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Thank You Supported Learning...

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  This past Friday, December 2, is recognized as National Special Education Day in recognition of the first federal legislation that ruled it unlawful to deny exceptional children, including those with mental and learning disabilities, publicly funded learning opportunities. These initial laws came into play in the 1970s, however, it wasn't until 1990 that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was placed into law. The IDEA act is currently one of the standards that every person involved in the education field is aware of, as well as families of students in special education programs throughout the country. For the first time, IDEA made it a legal responsibility that all children have a right to public education, regardless of need, and that parents would no longer need to worry about their children being denied an education in their home school district. IDEA has been groundbreaking in the integration of students which has helped to break down stigma barriers, it h

The Other Foot...

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 It's official, the traditional American "holiday season" has begun which brings with it a host of events and moments where people always have the thoughts and needs of others in mind. I often wonder, what would the world be like if everyone had the "holiday spirit" for 365 days a year. Fortunately for all of us, there are millions of people in the world that do, and they are the ones that we always admire and wonder, "How do they do it." You know those folks, the ones that when you talk about them to others you use that popular phrase, "they would give their shirt off their back to a stranger." As the season kicks off, it's always helpful to remember another old phrase, "what if the shoe were on the other foot?" In some cases, we all know that sometimes people in today's world may wonder what it's like to have shoes that fit or shoes at all. Schools historically have taught kids to try to live in a world where you treat

It's Vape Time...

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This is a topic that I have not written about in a few years, but at the request of our elementary leaders (yes, I said elementary), it's one that we should help get some information out there to our families. One of the largest ongoing topics of conversation over the years has been the use of electronic cigarettes and vaporizers (commonly known as vapes) among youth and teens in our society. It may be so prevalent in conversation, that it is becoming "white noise" to many. However, the fact remains that it is a significant problem with children as young as 7, and of more concern is the unknown substances that people are giving kids to smoke.  This is not a new topic as the onset of the devices occurred more than a decade ago and they began to be used regularly by teenagers nearly 9 years ago now. Unfortunately, society at the time was not sure of the implications and the devices and substances used in them were loosely regulated, despite research that showed concerns rel

It Was Simpler...

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  At least once a week, something happens in a school that makes me reflect back to the 1980s when I was a student and wonder what has changed so much (besides technology) in 40 years to create a work environment that is beyond challenging for school employees. It's not just teachers, but unfortunately, school administrators and teachers have taken the brunt of it. Think about your childhood. Did you ever see the principal randomly walking the hallways and visiting classrooms? It didn't happen. That wasn't the job. Today, if it doesn't happen people are up in arms because they aren't visible, they aren't supporting. You know what else didn't exist, state-mandated reporting, an over-abundance of teacher evaluations, and an expected level of communication that would rival what a whole department would be doing in a private enterprise. Then there are the teachers. If you spent a week in a classroom as a fly on the wall you would see that the vast majority of th

Thank You Veterans...

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 The end of this week marks the official designation for 'Veteran's Day'. A day when we pay tribute to all of the women and men who have served our country over the years. Our community, and school community, have several military veterans who dedicated a portion of their lives to protecting the rest of us. Whether it be in times of combat, or in times of so-called peace, these individuals have made sure that the rest of us can live a life that is free of worry from an attack on our home soil. When you are in the military, there is no time of peace as you are constantly working to prevent those throughout the world that wish to do harm from actually doing it. It's safe to say that almost everyone probably knows someone who served in our nation's military, if not had a family member serve. Personally, I still enjoy reading my grandfather's field journal entries from France and Germany from World War II. Take time to thank these individuals and more importantly, l

A Positive Deviant...

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Following the Vietnam War in the 1970s, the Vietnamese government spent millions of dollars trying to solve childhood malnutrition throughout the country. After many failed attempts, 20 years later in the 1990s researchers from the United States determined that poverty was not a cause of malnutrition, however, the manner in which families utilized resources was. They approached their research from the standpoint that someone among the Vietnamese people must be flourishing despite challenging living conditions. What they found was simply that families whose children were nourished well were feeding their children on a regular basis and in portions that were suitable for kids, while those who were malnourished were eating on the schedule of an adult and for portions like an adult. The concept of 'Positive Deviance' was born. Positive Deviance is based on the observation that in every community there are certain individuals or groups (the positive deviants), whose uncommon but suc

It Worked Before...

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 On an increasing basis, it feels like folks in education think that because something worked a certain way once upon a time, it can continue to work that way in today's society. Warning, for anyone that enjoys trying to live under a rock, the world and society for our kids today is not nearly the same as it once was before. We as adults and parents, no matter how hard we try, can prevent society and the world from changing. It just doesn't happen. Technology is the prime example. When I was in high school, we used a computer maybe once. In college, I can remember sending a grand total of TWO emails. You read that correctly, two. Today, I'm lucky to send less than one hundred emails PER DAY. The world is different. Today, everyone has a computer in their pocket and our kids know more about technology than most of us adults ever will. As parents and educators, we have to embrace the fact that society is different, whether we like it or not, and work within it to help our per