Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Here's hoping everyone is able to spend time with family and/or friends and enjoy the holiday. As I listened to a sermon this morning, I am reminded that all life is precious and each person we meet is worthy of dignity and love. Let's extend that thought to action today and into the new year.

Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 21, 2007


Do you make New Year's resolutions? As I read through writers and bloggers discussing this annual event, I've found a way to make some of those tricky resolutions stick. It's called a 30-day trial. Although there are critics of this, it can be an effective method to get started on a new habit and on the way to kicking a bad one.

The idea is to attempt something for 30 days. Give your utmost attention and effort to whatever it is you choose to do and see what comes of it 30 days later. What that does is give you a predetermined deadline - you know that in 30 days if your resolution is not working, you can quit or try something different. And 30 days is enough time to get a new habit ingrained into your lifestyle.

It can be difficult to gather the momentum to make a new habit stick. The 30-day trial gives you an opportunity to try something and make changes if necessary. If you have had goals/resolutions that have not worked in the past, try this method. Write down the goal, try it for 30 days and see the success.

Holiday cheer

As the time nears, if it's not already here, for schools to take some time off for the holidays, I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and excellent start to the new year. For those that travel, do so safely. Enjoy the season and take time to reflect on all the gifts that you have received this past year. Even in times of trial and tribulation, those of us in education are blessed to have the opportunity to be a part of children's success and growth.

As the new year nears, I look forward to the work that Guernsey-Sunrise schools are beginning. The staff has been working on a vision and the means to determine what that vision means when applied. The district will be asking for input from all stakeholders and making a concerted effort to gather that input and develop a plan to advance the education of our students. If you would like to see the progress, we have developed a wiki that lists the progress so far.

Have a great holiday season.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Technology use

How has technology made your life easier or better? I recently read an article about the use of technology in delivering packages. The driver was using a camera in the cab to see behind him so he could back up closer to surrounding objects. In this case, the increased technology would seem to have provided a safer method of driving. I'd like to hear some thoughts on how technology could be used to enhance education.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Ranking schools

A recent article on the National Association of Secondary School Principals website about ranking schools had an interesting thought embedded discretely within the text. The article itself was about how the ranking of schools by various publications was not something that was necessarily fair for all schools.

The argument was that magnet or charter schools that have an application process and do not take everyone that comes in their doors had an unfair advantage in the rankings since they could gear their acceptance to students with higher academic ability and background. Another index seemed to focus on larger schools that had the ability to offer Advanced Placement courses or International Baccalaureate courses.

Toward the end of the article, however, the executive director of NASSP mentioned something about developing "a national barometer" to rank schools on a national level. Now, I'm not sure about the national level, but at Guernsey-Sunrise, we are developing indicators to help us determine where we are at in relation to helping our students be successful.

It is easy to look at test scores from a one-time test and make a judgment as to whether a school is successful. But student success goes beyond one test on one particular day. I agree that test scores are a big component, but looking at multiple indicators provides a more well-rounded picture of the school and helps to determine a direction for school improvement. If you have some thoughts on what indicators the district might use, drop us a note or a comment.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Reading Aloud

I just got through reading an article in LeaderTalk about reading to our children. The blogger wrote about an auther, Jim Trelease, who has written books about the subject. One of the quotes from the article is below:

"As was reported back in 1985 by the United States Commission on Reading in its groundbreaking report, Becoming a Nation of Readers, 'The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children.' The commission found conclusive evidence to support reading aloud not only in the home but also in the classroom: 'It is a practice that should continue throughout the grades.' "

I got to thinking about reading to all ages of children and wondering when we stop reading to our children. Parents of younger students are encouraged to read to their children quite often. I think my daughter is probably getting tired of me asking her if she is reading to her daughter every night. I wondered, however, how a parent might do that with older students.

I'm not sure that older students would enjoy having a parent read lengthy text to them, but I recall reading snippets of information to my daughter, which may be an avenue to start the process. (And I could be wrong on this point, as some older students may like to have that happen.) So, I encourage you to find something to read to a child today and everyday.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Backing up

Yes, it is December already. Now that my computer is back in working order, I can get after this again. That's the thing about technology - it is a wonderful tool - when it works.

I have been taught from an early age (technology-wise) to back up my data. I semi-faithfully do that for the most part. The thing about that is the backup is also technology. I was rather fearful this past weekend when I could not access any of my data on my computer, particularly since I have a paper due at the end of this week for a grad class.

Of course, the zip drive I had my backups stored on did not contain this particular paper, but I did have some data on it that I thought I might be able to use. For some reason, the drive would not open either on my computer or the desktop at home. That got me thinking. How many different backup devices do we truly need for our technology information? I have mine in three, but one was not backed up very recently.

That has me thinking about the possibility of using a fourth method and hoping that some strange coincidence doesn't take them all down at once.

Luckily, a re-install of the operating system brought my computer back to life with all data intact and the zip drive is working. Which reminds me, I have to go back up some data now.