Friday, September 18, 2009

Taking a Byte of Wireless

I had the chance the other night/morning to see Wes Fryer over in Hong Kong participating with Kim Cofino & Julie Lindsay in their Flat Classroom Project at the Hong Kong International School. While I am sure there are a lot of reasons for me to be asleep at that time of the morning, I wasn't and it is always nice to be able to see what other people are doing in other parts of the world.

Today, Wes posted a link to his blog about Best Practice Wi-Fi Networks in Schools which was timely for me as we are at the end of a wireless install at our school. After a lot of research and half bids and no bids we settled with a company that installed a Cisco Wireless "N" network. We also at the same time upgraded all of our hubs and switches to a complete switch setup with gigabit backbone.

In order to do all of this I had to squeeze the heck out of a very tight and small budget but we were able to make it happen thanks to a great leader, Kate Dailey, my boss. The reason that Wes' post was so timely for me was that it gave me some additional ideas as to how to segment things out. We have posted in our online management system the passcode for the students and given it to all of the faculty. The difficulty that still exists for us is we also have proxy servers in place. We are educating the students about what they need to change when they go home so they can pick up their wireless there.

We are still working on how to make it the best situation for our students and one of the things we do is allow them to bring in their own connectivity. I have helped students connect Macbooks, iPod touches, PCs, netbooks and I have helped parents do the same for when they are here for extracurricular events. We have things open like Twitter, Facebook, Wiki's, Nings Skype, Diigo, Delicious and heading toward YouTube as well as other programs for the students to use. We have adopted a simple mantra "The world is unfiltered." Based on that, we want to truly help our students learn ethical use, how to be good digital citizens as well as how to be safe online. We also want to make sure we teach them that this is one way to work and that it is still so very important to make sure we connect face to face. We do block porn and spam.

The benefit of all the upgrades is that the 20 mbps pipe we have with ATT is so much quicker and it is also a joy to see students sitting around connecting, answering email, checking their Edline pages for homework, tweeting with a teacher and yes even Facebooking.

I know we are not the only school out there with this setup and we need those schools to share their stories more and more for those who are battling to have that type of setup for their students. Is there wireless in your building but yet very few get to use it?

What can I do to help you?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

One of the Lucky Ones

I truly am one of the lucky ones. I have been in education for what will be my 34th year this year. On top of all those years, I have even been at the same school.

Recently I have been haunted with thoughts that I couldn't quite pinpoint and then today it hit me. A post by Ryan Bretag back in May of 2009 which you can read here, struck me then and for reasons I could not understand was haunting me now until just recently. While Ryan was talking about how we need to honor those who go before us, I have been thinking about the ones who leave us. This past year I had a wonderful young man who worked with me in the tech department, helping teachers, helping them understand things like podcasts, why we do some of the things we do and how to do it even better. Kyle Stevens did a lot. However, the biggest thing Kyle did was let me throw new things at him to try and he was off and running. He was good with the faculty and would do his best every day. Understand I am not here to nominate Kyle to sainthood but I use Kyle as the example that we all see happen so many times, someone really good leaving our school.

Kyle left us this year. Like the post that Ryan had about the wisdom and the knowledge that these veteran educators brought to the classroom, I have been linking his post to my thoughts about what do we impart to those people like Kyle that decide to leave? Kyle, in my humble opinion left for all of the right reasons. We tried to get him to stay but he still left. He would have a chance to bring his talent, wisdom and ability to so many new young men and women.

My thinking about this was the fact that I hope I was able to impart the importance of the traditions of Bishop Dunne and the importance that they play in not only my life but the life of so many other people especially those who bring their children back to be educated by us as another generation begins walking the halls. How much of what Kyle learned here, or any of the other Kyles at all of our schools, how much have we taught them about the importance of the students they will be in charge of and the future they will be bringing to those next generations?

I feel comfortable knowing that Kyle will take a lot of Bishop Dunne with him as well as a whole lot of "Rock Chalk Jayhawk" as well. But I also think it is important that the time we do get to spend with our new teachers is time well spent, so that if they do decide to move on, they continue to take a little bit of our traditions and spread them around for others to learn from. It is our job to help these teachers grow so that they may also leave the nest to help others grow as well.

I am one of the lucky ones. I was taught well by what I would call a lot of old school folks, but that tradition does get passed on to those who are willing to take the time. I just hope I am making enough time and being open enough for those who are new here at my school.

Thanks Kyle and thanks Ryan and thanks to all those who have gone before me.

Friday, August 14, 2009

School and Social Networking

On one of the listservs I am on I received this the other day:

“I am on a mission to find out which, if any, school districts allow student access to any or all of the following during school hours: 1. Facebook or any other social networking site 2. Twitter 3. YouTube Also, do you provide student email accounts either on your domain or through a service like Gaggle. Thanks for your input!”

More and more schools are exploring the possibility of using these types of media tools for educational purposes. I was however amazed and somewhat saddened to see the responses from directors of technology that came back with what struck me as almost emphatic NO’s for the response. I could almost hear “We are not allowing that on MY network.”

A clean working network is a great thing don’t get me wrong, but what will it take for some folks to see the benefit of the tools that are out there and available being used for instructional purposes? I also know that nothing beats great teaching. However, are we using our great teachers to connect with our students where they are and in a way that they communicate or are we merely breaking their spirits to conform to our standards? I also know that we need to leverage what we do with what is sustainable. What if one of these free tools that we sink time and energy into goes away? We have to make sure that we do not lose more time with that happening. I also know that we don't need to use "tools" just so we are able to say we are using tools.

I would imagine that if we were to ask those same directors of technology if sites like Delicious and Diigo were open or whether Wikispaces, Wetpaint or PBworks were available for collaboration the answer would probably be a NO as well. I thought the whole idea with education was just that education. How do we show proper use of tools and ethical use of sites and the Internet as well as collaborative ways for students to work with others and learn from others if we don’t allow them to experience things through the virtual worlds that exists via the Internet? Our faculty members also need to have the opportunities to learn in educational settings because I can imagine that most have a social networking site and before long we will hear, if we haven’t already, about someone getting in trouble for what they have posted because they don’t use them properly. Is it the students we are afraid of or the adults?

At our place we have opened up Facebook, Twitter and are exploring the best options for YouTube. We also have access to Discovery Streaming, Diigo, Delicious, Wetpaint, Wikispaces, TeacherTube, and we are even allowing our students to bring their own connectivity as we have gone wireless on our campus. Do I expect there to be some difficulties, sure I do. But I work at a school where we educate and the way we educate is not just what is contained in the curriculum. We educate the whole person in as many ways as possible. What I also expect more of are the chances for our students, as well as our teachers to do their best to shift the way they are taught as well as the way we teach and sometimes there needs to be a little push. My hope with a more open network is for the students to help with that push and then we get the benefit of teaching the ethical use as well as proper modeling of what is truly available out there to help our students prepare for their future.

I feel that if we truly believe in what we are doing we have to make strides in the direction of being more open with our students, with our parents and with our networks. Sometimes it is hard to let go, yes it can be a scary world out there, yes I want to protect my students and I do everything possible to make that happen, and yes we do teach online safety across the board, but I also want to share what is available, open the eyes of my students and teachers to all the possibilities and hopefully help to make them successful for their future.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

New Year New Worries

So can someone tell me where the summer went? Tomorrow we have a small orientation for new faculty members and my hope is that we do not overwhelm them with "stuff." I am glad it is short and sweet.

This summer I have been busy overseeing a wireless project throughout our facility. All of the campus buildings will have wireless capability and we are planning on allowing the students to bring their own device to connect. Some are asking about netbooks, some are aksing about their own wireless notebooks and on and on. We use Edline and the students have storage in the cloud.

So far the only recommendation we have made is that the antivirus software be up to date, that the equipment is insured in some way shape or form and that they have a long life battery available to them. Students also have the option for e-books, yet, not all titles are electronic, or regular bound books. Where I see the struggles coming are with the teachers and their ability to be flexible and teach to many different levels. But I believe this to be an additional flexibility that they will need to achieve this year. It will also give us the chance to start bridging that divide of the haves and have nots or at least seeing if we can.

My current worry however, is the delivery time from the manufacturer. We are waiting on our WAPs - wireless access points. All the wiring is installed and tested, our new switches are here for the backbone upgrade and now we need the WAPS. I am looking forward to a busy and fun year. The full faculty comes in on Monday and the Students begin their orientation camps the following week.

Here we go, plenty of new things to share.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Is it Time for us to Divide the Divide

The following are pretty much thoughts jumping out of my head and are somewhat all over the place or at least I feel they are. But I also felt the need to get them out to maybe make space for a better organization of the other things going thru my head.

As I sit reflecting on my latest NECC trip in 2009, I am somewhat worried about where we are as a group of educational technology professionals and where we are going. After sitting in a couple of different sessions, on different days I began to notice that, while there were some very ardent and enthusiastic individuals in the room who obviously fully embrace the technology, there were also some people with that glazed over look that screamed “WHAT ARE THEY TALKING ABOUT?”

In a discussion with a couple of the people from Australia, they were amazed at the politeness of the people at NECC. When attendees come into the room, they sit quietly and listen, get up and leave. Mostly no questions, no pushback, no anything. When I asked about the procedure in Australia, the response was “I had better be ready for at least three or four folks to question and push and argue from the very beginning and that I had better know my stuff thru and thru.”
My fear is that the digital divide among the adults, the teachers, is growing by leaps and bounds. What has resulted in the Twitterverse is that here have been many micro discussions about how to make a difference with those who may be lagging behind. Is it possible to make a difference and close the gap? Is it possible to take the 5-10% estimate of who may get it and close down the gap of the 90-95% that may not get it?

What exactly is it that they don’t get? What is it, about what I see a lot of people do and what I am trying to learn to do better each day, that they do not get? What do they need to know exactly? Is it that the term 21st Century skills are no different than maybe the day to day skills that each and every student AND teacher needs to function, communicate and use to achieve something in this world? Are they looking for how to make the next viral video? Are they wanting to know what the tools are all about? Is it that we are to merely point them to the “edublogosphere’s guru/leader and say read this and leave them alone?

There is no magic potion at least not one that will magically get you your 10,000 hours quickly. We also will not find what we do on the vendor floor. But I do know that if I were to treat any of my students this way, in my school I would no longer have a job. I am so far from having any of the answers and more often than not I sit and watch and listen and try to learn because I feel what I may have to offer is old hat or that I don’t have enough to offer.

But I will offer this out there to anyone who wants or needs it - if you have questions, or if you want to know something, if you don’t understand something, please do not hesitate to contact me either by Twitter(@paulrwood) or by email (paulwood[at]swbell[dot]net and the reason it is that way is so that the farming/harvesting bots can’t pick it up as easily to spam me). I will do whatever I can to answer any questions, direct you to someone who can and the only thing I ask you to do in return is to help someone else. But please understand YOU have a responsibility as well – YOU HAVE TO BE WILLING TO ASK. If you don’t ask me, ask someone else, reach out, share, because we are all here to learn. This is not some elite circle but you do need to be willing to participate. If you are on Twitter, please fill out your profile and if you have a blog/website, list it so that we can see who we are talking to and what you do. If you want to follow me don’t protect your updates as I will not ask to follow you back.

By ourselves we will never make it, together we are so much better.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

PLN's, Purity and Flexibility or how my PLN saved my presentation!

On Monday evening, May 11, 2009, I was trying to finish up a wikispaces site for a presentation that I was giving at Region 10 ESC to local region educators. I was using wikispaces and was on my home machine which is a Vista machine upgraded to the latest Internet Explorer browser. It became apparent very quickly that I would not be able to edit the wiki the way I wanted, as I had hoped to merely embed resources in a way that I was taught by David Jakes at the TCEA convention back in February.

After several frustrating attempts I put out a call to my PLN on Twitter for some help as I thought I might have forgotten a step. After posting this tweet I put on my headset as I had given out my Skype name and within minutes, Miguel Guhlin called in and asked what the problem might be? I explained what was going on and he looked things over and made some adjustments to the wiki itself and then asked "What browser are you using and what operating system do you have on your machine?" I responded IE 8 and Vista Business. Miguel's only response was "Download Firefox and use that."

While Miguel and I were talking I received 4 other calls or tweets to see if I needed help or if I had been helped. As I talked or messaged each person, the question was always the same "Are you using Firefox? Why not?" Needless to say once I got off of Skype I went to the Mozilla page and downloaded Firefox and installed it. After having a couple of initial problems with the Firefox browser, which Jen Wagner help me sort, we found out it was a result of the links and cookies imported from IE8. I was up and functioning and working on my wiki with no problems whatsoever.

I have usually been a purist on my machines but have opened up to other options as a result of really being in a bind. While I don't see Microsoft as the evil empire and yes I do want a MBP somewhere down the line (sooner rather than later), I truly wish Microsoft would build things to work better with the available tools that are out there. If you can't be all things to all people, at least make it so that your software works right the first time please.

The power of my network proved it's worth once again and I am always grateful. Are you using your network to it's potential? Are you helping others with their networks? Thanks to all those in my network, as always you people are the best.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Just Summer Professional Development?

As the school year starts to wind down, some people have been asking about where others might get their summer professional development. Last summer I had the opportunity to attend several professional development opportunities and that extended throughout the school year as well. I almost always attend NECC as that is important to my boss and to the future of the school from a technology integration standpoint. I also debated on whether to attend Alan November's BLC '08 or Gary Stager CMK '08. I chose CMK08 and while I can't exactly tell you why, I have absolutely no regrets.

This summer Gary is putting on CMK '09 again being held in Manchester, New Hampshire and has prepared a great lineup. I encourage you to consider this very worthy week long event under the direction of Gary and his great lineup of folks. You want to truly have an opportunity to think, play, reflect, be challenged? This is the place to be in my opinion. Nothing laid out for you step by step, you get to create (exactly what we want our students to do); you get to reflect (another thing we want our students to do); you get to hear some great minds, see some great places and spend some quality time with people who want the same thing - the chance to create modern knowledge together and go back to the classroom with all kinds of great ideas, software and tools.

NECC is just that NECC. You have the chance to explore, cruise the aisle of the largest vendor spectacle around or you can sit in the hallways and participate in true conversations. Between Edublogger Con, Second Life playgrounds, and myriad of sessions that you can either pay for or walk into for free, you have the chance to work and play with people of the same mindset - what can I do to help my students? Don't be afraid to seperate from the herd and learn on your own or by asking questions of those who seem to be in the know, just about all of us want what is best for our students. Whatever you do come up with something more original than "Hey I follow you on Twitter, Plurk, Facebook, etc., etc." Come for the conversations. Come to explore our Capital.

But why just stop with those two? You in Texas or close to East Texas? Scheduled to be featured presenters are Dean Shareski, Alec Couros, and Jennifer Wagner along with great Texas talents Maria Henderson, Stephanie Sandifer, Randy Rogers, the GIS team from Bishop Dunne High School (Christine Voigt & Kyle Stevens), Diana Benner, 2009 TCEA Educator of the Year Pam Cranford, Janet Corder, and Joan Gore. If nothing else come by to see what new dish Mike Gras has cooked up for folks to try. Again chances for good conversation around technology, integration, people and food. Might even have a literacy conversation or two and you never know who might Skype in from the outer reaches of the U.S.A.

But what about during the rest of the year. There are so many good things and the best thing I can recommend is to make sure you don't get in a rut. I branched out last year and went to Educon 2.1 at the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia and I can truly say that by far it was the absolute best conference I have attended in my lifetime bar none. True, deep, intensive, free flowing conversations from all involved. The two teachers I took with me were blown away and very grateful for what they experienced.

There is so much professional development all year long from so many people willing to share and stream, and tweet and mogulous, and skype. There are all sorts of people blogging, podcasting and willing to share what they have and do with anyone, anywhere, anytime. If you aren't getting enough professional development, then you aren't making the effort. Don't leave your students behind by not being willing to participate. Their future depends on it. Prpeare them for their future and not what is left of yours. Don't just participate in professional development during the summer, it is waiting for you 24/7/365!

So much to share and participate in. I hope to see you somewhere.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

One Year Later

One year and 45 posts later, I reflect on some of the things I have learned.

A personal learning network is only as powerful as you want it to be. Many times I feel that I don't contribute as much as I should because I am constantly wowed by the truly knowlegeable and brilliant minds that I follow.

I have learned that it is OK not to post all the time. I have spent a lot of time reading and watching the conversations, and when I do jump in I am blessed by the openness of the people there and their willingness to converse and contribute to my thinking.

I have learned that writing helps me to remember. Some times I feel as though I have so far to go in this world of ed-tech and yet I look back to some of my earlier posts and I think I am doing OK. It does however cause me to want to get other people close to me to at least try some of these things.

I have learned that all I have to do is ask and there are people more than willing to lend a hand, say a prayer or just tell you a joke. People are wonderful and this is a great way to meet them and learn about them and share life with them.

I have learned that we all struggle with life, with faculties - those employed by a district or simply my own personal ones, with technology or just work and the trials that electronic equipment brings to us. I am always looking for a different way to help our faculty members reach out to our students and make them more aware of what the future holds for them and not what my future is for them. I have learned many new ways thanks to the people in my life here.

Above all I have learned! I continue to learn and I want to share my learning with so many others so that they may learn. I look forward to the continued discussions about walled gardens, literacies, skills, tools, what is going to show up on a Dean stream, and who will be close to my location so I can go and sit with them and learn some more, or when will the Texas boys teach someone else about the good "Q" down here. When you coming back David?

But as much as I have learned, I have also learned that it is so very important to share. Share as much as possible. I thank you for being a part of my PLN, I thank you being a part of my learning, and I thank you all for helping me be a better person because you are in my life. Here is to each of you and to many more years of the opportunity to learn lots and share more.

So much to learn and share and so little time.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Are you adaptable?

I had a chance recently to go on a hike with my older brother. I am fortunate that I live outside the city of Dallas in a small suburb that currently is know for the fact that 43, 000 citations have been issued with a red light camera at one intersection and that number is greater than the population of the city itself. There also happens to be a great creek running several different directions throughout the city and it comes close enough to my house that we decided to go "creeking" the other day. Having recently been discharged from the hospital, I took my ID and cell phone just in case and I am glad that I did so that I could take some pictures. As we walked along we came across this tree that you see to the right and I was fascinated by the fact that the roots of that tree were continually adapting to whatever the creek brought it's way. As a result the tree continued to make it in the real world, our world.
This caused me to ask myself whether or not I am adaptable or am I as adaptable as I think I am or should be? While I feel that I am, the discussion that came about with my brother was how adaptable do our students have to be today? At my school our students may have 4 classes on one day and 3-4 on the other depending on their schedule. This is also known as an A/B block schedule. A teacher may have anywhere from 15-25 students depending on the class and the level for 4-6 periods in those 2 days. We all know that students have to be pretty adaptable because they continually adapt while they "play school" to get out. They adapt to the teacher so as to get a decent grade. They adapt to the day as they encounter other students and faculty be it in the hall, at athletics, extra-curriculars and on and on.
As I pondered this more and more, I got to thinking maybe the students don't have to adapt at all since a lot of teachers stick to the tried and true methods that they have known and how they were taught. Maybe we could all learn from the students. Maybe it's time for us to take a closer look so as to be able to see what the students need as opposed to what is going to get me through my day in the easiest way possible. I don't know as I am still trying to figure this one out.
Are you adaptable? If so how so? I would love to see if I am going the right direction. Let me know.
So much to learn and the time gets shorter and shorter.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Conference Envy Anyone?

This morning as I was catching up on school email, Lisa Durff sent out a tweet with the words "Do you agree or disagree?" I clicked the link she provided and read the post by kwhobbes titled "What's the rest of us to do?" I encourage you to read the post and add your thoughts. Last I checked my comments were waiting moderation so I thought I would go ahead and post some additional thoughts here.

Unfortunately, these are economic times that we will all have to struggle through. We never have enough funding for the things we think we want much less the things we truly need. Mandates from the government be it National, State or local and little to help back it up continue to frustrate all of us even without the thought of trying to convert my school to an SLA look alike. So we all have to be more creative. Yet the thing to think about in my opinion is that if we continue to do things the same way over and over again, our children will follow suit.

We have to work with our students to try and reach each and every one of them in some form or fashion. We need to model life long learning and passing that on. I think of the signs posted in every room and in the hallways at SLA that say "CORE VALUES - Inquiry, Research, Collaboration, Presentation, Reflection." I start thinking do I do that, do our teachers do that? Do we approach all we do in that manner, so as to model it? While I may not go to every conference or see everything I think I need to see or even hear the same thing others hear, it is important to get out there, to be aware, to take teachers to these things so they can be a part of the conversation or at least be within earshot of the conversation, to bring them to the water and let them decide to drink or not. But I do so knowing full well that if I can get there, many others can as well.

There are plenty of frustrations out there without suffering conference attendance envy. Then we we get to conferences the frustrations are also many because we keep hearing the same phrases. In our buildings we continue to beat our heads against the same walls and feeling like we are not moving, but we have to continue to strive to help others make the "shift."

We do that by continually modeling, giving links for the K-12 Online Conference as well as the Not K-12 Online Conference, for Educon for NECC and we have to keep offering people opportunities to make the shift. We have to continually spoon feed and work with and supporting the believers and recruiting new ones all the time.

Frustrating I know, but after 32 years, these are exciting times and I am glad I am here able to be a part of it. On to SLA to learn more so I can share with anybody that wants to listen.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Tagged and Passing it along

Lately there is a meme tag going around and Jen Wagner tagged me for "7 things you did not know about me." I have seen people tagged for different ones in the past and I thought it would be fun to be tagged but now I am not so sure. I have read several other people's 7 things and now I am trying to think what to come up with or what I might consider to be important. Oh well with that in mind:

1. I have always wanted to be a psychologist, but maybe for the wrong reasons. As an 8th grader one of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart where I went to school asked each of us what we wanted to be when we grew up and my response was a "Psychologist." The response of the class to my response was to laugh. I still remember what that felt like. That was back in 1968. My desire was to help people then and it still is today.

2. One of the most influential people in my life was a nun by the name of Miriam. She is a wonderful Sister of St. Mary of Namur nun who is still around today and I still see and visit with on rare occasions. We would talk about many things while I was still a student. The fascinating thing about her is she was a relative of one of the members of the band "The Monkeys." Well that wasn't the only fascinating thing about here as there were many. She however took the time to talk, listen, question me as well as make me feel that I was important and had a purpose for living. Because of her time and energy I left for college and came back to teach and coach at the very school I graduated from and have been there for 32 years. She was my department head when I first came back to teach at Dunne. I think she also had a lot of influence on my being a deacon but more on that later.

3. I took steroids in high school. Sorry to say that and I wished I hadn't but I did, all for the love and the desirous glory of Texas Football. I liked the way I grew, I liked the muscles that I built, but then I learned to absolutely hate football and a lot of the things I enjoyed around me. I still feel as though I have some of the after effects of the steroids but I doubt I would have come to my next point in life had I not taken them.

4. As a senior in high school I spent many months considering suicide. The phrase I have heard lately is a "convergence of circumstances" or "the perfect storm" related to my senior year. I held several offices in the school, I was probably more popular than I thought, but everything about myself and my life I questioned. I felt so out of place, I felt as if I was at a totally different level than so many of the people I was in class with and as a result the only out at that time for me was the one out I work to make sure no other student ever feels. I often refer to it as a long term solution to short term problems. High school should not be that way for anyone and my hope has always been to help people see the good in the whole situation.

5. I gave serious consideration to becoming a priest while I was in college. I quit dating totally (what was I thinking?), I actually drove to different places in the US and visited seminaries since my parents told me that did not want me to go to the one in Dallas (how interesting that is looking back on things now) but I could go to any seminary in the US. I finally decided that I truly liked women and that the two conflicted so I stayed single for a good while after that but of course I did date often however.

6. I hate accolades of any sort. Most of the recognition I have received are things associated with my job. My feeling is that I am paid to do my job and therefore I don't need to be recognized for doing my job the right way. I do however like to be told thank you on occasion. That is more than enough for me. I think a large part of the not liking the accolades is the fact that I hate crowds and having to schmooze. I guess due to shyness but a lot of people say they would never know it.

7. In a continuing pursuit of trying to help people I entered the formation program for the Diocese of Dallas to become a permanent deacon. The program is a long and hard journey of 5.5 years. My wife had to be there for the first 2 so that she would know what we were getting into and then she stayed through the other 3.5 years with me the whole way. I am very fortunate that she accepted my desire to enter the program and even more grateful she has stood by my side all these years, before and after the formation program. It is a tough program but I feel it is worth it. What time I had that I thought was my own now no longer is. I am assigned to Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Duncanville, TX where I can baptize , marry, bury, distribute Communion but can not consecrate, I can't say Mass but I am allowed to assist, I can't hear confessions but I talk with a lot of folks that need to be heard, and on occasion I get to preach. Miriam had a lot to do with forming me in the early part of my life and enabling me to get here.

Seven things you probably don't need to know about me but now you do. Jen, I thank you for tagging me I think. So let's see if we can get a few more folks in on this and if you have already been tagged feel free to pass it along. I tag:

1. Miguel Guhlin
2. Scott Floyd
3. Kyle Stevens
4. Carolyn Foote
5. Clif Mims
6. Randy Rodgers
7. Alan Lutz