TIES 2012 Conference Review

I had the tremendous opportunity to attend the TIES Technology Conference earlier this week and below are some of my key takeaways.



  • Garrison Sites is a great resource (http://www.garrisonsites.com)
  • Simon Sinek – Technology is best when it is used to solve a problem.  The importance of direct human interactions and how those create chemicals (dopomine, etc.) that incredibly drive our behaviors.  Very powerful information and things to think about as a leader.  Very similar to his Ted Talk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-l1CMqORGw&list=UUPmfPl-BsCd3wmE8i45LAoA&index=4
  • Chromebooks – Seem like a great option for students and schools.  Low cost, easy to use, easy to manage, allows for multiple users, intuitive for students.

Enrollment Center Processes Refinement

I had a great visit with my friend Cindy from Carver this morning.  Our conversation was largely about enrollment center processes regarding open enrollment and kindergarten registration.  A big take away from me was that there continues to be more clearly communicated  processes that are understood and followed through by all.  A generalization is that there are inconsistencies in these processes across the district, and that these inconsistencies can cause tension in the system at may levels. 

It is my hope that I will be able to collaborate with building secretaries, members from Information Services, and with Nouny to get everyone on the “same page” very soon.

STEM Specialist Update

Excitement for the STEM Specialist position grew exponentially over the past couple of weeks as a framework of curriculum begins to take shape. The tentative plan is that half of curriculum will be the curriculum that has been developed by the math specialists over the past several years. The other half of the curriculum may be engineering units from Engineering is Elementary (http://www.mos.org/eie/ ). EIE units can be partnered up with FOSS units and provide extension and reinforcement opportunities for students. The EIE units come with an identified scope and sequence, materials, etc.

But let me be clear, the plan identified above is tentative at this time, but the Teaching and Learning Department is excited at the fact that some of the “heavy lifting” from a curriculum development standpoint may already be taken care of.

Afton 4th of July Parade

IMG_7722Today, the girls and I took in our first Afton 4th of July parade. It was a grand event. The city of Afton was filled to the brink with families from the area. The main street through town was filled on both sides of the street as far as the eye could see, or at least to the next bend in the road. The weather could not have been more perfect for the parade, sunny and upper 70s to low 80s.
The girls did their darndest to fill their bags with candy, although Sophia lost her bag prior to the first parade float going by, which made for a sad little girl. Emma did her best to console her younger sister by offering up her own bag for Sophia to use.  Sophia eventually came around and was able to enjoy the hour long parade. The highlight from Madi was that the Volcun mark that was placed on her cheek eventually made it to her white tank top. Let’s hope I can get the stain out before Darcy gets home.
All in all, a great event shared with the girls and Woodbury friends.

LRP National Institute – Day 1 Thoughts

Today was day one of the LRP National Institute on Legal Issues of Educating Individuals with Disabilities (http://www.lrpinstitute.com). Below are highlights from the learning sessions.

On The Brink of Change: The View from OSERS (Alexa Posny)
* Children of proverty hear over 30% fewer words per day than children from homes professional families. Of those words, children from affluence hear 6 times as many words of affirmation
* 57% of SPED population spend 80% or more of their time in mainstream classrooms
* Approximately 75% of students not at grade level (academically) by age nine never catch up
* Universal Design for Learning supports learning for all students
* Librarian conventions have more participants falling into the San Antonio Riverwalk than any other convention goers (I am not so sure about this one, but it was an interesting item)

Behavior and RtI (Diana Browing Wright)
* RtI/PBIS requires a new schema about school, not simply trying to fit it into the current structure
* SPED is like a black hole – Once in, rarely out
* RtI requires a fundamental paradigm shift – Lack of student success is due to a wrong instructional match rather than the deficit of a student
* RtI = Evaluating the influences on learning + Altering instruction to empower and accelerate learning
* RtI definition – RtI is the practice of (1) providing high-quality instruction/intervention matched to student needs and (2) using learning rate over time and level of performance to (3) make important educational decisions.
* Types of RtI Mindsets – Preventive RtI, Proactive and Reactive RtI, and SPED Eligibility RtI
* Catharsis practices have been researched to not work – Cartharsis is a therapeutic technique to relieve tension
* NYU is doing great work on disproportionality
* Schools write too many BIPs for small behaviors and far too few BIPs with the time and attention needed for big-time behaviors
* Effective RtI practice focuses on students demonstrating risk factors versus students with “deficits”
* Effective RtI ihelps differntiate between ABT (Ain’t Been Taught) skills and TIBs (Teacher Induced Behaviors)
* What Hasn’t Worked with Student Behaviors – Layering on additional staff, More attention paid to problem-behaviors (20:1 ratio of reprimand to positive statements), lopsided focus on academics
* Treatment protocol integrity is a key
* Autism rate – 1 in 100 children (males 1 in 59)
* RtI is not old wine in a new bottle
* Do not rely on consequences to shape behavior w/o a program to teach replacement behaviors

Social Networking in District 622

Today, maybe even right now, I am presenting information regarding the use of social networking (Web 2.0) in District 622 for staff, specifically administrators, departments, etc. for the purposes of connecting with those people and groups interested in staying informed about schools, programs, etc. that matter to people.

During the discussion, I shared, or will share, the following:

  • Schools that are currently using social networking tools like Twitter, Facebook, etc.,
  • You Tube videos on the Networked Student as well as Social Networking,
  • Possible policy, procedures, etc.
  • Suggested next steps.

Below are links to a few of the items shared:

School Use Examples


The Networked Student

Social Networking

Policy and Procedures

Next steps

  1. Grant access to social networking sites to building administrators.
  2. Use the guidelines document created by Jennifer McNeil as a starting point for “policy/procedure” creation, if deemed prudent.
  3. Consult with area districts and district legal council for guideance in moving foward on a broader scale.
  4. Create a system that allows for staff and departments to be granted “permission” to use social networking tools.
  5. Continue to research the use of social networking in schools, not only from the perspective of staff, but also students.