Saturday, February 24, 2007

US and UK fall last? Where are our school resources??

This just in this on Valentines Day!

BERLIN – The United States and Britain ranked at the bottom of a U.N. survey of child welfare in 21 wealthy countries that assessed everything from infant mortality to whether children ate dinner with their parents or were bullied at school.

As an expatriate American and a former United States based principal serving in rural and suburban schools, I can now count on THREE fingers the number of times that I have had police officers in my school and office in the past six years as an international school administrator! In my former posting in the US I could count on a visit from law enforcement officers at least weekly. My heart breaks every time I think about that little boy in my office with the hand print bruise on his face, on his back on and on the inside of his thighs and that was 6 years ago. I think he is in middle school now and I hope he is ok. Or the 4 migrant children in the trailer with no heat and no hot water shivering under blankets and eating cold food, all the while suffering from bronchitis and the flu.

Common sense tells me that changes need to happen, and I am not sure who is in charge of these changes, but resources are indeed important. Working in a resource rich environment like I have now has shown me that it does and our schools can work like they should. Just give us a chance!

The Higher Power of Lucky On another note... Doug Johnson writes about the 2007 Newbery Award winning book title "The H igher Power of Lucky" by Susan Patron, which apparently is raising a few eyebrows with the single word- scrotum.

Hmmpf! Read this response from Doug and his friend and colleague who really puts our resource need to the table's edge for us all to chew on! Nice post Doug!

Read the post here at:

Common sense tells me that we all need to raise this question again with our politicians and ascend the conversation beyond what they all believe are the "basics" and look to letting the professionals be just that.... and more!

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Monday, February 19, 2007

13 posts, 1125 page views...

13 posts, 1125 page views...

This was the content of the email from my friend and blog helper Scott McLeod in Minnesota giving me some information about my page hits for my school blog, Elementary and Middle School Pudong Express. I have been participating in the 100 Principals/ 100 Blogs project, and Scott had me all set up and running like the wind in a short few days. I have since added this blog to give me someplace to personally run with some space to do my own reflections, and less about what is going on in the classrooms and playgrounds.

So... why am I so interested in my school blog stats? Frankly it was common sense for me to think that given the opportunity to EASILY post information that is EASILY found and read by a community members would be a popular mode of communication. Skeptics were common, and frankly quite annoying but.... 13 posts and 1125 views means that a lot parents are getting their information from this blog!

Thanks Scott for getting me off the spot and into this world of information sharing. It really is all about the conversations!

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David Warlick Visits Us on Pudong- Session 1 in the PM 2/16/2007

This afternoon, I am blogging from the live presentation from David Warlick currently being presented here on the Pudong Campus.

I dropped in a bit late, and man.... am I sorry I did!

He is now speaking about how information has changed-

In the past 10 - 15 years:

- we've added networking,

- digital media

- it is overwhelming

- flowing without containers.... information that is!

In the past 3 years:

- Conversations have been added worldwide

- Informaiton is reader controlled

- People are connecting with infromation.

CONTENT is Conversation-

Blogging is the best example of blogging 2.0. This is the most popular model of digital communications. What's special about this simple, simple technology is the way it has changed the way we communicate and view the world.

Most interesting to me is the effect that Blogging has become a great way for kids to communicate and write. Kids are begging for writing assignments and that their audience is now expanded beyond the teacher and student (with a few parents added for good measure).

Shanghai American School is really encouraging blogging for teachers and students. What a wave of enthusiasm for our kids and teachers and thanks to my friend and colleague Jeff Utecht thanks to his work with our own blog pages! Hurray, Hurray! We are building a community of learners both in our buildings and on our blogsphere at SAS!

It is common sense to see that an audience of our colleagues (and peers) brings us to be 1) VERY careful with our verbiage and 2) Very motivated to write to a high level---- current blog entry is probably immune from these two points (ha!).

David just noted that 8 million editors of Wikipedia are very powerful. One must believe that this certainly must not be for the faint of heart, but there does seem to be millions of brave folks out there!


I have not setup an XML or RSS feed button on this blog yet. Ok... you can click the link above, but that is not as fancy and cool. I am going to work on it today and see what I can do to damage this site more!

RSS is causing a major shift to find out information about our world. Information is finding us (if we ask) and we can train the web to do stuff that we have been doing ALL BY ourselves. The staggering thing is the tool which the connections of interests and other's connections and links made. We are making what David is calling "personal learning networks". This PLN will help us learn and do our jobs better! I agree with David when he says that he believes teachers should be using this to learn.

His final example when else in our life time is something like this possible. Common Sense would tell me that this will change our world and that of our children!

Thank you David!

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Back from Recruiting!

Whew! What a trip!

2 weeks and about 50+ interviews resulted in us almost filling all of our positions here at our school. Connections being key here, I believe that my own name, and our availability on the web caught up with me! (note: MUCH artistic license taken on this conversation)
Scene: A welcome to our school reception at the hotel in Cambridge, Mass.

Players: Me, and a couple from a school in Kuwait.


Them: Hey... thanks for the email before the fair. It really got us interested in your school.

Me: Oh good!

Them: Yea... we Googled you after the email.

Me: Oh... really (said with great trepidation)

Them: Yea... you have two really great blogs! Wow!

Me: Oh.... great. Thanks. (gloating inside)

Them: Oh... and thanks for the tips on the questions. Your colleague (not to named here) used each and every one of them in the first interview.

Me: Oh.... great. Hmmm... I had better watch what I post on my web. People actually read this stuff!

A little Common Sense goes a long way!