Aug 22, 2012

Restore Librarians to DC Public Schools

Please join me in signing this petition. As always thanks for your support.  Click on the word petition

Candi Peterson
Written by:  Bella Dinh-Zarr
My son Kai attends our neighborhood elementary school and loves his librarian, Ms. Woodard, who always had wonderful literacy activities for the younger, just-learning-to-read kids like Kai, as well interesting activities to foster a love of reading in older kids. Thanks to the excellent teachers and Ms. Woodard, our struggling urban school raised its reading scores by 14% last year! 
So I was shocked to hear that Ms. Woodard had been let go, due to "budget cuts." In fact, 57 schools and 16,600 students in DC will have no librarian next year. And the remaining librarians are being re-labeled as optional/flexible staff! According to an independent City Council analysis, the DC Public School system has enough in its budget to fund a librarian and top-notch library materials for all of its schools. But despite the claims by Mayor Vincent Gray and Chancellor Kaya Henderson that they want to improve literacy and reading proficiency (outlined in their new five-year plan), they have so far refused to shift their priorities and ignored all protests by concerned parents and students.
My husband and I, along with hundreds of other parents in D.C., are fighting hard to Save Our Librarians. Librarians from the whole DC area have been joining us in this fighting including Kamaria Hatcher, a librarian in Maryland, who helped us start this petition. We have been working non-stop, but the Mayor and Chancellor Henderson have so far refused to hear us. We need your help! Tell Mayor Gray and Kaya Henderson that librarians are not optional!
We want a librarian in every school (at least part-time in smaller schools, if needed), a per student allotment for library materials as other school districts have, and for librarians to be put back in the essential staff category. Please sign our petition and help us Save Our Librarians! Thank you!

Aug 1, 2012

Remembering Vanessa

Vanessa Countee
 Written by Candi Peterson

A DC Public Schools colleague died last Friday. Her name was Vanessa Countee. I always loved her smile, southern drawl and country charm. I fondly remember her regular greeting of "Hey Gurl !" Vanessa battled a long term illness, which she kept private. While I knew she had been sick, I wished I would have known how serious her condition was so our work group could have done more and bid our last good byes. 

Tomorrow is not promised to anyone. This is why it is so important to live life to the fullest so we don't have any regrets in the end. Tell those that matter that you care about them, while they are still here. Miss you Vanessa Gurl! Rest in peace, my friend. Vanessa's funeral will be held this Friday. (obituary below).


Vanessa Faye Countee peacefully entered into eternal rest on Friday, July 27, 2012. She was the daughter of deceased William and Helen Jones; sister of Jonathan Jones (Valerie), Adrian Jones (Sylvia) of Atlanta, GA and Monica Moore of Los Angeles, CA. Cherishing her memories are ex-husband, Roniotis Thomas of Washington, DC; two step-daughters, Angel and Alexis; four nephews, Jelani, Jabari, Micaiah and Malik; and one niece, Pedra.

Vanessa was a Social Worker for the DC Public School System and Premium Select Home Care. She was employed by Georgetown University Hospital. She received her Bachelor's of Arts in Psychology at Talladega College where she pledged Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated. She received her Master's Degree in Social Work at Howard University.

The homegoing service will be held at Mount Cavalry Baptist Church, 5120 Whitfield Chapel Road, Lanham, MD 20706, Friday, August 3, viewing from 10 to 11 a.m.; Service starting promptly at 11 a.m. Interment will be at Ft. Lincoln Cemetery. The repast will follow at Mount Calvary Baptist Church. Services entrusted to J.B. Jenkins Funeral Homes, Inc., Landover, Maryland.