Monday, April 30, 2007

Student Permits

When you're a small school district, sharing classes with another small school district, student permits are a necessity especially if the student is active in extra-curricular activities. While it is a necessity it is also a privilege. One that could be easily taken away.

There are a host of guidelines (14 total) that the student, parent and I go over before a student permit is granted. When everyone leaves my office after that meeting I hope there is a clear understanding of the consequences involved if the guidelines are not followed.

Suspension of the license may result from:
* A single moving violation conviction;
* at fault chargeable accident
* a request from a peace officer, parent or guardian, school superintendent (or designee);
* or any other reason
attesting to violations of the guidelines. This could suspend the learners permit as well.

Revocation would occur if two or more moving violations occurred and that would mean two years from that time before you could gain your license.

I handle phone calls from the public and observations from parents and teachers by talking to the driver. Generally we discuss what the person said they saw and get the student's perspective. I then interject why that was (or in some cases wasn't) a violation of the guidelines.

I then request they speak with their parents and we follow up the next day on what was said and if they were given a punishment. I'll call the parents if the violation is serious or if the student is observed by multiple people on multiple occasions.

Some common misconceptions - You CAN transport students from your house to school (and back), but you CAN NOT pick them up; You have one direct route that you can travel once to get to school/activity/practice and ONCE to get back from said school/activity/practice. You CAN NOT get to school then go to Casey's or go home to get something you forgot.

I know we do not have a local police officer to work with to help monitor this, but all it takes is a credible adult and statement for the school to request (formally or informally) the suspension of the student's school permit.

If you want more information it's located in the Iowa Code Section 321.194.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Graduation upcoming

We are fast approaching "Senior Skip Day" (May 2nd - educationally approved of course), Prom (May 5th), the Senior's Last Day (May 11th) and Graduation (May 20th).

Since there have been a lot of requests I'll post the official schedule for Graduation Week. It is as follows:

Wednesday, May 16 - Baccalaureate 7 p.m.; High School Awards Night 8 p.m.
Thursday, May 17 - Quill and Scroll - 6:30 p.m. in Library
Vocal, Band and Art Awards Concert/Show 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 20th - Graduation 2 p.m.

Seniors, graduation rehearsal is Thursday, May 17th at 11a.m.

It's hard to imagine seeing this group of seniors go as the start of the 06-07 school year seems like it started yesterday.

For you parents of seniors I'm sure you'd tell me the same thing about them entering as a Freshman ... or kindergarten for that matter.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Look at the want ads

A stroll through the Sunday classifieds in the Des Moines Register has you walking through many different, technical and non-technical, high paying jobs that need people to fill them.

This trend is going to increase as Baby-Boomers leave the work force to drain Social Security dry. There is going to be opportunities in all areas for anyone to take. Anyone with a strong background in math, science and can communicate (English).

The two biggest misconceptions that students and parents have about high school, in my opinion, is 1) Math and Science are for nerds and is somehow genetic 2) They can get what they need after high school.

While a student can start being successful anytime in life, why not sooner rather than later? Or how about, why not when it's FREE rather than when it's paid for?

So what does "To Kill a Mockingbird" have to do with math, science and technical skills? Try the ability to budget time away from the T.V., the computer, the cellphone, the friends to read and prepare for the next class.

How about reading and comprehending literature so you can one day read and comprehend a complex textbook, or a complex manual, or a complex tutorial online?

"I just don't get math", or "I don't like Science", try "Reading's dumb", the student says.

"He just doesn't get math...doesn't like science...isn't much for reading" the parent says.

"I'm sorry he just doesn't get the job," the high paying employer says.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Technology class wrapping up

The multi-media class, put on byAEA13s own Judy Griffin, will be ending on Monday. The class will culminate with every participant (or groups there off) showing what they can produce using iPhoto and iMovie.

It's been a fun and entertaining several weeks. Teachers have set up blogs to communicate with patrons about upcoming events and one even is using it to communicate with students.

I will be highlighting the accomplishments of the class at our "Community Meeting" in April as well as illustrating where we are going from here in terms of our technology grant.

I applaud the efforts of the staff and challenge them to continue to learn and grow with technology. It's easy to get excited about a new teaching tool, but we are all going to have the technology let us down. The best developed lesson, with or without technology, sometimes doesn't work. Using computers, projectors, power points, dvd, downloaded videos adds an element of Murphy's law not yet defined by Murphy.

Ask Mr. Miller. He produced two wonderfully put together slide shows for the FFA banquet Saturday night. We set the computer and projector up with speakers, tested it, went home, came back and the speakers didn't work. Add a faulty microphone and PA system to the mix and the music in the background wasn't heard very well.

But Mr. Miller did get to burn the slide shows on a DVD for the seniors to take with them. A keepsake for four years of hard work. The glass half-full says the technology came through with flying colors.