SpongeBob and a Snow Day.

The Evil Spawn has a plan.He Was Fun While He Lasted.

She wants me to repaint her playroom on our next Snow Day (as always, capitalized out of respect).

When we moved to our new house, she was just starting kindergarten.  It was a no brainer to paint her favorite cartoon character on the wall of her playroom.

In what seems like 10 minutes later, she is headed towards 5th grade and junior high.

She’s ready to change the wall.

I’m not so sure.

In her mind, this is a big step towards growing up.

In my mind, this is a big step away from her being a little girl.

Bye, SpongeBob.

Hello… I’m not quite sure.

A picture of the new wall will be coming soon.  Check the weather.

Comments: 5
Tags: , ,

School Holidays: A Time of Remembrance or Day Off for Adults?

Has our country lost respect for holidays?

Don't Get Me Wrong... I Don't Want to Pay Full Price for Furniture Anymore Than Anyone Else.

It seems they’ve become an afterthought.

We look forward to the next one, but not always for the right reasons.

In today’s world, they are less about celebrating, remembering, or learning about an event and more about a 3 day weekend (just for the record… I’m a BIG fan of the 3 day weekend).

They’ve become an opportunity to extend our weekends.

Or sale furniture at 60% off.

It makes me wonder if schools should be in session on holidays.

Would students (and adults) be better off celebrating holidays at school rather than sleeping in and enjoying a day off?

Comments: 3
Tags: ,

Online Privacy: A New Approach.

Maybe I’m wrong.

Maybe this guy is right.

Maybe we should be doing more online; not less.




Just for the record:  I’m scared to death of Russian Identity Thieves.

Comments: 2

Facebook Told Me.

Once again it’s become apparent the world has changed.Just For The Record... I'm Not THAT Bad.

The good old days are gone forever (at least to us old people).

When I was a kid we were free to mumble insults about our school administrators and no one was any the wiser (especially the principal or superintendent… thank goodness… or we might all still be in detention).

We lived in a much smaller world.  The second after you said something, it was gone forever.

Or at least if you were caught you could deny, deny, deny.

Not that I ever did (see… I’m still denying).

In today’s world, kids have to deal with an entirely different set of rules.

Their lives are more open and way more complicated (bad news for those of us who own 9 year olds).

When they have a slightly mean or angry thought it’s not just shared with their buddy.

It’s not even just shared with the kids in their own school.

It’s blogged about, texted, posted on YouTube, and as it turns out possibly even ends up on Facebook (I had no idea I was such a terrible person).

What students don’t always consider is people over the age of 21 also own computers.

And have the interweb.

And some of us even know how to use it.

So as educators, we need to make sure we continue to spend lots of time teaching technology.

But we also need to spend time teaching good judgment.

Comments: 10
Tags: , ,

Homework Flowchart.

Everyone has concerns about homework.homework flowchart

Teachers.  Principals.  Parents.


Mainly students.

This probably explains why the Homework Flowchart (look immediately to your right) has quickly become the #1 visited item on my other blog.

Yes, I have another blog (http://principalspage.posterous.com)

But there is good news.  It’s only pictures and videos.

No rambling incoherent articles about my education beliefs, my dog, or what’s wrong with the world.

Consider it blog-lite. 

Or a blog for dummies (this should be easy since it’s mine).

If you or your staff are looking for an easy way to post online… a Posterous is perfect.  Works as a blog or a website.  If you can email, you can handle a Posterous (this plug was as usual… for free).

Comments: 4
Tags: , ,

Superintendent Fired for Blogging.

Time once again to open the PrincipalsPage Mailbag.

This question comes from a reader (as most of them do).

“Before I jump in and start writing, I just want to know if blogging has affected you or your career in any negative way. I am afraid, scared even, that I will start blogging (though I won’t be negative or bash my district or job) and something I said will be used against me and hurt me and my future career?”

Good question.

Now please keep in mind I’m no lawyer.  But I do have a thought (maybe even a coherent one). Get Out!!!

Blogs aren’t felonies.

There is no crime in writing or sharing your opinion.

This is 2011, not 1611 (that’s when you would have been considered a witch for blogging).

Now could you get fired or your career be negatively affected?  Sure.

Especially if you do or write something stupid.

But you could get fired if the majority of the school board doesn’t like your ties (or for the ladies… shoes).

You could get fired for just about anything (some of which may be well-deserved… since I’ve never actually met you).

It could happen.

I could write something so heinous that I lose my job.

Anything could happen.

I could win the lottery (keep a good thought for me).

Buddy the Dog could get off his big beagle behind and do something productive, but that’s probably not going to happen.

The Evil Spawn could make it through her teenage years without rolling her eyes or begging me not to do something embarrassing in front of her friends.

And that’s definitely not happening.

I am so embarrassing her every chance I get (more on that later).

I only have one rule about blogging.

Don’t write anything you wouldn’t say out loud in the middle of a crowded hallway in front of students, teachers, and parents.

If you do that, you probably won’t get fired.


Again, I’m no lawyer.

For me, blogging has been a blessing.  It’s given me opportunities I couldn’t have imagined.

I’ve met people and attended conferences where I’ve learned things that have not only helped me, but have also helped my school district.

Blogging has allowed me to get out from behind my desk and escape the four walls of my school building.

It’s made the world a little bit smaller.

And most importantly, I’ve come to love the following 3 words.

All expenses paid (keep those freebies coming!!!).

So my advice:  blog.

Just use good judgment, because people will be watching.

And hopefully reading.

Comments: 5
Tags: , ,

How to Get a Snow Day in 4 Easy Steps.

The Snow Day Should ALWAYS Be Spent Outdoors.

The Snow Day, always capitalized out of respect, is a complicated creature.

Everyone, except moms, loves them.

But they continue to be a mystery to the average citizen.

Why do they happen?  Will we have one tomorrow?  Why aren’t they always on Monday?

While I can’t answer these questions, I am here to help.

No one truly understands the Snow Day.  Especially, the weather(wo)man.

But I do know the secret to getting a Snow Day.

No, it’s not being the Superintendent and having the ability to cancel school (although that is nice).

It’s 4 easy steps.

And lucky for you, I’m going to share my tried and true method for obtaining the always elusive Snow Day.

Keep in mind these steps must be completed in order.

And most importantly, they must be finished before your normal bedtime.

If you decide to stay up late, because you are convinced tomorrow will be a Snow Day… you have committed the ultimate sin in the eyes of the Snow Day Gods.

So, just follow these simple steps and enjoy your day off from school.

Step 1 – Put your pajamas on inside out (bonus points if your pajamas have feet).

Step 2 – Brush you teeth with the opposite hand (harder than it sounds).

Step 3 – Flush a minimum of 6 ice cubes down the toilet (cubes… not crushed ice… another common mistake).

Step 4 – Sleep with a spoon under your pillow (don’t ask me why, just do it).


If you follow these 4 steps, and it snows a lot, you have my personal guarantee you’ll wake up to a Snow Day.

You’re welcome.

WARNING: Do NOT overuse the Snow Day Ritual.  It must only be used for good, not evil.

Comments: 58

The Problem With Schools.

TJ - A Wise Man.

There’s never enough money for education.

If you don’t believe me, look at your tax bill (on second thought… don’t).

It seems to me one reason school districts struggle financially is we continually add programs (by we, I mean schools, parents, students, teachers, states, and politicians).

But no one ever wants to cut programs.

As adults, we seem to have a tendency to hold on to the things schools provided us when we were students.

How does this help today’s kids?

Or today’s taxpayers?

When did schools become big government?

If it’s so important that public schools retain local control, why do we all do the same things?

Shouldn’t each school look completely different based upon the needs of their community?

Comments: 5
Tags: , ,

Buddy the Dog Has An Arch Nemesis. And So Do I.

We have a new member in our household."We Meet Again, Mr. Robbie."


No, we didn’t buy the Evil Spawn a brother (she is adamantly opposed to the idea of sharing her stuff).

We got a Roomba.  Robbie the Robot is now vacuuming the house while we are busy not vacuuming the house.

He’s a good robot.

Mannerly.  Well-behaved.  Neat.

Everyone loves him.  Except for Buddy the Dog.

He’s also adamant about not sharing his stuff.  And his stuff includes all flat surfaces which may be used for napping.

As you can guess, he’s not thrilled with the idea of a machine darting across his territory while he’s in the middle of one of his 9 snooze marathons.

Up to this point, Buddy has lived the perfect life.

His typical day consists of:  Morning sleep.  Treat.  Afternoon sleep.  Treat.  Eat.  A walk.  Treat.  Early evening sleep.  A bunch of treats.  Three humans fighting for his attention and love.  More treats.  Late evening sleep.  Treats, treats, treats.  And bedtime.

And then the cycle continues.

If you are scoring at home, that’s roughly 21 hours of sleep, 1 meal, 1 walk, 34 treats, and 957 kisses on his beagle head.

From my perspective, it’s a pretty good gig.

Until his dreaded arch nemesis snuck up on him from behind (and who among us likes that).

This got me to thinking.

Now that Buddy has an arch nemesis, what’s mine.

Some might say The Evil Spawn, but that is just for blog purposes (of course, this will change when she’s an actual full-blooded psychotic teenager).

After much consideration, I’ve decided my arch nemesis is time.

No, not Father Time.

Although I do seem to be obsessed with the aging process (life never ends well).

Just regular time.

My days aren’t long enough.

My weeks go by far too quickly.

Weekends and holidays barely exist.

Vacations are a blur.

And each school years seems to get shorter and shorter.

It didn’t used to be like this.

Time used to be my friend.  Time used to last forever.

I hate to say it, but I think technology may be to blame.

Weren’t computers, cell phones, iPads, Twitter, blogs, etc. supposed to make my life easier?

These things were going to give me more time, not take it away.

Maybe my New Year’s Resolution should have been using less technology.

I bet Buddy would agree with this.

I bet Buddy would like it if Robbie “disappeared”.

I’ll have to ask him.  If he ever wakes up.

For more Buddy the Dog vs. Robbie updates… follow The Evil Spawn on Twitter (@Buddy322).  Sad, but true.

Comments: 5
Tags: , , ,

Resolution for 2011? Cheat Certain Death.

It’s time once again to make unrealistic unreachable personal health goals.

My past list of New Year’s Resolutions can best be described as an Idiot’s Guide to Self-improvement.

One year it was to sleep more. That was easy enough. 

One year it was to take up smoking.  Although this one didn’t last long, I am willing to try it again.

Another year had me eating fewer vegetables.  Like stealing candy from a baby.

A couple years ago it was to watch more television. I don’t mean to brag, but I nailed that one (got off to a fast start on January 1 and never looked back).That's Me.  Dead.  Or Very Tired.

Last year I set my goal at learning to swim.  The jury is still out on this one.

I can sort of swim, but I also sort of sink to the bottom (if you don’t believe me… just ask me to save you).

People tell me I could swim if it was an emergency.

This doesn’t make me feel good.

First, like they know.  There’s no way they can judge the sheer level of my fear and panic when thrown overboard off a cruise ship.

Secondly, this is a test I’m really hoping to never take.

But you have to give me credit, I at least attempted to complete this resolution.

I attended every swim lesson and completely creeped my instructor out (she was used to working with 3 year olds… not 43 year olds).

I even have a certificate (suitable for framing) that says I’m not the worst swimmer she ever saw (I think she was just being nice… and encouraging me to just go away).

I feel really good about this.

This brings me to 2011.

My resolution for the upcoming calendar year is… wait for it… wait… I’m going to attempt to drag my big fat behind through a half-marathon.

Yes, that’s right.

I’m going to “run” 13.1 miles for no apparent reason other than to receive a free t-shirt (I continue to be a sucker for the free stuff… and it’s only costing me $45).

Is this resolution/goal doable?


Will I actually complete the “running” of a half-marathon?

Probably not.

Can I run/walk it? 

Maybe.  If it’s not too hot.

Is it possible to finish by hitching a ride in some sort of medical transportation device (ambulance/golf cart/hearse)? 

Ding.  Ding.  Ding.Now That's a Lot of Water.

I don’t mean to brag, but this is very likely.

So there you have it.  I’m officially on record as saying I’m going to do what only millions and millions of other people have already accomplished.

Complete a half-marathon.

Maybe even on foot.

The race is at the end of April so I still have plenty of time to weasel out.

And if I do, I have a back-up resolution.

Drink more water.

So if you need me, you will either find my hyperventilating in the gutter of a street near you (passed out from too much exercise).

Or in the school hallway holding a mega gigantic bucket of water.

Either way, I’ve got a resolution.

And isn’t that what it’s all about?

Comments: 9
Tags: ,


While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.