Friday, March 27, 2015

Are you offering summer camp this year? Do tell.

Is your organization offering a camp for young people (to age 24) this summer?   Add the basics to this Summer Camp 2015 Google doc.   I'll share the information with parents and other caregivers so they can make plans for the children in their lives.

You will notice DPR is not in this file.   I will be adding a link.

Recap of panel about HIV in DC

My two cents on Amy L. Kovac-Ashley's Medium piece on searching for a school in DC

Here are my thoughts about We visited 18 schools in 90 days in D.C., and this is what we learned. (in no order):
  1. PTAs.   Like the author, I often wonder about the inequities created by active/inactive PTAs.   It's not only about money, it's about oversight and accountability related to the school and it's leadership and parent/caregiver connectedness to the classroom.   Media reports about inequities abound; see How Budget Cuts and PTA Fundraising Undermined Equity in San Francisco Public Schools, PTA fundraising data shows massive gap between haves and have-nots, and As parents raise cash, schools confront big gap.    What fewer people pay attention to are the reasons why parents may not be engaged in their children's school: inflexibility at work, disabilities, transportation, dislike or fear of schools and teachers... the list goes on.   (See Improving Parent Involvement Programs and Practice: A Qualitative Study of Parent Perceptions (PDF))
  2. Elite status.   In response to "we often heard the refrain of 'Our school is more difficult to get into than _______________,' where the blank was filled in with the name of the Ivy League school du jour," I say read Two important discussions on college and listen to Frank Bruni on the Diane Rehm Show.
  3. School data.   Simply, more data should be readily available.
  4. Arrogance.   "It was dispiriting to hear one charter administrator speak with some level of hubris as if her school answered to no one, least of all the parents of the children in her school."   Oh, hell no.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

#dcfy16 budget hearing sked updated

The Council of DC has updated the FY 2016 budget hearing scheduled.   Changes appear on page 1.

April 1: Moving D.C. Forward, a community-based Kojo Nnamdi-Mayor Bowser convo

Moving D.C. Forward: A Conversation with Mayor Muriel Bowser takes place Wednesday, April 1 at 5:00 pm at Anacostia Playhouse (2020 Shannon Place SE).   From the announcement:
A live community forum that will explore the enduring challenges of preserving affordable housing, economic development, public safety and the Mayor’s vision for the year ahead in a rapidly changing city.

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Thought you might be interested Thursday

Learn more about plain language here: Must-use writing and editing tools,, and Wikipedia on plain language.

TA: Go old-school for note-taking

To this day, I can remember where certain notes were in high school and college notebooks.   I can also remember where important text is in books if I highlighted or took notes.   The why's are explained in The Best Way To Remember Something? Take Notes By Hand and the scientific The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard: Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note Taking.

Why does this matter?   Because as technology drives us to take notes on tablets or phones, we may be losing much of the value of taking notes.   Here's the abstract:

Taking notes on laptops rather than in longhand is increasingly common. Many researchers have suggested that laptop note taking is less effective than longhand note taking for learning. Prior studies have primarily focused on students’ capacity for multitasking and distraction when using laptops. The present research suggests that even when laptops are used solely to take notes, they may still be impairing learning because their use results in shallower processing. In three studies, we found that students who took notes on laptops performed worse on conceptual questions than students who took notes longhand. We show that whereas taking more notes can be beneficial, laptop note takers’ tendency to transcribe lectures verbatim rather than processing information and reframing it in their own words is detrimental to learning.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

TA: Using social media to promote your events

If your organization does events, this article will surely be important to you:   16 Ways to Use Social Media to Promote Your Event.   Listed ideas include using Facebook ads, creating a highlight real from past events, including testimonials in promotional materials, use one hashtag across all platforms, and "share pictures of speakers with quote overlays."

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Former Mayor Vince Gray on NewsTalk Mar. 19

Ward 4 candidates answer more resident questions has published the fifth round of Ward 4 candidate answers to resident questions.   See the Q&A.

The questions in this round, from newest to oldest:

  1. What is your position on term limits for DC Member of the Council?
  2. Do you support the proposals of Council Member Grosso for automatic run-off voting, open primaries and campaign finance reform, or some variations on those? Related, would you support a run-off election if no candidate for the Ward 4 Member of the Council's seat receives a majority of the vote?
  3. Do you support requiring vaccine immunization shot, as DC does now? (Do you support exemptions for "personal beliefs" or the ability of parents to delay when their children get shots to lengthen immunization schedules?)
  4. What was your position on Walmart coming into DC? Did you want the Walmart jobs, related economic development (such as mixed income housing in nearby areas) and groceries in "food deserts" (areas with little or no grocery store), or do you want to hold out for jobs or companies that meet certain standards before you allow them into DC?
  5. Registered Independents in the District of Columbia are disenfranchised, as they are not legally able to vote in DC primaries. What will you do to ensure all registered voters in the District are able to vote in primary elections?

(UPDATE 3/25, 9:20a: Fixed the graphic)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Membership TA via @WildApricot

TA: A free and easy-to-use color selector

Do you design things?   Flyers?   Pamphlets?   Postcards?   Icons?   Need help with colors?

Check out the free tool from Adobe: Color CC.   Type in the RGB or HEX color you are starting with and the tool provides four additional colors.   Users choose from one of the following color schemes: analogous, triad, complementary, monochromatic, compound, and shades.   Or, customize a scheme.

Monday, March 23, 2015

March 24: Council-Mayor Breakfast

On Tuesday, March 24 at 9:30 am, the mayor and council will meet for their regular breakfast.   The meeting will take place in Room 507 of the John A. Wilson Building (1350 Pennsylvania Ave NW).

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Mayor Bowser talks ed March 24

Mayor Bowser will make an education announcement Tuesday, March 24 at 11:00 am at Brookland Middle School (1150 Michigan Ave NE).   The announcement is about "middle grade investments, including new summer school opportunities."

TA: Changing things at scale

Is Shame Necessary?: New Uses for an Old Tool, by Jennifer Jacquet, is "about the power of social disapproval... to change things at scale."   This is how Jacquet starts her February 23 Politics and Prose book talk.

Both the P&P event and the Book TV discussion are chock-full of examples about how public shaming has created social and economic change.   One example is the Sea World stock debacle of 2014. According to CNN's SeaWorld stock gets soaked, plunges 33%,

SeaWorld has come under fire after the airing of "Blackfish" last year, a CNN documentary that exposed the alleged dangers of keeping orca whales in captivity. The film has led to proposed legislation in California, home of SeaWord's San Diego park, to ban the holding of so-called "killer whales" in captivity.

In its earnings release Wednesday, SeaWorld acknowledged that attendance in San Diego was hurt by recent media attention around the legislation. It was the first time the company actually admitted attendance problems because of animal activism, said Barton Crockett, an analyst at FBR Capital Markets, in a research note following SeaWorld's earnings.

Learn about Blackfish.

Both videos are mandatory watching for advocates and activists no matter the issue they work on.   And naturally, the book is a must-read.   Why?   According to Jacquet, "while protests and consumer boycotts are valuable tactics in changing the behavior of governments and corporations, public shaming can be even more effective."   (Book TV segment).   Further,

while guilt holds individuals to personal standards, it proves impotent in the face of corrupt corporate policies. In recent years, we have been asked to assuage our guilt about these problems as consumers, by buying organic foods or fair trade products, for example. Yet, unless nearly everyone participates, the impact of individual consumer consciousness is microscopic.   (synopsis)

Jacquet is assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Studies at New York University, contributes to, and previously wrote Scientific American's guilty planet blog.

Buy the book at P&P.

Mayor Bowser on Carol Joynt's Q&A Café

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Mayor Bowser's March 23 sked

The mayor's Monday, March 23 schedule includes the 10:00 am presser about early childhood.   According to the release titled Mayor Bowser to Announce Multi-Year Effort to Strengthen Early Childhood Education Programs, Mayor Bowser
will announce a multi-year effort to strengthen the District's early childhood education programs. The neighborhood-based program is designed to ensure more children and families benefit from early, continuous and comprehensive child development and family support services.

The press conference takes place at UPO at Frederick Douglass (3240 Stanton Rd SE).

The March 20, 2015 DCR in Tweets

April 2: Ward 4 candidate forum

A candidate forum will take place Thursday, April 2 at 7:00 pm at Kingsbury Day School (5000 14th St NW).   Details and to RSVP.

Teach Your Children from Glee finale

Because this is my blog, I'm sharing this from the Glee finale.   With a huge s/o to Jeff Coudriet with whom I laughed and cried and shared snarky comments on social media while watching Glee.   Here's to an end to an era and friends here and now and in the great beyond.

1-800-222-1222, the number for Poison Control

Memorize―and put by the telephone to be on the safe side―the number for the Poison Control Center.   The number is 1-800-222-1222.   If jingles help you remember things, listen to it here.

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