Friday, July 30, 2010

KASB Lands a Colorful Director

The Kansas Association of School Boards named a new director on July 1.

After serving 22 years in Kansas as a Superintendent, the past 13 at Emporia, Dr. John Heim takes the seat in Topeka to lead the Kansas School Board Organization. John is a colorful guy, if you know him you can't wait to see him coming through the door. If you don't know him..... well, as Martina McBride would say, "everyone who sees him always wants to know him." He is just that colorful of a guy.

Known to be a practical joker in person and on the phone, a recent newspaper article said he was only serious "when he was talking about kids and education". Not a bad quality for a lifelong advocate of education. The son of Max Heim, another longtime Kansas educator, John says he knows the state well having lived in Gorham, Clifton, Colby, Lawrence, Manhattan, Emporia, Olathe, Hutchinson, (back to) Lawrence, Bazine, Hays, Bunker Hill, (back to) Manhattan, Brookville, (back to)Lawrence, Leoti, El Dorado, (back to) Hutchinson, (back to) Emporia, and soon he will reside in Johnson County. He is quick to add his life is like the Hank Snow song "I'VE BEEN EVERYWHERE."

He comes in to this job as a supporter for local school districts. The man who will lead them in the next few years will serve as a common voice for State Boards of Education in the state of Kansas.

School Board members are local volunteers who meet one or two nights a month and do so without being paid......Heim says "They do it because it's the right thing to do. Sometimes it's gratifying and sometimes it's painful, in the past two years it has been more painful," he noted.
I have to admit since I have gone off of my local school board I sleep much better on Monday nights. However, a couple of my co-workers are still out there facing the everyday problems that will help our Kansas students succeed during Monday night school board meetings.

According to Heim every school district needs the following-good teachers in the classroom, support staff to help show a positive voice to the community, Administrators, and School Board Members.

Why would anyone serve on their local board of education? Because they are serious about kids and education and oh yeah, because it's the right thing to do!

Thanks for your direction Dr. Heim. Kansas School Boards welcome you!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

These Apple Guys are Golden

A group from Apple was at ESSDACK last week for the two day summer conference "Apple Technology Seminars for Education."

Attending were 45 of the best "server jockeys" Kansas has to offer. I am talking about the tech guys who keep technology running in our schools. Learning more than they knew, and meeting comrades they will be able to collaborate with in the future are just two of the reasons they traveled to Hutchinson to learn more from Apple.

Just a few days after Apple released the new iPhone 4, tech guys in attendance chattered about the device and how they would love to get their hands on one. One attendee pulled his new one out of his pocket and began demonstrating the new toy to the aaaahs of tech brothers standing near by. It's so much fun to see people thrilled to investigate new technology.

When Apple talks people listen. They have taken off in the education world with their one to one laptop programs, iPods in the classroom, and the new iPad has classroom games like Geometry Wars Touch", that will impress you with virtual sticks created where you place your fingers, and "Words with Friends" a scrabble style, multi-player crossword game. The company knew it was time to hit the classroom with new innovative items students need. It's time to welcome Apple into your classroom.

The Apple guys holding the session here were lead by Adam Shepard a great representative who watched registration flow, visited with attendees, saw breakout sessions were on time and made sure his server guys were well fed. His help included Bret Siegel, Jeff Oshsner, and Brent Hayward some of the best Apple has to offer. They studied Introduction To Snow Leopard Server, Advanced Snow Leopard Server, Imaging and Deployment - Intermediate to Advanced, Apple Remote Desktop, Windows Integration and Podcast Producer to name a few.

From here they loaded cords and supplies and headed to their next stop St. Louis, Mo. where they will do it all again to a new group of techies yearning to learn. Technology in Education from the laptop on the child's classroom desk, to the servers that run them, to the companies that build them, all fit in education now and in the future. Thanks Apple Guys it was great having you, see you next summer!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

ESSDACK serves up McAlister's to Happy Math Teachers!

Many times when people visit ESSDACK for meetings or workshops there is a requirement for food to be served. That is what we are noted for here at ESSDACK, chocolate bars and hot cookies at 2pm in the afternoon. (Oh, and of course the Educational Professional Development!) Sometimes there is a need for a lunch for those attending.

Recently the IMU Math Grant attendees were at our facility for two weeks, requiring meals each day they were here. What a fun group of people! But it's always a challenge to try and satisfy a group of eaters. Some are picky, some are grateful, all are satisfied after they are fed.

One of the choices during the two week training was a delivery from McAlister's Deli in West Wichita, Kansas. It was probably the most talked about meal of the entire two weeks. I called McAlister's and was greeted on the phone by a nice fellow by the name of Mike. What a helpful voice on the phone! Mike answered many questions I had about the catering menu I was reading from and suggested some items my group might be interested in for their lunch.

The item I picked to feed a group of 50 people was the Spud Max Bar. Baked potatoes with all the trimmings. Ham, turkey, cheese, sour cream, butter, green onions, bacon and olives were delivered with huge, hot baked potatoes for the math teachers lunch. You could tell as they passed through the lunch line they were impressed. They asked where the food was from and when I told them they said they were for sure going to eat at McAlister's on their next trip to Wichita.

McAlister's is a deli located in Wichita, Kansas. Hutchinson where our office is located is 40 miles from their door BUT the delivery to Hutchinson was FREE! I couldn't believe it! What customer service! What were they thinking? Hutchinson establishments charge a fee for delivery from right here in town.

I was so pleased with McAlister's I ordered another lunch from them. This time three Club Sandwich Trays with wraps, croissants and chips another crowd pleaser! At the time of that order Mike informed me the delivery price was going to be starting in July. Sometimes things are just to good to last. I will probably use them for more deliveries even with the charge applied. When you get good good food delivered to your office door and employees like Mike to help you, that my friends, is priceless!