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Taking Care of Business


Yesterday, we had our monthly Board meeting at the school. It was our first chance to hold the meeting in a space that was easily accessible to the public. If we can get our web site up and running, the December meeting will be announced on it and we can hope for our parents and community to become engaged in the running of our school. The meetings are held on Saturday mornings to allow working people to attend. I am looking forward to planting the seeds for a true learning community in Treme.

Even though this is the Bayou Classic weekend in New Orleans, our Southern University board member was the first one to arrive. Dr. Carol McCree drove in from Baton Rouge for the meeting (and the Battle of the Bands, Greek Step Show, Football Game, and Parties). Madonna Green and Eddie Francis, two more Board members arrived right behind her. I was about ten minutes late, still making copies at the last second. We were missing two key people, Bernard Robertson, III and Tracie Washington. Bernard is a former pro football player and this is a very busy time for him. It was Tracie’s birthday and she treated herself to a lazy morning. Both missing members contribute a lot to our operation and sent me long emails with discussion topics that were shared with the other Board members electronically. We had a quorum with the four members present so the business was conducted according to our by-laws.

Even without two officers (Tracie is the Vice-President and Bernard is the Treasurer), we were able to have a very productive meeting. We voted to add an Assistant Principal to the staff. With only 465 students you might wonder “How hard can it be?” We made the decision in anticipation of an influx of students from the neighboring school, Joseph A. Craig Elementary. It was closed last week due to mold, roofing problems, and other structural damage. The students have been relocated to a modular building in East New Orleans, but some parents want the option of schooling closer to their Treme neighborhood. We have a few spots and our enrollment may top 500 after Christmas. Craig is one of two additional schools for which we have applied in the chartering process.

The growing administrative duties are more than the Principal and her administrative assistant can handle. Primarily, we want all of our teachers to have comprehensive assessments of their instructional strengths and weaknesses, regularly scheduled job-embedded professional development, and collaboration with our school improvement consultant. We need a PTA, after school clubs and other components of an effective school. It can all be very challenging as the tasks continue to mount. We are building the proverbial airplane while it is in the air. Hopefully, the new AP will be hired during the next month and will start at the beginning of 2008.

We also voted to purchase expensive science kits for grades 1-8 and a diagnostic test for grades 3-8. The two items will cost about $40,000. But the purchases will allow us to set up a real hands-on science lab and measure the reading levels of our students. I wish we could have done both of these tasks earlier, but we’ve been busy just getting everything up and running.

The decision about whether we will be granted two more charter schools will be announced at the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education meeting on December 6th. If we are granted the two additional schools, we’ll need a CEO. Eddie is a marketing executive so it is his job to write the job announcement for Education Week and the local papers, in anticipation of the award. I don’t know whether getting more schools is good or bad. Actually, I voted against applying for more schools. The vote was 5:1 in favor of applying for Tureaud and Craig. I wanted to make sure we had the first school on target, before applying for more sites, but the timelines are off and we’d have had to miss a year to do things my way.

Finally, we voted on special holiday gifts for the staff (shhhh) and students. Our plans include decorating the school next weekend and sponsoring a door decoration contest for the classes. We also discussed several serious stumbling blocks, but I don’t want to write about them today. It will spoil my good mood.


Dear Roslyn,
I am touched by your hard work and determined efforts to create state of the art schools in Treme. I am happy to inform you that I have a state of the art professional development program that can do much to help your principals and teachers actualize their visions of creating an excellent educational environment for all of the children.

My T.E.AM Training Program can play a significant role in helping your principals achieve their planned aims for the coming year.
Because I know T.E.AM Training can not only help you meet your goals for your schools but also exceed them, I want to share some of its benefits with you.

T.E.AM Training works with 7 Healthy Habits that have direction impact on brain function. The acronym for the habits is TO SHARE:

Total nutrition,


All of these habits have direction impact on students’ capacity to learn as well as teachers’ capacity to teach. There is also a metaphoric dimension which enables these habits to be directly infused into the curriculum. For example, total nutrition in literature can be discussed in terms of what characters hunger for and the choices they make in filling that hunger. In Social Studies, students can discuss what countries hunger for and how they fill the hunger. Presidents and dictators can also be discussed in terms of their hungers and the choices they make which either help or hurt the hungers of their people. In Science, the impact of nutrition on the body can be studied. Math can be used to quantify people’s hungers and how they fulfill them.

There are also 9 Life Lessons (see attached) which help one have the emotional capacity and determination to follow through on working with their habits. For example, the Life Lesson: Attitude Affects Everything, can help us understand that we must work with our attitude towards food and discipline our desire for instant gratification in order to properly nourish our body without over indulging. Controlling our attitude, therefore, helps us control our eating habits.
Let me explain briefly why T.E.AM Training has significant impact on students’ performance. It is exactly what students and teachers need conceptually and practically to succeed because:

1. The Healthy Habits increase students’ very capacity to retain and retrieve information.

2. T.E.AM Training has a significant impact on students’ grades--raising them 10-15 points per subject.

3. The Healthy Habits improve students’ self-esteem as they define clear, readily accessible areas for self-improvement which have a significant positive impact on brain function and general health.

4. Teachers have readily available “big ideas” around which to shape lessons.
5. The Healthy Habits and Life Lessons are equally important for both teachers and students; therefore, teachers feel nurtured by the training sessions rather than overwhelmed by yet another new idea.

6. The T.E.AM Training encapsulates and extends what great teachers do, using a methodology that is easy to implement and readily brings significant academic and personal results.

7. The whole tenor of the school becomes more positive as everyone focuses on self-improvement.

T.E.AM Training includes:

1. A diagnostic component to evaluate existing conditions.

2. Whole school trainings to inform teachers and administrators how the program works.

3. Follow-up sessions and support to make sure the program is being fully implemented in classrooms.

4. Emotional Intelligence coaching for a key administrator.

As yet, no one else has so clearly designed a program that supports teachers, improves their work ethic, trains them to teach truly memorable conceptual lessons and gives them the tools to genuinely impact their students both personally and academically.

T.E.AM Training also unifies the school in very special ways that benefit all who work in the Healthy Habit environment.

Please note that T.E.AM Training stands out. Teachers love it! Not only do teachers feel personally supported by it because it reminds them to take time for themselves to work on their own Healthy Habits, but also they feel supported by it because it gives them meaningful core concepts and “big ideas” around which to structure their lessons.

One of the key things I have learned over the years is that I must constantly clear my own plate of things that are not moving me forward sufficiently in order to make room for things that will be more effective.

I know many of your teachers may feel overwhelmed by the daunting tasks they face daily. My personal experience, however, is that teachers welcome programs that give them immediate results and help them connect more meaningfully with their students. In fact, from my informal survey of teachers in New York and New Orleans, the main reason why new teachers leave the profession is because they do not get the training and support that is sufficiently “real” and practical to enable them to succeed. T.E.AM Training provides these tools. As someone who spent many years in the classroom, I know the value of simple methods that have a huge impact far beyond what one might initially imagine.

One final thought. T.E.AM Training provides the approach to teaching that all great teachers use. The key to this program is the excellent, clear, simple packaging which makes the program accessible to all teachers—both high and low performing! Packaging does make a huge difference in terms of a program being user friendly. Bill Gates, for example, took readily available computer technology and gave it a much more user friendly interface—Windows. It changed the way we use computers because now everyone could much more easily use machines that had previously seemed so daunting to the uninitiated. T.E.AM Training does this in terms of lesson planning by using the 7 Healthy Habits and 9 Life Lessons mentioned previously. The Training makes interesting concepts easy to implement for even the least able teacher. At the same time, it provides mental and physical habits that build students’ capacity to learn and teachers’ capacity to teach.

I want to help all of our children excel, I am therefore looking forward to having the opportunity to meet with you, show you an 8 minute video of the program’s impact teachers, administrators and students and discuss how T.E.AM Training can best help you meet the goals you have created for your school.

Looking forward to having the opportunity to speak with you further.

Gail Greenbaum

Gail Greenbaum
Transforming Education in America
7530 Freret St.
New Orleans, LA 70118
Phone: 646 784-6435
email: [email protected]

I'll call you. Thanks.

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