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Friday, February 27, 2009

All-County Honor Band

Almost 200 students came together today to participate in the Talladega All-County Honor Band. Students were selected by audition. They rehearsed all day today and will rehearse Saturday morning.

The event consists of two bands. The Junior High All-County Honor Band is being conducted by Steve Reagan, assistant band director at Gadsden City High School. The High School All-County Honor Band is being conducted by Russ Waits, band director at Gadsden City High School. Both groups rehearsed at Zora Ellis Jr. High School with the junior high band in the band room and the high school band in Harwell Auditorium.

The event will culminate with a concert to be held on Saturday, February 28 at 2:00 P.M. The concert will be held in Harwell Auditorium. The concert is open to the public. Admission is $3.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Many of you are familiar with "Inspiration," a software package which allows mind mapping. Right now, there is a free web-based version call "Webspiration." The site is in Beta, so anything can happen, and it might not always remain free.

After signing up for a free account, you can begin using the software immediately to create mindmaps. You can save your creations (which will automatically have their own URLs). You can invite other people to view and/or edit your mindmaps.

To see a simple example I put together in about 3o seconds as a first stab at learning the software, click here.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Bands Advance to State Assessment

Congratulations to the Zora Ellis Junior High Band and the Talladega High School Band for their recommendations to compete in the Alabama State Concert Band Assessment. To advance to State Assessment, a band must receive recommendations from two of three judges at District Assessment. Both the Zora Ellis Band and THS Band received recommendations from all three judges.

Zora Ellis will perform on March 2 at 1:00 P.M. The location is Briarwood Presbyterian Church. Talladega High School will perform on March 4 at 5:00 P.M. The location is Gadsden High School.
The complete schedule for the Alabama State Concert Band Assessment can be viewed by clicking here. The event is free and open to the public.

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

About the Posts Which Follow

Tom Wofford, the new Executive Director of the Ritz, has arranged two productions for our students. Principals have been given information regarding dates and times, and am sure are making preparations. The two posts which follow give you some information about the productions. The post on "The Snow Girl" will be re-posted both here and on TalladegaCitySchools on March 9. The post on "Goldilocks" will appear on both blogs April 10.

A study guide is available for both productions. These study guides provide activities that you can do with your students both before and after the productions. Writing prompts are provided. The study guide will make the experience much more meaningful for the students.


The Snow Girl to Come to the Ritz

"The Snow Girl" is an Russian Folk Tale
Adapted by Michael Price Nelson

Set in a land of pure white snow and ice, this fable based on a Russian folk tale, finds the wood carver, Ivanovitch, and his wife, Maroosha, wishing for a child of their own. One night in the woods, Ivanovitch builds a snow statue of a young girl who suddenly comes to life and begins to dance. The rest of the story is told in dialogue and through dancing, with the snowgirl facing challenges and learning what it is like to be human and living in a real family. Exquisite ballet dancing and exotic Russian music transform this land of cold and ice into a warm and endearing family experience.

This adaptation by Michael Price Nelson is being performed by the Birmingham Children's Theatre at the the Historic Ritz Theatre. Students in grades 3, 4, and 5 from all Talladega City Schools will attend a performance of this work on March 11. Thanks to Tom Wofford, Executive Director, for bringing this performance to our students.


Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Goldilocks is a lively girl who has one big problem: she can't keep her hands off Other People's Things! Join us as Goldilocks gets into trouble with everything from a jewelry box to a bird's nest and see what happens in that little cottage in the woods while the bears are out for a walk. In a new twist Goldilocks is caught on tape and is taught a lesson by the bears and the audience. She learns that unless she is invited she won't touch Other People's Things!

This adaptation is being performed by the Birmingham Children's Theatre at the the Historic Ritz Theatre. Students in grades K, 1, and 2 from all Talladega City Schools will attend a performance of this work on April 14. Thanks to Tom Wofford, Executive Director, for bringing this performance to our students.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

School Calendar for Next Year

The Calendar Committee met this afternoon and tallied the votes for next year's calendar.

By a vote of 199 to 89, the winner is Option 1.

To view both calendar options, click here.

At the bottom of the screen, you will see tabs that say "Option 1" and "Option 2." Click on the tabs to view each of the two calendar options. The major difference between the two calendars involves spring break. Option #1 has spring break where it has traditionally been. Option #2 would have moved spring break to after testing.

The next step is for the recommendation from the Calendar Committee to go to Dr. Horton. She will then make a recommendation to the Talladega City Board of Education.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Congratulations, Mrs. Thomas!

Pattie Thomas was named "Outstanding Alumna" for her work in Teacher Leadership. The award was given by the University of Montevallo College of Education and was presented during their annual Alumni Recognition Dinner.

In addition to her work as principal at Raymond L. Young, Mrs. Thomas has assisted numerous teachers in achieving "National Board" certification. She has consistently kept the focus on children and making sure they receive the best all-around education possible.

It's always good when one of our own is recognized for outstanding contributions to education. Congratulations, Mrs. Thomas!

Monday, February 16, 2009

What's in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for Education?

We have heard much about the "stimulus package." So, exactly what is in there for education? The information below comes from the Principal's Policy Blog sponsored by the National Association of Secondary Principals. If you want to see the increase our school system will receive, the link at the very bottom of this post will even give you that.

Below is a chart of highlighted programs and funding levels in the recovery package, followed by selected program descriptions:

ProgramFunding Level
State Fiscal Stabilization Fund$53.6 billion
Title I$10 billion
School Improvement Grants$3 billion
Teacher Incentive Fund$200 million
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act$11.3 billion
Education for Homeless Children and Youth$70 million
Qualified School Construction Bonds$22 billion
Qualified Zone Academy Bonds$1.4 billion
Impact Aid$100 million
National School Lunch Program$100 million

State Fiscal Stabilization Fund
The funds provided under this program are intended to prevent and restore state cuts in education and other services.

Governors must use 81.8% of these funds to support elementary, secondary, and higher education. School districts receiving these funds may only use them for activities authorized under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Perkins (Career and Technical Education), and for school modernization, renovation, and repair of public school facilities (including charter schools), which may include modernization, renovation, and repairs consistent with a recognized green building rating system.

Under this program, the U.S. Secretary of Education is authorized to award Incentive Grants to states that made significant progress in achieving equity in teacher distribution, establishing a longitudinal data system, and enhancing assessments for English Language Learners and students with disabilities.

In addition, for fiscal years 2009 – 2011, states are required to maintain their funding levels for elementary and secondary education at least at the FY 2006 level. However the U.S. Secretary of Education may waive or modify this requirement for states and districts that have experienced a precipitous decline in financial resources.

Targeting Assistance to Low-Income, High-Need Students and Supporting Innovation
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act recognizes the essential link between education and increased U.S. global competitiveness and economic prosperity by providing $22.3 billion for programs under ESEA and IDEA

The bill provides significant new support for programs such as Title I and IDEA, which target funding to the low-income, high-need students and schools that have been hardest hit by the economic recession. The recovery bill also provides funding for innovation in education, such as the Teacher Incentive Fund, which supports efforts to develop and implement teacher and principal performance-based compensation systems.

This bill also requires the Institute for Educational Sciences to conduct a rigorous national evaluation that assesses the impact of performance-based compensation systems on teacher and principal recruitment and retention in high-need schools and subjects.

State and District Funding Levels
Many of the education funds in the recovery package will be disbursed over two years, with the first half of funds becoming available on July 1, 2009, and the second half on July 1, 2010.

In the coming weeks and months the U.S. Department of Education will also issue guidance and regulations to assist states and districts in their applications for and uses of State Fiscal Stabilization Fund grants. For additional information, please visit www.ed.gov.

Many educators are anxious to know how much their state and district will likely get under the recovery package. To answer those questions, the Congressional Research Service has created two documents which estimate funding allocations for the state and district levels.

To view the state tables visit http://edlabor.house.gov/documents/111/pdf/publications/ARRA-estimatedstateeducationfunding-20090213.pdf.

To view the district tables visit http://edlabor.house.gov/documents/111/pdf/publications/ARRA-estimatedallocationstoLEAs-20090213.pdf.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Another Online Math Tutorial

Last week you read about Khan Academy. This week, we bring to your attention MathTV.com, a second online math tutorial. This site does require you to register in order to see most of the lessons. Registration, however, is free.

With MathTV.com, you view a teacher demonstrating on a white board how to work problems. Most of the problems offer a selection of several different instructors, including a Spanish-speaking instructor. The videos range from basic mathematics through Calculus.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Above and Beyond in Talladega City Schools

The Talladega City Schools Foundation would like to know about the good things going on in our schools. Do you have any students, teachers or others who are going above and beyond the basic educational experience?

The Foundation wants to help share the good news about our City Schools. Please let the Foundation know about your success stories by sending an email to Jeanne Rasco at mjrasco@bellsouth.net

It's Grant Time Again!

The Talladega City Schools Foundation is now accepting applications for this year's mini-grants. All educators are encouraged to apply. This year, the Foundation will award approximately $10,000. The Foundation is looking to fund "educational opportunities" beyond the required minimum state program for students.

This link will lead you to the application :

Applications must be turned into Central Office by 4:00 p.m. on February 27, 2009.
Good Luck to all Schools!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Workshops on Technology Course of Study

Janet Taylor will be offering a 1/2 day workshop on using the Alabama Course of Study: Technology to integrate technology into your lessons. Teachers are asked to bring your textbook and/or lessons in which you wish to integrate technology. The workshops will be held in the Graham library using Mac laptops that will be provided.

There are three different workshops, each designed for a different grade span:
  • Grades K-2 July 7th 8:30-11:30 A.M.
  • Grades 3-5 July 8th 8:30-11:30 A.M.
  • Grades 6-8 July 9th 8:30-11:30 A.M.

To sign up, go to PDWeb and search the PD Title Catalog for PD Title UMTiM and PD Title Technology Course of Study.


Sunday, February 08, 2009

Free Math Tutorial

When it comes to online math tutorials, it’s tough to beat the Khan Academy. Clicking on the link takes you to the list of tutorials they offer ranging from basic arithmetic up through Calculus. The entire site is free.

Clicking on any of the lessons takes you to a YouTube video. You will hear the teacher explain the problem just as if he was sitting beside you. You see the problems being worked just as if the teacher was writing on the board as he was talking. You won’t find a lot of bells and whistles. What you will find is solid, easy-to-understand explanations at a pace slow enough that it can be understood. This one is a winner.


Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Submitting Technology Maintenance Requests Online

Submitting technology maintenance requests for John Locklin just got easier--on both ends.

On the right-hand side of the screen, you will see a link that says "Submit Technology Maintenance Request." Clicking that link and following the instructions ensures that John will have all of the information he needs without you having to supply more than is required. It will save time on your end.

It will save time on John's end as well. Requests come to him in scattered e-mails and a constant stream of telephone calls throughout the day. Maintaining focus on the task at hand while you are also fielding five phone calls is not easy.

When you submit your request, it is instantly added to a spreadsheet that John sees. Every outstanding request for the whole school system will be on one list which he can sort by school and check off when completed.

This system is fully functional as of today, so you may begin using it now instead of calling and sending e-mails.


Monday, February 02, 2009

eLearning Spring 2009 Semester Openings

The Spring 2009 Semester begins in less than two weeks and we still have openings in our three Algebra courses (K-2; 3-5; 6-8) and in our three Life Science courses (K-2: 3-5; 6-8). Due to the numerous requests, we have also added EDU4465: Wikis, Blogs, Podcasts, and Skype to the schedule. If you have not registered for any of these classes through STI PD, please do so in the next week so we can finalize our course rosters. If you are unable to take any courses this term, please tell your friends of your wonderful learning experiences (if they haven’t bee so wonderful, please tell me). You can login as a guest to our Moodle website (http://elearning.atim.cc/login/index.php) and get a closer look at all of our courses. Thanks in advance.

Tom Dreilinger
State Project Director
e-Learning for Educators-Alabama
Technology in Motion, ALSDE