What Are You Going to Do in order to Change the Game?

If you’ve ever played “street-ball” and encountered an opponent who plays dirty, that could be an invitation for you to play dirty in return. So when the game gets dirty, you’re not supposed to whine, complain, or argue about the rules – you just accept it for what it is and stay competitive until someone wins. Whoever wins the game, wins respect! Simple as that! The team who loss can’t argue about the outcome if you decided to “reciprocate their style of play” because they decided to set the precedence and tone of the game.

“Remember that your competitive approach may change the future rules of the game based on your confidence and courage!”

Therefore, in life, we have to ask ourselves, what type of games are we willing to play in order to achieve our personal or professional goals? Sometimes I ask myself as a woman and mother, why do I have to compete so much for what I desire or wish to see in the world? However, I continue to compete! Further, I ask why are there so many “organized obstacles” in life that are designed to keep some of us from excelling! Even when we are trying to focus on our life’s purpose, there are some people whose life’s purpose is to create barriers for us! Even though we experience many challenges in life, we cannot forget what our former First Lady, Michele Obama, told us:  “When they go low, we go high!”

Every day of our lives, we have options to go low or to go high; perhaps we may choose both options as we learn more about this competitive game of life. Despite life’s highs and lows, we must continue to have a winning spirit, be mentally tough and strategic about our lives – never being conquered by our circumstances or those who choose to compete against us.

“We truly have the option to change the game and remain true to ourselves or allow the game to change us in terms of how we relate to one another. It depends on how you choose to grow!”

Furthermore, I’ve learned in the political game or in the corporate competition, that it’s not always about what you know, it’s who you know; it’s not always about what you do,  it’s about – for whom you’ve given a favor to. In spite of that, I hope this “game of life” will soon make a shift with people making more meaningful efforts to see the value in everyone – no matter who you know in a powerful position, what you’ve achieved or did not achieve, or favor you’ve given someone “in order to receive respect or a chance for equal acknowledgement or opportunities”!

Now, of course, due to this often “rigged” system of success, you can not win by yourself so there are some collaborative concepts you must master with your team or even your “so-called” opponents. In retrospect, I’ve learned while competing in sports, to become a championship team, it’s helpful to be on the same accord regarding your core values which give you a unified bond. Additionally, your spirits have to be synchronized, your mindsets’ have to be aligned as if you all were telepathic, and the roles you play must be very clear in order to win! When I speak of winning, I’m  not necessarily talking about beating your competition, but learning how to build up your team so each individual will step up their game including your opponents. Thus, intentionally giving your teammates and supporters credit for their efforts and allowing them to score in ways they’ve never imagined due to your leadership is authentic legacy building!

“I truly believe everyone should feel like they are winning when they are on your team or feel inspired just having the chance to compete with you!”

Now, not everyone is going to have your talent, strength, or your mentality so “having faith” is the essence of a successful competitor. Even when you believe some of your teammates may not be capable of helping the team win or able to perform on a higher level, it is your duty to believe in them and encourage them because when the game is on the line, it may be only up to that person to lead the team to the final winning play or to win the final game based on your positive influence. Actually, I know from experience that when you show others that you have faith in their performance, it has the potential to encourage them to make some bold moves in life! So my question for you is, are you going to watch your teammates struggle or seek competitive ways for them to feel motivated to win?” Another question you can ask yourself is, “Did I do my best to help my teammates in a positive and uplifting way that did not serve my self-interest, but the interest of the team?” – whether your team is family-oriented, community-driven, or simply a professional collaboration. On the other hand, it’s inevitable for your teammates’ goals to change and they may choose to go in another direction, but the mere fact that as a leader you were able to assist them with a strong foundation in which they feel comfortable enough to become independent in their own life pursuits, is a great example of your “legacy’s work”.

Additionally, I remember growing up as a student-athlete, observing that if you were considered smart or athletic, worked hard, and played by a set of rules – you could possibly have a piece of success or feel like a winner through your achievements! Over time, it seemed that more opportunities were available to those who met the academic or athletic standards that our communities believed to be worth the investment, leaving some groups of talented people out of the competition. So those who were left out, either chose to live a life of defeat or had to create their own opportunities. Some chose to compete legally or illegally – maybe choosing to be on “special-interest” teams even if it compromised their personal morals and values – just wanting to be accepted as an achiever.

Hence, we often spend our entire lives trying to figure out what’s our true life’s purpose and what team we desire to be on. Then, we associate with different groups of people and organizations, seek many educational or employment opportunities, exploring various religious or belief systems, and it seems like we keep walking in circles. After our many journeys and risk taking, we often return to the core of what we simply want out of life – love, peace, respect, compassion, safety, fairness, and positive or authentic relationships! Contrary to those wonderful feelings we desire from life experiences, it’s necessary to experience dark moments alone or the dark side of life to determine where we truly want to be and who we will allow in our circle of influence. During those dark times, we are often disappointed in people who we thought were supposed to be loyal to us including family and friends. Therefore, it can truly be a tug of war both on your soul and spirit regarding relationships or considering future partnerships. Sometimes, experiencing certain challenges in life makes you want to go into isolation in order to determine who you will choose to team up with or who you will love from a distance.

“Honestly, watching some of these “game plays of life” from the sidelines, just makes you want to be a “free agent”, free from the drama, power struggles, competitiveness, judgment, prejudice, and hate.”

However, “we can not go through life avoiding interactions with all people” as we pursue some form of leadership – even if we do not agree with some people’s personality, belief systems, or their decisions. Thus, we must respect each others’ game and what it is here to teach us about cooperating and collaborating with one another. So we must assess ourselves when we are leading people and ask the following questions:

  • Is my competitiveness making others feel powerless or empowered?
  • Is my competitiveness making people become more productive or unguided?
  • Is my competitiveness making others feel not involved in or a part of the team’s progress?
  • Is my competitiveness making people feel I “honestly” support their success or is my competitiveness taking credit for their hard work – blocking or sabotaging their successes?
  • Is my competitiveness driven by humility – allowing people to see my imperfections as I strive for excellence or is my competitiveness humiliating others due to my insecurities or incompetencies?
  • Finally, is my competitiveness helping to create a more consciously collaborative world?

With all that have been said, I recommend everyone to “compete with purpose” and not just have a purpose to compete. There’s a big difference. Notably, if there is a unifying purpose behind your competitiveness, you will never lose and you will win with wisdom if you are open to learn from others and willing to develop.

So from this moment envision the areas of your life you are going to work on and team up with others who will help you achieve! Please note, it may not be a family member or a friend that will get you to the finish line. However, while you are on your grind achieving one goal at a time, you will begin to attract people into your life that can meet you where you are and align you closer to your purpose! Sounds encouraging, right?

Therefore, I pray that all who are reading this message are inspired and feel empowered to make the progressive changes that are necessary to live a healthier and more fulfilling life! Please take care of yourselves, and continue to be a blessing to others through your prayers, thoughts, and actions! Don’t forget to seek some quiet time each day to process your thoughts and emotions in order to be productive and not counterproductive with the distractions around us. Last, but not least, I am holding you accountable to make a list of short-term and long-term goals while answering this question each week: “What am I going to do in order to change the game in my personal and professional life so I can feel liberated and at peace while helping others feel motivated enough to achieve their goals?!”

The author of this blog, Marian Serena Moore, is a former teacher/ F.B.L.A advisor now seeking opportunities to coach and consult those who wish to put their life and career goals in action! If you are interested in teaming up with her to achieve your goals, email her at competewithpurpose@gmail.com.


Grade With Purpose!

With 7 years of experience teaching business and computer concepts to high school students, there were many challenges I was able to manage and grading miracles I was able to create with integrating technology in my learning lab. In fact, technology helped me to develop my former business students’ academic discipline and innovation with rigorous projects to assess their knowledge and skills. Further, I was able to provide timely as well as personalized feedback through grading software and online management systems! Reflecting back, there were many resources that helped change the grading game for me as a facilitator and consequently prepared my high school students for their college, careers, and life!! Thus, grades and meaningful feedback, if carried out effectively, can result in more career opportunities and impactful life lessons for our future leaders!

Since many people in the Baltimore region are discussing new grading policies and procedures, it motivated me to blog this month about education. After reading Superintendent Dallas Dance’s Op-ed: “What’s in a Grade?” and browsing through Baltimore County’s new grading manual, immediately I reflected on my own grading experiences as a teacher. So let me to take you on a 400-meter dash filled with questions, concerns, my own experience, and finally — passing the baton to you! Although the Olympics is officially over, my mind is still racing about how I can encourage Education Leaders to compete and grade with purpose, putting student’s needs in 1st place!!

“First 100 – How Can We Accelerate, Running the Grading Curve?”

  • The first thing that came to my mind about Baltimore County Public Schools’ grading initiative was: “Releasing this grading manual publicly in the beginning of the school year is probably giving teachers more anxiety and pressure to become more accurate and specific with their grading – the same anxiety a runner has when “taking his or her mark”.
  • Second, I thought of the potential burden that teachers may have if they don’t have the proper support or resources to provide their students with timely and meaningful feedback along with personalized lesson planning. Therefore my question is, ”Who is going to ensure that teachers are “set to go” and grade efficiently?”
  • Third, when teachers upload their grades online, we cannot forget how parent involvement could turn into cyberbullying via email regarding grades. Not all parents do this, but a furious few is more than enough! With that being said, what type of protection and intervention is available for teachers when parents and students respond aggressively about grades while they are transitioning to this new grading approach?
  • Fourth, how will Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) new grading system and report card layout impact high school students when colleges review their applications? Based on this new grading system, will students in the future experience culture shock when transitioning from school to college or work?
  • Finally, I know some educators are thinking, “Before unleashing this policy, perhaps the school system could have first provided them with:
  1. a co-teacher in order to give proper feedback to each student,
  2. an administrative assistant to answer incoming phone calls as well as emails from students and parents specifically regarding grades, which could be a potential distraction for teachers staying on track with outgoing calls to parents about some of their student’s disruptive behavior
  3. a private counselor and a doctor on site to manage their blood pressure or mental health between classes
  4. a class monitor to assist with tracking attendance, lateness, behavior, and team projects so that the 2nd portion of the report card could be filled out accurately, and
  5. tech support available to help them to effectively and efficiently grade using online management systems.”

Yes, teachers are CEOs running a major business and they need additional personnel and partners to support the needs of their students, in addition to, their very own managerial duties! So it’s great that Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) recommends that departments work more collaboratively instead of teachers working in isolation! However, what about the one-person departments? Yes, there are teachers in secondary education who teach all grade levels! So, will “all teachers” really have the time to connect with their peers across the county and how will this grading initiative be executed in a timely fashion so that students will feel supported through this new grading system?

My concern is that if this grading strategy isn’t clear for students and teachers, it may cause some serious problems related to accuracy because let’s be honest, “grades have never been a 100% accurate reflection of students’ achievement”. This is because they have been distorted by bias, lack of resources, and constant education reform. Thus, in the midst of this “Race to the Top” education reform, the effort of BCPS is appreciated, but we must straighten out the “grading curves”!

Second 100 – Now We Are at the “Straight Away” – “Making the Transition & Finding Your Comfort Zone!”

After reading Baltimore County’s grading manual’s quote, “Conduct and skills are critical and belong on the report card, but they should not distort the academic grade. Separating the academic grade from the conduct grade holds students accountable for both.”  – I agreed with this concept as a student and disagreed as a former athlete. I began to reflect on my sports background analyzing “team sports” in correlation to grading. For example, only a certain amount of players can be on the court or the field at a time. So let’s say that “playing time” in a competition is equivalent to a grade because most players look forward to scoring or receiving accolades when participating in a game or event. Generally, most teams have policies set up so that when athletes come to practice late, they have to run extra laps or do a certain amount of pushups. In addition, if players do not display positive conduct towards their teammates and coach, even the referee – the player would be penalized with a technical foul, loss of an offensive possession, or the loss of playing time. Yes, there are consequences for behavior and poor choices in sports. Inappropriate behaviors are challenged almost immediately in order for players to understand the importance of discipline and respect!

So do you think it’s totally fair in education to create chances for some children to half-way complete assignments or turn in their work late without a reasonable excuse? Is it fair for some students to have the possibility of receiving 50% if they completed 25% of their work or even receive the same grade as the student who was punctual and hardworking? Also, let’s keep it real – “What about students who are caught cheating? Will these students receive a 50% bailout in the future?” Now let’s think about how this grading system would impact the morale or the work ethic of the students who seriously prioritize their time in order to achieve success! Therefore, I believe there has to be an accountability system, especially for secondary schools to ensure they will meet college and career expectations. Additionally, I would like to point out that this learning approach with extended time to support student’s achievement discussed in the grading manual is perfect for elementary and middle schools so students would not be discouraged from trying harder and becoming more responsible for their learning outcomes. However, I believe by grade 7, the grading policy should change. If the grading process is consistent with academic discipline and learning support systems from pre-K to 7th grade, then 7th grade and beyond should be more tailored to prepare students for college, careers, or entrepreneurship demands!

See, I’ve learned that “grades” are like paychecks in education. I recall my former high school students trying to negotiate grades at the end of every quarter like salaries. The more I used online grading, the more frequently I was approached by my students. Sometimes I felt like it (online grading) interfered with them actually learning because most students focused on immediate results instead of enjoying the adventurous process of learning. Some students rushed through their work just to be finished before most of their classmates and others were practical enough to put in the necessary time for their final product – conscious of their professional development. Then, others did enough to get by and were cool with a capital “C”. Whatever the student chose to do, it showed when they had to present their final product to the class. As a result, my students and I learned that the truth will reveal itself at some point in the game, when their skills were tested with a performance assessment or with an impromptu quiz.

So I predict that some students are going to take advantage of this grading policy – not to necessarily have a second chance to truly learn a concept, but a second chance to cram in some work for a better grade. Depending on the student – content will be going into his or her short-term memory just for the grade, not for the knowledge. This is just my perspective from teaching high school students and observing how they reacted to grades and what they were willing to do or not do for grades, especially if they feel what you are teaching them is not relevant to their lives at that current moment. So how can we convince more students to be satisfied with the learning process or find relevance in the assignments they receive? Perhaps, pay them for their effort or not give them a grade at all?

Furthermore, in this grading manual, grades are “separate yet equal” in importance. Therefore, my question is, “How will teachers hold students accountable for their behavior or attitudes without deducting points from their final grade?” Perhaps, taking away privileges such as recess, but parents want their children to have more recess for health reasons so that may not be as effective. Maybe giving parents fines for their children’s intentional bad behavior or giving parents the option to observe their child in school from their smartphones to reduce conduct issues would be effective? 🙂 Imagine if we would follow the police department’s’ initiative, by putting body cameras on students or placing cameras in all classrooms to help teachers’ grade students behavior more accurately and report it more efficiently? Well, that may not be a great idea because this type of surveillance system may support the school-to-prison pipeline even further. Can you just visualize teachers along with the administration reviewing video after school because often it’s tough for teachers to write behavior reports in the heat of the moment while simultaneously managing class? Perhaps that is why grades should be impacted by behavior because teachers would have less issues during class if students knew it was going to impact their grade. Some parents would argue that they would not have a true representation of their child’s knowledge deducting points from their grades. Then, I would argue that allowing kids to turn in their work late is not a true representation of “being responsible” if you give them “full credit”. This is a gray area I think BCPS should reexamine in their grading manual because I think “extra credit” is still available to students if you are allowing students to find new ways to make up work to increase their grade.

We, also, need to equally consider how a student’s attendance and behavior impacts their classmates in terms of learning achievement, classroom procedures, and group work progress. Both attendance and behavior alone can impact grades from being equitable, accurate, specific, and timely. For example, during group work if there are some students who are being playful, how can grades be totally equitable? More importantly, there are students who are being bullied during class and have low achievement due to anxiety. Thus, grades may not be an accurate representation of those students’ learning abilities. So to report behavior separately does not tell the entire story of how behavior impacts not only the student’s grade who chose to misbehave, but the total class or group learning outcomes.

Not to mention, teachers who are not providing students with multiple teaching approaches or may not have all the resources to address students’ diverse needs and learning preferences. Consequently, a student may receive low grades because he or she is not engaged with how his or her teachers teach. Yes, I do believe that teachers alone are not effective in order for their students to achieve! It takes technology, experiential projects, and strong business partnerships to bring more relevance to academics! Ok, I know this race is a little wordy, but you must endure with me! Now let’s pick up the pace! We’re almost done!

2nd Curve – The True Test of Your Endurance at the 300 Meter Mark: “Reflecting on Why You Are Truly Running This Race!”

In retrospect, I was a little “old-school” with my grading in order to keep order in my class. Holding students accountable for their behavior or irresponsibility were factored into their final grade. It helped me manage my class based on professional standards, but some students were going to socialize and be a distraction regardless. However, what mattered most was how I structured my students’ learning experience. My lessons had to be extremely organized and creative, yet flexible enough to allow my students to guide me in the right direction. For example, after every class assignment, my students would work on enrichment activities such as using the internet as a research tool and experience real-world application projects in order for them to see how our content exists outside of the classroom. Notably, during each unit, we had team projects to promote social learning and collaboration! Project-based learning definitely impacted my students behavior and attitudes in a positive way! It can also increase attendance and lateness to class because students will actually look forward to the variety of experiences you provide them with and enjoy taking ownership of their learning with personalized projects.

Additionally, integrating technology as a quick way to execute formative assessments and provide immediate feedback accelerated my former students learning and changed their attitudes about how they wanted to improve their progress. When I would provide more formative assessments consistently, it created a chance for me to cover more material during the school year. Furthermore, I believe web management systems such as Edline, now acquired by Blackboard, can accelerate teaching and learning for teachers and students who need to improve their organizational skills, thus achieving more throughout the school year! In fact, using Edline, along with Easygrade Pro, allowed me to upload comments to assist students with achieving their learning goals with reminders and notes about how they could improve. Another excellent grading resource was using Google Docs which allowed me to coach students during class projects or writing assignments providing detailed feedback conveniently online.

Most critics say technology takes away from human contact, however, I was able to effectively communicate and motivate my students to complete their assignments by actively commenting in their Google documents or on their wiki workspaces – which was just as encouraging as human contact. Imagine a student riding the bus home receiving an email alert from their teacher after school giving them some feedback on a project. Do you think the student will feel supported and encouraged to work on their project for homework? In most cases, yes, based on my experience. Thus, technology can bring you closer to your students by becoming their virtual assistant!

Throughout my educational race, I’ve learned that the secret to success is simply providing multiple learning accommodations for my students in order for them to develop successfully, which is stated in BCPS’s grading manual through technology and teamwork! For example, over time, I changed my grading style – becoming more flexible with classwork, allowing students to complete assignments at home if they needed more time and I was more firm with projects in terms of deadlines to better prepare students for college expectations and career demands. Therefore, homework kind of phased out with it either being an opportunity to have more time to complete classwork at home, work on school projects in order for students to make my deadlines or take out time to study online sources, or take online practice assessments. (Look on your left under the Book Overview section for examples) Please note, providing online assessments for homework can save teachers time with grading and if students have any additional concerns, the teacher can address those needs during class because students’ progress can be tracked electronically through certain grading software.

Moreover, transitioning to online learning included a lot of experiments, trials, errors, and successes so I enjoy sharing my experiences with Education Leaders to help them make sound decisions for both teachers and students! In fact, about two years ago, I discussed this topic at a local board meeting in Baltimore County. I made predictions based on my teaching experience using online management systems between 2009 and 2013. Therefore, I humbly acknowledge that grading was a complex experience, but with access to technology I acquired a lot of wisdom and truly discovered something promising about education. That is why I am still running in this educational race! What about you?

“Come on now, stay with me! We’re almost done!”

Keep in mind that in sports, no one gives you much credit for how well you did in practice because what really counts is how you perform in the game or during a competition! So I suggest that drills and homework should not be uploaded as actual achievement grades, but participation grades because students are participating in their progress to master their learning. More importantly, as educators, we have to work and grade smarter – not so hard that you lose your strength at this point in the race! You’ve come too far and impacted too many lives to give up right now! Our students need your motivation as well as your unique gifts that you delight them with every day! So endure! Breathe! Push further! Stay encouraged! No one can do it like you! You are a champion! Your creativity and dedication matters!

Finally, reflecting back on the sports life, no one ever gave me extra points for practicing my game before or after practice. I had to motivate myself and want to become a better athlete which applies to student’s attitudes about their education, especially in secondary schools! Remember, homework is practice and if the teacher aligns his or her formative and summative assessments with homework assignments, students should not have to be a great test taker in order to pass the class, if students apply themselves the same way they do in their social lives or participating in their extra-curricular activities, such as sports!!

The Last 100 Meters – “The Final Stretch is When You Give It All You’ve Got!”

For the final 100 meters, I wanted to share some final thoughts for teachers who are on the verge of quitting this race! My overall goal as an education consultant and motivational coach is to assist with retaining teachers when they are considering other career options due to education reform or policy decisions. Trust me, there is hope!

Based on my experience with Baltimore County Public Schools, I would like to point out that I believe a globally competitive graduate must have sports discipline, but the way this current grading policy is set up, does not demonstrate the total appreciation and respect for the type of work ethic and accountability that I’ve experienced in sports in order to achieve great success! I agree with the grading initiative in terms of students being accountable for achieving, setting learning goals, and tracking their progress! Yes, I agree, we should support students’ emotional and social needs with intervention programs that build up their character, help them manage their stress, and conquer their learning obstacles, while preparing them for success!

Even as adults we have to join support groups or constantly review content that we may not have mastered for professional development. We may not get points, a promotion for it, or a pat on the back, but I’m sure we all have found out that becoming more competent and able to master our jobs can be just as rewarding. Therefore, we have to show our students to accept that they may not get the grade that they wanted, but it should not deter them from putting in more effort to achieve a life or career skill. In fact, people or organizations may not give you a second or third chance to get a better grade or rating, but you still have to work hard if you want to achieve more and take your talent to a higher level! So I’d rather students be prepared to understand the concept of work ethic and strategic planning early so they will not have to face unnecessary obstacles during college or throughout their careers.

More importantly, we have to ask ourselves, “What is Equity?” in terms of grading in this globally competitive world? Remember this summer, we had to ask ourselves about fairness during the Olympics in Rio after the Women’s 400-meter dash. Take a look!

If you look at the end of this race, Allyson Felix and another runner came over to Shanae Miller to help pick her up and congratulate her for winning the race. I wonder how those ladies truly felt about the outcome of that race after the hard work they put in preparing for four years to achieve the Olympic gold, silver, or bronze medal?

I can relate to this actual race reflecting on my career in education, however, sometimes your hard work may not matter to those who will have political power with or without you being on their team. So, Education Leaders, you must continue to play with pride and dignity, knowing you can and will make a difference in your students’ lives!

Here’s the baton:

Let me see what kind of answers or solutions you will provide for these open-ended questions related to equity in education:

1. Are we going to allow students to win by the rules or allow students to leap to the finish line while others chose to win the proper way – striding and striving for excellence?

2. Is the education race the same or equitable if everyone is not treated with the same expectations or respect?

3. Does equity create opportunities for students or education leaders to cheat in order to compete?

4. Will “equity” that everyone is striving for create “new achievement gaps” for students who were privileged by the traditional rules of education?

5. Are we making changes in grades because we do not want our students to experience failure or education leaders do not want to look like failures?

6. Essentially, how can we find that balance of power for all students to achieve and learn valuable lessons about respect, empathy, discipline, perseverance, and teamwork?

Finally, we have to be extremely careful when implementing grading policies such as this because lack of accountability is the reason why so many people are suffering in this world today personally and professionally. Think about how a grade or even your behavior has impacted your mental, emotional, social, or economic situation today. With that said, teachers along with our future workforce depend on our commitment as a community to enforce equity by applying ethical and moral reasoning to our instructional and political decisions!

Now, we’ve made it to the finish line! I appreciate your endurance and let’s continue to run this purposeful race together!  #competewithpurpose and #gradewithpurpose!

Marian Moore is a former instructor from Baltimore County Public Schools and an aspiring consultant for Superintendents, school officials, and education supporters!


Cited Sources:

Dr. S. Dallas Dance, Ph. D. “What’s in a Grade.” The Baltimore Sun. September 3, 2016. Web. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-dance-grades-20160903-story.html

Division of Curriculum and Instruction. Baltimore County Public Schools Grading and Reporting Procedures Manual, 2016. http://bcps.org/academics/grading/Grading-and-Reporting-Procedures.pdf

Baltimore County Public Schools High School Sample Report Card  http://www.bcps.org/academics/grading/ReportCardHigh.pdf

Marian_Competes Reply: https://twitter.com/Marian_Competes/status/750069209372110849

EasyGrade Pro’s Website http://easygradepro.com/

Google Docs https://www.google.com/docs/about/

Instructor Companion Site: Principles of Business, 8th Edition http://www.cengage.com/cgi-wadsworth/course_products_wp.pl?fid=M20bI&product_isbn_issn=9781111426941

Public Comment: Board of Education Meeting. October 12, 2014 https://plus.google.com/102878542061602434531/posts/jQ2e2wE7qZp

Public Comment: Board of Education Meeting. August 9, 2016  https://plus.google.com/u/0/102878542061602434531/posts/NAivQPDDVJo


Examview Assessment Suite – https://www.turningtechnologies.com/products/ExamView

NBC Sports YouTube Channel:  Bahamas’ Miller dives to beat out U.S.’ Felix for 400m gold

USA Today: Shaunae Miller dives for a gold medal in women’s 400-meter

The Big Upset!

My blog this month is dedicated to my father, Glenny “Duke” Moore, who ascended on Friday, February 5, 2016. He fought for his life all the way to the end and has passed the baton to many people who looked up to him as a father figure or friend. His life – the good, the bad, and the ugly inspire me to try to connect with everyone – despite our differences or our different circumstances because it’s the right thing to do.


Thank you, Daddy, for encouraging me to fight for my rights as a woman and mother. Your time, support, and listening ear really set me up for future success! Now that you are in the spiritual realm, I know that you are putting in a good word for me to the “Most High” to create new pathways for me to contribute more to society and live your legacy of love that you demonstrated to me and your grandson, Nigel Moore. I’m still trying to process you not being here physically to listen to my blogs or speeches before I publish or recite them. It was truly fulfilling watching your face light up with pride after I would share my writing with you. You genuinely enjoyed my evolution and my efforts to become an advocate for civil rights in education. You were my #1 supporter and I know every success I experience from this day forward was because you took out the time to just listen and talk to me about life! I am so grateful to have had you in my life! I love you, forever!

Your Super Star,


Now, let’s get back to business as I refocus on my mission to coach and motivate whoever decided to read my message today!

This blog is also dedicated to Africans and African Americans, who are celebrating Black History Month. I encourage you to continue to believe in yourself even if some people treat you as if you are unworthy of true happiness, respect, or opportunities in life! More importantly, this blog is for all of the victors who have endured unfair adversities due to their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age, income, or by simply using their freedom of speech and expression.

Therefore, I would like to share a sports analogy with you I entitled: “The Big Upset”.

This month, we are approaching a critical part of the high school and college basketball seasons when teams have to play with unity despite their individual differences. Now February is usually the turning point for a lot of basketball teams and this is the time when players collectively decide whether or not they want to be the champions of their region, state, or division. Also, by this time of the basketball season, teams have celebrated some wins and endured some losses! As players or spectators, we all know that the winning results during March Madness reflect the outcome of hard work, courage, & perseverance. As a former athlete, I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter what your season record is or how many star athletes you have on your team, “the championship title is not discriminatory”. The final title belongs to the individuals or team who are not complacent and have a strong desire to win for a greater purpose than themselves!

Now, of course, the fans and critics expect the team with the winning record or the team who have powerful and talented players to win the big game – just like money, power, connections, and prestige usually help people win political positions. But, in sports, most biased fans, would not expect the athletes on the underdog’s team as having the caliber or capacity to help win “the big game” or championship.

Moreover, even some team members only endorse their “star players” as the ones who could help win critical games during the regular season, overlooking players who often watch the game from the bench. So can someone who has been called a “practice player” or a “bench warmer”, compete on such an elite level? Furthermore, can the team who were titled “The Underdogs”, from a different division compete with the division who has the most resources, fans, and corporate sponsors? Of course, they, “The Underdogs” can! So when the “Big Upset” happens and anonymous athletes become (what seemed like) “an overnight success”, everyone who’s watching and playing the game discovers humbly that, “All you need to win is to believe in yourself and have a courageous heart”.

So, my readers, don’t lose the game of life believing only certain people are meant to be victorious. In fact, we can be so predictable with the negative attitudes we have about ourselves or the types of outcomes we create for our lives, that people actually invest big money into industries that support our sometimes defeated attitudes – like the prison, mental health, illegal drug, and medical industries. Thus, now is the time for us to explore economics and research the political science that runs this world! We have to collectively understand that, the “Big Upset” happens when political fans lose “big money” on the underdogs win or new winning attitudes!

With that said, “Never underestimate the power of the underdog” if you feel like one because the championship goes to the team who takes the most calculated risks and have the most heart! So please find the winner inside of you and make championship history! Over the next few decades, I want to hear about you or your children, during Black , Hispanic Heritage, or Women’s History Month! I want to see you and others collaborating to make World History just like our ancestors! Yes, “YOU” – because from this day forward, you are not giving up on yourself or the legacy you could create for generations to come!

In closing, I don’t know how many times I’ve heard my former high school basketball coach, Breezy Bishop say, “You’ve gotta have heart!” Who would have thought that such a common phrase that I often laughed at and imitated in high school could get me through such a complex political game situation in my personal and professional life. I just know from my experience with sports that when you come to a game wanting to win, you have to get in a competitive mental zone that no one can take you out of, “not even white supremacy”! I never would have thought I would be going “head to head” with white supremacy in the education system, but God will put you in game situations in life that will help your team to become believers again, achievers again, and winners again because freedom, respect, and opportunity belong to all of us! Not just them, but “US” too!

Happy Black History Month to everyone! Study History and Make History! Until next time, please check out my video collection from my local board of education meetings over the past three years. I am available to speak on many issues regarding education, instructional technology, economics, and policies related to equal opportunities for teachers, employees, and students! Take care and Power to the People!

It’s “Moore” Than One Way to Score a Basket

Early in my basketball career, one of my power moves was driving to the basket. As soon as I would receive the ball from one of my teammates, my coach or my supporters would yell, “Drive to the basket!” I did and I did it well, but do you know the countless times my defenders tried to hold me back from making each basket? Me neither, but it was physically draining. However, it was something about passing my defenders and scoring that influenced me to seek different ways to reach the goal. I would often go baseline, drive into the paint, not to mention my intention to get the “And 1” in order to earn a free throw. Reflecting on those competitive times in my life, the back of my jersey should have had “Icy Hot & Epson Salt” logos on it from the bumps, bruises, or pain I experienced just for gaining points or a free throw, which later in life was interpreted as the glamorous pathway to receive a “free education”. Nonetheless, it was a powerful feeling or thought that goes along with making this type of power move, driving to the basket, especially, when your defenders aren’t able to stop you from scoring. In your competitive mind, you’re thinking, “You can’t stop me or you can’t hold me down!” “Are you trying to block my destiny?” Watch me find another way to get to that basket! “Talking Trash” and fighting your fears with courage as your ammunition to make that goal! #Don’tBeASlaveForTheGameButRedefineTheRulesWithYourFreeWill

I can apply this same competitive concept to the game of business with the risk I am willing to face for free enterprise. There’s a target audience for what I plan to do and I believe they will be anxiously waiting to hear my motivational words of wisdom and will be eager to apply my disciplinary principles in a workshop formation. I look forward to the opportunity to coach people on the “WORK” that is necessary for winning results! We’ve all learned in this “game of life” that most people desire an easy basket, even want you to shoot for them, or you to drive to the basket taking the bumps and bruises for them while they watch, as well as, analyze your game from the sidelines. In fact, some people don’t respect you until you beat them at their own game. Yet, I believe redefining the game is when we respect people upfront ; eliminating the hate or vengeance involved with being divided and spend more time, money, or energy on winning this game together! So my organization, Compete With Purpose, LLC will explore the collaboration of two concepts: Competition vs. Compassion so that we “All” can Win With Wisdom! #CompeteWithCompassion

So getting back on track with my reflection – Towards, the end of my basketball career, I began playing smarter when attempting to score. For instance, the two strategies of many that I used to become a better basketball player were to deliberately box out and work diligently on my outside shot. As “life players”, we know we have to work on our inner and outer game in order to remain balance in this “game of life”. Therefore, starting from the ground up, boxing out with your feet solid on the ground while positioning yourself for an offensive rebound is the best strategy to master your opponent in order to rise up to the occasion of winning competitive games. Not to mention, the perimeter shot that can look so “artistic” when the shooter’s arch “poses” with a precise “stroke” outside of the “paint”. Furthermore, when you discover the physics and the mathematics behind making a basket, it will reward you with the sweet sound of the net welcoming the ball with open arms. Of course, everyone knows the perfect harmonic sound when they hear it, “Swoosh”. The sound that any “balla” wants to hear to validate his or her greatness while playing the game of basketball. So as life players, let’s strive to stay balance, grounded, and embrace the love behind the game. #Love&Basketball

Next, I would like to continue to share the concept of boxing out, a powerful yet underrated strategy, which connects to the business principle, “positioning”. It focuses on positioning yourself for achieving your goal. Now naturally, I had the gift to jump, but over time my knees became tender and it added some excruciating pain to my game. So instead of trying to out jump my opponents, I positioned myself so that if the ball bounced to my side of the basket, it would “fall in love” with my hands. This “learning concept” demonstrates that when I applied my mental ability, it outweighed my physical disability. It was a great technique that made my flaws look so flawless and made some people fall in love with my graceful game. #PlaySmart&MakeItLookPretty

The second strategy worth acknowledging is my effort towards enhancing my outside shot. If people only knew the work behind my outside shot around the perimeter; I must humbly confess that I was hardly a natural outside shooter. In fact, I believe my shooting form was “literally inarticulate” during high school when I attempted to communicate my shot with the basket around the perimeter. Therefore, I took comfort in scoring by driving to the basket, running hard as I could during fast breaks just to score an easy layup, not to mention, the infamous drop step, my first coach, Mr. Selby taught me. Furthermore, shooting the ball was a life lesson that took hours of preparation. I truly remember learning how to master the necessary force to shoot the ball based on how high I jumped. This academic lesson connected shooting a jumper with the momentum of physics, along with the repetition of mathematics in order to master the acute angle of making a basket. For example, I recall one of my college teammates, Tammy Brown and former college coach, Doris Moncrief who showed and helped me with the scientific method of shooting. Doris really helped me my senior year in college to experience the magic behind shooting, which was the highlight of my game against Bowie State when I achieved my 1,000th point. Who would have thought that science, art, and love had such a connection to the game of basketball? In my opinion, if school lessons were taught with these types of metaphors, everyone would bring their A game to class. #MakeYourWeaknessesYourStrategyToWin

Now, most fans of basketball look forward to the entertaining talents on display as these players are participating in the challenge of “Survival of the Fittest”. Everyone who is watching the game from the stands just see the outcomes of this work ethic I speak of; No one really knows that when my peers were sleeping, 5 o’clock in the morning I was on my way to the gym to meet up with teammates who wanted to play this “Hunger Game” with me. Furthermore, if I did not work as hard during the basketball season, then I had to redeem myself during the summer. So when some of my peers were chilling out with idle time or trying to find love, I had a serious attitude about accomplishing my goal. During high school and college, I recall some summers getting up early in the morning to play at Druid Hill Park or neighborhood courts by myself or with my friends playing against a whole bunch of grown men, who would often argue about every single play. Also, I recall summer evenings playing at Dorsey Road’s basketball court with All-American, Chanel Wright, one of my big sisters from Western High School matching up with talented men. We knew that if we played with or competed with men that would enhance our game to new levels. One of my strategies while playing with males would be to play the point guard position in order to work on my ball handling skills. Furthermore, I spent time working out during my sophomore year with my childhood friend, Ali Culpepper, who was an All-American football player. I would lift weights with him to build my strength and attempted to do calisthenics with his trainer to prepare me for complex game situations. Consequently, the way that I maximized my time and chose my company had a lot to do with my success as an athlete. I’ve learned that when preparing for big events in your life, you are often alone and people do not even understand why you are so serious or intense about this game of life. The only thing I can say is that with that disciplined mind set, You Will Get Results! #CollaborateWhileCompeting

Overall, taking time out to prepare to score is a simple yet routine task that most people avoid especially when they feel like they are too smart to prepare because performing comes naturally. Others may want the ball to magically go in without putting forth any effort. Furthermore, some people may use their charm to get what they want out of the game of life and are not prepared to do their jobs, often letting a team of great potential down. However, I firmly believe that you can have a “winning team” when you seek and utilize each individual’s talent so that everyone can determine their best way to score a basket. Thus, proves that there is more than one way for each individual to make a basket which defeats the traditional rule that “one size fits all”. Therefore, downplaying diversity does not count anymore! It is my duty and obligation to confirm that we cannot win this game of life without embracing diversity! #MakeitCountForEveryoneWhoIsInvolved!

Lastly, I may not have mentioned every one that has helped my basketball game, but I thank all past teammates from Northwood Recreation Center (especially Shemeika Johnson and LaKEYsha Holmes because we started playing basketball together), BNBL Leagues, Project Survival Leagues, AAU Summer Leagues, Western High School (special shout out to Ms. Breezy Bishop, who showed us that big things come in little packages and to go get a piece of that American pie!), and Fayetteville State University (I cannot forget to acknowledge Coach Mike Rich, who recruited me and made sure my academic schedule was on point. Also, Coach Eric Tucker who has the gift of humor about life that we all need while competing in this world). Not to mention my opponents because you all made me better too and that is what life is all about, “Making Each Other Better”! Challenging each other for greatness! So I look forward to sharing some other life lessons that I’ve learned and giving other valuable people some shout outs because it is always important to self-reflect on the people and events in your life that give you that compelling edge to “Compete with Purpose”!