John McDaid's blog

RIDE to hold 3rd annual Innovation Powered by Technology conference

Save-the-Date-Postcard-Web2.png
The 3rd annual R.I. Department of Education (RIDE) Innovation Powered by Technology conference will take place on Saturday (October 25), from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Rhode Island Convention Center, 1 Sabin St., Providence.

The conference will include workshops, breakout sessions, panel discussions, demonstrations of student work, keynote addresses, and exhibits. Some of the leaders in digital learning, from Rhode Island schools and from across the country, will participate in this conference.

Registration is open to all. More than 700 people have registered so far, and we expect this year’s conference to be the biggest yet. RIDE invites the media to attend the conference, and we welcome any advance notice of this conference in the media.

Information about the conference is on the home page of the RIDE website, or the public can access the registration form directly at:

http://www.rsvpbook.com/event_page.php?id=587385&p=921

Conference partners include CDW-G, the Highlander Institute, Learning401, the Rhode Island Afterschool Plus Alliance, the Rhode Island Society of Technology Educators, Spartina Consulting, the United Way, and the University of Rhode Island School of Education, Harrington School of Communication and Media, and Media Education Lab.

Editorial note: Written from a press release.

Tags: 
02871, Localblogging, RIDE, edtech

"Umbrella Men" meets the Common Core

14oct23_ubrella_pak.jpgI was delighted to take part yesterday in a workshop with local authors and teachers on writing and the Common Core State Standards sponsored by the East Bay Educational Collaborative and the Association of Rhode Island Authors (ARIA). As part of the preparation for that workshop, Karen (who has her M.S. Ed. in Reading and Literacy) put together a study guide for high school teachers for my most recent short story, "Umbrella Men," with assignments aligned to the CCSS. I showed the materials to teachers at the workshop and got some good feedback.

To try to make this a helpful package for educators, I've created a printable PDF of the story with line numbers to facilitate reference, and a educator's epub version to make it easy to download and read (which could also be used by students, if you don't care about the numbering.)

It's all available for free under a Creative Commons license over on a new page for educational materials. If you're an educator, and have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Oh, and if you want a chance to meet some of Rhode Island's great local writers and check out their work, ARIA hosting the second annual Authors Expo on November 8 — more info on the web site.

Tags: 
Localblogging, 02871, Fiction, curricular material, navelgazing

Educational materials

Creative Commons License
Teachers may freely download all material on this page for classroom use. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Umbrella Men
Originally published as the cover story of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Jan/Feb 2012.

Alonso Caua, a Brooklyn librarian, inherited an ancient, magic umbrella that spreads peace in its shadow, but its presence now seems to be changing his 10-year-old son in unpredictable ways.

Curricular materials developed by Karen McDaid, M.S. Ed., Reading and Literacy.

Appropriate for grades 9-12
Lexile score: 980
Interests: science fiction, secret history, urban fantasy, contemporary fantasy, conspiracy theories, secret societies, New York City, Brooklyn

Note: The version of the story included on this page has several minor editorial changes from the published version to make it appropriate for a student audience.

Downloads
Full text (with line numbers) — 120K printable PDF
Study guide aligned to Common Core State Standards — 70K PDF
Teacher e-book review version (no line numbers) — 390K epub

Tags: 
Fiction, curricular material

Portsmouth Water to flush mains next week

The Portsmouth Water and Fire District will be flushing water mains in the southern sections of Portsmouth next week from 8pm to 6am, according to a schedule they announced today:

Oct 20 East Main Road and Middle Road from Crossings Court to Hedly Street. Hedly Street and all side streets, including Industrial Park. Corys Lane and all side streets. Kings Grant and all side streets. West Main Road from Hedly Street to Union Street, including Father Flanagan’s and John Street.
Oct 21 Middle Road and all side streets to the west, Mill Lane and all side streets, West Passage Drive to Locust Avenue, Stonegate Drive, Greylock Drive, and Greystone Terrace area.
Oct 22 East Main Road to Middle Road, from Town Hall to Union Street.
Oct 23 East Main Road from Sherwood Terrace Vanderbilt Lane, east to the Sakonnet River, Union Street, Jepson Lane, and all side streets.
Oct 28 East Main Road from Lawrence Farms to Sherwood Terrace. Vanderbilt Lane to Sandy Point Avenue and all side streets.
Oct 29 East Main Road from Union Street to Mitchell Lane and side streets, Oakland Farms, Bramans Lane east to Meadow Lark Lane. Sandy Point Avenue and Sandy Point Farms.
Oct 30 Wapping Road to Old Mill Lane. Bramans Lane and side streets. Old Mill Lane, Indian Avenue and side streets.

The PWFD goes on to advise customers:

Discoloration of the water is expected during and after the flushing. Flushing in one area may create discolored water in other areas. Customers are advised to avoid washing clothes and those with hot water tanks are advised to avoid drawing hot water during the flushing hours and until any discoloration has cleared. It is expected that the water will clear by midday after the flushing. Customers may also experience low water pressure during the flushing. This schedule is subject to weather conditions or other unforeseen circumstances.

Editorial note: Written from a press release.

Tags: 
02871, Localblogging, pwfd

ALT to host panel on local water resources

14oct16_ALT.jpgThe Aquidneck Land Trust will be hosting a panel on the challenges — and solutions — related to Aquidneck Island's water resources next week at Salve Regina University. The free, two-hour event will be held on Thursday, Oct. 23, at 6pm in the Young Building, 518 Bellevue Ave. Here's their description:

More than ever before our newspapers are filled with articles concerning beach closures, significant storm events, the impacts of climate change and sea level rise, and new water treatment facilities. What does all this mean to you and our children? Come hear the experts talk about various water resource issues, challenges and solutions on Aquidneck Island such as the state water quality regulations each city and town must follow, the efforts being taken to better understand water quality issues from the source - at our front doors - to the coastal waters, the new treatment facilities being brought online to address water quality issues, the green infrastructure projects being proposed, and coastal management issues as we being to address resiliency in the age of sea level rise.

Panelists:
Joe O’Conner, General Manager, Rhode Island Public Radio/RI’s NPR (Moderator)
Elizabeth Scott, Deputy Chief, RI Department of Environmental Management, Office of Water Resources
Julia Forgue, Director of Utilities, City of Newport
Topher Hamblett, Director of Advocacy and Policy, Save The Bay
David McLaughlin, Executive Director, Clean Ocean Access;
Arthur Gold, Professor and Chair of the Department of Natural Resource Sciences, University of Rhode Island
Charles B. Allott, Esq., Executive Director, Aquidneck Land Trust

You can RSVP with Jessica Pohl at jpohl@ailt.org or 401.849.2799 x 18

For more information, visit www.AquidneckLandTrust.org

Editorial note: Written from a press release.

Tags: 
02871, Localblogging, ALT

Council to consider WTG replacement deal

wtg_file.jpgNext Tuesday, the Town Council will hear a proposal to replace Portsmouth's ailing wind turbine in a package deal where a private developer would pick up the cost and pay back the Town's loan for the existing machine, according to an agenda item posted on the town web site.

Based on a Letter of Intent posted as backup, the private company, Wind Energy Development, LLC, of North Kingstown, would remove the existing device, pay the town approximately $2M, install a new 1.25 mW direct-drive unit, and assume operation and maintenance responsibility. In return, the Town would grant WED a 25-year lease on the turbine site for a nominal $1/year, levy no tax on the machine, and commit to purchase electricity from WED at the current retail rate from National Grid, with a guaranteed floor.

You can read all the additional details in the LOI, available on the Town site.

Tags: 
02871, localblgging, WTG, Town Council

ALT's 7th Annual 5K "Race for Open Space"

Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 8.31.13 AM.pngOn November 1, you can run or walk for 5K (3.1 miles) along the Aquidneck Land Trust scenic Sakonnet Greenway Trail — maybe win a cash prize — and support the work of the ALT.

The 7th annual "Race for Open Space" is Aquidneck Island's premier partial trail race, and features a 5K cross-country loop starting from the Brown House at Glen Farm in Portsmouth.

The $20 entry fee supports the operations of the ALT and maintenance of the nature trail, the largest on Aquidneck Island.

Everyone is welcome, whether you're a serious runner (based on last year's results, you'd better be clocking 19-minute times if you're after the $100 prize) or you just want to enjoy a family walk along this beautiful trail (leashed dogs and strollers can participate in the walking category).

Visit ALT for more info and registration link.

Full disclosure: Written from a press release.

Tags: 
02871, Localblogging, ALT

Portsmouth water main flushing next week

The Portsmouth Water and Fire District will be flushing water mains in the north end of town next week from 8pm to 4am, according to a schedule they announced today:

  • Oct 7: Willow Lane and Sprague Street, Bristol Ferry Road to Camara Drive and Mitchell Road, and side streets
  • Oct 8: Bristol Ferry Road from Cherokee Drive to Bayview Avenue, Boyds Lane to East Main Road and side streets. East Main Road from Sprague Street and Child Street to Boyds Lane and side streets, including Viking Drive area
  • Oct 9: Island Park and Hummocks Point areas
  • Oct 14: Sprague Street to Freeborn Street, Turnpike Avenue and side streets; West Main Road from Statue Way to Sprague Street and side streets
  • Oct 15: East Main Road from Child Street to Clements and Aquidneck Place and side streets to Sakonnet River. Also Common Fence Point
  • Oct 16: Common Fence Point

The PWFD goes on to advise customers:

Discoloration of the water is expected during and after the flushing. Flushing in one area may create discolored water in other areas. Customers are advised to avoid washing clothes and those with hot water tanks are advised to avoid drawing hot water during the flushing hours and until any discoloration has cleared. It is expected that the water will clear by midday after the flushing. Customers may also experience low water pressure during the flushing.

Editorial note: Written from a press release.

Tags: 
02871, Localblogging, pwfd

Portsmouth scores coveted AAA bond rating

logo.pngFor the first time in history, Portsmouth, RI has achieved the highly acclaimed triple-A rating following a review by Standard & Poor's Rating Services on the Town's outstanding general obligation bonds and long-term rating, according to a news release distributed this afternoon by John Klimm, the Town Administrator.

In the release, Town Council President Jim Seveney said, "This is particularly rewarding given the financial challenges we have faced the last few years and is affirmation that the Town is moving in the right direction. The AAA rating reflects our absolute commitment to honor our fiduciary responsibility to our residents and taxpayers and is a reflection of the hard work of our Town and school leaders over the last two years."

S&P credit analyst Timothy Little is quoted as saying, "The stable outlook reflects our view that management will remain proactive and make the necessary adjustments to produce at least balanced operations as it has demonstrated while adding to available general fund reserves." Little goes on to say, "We do not expect to change the rating within the two-year outlook horizon."

"The basis for the rating upgrade was attributed in part to our strong management, financial policies, and our consistent ability to maintain balanced budgets while increasing our fund balance," Klimm said.

the AAA rating is the highest a community can receive, and reflects the Town's sound financial management, according to the release. Only a small percentage of communities throughout the United States have an AAA rating. Portsmouth becomes only the second RI community to obtain an AAA rating. In nearby Massachusetts, only 29 of the 351 communities have an AAA rating.

A Triple-A rating has a direct and positive impact on the Town's residents. Funds borrowed carry a much lower interest rate due to the AAA rating. Jim Lathrop, the Town's Finance Director, said, "This is Portsmouth's financial report card, and it is nothing but A's. It is gratifying to work for a community that takes its financial health seriously."

Editorial note: Written (with glee) from a press release.

Tags: 
02871, Localblogging, Town of Portsmouth, Town Council

Portsmouth seeks citizen input on revenue options

Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at 11.44.55 AM.pngAccording to a post on the town web site, Portsmouth is soliciting resident input on ideas for revenue sources to offset the town's extensive reliance on property taxes. Here's the lead in from the quick, four-question survey.

Portsmouth is a great place to live, but our FY15 budget (7/1/14 – 6/30/15) is funded 85% by property taxes. Most other RI municipalities are at 75%, with 25% coming from fee-for-service revenues. Clearly, other revenue sources need to be explored, such as charging increased (or new) fees for certain services.We need new revenue solutions, as well as continuing the cost cutting measures already started, to keep our economic future bright. 

How do user fees differ from a tax? There are two important distinctions. A fee approach provides residents an option to pay, or do without the service, while Increasing property taxes offers no option… lean times or good, you have to pay. Secondly, the cost of services are borne by the actual users, not subsidized by non-users.

This survey asks your opinion on some potential user fees under consideration.

If you have a few minutes, why not pop on over to the survey and offer your thoughts.

Tags: 
02871, Localblogging, Town of Portsmouth

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