Disclaimer Deleted

Our superintendent was developing his new blog yesterday and while doing so, he stopped to send me this email message (printed here with his permission):

You may remove the disclaimer from your blog. It looks silly amongst all of the other free ideas expressed therein.

I believe that says it all. Consider it done, off the blog.

How’s “G-Town Super Speaks” Sound?

I don’t know who the presenters were at the workshop my superintendent attended today, but based on his recent comment to this blog, they did one heck of a job. Thank you!

And Scott, he’s planning on taking you up on your offer to help start his blog–maybe we’ll even get Mr. Rinaldi as a contributor to LeaderTalk.

I’m posting his comment here so that it doesn’t get lost on the blog.

  1. Charles Rinaldi:
    May 31st, 2007 @ 3:19 pm

I am the superintendent Kim Moritz “called out” for failing to blog. At this very moment I am in a room with two dozen other area supers learning about the ever-expanding potential for technology learning tools.

As I sat through the morning sessions I began to realize that I may be an impediment to progress. Due to my worries for student safety, I have refused to unblock and unfilter access to net resources. Due to my reticence, I have failed to invite comments and communicate our message and mission to a wider blog audience. Because I don’t know how to use a wiki, I have failed to promote the use in our high schools.

We have all heard the old saying; “lead, follow or get out of the way.” Well, it is time for me to do all three. I will lead where I am competent, follow when I need to learn and get out of the way when someone has a good idea. To all of those who wrote to support the notion of a super’s blog, please accept my note of thanks. Consider the “calling out” by Moritz effective. I will commit to initiating a blog as soon as next week.

Like Kim, Gowanda needs an advocate who can share the good news that is G-Town.

And to the NYS Regent who this morning denigrated low peforming schools on the local radio, I invite you to visit our schools and see for yourself that it is possible to be 91st and still do right by children. 

Who Are Our G-Town Readers?

About a month ago, I did an informal survey of readers of G-Town Talks. An unprecedented number of you responded, 68 readers in total. I’m just finding the time to look at who and where you are, and what you do for a living.

Readers who responded hail from 19 states and 3 countries, including Canada, Africa, Israel, Arizona, Minnesota, New Jersey, Washington, Michigan, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Montana, Virginia, Texas, California, Illinois, Florida, North Carolina, Arkansas, Wyoming, and Virginia.

Twenty three respondents are from our school district to include 11 teachers, 2 BOE members, 8 parents, 2 students, 4 support staff, and 2 alumni(sometimes readers fill dual roles). Other Western New York educators include 2 superintendents, 2 principals, 2 tech support, and 3 BOCES staff developers. Across the world we are principals, administrative interns, teachers, college faculty, superintendents, librarians, tech support personnel, researchers, and HR managers. And for the record, my mom, brother, daughter, and husband. 🙂

What does this tell me? That we’re all interested in education, many specifically in G-Town. That’s hardly a surprise. There’s a reason that I’m not reading blogs on when the trout run.

Just thought I should come back to the “experiment” and report out to you. See that’s what happens with readers, I now feel a responsibility to you. To keep writing, to share honestly, to get my word into your ear, to provoke your thinking, and in some cases, to try to influence your thinking.

If you commented, thank you. Makes me feel like we’re in this together. And that’s part of it too, isn’t it?

G-Town Superintendent Responds to Blog Challenge

In response to my recent blog post challenging our superintendent to enter the conversation with his own blog, Superintendent Rinaldi responds,

I knew it would eventually come to this.  Knowing Kim Moritz as I do, I insisted she include the disclaimer “opinions expressed here reflect the personal views of Kimberly Moritz and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Gowanda Central School District” in her banner.  True to form, she challenges all of us, sometimes when we would prefer to be left alone.  But, now that she has laid down the gauntlet a response is in order.

It is not coincidental that after reading the blog feature in Education Week, I began to envision the benefits of using blogs to spread the superintendent’s message.  But I also learned from the article that blogging is rife with problems.  Would I have to censor comments to avoid salacious or false claims?  If I do censor comments, am I then open to ridicule for not allowing critics to rebut my arguments?  Do I want to debate on-line with disaffected residents who believe our school system is ineffective and taxes are too high?  Do I have a legitimate “voice” and who in the heck wants to read what I have to say?  Where do I find the time in a life already bereft of private moments?  Why invite problems into my life when problem-solving already dominates my work day?  How do I avoid having my opinions associated with the School Board? 

I already am on public television two times a month or more expressing management’s views during board meetings and public hearings.  Each month I write an article for the school newsletter.  I attend school events and am a frequent speaker in the community.  I am not convinced Gowanda needs more of me or that I could do justice to this medium.  Someone needs to convince me there is a legitimate audience for my comments. 

So here’s what I’m thinking now, maybe a “guest column” on G-Town Talks once per month?

Superintendent’s Blog

I realized last night at the Public Hearing for the 2007-2008 budget, that there’s some confusion about budget matters within our community. Probably in most communities. Topics that people need to hear more than once to really understand. Things like the library increase that’s tied to our public vote being confused with coming from school taxes. And the idea that things happen at the Board level behind closed doors, when in fact they’re happening at the workshop meetings just prior to the Board meeting and that all sessions are open to the public. Or the outlandish idea that the increase in aid coming from the Governor which understandably increases the budget (even though there’s a less than zero increase to taxes for our taxpayers) might be a bad thing. Who would possibly consider NOT using the increase planned for us to make things more equitable and hopefully, more assuredly, increasing the quality of our education and therefore, our results? And the taxpayer who says that one $48,000 item like an SRO returning to the school could be considered a deal breaker for members of our community.

Seems to me we need a superintendent’s blog. One that can answer each of these questions in a separate, easy to understand post. This would be great PR and a way for the superintendent to get the facts out. I don’t know anyone better to do this than our own superintendent. He’s the guy who explains everything about school finance to me. It’s his thing. He’s good at it. He’s also a good teacher, especially when it comes to these topics.

So yeah, you’re reading it right. I’m calling him out. This community of readers needs that information. After all, that’s largely why we read, because we’re a community of learners who want to understand. Superintendent of G-Town, this is your opportunity, we need your voice here.

“Education Week” Writes About G-Town

So Will, thanks to you and the fact that you pointed the Education Week reporter our way, we have some word about principal blogs getting into the “traditional” media which should, ultimately, lead to more of my colleagues joining the discussion about education. That means I get access to more great ideas from all of the talented educators working hard every day. Thanks to Jeff Archer for a great article.

Leaders’ Blogs Offer Candid Views on Life in Schools

Welcome to the new readers who are linking from Education Week and who are commenting here. Please consider stepping in, reading, and writing–I have much to learn and you might have the big idea for which I’m searching.

Cosmic Forces At Work

Any time I change this presentation, like I have recently with the Tarski presentation, I experience problems. James Farmer at Edublogs is working on this theme, but G-Town Readers’ comments have shown up on the wrong posts. So here I am, back with my original theme. The other presentation afforded me some features I don’t get here, but readers’ comments are the most important part of blogging so we’ll just stick with this one until it’s worked out.  Sorry for the confusion.

G-Town Readers Rock

Thank you to the 46 53  67 (and counting, think we’ll let this experiment ride a while) readers who responded to the referers/readers survey! I’ll give it a couple of days to be sure everyone has responded who wanted to, and then post a summary of who YOU are–and James said you wouldn’t comment if asked. 🙂

Focused On Learning. . . Please

Here’s the thing about working with kids. It’s not like managing employees where we can talk about separating one’s personal life from one’s professional life. It’s all mixed in together and sometimes it’s messy.

Take today for example. It’s only Monday and I spent a good portion of the day talking to students and parents about everything but academics. We have relationship issues, kids who were living at home when they left for the weekend and now are not, ex-boyfriend/ex-girlfriend disasters, Prom ticket sales, and kids expressing their individuality a bit too much. I swear I don’t solicit it and sometimes I wish I weren’t so approachable.

It seems there’s so much “stuff” coming through the door that I wonder how we teach kids anything. Better said, I wonder how they retain anything we teach. How do they even notice us?

I honestly would like to just stop everything and say “I don’t want to hear one more word about what he said/she said or what color your hair is today—let’s talk about your social studies class or what you’re learning in Science!”

But then I know it’s about connecting with every kid. Helping them as a whole child to deal with growing up. I know that kids are sometimes self-centered and that how they express themselves is the most important thing to them, now.

I just want to maintain focus. I want to remind every kid who’s hung up on whatever of our purpose, our mission, our academic goals. It’s my job to maintain this focus for everyone, to keep our eyes on the prize. I just don’t have it figured out yet, how to be supportive and at the same time, say “okay, enough support, let’s get focused on learning now!” Maybe I say just that more often?

G-Town students, someone, anyone, please have a meaningful conversation with me tomorrow about something that you’re learning. . . any subject will do.

Reader/Referer Experiment

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about Jeff Archer, who’s doing an article about this blog for Education Week. One of the things that Jeff and I talked about was the number of “referers” to the blog each day. This is the way stats are shown on edublogs.

Jeff’s colleague, Jeanne, contacted James Farmer at edublogs.org and asked about the referers statistics. Apparently, most blogs follow page views rather than hits or referers. James Farmer responded as follows,

“I think it’s fair to say that hits, in the manner of her site (given theme choice), would correlate roughly to be divisible by 2-3 to page views”

I suppose this means that on April 15, when I had 3019 referers, I can estimate that there were 1000-2000 page views. I also wonder if this means that there were 1000-2000 readers?

More important, it makes me wonder who the readers of G-Town are. I know who some readers are through their comments or through the address listed as the referring URL. But I wonder who’s reading, from where.

So I thought we’d try a little experiment. If you’ve stuck with my post this far, please post a comment to this blog. Right here, right now. Even if you’ve never commented before, it’s really very easy. If you are reading this, post a comment that just tells your name or initials, where you’re reading from, and if possible, what you do. That’s all. For example, I would post a comment that says “ksm from Gowanda, high school principal and parent”. Nothing more is needed, but will tell an interesting picture of who our G-Town readers really are. Audience is important for any writer and I’d love a better view of who you are–your comments will be more valuable than any other stats.

Thank you for participating!