In Defense of Year-Round Schools (aka there’s too much left to do before summer)

Spring is in the air! The weather is slowly starting to warm up, little green buds are sprouting on the trees, and my allergies are starting to kick in. Also, this week we began 4th quarter. It’s also known as “the light at the end of the tunnel” for both students and teachers.  The nice thing about 4th quarter is that everyone gets a little extra boost of energy. It’s like when you are running a race and you can see the finish line and you suddenly notice that you actually do have more energy than you thought because you are able to sprint to the end. There is one major flaw with 4th quarter… I feel like we’re just getting started. We’re on a roll, in a groove, and everyone is making nice progress. This would be the perfect time to get involved in some amazing projects, except the end of the school year is fast approaching.  What to do?   Year-round school is sounding more and more inviting!


photo credit: The Start and Finish Line of the “Inishowen 100” Scenic Drive via photopin (license)

Here is the list of things I’d still like to accomplish this year (and why it would be so much easier if we were in school all year).

1. Connect with a class from another school. 

I think my students could really benefit from using technology to connect with students from a different school.  This would be a wonderful way to practice our digital citizenship skills, get feedback in a new way, and learn about a different place. There are so many options available from mystery skype to edublogs and google plus communities and more and more teachers seem to be jumping on board with inter-class connections.  This project requires long-term commitment to really establish a relationship. Summer is definitely getting in the way!


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Inclusion At Work-How To Make It Work

photo credit: Walgreens truck via photopin (license)



Last August, which feels like a lifetime ago, I was given the opportunity to work as a trainer for the Walgreens REDI training program.  The program is designed to give people with disabilities a real opportunity for employment by giving them a 3 week training/trial period with the hopes that they will pass the employee assessment and be recommended for hire. Most Walgreens employees are given a very short training period without much support.  I was hired by the non-for profit organization Deerfield Coalition whose mission is to help match people with disabilities to jobs in the community.  As the trainer, I was given 2 days of on -the -job training at a local Walgreens.  I was taught how to manage point of sale transactions, stock shelves, maintain the stock room, and offer excellent customer service to the patrons of Walgreens.

After my 2 days of training, I had an opportunity to meet with my 3 trainees off site.  We talked about important details such as dress and hygiene for work.  We also talked about some of the Walgreens lingo and we role played many scenarios.  I  was able to take my new trainees to do a walk through of a different Walgreens store so we could simply make observations.  I showed them examples of what they would be doing. We also made some purchases and felt like secret shoppers as we observed and waited to hear the very specific Walgreens language and transaction sequence.


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