Tuesday, January 26, 2010

O Brother Where Art Thou?

I live in a small town, population 1256. Only 3 blocks from my brothers home and 3 blocks from his family business on main street. It's still really hard to find the time to visit, and at our age we should be doing just that!

I get my groceries from him on Saturday each week. He is usually cutting meat or sacking groceries for someone and the chance to talk doesn't happen. It's amazing really, that living so close doesn't help when we try to get together. There just isn't enough time in the day!

Yesterday at work I answered another routine phone call, or what I thought was a routine phone call when the voice on the end of the line said "Hey Pam, why don't you meet me over at LoneStar for lunch?" I jump at the chance to go to lunch with him when I get it so I said "Sure"! What a great time we had visiting and an added bonus my sister- in-law met up with us also. I don't get to see or talk to her nearly enough.

While he enjoyed his steak, she enjoyed salmon, and I enjoyed the greatest salad in town we chatted about things going on in our kids and grandkids lives, what they had done over the past week, and people we knew. I loved hearing all about what was going on with them and where they had been. What a fun lunch it was.

Technology can connect people and ideas but there is nothing like communication face to face. One thing I will thank my mom and dad for everyday is the gift of a brother and two sisters that inspire me everyday. And the nieces and nephews and their family activities are an added bonus!

When it was time for us all to leave and head back to work he even paid the bill! Thanks brother!
O brother can't wait until we do it again!

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Hero but no happy ending

What to you say to a die hard Minnesota Vikings fan after a game like last night?

Tied at the end of regulation both teams had stars in their eyes. Until the famed Quarterback Brett Favre who had right on passes most of the night threw an interception near the end of the game not getting his team in position for the needed field goal for the win.

He has been and still is a hero in NFL history. Last night it wasn't meant to be.

The Saints showed no mercy and kept physically pounding Favre. At one point, it appeared Favre was injured and might not return. Four times, the Vikings committed a turnover.

It was vintage Favre. Like a Western gunslinger, Favre picked himself up off the turf and kept firing back. The game was tied at 7, 14, 21 and 28.

In the Wild West, the gunslinger sometimes runs out of bullets. In this case, it was Favre who fired a blank on his final pass.

The worst part was the Vikings never got the ball back in overtime. It was a helpless feeling seeing the Saints march upfield.

Favre, walked gingerly off the field. But he held his head high. He'd given it his best shot.

So what do you say to a friend who cheers for her team and sits nervously for each game to start? A friend who knew after 30 plus years her team had a chance and watched as time ticked off the clock to end their season one game to soon.

Well, my friend Judy, I will tell you here's to next year! Here's to the love of sports we both share, here's to the journey we will take watching all the games again in pursuit of the big game, here's to your passion for the game. I have loved every minute of it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

You are all MY Teacher of the Year!

Earlier this week, Karen M. Tritt, the 2010 Kansas Teacher of the Year, was presented the keys to a 2010 Chrysler Sebring at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Topeka by Brandon Williams, area manager of operations for Topeka, Lawrence and Leavenworth Enterprise-Rent-a-Car.
The Enterprise Foundation is providing a six-month lease through Enterprise Rent-a-Car to the state’s top educator. In addition to the lease, Tritt will received $1500 in ethanol gasoline from the Kansas Corn Commission.
A Spanish teacher at Shawnee Mission West High School, Shawnee Mission USD 512, Mrs. Tritt earned the state’s top honor in November from a field of 91 candidates. The award will keep her traveling throughout the state.
During the first half of her reign as the 2010 Kansas Teacher of the Year, Tritt is expected to log more than 20,000 miles as she represents Kansas teachers at conferences, conventions, and in discussions with the state’s policymakers. The Kansas Interim Commissioner of Education Dr. Diane DeBacker and Deputy Commissioner Dale M. Dennis were on hand to present the award.

I don't know Ms. Tritt, but I am sure as Kansas Educators go she is amazing with her students and will be a good representative for the state of Kansas.

All educators in my book are considered "Educator of the Year". I have met many as a former school board member and still meet them daily at my job here at the Receptionist's Desk! Please know that in the days of budget cuts and downsizing the respect we have for you is still ever present. Thanks for all you do for Kansas Kids! Congratulations to you ALL we couldn't run a school with out you!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Staff Mashup

I can't begin to tell you how excited I was when I heard about this event!

Fueled by the passion to inspire technology in her staff, Centre USD 397 school district superintendent, Jerri Kemble was excited about the idea of a Mashup on Martin Luther King Day for her staff.

Add to that TEEN Network's Brandi Hendrix technology connections and you have the schedule of a technology training day set for teachers in Centre, Peabody, Hillsboro, Marion, and Herington on Monday, January 18.

The day will include break out sessions from presenters such as Judy Beam from USD 361 Anthony - Harper, Glenn Wiebe, from ESSDACK, and Dyane Smokorowski from USD 385 Andover. A SKYPE presentation from Marco Torres will also be a feature, you can check out his website at http://homepage.mac.com/torres21/TEST/.

The districts will pay a fee for their entire staff to attend the day long event held at Marion High School, the fun beings at 8:30 am. Lunch will be provided, it will be cooked and served by the five superintendents of the districts in attendance.

It takes great people to put together an inservice that will benefit their educators in the technology area and also the collaboration area. The feedback from other educators that day might be just as important to their district as the presentations.

Great educators are lead by great administrators. Their continued enthusiasm to inspire and instruct their teachers everyday takes a load of persistence that has to be adjusted when daily challenges arrive. Thanks to their aggressive thinking the future is bright for our students.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Vera Yoder is one dedicated educator

Today I want to tell you about Vera Yoder.
Vera recently celebrated her 80th birthday with her husband, Dale, five children and several of her grandchildren during lunch at the Inman Elementary School Cafeteria.
She wanted to eat with the kids. She even said she would rather eat with them and her family there in the cafeteria than in the biggest, fanciest restaurant.
Vera enjoys every minute she spends at Inman Elementary.
Did I mention at 80 years old she is employed there as a full time para? She knows it's rare that she is still in the classroom but after trying retirement in 1992 she found that volunteering wasn't for her. She wanted more time with kids.
Vera attended Hesston College and graduated with a teaching degree from Goshen College and taught Home Economics at Windom High School to begin her education career. That is where Vera met her husband Dale. Even beyond her teaching years she has put in 30 plus years as either an aide or para.
Computers may be the biggest thing that has changed in the classroom over the years but Vera says all the kids really need is encouragement, affirmation and love.
She said that she is most satisfied in her job while being with the kids and teachers. She doesn't like to sit around with old people.
A great student advocate, a great Kansas educator, Vera says she will be back next year if she still feels this good.
Maybe we can all learn about the excitement of learning from Vera, maybe we should jump on board, after all who wants to sit around with old people?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

On-line Safety and Cyberbullying Training

Teachers are a tough group. Even with sub zero temperatures today in Kansas, even when their own schools are out for snow day, they still show up for training from ESSDACK's Kevin Honeycutt. Most of these teachers are not local, some have driven miles on snow to get here, but they know with a snow day you don't learn nearly as much as you do when you spend time with Kevin.

Kevin is presenting grade level 7-12 Training of Trainers for Cyberbullying and On-Line Safety.
We are glad to have them. They will spend two full days here to obtain the tools needed to go out on their own and present at schools.

Another case of great Kansas teachers training themselves to help our children obtain with a solid education.

Monday, January 4, 2010

From The Receptionist Desk

I am, for the first time trying the world of blogging. Twitter, I am used to, this territory I am not.

The information you read here you could live without, but maybe it will help conversation at the work place about interesting people doing interesting things in our Kansas Schools. In particular the people who make our schools great.

Maybe you have asked yourself during the course of the day "I wonder how that happened? I wonder who is setting up this new technology? I wonder who had that idea?" when you walk into a school building. Most of the things we think "just happen" are ideas from innovative and tireless staff members who went the extra mile to help their students and staff on their own time to make their schools better everyday.

I was reading with interest about such a teacher recently from Sterling High School in Sterling, Kansas. Brian Richter, a history teacher and coach at the school, is preserving history. He was wanting to watch his old high school football game tapes to relive some good times and He knew there would be others wanting the same thing. Richter created a film room in his garage and has learned to transfer super 8 and 16 millimeter movies to his computer. He enhances the film and transmits it to DVD. His talent has escaped the boundaries of Sterling and is now gathering state wide attention.

Footage can be sent to him on film or VCR tapes and he will send back a complimentary DVD for no charge. Duplicates can be purchased through his website www.oldschoolyou.com.

Brian was also the 2006 Kansas Economics Teacher of the Year. He is great educator that helps make Kansas schools great!