Archive for the ‘College’ Category


With the recent school year of the Milwaukee Public Schools System had ended in March, the educational community like many had to rebound. Instead of the traditional route of going back to the classrooms seemed to be out of reach due to the coronavirus. But in a sense of that, another element that has been mostly talked about and many know this in the earlier college days, and of course myself was one of them: I’m talking about Distance Education. However for the MPS Board and leaders, it has become uncharted waters of not knowing enough of how to to utilize this option to proceed for all levels to conquers. This however also raised the irie of the community in which it has failed to deliver the Chromebooks to the students and an host of others. However for those whom have experience with Online Class Learning has this on lock. Which is by chance is a few out of many. For this letter is addresed to the current Administration plus the Teachers that is facing the Virtual Problem that can be a solution to the kids of the district. And oh, if you’re an MPS Alum like myself and have experience of Virtural Learning this maybe a good time to be an advisior.

Dear Milwaukee Public Schools Administration/Teachers:

It’s me Stephen. You know, I’m an citizen of the city, plus a proud alum of the Milwaukee Public Schools. You know the main reason why I am writing this letter because, you have a problem. An Online Virtual Learning Problem. Now many of you already know that we’re still facing the problem of the Coronavirus, and yet many of the schools had to close early by the Governor, Tony Evers. Also, according to your notes and also the notes of MICAH, it seems that they criticized you for not being well equipped in regarding of the laptops and also keeping up the analyst of virtual learning or distance learning or in this case, distance education. Now many of you whom are teachers, the younger folks in the classrooms know technology really well. By which of means is getting their parents phones and play games. This generation on the kids is mostly in tuned with the techs. However, this is not what I’m getting at. What I am getting at is Virtual Learning in a sense of logging into the system, so you can keep up with your students at home. And yet for those whom are older teachers, this is uncharted territory. And the same can be said for the current administration.

First experience of Teleconferencing. John Marshall High School, 1995.
Picture courtesy of the Milwaukee Journal .

Well, as an alum of the district I have a story to share with you. I have experience from an earlier standpoint that goes back to 1995. The very same year that I graduated from John Marshall High School. In February of that year, I along with my classmates went to a Ameritech Building in which at the time was a first. Marshall High School was invited to communicate with a British Tech School that was a sister school we connected. But this was no ordinary field trip to Brookfield, this was a field trip based on Telecommunications in which was very interesting. Us and Hugh Christie Technology School collaborated about Amateur Radios, Ancient Instruments, Music, Scuba Diving, testing lead levels in the environment, and many others. And many at the time that this style of communication would be later be added to Video Desktop Telecommunication Hook Up. Keep in mind, this was 1995. Several years later in college, I enrolled in a program with UW-Stout as a Distance Education Student studying Industrial Management. I studied the degree between 2002-2006 by connecting on Online Portals, Audio Conferencing and Video Conferencing all in Milwaukee. Yes, it was legal to do this. Milwaukee was not the only city doing this, but along with Madison, Waukesha, Racine, and Menomonie were all connected virtually in terms of coming together in checking our class work, quizzes, discussions and keep up with a schedule that we had to follow. We were given that. And we also maintained contact with our teachers and advisors just in case we need help. Plus also other classmates. Like many who don’t know, I encountered uncertainty, harsh commentary, and the reaction of how I did this without going to class. Plus when many job prospects and organizations questioned my educational progress, partially it was ignored and disrespected. I felt in my own right to address the reasons why I did this because it was choice of me to pursue my education while working in the city of Milwaukee. I earned scholarships and grants along the way, plus taking additional courses of General Education to support my degree at the Milwaukee Area Technical College. I graduated from UW-Stout in 2006 and I was very happy to do this. Consider me a first in my family on the male side of things to do this as a Distance Education Student. And now I interact with the same mentality of learning in other areas to support my church of Audio Conference Meetings, and community for helping out higher education students for college. All in all, 25 years combined.

Why do I say this? I had to work my butt off to prove a point that distance education does in fact work! It can work to a point that it needs to be observed, summarized and actually following the directions that it provides. For the Teachers/Administrators, part of this lies in planning everything from the lesson plans, to assignments, discussions and the networking/keeping up with the students to see how they are doing, group work, and many others. And like before, it worked.

UW-Stout on rare occasions does surveys to us in the Alumni to see what can we provide to help or advise additional ways for Distance Education can be better and efficient for the future. Even though now that Distance Education changed from going to Remote Sites like MATC to our homes, and also jobs, the theory of learning this way still remains the same.

Which brings me to you: what will this experience of Online/Virtual Learning would do for you as administrators or teachers that is just now getting into this? Online Learning or Virtual Learning in a teaching sense, can really give the instructors an extra step in their professions. Like many it is a change in the planning, but it does not take away the traditional side that many are accustomed. I mean, in a sense it’s a Hybrid style of learning and teaching. We know for many it’s new. But the theory is, you all know that if you don’t have these basic skills, consider yourself locked out! However, since many of you admit this, it’s time to get some training!

1) Go to the universities or workshops to take certified or degree related classes to help increase this side of learning. You know where they are. Get all the information and ask certain questions in which you might get into. They have them online also. Look at UW-Stout’s Online Teaching Program here.

2) Another thing you know is needed: NETWORK with other professionals. In this case, you’ll need to network with other teachers, administrators and other staff workers that know the game of Online Learning very well in order to maintain the objectives. Network on LinkedIn if possible.

3) Also when or if you get certified as an Online Instructor, usually you might have to be retested every year to maintain your status. And on top of that, you might have to add that to your Master’s Degree. If you pursue it!

4) In addition: For those of us whom are Alumni of Distance Education, I need to say this. We need to be in the conversation to help out those who are doing this for the first time. When we started out, we were the same way and had little or no help. With the times are changing, even facing the coronavirus, “the un-distance education folks” NEED US! No more attacking either! So I would suggest that, we need to be in contact with those to give advice and suggestive information based on our backgrounds, skills, experience and others to give those in need this boost of confidence that can be conquered. This is a GREAT TIME to use that to help those who aren’t aware. I would also suggest that we need to be consultants to get hired, trained to be certified and to be ready to provide that knowledge. And if we need to be called on from MPS or the University of Wisconsin-Stout or Milwaukee, or Oshkosh or whatever, we need to be there.

And the 5th thing, Every College and University MUST HAVE an Alumni Distance Education Group! An example to keep all Distance Education Alums to continue to network, assist with students and working professionals, and many other community like minded groups alike. Some colleges have this like UW-Platteville. But what about Stout? Milwaukee? Or even UW-Madison? Others like the HBCU’s, and many missed schools?

So finally, MPS if you reach out and get feedback, you will have folks who have been there in Online Learning to help out. No matter what year, school, university, job, volunteer community center, or whatever, guess what? They got you. So you need to comb through the businesses, and organizations that you know very well that can help provide the information to solve. After all, we’re all in this together.

And by the way, you’ll be better!

Sincerely,

Stephen


Almost forgot to do this, but this is for the Class of 2018. By now, you just completed your degrees, walked with your classes, heard the commencement speeches, and many of you totally admit that this was the last time you saw each other. This part is sad. But you have to stay in touch with your Alumni to keep up. For all of that, this is your blog letter.

Dear Class of 2018:

It’s me, Stephen. And you know who I am. First to the class of 2018, I say congratuations! You made it! Welcome to the club of the Alumni! Or for some of you, the Real World! I know the feeling of walking that stage and being admired of my educational accomplishments. But I have heard that you all had a tremendous year based on sports, academics and yes, getting to this point in your lives that will be remembered as long as you live.

Even though that this moment in your lives in your educational history is very sufficient, don’t be alarmed but many of you are probably influencing the next class or the next member in your families that is willing to go to that next level to be the best in your efforts. I’ve mentioned this before with a different class, but the reality is you established something that will be very influential. No matter if its your High School Diploma, Colleges Degrees of Associates, Bachelor’s, Masters, or Doctors, somebody is watching you and saying that “I’m going to do this!” My thing is: GO FOR IT! Do the thing that will get you famous with the pictures on the walls and comeback in 20 years to get another generation of graduates to hype them up for the next level.

But I want to take a moment to reflect on your Graduation Ceremonies. Many of you had great ceremonies in which you weren’t dancing. Some of you did. And some of you almost got yanked off the stage. Some of you High School Valedictorians that graduated wanted to say your speeches that included some concerns about Sexual Acts of Harassment and other acts of concerns you wanted to say, was cancelled by the administrations of pulling your microphones away. This crap of what you experienced was nothing of fear! The administrations of your schools were full of BS. They didn’t care. All they cared was like again: let’s talk about the good things, pomp and circumstance, speeches, congrats, walk on the stage, tilt your tassel and go home.

WAIT A SECOND! I written about this before years ago about top seniors in High School almost got yanked off the stage for the concerns about the violence, sexual harassment, and many other FEARS that many will talk about after leaving school. My thing is, you should be concerned! This happens almost EVERYDAY in the real world! You read about it online, read it in the papers, the news, and yes you hear it from other folks whom have their problems in the families in school! But alas: it’s graduation season. I need to tell these so-called Superintendents, Educators, Secretaries, Principals, Vice Principals, Dignitaries, and yes so-called supporters who favored the yanking of speeches: YOU ARE SO STUPID! You’re all about the one-sided affairs. But not about concerns! When I heard about the students making their speeches about the violence in Florida this year and many others across the country: where were you administration? Were you listening to the students?! If you were NOT LISTENING to the kids and those whom were Seniors, there is something wrong with you! This is our future! This is our next leaders to might be better than us in which they will be in control of the ship. And oh, you stripped their right to speak about the concerns. You all need to WAKE THE F//**+ UP! Yeah I said it! Many of you are worried about your wallets instead of your instincts! I thought the schools are a part of the community. When the community of Children and Youth are concerned about the world of Donald Trump insults, and the violence of innocent people being harassed, bullied or even traumatized about their classmates’ experience, WE THE SO-CALLED GROWN FOLKS need to LISTEN! They are our future! They are not just on Facebook or playing Fortnite! And as far as the University Commencements are concern. When the graduates in Florida were dancing around after hearing the names called, one of the folks put their hands on the graduates (black ones) and try to get them off the stage! REALLY?! I get it. Its a day full of joy. And yes the University had apologized to the graduates for the act. Lucky some of the HBCU’s (the Black Colleges) didn’t see that as a distraction or a problem!

Class of 2018: DON’T LET NOBODY STEAL YOUR JOY! If I had to come to a graduation and speak to most of you, I’m letting those words be the anchor. Not just for graduations or commencement services but everyday! You’re going to put up with folks whom don’t care about your academics, your sports, your family background, your heritage, your gender, your issues of whatever, religion, history, and etc. THEY WON’T CARE. It might seemed racist, sexist, shaming, in all. They will. Although they might acknowledge them, but many will not care about it! But I say this, be proud that you made it. Let the haters hate, sulk and suffer!

If they hate that you got a masters or a bachleors from a crappy school that they couldn’t pass, SORE LOSERS! Same thing with the High Schools. They couldn’t cut the mustard then. That’s why they complain. That’s why they go on the blogs (not this one) Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others piss and moan about guys like you making it. And here is a shocker, some of them could be your former classmates, and I dare say: your church, your other friends, and even this might hurt, your kinfolk family members. It’s a well known fact of hate!

2018: Always continue to be the best in all what you do! Be real in all what you do! And don’t let NOBODY or anything stand your way towards that goaline. You have made it this far. Keep going to that next level! Oh, one more thing: since many of you got your degrees, and got all that grad money and I’ve mentioned this before. Get involved with your school’s Alumni Associations. Get involved with them. Attend a board meeting, receive newsletters, email blasts, view social media posts about your class or school. Tour the school for an open house, attend a homecoming game. Just to clarify that Homecoming is really for the Alumni! And for those whom are way younger than 41: I was told to do this at 18, and I’m telling you here: Go to your reunions. And also, donate back to your schools that gave you love in the first place! Now a days if you have not heard, Alumni Groups or Alumni in general now wants to give back to their schools. The schools want to reach out to the Alumni. GET INVOLVED!

Younger alums: I know that many of you will be busy with family and college. But the Alumni Committees needs to hear from you about what you want to see in your alum orgs. My advice, get to know your Alumni Committee. Get to know at least one member. Visit the schools, get the info that is current! Buy a T-shirt, form your own Alumni groups and events/reunions, and have the elder alumni to talk to you about why you should be a future Alumni Board Member. And like I said in many Graduation Blogs years ago, you might be on the stage in the future giving a keynote address to a future class that might be looking at you as an example while getting an Alumni of the Year Award. Which would echo your work in the community.

2018: You made it this far. Congrats to all of you. Like I said on the night of my father’s wake: Stay in the fight!

Sincerely,

Stephen


The time has come: Class of 2016 you are about to go to that next world that many of you have been dreaming of. And yes, for some of you, many of you will be making that mark so badly. I know this. But guess what, before you or some of you will walk across that stage: Just know that many or some will or will not have your back. But also, as newly fresh grads as you are, it’s time to claim “your Sweet 16” in a way that is known: your opportunity. So here is for the newly grad class of 2016: your blog letter.

Dear Class of 2016:

It’s me Stephen. You know, that black blogger guy from a city like Milwaukee.

Congrats to you! Many of you have finally made to the final level about to be graduates and soon to be, Alumni Members of the schools that you have to give back to.

I’m assuming that many of you will be getting your plans together . The same ol’ “after college” plan that will be asking you even after you get your degree. You know what they are. However it is something that is going to be asked of you every day just to keep in mind. Just a sidenote to you High School Grads making the next level: you’re in this too! No matter if your next level involves College or the Armed Forces.

But yes, it’s your time to be recognized. It’s your time to be appreciated of the four, sometimes 5, or 6 years of work that you put into. No matter if it was High School, College or University, you made your stamp on history! And no one can never take that away from you. NOBODY! Defend your degrees. And also, there will be folks will might say, “So you think you’re so fresh or better than me just because you got a degree from some school!” Just a word of warning. But don’t let some goober with a half-pint brain never tell you any different. Many of you had to go through hell, fire, and brimstone just to get to the commencement. Some of you, who had to drop out years ago, for some other reasons, probably made the journey back to finish and get your degree! Some of you whom had served in the military, came back or entered college to finish the goal that was previously started. Many of you who are 1st gen, 2nd gen, or 3rd gen who are from various backgrounds of historical accomplishments in family education, are adding something new to the trophy case. And some of you, (kind of myself) are graduating just to prove a point to belong or actually proving some goobers wrong with all the negativity that was swirled around with bad unethical thoughts who are now just eating crow. That happened to me 10 years ago this month graduating from UW-Stout. Graduating in the area of Industrial Management and used Distance Education to do it. Don’t front old school trads!And by the way, 2006 still rocks! I should also point out, that you might inspire someone from the audience that watched you walk with your class to go and work on their future degrees to get. I’ve seen it happen and it worked.

But in all seriousness, you have your power. Just use it. Not just for you, for those who got you to the dance. Just like President Obama said at Howard University, the very same Howard that Diddy said his address, he spoke about: “be confident in your blackness”. Since Howard is a HBCU, why not he spoke to that notion. And of course the Obama haters via Fox News had to say something dumb. But yes, the President was on point when  he said be bold in your blackness. I know that yes, the College has other folks walking the Yard, but in that speech, I knew whom he was talking to. Sort of like what Jamie Foxx said on the BET Awards years ago when he said “This is for all the Black People! ” Not racist! Understand that.

Now I need direct my attention to the jack off idiots whom are “Soft Administrators” and idiots who feel that high school seniors who got Valedictorian status and many other status that many will not obtain.

CALLOUT: Louisiana: I’m calling your non gotee facial rules what it is. Flat out BS!

CALLOUT: And to the school district who wouldn’t allow a senior to walk across the stage with her class all because she said some poem with the N word printed. You have jumped the gun, but obviously failed to realize that this could be a warning that she might go through once leaving the school. Matter of fact this happened to a white kid at my High School 10 years ago, but the dude almost didn’t graduate because the truth he wrote on MySpace about the crime and concerns of Milwaukee. Um hello! The date was 06-06-06. No kidding. And were still taking about it 10 years later with the crimes taking place now.

*Just a sidenote, that senior who almost got yanked for not walking with her class, has now graduated.

And the last thing, why would any school administrators would take away a black dudes chance of graduating, and having on a Kente Cloth?! As in representing the black culture?! Really?!

Man, some of our school administrators in the schools are so soft! I’m sorry. As a Alum I feel disgusted by which these silly rules are being enforced by the schools to not allow our Black children to participate in the event they worked hard for. And I also blame these scared racist voters whom feel afraid or anguish against black folks trying to make to grad day. And I’ll bet those same folks whom are stuck on stupid with not making it themselves. Watch your back, 2016 grads! Keep making the haters mad by doing your thing. Sooner or later they will realize that your success will turn heads and crack skulls! Trust me! And watch overtime how they disappear. Knowing the thought, some might even be kissing your butt for a spot on the job line. And I know many of you are VOTERS! If you didn’t like to be yanked from your Graduation spot because of facial hair, a poem that reflected the truth, or having a Kente Cloth on your graduation gown, THEN YOU MUST VOTE to change the game! Let your Administrators, or Council Members, or Mayors, or School Superintendents know that this matter does not sit well and yes you have a right to complain. These person(s) work for you, and you have a right to hold them accountable of what they do. If they don’t work for you, as in progress, VOTE THEM OUT! Or matter of fact, you can challenge their seats to compete for their jobs!  And if you’re not yet a voter, it’s time to become one.

Well Class of 2016, you’re Alums now. And every single year, I come on here to tell you that your old High Schools and Colleges/Universities need your help in support the future causes. I urge all of you (even though most of you are younger than me) to join your school’s Alumni Associations. Donate to your alma mater by donating some of your time and effort to support this life long cause. I know many of you are getting some of those Grad Dollars of checks or cash from your mama and them. I mentioned this 2 years ago, why not donate some of your grad cash to your alma maters to support a lab, library materials, or new gym lockers, new computers, or donate to the arts that need new instruments, or just donate some cash to help a new cause to your old school like mixers or metro area alumni groups, or future Alumni Chapters. Even start a subgroup Alumni Chapter like African-American Alumni Chapters or Black Alumni Chapters  and alike. I know one school needs one! And also, you can go to your reunions or meetups. Even serve on Alumni Board of Directors to read scholarship essays, select future speakers,  fix up your old classroom/dorm or go to a homecoming game, and maybe as a idea: you might be called to speak at your old high school or college at a future commencement ceremony! Better get cracking on the donations, philanthropic needs and JOBS now!

And yes you can still buy that swag of stuff!

Class of 2016: take a freaking bow! The celebration has been summarized and concluded. Time to get to work.

 

Sincerely,

Stephen

 

 


For many of you, it’s that time again in which that the current senior class of 2015, or Class of 2015 in general will have to be let go. The ceremonies, the final walks, or whatever have probably ended via your commencement exercises. Of all the classes, I think the Class of 2015 really showed out this year, but NOT over my classes of 1995, 2000 and 2006, lol! But anyway, this blog letter is for all of those who got their caps and gowns with pride.

Dear Class of 2015:

It’s me Stephen. I’m a black blogger of hobby that is in Milwaukee.

CONGRATS! You have earned the degrees and diplomas that were given to you to move forward with your lives. Yes, many of you walked the aisles, said your last speeches, and most of all, walking across the stage and actually got your pieces of the documents that shows that you have made it! Again congrats.

I hope that the lessons that you got in High School and College should be valuable ones, and I hope that there are those whom you are representing have been influenced to make the move in their lives to get to the level of academics that you helped either paved the way, or making a statement. Come to think about it, I used my Graduation things of what I’ve learned to make a statement to continue on to be active and also giving back to those who gave me love in all. But what I’m really trying to say that even though that you got your degrees, and accolades in all, I have some advice: Don’t get the big head! Also whatever you decide to do, always give your dead level best no matter what. Everyday is a struggle and yes, we’re all taking a life lesson each time.

Yes, Class of 2015 the choice is yours. And even those choices needed might come with some guidance and wisdom. Yes, this is your time to shine for what good reason that maybe, but it is your time.

Also since many of you are going off to college or the working world, it’s time to talk about investing in your Alumni Associations. Check this, for me 2015 is my anniversary from graduating from High School and Tech School . For the high school side, I’ve been out for 20 years as of June 8th. I was told 20 years ago that to go to your reunions. Well, I have done that. Plus, I also invested in my old high school by taking part in it’s Alumni Association group. I helped assisted the school’s Open Houses, appeared at High School Basketball games, Homecoming,helped Alumni Receptions, took pictures of the current student activities of Musicals and Concerts, Alumni Receptions and Commencements, and most of all, donated. And attended Alumni meetings. And as for the Tech School side or Technical College, its been 15 years and I keep up with the Alumni Association activities of workshops and events advertised and planned. Get it? 20 and 15?

What this means for you 2015 folks, GIVE BACK! Give back to the schools that gave you love all those years. Donate to the causes of upcoming scholarships, events, class reunions, and feel free to network with alums that used to go to the same schools that gave you love! And just to think about, many of you got those Grad cash and checks from your peers right now. As an idea, invest some of that to your Alumni Associations for memberships, and others. Let the Alumni know what you’re doing and if you need help or assistance feel free to ask. And I know its a long way off, but in your later years, you might even serve on a Alumni Board, or maybe even, give a Commencement Speech to a future graduating class. Something to think about!

Speaking of Scholarships, here in Milwaukee, the Class of 2015’s High School groups had the highest scholarships and they are still counting as of right now. That is huge! Can it be done again for the Class of 2016?

So yes, Class of 2015: you have cemented your legacy for your now former schools. Continue to soar, revolutionize the world, and also give back to those that gave you your start!

Congrats!

Sincerely,

Stephen