DeJong-Richter data imported into public database

Someone was asking some questions of the DeJong-Richter “Futures Conference” survey data, and I decided it would be easiest to answer the questions if the data were in a database. I know, you are rolling your eyes. However, part of my justification stems from the fact that the data has some messy outliers. For instance, one survey responder said they were 65+ years old and a student in Unit 4. Another student said they were associated with both Centennial and Central. Some high school students did not say they were Unit 4 students. So for me, the easiest way to start grouping (and aggregating) the answers is with a database.

For those geeky enough to know what to do with this information:

  • rdbms type: mysql
  • host: mysql.cb-pta.com
  • port: 3306 (default)
  • user: dr_reader
  • password: {try typing in the the username}1
  • database: dejong_data

 

 

Importing the data was more of a pain than I thought – the original has a ton of #REF fields that I eventually just decided to strip out. Which totally threw off the column mapping, so I am providing a simple one:

 

Here are some of the queries I started playing around with (having troubles with wordpress tables again…. *sigh*):

SELECT ba, count(*) FROM `survey` group by ba;
80
1 Traditional, Comprehensive High School (1 at 2,600 students) AND 1 Magnet / Thematic High School (1 at 400 students) 128
1 Traditional, Comprehensive High School (1 at 3,000 students) 150
2 Traditional, Comprehensive High Schools (2 at 1,300 students) AND 1 Magnet / Thematic High School (1 at 400 students) 292
2 Traditional, Comprehensive High Schools (2 at 1,500 students) 316
3 Traditional, Comprehensive High Schools (3 at 1,000 students) 301
Other 58
SELECT a, ba, bq, cj, dm, dl, count(*) FROM `survey`
where (ba = '2 Traditional, Comprehensive High Schools (2 at 1,500 students)' or ba = '1 Traditional, Comprehensive High School (1 at 2,600 students) AND 1 Magnet / Thematic High School (1 at 400 students)')
-- and (dm = 'X' or dl = 'X') -- high schools
and (bq = 'Under 18' or cj = 'X') -- age or student
group by a, ba, bq, cj, dm, dl;
a ba bq cj dm dl count(*)
Paper: Scanning 1 Traditional, Comprehensive High School (1 at 2,600 students) AND 1 Magnet / Thematic High School (1 at 400 students) Under 18 X X 1
Paper: Scanning 1 Traditional, Comprehensive High School (1 at 2,600 students) AND 1 Magnet / Thematic High School (1 at 400 students) Under 18 X X 1
Paper: Scanning 2 Traditional, Comprehensive High Schools (2 at 1,500 students) Under 18 1
Paper: Scanning 2 Traditional, Comprehensive High Schools (2 at 1,500 students) Under 18 X 1
Paper: Scanning 2 Traditional, Comprehensive High Schools (2 at 1,500 students) Under 18 X X 1
Web 1 Traditional, Comprehensive High School (1 at 2,600 students) AND 1 Magnet / Thematic High School (1 at 400 students) X 1
Web 1 Traditional, Comprehensive High School (1 at 2,600 students) AND 1 Magnet / Thematic High School (1 at 400 students) 18 – 29 X X 2
Web 1 Traditional, Comprehensive High School (1 at 2,600 students) AND 1 Magnet / Thematic High School (1 at 400 students) 30 – 39 X 1
Web 1 Traditional, Comprehensive High School (1 at 2,600 students) AND 1 Magnet / Thematic High School (1 at 400 students) Under 18 10
Web 1 Traditional, Comprehensive High School (1 at 2,600 students) AND 1 Magnet / Thematic High School (1 at 400 students) Under 18 X 1
Web 1 Traditional, Comprehensive High School (1 at 2,600 students) AND 1 Magnet / Thematic High School (1 at 400 students) Under 18 X 7
Web 1 Traditional, Comprehensive High School (1 at 2,600 students) AND 1 Magnet / Thematic High School (1 at 400 students) Under 18 X 27
Web 1 Traditional, Comprehensive High School (1 at 2,600 students) AND 1 Magnet / Thematic High School (1 at 400 students) Under 18 X X 20
Web 1 Traditional, Comprehensive High School (1 at 2,600 students) AND 1 Magnet / Thematic High School (1 at 400 students) Under 18 X X X 2
Web 2 Traditional, Comprehensive High Schools (2 at 1,500 students) 18 – 29 X X 1
Web 2 Traditional, Comprehensive High Schools (2 at 1,500 students) 18 – 29 X X X 1
Web 2 Traditional, Comprehensive High Schools (2 at 1,500 students) 65 + X 1
Web 2 Traditional, Comprehensive High Schools (2 at 1,500 students) 65 + X X 1
Web 2 Traditional, Comprehensive High Schools (2 at 1,500 students) Under 18 19
Web 2 Traditional, Comprehensive High Schools (2 at 1,500 students) Under 18 X 2
Web 2 Traditional, Comprehensive High Schools (2 at 1,500 students) Under 18 X 19
Web 2 Traditional, Comprehensive High Schools (2 at 1,500 students) Under 18 X 94
Web 2 Traditional, Comprehensive High Schools (2 at 1,500 students) Under 18 X X 7
Web 2 Traditional, Comprehensive High Schools (2 at 1,500 students) Under 18 X X 79

Facilities Community Meeting (Futures Conference, take 2)

I just happened to be browsing the futurefacilities website (since I have not been receiving updates, and I still haven’t got the RSS figured out – it is wordpress afterall), and lookie what I noticed, a brand-new, surprise community meeting about future facilities.

“There was a good turnout at the Futures Conference on November 1st, but we wanted to provide another opportunity for small group discussion for those who were not able to attend.”

I am really glad they are doing this; even though it is on a Thursday, at least this time it is later in the evening and both food and childcare is being provided. And it is at BTW. Good move.

 

Since this one is only two hours, I am thinking the “presentation” portion of it is significantly reduced.

 

For this event, I would love to see those of us who are over-zealous to begin with to start recruiting/encouraging others to go. 🙂 I strongly believe that the Steering Committee needs to hear from a lot of other people over and above those of us they normally hear from. Problem is, I don’t know exactly how to make that happen. While holding another as-yet unadvertised community meeting is a good way to go, I still want to see DeJong hold smaller meetups in various areas in our community (and maybe even one or two in Spanish). This is a good step in the right direction, though. Kudos for that.

Building bridges with Shadow Wood

Unit 4 finally made good on their promise to return to Shadow Wood after their August 17th meeting (I think that was the last one); a group of residents and a bevy of Unit 4 reps crowded into the Shadow Wood Community Center. Superintendent Dr. Judy Wiegand opened the evening with introductions, joined by Assistant Superintendents Dr. Susan Zola and Dr. Laura Taylor; Barbara Ramsay had two of her Transportation guys there to listen and take notes, ESL Director Maria Alanis was there to do the bulk of the translating,  Board Member Ileana Saveley also helped bridge the language obstacles and engage the residents, and Central Assistant Principal Bryan Yacko was there to represent the high school district in which Shadow Wood now resides. Champaign City Council Member Will Kyles also dropped by and addressed the group.

The first order of the night was Transportation and the ongoing issues with buses. It was amazing to witness the interaction; the residents spoke about inconsistent pickup/dropoff times and how some drivers are just rude, and the administrators actively listened, showed concern, and then stated what they are going to do about it. That was the best part; “Ok, I hear what you are saying, this is what we are going to do to fix it.” And so on Monday and Tuesday, the bus that serves Shadow Wood is going to have a tail, checking to see what is going on with the route. The residents suspected that the bus was going to Savoy to drop off one child first, and then coming all the way back north with a 99% full bus. Having just done that exact route myself, I know it takes a while, and I also know it makes absolutely no sense for a bus serving Garden Hills to go to Savoy first for dropoff (for pickup, yes, sure, it makes sense). The folks from the Transportation Department said that should not be happening. But they are going to check. They also mentioned that one of the buses broke recently (I had this picture of a bus literally breaking in half) which might have accounted for some disruption today. What was really good, also, is that Maria explicitly said that if after Tuesday things are still not good, they should call her or Ileana. It was clear that the residents felt very strongly about this – and so they should! The mothers talked about how they have to drop off their kids and get to work, and if the bus is not consistent, they are sometimes late to work. It was equally clear that the Unit 4 staff were very concerned and want to make sure things are right. And this is what I love about this kind of environment – the residents were being empowered. They were encouraged to use their voice (and they did!).

Next up, Read the rest of this entry »

Learning how to do community (a review of the Futures Conference on Nov 1st)

There are approximately 3,000 high school students in the Champaign Unit 4 School District.  If you were to start your school district from scratch, how would you best divide high school students?

If you had a sandbox, what kind of castle would you build? If you had a copy of SimChampaign, where would you put the schools, the municipalities, the commercial zones?

For me, trying to answer this question represents the challenge of the Futures Conference; it is both the fallacy that this question stands alone, and the social pressure of stating what you really think in front of other people (like that urban or city planner city sitting across the table from you). But let me make a very clear distinction – I think perhaps the most important part is the asking and the answering of the question. Not necessarily what the question is, nor the answer for that matter. “What is your favorite color?”, while possibly eliciting the odd “Blue! No, wait, Red! AAAAAAaaaaaahhhhhhh……”, just does not provoke the same kind of deeply held and possibly unconscious beliefs about “the way things should be.” I will come back to this.

There were a number of good things, and a number of challenge areas at the Futures Conference this afternoon. I’m a “give me the bad news first” kinda guy, so here goes.

Weaknesses

I felt the presentation time was way too long. When I looked at the agenda and saw 70-85 minutes for opening introductions, an overview and the main presentation, I thought I could live with that. But by the time we got to slide 16 (out of 69) I was already wondering how much longer it was going to be. By slide 35 I had checked out. I couldn’t tell you what time it was, but I am pretty sure that we were already close to the soft “time limit”. Have you ever sat in a white church and looked around about 30 minutes into a sermon? People have this glazed-over zombie-like expression. That is exactly what I saw in the room. (I have been to a few black churches and have yet to find any zombies *grin*) I wrote down in my notes that Tracy Richter had some great momentum built up with the first two videos he showed at various points during the presentation (see “Strengths” below), but he killed that momentum. I so badly wanted to just start talking about the videos!

And those charming, sweet cute kids. How can I rip on kids? Don’t worry, I Read the rest of this entry »

Busy day tomorrow: Futures Conference and Board Panel at PTA Council meeting

Two events going on tomorrow, going to keep me away from the computer. 🙂

  • 1:00 – 5:00 PM – Futures Conference
  • 6:00 – 8:00(?) PM – PTA Council meeting (includes a recognition dinner for PTA Presidents and a panel with School Board members)

 

For those not able to make one or the other, your thoughts/comments/observations are always welcome here. Especially if there are questions you would like posed to either group, I would be happy to act as a proxy in this case (and I’ll post what answers I receive). I’ll be thinking about questions I want to ask the Board of my own; they pretty much already know what concerns I have, but I might grow some new ones after the Futures Conference. 🙂

 

Heading out to Houlihans in about 60 minutes to meet up with Scott Leopold (DeJong-Richter), Stephanie Stuart (Unit 4) and some of you.

Quick update

First, I have the recording from Monday night’s Special Board Meeting:

http://www.cb-pta.com/wp/wp-content/plugins/download-monitor/download.php?id=50

I am also trying a box.com account – see if you like this better (same file, just possibly faster download):

https://uofi.box.com/s/slshe4g7r2tj8e3tygan

I still have not yet had a moment to watch it all. I was actually at the board meeting for the first part of it, but had to leave when Cheryl Camacho [edit: sorry about the typo] wrapped up the Magnet programs. While that segment was a tad long, it was all very impressive! Representatives from each magnet school demonstrated what they were doing; we met the newly elected Mayor of Strattonville, heard various languages from Garden Hills and the board members got to play with a cool ProScope from BTW. At one point, Dave Tomlinson gleefully said that he could do this at every board meeting. 🙂 Maybe we will see a new trend….  Cheryl posted a metric TON of presentations on BoardDocs – good luck reading all of them. She went over a few during the meeting, and I am glad she did not cover all of them. I felt bad for the kids that were waiting and waiting and waiting to go – I guess you could say I empathized with them.

So even though I Read the rest of this entry »

NG article on the "Futures Conference"

I added some comments to Meg’s Saturday article:

http://www.news-gazette.com/news/education/2012-10-20/residents-asked-take-part-champaign-school-decisions.html

 

[really wishing there was a way to get an rss feed on comments…]

 

I think if DeJong/Fallon really puts their noses to the grind and actually gets the ball rolling on going out to the community by using the bridges already being built by folks like Dr. Wiegand, Dr. Taylor and board members, this effort of hearing what the community thinks could be awesome. We really need something that brings us all together – we have way too many divisions already, we don’t need more. Meg quoted Dr. Wiegand as saying “[s]ince the schools belong to the community, the community needs to have a voice.” I very much believe that. And so while I am going to stick it to DeJong and Unit 4 to go get that voice, I also see my role to help however I can. We cannot sit around and write our little nice opinions so that people can nod their heads and we can all be one happy family. No, we need to get out there and pound a path in our neighborhoods, knock on doors, and get local gatherings started. And that takes time and effort – I know! But it is an investment. If you disagree, please share.

 

I realize it is election time and folks are getting sick and tired of all the surveys via phone calls and door knockers. I don’t know what to do about that. Bad timing? We could possibly wait until December, but that is hardly better with all the holidays. Here is where I would love the media outlets to use their massive resources (relative to me *grin*) to instigate and spur local conversations. I would love to see “social/public journalists” initiate a 3-month story that gets little groups of conversations started, like little fires in our community. Heck, for that matter, why can’t we hold these conversations in our churches and be open in our dialogue so as to share among  each other? Egads, we wouldn’t want that to happen! </sarcasm> Or even better, combine social journalism and churches. (I can hear the outrage now….)

 

Here is where I am at – this is an awesome opportunity for our community to shape our future! If schools become a huge community concern (“concern” in a positive, constructive way, not the negative way it most often is), this also drives (or at least, should drive if we do it right) how future development in Champaign is planned out, including the dynamic plans for housing, commercial spaces, open spaces, recreation and even the jails. I see these things as all connected, each affecting the other. I am excited because, if we do this right, we could light the fire for some excellent whole-community conversations. But I am also afraid this will turn into another failed attempt. So my perspective is that I am excited about the possibilities, cognizant of our past, yet applying my energies for the former.

 

What about you?

Review of Oct 15 Regular Board Meeting

I was treated to quite a surprise when I arrived at the Mellon Center today; hundreds and hundreds of teachers will spilling out of the board room. I don’t see how they all could possibly fit inside there.

Meg Dickinson already spilled the beans: http://www.news-gazette.com/news/education/2012-10-15/updated-champaign-teachers-reach-contract-agreement.html – CFT reached a tentative agreement with the Board. I overhead pretty much the same thing while wandering around with the teachers and listening to a CFT rep (I always forget his name, but I see him at every board meeting). The folks outside were very excited to hear this, a very jolly feeling in the crowd. 🙂

[Download the video here: I got it off TiVo again, hence all the extra black nothingness for that last 30 minutes or so]

The Board meeting tonight was actually rather short. Which is always a good thing. I didn’t have my handy dandy notebook with me, so I am trying to get this down as soon as I can. The first part of the Agenda (Recognitions) actually took a bit of the time; a technical glitch with the Academic Spotlight on Centennial (not online, yet), but when we did see it I was very curious about the Instructional Coaching and the two clubs (African-American Club and Social Justice Club). Lots of cool things going on there. The other part of Recognitions was a long list of excelling students and faculty, most of which had an opportunity to shake hands with the board; National Merit Scholar semifinalists and commendations, National Achievement Outstanding Participants, and Those Who Excel, including one volunteer who is a Chemistry prof at the University (wow!).

I spoke during Public Comment (I wish I had rehearsed, I sounded like a fool); thanked the administration and the board for all their hard work, then urged them on two points. 1) take further steps to gather community input, especially in light of the upcoming “Futures Conference” with DeJong and the need to actually go out to people, not just wait for them to come to the Board, and 2) push the SES program (Supplemental Education Services – private and semi-private mentor/tutor services for those under Title I (free or reduced lunch) struggling academically) a whole lot more, as it is going very underutilized and it is such an awesome opportunity. I am kicking myself for not mentioning anything about an urban planner! Especially in light of some of the conversations that developed a little later during the meeting. I also wanted to thank the board for the “Adopt a school” idea, but alas….. Read the rest of this entry »