Saturday, May 30, 2009

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Monday, May 18, 2009

Where did the time go?

It's been a while since my last post. With my new job, I haven't had as much time to share much of life's happenings. For friends and family, I thought I would give you all an update on this tremendous week of change.

First, my oldest daughter, Gab, graduated this weekend. For two years, she has been involved in the TAMS (Texas Academy of Math and Science) Program. Basically, she attended her junior and senior years and the University of North Texas and now has a high school diploma with 67 plus college credit hours. I am obviously a proud papa and more proud that she graduated with honors as did the other 144 students in the program. We are equally as proud of her full scholarship - the wallet is happy. Needless to say, while I am proud, I am also sad. Where did the time go? My wife always told me, enjoy your kids and every moment with them... you will look back one day and wonder where all the time has gone. I always said to myself, I would never say that... I've said it more than once or twice this weekend. So my first born will go off to continue on with her remaining two years of undergrad and then off to bigger and better. One down, four more to go as my sister reminds me. (For friend & family that missed the graduation, I've posted the video on Facebook.) They only allowed 8 guest per family; 5 of those included just my kids.

This week we celebrated my birthday, Gab's graduation and Caroline's dance recital. All wonderful and memorable events in the Costilla household. Caroline was a dancing machine. She loved the fact that she could wear make-up. Her first and last opportunity!

On a final note of this week of change... and this is the tough part. As we watched our oldest walk across the stage and on into her future, America and I were eagerly awaiting to share news of the arrival of a precious life. America and I have known for two months that we were expecting our 6th child. A true blessing from God to the Costilla family. We wanted to wait to let our friends and family know until after Gab's big day - we did not want to take anything away from that. However, plans changed... As we prepared for the big day, America started feeling uncomfortable and noticed some changes. Long story short, we took her to the doctors to learn that she was undergoing a miscarriage. Luckily, her parents and mine were in town for the graduation, we have had so much love and support. Amidst the chaos and ceremonies, everyone is doing fine. It is a difficult time and hard to comprehend or even discuss. But I do ask for your continued prayers as I'm not really sure what all this means. In all things God has a plan and we are grateful for His blessings. As our first born angel embarks on her new life, we also welcome our unborn angel into heaven.

Enjoy your time with your kids, they grow up so fast.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Education reform in a new ARRA

These are notes taken from a recent webinar that a colleague participated in. I thought it was worth sharing...

In listening to Walter Isaacson on education reform yesterday he stressed several point. He was appearing on one of the morning talk shows with Mayor Fenty (Washington D.C.)

His point was that we had a fundamental problem with NCLB in that you had to make children proficient to get federal $$. The United States already spends more per pupil than any industrialized nation, and yet continues to get less of a result in terms of student achievement. He was proposing that we need innovative new types of schools, trying innovative new approaches to learning. Among other things they think we will begin to see:
  • National standards – linked to international benchmarks
  • New approaches to testing – more relevant, more real-world context
  • Merit pay for teachers – particularly those evidencing success in high poverty, low income settings
  • Willingness to take on the teacher unions to bring about positive reforms
  • day, extended year, extended support mechanisms for students/families
  • Greater sense of urgency to turn around failing schools
  • Embracing of charter schools that work (Isaacson referenced Kipp Academies and their academic/support structure)
Governors and cities that they mentioned were worth watching: Sonny Purdue (Georgia), Illinois, Chicago school system, Washington DC, NYC, Recovery District in New Orleans

They also suggested that in the next several weeks we will see Duncan rewarding states for voluntarily signing on the concept of embracing/developing/implementing national standards. Rewards would come from the $5B “Race to the Top” fund in the Stimulus package and will likely go to states that have been working with the standards project being coordinated through Achieve, CCSSO and NGA .

Project Pic365 - day193

Cinco de Mayo

Posted by ShoZu

Saturday, May 2, 2009