Tuesday, August 04, 2009

4 AUG 09: Trust But Verify

Today is "Verification Day" in many Muscogee County schools. The administrators are verifying addresses, before the new term begins Thursday. Any child found to be living in a post office box will be reported to DFACS immediately.

The Muscogee County School web site seems to have more information than ever this year, to help with starting the new term. You can check your school's dress code. You can review the cost of lunches. And you can learn about the district's new policy for cell phones - but please don't give your child a "pop quiz" on this by calling them during class.

But with everybody getting ready for school, we wondered something - are the school web sites ready? Last winter we noted several local school sites with glaring spelling errors [29 Dec 08]. So Monday we decided to do another surprise back-to-school "spell check." It could show if the Literary Alliance should expand its "free dictionary" program beyond third-graders....

We started at Wynnton Arts Academy, and found the fifth-grade school supply list has underlined "folders WITH BRADS" in them. Brads?! Shouldn't Brad Pitt pictures be reserved for notebook covers?

A dictionary check wound up teaching ME the lesson. A "brad" is any kind of thin wire nail - so that's what you call the little things poked in the folder holes. You're not supposed to call them "thingees" after all.

So Wynnton Arts Academy had that correct. But the first grade school supply list had another surprise. Children are supposed to bring a can of tennis balls. If the teacher gets an important phone call during lesson time, this is trouble waiting to happen....

But our focus is on spelling here, and Wynnton School seemed to have everything correct. But we found trouble at Lonnie Jackson Academy's web site. The attendance policy warns against accumulating "FIFTEN (15) days" of absences. At least the number is correct, and they're not allowing 105 sick days.

We simply HAD to check Martin Luther King Elementary's web site again, after last year's firing of a teacher who couldn't spell simple words. But amazingly, "Counselors" is still lacking an "n" on the side of the home page! Is this some kind of student practice test for the CRCT or something?

The Allen Elementary web site has something very different. The school mission statement is shown in English and Spanish. I think one Spanish word is spelled closer to Portuguese - but some parents are more likely to complain about grade schools teaching Spanish words beyond "adios" and "burrito."

We also tried to check the web site of Cusseta Road Elementary School, but the link to it from the district site was declared "forbidden." It's not like I'm trying to sneak a peek at upcoming social studies tests....

But there's plenty of good news here - as we found NO spelling errors at the web sites of Hannan Academy, Midland Academy, Reese Road Elementary and St. Mary's Road Elementary School. I don't know if that means the webmasters are smarter, or they simply have more time in the school day to click the "SpellCheck" button.

One other thing surprised me as I reviewed the school web sites - how bottles of hand sanitizers have become required school supplies. It's obviously a health move, especially with the concern about H1N1 flu. But when I was a boy, we didn't even have bottles of hand sanitizers. Young men were expected to wash their hands with Lava soap -- right after Dad had his greasy paws on it.

(Strange but true: we did our own SpellCheck before posting this entry - and our computer objected to "sanitizer." It actually suggested SATIRIZER. To be honest, that's something a humor blogger can appreciate much more....)

-> Our other blog starts with poker, then goes in directions you might not expect. People from around the world are visiting "On the Flop!" <--

E-MAIL UPDATE: Our Monday misinterpretation of Mapquest prompted a reader to respond....

I have learned from experience Mapquest and other directional sites are not 100% reliable..I always check a couple of them to see if the directions are the same..I have also learned from experience to print out coming and going directions..Last time I used a Tom Tom GPS it took me into a mall parking lot off the four lane I was traveling on...Guess the mall stores there did some bribery work on the Tom Tom GPS company. But,nothing beats the old map that is dog eared and can't be folded back the original way and takes you down the main street of little towns that died because the four lane went around them..

I tend to prefer old-fashioned maps as well. But maybe it's time for me to knuckle under, and invest some money in a GPS device. They've become very popular in recent years. But I'm concerned a "Tom Tom" system might bring a protest from Native American activists one of these days.

But did you hear about the European couple which missed its destination by hundreds of miles? They misspelled the name of their location on their GPS! Who knows how many thousands of tourists dollars Phenix City has lost from this?

(BLOGGER'S NOTE: No, this week's "unexpected" things really haven't happened yet. Stay tuned....)

The number of unique visitors to our blog in the first half of 2009 was up 11.1 percent! To advertise to them, offer a story tip, make a PayPal donation or comment on this blog, write me - but be warned, I may post your e-mail comment and offer a reply.

BURKARD BULK MAIL INDEX: 491 (+ 10, 2.1%)

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author -- not necessarily those of anyone else in Columbus living or dead, and perhaps not even you.

© 2003-09 Richard Burkard, all rights reserved.

site stats