Thoughts on School District Practices

Two seats are open for the November 2018 election. Last year’s candidates spoke about testing, teacher retention and academic achievement.

My thoughts:
1. Testing. Standardized testing is a money maker under the guise of being an assessment to ensure students are learning content. There is no application component. We are not teaching our students to be complex thinkers. We are giving them practice in being assembly line “yes” people. True assessment, called authentic assessment, includes students presenting portfolios and research-action projects.

2. Teacher retention. The assessments created for rating teachers is also not authentic. The National Board Certification process is more thorough, but even then, it is a series of hoops to jump through, to be eligible for a bonus check in October. Are there some reasonable and useful components? Yes. But to have been a teacher in the classroom for 20 years, kneel down to speak with a student on hownto improve their writing, and then to be marked down on an evaluation for not recognizing student needs? Absolutely ridiculous and frustrating for the teacher. How do we increase teacher retention? We treat them as professionals. We give them the ability to use personal days and sick days as mental health days. We give them the ability to donate sick days to colleagues. We give them the ability to purchase products through “non-approved vendors” like second hand stores where you can get a steal on previously owned items. We give them student aides and foster grandparents for classrooms. We support them when they send a student out of the classroom. We give them time for properly preparing for their lessons. We give them professional development opportunities over the summer in areas of interest, in partnership with Universities, to earn continuing education units. We give them opportunities to advance in their teaching posts. We provide support people — translators, counselors, aides, tech support. We listen to teachers’ ideas.

3. Academic Achievement. Learning how to fill in a bubble is easy. And boring. We must challenge our students. We must listen to their interests. We must be teacher facilitated, and student centered. We must not only focus on STEM programs, but we must also provide home economics, social and political awareness and engagement, community projects. We must commit to helping our children become complex thinkers, self-motivated learners, effective communicators, responsible citizens, able to work with their community, and research the better solutions. We must commit to teaching and modeling compassion and empathy. We must commit to common sense, outside the box, inside the box, no box, individual perspectives. We must help our students understand that we are each a piece of this puzzle of life.

Viva! (La revolucion)
❤ Felicia
#DontThrowTheBabyOutWithTheBathWater #LearnFromMistakes #LetsGo


Police Compliments and Complaints, and Community Actions

I believe that law enforcement agencies and officers primary responsibility is to serve and protect.  It is necessary to provide feedback to our local law enforcement agencies (LEAs).

It Is Necessary to Understand the Narratives:

I realize that law enforcement agencies and officers are frequently villainized for various reasons:

1. Criminals don’t want victims to report them, so they create narratives, where they vilify law enforcement agencies and officers.  This is especially true in cases of domestic violence;

2  Interest groups want more money for their specific projects, so they sow seeds of distrust, and create narratives that officers and the agencies should not receive funding,.

3. Controlling parents and/or partners don’t want victims to feel safe without them, so they create narratives, that create doubt and/or fear and/or distrust in law enforcement agencies and officers.  This is especially true in cases of domestic violence.

It Is Necessary to Change the Narrative

How do we change the narrative?  We have transparency and build a relationship firmly between the community and law enforcement.

TPD has implemented programs such as

  • Coffee with a Cop;
  • Encouraging play between officers and teens and tweens, such as basketball at Boys and Girls Clubs;
  • Not wearing riot gear to sports activities and community marches, but interacting with members of the community, and having a presence.

As a community member, I have invited officers to speak in my classrooms and most recently at my son’s PTO meeting, and the conversations have been good.

I also believe we should thank our officers when we appreciate the work they have done.  This can be done online on the compliments page, or directly to an officer, squad, or division.

TPD, like others who provide customer service, has a wall in the Department that displays compliments from members of the community.

It Is Necessary to Have Community Responsibility

As a community, we must exercise our rights and responsibilities to our community.  We must speak up.

A. We can change the narrative through education to our community:

  • Keep McGruff the Crime Dog out in the community, and introduce everyday stories into the community that re-visit the purpose of law enforcement agencies;
  • Share with the community ways they can help (not hinder) create and maintain safe neighborhoods;

B.  We can change the narrative through education to our law enforcement agencies and officers:

  • Help officers understand that domestic violence victims are frequently in a state of crisis, and may seem crazy or unreasonable, but that is a tool of the perpetrator;
  • Create a process where officers automatically refer crime specific conplaints to crime soecific outreach services (e.g. domestic violence complaints to domestic violence outreach programs who follow up with the family/partners when they are not in crisis).

C. Have conversations, review processes and policies, update them as necessary.  In Tucson, community members can become a member of CPARB (Citizen Police Advisory Review Board),

It Is Necessary to Have Accountability

It is absolutely necessary to keep officers accountable.  We can all benefit from feedback, in whatever profession we hold.
  • Sometimes we have “bad days”, and something comes out wrong.
  • Sometimes, we have habits that are hard to break.
  • Sometimes, we are out of line.
The process for making a complaint regarding a Tucson Police Department officer follows:
1. Report the complaint to TPD online at:
Or, by calling 520.791.4213
After the complaint is filed, an internal review can be performed, and depending on the officer’s history and the action(s), the Department will address the issue according to the Disciplinary Matrix, which may include a conversation with their sergeant on how to better work with community members in the future.
You may have to interview with an internal investigator at the police department.
You can ask for the investigator to contact you about the results.  You cam ask for the investigator’s name, badge #, and contact info.
You will probably receive a letter in the mail from the Police Department once the internal investigation is completed.
2. If you still are dissatisfied with the results, or feel like there are still issues, you can follow up with the Citizen Police Advisory Review Board.  The Board has been created to review closed internal review cases for fairness and thoroughness.  They can make reports and suggestions to the Chief of Police and the Mayor and Council.
3. If there are still concerns, you can contact the Independent Police Auditor.
Contact The Tucson Police Department
Here are the website links:

Reflections on CPARB and TPD

I served on the Citizen Police Advisory Review Board (CPARB) for four years beginning in 2011, first as a non-voting advisory member, then a regular member, then the vice-chair, and the chair.

As a member of CPARB, I learned a lot about the Tucson Police Department (TPD) — its successes, and its needs.  I learned about the Chain of Command, the disciplinary matrix, and what it was like to be on duty (Board Members were required to participate in two ride-alongs per year).

I learned about the equipment, the resources, and the facilities.

I learned that the Department is understaffed and overworked.

This was all significant to me becaue I had personal experiences with TPD — both positive, and negative.

As a volunteer member of the Board (all members are volunteers), I reviewed an average of three closed internal review cases per month (selected by the Chairperson of the Board), attended monthly meetings, participated in ride-alongs, and monthly dialogues with a senior member of TPD.

Because of my personal beliefs that there should be increased transparency, I identified additional ways to let members of the Community know about meetings, and the existence of the Board,  by creating a Pro-active Outreach Possibilities (or “POP”) sub-committee.

I also worked to have reports included on the CPARB website, and ensured the website was updated with current contact information.

And I worked to educate community members about the importance of providing compliments and complaints to TPD.

As an educator of 25 years, who uses restorative practices and continuous improvement strategies and techniques I believe it is important to thank and compliment others, and also to follow processes for developing new habits for unsafe behaviors.

My hope is for the following:

1. The Citizen Police Academy returns and is available to the public;

2. Increased involvement and relationship building between officers and the community;

3. Increased use of the online compliments and complaints system;

4. Increased and continuous transparency of TPD;

5  Understanding that TPD is a piece of the puzzle for a happier, healthier, safer community, and work towards making it so.

Part of what makes Tucson what it is?  Its funkiness.  We can promote economic development while keeping the funkiness amd uniqueness of #OurTucson.

The “easy” way is to build in 4th Ave.

The better way is to connect the rest of Tucson to 4th Ave and Downtown areas through an improved transit system, and better quality of living in *all* of Tucson.

How?  Focus on:
– In-fill
– Increased community participation
– Family events
– Funky art and music

Look at the reports shared recently about our city overall (some good, lots bad)

Bring “the bottom” up, and make things better for all of us, not just some of us.

**IMPORTANT CLARIFICATION: This does not mean “handouts”, or those darned safety pins (which are TEMPORARY fixes).  I am sorry for those of you who I have offended.  We do the best that we can.  It is time to stop letting others control us, and take control of our lives.

This means getting to THE ROOT of the problem, and asking questions like:

– why do some people think it is okay to beat their partner?

– why do some people think it is okay to belittle or demean someone of “lower stature”?

– why do some people think it is okay to litter?

– why do some people think it is okay to say “That’s not my job!”

– why do some people think it is okay to drastically change the culture of our community and neighborhood through excuses, excuses, excuses, and overtures of being the benevolent leaders?

It is time to #SpeakUp, say #Enough, and #FindTheRootToTheProblem.  It is time to #DoTheRightThing!

#StopJustifying #StopGentrification #StopClassism #StopBeingAJerk #StopSayingItIsNotPossible #BeTheChange #MakeTheDifference #ThatOneStarfish #MeanPeopleSuck #WakeUp #GetMAD #BeSMART #MeToo #OurTucson #OurStory #OurFuture #EachOfUs #AllOfUs #ChewForTucson #NOW #NAACP #ThisAffectsAllOfUs #OARP #LookBeyond #OurChildrenAreWatching #RealSocialServices  #IUsedTooManyTags

Viva! (la revolucion)
❤ Felicia

Crime or No Crime?

Crime or No Crime?

SITUATION #1: A young boy (Bob) receives a gift of a handsome jacket from an uncle.  Another boy (Jim) teases Bob about the jacket.  Bob feels embarassed about the jacket and gives it to Jim.  Jim wears the jacket and brags about how handsome it looks.  Bob decides he wants the jacket back.  Jim refuses to give the jacket back to Bob.

Was a crime committed?


Crime or No Crime?

SITUATION #2:  A man (Jack) and his wife (Jill) are watching a movie.  In the movie, there is a lot of violence and the hero of the movie shoots and kills the wife when she doesn’t listen to him.  A few days later, Jack and Jill are having a disagreement.  During the conversation,  Jack says:  “Oh, I guess you just aren’t able to understand me.  You win.  Let’s talk about something else.   I had fun at the movie last week!  It was nice to get away from the kids, just you and me.  I was thinking that we should start saving up for some things for the home.  Oscar just bought a gun for home security… what do you think about getting a gun for our place?”

Was a crime committed?


Crime or No Crime?

SITUATION #3: Angie reports to Mr. X that Tina has been telling Tina that Angie is stupid and dumb. Mr  X. tells Tina to stop.  This goes on for many months.  Angie commits suicide.

Was a crime committed?


Good morning, world.  Buenos dias, ohayoo gozaimasu, zhou sun, do sin, bon matin, k:odon a’wa dewa’kya…

The past 48 hours:

Guest teacher in a high school classroom. Senior English where I told students don’t listen to their teacher when they say something will happen… check out their claim and find evidence.

Then 9th Grade English where there were wiggly squiggly worms in grown up sized bodoes, with sass and snark, and unsure of why they had the sass and snark when questioned.

Then finding out that the bill I had written was not going to be continued, because there just isn’t enough time before the deadline.  And the frustration I felt with the system, because I realized the system does not support the voices of those who are uneducated — not because they don’t have the desire, but — because the system does not allow those who are poor to participate.

The system that keeps the poor people working, and unable to stop their jobs, because then they risk losing their homes, and having no food.

The story gets twisted: That the rich are taking bigger risks when they re-invest their wealth, and they could lose it all.  And this narrative perpetuates the cycle of poverty and crime.

I am now realizing that narrating all 48 hours is unnecessary, and perhaps distracting.  So I jump ahead to this morning, and a comment I wrote on a post I posted:


My comment:

Thanks everyone for comments so far. I appreciate the different perspectives. We definitely need to lay the groundwork ahead of time that we do the best that we can, where we are, when we are.

We should not shame nor expect nor guilt others who are unable to speak up.

However, we have a very real problem and potential problem of people being lulled into the idea that it is okay to scream angrily at a video game: “WHAT THE HECK!! I HEADSHOT HIM WITH A REVOLVER! WHY ISN’T HE DEAD?!”

And we have a culture that has been blaming, shaming, and guilting parents, teachers, and others for our children’s inappropriate behaviors.

We must meet them where they are. We must help them process what they see.

And unfortunately, there are people of various ages in our community who have no empathy, or lack empathy, because of situations that were beyond their control.

We must teach self-control, and an understanding that there are areas we cannot control, and that it is NOT OUR RIGHT TO CONTROL OTHERS.

There are choices. Always choices.

❤ Felicia

The other event over the past 48 hours is in regards to my music production efforts with my great genius producer.  I remembered:

The most beautiful moments are the raw ones, which we aren’t able to record…. because those are the magical ones that keep us in the present moment and connected with others.

Last thoughts for this morning:

I have suffered from not being able to work with many people long-term because I think everyone is out to get me; it is a result of being consistently in controlled relationships for a long time.

And that is why I fight.