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2009 Georgia Mocha Moms Education Forum

This “parents/adults only event” is FREE to Mocha Moms and Mocha Dads. The goal of is to provide a platform for candid discussion on tools and resources that parents can use to “Close the Gap on Minority Achievement.”

“Closing the Gap on Minority Achievement”

If you ask almost any parent of color across this country what ranks on their list of concerns for their children, they will tell you that their child’s education is a top priority.  Whether they send their children to public school, private school, parochial school or decide to homeschool, parents of color want to ensure that their children are receiving the highest quality education that will nourish their minds, build their confidence and help them excel throughout their lives. 

Yet for years, this nation has been suffering through a crisis- one that disproportionately affects children of color and has far reaching implications on their future success.   Educators and researchers call it the “minority achievement gap,” which is meant to represent the disparity in the academic performance between students from different racial groups.  Across the nation, no school district has been untouched by this disparity.  The National Education Association says that “closing student achievement gaps is one of the most pressing challenges facing public education.”  And, it is widely recognized that these differences in educational outcomes contribute to large disparities in life chance.  When a great many individuals do not have a genuine chance to develop their academic talents fully, our society is much poorer for their lack of educational opportunities.

At the Third Annual Georgia Mocha Moms Education Forum (which will be held on
Sunday, November 8, 2009 from 2:00pm-6:00pm at DeKalb Technical College), the Georgia chapters of Mocha Moms, Inc. seek to provide a platform for candid discussion on tools and resources that parents of color can use to “Close the Gap on Minority Achievement.” Our goal is to educate, strengthen and empower parents by arming them with information that will foster their child(ren)’s passion for learning, while also helping their (child)ren thrive inside the classroom. Whether you have a newborn or a child preparing for college, parenting experts, community leaders, education specialists, and other notable speakers at the forum will have critical information, parenting strategies and educational options for you!  As Mocha Moms, we total nearly 3,000 mothers nationally and over 500 mothers statewide, and we encourage every parent to tap into their power, passion and potential to make headway in “closing the gap.”  


Education Forum Details



Sunday, November 8th from 2:00pm – 6:00pm


The Conference Center at DeKalb Technical College
Coveniently located one mile outside I-285 off Memorial Drive. Take exit 41. Travel east for less than 1 mile. Turn left at 4th light. The conference center will be just ahead in the last building on your left in the rear of the campus. Parking is free for this event!


This event is FREE

  • As a non-profit organization, we certainly welcome donations. Donations will be applied towards event expenses and any and all overage will be used for future Mocha Moms event programming and community service events. 


Click here to register

  • Registration in advance is strongly encouraged, particularly to attend the seminar topics of interest to you!  Space is limited and this event is almost certain to fill up!  Be sure to register early!!

  • Childcare will not be available at this event.  Parents are encouraged to make other childcare arrangements.

  • This event is open to the entire community.  Please feel free to invite your friends, family and prospective Mocha Moms members.

  • Should you have any questions, please contact



We look forward to seeing you there!



Session A (2:30pm-3:30pm)

Unconditional Parenting
(Jessy Molina & Betty Wood, M.S.)

Oftentimes, parents seek answers for the question "How can we get kids to do what they're told?" And, many times, the answers involve various techniques for controlling the children. In his landmark book Unconditional Parenting, author Alfie Kohn begins instead by asking "What are our long-term goals for our children?" He suggests that parents need to work with their children rather than doing things to them in order to reach those goals. The book suggests that punishments (including time-outs) and rewards (including positive reinforcement) may sometimes produce temporary compliance, while doing nothing to help kids grow into responsible, caring, ethical, happy people. This session will discuss the basic tenets and philosophies behind the book, Unconditional Parenting, as well as approaches discussed in the book that help parents follow their own best instincts and achieve wonderful results.

Foreign Language Education, Global Citizenship & Academic Success
(Besa Tezrahi, et. al)

In this seminar we will discuss the benefits of foreign language programs generally, as well as the total immersion approach specifically. We will explore how children consistently demonstrate high levels of language proficiency and academic achievement. We also discuss how dual language programs prepare students to be active players in the global society while accelerating in school.

Understanding Independent Schools (Shareem Herndon-Brown)

In this session, families will better understand what an independent school is and why we, as people of color, need to make them viable options for our children. Shareem will address several issues regarding independent schools such as:

  • What are independent schools and why do need them?

  • What are the benefits to our children of color?

  • What are the misconceptions about them and real drawbacks?

  • How to understand and navigate the admissions process.

  • What are the expectations and responsibilities families have to these schools?

  • Why they cost so much?

  • And more.

Parental Involvement = Student Achievement
(Dee Dee Jackson, et. al)

Whether your child is just starting kindergarten or entering the final year of high school, there are many excellent reasons and opportunities for you to get involved in your child's education. Did you know that when parents, educators and administrators work as a cohesive unit, students tend to have higher grades, better school attendance and fewer instances of violent behavior? The goal of this seminar is to help parents assume a more meaningful role in improving their child(ren)’s achievement and to help parents increase their effectiveness in the planning, design and implementation of classroom programs and school initiatives.

Session B (3:45pm-4:45pm)

The What, Why & How of Charter School Success
(Andrew Lewis, et. al)

What is a charter school? How do charter schools and the charter school experience differ from those of a traditional school? And, how do parents begin the process of establishing a charter school in their community? This dynamic seminar will answer all of these questions and more, as charter school parents, leaders of the Georgia Charter School Association and others active in the charter school movement share information, wisdom and resources with parents about improving student achievement, as well as the power of educational choice.

Homeschooling 101
(Dawn Covin, et. al)

Is homeschooling the right decision for your family? Where do you begin? What do you do all day? Will the kids really learn anything? How can I prevent burn out? But What About Socialization? Find out the answers these questions and more in this seminar. Veteran homeschooling moms and leaders of the homeschooling movement in Georgia help ease the fears and concerns that face all new (and existing) homeschooling families… even before the final decision is made! This seminar will serve as a guide for everything from making the decision to homeschool and picking your curriculum to College Admissions, having fun, and everything in between.

Savvy Strategies for Financing Private School & College Education
(Richard Turnley)

It's never too early to start investing for a child's college education. The sooner you start, the more time your money has to potentially benefit from the power of compound growth! If the money you invest grows, then your original investment plus its new value can grow again, which means your money may grow at a surprising pace. This seminar will give tools to parents for preparing a strategic plan for education savings. The first step in that strategic plan is to choose the right type of account or financial tool (e.g., 529 plans, Education Savings Accounts). And, the next step is to decide where, when and how to grow your money to maximize your options. This seminar will touch upon all of these topics, as well as tax considerations and other helpful information so that as our children strive to “Close the Gap on Minority Achievement” in the classroom, parents can strive to “Close the Gap on Fiscal Literacy & Empowerment”!

FEEL the Magic: Using Structured Playtime to Enhance a Child's Confidence & the Parent-Child Relationship
(Dr. Kelli Ritter)

This seminar focuses on inspiring parents, grandparents, and/or teachers to set up and use structured playtime to interact with young children. Attendees will learn the four basic skills to make the most of that playtime, which toys are most appropriate, and the specific skills that build confidence and courage in children.

Session C (5:00pm-6:00pm)

Every Child Learns Differently: Discovering Your Child’s Preferred Learning Style and Seeking the School/Pedagogical Philosophy most consistent with that learning style
(Dr. Joya Carter-Hicks & Betty Wood, M.S.)

Do you know what style of teaching/schooling is most appropriate for your child’s learning style? This session will assist parents in identifying (and accommodating) learning styles and multiple intelligences of their children to enable increased success in any learning environment. Interactive assessments and practical tips will be provided to help parents recognize appropriate teaching/schooling strategies that capitalize on their child’s strengths. In addition, the session will aid parents in: (1) choosing the best school placement that addresses their child’s natural learning style and their family values; (2) following through on individual educational plans for their child’s identified learning difference; (3) acting as a child advocate in their child’s current school setting.

Raising Fiscally Responsible Children
(Veronica Mobley)

The objective of Raising Financially Responsible Children is to prevent debt, poverty, and dependency in our youth and their communities. This Financial Workshop is designed to teach parents how to equip their children with progressive learning utensils, critical thinking/problem solving skills, and first hand experiences to elevate their overall financial wherewithal. Raising Financially Responsible Children promotes an atmosphere of family unity and financial empowerment, designed to uphold a continued support system at home.

Nurturing Confidence & Healthy Racial Identity in African-American Girls
(James Andrews, Sherrelle Kirkland-Andrews & Renee’ Mack Jones)

One of our most powerful sessions at the last education forum was about helping Black boys succeed in the classroom. At this year's event, this session is about instilling confidence in our African-American daughters to help them keep their sense of self in tact, while social pressures may try to chip away at their confidence (and morals). As parents we find ourselves in the position of advocating for our children in a climate that is often filled with conflicting messages that can lower esteem, bring confusion, stress and sometimes dissonance. This session is about what we, as parents, can do to arm our daughters with self-confidence and help them navigate these difficult issues.

Click here to register

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