Is Your Skill-set Still on Release 1.0?

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Is Your Skill-set Still on Release 1.0?
It is easy to fall into the trap of not keeping your skill-set current. There's no time and no need anyway. We look at why you need to keep things current and offer some suggestions as to how to proceed.

This is a tough question for many of us teachers to deal with. Why? Because many of us are convinced that we don't need to update our skill-set now that we have found our dream teaching position in a wonderful school. We are set, right? Not exactly. As we all know things can change in a flash. Against this backdrop let's you and I explore your skill-set and offer some suggestions as to how to do some necessary upgrades.

Why do you need to upgrade your skill-set?

As I pointed out in the opening paragraph, your circumstances can change in a flash. The most common reason for suddenly needing a new teaching position is a major change your family circumstances. A member of your family who lives in another state has an accident or becomes seriously ill requiring your presence in the area. While you could take Family Medical Leave, it has become obvious to you that the best solution is for you to move closer to your family member so that you can supervise his care and generally be there for him. That means you will need to look for a new teaching job.

The important thing to understand is that life can deal some unexpected cards. You thought you were set. Suddenly you are not. That is the reason why you must upgrade your skill-set.

Does your skill-set need updating?

Assess your skill-set critically. When did you earn your degree? When did you last attend a regional or national conference in your

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5 Reasons You Might Be Looking At The Wrong Schools
Choosing the right school for your child is a major project. We look a five reasons why you might be looking at the wrong schools.

You have started the process of choosing a private school for your child. You have done a bit of reading about the reasons for sending your child to a private school. You have listened to the suggestions and recommendations of family and friends. You have explored dozens of school web sites. None of this is particularly difficult to do. It just takes a lot of time, right? Not exactly. Here are five reasons why you might be looking at the wrong schools.

1. They don't offer the kind of curriculum you are looking for.

You need to think carefully about what is taught and how it is taught in each school. And you need to do this important bit of thinking well before you creating a short list of schools for you to visit. The school's curriculum, how it is taught and the quality of the faculty should be at the top of your check list. That's how important an issue this is as you go about choosing the right school for your child. Listen to the Head of the Math Department at Nichols School in Buffalo, New York explain the school's philosophy about teaching math specifically and teaching in general.

What makes this part of the process a bit daunting is that private schools are unique. They won't all offer the same courses and they most certainly will not approach teaching them the same way. By now you have a pretty good idea of

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Could This Happen To My Child?
Scandals in private school are bound to raise questions for those of us thinking about sending our children to private school. Regardless of how sensational these scandals may appear, they are actually few and far between.

The recent events at historic Saint Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire raise questions for those of us considering private school. The story was hard to miss as it seemed to air virtually non-stop for a week. Against that backdrop let's look at things from our parental perspective.

What are the odds of this happening in the school our children attend?

Probably not very likely at all. Statistically speaking, there are very few incidents such as this occurring in private schools annually. I searched carefully to see what I could find about private school scandals past and present. Honestly, there wasn't much out there, perhaps a handful or so of incidents annually. You can find the results of my search at the end of this article. The sensational coverage of the St. Paul's story tended to blow the incident way out of proportion in my opinion. I would think that the risk of similar events happening elsewhere is insignificant.

How could something like this happen in a private school which prides itself on 24/7 supervision of its students?

All private schools including Saint Paul's take their students' safety very seriously. In the case of boarding schools their responsibility extends to 24/7 supervision while the students are in residence on campus. With day schools things work a bit differently because school opens in the morning and dismisses at the end of the school day. As a result what happens in the late afternoon and evening is our parental

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Vouchers aka Tax Credits and Scholarship Funds
Voucher programs have gained a lot of traction since 1989 when the first voucher program appeared in Milwaukee. We look at how things are playing out in 2015.

Vouchers have been a fact in American private school education since 1989 when the State of Wisconsin passed a voucher program which aimed to help students from low income families in Milwaukee. Since then 39 voucher programs have been set up. According to the American Federation for Children the following states now have some form of voucher program:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • New Hampshire
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin

Vouchers

What exactly are vouchers? The simplest definition is using public funds to pay for a private school education. Voucher programs take many forms and we will look at those later in this article.

How many students nationwide benefit from voucher programs? In 2014 approximately 308,000 students were recipients of some kind of tax dollars in voucher programs or variations thereof. That is 0.006% of the K-12 public school student population which was approximately 50 million at the beginning of the 2014 school year. The actual expenditure is in the millions of dollars which like the number of students in voucher programs is tiny. 

What is the future of voucher programs? As of 2015 voucher programs are state-sponsored, state-managed and state-funded programs. Some politicians, however, would like to see federal funds used for voucher programs nationwide. Why? Because their constituents are disatisfied with underperforming public schools.

What does the public education community think about vouchers? Needless to say, voucher programs in all their forms and variations are complete anathema to the teachers unions and the supporters of public education. Why? Because

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Why Would I Want to....
Many parents tend to dismiss the idea of sending their children to private school without exploring it in depth. We explore this and several more related subjects.
making a choice on crossroads
Many parents tend to dismiss the idea of sending their children to private school without exploring it in depth. Similarly many teachers flirt with the idea of teaching in a private school without delving into the matter deeply. Supporting your alma mater financially is another concept many alumni figure is somebody else's job. Of course, it isn't.
 
Send my child to private school?
 
You would want to send your child to private school for several reasons. The public schools in your area may not offer all the academic programs you want your child to have as she prepares for college a couple of years from now. The local public schools may have had to cut extracurricular activities because of financial constraints. You want your child to participate in a variety of extracurricular activities. Sports programs may have been cut as well. Many school districts are struggling with their budgets and that impacts academics, extracurricular activities and athletic programs across the board. Those kinds of fiscal pressures make the extras problemmatic at best. Who wouldn't want their child to be in academic surroundings where anything is possible as this short video suggests. Making the decision to send your child to private school requires some serious analysis and discussion of your aims and objectives. When we were having that discussion, we had two concerns: 1) stretching out children academically as well as providing a range of extracurricular activities and sports and 2) providing adequate supervision after school and at . . .read more
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