Raise your hands if you have ever experienced this.......
We are in the car, on our way home from an enjoyable evening spent with friends. My lovely wife is driving, and I am in the passenger seat (which, by the way, somehow means that I am responsible for entertaining the kids.....who knew this.......), the boys are in the back seat, and everything is seemingly pleasant and peacefully quiet.....too quiet.
As we pass a fast food restaurant my oldest son asks "Dad, can we stop for ice cream?......pleeeaaase?" As politely as possible I respond "No son it is too late for ice cream" and for some unknown reason, he starts to cry. Then the unthinkable happened......his younger brother, (who I thought was asleep) starts to cry too......for no apparent reason what-so-ever. He didn't ask for ice cream. I didn't tell him no. He was asleep for crying out loud........get it.....crying out loud.
Is crying contagious??????
This revelation led me to think....are there other things that are contagious that I was unaware of?
I did some research....stop laughing....and YES there are several other things that are contagious, but the list might surprise you.....
Colds/Flu - contagious
MRSA - highly contagious
Yawning - Check
Sneezing - Yup
Hammertoe - NOT contagious but Athletes Foot is.
Applause and Laughter....both contagious
Fashion, Opinions and Measles ........you can catch them all from your weird neighbor Stan
Evidently even Courage is Contagious .....Author John Kasich says so.
Some even say that Excitement is contagious
Bad Breath is not contagious....unless you kiss someone with Bad Breath......YUCK....did you have a peanut butter and onion sandwich for lunch?
Gossip, Stress and Fear are contagious
I can testify that a good Beat or a catchy Rhythm is contagious......just try NOT tapping your foot, clapping you hands, or shouting "turn it up" when you hear Sweet Home Alabama .......I see you doing your air guitar solo......nice.
While some of these are ok to "catch" there are several that I would rather do without. We all need to be careful who we are around and what we are exposed to. I'm ok with catching a case of the giggles or being exposed to the excitement that goes along with a new idea, but I would rather avoid the measles and MRSA.
I want to hang with someone that has a good case of courage but not someone who gossips. Positive Attitudes, YES.....Negative Attitudes, NO thank you….none for me. Oh and please, no yawning.
Today catch something good and spread it to all you come into contact with.
Until Next Time.......
Rules for Posting Comments
My BLOG is intended to be a forum for lively and humorous discussion about the topics that interest me, your humble host and entertaining servant. I encourage visitors to the BLOG to subscribe for updates and to become part of the education conversation and share your thoughts by positng a comment. However I do have some basic rules to keep the exchange civil, and to keep me out of trouble.
1. You must use your real name when posting. No one wants to know what you think until they know who you are.
2. Please be respectful. No personal attacks. Let's all play nice with others in the sandbox.
3. Spam or Solicitations of any kind will not be posted, unless by me......it is my BLOG.
4. Comments with profanity and slanderous remarks will not be posted.
5. Please stay on subject. Blatantly off-subject comments will not be posted.
With that in mind let the games begin.....and have fun!
|[ << prev ]||[ next >> ]|
Last week I did the unthinkable, I broke away from the pack, I went against the grain, I shook my fist at the man..........I wore blue jeans to work.
How do you like me now!? Who's you're daddy!!?
Seriously.....I just wore blue jeans to work for a couple days....that's it.
I would like to be able to say that it was all part of some long planned "Blogging" scheme I devised to display the travesty of fashion ridicule, complete with documentary footage of the public scorn I received only to turn the cameras on the would be unsuspecting scorners showing them the error of their ways, but no......
I just didn't wear dress pants for a few days. It really is nothing more than that.
I could have made a dramatic scene in front of several innocent bystanders, retelling the tragic plight of our busy family life with 2 children and that washing clothes simply was not an option this week. Or maybe explained that we were suffering from the recent economic down turn and that our family has been forced to make the hard choices between shoes for our children, gas for the car, or clean pants for me. Or maybe I could have elaborated on our family plan to go green and conserve precious natural resources from senseless over utilization.
But that's not it.
Seriously.....I just felt like wearing blue jeans.
But do you know what surprised me the most? That so many people actually noticed, AND said something about it.
Now I know that I am a specimen of the male physique and quite a sight to behold.....but let's just be honest here.......who knew so many people looked at my pants?
I understand that as a school administrator there is an expectation of professionalism on me. In fact it was the first time in almost 3 years in which I have NOT worn dress pants to work. My typical school attire consists of a suit most days, and ties every day. I don't wear dress clothes because I think I'm better than anybody else, or because I make soooo much money. The simple fact is that's what my Jr. High school principal wore to work and that is how I see a school administrator in my mind.
That's it......nothing deep here.......Mr. Dahnke wore suits and ties to work…..that's it.
So this made me think, and that made me laugh, which usually means I'm going to write a blog about it.......but I began to realize just how important our appearance is to those we come in contact with everyday. Do we "look" the part, and do we make the right first impression. I know we are supposed to look beyond appearance, and not to judge a book by its cover, but in a society where everything is packaged and marketed by what it looks like, you can't deny the value of one's appearance. I can tell you that on those 2 days when I wore blue jeans, I was the same person I usually am (in dress pants), and I made all the same decisions I would have normally made (in dress pants) and did exactly the same things I would have otherwise done (in dress pants) except I was....not....in dress pants.
In turn, I felt like I did NOT make the right first impression and I did NOT look like a school administrator. Teachers, students, and visitors to the building looked at me different. My wife and kids even looked at me different when I left to go to work.
My point here friends is this......mom always told us to comb our hair on picture day and wear clean underwear because she knew that when we LOOK our best, we are more likely to DO our best, and when we DO our best that leads us to BE our best.
Let's all work hard to Look our BEST , Do our BEST , and Be our BEST this year.
Oh and have no fear my friends, the shirt and tie are back, and the blue jeans are waiting for the weekend, or the baseball game, or the occasional casual Friday.......very occasional.
Until Next Time.......
All kids have strange "quirks", or weird things they do that make them "special". Some kids have to eat their peanut butter and jelly sandwich without the crust, some like to wear the same underpants every Tuesday, and some feel the need to hop on one foot while singing " If Your Happy and You Know It " after using the potty. (I love that song)
Kids are strange.
My son seems to have a problem with hanging up his clothes and cleaning his room. Now I know that this trait is not unique or special. In fact I would imagine that most 7 year old boys have rooms that require a hazmat suit, a pair of tongs and a GPS when entering. But this one I just don't get.
My son likes to hide his clothes instead of hanging them up or putting them in the dresser. Now we.......when I say we, I really mean my wife...... WE , are savvy parents and have learned where all his usual "hiding places" are. Under the bed, under the dresser, under the toys in the closet....he actually has to move the toys, to put the clothes under them......and then put the toys back, on top of the clothes.
But even with that level of weirdness, I was shocked by what his mother discovered a few days ago.
While doing the weekly room "check", his mother was looking in the shoe drawer (yes.....we have a shoe drawer......I don't know why we have a shoe drawer but I don't ask these questions.....just like I don't ask why we have to put the sheets on the bed upside down.......welcome to my world) however while doing the weekly room check she noticed something in his boots. Upon further investigation she drew from the boot.....a t-shirt. That's right friends a t-shirt. A CLEAN, formerly folded t-shirt stuffed in the boot......inside the shoe drawer.
A BOOT......A t-shirt in his boot. Where does he come up with this?
Stop looking at ME!
Can you imagine the effort that went into devising the plan to hide his formerly folded t-shirt into his boot....in his shoe drawer......instead of just hanging it up.
This revelation caused me to consider our efforts at school or work. How many times do we work extra hard to come up with creative ways to get out of doing what we should be doing in the first place?
Come on now I'm looking at you here....you know who you are.
We all do this. It is instinctive. We don't want to do something that we should do, so we find a "sneaky" way to get out of doing it that often requires more effort than just doing it right the first time. Or we tell a lie to cover up for the lie we told to cover the first lie when it would have been easier to just tell the truth right off the bat.
Well NO MORE
This year let's all resolve to put our efforts into doing the right thing, the first time.
NO MORE T-SHIRTS IN BOOTS!!!!! Or anywhere else for that matter. Put your laundry away the first time and save the crying for something important.....like splinters.....I hate splinters.
Well school has officially started and I've noticed a few things. First, my feet hurt. And second, I'm not getting as much done as I was before school started. That's right my productivity has come to a screeching halt.
Allow me to explain grasshopper.......
When nobody is here my phone doesn't ring every 5 min. I don't get interrupted when I'm talking, thinking or working on the teacher morning duty schedule. I can actually focus on what I'm doing. No one is popping in my office "just to say hi". I have time to read AND answer my emails. I even have time to eat my lunch.
But things are very different now that school has started.
Yesterday I helped 5 students find their advanced math class, got a transfer student a new schedule, showed 3 students where their lockers were, helped 2 students find their stuff that they had put in the wrong locker, told a parent where to pick up their 6th grader after school and asked 2 teachers to work lunch duty.......all in the 4 min between 3rd and 4th hour. This doesn't count the emails I got with questions about the dress code, the phone calls I got from parents "concerned" about the dress code, or the teachers who were wondering if feathers were "covered" in the dress code not to mention the constant flow of kids who were lost.
Seriously......room 218 is on the second floor people! AND NO YOU CAN'T HAVE HOLES IN YOUR JEANS......is that a feather in your hair??????
Interruptions are a given and everybody wants to know "Have you got a minute?" "I have a quick question about the dress code." Everybody needs something and they seem to think that I know the answers. This still amazes me.
I guess it's good to be needed and I do love helping people, but I used to get so much more done. I guess if I expect to get anything done I'm going to have to work from home. I need a sick day, or maybe one of my kids will get sick.
BTW...I wrote this on Tuesday 8/16/11, the first student day of school. Today is Thursday 8/18/11 and my youngest son is sick and I'm working from home. Not even kidding.
It is amazing to me when I consider that people have nothing better to do than to read my rambling blogs, but believe it or not....this blog is visited by more than 900 people each month.....
Crazy, I know......who knew?
So why not join the conversation, or just enjoy the ride.
It's easy and better yet....it's free!!!!!!!
Just sign up and subscribe to get email notifications right in your inbox when new entries are posted.
No mixing, no credit card numbers, no long term contracts, no hassles. Just good ol' fashioned school blogging fun.
School has officially started.....ready or not, hear they come.
Well it's summer and you are all probably asking yourselves "what could he possibly have to blog about during the summer?" Good question. I have an answer.....not necessarily a good answer......... but an answer none the less.
My summer vacation!
And more importantly, what I learned while I was on my summer vacation.
A typical summer in the Williamson household consists of summer baseball games, waterskiing at the lake, and tons of backyard fun........poolside of course.....because the "pool is open"
However, this year my wife and I decided to go on a real, honest to goodness vacation. A "leave the state, turn the cell phones off, lay on the beach in Florida for a week" kind of vacation.
And while we were there, my mind began to drift and wander randomly (like it usually does) and I picked up on a few "life lessons", tidbits of wisdom if you will, bestowed upon me by the beach gods and goddesses".
I decided that I could present these as positive life lessons in the classic manner, but for you, my loyal, fun loving friends, I have decided to present these in a sort of backwards, twisted, negative way. Kind-of-a things not to do to enjoy your time at the beach.
1. Don't wear sunscreen
This way you can be completely unprotected from the blistering, sweltering, relentless pounding you're sure to get from the sun's rays. After all, protection from daily attacks, the constant stress of life and worries that go along with it, is highly overrated. Besides it makes you weak and soft like a girl. Take the burn like a man.
2. Walk face first into the crashing waves
It's is always a good practice to go running into the surf face first, as soon as you get there. Better yet, keep your eyes open and take a good swallow of salt water. This way you get the full feeling of what the ocean has to offer. Don't wait for someone else to go in and see if the sand is stable or if the water is cold. What are you, some kind of baby? Never ask someone else's advice or learn from someone else's mistakes. This shows weakness. If you did that sort of thing all the time you might miss out on that chance to touch a jellyfish, or swim with that shark.
3. Don't pace yourself. Cram as much as you possibly can into a day.
Vacation is not a time to relax. Oh no.....no sleeping in, no curling up with a book, no leisurely time spent walking on the beach. Vacation is a time to run yourself ragged. A time to burn the candle at both ends (and in the middle while you're at it). Cram the fun in till it hurts.
4. Don't plan ahead.
Planning ahead is another common misconception, often made by sissies. Where is your sense of adventure. By avoiding this you keep the others on your vacation off balance and never letting them get comfortable by knowing what to expect. For extra excitement try changing your mind out of the blue and don't give a reason. This makes others enjoy your spontaneous nature.
5. Never compromise.
Be demanding, be argumentative, be over the top. After all, this is your vacation we are talking about here. No one else's opinion matters. Compromise is for wimps.
There you have it. 5 things to do if you DON'T want to enjoy your trip to the beach. If however you want to enjoy your vacation and don't want to drive your family crazy, just do the opposite of these things and you are sure to have a great time, just like we did.
Until next time......
Question: What did you do on your summer vacation?
Well it's here. The one we've been looking for......The Last Monday of the Year.
I find it interesting that we as humans measure so many mile stones or momentous occasions by the "last-something". We are consistently looking for the end, the finish line, the stopping point of whatever we are doing.
"The last dance"
"The last seat"
"The last piece of pizza" mmmmmmm......pizza "
"The last of the Mohicans"
"The last song"
"The last post-hole I dug for the fence I spent all day putting in.........I'm not bitter…...or sore"
Not all "lasts" are good.
Some are like early warning systems that tell you something bad is about to happen if nothing is done to prevent it, like the last pair of clean underpants.
Some are bad and cause rampant hysteria, like the last cup of coffee…….. COFFEE!!!!!!
In fact some are the worst things possible, like the last Sunday of summer vacation……totally the worst.
Some are bitter sweet, like your last child graduating from high school and leaving the nest.
Either way life is full of "lasts". Just remember, in order to have a "last" you must first, have a "first"…..first first……uh…..ok.
Whatever your next "last" is, I hope you make it your "best last", and follow it with a new "first".
What are some of your "firsts" and "lasts".......
Until Next Time......
Well since many of you are my friends and you are humoring me by subscribing to the blog (incidentally, if you are a visitor and you would like to get the blog delivered to your inbox simply click to Subscribe and sign up) I thought I would add another story of my plight as a father of 2 boys......pray for their mother.
My oldest son is in 1st grade this year, and he loves school. (I'm not entirely sure he is my son and don't even get me started on his brother's blond hair......can anyone spell paternity test) Anyway one of his "big events" each week is the spelling test. We practice every morning at the breakfast table, we practice in the car, we even practice while we are outside playing. As an incentive to do his best we have added a trip to Larry's House of Cakes for a donut on Friday if he gets a 100 on his spelling test on Thursday. Not really sure who wants him to get the 100 more.......him or me. Daddy loves his blueberry cake donut.
Come on who's with me on this one.
Well this week I got a strange response when I asked his mom how he did on the spelling test. "He got a 100" SWEET! "But......he Cheated." WHAT!!!!!!
ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!!!!!!! NOT MY SON!!!!!
What did I do to deserve this? Where did I go wrong?
DO YOU KNOW WHAT I DO FOR A LIVING?????? Maybe we could work this out.
No........ my life is over, I'll have to get a new job, we'll have to move and sell the house. (which is too bad, we just opened the pool )
Maybe this is not so bad.
We can get through this.
There's still hope...........isn't there.........
After I completed the 7 stages of grief in 3 seconds my wife told me "how" he cheated.
OK........this had better be good.
He was NOT looking off someone else's paper, he was NOT using a cheat sheet, and he did NOT have the words written on the palm of his hand. He was writing the letters out in the air for another student sitting at his table.
What? Wait a minuet? You mean he was not cheating for himself? He was helping someone else? Why the heck would he do that?
My wife told me that I should ask my son that. Some times she wears me out........I love her but she wears.....me....out!
So I asked him......and do you know what he told me.........he said "I just wanted my friend to get at least one right this time. He gets them wrong every week and he will never get a donut."
I can't believe I am going to say this but....I am proud of my son for cheating.
Until Next Time......
Lots of hype......
Lots of opinions.......
Lots of MONEY........
Not much data..........................
Check out this Education Week Blog: " Thoughts on the Failure of Merit Pay "
Well many of you are probably aware that my family is a "water" family. I am confident saying this about you because I know who you are, and some of you have been on the water with us. That's right Chris I'm looking at you.
We grew up swimming, boating, skiing, tubing, jumping of cliffs......you name it, if it happened on or around the water we did it. Actually, the water, and more specifically, going to the lake, holds a very special place in my heart, it was the place I asked my wife to marry me......right there under the cliffs at Kinkade lake......on the jet ski.....I know, I know, sappy........sue me.
I learned to swim when I was old enough to walk. (my wife learned when she was in diapers) I learned to water ski when I was 8. (wife when she was 6) I even learned to slalom ski. (using only one ski....... my wife taught me ) Seriously, that is just about enough with the laughter. I am going to need a support group and a therapist just to deal with my emotional trauma from blogging.
It is safe to say that we love spending time in the water, and for several years we have dreamed of having a pool. Well last year we refinanced the house, sold a child and jumped off the deep end......literally..........and put in a pool. (Just kidding about the selling a child thing, they're surprisingly not worth what you might think)
They put the pool in at the end of the season last year. Cruel irony......put in a pool when it's cold so you can only enjoy it....from inside the house. Just picture it.....the whole family dressed in swimming suits, goggles and floaties in hand, standing on the edge of the pool while it is covered with snow.
That is literally how we spent our winter, standing on the edge of the pool, or looking out the kitchen windows from the dinner table every night, eating dinner and looking out at the pool. My wife even bought bar stools so we could sit at the kitchen island and not have to look out the window.......at the pool.
But joy of joys, hallelujah, the day is finally here. THE POOL IS OPEN.
But its still cold.........ICE......cold.
But soon it will be warm outside and you can bet we will be in the pool. The payoff for our patience will be well worth the wait.
This whole situation (not THE situation) made me reflect on the work we do every day as educators. (Here comes the nugget of wisdom grasshopper)
We put programs in place, make policies, and build solid education foundations. We do standardized tests, gather RtI data, and build master schedules. We get to know our students, their home lives and their success and struggles. And while it may be incredibly difficult to be patient when we are not getting an immediate payoff, (standing at the window in our bathing suits.....snow on the pool) one day the sun will rise, the cover will come off, and the floaties will be on our arms (MY KIDS ARMS.....NOT ME......the FLOATIES are for my KIDS...........Oh that's just wrong.......wrong) and we will all be enjoying our reward.
So come on over, jump on in, the water's fine......actually still a bit cold....but go with it I'm making a point here......because............
THE POOL IS OPEN!
Until Next Time.......
I was privileged to have the opportunity to observe one of my 8th grade classrooms today and wouldn't you know it....a blog topic came mind.
Classroom observation is one of the greatest honors and greatest responsibilities of a school administrator. It is an opportunity to sit down and see (observe), with ones own eyes, what is actually happening in the classroom.
I know....seems like a novel concept these days. Everybody wants to pass judgement, vote somebody off the island or go all "Jerry Springer" on issues related to school performance, and often without really doing their....... homework .......
So "How do you evaluate the performance of a teacher, the success of a school or whether a student learns anything in the classroom?"
Do you base it on classroom grades? Standardized test scores? Student engagement? Teacher appearance and tone of voice? Credentials or certifications which the teacher holds? The curricular content delivered? The age and condition of the school building, desks, and computers? How much money per student the district spends? Or public opinion?
Teaching.......I mean GOOD teaching........is as much an art, as it is a science, and if we choose to rely solely on only one method to evaluate a teacher, a school, or even a student's success, we marginalize that which makes us human. That which makes us teachers. That which makes us Professional Educators.
Just the carzy rambling thoughts of one Assistant Principal. What are your thoughts?
Until Next Time...
Short and sweet this time.
I'm co-hosting the new Marion Unit 2 Technology podcast "The Tech Apologist" with Todd Williams, Unit 2 Technology Director (you can follow Todd on twitter @TechApologist). It's a weekly look at interesting tech news, gadgets and more from around the globe and right here in little ol' Marion.
I provide color commentary......again with the laughter?......really........why do you hurt me this way......
Until Next Time.......
Well it has finally happened. I had naively thought that we might somehow dodge this one....that someway we would avoid it.....that perhaps GOD would simile on us......that my wonderful, sweet, loving angel child would turn 2 and NOT turn into a monster.
Do not pass go and do not collect $200.....
Where has my son gone? And why has he has been replaced with this........other child.
"Love you Dada" has been replaced with "NO!!!!!!!" Everything has been replaced with NO.
Eat your dinner....NO
Let's go to bed.....NO
It's time to get up......NO
It's bath time........NO
Wanna ride the 4 wheeler with Daddy.......NO
How about some candy.......NO (see....even bribery doesn't work....who is this child?)
I swear it's the only word he knows how to say. He's forgotten all the rest of them.
Where has he gone, and better yet when is he coming back? A friend of mine said he will be back sometime around April 2, 2013 (when he's 4). I don't know if I, or he for that matter, will make it that long.
Pray for us.....all of us.......
Until next time.........
I know it's hard to believe how far I've come in my journey of technological skill and prowess, but, now you and all your "cyber-friends" can follow my every thought on Twitter.
Actually I don't have too many thoughts worth tweeting about and I'm really not that interesting of a person. In fact some people think I'm quite boring.....just read my blog about boring data stuff .......I know shameless.....but who loves you......huh....huh.
Believe it or not you can actually use twitter as a way of keeping up on news and current information .....and not just the sad "Charlie Sheen" stuff. There are several education and news related blogs and tweeters (is that even a word?) that post thought provoking articles that are very educational and since I typically "retweet" the good stuff it is an easy and efficient way for people who follow me to have access to all that good stuff without doing actually doing any of the work yourself....again……who love you……..no need to thank me…….seriously……just sign up to follow me ……..please
Anyway check it out....
As always, your humble servant......
Until Next Time.....
I know, I know you are all asking yourselves, (by the way there are 12 of us now....woohoo.....small victories) "What the h*@#? Three blog entries in the same month? I'm not sure I signed up for a commitment like this. I might need to reconsider my subscription to the blog. I don't like to be bothered more than once a quarter."
And I can respect that.
You're a small...(emphasis on small)....but LOYAL bunch. And good looking too (I have to add that because I know who you are.....and I'm a subscriber too....sad but true).
But I looked at the website stats the other day and even though there are only 12 of us on the loyal blog band wagon, did you know that on average there are over 300+ visits to this blog each month.
We are in good company.
I promise never to underestimate the POWER of the blog again.
But don't worry, I won't let it go to my head. I won't be posting a seemingly endless stream of pointless diatribes that drone on and on about nothing using exasperatingly pithy commentaries that require a dictionary to decipher the cryptic underlying meaning .......uh.......sorry.
Anyway I thought "self....that's what I call myself when I talk to myself.....self, what if everybody invited a friend to the blog?" It could be like Facebook, or Twitter. Next thing you know we could rule the world and they would make a movie about it, and ......uh......sorry........again.
Anyway bring a friend, and............. leave a comment.
YES, That's what I said!!!! The blog is now interactive. You have asked for it, you've been waiting for it, you've called your local representative about it, and I have caved to the overwhelming pressure.
Let the Conversation Begin!!!!!!
Until Next Time........or better yet.......Until YOUR Next Comment........
Ok, once again I am going to give you all fair warning.....this is not a typical blog. No humorous anecdotal commentary of the state of affairs or funny stories about me getting in shape or sharing sage wisdom on what to do with your time off. SORRY.
I can't really explain it, but every now and then I get this wacky urge to actually write something of educational value. Something that really means......something.
So bear with me on this one. Please...(you're a nice.....small....but nice group of followers....and I really don't want to run you off.)
So.....Here We Go.....
3 years ago MJHS instituted a new approach to student discipline and the benefits are paying off in real data and more importantly, increased student time in the classroom.
In the fall of 2008 MJHS began utilizing a point system in conjunction with an In School Detention (ISD) room to address inappropriate student behavior. The common approach and use for an ISD room is to provide an appropriate "stop gap" for student behavior that might have traditionally ended in suspension. However a very common misconception of ISD is that schools that use them instead of Out of School Suspensions (OSS). Now that is not to say the we have thrown away our "suspension pens" at MJHS. Au Contraire, we have an Out of School Suspension (OSS) policy......and we use it. But ISD provides a vital link between minor disciplinary infractions and major ones that don't warrant suspension from school and loss of instruction.
But that is not to focus of this blog....(see, I'm not really used to this serious blogging stuff)
The focus of this blog is on what has happened to student behavior as a result of implementing a consistent discipline program at MJHS.
Office referrals for inappropriate student behavior have consistently decreased every month since 2008. How much you ask, well on average, more than 25% each month. Annually in 2008-09 there were 645 office referrals, in 2009-10 that number dropped to 456 and so far in 2010-11 we are at 219, which is 90 less than this time last year. Those are significant decreases, especially when you consider that at one time MJHS was averaging over 1000 office referrals per year.
So what does that mean? Does it mean the students at MJHS are better behaved than they were before ISD? Does it mean we have less inappropriate student behavior at MJHS?
Well....I'm not sure.....perhaps.......and.....maybe. Why so many questions?
It really is too early to say definitively that all discipline problems are fixed at MJHS and that we have found the magic bullet in the form of an ISD room.
I guess the best way to measure if the current discipline approach at MJHS is working would be to simply ask. But who do you ask? If you ask somebody at the coffee shoppe you might get the answer that things are terrible and "these kids today are terrible." On the other hand if you ask a person at church they might say things are all "cupcakes and sunshine".
Ask someone who is actually in the building. Someone who actually sees student behavior on a daily basis.
Ask a teacher, or a noon supervisor, a crossing guard, or even a student.
I did. And guess what? The vast majority think student behavior IS better. One student even told me that he was scared to go to the Jr. High because of all the stories he had heard and how mean the kids were and that now that he's actually at MJHS he loves it.
The one thing that I can say for sure is this, less office referrals means more student time in the classroom and that is something for us to be proud of.
So who gets the credit?
I have to be honest when I say this, students and teachers should get the mother load of the credit for this drastic and positive change to student behavior at our school. Without teacher support and commitment by the students no real measurable changes of any kind could take place at any school. It doesn't matter how great your principal's idea is or how much he knows, or how good looking he is.....what......who said that....... If nobody believes you, the idea won't work. Here's a little Hint: Teachers and Students out number us administrators.......a lot....sshh......don't tell them.
We don't have it all figured out yet but we have the train on the rails and running in the right direction. Now if we can just keep all those nasty train robbers from running us down and robbing us.
Until Next Time....
I know what your thinking, is time off work the only thing this guy blogs about? Perhaps. But honor to whom honor is due I say, and SPRING BREAK is a biggie, and not just because of the time off.
Let me explain, if I can.
A wise old man once said that balance is vital to a successful life, and that we should take all things in moderation. I don't really know who the old guy was but lets just go with it......ok.....
I think in order to really understand the magnitude of any major event in life we need to look at it in context. That means considering what comes before it and after it. So just for fun let's consider the context of SPRING BREAK.
Sure a week off during a nice season of the year is great for teachers and students, not so great for parents, I will acknowledge that......but, who is this blog really about anyway.
Let's start with what comes before SPRING BREAK. Schools have just finished 2 weeks of high stakes standardized testing, (ISAT) which is probably the most stressful time of the year for teachers and students. During testing the daily schedule and routine are completely different, lunches are at different times, classes are not following their normal activities because of testing, students are expected to be EXTRA good, and work EXTRA hard, and we do all of this during the most unpredictable weather of the year.
What does the weather have to do with anything you ask? Well grasshopper let me just invite you to lunch time with 300+ students who have been cooped up all day working EXTRA hard being EXTRA good and not being able to go outside and run some of that energy off because it is rainy or cold outside, then we will talk about the weather.
With all that pressure building up, and no opportunity for release, people can get a little grouchy, a little crazy, and little off the reservation. UH..........sorry.....I got a little carried away there........
So SPRING BREAK is like the safety valve on the pressure cooker of schools during this time of year. No safety valve, and .......yikes.
Now what comes after SPRING BREAK?
Well lets just say that the 4th quarter of any school year, at any school across the country looks and feels very much like a race. Actually more like a sprint. How much stuff can you squeeze in before the clock runs out. And we all know that in order to race strong you need to be well rested and physically and mentally ready to race.
So as you can obviously see, SPRING BREAK is a vital part of any successful school year and timing is essential. Too early and you risk the pressure building up in 4th quarter, wait too late and the top blows off the cooker. Too long and nobody wants to come back, too short and nobody is refreshed for the finally sprint.
So I say bring on SPRING BREAK, for the good of all of us. So Relax, Rest and, Recoup because the end is in sight and we need to be in the best possible shape to finish strong.
Until Next Time........
I have 2 boys.
Reid is 6 and Rylan is almost 2. (Pray for their mother) They are the light of my life, and for some bizarre reason they think I'm cool.
Yes me....the Band Dork
Stop Laughing........that was not supposed to be funny.
When I get home from work they are always standing at the window jumping up and down like puppies in the shelter saying "pick me, pick me, take me home to play with". They just can't wait to see me when I get home.
How did I get to be so cool? More importantly, how long before this strange trance they are under wears off?
I'm sure a day will come when it's me jumping in the window saying "pick me, pick me I want to spend time with you" and they will be like "Daaaaad" (notice the long drawn out "teenage" pronunciation of dad......cleaver I know).
Adolescence is inevitable. My demise in unavoidable. They are destined to one day "out-cool" me.
But for today I think I'm going to enjoy this while it lasts. I'm going to play swords, trucks, and star wars. I'm going to expect the primal cry of " IT'S WRESTLE TIME!!!!! " every time I lay down on the living room floor, followed by a child flying through the air, landing on my body, and trying to give me a "zerburt" (those are the worst). I'm going to dance in the kitchen to the rubber ducky song:
That's right, you'll be singing it all day........You're welcome. I'm sick and twisted I know.
I'm gonna fill up my tank and take lots of pictures, because you just never know when that day may come.
Until Next Time.......
Oh Sweet Victory, Oh Joy of Joys, Praise be to the Snow Day Gods.....It has finally gotten here...the SNOW DAY!!!!! (capitalized out of respect....still)
Some people prayed, some tried bribes to high officials, some were glued to the 24/7 weather channel, some even did bizarre rituals involving ice cubes and spoons (don't ask) but whatever it was it all payed off.
The SNOW DAY is here.
So get out there and enjoy it people, suck all the life you can out of it, throw snow balls, fire up the four wheelers, and blow off the sleds. Let's get out their friends.......because......you never know when the next one will come around.
PS...the BLOG (also capitalized out of respect) is now alive and you may post a comment. Just follow the rules and play nice.
Until next time.....
Well here we are again, literally....back where we were just a year ago....The non-Snow Day returns. (Yes still capitalized....in honor of the Snow Day)
Let me begin by saying that to truly appreciate this blog entry I think you might have to go back to a previous blog entry entitled The Snow Day....or Not
Yes I know we have been down this lonely road before. The butt of jokes, the icon of ridicule, the focus of scorn, but as if that weren't bad enough, there is yet another side to the non-Snow Day conundrum that I feel we must consider.
I know that in education we are inexorably focused on the student, but to truly understand the magnitude and enormity that the non-Snow Day brings we are compelled to consider the other side......the parent side.
As a parent of school age children your life is driven by The Routine . ALL THINGS MUST HAPPEN IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PREDETERMINED ROUTINE, otherwise known as THE SCHEDULE!!!!! Don't mess with the schedule.....seriously....I'm not joking here.
The morning school day schedule has many facets to consider and each and every one of them is vitally important. There is no room for error....no time for compromise.....no debate.....I warn you.....don't mess with the morning schedule.
Showers, coffee, and clothes are just some of the things that go on at every happy house across this great country, but when the non-Snow Day rears it's ugly head all bets are off.
The non-Snow Day laughs in the face of the schedule. It mocks the well organized routine of parents. It foils the best laid plans of mice and men to get their families to school on time. It calls to small children in the late hours of the night, beckoning them to stay up past bed time, not to do their homework, to plan to sleep in.
Oh the non-Snow Day is a cruel and cunning foe with singular determination to destroy the schedule.
And when the morning comes the non-Snow Day continues it's relentless attack on the schedule by rendering the children incapable of waking up, and when they finally do wake up they are unreasonably grouchy, causing unsuspecting parents to become grouchy as well. Then comes the un-scheduled snow removal from cars and sidewalks.
Finally the morning schedule is blown completely out of the water and the non-Snow Day strikes a final and devastating blow to the schedule when the helpless unsuspecting parents realize the morning commute will be slowed to a crawl because the roads will be covered with snow and the normal school day drivers they share the roads with are inexplicably replaced by someone who is incapable of driving an automobile. They are somehow transformed into some hideous version of their former self, either idiots driving 20 miles under the speed limit, or maniacs fish tailing at every turn and doing donuts in every unoccupied parking lot they can find. Where did all the good drivers go?
Oh you are a wretched foe non-Snow Day.
So again my friends I say........curses to the non-Snow Day......curses.
Well at least we can laugh about the non-Snow Day.....HA....Ha....ha.....I may be laughing on the outside but I'm crying on the inside.
So to all my loyal readers (still only 9....sad but true.....) have fun today, smile and spread joy everywhere you go, fight the good fight and enjoy your non-Snow Day and let not your hearts be troubled...........there's always tomorrow.
Until Next Time.........
In the past 2 days there have been 3 different fire drills at MJHS. I think it's safe to say we have "drilled this into the ground".
Thursday ended with a false alarm triggered by a dirty sensor in the east gym right at 3:10 pm, school dismissal could not have been more exciting.
Friday started with a planned practice drill at 10:00 am, and I must say that the students and faculty at MJHS are the best at exiting the building. It truly is something to see 900+ students, faculty and staff exit the building so quickly and efficiently.
We followed that drill....... with another drill initiated by the Marion FD at 10:20 pm. One can only assume that since the jr high displayed such remarkable evacuation prowess that Marion's finest wanted a look at it first hand.
We excited the building to the sounds of fire alarms for the 3rd time is less than 20 hours. Now folks let me tell you THAT is how you usher in the weekend.
By the way, I heard we have plans to do a severe weather drill, a tornado drill, an intruder drill and a hammer drill all in a 36 hr time span. The folks from Guinness will be on hand to see if we set a new world record.
Unitl next time......
I know I know it has been a LONG time since my last blog entry but I only have 3 words for you, June, July, & August. Nuff said.
I wanted to share some of my experiences from my trip to the ISTE technology conference in Denver, Co. (By The Way....if you're interested in seeing some video highlights from the conference just click on the iste 2010 logo to the right.--->)
We boarded our plane Saturday morning at the Marion Airport. It is the first time I have been on a plane where the pilot doubled as the in-flight attendant. I'm serious, when he wanted to tell us that we were beginning our decent into St. Louis he didn't use the intercom, he just looked over his shoulder. But the landing was awesome. Seriously these guys put that toy plane down like it was on the living room carpet. Smoooooth. Way to go Cape Air. (I know, no spamming, but it's my blog).
We made it all the way to Denver without incident and checked into the hotel (which was interesting.....especially when you get assigned to a room that is already occupied....but that is another blog topic altogether.....trust me). We did some sightseeing around the greater Denver area (the mountains are simply breathtaking) before going to the keynote Saturday night. Let the games begin.
I don't know how many of you have ever been to a national conference but for those who have not let me try to give you a feel for the scope & size of this conference
There is stuff here from everybody who's anybody in the education technology world. There were interactive whiteboard companies, like Smart and Promethean , interactive device companies like Mimio and e-Beam , software giants like Google and Microsoft and everything else on the spectrum. It is simply amazing. And EVERYBODY is rolling out their latest and greatest in classroom instruction and data management for educators and schools.
To say it is a little overwhelming is the understatement of the year.
At first glance as you walk into the exhibit hall it is a little like taking a drink from a firehose. Your senses are bombarded with booth after booth of sensory bursting exhibits & exhibitors trying to get your attention, or wanting to get you to come and sit down for a "quick" demo on their product. It is exciting to be immersed in all this techy stuff that would enhance student learning.
Of course the other big, challenge, trying to locate the free give aways and pens. We refer to that as "swag" in conference lingo. Speaking of that, how am I gonna get all these pens through airport security?
Anyway……..You can't just walk into the exhhibit hall wide eyed, you need a plan and lucky for us, we had one. We were going to impliment a 3 pronged approach
1. We were going to look for those items that we thought teachers had time to use in the classroom
2. Items need to be easy to learn how to use
3. It had to be stuff we could afford.
Shortly after considering those three points, we left the conference.
We spent lots of time looking at the new stuff Mimio is bringing out, which several MJHS teachers are hoping to start using in their classrooms. (Keep your fingers crossed). We also looked at some of the new software offerings from Google which take advantage of online documents storage platforms like "Google Docs" and "Google apps" for teachers, and we also looked at some really cool robot stuff (is my geek side starting to show yet?)
One of my favorites from the show was a free online program called Schoology . It's is an online social networking service designed for schools. It looks and acts just like Facebook and best of all, it's free. The magic word!!!!! It's nicest feature is that it provides a safe, controlled web based social network for teachers, parents & students to communicate about things going on in the classroom and throughout the school on an already familiar web portal.
When it was all said and done we ended up finding several options for our future technology growth at Marion Unit 2.
A great man once told me that "education is the great equalizer" and that it's something "no one can take away from you". I believe the technology we use to deliver our curriculum is just as vital as the outstanding teacher instruction that already goes on everyday. We can't really serve our kids to the best of our ability without it.
So let's all pull out our laptops, our iPods and smartphones. Let's log onto our websites, fire up our blogs, update our collective status and make some serious tweets.
Have a great rest of the summer and when we return let's all get on the technology bus and roll.
Until next time.........
I ran my first 5K this past weekend. I know, I know, you are probably asking the same exact question I asked myself Saturday morning, "Why run when there is a perfectly good car parked right over there?" I have to be honest with you….I don't even like to run to the kitchen when I'm hungry. In fact, there are about a million things I would rather do than run. Running is not on my top anything list, except of things not to do on a perfectly good Saturday morning.
My wife asked me to run with her and I was like NO WAY……..nope……not gonna happen……so…..we ran.
Did anyone else know that 5K is really 3 MILES? What's wrong with calling it what it is…."Ok we are gonna run 3 miles today….no, actually, we are gonna run 3 POINT 1 miles. What's wrong with just running 3 miles? That seems long enough to me. What's with the point 1 stuff? But I digress. Let me just say this about the distance…. it's a really long way.
And you know you can't just show up and run 3 miles (sorry 3.1 miles). NO….you have to train for it. There's another thing on my "Things not to do" list.
Oh yes, we trained for 2 months to be ready to run. So now I am not just running 3 miles (let's just forget the whole .1 thing for a while ok) I am running lots of miles just for the privilege of running 3 miles. I bet I ran at least 50 miles just getting ready to run Saturday.
And did I mention you have to pay to run this "race"? Oh yes, not only did I train….but I had to buy new running clothes….new running shoes…..I even had to pay a fee to run on a perfectly good road….. BUILT FOR CARS.
But I do feel better….WHAT…..Are you nuts. If you call sore legs, aching back, sore feet, and a throbbing headache feeling better, than I guess I feel great. EVERYTHING HURTS. everything
But I'm sure I lost weight running right......well……not yet…..nuff said.
However I will say that the weather was really nice Saturday. And it was kind of fun to spend so much time with my wife training and running. We ran side by side the whole way. The view was really nice too. We ran through nice neighborhoods and along the riverfront, and all along the way there were people standing along the path cheering us on. There were markings on the road to let us know how far we had come and how far we still had to go. And when we saw the finish line in sight we both really raced to the end (yes, my wife beat me.…but that's another blog…. And a whole other support group). And crossing that finish line really made me feel good, even though I was really tired.
When you think about it, running is a lot like the work we do at school every day. When we're working on RtI, preparing for ISAT, planning curriculum or just getting through a lesson. We train for it. We work together at it. There is usually a nice view , and there are always lots of cheerleaders along the way supporting us. There are convenient markers to let us know how far we have come and how far we have to go, and there is usually a race at the end to finish strong.
After the race my wife asked me if I was ready to run again.
I guess I will.
Until Next Time…..
Is there anything as sad as seeing someone in a restaurant sitting alone? I mean ALL BY THEMSELVES. Not, "Oh my friends are on their way", or "My date is running a little late", alone. I mean "table for 1" alone.
The only thing that might be sadder is if YOU are the alone-ee.
That was me. Yup. Tonight. "Uh… no… there won't be anyone joining me, thank you"
I am in Peoria, IL for a Response to Intervention (RtI) one day conference with Jim Wright presenting, he's kind of a big deal in the RtI world.
Don't worry I am going to Blog about the conference when I return and it will include all the neat hyper-link stuff you have grown to love ..…I know, I can hear the excitement now from all of my loyal subscribers (all 7 of us - I say us because I'm one of them….now that is sad).
But seriously, here I sit in one of my favorite restaurants, Alexander's Steak House , on the beautiful Peoria riverfront where you get to pick out your own steak, and cook it, YOURSELF. Man that is service!!!! I mean it's like a little slice of summertime heaven.
Yet even with all this luxury around me, when I look up from my perfectly prepared New York Strip , I am reminded that I am alone at the table…..just me….with my thoughts…..that's scary……so…… I think….and as I think I notice all the other conversations going on in the restaurant, and the lack of conversation at my table.
I could try the cell phone trick but I am afraid that it might ring right in the middle of my "faking the phone call" trick and that would really be sad….stop laughing.…I've had that happen….seriously…stop it.
Anyway, I start thinking about school…..because that is all administrators do……think about school……and I start to realize that we have kids that go thru this experience everyday at lunch. I know the cafeteria is full of kids and nobody sits at a table by themselves,
There are some kids, and we've all seen them, who keep to themselves.
They don't talk about their day to others, they don't laugh and joke with friends, they don't talk about what's going on at home, or what they are going to be doing after school…..
I bet they feel a little like me…. tonight…. in this restaurant…..alone.
During this last quarter of the school year, let's all try to make sure no one "eats alone".
Until next time………
I know, I know, the title of this blog itself screams dull, boring, & drab, but I want my blog to be more than just humors stories about my family, even though they are capable of providing a seemingly endless supply of daily insanity. I want my blog to contain my ideas of what education should be, ways I think we can work together to benefit all of our students and things that I learn as I grow as an administrator and a school leader. So if this blog topic doesn't interest you stop reading now, or go scroll down and read the "snow day" or the "how important is it" blogs, or go down to the bottom of the page and subscribe and next time I'll be funny…..I promise.
The theme of this year's conference was "Leadership: Standing Tall in the Land of Lincoln" and it was a great opportunity for school administrators to meet, and network with other education leaders from across the state. The conference was located in Lisle, IL just outside Chicago, which by the way is COLD….it's winter for crying out loud. Because the theme for the conference was centered on Abraham Lincoln's leadership style, the IPA distributed books to all registered participants entitled " Lincoln of Leadership " by Donald Phillips . An interesting side note is that author Donald Phillips is a resident of our own little corner of the world, that's right, he lives in Marion. Crazy I know. If you are interested in reading Don's book "Lincoln on Leadership" or any of his other works, which I would highly recommend, check out his website. Anyway…where was I?
Oh yes…..My first session was on the topic of Social Emotional Learning and the different ways schools are approaching it within their RtI programs. I got the opportunity to hear what other schools are doing to address student behavior in the same way they approach student achievement. It was interesting to see how schools correlate student behavior to academic achievement and how they use research based instruction and progress monitoring to measure the effectiveness of their programs. It made me aware of the responsibility schools have when considering student behavior as a factor in student achievement and ways we at MJHS can begin to move in a direction to identify, measure, implement and evaluate our behavior curriculum more effectively. We can't just ignore student behavior issues and send them to detention to get them out of the class and expect that will change that undesirable behavior, while at the same time wonder why those same students are scoring poorly on high stakes testing. The two elements must go together.
I also went to a discussion on technology for school administrators. I know …..I'm a "techy", but I'm fascinated by the use of technology in today's schools and the way it can literally change the face of education. After all, every kid is using technology when they leave school anyway, so why not start using it in the classroom and keep them engaged. We looked at methods of instructional delivery that were being enhanced by the use of technology like projectors, smartboards, laptops, iPods, and smartphones but we also discussed what some schools are doing with the use of electronic textbooks, podcasting, and using the internet as part of their daily curriculum. One of the really neat things discussed was how some schools are turning the traditional lecture/homework paradigm upside down. Traditionally students come into the classroom where the teacher lectures during class, provides examples and guided practice and then the students leave with homework to complete. Completed homework is collected the following day, grades are given and the process is repeated. In the workshop we saw a middle school in Ohio where teachers record their lectures in the form of video podcasts, post them online, students download the podcasts to their computers, iPod's or smartphones, watch them at home and during class they complete their "homework" with the education professional (the teacher) right there to guide the work and bring a greater level of understanding and a higher level of critical thinking to the skills being taught. And as you can imagine this particular school has seen outstanding measurable improvement in student success in just a few short months since implementing this program. I know technology scares some of us….it scared me….but if we just force ourselves to get started with baby steps we could eventually be leading the pack and seeing the benefits in our students successes.
Finally the closing keynote address was given by a retired member of the Cook County Sheriff's child abuse and expliotation division . This was a sobering and at times frightening presentation on the dangers facing today's kids, families, and schools from the world of online predators. We heard nightmare stories about child abuse cases and the horrors that families go thru when they are impacted by this type of abuse. We were told of the dangers of MySpace, Facebook, and other social networking sites and how predators use these sites because people are identified as "Friends" by these sites and because the number of friends you have determines your level of popularity students naturally want as many friends as possible. The danger in this is that as families and schools we teach kids to avoid strangers, not friends and even though many of us believe that if we mark our pages "private" no child predators will be able to "get us" that simply is not true. One of the most interesting facts the officer shared with us was that most online predators do this computer activity from work because the typical child predator has a family and a job and cannot and will not do this type of activity from home. So the window of time that students are most at risk is between the hours of 2:30PM and 5:00PM, right when most students get home from school and get on the computer. So a very simple thing parents can do to help keep your kids safe is to limit their use of the computer until after dinner. This simple measure alone would greatly reduce the potential for our kids to come into contact with a potential online predator. And to remind kids that not everybody online is a "friend". Also realize that if children own a smartphone or a phone with internet capability they can and often do engage in these online social network sites anytime they want to. They don't have to be at a computer to be online. Most of us parents are not as tech savvy as our kids, that's just the way it is…just watch them text and see if you can keep up with them. They can even text in their pockets without looking at the phone….and do you have any idea who they are texting……or what they are saying…..face it, we are at a disadvantage. But you don't have to be as tech savvy as your kids to warn them about the dangers they face when they are online. Remember, a "friend request" doesn't necessarily mean that person is a "friend".
I went to several other meetings and presentation while at the conference but I can tell the boredom level is at a fever pitch and my loyal readers are already looking for something different to do with their valuable internet surfing time. Soooooo……. I will wrap this up by saying that I appreciate all of the great teachers at MJHS for handling the school discipline while I was away and for making it possible for me to attend this conference. It's always more work to be gone than it is to just be a work, so THANK YOU. Believe it or not I only had 1 incident referral while I was away….that must be some kind of record. Maybe I should be gone more often?
Finally I'm sorry if this blog was too boring, too long and a WAY TOO DULL, I mean seriously who blogs about an Assistant Principal's conference anayway……THIS GUY DOES…….that's who…..
Until next time………..
|[ << prev ]||[ next >> ]|