Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Daily Home "Friends & Neighbors"

Our local newspaper, The Daily Home is a wonderful friend to our school system and has been so gracious to me personally in helping us spotlight the good things happening in our midst. Sunday's paper included a special "Friends & Neighbors" section in which an entire half page was devoted to me, my background, and the work I have been able to accomplish through working with some very talented people.

The text of that article can be found by going here.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Online Photo Storage and Sharing

Storing photos online is easy. They can be shared with others as well. Here is a short video that shows you how to do it.

Thanks to Lee and Sachi LeFever for producing this video and making it available through the Common Craft Show.

Friday, February 08, 2008

ELPP Spreadsheet--Let Technology Do the Work

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Welcome Special Ed. coordinators! Those who know me well know how passionate I am about letting technology handle administrivia and free our time for other things. This article, written for Principal magazine, illustrates that passion.

This post is designed to give you an explanation of the spreadsheet I designed to crunch the ELPP numbers and give you instructions on how you can download it and use it.

I have included two spreadsheets. One has some sample names and data in it. Feel free to add more names, change the data, and “play around with it.” The second is a blank spreadsheet that you can use for your own purposes.

Here is how to use the spreadsheet:

  1. When a pre-school student qualifies for special education, enter the students name and the year they will exit to kindergarten (For example, those exiting to kindergarten this spring would have 2008 in that column). Also enter the dates asked for in the first several columns.
  2. Tab across and fill in all of the entry data (0,1,2). The items on which the child is being scored appear at the top of each column.
  3. When the student exits to kindergarten or moves away, fill in the exit data. If a student moves away during this year, you would change the date of exit from kindergarten to “2008.” As you see, all data for one student goes on one line of that spreadsheet.

All of this is done on that first tab, the one marked "Input."

During the year, you can check on how things are progressing by having your pre-school teachers e-mail the spreadsheet to you. Once you look at them, you could delete them OR save them in case your teachers have not learned the value of backing up their data and a hard drive bites the dust.

When it's time to report your numbers:

  1. Have your teachers e-mail the spreadsheet to you.
  2. Copy and paste the data into one spreadsheet.
  3. Click on the "Entry Data" tab and fill in the yellow squares. The whole spreadsheet hinges on the yellow square for the year. When you enter that number, everything calculates. This spring, you would enter 2008 in that square.
  4. Print that sheet.
  5. Click on the "Exit Data" tab and hit print. (Everything will be already filled out, including the name of your school system, the year, etc.)
  6. Fax the two sheets.
  7. Celebrate not having to do all of the paperwork you did last year!!!

When it's time to crank up next year, you can leave all of the old names and just add new ones. The spreadsheet will hold up to 999 kids before anything would have to be done to it. By then, either the ELPP will be handled by SETS or won't be in existence anymore.

What about the paper forms you had been filling out and then putting in student folders? I am all for doing away with those forms and letting the data be simply entered into the spreadsheet. Jan and Cathy say that Washington requires the paper form and that it be housed in the child’s folder. (Bummer)

Once you have looked at the spreadsheet and played around with putting some numbers in there, I think you will be pleased with how easy it makes the process. Please feel free to call me if I can help you get started or at point along the way. My direct number at work is (256) 315-5617.

To get the sample ELPP spreadsheet with sample data, click here.

To get the blank ELPP spreadsheet click here. In either case, you do not need a password. If asked for one, simply click "cancel."

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Blogs in Plain English

Mrs. Pattie Thomas and I enjoyed sharing our school system blog with the Talladega Kiwanis Club earlier today. For the members of the Kiwanis Club, and for the community as a whole, we hope you enjoy this short video explaining blogs.

Thanks to Lee and Sachi LeFever for producing this video and making it available through Common Craft.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

AETC Keynote

You can be among the first to know that the keynote speaker for this summer’s Alabama Education Technology Conference with be Dr. Tim Tyson. Dr. Tyson was the closing keynote for the National Educational Computing Conference this past summer. To see and hear that keynote address, go here. Scroll to the bottom of the page and select “Closing Keynote.” The first 10 minutes consist of introductions, so just be patient and have some reading material handy. It’s going to be worth it. The address centers around the projects done by middle school students.

Friday, February 01, 2008


I am continuing to enjoy iGoogle as my home page. In a previous post, I told you about the organization of my iGoogle page. In this post, I focus specifically on the "Google Bookmarks," one of the sections on that page.

In that square, I want to see those sites I use most frequently. In addition, I want access to my most commonly used forms stored on our server. Often, it helps to see an example of what someone else has done to serve as a starting point for setting up your own. Here is a list of the links in my Google Bookmarks:

  • Accelerated Reader (so that I can view data and run reports)
  • Alabama State Dept. of Education
  • Blogger
  • Data Warehouse (a new feature from the Alabama State Dept. of Education)
  • Delicious (so that I can access all of my bookmarks)
  • Field Trip Request (a common form stored on our server)
  • Frank Buck (my own blog)
  • Leave Request (a common form stored on our server)
  • The Daily Motivator
  • PDWeb (professional development records)
  • SETWeb (special education records)
  • Talladega City Schools (our blog for the community)
  • Teach Talladega (our blog for employees)
  • Travel Form (a common form stored on our server)

You can see a screen shot of my iGoogle home page here.