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The Witt Black Music Foundation inspires young musicians in NoVA

Westlake Legal Group group-learning-guitar-with-foundation The Witt Black Music Foundation inspires young musicians in NoVA Teaching Profiles nonprofit musicians music lessons Music guitar Education Culture Features Culture Community
Photo courtesy of Witt Black Music Foundation

“The great thing about a guitar is you can pick it up and take it anywhere. Just to be able to pull it out when you need that moment of clarity and creativity, that’s what we want to give them.”

That’s how Arlington resident Christina Black describes the true purpose of her nonprofit The Witt Black Music Foundation, a relatively new organization that gives local children in challenging circumstances the opportunity to learn the art of guitar. 

The foundation was founded in memory of Christina’s brother, Witt Black, who passed away unexpectedly in 2016. For the Black family, as well as Witt’s former bandmates, starting an organization surrounding music—something that was such a huge part of Witt’s life—was natural. 

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Westlake Legal Group witt-black-in-black-and-white The Witt Black Music Foundation inspires young musicians in NoVA Teaching Profiles nonprofit musicians music lessons Music guitar Education Culture Features Culture Community
Witt Black (Photo courtesy of the Witt Black Music Foundation)

“My brother was a self-taught musician,” says Christina, a mother of two and full-time attorney. “After he passed, as much as we knew how special he was, we were amazed at the outpouring of love that came from others. We didn’t want that to stop, we wanted that ripple effect of how he touched people’s lives to continue.”

While officially incorporated in 2017, it wasn’t until March of last year that Christina and her team were able to raise enough funding to launch the programming of the foundation, bringing repurposed guitars to transitional housing organizations in the region for eight-week courses. Following eight weeks of lessons by experienced instructors, each participant will get to keep the guitar they practiced with at no charge. 

Westlake Legal Group The-Black-Family The Witt Black Music Foundation inspires young musicians in NoVA Teaching Profiles nonprofit musicians music lessons Music guitar Education Culture Features Culture Community
Witt Black (left) and Christina Black (far right) with the rest of their family. (Photo courtesy of the Witt Black Music Foundation)

“We let them know that the guitar is not theirs, rather it is on loan,” says Christina of the process. “But if they complete the entire course, then they get the guitar.” 

The foundation’s very first class of musicians were taught at Bridges to Independence, a homeless shelter in Arlington. Since that very first lesson in 2018, the team has completed seven eight-week courses and gifted 44 guitars. In addition, they have been able to make true connections with the children, ultimately seeing several returning faces at both Bridges to Independence and Falls Church-based Homestretch.

Westlake Legal Group two-kids-learning-guitar The Witt Black Music Foundation inspires young musicians in NoVA Teaching Profiles nonprofit musicians music lessons Music guitar Education Culture Features Culture Community
Photo courtesy of the Witt Black Music Foundation

“When I see them [the kids] disconnect from their circumstances and just really engage in the music, you can see in their faces that they really feel good about what they are accomplishing,” says Christina. 

At the Witt Black Music Foundation’s very first fundraiser at Atlas Brew Works in October, the team raised $6,000, generating enough funds to partner with a second organization, Homestretch, and increase the amount of instructors from one to five. In the future, Christina hopes to expand to a third partnership in the community, now that the organization “has the hang of things.”

“Nothing gave Witt more joy than playing his guitar,” says Christina. “Now these kids are finding a safe space, an outlet, something that gives them a sense of community. It’s turning into so much more than what we expected.”

The team is currently looking for more experienced instructors. Interested? Click here

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Watch: Elizabeth Warren Shrugs Off Special Needs Student Trying to Ask Her a Question

Westlake Legal Group ElizabethWarrenAPimage-620x317 Watch: Elizabeth Warren Shrugs Off Special Needs Student Trying to Ask Her a Question Teaching student special needs Politics Front Page Stories Featured Story Elizabeth Warren elections Education democrats campaign Allow Media Exception 2020

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks at the Iowa State Fair, Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Remember when Senator Elizabeth Warren was claiming that she was fired from her job as a special needs teacher because she was pregnant?

She told the story during the Democratic debate — even putting it in a tweet — about a principle that didn’t invite her back to teach because she was “visibly pregnant.” Nevertheless, she persisted, Warren told us.

Westlake Legal Group elizabeth-warren-teaching-tweet-620x329 Watch: Elizabeth Warren Shrugs Off Special Needs Student Trying to Ask Her a Question Teaching student special needs Politics Front Page Stories Featured Story Elizabeth Warren elections Education democrats campaign Allow Media Exception 2020

It was all bunk, of course. Warren herself said she didn’t have the necessary certificates and upon trying to get them, decided that this kind of career wasn’t for her. Still, she likes to pretend that if it wasn’t for misogyny, she’d still be a special needs teacher today.

But for a would-be special needs teacher, Warren doesn’t seem to know how to deal with special needs people according to some footage that was just released.

In a video, Warren can be seen on stage addressing what seems to be students. A student is selected to come up and ask a question, and it turns out to be a young black man who clearly has a mental disability. His question is filled with disjointed words and phrasing, and despite being asked to repeat it twice, it makes absolutely no sense.

Regardless, you can hear his fellow students cheering him on in a show of support.

At this juncture, Warren could have brought the man in and helped him get his question out properly. She could have taken the time to understand him better and make him feel important. Instead, Warren dismisses the man.

“Okay,” said Warren, clearly uncomfortable as the man walks away.

“Alright,” she said as she waved goodbye.

As many have noted after watching this clip, this isn’t the behavior of someone who has any kind of special needs training at all. In fact, Warren looked absolutely clueless as to handle the situation.

We likely got a little bit more insight into the dishonesty of Elizabeth Warren.

The post Watch: Elizabeth Warren Shrugs Off Special Needs Student Trying to Ask Her a Question appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group ElizabethWarrenAPimage-300x153 Watch: Elizabeth Warren Shrugs Off Special Needs Student Trying to Ask Her a Question Teaching student special needs Politics Front Page Stories Featured Story Elizabeth Warren elections Education democrats campaign Allow Media Exception 2020   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Black Teacher Who Blew the Whistle on Minority Students Being Allowed to Misbehave Wins Huge in Court

Westlake Legal Group crayons-1209804_1280-620x438 Black Teacher Who Blew the Whistle on Minority Students Being Allowed to Misbehave Wins Huge in Court Uncategorized Teaching St. Paul Social Justice school racism Race Public Education Politics Minnesota Front Page Stories Featured Story Education discipline democrats Culture cretin-derham hall children Allow Media Exception Academia aaron benner

 

 

Aaron Benner is a black elementary school teacher, formerly with the St. Paul School District in Minnesota.

And now, he’s also a guy with a giant chunk of cash.

The reason?

Well, the story began during the 2014-2015 schol year, when Aaron called out the school for letting minority students get away with misbehavior.

As reported by Minneapolis Star Tribune:

Benner, who is black, accused the district of failing black students by not holding them accountable for disruptive behavior. The district was being led then by Valeria Silva, who sought to reduce racial disparities in student discipline.

Resultantly, as per his 2015 federal lawsuit, the school system — despite him having never been reprimanded in 19 years as an educator — used four separate investigations to essentially force him to quit.

Well, on Tuesday night, a settlement was won. And it ain’t no little bag of coins, neither.

Aaron scored $525,000.

In an email, he expressed his gratitude toward a higher power:

I thank God for all the blessings in my life. I turned 50 this year, got married in July and now (there is) this settlement.

The system issued a statement, among which lay the absence of admitted guilt:

This agreement enables the district to avoid the time, expense and uncertainty of protracted legal proceedings regarding its previous policies, practices and expectations.

Of course, ultimately, it isn’t the district that’ll cough up the dough, but the taxpayers.

However, St. Paul seems cool with spending from the trough.

As noted by The O’Reilly Factor in 2015:

“For the past five years the St. Paul, Minnesota school district has spent nearly $3 million on ‘white privilege’ training done by a far-Left outfit called the Pacific Educational Group. That training tells teachers to overlook transgressions by minority students; to treat them differently than white students.”

Maybe they can save on that kind of instruction going forward.

Aaron now serves as an administrator for St. Paul’s Cretin-Derham Hall charter school.

-ALEX

 

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The post Black Teacher Who Blew the Whistle on Minority Students Being Allowed to Misbehave Wins Huge in Court appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group crayons-1209804_1280-300x212 Black Teacher Who Blew the Whistle on Minority Students Being Allowed to Misbehave Wins Huge in Court Uncategorized Teaching St. Paul Social Justice school racism Race Public Education Politics Minnesota Front Page Stories Featured Story Education discipline democrats Culture cretin-derham hall children Allow Media Exception Academia aaron benner   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Joe Baron: The case of Starbank School teaches us one thing: Ofsted can’t be trusted

The author is a teacher. Joe Baron is a pseudonym.

Yesterday, beleaguered teachers at Starbank School in South Yardley, Birmingham, will go on strike for the second time in six days in response to the school’s abject failure to protect their health and safety at work.

They are working in truly appalling, inhumane conditions. Indeed, according to Paul Nesbitt, the NASUWT national executive member involved in the dispute, the teaching staff are being subjected to feral pupils carrying weapons, daily threats of violence, verbal abuse, and regular brawling in the classrooms.

In one incident, some kids were caught in possession of three knives, one of which had a 12 inch blade; another saw a teacher punched in the face by a Year 7 boy and, as if these examples aren’t shocking enough, every Thursday is now referred to as Thursday Fight Day.

Needless to say, teachers are scared to leave their classrooms. They’ve even been issued with panic buttons. That’s right, the headteacher refuses to ensure the safety of his staff by permanently excluding violent children, but he has given them panic buttons, presumably to press after they’ve been stabbed. I’m sure they will be eternally grateful.

The school contends that only 16 out of 122 teachers have taken action, meaning that, according to them, the rest of the staff must be happy.

But this fails to take into account the courage it takes to go on strike. These individuals know what’s at stake. They are now targets. Their careers at the school are, at the very least, in jeopardy. They may even be over. Senior leaders and school governors will do everything in their power to force them out – an objective that, in the present climate of unmanageable workload, won’t be difficult to realise.

Every single teacher in every single school in the country could be the target of a disgruntled senior leader at any time, desperate to place them on capability in a sinister bid to force them out. There’s simply so much work to do, nobody’s able to keep on top of it. We’re all vulnerable.

So these teachers, the ones with the audacity to strike, will now be the targets of the leadership’s wrath, have no doubt. In light of this depressing reality, most of their colleagues will – understandably – be unwilling to make the same sacrifices, especially if they have families to support. So yes, there may be only 16 members on strike, but you can bet your life on it, many of the remaining teachers will be with them in spirit. I mean, there’s even video footage of ‘Fight Thursday’ for anyone who doubts the veracity of the strikers’ claims.

The most interesting and revealing aspect of this particular case, though, is Ofsted’s sparkling, yes sparkling, review of what is, in reality, a violent dystopian snake pit. Starbank school has been rated ‘outstanding’ since 2012. Last year, moreover, it was described as having an ‘exceptional ethos, care and quality of education’. For whatever reason, the inspectorate failed to spot the school’s myriad shortcomings. And it wouldn’t be the first time.

Ofsted’s judgments, in my experience, aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. I recently taught in a school with appalling levels of what is euphemistically described in the teaching profession as ‘low-level’ disruption. In layman’s terms, that means that, although the kids don’t throw chairs at you, they talk incessantly. In fact, it’s impossible to complete a sentence without being interrupted. This was so bad that the other, more senior teaching staff at the school advised me not to initiate whole-class discussions. It’s pointless, they said. Just do as we do, give them the work and get used to the relentless chatting.

When Ofsted came in, however, just after Christmas, they judged the school and the behaviour to be ‘good’. How is that possible? I thought.

Over the course of my career, I’ve had similar experiences in lots of different schools, some, unfortunately, very much like Starbank. Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever concurred with an Ofsted judgment. They’ve always been, in my view, far too generous, demonstrating low expectations of pupils and teachers, especially when it comes to behaviour for learning.

The former advisor to Michael Gove, Tom Richmond, contends that Ofsted’s grades are wrong in up to half of cases. He recently cited two international studies that concluded that different inspectors reached different judgments about the same schools in up to 50 percent of instances.

This surely brings into question the Government’s oft-repeated claim that, due to its education reforms introduced in 2010, nearly two million more children now attend ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ schools. In short, the claim is bunkum. As demonstrated in the case of Starbank School, Ofsted’s judgments can’t be trusted.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com