Leadership Lite
School Administrator, October 2019

Slimy Payback
Jim Hogeboom made an offer too good for school parents to pass up. As the superintendent, he challenged Olive Elementary School in California’s Novato School District to enroll at least 75 percent of the school’s 370 families as members in Olive’s PTA.

The parents left nothing to chance. They somehow got 100 percent on board (a first in the 66-year history of the school). In his promised payoff, Hoge-boom sat in a child’s wading pool while Olive Elementary School students and parents doused the superintendent in bucket after bucket of green slime.
SOURCE: Marin Independent Journal, San Rafael, Calif.

A Top Grade for Persuasion
In a school district with 10,000 employees and 75,000 students, the chance to communicate directly with the superintendent is slim. Alexandra Campbell, a high school senior in the Pasco County, Fla., district, was not deterred by the odds.

Campbell went right to the top when she learned the traditional exemption from a 7th-period class for those with good grades and exemplary attendance was being eliminated just as she and her friends reached their senior year. She made her case in a short e-mail to Superintendent Kurt Browning, who responded by asking the teen to expand on her rationale.

Campbell’s persuasive argument succeeded in bringing another year of senior-year privilege. And Campbell’s principal, Mike Cloyd, conceded, “Kids can make a difference. She won a fight I had lost.”
SOURCE: Tampa Bay Times, Tampa, Fla.

A Belated Callup to the Bigs
Paul O’Malley spent six years as a professional baseball pitcher, rising up to the Class AA level with the Houston Astros. While winning 36 games as a minor leaguer, he never experienced the exhilaration of those final steps to the major league roster.

O’Malley thoughtfully socked away money from his first contracts to fund his college degree in chemistry education. Since then, he’s worked as a science teacher and central-office director. And earlier this year, O’Malley got the callup to the big leagues of his current profession, receiving an appointment over 37 other aspirants to the superintendency of the Butler Elementary School District in Oak Brook, Ill.
SOURCE: Chicago Tribune

Handwringing Over Handwriting

College professors are exposing a skill that has all but disappeared among their students these days: penmanship. That has come to light as increasing numbers of university faculty ban the use of personal computers for note-taking during their class lectures, leaving students to struggle with cursive script.

Professors told The Wall Street Journal, in a recent front-page feature story, that they had become “weary of looking out over a sea of laptops, with students’ faces aglow from who knows what.”

The story’s headline: “I’d Be an ‘A’ Student If I Could Just Read My Notes.” 

Short, humorous anecdotes, quips, quotations and malapropisms for this column relating to school district administration should be addressed to: Editor, School Administrator, 1615 Duke St., Alexandria, VA 22314. Fax: 703-841-1543. E-mail: magazine@aasa.org. Upon request, names may be withheld in print.