AP: Apr. 28, 2014 – By KIMBERLY HEFLING
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. public high schools have reached a milestone, an 80 percent graduation rate. Yet that still means 1 of every 5 students walks away without a diploma.
Citing the progress, researchers are projecting a 90 percent national graduation rate by 2020.
Their report, based on Education Department statistics from 2012, was presented Monday at the Building a GradNation Summit.
The growth has been spurred by such factors as a greater awareness of the dropout problem and efforts by districts, states and the federal government to include graduation rates in accountability measures. Among the initiatives are closing “dropout factory” schools.
In addition, schools are taking aggressive action, such as hiring intervention specialists who work with students one on one, to keep teenagers in class, researchers said.
Growth in rates among African-American and Hispanic students helped fuel the gains. Most of the growth has occurred since 2006 after decades of stagnation.
“At a moment when everything seems so broken and seems so unfixable … this story tells you something completely different,” said John Gomperts, president of America’s Promise Alliance, which was founded by former Secretary of State Colin Powell and helped produce the report. Read More
Thursday, April 10, 2014
Alexis A. Goring, Sentinel Lifestyle Reporter
The Foundation for the Advancement of Music and Education (FAME) hosted an “Artist in the School” event at Henry A. Wise, Jr. High School in Upper Marlboro on Thursday, March 27. Harpist/singer/songwriter Rashida Jolley who uses the stage name Tulani, was the featured artist. Jolley who is a Washington-area native, spoke with the students about her career and the importance of getting a good education.
The event was hosted in partnership with the high school’s Performing Arts Department and Prince George’s County Council Member Derrick Leon Davis (District 6) and had a turnout of about 180 students, some who were invited by Jolley to sing on stage and participate in a fun activity about following your dreams. After the students were dismissed to class, Jolley sat down with The Sentinel lifestyle reporter Alexis A. Goring to share her story of stardom and passion for helping young people.
Goring: I love how you engaged the kids with stories they can relate to before your performance. Was that your original idea?
Tulani: I come from a family of speakers. My father was a preacher. My uncle’s a national motivational speaker. My dad and Willy Jolley (national motivational speaker) were brothers…My father always told me people can relate to stories so you take what’s in your life or stories from other people’s lives to give the message through stories.
Goring: Speaking of stories, let’s start with yours. Where were you born? Do you have siblings?
Tulani: I was born in Washington, D.C. I have six siblings—I have two sets of twin brothers and two sisters—so it’s a big family.
Goring: What role did your parents play in making you into who you are today?
Tulani: My father, unfortunately he passed away but he sacrificed his own dreams and goals for us. Initially, it was his career and then his dream became his family. So he poured everything into us growing up and taught us music since I was very little. He would put us at the piano and be like, ‘Sing that note, sing that note over here! That wasn’t right! Do it again!’ He was my best friend, my mentor, my hero. And then my mother had this intuition, this instinct to know all of our purposes. The harp was my mom’s idea…I went to my first harp lesson and I instantly fell in love with it and then my mom said when I was playing classical music on the harp, “You sing and your singing is soulful and your harp is classical. Why don’t you bring them together?” READ FULL STORY
The Washington Informer began sponsoring the D.C. Wide Spelling Bee during the 1981-82 school years. The late Dr. Mary E. White, supervising director, D.C. Public Schools Division of Instructional Services, Department of English, sought participation for D.C. Public Schools students in the Scripps National Spelling Bee held annually in Washington, D.C.
Dr. White solicited support from the Washington Post, hopeful that the publisher would agree to become the District’s official sponsor. According to Dr. White, Post officials told her that since the daily newspaper was a regional publication; their sponsorship would have to include not only the District of Columbia, but suburban Maryland and Virginia, as well. However, at that time, the Journal newspaper chain had served as the suburban sponsor for several years, resulting in the Post’s refusal to sponsor the bee solely for students enrolled in District schools. Dr. White then appealed to Dr. Calvin W. Rolark, a friend and supporter of the D.C. Public Schools, president and founder of the United Black Fund, Inc. and publisher of The Washington Informer newspaper, to exercise his influence over the Post officials and persuade them to agree to sponsor the spelling bee. However, as publisher of a weekly newspaper, which served more than 25,000 readers in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia, Dr. Rolark volunteered his publication to serve as the sponsor. With that, he brought in his daughter, Denise Rolark, managing editor of The Washington Informer, to assist in coordinating the District’s first spelling bee along with Dr. White and other D.C. Public Schools officials. The first city-wide spelling bee was held at Backus Junior High School in March, 1982. The winner was a sixth grade student, John Krattenmaker, who attended Mann Elementary School. Unbeknownst to Dr. Rolark, John was not permitted to participate in the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee held the following May because The Washington Informer was not a daily newspaper, a requirement of the Scripps National Spelling.
Dr. Rolark, who was a member of the board of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), a trade organization of nearly 200 African Americanowned newspapers across the country, concluded that the national spelling bee was maintaining an inherently discriminatory policy the prohibited African American newspapers from participating in the National Spelling Bee since there are no African American- owned daily newspapers in the U.S. In urban school districts, where the majority of the student population is African American, students who might otherwise be eligible to participate in the spelling bee would be precluded from doing so if the whiteowned daily newspaper elected not to sponsor the local bee.
Dr. Rolark called in his legal counsel and wife, Wilhelmina J. Rolark, who threatened Scripps with an injunction that would forbid the national competition to take place in the District of Columbia until the court ruled on the merits of the case alleging discrimination. Scripps complied, and changed its rules to allow weekly newspaper sponsorship in the national competition. That year, the Loudon County Times, a weekly newspaper based in Loudon County, Virginia and the only other weekly newspaper to participate along with the Informer in the national spelling bee that year, produced the national spelling bee winner.
Each year, more than 2,000 students enrolled in nearly 200 D.C. schools participate in The Washington Informer City-Wide Spelling Bee. For the past 30 years, the City-Wide Spelling Bee has been held at the studios of NBC4, where it is taped and later aired for general viewership throughout the Washington metropolitan area.
Purpose Scripps, a diversified multi-media company, established the National Spelling Bee to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabulary, learn concepts, and develop correct English that will help them all their lives. Spellers experience the satisfaction of learning language not only for the sake of correct spelling but also for the sake of cultural and intellectual literacy.
The Washington Informer’s participation in Scripps National Spelling Bee helps to further the goals of Scripps in the District of Columbia and to address the issue of illiteracy, particularly among African American youth. “If we want to improve the quality of life for all Americans,” said the late Dr. Calvin W. Rolark, publisher, “then we must begin by teaching our children to read, which they will not be able to achieve until they can learn to spell.”
Published on: Wednesday, April 02, 2014
Alexis A. Goring, Special to The Sentinel
Representatives from the United Way of the National Capital Area gathered in the Media Room of the Prince George’s County Administration Building in Upper Marlboro on March 27 to present a ceremonial check of $152,316 to Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker.
“United Way is giving out money today but yesterday, we gave out community grants from the County Executive’s Office and combining these two grants are going to fill the gap to meet most of the needs in Prince George’s County because government cannot do it alone,” said County Executive Rushern Baker. “Certainly, we’re all going through economic hard times. But the private sector working with the government and coming together with great organization makes it happen.”
United Way of the National Capital Area awarded 14 grants totaling $152,316 to member organizations serving Prince George’s County. The check was presented to Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker and Council Chair Jamel Franklin (District 9) with Council Members Mary Lehman (District 1) and Obie Patterson (District 8) present. According to a press release, the funds came through designations to the Prince George’s County Community Impact Fund in United Way NCA’s annual workplace giving campaign. Each of the grants directly addresses programs that fall within United Way NCA’s focus areas of education, financial stability and health. Read More
(Bowie, MD) 76 West Band and “Plunky and Oneness” will help FAME: The Foundation for the Advancement of Music and Education (www.fameorg.org) celebrate its 10th year anniversary with a concert at the Bethesda Jazz & Supper Club on Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at 8:00 p.m. Ticket information can be found at http://www.bethesdabluesjazz.com. 76 Degrees West Band is known for its self-titled album which featured a remake of the hit “School Boy Crush” (Average White Band). The group recently released a new album featuring Washington area native Raheem De Vaughn. Plunky and Oneness just released “Never Too Late,” an album featuring nu-jazz, go-go funk and hip-hop.
The musicians are strong advocates for FAME. “The Foundation for the Advancement of Music and Education supports a wide range of musical genres to students and to our supporters. We are thrilled that 76West Band and Plunky and Oneness support our mission to bring music and education to our young people,” said FAME Founder and Executive Director A. Toni Lewis.
The event is one of a series of activities for FAME as the organization enters its tenth anniversary year.
WHAT: Concert Featuring 76 West Band and Plunky and Oneness
WHEN: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 8:00 p.m. ( Doors Open at 6 p.m.)
WHERE: Bethesda Jazz & Summer Club 7719 Wisconsin Avenue Bethesda, Maryland
Now entering its 10th year, the Foundation for the Advancement of Music and Education, Inc. (FAME) is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit corporation based in Bowie, Maryland. FAME was founded in 2004 on the principle that all children, teens, and young adults, regardless of social and economic need, should have access to quality music and music education as part of their lifelong journey to adulthood. And if given the tools, the power of music which is a key factor to a well -rounded character, will produce a new generation of leaders for our community and for our nation. Our mission is to positively impact the lives of youth through access to quality music, education, programs, and experiences. LIKE US on FACEBOOK! FOLLOW US ON TWITTER OR INSTAGRAM at famemusiced.
Fame in the news!
One woman is teaching parents to connect with their developmentally disabled children through music.
Leon Harris Anchor,WJLA/ABC7 News and Nat Adderley, Jr., International Pianist & Composer
The Steve Harvey Morning Show, Sirius/XM/WHUR-FM 96.3
6:30 PM VIP/Honoree Reception
7:00 PM General Reception
8:00 PM Program
9:00 PM After-Party
Newton White Mansion
2708 Enterprise Road
Mitchellville, MD 20721
To reserve your tickets or for more information contact
Toni Lewis firstname.lastname@example.org 301-805-5358
As some school systems cut music programs, a special Prince George’s County program is helping students succeed through music.
For seven years, the Foundation for the Advancement of Music and Education has helped high school students develop their musical talent.
Lillie Tinsley, 20, is currently a junior at Berklee College of Music in Boston. But she got her start in the FAME program in Prince George’s County.
“FAME is about chance. It’s about giving a lot of children a chance who didn’t think they’d make it, especially in the music field,” Tinsley says.
Every Thursday after school at Central High, FAME students meet for “Music is Central.”
They receive one-on-one and group training from teachers who are all professionally trained musicians.
Founder Toni Lewis hopes all FAME students broaden their music tastes and abilities.
“We want to change lives through music and education because we use the two together,” he says. Read more
C A N T A T A
This Christmas Cantata concert, presented by FAME & Bowie State University’s Fine and Performing Arts Department, provides an opportunity for families and the entire community to share in the joy of music during the holiday season. The performance includes some of the area’s finest professional vocalists and musicians along with outstanding youth singers and dancers from area schools.
Saturday, December 15, 2012
5PM Show SOLD OUT
The Fine and Performing Arts Center
Bowie State University
14000 Jericho Park Road
Bowie, MD 20715-9465
Tickets | $12 in advance; $15 at the door
Group Sales | $10pp for groups of 10+
For tickets & information:
Co-Chairs: The Honorable Derrick Leon Davis & The Honorable Will Campos
Honorary Co-Chairs: The Honorable Douglas JJ Peters, The Honorable Geraldine Valentino Smith,
The Honorable Ingrid Turner, The Honorable Todd Turner, Mr. Ronnie Gathers, The Honorable Karen Toles,
The Honorable Obie Patterson, The Honorable James Marcos, The Honorable Kito James, Ms. LaVonn Reedy-Thomas
FAME – The Foundation for the Advancement of Music & Education was founded in 2004 on the
principle that all children, teens, and young adults, regardless of social and economic need, should
have access to quality music and education as part of their lifelong journey to adulthood.
Host: Jacquie Gales Webb
Guinness World Records Confirms Arena Stage And Fame Achieve Title For Largest Trombone Ensemble
January 11, 2013
FAME Contact: Shayna Bayard
Arena Stage Contact: Greta Hays
GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS CONFIRMS
ARENA STAGE AND FAME ACHIEVE TITLE FOR
LARGEST TROMBONE ENSEMBLE
(Washington, D.C.) Inspired by The Music Man’s signature song “76 Trombones,” Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater partnered with FAME – Foundation for the Advancement of Music & Education in an attempt to set the world record for the largest trombone ensemble Friday, June 1, 2012 at Nationals Park – home of the Washington Nationals. This month, Arena Stage received confirmation from Guinness World Records that this goal was achieved, and with a total of 368 participating trombonists the new record was set.
Under the direction of Lawrence Goldberg, music director for Arena Stage’s production of The Music Man (May 11 – July 22, 2012 directed by Artistic Director Molly Smith), the participants performed a special orchestration by Goldberg cheekily called “7600 Trombones” created specifically for the event that featured eight different trombone parts arranged for players of varying levels of ages, backgrounds and abilities. In addition to musicians from Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia, registered participants traveled from as far away as New York, New Jersey, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Canada.
The attempt was nearly rained out by a torrential storm that caused many of the more than 550 registered musicians to not participate. Luckily, enough motivated trombone players braved the elements and helped to set this new record. Maryland Delegate Geraldine Valentino-Smith and noted trombone player Leon D. Rawlings were the official witnesses of the attempt.
The attempt and partnership by Arena Stage and FAME was done in celebration of Arena Stage’s production of The Music Man, and to promote the value of quality music education and performance.
WTOP was a proud sponsor of this event. Throughout the entire month of June, FAME received more than $30,000 in free air-time and in-kind contributions as WTOP’s Charity of the Month. This program was established to help non-profits raise community awareness, promote their events and help with fundraising efforts. The charity chosen each month receives a total of 64 30-second on-air promotional announcements on WTOP Radio and Federal News Radio, as well as promotional content on wtop.com and federalnewsradio.com/ throughout the month. The Gazette and Washington Informer newspapers served as media sponsors.
FAME-Foundation for the Advancement of Music and Education is a community, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to providing equal access to outstanding young performing and visual artists who are disproportionately affected by their social and economic backgrounds. Our mission at FAME is to
cultivate high-quality opportunities for outstanding young musicians to perform in venues that might not customarily be available due to lack of access, and to help them excel academically. Founded in 2004, FAME speaks for the young performing artist who has been silenced at school due to budgetary cutbacks and/or the total elimination of performing arts programs; subsequently, FAME is committed to enriching the overall literacy in the community via the performing arts and the humanities. Fameorg.org
Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater is a national center dedicated to the production, presentation, development and study of American theater. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Molly Smith and Executive Producer Edgar Dobie, Arena Stage is the largest company in the country dedicated to American plays and playwrights. Arena Stage produces huge plays of all that is passionate, exuberant, profound, deep and dangerous in the American spirit, and presents diverse and ground-breaking work from some of the best artists around the country. Arena Stage is committed to commissioning and developing new plays through the American Voices New Play Institute. Now in its seventh decade, Arena Stage serves a diverse annual audience of more than 300,000. arenastage.org
Examiner: March 15, 2012
This Saturday night, March 17 will mark the date for the most highly anticipated reunion in music in the Washington, DC area. The Original Ayre Rayde will take the stage at Camelot by Martin’s in support of the non-profit Foundation for the Advancement of Music and Education (F.A.M.E.), founded by Toni Lewis, and the deserving students who will directly benefit from this performance. The event will be held from 9pm until 2am.
The fundraiser will feature performances by F.A.M.E. students as well as AJ Musik, an up and coming R&B/Pop artist from Philadelphia who will be performing his single “Over Us” and who is managed by former Ayre Rayde member, Marlin Wiggins. La’Rez, an artist from Capitol Heights, Maryland who is with Nu Globe Entertainment will also be performing as well as nationally known recording artist, Vinnie D., who will be performing his hit ‘$55 Motel’ and some of his new music as well. The featured act, Ayre Rayde, will also premiere their newest single, “Cookie Jar”. The event will be hosted by TMOTTRadio.com personality, Go-Go Michelle.
Ayre Rayde, who came into prominence in 1986 with their hit song, “Sock it to Me” has some very distinguished alumni including District Six County Council Member for Prince George’s County, Maryland, Derrick Leon Davis who, in his musical career as a saxophone player, goes by the name “China Boogie”.
Councilmember Davis shares, “I’m mainly looking forward to getting a chance to honor a tremendous friend in the best way we could’ve thought of– throwing an enormous party that also benefits others! I’m looking forward to playing ‘Special Hello to all Our Friends’.”
The friend that Davis refers to is the co-founder and manager of Ayre Rayde, Daryl M. Spencer who sadly passed away in July 2011. Ayre Rayde and F.A.M.E. joined forces for this benefit and have created a scholarship in the name of Daryl M. Spencer. Always willing to give back to the community, this event is indicative of the reputation of Ayre Rayde. An event of this magnitude and dedication as well as the anticipation by fans for this reunion to finally occur will certainly generate a substantial amount of money, but the band has chosen to utilize this reunion to assist the youth via F.A.M.E. Read More
Examiner: January 28, 2012
As Saturday, March 17, 2012 rapidly approaches, both band members and fans of the group, Ayre Rayde, are counting the days until the most anticipated reunion of the year will take place. Donald “Doc” Spencer, co-founder of the group along with his brother Daryl Spencer, promises that this will be like no other reunion that the DMV has seen. This reunion, which will be taking place at Camelot by Martin’s in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, has a purpose.
Spencer explains, “Our reunion was actually supposed to have taken place last year before the passing of my brother, Daryl M. Spencer, who was the manager of Ayre Rayde. He passed away on July 2, 2011 and the original members of Ayre Rayde decided to do the reunion in the memory of our manager, brother and friend on October 22, 2011. One of the former members of the group, Derrick “China Boogie” Davis suggested to the members of the group that it would also be an honor to the memory of Daryl, to utilize the reunion as a Benefit to assist kids that need musical instruments in the school as a way of furthering their education and opportunities upon graduation.”
The band members agreed to Davis’ suggestion and the group put the reunion on hold once more. In the interim, Davis had been elected to replace Leslie Johnson as Councilman of Prince Georges County, Maryland’s District 6. Davis introduced Spencer to Toni Lewis, the founder of the Foundation for the Advancement of Music and Education, Inc. (FAME), a 501 ( c) (3), a non-profit organization whose mission, according to their website, www.fameorg.org, is to provide access to all genres of art to students in urban neighborhoods, who are often disproportionately affected by their social and economic backgrounds. FAME has also been dedicated to providing monetary scholarships to students to further their education in the arts whether it is for vocal or visual arts, dance, or theatre. Read More