Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

I'm back after a week's hiatus due to inclement weather. Happy Administrator Appreciation Week, you all are awesome and deserve more than a week of formal recognition.

Heads up

Thank you all for participating in the Hunger is Heartbreaking campaign to collect items for Samaritan Community Center's Snack Packs for Kids program. We doubled last year's amount and donated roughly $6,000 in food and money.

Matt Saferite has set up a little competition between teachers on Friday afternoon. He's arranged to have The Pack Shack host "Feed the Funnel" parties at BHS and Central Park. There's a jean's pass for every participant. Sign up here. https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DPXGJJG

We dodged a bullet with the latest snowfall, let's hope our luck continues and spring arrives early.

In tonight's #bpseduchat we're talking about Genius Hour / 20% Time. I've arranged for a special guest to pop in and out of the conversation. A.J. Juliani, author of Inquiry and Innovation in the Classroom: Using Genius Hour, 20% Time and PBL to Drive Student Success, will be co-moderating. Questions posted here. Feel free to collaborate and add questions. Chat starts at 8:30 pm.

Wednesday Walkabouts

I'll be at BHS this Wednesday meeting with a talented young graphic designer who produced a logo for edcampNWA. Then I'll be at R.E. Baker to talk about grants. Meeting with teachers is the best kind of professional development because their driving questions always send me off to do some research.

Grants and PD

What's edcampNWA you ask? Edcamps are like a conference without the structure and agenda. While I know that raises anxiety in some, they are highly successful at empowering teachers to engage in professional development. Think of them as geniushour for grownups. Tracy Kincy is taking the lead on developing and hosting our first edcamp on April 11, 2015. Yep. Get the 4.1.1. on education from teachers cross Northwest Arkansas. More details to come or follow @edcampnwa on Twitter.

Google Science Fair grant opportunity

Video of the Week

If you're not smiling after watching this one. Well . . .

Finally, here's a story for National Friendship Week.

One day, when I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from my class was walking home from school. His name was Kyle.
It looked like he was carrying all of his books.
I thought to myself, 'Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday? He must really be a nerd.'
I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friends tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on.
As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him. They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt. His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten feet from him
He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyesMy heart went out to him. So, I jogged over to him as he crawled around looking for his glasses, and I saw a tear in his eye. As I handed him his glasses, I said, 'Those guys are jerks.' They really should get lives.
' He looked at me and said, 'Hey thanks!'
There was a big smile on his face..It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude.
I helped him pick up his books, and asked him where he lived. As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him before. He said he had gone to private school before now.
I would have never hung out with a private school kid before. We talked all the way home, and I carried some of his booksHe turned out to be a pretty cool kid. I asked him if he wanted to play a little football with my friends
He said yes.
We hung out all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him, and my friends thought the same of him.
Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again. I stopped him and said, 'Boy, you are going to really build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday!' He just laughed and handed me half the books.
Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends. When we were seniors we began to think about college. Kyle decided on Georgetown and I was going to Duke. 
I knew that we would always be friends, that the miles would never be a problem. He was going to be a doctor and I was going for business on a football scholarship.
Kyle was valedictorian of our class. I teased him all the time about being a nerd. He had to prepare a speech for graduation. I was so glad it wasn't me having to get up there and speak
Graduation day, I saw Kyle. He looked great. 
He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school. He filled out and actually looked good in glasses. He had more dates than I had and all the girls loved him.
Boy, sometimes I was jealous! 
Today was one of those days.
I could see that he was nervous about his speech. So, I smacked him on the back and said, 'Hey, big guy, you'll be great!' He looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one) and smiled. ' Thanks,' he said.
As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began'Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years. Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach..but mostly your friends... 
I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them.
I am going to tell you a story.'
I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told the story of the first day we met. He had planned to kill himself over the weekend.
He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his Mom wouldn't have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home. He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile. 
'Thankfully, I was saved. My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable.'
I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment. I saw his Mom and dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile 
Not until that moment did I realize it's depth.
Never underestimate the power of your actions.
With one small gesture you can change a person's life. For better or for worse.
God puts us all in each others lives to impact one another in some way. Look for God in others.

There is no beginning or end.. Yesterday is history.
Tomorrow is a mystery.
Today is a gift. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

I'd mention how great the weather has been, but I don't want to jinx it - just sayin'.

Heads Up

Thanks to the generosity of your students, families and staff, Mr. Poore's office is filling up with donations to support Samaritan Community Centers Snack Packs for Kids program. The donations collected help to offset the support not longer received from Arkansas Rice Depot and help Samaritan expand the program to junior high and high schools across Northwest Arkansas. Please remind everyone that donations will be accepted through Friday of this week. Mr. Poore will be working from the roof on Monday, February 16th.

You may not be aware that I receive phone calls from local media outlets all the time looking for positive stories about what is going on in the district. I routinely "pitch" them ideas. Trust me, they will find the negative stuff (or be informed by one of the cadre of journalists in the car line), so if you have anything that helps to polish the brand of Bentonville Schools, let me know.

#bpseduchat returns this week at 8:30 pm tonight. The topic this week is: Help! My PLC is making me crazy. Join moderator Janet Schwanhausser and I for an interesting and important conversation.

Some of you are aware of the goIT robotics camp that was held last year. I spoke with representatives from TATA Consultancy Services on Thursday and they are planning on sponsoring the camp again this year and have developed an option for high school students. There may be an opportunity for collaboration in curriculum development and design of the camp in the next month. I'll be looking for teachers interested in helping to facilitate the camp.

Here's an interesting article about the challenges we all face when trying to move students (or grown-ups) out of their comfort zone.

Wednesday Walkabouts

Wednesday came and went without the opportunity to get out. I was able to visit most building on Friday to pick up Snack Pack donations. I really wish there was a way for the community to have the same access to building that I enjoy. There is such a good vibe in each and every one that makes you so confident that what's happening is aligned with what's best for kids. 

Grants and Professional Development

Act 1294 is still with us and many are looking for options moving forward for students with Dyslexia. Here's a blog post that highlights some iPad apps that may provide help for Dyslexic students.

Video of the Week

I decided is time for a little pep talk from Sir Ken Robinson, one of the best voices arguing for relevance in education I've ever heard speak.

Bonus video

BHS A/V department documentary of MuSigma Inc. decision sciences course. Great example of business community and school district collaboration.

Thanks for all you do, send comments/suggestions, and remember, at the end of the day few will remember what you did, but many will remember how you made them feel.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Hunger Hurts

Hope your week started well.

Heads Up

Mr. Poore's Hunger Hurts food drive (or campaign, if you watch KNWA) started yesterday. We've already received a few donations at the district office. Vicki Lundsford and I will be making the rounds in our pickups to collect what you receive. We hope to get out on Wednesday and Thursday each week, weather permitting.If we can't make it, I'll get to your buildings on the weekend. Here's a video of RBMS students at Samaritan Community Center packing snack packs created by OHMS teacher Randall Simmerman.

Thursday night there will be an informational on Bentonville West High School in Arend Arts Center.

The first #bpseduchat connected a group of people in our district around the topic of project-based learning last Tuesday. The next chat will be Tuesday, February 10, at 8:32 pm. Topic TBD. Let me know if you want to co-moderate; post topics and questions here.

Wednesday Walk Abouts

I was able to meet with a group of students at Fulbright last week. They've started a project largely on their own to organize a 5K race for charity in their neighborhood. Amazing how a committed group of kids can truly start something big. I hope to get out to Washington this Friday, I hear there's some making and tinkering going on.

Grants and Professional Development

Here's an interesting opportunity to present to your PTO's. Matching funding from National PTO.

Interested in makerspaces? Here's the webinar for you.

Think you can't prep for testing without sacrificing your instructional program. Here's another webinar opportunity.

Video of the Week

This truly is a must see. Should be included in any anti-bullying campaign.

Enjoy the day.