I was forwarded a link to an exceptional OpEd focusing on the culture in high school sports. The main idea dealt with the belief that today’s sports culture is overly focused on winning and we are allowing this unrealistic view hurt athletes and those that coach high school sports. Take a few minutes to read this OpEd - http://www.startribune.com/opinion/commentaries/202614331.html?refer=y
Now do you agree or disagree? I agree and will attest to what I also see on the court, in the stands, and at the conclusion of many sports seasons. Most of what I hear is heartfelt cheering for those participating and the coach that is coaching. However, lets be honest, that is not always the case. Even at EHS events you can hear the comments from fans about not winning, their child not playing, or the perceived poor decisions by the coach. Are we not reinforcing that winning is the only thing? What value is their in high school sports of losing, and learning from it? Reflect upon the authors thoughts on this matter,
“Yet “success,” if defined by winning, was only experienced on the final day of the season by, for example, two of the 63 boys’ basketball teams in Minnesota’s Class 4A — Apple Valley and Edina. That means 61 teams in Class 4A ended their season in failure.” St. Paul coach: The high school sports culture, by: KEVIN A. KETO . So is winning the only measure of success? I hope not.
It was just shared today, in a teachers meeting, that sports is one of the best places to teach students how to cope with failure. We coach athletes to look beyond the immediate failure, set a new goal, and finally to shake the hands of the team that defeated you. These values will have more impact on our students lives than winning ever will. They will go out into a world where day to day failures surpass the successes of each day. They must have the will to persevere and know that failure is not fatal.
I want to share a short story of an event I witnessed right in our own gym this last year that has bothered me throughout the year. It was a VB contest which was swaying point for point for several minutes. During the game, nearing the end of the contest, EHS is up by 2 points. The coach substitutes player C into the front row. In earshot of myself and Player C’s mother another fan (a parent of Player B) says out loud “Dont put her in”. Now what was that parents saying, out loud, about Player C? Are we giving her the opportunity to succeed or fail? The next thing out of the parents mouth is something like “What is the coach thinking?”. Really? Maybe the coach is not focusing on the WIN but on putting Player C in a position to succeed or fail. Each athlete deserves the opportunity to learn both from success and failure. Lastly, what a huge blow the the parent of Player C sitting in the stands, how awful to have to hear that from another EHS fan. In this story, which was a C squad VB game, the player made a couple mistakes, but stayed in and in the end contributed to a close win for EHS. They persevered, they were given the opportunity to fail, which was ok.
I want to conclude by stating, I fear these types of views often lead to over criticism of coaches. I agree with the author when he said,
“Contrary to what some might believe, coaches do not congregate in their offices and decide how they can inflict the most emotional damage to the young athletes with whom they’ve chosen to spend three months. Nor do they make decisions about playing time with a goal to embarrass or belittle the same young men and women for whom they’re writing letters of recommendations. And they certainly don’t hatch evil plans to select seniors for the team with the intent to coerce them into raising funds to be spent on underclassmen.” St. Paul coach: The high school sports culture, by: KEVIN A. KETO
If you have been in the position of a coach you know this is true. I just wish the people in the stands would hold their tongues, reflect upon this thought, and remember these are only 14-18 year old kids that are doing their very best to WIN and more often than not learn from LOSING. The coach is doing their very best to WIN but also TEACH all their athletes to appreciate the game, gain life long skills, and even in the face of FAILURE persevere.
One of the major topics being discussed in the legislature this year is how to reduce local property tax. Following the defeat of the property taxation vote in the fall of 2012 it is no wonder why the legislature has their ears up on this issue. I would like to take a few lines to share what is being discussed, at this time, and their implications on your school district.
The first is property tax reduction, which is a key component of the Governor’s education bill. As has been done previously the legislature is seeking a mechanism to deliver local property tax relief. For those that remember in 2008-2009 the Ellendale School District levied 179.45 mills for the general fund (max at that time was 185). After that buy down program mills dropped to 104.95 in 2009-2010 (new maximum was 110). Since that time mills have held steady or dropped as was the case this present year as the general fund levy settled out at 94.68 mills. So over the course of these 4 years the mill levy has dropped nearly 47%. The legislature in HB1319 is now proposing to buy down general fund taxes to a new maximum of 92 mills. I realize that is not a significant buy down since Ellendale is very near that level right now but they are trying. There are provisions to drop that level even lower but at this time that is a discussion in the Senate.
Personally, I do support the concept of buying down local property tax. I am not a huge fan of always using the education formula to do it. A is my view due to a long list of reason focusing on some legislatures desire to weed out many small schools. None the less, I believe our state is doing well financially and that if the money is not being used for the common good then it should be in the hands of the people who earn it, all of us.
The other bills worth a few comments are HB 1290 and HB 1465. Both of these bills aim to reduce the growth of political subdivisions. Each sets a restriction on growth of dollars requested by taxation. Both of the bills dabble around a 3% limit. In each bill limits are set and growth is not available without a will of the people by a 55 or 60% approval. My concern is who is watching the hen house, the legislature or us. I am not a fan of rules from the federal government. In fact, I think the lower on the totem pole those take place I think the better. So should it not be us that tells our School Board, City Council, and County Commission if taxes are rising too fast and what is important or not. In particular the Governor’s new education funding bill deducts monies from their payment to the school based on how much is collected locally in property tax. Thus if property tax valuations would rise, as they have, 10-15% the state would deduct that much more from their payment to the school. The district would then be forced to cut programs since it would only be able to make up 3-5% of those funds due to the growth limitations. Again, I understand the intent, I understand the desire to not have other agencies gobble up any tax relief being provided, I get it. I just worry that local control is being taken away. I believe it is us that should decide if we need to fix a road, build a park, hire a cop, or hire a teacher, and then it is our responsibility to pay for it.
There is a good article on the tax limitation bills at http://www.jamestownsun.com/event/article/id/181213/group/News/?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=t.co
I hope many of you took the opportunity to attend the recent District 5 BBB Tournament in Ellendale. It was a stellar success and wonderful opportunity for our community and school to shine. Our athletes performed splendidly taking 2nd place and advancing on to region play next week. In addition many of our guests and visitors commented on how much they enjoyed the facility, the hospitality, and wonderful Class B atmosphere we provided.
For those that may not know this is the first district boys tournament to be held outside the Jamestown Civic Center since the mid 1970′s. Leading up to the bond election of 2010 many community members asked about the possibility of getting this tournament back into our local communities. It was a frequent question in the months before the election. I want to say THANK YOU again to all that supported that endeavor and to say, “Your wish has come true”. Only with your support in 2010, patience during the construction, and persistence by school officials to get the district 5 member schools to give us a chance to host, did this tournament become a reality. We did it and I think we did it exceptionally well. At the conclusion of the tournament there were numerous parents and officials that praised our efforts. Game officials praised our teams and school officials for their fine work. If you watched the televised broadcast on BEK you heard the numerous praises from the broadcasters not only on the quality of our facility but the quality of our people. We did it and we did it with Ellendale class.
Thanks again to all that made the District 5 Boy BB Tournament a smashing success. Thank you to the entire community of Ellendale for supporting your school and the construction of this facility. Thank you to each and every worker and volunteer that gave their all to making this tournament run smoothly. Thank you to those that helped in the concession stand your efforts were widely praised. Thank you to those that provided refreshments to teams and coaches, it was appreciated. Thank you to school administrators from all the district 5 school for your hard work and patience. Thank you everyone for attending, we hope you enjoyed your time with us.
I want to begin by saying this blog post is being written exclusively in an attempt to calm fears, inform, and is a reaction to complaints. Not always the best reason to write a post, but in this instance it is what I feel is necessary for the best opportunities for our children.
I am well aware of the concerns from parents, teachers, and coaches of the large number of pee wee’s at practice on Monday. This number was not unexpected but in no way did the coach, Mr. Herman, or Mrs. Sell know exactly how many athletes to expect. The admin team did discuss hiring a 2nd coach but we held on hiring for a few reasons, which I will explain. Lastly, we wanted to see how many mom and dad’s would be there to help. There has been strong volunteer help in the past and we needed to get a handle on this again.
Coaching of the pee-wee position has been difficult to fill. I want to THANK Mr. Flynn for taking on this job. He was our only candidate that applied and we are so glad to have him in the program. As I indicated before we did talk about the need to have more help. We discussed options but with no other coaching applicants we did not feel it right to hold the program waiting for more applicants. Being a coach takes time and energy that is hard to give, I know because I have done it. But, the lack of interest in this position is putting the school in a difficult situation. I admired the interest shown last year during the THUNDER meetings of those that wanted to help with this vital program. We do really need you! If you are willing to coach we need you to apply. It should be known that school policy requires coaches education for all coaches, including pee-wee, but this should not scare any good candidates away.
In response to Monday Mrs. Sell and Mr. Herman have indicated there is no more practice for K-2 kids. This is NOT permanent. It is only a short term fix while we work with Coach Flynn to arrange more volunteers, consider alternate practice schedules, and find a solution to this problem. I know Mr. Herman is today working at contact those that indicated they would volunteer. He is working with Coach Flynn to discuss practice arrangements, and to solve this issue. We have discussed alternate days for practices or even having two separate practices per night. I would like to know from parents, what do you think? Would you prefer a 3:30 practice M-W-F for older, T-Th for younger OR an early practice 3:30-4:30 for one group and 4:30 to 5:30 for another group. I have discussed it with Mr. Herman today and we really felt we need parent input on this as it will cause travel issues for families.
Lastly, you can take this for what it is worth but the PEE-WEE program is vital for the future of the THUNDER. The THUNDER are important and we will support them. Mr. Herman has my blessing to hire additional coaches, we will reschedule practices to accommodate the interested athletes, but we need YOU! Many admire the OAKES program, I know I do. I think Coach Schall and Oakes are doing it right. And, for their PEE-WEE program they have community and parent volunteers ONLY that make it work and be the success it is. We need YOU! If you have a desire to help please contact Mr. Herman or Mrs. Sell today.
Little guy K-2 pee-wee wrestling will return. It is not shut down forever. But we need to solve some issues before we try it again. It makes no sense to have a repeat of Monday when we can change it temporarily so the ones present gain from the experience. Again, Mr. Herman and Mrs. Sell have my support and I agree with their reaction to a difficult situation.
I am pleased to announce that the Ellendale School Board approved, at its January meeting, a membership request to join the Southeast Region Career & Technology Center in Oakes. Membership to the SRCTC will afford Ellendale juniors and seniors the opportunity to take numerous vocational and career courses including Ag Science, Web Design, Marketing, Auto Tech, and more. In late January the SRCTC board approved Ellendale Schools request for membership thus allowing our students to begin taking courses in the fall of 2013. Sophmore and juniors will have the opportunity in February to take a tour of the facility as they prepare to enroll for classes next year. Students taking the opportunity to take courses will complete them during the first two periods of each day next year. Students will be transported in the morning by bus and returned to EHS during third period.
The center, which is directed by Mr. Kraig Steinhoff, presented to the Ellendale School Board earlier in the year the many benefits of their programs along with cost estimates. The school board again approved their proposal in January and will be paying an annual membership to the center that will be near $58,000. Membership in the center is a wise financial move for the district, as this wide variety of vocational courses would require 5 separate teachers at EHS, costing well in excess of membership proposed by SRCTC. In addition the center is always enhancing their programs and working to provide even more opportunities for students.
Many of you may have been surprised to see the “Good Old” printed newsletter back in your mailbox last week. This change was due in part to a concern from Administration and Ellendale School Board that some are not seeing important announcements because they either trash the newsletter quickly or maybe have it set to SPAM (Gasp!). The Admin Team also dealt with a similar issue earlier this year when we decided to again send out the paper copy of progress and report cards. Similarly to the newsletter we felt more parents were uninformed of their child’s progress when only using the e-version than previously with paper only.
From this point forward we will, despite not being as green as we were, send out paper copies of the newsletter to each family. In addition we will continue to send out an email copy to each person registered within SchoolReach as we have been doing recently. If you are NOT receiving an email copy please contact the office so we can enter your email address in PowerSchool for you. Lastly, the newsletter will always be available via the EPS web site using the Newsletter link on the top. This way we hope to take away any reasons a family is not fully informed of the many fabulous event happening at your child’s school.
In no way have the previous school shootings been easy or were those children worth less than those from Newtown CT but, this massacre hurt more. The video of primary aged students being rushed from their school and the pictures of those lost tore at my heart. How dare someone, anyone, take their hatred out on these children. How dare they go after our most innocent. How could they see an elementary school as the target of their vengeance or retribution. Those children, teachers, and adults lost in Newtown last week break my heart and I am unable to craft words to express the deepness of my sorrow for their families and community that have to rebuild and persevere today.
I praise Sandy Hook’s teachers and staff for being prepared. Even though so many were lost the heroic acts of so many at Sandy Hook surely saved lives. I reflect today upon what has become of the teaching profession when we have to expect our teachers to not only be masters of pedagogy but also hand to hand combat. I grew up in a family of teachers and am married to a teacher. We all pursued this trade because we believed we can make a difference in young peoples lives. I don’t recall thinking that this difference would be saving their lives as a human shield. Is this what we have evolved into? Is this the new normal in education?
Sandy Hook is also a perfect example of when a school does it all right and in the end it does not stop the insanity. The accounts of their planning, practice, and security measures would put many schools to shame. They did it right! Yet, this insane person was still able to gain access and complete his ruthless task. Must schools install steel doors, bulletproof windows, even more cameras, and restrict access? These thoughts have swam around in my brain all day as I think about what my school has and has not done. We have to be diligent. We have to be prepared. We have to open our eyes and ears to find those that might be planning such horror. Yet, as in Sandy Hook it could all be for naught. The determined shooter may still gain access. Again, this makes me so sad and confused. What should we do? I personally don’t know right now what must be done, but we must do something.
We have been talking to our kids today. They are scared and confused and we are listening, reassuring, and helping them. Faculty and staff are talking and looking at our procedures in a new light. We will be practicing even more. We will be working to build better relationships with EMS, Fire, and Law Enforcement than we already have. We will be evaluating our security procedures over the next few weeks to ensure we are prepared as was Sandy Hook. But, I realize all this cannot guarantee success. I don’t know what can. In the end I must just PRAY. I PRAY for the community of Newtown, the first responders, the families of those that lost a child, teacher and staff, I pray for you. I PRAY the WORLD will return to a more civilized state where arguments or grief are not satisfied with a gun, but words. I PRAY for peace. I PRAY for young lives taken much too soon.
As a followup to the DC trip I was contacted by Mr. Josh Siedemann who asked if he could quote some of my thoughts on his blog. He entitled it “The Things We Treasure”. http://www.ntca.org/new-edge/policy/the-things-we-treasure
PS.. I did inform him that our first pick up time was not 6:30 but more like 6:55 but it is his blog not mine. Aside from that I agree completely.
I had the opportunity to support DRN last week during a series of meetings at the FCC, Rural Utility Services, and the White House to promote broadband installation and adoption in rural America. Mr. Jeff Wilson, DRN CEO, and I both shared our story concerning our wonderful small town and how broadband, provided by DRN, is changing how our community is doing business, enhancing educational opportunities, and adding value to our lives.
During this series of meetings I was pleased to see the heartfelt interest in what both DRN and EPS are doing in rural America. I recall sharing at one of the meetings how students at EHS are now able to take a wider range of courses, both in school and at home, due to broadband in our schools and homes. These classes, such as Latin, Gothic Literature, and Sports Marketing, would have not been available even ten years ago. In addition our students have access to information and resources far in excess to many other students around this wonderful country. Our school provides a robust technology system on the inside while also connecting to the Internet at speeds much of the country would envy. In each instance this is due to a robust broadband Internet service supplied by DRN.
During one of our meetings Mr. Wilson shared that at the present time a larger percentage of people over the age of 65 partake in Internet services than those under 40. I realize this is in some degree due to our large older population. But, it also means that our older population is not scared of the Internet either. In this same meeting one of those in attendance shared that the administration has been concerned if the older population would even use the Internet, if it were available in rural America. Mr. Wilson shared a story of several ladies, all well over 65, sharing about their experiences with Facebook. While, I shared a new goal for our church to provide our Sunday services over Skype or other technologies to our snowbirds. Both were wonderful stories that reaffirmed to those in attendance that rural American and its older populations can gain significantly from broadband in their communities.
I want to thank DRN for the opportunity to promote EPS during the few days we were in Washington D.C. I hope it benefits their business, our school, and our entire community.
American education has been taking a wave of criticism for the last few years. Much of this I believe stemming from the NCLB legislation and a perception by many that we are falling behind the rest of the world in education and many other areas. I disagree, and would promote the view that for our school and many others we are much better than we were 10 or 20 yrs ago. Over the next few posts I will be sharing some information about our little school and US schools to defend my view.