On May 28, 2021 I submitted this letter of intent for the Interim Superintendent position with Broward County Public Schools and I wanted to share it with my LinkedIn colleagues. As institutions of education we should always value and consider education, purpose, passion and lived experiences of it’s leaders or potential leaders.
My name is Dr. Michael K. Blanchard and I am applying for the position of Interim Superintendent because my personal experiences, education, community service and published works have more than prepared me for this very challenging educational role. My educational experiences began with student persistence and wraparound services in 1984 when I was about to graduate from South Bend Lasalle High School. Like many young African American men, I had a bigoted high school counselor tell my Mother and I that I wasn’t college material. Well through assistance from a wraparound service program called Groups (recommended by an African American male school counselor) not only did I attend college, I obtained a four-year degree, Masters and Doctorate. That experience led me to work in the area of student Persistence/Wraparound services and led me to writing my Doctoral Dissertation on Student Persistence/wraparound services with a focus on non-traditional students. Over the past years I’ve helped many non-traditional students graduate from Community College, Universities and Graduate School. Our non-traditional students are more than capable of educational excellence when provided the proper educational environment and support services.
The use of wraparound services to improve student persistence is not a new concept. In fact, at the community college where I currently teach, we have been providing wraparound services to help students persist to graduation for the past 9 years. Wraparound services are needed to provide food banks for food insecurity, free tutoring, life assistance, coaching & mentoring, career counseling & job placement services, mental health counseling, criminal record expungement services, transportation needs, childcare referral services, short term financial emergency assistance and assistance with obtaining affordable healthcare.
These resources/services should be provided in all K-12 and higher education institutions to help students persist to graduation.
My research on student persistence and wraparound services identified several strategies for assisting our higher education and K-12 students in persisting towards graduation and academic growth:
• tutoring is essential,
• motivation is not inherent and must be fostered,
• coaching can promote persistence,
• overcoming social and academic barriers promotes the motivation to stay on track,
• life assistance helps grow financial stability,
• resources and services help students achieve stability,
• professor support encourages participation in social and academic activities and maintains confidence, and
• use of wraparound services is need driven and helps student persistence.
The use of wraparound services within K-12 or higher education can provide resources towards assisting students to persist towards graduation because without addressing the quality of life challenges in our communities teachers and administrators cannot effectively begin the delivery of quality curriculum or the proper pedagogy that leads to academic growth during the school year.
My Educational Philosophy
Over the years I’ve told my higher education and K-12 students that if all you want is a grade or a degree that’s just what you’ll get, however if you want an education you have to be able to apply what you’ve learned to improve your community and family. My point to them is education is not simply about a grade or a degree, it’s about the application of what you’ve learned. Unfortunately, our current hyper-competitive educational system teaches towards grades, degree attainment and testing rather than mastery of the content subject matter. Get all the institutional degrees you want, but remember the best education is the one you give to YOURSELF!
My vision for Broward County Public Schools involves the use of wraparound services because they not only can be used to assist students to persist to graduation, success and personal development; they can also be used to assist the Black, minority and economically challenged communities in persisting towards the improvement in community development, economic development, mental, physical and spiritual health outcomes and the holistic recovery from present and historical years of trauma. This is only a stop gap not a solution because the solution would be to holistically restore the Black collective and economically challenged communities in communities to overall economic, political, social, physical, spiritual and mental health.
Wraparound services can also be used to reduce the absorbent amount of money spent over policing Black and poor communities(including the nonprofit industrial social program complex) so we should consider using that money to fund wraparound services to address mental health, food scarcity, black business creation, proper education curriculum/pedagogy, emergency fund assistance for homelessness and affordable housing, along with job placement/employment and other quality of life issues.
And finally, having been a police officer and having spent years working with and researching wraparound services I have first-hand knowledge that over policing or focusing on punishment/discipline doesn’t improve educational outcomes, reduce crime, poverty or improve the quality of life issues within impoverished communities. My research and lived experiences show only resources provided through wraparound services and policies that economically strengthen and make families independent improve quality of life and educational outcomes for economically challenged communities.
Why I am Qualified for the position of Interim Superintendent?
Keep in mind only 2% of the population hold Doctorate Degrees, and of that 1.6% of all females and 1.2% of all African Americans achieve this degree with an even smaller percentage of the population are what I would consider scholars. Why? Because scholars like myself publish various forms of peer reviewed research, new thought, paradigms, viewpoints and theories (in books, journals or articles) while those that don’t simply hold these degrees having published no more than their dissertations. Keep this in mind when you engage real scholars (very few exist) for employment considerations, input, mentoring, problem solving/solutions, resources or knowledge. In addition, as a Black man with 36 years of combined experience in the fields of education, law enforcement, safety and security I know what I bring to the table and that I am a proven expert within my area of expertise and content knowledge. And to prove this point, I completed my Doctorate in 3 years when it takes most 4-6 years and I’ve out published 90 percent of my peers who’ve had their Doctorate or PhD’s for 10-20 years. Despite all these accomplishments (as a Black man) my ability, knowledge and intelligence still come into question by those in the higher education institutions, on the job and sometimes by my own people.
Educational and Employment Experience (listed in LinkedIn)
Doctoral of Education in Educational Leadership
University of New England – Portland, ME 2018
Master of Business Administration in Business Administration
Indiana Wesleyan University – Marion, IN 2015
BA in Sociology
Indiana University – Bloomington, IN 1990
Blanchard, Michael K., “A Community Research Guide to Student Persistence: Research-based Strategies to Improve Persistence” (November 2020) on Amazon Publishing.
Blanchard, Michael K., “The Black Book of Lamentations” (October 2020) on Amazon Publishing.
Master Plan Broward County Public School District, Safety Security and Emergency Preparedness Division (2019)
Blanchard, Michael K., “The Persistence of Community College Students: A Single Site Case Study” (2018). All Theses and Dissertations. 171.
J Natl Black Nurses Assoc. 2018 Jul;29(1):vi-viii.
We Ain’t No Ways Tired: We Demand a Ban on the AR-15 Rifle Now.
Williams E, Giger JN, Brannon C, Blanchard M. Located on PubMed
THE JOURNAL NATIONAL BLACK NURSES ASSOCIATION • DECEMBER 2018 Volume 29 Number 2
Care of the Frail Elderly, the Mentally Ill, and the Disabled in Nursing Homes: A Clarion Call to Arms
Williams E, Giger JN, Brannon C, Blanchard M. Located on PubMed
THE JOURNAL OF THE NATIONAL BLACK NURSE S ASSOCIATION • DECEMBER 2017 Volume 28 Number 2 vi Bump Fire Stocks: Finding a Way to Outlaw Their Usage. Located on PubMed
Lastly, I would like to thank the search committee for allowing me to share my accomplishments, goals, personal development and lived experiences with the District, with the expectation that my prior job experiences, and education could be leveraged for the benefit our organization. I submit this letter with the agreement that I will not apply for the permanent position of Broward County Public School Superintendent during the year of 2021.