful classroom and was instantly interested in playing with my SMART BOARD. No one provided training, but I did not really need it. At first, I just tried to move the screen up and down with my hands. I like making the text shrink or expand with my fingertips. I started downloading more of its software.

Gradually I began to develop strong feelings for my board. The more I played with it, the more I appreciated its capabilities. One day last month, my baby crashed. I was sick! I always incorporate tech into my lessons.

When it was working, I started playing my videos using surround sound. My computer was always locked into its docking station. Then, I was given a remote. The IT guy, Mr. Albert, reset my baby when it crashed. After the crash, I was more determined to learn more about its abilities.

Video: Falling in Love with My SMARTBOARD 

I learned it has so many superpowers! I became excited; I laughed as I learned what real interaction and engagement with content meant. I quickly learned I loved my SMART Board!

Today, I am a part of the SMART Board community. I am still learning what it can do, but I love the way it makes me feel when I annotate text on the screen. I love pasting stamps. I think the spotlight is my favorite tool.

This is the beginning of a beautiful love affair. I cannot teach in another classroom without a SMART Board. When I attended a training at another campus, I passed by a classroom with a chalkboard and laughed. I did not think teachers were still using a chalkboard. I am blessed to work in a district that promotes high-tech tools.

There are a few issues with my SMART Board, but the joy I feel when it works makes me continue to love it.