Tag Archives: TWS

TWS Client News: Author & Early Childhood Authority, Dr. Bisa Sounds Off about School System Test Scores

Author & Early Learning Authority Dr. Bisa Sounds Off in Her Blog, Says It’s Not Just the Numbers

By: Tamika Morrison

If you follow education news, are an educator and/or parent, then likely, you’re feeling the frustrations of many across the nation as it relates to our seemingly faltering educational system.

Author & Early Learning Expert, Dr. Bisa

Author and Early Learning Authority Dr. Bisa Batten Lewis, affectionately called ‘Dr. Bisa’, managing partner of Ideal Early Learning, LLC –an education consulting firm based in Atlanta, is sounding off in her latest blog about the fallout in the Atlanta Public School system’s alleged cheating scandal and performance of schools throughout the state of Georgia. Ideal Early Learning, LLC, is one of a few chosen firms leading the way in Georgia to revamp the state’s education system starting with the professional development of early childhood educators and the eligibility requirements effective 2012 by Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning.

Georgia has ranked among the lowest-performing states over the last decade in education. The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute’s 2005 report on Georgia’s rankings showed that Georgia ranked 48th in teen high school dropouts and 49th in public high school graduation. Keep in mind that these rates are from lowest to highest. The most recent reports show that Georgia is now 47th, which has only occurred due to its record number of high school dropouts. With a 10% increase in high school dropouts, Georgia ranks the highest in dropouts among states its size (KIDS COUNT Data Center, 2009).

Dr. Bisa comments in her latest blog post, Public Schools in Georgia: The Proof is in the Pudding, “Media attention on education in the state of Georgia has been heightened due to the spring reports on schools cheating on standardized tests and the resignation of State Superintendent Kathy Cox. While finger-pointing continues to be redirected, the victims (our children) continue to suffer from a lack of quality educational experiences.” Dr. Bisa home schools her sons ages 9 and 13 and made this decision mainly because of disappointment with the quality of education offered in Georgia’s public school system. She reflects…

Click here to read more.

News Hot off the Press for the week of November 15th

By: Bekkie Owens

Prince William and Kate Middleton announced their engagement this week, proposing with his beloved mother, Princess Diana’s Sapphire and diamond 32-carat sparkler, Prince William has officially made Kate the envy of many.

The Brits are not the only ones obsessed with the royal family, as many all over the world can’t get enough of this breaking announcement.  It is known and well-documented, Princess Di set  trends with her hair styles, hats and fashion.  Now, almost thirty years later we have a new Princess on the rise as we await the royal wedding.

In other news, Fortune 500 takes a look at the top 40 under 40 highest paid of the year.  Among them we found Roland Fryer, Professor of Economics, being the youngest African-American to ever receive tenure at Harvard.  Fryer completed a controversial study involving paying kids to get good grades.  Speaking of which, early learning strategies and educational programs such as the WINGS Curriculum led by Dr. Bisa Batten Lewis, affectionately called, ‘Dr. Bisa’ will help the role of both parents and teachers to set a clear standard for high achievers. Dr. Bisa is our new addition to the TWS family!

As an up and coming publicist, it saddens and shocks me to learn of shooting death of Ronni Chasen.  Publicist or as she liked to be called, “Press Agent” to the Stars, the 64 year-old fashioned her style after old Hollywood, with clients such as screenwriters, directors, actors, and composers. Ronni Chasen spent over twenty years in the PR industry and will be missed by many.

And that’s this week’s news hot off the press.

Blogging is the new…..Me?!

Intern Tia Tia!

June 22, 2010 was my first blog that I uploaded, “Appreciating the Sound of Music.” I was instructed to write a blog on Electric Violinist, Ken Ford’s foundation.  Walking into it I was extremely nervous because I had NEVER wrote a blog before.  When writing a press release, setting up a website, or a press packet I have a little experience, but when it came to blogging I was hesitant.

So I wrote my version of my blog and sent it over to Tamika Morrison, my Public Relations Advisor.  She wanted to edit it before I uploaded, which I appreciated, but once it was uploaded I could see many things were changed.  With this being my first blog Ms. Tamika told me I did a great job, but there were a few errors.  After that blog came two more, I still hadn’t mastered blogging so each time I would submit my copy of the blog it would be revised.

When blogging you think of it to be your own online personal diary, but you also have to remember to be professional.  Each blog that I submitted was revised by Tamika, and then uploaded.  I was a little down because I was so eager to master blogging, but after speaking with Ms. Tamika I was Ok.

“Portia, even some of the best writers have to get their papers edited over and over, so don’t take don’t take it personal,” ensured Tamika.  When she told me that I felt a lot better, I know that I am not one of the best writers so that means I just have to keep practicing.  Which is why I am so thankful to Tamika Morrison and Rochelle Valsaint, they are truly providing me with the tools and techniques to be successful.  On a personal level I even look up to these ladies; here are two African-American young beautiful women loving their jobs that they have personally made into their OWN!!! True entrepreneurs and for that I say thank you to Tamika, Rochelle and the other intern Keri!!!!

Signing off,

Intern Tia Tia

Recap – The Essence Music Festival

By: Portia aka Intern Tia Tia

Beyonce' at Essence Festival

One word. Phenomenal!  That’s all I have to say about the production of this year’s Essence Music Festival, held in the musical and cultural city of New Orleans, as it’s held every year – did not disappoint.  TWS Media sleuths was on the pulse at the “One Night Only” event hosted by actress, Cynthia Garrett, ready to give a great recap of the happenings, partyin’, dancin’, jazzin’ and celebratin’ promised to take over the city.  Katrina’s imprint is still felt as evidenced by many of the physical areas around this city, but could not damage the spirits that sang and danced throughout it.

Beyonce’ Knowles, headlined the concert shouting, “Put your hands up!!”, and that was all she wrote!  Beyonce’ danced back and forth in her 4 inch heels, singing “Put a Ring on it.”  As the camera turned to the crowd you could see women putting their hands in guys face twisting it back and forth as Beyonce’ instructed them too. Too funny!  My only question is what kind of hair extensions does she have because it was just flowing and I didn’t see any braids for a sew in? Nice job Bey’s stylist!

It was so much talent and star power from old school to new school, a music lovers dream! EnVogue, Ne-Yo, Jazmine Sullivan, Salt-N-Pepa, John Legend, Charlie Wilson, Al Green, Teena Marie and Robin Thicke all blessed the stage on this musical evening.  And speaking of EnVogue, the ladies came out in all black swaying back and forth while singing, one of their number one hits, “My Lovin” (You’re Never Gonna Get It).   Next they sang “Free your mind.”  This ensemble really took me back!

In other news, Alicia Keys was said to take a plunge…makes me recall that song she sings, “I Keep on Fallin’”….Okay, seriously, she took a fall, but apparently was so smooth with it that it looked as if it was all part of the performance.  And her reps say that her and baby are doing fine.

Trey Songz & T.I. shut down Carol’s Daughter’s “Toast to Women” event which brought out

Trey Songz & T.I. @ 2010 Essence Music Festival - Necole Bitchie

the likes of Tameka Raymond, Jada Pinkett-Smith and of course, the fabulous Mary J. Blige who debut her latest fragrance, “My Life”, which is a Carol’s Daughter collaboration. Go Mary!

Then came one of my favorites, John Legend, hello! “Let’s get lifted,” I wonder if he sang that for me? Now was he fly or what; we even share something in common, DIMPLES!!!!  When he sang, “Green Light,” a song that shares a special place in the heart of TWS Marketing Communications UnAgency!  Catch us live every Friday at 11 am EST to The Greenlight Project on Blog talk radio.

Overall this Annual, “One Night Only”, Essence Musical Festival was off the charts!  Hip Hop, R&B, Oldies, Old School and New School were in the building! Each and every artist truly did a great job!!! After watching a show like this it shows you that Hip Hop isn’t dead! All these genres of music are all similar in a certain extent so let’s keep jammin!  I cannot wait until the Annual Essence Musical Festival!  Great job Essence!!!

Appreciating ‘The Sound’ of Music

The Ken Ford Foundation

By: Portia Rice

I’m new to the TWS blog roll and call it quite an honor to write my first post ever!  Since coming onboard, it’s been all things music, entertainment, fashion, media – all very exciting!  However, the one moment I’ve come to really appreciate is our agency’s involvement with keeping music alive in our schools through The Ken Ford Foundation.

In this day and time, it’s really a challenge for children to get exposure to the kind of music that can fuel their dreams – this is heartbreaking, considering we live in such a time where the world is at our fingertips, but sadly, music seems to be slipping through.

With a recent appearance on our agency’s show, The Greenlight Project, this unique,talented and most of all gifted musician, Ken Ford, will be sharing his talent with us in concert June 25, 2010 at the Porter Sanford Performing Arts Center in Atlanta.  The concert is actually FREE to children and will have Grammy-nominated vocalist, Dionne Farris, singer/songwriter/producer/musician Daniel Moore who’s also a staple on BET’s The Mo’Nique Show and new pop/urban/soul/alternative vocalist, Salakida all performing and I hear there are even more surprises in store. Talk about awesome!

Growing up in Milwaukee, WI as a student of Atwater Elementary School, we had the choice to play an instrument beginning in the third grade. I was so eager have my chance at playing an instrument because all of the “popular kids” were either in orchestra or the band.  When I finally I made it to the third grade, I was introduced to the violin so to have Ken Ford become so accomplished at it makes me very proud to say that I played as well.  The violin often gets a bad rap, but I was excited and enthusiastic to play and continued playing throughout elementary through the eighth grade.  While playing the violin I learned a lot about myself and I became at peace with things I was going through.  The violin itself is such a strong and graceful object that the horse-tailed bow just adds to the music, giving it that soft melody!

I do have to give credit where it’s due, my father loves jazz, so every day on the way to school he’d make me listen to “Smooth Jazz” 93.3 FM!  At first, I hated listening to it because it was all instruments never an artist singing!  My dad would always say, “Now this is really music Portia; just sit back and listen to the violin, clarinet, and flute.”  I would just sigh and sit back in my seat (OMG, it felt like torture!)..  When I think back to those times, I can really appreciate an artist like Ken Ford because he is really making “real” music and not just using a Mac to Google a sound for his next song!

When listening to Ken Ford, there is no need for a vocal artist because his nonverbal communication skills speak for him.  The way he rocks back and forth and moves with the bow makes you feel the melodies going through one ear and out the other.  This concert will truly be inspiring and relaxing, make sure to come out and enjoy this wonderful concert all the while supporting music and arts in school – and did I mention it’s free to children??  Or if you’re not in the Atlanta area, listen to our show when the critically acclaimed electric violinist, Ken Ford was the guest and hear him for yourself!

Thanks for allowing me to share my blog with you .

Signing off,

Intern Tia Tia

Next Up on The Greenlight Project: It’s Hip Hop Candi Baby!

By: Tamika L. Morrison

Grammy-winning Singer Monica and sons with It's Hip-Hop Baby

Three years ago, Candi Carter struggled to communicate with her then, three year old son Emerson, who lives with a rare chromosome disorder that caused several medical issues and a severe speech delay.  In an attempt to reach her son and help him transition and learn, she decided to make up songs with instructions in them.  Carter Immediately saw an improvement in his behavior and social interaction.  After creating multiple songs and testing them out on young family members, she decided to create an educational DVD series using family-friendly hip hop music. The Award-winning “It’s Hip Hop, Baby!” CDs and DVDs was launched in March of 2009 and is being distributed by Rhino Entertainment a Warner Music Group Company. It’s Hip Hop Baby has been seen in the news on media outlets such as CBS Atlanta, Oprah & Friends with Dr. Robin Smith and XM Radio with Gayle King and is a favorite among celebs and their children such as R&B songstress, Monica, Justin Chambers (Grey’s Anatomy), Holly Robinson-Peete, Dr. Oz, Roland S. Martin, and more.

Candi Carter has a BA in Broadcast Communications from Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA. She started her television career at CNN in Atlanta, GA and later produced news specials and children’s programming at WISN-TV-ABC Affiliate in Milwaukee, WI. There she won an Emmy for Outstanding Children’s Programming. Over the past fourteen years, Candi has produced award-winning television for an internationally syndicated talk show based in Chicago. (wink)

Candi lives in Oak Park, IL with her husband Joseph Carter, a Private Client Services Banker for JP Morgan with their six year old son and 7 month old daughter.

Tune in at 11am ET on BTR’s The Greenlight Project, a TWS Media Production and listen in as Candi Carter shares how ‘It’s Hip Hop Baby’ got its start and where you can cop your own!

Celebrate Life ANYWAY!

By: Tamika L. Morrison

I swear, if I could get away with writing a repeat of last week’s Running on Empty, I sure would do it!  Life hasn’t changed much since my last post – I’m still wearing more than a few hats and now I have the audacity to try and get some celebrations in!

I can be tough on myself – I’m sure most of you can identify with that, but being hard on yourself doesn’t add to your growth and it certainly doesn’t add any length of days to your life.  Let’s face it – you’ll win some and you’ll lose some.  Have you ever heard the saying, “I may not be where I want to be, but I’ve definitely come a long way.” Stop right there, meditate on how far you’ve come and get to celebrating!

Life isn’t perfect, we aren’t perfect, but if we care enough about the lessons life teach us and put our best feet forward, you best believe, you’ll start to see more of what you want out of life.  And to that, I’m off to celebrate – and for more than one reason!

Reason #1SATC2 (Sex and the City 2) Premiere!  Charlotte, NC (my hometown), here I come!  I can’t wait to get all dressed up with my favorite girls.  We’ll giggle, sip, dish, make memories and pretend for just a moment, we really have all things GLAM just to feel a little like Carrie Bradshaw and her friends!

Tamika, Grammy-Nominated Vocalist Dionne Farris, Electric Violinist, Ken Ford & Annette Jackson, Exec. Dir. of The Ken Ford Foundation

Reason #2Critically Acclaimed Electric Violinist, Ken Ford will be on The Greenlight Project this Friday, May 28th @ 11am and we’re giving away TWO (2) tickets to see Ken Ford and Grammy-Nominated Vocalist, Dionne Farris, Grammy-Nominated singer/songwriter/producer I Am Daniel Moore and pop urban soul  sensation, Salakida perform LIVE in concert for the launch of The Ken Ford Foundation prestigious music and arts program in Atlanta on June 25th – the best part of this….children 5 – 18 are absolutely FREE!  Now that’s definitely a reason to start celebrating!

So, join me and celebrate!  Away from life’s ‘busyness’ and take it even further and send us an email to win those Ken Ford tickets!  If you’ve never seen him in person performing live, you’re in for a treat!

Until next time,

CIAO Baby!

Follow me @twsprfirm

Running on Empty

By: Tamika L. Morrison

How many of you have experienced that burned out feeling when you’ve had too much to do and not enough time to get it all done?  At the end of over committing yourself – giving everything and everyone your mediocre best, you are drained and maybe even feeling dazed and confused – not a good look. And as my mother would say, “You can’t always be on everyone’s set.”  (So True!)

I feel like I’ve been running on empty since the beginning of this year!  With a new partnership and a growing agency, my responsibilities, accountabilities, to do’s, deadlines, meetings and overdue returned phone calls seem to overshadow the fact that I still have to clean my house, keep on top of my chores, find time for friends and family, find time to train for my first marathon and by golly, act as if I am in a relationship too – whew, that’s just too much!

I keep hearing about this thing called work/life balance and although I am hoping it exists, it somehow continues to elude me.  I think in order to get this ‘work/life’ thing, you have to be willing to let some things go, so to that end, I am officially on empty and will share with you a few links from some other  great bloggers I love to read and adore and they are also part of our growing TWS family!

Check out @afrobella and Ms. Renea Bluitt from In Her Shoes Blog:

http://www.afrobella.com/

http://www.inhershoesblog.com/

I’m going off to find that balance, so I’ll see ya’ll next week!

Ciao!

Follow me @twsprfirm

I Owe It All To You Ma!

by Rochelle Valsaint

I think my Facebook profile description does a really good job of summing up who I am.

Visionary. All American Woman. Wife.

Mommi. Daughter. Sister. Aunt. Friend.

This Woman’s Work is never done!

And, I can say that my calendar and to-do list fully reflect all of these roles. I could also add to that description that with this full life, there is never a dull moment. And, that’s certainly been the case this Spring with juggling my leadership role as the Black Alumni of Notre Dame Chairwoman and the growth of TWS Marketing Communications and Media.

But, as I reflect this week, I think less about what I’m able to cram into my life and more and more about the blessings I have been able to enjoy in my life because of one of my greatest role models, Barbara, my mother.

To know who I am really is to know the amazing life story that she had as a foster child, turned guardian to 4 younger siblings at twenty-one years of age at the same time she began her journey in motherhood with her own young child (my older sister, Staci). She’s one of thirteen, and the backbone of our very matriarchal family. She was subjected to an abusive relationship before finding the love of her life, my Daddy, Johnny. And, once on the other side some very traumatic circumstances, she managed to put all the hurt of her past behind her and create the most, loving and wonderful environment for myself and my sisters.

She not only went on to create a great life for us, she is the one that showed me what entrepreneurship looked like. She launched a business, Barbara’s Hair Care and Nails in our home town of New Orleans, that would start as a contribution to my father’s income as a truck driver and eventually top his salary and sometimes be the breadwinner of the household. She helped take our family from a working class family in New Orleans to a middle class family. But, she never let her ego dominate or cause problems in the beautiful relationship she had with my father. And, while doing her work as a wife, mother, friend and oh so many other roles, she always made sure our door was open to all those she loved. That door open policy was the foundation of the Thursday-Sunday gatherings at our home most weekends, always a meal, libations, a place for the kids to play, somewhere to get your dance, laugh and eat on. She has become a big sister and mother figure to many.

Things have slowed down for her a bit since my father passed in 2003. But, the family that’s here in Atlanta as well as those that come in town to visit, all still know that Barbara’s house is where you go to get fed. And, I’m not just talking food. My mother feeds your mind, body and spirit in one visit. You leave full and satisfied. And, you look forward to the next visit.

So if anyone was wondering where I am on weekends, most of the time you’ll find me at her address, after I’ve finished my week of to-do’s and meetings, getting fed. At the same time, I am taking notes to make sure that I have what it takes to continue the tradition she has started by living her life so boldly and generously. I always say if I can be half the woman my mother is, I might actually be doing something!

Love you Ma!

Leaving a Legacy Worth Passing On

By: Tamika L. Morrison

This has been a tough week for me – a mix of high’s and lows. My grandmother passed away a week ago and although it wasn’t shocking as she’d been sickly for a while.  It’s just never easy to receive the news that a loved one has passed on, especially a grandmother. It was jolting to realize at that very moment, the torch my grandmother courageously carried, had been officially passed on to the next generation.

I was leaving a prestigious birthday celebration when I got the news.  TWS was onboard to help a partner agency handle media check-ins for Thomas W. Dortch, Jr., chairman emeritus of the board of 100 Black Men of America, a man who’d lived his life leading the way for others.  The event itself was inspiring and it made me quite proud to see Black people arrive in style with their heads held high, their accomplishments easy to see not only by name recognition, but also by the way they moved and mingled in the crowd with such poise and grace.  They were stepping high and proud but they also showed off humbleness through warm smiles and handshakes.  It was a complete honor to meet such dignitaries as Susan Taylor of National CARES Mentoring (Essence Magazine), Roland Martin, Emmanuel Lewis, Andrew Young and his wife, Frank Ski and his wife Tanya, April Woodard, Dawn Lewis and to work alongside those who ‘know’ folks like Jeff Johnson, Mike Phillips, Xernona Clayton and Fmr. Pres. Bill Clinton.  As I observed and embraced this moment that was mine, I had to wonder what had I gotten ‘right’ that put me in this place at this time?  And then I began to contemplate the careful planning these great people must have done in order to do and be these things.  Then I began to ponder what could be the driving factor behind their ambition when this word ‘legacy’ seemed to permanently imprint itself in my mind.

To observe this ‘highfalutin’ crowd, it’s easy to see the legacy being built for all of these named folks as well as all the ‘unnamed’ folks.  You see, for me to be placed in the very center of ‘all that glory’ meant that my own glory was evident too and that I am doing something worth being repeated and recalled in my own family. Legacy is a word that has been in my family – on both sides – for several years now.  My great cousin, Mary Anna Neal Bradley, a wise counselor, retired teacher and now author, penned her first book, “A Legacy of Inspiration” nearly two years after her retirement from the school system in which she gave over 30 years of service to.  She chose me – all wet behind the ears and eager to put my latent talents to test, as her publicist to get her book published and marketed.  It was thrilling and scary at the same time, but from taking on that first challenge and absorbing every iota of her book project, not fully realizing the divine nature of it all, I launched my public relations firm shortly afterwards that has now morphed into a wonderful partnership in TWS.  Even if I couldn’t quite understand or articulate what that experience meant – the influence and the irony of that moment shaped my heart and mind for legacy building.

It’s important to note when a person moves forward with legacy in mind, miracles happen.  So as I gathered with my family this past weekend to say our final goodbyes to this strong and magnificent woman who influenced us in one way or the other and looked around in awe of the beauty, strength, boldness, flair, style, Grace (her name), proud-ness filled my heart, as I inhaled my grandparents and their legacy.  It was simply miraculous to me to realize that two people made a decision to partner in marriage and from their union 29 grand children and 25 great grand children were conceived – WOW! We all are these different expressions of my grandparents in all their glory.  We have a right and the responsibility to carry out, in grandeur style, the legacy that has already been laid forth.  The entrepreneurs, the artists, the chefs, the storytellers, the fashion icons, the business professionals – we all have such great talent and so much to give to our communities and the global world around us.  My hope is that we embrace the fullness of what this word legacy means – no matter what color we are – and continue building upon it and proudly pass on a worthy legacy to the next generations.

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