Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Jeff Fastnacht on 19-01-2018

have-a-good-oneThe phrase “Have a good one“, according to Wiktionary is a commonly spoken valediction, typically spoken by service employees or clerks to customers at the end of a transaction, particularly in North America.   When did this become popular?  Honestly, I hear it said all the time recently but I don’t recall it being said 2, 3, or more years ago.  Where did it come from because I would like to have it go away.

Have a good one“, a good what.  I understand that within the English language I am supposed to apply context to this phrase as it is being spoken to me to provide meaning.  I realize that when a teller says “Have a good one” they are just saying “Thank you for your purchase“, I get it.  I grasp that when a friend says “Have a good one” to me when passing on the street, they are simply saying “Have a wonderful day Jeff“.  Yup I got that too!  Even when officiating basketball I realize that the nasty basketball fan saying “Have a good one” is really saying “$*#^!@)$% Ref“, I didn’t miss the nuance of his message.

I just think we can do so much better than “Have a good one“.  I mean if I purchase a product from your store I just want you to say “Thank you“.  That is even shorter than “Have a good one” and means so much more to me.  It actually shows you appreciation for my business.  In school, my domain, I would expect a teacher to say, “Joey I hope you have a good day and good luck at the game tonight“, not “Have a good one!“.  The former conveys a deeper sense of caring and concern for the student.  Finally, in my personal life I hope I am telling my friends and family “I love you and look forward to seeing you soon” vs “Have a good one” when we depart.

I realize I am not a hip young person and this phrase is probably all the norm in those circles.  But, I hear more and more adults, old people, using it all the time.  My hope is it goes away like the Dodo bird.  Let’s broaden our vocabulary and spend just one extra second conveying more meaning and understanding with a few more words.  It can mean so much!

Have a good one“,  (see it just sounds bad)
Mr. Fastnacht

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Jeff Fastnacht on 17-01-2018

I was recently reading a post which shared the SHARK and billionaire Mark Cuban’s views about the most up and coming job skills.  The piece entitled “Mark Cuban Says This Will Soon Be the Most Sought-After Job Skill” by Betsy Mikel uniquely characterized Mr. Cuban’s personal view that we no longer need kids to go to school to be coders or developers.  Which was somewhat surprising considering he is a billionaire in the technology world.  He predicted the “automation of automation” which was characterized to mean that computers would be coding and building computer language for us.  The article continued to share his views about what he thought were the professions that will be in high demand…

“I personally think there’s going to be a greater demand in 10 years for liberal arts majors than for programming majors and maybe even engineering,” Cuban said. He cited degrees such as English, philosophy, and foreign languages as being the most valuable. “Maybe not now,” Cuban acquiesced. “They’re gonna starve for awhile.”

Being prepared for the future can be a scary thing for young people and their parents.  Do we really know what kids are going to have to know to be prepared to succeed?  If you were to take out a yellow pad how long would the list be if you started writing the skills down, it could be worthy of a few pages.  I will guarantee to you this,  your list will not simply include getting a 29 on the ACT.  Being prepared for the future encompassing many things but in one regard Mr. Cuban is right.  Being prepared for the future will ask our student to have a broader range of skills and knowledge.  It will also include the need for our students to be skillful with a host of soft skills.  So what can we do to ensure our kids are ready for this?

Over the past two years I have been part of two wonderful experiences.  The first was working with the national AASA on the development of a program to redefine what it means to be ready.  Similarly it is called “Redefining Ready“.  Secondly, was having the opportunity to be part of the ND ESSA Committee and working to build a new accountability system for our schools that is less focused on one test.  This work has resulted in the marrying of Redefining Ready into what we have entitled “ND Choice Ready“.  ND Choice Ready is being rolled out to schools this month and you will begin to hear more about it in the coming months.

As a primer here is a little information about ND Choice Ready.  ND Choice Ready is an accountability component for high schools within the ND ESSA plan.  The choice ready matrix is intended to measure the readiness of our graduates as they leave EHS in the areas of Post-Secondary Ready, Work Ready, and Military Ready.  With the belief that when a student graduates, meeting the ND graduation requirements, they still must meet indicators to ensure they will be ready for school, work, and/or the military.  These ND Choice Ready indicators go beyond simply grades but measure soft skills, work based learning skills, and specific activities within high school.  Thus ensuring each of our students are ready to meet the needs that lie ahead for them in their future.  I will share more in future posts but please begin by looking at the new Choice Ready matrix.


Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Jeff Fastnacht on 09-01-2018

b6e65773391975c7c601b3e2f58b1bfea365For the past fourteen years student/teacher/school success has been determined by the use of a single test.  This stemmed from the No Child Left Behind legislation which required all children in grades 3-8 and 11 to be tested once annually.  Those results were then paraded around every community, county, state, and across the nation as we rapidly categorized every school as failing during that time period.  The failing grade again based on the inability to get 100% of our children to proficiency in reading and math.  Many of you will remember the school report card that was published online and in our local paper each year reporting this data.

Today is a new day!  With the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act our school and schools across the nation can now build a new accountability system.  A system that will be broader than one single examination.  A system that will share student performance in a wide variety of areas.  A system that will share information about the students we serve, the resources provided to them, and unique challenges found in every school system.  ESSA is allowing the state of North Dakota to provide a portal for all to continue to see information on academic performance and so much more.  This new portal is called NDInsights and can be found at https://insights.nd.gov/


I encourage every patron in the Ellendale district to take 10 minutes at their computer to look at the NDInsights portal.  At this time it is sharing a wide variety of data about every school district and school in North Dakota.  But, soon it will be showcasing even more.  The Governor’s Office has proclaimed that this site will eventually be the location of accountability data for counties, state government, and other agencies, in addition to schools.  The site is easy to use.  At this time click on FIND MY DISTRICT or enter ELLENDALE in the search bar.  Both will provide you easy access to enrollment, academic, graduation, and demographic data about your school.  The key is using the + symbols on the left to open menus and refine your selections based on which school you choose to view.

Here is a sample of the type of academic information you can find.  This is the 2016-2017 state assessment data in math for Ellendale Elementary.


Dig a little deeper and you will find attendance data separated by ethnic group.capture


I encourage you to each take time to review this data.  You will not find an oversimplified Pass / Fail grade here, but those were never accurate in the NCLB era.  But, what you will find is a growing amount of information about many aspects of your school.  From that make your own determination on our successes and challenges.