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NYS School Budget Vote ~ It’s That Time Again May 16, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Anita DeCianni-Brown @ 10:23 pm
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New York State – it’s time to vote for your school budgets and school boards again! This year, we vote on Tuesday, May 21.

Do children’s future deserve a “Yes” vote? Does that question even need to be asked? Long before I became a member of the school board, my dad instilled in me not only a love of education but the responsibility to make sure I vote for education. I often wish I could selectively choose to vote for whatever platform I believe so the funding is appropriated the way I want. But that’s not the case. School districts are at the public’s mercy every year – hoping, praying, pleading – to pass budgets. Every defeated budget affects the lives of hundreds to thousands of kids. Take a moment to fast forward years down the road – those same kids are then in decision making roles that will affect our lives. They come in the form of every worker and profession that our lives will cross. Doesn’t it seem fitting to make sure they receive the best education? I think so. That’s why every year so far, my vote has been yes – and can pretty much predict it will continue on this path.

As many or most of you know, June 30 will be my last day as a Board member. With work, graduate school and my photography business consuming my time, I had to make some decisions. It was a tough and emotional decision, but it was one I had to make in order to be fair. If I can’t give 110%, then I can’t do the job that is required. It has been quite an experience over the past 14 years! I have had the privilege of working with an outstanding group of Board members. Each one has brought an expertise and perspective to the table, each one of you, I have learned from. We have had the opportunity to see some wonderful things in the district. In a district like Green Island, it is a unique experience because administration, faculty, staff, students, community members … we know them. They are not the kid in 5th grade; the person that teaches reading in 3rd grade; the custodian, the office worker, the administrator – we know them. Making decisions under these circumstances has NOT always been easy, and there have been times of tears (my own), when that has happened. It’s a tough balancing act because – I know them.

My advice for the newest members of the Board that will be voted for on Tuesday – is to remember one very important fact. Being a Board member does not mean that YOU are the voice of the Board, it means that you are 1/5 of the voice of the Board. Whatever agendas that may be brought in? Remember, you not only have guidelines – but state-mandated laws that must be followed. (Ohh, and then there are the unfunded state mandates … be prepared with headache relief medication when you hear this term in a meeting.) Being on the Board does not mean ruling with the proverbial rubber stamp. However, it takes working together as a team to be successful – just as any other “relationship” with people. There is no “I” in team – and there cannot be an “I” on the Board. My second bit of advice that was given to me many years ago by one of my mentors when I first started on the Board – you have to have a tough skin. You will be making popular decisions, and some unpopular ones. The balancing act I mentioned before – it’s tough – therefore, you need tough skin at times!

Finally – I just want to thank everyone. First and foremost the Board members present and past. We have been told that we must be a glutton for punishment for serving on the Board for the high salary we receive each year (those beautiful corsages at graduation before anyone gets the wrong idea!). Our accomplishments have been in the form of 14 passed budgets, a beautiful renovation/expansion project and overcoming each of the MANY obstacles that have been thrown in our path. It has truly been an honor to serve with each of you. To all the administrators and teachers present and past, I have enjoyed working with you – and have always appreciated your efforts (I certainly hope you know that!). And to the community members, for having faith and confidence to vote for me – but most importantly for passing budgets.

Our children’s futures rely on you! Please keep that in mind on May 21.


Lesson Plan, A Reflection May 2, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Anita DeCianni-Brown @ 2:39 pm
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A major component that ties all the learning you have done through this course is your reflective essay.  Please write a 3 – 5 page essay on your service learning experience.  Try to keep these questions in mind when planning out your essay.

  • Was this project what you had anticipated when you proposed it?
  • What concepts and classroom knowledge were you able to apply during your project?
  • Did you work alone on the project, or did you organize a small/large group to carry out the project?  If you had others helping, how did you engage their help?
  • Was the project something that fixed an existing problem?  Or, was this a sustainable project?  If it is something that will go on, what steps did you take to make sure this can be carried out by others?
  • If you had the opportunity to do a service learning project again, would you do it?
  • What did you learn from this project?
  • Do you have suggestions on the course or lessons that you feel might improve the course?

Since this is an essay that will just be sent to me, and not shared via social media, if you would like to share any photos you took throughout the project to show the work you have done, please feel free to do so.


Lesson Plan in Service Learning, Let’s Get Social May 1, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Anita DeCianni-Brown @ 1:03 am

Now that your project has been decided on, and work has begun, we will work on promoting the work.  One of the benefits of social media is that we are able to promote work to the virtual world.  The work that is being done by each of you may inspire someone else to pick-up where you are leaving off, or maybe to start a different service learning project in the area.

Bi-weekly you will write a blog about your progress with your project, or questions, concerns and issues that might arise.  You will share your blog on the:  ESC Service Learning blog site.

For the purpose of this course, you will need to create accounts on the following social media platforms:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

And join/follow the ESC Service Learning pages and feeds.  As blogs postings are added, I will be sharing them through these three sites (if you would like to add your own each week to both the blog and these sites, feel free to do so).  During weeks 7, 10 and 14, you will be asked to share things through Twitter and Pinterest, and comment through Facebook.

This is a great exercise in marketing and promotion in the digital environment.

Please keep in mind:

  • If you are taking photos during the course of your project, make sure to obtain permission from the organization.  Only include people in photos that you have been granted permission from.
  • Do not use people’s names, unless you have received permission to do so.

Idea developed from the article:  See Table 1, Date Matrix

Brabant, M. & Hochman, A.  The Social Foundations Classroom:  What are Schools For?  Crossing Institutional Boundaries for the Sake of Learning.  Educational Studies.