Jack’s 5th Music Show

We all had a great time!  Soooooo much fun!

Jack FM’s 5th Music Show

Chargers vs. Mustangs

Went to the football game to see Tanner play – they lost.  Bummer!

The kids had a good time and we saw a skunk on the way to the car.  Very exciting stuff for little boys.

Just in case you were wonding why the kids were home from school

Furlough Day! Again.

To cut $365 million, schools eye furloughs, short year


Orange County students are likely to lose up to a week of instruction next year while classes grow ever more crowded, teachers are let go and course options shrink.

Employee furloughs – up to 10 days long – have joined class-size increases and teacher layoffs as favored options for balancing 2010-11 budgets at local school districts, which need to slash $365.3 million even after consecutive years of deep cuts,

“We’ve trimmed from everywhere else at this point,” said Anaheim Union High School District Superintendent Joseph Farley, whose district faces a $24 million deficit.

All but a few of the county’s 27 districts and county Department of Education have approved furloughs or are considering them for the 2010-11 school year.

And as the school year shortens, teachers will face even larger classes, with some elementary grades expected to top 30 students.

Furloughs in vogue

Districts need to cut $90 million more than last year, and officials are banking on heavy furloughs to make it possible. But union talks and other factors could limit how many furlough days are taken or how many come from instruction or staff development days.

For school staff, furloughs amount to a pay cut. Five furlough days roughly equal a 4 to 5 percent salary cut, according to the county Department of Education.

“Losing part of our salary will definitely hurt,” said Jennifer Dario, a second-grade teacher in the Orange Unified School District, where officials OK’d four furlough days for 2010-11 and may tack on five more.

“My husband and I will have to continue tighten our belts. Some vacations and other things will have to be canceled next year. But at least I’ll still have a job,” she said.

For students and parents, furloughs could shrink the 180-day school year to 175 days – a temporary savings allowed by state lawmakers through 2011-12

In Centralia School District, for example, teachers work 186 days, including six staff development days. The district hopes to eliminate 10 days from its schedule, dropping instruction days to 175. Anaheim City, Anaheim Union High and Ocean View districts also plan on 175 class days.

Three districts – Irvine Unified, Fullerton elementary and Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified – are already using furloughs to shorten the 2009-10 year. Santa Ana Unified cut three non-instruction days this year.

Paola Serrano, a parent at Jefferson Elementary in Anaheim, said the five fewer school days would mean another week of day care costs for her two daughters.

“These furloughs are going to hit a lot parents hard,” she said. “I also want to know what schools won’t be able to teach now that they have less time in the classroom.”

Many educators and researchers say students will feel the impact whether districts cut instruction or development days.

“Fewer days in the classroom could mean even less time devoted to the ‘non essential’ curriculum, those subjects that aren’t tested,” said Debra Harris, a researcher for the Center for Education Policy. “Students will probably spend less time learning about art and music. Even P.E. will take a hit.”

Harris said states and the federal government might want to ease testing requirements during years when a financial crunch prompts furloughs.

Nationally, a handful of other states have also allowed schools to shorten the school year. Teachers in Hawaii recently agreed to cut 17 instruction days from this year’s calendar.

Preparing for worst

Still, O.C. schools are looking to cut 2,609 jobs so far – a number likely to rise.

Part of that, says county Superintendent William Habermehl, is because schools have to plan for worst-case scenarios – such as failed furlough negotiations. Schools are required to warn teachers of layoffs by Monday, the same day their 2010-11 budget forecasts are due – both deadlines well before negotiations conclude or the state approves its spending plan.

(Click here to read about the issues behind school budget cuts in California.)

As a result, districts are notifying 1,103 certificated staff – including teachers – that they may be laid off June 30. Also, at least 1,116 temporary teachers will be told they won’t be brought back next year. Classified staffs – from bus drivers to custodians to secretaries – also face cuts.

But districts also say it’s getting harder and harder to make these kinds of cuts.

The Cypress School District, battered by two years of painful cutting, doesn’t even employ temporary teachers anymore. Temporary teachers, typically the newest in a district, are usually the first to be cut.

“We’re giving 38 potential notices to permanent teachers,” said Cypress Superintendent Sheri Loewenstein. “We’ve cut music already. We’ve cut everything already, so all we can do is increase class sizes and reduce classified support – secretaries, custodians, every department at the district office.”

District officials say furloughs would help save jobs But unions say that argument is often used to scare teachers into agreeing to unfair pay cuts. Local districts and unions are at various stages of talks. Some are at an impasse; others have tentative deals.

Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified and its teachers union agreed recently to nine furlough days spread over two years, after administrators, who work 12-month schedules, agreed to take about 12 furlough days to equal the percentage in pay teachers will lose.

Linda Manion, president of the Association of Placentia-Linda Educators union, said the administrators’ concessions contributed to union membership accepting the furlough days.

“We’ve done everything we can to protect the programs and children,” said Manion, a 35-year educator. “Teachers are taking a pay cut through furlough days and we’re already taking a pay cut to supplement our classroom supplies. We still have the same (academic) standards, the same accountability, but we have less time to do it.”

In many cases, teachers will simply work without pay – such as after-school tutoring and review sessions – to ensure students are prepared for state testing and high school Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams, Manion said.

Capistrano Unified School District’s trustees and teachers union are locked in an ideological battle over how to close a gaping $34 million deficit. The union has offered to take a one-year cut in the form of seven furlough days through June 2011, while trustees insist on permanent, 10 percent pay cuts.

Both sides are preparing for a possible strike. An independent fact-finder brought in to recommend a compromise is expected to release a report any day.

Advocating reform

Educators have said the need for furloughs and other severe cuts could be significantly diminished if lawmakers simply agree to some reforms to change state funding formulas.

Superintendents across the state have been lobbying for greater flexibility in categorical funding, the millions of dollars given to districts that can only be spent on specific costs like textbooks, teacher training, student remediation, drug and tobacco intervention programs, etc.

Local school boards should have greater freedom in determining how these categorical funds can best serve their districts, Habermehl said.

“There are solutions out there that don’t necessarily require more money,” the county superintendent said. “But if we don’t get some relief from Sacramento, we’re just going to continue to be in the same position year after year.”

Contact the writer: 714-704-3773 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              714-704-3773      end_of_the_skype_highlighting or fleal@ocregister.com

Put down the sock . . .

Trust me, it’s hopeless. Do you dread walking into your kid’s room?  Are you tired of picking up socks, clothes and toys off of the floor?  Do you beg and bribe your kids to clean their rooms?  Well, you might as well stop right now and save yourself years of stress and anxiety.  You can reduce your future botox bills by slowing down the onset of worry wrinkles and simply accepting the fact that your sweet little children, those adorable cuties who mess up the charming, cozy rooms you toiled over to decorate just for them, are just going to one day leave home to live in a pig sty (a pig sty you may well be paying good money for – in the form of college tuition!)

We try to teach our kids well and do our best to prepare them for “the real world.” Well, if they are college bound there is a good chance that their real world will consist of cramped rooms overflowing with piles of dirty laundry and sinks full of dirtier dishes. 

I’d like to think that I was much cleaner and more domesticated when I was younger but I wonder if that is just the rose colored lenses of my memory.  In any event, if you spend a lot of time picking up after your kids, take my advice and just stop.  (Actually it’s the advice of my sister) Let them live like pigs now, and know that you will just be doing your duty to properly prepare them for college.

I’ve given up on hosting my own blog – whatever that means!

Too hard! Linux, SQL, PHP all these things you’re supposed to know in order to have a blog that you can customize.  Too much for me. There are two different things that I have been working with. One is called WordPress.com – which is where I created my little blog and picked a template from a template gallery.  There is another thing called WordPress.org that is the program for which to create your own stuff.  Well in order to do that, you need to be able to host a site on your own.  I thought I could do that because I have a domain name of nikoandtrevorsmom.com and also antonious.com.  So I gave it a try.  When I was trying to transfer files via FTP – they went into some computer never never land and I got frustrated and gave up.  Maybe I’ll try again in a month or two.  For now I’ll just stick to my boring template and make the best of it.  What can I say :-{

I’m trying to move this to a new site but I’m having trouble!

I wanted to have more editing capabilities for my blog so I am trying to host it myself and edit it on my hard drive so all kinds of screwy things are going on with it.  Sorry.  I’ll do my best to bring it back to its original look – but in its new location.  Which will still be nikoandtrevorsmom.com.

The Collision of Contentment and Generosity

by joshua becker on September 7, 2010

“The giving of love is an education in itself.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Contentment. People look for it in all sorts of places. Some look for contentment in a high-paying job, yet show their discontent the first time they are passed over for a raise. Some look for it in a large home, yet show their discontent by requiring countless improvements. Many have sought contentment in a department store believing that one more item will finally match their desire, yet they are always disappointed… despite the promises made on television.

Could it be that we have been taught to look for contentment in all the wrong places?

What if contentment is actually found in the exact opposite place that we have looking? What if contentment is not found in accumulating more, but is actually found in giving more?

We can easily understand how contentment leads to generosity – the less we need, the more we can give away. But could it be that the inverse is also true? That generosity also leads to contentment? That the two collide together in a way that encourages each other to exist all the more?

Consider for just a moment how generosity leads to contentment:

  • Generous people have a healthy understanding of how much they already own. People who give to those in need quickly realize how much they have to give.
  • Generous people value what they own. People who give away possessions hold their remaining possessions in higher esteem. People who give their time make better use of their time remaining. And people who donate money are far less wasteful with the money left over.
  • Generous people live happier, more fulfilled lives. Studies have shown that generous people are generally happier, healthier, and more satisfied with life. And once they find this satisfaction through generosity, they are less inclined to search for it elsewhere.
  • Generous people find meaning outside of their possessions. It is the American way to wrap up self-worth in net-worth… as if a person’s true value could ever be tallied on a balance sheet. Generous people find their value in helping others and quickly realize that their bank statement says nothing about their true value.
  • Generous people have more fulfilling relationships. People always enjoy the company of a generous giver to the company of a selfish hoarder.  People are naturally attracted towards others who have an open heart to share with others. And a good friend is the best gift you could ever give yourself.

Generous people have less desire for more. They have found fulfillment, meaning, value, and relationships outside of the acquisition of possessions. They have learned to find joy in what they already possess and give away the rest. In other words, they have found true contentment. This contentment naturally leads to even more generosity which leads to even greater contentment which leads to…

Are you searching for contentment in life? If so, try giving something away today. And open up the door for contentment and generosity to collide.

See . . That Wasn't So Bad

See . . That Wasn’t So Bad

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