The Florida Department of Education Sent MMLC the Following Email at 1:54 September 1, 2017

Dear Educators,


Suicide is a major health concern nationwide and in the State of Florida. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people ages 10-24 (Center for Disease Control [CDC], 2014). In the State of Florida (2015), suicide is the leading cause of death for ages 10-19 and the second leading cause of death for youth ages 20-24; 296 deaths by suicide were reported in Florida alone for ages 10-24 (Florida Suicide Prevention, 2015). In 2014, suicide accounted for 5,505 deaths in the United States for persons aged 10-24 (CDC, 2014).

Statistics regarding the suicide rate in the United States indicate the following: 


·         The suicide rate was highest in the American Indian and Native Alaskan population for both males and females; White males had the second highest suicide rate. The percentage of Latina females attempting suicide is higher than most other female racial groups (Kann et al, 2014).

·         Suicide is the second leading cause of death among Asian Americans and Pacific Island youth between the ages of 15 and 24 (Suicide Prevention Resource Center, 2013).

·         Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth are also at an increased risk of suicide (Suicide Prevention Resource Center, 2008). Factors such as not coming out, being outed by someone else, or being ridiculed are specific stressors for this population, not necessarily being LGBTQ (Bontempo & D’Augelli, 2002; Russell & Joyner, 2001). African American and Latino LGBTQ youth are at an increased risk because they are less likely than White youth to come out to family and friends (O’Donnel et al., 2004).

·         Although most people who have a mental illness do not die by suicide, having a mental illness may increase the likelihood of suicide compared to those who do not have one (National Council for Behavioral Health, 2016). 

Youth Mental Health First Aid, offered by the Florida AWARE Project, teaches an action plan to help a young person experiencing a mental health crisis. The program further teaches how to look for signs of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, non-suicidal self-injury, or other harmful signs. Florida AWARE is committed to increasing youth mental health by including raising awareness on the topic of suicide. Listed below are a list of resources that may help your agency.


For more information, please see the attached handout or contact Dr. Sandra Sosa-Carlin at



Youth Suicided Awareness and Prevention Training


The Florida Department of Education, in collaboration with the Statewide Office of Suicide Prevention, established criteria for reviewing youth suicide awareness and prevention training materials and compiled a list of nationally recognized youth suicide awareness and prevention trainings. A list of approved trainings may be found here: (Student Support Services Project website). Another resource shared by Florida’s Emotional/Behavioral Disability (E/BD) department is



The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides suicide prevention information and other helpful resources to behavioral health professionals, the general public and people at risk at In addition, SAMHSA provides additional resources and toolkits free of cost:  Suicide Safe – The Suicide Prevention App For Healthcare Providers: and Preventing Suicide – A Toolkit for High Schools:


For information on the Youth Mental Health First Aid training program, and how we can train at your agency, please review the attached YMHFA handout or visit



Specific Dates of Awareness:


►   September is dedicated to Suicide Prevention & Awareness Month

►   National Suicide Prevention Week – September 10th – 16th

►   World Suicide Prevention Day – September 10th



Bontempo, D.E., & D’Augelli, A.r. (2002). Effects of at-school victimization and sexual orientation on lesbian, gay, or bisexual youths’ health risk behavior. Journal of Adolescent Health, 30(5): 364-374.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Ten Leading Causes of Death by Age Group, United States – 2014. Atlanta, GA:

Florida Suicide Prevention Coalition (FSPC). Resident Deaths by Age Group, Florida, 2015. Florida:

Kann, L., Kinchen, S., Shanklin, S.L., Flint, K.H., Hawkins, J., Harris, W.A., Lowry, R., O’Malley Olsen, E., McManus, T., Chyen, D., Whittle, L., Taylor, E., Demissie, Z., Brener, N., Thornton, J., Moore, J., Zaza, S., & CDC. (2014). Youth risk behavior surveillance – United States, 2013. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Surveillance Summaries, 63(SS-1).

National Council for Behavioral Health (2016). Mental health first aid USA: For adults assisting young people. Washington, D.C.: National Council for Behavioral Health.

O’Donnell, L., O’Donnell, C., Wardlaw, D.M. & Stueve, A. (2004). Risk factors influencing suicidality among urban African American and Latino youth. American Journal of Community Psychology, 33(1/2): 37-49.

Russell, S.T., & Joyner, K. (2001). Adolescent sexual orientation and suicide risk: Evidence from a national study. American Journal of Public Health, 91: 1276-1281.

Suicide Prevention Resource Center. (2013). Suicide Among Racial/Ethnic Populations in the U.S.: Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Native Hawaiians. Waltham, MA: Education




Non-Public Schools
Office of Independent Education and Parental Choice
"Increasing the Quantity and Improving the Quality of Education Options"

DOE Nonpublic Schools Administrator

1:54 PM (4 hours ago)


Considerations when deciding whether or not to pull your child out of school

Considerations when deciding whether or not to pull your child out of school


Your child wants to drop out of their school. This isn’t just a passing complaint.  You and your family must address this question. How do you and your family make the decision to pull your child out of school? This decision has three characteristics: reversibility,  “nowness”  and the “failure” issue. Your child can attend a private school or do homeschool which includes unschool and then later return to the public school at grade level.  From 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 at Winterberry Christian Academy and from 2011 to 2017 at Marketplace Mission Learning Center, the school I started,  I have taught many students who successfully returned to the public school. ” A “now decision” has two aspects:  you can’t postpone this decision indefinitely and “now” because it is not about the future such as college.  Your child needs to complete some education successfully now, and by successfully I mean that your child learns to learn, learns to value learning, learns that they can learn and learns that they like to learn. The “failure” issue means “quitting” the traditional school.  How about you and your family decide to “fire” the traditional school and “hire” another school - private or homeschool. So how should you make this reversible and “now” and not a “failure” decision? First, who should make this decision?


Remember the “Five W’s?”  How about seven questions:  Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How and How Much. Think of your child’s traditional schooling as your child’s job.

Education is your child’s job. What work conditions would drive you to quit your job and seek another?  Are those conditions there for your child at school? School when and where you went to school is not the school your child attends. Your child is not the academic, athletic, social child you were? Your neighborhood, your friends, your classmates when you were in school are not the same people for your child.  Listen to your child. What is your child’s school world really like for your child?  You only have now with your child, not a month or a year, just now.  Let your child help make this decision. Have your child go through decision making processes such as listing the pros and cons, taking hourly decision polls by listing leave or stay each hour, and following a seven step process:  identify the decision and/or goal, gather information, identify alternatives, weigh the evidence and consider the consequences, choose among alternatives, take action and review your decision.


Deciding to pull your child out of traditional school is not a self-evident, a  “known knowns” decision, unless you were pulled out of public school and home schooled or sent to a private school. Don’t be susceptible to “entrained thinking” and blinded to new ways of thinking by your past experience, training and success. Don’t be complacent and react too late. Your world is not the world your child lives in every day. The complicated “known unknowns” in this decision exist in your worry over did I make the right decision for my child’s future, so do research and seek expert advice.  If the decision is a family group decision, if the child buys into the decision,  if you have sought expert advice and if you have followed a decision making process, then it is the “right” decision for now. “Analysis paralysis,” deciding not to decide, is a decision for which you are responsible. Your child’s world is like the Brazilian rainforest not like a Ferrari.  An expert mechanic can take apart a Ferrari and put it back together. The car is a static whole that is the sum of its parts. The rainforest is in constant flux where the whole is far more than the sum of its parts. Your child’s world is in a constant flux both internally and externally and is far more than the sum of its parts. This is the complex realm of “unknown unknowns” and this is the world of your child both internally (intentionally) and externally (extensionally) ever changing moment by moment.


The Cynefin framework offers five decision-making domains (contexts or environments): simple, complicated, complex, chaotic and disorder which give decision-makers a “sense of place” from which to view the situation.  Simple Domain represents “known knowns” where the rules or best practice create a stable, cause and effect environment. Complicated Domain represents “known unknowns” where a range of right answers require analysis and judgment. Complex Domain represents “unknown unknowns” where cause and effect can only be deduced in retrospect with no right answers and only instructive patterns can emerge.  Chaotic domain represents the world where cause and effect are unclear so an “act-sense-respond” behavior is needed to establish order to find where a sense of stability is present and where it is absent and then to respond to transform the situation from chaos to complexity. Disorder Domain, in the center of all four domains, represents situations where no clarity exists and leaders argue and cacophony rules and where decision makers must work to break down the situation into constituent parts and assign each part to the other four domains.  How would this apply to your child?  You believe your child’s desire to leave the traditional school is in the Simple or Complicated Domain, but to your child this situation is in the Complex or Chaotic Domain and maybe even drifting into the Disorder Domain which means your child could be thinking about purposely failing, running away, self-harming, using drugs to escape the chaos and even suicide. Are you listening to your child, really listening? The world your child is describing is their “now” world. Is their world simple or complicated or complex or chaotic and moving toward disorder?  


So probe, sense, respond, reach out, reflect, interact, look for patterns, try different tactics, create environments and experiments that allow positive patterns to emerge. In the flux and unpredictability of your child’s desire to leave the traditional school be patient and together make a decision.  



Cynefin framework. (n.d.). Retrieved September 1, 2017, from Wikipedia,


Snowdon, David J. and Boone, Mary E. (November 2007). A Leader’s Framework for Decision Making. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from


What is unschooling?

What is unschooling?


Homeschoolers adopted the label, unschooling, from John Holt who founded Growing Without Schooling (GWS) America’s first home education newsletter in 1977. Unschoolers encourage the learner to determine what to learn and how to learn. Unschoolers help their learner learn to love learning for its own sake. A typical “unschool” day may include a visit to the library, a nature walk, working in the garden, taking care of pets, cooking, doing spelling exercises and math worksheets, reading, writing, and working on an art project. No more than 90 minutes may be spent on formal school work.


Unschoolers believe that the inefficient “factory model” school stifles their natural learning children. Unschooling adapts to different learning styles and different growing rates. Unschooling parents support, guide, inform and advise their learner. The unschool environment frees the learner from the fear and the anxiety that often burdens learners in traditional schools.


Critics of unschooling and homeschooling cite the neglect of socialization, the danger of isolation and attachment parenting. Critics question the qualifications of the unschooling parents. Critics question whether the unschooled child will proceed to develop for a happy and successful adult life. Unschooled and homeschooled children may experience the lack of standardization, the lack of measurement of progress and the lack of respect for authority.


Dale Stephens, an unschooled learner from grade six, founded a UnCollege movement, received a Thiel Foundation grant and wrote the book, Hacking Your Education. Stephens started The UnCollege Gap Year Program where students “Voyage” for ten weeks living and volunteering in one of five countries, “Launch” for ten weeks attending workshops, networking, and building a portfolio in San Francisco, and “Intern” for twelve weeks  to work pursuing a project and to launch the project.


John Holt’s first book, How Children Fail published in 1964, sounded an alarm for the modern school system and helped launch the educational reform movement of the mid 60's. John Taylor Gatto, after 30 years of teaching,  published the underground classic, Dumbing Us Down: the Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling in 1992 and continued the revolution. Gatto asserts that the compulsory schools confuse students with an collection of courses and information, that schools teach students to accept their class affiliation, that self-confidence requires constant recognition by teachers and that they are always supervised. These lessons make students emotionally and intellectually dependent and indifferent.Today two million homeschool students represent 4 percent of the 50 million K-12 students.  




Collier, Lorna. "Unshackled and Unschooled: Free-Range Learning Movement Grows." Mind/Shift. May 2, 2014.


Gray, Peter. “Self-Directed Education-Unschooling and Democratic Schooling.” Oxford Research Encyclopedias. April 2017.


Holt, John, GWS (Growing Without Schooling).  “Homeschool and Unschooling Resources” includes “Common Questions and Answers about Homeschooling”  from Chapter 3 of Teach Your Own (17 questions).



Why an Online School in a One Teacher Classroom

August 2, 2017

Why an online school?

We all have been learning since birth. We all remember that some lessons came fast and easy, and some lessons came slowly and hard.  Students do not learn at the same pace as their same age peers.  Online courses allow students to work at their own pace.  If students find the lesson easy, they can choose to skim the lesson and take the lesson quiz.  If the students finds the lesson difficult, the students may go slowly, seek other same topic online lessons, and ask the classroom teacher for help. 

Why a one teacher classroom?

One teacher all day offers the student a safe, secure and predictable learning environment. The student and the teacher with the care givers become partners in learning.  The teacher is a learning coach constantly seeking ways to help the student move forward. 

Henry Hill


Why I 'm pulling my kids out of public school

More than 150,000 people have read Lynne Rigby's letter addressed to Florida Governor Rick Scott and the the Seminole County school officials.  If you are questioning your child's education, please read this letter.  A mother of five children aged 4 to 16, a college graduate and a kindergarten teacher, Lynne Rigby discovered the profound disconnect between succes in the classroom (A's and B's), success with homework, never struggling and a low score on the Discovery Education tests. Her happy, third grade son was now suddenly pulled out of his third grade class and sent to remedial programs because of his test scores. The disconnect is the validity of the test and the test's connection to the curriculum.  Now the elephant enters the room - Common Core.  Won't it be wonderful argue some politicians, some college professors and test and teaching material producers if all students in the United States in the same grade are on the same page learning the same material every school day.  Workbooks and worksheets day after day dedicated to grinding out some myth of accountability measured by tests. 

A documented study concluded that if state and national testing were eliminated, some school districts could add 20 to 40 minutes of instruction each school day and in more competitive school districts students could gain an entire class period of instruction each school day.  Additionally, school districts would have $100 per test taker to purchase other services and goods to improve student learning. See Problems With Standardized Testing from for more information.   


Marketplace Mission Learning Center (MMLC) offers a one room classroom for seven students with the teacher of the online course work in the classroom.  MMLC offers parents who wish to homeschool access to 180 courses for grades 3-12.  Instuction on using the course work and support are a text or phone call away. With 40 years of teaching over 5,500 students, Mr. Hill is available to address your education questions and concerns.