Friday, October 29, 2010

Random Thoughts

Sometimes I think I missed my calling, since I enjoy writing this on Fridays, my wonder is should I have been a satirical sports columnist? Not sure there is a market for that, though so guess I'll stick with education and at my age that is probably wise, to late for a career change now.

The University of Kansas football team has a curfew of 10:00 for having girls in your room. I wonder what the recruiting spill will be. Come to KU, lose lopsided games, and have no fun while you are here. I'm sure that will attract a high level of talent.

The NFL has come out with safety guidelines and want to eliminate "vicious" hits, which is not a bad idea, I for one just don't know how you will legislate that. Anyway if they are so concerned about safety why are they wanting to add 2 more games to the regular season? Oh yeah, it will make the owners more money, without sharing the profits with the players, shame on me for forgetting that minor fact.

Let's see now we have the World Series (summer sport), NBA (winter sport), NHL (winter sport), and NFL less than halfway through their schedule all going on at the same time. Does it cross their minds why the average citizen can't afford to go, could be because the seasons have a huge overlap. The answer shorten the seasons. Well for me when football starts, baseball season is over (I'm a Royals fan so my season really ends in May), and basketball starts the Monday after the Super Bowl, I don't follow hockey so they can play year round for all I care.

Do any of you get Growl updates on your computer? I do about twice a week can't they find a more permanent update so it doesn't annoy us quite so often?

Have a great weekend and a Happy Halloween.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Why is Reform So Hard?

As I continue to read on Twitter and the 10-12 blogs I read daily I keep asking myself the same question, "Why is it so hard to get educated people to see that change is necessary in education?"
The answer I keep telling myself is that change is hard, but its not, as I have said before people don't mind change, they mind being changed.

So maybe we should compare what we want to have happen to yesteryear and that will make the transition a little easier. Students used to write notes-now they text. Students used to keep dairies or journals-now they blog. The encyclopedia was our resource material-now its the internet.

When you factor in that the requirements for graduation (4 yrs. English, 3 yrs. Math, 3 yrs. Social Science, etc.) were founded in the 1820's, its like saying nothing has changed in our world in that time. Which makes me more angry about educated people not saying we need to change to keep up with the world we live in.

Force feed reform it must be done and what are we waiting on? Maybe we, as educational leaders, think our teachers as a whole won't embrace what we are trying to accomplish. Don't give them a choice, we have our first elementary teacher set up a class blog and this is because she took the step and started a twitter account and can see what others are doing and its not impossible or even difficult, and the students enjoy it, there is a thought we don't discuss enough, kids having fun in school.

Why educated people fight this so much is still disturbing to me but I choose to celebrate the small accomplishments and we will win this battle, but it will be difficult, and I know this educational leader is certainly not going to quit trying.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Random Thoughts

I know I generally do this on Friday but we have had Parent-Teachers conferences two nights this week so we have Friday off. So you are treated a day early.

The Blu-Jays take on the Chetopa Hornets Friday night and the loser will have a tough time getting into the playoffs, so its a big game. The Sooners take on the Missouri Tigers at Missouri, it will definitely a tough road test. Good Luck to both teams.

I wonder when Mr. Obama and Mrs. Obama went for their children's Parent-Teacher conferences if they demanded the same excellence from their girls that he is receiving. Since his approval rating is below 50%, I bet they expect more from their girls. Of course it could be worse, they are about double the approval rating of Congress, which still demands we get 100% of our students at proficient or better.

I see New York is following California's lead in publishing teacher ratings according to their test scores. What other profession has to put up with type of scrutiny? Why don't put doctor ratings in the paper? Do they not realize that the biggest asset, at least for me, is a person in the room that cares about the kids first and understands the trials and tribulations some of these youngsters go through each day. I guess not.

Have a great weekend to one and all.

Our Values

We began this year working on our school values as an administrative team. I know we probably should have done this earlier in my tenure, but I really felt the need to get on it now. I wanted our school to have a definite direction that we could all be going at the same time.

We gathered information from a variety of sources and gathered them together. I only wanted five and the reason being is that if you have to many, in my opinion, they can be easy to forget and I wanted staff ownership. We put out a google doc to staff for their input on what is most important to them from our master list.

Our principals also used a couple of late start days to discuss these with their respective staffs. If our teachers don't have ownership then we all knew we would wasting time. I know the principals got tired of me harping on them to get responses compiled, but I felt this was important for our schools.

We now accomplished our mission and will make posters and have every teacher put them in their classrooms of our 5 particular values. I would like to commend our administrative team and staff for working on this to make our schools at Pleasanton a better place for our students to come to everyday.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Nice Surprise

Today is Bosses Day and I am not much of gift giver and am very forgetful of these types of things and didn't even know it was. I don't even know why we have such days other than to give Hallmark cards a little more business. Anyway the two ladies that work in the office gave me a gift card and brought goodies so I guess I am destined to be a round man. As good as it all was the highlight of the day came at 10:30 a.m.

Our pre-schools are located in my building and one of the teachers asked me to come outside into the gym area. The kids had made me a throne (if you use your imagination) and then they all gathered around and asked questions. Which was the best part of the day, what does a superintendent do? When I figure it out I will share it with you. Who are you boss of? Once again a trick question. Then the infamous how old do you have to be to be a boss? I loved it and couldn't think of a better way to spend part of my day.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Random Thoughts

My Friday Random Thoughts for this week:

The Pleasanton Blu-Jays travel to Yates Center to take on the Wildcats tonight, and the Sooners host the Iowa State Cyclones on Saturday night, I wish both squads lots of luck.

Congress has voted not to give a cost of living increase to social security recipients. Really. They vote themselves a raise, their retirement is about 10 times what a social security recipient receives, and they could care less about the public opinion. News flash you people are the most loathed branch of government, need you ask why?

Now for the Toy Department-Have you seen the Cleveland Cavalier calendar for this year it has Lebron James on the cover, does someone need to tell that franchise that he no longer plays for them. You need to get one early it will probably be a collector's item. Make sure you get one before O. J. Simpson or he is liable to whip you at show to get it back.

Basketball season starts at Kansas tonight with late night. I know they have football games to play but the season is over. Their last two games the combined score is 114-14, thats being competitive. K-State before you gloat to much, now you know how Nebraska felt after playing you.

Why is it life insurance when you have to die to get it?

Why in baseball is it a foul line/foul pole when if the ball hits either it is fair?

With all the technology we have available to us and I love it, the best we can come up with to measure a first down in football is a ten yard chain, that has been around since, oh the inception of the game.

Do you think Brett Favre is happy he came back this year? Their record is outstanding and now with his alleged infidelity, life can't be good. I bet Tiger Woods is saying thank you Brett for getting the media off me. I feel sorry for Adrian Peterson (former Sooner) to have to be around the circus in Minnesota. Now Brett's elbow is hurt and he will consider sitting for a couple games how about the next 12 back in Mississippi.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I am not a big reader of novels or long books of any kind. I know how important it is to learning and education, reading is the basis of learning. I do, however, love to read articles. I can read Sports Illustrated from cover to cover and get the same joy as reading a novel for someone else. My wife, Amy, on the other hand loves to read fiction books.

My love of reading is why I've enjoyed being on twitter. I have amassed so many articles that the amount I've read would equal a novel. I know I should be more paperless and do our environment a favor, but I wish to share these with our other administrators (again not very green). The information and connections I've gained have really helped me grow as both an individual and professional.

So my theory is it doesn't matter what you read as long as you read and are gaining information. I remember a teacher complaining about a student reading a mechanics magazine during SSR time at a school I was principal of. My question was do you suppose he may be a mechanic after high school? The teacher's response was probably so, then leave him alone. Learning doesn't have to be about a discipline in school.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Random Thoughts

Missed last Friday I apologize wish I had a good excuse, but lazy is the best I can come up with.

Okay we all admit that DUI is an horrendous crime especially if the drunk involves another vehicle. I am not trying to downplay the seriousness of the act but for gosh sakes how many would lose our jobs if we were charged with the crime. Braylon Edwards, wide receiver for the Jets, got picked up DUI and the people on sports talk stations are calling for his head. Suspension, for all lengths of time, okay prosecute him like everybody else and go on. Once again how many of us would lose our jobs, could a congressman please answer that question.

Excellent article on Leader Talk this morning about school reform. The three superintendents that people are talking to, and so is the article are from New York City, Washington D.C., and Chicago. WOW I sure want to model our schools after those examples. I would put our schools in Pleasanton up against their schools any day. I believe I would just as soon model our schools after successful examples.

I wonder if the guy that puts the presidential seal on his speaking podium still has his job?

Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Put on More Steam

There is an old saying in the coaching profession when you have an opponent on the ropes, "don't relax and let down, put on more steam." That is exactly what we need to do now in regard to educational reform. Now we can implement changes we wanted to put in place in the name of reform. No more having our schools looking like we are preparing for the Industrial Age.

Now we can get kids out of the straight and narrow rows of desks. Grouping them with tables or at least putting their desks together.

Allowing students, even encouraging it, to collaborate with each other on work without calling it cheating.

Allowing students to utilize mobile devices to access information from sources that aren't available in books. The textbook isn't the only source of information in the classroom.

Getting rid of the cookie cutter approach to instruction and devising ways to make learning meaningful for each student.

Having meaningful staff development that actually develops your staff into being better educators.

Freeing up the filtering devices, so teachers have access to information (since most students have already figured out how to get around the filters).

When approached with "we've never done it like that before" agree and admit that we should have been doing like that, because its best for kids.

I don't know about you but thanks needs to go to the people that started this talk, I know its not going in the direction they wanted, but they want reform, they'll get it. Don't allow the thinking that this to will pass-put on more steam.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Now That the Dust has Settled-Stir it up Again

Now that the release of Waiting for Superman has come and gone, and the Washington pundits have had their say about education on the national news lets examine what has happened. The reform of our profession is in the fore front so lets take the ball and run with it. One of the things I enjoy about reading twitter is the reform other educators are doing in their schools and hope to add some of these in Pleasanton. What upsets educators is we don't need a talk show host, film maker, or business man to tell us what we need to do.

Unions are not the problem, name one union that does not protect its members. I believe thats why you pay dues to the union. Are there good and bad teachers out there, of course there are, and thats no different from any profession. I to wish tenure laws would be revised but an all out attack on teachers is without merit.

Charter schools are no better than public schools, but if they have innovative ideas for student learning lets embrace them and use them in our schools. To use the excuse that we can't do that is pure poppycock, what that tells me is you don't want to change the way you have always done things. Charters are educating kids, and so are we need to work together and not be each other's throats.

People don't mind change, they just mind being changed. We also don't base our successes on scores on a standardized test. Reforms have come and gone, true, but if we truly want to do what is best for kids we need to put in changes while reform is a hot topic. We need to find best practices for instruction, implement them, and watch our student learning improve.

I for one love that education is being talked about, keep the conversation going, and stir the dust up every chance you get.