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Monday, September 26, 2005

Class Pictures

We have received a sample copy of the class pictures taken last week.

For students in grades K-3, we are sending an envelope home with every student. The envelope has blanks for the needed information, the amount of the picture, and how to make checks payable. If you would like to order, simply seal cash or check in the envelope and return it to the school.

For grades 4-6, we have additional envelopes in the office (but not enough to send one home with every student). If you would like to order a picture, the cost is $7. Checks should be payable to "Bill Miller Photography." You may send your cash or check and your teacher will give your child an envelope to complete with his or name, teacher, etc.

For all classes, a copy of the picture is posted in the classroom if you would like to see what it looks like before ordering. The deadline for ordering pictures is October 11.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Parental Involvement Policy for Talladega City Schools

On Friday (Sept. 23), we will be sending home a short letter from Doug Campbell regarding a proposed parental involvement policy for the school system. In the letter, he invites your written input. This invitation extends through Sept. 29. You may send input to the central office or send it to the school and we will forward it. The letter states that the proposed policy is on file at the school. We are posting here to make it more easily accessible to more parents:

District Title I Parental Involvement Policy

The Talladega City Schools agrees to implement the following statutory requirements:

The Talladega City Schools will put into operation programs, activities and procedures for the involvement of parents in all of its schools with Title I, Part A programs, consistent with section 1118 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Those programs, activities and procedures will be planned and operated with meaningful consultation with parents of participating children.

Consistent with section 1118, the school district will work with its schools to ensure that the required school‑level parental involvement policies meet the requirements of section 1118(b) of the ESEA, and each include, as a component, a school‑parent compact consistent with section 1118(d) of the ESEA.

The Talladega City Schools will incorporate this district wide parental involvement policy into its LEA plan developed under section 1112 of the ESEA.

In carrying out the Title I, Part A parental involvement requirements, to the extent practicable, the school district and its schools will provide full opportunities for the participation of parents with limited English proficiency, parents with disabilities, and parents of migratory children, including providing information and school reports required under section 1111 of the ESEA in an understandable and uniform format and, including alternative formats upon request, and, to the extent practicable, in a language parents understand.

If the LEA plan for Title I, Part A, developed under section 1112 of the ESEA, is not satisfactory to the parents of participating children, the school district will submit any parent comments with the plan when the school district submits the plan to the State Department of Education.

The school district will involve the parents of children served in Title I, Part A schools in decisions about how the 1 percent of Title I, Part A funds reserved for parental involvement is spent, and will ensure that not less than 95 percent of the one percent reserved goes directly to the schools.

The school district will be governed by the following statutory definition of parental involvement and expects that it’s Title I schools will carry out programs, activities and procedures in accordance with this definition:

Parental involvement means the participation of parents in regular, two‑way,

and meaningful communication involving student academic learning and other school activities, including ensuring-

that parents play an integral role in assisting their child's learning;

that parents are encouraged to be actively involved in their child's education at school;

that parents are full partners in their child's education and are included, as appropriate, in decision‑making and on advisory committees to assist in the education of their child;

the carrying out of other activities, such as those described in section 1118 of the ESEA

The Talladega City Schools will take the following actions to involve parents in the joint development of its district-wide parental involvement plan under section 1112 of the ESEA:

· Use the district’s Federal Program Advisory Team ( At the current time there are six schools in the Title I Program and each school will have at least one parent representative. These parents will serve as a point of contact for parents, and will work with the local schools to ensure that parents receive information in a timely manner and have input into the development of this policy.)

· Have schools conduct surveys

The Talladega City Schools will take the following actions to involve parents in the process of school review and improvement under section 1116 of the ESEA:

  • Encourage all schools to form PTAs or PTOs or other parent groups that can be used to respond to issues of interest to parents.
  • Require schools to provide parents with current information regarding school policies, and practices.
  • Require schools to provide parents with current information regarding students and school performance data. (solicit parent input and feedback).
  • Schools will train staff and parents to be collaborative partners (that share decision making in areas such as policy, curriculum, budget, school reform, school improvement and safety).

The Talladega City Schools will provide the following necessary coordination, technical assistance, and other support to assist Title I, Part A schools in planning and implementing effective parental involvement activities to improve student academic achievement and school performance:

  • The Director of Federal Programs or his designee will work with Principals to provide over site, coordination of services, and technical assistance in the areas covered under this section.
  • When applicable the district will conduct workshops and/or provide in-service and other support at the request of Title I funded schools.
  • The District will use the coordination of funds to contract with a school interventionist and a parent family counselor.
  • The District will bring in state department resources on an as needed basis.
  • The district’s advisory team will be utilized as a resource to help review, monitor and discuss parent involvement issues.

The Talladega City Schools will coordinate and integrate parental involvement strategies in Part A with parental involvement strategies under the following other programs: [ Title IV, Technology, Special Education, Gifted, and Head Start programs], by:

  • Using a Federal Program Advisory Team
  • Contracting with a school interventionist (liaison between home, school and outside agencies)
  • Employing a school nurse
  • Contracting with a licensed family counselor

The Talladega City Schools will take the following actions to conduct, with the involvement of parents, an annual evaluation of the content and effectiveness of this parental involvement policy in improving the quality of its Title I, Part A schools. The evaluation will include identifying barriers to greater participation by parents in parental involvement activities (with particular attention to parents who are economically disadvantaged, are disabled, have limited English proficiency, have limited literacy, or are of any racial or ethnic minority background). The school district will use the findings of the evaluation about its parental involvement policy and activities to design strategies for more effective parental involvement, and to revise, if necessary (and with the involvement of parents) its parental involvement policies.

  • A Survey or questionnaire will be administered as a part of the evaluation process. (Parents will be asked to participate in the evaluation.) The principal of each participating title one school will be responsible for data collection and the tabulation of results. The District’s Advisory Team will also be used to review the data collected and to provide feedback.

The Talladega City Schools will build the schools' and parent's capacity for strong parental involvement, in order to ensure effective involvement of parents and to support a partnership among the school involved, parents, and the community to improve student academic‑achievement, through the following activities specifically described below:

The school district will, with the assistance of its Title I, Part A schools, provide assistance to parents of children served by the school district or school, as appropriate, in understanding topics such as the following, by undertaking the actions described in this paragraph –

·the State's academic content standards,

·the State's student academic achievement standards,

·the State and local academic assessments including alternate assessments, the requirements of Part A,

·how to monitor their child's progress, and

·how to work with educators

  • Schools will conduct workshop(s) on content standards, achievement and assessment as needed. Schools will be required to address these topics at one or more of the following events: PTA/PTO, Open House or Parent Conferences

The school district will, with the assistance of its schools, provide materials and training to help parents work with their children to improve their children's academic achievement, such as literacy training, and using technology, as appropriate, to foster parental involvement,

  • Publishing a Web Site
  • Establishing A family Resource Center
  • Budgeting funds at the school level for purchasing materials
  • Encourage PTOs or PTAs to offer workshops

The school district will, with the assistance of its schools and parents, educate its teachers, pupil services personnel, principals and other staff, in how to reach out to, communicate with, and work with parents as equal partners, in the value and utility of contributions of parents, and in how to implement and coordinate parent programs and build ties between parents and schools, by:

  • Provide collaborative partners training to teachers and staff with a focus on shared decision making in areas such as policy, curriculum, budget, school reform, school improvement and safety.

The school district will, to the extent feasible and appropriate, coordinate and integrate parental involvement programs and activities with Head Start, Reading First, Early Reading First, Even Start, Home Instruction Programs for Preschool Youngsters, the Parents as Teachers Program, and public preschool and other programs, and conduct other activities, such as parent resource centers, that encourage and support parents in more fully participating in the education of their children, by:

  • Contracting with a school interventionist (liaison between home, school and outside agencies)
  • Employing a school nurse
  • Contracting with a licensed family counselor
  • Distributing parenting information at parent-teacher conferences
  • Hosting awareness activities at school
  • Public Service Announcements via Newspaper and Radio

The school district will take the following actions to ensure that information related to the school and parent‑ programs, meetings, and other activities, is sent to the parents of participating children in an understandable and uniform format, including alternative formats upon request, and, to the extent practicable, in a language the parents can understand:

  • The District will use the state department’s online program to ensure that parents receive documents in the appropriate format.


This District Parental Involvement Policy has been developed jointly with, and agreed on with, parents of children participating in Title I, Part A programs, as evidenced by the district’s advisory team signature page on file.

This revised policy was adopted by the Talladega City Schools on ________________ and will be in effect for the period of three years. The school district will distribute this policy to all parents of participating Title I, Part A children on or before _______________.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Constitution Day

Starting this year, every school is required to do some type of activity to celebrate "Constitution Day," which is September 17th of each year and commemorates the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution. (Since the 17th was on a Saturday this year, we did our activity on Sept. 16.)

Our 5th & 6th graders worked on memorizing the Preamble. On Sept. 16, we were part of a nationwide unison recitation of the Preamble.

"School House Rock" has done a spot on the Preamble. The music can be found at
http://www.school-house-rock.com/Prea.html if you would like to listen to it at home.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Our flag was still there...and so is our Pledge

Graham participated in a mass singing of the National Anthem yesterday as a part of the nationwide effort called "The National Anthem Project." At 9:00 in their respective time zones, schools across the country joined in the singing of "The Star Spangled Banner." We have the ability to plug a CD player into our intercom system, so the students all over the school were able to sing along with a full accompaniment.

On another note, there may be questions about a recent ruling in California and the impact it will have on our recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. In a word, the answer is "none." Here is the position of the Alabama State Department of Education:

Today's ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will have no impact on Alabama Public Schools. Until the U.S. Supreme Court rules differently, nothing regarding this matter will change in Alabama. Bottom Line: The Pledge of Allegiance can continue to be recited in Alabama Public Schools.

Community Coffee Promotion

If you use Community Coffee products, the UPC codes can be exchanged for money for our school Community Coffee sells coffee and tea products, creamer, sugar, and coffee filters. They also sell under the names CC's and Private Reserve.

Community Coffee is donating a total of $50,000 to schools who have enrolled students from the victims of Katrina, of which our school is one. We will collect the UPC codes from these products through mid January.

We do not know an exact amount of how much each UPC code will be worth. That will depend on how many schools participate and how many UPC codes are collected. The company estimates we would receive around 15 per UPC code.

I called our local Food World, and they do stock this brand of coffee. Piggly Wiggly says they do not. I could not get a response from Wal-Mart, so that may or may not be a possibility.

To keep things simple from the standpoint of parents and teachers, if you do buy this particular brand and clip the UPC code, treat it just as you would the "Boxtops for Education." As those are collected from teachers, we will sort the General Mills Boxtops for Education from the Community Coffee UPC codes.

It's hard to tell just how much or how little a project like this will bring to the school. The program which Food World sponsored last year (which entailed going to a website and registering your grocery store card one time, with the school getting points each time you used the card) was quite fruitful. It provided a free overhead projector for a teacher whose projector badly needed replacing and a number of die-cuts that all teachers are able to use.

As always, thanks for support of Graham School!

Monday, September 05, 2005

The National Anthem Project

According to a Harris Interactive Poll of 2,200 American men and women over the age 18, 60 percent do not know all the words to the National Anthem, and of those who do, 70 percent learned the anthem in school music classes. An ABC poll of teenagers found that 38 percent do not know the official name of the national anthem, 15 percent can sing it from memory, and less than 35 percent can name the author. The National Anthem Project is all about changing those statistics. The project officially began in March 2005 and will culminate in 2007.

At Graham, students are learning the words and music through their music classes. Fifth and sixth graders are learning about the event which inspired the stirring words, and are writing about their experiences through the eyes of Francis Scott Key.

To commemorate the anniversary of the writing of our National Anthem, on September 14, schools around the country will sing the Star Spangled Banner at 9:00 A.M. in their respective time zones. Our entire student body will be a part of this nationwide singing.

In addition to the copy of the words and music we are sending home in the September 6th Tuesday folder, you may also print a copy from here. You may also download recordings of the Star Spangled Banner.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Patrick Crispen's Tourbus...a follow-up

Yesterday, I told you about Patrick Crispen and the wealth of practical computer-related information that he presents in terms people can understand. Today he sent a special addition of "Tourbus" focusing on Katrina. He provides links to sites about the Hurricane, about New Orleans, and about contributing to relief efforts.

Unfortunately, there are those people who attempt to use this emergency as a chance to pull off a scam. Patrick also provides some information about what to look for.

Here is the latest from "Tourbus":
Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief
Audience: Everyone

As you already know by now, Hurricane Katrina struck the southeastern United States early Monday morning. Up to one million people are homeless and millions more are still without power. Experts predict the hurricane will likely become the worst natural disaster in United States history.

Every major news organization in the US and many others around the world is covering this developing story, and once again our friends at Yahoo Full Coverage are on top of the story. You can find their Hurricane Katrina page at


This page is a collection of news articles from the AP and Reuters as well as from CNN, the Biloxi Sun Herald, the New Orleans Times- Picayune, and so on. In times of crisis, Yahoo's Full Coverage is always one of the first sites I visit.

Another helpful resource for information about Monday's hurricane and its aftermath is Wikipedia's Hurricane Katrina article at


A great deal of attention is also being paid to what's happening in New Orleans as we speak, and Wikipedia has a New Orleans page at


It is hard to look at the images from the American southeast and not want to do something to help the relief effort. The United States Federal Emergency Management Agency has a list of reputable agencies that desperately need your help:


Every time there is a disaster, scam artists crawl out of the woodwork.
[See http://tinyurl.com/96c2t] The United States Federal Trade Commission has a free article on how to avoid becoming a victim of charity fraud:


As long as you stick to the organizations on FEMA's page, you can feel safe that your donations are going to those who truly need it the most. And on a personal note, my thoughts and prayers go out everyone impacted by this storm, especially to my friends in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Patrick Crispen's Tourbus

Patrick Cripsen is a name I am glad I know in the computer world. A graduate of the University of Alabama and currently working in California, I have had the pleasure of attending numerous one-hour workshops that Patrick has presented at the Alabama Educational Technology Conference. Patick's forte is the ability to take the complex, boil it down to what you really need to know, and give it to you in plain English.

Writing this post today comes on the heels of reading Patrick's latest issue of "Tourbus" a free newsletter that simply shows up in my e-mail every couple of weeks. This issue is especially for parents, which is why I thought you would be interested in reading this issue as well as subscribe to the newsletter. To subscribe, you simply go to http://www.TOURBUS.com

Patrick also has a website that is full of information practical information. The site includes PowerPoint presentations for each of the workshops he presents. That address is www.netsquirrel.com

Enjoy this issue of Tourbus:


TOURBUS Volume 11, Number 09 -- 30 August 2005

Tourbus Home - http://www.TOURBUS.com

Ask Bob Rankin -- http://AskBobRankin.com

[ For best results view this with a monospace font like Courier. ]



If you're a parent, teacher, home-schooler, grandparent or a student you're gonna love this issue of TOURBUS. It's chock full of great sites with lesson plans, online reference tools and homework helpers!


Teaching Resources


NEW YORK TIMES LEARNING NETWORK - Created for students and teachers in grades 3 through 12, The Learning Network is a free news service that provides news summaries, quizzes, and even daily lesson plans.

NYT Learning Network - http://www.nytimes.com/learning

ONLINE LESSON PLANS - More than 2000 unique lesson plans which have been written and submitted to AskERIC (now called the Educator's Reference Desk) by teachers. If you have a great lesson plan you would like to share with educators all over the world, send it in.

A wonderful online resource since 1992.

AskEric/EDUREF - http://www.eduref.org

TEACHNET offers lesson plans, teaching tools, a daily teacher- oriented cartoon, and email lists for educators.

TeachNet - http://www.teachnet.com


Reference Tools


REFDESK - In a library, if you don't know where to look for a reference book, you go to the Reference Librarian. On the Internet, if you don't know where to look for answers, you go to Refdesk.com.

At first glance, the sheer amount of useful links on the Refdesk home page can be overwhelming. But it's really quite well organized and useful.

RefDesk - http://www.refdesk.com

LIBRARY SPOT - Convenient links to popular online Almanacs, Calculators, Dictionaries, Directories, Encyclopedias, Historic Documents, Quotations, Statistics, and Thesauri.

LibrarySpot - http://www.libraryspot.com

SURFING THE NET WITH KIDS - Barbara Feldman, syndicated newspaper columnist and mother, shares her vision of what's wonderful and educational on the Web for kids. She welcomes parents, kids, teens, grandparents, K-12 teachers, librarians and the incurably curious.

SurfNetKids - http://www.surfnetkids.com


Homework Helpers


HOMEWORK SPOT - A free homework information portal that features the very best K-12 homework-related sites. With the help of students, parents and teachers, their team of educators, librarians and journalists has scoured the Web to bring you the best resources for English, math, science, history, art, music, technology, foreign language, college prep, health, life skills, extracurricular activities and much more.

Homework Spot - http://www.homeworkspot.com

INFOPLEASE HOMEWORK CENTER - Find useful information by subject area, develop better writing, note-taking and study skills, and search through previous questions and answers from other students.

InfoPlease - http://www.infoplease.com/homework

THE KIDS ON THE WEB - This is an excellent site maintained as a labor of love by Internet luminary Brendan Kehoe. Kids on the Web has links for Homework Tools, Educational Sites and much more. You could spend days exploring all these links, and Brendan adds new ones every month.

Homework Tools - http://www.zen.org/~brendan/kids-homework.html


Ask Bob For Free Tech Support


Got a computer question? Ask Bob! Recent entries at AskBobRankin include "How Does a Virus Spread?" and "Is FTP Secure?" Also, my articles on "How to Buy a Computer" and "Making Windows XP Start Faster have been very popular.

AskBob - http://www.askbobrankin.com

Recent Stumpers in the AskBobRankin [Inbox] include "Firefox and Plugins", "Windows Cannot Open This File" and "Thunderbird is Slow".

With all due apologies in advance to Radio Shack... You got answers?

We got questions!

AskBob [Inbox] - http://www.askbobrankin.com/inbox

That's all for now, see you next time! -- Bob Rankin

=====================[ Tourbus Rider Information ]===================

The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2238

Copyright 1995-2005, Rankin & Crispen - All rights reserved

Best of Tourbus -- http://tourbus.com/best.html

LowFat Linux -- http://www.LowFatLinux.com

The Savvy Consumer -- http://www.SavvyConsumer.org

Subscribe, Signoff, Archives, Free Stuff and More at the

Tourbus Website - http://www.TOURBUS.com ====================================================================

Families displaced by Katrina

Katrina's wrath has been felt by so many people in such a wide variety of ways. Those displaced, and facing the realization of not being able to return home for months, have no place to send their children to school. Alabama is one of the states which is making clear that families who evacuated to Alabama are welcome in our schools.

If you know of families with school-aged children who are staying in our community as a result the evalcuation, please let them know that they are welcome here. The normal requirements of providing a birth certificate, proof of immunization, etc. are being waived statewide as these people simply have no more with them than the clothes on their backs.