What's wrong with this picture?

As a child (and even as an adult, truth be told), I rather enjoyed the “What’s wrong with this picture?” on the back of Highlights magazines. There is a picture with several humorous “impossibilities” or “extremely unlikely” nuances, for instance, a fish walking a dog. Or a car with a doughnut wheel. Or a fire hydrant spitting out grape juice.

When looking at the school district, there are several things that just seem wrong. Unfortunately, they are far more serious. Read the rest of this entry »

Ideas on restructuring Unit 4

When I talked with Dr. Bob Malito back in September, one of things I did not mention in my summary was one of the big ideas he has about possibly restructuring how we do 7-12th grade. During our last Wednesdays at Houlihans, this idea came up again, so I figured it is past time for me to give it some space here. I can swear I read this elsewhere, but right not Google is not helping me out. NG? WILL? I am sure I’ll find it some time…..

So here is where we are at. Not too long ago, a bunch of folks wanted to create a brand-new 3rd highschool up near Olympian Drive. I am not exactly sure who the biggest pushers were, but once the public got involved in the discussions, the BOE was forced to take a step back from their aggressive planning. Which is probably a good thing. Granted, we need to do something about our aging buildings. But what? Read the rest of this entry »

STEM and Technology in Education

I have been following EdTech, and a recent article caught my attention. When I dug deeper into the infographic, I started to wonder. Than to question. And finally I had to type up my thoughts. I’ll not repeat here what I wrote there. But basically, “Why the focus on STEM?” Is that really what we want?

I hear Dr. Bob Malito talk about the lack of competitiveness in our school district, and the “need” to introduce more rigor into our curriculum. I hear our BOE members saying the same thing (“Hi, Greg”). So now I want to toss this out for discussion. When folks like Bob and Greg talk like this, I start nodding my head in agreement – what they are saying sure sounds like it makes a lot of sense. But then I think about what is going on around me. I think about how folks have been trying to reform, reshape, remold and redo education for a lot longer than I have been alive. And if our goal is to produce money-making automatons for the corporate empire known as the USA, then yes, I totally agree, let’s bring on the STEM, let’s bring on the rigor.

Am I off my rocker? Am I being too dramatic? I am relatively knew to this sphere – I can spout my opinions left and right. But what do those who have been around the block a few times have to say?

Wednesday Open Forums

We still do not have an official name for whatever it is called when we gather together on Wednesdays over lunch at Houlihans. So for this hour, I am referring to it as “Wednesday Open Forums.” If it sticks, well… it is what it is.

Yesterday (two days ago for most of you reading this) we were honored to have a bona fide Unit 4 teacher with us. And I personally think this was one of our better discussions yet. The new perspective of a teacher, even just one, brought a new dimension to the table.

Prior to the Teacher’s arrival, we started off talking techy stuff; Grinnip is waiting on deliver of “carts” to get laptops to Jefferson and Stratton, but otherwise they are ready to go; Grinnip has already partitioned the BTW WAN (VLans), but has stated they simply do not have the resources to monitor and maintain such a setup for every single school building; and we didn’t really talk much more about what would be nice to put on a “teacher” website until The Teacher showed up.

With The Teacher there, our topics ranged a bit but I’ll highlight what I remember here: Read the rest of this entry »

Follow-up to Franklin Principal's trip to the White House

re: School Reform
A little bit of a media blitz after yesterday morning’s Press Release:

  • WICD Channel 15: Probably the least substantial of the three major outlets this time around.
  • WCIA Channel 3: The printed version covers everything in the videocast, but has a lot of errors. Focuses on how Ms. Smith felt honored and was impressed, and the hard work that Franklin has done.
  • News-Gazette Julie Wurth: Julie mentions how Ms. Smith and Franklin have been focusing on “personalizing” their approach to education, and the honor of being recognized.
  • WILL: This was by far my favorite. It just dawned on me – if 80% of the schools are not meeting NCLB standards by 2014, then 80% of the Education budget can be slashed. Coincidence? Wow, this is such an awful way to justify our budget. I am glad that Obama is stepping up to the podium and saying “So, given that Congress cannot act, I am acting.” I just hope we see real meat, real results, come out of this.

In several of these articles (including Unit 4’s own release), Ms. Smith’s trip to Miami to participate in the NASSP conference is announced. Yet in all these, I am still looking for the details on NCLB; the little breadcrumbs I have so far is that state schools might be eligible for some kind of “waiver” from the strict standards of NCLB. I am really curious what Ms. Smith thinks about all this, given her involvement with NASSP and her exposure at the White House. Looking for that angle on reform. What really needs to change? I think we are forming a picture of “things we are doing well now” and have a fingerhold on things that would be helpful adapt our Education System for the current generation.


What an awesome opportunity for her! I realize she is still processing everything going on. Should be good stuff when she gets it all digested.

School Reform: A focus on Franklin and the Government

So I have been involved in a number of discussions about reform (and by now, I hope it is overly clear that the context is school, and specifically Unit 4 🙂 ).

This morning I hear (and now Unit 4 Facebook) about Franklin Principal Angela Smith heading off to Washington to speak with President Obama on the topic of the Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. She and Franklin were recently awarded with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) MetLife Breakthrough Middle School recognition.

That sounds really awesome!

And now I want to learn more about this “reauthorization” act. And the MetLife award. Read the rest of this entry »