Wednesday, March 18, 2015


Not long after I started my role as an elementary principal, a big event was looming on the horizon.  Y2K was fast approaching and people everywhere were in a panic with thoughts that everything from computers to the electrical grid were going to crash due to their programming not being able to switch from 19 to 20.  (I'm sure this makes me sound old to my younger readers:) It seems like a distant memory, but I recall news articles giving the worse case scenario of a crash and technical support crews were working feverishly to update our systems.  When the fateful day came, it arrived quietly and ended without incident.  We all breathed a sigh of relief.

This year, our state is in the process of introducing a new (and possibly one-time) assessment for students.  The format is different, the scoring rubric is unknown, and schools across the state are trying to figure out the logistics of testing students with limited technology resources.  With all the scrambling for information, high levels of anxiety, and unknown threats it feels like Y2K all over again. There's a bit of panic in the air and more than a little angst from the educators that I work with and collaborate with.

As I attend meetings, watch webinars, and participate in twitter chats to learn more about what is unfolding with the new assessment, I keep reminding myself that the sky is not falling and that this too shall pass. Amid the flurry of test preparation, I want to keep focused on what's most important...our students.  As long as teachers continue to promote effective learning in caring environments, as long as students are actively engaged in meaningful activities, and as long as we continue to develop strong home-school partnerships, the assessments will take care of themselves.  Yes, we need to practice computer skills necessary for the new test. Yes, we need to make sure our curriculum is aligned with the assessment, and yes we need to make sure testing sessions are scheduled appropriately.  But I think the best way to prepare for a new test is by doing what we do best, provide quality instruction for all students.  If we do that, then M-Step, like Y2K,  will come and go with more a whimper than a bang.  After all was said and done with Y2K, the biggest catastrophe to come out of it was that I was still writing 19__ on my checks.

PEARLS OF WISDOM (or at least bad predictions:)

"This is not a prediction, it is a certainty - there will be serious disruption in the world's financial services industry...It's going to be ugly." - The Sunday Times, London

"We're concerned about the potential disruption of power grids, telecommunications and banking services. It will affect us in ways in which we can barely understand." - Sherry Burns, CIA

"10 percent of the nation's top executives are stockpiling canned goods, buying generators and even purchasing handguns." New York Times, October 1998

National Geographic looks back at Y2K (2 minutes)


Tuesday, March 24: 8:05 PBS Committee
                               8:30-10:00 Jon to Principal Meeting at Wayne-Resa
                               Spring Pictures in Room 18
Wednesday, March 25: 8:00 REED (Benson)
                                     10:00-11:00 am Magic of Books Assembly (all grades)
Thursday, March 26: 8:00 am Staff Meeting (Grade Level Meeting Time)
                                 8:30-11:30 Jon to Johnson for Program Evaluation Training
                                 12:00-4:30 Advanc-Ed Team Meeting in LMC
                                 3:00 pm SOTM Assembly (Think Win-Win)
                                 6:00-8:00 pm Skate Night at Riverside Arena
Friday, March 27: No Students (Teacher Work Day)

Tuesday, March 31: Jon out of building for Advanc-Ed Visitation
Wednesday, April 1: Camp Out and Read in the Gym (lunch in classrooms)
                                Jon out of building for Advanc-Ed Visitation
                                6:30 pm PTA Meeting in the LMC
Thursday, April 2: 8:00 Staff Meeting (iPad Training)
                            3:00 pm Reading Month Awards Assembly
Friday, April 3: No School (Spring Break begins)

Monday, April 13: School Resumes


  1. I always enjoy your perspective. The sky did not fall, ower grids did not crash, and while my fax machine is Y2K compliant, it is no longer relevant. The testing season will pass, but the need to provide quality instruction will remain. Thank for keeping our eyes on the prize.

  2. Appreciate the read and the comment Greg! Enjoy reading yours as well.