Monday, February 28, 2011

Today is February 28


  • I have a headache
  • My husband is grumpy
  • My nephew is 3 days old
  • I finished the wine
  • I missed Jeopardy
  • I ate too much for dinner
  • My girl scout cookie order came in
  • Makes a week since I've been crafty
  • My students were not terrible
  • I got my state tax refund
  • It's cold and rainy
  • I got annoyed by a pretentious comment on another blog
  • I wore super-cute shoes
  • I woke up on time
  • I skipped dessert
  • I think I'll go to bed early


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Sketches: 5 in Gold

There is no official Sunday Sketches post today, as Sophia's father is very ill. However, I painted this on Monday (my 2nd watercolor effort) and wanted to share. Ever since my husband read "This Is Just To Say" by William Carlos Williams during our wedding vows, I've enjoyed reading his other poems. I really love his style.

When I was thinking of what to sketch, I decided to look at some of his poems for inspiration. This one caught my eye, and I went with it.

And for those of you that clicked on the link to the first poem I mentioned, yes, it's true what I said, that poem was part of my husband's wedding vows to me. It was PERFECT.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Little Nephew!

Our sweetest new addition to the family came 17 days early on Feb 25, but is a healthy 7 lb 7 oz, 19.75 in. Congrats to Jen, Lance, and Alivia!

Blake Hamlin


Friday, February 25, 2011

New warthog toys, or...?

Rahr! I'm a warthog 4 times the size of your head... and I'm watching you...... !!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Dressy Summer Toilettes

I've mentioned many times before my recent obsession with vintage mags. I think this is a super-fun image from the June 1899 issue of The Delineator, a now extinct fashion magazine. Look at the greyhounds racing in the background!

And, yes, the caption is "Dressy Summer Toilettes." Def classy-cute-fancy for an 1899 day at the races... but a summer "toilette?" Methinks not. I'll take my shorts, tanks, and flirty summer dresses any warm day!

Spring Fashion

Update: My husband says those are horses racing in the background, since it appears there are riders on the backs of the animals. I say, hey, maybe they're greyhounds riding on greyhounds?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I lost the Wizard of Whimsy vote by 1 to Miz Katie! Next week for sure... now to figure out my whimsical entry!


So, I never thought I could love Martha Stewart even more than I already do. I mean, hello?! Delicious "potted plant" chocolate pudding desserts?? Cu-ute!!

But, seriously. I just learned this today. From Styleite via oh, hello friend. Yes, folks, this is Martha, who modeled for Chanel one summer. Luvz!


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Go! Vote!

Hey! It's Tally Tuesday over at the Web of Whimsy! I need tallies if I want to be the Wizard of Whimsy! I just checked and I have zero votes. Pooh.

Go! Vote for me! Just click on THIS link (or THIS link) and click on the VOTE button under my picture! It's number 11. Now go whimsy away!


Monday, February 21, 2011

Whimsical Wednesday

Three posts in one day? Why, it must be a holiday!

In fact, it is! Having President's Day off allowed me to spend some time really working on my watercolor technique. I finished two pieces today. One of them I'll show you below, the other will have to wait until Sunday! I'll give you a little hint, though:

After my *secret* piece, I thought about how fun it would be to try to replicate something from all of those back-issues of women's magazines I've been buying off eBay, recently. I picked this one, since I thought it looked "whimsical," and it's been REALLY windy here the past few days.

Now, why would I care if it was whimsical, you ask? Because! A recent commenter directed me toward his weekly, whimsical competition. It's called Whimsical Wednesday, and each winner is crowned Wizard of Whimsy. I love it! How could I not participate??

SO. Without further babbling AKA ado, I present (whimsically, of course!) ...

Windy Day

Hand-drawn (looking at the March 1926 | Woman's World cover, of course) and watercolored by yours truly. My THIRD effort with the watercolors... and, I must say, a vast improvement over my first!

My favorite part? The dead goose head hanging out of the boy's basket. I didn't even notice it was there until I had to draw it! Surprise!! Goose for dinner.


30 before 30 Update: #18

From the 30 before 30 list:

18. Finish sending out all my !#$%@$^ wedding thank you's

I am happy to (at last!) say that, a mere 15 months after our wedding, every last thank you card has been mailed! Huzzah!

Now, you might ask, "Michelle. Why did it take 15 months for you to mail out all of your thank you cards? Isn't that... kind of a long time...?"

And I would say, "Yes, yes it is."


My only excuse is that I made them all myself and I *sort of* over-extended myself. However. Take a look at the finished product(s)!

Fun, right?


Cupcakes, also known as, JOY in finger-food-form

Ah, sweet Alivia. She'll be two in April, just a month after she becomes a big sister. I had to share this picture from my sister. Can life get any sweeter than this??


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday Sketches: Escape

Here's this week's image for Sunday Sketches, hosted by Blue Chair Diary.

It's called: Escape.

I imagined leaving the cookie-cutter, same old, day-in-day-out for just a little ride out above it all. Maybe I'll run into some like-minded folks taking another balloon ride?

This was my first, quick attempt at watercolor. I like the richness of the colors, but my little set only has 6 basic colors, so the skin on my sketched person looks funny.

Also, I need to get a new scanner. Sigh... in time!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Some funny political commentary

I will leave this without comment from me... but for my assurance that it is hilarious! (and by hilarious, of course, I mean sadly ironic and scary, but hilarious!)

From The Daily Show:

From DailyKos:
Late Night Snark (Mercifully Justin Bieber-free!)
"This whole [Egyptian] revolution was started by a Facebook page. So Mubarak wasn't so much deposed as de-friended."
---Bill Maher
"I'm so unaccustomed to protests in the Middle East that don’t have 'Death To America' signs. I don’t know what to do."
---Rep. Anthony Weiner on Real Time
"President Obama hosted Republican leaders for lunch at the White House. Obama had to do without salt, bread, pepper, and butter, but not for health reasons. The Republicans refused to pass anything."
---Jay Leno
"For the very first time, a majority of likely 2012 Republican primary voters do not believe that Barack Obama is an American citizen. Fifty-one percent! I'm just so proud to have been born in a country where unsubstantiated rumors about people you don’t support become majority beliefs."
---Stephen Colbert
"Joe Biden announced plans for a $53 billion train system. … Vice presidents love technology: Joe Biden with the trains, Al Gore with the Internet, and Dick Cheney with the electric torture clamps."
 ---Craig Ferguson
"A man from Ohio is being called the 'Amish Bernie Madoff' for swindling Amish families out of millions of dollars. People became suspicious when they saw his horse pulling a Lamborghini."
---Conan O'Brien

Friday, February 18, 2011

In the habit of drinking

Every day when I pour myself a nice glass of wine after work, I think to myself, "How would I ever be able to do without this for nine whole months??"

When I shared my thought with my husband, he promised to go on the wagon for nine months in solidarity.

Oh. And I'm not pregnant. I just mean... sheesh!

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Sorry to offend any eyes.

BUT. We owe $1,664 in federal taxes. OOPS.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ramona's Day at the Dentist

About a month ago, Ramona went in to the vet for her annual check-up and shots. We were also concerned about what looked like a corn on her front, left paw.

Her regular doctor wasn't in that day, so she saw someone else. This doctor was very nice, but not too familiar with the intricacies of a greyhound (our regular vet has a greyhound of his own). She examined Ramona and recommended a dental visit sooner than later, since she had two or three teeth with their roots exposed, which would need to be pulled.

Fast-forward to this morning. Ramona's dental cleaning (and extractions) were scheduled for today with our regular doctor. When Eric took her in, the vet said that he'd know better after the x-rays, but that it looked like she'd probably need to have six to eight teeth removed.

By the way, greyhounds have 42 teeth.

After calls and updates throughout the day, we went to pick up Ramona, now 23 teeth lighter.


Our poor baby!! I mean, to have 23 bad teeth, she must have been in some serious pain on a regular basis. And her recovery... will take awhile.

Eric feels really guilty, but they assured us that there's nothing we could have done differently, that racing greyhounds have notoriously bad teeth, and that a year or two's difference ultimately wouldn't have saved any teeth.

Her mouth and tongue are currently very swollen, she's scared and woozy from the drugs, and she's not sure what to do. It makes my heart hurt for her.

But, at least her breath won't be so stinky, right?


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Spring Challenge, Week 4

Here it is, week 4 of my Spring Palette Challenge, and I haven't even finished planning my garments, yet! Good think my goal is only three items. I did pick up some fabric and I have two patterns in mind, so it's a start, but I need to actually sit down and draw out my plan so I can share it here and get to sewing!

Last week I was in Richmond volunteering at the State We the People event. I loved it and really hope to have a government class next year so I can attend with them.

This weekend, I just returned from chaperoning a Model UN Conference in Baltimore. I'm not actually the advisor, I just went as the chaperone in his place, since I have no children (or something). I was feeling pretty sick, so I spent a lot of time in bed, but thankfully none of the children got in trouble. No news is good news, right?

I'm finishing one online university class today (which means 18 final papers to grade over the next couple of days!) as well as starting a new one.

I'm also trying to finish up some fellowship applications to go to Cambodia, Ghana, and/or Rwanda this summer. I'm crossing my fingers for Africa, since I was in Korea 2 years ago!


Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Blog Share

Ugh, I've developed something vicious over the past 24 hours, and I feel T.E.R.R.I.B.L.E.

However, this post is not about that, but a guest blogger who will stay anonymous. I don't even know who it is!

As I've posted before:
The basic gist is this: a blogger decides to host a blog share; people sign up to participate; those bloggers send their secret blog share posts to the host; the host distributes the posts anonymously to all the participants; everyone posts their anonymous guest's post on the day of the Blog Share. This round is hosted by the ever-lovely -R- @ And You Know What Else.

Posts in the past have been dark secrets, funny stories, spousal worries, spousal vows, promises, fears, and hopes. The caliber of writing is phenomenal. Not to be missed.

I'm not allowed to tell any of my readers which anonymous blog is mine. Hence: anonymous. If you think you know which one is mine, DON'T TELL! That ruins the fun and makes it more difficult for bloggers to want to participate in the future.
Remember, the post below is not mine! You'll find mine out somewhere in Internetland. I'm including a list of all the participants below the post. Enjoy!


I'm in a small industry in a small city. Everyone in my industry knows each other, and everyone who is in a position to hire is constantly keeping an eye out for new talent. The pool of truly good people is quite shallow. I wish that wasn't true, but it is.

About a year ago, I had lunch with the team lead at another firm. I knew him, of course: we all know each other, but I'd also subcontracted several jobs to his company and been pleased with his work.

He was pleased with my work, too. He wanted to hire me.

We talked for a long time. We figured out from our accents that we were from the same part of the country, and when I mentioned the town I graduated from high school in, he said that he had taught at my school at the same time I was there. We racked our brains but could not remember each other. I thought this was a bit weird; we were both artsy folks and it would have been strange for me to not know an artsy teacher.

When I got home that evening, I remembered him. Specifically, I remembered one particular interaction. I'll call him Mr. Jones to protect his identity.

It was 15 years ago. He was a young teacher's assistant. He was sweet, and naive, and embarrassed easily. We liked him because of all of those qualities. I did not have him for any classes, but I knew him from lunchtime supervision.

My lunchtime buddies were silly folks, as teenagers tend to be. They liked to tease; always good-naturedly. They liked to tease Mr. Jones. He knew it was all in good fun and would tease them back.

One day, my buddy "David" said something to Mr. Jones; I don't know what. I do remember that Mr. Jones shot back with "Hey, I'm bigger than you!".

(This, admittedly, was not exactly what the kids now call a "burn".)

David was a large fellow, not really the sharpest knife in the drawer, but a guy with a big heart. He thought Mr. Jones was making a comment about his weight. That, you see, had to be addressed.

"I hope you mean length, not width, Mr. Jones," he said.

Now, everyone at the table knew that David meant "height", not "length". But Mr. Jones was taken aback. He started to stammer.

"Length? What do you mean, length?"

"Uh, length. Like, not width."

"Length? When you start comparing two guys in terms of length, that usually means --"

And sweet, naive Mr. Jones turned bright red and ran out of the lunchroom.

Naturally, I could not possibly accept the job, even though it was 15 years later. I still think about that day every time I subcontract a job to his company. It makes me smile.


The Time for Change
Bright Yellow World
Reflections in the Snow-Covered Hills
Totally Serial
Daily Tannenbaum
Andrea Unplugged
From Kim's Desk
Rediscovering Me
Mama Bub
Being Five
Nothing Is Easier Than Self-Deceit
Molly's Musings
Did I Say That Outloud?
The Reluctant Grownup
And You Know What Else
Thinking Some More


Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Pet Peeve #5619132168

Turn off the EFFING playlist when I come to your blog! If I'm interested in your music, I'll press play. Otherwise, I go CRAZY trying to figure out which tab has the horrible music playing and where on the page the widget is located.

Please. For all of us.

Reviews of a few recent purchases

I recently bought two artsy pieces that I want to share. So, perhaps this is not so much a "review" as it is a "go check them out because I totally love what they do."

First up, DigitalCS on Etsy. What I love about her shop is that everything is CHEAP and virtually instant. She has a number of digitally created pieces that you can buy for $1.80-$21 that she emails to you within 24 hours. No shipping! Then, you're free to download and print as many as you want for your own craft projects (even if you're planning to sell your finished project!)

I just purchased three vintage-inspired Valentine's files from her. The quality is super and I love how they turned out when I printed them!

Here's a sample of what I purchased:

Second, ClaudiaOlivos of OlivosARTstudio. She and her husband, Sergio, are the parents of a former student of mine. I just can't get enough of her work! She has a studio party every winter and I come away much poorer each time than when I entered. Her work is SO inspiring to me, especially the art focused on the feminine. I try to buy original pieces whenever I can, but her prints are equally beautiful. I could stare at her art for hours!

Here is my most recent acquisition:

What are you inspired by, recently?

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Sunday Sketches: Inside Out

Sunday Sketches! This is my current self-portrait.

Even though I may look one way on the outside, my insides are all helter-skelter.

I used pencil to sketch it and colored pencils to fill it in. I just received a book I ordered, Watercolor for the Artistically Undiscovered, which I'm excited to try out. Maybe I'll use it in next week's sketch!


Saturday, February 05, 2011

Busy, busy, busy

I've been really super busy and inaccessible for the past few days, so this will be short. I'm in the midst of grading discussion responses for my university class, which is titled: Religions of the World.

I just have to share a response made by one of the students, as we are nearing the final week of the course. It remains unedited:
I always thought my religion was exclusive, now I am not so sure; I have a hard time believing that my loving God would allow people to parish if they had the wrong religion. I truly think most religions have positive, good, and charitable ways, the underlining base is good; however not all the people in these groups are tolerant toward other religions.
This student then goes on to say:
I learned about the Muslim faith in this class, and found this group is generally tolerant, charitable, have high morals; the few extremists make it look bad for the entire faith. After the twin towers came down many Muslim Americans were targeted by Americans because they did not understand this group of people, they just assumed they were all evil. Look at Timothy Mcveigh he was raised a Roman Catholic and he killed 168 people, does this mean all Roman Catholics are terrorists? Pretty ridiculous, I think because the United States was founded on Christianity many people want it to stay that way.
Yay. This is why I teach.


Wednesday, February 02, 2011

FYI Re: Blog Share

From our lovely host:

So I've only received 11 posts from people.   Thank you so much to everyone who sent their posts in!  But I don't think 11 is enough to keep the posts anonymous.  Would you guys want to participate if we move the date back a week?

And You Know What Else


Check back in a few days for my guest Blog Share post!!


Perhaps you have no interest in the affairs of my school district, but I HAVE to get this out there for more eyes to see!


DEVELOPING — Middle School Principal Resigns, Sends Email to Parents Blaming Superintendent

(Updated at 6:05 p.m.) Williamsburg Middle School Principal Kathleen Francis says she will be resigning in March due to “the untenable and hostile work environment created by Superintendent [Patrick] Murphy.”

In a lengthy email to parents, Francis detailed what she describes as a “long struggle” to resolve a personnel matter with Dr. Murphy. Francis said her efforts, which allegedly upset Dr. Murphy, resulted in “an ongoing series of actions to harass me and mischaracterize my performance and professional reputation.”

Francis defended her record and said she went so far as to file a discrimination complaint.

“The continuing misconduct reached such a level that I was forced to file formal age and gender discrimination complaints,” she said. “In apparent retaliation for my filing these actions, the Superintendent confirmed his threat to place me on a formal Performance Improvement Plan.”

Francis concluded by insisting that she’s not alone in her displeasure with Dr. Murphy’s leadership.

“My situation with the new Superintendent is not an isolated incident,” she wrote. “It is merely representative of a larger problem in the Arlington Public Schools.”

Dr. Murphy was appointed superintendent of Arlington Public Schools in April 2009. We are awaiting comment from the school system.

Dear Parents and WMS Community,
Below for your information is an Open Letter to the Williamsburg Community that explains the reasons behind my decision to leave Arlington Public Schools in March.
Williamsburg Middle School
3600 North Harrison Street, Arlington, Virginia 22207 Phone: 703-228-5450
Kathleen Francis, Principal
Open Letter to Williamsburg Middle School Community
February 1, 2011
Williamsburg is an outstanding school with wonderful students and a dedicated staff. I’m proud to have served as part of this community for 18 years and hopefully contributed to its educational excellence. Therefore, it is with a heavy heart that I inform you I am resigning as Principal and will be leaving WMS in March. I do this recognizing the regrettable disruption this may create. However, it is unavoidable because of the untenable and hostile work environment created by Superintendent Murphy for me and Arlington Public Schools.
At this point, it is unproductive to dwell on all the details of the difficult year long struggle that has precipitated this decision. However, since you may be impacted by this disruption, you deserve to know some of the reasons. In summary, Dr. Murphy, and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Hobbs acting at his direction, has engaged in an ongoing series of actions to harass me and mischaracterize my performance and professional reputation in the hopes of encouraging my departure from APS. These actions were taken in response to my fulfilling my responsibilities to ensure a safe learning environment at WMS and requesting that the Superintendent and Central Office take action on a longstanding and serious personnel situation at Williamsburg. That situation involved an individual with a well-documented, multiple year record of non-performance and who was extremely disruptive to the educational environment of the school. Dr. Murphy refused to act and made it clear that he was concerned about the “perceptions” around such actions and, therefore, did not want difficult personnel matters brought to the Central Office. Following his directive, I fully utilized the limited school-based tools at my disposal, but the situation worsened. When the individual’s behavior became more disruptive, I again requested that Dr. Murphy take action consistent with APS policies. The Superintendent refused to exercise his responsibilities and expressed displeasure at me for bringing it to his attention. Nonetheless, when the situation became a potential safety concern, in the interests of the students and staff, I was obliged to persist in requesting Central Office action. After many months, I finally prevailed and forced action. Although there was overwhelming documentation for removal, the individual was transferred to another school.
In my mind, this resolution should have been the end of the matter. However, as a direct result of my requesting Central Office action on this personnel matter, Superintendent Murphy’s attitude toward me and the WMS leadership team changed dramatically. He became adversarial and initiated steps designed to discredit the academic achievements at WMS, my professional performance and reputation, and force my removal from my position. Some of these actions constitute impermissible discrimination.
One act came in the form of an Unsatisfactory performance appraisal for the 2009-2010 school year despite my meeting all of the APS performance criteria. Prior to this incident, I had received Satisfactory performance evaluations from a range of supervisors and Superintendents for the entire three decades of my service to APS as a teacher and administrator. Nonetheless, in August, Dr. Murphy informed me that that the educational progress at WMS had suddenly become unacceptable and that my leadership of the school was unsatisfactory. In pertinent part, Dr. Murphy’s evaluation states that, Ms. Francis’ leadership has “not moved the school and the students to an overall higher level of performance.” I know we aren’t perfect at WMS, but I think we do darn well and are always striving for improvement. I know we aren’t “unsatisfactory.” Therefore, this allegation mischaracterizes the hard-earned performance of WMS students, insults the exceptional efforts of the WMS teachers and staff, and discounts the superior support of the WMS parents and community. I strongly objected to Dr. Murphy’s description of WMS performance and provided him with extensive evidence of superior student accomplishments; how all the requirements in my performance standards had been achieved; and, the documented success of WMS on the Standards of Learning tests. In fact, during the 2009-2010 school year, WMS’ achievements on the SOL tests were exceptional, and our initiatives produced the best improvement in student subpopulation performance and surpassed Dr. Murphy’s expectations of 4-year growth in only one year. Although he was unable to contradict the factual evidence, he said the Unsatisfactory performance appraisal would stand. I was advised that it would be best to just go along with his plans. He discussed his belief that the most important characteristic in his staff was personal loyalty to him and agreement with his desires, and that I had failed that standard in pushing for resolution of the personnel matter.
An Unsatisfactory rating is a precursor to a dismissal action. More broadly, I’m aware that such an attitude toward WMS by the Superintendent can adversely impact employee morale and school performance. Therefore, I formally requested reconsideration. As part of that request, I pointed out that schools with lower performance against the APS rating criteria had not been similarly adversely evaluated. Dr. Murphy responded that didn’t matter because he wasn’t bound by the written criteria and could use any basis he wanted for the rating. He dismissed my claim that ignoring the evidence constituted discrimination and made it clear that he was not interested in compromise, arbitration or re-establishing a collaborative working relationship. I told Dr. Murphy that to protect my professional reputation (and the reputation of the WMS staff and community) and future employment prospects, I was obligated to seek redress. However, I learned that, in violation of basic due process, School Board Policies allow no appeal to a neutral party for principals from such an unfair evaluation. This allows the Superintendent to utilize the performance appraisal process for professional bullying of subordinates while cloaked in anonymity.
Disappointed, I nonetheless focused my energy and attention on the responsibilities of running the largest middle school in Arlington County and complying with every request from the Superintendent. However, Dr. Murphy and Dr. Hobbs have made it clear to me they want me to retire despite my commitment to WMS and my plans to work longer to complete the excellent initiatives we have launched. Since September, I have been subjected to further baseless and demanding actions. These include requirements for excessive reporting and innumerable meetings to monitor my performance; violations of APS confidentiality policy by revealing personnel information to unauthorized parties; and discriminatory discussions of my hoped for premature retirement. The latter even included an announcement at a meeting of all APS leadership staff that Dr Hobbs and I had been discussing my retirement. Since I had previously informed both Dr. Murphy and Dr. Hobbs that I had no plans for retirement, this was an attempt to undermine my leadership effectiveness by making me appear to be a lame duck to my peers.
The continuing misconduct reached such a level that I was forced to file formal age and gender discrimination complaints with the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Council and the Arlington School Board. In apparent retaliation for my filing these actions, the Superintendent confirmed his threat to place me on a formal Performance Improvement Plan. This would impose enormous additional micro-management of school activities and endless information generation on top of an already demanding work load.
I am confident that if I pursued these claims through the APS and federal procedural and litigation processes, I would prevail based on the facts. Yet, this could take years. I am willing to invest the effort in seeking justice and modeling persistence in defense of my personal reputation. However, my professional responsibilities to put the WMS students first will not allow me to let this unnecessary and corrosive situation to drag on indefinitely. Beyond the personal stress, it is a major distraction from our core educational purpose to have to constantly defend WMS to a Superintendent who should be aware of its outstanding achievements and educational environment. We have exciting initiatives at WMS that I hate to abandon. But, it is ultimately unproductive for the school to have a principal the Superintendent does not want and will not support.
I appreciate the support I have received during this difficult time from my colleagues. On their behalf, I must note that my situation with the new Superintendent is not an isolated incident. It is merely representative of a larger problem in the Arlington Public Schools. In conversations with my school-based and Central Office colleagues, it is clear there is a widespread concern in Dr. Murphy’s leadership. In his short tenure, he has created an environment of distrust between himself and many of the leadership staff. Rather than building a spirit of teamwork in pursuit of further educational excellence, he has created a divisive and blame-seeking environment. Some of these outstanding educators are dispirited; others are angry; some have been cowed into silence. Unfortunately, a number of individuals are considering premature retirement or are seeking employment opportunities outside the system. Some have already departed because they didn’t wish to work in an environment where they are neither valued nor supported. This is not a case of legitimate professional disagreements on APS direction, means and priorities. While it is hoped that a Superintendent would sincerely seek the input and experience of the leaders on important educational matters, it is the prerogative of the School Board’s appointee to set his own course and for the career staff to try and implement it. Rather, this unfortunate situation is the result of his treatment of those who work for him and disrespect for the opinions of others. It reflects his belief that any disagreement with his ideas is not acceptable professional discourse, but rather personal disloyalty. I have not seen a comparably hostile atmosphere in my three decades of service to Arlington Public Schools. It is contrary to the professional and collaborative approach that has made APS one of the top school systems in the country. I am not alone in this opinion.
In conclusion, I wish to thank you for your personal support during my tenure at WMS. It is gratifying and appreciated. More importantly, thank you for your contributions to the Williamsburg educational community. Our students have benefitted enormously. I will miss you all. You have my best wishes and will be in my prayers.


Superintendent Responds to Principal’s Letter to Parents

Arlington Public Schools superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy is responding to a lengthy resignation letter sent to Williamsburg Middle School parents by the school’s principal. The letter, first reported by, accused Dr. Murphy of harassment and discrimination.

Dr. Murphy’s letter to parents toned back some of the language used by the school system last night, when officials described the letter as “regrettable,” “unfortunate” and “very angry” in a statement to the Washington Post.

“We will continue to respond with a high level of professionalism and cannot discuss Ms. Francis’s actions now or in the future,” Dr. Murphy wrote. “However, we deny that there has been any discrimination.”
APS School Talk – A Letter to the Williamsburg Community
February 2, 2011
Dear Williamsburg Parents:
By now we know that you have heard that Ms. Francis has chosen to resign her position as principal at Williamsburg Middle School. I want to assure you that the students, parents, staff and community have been and will remain my first priority during this period of transition.
While I understand that many parents may have questions, it has always been the practice of the Arlington Public Schools that we do not publicly discuss Personnel issues. Therefore, we will continue to respond with a high level of professionalism and cannot discuss Ms. Francis’s actions now or in the future. However, we deny that there has been any discrimination.
At this time, we are exercising our responsibility to make sure that we provide the best educational learning environment for your student. Our primary focus is to take appropriate and immediate steps to put a highlyqualified team of administrative leaders in place at the school to ensure that we provide the best instructional support and leadership for our students, their families and the school staff.
Please know that the students at Williamsburg and their well-being will remain our primary focus as we work to ensure that they receive a high quality education in a positive learning environment.
As this process evolves, we will involve the Williamsburg community and keep you apprised of our deliberations and decisions.
Patrick K. Murphy, Ed.D.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Today is February 1

There is this (free!) online food delivery service I like to use called Here is a graphic showing you how they work.

My favorite part about the whole system?

The guy on the couch is totally naked.


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