Thursday, February 19, 2009

Leadership at its Best

I so appreciate Steve Langford's approach to leadership. He is thoughtful, transparent and open to new possibilites. These qualities have brought about real and substantive change in the BSD since he arrived three years ago.

I also appreciated his final comments, when he articulated that his key dilemma is determining how IT services can best improve learning and how to sell this to the community as a whole. As a former classroom teacher, I think the key is give to teachers time and training so they may implement changes in their teaching.
He is wise... the money "is what it is" and the equity issue will be continuing issue in the BSD and society as a whole. It is the right battle to fight but is complex and will be lifelong dialogue in our nation.
As a leader, I hope Steve continues to explore how IT can partner with Teaching and Learning and tell the story of how technology genuinely enhances learning!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Is Bill Gates another Andrew Carnegie?

Hello Friends,

It is wise that I took some time to reflect upon Bill Gates' homily related to the ills of teaching. Initially, I became very defensive, angry and somewhat disgusted. Part of my dismay involves my opinions regarding the business practices of Microsoft. I have known friends who are (or have been) employed in management there. There stories echo much of what I have read... 

Microsoft is an amazing place, as brilliant people work there with creativity, ingenuity and as a team... and boy do they work hard. However, my friends also recount stories where the business practices are less than virtuous and, by many accounts, illegal and dangerous to our economy.

In many respects, Bill Gates reminds me of the "Robber Barons" that proceeded the Progressive Era. They introduced new products, created a system of production that utilized new efficiencies and reaped unimaginable profits, all while engaging in questionable business practices. Then, at the end of their lives they turned to humanitarian causes and were given the "bully pulpit." 

One of the most interesting books I have read is the Gospel of Wealth by Andrew Carnegie. In this enduring text, Carnegie talks about finding fulfillment not from money but in humanitarian causes. However, the irony is that this very person who is challenging us to live a life dedicated to the welfare of others did not, in my opinion, do so when leading US Steel. 

I feel similarly about Bill Gates. He is brilliant, revolutionized our world but, at the same time, engaged in business practices I find troubling. Initially, it is painful to hear him challenge me in a sarcastic and condescending tone. Especially, when I am like so many who have dedicated their professional lives to serving young people.

Nonetheless, his message is thought-provoking and correct in many respects. As a profession, we often reward mediocrity and have not narrowed our focus to analyze meaningful data. His ideas are good for us to hear, though I do think there is evidence of many local schools doing the very thing he exhorts us to do... there is just a side of me that does not appreciate hearing it from him, as he hasn't earned my respect on a personal level. 

As Gandhi was fond of saying, "It is easy to be the prophet. The real hero is doing the work." 

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Paul's Words of Wisdom

I appreciated Paul's words of insight, as they are based on experience and an obvious wisdom. Of particular note was Paul's belief that people must be able to learn independently to function successly in the "world of the web." In some respects, this runs somewhat contrary to the notion where we currently encourage considerable group work and cooperation in our schools.

To nurture a sense of independence, I think we must address motivation, patience and perseverence with our students. Clearly, however, it seems imperative we nurture both teamwork and a sense of independent within our students.

Long live Libertarian Motorists!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Rick Dormer should quit rooting for the Beavs! GO COUGS!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Debating Representation

Representatives from various states converge to debate representation. Should states have an equal "say" in our national legislature or is representation by population more fair?

Maryland is represented at the convention

The state of Maryland was represented at Aloha's Constitutional Convention. How do you think the Terrapin State felt about the issue of representation, the tariff and slavery?

The Constitutional Convention at Aloha

Last week our American Studies class culminated their Constitutional Convention. Led by teachers Brian Reichelt and Steve Lucero, students role played delegates to the convention and were divided into the 13 original states. The proceedings were characterized by and in-depth study of the complex issues that faced the delegates and lively debates, among which representation and slavery were particularly controversial.

As you tell from the pictures, students were thoroughly engaged and enjoyed their learning.

Daniel Pink would point out that students had a relevant experience, learned empathy and worked as a team!

Another example of great teaching and learning at Aloha! Thank you to Brian and Steve!