Sunday, January 29, 2012

South Korean Science Teachers Visit WLMS and other Maryland Schools

Wilde Lake Middle is very excited to be hosting two visiting science teachers from South Korea this coming week. Mrs. Rathmann and Ms. Drakes will be hosting two science teachers and sharing American "best practices" used in middle school science classrooms as well as their additional professional responsibilities that they perform that go beyond their daily teaching assignments. It promises to be a most exciting and informative interaction for all of us.
The two South Korean teachers, who will be at WLMS on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, are part of a delegation of 86 science teachers who arrived here in the Baltimore area from South Korea at the beginning of January. The South Korean educators have been receiving professional development coordinated by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) at the University of Maryland Baltimore Campus (UMBC) and sponsored by the South Korean government. As a part of this new program. the teachers will have the opportunity to visit select public schools to see how the research they have been studying at UMBC is put into practice.

In South Korea, the month of January is a time when students have a break from school and teachers are encouraged to participate in professional development. As many of you know, I had the privilege of going to South Korea two years ago and learn more about the way they educate their children. I was impressed with how committed their leaders are to help their teachers continue to learn from each other and from educators from around the world. This is just one example of how the South Korean government invests in their teachers to ensure their students are receiving the best education possible.

As a celebration of this program, Mrs. Rathmann, Ms. Drakes and I have been invited to attend a reception sponsored by the NSTA at the Maryland Science Center on Monday evening.  Each delegation participant and their hosts at each school have been invited to attend this event. We are looking forward to meeting our visitors and sharing our school with them. We believe this exchange will be very beneficial for all involved.

Words of Wisdom from Mark Cuban

“I thought this was appropriate to start the new year.Cuban Cover
We all have the tendency to believe that we are living in a very advanced technological period. We get all excited about the new tech we got at Xmas and what we read about that will soon be available to us. In reality, everything we are excited about today is going to be incredibly old and boring much faster than we ever expect.
No matter what year you were born, by the time you finish(ed) high school, its (was) a completely different world. Today’s high school seniors were born prior to the World Wide Web, wireless internet, smartphones,tablets, HDTVs and changes in world politics that were never imagined. Without question each of us can remember the things that were new and exciting to us when we were kids, that were unimaginable to our parents, but are now nothing more than old memories.
The rate of technological change is not slowing down. In fact, the argument could be made that it is speeding up. In our lifetimes, we will reach a point when we reflect back on the good old days of the internet, Facebook, Twitter and other tech that is ubiquitous today. We might even look back at digital the way we currently look at analog. Things change.
Of course, this isn’t a problem. It’s a huge opportunity. There is that 12 year old that is imagining what we can’t. Another that is combining elements into something new we should have seen, but did not. It reminds me of one of my favorite sayings. “If you are looking where everyone else is for the next big thing, you are looking in the wrong place”
The reality is, None of us are born in to the world we live in.”

Source: Mark Cuban's Blog

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Principals Support the Middle School Program of Study

This past Thursday evening at the Howard County Board of Education meeting, I had the privilege of speaking on behalf of my 18 middle school principal colleagues to share our commitment to implement the changes that are being recommended to the Middle School Program of Study here in our school system. To see video from this meeting, click here

Below is the statement that I read at the meeting. I want to thank Ms. McKinley (MVMS), Ms. Dillon (PMS) and Mr. Dickey (MHMS) for helping me on Thursday. I would also like to thank Ms. Wise and Mr. Ryan for providing the opportunity for the principals' voices to be heard.

A unified statement from the Middle School Principals of Howard County

Dr. Cousin and distinguished Board Members,

It is my distinct honor and privilege to speak on behalf of my talented, middle school principal colleagues tonight. …

We come tonight united in support of the proposed Middle School Program of Study.  With literally hundreds of years of combined experience in education, we are committed to the recommendations and ….

We believe that we are at a Turning Point for Middle Level Education in Howard County…

In the next few minutes, you have an opportunity to take a bold, proactive step to ensure that both students and staff will be prepared for the third wave of educational reform here in Maryland.  As you know, two short years from now, middle level educators will be charged with the responsibility of implementing new curriculum, preparing students for the rigorous PARCC assessments, and engaging in a new evaluation system for teachers and administrators.  The clock is already ticking and we cannot emphasize enough the degree to which these new imperatives, born from the wide-sweeping reforms we are facing, will impact our students and our schools.

We believe the proposal before you will enhance the educational experience for thousands of middle school students in Howard County next year and in the decade to come. Your decision represents an opportunity to:

  • Increase instructional time;
  • Make the critical shift from teaching reading skills in isolation to incorporating literacy into every content area;
  • Provide the opportunity for World Language to begin in the 6th grade;
  • Provide year long physical education for all students; and,
  • Implement the Common Core in a way that is both aligned with the looming assessments and supports student achievement and college and career readiness.
  • Continue to provide direct reading instruction to students who are below grade-level.

We believe it is critical that all Howard County Middle Schools begin implementing the new Middle School Program of Study for the 2012/13 school year in order to ensure that all students and staff are prepared by the 2014 demands.

We acknowledge that change is difficult and established practices are hard to release.  In order to evolve to meet these challenges, it is necessary to take bold actions. We are keenly aware that we will need to continue to work collaboratively with staff, parents, and students to ensure successful implementation. We look forward to providing leadership as we begin this important transition.

Tonight, you can put into motion the necessary change that will enable the educational professionals at the middle level to continue to provide excellence in teaching and learning for the students of the Howard County Public School System. 

I leave you with the following quote from Isaac Asimov:

“It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be.”

As middle level leaders, as you make this decision, we ask you to consider the future challenges our staff and students are already in the midst of navigating.  We respectfully ask that you consider the world as it will be from this point forward.

I ask that my middle school principal colleagues stand and be recognized.

Respectfully submitted by:

Tom Saunders

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

So true...

Source: Mike Smith's Principal Blog.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Maryland schools ranked number one — again

Maryland’s public school system achieved top-in-the-nation status for the fourth consecutive year, according to an analysis of state-by-state education policies and student achievement being released Thursday.

The state was given an overall grade of B-plus by Education Week, which publishes the annual report. The average grade for the nation was a C. Virginia came in fourth with a B. And the District came in 49th, just ahead of Nebraska and South Dakota, with an overall grade of C-minus.

The evaluation includes dozens of indicators of student achievement, academic standards and accountability, teacher quality and school finance.

“Maryland is an example of an all-around strong performer,” said Chris Swanson, a vice president at Editorial Projects in Education, which publishes Education Week. The state has improving test scores, state policies that support school improvement, and comparatively high graduation rates and participation on Advanced Placement tests.

Bernard J. Sadusky, Maryland’s interim state superintendent of schools, said the accolade is a compliment to the state’s teachers and local superintendents and says much about the governor’s and legislature’s commitment to education. Still, he said, Maryland has a lot of work to do to eliminate racial and socioeconomic disparities in school performance.

A closer look at how Maryland fared in various parts of the evaluation showed strong performance overall. For example, Maryland was among the top 10 states in improving its overall scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, otherwise known as the Nation’s Report Card, between 2003 and 2011.

On the reading test, 40 percent of eighth-grade students scored proficient or advanced on the 2011 test, giving the state a seventh place ranking. (Maryland and the nation still have a lot of room to improve).

But the so-called “poverty gap,” or the difference in scores between those eligible for free lunches and those not eligible, was much less favorable.

The 27-point difference in scores was about the national average. Thirty-seven states had a narrower gap.
Forty percent of eighth-grade students in Maryland also scored proficient or advanced on the math test, putting the state in 13th place.

But the 32-point “poverty gap” in scores was significantly higher than the 26-point national average. Maryland came in second-to-last.

Monday, January 23, 2012

WLMS's Emerging Young Leaders Program Honored

Thanks to our partnership with the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, several WLMS young women are participating in an after school leadership development program called Emerging Young Leaders.
This signature program of the AKA Sorority is designed to provide connections between accomplished AKA sisters and middle school girls in their local communities. The goal of the program is to impact the lives of 10,000 girls here in the U.S. by providing leadership development, civic engagement, enhanced academic preparation and character building. According to the program's charter,

"The increasing demands of the twenty-first century mandate 
our youth to be better leaders at a younger age making smart choices with positive consequences."

This past month, our Emerging Young Leaders had an opportunity to meet with State Delegate Bobo and County Council Members Dr. Ball and Mrs. Sigaty. Also, they presented to our Board of Education about how they are providing workshops to prevent bullying. Congratulations to these talented young women for helping to make our school and community a better place to learn and thrive. I also want to thank the AKA Sorority, and in particular, Mrs. Jean Lewis for doing such a great job mentoring and supporting our students!

For more information about this program, please contact

Online Universities Follow on Twitter About Blog FAQs Articles Home Blog Jan 18, 2012 11 Surprising Factors That Determine Your Success in School

Online UniversitiesYou might think that success in school is directly related to IQ, but you’d only be partially right. While high intelligence can help make coursework, from kindergarten to college, easier to understand, it isn’t the only factor that goes into determining how well you’ll perform in school. There are a lot of other things, both intrinsic and extrinsic, that can affect your grades, ability to learn, and ultimately your success in high school and college alike. While you might expect that factors like socioeconomic status and home life would play a role, other factors that contribute to your success are much more surprising. Read on to learn about some of the less obvious influences that shape your success in school.

  1. Social Relationships: From kindergarten on, your social relationships play a big part in how well and how much you learn, perhaps even more than you realize. One study found that strong kindergarten friendships reduced the amount of behavioral problems students have and improved their social skills through third grade, especially in boys. Other studies have discovered that changes in friendships during the often tumultuous adolescent years can signal whether a student will be successful academically or not down the road. Those who develop strong friendships with others who have behavior problems, even if they have good grades, are more likely to see a drop in their own performance. Your friendships may play a bigger role than you realize in your academic performance, even early on, so make sure you’re choosing your friends wisely!
  2. Stress level: While stress can be a motivator to get things done, it can often also be an impediment to high academic performance. Studies on college students have found that stresses like finances, test pressure, depression, low-self esteem, and the dissolution of relationships (among others) can cause changes in eating habits, sleep, and difficulties adapting to new responsibilities. All of these changes, along with the stressors that caused them in the first place, were found to lower academic performance in many students. However, those with strong support systems were better able to cope and were more successful in their academics. In many cases courses on stress management helped students to stay on track with their educational goals, despite any outside stresses.
  3. Curiosity: Curiosity might be dangerous for cats, but it’s essential for students who want to succeed in school. A study published in Perspectives in Psychological Science demonstrated that curiosity is actually a big part of academic performance and that it, and personality traits like it, may actually be more important than intelligence when it comes to achievement in school. Curiosity, when studied in about 50,000 students, was found to have as big of an impact on performance as more expected traits like hard work and conscientiousness. A great reminder to always embrace learning and trying new things.
  4. EQ: While IQ does play a role in predicting academic success, a far more telling clue is EQ, or Emotional Intelligence. Researchers found that being successful in school takes more than smarts; it also takes strong competencies in social and emotional understanding. When K-12 students were put through a course that educated them on social and emotional learning, they were found to be much more successful in school and exhibited many more positive social behaviors than their peers who did not participate in the program. While social and emotional education isn’t a panacea for poor academic performance, it could help many students, young and old, to develop skills that will help them be better prepared to interact with others, work under stress, and complete course work.
  5. Your family: It probably isn’t all that surprising, but your family plays a big role in shaping your attitudes towards school and your academic performance. Researchers studied over 800 students in Chicago and Beijing, discovering that youths who feel more responsible to their parents were more likely to stay engaged in school and perform better. Of course, it’s not just a matter of pleasing parents or fulfilling expectations. Family attitudes towards education, stability, and strong communication between parents and children can also have a deep and lasting impact on an individual’s success in school.
  6. Confidence: Sometimes thinking you can do something is all you need to be able to actually do something, or that’s what some studies suggest. Researchers studying minority students found that many felt that they didn’t belong in college or had feelings of alienation, often leading to lower grades and even dropping out. The solution? A simple 60-minute exercise that helped them to build their confidence, gave them relatable experiences, and made them feel more at home on campus. The results were staggering, with 22% of the students in the program ending up in the top 25% of their class (as opposed to just 5% of students who didn’t participate). While the study focused on minorities, it could potentially be applied to any students who are struggling with school, proving that sometimes putting mind over matter is all it takes to succeed.
  7. Class times: College students should beware when making their class schedules: class time may impact their success in a course. It sounds strange, but researchers have found that students who take classes that start later are more likely to stay up later and drink more, resulting in an accordant drop in grades. Delayed sleep also led to poorer sleep and more sleepiness throughout the day, which, as we’ll discuss, can also take a pretty big toll on grades. Oddly, the opposite is true of students in middle and high school, who were more likely to attend class and be in a better state of mind when classes were held later.
  8. Fitness: If you think heading off to college is an excuse to stop working out or staying fit, then you might want to think again. Studies have shown that there is a relationship between physical activity and academic performance. Those who stay active are more likely to do better in school, perhaps because the activity increases oxygen flow to the brain and helps release endorphins which improve mood. Though physical activity itself has a positive effect, surprisingly students who play sports in high school may not see the same jump, as little correlation was found between playing organized sports and getting better grades. That said, any kind of athletic activity that gets students moving, relieves stress, and gets students in shape is probably a good thing.
  9. Sleep: Few things are as closely correlated with success in school as sleep. Study after study demonstrates the need to get a solid night’s sleep if you want to improve or maintain your grades. Planning to pull an all-nighter to study? It’s not recommended. Those who pull all-nighters are more likely to have a lower GPA. Even more importantly, bad sleep habits have been shown to strongly correlate with lower grades in high school through college. Still not convinced? Yet another study demonstrated that elementary school children who don’t get enough sleep don’t perform as well academically as their peers. So regardless of age, getting enough sleep is an essential, though often overlooked, aspect of academic performance.
  10. Successful college athletics: Is your college football team doing terribly this year? It may be for the best, when it comes to your grades, anyway. A study at the University of Oregon found that male students (and females, too, to a lesser extent) who don’t participate in sports are more likely to get caught up in the excitement of a winning team, increasing alcohol consumption and partying more. This was found to lead to a drop in GPA, which may have many students looking for schools that favor academics over athletics.
  11. Health: If you’re not taking care of yourself, you’re probably not taking care of your grades either, studies suggest. Researchers have found that lack of sleep, excessive screen time, gambling, alcohol and tobacco use, and other health issues have a direct effect on academic performance. Those who engaged in these behaviors were more likely to be stressed, have mental health issues, and record lower GPAs. Researchers hope that the study will spur students to change some of their most unhealthy behaviors, perhaps raising their grades in the process.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Tsunami of Reform! The Impact of Common Core on the Middle School Program of Study

This past Thursday evening, I had the opportunity to help make the case for a change to the current Howard County Middle School Program of Study. This change is needed in large part to prepare for the new Common Core curricular demands. 

Along with several central office administrators and school principals, we shared the need for changes to be made to the current Middle School Program of Study. We are advocating for the following:
  • Infuse literacy instruction into all courses as appropriate.
  • Require reading instruction only for students who need it. 
  • Provide systemic interventions/seminars for below level students.
  • Provide opportunities for students to participate in Inquiry and Innovation Modules which promote both STEM and disciplinary literacy.
  • Offer world languages to 6th graders.
  • Offer seven  50-minute instructional periods.
  • Increase instructional time for math, English, science, and social studies
  • Provide physical education all year.
Not surprisingly, there are critics to this plan. Most of the criticism is around the curricular decision to remove the long-standing requirement that all students take a stand-alone reading class each year. In fact, based on Maryland School Assessment data, Howard County's reading program has been a huge success in large part to the dedication and commitment of the reading staff at each school and central office personnel! So, the obvious question is, "Why change something that has been so successful?" Simply stated, when Maryland agreed to adopt the new Common Core and accept Race to the Top federal grant monies, they put in motion the "Third Wave of Maryland School Reform." Or what I like to say, 
 Maryland's Tsunami of school reform!

The new curricular demands of the Common Core will expect proficient and advanced readers to come to middle school equipped with the fundamental reading skills and the ability to begin the process of "reading to learn" through the vehicle of disciplinary literacy. This process is best accomplished by a content specialist using authentic content and not in a class where reading skills are taught in isolation. However, it is recognized that students who are below grade level or have significant reading weaknesses will continue to receive customized reading support through their participation in a daily reading intervention class.

Another concern that critics have raised about this proposal is whether all teachers should have a Program Implementation Period in addition to their 50 minute personal planning period. Currently, all middle school staff have a 50 minute personal planning period and a 50 minute administrative duty period (in the new proposal this would be called a Program Implementation Period). During the Program Implementation Period, teachers will continue to be assigned to do instructional collaboration, analysis of data, development of assessments, enhancement of parent communication, or administrative tasks such as lunch duty. Under the new proposal, Related Arts teachers (Art, Music, PE, Health Education, Family and Consumer Science and Technology Education) would not have a Program Implementation Period and instead teach their specialty area six out of the seven periods daily. As a trade off, Related Arts teachers would not be required to do the duties that are required for those teachers who have a PIP. While I truly understand how this may seem to be unfair at first glance, there are two considerations that made up this decision. First, the plan was supposed to be cost neutral due to current budgetary realities. Second, we believe that Related Arts teachers are the best people to teach their content to students. In order for students to be exposed to the content specialists' expertise in the arts or technical subjects, these teachers would be needed to teach the same load that they currently have.  

While these concerns are legitimate, as principals and curriculum specialists we have to prepare to move our students up the hill of higher expectations and achievement in order to be prepared for the Common Core tsunami that is imminent. It is irresponsible for us not to act now when we know a major wave of change is approaching. It is critical that we  prepare our teachers, students and communities for this new reality. We must align with the new expectations and evaluation tools that will be used for both staff and students. 

Consider this - Over the next two years, Maryland teachers and principals will be evaluated using a new evaluation system. Approximately 50% of that evaluation will be based on how well students perform on annual Core Curriculum tests. Further, a new curriculum will need to be learned and implemented. Can we afford to wait and do all of these changes in the same year? I don't think it is responsible to think we can.

I look forward to seeing what our Board of Education decides to do on January 26th when they are scheduled to vote. I believe they are still taking public comment at This is not an easy decision to make. However, it will be one of the most important decisions this Board makes about middle level education here in Howard County. This vote will set the direction middle schools will take over the next decade. This past Thursday evening, I truly appreciated and was impressed by each Board Member's questions and sincere interest in learning about the complexities of this issue. I am confident that they will come to the right decision for our students and staff.

To see the work session, click here 

What do you think?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy Moo Year!

Oops...Happy New Year!

As I shared with my staff,  

There's just no substitute for the real thing! 

Please stay healthy and avoid missing work as we prepare our students 
to take the Maryland School Assessments this year.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

We need some STEAM!

As states and local school districts "race" to reorganize to address the latest reform efforts outlined in the Race to the Top legislation, it is critical that we maintain the opportunity for all students to discover the arts, develop individual talents and gain an appreciation for the talents of others each and every year they are in school.

Thus, STEAM! What is STEAM?

STEAM = Science & Technology interpreted through 
Engineering & the Arts, all based in Mathematical elements. 
(Georgette Yakman) 

This framework is engaging, hands-on and reality-based with many extensions to draw education, industry, government and the community together for the common good of bettering public education for all while meeting national educational and STEM related goals.

As President Obama reminded us in last year's State of the Union Address,

“We need to teach our kids that it’s not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to 
be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair.” 

I would like to add to his powerful statement...we also need to celebrate those students who show promise in the areas of music, art, physical fitness, creativity and innovation. After all, we want our students to be energized and motivated to pursue careers that will advance our society, while at the same time, developing healthy and creative pursuits that provide pleasure, happiness and satisfaction for a lifetime of learning.

STEAM helps to focus educators on the importance of developing in each child the imaginative, creative and critical thinking skills essential for a lifetime of learning and growing as students mature. We can't just teach short-term, basic skills that don't promote problem-solving and the process for creating original ideas and/or products.

After all, Sam Parker highlights in his 212 Degrees...The Extra Degree that:

"At 211 degrees, water is hot. At 212 degrees, it boils. And with boiling water, comes STEAM. 
And with STEAM, you can power a train." 

Just imagine what STEAM could do for our students!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Proposed World Calendar

Top of FormProposed calendar would make it same exact day, next year

By Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY
Each year, January 1 falls on a different day of the week, and the entire following year shifts accordingly. Schools, sports teams, businesses and banks spend many hours and millions of dollars calculating on what day of the week certain dates will fall, to schedule holidays and set interest rates.

It doesn't need to be that complicated, say an astrophysicist and an applied economist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. They have a proposal to make schedules simpler: a permanent calendar in which each 12-month period is exactly as the year before, on into perpetuity.

The extra days created by the Earth's inconvenient 365.242-day orbit around the sun would be dealt with not by adding February 29 for leap years, but by a leap week tacked onto the calendar at the end of December every five to six years.

"It would simplify things enormously," says Richard Conn Henry, the professor of applied physics at Johns Hopkins who first proposed the idea in 2004. This past year he began to discuss the idea further with a colleague, Steve Hanke, a Johns Hopkins economics professor.

The result is the Hanke-Henry Permanent Calendar, which they proposed in December. In it, March, June, September and December would have 31 days, all the rest 30. Christmas would always fall on a Sunday. Halloween would become October 30 and always fall on a Monday.

Hanke, who has helped seven countries introduce new currencies, estimates the change could save "roughly $130 billion" merely by decreasing the chance of interest-calculation errors resulting from incorrectly counting the number of days in a given month.

There have been multiple proposals to change the calendar since the world began to shift from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar starting in 1582.

Most suffer from what Henry calls "the Sabbath problem." Many religions require people to labor for six days but keep the seventh holy. Proposed calendars that break up the seven-day cycle destroy the count, meaning people could end up working on a day they should devote to spiritual matters. "That's unacceptable to millions of believers," Henry says. "You can't skip a day because then you're off kilter."

But there are those who disagree with this idea. Most people actually like having birthdays, holidays and sporting events move around, says David Finkleman, an astro-dynamicist at the Center for Space Standards and Innovation in Colorado Springs. Aside from that, creating a permanent calendar is "impossible," he says.

The problem is that the period it takes the Earth to rotate on its axis (a day) and around the sun (a year) changes all the time and the change isn't predictable.

Even more confounding, none of the periods divides evenly into another, he says.

"The Lord didn't put things together synchronously," Finkleman says.

As long as SNOW days are still included...
I think it would be an interesting idea to try...what do you think?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

My Favorite Middle Schooler's New Year's Resolution

This morning, my daughter asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I thought for awhile and then I asked her to write something for my blog. Here is my gift... wow...I am so impressed by her intelligence and wit (She takes after her mother!)...I hope you are, too.  Love you Cassie! 

A Middle Schooler's New Year's Resolution

My dad asked me to write a blog for him as a birthday gift… this week he turns even older! Here it is…my New Year’s Resolution and my gift to my dad… from a Middle Schooler’s Perspective. He actually asked me to write 10 resolutions. 10! Really Dad?

I am a pretty great kid. I get good grades, do all of my homework without being asked, dance for a competitive team and help take care of my little brother, plus I deal with all of my dad’s bad jokes. I mean, can you imagine being the kid of a middle school principal and a middle school counselor? Ok, so my room isn’t always straight, but who’s perfect? So, since I spread myself thin already, I came up with one resolution I think most middle schoolers would respect.

At my school, each “group” sits at certain tables – table 14 is the Nerds, table 6 is the Jocks, table 2 is the Goths, table 21 are the class clowns, table 23, which is really the detention table, are the “Bad Boys” or the “Gangsta’s” as they call themselves, although they have never been near a city nor gang activity. And then there is my table, table 7, the “Goodie Two-Shoes.”  Tables come about by natural evolution and political power. The presidential elections have nothing on middle school cliques, i.e. read table seating, and popularity. We have more polls in middle school than the Iowa Caucus, polls that are conducted daily by gossip (for example texts, passed notes, emails, and of course face to face conversation). Rumors are the fuel that keeps all students alert. And it isn’t just important to know the most information about the events going on in the school, but to know it first or have the most juicy details about the most recent tragedy. Really, at lunch, it is amazing that people eat given how much gossip is spilling from their mouths!

I know teachers and parents are always telling us, “Don’t gossip,” “Don’t spread rumors,” etc, etc, etc. Urgh. I know it isn’t nice but you need to know your place in the 7th grade world. Don’t you want us to understand political boundaries for when we grow up? And isn’t that somewhat the focus of political disagreements? Gossip and spread rumors about each other? Misunderstandings that can turn friends into enemies?

Ok, back to my resolution! I resolve to try to not engage in gossip in any way for one whole school week. I will not text, email, discuss nor listen any information that would sounds remotely like a soap opera. But I want a resolution in return. I want the adults to stop talking about the kids, to stop listening to Inside Edition, shows like The Real Housewives of anywhere or even turn off the Nightly News when it even starts to hint at names like the Kardashians! I shouldn’t stop there, though, what about the political commercials that say such nasty things about their opponents? Well, you get the idea.

I will do what the principals, counselors and teachers ask – stop gossiping and stop rumors for one whole week. But I want you to stop, too!

Happy Birthday! Love you Dad!