Monday, May 23, 2011

Random Thoughts

Boy oh boy just when we think we have problems, all we have to do is see the news to learn other people have it worse than we do. Poor Arnold Schwartzenegger, and he thought being governor was tough, wait until the divorce attorneys' get done with him. Of course, now other women are coming out of the woodwork, how dare he cheat on his mistress.

Haley got voted off Idol. This next comment may sound sexist because it is, but I don't think girls should sing Led Zeppelin songs (I don't think guys should sing Carol King songs either). Then she sang Rhianna by Fleetwood Mac, which is my next favorite group. I also love Stevie Nick's music and Haley if you're going to sing Stevie's songs you must dress in black, not gray. For those two reasons I was glad to see her go, narrow minded? Certainly, and I readily admit it. Interesting that both finalists are country based. I was actually pulling for James Durbin.

Please NBA put us out of misery, get the playoffs over with. I'm sure at the slow pace they are doing the conference finals and then the Finals we will be able to shoot off fireworks and then watch the game.

Sad to hear about the tornado that hit Joplin, Missouri, we used to live about 40 minutes from Joplin and I really liked it for a small city (pop. around 50,000). To think that 75% of received damage is unbelievable. Our blessings to all the people in southwest Missouri effected by this terrible storm. Did you know Joplin is about the same size as Muskogee, Oklahoma? That comment will mean nothing to anyone except my daughters.

Go out and have a great week.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Superintendent Fun

Monday I had the treat of going back into the classroom and being the teacher. I'm a P.E. major and also taught health prior to going into administration. But this was in FACS, which is completely out of my element, we cooked breakfast fritattas which I learned at the KC Culinary Institute during a cooking lesson given to me as a birthday gift.

I began my preparation by cooking one myself to show the students what they will look like when finished, the class that was in there was primarily boys and when I took the bacon out of the oven they were like a bunch of crazed dogs. I quickly found that my biggest challenge would be to keep the guys away from the bacon, until they got out of class. They asked what I was doing and having the natural curiosity of kids was great. I did share a little of the finished product with a couple of teachers and the high school secretaries.

When the girls came in for class I had their cooking stations set up with the proper ingredients and briefly explained what we were making and what steps should be taken first, then let 'em go. They weren't hesitant to dive in and get going, I have said this before, but when my daughter came and demonstrated cake decorating, they were very eager and she never once had to ask for a volunteer. I knew they would have questions as we moved through the process, and that's the part I enjoyed the most. Going from group to group, answering questions and interacting with the kids really made my day.

Sometimes as a superintendent, with the financial crunch we all face or the adult issues you have to handle on a daily basis, your mind gets away from what's important in school, the kids. Plus, why we think we have to provide them the answers before hand takes the fun out of instructing, in my opinion. Give them enough information to get started and then let their inquisitive minds take over. By the way I will gladly provide the recipe if anyone wants it and their fritattas turned out to be excellent, plus it gave great joy to this old dog.

Monday, May 16, 2011

I Hate To, But

As we have spent the year introducing new things to our staff, in the hopes of them seeing their advantages and using them. We have delegated all of our professional development to some form of technology integration. I realize this may take time and we have won over a few and that is encouraging. Now comes the but part, I honestly don't understand why more haven't come on board with our efforts.

So I guess we have drawn the line in the sand so to speak. Last Wednesday we had a late start day and announced to the staff that next year, we would be a google apps school so they have no choice except to learn how to use them. We also told them that we would be using edmodo as a way to communicate with kids. I hate force feeding people but I hate even worse that some feel direct instruction (lecturing) is the most effective way to teach kids and they actually learn best using that strategy. Why don't we just show a powerpoint and read it to them, when all of us know when we go to a workshop and the presenter does that we turn them off in a matter of seconds, as well we should.

Our hopes are obviously that our naysayers will see all the advantages and tools available to them and will look for ways to improve instruction. If not I guess they need to know that we are not backing off, so open wide we are about to cram more in.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Random Thoughts

Our spring sports have quite the successful season. Our boys and girls track teams both won the conference championships yesterday, we think its the first time in school history that has happened. Our golf team won the conference tournament by 107 strokes!! I would say we ran the score up on them, but in golf I think you say you ran the score down, but not sure on that.

Trouble again at Columbus, Ohio. This time its that over 50 players have gotten cars for apparently below the sticker price. Nothing like piling on Ohio State, now there is no way that I think they are the only place that players get vehicles, shall we say for a discount, but when it rains it poors. I think we are going to use Winning With Integrity by Jim Tressel as our text book for a character ed class.

Doesn't hardly seem like the NBA playoffs without the Lakers and Celtics. I now have a great excuse not to watch them, I am a long time Celtic fan which means I'm obligated by law to hate the Lakers. When your favorite team isn't playing at least you can pull for whoever is playing their rival, now both are gone. Oh well only a month of basketball left, where'd the season go.

I love how the oil companies haven't dropped the price of gas, even though the price of oil took a drop. The reason as explained on the news, we paid a high price for the oil so the price has to remain up. Funny when you were using oil that you had paid a low price for the price spiked immediately. I can't believe no one ask them that question.

Hope everyone's school year ends on a positive note.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Continue to Ask "Why"

I attended a conference this past Thursday and Friday at Roaring River, Missouri sponsored by Pittsburg State University and our local service center, Greenbush. It was very good to visit with administrators that have more experience than I, and to visit with people in higher ed about educational reform.

One of the speakers was Andy Tompkins, the current chairman of the Kansas Board of Regents. Dr. Tompkins was the former Commissioner of Education for our state department of education. This really gives us involved with K-12 education an ear with the Board of Regents, which has been long overdue. Dr. Tompkins wants to get K-12 educators to work with the Board of Regents in regard to what is best for students prior to them leaving high school, a step in the right direction in my opinion.

One of the things we kept asking was why we do some of the things we do in education. After you left your highest level of school, when have you written anything that resembles a research paper? So why do we have students write them? To prepare them for college, same question, why do colleges have them write these types of papers? Why are we looking at four years of math, when we know some of our students will not be successful in advanced math classes? Especially when you don't need that many hours of math in college, unless you are a math major.
We found the "why" questions kept going on and on, it was very good dialogue.

Why have public high schools been relegated to college prep anyway. With the economy and rising cost of college maybe we should look at other avenues for our students. I know this is about educational reform, but why do our schools look like they did when I was in high school? We need to keep asking why and until someone can give us an answer other than "we've always done it that way", we won't settle for the status quo.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Random Thoughts

Probably a bad day to write since most of the reading today will be about Osama Bin Laden, all I can say is bring our kids home or at least station them around facilities that we feel may be subject to terror attacks. At any rate get them out of Iraq and Afganistan. I'm thinking this just won the 2012 election for President Obama, can anyone see his approval rating soaring.

Here it is the first of May and I had frost on my windshield this morning and is supposed to have frost again tomorrow, come on global warming. Also the KC Royals are above .500 the first of May been a while since that's happened, let's go Blue, keep it up.

I'm sure the pro sports teams have the seasonal thing figured out. The NBA and NHL playoffs will last until June probably and they are winter sports. The Boys of Summer will conclude in November and they are the summer sport. Does anyone else, other than me, feel the regular seasons are to long?

The NFL is again locked out after two days of the judge's ruling. The owners are driving this in my opinion, plus when was the last time they won in court. For that matter when was the last time you heard an owner selling the team because they were losing money. Maybe we should lock the owners out and let the teams go ahead with their business and put the money made from the teams into the players pension fund.

Another thing I'm not sure I understand. When you talk to government officials about big businesses sharing the tax burden the first thing they say is if we do they may pull out and that will effect the job market. Good point. Then why are we getting the cuts we are in education and having to lay off or let people go. Why aren't jobs in the education field just as important as jobs in the private sector?

Go out and make it a great week. Remember this is teacher appreciation week do something special for them.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

I'm Going to Have Fun

Last week I wrote about our teachers experimenting with things at the latter part of the year, with the God forbidden Assessment tests completed. The last thing I want to occur in our schools is beginning test prep for next year. Make learning and teaching fun, motivate students so they are looking forward to getting back to school, and teachers are looking forward to getting back to use the new things they experimented with.

It then dawned on me, why can't I have fun also. This fun stuff shouldn't be limited to our teachers and students. Administrators should also try new things, and find new ways to connect with the kids. I have found mine.

A couple of months ago I wrote about my daughter in culinary school assisting our FACS teacher in cake decorating. As I watched her I was amazed at how attentive the freshmen girls were in what Makenzie was teaching them. In fact they decorated the cake that was served at this year's prom.

For the last couple of years my family has given me cooking lessons at the KC Culinary Institute for my birthday. I have thoroughly enjoyed these and even learned some things. Don't get me wrong, I'm not becoming Chef Greg and the Food Network has yet to contact me, but I enjoy it.

All that to say this. I talked to our FACS teacher and I'm going to prepare my favorite egg casserole for the freshman girls, but during their class they will serve as my sous chefs as we prepare a casserole. I am really looking forward to May 16th I'm going to have a blast.

So move over students and teachers the administrators are joining in on the fun, and this superintendent is leading the way.