Jul 29, 2011

Greer, Arizona - miraculously untouched by the Wallow fire

I always thought Arizona was beautiful and this trip proved it to me once again. The above picture from a sunrise hike that the older cousins did on the first day of the family reunion. As are these:

Sunrise, moonset.

Everyone (who went on the hike) is in this picture except for my cousin Ben who is taking the picture.

My mom's handsome parents

Back home.

Jul 26, 2011

Welcome to the family

A few weeks ago Doug and I spent the weekend at the lakehouse. The lakehouse is always a fun place because it's vacation all the time, no excuses. Our favorite vacationing techniques include: playing chess, napping, watching movies, swimming, napping, eating delicious meals, and waterskiing.


Yes, this is Doug on one ski! He got up on the first try this year. Last year he spent two weeks trying and practicing and he finally got it! My family has now officially accepted him into the group :).

Our newest member of our family cost a heck a lot more than a few weeks and gas money for the boat:

Still, we are super excited for this new purchase - the biggest one-time purchase we have made. Ever. Bonus, this Mazda is registered (unlike some other people I know who have this car whose registration has expired...). Duke, we'll be coming in style.

Jul 14, 2011


Oh yes, you can buy happiness.

an educated guess
over the counter medicine

goodbye, perpetually dry lips!!

Jul 12, 2011

Improving Diversity

Diversity. What makes someone diverse? Is it inherently good; something to be desired? Is there a cost for achieving diversity?

Some criticize special education classrooms for having too many Latino and African American students. The same criticize gifted and talented programs for having too many White and Asian students. Accordingly, the district officials in New Haven decided to change their process of identifying gifted and talented students in order to improve diversity in their program. Their previous process, "resulted in a disproportionate percentage of white and Asian GATE [gifted and talented education] participants, while black and Latino students lagged." Their new process has two ways of identifying students: 1. academic achievement 2. referral by teacher of having other talents such as creativity and leadership. Officials then accept into GATE the highest performing 5% in each racial group.

Is this new process a fair way to determine GATE participants?

What I think
I have two big umbrages. (That's way more fun than saying, "I take umbrage with two things.")

One: Superintendent Kari McVeigh stated, "We know through research that giftedness and talent is equally distributed across all ethnicities." Fortunately he didn't say where to find the research so we could check up on his sources. His assumption may very well be true on a worldwide, or even nationwide, level but at the school district level, there is undoubtedly more variation in the distribution of talent and ethnicity. Two: They claim their process has led to the "remarkable results" of proportionate participation of race and gender in their program. I am more inclined to believe that taking the top 5% of each group had more to do with it. The results are not as remarkable when you force them yourself.

I think this top 5% of each group business is unfair if GATE's priority is to challenge gifted and talented students (as determined by talent). It is unfair when students who have worse scores are accepted into the program instead of those who scored better. The intellectual test the students take is blind to race and gender. I do believe there is value in diversity of talent and experience; therefore, I wholeheartedly support the second way they identify students. Now, if their priority is to provide equal opportunities for all ethnicities, genders, and other subgroups, then just call it that. Don't pretend your pseudo-science gets you there.

**Imagine if the process for determining eligibility for special education included taking the bottom 5% of each ethnicity, gender, and subgroup and putting them into self-contained classrooms to make the numbers proportionate to the population. To the unhappy parent: "Sorry, we have a new policy which places your student in this classroom in order to provide him/her with enriching experiences."** Students should be placed in environments where they learn the best regardless of the color of their skin.

Diversity. There is more to a person than their race and gender. Diversity is good and can provide valuable experiences but, it should not be forced.

Jul 10, 2011


My summer so far has consisted of:
  • reading
  • skiing
  • losing at chess
  • teaching Sunday School to 9 year old munchkins
  • swimming
  • spraining my ankle
  • watching movies
  • babysitting
  • hanging out with the fam(s)
  • eating homemade food!!!!
  • resting
What my summer should have also consisted of but hasn't quite yet consisted of:
  • looking for apartments in NC
  • hanging out with friends
  • taking ballet classes
  • looking for a job in NC
  • watching more movies
  • getting certified to teach in NC
  • re-reading Harry Potter for like the 7th time
  • playing the piano
  • buying a new car (story to follow)
  • more resting
Just so you know...
broken computer = boring posts without pictures = fewer posts.
Maybe I'll have it back again in 2 weeks. Fingers crossed!!

By then I'll be able to tell you all about the fun adventures I'll have in SLC with the LeMaistres and AZ with my extended family. Hopefully Doug will make it through Sunday School flying "S S O L O" (only solo in the literal sense of course)

Until then, have fun reading blogs about interesting people with interesting lives. Like blogs of those who are having babies...which seems to be everyone except me these days! Or check out the blogs I have links to - I really like those ones!

Something I obviously need to work on.