Thursday Jan 18 2018
The Board meeting went well on Tuesday! I couldn’t believe how excited and interested everyone was as I geeked out over edtech integration pedagogies. They had some great questions about the tech or no-tech decision-making process, what ideal learning spaces look like, and how we can create more partnerships with parents and the community. Lots of exciting things to think about going forward! I wonder how long I have to wait before I send follow up emails, holding them to their suggestions??
So I’ve been riding that I-did-a-good-job wave for a couple of days now. I didn’t realize how nervous I was until afterwards, when I was suddenly exhausted. Mairead hasn’t had a fever for a couple days, but she is completely exhausted, not eating much, and kind of a snotty mess. (I’m using “snotty mess” in the most endearing way possible.) My folks watched her yesterday, but it’s time for her to be back in school. I just hope she’s strong enough that she doesn’t get the flu all over again.
A quick recap of the last couple days, since I was so tired that I couldn’t bring myself to thinking clearly enough to journal:
As of Tuesday, we are officially Comcast-free!!!!! Verizon arrived a 1/2 hour EARLY to do the service work, and it took less than 2 hours. I had no internet for about 5 minutes – the amount of time it took him to swap out the routers. And so far we have had zero interruptions in the signal. It’s a completely different customer experience. After I signed up for Verizon last week, I tweeted that I was their newest customer. They replied to the tweet with a welcome and “BXW.” Black and white, indeed.
Tuesday night – on my brand new super strong wifi – I participated in the Holy Cross for Educators Online Chat. The alumni group has a lot of events, but they are often in-person and in Worcester, so I never attend. I was excited to participate and it was an interesting event. We register ahead of time and then log into a chat room. I click “Ready” and it puts me in the queue to chat with someone. When we are matched up, the timer starts and we have 10 minutes to talk. When time is up, we can send a quick thank you message if we want, and then click “ready” again.
I chatted with some really interesting people – I forget how big the “education” field is. From principals, to college professors, to lobbyists, I interacted with about 7 people from different areas of the education industry. A lot of students who graduated in the 2007-2010 range were very open about the fact that they were participating in the chat to find new jobs. A product of the Great Recession, and I hope I can find a way to help them. Most others were there just to network and chat.
The opportunity to network online is a relief. At Tuesday’s Board meeting, one of the parents asked if I’d do a similar presentation for parents. Of course, I would love to! But then she suggested that we could do it as a webinar some night. Again, relief!
While I realize that there is no replacement for in-person connections, giving my time and presence to others means that I am taking my time and presence away from M. I imagine that other families feel the same way. And when that is the cost-benefit analysis, the in-person connection had better be right.
Doing a webinar would allow both me and the parents attending, to make a first connection and decide how to make the most of our time when we do connect in-person. I’m thrilled that the DCD community understands and wants to facilitate positive experiences working together.
Yesterday was a snowy day, but not a Snow Day. So a lot of things canceled and work was pretty calm. After a fun morning assembly with alumni musicians, and with our CIO back, I got in some quiet work time. The CFO said that the Board would like to see a list of items that would help reach the goals and support the learning that I presented at Tuesday’s meeting. So I spent some time putting that together, and had a lot of drop-in visitors looking for support. I left a little early to pick up M – I think my parents had had enough and she was ready to be snuggling up at home.
Putting together the list of resources is a fun activity – but it also required some serious thought. In addition to thinking about what will have the greatest impact in driving our program forward, I don’t want to ask for things that are already built into our future budget. For example, if we are going to lease new laptops next year, then I don’t want to purchase them now. The list is still a work in progress, but here are some highlights:
- 3D printer – the one we have broke, and we need a new one to finish printing student projects.
- our NXT robotics system needs an upgrade and I would love to purchase a younger set that is geared towards lower elementary too.
- VR – why can’t VR get it together and design a system for the classroom? Any set that gets good ratings is single-user or incredibly expensive. And there are a couple systems that I think would work, but they have no info on their websites about how it would work in the classroom to reassure me. I’m also mad that CoSpaces is now charging. I have student projects that I can’t get at because it’s part of “Pro” now. Very sneaky and frustrating.
- mobile learning – I want to invest in carts and mobile devices that will allow the exciting work in the tech lab to happen anywhere in the school!
- furniture for the Adams Lab. This is a tricky one because I’m hoping that our space gets a reno in the next year or two. So I want to invest in things that will work before and after the maybe-reno.
- Should PD be on this list? I can’t decide. We’d love funding for ISTE. This is where I want to learn about “the ask.” If the audience is looking to fund equipment for classrooms that you can see, touch, use, and photograph, then PD probly doesn’t make sense on this list.
I’m technically not “asking,” but just providing a list to the “asker.” But I still want to learn the skill of “the ask,” cuz fundraising and development fascinates me. I started looking up some books on the topic. They covered it briefly at the women’s leadership conference last spring – maybe I’ll reach out to my mentor from that event – who actually spoke on that, now that I think about it – and see what she suggests.
And speaking of PD….our working group had sign-ups for PD opportunities this week. I was surprised that so many teachers were worried about needing too many subs on those days, even though we had already worked it out for them. I can’t figure out if they were using that reasoning because a) they don’t want to go to the PD, b) they don’t see their PD as a school priority, or c) there is a history of shame for requesting subs. Some cultural investigation to do on that one.
Today looks like a day of meetings with a class and a 1:1 mixed in. And I’m tutoring tonight. This student canceled last week, so hopefully it’ll happen today!
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