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EdTech Start-up Mastery Portfolio Seeks to Disrupt Traditional Grading System Proving Standards-First Grading is the Future of Education



Mastery Portfolio, a growing, Columbus-based Edtech start-up built by teachers for teachers, has a mission to revolutionize how grading, reporting, and thereby, learning is done in schools. Mastery Portfolio, an investor-backed company, seeks to disrupt the concept of traditional grading that seeks to rank and sort children based on point and letter-based systems to a standards-first and mastery-focused model. To meet the growing demand for their product, the company has added Starr Sackstein, a nationally renowned author, speaker, and educational thought leader as Chief Operating Officer and Partner. She will lead the expansion of the support team for schools and help accelerate company growth.

Mastery Portfolio helps schools build a roadmap and implement innovative grading schemes in their classrooms through their software and professional development workshops facilitated in-person and virtually. Their system is designed to improve education practices and break down barriers to standards-first grading, an innovation in education that focuses on learning and helps students increase achievement.

Today’s traditional grading system reinforces outdated models of education and can diminish student innovation. Through the standards-first and mastery-focused model championed by the Mastery Portfolio team, the student’s score is not the goal, rather the learning and continuous improvement is the key objective.

“We are thrilled to welcome Starr to the team as we look to make Mastery Portfolio a standard for classrooms across the country. There are many EdTech giants who offer software and a lot of consultants who offer workshops and training, but not a lot of outfits that do both well. Especially coming off the pandemic year in schools, we are thinking collaboratively with school leaders about the challenges in accurately assessing student skills and making instructional decisions accordingly. We know that theory and practice have to meet on the ground and in the classroom, and our mission is to help schools build the bridge between the two,” said Constance Borro, CEO and Co-Founder of Master Portfolio. “Our software is also built to be standards-first, not retrofitted to standards-based grading, and is totally customizable for schools without added fees. This level of flexibility and customization is rare in the EdTech world. Each school is unique, so our software and workshops reflect that.”

Sackstein will bring her deep experience and portfolio of schools to the Mastery Portfolio team. She joins the ranks of Mastery Portfolio’s leadership team, led by Constance Borro (Yale ’08), Chief Executive Officer, and Benjamin Nockles (NYU ’08), Chief Technical Officer. Borro and Nockles are seasoned educators with a combined 23 years of teaching experience in the classroom. They bring their perspective, experience, and entrepreneurial passion to transform how instructors record, assess and view data that is standards-first and mastery-focused.

Benjamin Nockles, CTO and Co-Founder of Mastery Portfolio added, “Most schools are stuck in a 19th-century grading pattern that rewards procedural thinking and systematic compliance, yet according to a recent study, over 80% of today’s college graduates are interested in becoming entrepreneurs. This antiquated system is inadequate for preparing our 21st-century workforce, and it also reduces students to a grade or a percentage. It also provides a sorely lacking picture of progress and learning, and completely misses a lot of talent rooted in creativity and problem-solving, skills that are not consistently assessed. Our mission is to develop and disseminate the training and the tools to address these problems through a revolutionary assessment and feedback cycle.”

Through the web-based platform teachers can fully implement a 21st century mastery curriculum and allow both students and parents to visually see their mastery level and growth throughout the school year. Parents in schools that have implemented the Mastery Portfolio system are seeing the value in the standards-first measuring techniques and appreciate the added insight into their child’s learning journey.

“What we really should be after as parents is our children understanding the material.I no longer think about it in terms of ‘Did they get an A?’ I think about it in terms of whether they understand the material,” said Dara Pizzuti, parent of two students in Mastery Portfolio classrooms. “ Before I saw the Mastery Portfolio reports, I’d never realized how much I was flying blind when I got report cards for my kids. Now I get these reports and I know exactly what my child understands and what she needs to work on.”

The company is currently serving public district, public charter, and independent schools across the country and are poised to expand to more school districts this coming year.

For more information about Mastery Portfolio, visit


About Mastery Portfolio

Mastery Portfolio is a Columbus, Ohio based start-up with a mission to revolutionize how grading, reporting, and thereby learning is done in school by eliminating the distractions (ranking and sorting of children, points, averages) and empowering students with the data and feedback they need to take control of their own learning journey. Mastery Portfolio works to fulfill this vision by providing tools, resources, and experiences to schools to empower them to innovate their grading scheme. Breaking down the barriers to managing mastery-based grading is what we do.

Mastery Portfolio offers a collection of web-based tools and professional development experiences designed to improve education practices. The MasteryBook, the company’s leading application, transforms how instructors record, assess and view data that is standards-first and mastery-focused. The goal is to bring teachers, parents, and students along on the learning journey together through clear expectations, communications, and meaningful data. Mastery Portfolio pairs their software with on-site workshop-style professional development offerings, parent workshops, and resources for students that are custom designed for the school and community of learning. 100% of the schools they contracted with for the 2020-2021 school year have committed to renewing their contracts for the 2021-2022 school year.

About Starr Sackstein

Starr Sackstein has been an educator for 20 years and is a full-time educational consultant, instructional coach, and speaker. She received National Board Certification in 2012 and was recognized as an outstanding educator that year by Education Update. She is also a certified Master journalism educator through the Journalism Education Association (JEA) and served as the New York State Director for JEA.

Sackstein’s background in educational leadership is diverse, and she leads the industry in her thought leadership through speaking engagements, blogs, and social media outreach. She was named an ASCD “Emerging Leader” class of 2016 and had the opportunity to give a TEDx Talk called “A Recovering Perfectionist’s Journey to Give Up Grades” and has spoken on The Red Dot Cafe in affiliation with TEDx San Antonio about grading practices. She is the author of many educational books and blogs on Education Week Teacher at “Work in Progress” and has contributed to several other publications. Starr has traveled the world sharing ideas about assessment reform internationally and hopes to continue changing the system for kids everywhere.

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#1 International Bestselling Author Natalie Tellish Advocates a Positive Impact for Children



Her coaching methods are not about being perfect parents vwith the most well-behaved kids. A conscious parent strives to create a future generation whose childhoods do not need to be recovered from.

“What we are striving for is being conscious of the impact we have on our children and their ability to process what happens around them,”  Tellish commented on what inspired her to create this coaching style for parents.

Tellish grew up in a home of chaos and emotional havoc. After being taught that her feelings should not be voiced, she wanted to break the cycle. As a young adult, she dived into personal development, determining that when she had her own family, the relationships would be stronger.

Parents can choose to alter what happens at home, reflecting on their child’s behaviors. Change begins with awareness and searching for the reasons behind certain behaviors. Empowerment comes when they know what could have been done differently and work to implement new ideas.

When queried on the key ingredient on consciously parenting and coaching children, Tellish said,

“The key to treating our children with unconditional love and kindness is to first treat ourselves with unconditional love and kindness.”

For those who try everything to get it right, to maintain patience and create peace in a home, Tellish encourages parents to slow down and reflect on the values driving their daily lives and  relations with their children. For over a decade, she has studied conscious parenting, brain science, psychology, and has first-hand experience as a modern-day mom. Tellish connects strongly with her clients because she has also felt the anxiety that comes with parenting.

“During the beginning of my parenting journey, I had no clue where to begin.With her guidance, I began to realize the importance of root issues, and the needs under my kids’ behavior.” –Jonathan F.

About Natalie Tellish

Tellish is a certified conscious parenting coach and co-author of #1 International best-seller, Ambitious Women Rise. Her purpose is to help people overcome limiting beliefs engrained from childhood. As a committed parent, she aligns the roles as a mother and entrepreneur in her life and those of her clients.

Book a free call today:

Stay connected with her on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram, then click here to read her book:

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7979 Westheimer Apartments in Houston Has Received Over 150 Five Star Reviews



Regardless if a person is single, part of a couple, or even a whole family, 7979 Westheimer Apartments has a layout to meet your needs. From their functionally designed studios or one-bedroom apartments to their spacious three-bedroom town homes, most people will find the perfect one to call home.

Each floor plan is designed with open living spaces to entertain guest, relaxing bedrooms to guarantee a quiet night’s sleep, and revamped kitchen that even a chef would love. Every 1, 2- and 3-bedroom floor plans include tile or wood-style floors, ceiling fans, walk-in closets, central air and heating, and laundry machines (in select units).

7979 Westheimer Apartments has racked up over 150 five star reviews on Google from happy tenants that live in one of the most desirable areas of Houston.

These are 4 reasons most mentioned in the comments of the Google reviews.

The Best Amenities

7979 Westheimer Apartments has a package of amenities that will make anyone feel like they are on vacation.

  • Four Resort-Style Sparkling Swimming Pools including a lap pool and kiddie pool.
  • Spacious Well-Equipped Fitness Center
  • Large Event Center For Resident and Community Events
  • Kids Playground
  • Volleyball Court
  • Business Center with free Wifi and 4 iMacs

Location, Location Location

Conveniently located off Westheimer and Voss, there is no shortage of shopping and entertainment options.

For shopping, The Galleria is right down the street and includes place like Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Gucci, Victoria’s Secret, H&M, Sephora, and more. There is also more budget friendly shopping nearby with Target, Walmart, and HEB.

When residents are ready to go out and have fun there is AMC Studio 30, Dave & Buster’s, iFly Indoor Skydiving, Houston Arena Theater, The Escape Game and Stereo Live Houston.

There is also easy access to the 610 loop, I-10, Highway 59 and Beltway 8.

The Friendly and Efficient Staff

The owners of 7979 Westheimer, Nova Asset Management, are committed to having maintenance issues resolved quickly with 24/7 service to ensure all tenants have a first class living experience.

They are very courteous, helpful, ever ready to guide, listen, give them a quick resolution, and easily accessible.

The front office staff is also available to assist residents, plus a call service that is always available to residents whenever the office is closed.

The Apartment Layouts & Upgrades

Residents enjoy the extra space and little touches in their units. Open kitchens, dinings rooms, extra large closets, and crown molding are just a few of the things mentioned in the reviews on Google.

These are just 4 of the many reasons that residents of 7979 Westheimer Apartments gave for leaving five star reviews on Google. Self-book a tour on their website or call (832)702-3559 to schedule an appointment with their professional leasing staff.

Location Info:
7979 Westheimer Apartments
7979 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77063

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Dr. Spencer Holman to Launch The Black Manosphere™ Magazine Special Annual Edition “2021 Core Glossary and Report Card”



Dr. Spencer Holman, the creator of Black Star University, formerly Father’s Time, has teamed up with creators [Dr. Michelle Knights, Kendra Davis, Tracy Brown (DS1 R.O.S.S.), Thee Bishop, The Book of Ronin, EboSosa, Young Manhood Channel, Fit, Feminine over Forty, Sherry Peel Jackson] of the YouTube online community, The Black Manosphere, An Online Community Created Exclusively for Black Men, to produce The Black Manosphere Magazine 2021 Core Glossary and Report Card, Special Annual Edition.

Dr. Holman’s mantra is, “What gets measured gets done.” This is the driving force behind The Black Manosphere Magazine 2021 Core Glossary and Report Card, which he created to provide measurement, accountability, and solutions to help men achieve excellence. This glossary has been written for Black men and those who support them and comprises a list of over 100 words and concepts commonly used in The Black Manosphere. The magazine features the 10 major life issues Black men encounter on a daily basis, i.e., (1) Lack of Black Male Agency, (2) Poor Health Conditions, (3) High Incarceration Rates, (4) Chronic Homelessness, (5) Chronic Joblessness, (6) Chronic Fatherlessness, (7) Poor Educational Support, (8) Negative Media Portrayal, (9) Persistent Barriers To Wealth, and (10) Constant Threat of Extinction.  The report card serves as a measurement tool for progress towards accomplishing goals, and supporting the community in its commitment to helping Black men solve their problems with the help of other Black men.  Solutions are offered through the teaching and implementation of the 10 Life Values success system, and are supported by activating advisory teams, establishing accountability partners, and instituting mentorships. These solutions form a repository of information, guidance, and motivation for men in support of their journey from surviving to striving to thriving.  Ultimately, Black men are given the tools and processes to achieve excellence in life.

Dr. Holman was a co-author of Cracking the Rich Code, Volume 3 with Jim Britt, Kevin Harrington, and Tony Robbins and was a contributor to the transformational book series, The Change, Volume 16, compiled by Jim Britt and Les Brown. Dr. Holman’s own best-selling books include Fatherhood Legacy, Fatherhood Academy, The Spiritual Guide, The Wealth Management Guide, and The Black Person’s Guide to Owning a Bentley.  

About Dr. Spencer Holman

Dr. Holman, President, and CEO of Black Star University, has been dedicated to motivating, inspiring, and transforming the lives of Black men, families, and community through his work. For the past 30 years, he’s taught men the success principles of the 10 Life Values through the Fatherhood Academy in non-profit organizations, universities, judicial systems, and government agencies, and has significantly impacted over one million men.  

Dr. Holman brings these 10 Life Values—Spirituality, Health, Family, Appearance, Dwelling, Mobility, Education, Profession, Leisure, and Wealth—to The Black Manosphere online YouTube community. As a visionary, his goal is to provide leadership, principles, and SOS—systems, order, and structure—to the space and implement solutions through the 10 Life Values to effectively address the problems that men in and out of the community struggle with. Dr. Holman’s influence and his 10 Life Values system continue to reach men in traditional communities—and now, contemporary online communities—across the United States and around the world.

The Black Manosphere has allowed his work to be made available to an online community of approximately 2.5 million men and growing.  

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