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Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Character of Knowledge

I am bad for this, remembering only part(s) or some details of things. Is it because I glance as oppose to read or hear but don't listen (or is that listen but don't hear)?

This clip from Good Will Hunting was shown to myself and fellow trustees at either a trustee orientation session or an open session shortly after I began my first term as trustee by our Director of Education @teddohe. It resonated with me then and still does. Which character am I?

I have always wanted to know what was going on. This led me to be part of our school's Accommodation Review which led me to become part of the School Council and eventually Chair, to member of PIC and finally (I hope it is not the end) to become a Trustee. Information and knowledge are vital components of everything you do. Knowledge comes from experience and information and learning. What you do with this knowledge is critical to all.

I struggle with all the knowledge I have obtained. In this techie & social media society one can become overwhelmed with information. How one deciphers and correlates this information determiners your thoughts. These thoughts are often stuck in my mind as I stumble to share them in a meaningfully way with others. I don't want to regurgitate what someone else has said, even though at times it can't be said any better. What good is knowledge if you don't use it or share it?

I even hinted at similar thoughts back in 2010 with Your Words. My Words. or in July with The Void . It is a common thread through many of my posts.

Which character am I?   As I begin my second term as an AMDSB Trustee this is one area I hope to improve on.  Communication is vital for one's success but more importantly the success of others.  

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Trustee Choice

Every time I start to write a blog on this subject, I feel like I am about to shoot myself in the foot. So be it ! "There is only one way to avoid criticism (failure) do nothing, say nothing, be nothing." (Aristotle)

In business and employment usually the best rise to the top. That is not always so in politics and that includes School Board Trustees. Eight Characteristics of The Innovative Leader

There is quite the hierarchy involved in education plus all the research and pedagogy to determine how and what is taught. Who's Responsible for Your Child's Education ? The roles and responsibilities of Trustees are changing and at times just how to fulfill them is a challenge or staying within the guidelines.

Who should be a Trustee? What qualifications should they process? A quick glance. The Agenda: Overlook Your Trustee At Your Peril Why are they important?

There is some things in this article I agree with and some I don't.  How Can We Get Better School Board Trustees? A timely article. Appoint Trustees or become a committee of council, look at the disasters in the American system. Education becomes political. Is being a trustee a job, maybe the commitment?

Trustees More Than Human Shields  I have thought the same at times and also that trustees are window dressing when it serves the Ministry or Board. Would decisions go over any better if made centrally as opposed to locally? Where or how would the line of communication and dialogue take place? Would it be more top down than it is now?

I have no educational background. No business background. No degrees. I have a passion. I don't have an agenda besides the best education system. No other political aspiration (at least planned). I am acclaimed this election so this is not a campaign speech.

Should you be a Trustee if you have kids in the system? Is there no better reason? Could your decisions be swayed by the affect on them? Should former educators be Trustees? Bed fellows? Who knows the system better but maybe old school?  What about business people? Would dollars be more important than education? What about politicians? Are Trustees politicians? Maybe but no party politics even thought the system is at the whim of what ever party is in power. Should you have a degree in sociology or psychology? Teachers are expected to be everything so why not Trustees? If Board Staff cannot explain and the merits of a program or a strategy or their implementations, are they good? Where does the expertise and knowledge lie?

Anyone can become a Trustee but should they? Four Qualities of People Who Change the World

Be informed. Be ready. It's All In Your Hands  (Site added to post Oct 19/14)

"Engage Inspire Innovate.....Always Learning" Is not just for students but also parents, teachers, administrators, staff and Trustees.

Have I shot myself in the foot or enlightened myself?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Who Does the Imposing?

Monday, August 4, 2014

Huron Skill Gap

On the July 18th my Director and I attended the Huron Skills Gap Working Committee meeting in Goderich. The Four County Labour Market Planning Board Report: 'The First Step: Understanding the Skills Gap In Huron County'.
As in most areas Huron County is experiencing a shortage of skill trades people. The committee is working on ways to help fill the gap in the solo trades or in manufacturing/technology sector. In a way I was coming into this part way through and had a bit of catching up on things as this was not the first meeting. At this meeting we worked on fine tuning the Terms of Reference and Priorities and Actions of the committee. I will share the revised ones when received. Much was discussed on assessment, skills and aptitudes of (potential) employees. There was discussion about schools and 'All Pathways' and if  guidance counselors know &/or do enough to promote skill trades. Also how OYAP, CO-OP, SHSM & Dual Credits open doors & placement. Is there alignment between My Blueprint with other assessments tools such as Ontario Skills Passport and TOWES? Do employers do enough to recruit the right employee and provide the training necessary for the advancement of the employee? Where & when should training or retraining occur? Centre for Employment & Learning
This is just a brief report on the meeting and is from the perspective of a trustee.  Sometimes what you think and transfer to writing do not correlate, therefore ones needs to examine & re-examine what is before you. I believe having a trustee/director/other sit on a non-board committee is an exception but as mentioned to me, it is good community relationship.
Not knowing a lot about My Blueprint and some of the other assessment tools and the emphasis that is maybe being placed on them especially in secondary school, could we maybe be directing students into areas that the assessment 'thinks' they are suited for, ignoring their inner desire. Is there cultural stigma between white collar and blue collar jobs? Are individuals and companies unwilling to do apprenticeships afraid that the employee will jump ship once done their apprenticeship? Government grants/initiatives/incentives verses apprenticeship wages and licensed wages and non licensed wages, all come into play. Will there always be a draw to 'greener pasture'? Governments can do the talk and the walk but it is ultimately up to the employer and employee what the talk and walk accomplish.
There is another issue rising to the surface, the need of teachers for skilled trades. Gone are the days of many schools offering the full range tech courses, let alone on a regular rotation. With the loss of the courses comes to the loss of the qualified teacher. Many of these teachers were probably teaching with only a licensed trade teaching certificate, therefore that is all they could teach. Do you see people going to university, teacher's college and getting their trade license to become a teacher? This issue does warrant attention. 

Below are a view links/articles that are relevant to the conversation.

By 2020, more than 75% of the jobs that exist will require STEM related skills & knowledge.
                       (STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering & Math)

In Andrew Campbell's post '13 Sacred Cows in School' he talks about Seth Godins 'Stop Stealing Dreams'; "He asserts that modern schools “…were invented at precisely the same time we were perfecting mass production and interchangeable parts and then mass marketing. ” Modern schools were designed to produce compliant workers and eager consumers for our emerging industrial  economy."

Schools As Factories

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Void

When I created this blog my intention was to regularly blog/post relevant information or my thoughts on things. As one can see I have been very lacks at that. Why?

I do find my time these days very full and stretched to the limits. But, they say if you want to do something you will find the time. Well I found the time to make excuses.

I do do a lot of posting/tweeting and sharing/retweeting on Facebook and  Twitter. Is that sufficient? It is sharing information.But does it show my thoughts on it or my understanding of it?

Maybe that is it? We have become a society of quick actions, short attention spans and glance reading. I see an article, read the first couple of paragraphs and say to myself "That is interesting". In some cases I don't even finish reading the article and save it Diigo or favour it or like it to go back to later. Do I? Did I fully understand what I just read? Did I take the time to dig deeper and if necessary to do further research? Is it that there is so much out there to take in that we just glimpse at what is offered?

Or maybe is it that I want my writings to be of substance with many links to accompanying articles to back up my writing. Are those my thoughts or just rewriting someone else?. Maybe I would be better off just writing a sentence or two or a paragraph.  Would you still read them? Is the point of my writing to get verification from others or just a means of relaying my thoughts?

This is getting to deep for me.

I hope to rejoin the blogging world. I guess we will just have to wait and see the results.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Board Reflection

This may sound more like a self evaluation, critique or a campaign speech rather than a reflection. 4 years ago did I know why I wanted to become a trustee? Did I know what I wanted to accomplish? All I knew was that I had a desire to try. I had developed a passion for education.
To grow one has to step out of their comfort zone. Becoming a trustee is a little different than sitting on an ARC or being a School Council Chair or PIC member. Could I do it? Did I know enough about the System? Was I about to rise to my level of incompetence?
As trustees we are responsible for Policy & Procedure and leave the operations to staff.  What aspects of operations do we need to know to evaluate the effectiveness of our Strategic Plan & Board Improvement Plan? The questions we ask, even the stupid ones, with their answers increase ones knowledge of the system. The questions challenge and the answers verify what the Board is doing.
Maybe going off on a little tangent here but we all too often hear the word accountability. Who is accountable for what and to whom? As more and more, depending how or if you want to say it, control or power is becoming centralize the bureaucracy may overshadow the goal, education. This raises the question frequently being asked “is the role & responsibilities of trustees and even of local boards pertinent?” The further the leadership is from the base, the school & all,  the further it is from the implementation and the observation, what works.  On the same note the more voices a voice goes through the more the voice will change.  What is said, heard, perceived, implemented and meant may not always align. We all played the game where the first person in a group is given a phrase or sentence and it is repeated through the group to the last person. Is the original message ever the same as the last message? There has to be common understanding of roles & authority for the system to work. Everyone is responsible/accountable to everyone.
I recently saw this title. ‘The Shift from Learning to Read to Reading to Learn’.  I thought to myself how appropriate this is and complex. Lets change it to’ Learning to Learn to Learning to Learn.’ When we begin something there is always apprehension but when that journey is successful there is happiness. The happiness continues as the desire continues. What happens when the desire wanes? Does the Happiness? Go back to the original statement,’ Learning to Read’. Most kids enjoy reading as they grow up. It is for enjoyment/pleasure. What happens when that reading is associated with something else? The same can apply to learning. We all remember those inquisitive & passionate but annoying WHYS of our kids while they were kids.  What happens when we go from the how & the want to learn to learning for learning? What do those WHYS sound like?
We have 5 words for that. Engage, Inspire, Innovate...Always Learning.