A Day with Ron Rash

Today author Ron Rash visited Byrnes High School and spoke with students in the media center. Ron is the author of three of my favorite novels – One Foot in Eden, Saints at the River, and The World Made Straight. He has also published several books of poetry and short stories. Ron lives in Clemson … Continue reading A Day with Ron Rash

Jumping through Hoops

This week our district played host to the SACS-CASI Quality Assurance Review Team. I have been through several SACS accreditation visits, both at the local school level and at the district level, and this is something that is always a pain in the posterior. It’s never fun.

First, there’s the paperwork – mountains of it. Then there are all of the meetings required to generate all that paperwork. Most of this takes the form of vision statements, beliefs, and goals spun out in various dialects of Educationese which probably will sound like “duh” statements to the general public. Example…

Mission – The mission of District Five Schools of Spartanburg County is to ensure that all students succeed in life choices and function as productive citizens by providing quality educational experiences in a safe, caring, and nurturing environment.

Vision – In order to improve the quality of life for the students and community in our school district, we will provide superior educational opportunities by maintaining a multidimensional curriculum and state-of-the-art facilities.

I call these “duh” statements because I figure that the public will read them (if they read them at all) and think, “Isn’t that what you’re SUPPOSED to be doing??” I guess sometimes it is important to state the obvious.

After we generate our mountain of paperwork, the Quality Assurance Review Team (QART) breezes into town and attempts to make an assessment of our district. Fortunately, it’s a short visit. But I still wonder if they can get a true feel for what we do with only a few hours on-campus. I guess I should be careful with what I wish for – staying longer could mean finding more to correct.

Today we had the wrap-up, and the QART will recommend to the AdvancED Accreditation Commission that our district be awarded District Accreditation as a quality school system. We can breathe easier now…

…or at least some of us.

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Hey! What’s That?

Via the blog Free Geography Tools, I’ve learned about one of the coolest new applications to take advantage of the Google Maps/Earth interface. The service is called “Hey! What’s That?” and it allows users to create panoramas from any point on Earth. Think of it this way… You’re up on the Blue Ridge Parkway and … Continue reading Hey! What’s That?

Super Geotagged

One of the problems with native KML support in Flickr is that it only displays the last 20 geotagged images from the specified search criteria. If you want a more inclusive display of Flickr geotagged images, you need to use something like Metaltoad, Flyr or Loc.alize.us. Flyr gives you better granularity of control for searches … Continue reading Super Geotagged

Chasing the Swamp Rabbit

Railroad Car B&W

I had tons of work I needed to do around the house – cut grass, vacuum the floors, and blow the pollen off the decks and driveway. Instead, I loaded up my bike and drove up to the northern end of the Swamp Rabbit Trail in Travelers Rest.

The Swamp Rabbit Trail is part of the rails to trails movement, and is named for the former Greenville and Northern Railway that used to run from downtown Greenville to River Falls in the Jones Gap area. The railway got its nickname from the various wetlands it passed through. The plan is to pave the railway from Greenville to Travelers Rest, and to eventually run trams on the path on a regular schedule.

I parked at the Travelers Rest trailhead and headed south. At this point the trail is grassy and a bit bumpy. It passes through the middle of Travelers Rest, past TR Methodist, where Laura and I got married, and through the middle of a parking lot for several businesses. From there, the trail took a route more separate from the populated areas.

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Photo Published

I got home from the SCETV workshops in Columbia to find a nice surprise waiting for me – a check for the use of one of my photographs in an advertising campaign. A couple of months ago I was contacted about using one of my photos from my Scenes from I-85 set as part of … Continue reading Photo Published

SCETV Day 3 – Reflections on Censorship

South Carolina State House

Today was a jam-packed day. I had three sessions back to back, then it was time to drive home. There was one last session on basic Google Earth, then two on Geotagging. Yesterday during the late afternoon I had drive around Columbia snapping pictures so that I would have some shots for tagging.

Thurmond DomeWar Protesters 2Varsity BilliardsETV Satellite FarmETV Building

The first session went well, then it was a mad dash to the other ETV building for geotagging. It was a small room, so we had a rather information demonstration/discussion. Both sessions went very well, and my photos showed up in Google Earth exactly like they were supposed to. Continue reading “SCETV Day 3 – Reflections on Censorship”

2 Much 2.0?

Discovery Education is playing a large role in this week’s workshops sponsored by SCETV. After all, through their partnership with SCETV, all schools in the state have access to on-demand video via StreamlineSC. This evening I joined a large group of local educators who are part of the Discovery Education Network for dinner and discussion. … Continue reading 2 Much 2.0?

Gamecocks and Chickens

I don’t get it. Columbia seems to have an unusual number of establishments where you can eat chicken, especially wings. Yet the USC mascot is the Gamecock. Isn’t that a bit cannibalistic?? I mean, it would kind of be like Maryland (Terrapins) having lots of eateries that feature turtle stew. Perhaps it’s a chauvinistic thing. … Continue reading Gamecocks and Chickens