September 9th, 2005


Story Corps Tear-Jerkers REALLY WORK!

I'm swearing off the "Story Corps" stories, even though I love them. I ended up in tears again as I drove in to work today, the same way I remember starting off one other Friday this school year. This time I was listening to a gruff man from NY eulogize his fiancé, who was a secretary on the 101st floor... then a wife talk to and about a husband who made it. Their voices were so full of soft love and good humor... so, of course, I cried again.

Strange juxtapositions: The next NPR story was with someone whose name I forget (Randy something) who wrote a song about a Louisiana town that went through a flood in 1927... they played the song softly in the background, and, yes, I'm sure you guessed it -- I cried again.

7th hour, I went into the principal's office and reported on the day's shenanigans, which left him laughing and nodding his head, and gave me a dose of COLD AIR... then back to the sweat box that is my classroom, several noticeable degrees warmer than the hall or other teacher's nearby classrooms.

All afternoon, kids walked in and said, "Hace calor" or "It's hot in here" or "How do you say It's hot in here? in Spanish?"

I'd just say, "Yup" or "Hace MUCHíCIMO calor" whichever was appropriate. After school, my two foot deep pile of stuff to sort/grade/record/edit, a red pen, a blue pen, and I hibernated in the secretary's office with the AC still up and running until I chilled out. Now I'm back, posting grades and stream of consciousness stuff... Buckling down for a LONG night preceding a free weekend.

Hurricane Update

Area 15 Education Community Members:

I was about 2 hours too early in bringing you the "latest" update on the Hurricane Katrina Relief Efforts today. Sorry for this additional email message, but I wanted to be sure that you all have the most current information. Following is an Update that I just received from Kathi Slaughter, Communications Specialist, at the Department of

Nancy Brown

TO: AEA Hurricane Relief Coordinators, LEA Superintendents, AEA Chiefs, DE staff --

Our latest information regarding hurricane evacuees is that two flights from New Orleans to Des Moines are scheduled today. Each plane has a capacity of 100. If no passengers or not enough passengers arrive to board the planes in New Orleans, the flights will be cancelled.

If passenger-evacuees arrive in Des Moines, they will be transported to the State Fairgrounds, where medical screening and Red Cross intake has been set up. Pets are being allowed on these flights, so veterinarian services also have been arranged. The plan is to find hotel rooms for each person/family by this evening.

Even if evacuees arrive, we do not know how long they will stay in the area, or where they will settle for the next several months. Nonetheless, schools should be prepared with the appropriate paperwork and social service resources (including interpreters) to enroll students. Any questions about enrollment (waivers for fees or immunizations, for instance), should be directed to the DE school improvement consultant for your area.

Also, if you know of evacuees who have arrived through private means (connections with friends or family), please encourage them to use the attached sheet to register with the Red Cross in your area so they can be eligible for federal relief services.

Volunteers and workers already have been assigned and given credentials here in Des Moines, so please discourage any others from showing up at the fairgrounds to volunteer or with donations. They will not be allowed in. To get more information about donation needs, please visit the USDE website,