Finally fixing math education

by Marla Weiss

Developing moon rockets and inventing open-heart surgery are “hard”; operating on fractions is not, despite prevailing attitude. After years of helping students experience the beauty of math, I started writing books to address the ongoing problem of inferior math education on a national scale.

First, I tried educating people via entertainment by creating my pair of novels “School Scandalle” and “School Scoundrelle” about a passionate math teacher facing hurdles in the education world. Next, I formalized my problem sets that had generated success at the elementary and middle school levels. While these workbooks are a step forward, quality math has maximum reach when in the main curriculum, rather than in supplementary material.

Then, I had my “eureka!” moment, finding the solution to weak math education at the intersection of noted psychology, modern technology, and rigorous mathematics. While the solution seems obvious now, persuading others is a challenge. Hence, I recently completed my nonfiction book, “From STEM To STEW: Finally Fixing Math Education By Turning It Upside-down.”

The book includes quotes from hundreds of experts and reports to provide needed background and to bolster important points. By beginning with a simple question reworked in creative ways, the book urges students to explore more than straightforward problems. Plentiful examples of witnessed, deficient math teaching help establish a framework.

Broad definitions of mathematics expand the customary viewpoint. The necessity for mathematical success unfolds as a matter of societal wellness and national security. A summary of the National Assessment of Educational Progress posits that students should be scoring higher. A discussion of the international math exams TIMSS and PISA outlines America’s underperformance in the world. A detailed review of five past reform movements (Sputnik New Math, Back to Basics, Constructivism, Math Wars and Common Core) demonstrates that proposals recycle, while weak math education survives.

Fifty obstacles to finding a solution show ineptitude and disagreement as commonplace. Discussions of learning mathematics, using technology, organizing curriculum and training teachers contribute to a full picture. Ultimately, a plan based on remarkable educational psychology emerges.

Although a washout over a half-century ago due to crude technology, the concept today offers hope for transforming learning, thereby freeing schools from dependence on inadequate textbooks and from the impossibility of finding brilliant math teachers for all children.

What’s next? I’m seeking an established partner to conduct a pilot study, aiming to report significant, positive results. Only then might a new system push aside those who suffer from math phobia and embrace shoddy instruction. Truly understanding math leads to genuine enjoyment and useful application. But society must want and demand great math for radical change to occur.

Marla Weiss, a decades-long resident of Naples, has four degrees in mathematics: A in pure math, MA and ME in applied math, and PhD in math education. Readers may learn more about her work at

Dental Excellence Celebrates 15 Year Anniversary

Dr. Cheryl Malick, a Naples resident since 1985, celebrates 15 years of serving our community at Dental Excellence, her state of-the-art office. An alumna of Barron Collier High School and the University of Florida, she achieved undergraduate honors in engineering sciences with a minor in biomedical engineering prior to attending dental school.

During her studies, Dr. Malick interned with professors who revolutionized dental and facial prostheses at Florida’s renowned dental school, which inspired her to focus on dentistry and graduate with research honors.

“Everything about dentistry is engineering, from the immense forces on our teeth and jaw to the mechanical and aesthetic strengths and limitations of the evolving materials used to create long-lasting restorations. Dentistry, at its finest, is the marriage of art and engineering,” she explains.

Offering general and aesthetic dental care locally, to her hometown, has been as rewarding as raising her young family where she grew up. This gives her a uniquely balanced outlook. She explains that patients can expect to be seen on time because she dislikes spending her own time in waiting rooms and understands that her patients’ time is as valuable as her own. Thoughtful scheduling makes doing it all possible, both in and out of the office. As a busy wife and mom of three, ages 8, 10, and 11, Dr. Malick counts cheering on basketball, cross country, ballet and taekwondo among her favorite activities.

Dr. Malick loves to dispel the mysteries and common fears of dentistry. “I enjoy talking with my patients, I want them to know as much about their mouths as I do; we’re a team,” she says. Advanced technologies at Dental Excellence offer patients instant viewing of high-resolution digital images and x-rays taken inside their mouths while consulting on their care. “Patients understand when viewing images from inside their own mouths in real time, which helps me respond to their concerns and explain their options,” explains Dr. Malick.

Dr. Malick wants new patients to be comfortable, which is why she has always welcomed guests to meet her and tour her office with a complimentary consultation. She is committed to ongoing, continued education for herself and her team because, “dentistry is an evolving field driven by developments in technology and improved materials.” This ensures the Dental Excellence benchmark for state-of-the-art services and results. The most recent technological addition at Dental Excellence is the new Cari-Vu cavity detection device, which uses near-infrared light to illuminate teeth and detect cavities without radiation.

Giving back is one of the reasons Dr. Malick is a longtime, certified member of the FBI’s National Dental Image Repository Review Panel. This panel aids the FBI in the dental coding of missing and unidentified persons. “Forensic dentistry allows me to help those who can no longer help themselves,” she says.

Dr. Malick is also a member of the Florida Emergency Mortuary Operations Response System. This state organization is deployed after catastrophic events (such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes) to aid in the identification of the victims, bringing closure to families.

Dr. Malick sincerely thanks the Naples community and her patients for their support and patronage during the past15 years.


Dental Excellence is located at 7955 Airport Pulling Road North in Naples. For more information, call (239) 596-3434 or visit


Few parents or grandparents would question the importance of raising strong, independent and courageous children. However, knowing how to accomplish that is an entirely different matter. In her 2017 book, “World Changer, “Gold Star mother Karen Vaughn shares an insightful blueprint and study guide grounded in the incredible journey raising her son, Aaron.

Aaron Vaughn was a highly decorated Navy Seal who was tragically killed alongside 29 fellow warriors on August 6, 2011 while deployed in Afghanistan. The 30 were part of the elite Seal Team VI, shot down in their helicopter Extortion 17.

Before you can fully appreciate Karen Vaughn’s parenting advice (which, by the way, is incredibly helpful to anyone who spends time mentoring, encouraging and supporting children and youth), it’s important to understand her story. She shares her family’s story in beautiful, inspiring and heart wrenching detail in the book, which describes Aaron’s childhood on their small farm in West Tennessee.

Aaron had the goal of becoming a Navy Seal from a very young age. Karen and her husband, Billy, supported and cultivated Aaron’s dream through encouragement, but also by allowing him enough freedom to fail at times, and, therefore, develop resilience and grit.

“Parachuting in to right every wrong on a child’s behalf can actually rob him of the valuable lessons he needs to experience in order to prepare him for a successful life,” she writes, urging parents not to waste those teachable moments. “…every hurtful experience has a take-away and becomes an opportunity for growth.“

Karen’s thoughtful tips breathe new life into traditional parenting concepts such as instilling a strong work ethic, personal responsibility and respect for elders. She helps parents understand how to teach – and model – compassion, empathy and meaningful service. Karen also makes important distinctions between what responsibilities belong to the child and which belong to the parent – a dynamic that has become more confusing and complex for children and adults alike in recent years.

Southwest Florida residents will have an opportunity to hear from Karen firsthand on Thursday, March 8, as she delivers the keynote address at Drug Free Collier’s 10th annual community awareness luncheon. Karen’s passion for helping parents raise kids who will make a difference in the world supports the coalition’s mission to help youth make healthy decisions that lead to a successful life.

An essential aspect of Drug Free Collier’s youth development programming is helping young people connect with their sense of purpose, identify their values and goals, and learn the life skills necessary to stay on track toward those goals. Young people who have a vision for their life and the tools and support to pursue it are less likely to be sidetracked by drugs, alcohol or other unhealthy activities and decisions that could get in the way. The Vaughn’s’ unwavering support of Aaron’s dream of becoming a Navy SEAL, was a critical factor in his staying focused on achieving that goal.

“I’m not going to pretend he was impervious to trouble, but he chose friends wisely and stayed home a lot on weekend nights, rather than running with the crowd,” Karen writes. “He had a long-term vision and anything superfluous – or potentially posing a threat to his end game – would have to take a backseat. “

Reading Aaron’s story, it’s clear that he was destined to become a “world changer.” His parents, Karen and Billy, have carried on his legacy through sharing his powerful story, advocating for veterans and supporting Operation 300, a nonprofit founded by Aaron’s sister, Tara. Operation 300 funds and operates an all-expense paid adventure camp for children who have lost fathers as a result of military service.

Karen’s deepest passion today is helping Americans understand the level of sacrifice our military men and women make to secure and sustain our freedom – and encouraging citizens to live a life worthy of the sacrifices made on their behalf.

To hear Karen Vaughn share Aaron’s remarkable life and the principles of raising a world changer, secure your tickets at or call Drug Free Collier at239.302.6717. Lisa Gruenloh is Director of Program Development for Drug Free Collier, responsible for the organization’s youth development, life and leadership skills programming.

For the love of water

Naples is a community such as no other. You hear people in jest, well sort of, tell their friends not to tell too many people about this great place. But, the enthusiasm can’t be contained and now it’s well known that Naples has been often called one of the best places to live. People make the choice to move to a new location based on criteria like, does it have a sound infrastructure? Does it have safe and friendly neighborhood communities?

Another question would be, does it attract like-minded people? Does it have a thriving arts community? If you like diving or fishing, golf, tennis, or simply like living close to the beach – if you like these and other recreational activities that you can enjoy where the sun shines nearly 300 days a year, then this is the place for you.

Another important criterion, is the choice to live near a college or university because that educational think-tank impacts and enhances community life. From Marco Island to Estero Bay the land is nearly surrounded by water. Here, the Gulf of Mexico meets the plentiful estuaries and mangroves, saltwater marshes, freshwater wetlands, rivers and canal systems that brim with birds, animal species, underwater life and rich vegetation.

As the economy swells during the winter and spring months an emphasis is put on infrastructure – on the roadways, waterways, communication towers, land use, and environmental management– that’s the quality of our air and water, agriculture, and natural vegetation. This is how the community harmonizes with its natural eco-habitats, implements its sustainability strategy and stimulates economic growth.

The economic impacts of tourism, the marine industry and the commercial fishing industry alone – rests in the billions of dollars. Florida Gulf Coast University is creating a preeminent center for marine and environmental science research and education in this Southwest Florida’s matchless ecosystem. Faculty and students of FGCU’s Coastal Watershed Institute, having the advantage of The Vester Marine and Ecological Field Station – located at the Collier and Lee county border at the south end of Estero Bay – is well-positioned for research with the Gulf of Mexico, coastal marine environments, the Florida Keys, gulf beaches, regional estuaries, and the Florida Everglades nearby awaiting study.

The habitat, coastline, water, climate, marine mammals, sea turtles, seabirds, fisheries, shellfish species, and plant life reveal infinite research, biotech, and health and human services opportunities that water shelters in plain sight, making this an advantageous place for the scientific community to further its understanding of nature’s most precious and crucial commodity, water.

Research is one thing but what, you do with your findings is what makes the impact. Research on the effects that natural and human borne processes have on the environment can provide valuable information on how coastal environments are affected, including how quickly natural habitats assimilate and recover.

Researchers at the Coastal Watershed Institute have identified three “hot topics” of research being pursued at the Vester Field Station, water quality, seagrass health and oyster reef restoration. These issues are especially timely as coastal ecosystems recover from Hurricane Irma impacts. The beautiful coastal environments of southwest Florida are magnets for not only local residents and tourists, but researchers and students who want to explore ways to protect these valuable resources now and in the future.

Students and visitors can come to learn and experience this unique region through Florida Gulf Coast University, The Conservancy of Southwest Florida and Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.

Milestone for books for Collier kids

by Lois Bolin
Old Naples Historian

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.

Four year ago, in my December 2013 Life in Naples column, I wrote, “…their vision is clear: address one of the most important factors affecting literacy — access to books. Authentic leadership permeates each director from their leader to the linchpin alchemists who take advantage of First Book’s tremendous buying power to amass high quality yet deeply discounted books. Added to this is a magical amalgamation of the development team and the diverse capabilities of an all-volunteer board, which stand ready to do whatever needs to be done to get new books into the hands of needy children. “

Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks.

Since then, not much has changed except the nonprofit name and a magnificent milestone – 1,000,000 books that are given to children in pre-K, kindergarten, and first and second grade classrooms in Title 1 schools and Head Start programs across Collier County. Founded in2005, Books for Collier Kids (BCK formerly First Book-Collier County) has had a single mission: to provide new books to children in need, addressing one of the most important factors affecting literacy—access to books.

For 13 years, they have worked tirelessly to distribute new books each month for these children. These students take home these newly found treasures to read again and again and share with their families. Often these books are the only books in their homes – if you don’t count a telephone book.

Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.

BCK’s distribution chair, a Ph.D. educator, selects the books to support the curriculum in the children’s classrooms. She works with the teachers to ensure that all of the books selected are age appropriate, worthwhile and appealing to children. In addition to giving books to needy children in Collier County Public Schools, BCK partners with approximately 20 other nonprofits in Collier County that serve disadvantaged young children, including the Boys and Girls Club, Christ Child Society of Naples, ELLM, Friends of Foster Children, Fun Time, Grace Place, Guadalupe Center, Habitat for Humanity, Healthcare Network, Immokalee Housing, Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, The Shelter for Abused Women and Children, the YMCA and Youth Haven.

Children’s reading and thinking are the rock-bottom base upon which this country will rise.

The necessity for proficient reading and comprehension skills goes beyond the classroom. Illiteracy has a profound impact on employability, poverty, crime, living conditions, health and educational attainment. Children who have not developed some basic literacy skills upon entering school are 3-4 times more likely to drop out in later years and by 4th grade have a 78 percent chance of not catching up.

According to United Way, illiteracy also has a bottom-line effect for businesses. Its estimated that the cost of illiteracy to businesses and taxpayers is roughly $20 billion per year and roughly $73 billion per year in direct health care costs. Rock-bottom line: BCK serves our local children whose families are living at or below the poverty federal level to ensure they don’t add to these statistics.

Be awesome! Be a book nut- A BCK Nut!

‘You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child’ but in case you are –you can still support BCK to help local children find the magic wherever they look – so they, too, can sit back and relax and read a good book. Simply accept BCK’s invitation to attend their Thanks a Million celebration, on February 28at a private club in Port Royal. To find out more about the celebration or to make a donation, please visit WWW.BOOKSFORCOLLIERKIDS.ORGor contact Nora Kolmer @ JKOLMER627@AOL.COM

Remember what Dr. Seuss said: Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.

The New Tax Legislation

Michael Wiener, E.A.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) has passed, mainly starting in 2018, and if you are confused by how this new law will impact you, you’re not alone.

So that you have an idea about how these changes might affect individual taxpayers like yourself, I have assembled some of the key points of the new law.

PERSONAL EXEMPTIONS – In the past you were able to deduct a personal exemption amount for yourself, your spouse (if married filing jointly), and anyone who you could claim as a dependent. For 2016 and 2017, that amount is $4,050. Under the new law, the deduction for exemptions has been eliminated.

STANDARD DEDUCTIONS -Taxpayers can take a standard deduction or itemize their deductions if the itemized deductions provide a larger deduction. Under the new tax law, the standard deduction amounts are almost doubled, and the itemized deductions allowed have been scaled back. The chart below illustrates the standard deductions by filing status for 2017 and the amounts under the new law for 2018.

FILING STATUS 2017 2018Single & Married Separate $6,350 $12,000Head of Household $9,350 $18,000Married Filing Jointly $12,700 $24,000Add’l – Elderly & Blind: Joint & Surviving Spouse $1,250 $1,300Others $1,550 $1,600

ITEMIZED DEDUCTIONS – Before this change in law, taxpayers were generally able to deduct medical expenses above a percentage of their income, various state and local taxes paid, home mortgage interest, charitable contributions, casualty losses, gambling losses to the extent of gambling winnings, and, if the total of the category was greater than 2 percent of their income, employee and investment expenses plus other infrequently encountered deductions. The following will look at the changes to these deductions made by the new law.

MEDICAL DEDUCTIONS – Individuals can still deduct their medical expenses to the extent they exceed a percentage of their income AGI. This income limit has been reduced from 10 percent to 7.5 percent of AGI for years 2017 and 2018 and returns to 10 percent in 2019.

TAXES – Prior to the change in law, taxpayers could deduct state and local income taxes, or sales tax if larger, real property taxes, and certain personal property taxes. Under the new law, these taxes are still deductible, but the overall tax deduction is limited to $10,000. State income tax represented a very large deduction for many residents of states with high state income taxes, and modifying the deduction was a big bone of contention, as it was being debated in Congress.

HOME MORTGAGE INTEREST – Under the old tax law, a taxpayer could deduct the interest on up to $1 million of acquisition debt for the purchase of the taxpayer’s first and second homes. In addition, taxpayers could deduct the interest on up to $100,000 of home equity debt. The new law reduces the $1 million limit on home acquisition debt to $750,000 ($375,000 for married separate filers) for first and second homes, except the lower limit won’t apply to indebtedness incurred before December 15, 2017. That is, the $1million cap continues to apply to acquisition mortgages on a primary and second residence already in existence prior to December 15,2017. However, starting with 2018 returns, the new law does not permit a deduction for any equity debt, which can have an adverse impact on individuals who have used their home equity to pay for costs of tuition, travel, cars, and other purposes.

DONATIONS TO CHARITIES – The new law continues to allow a deduction for charity contributions and even raises the general 50percent of income (AGI) limit on charity deductions to 60 percent.

CASUALTY AND THEFT LOSSES – Under the new tax law, no personal casualty losses will be allowed except those incurred in a federally declared disaster area.

JOB EXPENSES AND CERTAIN MISCELLANEOUS DEDUCTIONS – This category is no longer deductible under the new tax law.

OVERALL LIMIT ON ITEMIZED DEDUCTIONS – The new law suspends from 2018 through 2025 the rule requiring higher-income taxpayers to phase out their total itemized deductions once their AGI exceeds certain threshold amounts. There are many more changes in the Tax Law that will be explained in later issues. Please call me at 239.403.4410 with any further questions or email

If you should have a topic that you would like me to discuss or if you should have a question, please feel free to call 239.403.4410 or e-mail me at

4280 East Tamiami Trail Executive Suite 302-M | Naples, FL 34112

An enrolled agent, licensed by the US Department of the Treasury to represent taxpayers before the IRS for audits, collections and appeals. To attain the enrolled agent designation, candidates must demonstrate expertise in taxation, fulfill continuing education credits and adhere to a stringent code of ethics.

LOVE IS IN THE AIR – And In Your Home


February always reminds us of Valentine’s Day and love; not something a builder usually talks about, but here goes.

To be happy in life, I think we need to love what we do, love those around us, and love our surroundings. Although I can’t help you with your job or your family and friends, I can help you love your surroundings –your home. The KGT team can help you fulfill your dreams for a “loveable” home.

We are often asked how our process works and how client plans are created; I tell them that we simply make dreams come true. The process includes three basic stages: dream, design and build. It’s the client’s dream that gives us the vision for the project whether it is a complete home remodel, kitchen, bathroom or outdoor living area.

Our in-house designer sits with the client to listen carefully to the dream/vision. We discuss the use of the space – how much entertaining is done, the size of the family or extended family, and the budget. Once this meeting is complete, we start the plans for approval.

Here at KGT Remodeling we strive to build long-lasting relationships with all of our clients. Our next step in creating a space that our clients love is to start the build phase of the project. With this stage, we feel constant updates and progress reports make everyone feel more comfortable and involved.

Everyone has heard the horror stories: being in the dark on decisions, being overwhelmed with choices, and losing hope in the remodeling process. With our online KGT custom client portal, you’ll have access via your phone, tablet or computer to all of your selections and updated progress photos, as well as upcoming work schedules and all of our communications and paperwork in one easy- to-use place.

We’ve invested in our custom client portal so that the remodeling process is easy, informative, and hassle free. KGT Remodeling is a design build company that has won eight awards for our outstanding work and craftsmanship.

We just received two Sand Dollar Awards from the Collier Building Industry Association this past fall. These awards prove, year after year, that we are committed to each project in providing the best quality and design available. Staying on time and on budget is our goal for every project.

We pride ourselves in being an award-winning company and always want each project to be another award winner Remodeling is a licensed and insured residential design build remodeling company with over 45 years of experience.

Their goal in every project is complete customer satisfaction by sharing their Five-Point Promise which includes prompt and clear communication; listening, advising, and adding value; excellence in design and workmanship; custom client portal; and a clean jobsite.

We want you to fall in love with your home again! Please give us a call at 239.992.2300 for your next remodeling project – entire home, bathrooms, Kitchener outdoor living space; we can make your dream home reality.

The Pygmalion effect is real and beneficial

by Allen Weiss, MD, MBA, FACP, FACR
President and CEO, NCH Healthcare System

What you think will happen, happens. People bring their own weather. Expecting a certain result increases the chance of that outcome. Self-fulfilling prophecies become realities. This phenomenon known as the Pygmalion Effect is the power of creating positive expectations.

The Pygmalion Effect is named for the Greek myth of Pygmalion, sculptor who fell in love with a statue he had carved. George Bernard Shaw’s musical, “My Fair Lady, “transforms a common flower seller, Eliza Doolittle, into a proper English lady with some training, but more important, by changing expectations for Eliza. In a classic, often recounted, controversial, and initially challenged California study by Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson, elementary school teachers were told at the beginning of the school year that their classes were filled with specific “intellectual bloomers.”

Namely, some students would do better than expected compared to their classmates. But the students were picked randomly, unbeknownst to their teachers. Pre- and post-IQ testing showed improvement in most all of the students, with those pre-identified as “intellectual bloomers” showing greater improvements. In particular, the youngest children—first and second graders—showed the most improvement.

In this case, teachers were prejudiced to think positively about certain students, so the chemistry between student and teacher perhaps became enriched to the benefit of both. Is the inverse also true? Namely, would a student identified as slow also experience a self-fulfilling prophesy and now sadly not live up to his/her potential? The teachers involved with the study, when told about the random selections of their students, felt angry and betrayed.

This initial, extraordinary storm of controversy continued over decades. Many of the underprivileged children had a new lease on life as their IQ scores increased 27 points. The ill-fated results of an earlier Harvard study propagated the belief that IQ was inherited and unalterable.

Fortunately, the American dream—that we can all live up to our potential, which can be grown—is now applied throughout many schools. Having every student maximize his/her potential helps in many good ways. Higher achieving students stimulate others around them to soar higher. Whole classrooms, with their teachers’ help, expand their expectations, creating positive feedback and a virtuous cycle of achievement.

Inversely, lowering expectations is also self-fulfilling. Dumbing down a curriculum, anticipating a student “won’t get it,” or discouraging an enthusiastic teacher with low systemic expectations makes things worse for everyone, thus creating a vicious cycle of despondency. One major caveat surfaces. The teachers cannot know that the student picks are random.

For whatever reason, subconsciously the teachers have to believe their students are ready to bloom. If the teachers know the bloomers are randomly selected, the results are not reproducible. So, how can this Pygmalion Effect be put to good use? Social reformers would like to use the Pygmalion effect to help disadvantaged groups. Coaches would like their players to believe they have the ability to improve their games. Military leaders are constantly training recruits to use new technology to become more effective. Industry educators always have room for better trained and motivated colleagues.

Again, the problem is that the teachers, reformers, coaches, leaders, and educators cannot know that their “high potential” candidates are randomly chosen. When carefully observed, instructors’ non-verbal communication is telling—subconsciously altered when interacting with the “high potential” people.

By video-taping instructors, the nuance of their non-verbal behavior became apparent. When shown videos of themselves, teachers were astounded by their different behavior depending on whether they were interacting with a “high potential” or normal student. And this interaction—comprised of vocal tone, facial expressions, posture, and gestures—is significant, making up the bulk of human expression, or about 80 percent, according to many experts.

Can teachers, reformers, coaches, and leaders treat all of their charges as high performers? The answer is “yes “for successful classrooms, populations, sports teams, and companies. Military service has groups of elite warriors who act as high performers, thus perpetuating their reputation for competence. Sports teams build self-confidence, improving results. Even sports revolving around single players. tennis, golf, and boxing, receive huge benefits when designated as “high performing. “National educational data has shown that, all else being equal, “10th-grade students who had teachers with higher expectations were more than three times more likely to graduate from college than students whose teachers had lower expectations.” This according to “The Power of the Pygmalion Effect” by Ulrich Boser, Megan Wilhelm and Robert Hanna.

As the controversy continued for decades, the original researcher, Rosenthal, along with different colleagues, drilled down on four factors that could help explain how teachers ‘expectations influence special students: (1) climate—extending more friendliness and warmth; (2) input—devoting more energy; (3) output—recognizing more often for answers; and(4) feedback—responding more fully. Bias matters. Having a fixed gaze and raised eyebrows indicates attentiveness versus having a wondering gaze and bored expression.

Partaking in a conversation makes everyone more productive with a better outcome. Unfortunately, in today’s hyper-dynamic, digital social environment, interacting can become exhausting. However, to nurture students or any other particular group, the following are essential: become engaged mentally, stay optimistic, and telegraph non-verbal signals about positive outcomes. Performance matters.

The degree of encouragement and attentiveness we give to each other, from youngsters in elementary school to senior leaders, has a greater influence on achievement than we realize. Staying positive, bringing good “weather,” and showing positive non-verbal signs as we communicate all have the dual benefits of serving those we want to help and subsequently basking in their success. The Pygmalion effect is real and beneficial.

Hurricane Irma: one perspective

by Dan E. Summers, Director
Collier County Bureau of Emergency Services and Emergency Management

It is my sincere hope that everyone in our community, especially those hardest hit by Hurricane Irma, are on the road to recovery and that the generosity of our neighbors made the holidays as pleasant as possible for those experiencing tough times.

Many in our community and nearby still have many long months ahead of them to get back to pre-event conditions. As I’ve stated to the Board of County Commissioners on many occasions following Hurricane Irma, disaster response is hard; disaster recovery is harder! It is harder in the fact that we are all anxious to get back to our pre-disaster routine and almost every part of our day is interrupted by some sort of challenge left by Irma.

Whether we are awaiting a bid to replace the roof, delayed in traffic because of a debris removal truck, inconvenienced by events postponed at church due to damages, or vacation days impacted by school make-up days, hurricane recovery is no fun for any of us. It is my hope that, as a community, we understand that patience, perseverance and generosity are the cornerstones of working together to recover. Except for a few speedbumps along the way, which is why they call it a “disaster, “this community has an awful lot to be proud of.

While disaster recovery is not an exact science, a few numbers about our response and recovery efforts may put some of our hard work and the long road into perspective.

• 63 tractor-trailer loads of water and food were distributed with the help of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the state’s emergency management agency, and the Collier County Emergency Operations Center

• 18 distribution sites were supported around the county for water and food distribution

• more than 17,000 residents took shelter in 27 Collier County schools and other buildings

• 235,000 accounts were without electrical power

• approximately 4 million cubic yards of horticultural and construction/demolition debris will be picked up

• $24 million in emergency financial assistance will be distributed by FEMA to families

• 53 nonprofit agencies and organizations are involved in local emergency assistance and repairs

• 1,231 Collier County government employees were engaged in emergency operations after the storm

• 185 news releases were published

• 18 press conferences were conducted

While this is just a micro-snapshot of the efforts that took place under the purview of the Collier County Emergency Operations Center, we would be far remiss if we did not mention the equally hard work of staff of the City of Naples, City of Marco Island, the Collier County Sheriff ’s Office, the efforts of Ms. Dottie Joyner and Mayor Grimm in Everglades City, a huge host of nonprofit organizations both nearby and in Goodland and Immokalee, and the District School Board of Collier County that did an awesome job under challenging circumstances under the direction of Dr. Kamela Pattonto open its schools to support our fast-breaking emergent shelter needs.

Last, but not least, my personal thanks to our residents, guests and businesses who went far out of their way to be neighborly, prepared, and generous with their time and talents to lend a hand. Hurricane Season 2018 is just 140days away. Don’t forget what you learned from this season to be even better prepared in 2018.Thank you for a job well done and for your continuing generosity to help those still in need of a hand.

Happy New Year! Like us on Facebook at collierem, and follow us onTwitter at CollierEM

Building loyalty – by Clay Cox

by Clay Cox, Owner/President
Kitchens by Clay

We are in the local building business and the one thing we know for sure is that building loyalty is the most important thing we can accomplish in the course of any year.

The funny thing is that doesn’t just mean loyalty among and with our clients, it also means loyalty with our fellow trade partners. Naturally we want to do the best we can for our clients. That means from our first meeting with prospective clients we understand the need for being frank and upfront.

For example, if asked to do something we are not comfortable with and/or does not fit within the parameters we have established for our business, the best thing we can do for all is to say so at the beginning. Starting out with honesty can only breed a better relationship because we not only build kitchens, we simultaneously build relationships.

Once hired it is simple. We do what we promised to do. Simply put, we build loyalty with our clients by being honest, forthright and delivering as promised. The end result is a circle of loyal friends who in turn refer us to new clients.

On the other hand, our local trade partners need just as much attention when it comes to building a loyal relationship. Think about it. We can create an incredible design for you, price it fairly and show up with a beautiful set of cabinets, but it isn’t enough to build your kitchen.

We still need electricians, plumbers, dry wall people, painters, and countertop makers to name a few. Over the last 25 plus years we have met, and built loyal relationships with many different trades and we take great pride in freely introducing them to our clients and prospective clients.

We base these loyal trade partner relationships on quality of work, fair pricing, being on time and attitude. After all, these are the people who help to make us what we are and these are the people who will help us to build the loyalty we desire from our clients.

So when you start looking, stop by and take a listen to us because, I can assure you that we will listen to you with the hopes of starting a wonderful relationship and designing a beautiful kitchen for you.

Please E-mail Clay with your questions or comments at Enjoy your remodel!