Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What's on My iPod?

Those of you who know me know that I am kind of a technology nerd. Because of this trait (and the fact that I have two teenage boys), I know when the latest and greatest video games are set for release. Tomorrow will be the release of the heavily anticipated video game, "Call of Duty". It is always interesting to look at the attendance sheet on "release days" to see how many of our middle and high school students have suddenly come down with the "flu". The only gamers exempt from an illegal absence tomorrow will be those who got the game to study the code and programming to become game developers themselves. All others: get to school!

One of the questions I am asked is what kind of music do I have on my iPod. This is actually a loaded question. I love music and have about 14,000 downloaded songs to choose from, as well as all of the music that I listen to from online music services like Sirius and Pandora. On any given day my iPod will have some heavy metal, classic rock, rap, jazz, and recordings of live local bands. You won't find any opera or country (unless you count a few Kid Rock tunes), and I switch things up all the time. Unlike some people, I don't need a quiet work area to get things done. The more noise the better. I probably got this trait from my high school golf team days when we would putt for quarters on the practice green while we tried to distract each other. As you can guess, I am cheap also. Another character trait. I didn't lose many quarters.

During my building visits, I had some interesting conversations centered around what I report about and where I am each day and evening. There is some concern that I don't "Tweet" about certain events or activities enough or that I favor certain subjects, buildings, events, or activities over others. The truth is that if I miss something it is completely by accident. I cover a lot of ground each day and try to make it to as many things that I can. If I am not at something it is because I am at something else. The grand complicator is that I also am responsible for running the entire District which also means that I have to spend some time in my office as well. I did take away some positives from my conversations, however. People are passionate about what they do, and they want to share what they do with as many people as possible and people know that I am very connected with the students, which is my ultimate goal.  People also view me as approachable and as a person who listens. I am cool with that.

I am putting my thoughts together about the budget.  If the doom and gloom that each governmental agency is speaking about holds true, schools across New York State are in real trouble. For example, if West Genesee were to be impacted by all of the state and federal proposals we would have to cut about $6M from our budget.  As a frame of reference, our entire fine arts and athletic budgets K-12 only amount to around $2M. We, collectively as a state, need to think way outside the box if schools are to survive the way we know them. The absolute last thing anyone wants to do is take opportunities away from children, but at the same time our education and governmental systems need to change if we are to stay afloat. I have some larger ideas to make this happen that I will share later this week. Some people will not be happy with what I will write but the truth hurts sometimes.

Please don't think that I am down about all of the news that I have mentioned above. I enjoy challenges and the next couple of years will present the greatest challenges in New York State education history. Because I started in the profession so young, I will be able to see what life as a superintendent is like on the other side of this mess.  Good times! 

Have a great week-