Steve Bergen Blog

co-Director Summercore, Inc.

and formerly a struggling Red Sox fan and struggling Celtics fan
resume at

no longer struggling since Red Sox/Yankees game 7 on 10/20/2004 and Celtics/Lakers game 6 on 6/17/08 ;-)

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Original Music that might put a smile on your face ;-)


These web pages are devoted exclusively to educational links and projects that we have been involved with at several schools over the years since the Celtics from the East Coast used to play the Lakers from the West Coast. From 75-80, the two of us taught at Wooster School in Danbury, Connecticut and from 84-94, I taught at Concord Academy in Concord, Massachusetts. I started my teaching career in 1973 as a Knicks fan at St. Anne's-Belfield School in Charlottesville, Virginia. We have been at Noble and Greenough School since 1994. I then teach at The Chapin School in New York from 2002-2006
The Chinese character on the left stands for crisis. The one on the right stands for opportunity. An interesting observation from a friend is that crisis and opportunity have the same base. It all depends on what you do with the situation. From crisis comes opportunity. We in the educational computing world see this theme all the time: hard drive crashes, file is corrupt, disk is bad and even the entire Y2K situation. Each crisis represents a wonderful opportunity to learn and address a bigger problem. That is why some of us love when Plan A does not work, since the challenge of finding a Plan B solution is an opportunity to make good come from bad. As Henry David Thoreau once wrote "Things do not change; people change." As CIO of The Chapin School from 2002-2007, I used to walk daily by the sign that reminds me to not be afraid of change! Steve Bergen (this Web page revised 3/1/09)

12/7/97 Update: A Summercore Alum from the late 80s (Tom Northrup, Headmaster, Hill School, Virginia) sent me a photo of Larry Bird with Larry's signature saying "Dear Steve, Good Luck at Nobles, Larry" ... I just scanned this picture and posted it on my web page in case you want to see it ... it is the most special autograph that I have ever received in my entire life! Don't Think Y2K, It's All Right ... Jan 1999 update (the last January with electricity): I am planning to study my notes on this guitar graphic and practice a lot as I get ready for Y2K and the world with no computers. Between Bob Lasher (my guitar teacher, and Ben Schwendener (my son's piano teacher, e-mail, creator of the original music for the No Copying Software Gotta Be Honest at Nobles Blues), I will be ready to hit the streets of Cambridge in the Fall of 1999 with this spin-off of Alice's Restaurant (You can get any bug you fear .. when Y2K hits next year ... Walk right into the computer lab ... you may find that it's very sad) and my Don't Think Y2K song .. this same page contains many links to more info about Y2K ... update 1/99: I posted a few movies from my father who "ALMOST" beat me in a great chess game: one ... two ... three ... four
5/8/99 Update: I just returned from Lauren and Eric's incredible wedding down in New Jersey, where the music playing when Lauren walked down the aisle was True Companion by Mark Cohn from the album "Walking in Memphis" ... this digital video that I made will play on some but not all computers (you might need to fuss with the settings on your web browser and of course need to know that it will take 33-99 seconds to download this 500K file) .. if you are pressed for time, start with picture 33, since the last four pictures (33-36) were done with the better digital camera ... obviously the printed pictures will be better!
1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36


I graduated high school in 1969 and my hair was way below my shoulders. I refused to wear a tie for many years, including my wedding in 1972. I must have been told at least 33 times that "having long hair" and "refusing to wear a tie" was NOT professional and it would affect my ability to get a job. My rejoinder always was that I would not want a job from anyone who used those criteria. I spent several years in my twenties being uncomfortable with students calling me Mr. Bergen since that was my father's name. Again, I have been told many times over the last 40 years that having students call you by your first name is not professional. I have created many websites in my life and almost all of them have been functional and useful but in the eyes of many people, not sufficiently professional. I frequently give out a dollar to kids in response to a challenge ("find the first non-prime above 1000") and have been told that giving out money like this is not professional. Creating The Teaching Company in 1982 and Summercore in 1985 has put me into the world of business. Needless to say, I have been told many times, doing X or Y or Z is not professional in running a business. I really can't say if this is more or less than the number of times I have been told the same thing in terms of being a teacher. What I can say for sure is that if I were born in 1851 instead of 1951, I am sure that treating blacks, Jews, gay and female students as no different than the white male Protestant norm would have been considered not professional!

From 1973-75, I taught high school math at St. Anne's-Belfield School in Charlottesville, Virginia. Charlottesville, by the way, has 15 bytes in it, probably more than any other one word major city in the country! During my second year teaching math, a colleague David Allen, asked me if I would teach the BASIC computer course for him, since he wanted to do wilderness survival in the Blue Ridge mountains. Teaching this BASIC course with no previous programming skill was my start into computers; it set the stage for me that learning along with students is the key!

From 1975-80, I was the head of the math dept at Wooster School in Danbury, Connecticut and continued teaching occasional computer courses. The wonderful faculty caricature drawing on the left (click on it to magnify) was done by Renee Williams (Wooster 81); it was sent via snail-mail to us by John "==>" Cheeseman who had Lynne Schalman come back to Wooster School to conduct a one day computer workshop. It was around 1978 (when Renee was in grade 9 and drew this picture) when we upgraded our 8K Wang Computer (which cost $7000) to 12K of RAM and a tape cassette drive, that another colleague, Jack Lee first got me involved in data file programming. I was hooked! In 1979, the very summer that Larry Bird left French Lick to come to Boston, another Larry - Lawrence Davis - and I spent over 200 hours writing a scheduling program. We were incredibly proud of that BASIC program that built the conflict matrix and ran overnight, scheduling 280 students into a variety of singleton, doubleton and tripleton courses. We had under 10 conflicts that first summer using our MAXCLUST algorithms, far fewer than previous hand-built schedules.

In late 1980, I left teaching to join The Williamson Group in Cambridge as a programmer and consultant. I still recall my frustration and amazement helping to train staff people on word-processing, this new Data 3500 software that allowed words to wrap around the screen! Our first customers were Dana Hall School, Miss Porter's School, Emma Willard and Governor Dummer, where Ben Snyder worked in the Development Office. Our big break came with NAIS, the National Association of Independent Schools, where I produced several statistical analysis software programs, again in BASIC.

In June of 1982, I was one of two teachers selected to teach a computer course for 35 Independent School Teachers in Massachusetts, co-sponsored by ISAM, Wang, Concord Academy and the Dodge Foundation. After the course, I went on vacation and read the book MINDSTORMS by Seymour Papert. I knew it was time to get involved. I gave my boss, Jim Williamson, 3 months notice and started The Teaching Company that fall, sending out 1000 flyers on an Apple IIe computer with Magic Window word processing. It was my brother-in-law (Donald Fischer, now Senior Vice President at Crum & Forster) who thougt up the name The Teaching Company when we were on vacation July 1982. We started the Summercore Carnival at Stuart Country Day School in 1992.

Digging back, I have found the leading paragraph that we used in advertising our computer programming courses from 1982:

"In order to promote a broad, humanistic view of computer education, we believe that teachers of all disciplines shoudl acquire basic skills of programming. To the extent that programming remains the exclusive domain of math/science teachers, we may be limiting the next generation to a narrow, technical view of computers. Fundamentally, we believe that these programming skills are accessible to everyone - scientists and poets alike."

LEFT SIDE: TC begins in Summer 82 | RIGHT SIDE: First Dot-Matrix Flyer 8/1/82
(click each graphic to see the full sized PDF)

From 1984-1994, I was a part-time math teacher, computer teacher and eventually computer coordinator at Concord Academy. In 1985, Lynne Schalman and I started doing Summercore at Concord Academy a 5 day workshop for teachers and administrators, a great suggestion inspired by Jonathan Choate at Groton School.

In 1994, I came to Nobles to work for Dick Baker and finally gave up my long-held belief that wearing dungarees and not wearing a tie to work was an important life consideration. Interestingly enough, I have still saved Dick's course evaluation from that first Teaching Company course in 1982; his writing on that evaluation was much better than his programming skills in the course!

Interests, Activities & Plans

Presently, the ongoing computer involvements of Nobles has become a web of non-stop activity. Overseeing our campus bulletin board, NoblesNet and our web pages ( and helping to keep our computer department growing will probably occupy most of my time over the next few years.

In the summers, Lynne Schalman and I conduct teacher-training workshops both at Nobles and on the road. We started the Original Teaching Company in 1982 and conducted our first Summercore in 1985. Interesting enough, we used to conduct Summercore in June, but pushed the workshops into July to avoid conflicts with NBA Boston Celtic championship games that we experienced in 85, 86 and 87. What are the chances that we will have conflicts again!

Other Interesting Things

Before computers, I used to garden, read books, play guitar, play chess and do a lot of mathematics. I used to read and do mathematics for both work and pleasure. Reading Harold Jacobs, Martin Gardener and Morris Kline were common activities during vacation.

As computers have grown up in my life over the past 15 years, I find myself with less and less time. I now love walking and a-reading books. In case you are not familiar with the word, a-read means "audio-read" in the same way that "e-mail" means electronic mail. I got my start by a-reading Winds of War and War and Remembrance, even during the Boston Marathon of 1995. Inspired by Matt Horvat, I walked the 26 miles leaving Hopkinton at 7AM and arriving at the John Hancock at 4PM.

Since then, I have a-read several other books including Exodus, Pleading Guilty, Hocus Pocus and Hamlet. While a-reading may not count as reading, it is definitely a hobby that I enjoy!

No longer do I practice the guitar, do any gardening or play chess. Instead, the intrigue of Hypercard Programming, HTML Programming and learning Photoshop and Videoshop has taken over! The only activity that so far has not diminished has been watching the Boston Celtics!

Lynne Schalman and I have written The Summercore Primer that we use in our workshops with teachers. Updating this massive resource book has been a major activity over the last ten years, although filling it with Boston Celtic signatures, metaphors and allusions makes the job less stressful. Our plans for 1998 include revising the Summercore Primer, titling it the French Lick edition!

Our two children, Sarah and Sam, were both born in interesting Boston Celtic years, 1979 and 1984 respectively. In fact, our obsession with the Boston Celtics is probably related to the lack of time we have had in lives due to computers and children. At times, we joke that our lives are a medley of c's -- children, computers and celtics. Some of the most amazing family moments of the last 10 years have involved our kids and the Boston Celtics.

Ever since my back surgery in 1992, I have become a regular swimmer, very proud of the fact that I can swim a mile in about an hour, which is a real joke compared to any real swimmer. Nevertheless, swimming several hours per week has become a regular habit and important recreational/therapeutic activity. I even convinced my neuro-surgeon, Marx Bowens, that it was hypocritical of him to advocate swimming and avoid it himself. So now he swims as well!

On Saturday, June28th, we left Seven Hills School in Cincinnati, our second Summercore of 1997; the week had gone exceedingly well, with 24 wonderful teachers making mega-progress with computer skills and conducting a superb end of week Summecore Carnival! In addition to giving us great food tips (Montgomery Inn, Graeter's Ice Cream) during the week, we found out that one of the participants (Jan) had a daughter who knew Larry Bird well. We were psyched for our one day of summer vacation planned at the French Lick Springs Resort!

The three of us -- Sam, Lynne and me -- drove 3 hours to French Lick, Indiana. Not only did we cross a time zone (French Lick is one hour difference from Cincinnati), but we crossed a metaphorical one as well. The town appears out of the 1930s with the highlight being the 5 and 10 cent store. About a mile from town, we found Bird's original house where he grew up and shot hoops. Once his house was sold, someone came by and swiped the rim. We met numerous people in the town whose children had gone to school with Larry and had wonderful stories to share. One of them involved the way that kids at the high school who can't afford sneakers seem to magically finding them appear, without any mention of who has been buying them!

Right in the town is the basketball court where Larry practiced and the street sign named after him. Off to the right, you can see one of the garbage trucks that Larry might have driven after leaving Indiana in the beginning of his freshman year. Finally, we drove to his new house, where he has a full sized court complete with the Celtics logo. In one of his books, he mentions how he leaves a ball on the court for visitors who are driving by. Clearly, things have changed over the last ten years, since now this is a large fence with a clear NO TRESPASSING sign.

The brick split-level house is on a large estate and clearly stands out by French Lick standards. Larry chose to build this house in West Baden on his grandfather's land. This is somewhat of a town controversy, since French Lick folks felt like he was leaving his home town!
We spent less than 24 hours in French Lick, but it was well worth it. As it turns out, the town has a national reputation for its sulfur springs. The French Lick Springs Resort hosts hundreds of people and employs 20% of the town. We might have been the only three that day who were less interested in spas, golf courses and tennis courts than in seeing the old haunts of LB!

A few months after visiting French Lick, I received in the mail on 12/1/97 a package from Tom Northrup (Hill School Headmaster, Middleburg VA, Summercore participant from 89, fellow sciatica sufferer, great person). I knew that Tom had played college ball for a coach who now assisted Larry Bird for the Indiana Pacers. Never in my wildest dreams, however, did I imagine I would see this special autographed picture that Tom sent me!

Update 1/98 ... I have been a-reading the book called Foucault's Pendulum by Roberto Eco ... this has re-awakened my old fascination with numerology

Update 1999 ... I took 3 months off to have a mini-sabbatical for the first time in my life. One of the things I accomplished involved sewing and creating a Mr. Bill doll for my daughter Sarah in England since our dog Dunkin had chewed and destroyed the old Mr. Bill ... click here

Update 2002: The Best Song Ever!
A Birthday Present from Ichiro, Key and The DAC
April 2002
"Leavin' on an Acela Train ..."

click to enlarge

All his baskets are packed he's ready to go he's standin' there on Marrett Road
... we know in time we'll have to say goodbye ...

to the DESK year yet it won't be beat we sure will miss you on Computer Street
but wish you the best at Chapin down in NYC

So KIS and smile for us Promise that you'll e-mail us Make it like you've never
ever left ...

Cause you're leavin' on the acela train Gone Monday then Friday back again Oh,
Steve -- we hate to see you go ...

Will he leave his car behind for Sam? Will he take his new watch cam? what will
we do without our favorite man? We sure will miss Number 33 What cognac moments
will there be? if the fish should die we'll name the next one Steve

So KIS and smile for us Promise that you'll visit us Don't kill Dunkin no matter
what you do ...

Cause you're leaving on the acela train Gone Monday then Friday back again Oh
Steve, we hate to see you go ...

His black jeans and sneakers you know we'll miss his crazy ties his songs and
math tricks Who will keeup us laughiiiing all day loooong? The Larry Bird doll
and Hulk Hogan too his green backpacks and "leaving a shoe" Already it's so
normal here we feel bluuuuuue ...

So KIS and smile for us Promise you'll remember us Tell those folks at Chapin
about the DAC, Ichiro and KeY

Cause you're leaving on the acela train Gone Monday then Friday back again Oh
Steve, we hate to see you go ...

Summercore Blogs 02-06

My trip to Curacao (Jan 2007)

The Other Side of Loneliness

Students from my past

Blogs of Friends and Blogs of Interest

Fall 2007

Spring/Summer/Fall 2008

Spring/Summer/Fall 2008

Blog Update 8/25/09: Obama lived

here on 94th Street ... I took a walk and posted 2 pictures here and here regarding 394 East 94th Street

Blog Update 10/21/09: Dr. John Sarno and TMS (Tension myositis syndrome)

Sitting at Mustangs at 85th and Second and talking about Summercore with a tech director at another independent school, I heard for the first time about Dr. John Sarnoff from NYU and his theories about back pain and knee pain which I am currently experiencing. I went home and read the "Expert Interview from 2004" at ... I spent a while looking at his Web site at where he articulates that "many people who have been diagnosed with [meniscus] conditions have become pain-free through reading his books, attending his lectures, and studying his video program. If it involves a tendon around the knee, for example, the patient will have a painful tendon there. Invariably a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study will be done and doctors may find a minor tear of the meniscus, the cartilage, in the knee and say, That's where the pain is coming from. What has been clear right from the beginning is that people were responding to stressful situations in their lives. Even more interesting, people were responding to the pressures and the stresses that they put on themselves. I came to realize that people who tend to be perfectionists -- that is, hard-working, conscientious, ambitious, success-oriented, driven, and so on -- that this type of personality was highly susceptible to TMS. Later, I realized that there is another kind of self-induced pressure, and that is the need to be a good person. This is the need to please people, to want to be liked, to want to be approved of. This, too, like the pressure to excel or to be a perfectionist, is a pressure and seemed to play a big role in bringing on this disorder." Dr. Sarno has written 3 books and I will buy one. Who knows? This might prove to be a life-alterning conversation that I had by accident today. I am now reading about TMS and notable patients including Howard Stern, Anne Bancroft and John Stossel from 20/20.

Blog Update 11/15/09: 40th High School Reunion

So yesterday, I went to my first high school reunion since I graduated in 1969. Lynne Schalman and I were greeted with great enthusiasm by Shelley Gellman who has been married to Skip Feinberg for 35 years. We then ended up meeting a huge number of people we had not seen in 40 years: David Hirsch Morristown Obstetrics & Gynecology Associates) , Jeff Corlitz (who remembered double-dating with us when he was a junior and we were seniors), Pam Bayes, Rhonda Pilmar, Lyn Shalom (who lives in Boca Raton FL), Susan Satin (who impressed me immensely with the fact that she had watched many of my videos) and and so many others. I was greeted by Joan Tompkins whom I had gone to the 9th grade prom with. Someone mentioned that MarK Anish was there and Shelley brought me over to him. MarK had been able to put a phone in his mouth back in high school and he demonstrated that he could still do it with a cell phone ("not quite the same"). Marc is down in Valley Forge PA as an IT manager for Sunoco, I believe, and he said how he saw Hank Morgenstern 5 years ago at the 35th reunion. He said that Hank has moved his lawyer work in Daytona, although the only link I could find in Daytona area is from the ENVIRONMENTAL COUNCIL OF VOLUSIA AND FLAGLER from Nov 2007. David Hirsch told the story about how Richard Feuer on a 10th grade French took a few people down to the village and escaped from the trip. Karl Wexler commanded the microphone and sang the lead to numerous songs. Marty Tackel told Lynne how his wife is now the head of the History Channel, but I don't know if I can believe him since he recalls meeting me for dinner 15 years ago when it really was in 2003. Only belatedly did I find out that guy with the Yamikah was Richard Plotzker and when I went to find him, he was gone! I saw Mindy Cook who had gone to Clark University with me in 1969, although I had forgotten that. I told her about Dr. Bibace (and his genetics/enviornment pronouncement to all of us) whom she had as a teacher since she was a psych major and the Clark Kent joke from May 1969. Mindy now lives in Marblehead MA if my memory is correct and is married to a Yankees fan. I also saw Judy Lee (now in Albany with Sandy Seidenfrau) and Arlene Vhugen. I amazed myself that I almost recalled where Mindy and Arlene live on Williams Ave. Lynne saw Jeffrey Schneider and John Nesbitt and Donna Abrams and we both saw Norma Danzger. We left at midnight and definitely will attend again in 40 more years!

It was back in high school in the 1960s that I started using the word caconym which I thought I had made up but it turns out it is a legal word. Click here. What I remember from high school days was that there seemed to be no word for the opposite of euphemism, so I started using this word caconym. Examples of caconyms in my discourse and conversations over the last 45 years would include "Alice is a tom boy" or "Bob is pushy" or "Carol's child must be in the terrible twos" ... in each case there is a positive spin that could have been said such as "Alice is athletic" or "Bob is proactive" or "Carol's child is curious and learn to be assertive."

Blog Update 12/4/09: The RITE Strategy becomes STRIDE

Many years ago, when one of my children was in grade 1 or 2 at Shady Hill School with Mr. Shulman, I made up the phrase RITE which stood for
R: respond in kind
I: ignore
T: tell the teacher
E: escalate
for the four ways of responding to another student who was being mean or saying something problematic. I have finally realized there are 6 not 4 response:
S: share the hurt ("explain to the person why and how this was a problematic thing to say or do")
T: tell the teacher
R: respond in kind
I: ignore
D: deflect w/humor
E: escalate
The S and D are definitely responses that can be used by both kids and adults.
Shortcut: Use to get to this section!

Wow! I just found out about the WITS stratgies which appears to be more famous than the RITE or STRIDE stratgies. Click here to go to and learn about WITS (walk away, ignore, talk it out, seek help)

Blog Update 12/24/09: 33 hours to Boston and back

I left Wed 12/23 and headed north visiting Ellie Petrov (formerly Ellie Newman) in Springfield MA to see the wonderful new house that she and Denny now have Thursday at 7:33 am, I met Phil McFarland at the Brugger's Bagel shop near where I used to live in Lexington MA. Thursday morning, I saw Alan Epstein in Watertown MA and heard about the video of Mark Walker professor at GWU posted on the PAEC site. Thursday afternoon, I drove to Stonington CT to see Janet Gezari. I saw the videos of Chris Garneau and Steve Cooper, The Gray Kid photography by her son Sam Gezari. By the way, it was in Lexington MA that we purchased 35 tons of rocks (35 tons in this picture each ton is 2000 pounds) --this math problem and many more appear on my Math Tricks and Treats Page at

Blog Update 1/2/10: A Calculus Problem ("Integration by Substitution") at Kiehl's

Wandering through Philadelphia when visiting my daughter, we stopped at Kiehl's Pharmacy. The countertop included a calculus problem on integration using the method of substitution. I have never seen any previous use of calculus for a store design. A bit of research on Kiehl's reveals that it was started in 1851 as an apothecary shop in NYC by John Kiehl and then was purchased by Irving Morse in 1921 whose family had changed his name from Moskowitz.

Blog Update 2/22/10

Lynne and I noticed that the character on Smart Puffs ... looks like me ... see below on the left ... ... Smart Puffs are made by Robert's American Gourmet which is best know for Pirate's Booty and Veggie Booty which once had a recall due to salmonella poisoning.

Blog Update 3/6/10 TEDxNYED Conference at Collegiate

With the help of a friend, I managed to attend the second half of the Saturday March 6th TEDx Conference at Collegiate School. Although many of the talks were impressive, the one by Dan Meyer from California was LarryBirdesque in terms of the quality of both the content and the style of the presentation. Dan teaches at a rural public high school in Santa Cruz CA, a few hours south of San Francisco. In all seriousness, Dan was one of the best math speakers I have heard in over 35 years which is probably before he was born! You can watch Dan's 12 minute TEDx presentation on "teaching math" by going to Although Dan was probably not alive in the 1970s when I started my math teaching career and read the book, Why the Professor Can't Teach and several other books by Morris Kline who died in 1992, there is no question that Professor Kline in heaven today is looking down at Dan Meyer and saying "this man truly CAN teach and we need more math teachers to implement his strategies re math curriculum makeover." I love what Dan says in the video about spending the bulk of his 5 hours of prep time per week "rebuilding" the math problems that he assigns to his "mathematically and conversationally intimidated students."

Dan's tips and techniques (as you will hear on the video) include

  1. Use multimedia
  2. Encourage student intuition
  3. Ask the shortest question you can
  4. Let the students build the problem
  5. Be less helpful

By the way, Dan's blog is at; he received his Masters of Arts from the University of California at Davis in 2005. He currently works for Google as a curriculum fellow and lives with his wife in Santa Cruz CA.

Steve Bergen

Blog Update 3/21/10

Via Richard Plotzker, I hear about Craig Schiller who is now Rabbi Mayer Schiller at Manhattan Talmudic Academy .. in the YouTube video from 1990 at, Craig tells about how in 1964 (age 13) he was a Barry Goldwater supporter and that this coalesced with his decision to become part of New Square and then drop out of public school and begin to attend the Yeshiva ... see Wikipedia entry at ... from, Craig writes "In 1964 my parents moved to Rockland County and I came in close proximity with Orthodox Jews for the first time. This really brought my questions to the fore, so in the spring of 1964 I persuaded two of my classmates in public school - we were in seventh grade - to become practicing Orthodox Jews for a month in order to see what it was all about."

Blog Update 6/27/10

I just went to see The Karote Kid 2010 Remake for the second time and wrote down this quote on my hand during the movie: "when life knocks you down, you can choose whether or not to get back up." This movie has now replaced West Side Story as my favorite movie of all time and I think I will find a forum for showing it to kids at Storefront over the next year or two. Learning to live and adjust in a foreign country, themes of how different cultures adjust to each other, themes of fighting and the RITE strategies are all wonderful themes of this powerful movie. How I wish I could get Will Smith or Jaden Smith or Jada Pinkett Smith to come talk to our students. By the way,re both Jaden and his mom Jada Pinkett are of West Indian, Creole, African-American and Portuguese Jewish ancestry.

Blog Update 7/3/10

Deciding to move ahead with exploring the power of "reading devices" in education, I started this weekend reading my first Kindle book called Our School: The Inspiring Story of Two Teachers, One Big Idea and the School that Beat the Odds by Joanne Jacobs with joanne (at) email. In case you have never heard of it, the book tells the story of DCP (Downtown College Prep) in San Jose. Click here to read more about the school.
Introduction and 9 chapters: "by the time I talked to Greg Lippman and Jennifer Andaluz, the founders of DCP, they were starting their second year ... Lippman and Andaluz gave me full access to every aspect of the school. They believe it's essential for their school to be open to public scrutiny." Interesting trivia in the intro is that the author's grandfather Sol Leaf invented the malted milk balls called Whoppers.
  1. Crossing Over ... Lippman the principal, age 32 states that the school's highest value is "ganas which means deisred, motivation, willpower, spirt, heart or true grit." DCP will be a place of ganas, he explains, "or it will fail." DCP started with 100 students in grade 9 and then expanded by 100 each year.
  2. Fighting the Blob ... "From the morass of red tape, regulations, forms, work rules and mission statements, a huge monster arose. THE BLOB so named by former secretary of education William Bennett is the mass of bureaucracy that crushes creativity, chokes innovation and gobbles up education funds." I never knew that Albert Shankar from the AFT was the person who first proposed charter schools in 1988 or that the first charter school opened in Minnesota in 1992. I also learned through this chapter that Reed Hastings (Netflix) and Donald Fisher (The Gap) were important people in California's charter school movement. I learned that Don Shalvey San Carlos Superintendent was the one to launch Aspire Public Schools, a non-profit charter management organization that my friend Susan Fine had told me about. I also learned that Dayton Ohio is the most charter-intensive city in the USA with 26% of public school students attending charters.
  3. A School of Our Own ... Lippman (Princeton graduate) and Andaluz met while teaching at Gunderson ... "many of their Gunderston colleagues did say they are [arrogant] ... most said they were crazy" ... Lippman went on to teach at Eastside Prep, a tuition-free private school in East Palo Alto (sounds like Storefront) started by Chris Bischof. And so Lippman age 30 and Andaluz age 27 decided to start a charter high school in 1999. "Lippman and Andaluz organized Summer Bridge. Lippman's parents donated the money for the program."Lippman and Andaluz were "inspired by Deborah Meier's work in East Harlem where she created a samll high school that sent 90% of its low-income minority students to college." DCP parents "are involved in all aspects of the school -- student discipline, academic support, teacher and student recruitment, and community advocacy."
  4. Downtown College Purgatory
  5. This is DCP!
  6. Vamos, Cabealleros
  7. Conflict and Resolution
  8. Strike 67
  9. Outside the Box
  10. Life Dreams
  11. On Trial
  12. The Shortest Basketball Team in America
  13. Last Chance at First Semester
  14. The Zoot Suiters
  15. Red Flag
  16. The Efficiency Expert
  17. Patience
  18. Carrying the Torch
  19. Principal's Day
  20. The Knife
  21. E n oEs Fabuloso
  22. Class of '06
  23. Awake
  24. Altius, Fortius
  25. Building for the Futre
  26. Ride the Carrot Salad
  27. Lessons Learned
  28. The Charter Debate
  29. Commencement
Appendix: How to Start a Charter School

Blog Update: 7/9/10

I went back to Charlottesville, Virginia for the first time since 1975 where I had taught at St. Anne's-Belfield School from 73-75 (and had to deal with the dilemma of kicking town people off the tennis courts which caused me tremendous anxiety and stress at the age of 22). Two of my former students who I saw in Washington DC were Francois Lang and Charlie Kupchan. I did not meet Francois' wife Fan but hope to do so in NYC or Washington on another trip before Charlie writes the sequel called "How Former Students and Teachers Become Friends." Francois was the student of mine when I started teaching BASIC computer programming in 1973-74 who wrote the program on haiku that he published in the Mathematics student magazine called An Experiment in Computer Poetry." Back in 1973 at age 22, I lived in University housing near the UVA gym. There has been major renovation at St. Anne's in 35 years including the fact that it now takes in boarders. The school is close to Food of all Nations which still exists. I never saw the downtown mall until this trip even though it was built years ago. Finally, I made a trip to the Core Knowledge building even though the 2 day workshop was at a local hotel.

Blog Update 7/28/10

Interesting article in the NY Times last week included the quote that because of technology "gossip is no longer the resource of the idle and of the vicious but has become a trade" and got me thinking that the best advice for people is to be safe, be proactive but to relax. The quote by the way came from Louis Brandeis in 1890 and was related to the new Kodak camera and the tabloid press. This highlights the fact that internet safety is clearly one more Lexus and Olive Tree issue. It is the job of teenagers (and always has been) to get around adults and act like jerks at times. It the job of parents, teachers and adults (and always has been) to set limits, set boundaries and set consequences. Technology heightens everthing but we need to remember that every instance of some teenager doing something wrong is a teachable moment and not a crisis. We should not be trying to lock down our computers and lock down our schools to make it impossible for bad things to happen. We should be as proactive as possible but we need to RELAX.

Speaking of change, I was sent a link to the WHAT IF video by Karl Fisch who also authored DID YOU KNOW/Shift Happens ... Karl Fisch has been a teacher for eighteen years. He has taught middle and high school math and is currently Director of Technology at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado. He is the project leader of Arapahoe?s Curriculum Innovation Team, leading the staff development efforts for 21 st Century Learners, a group of teachers exploring constructivism and 21st century learning skills. Here is WHAT IF on YouTube.

Blog Update 8/13/10

It is about time I posted "13 Johnsons" or "Thirteen Johnsons" ... Earvin Clay Eddie Eddie George George Clem Reggie Vinnie Stephen Marques Mickey Dennis ... click here

Blog Update 8/25/10

TIPS for the LAST -- . Liberal Arts and Sciences Test -- which I took tonight
1) Multipe choice: skim the paragraph .... read the questions and eliminate 1 or 2 ... now go back to the reading passage to fine tune the answer
2) Essay ... the 1-3-1 formation ... are burgers better than hot dogs ... open paragraph states thesis and reasons ... paragraphs 2,3,4 go into details on the 3 reasons ... paragraph 5 closes up and restates
3) time watch .. flip thru entire test in first 10 seconds, getting a sense of how much to do and how much time allocated .. keep watch next to you
4) do not allow time to run out without answering questions ... make sure you pace yourself so that you answer everything
5) eat chocolate beforehand ... click

Blog Update 9/12/10

Read fascinating article about METs and sitting. See here or here. It turns out that even if you workout an hour a day, if you spend significant hours sitting, you increase your odds of shortening your life. The wikipedia entry about METs (metabolic equivalent of tasks) here shows the numbers for various activities. From one of the articles, "If you sit for long hours, you experience no isometric contraction of the antigravity (postural) muscles. Your muscles, unused for hours at a time, change in subtle fashion, and as a result, your risk for heart disease, diabetes and other diseases can rise.

Blog Update 9/18/10

Spent Yom Kippur break-fast in Philadelphia with family. Heard about two good charter school Independence Charter School and perhaps one on this list that has the word Global. Went to Temple at Kol Tzedek in West Phillie.

Blog Update 9/29/10

Yesterday Rob Evans spoke at Chapin and once again mentioned cognac moments, a metaphor that he coined years ago when he was teaching and decided that it was important to "find some time for himself" once a week to do something special and "take a time out" and "treat himself." I had heard Rob speak many years ago and loved the metaphor and concept. Two Chapin colleagues told me right away about hearing Rob mention "cognac moments" not having realized that the concept had come from him! You can find my use of the term here and my colleagues at Chapin actually incorporated the phrase in a going away song called Leaving on an Acela Train when I left to go to Chapin in 2002.
Will he leave his car behind for Sam? 
Will he take his new watch cam? 
what will
we do without our favorite man? 
We sure will miss Number 33 
What cognac moments
will there be? 
if the fish should die we'll name the next one Steve

Blog Update 10/21/10

The comedian Brian Regan has a routine that struck home as I get ready to turn age 60!

I am getting to the age where my body is starting to fall apart. Now when things break on me, they just stay that way.
Oh my hip hurts. "I guess forever."
Oh I banged my knee. "I guess I'll get used to that pain."
Why does healing just drop out of the equation as you get past 50? And no one seems to care.
I told my doctor. He said "Yeah. Just making small talk. Thanks for coming in today."

Blog Update 11/7/10

Click here to learn about a wonderful cure for a pinched nerve in the shoulder. I never had heard of this before yesterday but it really works: cinnamon and honey for 10 minutes: wellsphere link or

Blog Update 12/5/10

One space vs Two spaces? People still don't get it, even though it has been almost 20 years. See for info for lawyers by a lawyer!

Blog Update 12/16/10

Just heard of a zombie website called ... click here for my zombie picture ;-)

By the way, here is a great zombie video "in plain English" by ...

Blog Update 12/18/10

Spent several hours walking and talking with Robin Brecker last Saturday who showed me one of his videos here and a lot more here. Robin told me about the School of the Future in Philly. We walked more than an hour as alta-kaakers and then the early bird special at Dunkin Donuts ;-)

Blog Update 1/5/10

I met the grown up kids of Wooster colleague Nick Zachary this past fall. Michael is now an artist and I hired him to draw a hypercube which I will proudly display in my classroom as I entice kids with stories of the fourth dimension.

Blog Update 1/10/10

Heard this song from Justin Townes Earl. I might be performing it if the Pats don't beat the Jets next week.
Lord, I'm goin' uptown to the Harlem River to drown
Dirty water gonna cover me over and I'm not gonna make a sound

I'm on a roll, mama, I gotta go, gotta get there while I still can
Troubled days are behind me now and I know they're gonna let me in
When you see me walkin' up the empty yard, just a-singin' and a-clappin' my hands
Tell my mama I love her, tell my father I tried, give my money to my baby to spend

'cause Lord, I'm goin' uptown to the Harlem River to drown
Dirty water gonna cover me over and I'm not gonna make a sound

Good times come and they go, even a good man'll break
He'll let his troubles bury him whole even though he knows what's at stake
So I'm taking no chances, carrying over while I'm still good in His grace
I'm no fool, mama, I know the difference between tempting and choosing my fate

Blog Update 2/1/11

Dean Smith once articulated the four steps of "dealing with a mistake" via an acronym that spells RALF:

Blog Update 4/26/11

Nicole Colbert from NYIT has been an excellent intern with me for the 2011-12 year at Storefront. Click here to see a portfolio of her art work.

Blog Update 5/2/11

From Dianne Connor at the Boston Home to me via email. This quote was a "33" keeper! Most people -- including my family -- thought I was a bit mad when I started on the journey in February of 2010 to create a charter school from scratch. Now that we are 99% there, I appreciate this quote even more! See to learn more about our journey!
You haven't!
----- Original Message -----


You're only given a little spark of madness. You musn't lose it.

-- Robin Williams

Blog Update 5/16/11

For many reasons this morning, I posted this picture (click here) which is a graphic I made from a sign I used to walk by in 1969. Back then I was a freshman at Clark University in Worcester MA and this sign was nailed to a pole on Downing Street. It bothered the hell out of me since I could not figure the intent of the person who posted it. For months and months, I would walk by it and say "Driveway, so why cube-it?" and could not understand it! How crazy was that! Can you be smarter than me and figure it out in less than 27 seconds? Back in those days, I never ate avocados on rice cakes, but I have now learned to do so and to give to others! Click here but to read the full story which I know you will enjoy, check out this blog called 27 Avocados by son Sam.

Blog Update 5/17/11

For many reasons this morning, I posted this picture (click here) thinking of Kendrick Perkins #43 and his departure from the Boston Celtics

Blog Update 6/4/11

celebration of 39 years of marriage with 39 cakes of diet coke!

Blog Update 6/1/11

Went to the doctor with a label on my hand with 4 possible explanations for my stomache pain which turned out to be an ulcer. The label read "cancer or rice cakes or salt." It turned out to be NONE of those but instead the accumulation of anti-inflammatory medicines over the years taken for back and knee problems: click

Blog Update 6/14/11

An amazing story from a friend that needs to be labeled "SAVE FOR GRANDCHILDREN" since it is hard to believe and had a relatively happy ending!

"well you won't believe it!!! Got to Newark airport nice and early Sunday, 4am only 1/2 an hr, not the 1hr, so all was going great; go through TSA security and there's a bit of a fuss while my brother's knobkerrie's in the machine, the next thing I'm pulled aside, given a full pat-down, my carry-on is turned upside down checking with a machine for explosives, and theTSA supervisor and a cop approches and asks what the stick was, I explain how, where it came from, the TSA guy says there's a knife in the walking stick, I challenge him, no idea what he's saying and he takes the top part of the walking stick and pulls it suddenly up......and there is an 8inch dagger!!; I was dumbfounded, I again explain the circumstances, let him know it went through SAA security without a problem and I had no idea, just a meaningful object left by my brother. The cop tells me he has to wait for his supervisor; I tell him I have a set of tight connections to get back to school and work again...he tells me carrying a concealed weapon is a significant offense and I most likely will not make the connection and I may be spending the next while in jail!! The next thing there are 4 cops and I'm giving all sorts of info, each guy asking different and the same thing. Then the first cop says I'm ok to go but they are confiscating the stick, I ask the chances of retrieving it; he gives me the case # and a phone # and says with a lot of paperwork I could possibly get it back......boy I collected up my stuff and .... welll the coffee and scone were the best tasting combination I've had in years!! brother, I know was always resourceful and tricky ..... I miss him but I know he's not too far away from me, not sure what made me chose that one of about 4 knobkierries he had!!!!

Blog Update 6/30/11

On Thu, Jun 30, 2011 at 9:55 AM, Angie from Spence Summercore 2011 wrote:

Hi Steve, When I saw this all I could think of was SUMMERCORE! Thanks again, Angie

"Remember the good old days when a gigabyte was considered a lot of space? Improvements in hard disk technology have allowed the humble magnetic drive to reach the dizzying heights of multiple terabytes of storage, but Cisco foresees a future that's a few orders of magnitude more impressive. Pinpointing 2015 as the commencement of what it calls the zettabyte era, the company has put together a handy infographic to show us just how much data can be fit into one: you can alternatively think of it as the equivalent of 250 billion DVDs, 36 million years of HD video, or the volume of the Great Wall of China if you allow an 11oz cup of coffee to represent a gigabyte of data. So "zetta" must be Greek for one hell of a lot, but what Cisco expects is that we'll be pushing that much information around the web each year by 2015. Any bets on how many exabytes of it will be to stream videos of cats diving into cardboard boxes?"

From wikipedia:
1,000 terabytes = 1 petabyte
1,000 petabytes = 1 exabyte
1,000 exabytes = 1 zettabyte
1,000 zettabytes = 1 yottabyte

Blog Update 6/30/11

Amazing traffic jam in NJ with incredible smoke! Click here

Blog Update 7/23/11

I am loving which lets you design and get 250 free business cards for minimal cost ... TI Charter and Summercore

Blog Update 8/7/11

Heading to San Fran for SummerAdminCore, I had scheduled a 5am pickup from Super Shuttle. At 5:15, no one has arrived and I am on voicehold. Finally, I get a call to tell me that I will be picked up last instead of first and to expect the driver at 5:35. The dispatcher assures me that leaving at 5:35 as the last pickup and going to the airport will get me there on time. So being phlegmatic I go relax and sit in the lobby and wait.

Sure enough I get an automatic phone call saying the driver will be out front in 1 minute and I think all is well. I get into the van and not one other passenger is there. I ask the driver and he says I am the first pickup and he is about to pick up 7 other passengers around NYC. I pop a three-veiner -- as my former Head of School from Nobles would say -- and tell the driver to pull over in the pouring rain on Second Avenue. I hail a cab and hope to get to the airport by 6:33. Yuck! I hate Super Shuttle!

Blog Update 8/28/11

Interesting article in today's Sunday NY Times about Steve Jobs and a new book by Mr. Gregersen called The Innovator's DNAbased on an eight-year study of 5,000 entrepreneurs and executives worldwide. His two collaborators and co-authors are Jeff Dyer, a professor at Brigham Young University, and Clayton M. Christensen, a professor at the Harvard Business School, whose 1997 book The Innovator's Dilemma popularized the concept of disruptive innovation. The academics identify five traits that are common to the disruptive innovators: questioning, experimenting, observing, associating and networking.

Blog Update 8/28/11

I am a huge fan of The Corner Office by Adam Bryant. Today's column contains an interview with Andy Lansing who states that "I have a pretty nontraditional approach to hiring. I hire for two traits: I hire for nice and I hire for passion." He goes on to say:
If you sit down with me, no matter how senior you are in the company or the position you're applying for, my first question to you is going to be, are you nice? And the reactions are priceless. There's usually a long pause, like they're waiting for me to smile or they're waiting for Ashton Kutcher to come out and say, "You're being punked." Because who asks that question? And then I say, "No, seriously, are you nice?"

It's a question that you don't prepare for and you're not used to answering. And quite honestly, who is ever going to say no ? nobody is. So I let them talk for a little bit about it as they try to figure out why I am asking that question. Then I stop them and I say, let me tell you why I'm asking that. The reason is that the most important thing to being successful at this company is to be nice. And if you're not nice, this is the wrong company for you. It doesn't mean that there is something wrong with you, it just means that our cultures don't align, and there are great places out there for you, but this is the wrong one.

Because if you get in this company and you're not nice, I'm going to get you. It may be a day, it may be a week, it may be a year, but you will not have success at this company long term if you're not nice.

Then I say, I know you're not going to tell me that you're not nice and you probably are very nice. But when you're reflecting on the interview afterwards and whether you want to pursue this after our conversation, if you think that this nice thing is kind of "that's not me and why do they care about that, they should only care about if I can do the job," then pull yourself out of it. No harm, no foul. They won't say it, but I've had more than one person not come back or not pursue the job.

It was probably from Larry Levy, talking about the importance of being nice, and it kind of just evolved as a company philosophy that we only hire nice people. It's probably the first line in every one of our training manuals ? we only hire nice people. And I realized a bit selfishly, too, that I only want to work with nice people. I don't want to work with jerks. Life's too short. I also knew intuitively that if you have a company of nice people in a service business, in a hospitality business, that's going to be a good thing.

Then I say, "What are you passionate about in your life? What does passion mean to you?" And I'm looking not necessarily for the magic answer, but I love it when I hear that someone has fire in the belly. And then I say, you have got to be passionate about this company and the job if you come to work here. If you're not, you're going to be standing there, people are going to be driving by at 90 miles an hour and you're going to say, "Whoa, what's going on?" So again, ask yourself whether this is just a job to you; if it's just a job, it's the wrong place. If it's just a step onto another career, it's probably the wrong place. And then we talk about how the two biggest predictors of success in our company are those two traits.

If you give me someone who's nice and who's passionate, I can teach them everything else. I don't care what school you went to, I don't care where you worked before. If you give me someone with those two traits, they will nine out of 10 times be a great success in the company.

Update 8/29/11

Liz Arney told me about the website of connected the public radio station kqed in Northern California

Update 9/11/11

My September daily life is now based on the 33rd floor. I think of my school from 2007-2010 as the "schoolwhichshallnotbementioned" and am now focused on TI with Summercore now in the past. Each day when LS leaves the house in the morning, she assigns me 1 household cleanup task. I am also attempting to learn a modicum of Spanish using a number of online sites. I transfer the Spanish audio to my wonderful swimmp3 headset and just listen in an endless loop while I swim. My favorite audio is "Spanish vulgar phrases" which includes words like mierda, and piche retardado (what Lynne calls me several times a week). In terms of TI, we hope that we find out this Wednesday that we have been given 600K by NYSED. If so, then Adjowah and I will be on payroll as of 10/1 and get medical benefits and pension plan. Regardless, our goals for this Fall include beginning to hire faculty, develop the curriculum, find a building and of course walk the marathon on 11/6 in NYC to raise money.

Update 10/3/11

On ISED a few days ago, Kevin McAllister from had written: "In terms of overall institutions, I suggest that we now need to convert from IT centric institutions to user-centric institutions." This make me think of John Palfrey and his talk about "trainwrecks." I recall John at Mohonk in 2003 talking about the "trainwrecks as a result of technology" e.g. music industry, book industry, etc. We have seen more of these, of course, and it is an amazing cultural theme. But only last week did I hear a smart technology person alude to the fact that one more trainwreck in the next 10 years might be "IT Depts at schools" since the iPad 3 and iPad 4 may do EXACTLY what you are articulating so well in about "converting from IT centric institutions to user-centric institutions."

Update 11/1/11

Click here for my TI blog entry ... login = and password = f word twice

Update 11/18/11

I have been reading The Checklist Manifest by Atul Gawande. Dan M from RI sent me this interesting article from the New Yorker as his insight about the connections with athletics. Fascinating stuff! Click here for a picture of Atul Gawande along with page 65 from the book marked up regarding the "submittal schedule." Click here for a collection of articles by Atul.

Update 12/1/11

A friend share this great Rod Snelling quote about Boards: Dr. Rod Snelling, ISM's founder and owner, has for 30 years offered this aphorism to business people serving on Boards: "Sixty percent of what you know from business will be of great help; 20% is not relevant; and the other 20% can kill the school."

If you go to the ISM site ( and search in their find box for "ideal trustee" you will find a little checklist, which you can use or supplement as you see fit as you draw up your own checklist. This appears to be public domain on their site; some of their stuff is not.

Update 12/11/11

I read the article called Good Bugs in our Body from the Boston Globe and it gave me much confirmation regarding my own hick intuition! Fascinating stuff! "Many bacteria are our friends, and a new theory suggests that our pitched battle against the microbial world is making us sicker, and possibly fatter." Click here to read. Or click here for the PDF.

Update 12/5/11

I read about how to send snail mail via email and found this article which mentioned several places: which has now become,,, and -- fantastic! I also found this article. I ended up creating an account (sbergen33) for both and but I think I like the better since the interface in writing a note for $1.01 was quicker and easier. So I put $10 into that account!

Update 12/31/11

I created this graphic based on the fact that TIKKUN OLOM begins with TI and always cherishing this quote from Bella Abzug: small or large.

Update 1/12/12

Advice to a friend on AppleCare:
Here is what I always say to people about AppleCare

I do NOT have an opinion

it is like insurance or dental insurance

it costs $200

Most of the time, computers live for 3 years with no problems

so most of the time, it is WASTING MONEY and THROWING AWAY MONEY

Every now and then there is a problem with a computer in the first 3 years.

I have AVOIDED this AppleCare many times and been happy.
I have PAID for it and occasionally valued it.

It is an absolute crapshoot and perhaps it is the "personality of the consumer" that determines what makes sense.
Would you rather throw away $200 or have the psychological comfort for 3 years?

Hope this helps -- the best and honest truth of what I can tell you.

Update 3/7/12

I was interviewed on BronxNet television regarding TI Charter School -- see

Update 3/9/12

I just discovered this Bronx Press story on the Web about the TI TakeAways we had last June 2012: click

Update 3/11/12

I had a wonderful interview with Blythe Grossberg from the other day. She posted info from the interview here and here. PDF versions for preservations are here and here.

Update 4/6/12

Getting ready for hip surgery on the 23rd of April, I was fascinated to read about Milton Hershey on the website.

Update 5/1/12

Pictures from my surgery week on 4/23/12 -- click

Update 12/30/12

Pictures from my 3 day trip to Seattle to see Matt Horvat, Susan Fine and Vicki Weeks and Jack Lee -- Chihuly Restaurant | gumwall | gumwall2 | Matt Horvat

Update 5/19/13

Some interesting updates re math teaching: Uri Treisman's Magnificent Speech at NCTM On Equity, Race, And The Opportunity To Learn and Exeter Curriculum

Update 6/28/13

Today 6/28 is the first day of my life when I have ever thought about TAU DAY. Read the PI Manifesto or click here or here to get smarter about Tau!

Update 7/24/13

Newspaper article titled "Gay couples rejoice after receiving marriage licenses in Pa" -- click here or PDF.

Update 9/13/13

Changing the cursor size on your Mac? Go to SYSTEM PREFERENCES then ACCESSIBILITY then DISPLAY. To get a highlight effect or a large red circle, you can download the shareware called UPointer or another one called PINPOINT -- here is the tutorial -- click

Update 10/1/13

Make a FLIP Book with

Update 1/3/14 Breaking Bad Quote by Vince Gilligan

Quote From Vince Gilligan

If religion is a reaction of man, and nothing more, it seems to me that it represents a human desire for wrongdoers to be punished. I feel some sort of need for Biblical atonement, or justice, or something. I like to believe there is some comeuppance, that karma kicks in at some point, even if it takes years or decades to happen. My girlfriend says this great thing that's become my philosophy as well. "I want to believe there's a heaven. But I can't not believe there's a hell."

Update 1/1/14 from Nobles Facebook


Update 3/1/14 from Ramapo High School

Hank Morgenstern video posted after the 2014 SuperBowl -- Master of Fords --

The most RECENT blog posting is below. All other are directly above this. Scroll up for the last updates.


Update 9/24/13

From a math teacher in Texas in one of the online courses

Thank you so much for working with me for so long yesterday. It was extremely helpful. I had a project that I was doing this weekend at home for school and your advice made several google drive tasks easier. Plus, I'm brainstorming now about how I can incorporate the Algebra Wiki into my class. It is so exciting to have a better understanding of my Mac! I promise not to take up so much of your time next time we talk. Thanks and I'm looking forward to the next lesson.

And my response

Your note makes me think of my acronym YAF which stands for You Are Funny! There is not a chance in the world that I will take you up on your offer to "promise not to take up so much of my time next time we talk."

Why? Because this is why I chose to become a teacher when in college in 1973 when I graduated and this is why I chose to start this company in 1982.

I recall sitting in Mr. Schlessinger's math class as a college junior in 1972 when he surveyed the room and asked each of us what we wanted to do when we graduated. I said "teach high school" and he screamed at me and put his face in mine and tried to explain why that was a really bad decision and that he wanted me to get a PhD. I explained to him that "explaining complicated things to people" was more rewarding than doing mathematical research.

I started teaching math and computers in 1973 and have never looked back in 40 years and never thought twice about my decision.

Nine years after graduating college, I started this company in 1982 for the same reasons -- not to make money but to help train teachers and adults to use computers productively to improve educational environments.

So when I can help someone (like you who is appreciative), it is an endeavor of joy and something that gives me assurance that I made the right decisions in 1973 and 1982. I am so happy that this course is helping you and will continue to do everything I can to help you (and others). I have joked with friends that like Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run, I would like my gravestone to read Born to Teach ;-)

Thanks for your note and hope you understand that I won't respect your wishes!

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