Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Laptops are coming!

Thanks to Title 1 money that the Saipan Public School System (PSS) generously shares with the private schools, all of our students from grades 7-12 have laptop computers. This is a great example of public and private schools partnering to make education better for all students. We should drop the idea that public and private schools are competing with each other, because they aren't and shouldn't. The idea is to share the resources and share the improved learning, not hoard it. PSS has a large amount of resources, but because of government regulations and the large size, it is difficult for them to implement change quickly. Private schools, because of their smaller size, can implement innovation and change quickly and share their success and failure with PSS. Then when PSS wants to move in a direction, they can with confidence after seeing what worked in the private schools on the island. I want to thank Herman Guerrero, Chairperson of the PSS School Board, for his support of the private schools. I would also like to thank Tim Thornburgh, who is in charge of the Federal Grants program, for his continued support as well.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sharing the Wealth

Photo from TaxCredits.net
When I was hired to be the new Headmaster of Saipan International School, my contract came with $2500 toward professional development. I was happy for the access to this money, because continually developing myself and learning are things I enjoy doing. I had made early plans to travel to Malaysia and attend the EARCOS leadership conference. Once I was back on the ground in Saipan, however, I realized that the entire school faculty needed access to professional development; we currently have no funds dedicated to PD. After some careful consideration about options before me, I decided to use my $2500 for the entire faculty. Improving the leader will help the whole, but improving the followers does it more effectively and efficiently.

Step one was to join the ASCD website. For those who aren't familiar, an ASCD membership is a great resource for professional development. They offer online courses, Educational Leadership magazine, and hundreds of educational books from the best minds in learning. In addition, I ordered some books about differentiation and supporting ELL students in the regular classroom, which are areas we are working on improving through our WASC accreditation process. Step two, I provided the entire faculty a short article on the power of feedback in the learning process from our new Educational Leadership subscription. I want to encourage the faculty to begin reading journals for their own improvement and growth as educators; plus, by sharing articles, we can have educational discussions about a common theme with a common language.

We have about $2200 more to spend on PD, so I'm thinking and exploring what other options could work for us. When you share, you can make a little go a long way and help everybody. Didn't a famous guy once say something like that...

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Apple Scam Floating Around -- Beware!

I receive an email from "Apple" today. The first red flag was that it came to an account that I don't use with Apple. The second red flag went up when I followed the link and the URL was not at Apple.com. Complete scam, so please beware!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Some School Spirit at SIS

One of the best parts of my job is attending as many assemblies as possible throughout the school year. I unfortunately missed the secondary assembly where the candidates for StuCo gave their speeches, but Aysem was able to attend and take some great photos. There is another assembly in the secondary at the end of this week, so I will make sure to be there for that one. The secondary assemblies are good, but the elementary Positive Action assemblies are always a joy to attend, because the students are always super excited about the monthly awards; in addition, we have a tradition of singing our school song at the end of each assembly and the students really get into singing. It is impossible to attend these assemblies without smiling. I believe the secondary students actually feel excited about their assemblies, but it isn't cool to look like you are really into it.