Friday, February 26, 2010

David and Dawn - The Ohio Tour!

Two districts were trained in the new BoardDocs in the same week! First one up...Groveport Madison School District which is just southeast of downtown Columbus.

David and I wrestled the weather the first day of training. I flew into Columbus Ohio on the tail end of yet ANOTHER winter storm. David's plane never even made it to Columbus. He landed in Detroit and that is where Delta Airlines wanted him to stay....for 2 more days!

David of course would have none of that nonsense. He and another stranded soul rented a car and drove through the storm together to Columbus. Rental car companies didn't have a wide array of choices that night, so he drove an economy car through the storm. YIKES!!!! (My jetski has more horsepower than the car he drove.)

He made it safely to Columbus ready to implement Groveport Madison School District. There was just on tiny little problem, the document publisher was snow bound at home. In fact, the only two people at the district were the superintendent and the business manager. We rolled up our sleeves, took off our boots and went to work showing them their site. Oh, did I mention that the training for the board was first evening also. All showed, All loved it!

Next up? Middletown Ohio...the same week!

We traveled for about 2 hours from Columbus. Middletown School District is located, well, midway between Dayton and Cincinnati. Guess that's how they got their name.

The mascot for Middletown is a "Middie". Cute huh?

Friday, February 5, 2010

West Mifflin Area..Yep, that's in Pittsburgh!

I'm always surprised at Pittsburgh..home of the Steelers, the's a big metropolitan city. Did you know it's a very hilly city...never knew that before visiting there.

45 minutes south of the Pittsburgh airport is West Mifflin, PA, home of West Mifflin School District. David and I traveled there on a cold February day. The district is housed in the same building as the city government, sharing resources which is a great idea. They use the same room for the Board of Directors and the City Council meetings.

The district is very excited with all the BoardDocs features, saving time and money for district staff and board members.

The first evening after training concluded David and I went to Amels for dinner. Amels Restaurant was highly recommended by Judy, the document publisher. Boy, she was right! What a great dinner that night and very reasonable too. If you love Syrian food, this is your place. Just look for the neon genie!

Then next day, after the feast at Amels, David wanted to eat a light salad for lunch....but what a salad he had. French fries on sandwiches are a trademark of Primanti Brothers in Pittsburgh but french fries on a SALAD? Yep, only in Pittsburgh!

The Best Laid Plans - Fairfax Regional Training Sessions

Plan your work, work your plan. We've been planning, planning, planning for the regional training sessions to convert everyone to the new BoardDocs. We held the first regional training session at the Fairfax County Public Schools Plum Center for Lifelong Learning in Fairfax, Virginia this week. Apparently, though, I forgot to ask for NO SNOW!

First, so many thanks to Fairfax County Public Schools for allowing us to use their wonderful facility for our training sessions. Pam Goddard worked with me over a few months to get dates scheduled and confirmed. Clif Wade helped make sure that technically everything was good to go.

I am so grateful for all of their patience and assistance, I certainly couldn't have done this on my own.

The first Document Publisher session had 14 attendees from surrounding school districts; Fairfax County Schools, Loudoun County Schools, Howard County Schools, ERFC, and Fall Church City Schools. After some initial discussion, we dove into training.

I'd say everyone was most excited about dragging and dropping agenda items and categories within a meeting and having them automatically renumber. You might even say they were giddy.

A snowstorm loomed on the horizon for Wednesday, and the cancellations started rolling in by email and phone. But you know, better safe than sorry, and we want everyone safe. I ended up with one lucky document publisher from Charles County Government in Maryland. Born in Ohio, Denise Ferguson scoffs at the snow. She drove up to my hotel where we proceeded to a restaurant with wi-fi and ate lunch and had document publisher training. Training went well, and we both had fabulous salads - in spite of the snow.

Two board training sessions later, I was ready to get the heck out of Dodge (well, Virginia actually) because the storm of the century was headed to that very area. The airport was crazy busy, full of people who wanted one thing: TO GET HOME.

So I'm home safe and sound today. Armed with the experience of the first round of regional trainings, we are tweaking our process to provide the best possible experience for everyone. Have I mentioned how awesome the new BoardDocs is? The new BoardDocs is AWESOME!