Rejected valentine.Sorry I have gone radio silent. Its just been a bit busy. Friday was Ithaca College and then work. Ithaca College was fascinating…a great school, spectacular facilities and heads down, focused students. Impressive. Really impressive but maybe not the right program for our student. It definitely feels like a place that is great if you know the road you want to be on, you have the map and all you need is the gas and vehicle to get from here to there. We are more in the questing mode here. We are looking for passion and at many directions. To my thinking as a former targeted missile, this is a fine thing to do. It was cool to see the “other” school in Ithaca—with clever architects and siting such that every building and walkway opened to gorgeous high views of Cayuga Lake making me feel that we were definitely somewhere different than the Ithaca we know. The music facilities are the most superior we have had seen— with state of the art practice rooms, choral spaces, tidy lockers, engaging performance spaces. Their admissions building is a new, welcoming space which marries a welcoming professionalism with an environmental conciousness  that really communicates the spirit of the school. If you have a student interested in the arts, music, communications (The Park School)—in particular, who is a focused student, consider Ithaca College. Yes, its in our backyard, but is an outstanding program, a smaller more intimate experience, and clearly top rate.

Alex has Friday off for Superintendent’s Day. We are going to travel to Putney, Vermont to go see Landmark College. Landmark is a program you can do as a summer session, a semester, a year or two. It is an accredited program that is focused on teaching with learning disabililties (specifically ADHS, ASD and dyslexia) students to use assistive tools and techniques for reading and writing. They help place students in jobs and in other colleges  after this experience. This is an option that we need to see regardless of how we chose to engage. There are amazing tools out there…(Kurzweill 3000 and Dragon for examples) that if they were to become automatic for our student, it could make learning more fluid, easier and maybe fun (!). I will keep you posted.

Speaking of technology, I wish the Wacom Inkling would please come out…They promised it in September…

I am transfixed by the tragedy and drama that keeps leaking out of the Penn State Football program. Absolutely tragic, operatic, more disgusting and detailed than any novelist could embellish. The giants have fallen…and more to come. It was great hanging out with Rob’s barber, Ed Pesco and Brian, to hear their insight and impressions of this news (they are huge football fans)—with their research (they access football forums on various teams), the gossip that is floating out there and the hints at how huge this thing is. It confounds me that Jerry Sandusky, a pedophile, is out on bail without having to post a penny of his own money—without a cuff or anklet to track him. This man who “horses around” in the shower lives across the street from an elementary school and is residing there while his lawyer constructs an arguement to explain how this Sandusky is innocent. It was appalling arrogance and hubris to see that “Joe Pa”, Joe Paterno thought that he was more superior to the board of directors of the University to determine when he was going to retire. Thank goodness the Board got off their duffs to fire that old man and the university president along with him. Paterno thinking he could control his future in this…despite his essentially ignoring this obscene behavior under his leadership—approval by sheer neglect. I agree with Ed and Brian that they should clean house within this organization and even, if necesssary, shut football down for 5 years to focus on healing the University (and to my thinking, shift priorities to that of education and community)

Finally, it takes this level of foul play to have the national press focus on college football so we can really ask ourselves if this is where our educational dollars should be spent (to drive alumni donations)—This huge national college football phenomenon was bigger than the travesty that was being manifested in the locker room by a coach during his tenure and his retirement. The silence throughout the organization up to the top of the University to coverup and damp down these activities despite the distruction and abuse of these disadvantaged children for the sake of the university image as reflected in the football program. Why shouldnt a university be recognized, funded and rewarded for it’s change in the world of ideas, theories, discoveries, developments versus brawny, kobe-beef boys who can catch a ball? What does that say about us as a culture, a community, a people?

Mark Madden predicted this story in April 2011 in the Beaver County Times>> Lets see if his predictions are as true as the ones that have come out recently.

The weekend was prep for Thanksgiving. I made more cranberries, baked the layers for a Maple Walnut layer cake (from the current MSteward Food magazine), made stock and prepped all sorts of vegetables from the CSA. This week is more baking and planning Thanksgiving week’s pregame prep with veggies and potatoes. Our guest list is slimming down from 22 to 17 now. Bit easier (at least from the flatware standpoint)— Like a little Thanksgiving squirrel, I have the beginnings of our feast frozen and ready to go. By the day, it will be a glorious thing.