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‘We Are Intelligent’

NNPA NEWSWIRE — T.M. Landry is a year-round, tuition-based, nonpublic school which began in 2005. The school has a unique model to educate students. It is a combination of rigorous courses, self-autonomy, self-efficacy, and a demand for master learning, said co-founders Michael and Tracey Landry. According to its website, the school is designed for students who want to “pursue a serious, purposeful education” and achieve success in college and beyond.

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T.M Landry 5th grader D'Myrie Clay completes algebra problem for high school peers.

T.M. Landry students, teachers use self-efficacy to master learning

By Candace J. Semien, Jozef Syndicate Reporter, The Drum / NNPA

LAFAYETTE—The excitement in Marjorie Coulanges’s voice is unmistakable. For two years, her son Nicholas has lived three states away, attending a small, private academy. A week before Christmas 2019, Coulanges is awaiting her son’s visit, full of smiles, confident in his academic and social growth. She said this growth was not happening in the Miami, Florida, high school he attended before moving to T.M. Landry College Prep Academy in Lafayette, Louisiana.

T.M. Landry is a year-round, tuition-based, nonpublic school which began in 2005. The school has a unique model to educate students. It is a combination of rigorous courses, self-autonomy, self-efficacy, and a demand for master learning, said co-founders Michael and Tracey Landry. According to its website, the school is designed for students who want to “pursue a serious, purposeful education” and achieve success in college and beyond.

“Coming from the neighborhood where we grew up, most Black kids weren’t truly being educated,” said Michael Landry. “We wanted to try to help kids who society didn’t believe have the potential of becoming educated or who were interested in learning.”

“Nicolas wasn’t doing anything,” Coulanges admitted. The full-time nurse explained that an episode of the Ellen Show led her to research and visit the school where she interviewed the school’s founders, talked with students, then ultimately chose to relocate her son. “I was very serious about this. I could not make a mistake with my son’s future,” said Coulange.

“It’s just amazing!” She said. “He’s gotten back to his love of mathematics again and has matured so much.” Next year, Nicholas Delatour will graduate from T.M. Landry with As in pre-calculus and physics and a C in calculus I from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where he completed dual enrollment courses. He has received early action from St. John’s University in New York and is waiting on responses from other highly competitive universities where he plans to study number theory.

(Nicholas Delatour)

His handshake is firm and eye-contact direct when he shares how being a student at T.M Landry changed the trajectory of his life. “I had no ambition. No goals. I was just drifting by,” he said. “This school has impacted me more in a year than 15 years in public education has. Now I want to learn more. Mr. Mike helped me release my confidence in my ability.”

Last fall, Devon Hill, eight grader, watched as her older classmates introduced themselves and discussed their first days at T.M. Landry. They all were given The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale as one of their first reading assignments. One tenth grade student said the book changed how she was thinking about herself. Devon’s older brother, Hunter, said he uses the book as daily motivation even though it is not assigned. He said he remembered visiting the school and meeting students who talked boldly about their plans to attend Ivy League and Top 50 universities. When he started T.M. Landry, his self-esteem was low, and it’s improved. “Before now, I would’ve told you that there was no way. I couldn’t see my self stepping up. (Now,) I see so many opportunities.”

Devon smiled in agreement but said her first experience had nothing to do with reading. She was adjusting. For the first time “in a long time” she was at a school and no one was bullying her, she said. “It’s such a breath of fresh air. Every time I walk in the door, it’s a family. It doesn’t matter race or gender. They are all constantly supporting one another,” said Desaix Hill, Devon and Hunter’s mother.

“We went from a kid who was anxious to one who was happy and confident, who knows the sky is the limit,” said Lanier Cordell, the Hills’s grandmother.

Education scholars like Erin Wheeler Ph.D., executive director of College Beyond, and Calvin Mackie Ph.D. of STEM NOLA have said a student’s “belief” is critical for their success. This belief, which is called “self-efficacy,” is the belief in one’s ability to complete a chosen, specific task, Wheeler explained.

“That is what fuels students. Once they believe, then, anything else is possible,” said Tracey Landry who is completing doctoral studies is on educational leadership. “With self-efficacy, students of color will typically become engaged in the (education) process and that leads to learning. We have to tap into it. We have to let them know they can achieve. Self-efficacy is everything.”

Preparing Master Learners

Imagine walking into a converted skating rink with a high ceiling where college flags hang, Mac desktops line one wall for students to work and check the stock market. Long black tables and chairs line that adjacent wall where lunch is served and where upperclassmen work on college assignments. The day begins with every student participating in a morning meeting, which is a process the founders pulled from Corporate America. They all don their red, grey, and white uniform. One student is selected to start the day by motivating the student body. “We want the kids to be prepared for careers,” said Michael Landry. “It’s part of developing master learners.”

Nicholas Delatour

Nicholas Delatour

After the meeting, students are dismissed to class. Only one wall separates the students. Middle and elementary students occupy one side, high schoolers the other. There are no other classroom walls or partitions. Teachers—a total of four at any given moment—stand in front of roll-a-way whiteboards and chalkboards teaching small groups of students who sit a foot or two from the teachers.

Before leaving for the day, the students select their class schedule for the next day based on their needs. If a student feels behind in a writing assignment, they can choose to take a half day with that teacher to not fall behind, explained Michael Landry. Students who are interested in attending the school are invited to spend two days in classes before applying. Once admitted, they are given a few weeks, if necessary, to adjust to the school culture, said Tracey Landry.

‘It is a Luxury’

Unlearning what education and learning should look like and how schools should operate can be a hurdle for parents, Tracey Landry said.

“I had to trust their model. It was something I had not seen before and it was working for other students. I just had to trust,” said Coulanges. “I’m glad I did. What Mike and Tracey have given to him with this school, I could not give to him.”

“This is not a school for every kid. Not a set structure. They set goals and focus on what is learned and not what is covered. Everything here is a unique experience. There’s a lot of focus on the kids and it’s self-directed… It is a luxury here. I am surprised it is not overcrowded,” said Cordell who has been at the school for two years.

One ‘luxury’ the students interviewed agreed on is having administrators who “really care.” “They want the best for us,” Delatour said.

High schoolers said they often call the Landrys with questions even until early morning, on weekends, and during holidays. And Michael Landry said the calls are encouraged. “We don’t want to stop that fire (for learning),” Michael Landry said.

The school stays open on weekdays until 7pm and teachers are available until 6pm to assist students. “The whole time they are here, these students are doing work,” said Cordell who often waits for Hunter and Devin until the evening before heading home 30-miles away.

“We stay and get as much as we need. If we are missing something we know we can stay and until we learn it…and we teach each other,” said Gailen George, a senior who said he initially tried to get kicked out of the school, but now he “owns” his education.

This self-direction and self-autonomy is a challenge for students and their parents upon admission, Tracey Landry admitted. Once the student understands their education is “up to them and they are supported and challenged while they are here, then they will come to task and push themselves,” Michael Landry said.

In Multiplication is for White People, Lisa Delpit, Ph.D., explained, “Many of our children of color don’t learn from a teacher, as much as for a teacher. They don’t want to disappoint a teacher who they feel believes in them… It is the trust that students place in these strong teachers that allows them to believe in themselves. It is the teachers’ strength and commitment that give students the security to risk taking the chance to learn.

Wheeler said when a student believes that they can complete a certain task with success, they begin to discipline themselves accordingly by applying the right effort and seeking help. Specifically, she found that self-efficacy strengthens the academic performance of college students who are studying biology. Other research has shown that building self-efficacy for non-white or underserved students is critical and has significant impact on academic success, she said. “All students have a measure of self-efficacy. Some students have a lesser sense because of their environment.”

Cordell said from what she has experienced at T.M. Landry, opportunities “for minorities are astonishing. This school, Mike and Tracey, it all changes the students’ views about what their own potential is,” she said. She, Colanges, and Hill said T.M. Landry has exceeded their expectations.

2019 T.M Landry Scholars Heading to Top Colleges, Again

As a nonpublic school, the school does not receive state and federal funding and does not seek state approval. However, to maintain transparency and alignment with state standards, a new board of directors reinforces administrative policies and financial governances, said board member Linda Johnson. These measurements, as well as the consistent success of T.M. Landry high school students in college courses and on tests, have helped the school sustain its relationship with admissions departments at top universities nationwide, said board president Greg Davis.

In December 2019, six of eight seniors received early action letters from universities, and eighth through tenth graders earned ACT scores ranging from 19 to 28. Five sophomore enrolled in dual enrollment classes at Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge earned As in college algebra and pre-calculus, while six other students attended the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, earning As and Bs in calculus II, conceptual physics, precalculus trigonometry, and college algebra and also Cs in physics with calculus and calculus I and II.

Of the school’s 49 graduates, 40 have graduated from college or are currently in college at schools including NYU, Harvard, ULL, Southern, Stanford, and Brown. According to school records provided by Davis, 71% of elementary and middle school students performed at or above grade level for the 2018-2019 school year. These were results from TerraNova tests which is a nationally-normed, standardized achievement test that meets most states’ annual testing requirements.

“Our number one goal has been educating kids. We know all students are capable of performing at the highest level academically no matter what their social-economic background is. All kids. All kids are capable,” Michael Landry said.

Administrators said they plan to restart its free Saturday tutoring for students from other schools. “It’s not about T.M. Landry or this school over that one. It’s about how students from Southwest Louisiana can show the world that we are intelligent,” Michael Landry said.

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IN MEMORIAM International Soccer Icon Pelé Dies at 82

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Sometimes called “Pérola Negra” (“Black Pearl”), Pelé became a Brazilian national hero. According to Britannica, he combined kicking power and accuracy with a remarkable ability to anticipate other players’ moves. 

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Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento in Três Corações, Brazil, on Oct. 23, 1940, Pelé became soccer’s first superstar.
Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento in Três Corações, Brazil, on Oct. 23, 1940, Pelé became soccer’s first superstar.

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Pelé, the international star who was instrumental in three World Cup championships with Brazil across three decades and who energized U.S. soccer with the New York Cosmos in the 1970s, has died.

The 82-year-old legend had been hospitalized since November, and his doctors reported that Pelé’s cancer had advanced, requiring care related to renal and cardiac dysfunction.

He has been receiving regular treatment since doctors removed a tumor from his colon in 2021.

“Father. My strength is yours,” the international star’s son, Edinho, posted on social media.

Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento in Três Corações, Brazil, on Oct. 23, 1940, Pelé became soccer’s first superstar.

He led the Brazilian national teams to World Cup glory in 1958, 1962, and 1970.

In 1956, he joined the Santos Football Club, where he played inside left forward, winning nine São Paulo league championships and, in 1962 and 1963, the Libertadores Cup and the Intercontinental Club Cup.

Sometimes called “Pérola Negra” (“Black Pearl”), Pelé became a Brazilian national hero. According to Britannica, he combined kicking power and accuracy with a remarkable ability to anticipate other players’ moves.

“After the 1958 World Cup, Pelé was declared a national treasure by the Brazilian government to ward off large offers from European clubs and ensure that he would remain in Brazil,” Britannica researchers wrote.

On Nov. 19, 1969, in his 909th first-class match, he scored his 1,000th goal.

Pelé made his international debut in 1957 at age 16 and played his first game in the World Cup finals in Sweden the following year.

The Brazilian manager was initially hesitant to play his young star. But, according to Britannica, when Pelé finally reached the field, he had an immediate impact, rattling the post with one shot and collecting an assist.

He had a hat trick in the semifinal against France and two goals in the championship game, where Brazil defeated Sweden 5–2. At the 1962 World Cup finals, Pelé tore a thigh muscle in the second match and had to sit out the remainder of the tournament.

Nonetheless, Brazil went on to claim its second World Cup title.

Researchers said rough play and injuries turned the 1966 World Cup into a disaster for Brazil and Pelé, as the team went out in the first round, and he contemplated retiring from World Cup play.

Returning in 1970 for one more World Cup tournament, he teamed with young stars Jairzinho and Rivelino to claim Brazil’s third title and permanent ownership of the Jules Rimet Trophy. Pelé finished his World Cup career, scoring 12 goals in 14 games.

Pelé’s electrifying play and penchant for spectacular goals made him a worldwide star.

His team Santos toured internationally to take full advantage of his popularity. For example, in 1967, he and his team traveled to Nigeria, where a 48-hour cease-fire in that nation’s civil war was called to allow all to watch the great player.

Pelé announced his retirement in 1974 but, in 1975, agreed to a three-year $7 million contract with the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League and to promote the game in the United States. He retired after leading the Cosmos to the league championship in 1977.

Pelé was the recipient of the International Peace Award in 1978. In 1980 he was named Athlete of the Century by the French sports publication L’Equipe, and he received the same honor in 1999 from the International Olympic Committee. In 2014 the Pelé Museum opened in Santos, Brazil.

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COMMENTARY: Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin: Avoid Burnout with These Simple Tips

THE AFRO — Although it cannot be medically diagnosed, burnout can lead people to lose their sense of self and feel as if they are not accomplishing enough. Since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Psychological Association found that the risk of burnout has increased for workers due to extra stress, increased household demands and longer working hours. 
The post COMMENTARY: Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin: Avoid Burnout with These Simple Tips first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By Megan Sayles | AFRO Business Writer
Report for America Corps Member
msayles@afro.com

We’ve all heard the age-old saying that “hard work pays off.”  But, sometimes, working too hard can do more harm than good.

“Burnout” is a form of work-related stress in which an individual experiences physical, emotional or mental exhaustion caused by their job’s demands. It can also make workers feel distanced from their jobs and engender negative feelings about them, according to the World Health Organization.

Although it cannot be medically diagnosed, burnout can lead people to lose their sense of self and feel as if they are not accomplishing enough. Since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Psychological Association found that the risk of burnout has increased for workers due to extra stress, increased household demands and longer working hours.

This makes it even more important for people to know the signs of burnout and the strategies to combat it.

Natasha Charles is the founder and CEO of Intuitive Coaching with Natasha Charles, a comprehensive life coaching and consulting firm. She created the business after gaining 20 years in senior administration roles.

Charles was motivated to open the firm in 2018 out of a desire to create a business focused on inspiring continuous improvement. There, she works with individuals and executives to create lives that they love and offers them personalized solutions to address critical work and business challenges.

“It’s really about thinking about you, the person, and all that you are,” Charles said. “People tend to be very focused on one aspect of their life, and a lot of times, it’s about their career, so it’s really about making space for all of your goals and all of your dreams.”

When someone experiences burnout, Charles said they could be actively doing their job while simultaneously worrying about their other responsibilities and priorities, whether personal or work-related. She also stressed that burnout can be experienced no matter what profession you are in and what you are being paid.

Aside from the physical and mental impacts of stress, burnout can impact finances if it causes an employee to take extended periods of time off or miss work, according to Charles. It can also reduce their productivity.

In the beginning of 2022, the term “quiet quitting” emerged, and for some, it’s being used as a method to avoid burnout. It involves individuals meeting the minimum requirements of their job descriptions, investing no extra time or effort than what is mandatory.

For Charles, quiet quitting is a signal that a person is not fulfilled by their job and may need to think about changing workplaces or careers.

“I get that people are not always able to up and quit, and it can take time to find what that next role is,” Charles said. “I would come from a space of encouraging the person to start thinking about what that is. What is it that you ultimately desire to be doing in your life and seeing your work?”

One of the most important steps in reducing and preventing burnout is educating yourself about the syndrome, so you can be aware of the warning signs, according to Charles. She also said it was crucial for employers to talk to their employees about it.

Awareness can help prevent the shame and guilt that comes with burnout and allow people to give themselves grace.

After a person has weighed whether they are experiencing burnout or not, they should think about how they want to confront it. This could include engaging in self-care, asking for extra support at work or home, and creating stronger boundaries between their personal and professional lives.

When burnout is impacting your performance, it’s time to consider making a career change, Charles said.

To ensure your work life does not invade your personal life, Charles said people need to assess the goals they have for all areas of their life. Once you’ve set goals, it’s easier to devise a plan and set the necessary boundaries to achieve them.

Charles also said it’s important to carve out time for yourself where you’re not constantly checking your phone or email for work reasons.

“There is life beyond your work. There is an entire world out there to be discovered,” Charles said. “There’s a world within us to be discovered as well, and I encourage everyone to invest in discovering those pieces.”

This article originally appeared in The Afro.

The post COMMENTARY: Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin: Avoid Burnout with These Simple Tips first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Tory Lanez Found Guilty in Meg Thee Stallion Shooting 

NNPA NEWSWIRE — The case fired up social media and highlighted the misogyny that still reigns in hip hop. Many on Twitter routinely attacked Megan, accusing her of lying among other vicious vitriolic comments.
The post Tory Lanez Found Guilty in Meg Thee Stallion Shooting  first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Canadian rapper Tory Lanez faces more than 20 years in prison and deportation after a jury in Los Angeles found him guilty in the 2020 shooting of hip hop star Megan Thee Stallion.

Lane, 30, was found guilty of three felony counts, including assault with an unregistered semiautomatic weapon, carrying a loaded gun, and discharging a firearm in a vehicle with gross negligence.

The case fired up social media and highlighted the misogyny that still reigns in hip hop. Many on Twitter routinely attacked Megan, accusing her of lying among other vicious vitriolic comments.

The 27-year-old Megan, whose real name is Megan Pete, testified that Lanez offered her hush money and didn’t care about her injuries and pain suffered because he shot her.

Lanez, who declined to testify, claimed there was another shooter, Pete’s friend who was also arguing with the hit maker as they drove home from a party.

“[Lanez] told me to dance,” Pete told the jury, adding that he also cursed at her following the shooting.

Sentencing for Lanez is scheduled for Jan. 27.

“You showed incredible courage and vulnerability with your testimony despite repeated and grotesque attacks that you did not deserve,” Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon said, referring to Pete.

“You faced unjust and despicable scrutiny that no woman should ever face, and you have been an inspiration to others across LA County and the nation.”

The post Tory Lanez Found Guilty in Meg Thee Stallion Shooting  first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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