A Three-Pronged Model for School Decision Making

I was recently interviewed (via email) and asked about how school ethics, legal issues, and resource management are related. Here was my response:

Ethics, legality, and resource management are certainly related. I would look at the three like this: 1) ethics asks the question, “Should we do this to our students?”; 2) legality posits, “Can we do this to our students without losing our jobs (or going to jail); and 3) resource management asks, “Do we have the resources to make the things we should do and can do actually happen?” If the answer to the ethical or legal questions “no,” then the idea, whatever it is, is a definite no-go. If those two past muster and the only barrier is resources, then you can get creative to try to make the idea happen. It’s important that with each of these creative ideas to make it happen that you revisit the ethics and legal aspects to make sure your resource solution doesn’t create a “no” situation. See the flowchart for a visual representation of what I mean.

Flowchart describing making school decisions while considering ethical, legal, and resource management issues.

Ethical, Legal, and Resource issues have a huge impact on student learning. For example, consider fundraising for the general fund and for school clubs (i.e. Future Business Leaders of America, SkillsUSA, etc.) When I was younger, we sold pop, candy, food, and anything else people would buy at any time during the day to raise money for our clubs (I was really big in FBLA). Now, me and my students do not get that luxury due to it being illegal. And to do a good job running a club, you need money for travel, registration fees, and lodging for various events throughout the year. So, we instead do school-approved fundraisers such as Rada knives or beef jerky sales. This generates money but nothing to the extent that I was able to raise in high school selling candy to my classmates whenever I felt like it.

Another example of these three considerations is industry certification retakes. If you have one student that was only 5 points from passing and another that was 25 points from passing, is it ethical to allow the student who was closer to passing retake the test (which costs the school money) while not allowing the student who was further from passing to retest? We have cutoff scores in place to decide whether a student can retest, but sometimes there’s a student that’s not within that range and you know they could pass it if they took it again because the first time, for example, his grandpa had just died and he was very distracted. But you always ask yourself, how do we get to decide who to grant another chance to? What extenuating circumstances do we count toward a retake? Are any students being deprived because we didn’t deem their distraction worthy?

So, yeah, the three aspects needed to make decisions in schools of ethical, legal, and available resources come into play every single day. And the decisions we make about them are often not easy.  But we do the best we know to do with the information we have and soldier on.

Remove Duplicates from a List and Use COUNTIF() in Excel 2016

In this video, you’ll learn how to remove duplicates from a list in Excel. Then, using the list of unique items, you will learn how to use COUNTIF() to count the number of times each item in the original list occurred.

Click here to download the KY High School Basketball Champions starter file if you would like to follow along with this exercise.

Own Your Own: Click here to download a list of World Series Champions that you can use to practice using COUNTIF() independently. You can try to count how many times each team has won (or lost) the series or how many times a certain manager has won (or lost) the series using the same skills that were demonstrated in the walkthrough.

Excel Quickie Assignment #1

This is the first of my quickie assignments, which are meant to be short but very useful for teaching and reviewing valuable Excel skills. These assignments do not include step-by-step instructions. They are meant to be used as formative assessment or possibly as material for walking students through how to complete tasks.

Click here to download Smitty’s Restaurant Item Sales Summary. Student instructions are listed in the textbox contained in the sheet. Remember that there are other, much more advanced skills that could be taught with this simple dataset, so think about ways you can rework the instructions to better target whatever skill you are trying to teach.

How to Create Zip Files in Windows (XP, Vista, 7, 8, and 10)!

In this video, you’ll learn how to easily create zip files in all versions of Windows since XP. Zip files are great for sending several files and/or folders as a single attachment. If that weren’t cool enough, zip files are smaller on the storage device than the sum of the files and folders they contain (through the magic of compression)!

Setting Up a Paper in MLA Format Using MS Word 2013

In this video, you’ll be learning how to setup a paper in MLA format using Microsoft Word 2013. The spacing guidelines presented should conform to MLA 7th Edition, but you should always set things up how your professor wants (as some prefer older versions or variations of the standard).

The file used throughout this video can be found here: Sample MLA Paper (that’s formatted WRONG)