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Showing posts from May, 2010

My Gift Vacation, Journal Conclusion

My Gift Vacation, 2
May 24, on the plane ride home:
I leave Hollywood not a star, but with memories of events and sights that have renewed my spirit's shining.
First and foremost: Seamus. The boy is a gem. He is holy. He is of course affected by the events of the past year, the appropriation by cancer of the 10th year of his life and likely much of the 11th. The tumor, the surgery, the long pull back from the resultant loss of speech and control of his right arm and leg, the healing, and then the repetitive series of chemotherapy and recuperation--serial attacks and recovery--bombarding his physical being. Jimmy showed me a picture of Seamus before his most recent round of chemo and since due to low blood numbers he had gone four weeks between treatments his hair was coming back in and he looked content and untroubled, and Jimmy said he was getting his voice and his walking gait back and then...the drugs were administered again and the voice returned to its little boyness, the …

My Gift Vacation, Back to Basics

My very first blog post was about my invigorating trip to Japan in 2004. My next few will pick up on that precedent and put down some thoughts during my trip to Hollywood, California to mark the end of my 60th year on this fine globe. I'm sharing it here to reflect upon it while it's happening. Feel free to give these posts a pass if rambling reflection isn't your cup of tea. I'll be back to thinking about education and change soon enough. Right now I'm into the present and the personal, a gift from my extraordinarily loving wife. Thank you, my love.
My Gift Vacation, 1
So at work on Thursday, May 20, I opened my gmail and there was an email from American Airlines with the subject: Your flight is ready for check-in, or some such flag. I really did think to myself, referencing the shared MUVErs LLC email that forwards to my gmail, "Well, I wonder where Cathy's going now?" and so I clicked to see. Imagine my amazement to read that my flight that evening …

Some Local Recognition!

WOW, a little local press! :) From my school's weekly newsletter, hot off the digital press (my shirt is tropical because the male teachers celebrate "Tropical Thursdays" at my school, when they can remember to do so):

Technology Coordinator Designated NAIS “Teacher of the Future”

USN Lower School Technology Coordinator Scott Merrick, 14 year faculty veteran, has been chosen as NAIS “Teacher of the Future” for 2010-11, along with 19 other innovative educators nationally.

The announcement was made via an email from the National Association of Independent Schools on May 11, 2010 and carries with it new responsibilities for Mr. Merrick, some of which are noted in the announcement. Here is a portion of that email:

“We had more than 200 nominations, and eight judges carefully reviewed them all and selected what we believe is an excellent, creative group. Your accomplishments as a teacher and innovator make you a perfect member of this community. As one of 20 NAIS Teachers of the…

"Teacher of the Future" for NAIS

Hey, all,

Just received word that I've been selected as one of 20 members of the "Teacher of the Future" collaborative at the National Association of Independent Schools. It's a huge honor for me and a huge surprise. I thank the NAIS for its confidence in me and I am flattered to think that the modest innovation I have brought to the field of education deserves this kind of notice.

Thanks to all my Personal Learning Network, at my physical workspace, in my home, on Twitter, Facebook, EduBloggers, Second Life, ReactionGrid, ISTE, and everyotherwhere I hang out, lurking to learn, contributing as I can. Part of the deal is a subsidized trip to an Apple Learning Institute, and I'll likely be in Boston the end of July for a couple of days for that. What a treat that will be!

Stay tuned for more, and you can see the NAIS site for a bit more on the ToF program.

Information and Address for USN Flood Relief

Dear folks, I posted a google site to give people information to support bake sales, lemonade stands, or personal donations to our community's flood relief efforts, and you can find it at We appreciate anything you can do.

There are also links at the site to broader efforts in Nashville, if you'd feel better about helping in that way.

We thank you,


How You Can Help Us

I've been talking with my PLN about the horrendous tragedies the recent weather has inflected upon our faculty and family community and I want to post this to have as a resource for those discussions. My school's Director, Vince Durnan, is a man I completely respect and admire, and I know that recent events have presented difficult challenges to his administrative expertise. Imagine that you're the head of a community of families of very many configurations supporting 1017 students. Here's what he sent out today:


As we find ourselves at the end of a very long week, I want to take a moment to reflect upon and summarize some important information:

1. Our students, faculty and staff continue to work towards helping those most affected in the USN community and beyond. Find out more about their plans. Additional volunteers are always welcome.

2. The USNA continues to sponsor a USN Fund for Flood Relief to offer assistance to those who have lost their homes. Monetary c…

It's a Deluge in Nashville

It's a catastrophe in Nashville, rains coming down so fast and hard that my own neighborhood is transformed into set of raging streams, whitewater in the streets, the landscape eroding before our eyes. I'm watching Newschannel2's coverage and they're showing Farmer's Market, downtown, under 4 feet of water. Mother Nature seems angry.

Everyone in the family is safe. Miranda is down on campus at Belmont University and at last report was walking to Pancake Pantry (which is just up from a flooded intersection and may be closed) and Ann's up at her Wessex Towers home. The only wild card is Gerry, who is apparently driving from a Fall Creek Falls retreat in the east. Ann is ordering him to pull off at the nearest motel and settle in.

Here's a Picasaweb slideshow of my stuff which I'll update as we continue to navigate the deluge:


From Rains