Helping Students Close The Achievement Gap

Sadie New Britain 2

 

The Battle over how Connecticut pays for public education has been going on for years and it continues with no end in sight.

In 2016, a superior court judge ruled that the state’s funding formula was “irrational” and unconstitutional, and failed to adequately fund urban and poor school districts.

In 2018 that ruling has been overturned by the state Supreme Court. The ball has now been punted back to the politicians and advocates for them to quickly and efficiently come up with a solution to the largest achievement gap in the nation between students in the richest districts in the state and the poorest districts.

We all know that the “fix” won’t be quick and efficient and any solution at all is still years away. Which brings up some uncomfortable questions.

What about the students who are struggling in our schools right now?

How can we help all of those thousands of children who are currently in our schools and on the losing side of the educational achievement gap?

Is there anything we can do immediately to positively impact even some of these students and increase their chances of not only graduating, but of achieving positive, productive, and even profitable life outcomes?

The answer is yes.

While the grownups are trying to figure out what to do, we can empower our children with motivation and some financial help to take charge of their own destiny, seize whatever opportunities are around them and pursue their dreams.

Brave Enough To Fail Inc. is helping students begin to close the achievement gap by inspiring students with the courage to pursue their dreams and to to see their own education as a way to get what they want out of life.

Brave Enough To Fail Inc, is a 501 ( C ) 3 nonprofit that provides free motivational presentations and scholarships to schools.

We believe that by offering students a compelling reason to fully invest themselves in their own education and by providing a tangible and achievable goal, we can and will raise student achievement.

Does Brave Enough To Fail institute effective education policy? Does it ensure more highly trained and qualified teachers in the classroom? Does it remove the family and social challenges that many kids face? No, no, and no.

Brave Enough To Fail does however, provide a lifeline of support for “a number” of students in the total absence of additional help from anywhere else.

It can inspire “a number” of students to achieve better life outcomes by choosing to remain in school rather than drop out.

It can, over time, inspire and motivate “a number” of students to achieve their absolute best in school, no matter where that school happens to be.

We believe that “number” of our children is worth saving. No matter how large or how small that number is.

Local businesses are getting involved

Happily, there is a growing list of courageous companies who are Brave Enough To Fund (smile) this investment in the future of our children.  They believe our program is making a difference, and can see how it will help the future of our workforce – the future of our nation.

Preferred Utilities   has stepped forward to sponsor scholarships

Kiwanis Foundation of Greater Danbury has partnered with us to provide presentations and scholarships to as many as seven area high schools

Union Savings Bank has boldly contributed funding to provide a presentation and full set of scholarships to an area high school. 

These companies and others like them are taking action to help students close the achievement gap in their own lives by providing them with a message of motivation backed by resources.  They are sending a message to the children, “Your dreams are important enough to be invested in and pursued.”

By the way, it works.

I myself am living proof that the power of positive message can change the trajectory of a child’s life. At age 14 I made the choice to go back to school after hearing a message about striving for excellence. That choice saved my life. And I am not the only one.

When speaking about the question of whether kids are able to overcome circumstances like poverty and achieve at the highest levels, Jennifer Alexander, outgoing chief executive officer of the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now says,

The fact that there is even a discussion in here suggesting that schools can’t be expected to overcome societal ills is unacceptable in 2018.”… “We know what’s possible when kids are given the opportunity and the support. We just have to have the political will to do it for all kids.”

We agree, and we hope you will too.

Wayne Winsley Founder and Executive Director of Brave Enough To Fail Inc.

 

 

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Nonprofits Team up To Motivate Students

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Brave Enough To Fail and Kiwanis Club Foundation of Greater Danbury are extremely pleased to announce our new partnership.

The two organizations will work together in providing motivational programming and scholarships to area high schools.

Area Key Clubs will be invited to sponsor BETF presentations at high schools in Danbury, Bethel, New Milford, New Fairfield, Brookfield, Redding, and Ridgefield.

Danbury Kiwanis Club President Matt Bartelme commented,

“We are definitely excited about this opportunity to work with Brave Enough To Fail. They are another nonprofit that is as passionate as we are about enriching the lives of children to build stronger communities.

Wayne Winsley, executive director of Brave Enough To Fail says,

“I’m honored and humbled to have the support of such a great organization as Kiwanis of Danbury. This partnership will strengthen our ability to raise student achievement and promote leadership through service.”

Kiwanis member Foster Crawford, a former assistant superintendent of schools in Waterbury and Stamford indicated that,

“Brave Enough To Fail is an excellent motivational tool to help students believe in themselves and to set and achieve high personal goals.

The goal is to begin presentations and award the first scholarships this school year.

to learn how your Kiwanis and Key Leader Clubs can work with us in your area contact:

Wayne Winsley wayne@BraveEnoughToFail.org

Learn more by clicking the link www.BraveEnoughToFail.org

Jessica Rathmann Takes 2nd Nationwide in Short Story Contest

 

Jessica Rathman

Jessica Rathmann is a 14 year old writing & reading fandom fan of San Antonio, Texas. She has always enjoyed writing and has taken it seriously for the past two years. She admins a young writers group on Facebook and her favorite authors currently are Sarah J Maas, Marissa Meyer, Marie Lu, and J.K. Rowling.

Her contest entry, The Story Gets Harder with Every Word is a cautionary tale that could come straight out of today’s headlines. It is written with a depth of emotion and gravitas that belies the author’s young age. This may be a fictional story but it delivers a message that is all to real and that EVERYONE should hear.

In the eyes of the judges, Jessica’s story stood out above all the entries in her category but one, and earned her second place the 17 years old and under category of the Brave Enough To Write, short story contest which benefits Brave Enough To Fail Inc. a 501 (C) 3 nonprofit that provides free motivational programs and scholarships to high schools. learn more about Brave Enough to Fail here  and Subscribe to our newsletter to get early word on the next contest!

Read The Story Gets Harder With Every Word

You can also follow Jessica on her blog, Here

Sarah Tehuitoa Wins $1,000 Grand Prize in Nationwide Short Story Contest

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Sarah Tehuitoa is a 21 year old English major from Pahrump Nevada, commutes weekly to classes at University of Las Vegas.  She is working her way through college by working at a grocery store. She entered the contest on her 21st birthday. Sarah says,

“All I have ever wanted to be is a writer. It’s been my dream ever since I was little, and I haven’t been able to give it up so far. Books and music are my passion, but if I had to chose between the two, I wouldn’t ever be able to give up my writing. So far, it’s been a rough road. I mean, I’ve had a great life so far, no problems whatsoever, but it’s not exactly been easy for me having a dream that doesn’t exactly have a stable future. My parents are always telling me to make sure that I have a job that I can support myself in, but I’ve always equated that with having something like an office job because my dream is not exactly steady. But now, well, I think I have a chance.”

She most definitely has more than just a chance according to contest judge Ethan Carey, host of the Rock & Roll Morning Show on WRKI I-95FM.  He says Miss Tehuitoa’s writing style reminds him of James Patterson or Daniel Silva.

Her short story, “The Sands of Time” is a gritty (pun intended) tale of love, loss, despair, and just maybe a shot at redemption with a dash of magic thrown in as a tantalizing garnish. That recipe was just enough to get a one vote edge on the second place finisher and claim the $1,000 grand prize in the 18 years and older category of the Brave Enough To Write, short story contest which benefits Brave Enough To Fail Inc. a 501 (C) 3 nonprofit that provides free motivational programs and scholarships to high schools. Learn more about Brave Enough to Fail here  and Subscribe to our newsletter to get early word on the next contest!

Read The Sands of Time here The_Sands_of_Time_by_Sarah Tehuiotoa

17 Yr Old Homeschooler Wins Top Youth Prize in Nationwide Short Story Contest

 

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Isabel Adams is a 17 year old young lady from Weare, NH. who’s always had a passion for writing, photography, and singing gospel music.
She has proven over and over that dreams are realized through determination and work.
She also has a desire for nursing. She’s a homeschool student in her senior year.
But lets talk about her writing. Creating and developing a character that the reader can both relate to and care about is a challenge.  Taking the reader on a journey with that character, a journey that is filled with harrowing adventure, a struggle against seemingly insurmountable challenges, a dramatic and satisfying climax, and valuable life lessons for one and all is even more challenging. Doing all that in less than 6,000 words is , well…its really really hard.
Isabel Adams did all that in her short story, Spirit of The Warrior.
That’s why she won the $500 top prize in the 17 years and under category of the Brave Enough To Write, short story contest which benefits Brave Enough To Fail Inc. a 501 (C) 3 nonprofit that provides free motivational programs and scholarships to high schools. learn more about Brave Enough to Fail here  and Subscribe to our newsletter to get early word on the next contest!

Read Spirit_of_The_Warrior

David Moore Takes 2nd Nationwide in Short Story Contest

 

David Moore

David Moore of St. Charles Missouri is a darn good writer! Let’s get that right up front!

In fact, David Moore is such a good writer that he came within one single vote of winning the $1,000 top prize in the 18 years old and over category of the Brave Enough To Write, short story contest which benefits Brave Enough To Fail Inc. a 501 (C) 3 nonprofit that provides free motivational programs and scholarships to high schools. learn more about Brave Enough to Fail here  and Subscribe to our newsletter to get early word on the next contest!

“Love, Life, and Bacon” is a really cool story about…well, Love Life and Bacon, but not in the way you think. To say any more would spoil it for you.

Just read it Here! Love_Life_And_Bacon

And by the way, David’s personal story is so compelling and inspiring that we posted it in it’s entirety below. Read it and be inspired to go after your dream, whatever it is!

My early education was, in the simplest of terms, lacking.

Before I had changed schools, I had been in a less than reputable school closer to the St. Louis area. The school had been so bad that when I had entered the second-grade in my new school I was behind and had to attend a special class that was meant to help me learn to read and write on the same level as the other students in my grade. Through these special education classes, I was able to become a better reader but was never quite able to get on the same level of the other students in my same grade. This was a problem that followed me out of elementary school and led to me being required to attend more special education classes through middle school and into high school.

It was in these classes that I found a passion for writing. We would write little stories which were intended to help us gain a better understanding of how sentences were structured as well as introduce us to new words. Writing these short stories had always been one of my favorite exercises but having as much trouble as I had with reading and writing a career as an author seemed absurd. The short stories I had written were never intended to get me anywhere. They were simply something I did because I liked to do it. In fact, the idea of being a professional writer was so far out of my mind that in my entire academic career I have only ever had one creative writing course that I attended my senior year of high school. The only other writing courses I had ever had were those that came as general credit courses in college. (English comp, Technical writing, etc.) But, even with the idea of being a writer far from my mind I never stopped writing. Short stories and half-finished novels of distant worlds, medieval towns under siege, and many other tales of woe and triumph. They were always for fun and always just for me.

It was many years later while I was working as a marketing designer and listening to the Harry Potter audio book series (for the fourth time) that I found a sudden burning inspiration in me. I felt for some strange and unknowable reason like I could be a writer if I really wanted to. So, I began writing again but with more intent and more passion for being a writer, not just as a hobby. I am now wrapping up the final edits to my first novel, which will be book one of a three to four book series that I hope will be my path to a career as an author.

Having a career as an author isn’t just for me. It’s something that I hope to be able to show my daughter when she gets older. Something I can hold up and say “Look I followed my dream. I worked for it and it came true.” and maybe, if I’m very lucky, I can one day inspire her as much as she inspires me to keep going every day.

By David Moore

Molly Anne Brewer Nabs 3rd in Nationwide Writing Contest

Molly Anne Brewer

 

Molly Anne Brewer of Indiana is a new author who enjoys penning stories with fantastical and sometimes macabre twists. She grew up in a small town, the youngest of eight children in a family of musicians, writers, actors, poets and artists. She is currently working on several short story projects and a full length novel entitled ‘Collide’. She makes her home in the Midwest, which she shares with her husband, two dogs and two cats.

Molly’s  short story, entitled “The Library” is, according to one of our judges,  reminiscent of an episode of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery for folks over fifty, or an episode of Stranger Things, if you’re somewhat younger than that.   Either way, it was scary enough to grab third place the 18 years old and over category of the Brave Enough To Write, short story contest which benefits Brave Enough To Fail Inc. a 501 (C) 3 nonprofit that provides free motivational programs and scholarships to high schools. learn more about Brave Enough to Fail here  and Subscribe to our newsletter to get early word on the next contest!

Read The Library by Molly Anne Brewer

 

An Inspirational Approach to the Achievement Gap

Bartlet High Webster Mass

Closing the education achievement gap is tough.

New results from the nation’s most widely used college admission test highlight in detailed fashion the persistent achievement gaps between students who face disadvantages and those who don’t.

Scores from the ACT show that just 9 percent of students in the class of 2017 who came from low-income families, whose parents did not go to college, and who identify as black, Hispanic, American Indian or Pacific Islander are strongly ready for college.

But the readiness rate for students with none of those demographic characteristics was six times as high, 54 percent, according to The Washington Post Thursday September 8th 2017.

There are a lot of great people working very hard to narrow this huge gap from the policy, administrative, and teacher side of the spectrum.

But Wayne Winsley, a middle school history teacher who also happens to be a multiple award-winning motivational speaker is taking a different approach. He is working at the student level, using inspiration and motivation to increase student achievement.

His nonprofit organization Brave Enough To Fail Inc. provides free motivational programs and scholarships to high schools.

Winsley explains why he does it,

“At age 14, I was living in an orphanage in Cleveland Ohio, had failed eighth grade the previous year, and basically given up on school. I was a poor black kid who, the experts would say,  had given up on my future and was too set in my ways to be motivated to change. I was destined for one of two places, behind bars or dead.

One day, a friend of mine’s dad was disappointed with his report card and began to lecture him. Without intending to, without even realizing that I was in the room, his dad said the words that changed my life forever.

Always strive for excellence no matter what you do. Excellence will overcome, poverty, prejudice, and adversity every time. Just be excellent at whatever you choose to do.”

That simple message motivated me to make the choice that saved my life.

I chose to go back to school and do the absolute best I could. Because of that choice, I didn’t wind up behind bars or dead. I know first hand that a message can change a child’s life. 

That is why I’ve dedicated the rest of my life to delivering a message of inspiration and motivation to as many young people as possible by providing free motivational programs to high schools.”

Natasha Ushomirsky, a policy development director for the Education Trust, a nonprofit that advocates for disadvantaged students, told the Washington Post,  “There’s a lot of power in communicating the expectation that all students can achieve at high levels,”

Research, by the Dalio Foundation of Connecticut, shows that disengaged students who are re-engaged and motivated during the first two years of high school are nearly twice as likely to graduate than students who remain disengaged. See the report here.

Schools across the nation agree about the power of a positive message and are reaching out to request the program. Currently Brave Enough To Fail has requests for the 2017-2018 school year from schools in thirteen states including Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey,  Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Arkansas, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Washington, and Alaska.

Contact Wayne Winsley  wayne@BraveEnoughToFail.org     Twitter @WayneWinsley  Facebook

 

 

 

Poor, Black, & Unreachable At 14

By Wayne Winsley

Founder & Executive Director of Brave Enough To Fail Inc.

At age 14, I was living in an orphanage in Cleveland Ohio, had failed eighth grade the previous year, and basically given up on school. I was a poor black kid who, the experts would say,  had given up on my future and was too set in my ways to be motivated to change. I was destined for one of two places, behind bars or dead.

One day, a friend of mine’s dad was disappointed with his report card and began to lecture him. Without intending to, without even realizing that I was in the room, his dad said the words that changed my life forever.

Always strive for excellence no matter what you do. Excellence will overcome, poverty, prejudice, and adversity every time. Just be excellent at whatever you choose to do.”

That simple message motivated me to make the choice that saved my life.

I chose to go back to school and do the absolute best I could. Because of that choice, I didn’t wind up behind bars or dead. Instead I went on to serve my country honorably in the United States Navy which honed my discipline, self-confidence, and work ethic. Those tools gave me the courage to pursue my dream of being a standup comic which in turn led to a two decade career as a radio broadcaster.  The communication skills I developed over that time prepared me to become what I am today, a teacher, and a multi award-winning motivational speaker 

I know first hand that even without intention, a word can change a child’s life.

That is why I’ve dedicated the rest of my life to delivering a message of inspiration and motivation to as many young people as possible through my organization.

Brave Enough to Fail Inc. is a 501 (C) 3 nonprofit that provides motivational programs and scholarships to high schools.

The mission is to raise student achievement by inspiring kids with the courage to achieve their dreams and to help students see their education as a way to get what they want from life. To narrow the education achievement gap by focusing on the student end of the equation with a message of courage, hard work, self-discipline, and determination.

High schools nationwide are requesting this message for their students.

This  summer we have received unsolicited requests for the Brave Enough To Fail program, for the 2017-2018 school year, from schools in over ten states. (See the list below)

Rather than saying, “No we can’t help you.” We are taking a leap of faith and committing to raising the funds needed to deliver the message to the thousands of students at these schools that,  Their Dreams Are Important And Achievable!

There are other young people out there who just like I was, are one positive message away from overcoming the poverty, prejudice, and adversity that is standing between them and achieving a better life for themselves.

That is why I am asking the questions,

Is there at least one corporation in this great nation that would like their brand to be known for motivating and inspiring youth across America?

If you are that corporation, please contact us at info@BraveEnoughToFail.org

Are there fellow citizens willing to sow seeds of success into the youth of our communities? 

If you are that citizen, please make a donation here. 

Partial list of schools that have reached out and requested Brave Enough To Fail

Crest High School, Shelby NC.

Cathedral High School, New York NY.

Urban Assembly of Media Studies, New York NY.  

 Whitestone High School, Delta Junction Alaska

Sultan Sr High, Sultan Washington

Cicely Tyson High, East Orange New Jersey

St. Timothy’s School, Raleigh NC

Briar Woods High School, Ashburn VA.

Ferndale High, Johnstown PA.

Scottsburg High, Scottsburg IN.

Little Rock Arkansas School District

Martin County School District, Stuart Florida

Integrated Arts Academy, Chaska MN.

Frederick Banting School, Ottawa Ontario

Author

Wayne Winsley

@BraveNuff2Fail

wayne@BraveEnoughToFail.org

BETF Person Of Courage Tarick Walton

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“Do not let the world dampen your dreams.”

Those words are the motto of a poor Jamaican boy who grew up with a dream of public service.

At age twelve, Tarick Walton  saw the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as the top engineering school on a list of the top colleges in America. He immediately fixed attending MIT as a goal in his mind.

Despite his humble beginnings and through all of the adversities and challenges he faced along the way, Tarick never wavered from his goal. He never gave up on his dream.

Today, Tarick is an MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) trained problem solver, a Georgetown University educated business leader and a globally inspired artist who aspires to inspire, mentor and motivate youth at all stages of the educational spectrum to pursue big dreams in Science and Arts.

Click the video for Tarick’s valuable tips for you to accomplish your goals!

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Please give to Brave Enough To Fail.

Our mission is raising student achievement by inspiring kids to achieve their dreams

We provide free motivational programs and scholarships to in-need high schools.

Click to make a donation today

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