Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Jeff Arnold on No I in Team

Another gem by the great Jeff Arnold,
There is no I in team, but there is in whiner. Jeff Arnold, 2011

Friday, April 17, 2009

Self Reliance in Rural Colorado

What would you do if your school's 60-year-old coal-fired furnace quite working, and you couldn't transport students to other schools because of often snowed-out mountain passes? If you're from Silverton, Colorado you have to rely on yourselves, something rural people know a lot about.

Ellie Gober, 7, keeps her hat on during class at the Silverton School. After the school's boiler gave out in November, students donned snowpants, gloves and layers in the thick of winter, soldiering on with the help of space heaters. (Hyoung Chang, The Denver Post )

The Denver Post's Nancy Lofholm reports,
When the coal-fired boiler in the 98-year-old school ruptured and wheezed out its final burst of heat in November, the reaction in this San Juan Mountain town of roof-high snows and deep-freeze cold was unusual, to say the least. The 55 hardy K-12 students and their eight teachers layered up and kept at their studies — for an entire winter.
Parents and community member brought in space heaters, which were replaced after Christmas by garage-strength heaters situated in hallways and new space heaters in classrooms. The school's electrical system had a tough time keeping up and teacher sometimes had to choose between heat or using computers and audio visual devices.

In an editorial the next day, the Post reported:
The [Colorado] Department of Education and the Governor's Energy Office are helping Silverton install a new, $1 million heating system the district hopes will be more environmentally friendly than that old coal boiler.
Well done to the good people of Silverton, the Colorado Department of Education, and the Governor's Energy Office. Nice job to Nancy Lofholm, Hyoung Chang, and the editors at the Denver Post.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Contracting Services

When school finances get tight contracting services invariably comes up as a way of saving money. While contracting makes sense for short-term services, school boards should be wary of contracting for regular operations.

For example, a school board wouldn't hire a company to supply their superintendent because the superintendent's loyalty would lie with the board of the company rather than with the district. The interests of the business trump that of the school.

By all means contract with a consultant to help you develop and implement a comprehensive teacher recruitment and retention strategy. But hiring someone to run your organization who doesn't work for you could turn out to be disastrous and not be any cheaper.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Creating Positive Perceptions

A key component of recruiting effective teachers is creating positive perceptions about your district. What are teacher educators saying about your district? What are teachers and administrators from other districts saying about you? What are your own teachers saying?

Creating positive perceptions is a three step process. First, make sure you have something positive to communicate. You don't have to be perfect, but there has to be something that people can cite as evidence of your success.

Second, tell people about that success. Have a 30 second commercial about your district that you can give when someone asks, how are things in your district?

Repeat the commercial to people in your district regularly. That way they have something positive to say when they're asked, how's it going?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Rural Education SIG 2009 Program

The Rural Education Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association has put together a great program from their annual meeting. The program includes 5 paper sessions, 2 paper discussions, a symposium, and the SIG business meeting. Congratulations to the Rural SIG officers for a job well done. You can search the online program here.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Quality Program at a Reasonable Cost

A few weeks ago I blogged on the low turnout at rural conferences. There is some good news on that front from Missouri. Ray Patrick, Executive Director of the Missouri Association of Rural Education, reports that attendance at their 2009 conference was up a bit from last year and they had 10% more exhibits. Ray credits MARE's success to their ongoing goal of providing a quality program at a reasonable cost. He has some good advice for anyone organizing a conference.
Quality Program. Our program presentations suggestions go through a committee who select who will present. Our breakout sessions are divided between those presented by our Associate Members and those with educational programs backgrounds. The main thing we tell Associate members is that their program presentation can NOT be a "selling a product" program.

Reasonable Cost. Our registration rate for the conference is $115 for the first two and $100 for all additional attendees from the same district. This rate includes three meals at no additional charge. We also work with the hotel to make sure the rates are as reasonable as possbile. This year's rate was $76 per night double or single.

Value for Presenters & Exhibitors. For presenters, we do not charge the registration fee (unless they are attending the entire Conference as a participant) but there is a meal package for those wanting to have their meals on site. For the exhibitors, the registration rate is $200 per booth with the exception, if the exhibitor is a MARE Associate member whose annual dues ($275 yearly) is up to date, there is no additional charge for the booth.
Keeping these three things in mind when planning your conference will help maintain, and possibly even increase, attendance levels during a down economy.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Free Instructional Materials

With schools facing tighter budgets, a terrific resource for free instructional materials is the Federal Resources for Educational Excellence website. FREE has more than 1,500 federally supported teaching and learning resources from dozens of federal agencies like the Library of Congress and the National Science Foundation. Topics include Arts & Music, Health & Physical Education, History & Social Science, Language Arts, Math, and Science.

One that caught my eye is American Journeys - Eyewitness Accounts of Early American Exploration and Settlement: A Digital Library and Learning Center.