On Netflix and PBS: The Address

On Netflix and PBS: The Address

This documentary from acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns follows students from The Greenwood School, a small boarding school in Vermont that focuses on educating young men with ADHD, Dyslexia, and other learning differences, as they attempt to learn and recite one of our nation’s most powerful speeches, the Gettysburg Address. Rated: TV-PG Time: 90 minutes Description (from the film’s official site): THE ADDRESS, a 90-minute feature length documentary by Ken Burns, aired on PBS in the spring of 2014. The film tells the story of a tiny school in Putney Vermont, the Greenwood School, where each year the students are encouraged to practice, memorize, and recite the Gettysburg Address. In its exploration of the Greenwood School, the film also unlocks the history, context and importance of President Lincoln’s most powerful address. Trailer:...
What are kids capable of?

What are kids capable of?

Kids can be so adorable, silly, stubborn, and—well—just plain immature sometimes that it’s easy to sell their abilities short. However, it’s also important to remember what else they are capable of. Here’s a short list of some of the amazing things that kids have done, or are currently doing around the world: Famous inventions by children Earmuffs We might not have much use for these in California, but 15-year-old Chester Greenwood (a native of Maine) asked his grandmother to sew fur onto a two-loop wire he had made, thus inventing the ear-warmers. Braille Louis Braille was just three years old in 1812 when he was injured and lost his vision. Later on, as a 15 year-old studying in Paris, he designed a system using raised dots in specific patterns to aid in reading. Cancer detection In her project, “Development of a Urine Test for the Early Detection of Cancer,” 16 year-old Janet developed a urine test for the early detection of cancer. The use of a urine test for cancer screening would be less invasive, less unpleasant, and less expensive than current cancer screening methods, increasing compliance rates and allowing for the early detection of cancer. The toy truck Robert W. Patch became the youngest person to ever receive a U.S. patent when, at the ripe age of 6, he invented a toy truck. Meet two more amazing youngsters: Richard Turere Age: 13 From: Kenya Position: Inventor Richard’s invention saved his community’s livestock from lions—and it also saved the lions themselves Jaden Carlson Age: 12 From: Boulder, CO Position: Musician Jaden and her band continue to gain fans in Colorado and around the country, even headlining the historic Fox Theatre. Finally, if...
On Netflix: Brooklyn Castle

On Netflix: Brooklyn Castle

If you’d like to see a great film about the power of chess in our schools, check out this award-winning documentary currently showing on Netflix. Rated: PG Time: 102 minutes Description (from the film’s official site): BROOKLYN CASTLE tells the stories of five members of the chess team at a below-the-poverty-line inner city junior high school that has won more national championships than any other in the country. The film follows the challenges these kids face in their personal lives as well as on the chessboard, and is as much about the sting of their losses as it is about the anticipation of their victories. Trailer: Brooklyn Castle Trailer from Producers Distribution Agency on Vimeo. Don’t have a Netflix account? Watch Brooklyn Castle on Amazon Instant...
On Netflix: The Gruffalo

On Netflix: The Gruffalo

First published in 1999, The Gruffalo has become an instant picture book classic. The Academy Award-nominated adaptation of the book currently being featured on Netflix makes a great family night flick! Rated: G Time: 28 minutes Trailer: Don’t have a Netflix account? Watch The Gruffalo on Amazon Instant...
CSBA conference, day three

CSBA conference, day three

Day Three provided more great opportunities for personal growth as a new board member. Once again, I had a smorgasbord of breakout sessions to choose from in the morning, and CSBA had another incredible speaker in store for us at our afternoon general session. My first breakout session of the day was titled Governing for Student Achievement and was was incredibly informational. If you’re not afraid of some heavy reading, you may want to check out two of the publications referenced in the session: Governing to Achieve and Defining Governance: Engaging the Community. In short, the session outlined the three primary roles of all board members: Representative: We represent our constituents, listening to them and bringing their voices to the table. Instrumental: We are elected and have legal responsibilities to keep the district legally compliant to ed code and state law Fiduciary: We are chosen by the community to protect the district and treat its assets better than we treat our own Some of my takeaways from this morning’s session about interest-based bargaining include: Everyone takes ownership over the issues trying to be solved. Key principles of the approach: Mutual respect and professionalism Strong and straightforward communication Honesty and integrity Collaborative problem solving My second morning session was titled Best Practices for LCFF Community Engagement. If you’ve never heard of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) or Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP), the California State PTA has a good primer that can be found here. In essence, the gist of the session was this: There is no such thing as too much community involvement. Parents and community members are a valued and integral piece in the LCAP process, and...
CSBA conference, day two

CSBA conference, day two

Day Two proved to be another excellent primer in board governance. I had the ability to choose from a handful of excellent breakout sessions in the morning, and settled on the two that I felt would be the most beneficial in my own education as a new trustee. Our afternoon general session was must-see TV. My first session was titled Enhancing Employee/Employer Relationships Through an Interest-Based Approach and was presented by Tustin USD; the speakers included a current board member, a former teachers association president, and the district’s Chief Personnel Officer. I found it very fitting that the three different levels of district leadership were able to speak together about interest-based bargaining—a feat which, alone, speaks volumes for the merits of the approach. Some of my takeaways from this morning’s session about interest-based bargaining include: Everyone takes ownership over the issues trying to be solved. Key principles of the approach: Mutual respect and professionalism Strong and straightforward communication Honesty and integrity Collaborative problem solving   My second morning session was titled Best Practices for LCFF Community Engagement. If you’ve never heard of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) or Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP), California State PTA has a site that helps spell out the basics of this incredibly important new school funding law. This session highlighted the importance of including parents, students, and community members in the decision-making process. Some of the highlights of my second session include: Students, parents, and community members should be heard, valued, and reflected in school budget decisions Heard – Really listened to Valued – Their input should actually be used in decision-making Reflected – Feedback loop is...

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