Archive for February, 2012

Visit to The General Assembly 2/27/12

I had a unique opportunity to spend time in Richmond at The General Assembly, and observe the Senate proceedings. Some processes are much faster than others. I was awaiting the bills on contracts and teacher evaluations; however the Senate had much to say about a bill requiring a second I.D. when voting. Most interesting today was what I learned about the history and implications of the kinship bill and it’s implications on school systems.

SB 299 Kinship foster care placements; Commissioner of Social Services may grant variance from requirement.
Introduced by: Janet D. Howell | all patrons

Kinship foster care placements. Provides that the Commissioner of Social Services may grant a variance from requirements governing approval of foster care placements and may approve an arrangement for kinship foster care or a kinship foster care provider when he determines (i) the requirement would impose a hardship on the kinship foster care provider, and (ii) the variance will not adversely affect the safety and well-being of the child. The bill also provides that a local board of social services or child-placing agency may approve an application for approval as an arrangement for kinship care or a kinship foster care provider when the applicant has been convicted of a felony related to the possession of drugs other than felony offenses related to possession with the intent to distribute drugs, a misdemeanor conviction for arson, or an equivalent offense in another state, provided 10 years have elapsed since the date of the conviction and the local board or child-placing agency makes a specific finding that the placement would not endanger the safety or well-being of the child.



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Writing 8 SOL Approaching

As the month of March quickly approaches our counseling and testing staff are gearing up to prepare for the Writing 8 Standards of Learning tests. Our eighth grade staff are working tirelessly preparing and supporting students to successfully take the test. Thank you, staff and students for your efforts and commitment to excellence and high expectations.
Melanie Kay-Wyatt

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Policy Decisions or Not Decisions

After our class discussion on various policy issues from our EDLP 704 course, there has been a great deal of discussion on why and how policies are tabled and sent to committees. After reading the legislative postings we are still often left with many questions. So when I ran across this blog, I had to agree with the “up in the air” concept.

Retrieved from ASCD Blog post:
Don’t Leave Policy Decisions Up in the Air
On my way home from the ASCD’s Leadership Institute for Legislative Advocacy (LILA) conference, I was looking out the window as the captain announced that we were “at our cruising altitude of 30,000 feet.” As I looked down upon the landscape, I could see the general makeup of the land, but there was no way I could actually see what was happening on the ground. I could see large features of the landscape, but the subtle details were not visible to the eye.

It dawned on me that policymakers are, in effect, looking out their “windows” at an altitude of 30,000 feet as they consider the pros and cons of educational policies. What we are doing with our ASCD advocacy work is connecting the planners and decision-makers of Congress to what is really happening on the ground in our classrooms every day.

Advocacy work requires consistent effort to build relationships, offer resources, and sustain communication. I encourage you to consider these steps to getting involved with education advocacy:……….
(see site for list)

These are some ideas to help inform education policy, and align the view from 30,000 feet with the reality on the ground. If we are successful, we can help bring into focus the landscape in which state and federal decisions are enacted, and the faces of the children who are impacted.

Post submitted by Marsha Jones, Associate Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction (Pre-K – 12) for the Springdale School District, in Northwest Arkansas.


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Writing across the content is an initiative that we have implemented into our school culture. I am looking for ideas, success and failures that would support my staff in the effort to implement a writing across the curriculum instructional practice. Please email any suggestions. Thank you.

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February 21, 2012
I would like to take this opportunity to show my appreciation to the Walker Grant Middle School parent Advisory Board and the Parent Teacher Association (PTA). The administrative staff will continue to update and support our students and parents through these support groups efforts.
If you have a question or concern that you would like addressed at a meeting, please email that concern to Renee Embrey at All comments and concerns will be addressed by the administration.
Thank you for supporting Walker-Grant Middle School.

Melanie Kay-Wyatt

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Third Grade SOL

In a division administrative meeting today our team held a brief discussion on the implications and opinions associated with Senate BILL 185 to require that only math and English Standards of Learning be required in the third grade. Discussion points included talking points on recognizing the need to address concerns with mathematics and reading needs; as well as what potential implications it may have on addition testing at the elementary level. As a middle school administrator; I’m not directly affected now but can’t help to wonder what role this passage will have on future testing.

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Math or Arithmetic? That’s the Question.

Join the Blog. Seth Godin wrote a blog post entitled, Are You Doing Math or Arithmetic?

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