Keep your eyes open

Just a few things to mention.


Monday, November 17th is a “special” board meeting, which typically means there are more opportunities for public comment. However the agenda is exceptionally small this time around, with the one and only thing really being discussed is a “public hearing” (*cough cough*) on “Physical Education Waiver Request”.


Last Thursday, Tim Ditman wrote an article covering how board member Kerris Lee is “exploring other Central High School sites“. Perhaps what I found most odd is that there are zero (nilch, nada, none) comments to the article. Granted, while Dodds Park and Bristol Park do offer some really interesting possibilities, they seem like extremely remote possibilities, but hey, Kerris is good at getting people to talk, so I dare not say impossible.


Next Thursday (November 20th), the national Learning Spaces Collaboratory will be holding a webinar on “Connecting the Dots between Planning and Assessing 21st Century Learning Spaces: Lessons Learned from the Field“. There is a $125 registration fee, so not for the faint of heart. I am hoping to hear from some local folks that attend this webinar and are willing to report out.


And lastly, save the dates for a few Saturdays in January; we are starting to make plans to offer design charrettes around the topic of the Unit 4 High Schools. Tentatively you can pencil in January 10th, January 17th and January 24th. I have spoken with the fine folks at the Douglass Center as well as the principal at Stratton and there is a distinct possibility we will be able to use their gyms. Pattsi, how can I help get your “charrettes 101” material online and available to all?

an observation on innovation and taxes

By now, I am sure “everyone” has heard that the Board has moved forward with the $150 million tax referendum (actually, it is $148,945,462):

News-Gazette (Jeff D’Alessio and Tim Mitchell)

Unit 4 (Stephanie Stuart)

WILL (Jim Meadows)

WICD has a story, but I don’t know how to link it


Also, Dr. Wiegand will be featured on WDWS with Jim Turpin this morning at 9:am. That should be interesting.



From what I have read so far, I have noticed a trend from the folks at the Mellon Center last night – everyone is thinking big. It’s funny when you start talking about large amounts of money (tax-payer money in this case), it acts like a magical key that mysteriously unlocks the creative side of human thinking. This post is largely positive, but I do have one overriding question that I ask of everyone anytime I hear a fantastic idea – how is it going to work?


I have been talking with Todd Lash quite a bit lately, and I really love how Kenwood is pushing the envelope in the things they are doing. I have asked Todd on multiple occasions how exactly he intends to implement some of these awesome ideas he has. He also has an uphill battle, but I like his approach, and I have become convinced that these are not just happy thoughts or fashionable buzzwords the tech crowd is tossing around. So I turn this same question to all the folks at the Mellon Center last night who talk about “new learning”, and re-labeling classrooms as “collaboration spaces” or “learning spaces” or whatnot. Exactly how are we going to accomplish those things? I want to learn. To me, that is so much more significant than the minute details of how much A/C costs, how much athletic fields costs, etc etc. People are really excited! But what exactly are they excited about?


For me, I am thrilled that people are starting to uncork their thinking caps and unleash their creativity. That is totally awesome! I wish I could have been privy to some of the ideas that have been shared by select members so far. I want to learn what is underneath the covers of the new jargon that everyone is tossing around so freely.


It is fascinates and boggles me what amazing ideas people can come up with when there is no longer a concern about money.  For another example of something that is totally out of the box (and yes, expensive), check out this “suspended bicycle roundabout” (hat tip to Pattsi):


You can click on a few of the relevant links to find more examples as well.


What is it about big money and big ideas? Why is it hard to come up with big ideas when money is an issue?