Ijumaa, why is play an equity issue?

Happy Real World Wednesday! This week we have the pleasure of introducing Ijumaa Jordan! Slide1

Ijumaa is an early education consultant, who focuses on reflective practice, culturally relevant teaching, and developing anti-bias curriculum for young children and adults. Being a part of Harvest Resources Associates, means much of her work with teachers and administrators happens by facilitating professional development in a “community of practice” model that promotes reflective teaching practices and leadership.

Ijumaa has more than twenty years of teaching in early education and directing and also serves as an Adjunct Instructor. She received her Basic Core Certificate in Early Childhood Education from UCLA Extension followed by a BA in Human Development from Pacific Oaks College with a concentration in Early Childhood Education, Emergent Curriculum, and Anti-bias Education. She also received her MA in Human Development from Pacific Oaks with a concentration in Leadership in Education and Human Services with sub-specializations in College Teaching/Teaching Adults.

At the 2016 NAEYC Annual Conference, Ijumaa is hoping to lead a session titled, Ollie, Ollie, Oxen Free: Ensuring children from all socio-economic and racial groups have access to free and complex play. Given her interests and expertise, we decided to ask her: “Ijumaa, why is play an equity issue?”

Here’s her incredibly thoughtful response:

Play is a right for all children and they deserve an early education experience that supports this right. As more research and opinion pieces are written about how play is disappearing in early education, the “elephant in the room” is that this worrisome trend is not impacting all young children equally. The reality is that early education is segregated by race and class in the same way K-12 is. We can no longer live in a fantasy that we can advocate for play-centered early care and education without dismantling the oppressive educational system that denies access play based on race and class.

As a consultant I get invited to visit programs across the country. What I began to notice is that access to play differed depending the racial and socio-economic status of children being served with a few exceptions. I observed different environments, the quality of play materials, and teachers’ interactions with children. I recently visited a program in an affluent community where four out of eighty children are Korean American, two children are Chinese American, one child is African American, one child is bi-racial (African American and Latina from Puerto Rico). The rest of the children are white. Children have lush outdoor environments to explore where they can roll down a hill, climb up the tree house and slide down, there is paint on easels that cover a wall. There is a wire construction that you can add more wire and beads to. There are two water tables one with plastic sea animals and the other with different kinds of cups. Inside the classrooms there are areas for dressing up to save the world from monsters, building a farm and a rocket ship with unit blocks, there are drums and a basket of scarves for interpretive dance. I hear children laughing, talking, whispering, and crying while being held because they fell down. I see a teacher with a small group of children discussing their plan to build a rolling river in the sand pit outside and drawing their plans. The teacher who is giving me the tour shows me the children’s developmental portfolios that are filled with work samples of drawing and writing, pictures with captions, anecdotal notes, comments from parents, and in the back a developmental checklist.

In contrast, I also recently visited a publicly-funded preschool program located in a working class neighborhood. The racial make up is 50 percent Latino/Latina from Mexico and El Salvador and 50 percent African American. 40 percent of the children speak Spanish as their first language. Spanish and English are spoken in the classroom but most of the written material is in English. Four classrooms encircle a large yard with most of the space taken up by a huge play structure. I find out later that the families helped fundraise for it. I was told that because they share the yard with other classrooms, outside playtime is twenty minutes. Most children run around the play structure and the children tell me that sometimes their teacher brings out balls. When they laugh loud or yell they are asked to lower their voices. Once inside they sit on the carpet on top of their own carpet piece. The teacher waits about five minutes for everyone to sit with their legs crossed and hands in their laps. She reads a book from the reading curriculum on the letter M then has children repeat preselected M words that she shows with cards. After group time the children go to their assigned seats at their group desk with their either the teacher or assistant teacher and trace the letter M. Then (finally) it’s indoor play time. The choices are puzzles, a set of Legos, a craft project of pasting a pre-cut monkey (for the letter M) on a paper bag to make a puppet, and the dramatic play that is set up as a kitchen with babies on a bed. The director showed me the assessment books, which had the child’s picture on the front and a print out of the assessment tool marked.

Reading these descriptions of two different programs you might think well it’s just because the teachers in the second program are less educated and don’t know the value and importance of play. In both programs the teachers have at least BA degrees and the assistant teachers are either in college or have associate degrees. The teachers in both programs know that play is valuable and learned about that in their formal and informal education opportunities. The problem is more systematic.

In an early education environment where more assessments and regulations are administered the unintentional consequence has been the lack of play and more teacher directed activities to “teach” children the skills that will make them “school ready” and “close the achievement gap”. Teachers are pressured to raise assessment scores so they “teach to the assessment”. These educational reforms applied to low-income children, children of color, and native children are restricting their access to self-initiated, complex play.

It’s time we discuss and analyze how systematic classism and racism privileges play for some children, while devaluing it for others. With the goal of moving play back to the center of childhood experiences for all.

I would love to have more conversations about this topic you can find me on Facebook on my professional page Ijumaa Jordan – ECE Consultant or on twitter @ijumaaj.

Thank you, Ijumaa!

Getting Involved in Social Change

Slide1Happy Real World Wednesday! This week we have the pleasure of featuring Susan Ochshorn!!!

Susan is the founder of the consulting firm ECE PolicyWorks and the author of Squandering America’s Future: Why ECE Policy Matters for Equality, Our Economy, and Our Children.  She has served in a number of advisory positions, including on the council of the Early Learning Initiative at the Education Commission of the States. A former journalist, Ochshorn has written for CNN Opinion, the Los Angeles Times, Parenting, and other publications. She blogs at the Huffington Post and ECE Policy Matters, the go-to place for early childhood teachers, those who train them, and the decision makers who determine their professional course.

Given her background, we couldn’t wait to ask her: What are some ways that early childhood professionals can get involved in social change?

Here’s her inspirational response:

Hello! Thank you for hosting me. This is an awesome space. I’m talking not only about this interest forum, which has incredible potential. I’m thinking of all you early childhood professionals. You’re part of a renaissance of social activism.

Recent research by NAEYC has found that society’s perceptions are changing—more people have a positive image of those who work with young children and families. Hallelujah! But I don’t have to tell you that the workforce is struggling in real time. The vast majority of early childhood teachers are women, many of them under-educated and living on the margins. The pressures under current education reform policies, rooted in standards-based accountability, are unprecedented, and support, inadequate.

For early educators of color, the lift is heavier still. These teachers NAEYC discovered, were more likely than their white peers to perceive a range of obstacles in pursuing their careers. The litany is long, and familiar: finding a job with adequate pay and benefits; affording the cost and navigating the process of getting a college degree; and understanding the requirements for credentialing and certification. Add lack of training and mentoring, low compensation and herculean work schedules, and limited opportunities for climbing the ladder, and you’ve got a workforce on the short end of equity and social justice.

This profile mirrors that of families and children. Toxic stress and violence are proliferating, along with the growing number of homeless and hungry children. Parents live in a time when the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness butts up against a gap in income on part with that of El Salvador. Our child poverty levels—above 50 percent in Louisiana post-Katrina—put us to shame on the world’s social justice index.

The good news is that growing numbers of caregivers and educators across the nation are raising their voices in unison with other activists within and beyond the early childhood community. The issues of economic, racial, and social inequality, as well as educational inequity have gone main stream. Some of the seeds for collaboration are already taking root on this page (Child Care Fightfor15). Many more organizations, initiatives, and movements are sprouting like mushrooms all over the country, some with state affiliates. Here’s just a handful: EduColor, ColorofChange, Badass Teachers Association, Network for Public Education, Caring Economy Campaign, Economic Justice, United Opt Out, Outdoor Afro, Progressive Education Network.

But don’t for a minute underestimate the power of local advocacy and activism. You need to get into the policy and political weeds, working at the grassroots in your own particular ecosystems. Otherwise, those who know little about children, and are woefully inadequate to the task, end up making big decisions with dangerous repercussions.

Onward!

Posted by ECE PolicyWorks on Friday, December 18, 2015

Join our virtual book club!

The now classic book, Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves, by Louise Derman-Sparks & Julie Olsen Edwards invites early childhood caregivers and educators to grapple with the question: What can we do to raise the next generation of young people who know and are proud of who they are, are able to be in equitable relationship with others, can recognize and name unfairness in the world around them, and are ready to take action to address it?

NAEYC’s Diversity & Equity Education for Adults (DEEA) Interest Forum would like to invite you to our virtual book club as we embark on an informal, 13-week exploration of this question together. Together, we will discuss critical issues in the field–including racism, classism, sexism, homophobia, and ableism–and build community. Join us!

Structure and Guidelines

Open discussion on our Facebook page will begin each week on Monday with a new chapter of the book and will continue throughout the scheduled week. Over the course of each week, the club’s facilitators will moderate the discussion, posting summaries of the chapter and posing open-ended questions to stimulate discussion. Participants are welcome to post their reactions, thoughts, questions or other topics of discussion. In short:

  • All levels of engagement are welcome!
  • Productive, respectful dissent is appropriate
  • Ask questions, post responses, share quotes to participate in discussion
  • Facilitators will post 1-2 questions each session, but other forum members are welcome to post as well.

In addition, we will be hosting a Google Hangout each week so that participants can discuss the book face-to-face.

Schedule

Monday, Dec. 7th, 8am to Friday, Feb. 19th 2016 at 8pm

Week 1 (December 7-11): Introductions
Week 2 (December 14-18): What is anti-bias education?
Week 3 (December 21-25): Children’s identity development
Week 4 (December 28 – January 1): Becoming an anti-bias teacher
Week 5 (January 4-8): Creating an anti-bias learning community
Week 6 (January 11-15): Learning about culture, language and fairness
Week 7 (January 18-22): Learning about racial identity and fairness
Week 8 (January 25-29): Learning about gender identity and fairness
Week 9 (February 1-5): Learning about economic class and fairness
Week 10 (February 8-12): Learning about family structures and fairness
Week 11 (February 15-19): Learning about different abilities and fairness
Week 12 (February 22-26): Learning about holidays and fairness
Week 13 (February 29 – March 4): Closing

Registration

To register, click here.


 

To view and/or share the event flyer, click here.

Microaggressions in Early Childhood

This Real World Wednesday, we have the honor of learning from and with Elena Jaime!Elena RWW

Elena has taught in early childhood and early elementary settings for the past thirteen years. She is passionate about her mission to develop “angelic troublemakers” in the school communities in which she works. Elena’s work is grounded in the belief that young children are capable of developing a critical lens and can engage in reflection and action around anti-bias work. Elena has presented at a number of local and national conferences, and has partnered with teachers across New York City as they work to examine the ways in which they can fully integrate equity work into early childhood curriculums. Elena also co-founded the CARLE Institute for White educators, an institute designed to provide white faculty members with the necessary historical framework, interpersonal skills, and curriculum development strategies they need to teach a diverse student body. Elena teaches second grade at the Chapin School in New York City. Elena received her B.A. in psychology from Wesleyan University and her M.S.Ed in early childhood general and special education from Bank Street College of Education.

Elena wrote this powerful piece about how she used storytelling in the face of a microaggression that happened in her classroom: https://tobreatheispolitical.wordpress.com/tag/education/

Given her experience and expertise, we wanted to ask, “What are microaggressions and why do they matter in early childhood care and education?”

Here’s Elena’s thoughtful response:

As an early childhood educator, I have always valued the importance of creating safe spaces for my students, spaces in which children feel invited to bring their full selves each morning. The Responsive Classroom approach to teaching is an approach that is based on the premise that social-emotional growth and academic success are interdependent. Embedded in this understanding of education is the idea that children learn best when they feel a sense of belonging in a community. This sense of belonging, however, is undermined when a community does not think critically about the ways in which each member’s identity is embraced or marginalized.

Children notice difference. They are hardwired to observe patterns in their world, and as they develop, they begin to ascribe meaning to those differences. They do so by tapping into the messages that are communicated about the ways in which our society values or devalues different identities across race, gender, sexual identity, class, ability, etc. These messages, unless interrupted, become part of the lens they use to understand and interpret their world. As a result, the interactions that the students have with each other and with the adults in their schools and learning communities are infused with those messages. A kindergarten child being told that their skin looks dirty because it is black, a first grader telling her classmate that it is impossible for her to have two moms, or a teacher consistently confusing the two Asian students in her class are examples of moments in which a piece of a person’s identity is marginalized. These acts of marginalization based on a person’s identity have come to be known as microaggressions.

Microaggressions are often described as “small paper cuts” that represent all of the times that someone says or does something that further marginalize you because of your identity. As a queer, Christian, able-bodied, traditionally educated, English-speaking cisgender, woman of color in the United States, I will experience privileges that come with being a member of groups which wield power (political, social, economic, etc.), and I will also experience the marginalization that comes from being a member of groups that do not wield power in my American context.

If, as early childhood educators, we believe in the importance of creating safe learning spaces, where children can take risks, and if this necessitates that each child feels that they belong, then we have a responsibility to interrupt microaggressions that we witness and perpetuate in our learning environments. When we name those experiences for young children, we are helping them develop a lens with which they begin to see identify those moments of marginalization, and in turn, interrupt them. An important piece of this work belongs to the adults who must model what it means to bring their full selves into the classroom. When we do this, we are explicitly sending the message to students that each piece of who they are is valuable and belongs, and that the classroom would not be complete without every last piece.

Thank you, Elena, for this eloquent response and for all of the important work you do every day working with young children and their families.  They are so lucky to have you in their lives!  As are we!


Here are some additional reading on microaggressions:

Developing Democratic Family-Professional Partnerships

Happy Real World Wednesday!

This week we are pleased to introduce Margaret (Maggie) Beneke! Maggie is currently a doctoral student at the University of Kansas studying Early Childhood Special Education. Her research focuses on inclusive*, equitable practices that support young children and families from diverse backgrounds. Her current research centers on the ways adults and young children co-construct social identities and negotiate power through discourse. In collaboration with her doctoral advisor, Dr. Gregory Cheatham, she has been analyzing language interpretation during Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) meetings with families who do not speak English. Her most recent publications center on developing democratic family-professional partnerships and inclusive approaches to supporting families who speak non-standard English. Prior to beginning her PhD program, she taught in an inclusive, anti-bias early childhood program in the Boston area.

We asked Maggie to tell us about (1) what democratic family-professional partnerships are and (2) some tips for our own work with families.  Here’s what she said:

Thank you for this opportunity!


1. What are democratic family-professional partnerships?
John Dewey’s 20th-century ideals of family–professional partnership remain relevant to the 21st-century challenges of social inequity and educational discriminat
ion (Dzur, 2004; Fischer, 2004; Skrtic, 2013; Sullivan, 2005). In true democratic family–professional partnerships, Dewey explained that professionals and citizens share responsibility through mutually beneficial alliances (Dzur, 2004; Sullivan, 2005). Deference to professional expertise can be debilitating for citizens (i.e., families), particularly those from historically marginalized backgrounds (Dzur, 2004; Fischer, 2004). When teachers and families are positioned in expert–client relationships, families’ perspectives or wisdom may be overlooked. Instead, educators can deconstruct and reconstruct expectations for family–professional partnerships to be more democratic and equitable, transforming the role of educator from expert to facilitator (Dzur, 2004; Fischer, 2004; Skrtic, 2013; Sullivan, 2005).

A democratic approach to cross-cultural family–professional partnerships (e.g., engaging families in problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration) can empower families from historically marginalized backgrounds. Educators can help families to identify strengths, goals, and problems, setting the democratic agenda in the interest of the common good. Educators can then apply specialized knowledge to address these shared goals (Fischer, 2004). In these reciprocal relationships of positive interdependence, expertise is both shared and advanced (Skrtic, 2013). As families in early childhood programs become increasingly diverse and the population of practitioners remains relatively homogeneous, practitioners and families may be positioned on opposite sides of a widening sociocultural divide. A value for democracy in early childhood means calling attention to the implicit and explicit processes that create inequity for families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

2. What are some tips for our own work with families?
Developing democratic family-professional partnerships is not simple, and can take time. Self-reflection and dialogue can help educators can move toward conceptualizations of both culture and language that may support more democratic family-professional partnerships. This includes recognizing that: (a) there are many diverse, legitimate ways of speaking, thinking, behaving, and being; (b) mainstream cultural processes represent privileged ideologies that produce inequitable relationships; and (c) language enacts and produces relations of power in context.

To build awareness of families’ diverse, legitimate ways of speaking being, thinking, and behaving, educators can raise their awareness of and reflect on their own cultural participation. Using the ABC model (i.e., autobiography, biography, and cross-cultural comparison; He & Cooper, 2009; Schmidt, 1999) educators can write detailed autobiographies recounting aspects of their own family cultures and personal values, read the biography of a parent or caregiver with a different cultural background and differing values, and compare cultural and value differences between the two narratives. Exposure and analysis of cultural continua for social values and behavior may be beneficial in helping educators recognize the varied and valid ways culture is expressed (Cheatham & Santos, 2011; Lynch & Hanson, 2011).

Structured dialogue can be useful in supporting pre-service teachers to examine their own practice (Hollins, 2011). During professional development time, educators can use protocols such as those listed on The School Reform Initiative’s website (http://www.schoolreforminitiative.org/protocols/) to discuss issues about cultural inequity (e.g., inequitable parent participation expectations that may perpetuate mainstream views of family involvement; Hollins & Guzman, 2005) and grapple with what these issues might mean in their partnerships with families. Educators may also share documentation of families’ experiences to discuss deficit perspectives on family childrearing practices. Through discussions of these dilemmas, educators can engage in critical conversations as they contend with issues of inequity that may emerge in cross-cultural partnerships (Fults & Harry, 2012; Gay & Kirkland, 2003). When structured conversations about cultural bias are connected to self-reflection, educators can develop critical consciousness, recognizing the cultural values of families that may be privileged or marginalized. Practicing this critical stance can be beneficial for educators in advocating for democratic cross-cultural partnerships with families. Educators can also look at the oppressive ways in which language can function.

For instance, educators can analyze the discourses and dominant linguistic values that play out in educational arenas (Ayers, 2014). Acknowledging the dominant use of standard English and English as a first language in EC/EI/ECSE programs in contrast to language use at home and community can help teachers self-reflect on linguistic advantage and disadvantage that may influence their communication with linguistically diverse families (Delpit, 2006). Finally, pre-service teachers may also benefit from studying models and examples of successful dialogue with families from diverse backgrounds (Gay & Kirkland, 2003).

Maggie also provided the following tips for fostering self reflection for newer and more veteran professionals:

Reading vignettes about families who integrate traditional and mainstream cultures to create new parenting practices (Choi et al., 2013; Halgunseth et al., 2006) or video clips of those parents with differing cultural backgrounds who merge cultural practices in light of mutual goals for their children (Crippen, & Brew, 2013) to guide discussion with educators. Teacher educators or anti-bias leaders can then introduce and revisit a collaborative problem-solving process approach to working with families (Fults & Harry, 2012), urging educators to see the dynamic nature of culture by engaging the individual interests and needs of families.

• Given family consent, new or seasoned teachers can video or audio record and analyze conversations they have with families. Teacher educators or anti-bias leaders can then guide educators to attend to families’ subtle facial expressions, use interviewing techniques to clarify understanding, and provide wait time in conversation during their interactions with families; educators can identify linguistic processes, which contribute to pragmatic inferences about family attitudes and characteristics (Cheatham & Santos, 2011).

• Using case studies or vignettes that highlight the ways in which individual families have been marginalized based on differences in language use may help teachers to brainstorm ways to inclusively reach out to individual families.

Critically comparing conversation transcripts of educators and English-speaking families with the conversations of educators and families for whom English is a second language may help pre-service teachers identify missed opportunities for inclusive, democratic partnerships (Cheatham & Jimenez-Silva, 2012; Cheatham & Ostrosky, 2011).

Thanks for sharing all this knowledge, Maggie!


*My work draws upon Artiles and Kozleski’s (2007) expanded definition of “inclusion,” a term that typically and exclusively refers to inclusion of children with disabilities. Instead, I think inclusive education means cultivating an equitable learning community in which all children and families are regarded as valuable members. Conceptualized as a legitimizing space for multiple and diverse ways of being, Artiles and Kozleski assert that inclusive education consists of developing and advancing practices to be inclusive and equitable for those individuals from historically marginalized groups (i.e., groups who have experienced historical discrimination based on ethnicity, race, language, culture, socioeconomic status, gender, religion, etc.). Inclusive education, then, is a dynamic and flexible process that involves constant attention, reflection, and action toward understanding how historically marginalized populations of children and families can more equitably participate in educational processes and communities (Artiles, Kozleski, & Waitoller, 2011). I believe an inclusive education approach can be embraced to support positive and meaningful partnerships with families.

Building a Diverse, Anti-Bias Library for Young Children

Let’s start with some tips for being intentional as you assess your existing collection and build your library.  Check out:

Next, there are lots of online libraries and booklists to help you find the diverse, anti-bias children’s books you need:

It’s also important to note that despite the existence of all these fantastic resources, there is still a lot of work to be done.  For example:

image

The We Need Diverse Books campaign is actively working to improve the diversity in children’s literature (while simultaneously highlighting existing literature on their webpage and on social media).  And there are lots of ways for you to get involved!  Here are three ideas:

  1. Write your own story!
  2. Hop on social media using #weneeddiversebooks
  3. Sign this petition: https://www.change.org/p/book-publishers-and-review-journals-help-increase-diversity-in-books-by-asking-publishers-to-be-transparent-about-staff-diversity

Lastly–but certainly not least–it’s super important to remember that while ensuring that you’ve got a library full of diverse, anti-bias children’s literature is necessary, it is certainly not sufficient.  The really critical piece is what you do with these books.  Research has shown that simply increasing the diversity of books and other media that young children are exposed to is ineffective in reducing bias (Aboud & Levy, 2000).  Rather, parents and teachers must select and use these materials wisely and thoughtfully.  In short, the books don’t do the work for you; they simply provide opportunities to have the conversations you need to have, to model the kinds of attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors you want your little ones to learn.


This piece was originally posted by Megan Madison on her personal blog.

Welcoming ALL Families

RWW with BillieThis week we have the pleasure of introducing Billie Deig!  Billie has a decade and a half of experience in the field, working in a variety of roles–from floater teacher to center director–and now works as a Resource Coach, training, mentoring, and coaching teachers in Head Start. Along the way, she has obtained both an AAS in Early Childhood Education and a CDA, and is currently working on her BA in ECEDU with a minor in Teaching Spanish! In her own words, “I love working for the CAP [Community Action Program] and the Head Start program along with course work and personal research has sparked a passion for everything this forum stands for.”

Given her extensive expertise in working with families, we asked Billie for her suggestions for teachers who want to make sure they are welcoming all families into their classrooms and programs this month.  Here’s what she said:

The beginning of a new school year can create feelings of excitement, nervousness, and at times can be a bit overwhelming for teachers. There is a large amount of preparation that goes into setting up a classroom, preparing curriculum, and making sure the I-s are dotted and the T-s are crossed. There is a side of preparation that sometimes we as teachers can overlook and that is the side of our families. Our families may also be feeling excited, nervous, and a bit overwhelmed. With some planning and intentionality we can make sure that all our families feel welcome and confident going in to the new school year.
While there are so many things that can be done to prepare for families I have tried to narrow my long list down to a few suggestions:

  1. RESEARCH! Find out a little bit about your families through basic enrollment information. Does the child have siblings? Are there any special needs to consider? What is the primary spoken language for the family and the child? What does the family system look like? The answers to these questions can give us many ideas about what we will need to create an inclusive and culturally responsive classroom.

  2. Create a welcoming environment! By planning ahead we can make sure each child has a space for personal belongings in the classroom labeled with their name (correctly spelled) and a family photo. A simple survey sent out prior to the start of school can give us ideas about favorites to have on hand for each child. Bi-lingual labeling and paperwork will create feelings of inclusion for families and children that have limited English proficiency. Remember all that research we did using basic enrollment information? The environment is the place to apply it. Imagine walking into a classroom and you see your own photo along with your family’s and everything is labeled in a language you understand.

  3. Programs should have policies in place to include orientation for families prior to the start of school. Families that get to meet their child’s teachers prior to the first day may not have such strong feelings of apprehension or nervousness. It is important for children to see their family interacting with their teachers in a positive loving way. This will help the children transition easier which will in turn help the families with their own transition.

  4. Take time to really connect with each family early on; they must feel welcome and included. Families appreciate knowing that we are genuinely interested in the children and in getting to know them. Please be friendly! If a family thinks we are not fond of their child they could shut down and disengage. This is the last thing we want. Lastly, we must always respect our families. Try to remember that the parent truly is the child’s first teacher.

She also shared the following links to additional articles and helpful resources:

In closing, Billie reminded us that,

In my experiences I have thoroughly enjoyed working with families. I have made mistakes and have learned a great deal from them. A forum like this is exactly what we need to bounce ideas off of one another. Please feel free to comment with more great ideas or questions you may have. Thank you!


All of this fabulousness can be accessed here (Billie Issue Brief) in PDF form.  Enjoy!