Friday, March 29, 2013


Today's blog will be my shortest and my last for a week.  I am heading into my Spring Break and looking forward to some time to decompress.  Getting away from work and leaving it all behind for a time is one of the most effective ways to make all of us more effective when we return.

To all of my friends in education, I wish you a very happy Spring Break.  Get away, relax and come back ready to conquer the world.  If you need me, I will either be on my bike, on my mower, geocaching or away from my phone.

See you on April 8th!!!!
Geocaching !!!!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Titan Up and Get Fit

We are Titan Strong 
Childhood obesity has more than doubled in the past 30 years.  According to the Mayo Clinic:  Childhood obesity is a serious medical condition that affects children and adolescents. It occurs when a child is well above the normal weight for his or her age and height. Childhood obesity is particularly troubling because the extra pounds often start children on the path to health problems that were once confined to adults, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Childhood obesity can also lead to poor self-esteem and depression.

One of the best strategies to reduce childhood obesity is to improve the diet and exercise habits of your entire family. Royal Spring Middle School is taking steps to help students both improve diet and exercise more.  Ms. Carrie Apple describes the "Titan Up and Get Fit" program at RSMS.  

Getting Fit Social 
Lean in 2013 efforts were also put in place for the students. Their competition is called ‘Titan up & Get Fit.”  While the focus for the adults was to lose weight, the focus for the students was healthy eating and increased physical activity. The students logged their progress on a website that awards them with the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award when they have completed the 6 week program.  Students that won specific fitness competitions were able to attend a fitness social on Fridays with Coach Simpson.   A Mr. Hustle and Mrs. Hustle will be awarded when the contest is complete. The assembly to kick off both efforts featured Jeremy Yost, the Georgetown Native who starred in the P90X videos. 

Click on pictures to enlarge

Monday, March 25, 2013

Easter Egg Hunt

The team competition  below is courtesy of Ms. Sharon Jackman, Instructional Supervisor for Anderson County Schools.  Sharon describes a great team building event for this time of the year.  You will be amazed how adults love to return to his or her childhood and relive simple events such as an Easter Egg Hunt.  My thanks to Sharon for sharing and I invite others that have great ideas to increase morale to share as well. 

Want to have some fun with your staff right before spring break?

1. Divide the staff (everyone - certified and classified - custodians and cafeteria too!) up into teams of 4 or 5 and purchase plastic eggs of various colors.
2. Hide the eggs in spaces students are not allowed to go (without an adult).     

3. Give each team a list of colors of eggs they must find (make sure you have enough of each color).

4. On Friday morning, March 29th, give each team a list of the colors of eggs to find.  They can hunt before school, on breaks, between classes, lunch, after school, planning, etc.

5. When they find all of the eggs, they turn them in for a prize (like a Reese Cup Egg, or Hershey's Bunny).

Adults LOVE this at all levels and it's a great team builder right before Spring Break.  (I did this with my staff and one of the teachers would not work with her team. She found all of them all by herself.  Three GROWN adults came to me and said, "Would you re-hide our eggs for us so that we can find them?)

The object is to work as a team to find all the colors of eggs on their list.  Call me if you need help and I'll help you!  Fun! Fun!  Take pictures!

Have fun!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Signing Day

Georgetown College Football signees 
On Friday, March 22 Scott County High School recognized two young men who accepted scholarships  to continue their education at Georgetown College and play football for the Georgetown Tigers.

Marine Corp Commitments 
At this same ceremony, Scott County High School decided to do something a little bit different.  Not only were students who received athletic and academic scholarships highlighted, students who have committed to serve in the armed services were also recognized.  During the ceremony, Mr. Howatt recognized 11 SCHS seniors who have signed up to serve in either the Marines, Army, Navy and Air Force.

Audience showing appreciation 
I am very proud of the seniors that have decided to serve their country and I am also very proud of Scott County High School for creating a ceremony to salute these 11 seniors.  Too often we forget the importance of all our student's contributions.  Taking the time today to salute the students that will serve in our military was just the right step in giving these young men and women the proper recognition.
Local news coverage

Thursday, March 21, 2013

"Lean in 2013"

Click on pictures to enlarge

Today's blog entry and pictures are courtesy of Ms. Carrie Apple of Royal Spring Middle School.  Carrie describes a fitness competition that has motivated over 20 staff members at RSMS.  I love it when staff work together to reach any type of goal - I especially love it when the goal is fitness.  

A little friendly competition never hurts when you want to lose weight.   For the past 10 weeks, the teachers, administration, and staff and Royal Spring have been competing in a weight loss competition called “Lean in 2013.” 23 people are competing against each other for individual bragging rights, but they also formed teams so they could enter the county-wide “Lean in 2013” contest.  RSMS formed 5 teams who are competing against other teams in Scott County.  Every Titan team came up with their own name…Mission SlimPossible, Team 2 Beat, Team Tide, Team PASS, and Operation Shrink a Booty.  RSMS is up against some tough competition (Georgetown Fire department, Scott County Judge Executive’s office, News Graphic, Georgetown Hospital, etc.).   RSMS will find out next week if any of their teams placed. 

      In order to support each other, a private Facebook page was created for RSMS competitors and team members so they could share their progress, post their fitness pictures, share recipes, and encourage each other through the process.  4 participants even braved the 30 degree temps so they could take part in the Extreme Rampage obstacle course.  A trainer\dietician came to the school to teach a 3 part healthy eating class, competitors started working out after school together, and weekly weigh-ins have become the norm.  Not everyone signed up for the 10 week competition, but we saw a spike in activity among non-competitors in the school as well. Collectively, RSMS participants collectively lost over 300 pounds!   *Winners will be based on the percentage of weight loss.*

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Autograph Peyton Manning Football
Most ideas to motivate staff cost little to nothing.  However, there are times you may want to provide t-shirts, a simple meal or other rewards for your staff.  I encourage you to take this opportunity to fund raise  as a way to boost morale.  In the past we have had teachers bring in items that they would consider for a garage sale and donate it to a silent auction.  We placed the items in the library and throughout the day all staff have the opportunity to bid.  We created a bid cut-off time and it was amazing how many faculty showed up to give final bids.   

One year family membership to the Explorium
Finding ways to make events such as fundraising a fun activity is the what this blog is about.  The Ninth Grade School in Scott County is taking this several steps further. On Saturday, March 23,  the Ninth Grade School along with the PTSO will have the Annual Spring Craft and Car Show at the Ninth Grade School.  The show will run from 9-4 at the Ninth Grade School on Cardinal Drive in Georgetown.  I want to thank Ms. Phyllis Crucitti for her help organizing the event and for the preview and pictures below.  .  

Autograph Packers Football
We are proud to say we will be hosting 78 crafters, ranging from jewelry to repurposed barn wood.  There will be a bouncy for small kids, a photographer taking Easter pictures, face painting, and a book sale.

We have 22 cars entered into the car show.  We have a 1957 Henry J, 1927 Roadster, and more!

The silent auction is rocking with autographed sports memorabilia, Disney tickets, horse racing, and lots of baskets! The items in the pictures are put a few of the items up for bid on the Saturday.  

Autograph Ray Lewis Football 

Click on link to see Phyllis Crucitti and Whitney Brewer describe the Craft and Car Show on WLEX-18,53,56,131,262

Monday, March 18, 2013

Dinner and a Show

Click on picture to enlarge
 A great morale booster for both students and staff is to build an evening around  student productions and events.  Over the years we have had cookouts before football games, breakfast before graduation and dinner before school plays, band concerts, Prom and other student events.  Take time to invite all staff and make the location simple and affordable. If you are a High School, invite teachers in Elementary and Middle Schools. Teachers love to support student productions but often find it uncomfortable to come alone.  Make it easy by setting up a committee to organize events for as many student events as possible.

On a personal note, I would like to promote Scott County High School's "Thoroughly  Modern Millie" that will be presented March 21-23 at 7:00 and at 2:00 on Sunday, March 24th in the Susan Moore Auditorium  at Scott County High School. One of these evenings would be a great time to combine a great dinner and a fantastic show.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Operation Preparation

Two weeks ago I highlighted ECS's Mock Interview night.  This week Royal Spring Middle School had a very similar event called Operation Preparation.   Trained volunteer community advisors met one-on-one with  students on Wednesday of this week. The community advisor used the student’s Individual Learning Plan or ILP (including career interest inventory and EXPLORE results) to discuss the student’s:
  • career aspirations, required education/training and workforce skills
  • whether the student is on target to meet their goals
  • whether the student is taking the courses recommended to prepare them for a successful future

Royal Spring Middle School was recently recognized as a
"School to Watch", one of the first schools in Central Kentucky to receive this prestigious honor.  Commitments to programs such as Operation Preparation  is just one small reason why. 

MegAnn Leigh in the wrong seat - just like when she was in High School

Counselor Angela Fraley and Carmen Wallin arranged for 26 local business leaders to meet with students at RSMS.  This is a great opportunity for our students to practice "soft skills"  and for local community leaders to work with our students.

The last stop for students is to the "College Info Road Show" RV.  This is a great chance for our 8th Grade students to realize that college is within reach.  

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Any excuse  to share food is  great motivation to staff.  Over the next couple of weeks, I will highlight some of the ways our schools use food to increase staff morale.  Below is a great way to incorporate a school bake-off into a team competition.  Lauren Feeback describes the competition and shares the simple scoring rubric the judges use.  

We have a school-wide bake-off, not just limited to people on teams.  Each team can submit as many desserts as they would like, but they only get points for their best-scoring item.  Desserts can be any kind – cookies, cakes, cobblers, ice cream.  We have a team of 3-4 judges who judge based on a dessert’s appearance, as well as its taste.  All the scores are tallied, and the dessert with the most points is the winner.   All the desserts are set out during lunch, and staff members can come and get a dessert to eat with lunch.

Scoring Rubric

Dessert 1

Taste:         10              9             8              7              6              5              4              3              2              1

Presentation:              5              4              3              2              1              

Chocolate Cake, Kit Kats and Pigs

Bon Appetit 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Teacher Swap

Last week I highlighted Stephen Willis and his unique twist on Name that Tune.  This week, Stephen has sent an idea that helps us all better understand another teacher's perspective.  Atticus Finch states "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view - until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."

The teachers at Model Laboratory School are willing to "climb into the skin" of another teacher at another level and see education from another point of view.  Below, Stephen gives a brief introduction of the school and the procedure for the "Teacher Swap". 

Model Laboratory School is a Pre-K – 12 school located at Eastern Kentucky University.  It currently has an enrollment of 750 students.  The school has a voluntary team competition called Model Behavior.  The teams consist of faculty and staff from elementary, middle, and high school levels.

Teacher Swap
Objective:  Faculty and Staff are given an opportunity to swap jobs with someone that works on a different level for half a day.

Set Up:  A week is established to run the activity and a calendar is made and placed in the lounge.  Faculty and Staff are given the opportunity to sign up and swap with someone with similar job experience.  The amount of swaps are limited per day to prevent operation issues. 

Example:  Miss Canfield teaches high school geometry and Miss Landers teaches 1st grade.  On Tuesday they both leave detailed lesson plans and trade teaching positions from 8 to 11.  

Friday, March 8, 2013

Baby Pictures Superlatives

I really enjoy it when teachers and administrators share their ideas with the blog.  I also love when you take an old idea for a competition or morale booster and give it a new twist.  On my last blog, I discussed how Model Laboratory School put a new twist on Name that Tune.  This blog highlights a new twist to the Baby Picture Game.  Eastern Elementary has teachers select Superlatives from faculty and staff's baby pictures.  Thanks to Kelsey Davis and The Sunshine Club for the description and pictures below.  

The baby picture bulletin board is up and running!  It is posted in the lounge.  Every time I walked by today, staff members were crowded around talking and laughing.  Instead of guessing the staff member in each picture, we decided to do superlatives.  :
Click pictures to enlarge

You’ve gawked and pointed
And probably laughed, too.
It’s time to cast your ballot for

Spend a little time looking,
Just stare for a while.
We need a decision on
Dontcha wish you could squeeze them—
Really perfect your pinching technique?
It’s time to cast your vote for

Oozing with personality
Sweet, sassy, or dramatic
Now make your choice for
From infants we grew
Into a great looking staff
But which picture gives you

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Name that Tune - Model Lab Style

The team competition described  below is courtesy of  a former teaching colleague of mine, Stephen Willis.  Stephen currently teaches at Model Laboratory School in Richmond Kentucky.  Stephen has taken the team competition of Name that Tune to a whole new level.  I really like the unique slant on an old team competition game.  Below, he gives a description of Model Laboratory School and a description of the competition.  

Model Laboratory School is a Pre-K – 12 school located at Eastern Kentucky University.  It currently has an enrollment of 750 students.  The school has a voluntary team competition called Model Behavior.  The teams consist of faculty and staff from elementary, middle, and high school levels. 

Name That Tune

Songs with a common theme are typed individually onto slips of paper.  Each team must select one person to pick a song at random and play it on a kazoo.  The team has 15 seconds to guess the song.  If they fail the other teams may guess the song.  Themes that may be used are Christmas, summer, beach, school, love, etc... 

Monday, March 4, 2013

March 5th = ACT day for Juniors

In Kentucky public schools, every Junior takes the ACT in the spring of his or her Junior year.  Tomorrow is the day for Kentucky Juniors.  I have always said the four areas of concentration for an educator are: curriculum, instruction, skills and motivation.  As we move to one day before testing the "hay is in the barn" for the curriculum, instruction and skills but you can still make a positive change with motivation.  The administration at Scott County High School understand this and today they will be handing each Junior a card that appreciate their hard work and wishes them all well.  

The note also recognizes students will be nervous and states that a sense of nervousness is actually good. The administration at Scott County High School using information from a New York Times Magazine article, by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman.   
Bronson and Merryman found: "that one of the most surprising research findings is that when students get certain messages before a big test, it affects how they label stress – and that improves their performance. In an experiment at Harvard, undergraduates about to take a Graduate Record Examination (GRE) practice test were given a short note saying the purpose of the study was to examine the effects of stress on cognition. Half the students (the experimental group) were given an additional note saying that recent research suggests that “people who feel anxious during a test might actually do better.” It advised students that if they felt nervous, “you shouldn’t feel concerned… simply remind yourself that your arousal could be helping you do well.”
Students who received the second note scored 50 points higher in the quantitative section than the control group on the practice test (out of a possible 800 points). On the real GRE, those who received the don’t-worry notes scored 65 points higher. The same experiment was replicated with remedial math students at a Midwestern community college. Did the notes make students in the experimental group more relaxed? Not at all. Researchers took saliva samples and found that students were just as nervous but they processed their anxiety differently, transforming it into a positive force that drove better performance."

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Cardinal Academy

One of the hidden gems of Scott County Schools is the Cardinal Academy.  Cardinal Academy combines numerous programs to help students achieve his or her diploma.  Because of the efforts of Joretta Crowe and the teachers and staff at Cardinal Academy, students that may have given up on school are now experiencing success.  Below, Mrs. Crowe describes a program that reinforces positive behavior throughout the year.  

The Cardinal Academy Staff reinforces positive behavior, academic achievement and perfect attendance.  Each student has a reward card that has 20 spaces on it.   In one week a student can earn 5 stamps for perfect attendance, 5 stamps for no behavior issues and multiple stamps for academic performance in each of their classes.  Once the card is full then the student can turn in that card and get a new one.  We have a store that opens at the end of each month.  For every card a student has completed, they get to choose 2 items from the store.  (Items include school supplies, Gatorade, water, chips, special occasion items like chocolates for Valentine’s Day and other food items students say they would like to have.) 

Holiday Bucks 
Cashing in Holiday Bucks 

During the months of November and December, students not only get to earn stamps for their cards but they also get to earn Holiday bucks.  Holiday bucks is a form of paper money.  They can earn Holiday bucks with random acts of kindness, academic excellence (meeting academic standards) and perfect attendance in each class.  Since many of our students do not have a lot of money this gives them the opportunity to buy their Christmas gifts for relatives and friends.  All items are new and most are donated.  They include perfume/cologne, stuffed animals, candles, clothes, gift cards, etc…