The Year’s End

Doug and Steph in 60 mph winds on top of Whitby lighthouse

I’m not a big fan of “top ten” articles appearing in the newspapers at this time of year, but maybe the last days before New Year’s isn’t a bad time to take stock of the year.

The year began with us half-way through our first year with Veracross, and we were still working out the transcripts, the progress reports, the report cards, the white slips, the transport system, the admissions needs, and more.  In all, it was a lot happening at once, and working on the problems was a bit like bailing sea water out of a small boat in heavy seas.  We also had a failing wireless network.

Meanwhile, I was also working through learning the different security and maintenance and cleaning programs in my new role of operations manager, as well as finishing up an architect competition for two planning applications.  The 10 year master plan was approaching completion, and I was about to propose a building audit so we could more accurately plan the next fifteen years of planned maintenance projects.

So, a busy start of the year.  As the year progressed, things improved.  Veracross settled in about as best as could be hoped for the first year of use, and in the second year we are still chasing down additional changes and needs.  The wireless network was reconfigured and now works better than ever, which is a massive relief to the entire tech department.

The master plan was approved, the architects selected, and we’ve made good progress with the applications.  Security, maintenance and cleaning staffs are moving forward, and the tech staff is feeling much more confident about our progress.

At home, my son has gotten off to a good start in ninth grade (first year of high school), and my daughter is taking Chinese in seventh grade.  My wife is enjoying her teaching aide position at school, and we’ve had some great youth hostel trips to Penzance and Land’s End, Whitby and now Ambleside and Grasmere in the Lake District (where I am writing this right now at Esquires Coffee).

So, 2011 was pretty challenging.  Goals for next year include completion of the applications, possible improvements to our learning management systems and how laptops are used in the high school, better feedback to users from tech, maintenance, cleaning and media departments, and one or two presentations at conferences (starting with one about designing learning spaces at ISTE in June).

Personal goals?  Build a technical website about our boat (1973 Rival 34), get in at least four weeks of sailing, if possible, including a week in the San Juan Islands.  Continue to work on the kids college funds.  Increase my cycling miles per week, and maybe fit in a few days of cycling in Vermont or the Berkshires in June.   Cross the English Channel in our boat?

Overall, we’re in a good place right now.


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