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Nelson Beats The Odds Teacher's Guide

Nelson Beats The Odds Teacher's Guide has been designed to make it easier for educators to incorporate Nelson Beats The Odds into their educational coursework. The guide provides questions that explore themes and evaluate reading comprehension.

Ronnie Sidney II

on 10 April 2016

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Transcript of Nelson Beats The Odds Teacher's Guide

"Like Nelson, I had family, friends and teachers who helped me gain confidence and skills"
"Like Nelson, I was off to a rough start"
"Like Nelson, I refused to let labels define me"
"This was one of the biggest achievements of my life"
"The student does not seem to have a serious attitude about school."

Science Teacher, Sixth Grade Report Card
"The student is not working up to potential."

English Teacher,
Seventh Grade Report Card

"Ronnie demonstrates hyperactive characteristics. Significant concerns were specifically noted in the areas of distractability, restlessness and impulsivity."

IEP, Fifth Grade

"Referral stemmed from teacher concerns about his significant difficulties with written language, legibility, and organizational skills"

Sociocultural Evaluation,
Fifth Grade



Disinterest In School


"Ronnie's distractability and inconsistent focus continue to cause minor difficulties in classes that are of little interest to him."

IEP, Eighth Grade
"The student is trying very hard.

Encourage your child to write down study and written homework assignments in a small tablet."

Resource Teacher,
Sixth Grade
Comments from the author's old IEPs and Report Cards
6-Week Report Card Comments
"Ronnie tries very hard; however,
he is having some difficulty
with his work."

Kindergarten Teacher
18-Week Report Card Comments
12-Week Report Card Comments
"Ronnie has made a great deal of progress this year. I have enjoyed working with him. He does need to control his talking."

Kindergarten Teacher
"He still has difficulty sitting still and not talking."

Kindergarten Teacher

"I think Ronnie is doing quite well being in Kindergarten only 12 weeks with a
class of 22 children."

My sister, mother and father
Former elementary, middle and high school teachers
Three of my high school friends
Good Hope Baptist Church
"I wanted to honor the memory of my childhood friends"
"Ronnie loves sports, and has been involved in intramural basketball."

"Both parents appeared supportive of the school's efforts to help Ronnie achieve to his maximum ability."

Sociocultural Evaluation, Sixth Grade
"When asked whether he wore glasses, Ronnie indicated that he did, however, he left them at home."

Psychological Evaluation, Fifth Grade
"None of you all are going to college."

Math Teacher, Eighth Grade
Experience lower expectations from teachers
Carry around stigmatizing labels
Develop lower self-esteem
Experience poorer academic outcomes
In 2011, more than 11% of US school-aged children received an ADHD diagnosis by a health care provider

34% of young people with a learning disability complete a four-year degree within 8 years
46% of working-age adults with a learning disability report not being in the labor force
55% of people with a learning disability had some involvement with the criminal justice system within 8 years of leaving high school
Mt. EveRisk
Achievement Gap
Bridging The Gap
Resilience Hill
Pre-School Expansion
Desegregated Schools And Classrooms
Racial Literacy
Parent-Teacher-Student Collaboration
Pay Equity
Access To Healthcare
Restorative Justice
Culturally-Fair Tests
Positive Teacher Interactions
Involvement in Pro-Social Activities
"Equity Over Equality"
Trauma-Informed Care
African-American students make up 23.8% of the student population in Virginia but represent 31.6% students diagnosed with a specific learning disability
Best Practices
Achievement Gap
Strengths-Based Practice
Parental Education
4. Why couldn't Nelson read what was on the board?

5. What did Nelson day dream about when he became disinterested in class?

6. Why did Nelson keep his glasses
hidden in his book bag?
1. Why did Mrs. Gronkowski send Nelson to the office?

2. Why did Nelson sneak into class like a ninja?

3. Which teacher helped Nelson gain
confidence and skills?
7. Who were Nelson's two
best friends?

8. What happened to Nelson on
the first day of high school?

9. Why did Nelson want to be
placed back in class with
Tameka and Carlos?

10. What did Mr. Stevenson say that motivated Nelson to go to college?

11. Nelson went to college to become a ____________.

12. Who was cheering for Nelson when he walked across the stage to get his
Arthur "Maine" Bundy, Jr.
Teddy Christopher Rich
Group Discussion Questions
Before Reading
1. Do you have an all-time favorite teacher or staff member? If
so, what makes them special?

2. Share a difficult experience you had with a teacher/staff
member and how you worked through it?

3. Share a story about a time you beat the odds.

4. Talk about a time you felt discriminated against because of
your race, culture, gender, ability, etc.?

5. What can you do to help students with disabilities feel better
about themselves in school?

6. How can we better prepare students with disabilities for life
after high school?

10% of the proceeds from the book will go into a memorial scholarship fund for Teddy and Arthur's children. Annually, one Essex High School graduating senior who has beat the odds and will be attending a university/college or a trade/technical school will be awarded a scholarship.
1. Respond to behaviors rather than react to behaviors.
2. What’s in a name?
3. Conduct a comparative analysis between the Core
Standards and the population you are teaching.
4. Create an inventory: “I wish my teacher knew…”
5. Be more cautious of your pronoun and noun usage.
6. Enhance and encourage critical thinking.
7. Set high expectations and reduce your “deficient
thinking” energy.
8. Conduct morning meetings.
9. Recognize that African-American males are different racially and
10. Maximize their importance in the world.

"Culturally responsive is to be aware of the linguistic, academic, emotional, and social development of that person, especially our African-American children in our schools."

Zakia Y. Gates, PhD Candidate of Education
You are now listening to the author speak at a 3rd and 4th grade assembly at Tappahannock Elementary School. The author attended the school as a child.
The author spent seven years in special education and graduated high school with a 1.8 grade point average (GPA). He also rode the school bus with Chris Brown.
Created By Ronnie Sidney, II, MSW

In 2014, the author graduated from the VCU School of Social Work with a 3.5 GPA and was inducted into Who's Who Among Students in American Universities & Colleges.
Select a video to watch the author talk about how he BEAT THE ODDS
Welcome to Nelson Beats The Odds Teacher's Guide. Join us on a journey with
Nelson Beats The Odds
author, Ronnie Sidney, II, MSW, up Mt. EveRisk and over Resilience Hill. Nelson Beats The Odds Teacher's Guide has been designed to make it easier for educators to incorporate
Nelson Beats The Odds
into their educational coursework. The teacher’s guide provides questions that explore themes, evaluate reading comprehension and test critical thinking skills. The guide includes pictures, videos, background information and resources. The guide will be periodically updated to offer fresh content and new ideas. Please download the
Nelson Beats The Odds Comic Creator app for a fun, interactive photo experience!

Common Themes in
Nelson Beats The Odds
Hope, Optimism, Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Vulnerability, Friendship, Perserverance, Imani (Faith), Self-Efficacy and Empowerment.
1. Introduction
2. Background
3. Off to a Rocky Start (Audio)
4. Group Discussion Questions (Before and
After Reading)
5. The Rough Side of the Mountain
6. Quiz Questions (After Reading)
7. The Real MVPs (Audio)
8. The Inspiration Behind Nelson's Friends
9. Word Match
9. Master of Social Work
10. Bibliography and Timeline
11. Resilience Hill (Audio)

This past spring the author created a Prezi presentation entitled "Beating The Odds: How I Survived Special Education" for a Richmond Chapter - National Association of Black Social Workers educational symposium. The presentation inspired the author to go back to his old school and honor seven teachers who helped make his success story happen. Mrs. Tobey was one of the seven teachers and she appears in the book as "Mrs. T". Mrs. Tobey, the author's sixth and seventh special education teacher, encouraged the author to write a book in April 2015.

The author wanted to write a book that young people, particularly African American males and students with disabilities, could relate to. “I wanted to write a story that spoke directly to their experience. I was in special education for seven years and I know exactly how it feels to be stigmatized and labeled,” explained the author in a May 29, 2015 press release. The author used past experiences to create a book that he hopes will resonate with students, teachers and parents. Imagine That! Design reached out to the author in May and expressed interest in illustrating N
elson Beats The Odds
and the rest was history!

African-American and Hispanic students continue to be overrepresented in special education, have higher dropout rates, and are suspended and expelled at higher rates
Quiz Questions
After Reading
Culturally-Relevant Pedagogy
1. Nelson overcame an ADHD and learning disablity diagnosis. Talk
about a time you overcame a diagnosis or label.

2. Nelson had his hopes set on being in class with his friends. Have
you ever had your hopes set on something and was let down?

3. Have you ever been accused of "acting white" or "acting black"? If
so, talk about how it made you feel.

4. Nelson didn't want to wear his glasses or take special education
classes because he was afraid of being teased. Talk about a time
you were afraid of being teased.

5. Nelson's parents supported him through some really tough times.
Talk about a time your parents helped you get through a difficult

6. What do you think happened to Nelson's friends Carlos, Tameka,
Anthony or Jeremy after high school?

Group Discussion Questions
After Reading
Send a story about how you BEAT THE ODDS to Ronnie@creative-medicine.com and we will publish it on our blog and website
You are currently listening to "Ronnie Sidney's Story: My Experience with Champions in Education" .
You are currently listening to the author speak at the Essex Intermediate School Eighth-Grade Promotion Ceremony. The author attended the school as a child.

For more information about Nelson Beats The Odds visit
1. Disinterested

2. Headmaster

3. Attention-deficit/Hyperactivity
Disorder (ADHD)

4. Potential

5. Autism

6. Down Syndrome

7. Dyslexia

8. Whizzed

9. Learning Disability

10. Special Education

Word Match
A. Capable of being or becoming.

B. Not interested; indifferent.

C. A disorder, as dyslexia, usually affecting school-age children
of normal or above-normal intelligence, characterized by
difficulty in understanding or using spoken or written
language, and thought to be related to impairment or slowed
development of perceptual motor skills.

D. Any of various reading disorders associated with impairment
of the ability to interpret spatial relationships or to integrate
auditory and visual information.

E. To make a humming, buzzing, or hissing sound, as an object
passing swiftly through the air.

F. Education that is modified or particularized for those with
singular needs, as disabled or maladjusted people, slow
learners, or gifted children.

G. A genetic disorder, associated with the presence of an extra
chromosome 21, characterized by mild to severe mental
impairment, weak muscle tone, shorter stature, and a
flattened facial profile.

H. A pervasive developmental disorder of children,
characterized by impaired communication, excessive rigidity,
and emotional detachment.

I. The person in charge of a private school.

J. A condition, usually in children, characterized by inattention,
hyperactivity, and impulsiveness.

Directions: Match the following words with its correct definition.
The answer key is found on the Bibliography and Timeline page

Definitions were reterieved from www.dictionary.com
Nelson wanted to become a social worker and Jeremy wanted to go to the NFL. Draw a picture of what you aspire to be when you grow up.

Affection ("Stickin' To" - Affirmation)
Physical nurturance (Touch to affirm)
Emotional nurturance (Share/Teach to affirm)
Cultural nurturance (Appreciate cultural legacy & supports)
Correction ("Gettin' With" - Reconciliation and Reappraisal
Physical accountability (Touch to redirect and reconcile)
Emotional accountability (Reconcile about surviving game)
Cultural accountability (Teach reappraisal/negotiation of Racial encountors (R/E)/stress/game)
Protection ("Watchin' Over")
Physical monitoring (Touch to locate and defend)
Emotional monitoring (Predict how youth might feel)
Cultural monitoring (Track effects of R/E sterotyping/stress/game)
Connection ("Bonding and Bridging Across")
Physical networking (Physical presence in career & social mobility contexts)
Emotional networking (Reframing social networking as emotionally meaningful)
Cultural networking (Making social networking culturally congruent)


National Association of Special Education Teachers (http://www.naset.org/)
NASET is the premier membership organization for special education teachers and offers a wealth of resources, including professional development courses, job postings, and more.

U.S. Department of Education Strengthening Teaching (http://www.ed.gov/teaching)
Articles and resources for educators.

Stop Bullying Teacher Guide (http://www.stopbullying.gov/what-you-can-do/educators/index.html)
Helping to establish a supportive and safe school climate where all students are accepted and knowing how to respond when bullying happens are key to making sure all students are able to learn and grow. There are many tools on StopBullying.gov specific for teachers, administrators and other school staff.

The Council for Learning Disabilities (CLD) (http://www.cldinternational.org)
The Council for Learning Disabilities is an international organization that promotes evidence-based teaching, collaboration, research, leadership and advocacy. CLD is comprised of professionals who represent diverse disciplines and are committed to enhancing the education and quality of life for individuals with learning disabilities and others who experience challenges in learning.

Teaching LD (http://teachingld.org/)
Information and resources for teaching students with learning disabilities. The Division for Learning Disabilities (DLD) is one of 17 special interest groups of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), the largest international professional organization dedicated to improving educational outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities, including both students with disabilities and the gifted.

National Disability Rights Network (http://www.ndrn.org/index.php)
Every single day, our Network protects and advocates for the rights of people with disabilities across the United States and the territories. We fight to end abuse and neglect where we find it. We assist people in finding and keeping their jobs and work with kids, parents and schools to combat bullying and ensure educational opportunities for students with disabilities.

Education Law Resource Center (http://www.edlawrc.com/)
The Education Law Resource Center provides information to help parents, educators and other professionals understand legal requirements and meet student needs. This site contains information and resources about a variety of education law topics including physical restraints in schools, special education and No Child Left Behind.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (http://idea.ed.gov/)
The official website of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Part B (ages 3 to 21) and Part C (birth to 2 years).

FamilyConnect (http://www.familyconnect.org/parentsitehome.asp)
FamilyConnect is designed for parents of children with visual impairments, and brought to you by American Foundation for the Blind and National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments. On FamilyConnect you’ll find videos, personal stories, events, news and an online community that can offer tips and support from other parents of children who are blind or visually impaired.

The National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (NAPVI) (http://www.napvi.org/)
NAPVI is a non-profit organization of, by and for parents committed to providing support to the parents of children who have visual impairments. NAPVI is a national organization that enables parents to find information and resources for their children who are blind or visually impaired, including those with additional disabilities.

National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health (FFCMH) (http://www.ffcmh.org)
The National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health is a national family-run organization linking more than 120 chapters and state organizations focused on the issues of children and youth with emotional, behavioral or mental health needs and their families.

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) (http://www.aacap.org/aacap/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/Home.aspx)
The AACAP developed Facts for Families to provide concise and up-to-date information on psychiatric issues that affect children, teenagers and their families. The AACAP provides this important information as a public service.

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) (http://www.nami.org)
NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI advocates for access to services, treatment, supports and research and is steadfast in its commitment to raise awareness and build a community for hope for all of those in need.

CHADD (http://www.chadd.org/)
Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD), is a national non-profit, tax-exempt organization providing education, advocacy and support for individuals with ADHD. In addition to our informative website, CHADD also publishes a variety of printed materials to keep members and professionals current on research advances, medications and treatments affecting individuals with ADHD.

KidSource Online (http://www.kidsource.com/kidsource/pages/dis.add.html)
KidSource Online is a group of parents who want to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of parents and children. We’ve brought together our best articles in the Disabilities: Attention Deficit Disorder section of our website. Information on learning disabilities and physical disabilities can be found in other sections.

The Attention Deficit Disorder Association (http://www.add.org/)
The Attention Deficit Disorder Association provides information, resources and networking opportunities to help adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder lead better lives.

One Add Place (http://www.oneaddplace.com/)
At the ADD and ADHD resource place you will find information on both child and adult attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Learn the symptoms of ADD and ADHD and how to test for them, and discover the latest natural treatments, pharmaceutical medications and brain science.

NICHCY (http://nichcy.org/families-community)
NICHCY serves the nation as a central source of information on disabilities in infants, toddlers, children and youth. You’ll find easy-to-read articles on IDEA, the law authorizing early intervention services and special education, as well as researched-based information on effective practices, programs and services.

Child Development Institute (http://childdevelopmentinfo.com/)
Our website is designed to provide the information and tools parents need to understand their unique child/children and to enable them to help each child develop into the successful human being they were meant to be.

Through the Looking Glass (http://www.lookingglass.org/)
Through the Looking Glass (TLG) is a nationally-recognized center that has pioneered research, training and services for families in which a child, parent or grandparent has a disability or medical issue. Our mission is “To create, demonstrate and encourage non-pathological and empowering resources and model early intervention services for families with disability issues in parent or child which integrate expertise derived from personal disability experience and disability culture.”

PACER (http://www.pacer.org/)
The mission of PACER Center (Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights) is to expand opportunities and enhance the quality of life of children and young adults with disabilities and their families, based on the concept of parents helping parents. With assistance to individual families, workshops, materials for parents and professionals and leadership in securing a free and appropriate public education for all children, PACER’s work affects and encourages families in Minnesota and across the nation.

Parents Helping Parents (http://www.php.com/)
Parents Helping Parents (PHP) strives to improve the quality of life for any child with any special need of any age, through educating, supporting and training their primary caregivers.

E-Ready Special Education Information for Parents (http://www.pta.org/advocacy/content.cfm?ItemNumber=3713)
This page provides parents, as well as teachers, of children with disabilities with information on specific disabilities, a glossary of special education terms, and links to helpful resources.

AllExperts – Special Education (http://www.allexperts.com/cl2/636/education/Special-Education/)
This website allows parents to ask questions of AllExpert’s volunteer experts regarding all aspects of special education; questions and answers are available for search as well.

U.S. Department of Education (http://www2.ed.gov/parents/needs/speced/edpicks.jhtml)
The Department of Education provides a list of resources pertaining to the needs of children with disabilities.

Support and Resources For Parents and Teachers
Culturally Relevant Interventions
(Stevenson, 2013; Winn, 2013)

Effective Strategies for Culturally Responsive Teachers
“We must demand excellence of ourselves and agitate and advocate justice from the larger society.”

Jawanza Kunjufu

The answer key is found on the Bibliography and Timeline page
Quiz Questions Answer Key

1. Mr. Stevenson said, "That’s why neither of you
are going to college."
2. Social worker.
3. Family, friends and former teachers.
4. Nelson said, “Maybe you need to learn
how to read then.”
5. Nelson didn’t want anyone to know that he
was in Special Ed.
6. Mrs. T.
7. Because he needed glasses.
8. Playing professional basketball with his buddy
9. Nelson thought his classmates would
tease him for wearing glasses.
10. Carlos and Tameka.
11. Nelson was placed in special education classes
by Ms. Johnson.
12. The classes would prepare him for college.
Nelson wanted to be successful.

Word Match Answer Key: 1. B, 2. I, 3. J, 4. A, 5. H, 6. G, 7. D, 8. E, 9. C, 10. F
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011).
Data & Statistics
Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/data.html

Cortiella, C. & Horowitz, S. (2014). The state of learning disabilities:
Facts, trends and emerging issues.
National Center for Learning Disabilities
, 3, 1-52. Retrieved from http://www.ncld.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/2014-State-of-LD.pdf

Fordham, S. & Ogbu, J.U. (1986). Black students' school success: Coping
with the "burden of 'acting white"'.
The Urban Review
, 18(3), 176-206.

Haskell, R. (2014, October 14). Channing tatum: A work in progress.
TMA Magazine
. Retrieved from http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/10/14/channing-tatum-foxcatcher-interview/

Schwartz, E.K. (2012, November 11). Richard branson and the dyslexia
Washington Pos
t. Retrieved from

Vance, F. (2012, February 10). Solange: “I was diagnosed with adhd
. Retrieved from

Full transcript