Friday, May 24, 2013

Dear Friends,

It has been a few weeks since I last posted. I have been very busy getting my new business up and running and I have been learning as much as I can about being an entrepreneur at this late stage in my life. Things are moving along well, and I am increasingly excited about the possibilities ahead. My website is up and running ( and I am finding tons of resources both locally and on the Internet that are aiding me in my mission of providing high quality personal and professional coaching services to my yet-to-be clients in the coming months and years.

But that isn't really what I wanted to post about today. Instead, today I want to acknowledge that as we celebrate another Memorial Day weekend, many of my teacher friends are looking at winding up yet another school year. I have been keeping my ear to the ground, and I know that for many of you it has been another difficult year. They just don't seem to get any easier. Each year, the Governor and the General Assembly and/or your school division leaders think of new responsibilities for you to take on, and never do they ever remove anything from your already overflowing plates.

Your children are either in the midst of their SOL's for this year or they are about ready to tackle them, and either way, they are pretty much done. They know that the year is over even though the last day may not have yet arrived.

So, I wanted to take a few moments this morning to say a simple "Thank You" to those who are preparing for work this Friday morning. Thank you for all you do everyday for the benefit of your children whether they be eight or eighteen or anywhere else on the spectrum. Thank you for sticking it out in spite of all of the ridiculous demands that are put upon you every day. Thank you for being willing to set aside your own personal lives in some cases in order to be the teacher your kids need and deserve you to be. That is a sacrifice you should not be asked to make, but I know that many of you make it and make it gladly every single day because you love what you do in spite of the challenges you are forced to endure by those who don't get who you are or what you do.

Thank you to the Newtown teachers and the teachers in Oklahoma and all of the other teachers we don't even hear about who willingly put their lives on the line in order to protect their students. It's too bad that it is only when a crazy gunman shows up or a Level 5 tornado rips through town that teachers are recognized for being the heroes that they are because they are heroes everyday, whether the news is there to cover it or not.

So, from one who knows very well the sacrifices you make and the love you pour into what you do everyday, thank you. Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend. You deserve it.

Until next time,


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Dear Friends,

I was just told today that I had been approved to become a member of the University of Richmond
Adjunct Faculty and I could not be more excited. I was allowed to design my own course, and I think it is not only going to be informative and helpful to those who take it but it will be FUN.

For those who might be interested, please take a look at the course description below:

Course Title:  How Virginia’s Legislative Process Impacts K-12 Education:

A Course for K-12 Administrators and Teachers on How to Understand and Influence Education Policy

Course Outline:  Many K-12 educators, both administrators and teachers, have a tendency to want to ignore the realities of state and federal politics because they [mistakenly] believe that politics don’t really affect them. This course is designed to help those K-12 educators learn to understand how the state legislature works in order to better serve themselves, their profession, and their students.

Suggested Catalog Description:  This course probes K-12 education policy and how it is currently impacted by state and federal politics and policies often driven by partisan-  driven policy makers. It explores the politics of public education in today’s world.  Students discuss and debate contemporary issues facing public educators. Administrators and classroom teachers alike will find the discussions enlightening and helpful in understanding the changes that are occurring at a more and more rapid pace.

Course Objective/Purpose & Rationale:  By the end of the course, students will understand how the legislative process impacts them at their district and school levels. Additionally, they will have developed strategies for how to participate in the overall process in a meaningful way in order to better serve their profession, their colleagues, and the students they serve.

Course Format: Two face-to-face meetings are needed for the course to be optimal with the rest of the class being done through online interaction using the University’s online format. The first class will be face-to-face and will serve as an orientation and question-answer session with students meeting one another and learning a little about the instructor. The second face-to-face meeting will be the night of a panel discussion with guests invited by the instructor. The panelists will be experts in the legislative process and will offer perspectives on how educators can be better informed and more involved in the legislative process as it impacts K-12 legislation and policy.

Targeted Course Participants:  K-12 teachers and administrators in need of continuing education credits for license renewal or any interested K-12 professional who has a genuine interest in learning more about the political process and how it is currently impacting K-12 education policy.

Recommended number for student enrollment: I would like to limit enrollment to no more than 25 students.

Readings:  Students will read current events using newspapers, articles in trade journals, Blogs written by educators and commentators, and other appropriate and approved sources that will be discussed each week through on-line discussions.           

Suggested Text: Diane Ravitch’s latest book, which is scheduled for publication late this summer. The title is Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger for America's Public Schools.

Other course requirements and assessment of success:

1) Students will interview at least one  local elected leader (could be a state delegate, state Senator, Congressman or Senator) or an alternative would be to interview a current member of the Virginia Board of Education about his or her position and his or her approach to legislation impacting public education. A written report of the interview will be submitted to the instructor for review and assessment purposes.

2) In lieu of an exam, as the final project, students will be required to write a 7-10 page paper outlining a course of action for changing or strengthening some aspect of the current education landscape. Choices of topic could include school funding, teacher evaluation, testing, the pros and cons of the Common Core Curriculum, the argument for or against privatization and choice programs, high-stakes testing for students, or others pending approval of the instructor.

The course grade will be based upon completion of the final paper, the interview, and class attendance and participation including providing thoughtful and provocative discussion of articles, readings from the text, and current events of the week.

If you think you might be interested, stay tuned. I will be posting later how to register for the course online.

Thanks  in advance for any interest your might have and please spread the word to your colleagues.

Until next time.