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Monthly Archive for May, 2008

We’ve been talking about change in our district office. I’m glad to be part of the conversation. I know that the leaders in my district understand the need for change and are looking for how to go about it.

That’s why I was so excited to see Chris Lehmann’s Twitter post this morning about Educon 2.1 at the Science Leadership Academy that will take place in January 2009. Chris is the principal at Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia. His leadership and vision makes this school truly exceptional. His thoughtful reflections on his blog, Practical Theory, inspire me to keep moving forward.

Last year, he hosted Educon 2.0 at his school, an informal conference where many edubloggers gathered to see how learning takes place at his school. As in all activities at his school, students were part of the conference. They attended, facilitated workshops, oversaw the virtual connections (which allowed me to attend a few sessions), and in general, were part of the learning going on. I really wanted to attend in person. I want to see his school in person and participate in the learning that happens at this unique conference. I’m not missing it this year, and I’m going to bring along leaders in my local district. I’m working on it now…

Ideas are coming together in our district. From our conversations in the district office, we are seeking ways to grow and change. Tomorrow, the Superintendent, several Directors, … and I … will be traveling down the coast to San Diego to visit two innovative schools, The San Diego MET School and High Tech High School.

The San Diego MET is an innovative school the holds its classes on the local community college campus. Students don’t learn just from the classrooms, but participate in internships. Mildred Phillips, the principal, shared that all 51 graduates this year will be attending 4 year universities or community colleges. Project based learning is the norm in this school.

High Tech High School is equally based on project based learning. Students study the world through authentic learning opportunities, from working with the San Diego Zoo to building pool tables to study “how impulse, momentum and angles play a big part in society through sports and games.” Wow!

We’ll take what we learn and create our own path. I’m excited. This, and a chance to visit Educon 2.1 in January 2009, makes going to work so rewarding.

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Jeff Utecht, in his post, Schools: Take control or forfeit your profile, points out that many schools carry an online profile, from entries in places like Wikipedia and FaceBook, that needs to be monitored and maintained. Many schools aren’t even aware of this online presence, or might dismiss an article in Wikipedia as not trusted, so not a priority.
It got me thinking about really reading some of the wikipedia articles about our schools.
These are the schools that I could find that have an entry on Wikipedia:

Bell High School
South Gate High School
Huntington Park High School
South East High School
Maywood Academy
South East Middle School

You can tell that some of the schools have student created entries. Some of the articles are really quite good, but need some editing. Others need quite a bit of work. All haven’t been updated in quite some time - probably since our external IP was banned from Wikipedia. There was abuse to Wikipedia articles from our domain, so Wikipedia has blocked the entire domain from editing. This was a few years ago. As far as I know, no one can update Wikipedia articles from within our district firewall since then.

This causes a problem. If no one is updating these articles, then they will never be of high quality.They will never reflect our schools for some of the great things that happen there. Just this morning, there was an article in the LA Times written about an outstanding new teacher at South East Middle School. (Thanks Paul B. for telling me about it.) That should be linked to the SouthEast Middle School entry.

Since students and teachers can’t access the editing features from within the firewall, maybe we need to find other means of updating and maintaining these entries. Maybe students should have this responsibility as part of their homework. For those with internet access, they could be writing about their schools. What could be more authentic? They could also monitor the pages. This could be a shared responsibility between students, teachers, all staff and parents. The community could join together for something positive. This could be a very positive step into beginning to “get” 21st century literacies.

Thanks, Jeff, for posting this article to spark my thinking. I will be calling together interested educators from all our schools to see if we can figure out how to make this work as an authentic learning experience for all of us. I think this is extremely important.

.. Now if I only knew how to find profiles on FaceBook. All I see are students from those schools, but not much about the schools. I’m sure I’m missing something…

Note: After looking at the history pages of all the entries, it is apparent that some editing and revising has taken place recently. However, there certainly isn’t enough there to represent the schools well. It was interesting to see the discussion on the Bell entry. An alumni from the graduating class of 1965 had entered that the school colors were purple and white, and it had been changed by a more recent graduate. It’s interesting to see how those that contribute collaborate on the writing.

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I got an email today announcing that there is a new Chief Academic Officer in our district. Her name is Dr. Judith Elliott, former Assistant Superintendent for School Support Services in the Long Beach Unified School District and former Chief of Teaching and Learning (what a great title) for the Portland Public Schools.

What were the first things I did when I heard this news? First, of course, I googled her. From following some of the links, I find that she is a strong advocate for Response to Intervention (RTI), which supports a three-tiered approach to intervention for at risk students. There are several articles, an interview, a page selling her books, and even a YouTube video of Dr. Elliott, talking about intervention and addressing the needs of all students. She also has served as an advisory council chair of the RTI Action Network.

I searched on Google News and Technorati for her, but to no avail. A Wikipedia search brought up another Judith Elliott, from Canada. The announcement has not yet appeared on LAUSD’s Website either,  although there’s several articles about the budget cuts. I did find a website at http://judyelliott.com/ It looks like it’s been under construction for quite some time. On EasyWhoIs, a site that allows you to look up who has registered a domain, it appears that a Judy Elliott registered that domain. I wonder if this is the same Judy Elliott. Maybe she’ll start a blog some day. :)

Now all I need to do is find out what a Chief Academic Officer does. Learning about the many positions at the top is quite a job in itself. I hope good things will come from this appointment.

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Cross-posted at my Newsletter blog at http://ld6.blogspot.com

Today is National Teacher’s Day. Here’s the good news from straight from Google via Mike Lawrence at CUE:


Google Teacher Academy - at the Googleplex
Mountain View, CA
June 25, 2008

Applications Due: May 28, 2008

Since today is National Teacher Day, we thought it would be the perfect day to announce that Google’s FREE training program for K-12 educators is back at the Google headquarters! Outstanding educators from across the country (and beyond!) are encouraged to apply for the Google Teacher Academy taking place on Wed, June 25, 2008.

Learn more about the program and apply online!

Google Teacher Academy
June 25, 2008
Mountain View, CA

Applications Due: May 28, 2008

I hope many of you decide to apply for this amazing learning opportunity. It’s great to surround yourself with such a wonderful community of passionate learners! I highly recommend it as an outstanding experience.


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