Archive for Monday, December 6, 2010

First Bell: Elementary task force meets Monday night; debaters dedicated at LHS; nicknames on roll, but not for Dr. Doll

December 6, 2010

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Months of compiling information about the needs, operations and financial situations of elementary schools in the Lawrence school district now turns toward synthesizing a vision for the future.

Members of the Lawrence Elementary School Facility Vision Task Force meet at 7 p.m. Monday at district headquarters, 110 McDonald Drive.

The task: Start combining reports from four subcommittees into a single document, one that can be forwarded to the Lawrence school board by the end of February.

The subcommittees looked at physical conditions of the schools, financial efficiencies, the definition of “neighborhood” schools and research into “best practices” for providing education.

The reports are available at USD497.org.

•••

Judging a single round of policy debate is tough enough.

Try running an entire tournament, with 243 judges observing 125 teams from 32 schools over two days...

At your own school.

Debaters gather between rounds of the Lawrence High School Debate Tournament. Check out the evidence-filled luggage — with all that weight, the folks at Southwest Airlines would be regretting their "Bags Fly Free" campaign. The tournament ran Friday and Saturday at Lawrence High, 1901 La.

Debaters gather between rounds of the Lawrence High School Debate Tournament. Check out the evidence-filled luggage — with all that weight, the folks at Southwest Airlines would be regretting their "Bags Fly Free" campaign. The tournament ran Friday and Saturday at Lawrence High, 1901 La.

“It’s just really stressful,” said Kiely Mosiman, a senior at Lawrence High School and tournament director for the annual debate competition this past weekend at the school, 1901 La.

Not that she can’t handle it. Teams reported to the correct rooms. Judges handled the correct ballots. Three dozen fellow classmates and four teachers buzzed about, seeing to all the details.

Never mind the debate’s topic:

Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially reduce its military presence in one or more of the following countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Turkey, South Korea and/or Japan.

(Take it from a judge sitting in on a round Friday night: There are numerous ways to go on this resolution, and — at least from the two teams I saw — plenty of knowledge to go around.)

But there can be no dispute about the dedication of high school debaters, who spend each weekend traveling to such tournaments — lugging notebooks, briefcases, storage tubs and rolling suitcases filled with evidence and supporting materials — in preparation for the postseason.

There’s a national qualifier coming up this weekend.

Anyone interested in judging in future tournaments, by the way, may send an e-mail to Jeff Plinsky, Lawrence High's debate coach.

•••

Plenty of students earn nicknames in school, but apparently I’ve picked up a new one some 24 years after graduating from high school.

Janice Dunn, who is clerk for the Lawrence school board, addressed me the other day as “Marcus.”

I guess it beats her moniker for Mark Bradford, who is vice president of the school board and chief of Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical.

“He’s Markie,” Dunn told me, noting her “playful” nod toward Bradford’s comedic nature.

A rundown of other nicknames she’s attached to schools folks:

• Franklin, for Frank Harwood, the district’s chief operations officer.

• Jase, for Jason Czerniak, the district’s supervisor for accounts payable.

• Jules, for Julie Boyle, the district’s director of communications.

• Big Un, for Terry Boyle, former custodian at district headquarters. “He’s only 4-11,” Dunn says.

• Katharine, the actual full name for Kathy Johnson, the district’s division director for finance. “I always get a chuckle out of her when I say it,” Dunn says.

• Mare Mare, for Mary Loveland, a longtime member of the school board.

“I’ve always just been a nickname person,” Dunn says.

She’s even got one of her own.

“My husband calls me Butch — just always has,” she says. “I have no idea why.”

But names for others remain works in progress. You never know what she might come up with, whether it’s for other members of the school board, colleagues on the district staff or anyone else she runs across.

Rick Doll, district superintendent and Dunn’s boss, remains simply “Dr. Rick” to her.

“I haven’t come up with anything yet,” says Dunn, who is Doll’s administrative assistant. “If something would come up that I could say every day, I would probably do it.”

— Are you aware of something special happening in or coming to area schools? Let me know, at mfagan@ljworld.com.

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