Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Jeff Fastnacht on 22-03-2010

As congress begins to debate changes to the national education policy I see a shift coming to years of NCLB rules.  President Obama will be forging a path that will modify some of NCLB while emphesisizing new levels of responsibility for schools, teachers, students & parents.  Since the inception of formal education the need for accountability across all these groups has been critical in the success of student achievement and our democratic republic.   I would like to discuss each of these over the next few posts and share my feelings about what must be done to ensure a high quality educaiton for all.

I will begin with the group that has the first influence on a young mind, parents.  Parents are critical to developing the skills necessary for their child’s success between the ages of birth to 3.   Many successes have been made in this area over the past 20 years.  Parents access to information, resources, assistance, and programs is broader than ever before.  However, I am disheartened to see the gap widening between those students that are ready for school and those that are not.  What is the reason?  Parents you have to take a hard look at this issue and your role in your child’s success.  Before I criticize let me state many, most, parents do an outstanding job.  This is for those that are struggling, Your Child Needs More.  Even our President is banging the drum to get parents more involved.

“Parents if you don’t parent, we can’t improve our schools,” he said. “You’ve got to parent. You’ve got to turn off the television set in your house once in a while, you’ve got to put the video game away once in a while.”  
“You should have a curfew in your house so your children aren’t out in the streets all night. You should meet with the teacher and find out what the homework is and help that child with the homework.   And if you don’t know how to do the homework, don’t be embarrassed, find someone to help you.” 
“And the last thing is, if your child is misbehaving at school don’t curse out the teacher. You know who you are. It’s not the teacher’s fault that your child is misbehaving. That’s some home training.”

I would say these are very pointed and direct challenge to all of us, as parents.  Even in Ellendale I have sat in meetings with a parent that said  “I am their mother, not their teacher.  Education is your responsiblity”   What kind of response is that?  Parents we NEED you.  We must have your support and assistance daily to make education truely effective.  I believe Education does take a Village, so we all have a part.  Here are some ways parents can help:

  • Parents must parent.  Be good examples, set limits, as the President said take the responsibility to turn the TV off and get your child to learning at home.
  • Get involved in your child’s education from birth to graduation.  Call your child’s teacher and know what they have for homework.  Find out how your child is progressing and assist in reteaching and motivating them.
  • Early years are keys to success.  If you are a young parent these are the years you need to shine.  Talk to your child, play with your child, read to your child, set limits, and enrich their minds.
  • Strive for more.  Education is more important than it ever has been.  The key to your child’s success in life is directly correleated to their success in schoool.  Share that with your child and tell them success in learning in imporant.

Parents you have a critical role in education.  We need you to be involved.

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Jeff Fastnacht on 16-03-2010

**Reprinted with permission from  by EdTechSandyK**

Recently one of the K-5 campus technology facilitators in my district contacted me to see if I had any resources regarding cell phone etiquette for elementary students. It seems that some students from her campus were passing along spam text messages along the lines of “forward this or something bad will happen to you”.

I looked through my digital citizenship and cell phone bookmarks and didn’t see anything specific to “spam texting”. Googling “spam texting” brought back tons of results, if what I wanted were suggested lists of spam texts to send. Nice.

So, I brainstormed some ideas and sent them back to my colleague. She added some other ideas of her own. Between the two of us, we came up with the list of cell phone etiquette ideas for students that you see below. I share them with permission of my colleague, who did not ask for name attribution, but I must say I enjoyed working with ML on this. :-) The campus also sent this list out to parents via their parent E-News listserv.

Hopefully this will help the next person looking for student cell phone etiquette ideas. Really some of these ideas would be helpful with some adults I know! Please feel free to use and adapt. I would appreciate a citation of this blog if you do so.

Does your student have a cell phone?

Many students have or have access to cell phones. Please review the suggestions below, and take this opportunity to discuss responsible cell phone usage with your child.

• Phones should remain off and in backpacks while at school.

• Avoid musical ringtones and turn your phone to vibrate in public settings.

• Phone conversations should be conducted quietly and in private, not in front of friends or during interaction with others.

• Students should understand that it is inappropriate to take or forward embarrassing pictures of others.

• Compulsive checking for text messages is disruptive to your child’s focus, as well as their friends and family.

• Any messages that are threatening, scary, or contain inappropriate language or pictures should be discussed with a trusted adult or parent.

• If your child is receiving inappropriate texts or pictures from another child, it might be helpful to contact the sender’s parents.

• Chain texts, like chain emails, are considered spam, and generally bad manners to forward.

• Children should understand that not everyone has unlimited texting plans. When sending an unnecessary text, such as a chain message, it might be costing your family or friend’s family extra money…even if they are not read.

Parents, you are in charge. Monitor what your child is sending and receiving. This is your phone, your money, and most importantly your child. Letting your child know what your expectations are will help them avoid pitfalls.