You Still Matter

This is a repeat of the first of the school year post from a year ago. I think it’s as important today as it was then so I’m doing a repost.  Actually, given the political situation in Ontario, it may even be more important.

I’ll just change the title a bit from “You Matter” to “You Still Matter”.


If there’s one motivational video that you need to watch or share with staff and others as a new school year begins, it’s Angela Maiers’ TED Talk “You Matter”.

For anyone to succeed, they need to know that people care and nothing says that more than explicitly or implicitly sending this powerful message.

School can be a daunting place and it’s easy to see the opposite message but everyone needs to be involved in sending the positive message loudly and clearly to students.  When they hear it, positive things can happen.

You send the message “You Matter” when:

Teachers – you learn everyone’s name and something special about each student within the first week;

Principals – you remember that you’re the principal teacher, learn the above, and work the timetable for the benefit of teachers and students so that everyone can succeed;

Support Staff – you understand that every student is an individual and supports need to be adjusted for each student;

Caretakers – you know that the physical environment needs to be in as good as possible condition.  Learning spaces in spotless condition, basketball nets replaced, windows cleaning all contribute to an environment conducive for learning;

Technicians – you make sure that all of the computers and other technology equipment are cleaned and outfitted with the latest software over the summer, tested, and ready for classroom application on the first day of school;

Bus Drivers – you ensure that the vehicle is clean and each student welcomed on board daily whether it’s a first ride or the start of the 12th year of rides;

Parents – you recognize that back to school is stressful and yet so important.  New clothes, lunchboxes, backpacks send the message that this is a new beginning and you’re in full support.  Become just as excited as your child for the beginning of the new school year and show it!

Yes, it does take a village to raise a child and results will appear when that child realizes that everyone is sending the message “You Matter”.  Thank you, Angela, for your so inspiring talk.

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Coming Together #RCAC2010

Sometimes when you plan an event, real life just gets in the road.  In a few short hours, the Western Regional Computer Advisory Committee’s Symposium 2010 event will take place.  As a planner for this annual event, there always seems to be something just around the corner that seems poised to make the wheels wobble and potentially derail things.

This year was particularly eventful.

As you post the program and open registration, that little voice in the back of your mind always asks the question “What happens if you throw a party and nobody comes?”  But, it’s a credit to the educators in South Western Ontario that over 400 folks eventually registered and will join together in a great day of learning.

Along the way, things just kept popping up that make you question whether we’re able to go ahead.

Weather – Not only is this always a concern when you hold a conference in December, but this year was particularly eventful in London, Middlesex County, Oxford County, Huron County, and Perth County.  But, a window opened and people started to descend upon London yesterday.

Flight Cancellations – It’s such a short distance between Detroit and London.  It’s just a quick up and down when you’re in an airplane!  However, you can’t finish if you can’t start.  Thanks to some brainstorming and a cell phone conversation, alternative travel plans are made and a shuttle trip solves the situation.

Getting into the Country – Our borders are secure.  But, it did take a whack of phone calls, and a fax from school to convince the agents that we had room for one more person on December 9.

Getting airflight times correct – Even though London International Airport is small by Pearson International standards, there are multiple arrivals from Canadian airports.  My partner in this learned the importance of getting the times right.  Airports are such fun places to kill some time!

USB Memory Keys – Everyone loves to go paperless and resources on a memory key seems like such an easy thing to do until the realization that someone has to open 420 packages and copy the content 420 times.  Paper doesn’t look so bad anymore.

In the end, it does all come together.  A nice late supper had the committee and the best part is the opportunity to talk and learn with each other as it happens.

Me with Angela Maiers – thanks, @Ron_Mill

Ian Jukes, Ron Millar and Andy Forgrave – thanks, my HTC Legend

When I hit the hay last night, all seemed to be coming together nicely.  It’s always awesome to have a great committee and great friends to help pull it all together.

The audience will be full of very active, and I mean very active, Ontario Educators.  Even in the picture above, @aforgrave is getting a jump on the action!  If you’re not able to join us in London or you do join us and feel like you’re missing something, track the event using the Twitter Hashtag #RCAC2010

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