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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Comments on Technology and Education

From the Free Technology for Teachers blog:

The great thing about teaching with technology is that it can open new doors for your students. However, you have to be willing to walk through that door with them in order to see those benefits.

The trap too many of us fall in to with technology is that we’re just doing the same things we’ve always done, except now there’s a computer involved. Sure, there are some “21st Century Skills” that students achieve (often times we falsely assume through osmosis), but at the end of the day, showing video clips on Youtube is no different than popping a video in the old VCR. 

Likewise, much of the same classroom management challenges we faced before we introduced laptops to our students are still there and are manifesting themselves in new ways. Too often I hear teachers blaming these classroom management problems on the technology itself, rather than the real root causes. Texting is just note passing. Even with technology, you still need clear and consistent expectations, engaging lessons, and an understanding of how the adolescent mind works. 

To really revolutionize our classrooms, we have to fully embrace Web 2.0. At the end of the day though, the things that make Web 2.0 great- collaboration, peer feedback, real-world application- are the things that have always been the key ingredients to great teaching. The upper levels ofBloom’s Taxonomy don’t change because you’re connected to the internet. It’s the fact that you can now access and create content on an international level, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, that makes it truly powerful. 

In the past, great teachers have struggled to engage their “hard to teach” kids across the learning spectrum. However, we now have a limitless amount of resources at their fingertips. We live in an age of self-guided learning, where students can access huge amount’s of college-level material from MIT andYale. If the technology your student needs isn’t out there, they can create (and monetize) their very own app to get the job done! The possibilities, for once, truly are endless.

We have always known that learning never stops, but now we have an incredible amount of resources that make it easier than ever before. If you’re a great teacher, you’ll still build your learning activities with those key elements like you’ve always done, except that the doors you open for your students will be more limitless than ever before. 

Rock Hill School News For Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012

From Elaine T. Baker, Director of Information Services:

Recycling Off to a Great Start
During the first month of the district's recycling program, 31 tons or 61,460 pounds of recyclables were collected. And, better yet, our schools are receiving money from Rock Hill from the sales of recyclables! Congratulations to all schools but especially those at the top: India Hook ElementarySullivan Middle, and Rock Hill High.  
Attention Northwestern Alumni Educators
Northwestern High School is looking for educators in Rock Hill Schools who graduated from high school as a Northwestern Trojan.
Festival Merit Winners
Congratulations to Dr. Winslow and Glenda Schock who were nominated by Supt. Lynn Moody last fall and named this week as one of six Community Service Merit Award winners by the Come-See-Me Festival Board of Governors. Dr. Winslow and Glenda are co-founders of the annual "Cheer for Children" event, and both have been instrumental in providing books, clothing and other items to many of our schools for children in need.

 Finley Road Teacher Selected Top Advocate
Photo of Martha receiving the award from State Supt. Mick Zais.
Congratulations to Martha Compton, a special education teacher, who was selected February 21 by the S. C. Council for Exceptional Children as its 2012 South Carolina Advocate of the Year. The award recognizes a legislator, parent or other individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of exceptional children and youth. 
"Spoonful of Kisses"
Hats off to Krystie James' kindergarten class and Kaleena Gibson's third graders who recently raised $540 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation by selling 1,080 chocolate kisses in pairs to fellow classmates, parents and members of the Belleview faculty and staff. The children learned how to work together, improved their math skills by counting the proceeds and tried out their "salesmanship" skills, all while learning about the importance of caring for others.
Spring Cleaning
Residents of York County are invited to participate in "spring cleaning" events, beginning this Saturday, March 3, with the disposal of household hazardous materials.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Northwestern High School Jaz Festival - March 17, 2012

Drummer Matt Wilson and his band Arts & Crafts will perform at the 10th Annual Jazz Discovery Music Festival on Saturday, March 17th, at 7:30 pm in the Northwestern High School Auditorium in Rock Hill, SC.  

Matt Wilson is a world renown drummer who has made dozens of recordings as sideman, and has played on numerous national jingles and soundtracks. His resume includes work with a wide array of artists, including Dewey Redman, Ray Anderson, Bill Mays, Janis Siegal, Cecil McBee, Leni Stern, Fred Hersch, Michael Brecker, Dave Liebman, Ravi Coltrane, Mark Taylor, Sheila Jordan, Lee Konitz, Rufus Reid, Ted Rosenthal, Mario Pavone,  and Joanne Brackeen.  

His accolades include four consecutive titles as DownBeat critics’ “rising star” drummer”; “Best New Artist” by the New York Jazz Critics Circle; winner of the 2004 Modern Drummers reader’s poll; and nominations as the 2004 and 2006 Jazz Drummer of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association.

Also appearing on the concert will be the Winthrop University Jazz Ensemble with guest soloist Todd Wright from Appalachian State University.  Mr. Wilson will also perform with the Northwestern High School Senior Jazz Ensemble at 3:00 pm and the members of Arts & Crafts will present free instrument clinics starting at 3:45 pm.  

The festival includes performances by high school and middle school bands from across  North and South Carolina throughout the day as well as a performance by the Winthrop University Jazz Combo and a student jam session at noon.  All the school performances and clinics are free and open to the public.  Click here for more information.

Rock Hill School Board Business Meeting Notes

The Rock Hill School Board held its February Business meeting on Monday, February 27, 2012 at the District Office. The following action items were approved without opposition:

  • The consent agenda of previous meeting minutes, personnel recommendations, facility requests from churches, and 3 overnight field study requests.
  • Approved the administration's recommendation to allow District 3 activity buses to be used for 5 events (Worthy Boys Camp, YMCA summer camp, United Way summer camp, Youth Soccer Championships, and Velodrome Grand Opening). Expenses will be covered for all but the Worth Boys Camp.
  • Approved policies DC and KBC for first reading.
  • Approved policies GBEB and JICDA for second and final reading.
The board recognized the following:
  • District staff recognized this month as Distinguished Climbers.
  • Board members Ann Reid and Bob Norwood for reaching board milestones.
  • Sullivan Middle School 7th grader, Anna Milligan, who won a recent state wrestling tournament. Anna was an inspiration to all. Being a girl is significant, but Anna is also blind.
  • Sullivan Middle School Principal Michael Waiksnis on being South Carolina's administrator of the year.
The board heard reports on the following:
  • Three Mt. Gallant 5th graders showed some of their recent class activities.
  • The administration reported  the energy management program started last year has saved over $1 million dollars. Oakdale Elementary was the star performer, reporting a whopping 54% reduction. Castle Heights Middle School and The Flexible Learning Center reported reductions of 39% and 38%. Ebinport Elementary School was the first school in SC to achieve the Energy Star designation and now we have 12 schools meeting the standard. Our goal is to have all schools meeting the standard by the second anniversary of the program. There was some minor controversy with the hiring of a energy manager last year, but the results have shown a much bigger benefit than was expected. Energy savings were adjusted for changes in heating and cooling degree changes from the base year of 2009.
  • The board received a report on Federal funds used to help negate the affects of poverty in our schools. The largest amount of almost $4 million is for Title I schools. These funds don't show up in the general fund budget or on the state report cards showing the money spent per student. The board does not approve how these funds are used, but as most federal programs, there are plenty of restrictions on how the money must be spent.
  • The board received an update on the process for evaluating the possible outsourcing of our food service program.

Monday, February 27, 2012

SC Can Now Say, Thank God For Alabama

From the Evolution blog:

What Teachers Put Up With

Category: Politics
Posted on: February 2, 2012 11:01 PM, by Jason Rosenhouse
Here's Alabama state senator Shadrack McGill explaining why it's a bad idea to raise teachers's salaries:
If you double a teacher's pay scale, you'll attract people who aren't called to teach.
To go in and raise someone's child for eight hours a day, or many people's children for eight hours a day, requires a calling. It better be a calling in your life. I know I wouldn't want to do it, OK?
And these teachers that are called to teach, regardless of the pay scale, they would teach. It's just in them to do. It's the ability that God give 'em. And there are also some teachers, it wouldn't matter how much you would pay them, they would still perform to the same capacity.
If you don't keep that in balance, you're going to attract people who are not called, who don't need to be teaching our children. So, everything has a balance.
To answer your obvious question: No, he has no problem with raising the salaries of state legislators:
Think Progress reports:
McGill found justification in the Bible for not increasing teacher pay, but he evidently found nothing in scripture preventing him from approving a 67 percent pay increase for legislators in 2007, which increased annual salaries for the part-time legislators from $30,710 to $49,500. He said that the higher pay helped to stop corruption.

Sullivan Middle School Principal is SC's Best

Rock Hill Schools is proud to announce that Michael Waiksnis, principal at Sullivan Middle School, was named this past weekend as the South Carolina Administrator of the Year by the S. C. Chapter of the International Reading Association. Mike, who represented the Palmetto Reading Council, was named as one of three finalists in January.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

How is Your Spelling?

The 25 Most Commonly Misspelled Words

Presented by the Business Writing Center,
training business writers since 1985The Center offers other free online tests at this link: Online Tests,

The 25 Most Commonly Misspelled Words is a list that has circulated among American businesses for decades. Two words have variant spellings for companies using British English spelling. Those two words are repeated at the end of the list of 25 words asking for the British spellings.Business writers can avoid the problem of having supervisors, colleagues, and editors mark words as being misspelled by using the spellings preferred in their countries.
Two words also have variants that appear in dictionaries. However, business writers have clear preferences for one of the spellings and expect to see that spelling in business documents. We want you to know the preferred spellings so you avoid criticism.
Select the correct or preferred spelling in each of the following questions to test your spelling of the most commonly misspelled words.

1. Which of the following spellings is correct?  a) acomodate
 b) accomodate
 c) acommodate
 d) accommodate
 e) Don't Know
2. Which of the following spellings is preferred in American English? 
 a) acknowledgment
 b) acknowledgement
 c) acknowlegment
 d) acknowlegement
 e) Don't Know
3. Which of the following spellings is correct? 
 a) arguement
 b) argument
 c) arguemant
 d) arguemint
 e) Don't Know
4. Which of the following spellings is correct? 
 a) comitment
 b) comitmment
 c) commitment
 d) comitmant
 e) Don't Know
5. Which of the following spellings is correct? 
 a) consensus
 b) concensus
 c) consencus
 d) consenssus
 e) Don't Know
6. Which of the following spellings is correct? 
 a) deductible
 b) deductable
 c) deductuble
 d) deductabel
 e) Don't Know
7. Which of the following spellings is always preferred in American English and preferred as an adjective in British English? ("He has insulin-__________ diabetes.") 
 a) dependant
 b) depindant
 c) dependent
 d) dependunt
 e) Don't Know
8. Which of the following spellings is correct? 
 a) embarras
 b) embaras
 c) embarass
 d) embarrass
 e) Don't Know
9. Which of the following spellings is correct? 
 a) existance
 b) existence
 c) existanse
 d) existanc
 e) Don't Know
10. Which of the following spellings is correct for a page at the beginning of a book? 
 a) foreward
 b) forword
 c) forworde
 d) foreword
 e) Don't Know
11. Which of the following spellings is correct? 
 a) harass
 b) haras
 c) harrass
 d) herrass
 e) Don't Know
12. Which of the following spellings is correct? 
 a) inadvertant
 b) inadvartant
 c) inadvartent
 d) inadvertent
 e) Don't Know
13. Which of the following spellings is correct? 
 a) indispensabel
 b) indispensible
 c) indispensable
 d) indespensible
 e) Don't Know
14. Which of the following spellings is preferred in American English? 
 a) judgement
 b) judgment
 c) judgemant
 d) judgmant
 e) Don't Know
15. Which of the following spellings is correct? 
 a) liason
 b) liasson
 c) liasone
 d) liaison
 e) Don't Know
16. Which of the following spellings is correct? 
 a) license
 b) lisense
 c) licens
 d) lisence
 e) Don't Know
17. Which of the following spellings is correct? 
 a) occassion
 b) ocassion
 c) occasion
 d) ocasion
 e) Don't Know
18. Which of the following spellings is correct? 
 a) occurrence
 b) ocurrance
 c) occurrance
 d) occurance
 e) Don't Know
19. Which of the following spellings is correct? 
 a) perserverance
 b) persaverence
 c) perserverence
 d) perseverance
 e) Don't Know
20. Which of the following spellings is correct? 
 a) prerogative
 b) perogative
 c) perogitive
 d) preragitive
 e) Don't Know
21. Which of the following spellings is correct? 
 a) privelege
 b) privilege
 c) privlege
 d) privelige
 e) Don't Know
22. Which of the following spellings is correct? 
 a) procede
 b) proceede
 c) proced
 d) proceed
 e) Don't Know
23. Which of the following spellings is correct? 
 a) seperate
 b) separete
 c) separate
 d) seperat
 e) Don't Know
24. Which of the following spellings is PREFERRED? 
 a) supersede
 b) supercede
 c) superceed
 d) suparseed
 e) Don't Know
25. Which of the following spellings is correct? 
 a) withhold
 b) withhuld
 c) withold
 d) withhald
 e) Don't Know
26. Which of the following spellings is preferred in British English? 
 a) acknowledgment
 b) acknowledgement
 c) acknowlegment
 d) acknowlegement
 e) Don't Know
27. Which of the following spellings is preferred in British English other than in legal documents? 
 a) judgement
 b) judgment
 c) judgemant
 d) judgmant
 e) Don't Know

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Saturday, February 25, 2012, and Other Online Resources

Click here for a link to the video.

I've used to search the web for articles on grading policy changes. You can see what it has picked up by clicking here.

I also follow several education folks on Twitter - although I'm not always good at getting online very often. puts together all the posts once a day in a type of newspaper format. Click here to see what it looks like. You can also subscribe to the post on their site.

And finally, LinkedIn has a couple of discussion groups which may be of interest to educators,  Teachers Lounge and Technology Integration in Education. Some examples of the discussion are below:

Friday, February 24, 2012

Who Needs Good Public Schools?

Who needs good public schools.......maybe everybody. From the Miller-McCune blog site:

Few things ignite a community quite like this question: if you don’t have children in the local public schools, should you have to help pay for those schools?

researchers studied data from the Soul of the Community survey, a Knight Foundation project that queried 20,000 people from 26 cities and towns across the country in 2008 and 2009 about what makes them attached to their communities and what creates, in their eyes, strong, healthy, and happy places to live.
The researchers discovered a strong correlation between community satisfaction and quality schools. The better the schools (as people perceive them), the more satisfied people are with their communities — and this is true whether they have children attending them or not. This positive relationship holds even after the researchers controlled for other community and individual characteristics, suggesting, they write, that “public school quality uniquely contributes to community satisfaction” above and beyond other common explanations, such as high rates of homeownership or job availability.
The researchers believe it’s not simply the case that good schools happen to be located in good communities. Rather, public schools actually contribute to that satisfaction — and for everyone.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Rock Hill Schools February Business Meeting on Monday

Meeting of the Rock Hill School Board of Trustees
Monday, February 27, 2012
6:00 p.m. – District Office Board Room
I. C all to Order
Approval of Agenda
(Under consent agenda, all action items will be voted on after one motion and second to approve them without discussion. If a board member wants any action item discussed or voted on separately, the board member, before the agenda is approved, must ask that the action item be moved to the discussion item section.)
II. Special Business
  A. Recognition of Distinguished Climbers
  B. Recognition of Anna Milligan, State Wrestling Champion
  C. Recognition of Ann Reid and Bob Norwood
III. Citizen Participation
IV. Consent Action Agenda
  A. Approval of Minutes
    1. January 23, 2012 business meeting
    2. February 13, 2012 work session
  B. Approval of Personnel Recommendations
  C. Approval of Use of Facilities Requests
  D. Approval of New Use of Facilities Request
  E. A ppr oval of Overnight Field Study Request(s) (3)
  V . Communications - None
VI. Report of the Superintendent
  A. Announcements
  B. Showcase Student Work – Mt. Gallant Elementary
  C. Federal Programs
  D. Energy Cost
  E . Outsourcing of Food Services
VII. Review of Work Session
VIII. Action Agenda
  A. Approval of Use of Vehicle Request
  B. Approval of Policy DC – 1st Reading
  C. Approval of Policy KBC – 1st Reading
  D. Approval of Policies GBEB, JICDA – 2nd Reading
IX. Executive Session - None
X. Other Business
XI. Adjournment

Poverty and SAT Scores

A lot of these "new" education reformers try to say that poverty should not affect education performance. Of course, there are many factors that affect performance - but there does appear to be a relationship between the economic level of parents and SAT scores.

From the Daniel H Pink blog site:

Factors that may affect the parents income level are shown in two graphs below from the Cost of College blog


Rock Hill Middle School Honors Choir To Perform Saturday

Middle School Choir
Select choral students from all five of the Rock Hill  middle schools will participate in theMiddle School Honors Choir conceret at 2:00 p.m. this Saturday, February 25, 2012. The concert will be held in the auditorium at South Pointe High School. Students were selected by audition last fall and will perform in two groups with guest clinicians Sandy Holland and Phil Suggs. The concert is free!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Rock Hill School News For February 22nd, 2012

From Elaine T. Baker, Director of Information Services, Rock Hill Schools

Gala Set for March 8
The Rock Hill School District Foundation will present its 20th Annual Spring Gala, "Showcase of the Arts," at 6:30 Thursday evening, March 8, in the gym at Rock Hill High School. Appetizers prepared by ATC culinary students of Suzanne Young will get the evening off to a great start, and then Outback Steakhouse will provide an exceptional dinner. The event will feature student artwork and performances by elementary, middle and high school students from across the district. Click here for all the information on attending this great event.
Appointed to Hospital Board
Supt. Lynn Moody has been appointed to the Piedmont Medical Center Governing Board. She will serve with six physicians and six community members. Her appointment runs through December 2014.
Education Speakers' Series
Dr. Anthony DiGiorgio, President of Winthrop University, will be the keynote speaker at the district's "Education Speakers' Series" at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23, in the auditorium at Rawlinson Road Middle School.  Dr. DiGiorgio will speak on the topic "Aligning Teaching and Learning in the Shift Age."
Employees Invited to Walk for ALS
Patsy Horn, a former teacher of the deaf at several schools in our district, wants to encourage everyone to participate in the Walk to Defeat ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) on April 28 in Charlotte. Patsy, who retired in 2011, has ALS and she's now at home and the new owner of a motorized wheelchair.
School Talk Focuses on Literacy
The newest School Talk television show will air on Cable 114, beginning this Friday, Feb. 24. The entire show is on literacy and how parents can help their children improve their reading skills. Hosted by Dr. Lynn Moody, the show features Polly Wingate (Reading Recovery Teacher Leader), Principal Tanya Campbell (Old Pointe), and reading recovery teachers Kim Simpson (Mt. Holly) and Derek Johnson(Northside).

Monday, February 20, 2012

Microwave Science

Click here for a link to the video.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Science Talk

From the assorted stuff blog site:

Our academic system rewards people who know a lot of stuff, and generally we call those people “smart”. But at the end of the day, who do you want, the person who can figure stuff out that they’ve never seen before, or the person who can rattle off a bunch of facts? At the end of the day, I want the person who can figure stuff out.  Neil DeGrasse Tyson

An interesting discussion between Stephen Colbert and Neil DeGrasse. It's a bit long, but a good listen, especially if you are interested in the discusion about where science and education should go.

Click here for a link to the video.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

What Teachers Do

Saw this on facebook:

Friday, February 17, 2012

Could You Pass A US History Test?

USA Law Quiz
Below is a link to a 30-question test to see how well you know US Law.  Give it a shot, and see how well you do!

50+% of all individuals over 50 failed the test. Take the test and be surprised at what we don't know. 

Click here to take the quiz and see how other groups of folks have done.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Do Rock Hill Schools Listen to Students?

Below is an interesting idea that I found on the ASCD Inservice blog site:

Listen to the Students

Pete_HallWhen I started at a new school this year, one of the first things I did was to schedule meetings with as many teachers as possible. I wanted to know what was great about the school, what was working, what needed some attention, and what our collective hopes, dreams, and fears were. The teachers were incredibly insightful and provided me with a lot of information that drove my initial leadership moves within the building.
It wasn't until I got into the new school year that I realized I had a whole huge field of insightful individuals waiting to share their thoughts, ideas, hopes, dreams, and fears, too. The students! Who could provide a more detailed and rich description of the "state of affairs" at my new school than the students who we were serving?
About a month into the school year, I took two steps. I asked every student to write me a letter, answering a few questions:
  • What's so great about Shaw Middle School?
  • What's working right now?
  • What should we change to make the school a better place?
After poring through hundreds of letters, many unequivocally honest, I made my second move: I began a blog. This enabled me to keep in touch with the students digitally, and at our blog site we could exchange ideas, share thoughts, and keep each other updated.
The thoughts and ideas of the student body are often overlooked. I have made an intentional decision to open my ears and my mind to the thoughts of our most precious clients - and I couldn't be happier with the results. Though we may not always agree, the lines of communication are open and the discourse is polite, respectful, insightful, and ongoing.OYEA_10
Post submitted by Pete Hall, Principal of Shaw Middle School, in Spokane, Wash., and recent author ofBuilding Teachers' Capacity for Success and Lead On! Motivational Lessons for School Leaders. Pete was ASCD's 2005 Outstanding Young Educator Award recipient.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Marlee's Story

Almost everyone has been touched by cancer, either through their own personal battle or through someone they love. Marlee is the daughter of a good friend of mine. Below is Marlee's story:

I am a cancer patient. I was first diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma in 2006, a month after graduating from Fort Mill High School. Barely over a year later in early 2008, I was diagnosed with a rare soft-tissue cancer called Alveolar Soft-Part Sarcoma, and I have been fighting it ever since. I have had surgeries, cryotherapy, and radiation therapy, as well as conventional & research chemotherapies through clinical trials. I have had blood tests, breathing tests, CTs, PETs, and MRIs. I have traveled to Boston, New York, Detroit, and Washington DC for treatment. I've felt the effects of cancer on myself, and have seen it in my friends, my family, and even acquaintances. I hate what I see everyone going through, and that is why I Relay.

I am participating in the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life because I want to make a meaningful difference in the fight against cancer. I want to help put an end to this disease. I want to find a therapy that works for my cancer, I want to see my friends I've met through clinical trials 100% healthy again, and I want to stop the hurt & general feeling of helplessness that follows the word "cancer" everywhere it goes.

Marlee lost her battle this month. Click here for a link to Marlee's Relay for Life page and consider making a donation.

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