Saturday, May 29, 2010

Tall Ships - Portsmouth, NH 2010

Today Jill and I headed out early to beat the crowds to see the tall ships that came into the commercial fishing pier at Portsmouth yesterday. The tours started at 10 and we arrived around 9:45. There was plenty of parking at that hour, but it was to fill up quickly!

The H.M.S. Bounty, which was made for Mutiny on the Bounty, was the main attraction, but I was more impressed with the Lynx, the "American Privateer". It's 2001 replica of a the 1812 square top sail schooner that operated under "letters of marque" preying on the enemy during the war of 1812.

I took a few shots and headed over to Animoto to create this slide show.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

NH School Transformation Conference

I'm at tlhe University of Southern New Hampshire attending the nation's first state level summit designed to transform teacher education NH.

Much of the conference is being streamed live. You can go to the summit website to find the schedule and tune in. After the conference, the videos will be posted to the website.

Here are some points that have stood out so far.

Schools of education must go beyond partnerships and merge with K-12 to form K-20 systems.

Accountability is done to educators, not by educators. We have to take back and the direction of education from the testing companies.

Every job in the future is a learning job. It's not about teaching. It's about learning. Schools of education need to get out of the teacher prep business and get into educator talent development business.

Tom Carroll, president of the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future presented last night's keynote from which many of the above points are drawn. Visit the site for more information.

I often hear people saying that our system of education is broken. I disagree. It is working perfectly. It is doing exactly what it was supposed to do and as David Warlick points out. No generation in history had been better prepared for work in the 19th century.

The system is NOT broken. It is OBSOLETE. Since it isn't broken, it can't be fixed. It must be replaced by something that works.

Today working groups comprised of state level policy makers, schools of education administration and faculty, and K-12 administrators and staff began figuring out how to built the new learning communities that will be needed in the 21st Century.

The first round of breakouts identified what they felt were the 6 biggest obstacles to transforming teacher education. Here's what the consensus was.
1) Shared vision is the number one barrier
2) Systems that limit the landscape of possibilities
3) Business as usual for public schools and universities
4) Limited clear leadership vision/accountabilities
5) Changing schools of ed and schools at the same time
6) Embedded time for Professional Development

Right now groups are beginning to develop action plans to overcome these obstacles. The commitment is here. The state board and regulators recognize that policy and rule must change in order to allow transformation. To that end, they have already eliminated the Carnegie Unit and mandated performance based assessment in place of time based assessment.

Many of the state's teacher institutions are here and want to retool, but some are not here. Only time will tell how this all plays out, but from what I see, NH is on the right track, but it's not going to be easy.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Dress Code for Machester Teachers

This week the Manchester Board of Education met to come up with a dress code for students, but instead came up with a dress code for teachers. According to WBZ the dress the dress code says,

"No shorts, no flip flops, no jeans.

Brennan explains that if the teacher is wearing one of those items, or the others on the list, they'll be given an opportunity to "put something on more appropriate."

He said the next step would be to put a letter in their file.

Brennan said if it continues, he would look for consideration of insubordination.

Donna McQuade's daughter, Mallory, is a student at Hillside Middle School, and told WBZ that she's happy there's a dress code for teachers after an experience Mallory had.

"She [The teacher] got up in front of a group of parents with the most incredibly low cut blouse," said McQuade. "Her skirt was as short as her jacket and go-go boots."

The school committee debated the dress code for five hours.

Student dress in the school needs to be improved and the idea is to lead by example. However it is imperative that teachers actively work to improve get students to change their habits. Professional development is required and lesson resources must be provided.

At great personal sacrifice, I have worked to find material that will help teach guide students and give them an understanding of what it means to be well groomed.

Through the magic of the Internet, I give you Coronet Film's "How to be Well Groomed".