I repurpose my research into public speaking as well as personal-development training for educators in order to simplify scholarly knowledge and make information accessible so parents and leaders can make fact-based decisions. The vast majority of my speaking consists of sharing my research from “Promises Kept: Raising Black Boys to Succeed in School and in Life,” “Health First: The Black Woman’s Wellness Guide,” and the “White House Report on African Americans and Education” in order to help educators succeed in supporting all children in fulfilling their promise as scholars.
I typically do this in professional development in-service trainings on subjects related to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) for educators, and public-speaking events addressing parents and the adults in the proverbial village of children’s care and concern. I do this work independently as well as in partnership with other experts.
As a result of participating in my speaking and training experiences, educators and school leaders will have understandings that will help them succeed with all children, especially youth who are racially, culturally, and/or socio-economically different from themselves. They will learn to push through concerns that they will be ineffective or make a stigmatizing mistake, so they can enjoy human diversity, feel confident during difficulty, and engage children educationally in ways that free them to soar.
To contact me about speaking, email me directly at HABeard [at] gmail [dot] com or use the site Contact form.
I speak on these and related topics:
Reaching the Promise. Key research from "Promises Kept: Raising Black Boys to Succeed in School and in Life," winner of the 2015 NAACP Image Award for Instructional Literature and the companion guide to the widely acclaimed documentary "American Promise". "Promises Kept" offers educators, parents and the village of caring adults surrounding Black and Latino children with a cafeteria menu of success strategies in 10 different areas. Depending upon the needs of the community, I tailor this to include some combination of the following: early literacy and numeracy, understanding and countering implicit bias, parenting/teaching styles that promote high achievement, racial discipline gaps, and stereotype threat test-taking anxiety.
Are You Unwittingly Contributing to Your School’s Achievement Gap? Research suggests that the authoritarian school culture, parenting/co-parenting/teaching and classroom-management style frequently used with children of color undermines academics, behavior and socio-emotional development. Importantly, though we often focus on children's shortcomings, the research show that the use of less-than-optimal approaches to parenting, co-parenting, and teaching accounts for two-thirds of achievement gaps. Most educators were trained to use authoritarian approaches to "command and control" their classroom or school, and many teachers instinctively default to it when under duress, particularly when interacting with Black males. We discuss achievement-promoting approaches, style-switching strategies and how to co-parent children in crisis.
The Impact of Trauma on Learning, Behavior and Relationships. A growing body of research shows that trauma can undermine children’s academic achievement, ability to form relationships and conduct. The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) research and other studies also show that trauma is incredibly common across all sectors of society; however, little conversation considers the likelihood that the adults interacting with children also have trauma-related stress responses. We learn about ACES, trauma, and toxic stress, as well as their impact upon children and educators, alike, including how trauma may inform both adults’ interactions with students and children’s behavior and academic performance. Among other outcomes, participants will identify their own ACES and understand how trauma affects the developing brain, including its impact upon academic achievement and children’s ability to conform to the ways in which adults expect them to behave.
From Obama Baby to Trump-Era Target: Parenting Strategies For A Dangerous Age. Many Americans believed they were raising the Obama Generation, but from students chanting “build the wall, deport them all”, to ongoing police shootings of unarmed people of color, to the rise of hashtags like #StopIslam and #LivingWhileBlack, lots of caring adults now find themselves not only concerned about their own wellbeing but also struggling to figure out what to tell youth, especially those Black, Brown, immigrant, Muslim and LGBTQ youth being targeted. Whether at home, at school or in our communities, as adults scramble to figure out how to protect vulnerable young people, many of us rely upon “watch-out” teachings such as The Talk, often used with Black males, not realizing that fear-based messages inadequately account for complexity and unintentionally can leave children feeling defeated. We distinguish between the racial-socialization and parenting/co-parenting strategies shown to optimize protection, achievement and socioemotional development and those that tend to produce unwanted outcomes, and practice a toolkit of self-care strategies that help adults match their messaging with their desired outcomes.
Health and Wellness
Health and Wellness. I have been writing about health and wellness and editing health publications, including Real Health and the National Medical Association's Healthy Living magazine, since I first became a journalist in 1997. In 2012 I wrote Health First!: The Black Woman's Wellness Guide for the Black Women's Health Imperative.
HIV/AIDS. HIV/AIDS captured my attention in 1997 when I first became a journalist, and I've been writing about it ever since. As the author of Getting Real: Black Women Fight HIV/AIDS, the first and definitive report on Black women and HIV and as editor-in-chief of the weekly e-newsletter of the Black AIDS Institute, I have interviewed many top African-American experts on this disease. I have also led delegations of volunteer journalists to the world's largest health gathering, International AIDS Conference, as it travels the world -- from Mexico City, to Vienna, to Durban.
Speaking and Training Clients
I've spoken to the following audiences, among others:
Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s Amplify Conference for Educators of Color (keynote)
Healthy Start Association of America national conference (keynote)
Coalition of 100 Black Women and The Links, Los Angeles (keynote)
Princeton University alumni (panelist)
International AIDS Conference (panelist)
National Association of Black Journalists Annual Conference in Washington, DC (panelist)
Friends Council on Education and Annual Friends Council Heads of School Meeting (presenter)
Philadelphia public schools (in-service presentations)
Shaker Heights (Ohio) City School District (in-service presentations)
Cleveland (Ohio) City School District (in-service presentations)
Cleveland Heights (Ohio) City School District (in-service presentations)
Mastery Charter School network in Philadelphia (in-service presentations)
Friends' Central School in Philadelphia (in-service presentations)
Roosevelt Children's Academy Charter Schools in Long Island, N.Y. (in-service presentations)
Springside Chestnut Hill Academy in Philadelphia (in-service presentations)