Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Celebrate Earth Day by knowing "the last day"

TUE APRIL 21 - 1:00 PM. This is a short news item for those curious the details of a possible "last day" decision by BCPS. It has been PROPOSED to the Baltimore County Board of Education that the last day of school COULD be Friday June 12 according to Exhibit EE in the board agenda for tonight's (4/21) meeting. Please note the following KEY statement in this exhibit:
"This proposed revision will go into effect upon the granting of a waiver for one (1) instructional day for the elementary school level by the Maryland State Board of Education. The waiver request will be considered at State Board’s meeting on 4/27 and 4/28/2009."
So be cautiously optimistic if on Wednesday 4/22 the Superintendent's Bulletin reports this calendar revision as tenatively approved. Being that tomorrow is Earth Day, any celebration of this news should be done in an environmentally appropriate way. As to why Friday 6/12 was proposed, I shall leave that speculation up to the economists and climate scientists among us.

In search of...ground truth
Enhancing data-driven relevancy of this site
This post is to introduce you to a plan for raising value of this site for all readers in advance of tropical cyclone season and the 2009-10 winter storm season. I wanted you to have an early look at the proposals in order to gather your feedback and recommendations. Details and graphics will be added over the next few weeks as your "real-time" input helps to refine the features in design. To familiarize you, let's start with an overview:
COCORAHS: A data-driven Professional Learning Community. Between April and September, a precipitation tracking and reporting network will become a central feature of this site. This will be accomplished by promoting and integrating features of the pre-existing CoCoRAHS network. This stands for "Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network" about which many of you are already aware. Our efforts will start with the Baltimore metro region, with the goal by September 1 of adding at least 10 new reporting stations to the City-County area as shown on the linked map. However, anyone in Maryland, across the Mid-Atlantic or around the country is welcome to join. If interested, please review their background, registration details and requirements.
Please know this is not a reinvention of the wheel. We are focusing solely on precipitation data. Granted there are already many other observation portals (wunderground, weatherbonk, the ABC2 weathernet and more). This project aims to provide a new service not readily available to teachers and others... a map-based, interactive, real-time format showing simply precipitation data during a high impact inclement weather event. For educators interested in relevant applications of weather to their lessons, this can serve as a professional learning community of like-minded science teachers. For weather enthusiasts, parents, emergency managers or even school officials, this "invitation only / password protected" feature will provide an instant and centralized snapshot of "what is on the ground, where and when it fell."
That's the "ground truth" we all seek during inclement weather, high-impact or not. My aim is to put in your hands the most cutting-edge tools and information available so we can all benefit from the collaborative observations of our online community. Check back later for details on how you can join this exciting development, and become a "Foot's Forecaster!"

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