Rocky Road

rock roadThe title describes where I am right now, but unfortunately it doesn’t have anything to do with ice cream.  A number of complications with our one-to-one initiative and school administration issues have placed me here.  This explains, in large part, why I haven’t posted anything in a couple of weeks.

Laptop distribution went relatively smoothly a little more than a week ago, but we have since experienced a number of technical and policy problems.  Technical issues range from students who cannot log onto their laptops, to video formats that apparently aren’t compatible with the laptop settings, to student dissent over the district’s policies toward acceptable student behavior with their laptops.  When students realized they wouldn’t be able to access social networking sites on their laptops–either at school or at home–they quickly lost their enthusiasm for this experiment, and the complaints began.

While the technology department has been responsive to our problems, even they are stumped by some of the inconsistencies.  Why are some students able to complete some actions while others can’t?  Why are some students able to log on at school but not at home?  All laptops were supposedly formatted and imaged the same, yet differences clearly exist.  Some of the issues will simply be a matter of clarifying points with the district technology administrator.  Students are prohibited from downloading software, but what about printer or mouse drivers?  Shouldn’t they be allowed to use them?  They are prohibited from changing settings, but couldn’t they personalize their desktops, as long as it’s school-appropriate?  These are questions for our monthly meeting with the tech gurus, which will be this week.  I’m confident we’ll work things out, but it’ll be hard to hold off the rebellious natives.

In addition to the issues with our laptop initiative, we are missing some key people.  Our principal was called out of state for a family emergency last Monday, and she is desperately needed there for at least another week, possibly longer.  Our site administrative assistant (who keeps everyone and everything organized) is having knee replacement surgery tomorrow and will be out six weeks.  A substitute is planned, but she can’t start for a few days and will need some time to get herself oriented.  With only five faculty members, one administrator, and one admin assistant on site, that leaves us with exactly five faculty to take care of the day-to-day school matters–and did I mention teach the nearly 30 classes we offer?

Thank goodness for several well-trained and responsible student office interns, an administrator and other personnel from the non-profit arm of our program, and our principal’s supervisor.  All are invaluable resources, and we will make good use of them as things get a little rockier down this week’s road.  Our annual Career & College Fair is this Friday.  We’ve been planning it for weeks.  Dozens of speakers from area schools, businesses, and industries will be on campus to motivate our students toward meeting their career goals.  With that many guests on hand, and district media specialists on hand for filming, this is our opportunity to shine, and I’m determined that we will.

What was it Nietzsche said?  “That which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger,” or something to that effect.  In other words, slogging through the rocks today will make us stronger down the road.

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