I had the opportunity this week to share a morning with some extraordinary educators in one of John Hendron’s summer tech classes. This one was specifically designed to enhance our ability to navigate Keynote and create more powerful, memorable presentations.
As always, John was stellar. The class was engaging and I learned a ton – namely:
It cannot be said enough: less is always much, much more when designing slides. There’s nothing worse than a presentation in which someone reads a heavy-print slide to a heavy-laden audience…
Look for themes in your graphics. Catchy, provocative images are useful – and always better than text – but they should, themselves, tell a story. Try to integrate them around a theme.
Change is good. Don’t be afraid to use the transition effects to enhance your audience’s reception of your points, especially where bullets are concerned. Having key words dance behind you onto a tastefully sparse screen while you elaborate from your own anecdotes is energizing for your audience. Don’t just throw up a bulleted list – make it artistic.
I’m looking forward to my next presentation, putting to work the great tips I picked up from this class. We are fortunate in GCPS to have access to such exemplary training.
What an incredible ceremony hosted by Mrs. Thurston and her staff in recognition of our committed bus drivers and their dedicated service throughout the year. I am extremely thankful for the work our drivers do to transport children safely and to create a warm and nurturing environment for them on the bus.
Superintendent, James Lane, honors bus drivers at the 2013 Safe Driver Awards Breakfast at the American Legion Building.
I was especially honored to see our superintendent, Board members Mike Payne and Kevin Hazzard, Mike Newman and Debbie White show their appreciation by attending as well.
GHS principal Mike Newman honors GHS driver of the year, Mr. Haley.
I’m thankful for Dr. Lane taking time this afternoon to meet personally with members of the operations team to fully explain recent budget decisions and changes to the health care premiums. Despite a 12% increase to our health care rates, almost all employees will see more take-home pay next year due to the Board offsetting the increase by 7% and providing all staff with a 2% raise.
Dr. Lane meets with drivers, cafeteria and maintenance staff at Goochland High School.
The General Assembly has passed a new regulation requiring specific first aid training for all teachers. As of July 1, 2013, anyone seeking initial licensure or renewing a teaching license will need to be certified in emergency first aide and CPR. Here’s an excerpt from the original memo:
“Every person seeking initial licensure or renewal of a license shall provide evidence of completion of certification or training in emergency first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and the use of automated external defibrillators. The certification or training program shall be based on the current national evidence-based emergency cardiovascular care guidelines for cardiopulmonary resuscitation and the use of an automated external defibrillator, such as a program developed by the American Heart Association or the American Red Cross. The Board shall provide a waiver for this requirement for any person with a disability whose disability prohibits such person from completing the certification or training….”
This is a very positive movement to equipping our teachers to be ready to respond in emergencies. GCPS is working to schedule the necessary trainings to make this requirement attainable and accessible to our teachers this year.
It’s School Nutrition Employee Appreciation Week in Virginia.
Our sincere gratitude goes out to all of our dedicated cafeteria employees and to Lisa Landrum, Supervisor of School Nutrition. Lisa has been recognized statewide for her innovative approach to school nutrition, pioneering locally grown food programs in our schools and being heralded by Richmond’s Style Magazine for maintaining the cleanest school cafeterias in the region.
In particular, the cafeteria managers have worked tirelessly and deserve our congratulations. In Lisa’s own words,
”The mangers have really been the champions….they attended summer and fall training sessions and worked diligently with each staff to insure compliance with the new regulations as well as taking summer classes for their Servsafe certifications. Mrs. Hawk accompanied me to the School Nutrition Association State Conference in March and received additional training on the upcoming breakfast pattern changes, food allergies and nutrition classes to share with her fellow employees. These ladies all go above and beyond their assigned duties!”
One of the topics that finds its way into so many of our strategic planning and mission/vision conversations this year is the idea of what Seymore Papert calls, “Hard Fun.” A few nights ago, during a school board work session on the strategic plan, the superintendent voiced what our leadership team espouses so passionately, that we want learning to be fun.
I’ve attended meetings in the past where people have been skeptical of public school classrooms, especially given the more recent emphasis on creative strategies and a de-emphasis on “sage-on-the-stage” lecture. I join the superintendent in hoping to capture the hearts and minds of our students in lessons that are, indeed, fun.
But it isn’t entertainment we’re after. We aren’t trying to appease children or sidestep the necessary disciplines that students need to adopt as they develop character and learn responsible citizenship. On the contrary. Hard fun in the classroom actually requires those disciplines and helps to establish them, much moreso that its over-worn counterparts from yesteryear.
Hard fun indicates that students are hooked by a fascination and determination that leads them to pour themselves into what they’re learning. If you’ve ever seen a young child relentlessly trying to set the last block on top[ of a staggering tower of several previously lain blocks, you’ll recognize the relentless persistence that accompanies hard fun. It isn’t entertainment. It isn’t easy.
That’s what we’re after. We’re looking for instruction that causes children to call their work “fun” because it’s hard rather than in spite of being hard…
School Nutrition Employee Appreciation Week is May 6-10, 2013. Please join us in recognizing the important contributions that school nutrition employees provide to the success of Virginia’s students. Celebrate the professional commitments made every school day by school nutrition employees across the Commonwealth. The importance and nutritional value of school meals are well documented. For many children, school lunch is the most important and nutrient-rich meal of their day.
Between preparing healthy meals for Virginia’s students, adhering to strict nutrition standards, navigating student food allergies, and offering service with a smile, school nutrition professionals are integral to the success of our students. To kick off School Nutrition Employee Appreciation Week, Friday, May 3 is designated as School Lunch Superhero Day. The day aims to highlight the ways in which school nutrition professionals make a difference for every child who comes through the cafeteria. School nutrition employees must balance many roles and follow numerous federal, state, and local regulations to ensure safe and healthy meals are available in schools. They provide nutrition education to students and use their creativity to make the cafeteria a fun and welcoming place. The new federal nutrition standards for school meals went into effect this school year. These new standards are intended to ensure that every school lunch provides students a well-balanced meal offering low-fat or fat-free milk, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein. School meals also meet limits on calories, sodium and unhealthy fats. The professionals in school nutrition have embraced these changes with enthusiasm.
School Nutrition Employee Week is designated to remind the school community that school nutrition employees are critical staff that deserve recognition. It is the perfect opportunity to recognize the hardworking professionals in school cafeterias. Let these professionals know you appreciate their work.
Volunteer mentors gathered for a celebration of their work with students today over lunch at Byrd Elementary School. Mrs. Albert coordinates the program which pairs mentors with both male and female students. One gentlemen, now retired, offered that “this is the most rewarding work I have ever done.”
Volunteer mentors interact with students over lunch at BES
BES mentor luncheon
Principal, James Hopkins, chats with volunteer mentors
Third graders gathered at GES today to celebrate Arbor Day. Representatives from Dominion Power, Fire & Rescue, and other community members volunteered with small groups of students, teaching them about fire safety, proper cultivation of trees, and much more.
Third grader, James, tell you all about it here:
The program, organized by Debbi Parker and Deanna Nichols, provided students with an engaging experience outdoors, working collaboratively with the Goochland community and their peers from other schools.