Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Davenport West High and the Business Academy

On Tuesday, October 31st UniServ Director Linda Schneider and I headed to Davenport West High School to meet Business teacher Steve Verdon. Steve met us in the office and lead the way to his office. Here (on left) Steve and I chat about proposed alternative certification for teachers in shortage areas. Steve shared how he was a part of the buisness world for 16 years before he took 36 hours to earn his teacher certification. Mr. Verdon was clear that we shouldn't lower our standards in allowing short cuts to certification.

Joining us in Mr. Verdon's office before the 2nd hour class began was John Kealey, West High Government teacher and president of the Davenport Education Association. John (pictured on the right) displays a few articles from his Boston Red Sox collection that he has in his classroom. As you recall, because the Iowa delegates at the NEA Representative Assembly met the challenge of contributing on an average of $150 per delegate, John Kealey and I wore New York Yankee gear at Summer Conference.

As the bell rang for changing of classes, students gathered for Mr. Steve Verdon's Block 2 class. Members of the class were all seniors, looking forward to higher education opportunities. I shared with the students my passion has always been to teach elementary school. I told the students that I made the connection early on in my career that state public policy decisions directly impacted my classroom and my profession, so I worked to help elect pro-public education candidates. I shared my experience of serving in the Iowa House as well as my reasons for seeking the office of president of ISEA.

Pictured above are the keenly interested and very much engaged students at West High. It is always a treat to have a chance to visit with young leaders. Here I am (on the left) pictured with Steve Verdon and his class of seniors from the Business Academy at West High.

After class was dismissed, senior student Travis Varner (pictured at right) interviewed me for the school newspaper. Travis shared with me he is a St. Louis Cardinal fan. He didn't want to talk about the 2004 World Series.

Thanks Mr. Verdon for your leadership in the classroom in providing such 'real world' opportunities to engage your students with the world around them! Thanks too for the West High School Business Education coffee mug!

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