Monday, November 26, 2012

MOBB, Inc.'s Classroom Visitation Challenge

Join MOBB, Inc. and participate in our Classroom Visitation Challenge this week. I'm sure you all know that parental involvement is key to the success of your child. School leaders and teachers love it when a parent shows up to lend a hand. Spending just a few minutes out of your day at your child's school says many things to the child. You will become aware of his/her responsibilities as a student. You will be able to speak specifically to your child's assignments, which actively engages the child in his/her work, as well. 

Spending time in your child's classroom sends strong messages: 1) Education is valuable to me 2) My support is extended to you (the teacher) & my child 3) I want nothing but the BEST for my child. So, visit your child's classroom/daycare/preschool this week. Spend at least 30 minutes-1 hour assisting the teacher, 
ask if you can participate in the read aloud, file some papers, escort the children to special area, or volunteer in the school's library or cafeteria. Those are just some ideas of how you can help. Your presence speaks volumes. Share how you spent time in your child's school this week. 

Before the visit, find out the school's policy for volunteering. Random visitations should be permissible, however, you can check with the principal prior to the visit if you just want to show up without notice to the teacher. 

If you want more ideas for how you can assist in the classroom, email me at

Visit our website to learn more about our organization at

Can't wait to hear your stories! Happy Monday!
Dr. Jacquetta M. Chatman

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Give Him A Good Start

Well, my now we all have begun a new school year. Hopefully, it has gotten off to a wonderful start. You must know that every school year bring new challenges, so give him a good start. He deserves all the good that life has to offer, and it begins in your home. Home should be a safe haven for our children, a place they go to receive support, love, and care. Know your role in the educational process and keep him engaged. 

School should be a supplemental agent for those things the home is primarily responsible for. Don't leave your child's education solely in the hands of his or her teacher. Give him a boost and start working on new concepts at home. It will be easier for him to grasp and understand when his teacher introduces it to him. Let him know that you love him, through your actions. Show up for open house, attend PTA meetings, join the school's SIC, volunteer, be the homeroom mom, check over his homework, and have daily discussions about his peers. Parents, make contact with your child's teacher now. Don't wait until something goes wrong to let the teacher know that you care about your child's education. Email the teacher from time to time just to say you're concern and you want to know how you can help your child. All of us are busy working; however, we can 't be too busy that we forget to visit our child at school and actively support his educational career. 

Not only do black males need support, all males need support. Males are active by design and must stay engaged. Get him involved in some extracurricular activity. Set limits for how they are engaged in those activities that can be addictive, like video games. Don't allow them to spend hours playing video games, without engaging in some form of reading. Make sure they are physically active, too. Take them to a local gym or park, and allow them to burn some energy. Visit our First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move Initiative website at for additional information on keeping our children happy, healthy, and fit. 

Best wishes to a productive & successful school year!

Mothers of Black Boys, Inc.

Monday, May 14, 2012

When their perception becomes reality...

Reality and perception are two different things with somewhat of an intertwining concept. While writing her dissertation and conducting research, Dr. Tracey Holder examined the educational experiences of five black males' perceptions about what influences they felt were making a significant impact on their experiences in school. These black males were having problems academically and behaviorally in school. The primary factors that influenced their struggles were societal, institutional, and personal. At the institutional level, one student noted the lack of instructional engagement and the lack of adult-student relationship. Relationships are important, especially when a concept is to be learned. Think about it...many of us don't care to listen to anyone who doesn't seem to care about anything we say or do. Well, the same goes for children. They need to know that the teacher (and parent) cares and is concern about their education. Parents, listen to your children. Teachers get to know your students. They need that relationship. Out of the five students, only one made mention of societal influences on his academic success.

Our reality is what we perceive things to be. Each of those males had their own perception of school, which ultimately became their reality. They became disengaged with the learning environment. Children do not just randomly decide that they aren't going to do well in school. There are many factors as to why they do not do well. As parents, it is our duty and moral obligation to ensure that our children's influences are always positive.  We have to first acknowledge and then address the disengagement and attitude towards school. As educators we see these students all the time, they put forth little to no effort in trying to do better. However, integrity should not allow one to overlook that kind of behavior without trying to find a solution. After all, that child may have to give you medicine one day while you are lying in the hospital. And surely, you want him to give you the correct dosage. Right? 

The statistics will blow your mind. In Dr. Holder's research, she quoted the U.S. Department of Justice (2002) as predicting that 32% of African American males will likely be incarcerated (state or federal) during the course of their lifetime. That is unacceptable and has been changed. It is very important that these struggling young boys are reached at a young age. We can not afford to have their lights turned off. Their perception of school and their perception of success can easily become their reality. School and home must work cohesively as one unit to tackle the deeper issues that are prohibiting them from their potential. 

For additional information and strategies to improve the perception of black males about reality, contact MOBB Consulting Group, LLC at

HOLDER, TRACY L., Ed.D. Through Their Eyes: A Look at Achievement and Success
of Selected African American Male Students. (2006).

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Keeping the Lines of Communication Open

Parenting doesn't come with a manual or a list of instructions, so therefore, many decisions we make are trial and error or they are based off of our experiences as children. As a little motor-mouth (as my mother would call me) girl, I was taught that children are to stay in their places and not in the company or conversations of adults. When the grownups were having conversations, children were not allowed to be in the room. We had to go somewhere to play. The adults didn't think children were wise enough to understand their code-switching conversations. Little did they know we understood everything and had conversations amongst each other, so many things we learned from our own perceptions. There are pros and cons to children not having "those talks" with adults. When children aren't given the opportunity to express themselves, we miss out on valuable opportunities to clear up any misconceptions. Then on the flip side, we can take away their innocence and they become 8, 9, and 10 year old adults. Don't be too quick to explain grownup issues with children. Children will forget that they are children and will put all their attention on that which they cannot fix. So, don't waste their time telling them that the other parent is unworthy or that Sister Janie from church is going with Deacon James. They have their whole lives to figure that tomfoolery out. Keep the lines of communication open by filtering.

In this new age of global technology and social media, parents have to be cognizant of their children's interactions with positive and negative people. We can't afford to lose our children to society. We are their first teachers. No peer group, club or organization, educational institution or the like, should be primarily responsible for teaching our children. We are their first teachers. They will become what we put in them. They will also regurgitate what they've learned from us. Learning doesn't begin when they are in kindergarten. Start early. Read and talk to the baby before they enter the world. By doing so, you'll create early open dialogue between you and the child. This is the start of open communication, that which we would not be able to sacrifice in the 21st Century. Your child's destiny is in what they hear and are influenced by. No one has their best interest at heart like you.

Do not be so caught up in your careers and money that you forget to have frequent conversations with your children. They need to know that you are available. Furthermore, you want them to know you are available. For over 1980 days (since he's been in preschool and school), the gist of my conversations with my oldest son has always begin with "How was your day?", and as he got older the question became more specific (How much as passed since I dropped you off at school?, How is your friend, Carter doing in school?). Asking how and why questions will make them talk more to you. Do it! It works. Before you know it, they will be telling you, instead of you asking them. Communication is the key!

Today, I'm recommending Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu's book, Developing Positive Self-Images & Discipline in Black Children.

Jacquetta M. Chatman, Ed.D.
Mothers of Black Boys, Incorporated

Monday, April 23, 2012

Who's to blame the mother or child?

"I just don't know what to say about this boy...he's not motivated!" I wish parents stop saying that. At some point, we have to look at ourselves and determine if our actions are creating the lack of motivation for learning in our children. Listen to this...*Bill is a ten year old black male in the third grade and reads on a second grade level, with a 25% accuracy in reading comprehension. He never comes to school with any materials. No pencil. No paper. No books. No nothing. Bill's mother claims he has materials when she drops him off in the mornings and something mysteriously must be happening from the time he leaves her car to the time he gets to his classroom. Not to mention he wears glasses that she hasn't seen in over 6 months because she thought they were at school. Surely, he needs to see at home, too. I don't get it. Children are not to blame and should not be held accountable for their parent's inability to parent. He or she cannot properly train or teach themselves to be diligent in their studies without some form of guidance. Children need to be taught how to organize themselves and keep up with important things.

In the parent's defense and being the devil's advocate, parenting doesn't come with a manual. There is no prerequisite course before becoming a parent. It would be nice to believe the art of parenting comes naturally, and it is the innate ability to care for that which genetically belongs to you. At least, it sounds good. Did I mention that Bill's mother is on a court ordered parenting plan? This is her second chance at parenting. Bill and his siblings were once in foster care. When she was granted custody of them this second time, Bill was molested by someone she trusted to mentor him. Now, she still doesn't seem to understand that she needs to slow down and get things in perspective. Instead, she parties like a rock star every night, then oversleeping and forcing her five children to dress and feed themselves for school. It's obvious that Bill's mother needs some coaching. She blames all of Bill's academic issues on his lack of motivation. Does it occur to her that Bill's motivation could be driven from the lack of her involvement? Maybe Bill doesn't see the importance since she never asks about his homework assignments? Bill could feel like he's losing his mom's attention to the different men that are in and out of their lives. Hmmm.....

Mothers, please be your child's best advocate and role model. Don't be selfish. Lay your desires aside and take your responsibility of parenting seriously. Parenting is not an easy assignment, but children didn't ask to come into this world. Be accountable! As parents it is our duty to develop positive self-images and discipline in our children, especially, our boys.

Support groups and consulting groups, such as MOBB, Inc. are designed to share strategies that are proven to give black males the foundation they need to be successful and productive.

*This scenario is just one of many true stories of teachers. However, to protect the identity of the child, the name is fictitious.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Did you know that special education is now a $60 billion industry?

Really??? Sixty Billion Dollars are going to special education?
According to Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu and his researchers, there are six million children enrolled in special education. There are four million males and two million females. Guess how many are black males. If that doesn't frighten you, then...Houston, we have a problem. This billion dollar industry is growing rapidly and is heavily populated with black males. Yes, it is true that some children need the service, but there are also others who are placed in special education classrooms inappropriately. Not every black boy has ADD or ADHD. Most often those overly active boys are on the path to become engineers, chemists, researchers, and other professionals with creative minds. You know him...the little boy who can put together a 500 piece puzzle in no time. These little ones probably started out like sponges, soaking up every ounce of something new. Then when they get to school some teacher does everything in her power to make him sit like a soldier with only two breaks. How many of us can sit still without picking up our cellphones, doodling, or just merely touching something? When this occurs the child becomes a behavior problem. If every day he is being fussed at because he can't be still, then eventually this child will become disengaged from the learning environment and will shut down. Les Brown is an example of this foolishness. He was labeled as mentally retarded and was told that he would never be anything. Someone planted that seed within him and unfortunately, he believed it. At that moment, his light bulb for learning blew out. He made F's and failed twice. Then a teacher in high school took extra time with him, reigniting the flame. He became an honor roll student and now Les Brown is one of the world's best motivational speakers.

Don't get it wrong, school is not always to blame. At home we don't always take the time to talk to our children. They seem to ask a million questions when we are tired. It's okay to answer them politely and not yell at them for asking. Children enter this world with a desire to know more. Home first and then school is responsible.

As mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, or whatever the role, we should never allow school to break a child's spirit. Kunjufu suggests that we should do whatever we can do to fight for our sons.

The Les Brown Story

For more insight pick up a copy of "Keeping Black Boys Out of Special Education"  by Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Why MOBB, Inc.?

Why Mothers of Black Boys, Incorporated? Is there really a need for such organization? Is it really that big of a deal?

As an eleven year veteran of urban teaching, it sometimes feel like it is not getting any better. You would think that with technology growing so rapidly and resources at the finger tips of our children, the academic achievement gap between black males and their counterparts would be decreasing. Instead, it is growing with no means to an end. Mentoring and after school programs are packed with hardly enough adult assistance. Something must be done!

After giving birth to my eldest son, Justen in 1999, who is now twelve years old, I saw the world differently. I became concerned  for how people treated each other. I knew that the odds were against Justen from the moment he took his first breath. For one, he was black and the other reason he was a boy. At that moment I took education very serious. Just enough wasn't good enough. I wanted Justen to beat the odds, so I took everything serious. I had to be an example to him. During that time I also went back to college to finish up my bachelor's degree. How could I tell Justen that education was important when I didn't finish school? When I went back to finish, I had only my 12 credit hours to complete. I was a nontraditional student with a family...I had to be an example for my son. Getting a bachelor's degree was no longer an option. Justen was my motivation.   

Shortly after I received my bachelor's degree, I got a job as a teacher in an urban school. I spent countless hours preparing to educate what researchers and statistics proved to be the most difficult subgroup of students. At times I would feel overwhelmed and unsuccessful at proving that black boys are intelligent. After all, their own parents didn't seem interested or concern. They didn't show up for conferences. They didn't help with homework. Only came out to the school if they thought someone mistreated their child. This was disheartening and stressful. The demands for holding me accountable were getting on my nerves. It seemed as if parents were not taking their responsibilities and duties as a parent seriously. I was getting sick and tired of it. All I wanted was for them to understand that they were their child's first teacher. If they sent their children to school with the basics (how to spell their names, knowing their ABC's, etc), it wouldn't be so difficult for me and their child's success would come easily. Now because of the way I was feeling, I added extra elbow grease to make sure that my son was not going to be a statistic. I became proactive and optimistic. I researched the best daycares, talked to other parents whose children were around the same age as my son, and I made sure that made sure that his caregivers understood how much we valued education. And of course, some of them found me overbearing but my son was on track and ready for public school kindergarten.

Three years after I started teaching I couldn't stop educating myself, so I enrolled in Columbia College's Master of Education program. I was one busy woman. Still teaching. Moved to a new house. Initiated to my sorority and was expecting baby #2. Running in the opposite direction of hard work was not me. It seemed like I was running in to hard work. Within that year, I gave birth to another male child and took the responsibility of caring for and educating him serious as well. While my sons had a very good father in the home with them, I took the assignment God gave me extremely serious. There was no way that I was going to allow them to be a statistic. Today my oldest son is continuing to be an honor student. He has been invited to study abroad with People to People Ambassadors in Australia and in other states as a National Young Scholar.

 None of boys' successes wouldn't be possible without setting high expectations, proper educational planning, and consistent collaboration with other mothers. It has proven that black boys can be successful. My son is continuing to excel academically by earning excellent grades in school. As a sixth grader, he is a Duke TIP scholar and is well on the way to obtain other scholastic accolades. It is my sincere belief that if mothers, who play very important roles in the lives of their sons, are equipped with appropriate strategies, resources, and a strong support system, their sons will beat the odds.

In 2009 while completing my dissertation, I found that research was conducted decades ago and is still being done as an attempt to close the achievement gap between black boys and their counterparts. As a means to change the image of black boys, God gave me a vision to form a support group for mothers raising black boys that would provide assistance and support, encouragement and resources to mothers whose sons looked like mine. I believe that it can be done. My efforts and the unknown efforts of parents who go above and beyond the call it is evident that BLACK BOYS ARE SMART, TOO!

Dr. Jacquetta M. Chatman
Mothers of Black Boys, Incorporated