the real is the deal…

Nothing is as certain as that the vices of leisure are gotten rid of by being busy.
– Seneca (5 BC – 65 AD)

If Seneca was right, i have no need to worry about the vices of leisure these days.  I am not sure if it is the second child (pictured) Ellaor just trying to make too many changes in the school at once, but i am slammed down here (I fit right in as we appear to be in full hurricane season and i am not the only one getting slammed on the island).  I have a post-it note full of ideas for posts and just can’t seem to find the time to write them…  Well here goes a short one, to give me a little room on the post-it for today’s excitement…

The nuts and bolts of this one is that after a tonne of hard work by some great people here at CMS we have officially launched our Problem Based Learning experiences (PBLe) in 6th, 7th and 8th grade.  The launch session was a huge success; it was collaboratively created by Bill Farren, Mark Richards and myself.  We were a little nervous of how it would go over, we were saying some pretty powerful things with some wide ranging implications; we had no need to worry, some great conversations were started yesterday we will work to ensure that these continue – all to the betterment of middle school education here.
We are thankful to have the support, understanding, and flexibility of our administration – in the project and are confident that as our community witnesses what comes out of these units we will continue to gain speed in our move towards uncovering curriculum instead of covering it.
We modeled GoogleDocs (a future post) in the work and you can see our slideshow here:

We tried to emphasize that this isn’t anything terribly new, our school is already beginning to face this direction with its commitment to the Senior Extended Essay, its comprehensive benchmark re-writing, its adoption of the principles outlined in Understanding by Design, and our push for more video conferencing (collaborating as part of a larger global community) – to name only a few.  So we have been working towards this for quite some time…this is merely a small step in a great journey.

– stay tuned

a letter to the parents of the class of 2012…

There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.
– Ken Olsen, President, Digital Equipment, 1977

The Carol Morgan School believes that technology improves student learning. This belief does not lay dormant in the school’s mission statement; but instead is expressed and reemphasized constantly in our actions. Over the past five years CMS has introduced, built, improved, and widened its wireless network – a process that continues. The power of a “wired” student (wired meaning: connected to the internet, their teacher, students in their classroom and those collaborating from all over the world) can not be overstated. When teachers are trained and design lessons to maximize this potential and students are given the tools to realize it – the entire learning process is enriched. Furthermore as our world continues to change with incredible speed laptops allow learning opportunities that respond at this speed. The Carol Morgan School is the most technologically advanced school in the region and spends a great deal of resources to ensure it keeps this distinction. We believe that laptops have a place in education and that they present students with learning opportunities previously unimaginable – with this in mind we are focusing a great deal of our professional development to ensure that teachers are getting the most out of student laptops in their room.

In summary, although not required, we believe that high school students will achieve greater success by integrating laptops into their learning process. It is with this belief in mind that we are offering you the parents of the class of 2012 the following offer:

Dell Latitude D630 – $1448 (plus shipping and handling)
Intel® Core 2Duo (2.50 GHz)
Windows® XP Professional
14.1 Wide Screen WXGA
120GB Hard Drive
8x DVD+/-RW
128MB NVIDIA® Quadro NVS
Wireless LAN
Touchpad with Fingerprint Reader
90W A/C Adapter
Dell USB Optical Mouse with Scroll
3 Year Limited Warranty

I want to be clear, this is not the only laptop that will assist your child, it is simply one that has been identified by CMS as a good student computer. If your child already has a computer they are comfortable with or prefers another model these will equally help them take full advantage of the opportunities presented to them in their high school career at CMS.
Orders will be accepted until the end of May.
Questions or to place and order please contact Mark Picketts at 809.947.1069 or by email

[1]These machines are fully covered by Dell’s warranty; NOT through CMS


May 9, 2008


img thanks to Osiris

WOW or is it WAO?

“what drives an artist is that you believe that the future is gonna have some use for what you are working on now.”
-Junot Diaz

The opportunity given to CMS students and staff yesterday was one that i will never forget. Junot Diaz is an incredible writer, an absolute genius, a humanitarian, a champion of justice, and a phenomenal teacher. So many incredible gems and sound bytes that didn’t stop from the moment he arrived until the moment that he left -and i would know…he had a magnetic quality to him that kept me a my video camera chasing him all day.

All of these pieces come attached with a mature language warning.

High School Assembly (Reading & Q&A Session)
coming to YouTube soon…

Workshop#1 – the sound quality is audible but low
click here
Workshop #2- the sound quality is audible but low
click here

Parent/Teacher Reading and Q&A Session
mp3 recording of talk
coming to YouTube soon…


mens’ bookclub with Junot

img thanks to Scarlett

Junot Diaz – Wednesday April 30th…

“In some ways I think that this book waited for me to become a better person before it wrote itself”
– Junot Diaz on The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Be sure to see Pulitzer Prize award winner, and MIT professor Junot Diaz as he reads, answers questions and works with Carol Morgan high school students on Wednesday. Junot was born here in the Dominican Republic and is this year’s “artist in residence”; the excitement and accolades that have recently been bestowed upon him for his work The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Have generated an amazing buzz on and around the CMS campus.

Tune in to our channel and don’t let this opporutnity pass you by.

10:15 – 10:50 – High School Assembly (Reading & Q&A Session)
coming to YouTube soon…

11:05 – 11:50 -Workshop#1 – the sound quality is audible but low

12:00 – 12:45 – Workshop #2- the sound quality is audible but low

6:00 – 7:30 – Parent/Teacher Reading and Q&A Session
mp3 version of talk
coming to YouTube soon…
time zone – Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic GMT -4

And all the while…construction continues:

April 25, 2008

img 1:
img2: with great thanks to Osiris

a little catching up…

“People who say they sleep like a baby usually don’t have one.”
– Leo J. Burke

First and foremost Ella is wonderful and her sleeping and her incredible mother really don’t have me as sleep deprived as the above quote may lead you to believe (personal blog).

Staff appreciation week kicked off today, i feel extremely lucky to work with so many talented, kind, professional and caring people. I found this video very powerful so i thought i would share it with everyone who puts up with me here at work:

[kml_flashembed movie="" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Ok i do need to do a little catch up:

HeartCare Dominicana
It makes be incredibly proud to work at CMS when the school smashes the headmasters challenge of raising enough money to provide 4 children with surgeries and medication (320,000 pesos) in raising 410,219 pesos! More then 5 children will literally be given life thanks to your generosity.
Huge thanks to Annikke Olson and the entire team responsible in putting on a great week of activities for a great cause (wiki site).

Construction – marching forward (4/18/2008)

Junot Diaz – the pulitzer prize winner is going to be here on the 30th and you can watch his presentations through a combination of the Carol Morgan School channels on and YouTube. Don’t miss the chance to hear Junot speak and watch him work with Carol Morgan high school students. I will be giving more details about times and happenings on this blog sometime this week.  (Junot at Google – language advisory)