College and Career Ready

Coalition for College and Career Ready America – This group of organizations works to help improve graduation rates and readiness for students across America. Excellent resources including a recent webinar.


Community Service – First steps to employment

We just weathered a HUGE storm here, power outages, many, many large trees down… We watched the volunteer fire and rescue squad jump to action and it got me thinking about community service and volunteerism. These young men may or may not become career firemen, but they are learning incredible transferable skills. What kind of volunteer or community service opportunities are there for you? Your child?

(links will be posted tomorrow…sorry for the hassle)


With the weekend approaching, what does your time graph look like? Are you running from game to game with the kids? Or trying to catch up on all of the errands needed for the following week? Life if full. Life is busy. Life can be overwhelming…if we do not have Margin. 

In his book, Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives, Richard A. Swenson, MD discusses the pains of margin-less living and the prescription for building margin to bring a more healthful balance. Not an easy task in today’s society, but one which is so needed if we are to raise up the next generation with full steam!



APSE – Advancing Employment. Connecting People.




I had the privilege today to speak at the 23rd Annual National APSE Conference in Arlington, Virginia. My topic? Apps and Ethics: Using Technology to Facilitate Effective Productivity. A good audience and a great time of networking with friends and colleagues. These networking working opportunities are priceless…back in February I was speaking at a conference in Wisconsin where I had a chance to reconnect and visit briefly with Laura Owens, Executive Director of APSE. I mentioned my current work and through a series of post chat emails and connections, I was able to present a national webinar for APSE in April and present again today at the national conference. Don’t ever underestimate the power of networking!

So back to APSE…

APSE’s sole focus is integrated employment and career advancement opportunities for individuals with disabilities. This national organization has chapters in 35 states and the District of Columbia. Membership is open to anyone committed to ensuring “integrated employment continues to grow and improve.” The APSE website contains training opportunities, publications, and a great section for employers. This section offers employers training and professional development in support of employment for people with differing abilities.


CCHD – New Born Screening

CCHD – Critical Congenital Heart Disease, as the mom of two kids with heart issues I know the need for good new born screening. (And the need for thorough pre-born screening as well)  One of my children had severe heart issues (VSD, ASD, small mis-shappen aorta, pulmonary atresia, situs inversus totalis-heart flipped/flipped and in wrong place, etc…, multiple surgeries) and one of my children has a “simple” VSD (closed on it’s own by age 5). It’s not just about having the screening resource, but understanding it’s usefulness and how it works. Here’s a video on CCHD for parents to help understand the need for and the process of this test:


Baby’s First Test provides great information for new parents on what new born screening tests are available and how to talk with your doctor about the tests and subsequent results. There’s also state by state info on screening and news and blog links to follow and dialog along with others.

Beyond the Bake Sale

I’ve focused mainly on web resources, but there are so many awesome books like yesterday’s  post, Lucy Lettuce. So today’s resource is an excellent tool for administrators, educators and families: Beyond the Bake Sale – The Essential Guide to Family-School Partnerships

The more the relationship between families and the school is real partnership, the more student achievement increases.

This partnership doesn’t happen overnight. It takes vision, effort and most importantly, a focus on the student/child outcome. Beyond the Bake Sale identifies Four Versions of Partnership (which can be ascertained by utilizing the provided scoring guide).

  • Partnership School
  • Open-Door School
  • Come if We Call School
  • Fortress School

Once identified, there are research based tips and strategies for engaging families and schools in partnership, including surveys, tips for developing a School Family Involvement Policy and School Vision Statement. (Example below)

Parents are their children’s first and most important teachers. Research tells us that parent involvement makes a big difference. When Schools welcome families, establish personal relationships among families and staff, help parents understand how the system works, and encourage family-staff collaboration to improve student achievement, students do better in school-and the schools get better.

Our school is committed to being family-friendly and to working as partners with our families to help all our students learn to high levels. Our school encourages families to be:

  • Teachers of their children at home
  • Supporters of our school and of public education
  • Advocates for their own and other children
  • Decision makers in school policy and practice

An excellent resource for PTAs, PTOs, administrators, staff, families…this is a recommended read if you are involved in public education.

Lucy Lettuce – a tale of grief

Have you heard of the tale of Lucy Lettuce? It’s one of my all time favorite resources on Grief/Grieving.

“Life was good for Lucy. She had many friends. Then one day something terrible happened…”

Sometimes grief slips in and sometimes it roars into us with Mack Truck force.

“Lucy was smashed down onto the countertop…broken and shattered. But Lucy was tough…”

When we begin to catch our balance, begin to recover from the shock, some of us slip into the greatest, most rampant lie…”I’m fine.” And when we try to keep moving forward without fully dealing with the issue of grief, we may start losing perspective.

“Her world turned into a giant salad spinner. She thought she was going crazy.”

The amazing thing about the human spirit and change is we have the ability to move forward, if we choose.

“She was truly a new person, even though she was in pieces and her heart had been ripped out.”

And while people and situations may change around us, we can again nurture others even in grief.

“Her life would never be the same. She would always have a part of her heart missing….Now that she had finally reached this place in her life she could go out and nurture others.”

So you’ll have to read the book to get the whole story (It’s a very short read), but I wanted to share the simplicity this book brings to the complex topic of grief. I’m in no way diminishing the process of grief, just sharing something which has been a powerful tool for me both personally and professionally. I have presented this story “in 3D” (making the actual salad) and it’s given a neat vessel for the discussion of grief and grieving. (note: the website says for ages 4-8, however, I use this when talking with/presenting to adults)

Image             Lucy Lettuce  by Patrick Loring and Joy Johnson