My summer vacation is over. It was the my first in 23 years. I'm back to work at Renaissance Academy.
Its strange being at a charter school after spending 30 years in a district school: the charter school's work environment is different, their focus is less test driven with more emphasis placed on educating the whole child by not limiting the arts and humanities. The students wear uniforms in my new school. I get one hour and 45 minutes prep period during the school day, not counting the 30 minutes before and after school. My sixth grade students have speciality teachers for social studies, science, art, music, PE and world language.
This school believes in shared responsibility. The standard large school district one size fits all, top down leadership model seems outdated and antiquated when compared with a school run by a business manager, who shares responsibility with a dean of students, a faculty executive committee and their version of the PTA.
This charter school is not threatened by grassroots innovation and involvement, in fact they expect and encourage it; so different from a normal large district administration which sees such movements as threats to their power and authority.
Perhaps it is time to pass new laws allowing individual district schools to limit their association with bureaucratic administration and declare either complete independence or a limited partnership with their local district. This would give individual neighborhoods more involvement in their local schools and force administrators to focus more on parent's wishes; after all it should be about choice in education. Parents should have a choice. Its not rocket science.
Before leaving for the day I stopped in the office to fill out my employment papers. All went well until I got to the Homeland Security form where I had to show the secretary my social security card and driver's license.
"I don't have my social security card," I confessed. The secretary's face dropped in surprise.
"You don't have a social security card?" she questioned.
"I have a number," I explained, "I just don't have the card. I don't know where it is. I haven't had to apply for a job since 1983."
She handed me a form showing other forms of identification I could use instead of a social security card. "Do you have a passport?"
"Yes, I HAVE two passports."
"Then that will do, but why do you have two?"
"They're both expired." She shook her head showing me we were back to square one.
My job tonight is to search every corner of the house to try to find the necessary documents necessary to prove to Homeland Security that I deserve to live and work in the United States. Its that, or I'll be on the next deportation plane headed to who knows where.
The Discovery Space Center's Very Own Chef BJ "Ramsey" Warner.
"We advertise a seven course breakfast and that's just what our campers get," Chef BJ said as he examined the serving table hoping to find one item, just one item out of position so he could rip the head off the negligent intern. The seven courses were: Chocolate milk, orange juice, ketchup, gogurts, maple syrup, scrambled eggs and pancakes.
The chef looks friendly in this photo, but you wouldn't have wanted to see him twenty minutes earlier in the kitchen. His temper makes the real Chef Ramsey's seem tame.
Space and Science News
The New Zealand developers of a personalised jetpack said Tuesday that aviation regulators have issued the device with a flying permit, allowing for manned test flights.
Martin Aircraft chief executive Peter Coker said the certification was a significant milestone in the development of the jetpack, which the company hopes to begin selling next year.
"For us it's a very important step because it moves it out of what I call a dream into something which I believe we're now in a position to commercialise and take forward very quickly," Coker told AFP.
The jetpack is the brainchild of inventor Glenn Martin, who began working on it in his Christchurch garage more than 30 years ago.
Inspired by childhood television shows such as "Thunderbirds" and "Lost in Space", Martin set out in the early 1980s to create a jetpack suitable for everyday use by ordinary people with no specialist pilot training. Read More
How to Live on Mars
If humanity hopes to establish a lasting presence on Mars, it will have to learn to live off the land.
Ambitious exploration efforts have always aimed for self-sufficiency, but the need is especially acute when the new terrain being traversed is another planet. Extensive resupply from Earth would be prohibitively expensive, experts say, so exploiting Red Planet resources is crucial to making pioneering manned missions affordable in the short term and Mars settlement sustainable over the long haul. Read More