It all came together on a dank and dreary morning at Woodstock Middle School. As I parked my car and started in to the building I passed a well-dressed couple headed for the front of the building. I guessed they would be among the judges for the Public Speaking competition. I, too, was arriving for just the same purpose, though I was going in by way of the back door. In the cafeteria twenty-four ‘judges’ assembled, drafted by the inimitable power-house and master motivator, Dena O’Hara – there for the sole purpose of judging the public speaking competition.
WMS has had a public speaking club/team for some time. I’ve been a judge before and I have also transported our team a couple of times over the years. I have always been and continue to be impressed with the intrepid spirits of the kids that choose to participate.
“Public Speaking” is a term that can make even the most experienced of us tremble and feel hollow inside (or worse). In a recent New York Times article, public speaking was rated third of the major fears people have – the first being dying and the second being losing one’s job. So there isn’t any doubt that these young participants are among our bravest. Read the rest of this entry »
If you look near the bottom of the RIGHT SIDEBAR, you will see articles in the news about Woodstock Connecticut. These are news articles published in major newspapers including the Boston Globe, the Hartford Courant, the Norwich Bulletin, the New London Day….etc. The feature has a scroll bar. If you scroll down you will see a story about a Bungay volunteer fireman who has been arrested for sexual assault of a 13-year old girl published by NBC30.com. The titles are hot so you can click through to original article.
Donna Blaine of Woodstock talks about her hobbled Maltese, Gizmo, in the latest news feed about Woodstock (10AM 4/4) at the lower right.
NEWSFLASH! We’ve now added Eastford and Pomfret news combined in a separate widget at the very bottom of the RIGHT SIDEBAR.
The most recent article is an obituary from the Jersey Shore for a Pomfret woman and the second article down talks about a boy who entered the Rectory School.
Double Whoops! In the “Parent Mode” teachers are rated on Expectations, Difficulty and Respect (E, D, R): In the “Parent Mode” since 4/3/08 parents have rated Middle School teachers 6 times. Here’s an example of a Comment about Mr. Cassell, music teacher - ”This young teacher is absolutely amazing. He commands student respect without ever wavering his professional demeanor. Other teachers could learn much from this young man. I hope WMS recruits others like him.”
Parents also rated Academy teachers 10 times since 4/3/08. Here’s an example of a Comment about Glenn Anderson, History teacher - ”I had Mr. Anderson as did my son and daughter. Amazing teacher. Very motivating.” Also for Jamie Swift, English teacher – “Amazing teacher. My daughters loved her despite her high expectations and demanding homework. Enthusiastic students willing to learn love her.”
Whoops Again! There were 9 additional ratings of WA teachers on 4/4/08 and a total of 13 new ratings since this article was posted. Before that in March there were only 2 ratings for the entire month and no ratings on April 1st or 2nd. Two new teachers were added since 4/3/08 also.
Whoops! Mr. Cassell at the Middle School received one more sterling rating yesterday (3/4/08) giving him an average rating of 4.9 (an A+).
Four new ratings were applied to Academy teachers on 4/3/08, three low and one high. Ms. Taylor who left the Academy under fire received one of the new low ratings. The comments associated with these new ratings have not yet been posted pending review by the site administrators. It’s possible that Ms. Taylor received more ratings that had to be deleted because of content in posted comments. It’s also possible that just the comment may be deleted, not the rating.
See the important new comments under the article “Principle vs. Principal…” The latest comment by ‘Woodstock Mom’ is intriguing.
Two weeks ago I read an article in the New York Times that talked about an Internet site where students at colleges and universities can rate their professors at www.ratemyprofessor.com . The idea intrigued me but I was concern that this was only a rage site where only negative things would be said. So I went to the ratings for professors at my old college, Bethany College (the small college of extinction) and was surprised to see that most of the ratings where very positive with few exceptions. I went to Harvard and MIT thinking that there would be many smarty pants students that would put down their professors. This was not the case though – the average ratings of a high percentage of Profs were very positive. It becomes clear that students consider these ratings when choosing classes for their next semester.
This intriguing option dwelled in my mind such that this morning I wondered if there was a similar site for students to rate their teachers in high school. I searched Google for “rate my teachers” and the number one hit was www.ratemyteachers.com , a national web-based service that allows students or just about anyone to rate teachers within any school in the nation including elementary and middle schools. There’s also a page where parents can rate teachers. If you look at elemetary or middle schools, most have no ratings, but most high schools do. To find schools in Connecticut simply bring up the URL www.ratemyteachers.com/schools/connecticut and to find only Woodstock schools bring up the URL www.ratemyteachers.com/schools/connecticut/woodstock/ . Replace “woodstock” in the URL with any CT town name like “norwich” “pomfret” or “winsted” and you will find all of the ratings of teachers that have been posted for any school in that town, including private schools. So I searched for Woodstock schools and found 5 schools listed – “Homebound” (have no idea what this is), Hyde School, WES, WMS, and the Academy. For the Academy I found that there had been 402 ratings of 99 teachers and administrators with most occuring in the last two years. Read the rest of this entry »
Fairly calm evening. Looked to be a full BOF present. Chairman Lindsay Paul introduced several aspects of the budget and Dr. Baran then presented the budget. By the by… the proposed 08/09 BOE budget is a 4.67% aggregate increase for a total budget of $15,705,513 – an increase over the present year’s budget of $701,948.
The budget breakdown is as follows: (graphic w/specifics will be inserted tomorrow)
53% Statutory Requirements including SPED, Transportation and High School
40% Contractual and other Salaries (not including SPED and Transportation related salaries)
… not much wiggle room… Read the rest of this entry »
GSA: a supportive environment for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth and their straight allies.
The GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) has been in existence for about 5 years at Woodstock Academy. GSA is a nationally recognized organization. Most schools in our area have a GSA and participate in the Day of Silence. The GSA is a sanctioned club at Woodstock Academy with a paid advisor. The Day of Silence is voluntary in schools and not everyone participates. Students, faculty, and staff of schools who do participate agree not to speak while changing classes and during lunches. The reason for this is in recognition that gay/lesbian students have had to be silent about their sexual orientation/gender in order to remain safe in schools. This year the students and faculty/staff at WA were told the school’s position about the Day of Silence is not to support it. The students of GSA and others who support Day of Silence were disappointed the Headmaster made this decision. The Headmaster told the GSA students he didn’t want them to be “pawns” of two national agendas (GSA and Mission America).
My question to Mr. Foye is, “Who is the real pawn?” With all due respect sir, it is you!
I am sure if Mission America hadn’t contacted the local evangelical and baptist church no one would care about Day of Silence. You have bowed down to the agenda of Mission America instead of standing up for the safety of us - the students you are paid to protect with our anti-discrimination policy. Although I am not a member of GSA I believe all students at Woodstock Academy should have a safe educational environment and be treated equally. If you have never heard of Mission America you can look it up on the web. This is not a group WA should be supporting if everyone is going to be treated equally.
Please Mr. Foye stand up for all students at Woodstock Academy and allow the Day of Silence.
submitted by ‘A Junior at Woodstock Academy’
Mission America website
Ladies and Gentlemen!
The Café is pleased to announce the grand opening of the “Café Store”. For months graphic design artists at InMyRoom.com have been working feverishly to create designs that match slogans popular at the Café. At the same time elves living secretly at an undisclosed castle in the very northern parts of North Woodstock have been baking ceramics and knitting and weaving clothing and accessories of the highest quality which will carry these unique designs and slogans.
After years of conceptualizing how best to spread the Café message, the Café is proud to announce…. Read the rest of this entry »