Category Archives: Education

Vote now on the seven school calendar concepts

At the April 30 community calendar meeting, participants identified the benefits and concerns of seven calendar concepts. At the end of the meeting, participants were asked to vote yes or no on each one (abstaining was also permitted), answering this question:

Does this calendar type have enough merit to move it forward for more consideration and "fleshing out" with specific detail and actual days?

If you were not able to attend the meeting, this calendar concepts online straw poll is your opportunity to weigh in.  You can vote yes or no on each calendar concept, or you can abstain.

The online straw poll closes at 8 am on Monday, May 13 so that results can be included in the calendar discussion by the Northfield School Board at the 7 PM meeting.

Northfield Public Schools calendar concepts straw poll

Click here to take calendar concepts straw poll.

And if you missed the April 24th 8 pm live video conference via Google Hangout Air, you can view the YouTube recording:

Do you live in/near downtown Northfield? Does the school calendar matter to you? Then your input is needed

Some news on the two Northfield-related citizen engagement projects that I’m working on:

NDDC's Ross Currier, making the roundsSchool Calendar Straw Poll
Left: my photo of the NDDC’s Ross Currier, navigating icy sidewalks last week to distribute invitations to residents who live near downtown, inviting them to a residential stakeholders meeting this Thursday, 8 pm at the Northfield Public Library. Details here.

Right: a screenshot of the Northfield School Calendar Conversation straw poll that’s now live. Details here.

Photo albums: engaged citizens and the Northfield Public School District

Back in mid-January, I took photos of people speaking at open mic at the Northfield Board of Education meeting about the proposed calendar (blog post here).  This week, I took photos of people attending the calendar conversation meeting at the High School (blog post here).  I had my consulting hat on for both events but I thought I’d blog the photos here on LoGro, adding to my collection of 15,000+ photos of Northfield-related events and scenes since 2003.

See the large slideshow (recommended) of 38 photos from the Jan. 14 meeting, or SLOW CLICK this small slideshow:

See the large slideshow (recommended) of 32 photos from the Mar. 7 meeting, or SLOW CLICK this small slideshow:

A school calendar conversation with the Northfield community: back to square one

Back in early January, I blogged here on LoGro that Northfield Public Schools Superintendent Chris Richardson had hired me (with my Wigley and Associates consultant hat on) to manage the online engagement for the  ‘balanced calendar’ that was being proposed.   It never happened. Chris later wrote:

At the Jan. 14, 2013 Northfield Board of Education meeting, 26 parents, students and community members spoke with concern about the proposed change to the school district calendar structure for 2013-14. The board voted unanimously to stop consideration of a more balanced calendar for the 2013-14 school year. They directed the administration to recommend a 2013-14 calendar in an upcoming meeting based on the traditional academic year with an after-Labor Day start. In addition, the board requested that administration develop a plan to more deeply engage our community in a discussion about what kind of academic calendar will most benefit students in the future.

Instead, I worked with the District to manage the online engagement for the Transformational Technology proposal which was approved by the Board on Feb. 12.

Northfield Schools Calendar ConversationI’ve now been hired by the District to manage the online portion of a community discussion about school calendars.

I’ve got the project blogsite up and tonight, the District is hosting the first in a series of three community meetings led by Mary Grace Hanson, Director of Teaching and Learning.

(The other dates are April 2 and April 30. All meetings will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. in the high school upper cafeteria.)

School Board Member Rob Hardy has been writing about school calendars on his Learning Curve blog.

And here’s a Feb. 27 Northfield Patch video by Supt. Chris Richardson talking about the calendar conversation:

Meetings and straw polls and chat, oh my

It’s not been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon Northfield for me.

bicycle commuters - stakeholders group meetingbuilding owners - stakeholders group meetingcommunity meeting - Transformational Technology proposal

live chat replay webinar archive transformationaltech staw poll

The face-to-face meetings and online engagement activities for both the  City of Northfield’s Downtown Parking Management plan and the Northfield School District’s Transformational Technology proposal have kept me busy this week.

Gillian Wigley, January, 2013crashed Toyota Gilly Wigley recovering at home

And to top it off, my daughter Gilly was in a serious car accident in Minneapolis earlier this week so I’ve been making daily treks to the Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) all week. As of this morning, she’s doing much better: no apparent complications from a concussion and a lacerated liver, and she doesn’t have to have surgery for her fractured pelvis. She’s moving over to the adjacent Knapp Rehabilitation Center later today.  If you know her, contact/follow her on Facebook.

Update 2/15: Gilly is now recovering at our house, camped in a bed in our living room (right photo)

An online engagement project for the Northfield Public Schools: getting feedback on the Transformational Technology proposal

The day after the ‘balanced calendar’ online engagement project for the Northfield Public Schools that I blogged about back in early January got postponed, I put my Wigley and Associates consultant hat back on and had a meeting at the Northfield Public Schools District office with Superintendent Chris Richardson and Matt Hillmann, Director of Human Resources and Technology.

Chris and Matt decided to use my online engagement services instead to get additional public feedback on the Transformational Technology proposal that’s now being considered by the School Board.

It’s happening on a blog that’s part of the District’s WordPress Multiuser platform:

Transformational Technology for Northfield Public Schools, ISD #659

Transformational Technology - Northfield Public Schools

 

Matt has been blogging about the project for nearly a year on Blogger and so we’ve imported all those posts into this new blog.  He presented the final draft of the proposal to the School Board earlier this week and the Board will likely vote on it at one of their February meetings.

Rob HardyRob Hardy has a comprehensive overview of the project with lots of links in a Northfield.org blog post titled Local Issue: iPads in the Schools.

Rob has also a post on his Learning Curve blog (“The Education of a Northfield School Board Member“) titled Transformational Technology Proposal: Paying for iPads.

And like the downtown parking management plan for the City of Northfield that I’m working on, this project with the District won’t happen here on LoGro.  So I’ve turned off comments here. If you’ve got questions about how it’s all going to work, see my blog post: How is the online engagement part of this project going to work?

Ole alum/explorer Eric Larsen sets a record in an attempt to ride a fat bike to the South Pole

I’m doing some Wigley and Associates blogging/social media work on the Fat Bike Summit and Festival. One of the event’s sponsors is MN-based Surly Bikes. Back on December 21, Gern Blanston posted to the Surly Bikes blog, The Craziest Man I Know:

Explorer Eric Larsen on a Surly MoonlanderEric Larsen is a truly insane man. He came to Surly a while ago with a plan to ride a bike to the South Pole. From the edge of Antarctica directly into the heart of its warn chewy center, he will ride a Surly  Moonlander, through 750 miles of ice, snow and the never-ending blaze of the sun…

He’s spent a great deal of time training and preparing for the trip. You can read all about his preparations, exploits, the specifics of each leg of his journey and even follow along with him here.

I checked Eric’s journal this morning. Unfortunately, he had to call it quits. See his entry for December 28, 2012 – Day 10: A Tough Decision. Eric made it back home last Saturday, Jan. 12.

The good news? He set a record. See this SF Gate article via PRweb: Polar Adventurer Eric Larsen Sets Antarctic Distance Record by Traveling the Farthest on a Bike toward the South Pole.

Outside Magazine Online featured Eric’s expedition back in November: Expedition Watch: Riding a Fat Bike to the South Pole. It included this video, with his Surly Moonlander featured:

httpv://youtu.be/3D5onKm8Oz8

Coincidental sidenote #1:

Eric Larsen graduated from St. Olaf College in 1993 and has friends here in Northfield. Back in Feb. of 2005, he and fellow explorer Lonnie Dupre did a presentation at Froggy Bottoms, raising money for their summer expedition across the Arctic Ocean. See this St. Olaf press release for more. I was there and took these photos:

Eric Larsen and Lonnie Dupre at Froggy BottomsEric Larsen and Lonnie Dupre at Froggy BottomsEric Larsen and Lonnie Dupre at Froggy Bottoms

Coincidental sidenote #2:

Lonnie Dupre is currently attempting the first solo ascent of Denali (Mt. McKinley) in January. See the One World Endeavors Expedition page for more. According to posts on the expedition Facebook page, he’s been restricted to his snow cave at 8,700 feet the past few days because of many feet of snow and high winds.

Next up in the local online engagement department: a project with the Northfield Public Schools

Chris Richardson, Griff Wigley, Matt HillmannYesterday morning, I put on my Wigley and Associates consultant hat and had a meeting at the Northfield Public Schools District office with Superintendent Chris Richardson and Matt Hillmann, Director of Human Resources and Technology.

I told them to get their hair done for the meeting and that we’d also be practicing to use our index fingers for tablet use.  As you can see from the photo, my coaching was more than marginally effective.

Northfield Public SchoolsSo they hired me to help add an online engagement component to the public meetings planned this month for the proposed ‘modified balanced calendar.’   And like the development of a downtown parking management plan for the City of Northfield, this project with the District won’t happen here on LoGro. As soon as we have the blog site for it set up, I will announce it here.

And like I blogged back in December about my contract with the City of Northfield, this contract will change the nature of my blogging here on LoGro about the School District, i.e., my relationships with the District’s leaders take priority over my public opinionating about them or the District.  And I now have a conflict of interest when it comes to opinionating on District-related matters.

If I blog about anything related to the District or its leaders, the tone of my blog post will be along the lines of “Here’s something interesting. What do y’all think?” Essentially, my role will be more of a moderator. The opinionating (praise or criticism) will have to come from all of you.

Libraries in our schools and community: How much reinvention is needed?

I was surprised to read in the Dec. 25 Strib last week that Benilde-St. Margaret’s School has gotten rid of print books in its library and made it into a digital learning center: Stacks of books are history at Benilde library

Benilde libraryLeaders at the school in St. Louis Park decided against trying to duplicate what area public libraries offer. Instead, they will emphasize teaching the school’s 1,200 students to find reliable information electronically.

It is among the first schools in the state to take out stacks and transform its library into a digital learning center.

This is relevant for Northfielders, since the Transformational Technology Project at the Northfield Public Schools is moving to the next stage.

Two days later this article appeared in the Dec. 27 NY Times:  Libraries See Opening as Bookstores Close

Today’s libraries are reinventing themselves as vibrant town squares, showcasing the latest best sellers, lending Kindles loaded with e-books, and offering grass-roots technology training centers. Faced with the need to compete for shrinking municipal finances, libraries are determined to prove they can respond as quickly to the needs of the taxpayers as the police and fire department can.

… many libraries are culling their collections and adapting floor plans to accommodate technology training programs, as well as mini-conference rooms that offer private, quiet spaces frequently requested by self-employed consultants meeting with clients, as well as teenagers needing space to huddle over group projects.

This is relevant for Northfielders since A) the City of Northfield has begun a search for a new library/IT director; and B) the proposed expansion of the Northfield Public Library is likely to soon be considered by the Northfield City Council.

That NY Times article prompted this Room for Debate feature: Do We Still Need Libraries?

  • future of librariesFailing to Close the ‘Digital Divide’ by Susan Crawford, visiting professor, Harvard Law School. The demand for libraries’ limited resources has outstripped the supply of both computers and bandwidth.
  • More Relevant Than Ever by Luis Herrera, city librarian, San Francisco. Libraries are a place for personal growth and reinvention, a gathering place for civic engagement.
  • It’s Not Just Story Time and Bookmobiles by Buffy Hamilton, school librarian, Canton, Ga. An old institution is incorporating new roles: as “makerspaces,” as centers of community publishing, and as digital learning labs.
  • For Gathering and for Solitude by Matthew Battles, author, “Library: An Unquiet History.” We still need spaces for making knowledge and sharing change, and some of those, surely, we will continue to call “the library.”