Friday, April 25, 2008

a huge leap of faith...

Each year, when the Breast Cancer 3-Day rolls around, I tell myself I should consider taking part. So many of us have been affected by this terrible disease. With the help of a co-worker, I have decided to jump on board for this year's walk. The most difficult part of this journey is trusting that the funds will pour in. I'm a willing walker who fears this part of the challenge...much more so than the physical aspect. If you would like to help me meet my goal (we have to bring in $2,200 to participate), please click the picture below. It should lead you to the donation site.

If you're not able to contribute monetarily, I TOTALLY UNDERSTAND (I don't have much to donate myself). Instead, I really covet your prayers - for my training, for my health, for the strength, and the financial criteria to be met.

Thanks so much for your help!

I'm walking 60 miles in the Seattle Breast Cancer 3-Day! Will you help me reach my goal?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

the WASL: did you know?

To some this may be a bit dry. To those who feel a bit more connected to the field of education, you might want to read on...

  • According to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), the costs of WASL (Washington Assessment of Student Learning) for next year will increase an additional $41.7 million over current costs. That same amount of money could have helped reduce class size ratios in grades K-3.
  • Overall, the WASL has cost at least $850 million since its inception. This does not include the unfunded portion picked up by the local districts.
  • The WASL has decreased the amount of time spent in schools teaching art, health and fitness, social studies, world languages and career and vocational-technical classes.
  • The WASL and the accompanying regulatory implementation decisions under OSPI's authority have created an increasingly intolerable workload for teachers and other educators, and take critical time and resources away from our primary task - the classroom instruction of all our students to bring them up to the state standards.
  • The disproportionate impact of the WASL on the graduation of minority, special education and low income students has not been reported by OSPI since a report using 2004-2005 data. In that report, scheduled to NOT graduate in 2008 were: 45% of American Indian students, 41% of Special Education students, 40% of Latino students, 39% of African American students, 36% of English Language Learner students (ELL), and 35% of low income students.
  • 15% of this year's graduating class - the first class who has to pass the WASL to graduate - are not included in the OSPI reporting of WASL pass rates. The OSPI total enrollment reported for the class of 2008 when they were 9th graders is 17,000 students less than their total enrollment reported by OSPI this year.
  • As recently as 2006, when the Math WASL was still a graduation requirement, OSPI promised the legislature and public there would be a 'motivational bump' which would increase the rates of the graduation WASL. She predicted the 42% passing rate of 2005 would increase to a 94% passage rate for the class of 2008. As of last year only 61.7% of the class of 2008 passed the WASL; a figure that only accounts for those students still enrolled in school and classified as seniors scheduled to graduate on time who had taken and completed all three tests. (Source)
  • OSPI has promised the legislature and public that the high stakes WASL would not increase student dropout rates, but has not published any data on state dropout rates since a 2006 report which used 2005-2005 data. In that report, 15,921 students dropped out of school in 2004-2005.
  • Last year on May 8, 2007, 14,000 teachers' signatures were delivered on an Open Letter to Terry Bergeson asking her to be more accurate with the public and the legislature about under-reported WASL passing rates; to lower the high stakes for graduation WASL and to eliminate unfunded mandates for school districts caused by the regulations over which OSPI has authority. (Source)

Most of the above information can be found on the OSPI website - other sources are noted where necessary.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

ben and i...

...are going to DISNEYLAND!

Today during my planning period (which ends shortly), I finished up the details. We have a car, a hotel, tickets to the park, and a flight itinerary.

With both of us being in school, money is say the least. At the same time, we are getting a rather large chunk of money back from our taxes and with the $1,200 coming in May from the government we have a bit of extra. (Can you ever really have "extra" money?)

My parents casually suggested we take a trip and Ben ran with that idea (praise the Lord). Once we talked it through and shopped around, we figured it would be good for the two of us. We're super excited and we've got less than 2 months to go - we leave Thursday, June 12th (after school) and we get back on Monday evening.

I'm kind of surprised at how cheap this is going to be...we got some great deals! Ben and I are super excited for a long weekend away, in the sunshine, at the Happiest Place on Earth!

I think I just might be the luckiest girl on earth! :)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

blog watchers...

A while back Kara and I had a conversation about this whole blogging craze. I told her that it often feels a bit strange when you run into someone and they mention that they've been keeping up with the events in your life. Let me explain a bit. Yes, we have blogs to keep people updated and share what's taking place over the course of time. The fact that people are reading is not odd...that's a good thing.

The part that feels a bit awkward is that some folks don't ever comment. Now, when Kara and I were talking about this, she came up with a great comparison. Let me's like seeing someone at the grocery store, but not waving to say hello. Do you like that? I do! :)

So, if you're out there, let me know (besides, I'm low on comments these days). You don't have to be a registered user...I allow anonymous comments. So, there are no excuses. Come out from behind the curtain. I'm excited to meet you and that way it won't be nearly as awkward the next time we see each other.

Wave hello! :)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

one more thing...

I know this is my third post today, but I had to comment on something before it slipped my mind.

I'm over David Archuleta from this season's American Idol. Before marrying Ben, I didn't watch this show all too often. Now, we've got each episode DVR'd and I must say that the fellas are doing rather well. I was awed by young David's voice, but as the season has continued, I can't say that he's my favorite any longer. Once the show's over, I can't really see myself purchasing a CD created by this kid. There's not enough dimension to him. On the flip-side, I have become a huge David Cook fan! This guy can take a song and turn it into something's awesome to watch his work. So, I might have called a few times (16 times to be exact) to vote for Mr. David Cook. You should head to iTunes and check out his spin on some favorites.

i'm going to be... auntie in November (the 11th to be exact)! Ben's sister, Emily, is expecting. Just last month she went in for her first ultrasound and found out that she's having twins! Holy cow! We are all so excited...I can't wait to meet them.

Congrats to Emily & Ryan!

jobs are good...

With an entire week away from the classroom, I was ready to tackle things at home. I made a to-do list on my Google homepage, and I vowed to stick with it all...but life doesn't always work that way. Sure, I started to clean out the spare bedroom and I even made some money doing so - we had a ton of textbooks to ditch and I searched the internet for a way to get rid of them. I stumbled upon this website and now we're nearly $175 richer! But my list didn't dwindle much. Don't get me wrong, I had a great Spring Break, but it just looked a bit different than the way I had envisioned it...

  • Took Kelli to the airport - she was heading to Idaho to visit a friend

  • Got a much-needed haircut
  • Requested a few books (via and mailed out a few of mine

  • Spent some quality time with my mom!

  • Met with a mom about tutoring her 7th grade daughter in writing

  • Paid the bills

  • Played several rounds of Ticket to Ride

  • Enjoyed an evening (or two) with the Hamlins

  • Took in a Mariner's game

  • Made our bed everyday (I loved it...usually there isn't time in the morning and it seems kind of pointless to make the bed once I'm home from work)

  • A little bit of cooking

  • Some cleaning

  • Visited a teacher supply store and picked up a few items

  • Had some jeans hemmed

  • Met up with Jamie and her mom to look at wedding invitations - J & J want me to design theirs

  • Completed a bunch of work for my master's class

  • Laundry

  • Long walks in the sunshine

  • Caught up on sleep

  • Refused to do anything Maywood related - no grading, no planning, no online updates

  • Tried to squeeze in as much time with Laura as possible - before her Thursday departure

  • Made some cards

The worst part of my week came Thursday night when I had to say goodbye to my best friend. Laura is in New York now working for a family and she's loving it. I am doing my best to convince her that she needs to start a blog of her own. A part of me is sad to see her go (duh) and another part of me is incredibly happy to see her doing something she has dreamed of for so long. Life without her is going to be's been so convenient to have her living so close.

I think the best part of my break was coming to the realization that work is good. Although I may be frustrated by my job, I truthfully enjoy it. If nothing else, I need the structure. With an entire week wide open, I almost had a difficult time figuring out what to do first. So, I avoided things. When I'm working full-time, I don't run into this kind of problem. I guess I'm kind of lazy when given the chance...not a good thing!

Friday, April 4, 2008

it's almost time...

Spring Break starts in less than 60 minutes!
I can't wait!