Polski3's View from Here

Quote of some personal revelence: "Is a dream a lie, that don't come true, or is it something worse?"

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Hello..... How reassuring !

Greetings from the land of "getting ready for the return of the students" next week.

Our district puts out this newspaper to help inform parents about various school stuff. The issue being currently distributed to parents includes a story and picture about the new gym being built at the Junior High. The photo includes several male students, one of whom is flashing the gang signs for one of our local gangs. As a teacher and parent of students in this district, I find this very disturbing. What is the message here( other than someone with authority over content of this district newspaper really screwed up )? Is the message that those in authority have no clue about what this student is demonstrating? Is the message that visible signs of gang activity is acceptable at schools in this district? Is the message that this is ok because it is culturally accepted ? Hopefully, someone will pay the price for such a lack of oversight and accountability.

Thanks for reading my blog.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Interesting.... Soon Back to the trenches....

There is a middle School near my in-laws home in Oregon, called Fernwood Middle School. Their sign was recently vandalized and it now reads: Fernwood i dle School.

Recd. a notice from our school principal about our pre-student arrival week.
There will be the usual legally required stuff about reporting suspected abuse, what is harassment, etc. And two tiny workshops, "Effective Behavior Management" (probably a reminder/refresher about the Noah Salzman Discipline plan our administration adopted which some teachers call the Administrative Disciplinary Reduction and Involvement Program), and "AVIDizing our Curriculum". There will also be the dreaded Data Analysis ( our students are not testing well.....our school WILL BE in Year 5 of being an NCLB SC---ED, er, Failing School). AND, interdisciplinary Team meetings, Department meetings and Welcome Back Program to meet the new superintendent. A few hours to deal with our classrooms. Hopefully, by time I get back into my classroom, "they" will have delt with the army of ants that I found in my classroom when I went in to work earlier this week.

Thanks for Reading my Blog!

National Social Studies Convention

Any bloggers out there going to the National Council for Social Studies National Convention in San Diego Nov. 30 - Dec. 2 ? I hope to go, since it is almost in my own backyard. I did submit a conference workshop proposal, but they said it was not accepted and that they'd recd. far more workshop proposals than they had time and space for.....oh well. I still want to go.

Maybe there could be a blogging teacher get together there ?

Thanks for reading my blog.

Monday, August 13, 2007








These are some words about our brief family summer vacation. ORCAS refers to our day at Sea World. Overall, the family had fun. We did get a bit sunburned in exposed patches, but I bought some aloe vera gel which helped the burn feel better and heal. I was not impressed with the quality of customer service at several places that collect money at Sea World. At lunch, ( at a cafeteria style eatery) they tried to charge us almost $20.00 too much. I commented on this to the young, perhaps not too well trained cashier. He called over a supervisor, deleted whatever he'd rung up, and did it again. What really has me in a "state of being upset" about our visit, is getting charged double for the aloe vera gel and having an extremely difficult time getting in contact with any living person at Sea World to deal with it. Partly on my fault for not paying close attention to the transaction; heaven knows the "supervisor" who was ringing up my purchases was not paying attention. He was too busy talking and joking around with the other cashiers. Normally I pay attention to what I am being asked to pay, but at this time, I was also trying to pay attention to where my boys were as their Mother was not with us in this gift shop. So now, I am trying to get in contact with a live person at Sea World who can fix this error. The "Mystery of the Haunted Lighthouse" 3-D movie was cool ( staring the comical .....ah, brain freeze...."Jim" from Taxi, the professor from the "Back to the Future" movies....OH, Christopher Lloyd. The Cirque d'Sol style aquatic show as cool too.

We visited the San Diego Maritime Museum, which features the old immigrant ship, STAR OF INDIA. I think old ships are cool. The museum also featured, for a mere $3.00 more per person, a neat little SD harbor tour on a restored pilot boat.

We visited the place known for its swallows; Mission San Juan Capistrano. It seems to be much more of a museum than many of the other California missions we have visited. It was well worth spending a couple of hours visiting and finding out more about this old mission. One thing that I didn't know, was that they built what was the largest church building in early California. This structure held seven domes was only used for a short time due to it being destroyed by an earthquake in 1812. The earthquake hit during mass and killed almost 50 native worshippers. The first metal works in California were also located here. There was a notice in the church that this building was the only surviving structure in California where perhaps soon-to- be sainted Padre Junipero Serra said mass. We didn't see any swallows, but we did see a few of their mud nests attached to some high beams.

No, we didn't play polo, or shop at any Polo brand name outlet store. But, we did see the polo field built by the most famous Okie in California history, Will Rogers Jr. He went from a wandering Oklahoma ( actually Indian Territory ) cowboy to performing in NY to making movies in Hollywood. According to our tour guide, he gave away thousands of dollars to people who wrote to him asking for help, and to the Red Cross and Salvation Army. He raised a large amount of money to help the people of Nicaragua after a big earthquake in that Central American nation. It seems that his philosophy was to use what money he and his family needed to get by, and use the rest of it to help people. He used some of his money to buy a big chunk of property in what is now the Brentwood area of west LA and made it a family home and place of sanctuary for his friends, such as Charles Lindbergh and his wife. The Lindbergh's stayed at the Rogers Ranch waiting for news about their kidnapped ( and subsequently murdered ) son. He had a polo field, a number of stables and lots of room to ride the hills and canyons of west LA, all the way down to the beach. Rogers furnished his home in a "western" style, complete with some fabulous Navajo rugs, artworks by such famous friends of his as Charlie Russell and comfortable rooms for his family and guests. In addition to his acting and charity fund raisers, Rogers wrote a popular, much syndicated newspaper column. Sadly, his life was cut short when he was killed in an airplane crash with Wily Post in Alaska. There is a museum near his "home" in Claremore, OK., but much of his LA home was just like it was when he died. The property was left in the care of the State of California and it is now Will Rogers State Park.

In the west central part of "downtown" LA, are several pools of asphalt. This is the remains of Rancho La Brea and the site of the world famous La Brea Tar Pits. We spent the afternoon checking out the museum, watching museum volunteers down in pit 91 extracting ice age animal bones from the tar and enjoying the little garden in the midst of all this "city". If you ever find yourself in LA, the La Brea Tarpits are well worth a visit, especially if you have never been there. It is fascinating !

Yep, we went to the beach too. You can't go to San Diego / Southern California without going to the beach. There are some great beaches in Southern California; one we like in particular is South Carlsbad. We have been luck to always find a place to park and it just doesn't seem to be as crowed as other nearby beaches such as Ocean Beach, Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, Windandsea, Torry Pines, Del Mar......and we like the Carlsbad area.

We also visited with a few assorted relatives but that is not something to blog about. Except to say that we had a good time with our kin.

Thanks for reading my blog. Tomorrow, I head to my classroom to begin putting my room together for the upcoming school year.

Test Scores.....WOW ! At least for what's Tested.

My wife and I recd. the standardized test scores for our boys. Our boys both scored in the "Advanced" category in both the English and Math portions of their tests. In the Math portions of their STAR tests, our oldest missed one math problem and our youngest scored 100%' he did not miss a single math question the test asked him. Of course, we are proud of our boys. I place a large share of their success on having a stay at home mother who oversees their homework, parents who are readers ( both boys earned over 500 AR points last school year ! ) and the expectations in our home that education is extremely important and that someday, they will go on to earn university degrees. And, so far, for the most part, they like school.

Unfortunately, they are offered very little History, Science, Music, Art or Physical Education at their school. We provide them with some of these educational opportunities, but how many of the young people in this USA are not learning much history, science, music, art or p.e. in their elementary schools because students will not be tested in those areas. As I have written previously, this is a shame and IMO, a crime. Hopefully, our boys will be able to continue their academic excellence as they traverse their public school experience. If there was a private school option where we live, and I could afford it, I'd send them to private school. It is not their teachers I find fault with; it is the tunnel-vision of testing, the lack of interest on part of local school district desk jockeys in education for higher-achieving students, and honestly, the low level of educational expectations of vast majority of people in this area where I have a job and we live.

But anyhow, we are proud of our boys !

Thanks for reading this blog.