I started this blog a little over five months ago out of frustration with Phase I of the school closure plan, and a desire to keep communicating with others I had met around the district during Town Meetings and public hearings.
Now, the blog has gotten large enough and has enough traffic (150-250 different people with 350-500 hits per day during weekdays of the last few busy weeks) that it is time to take care of a little blog business.
1) I have invited several people to become Contributors to the blog, which gives them the ability to post items directly, without having to send it to me first. The benefit of this was clear on the day Raj resigned when I was in a 3-hour meeting as the news was announced, but Johnny Calcagno was able to post the news and initiate the conversation. I also cannot continue to spend as much time every day on this blog as I have been doing recently, so it will be nice to share the posting load with others.
My goal is to have 8-10 contributors, connected with all stages of public school (elementary, middle, high), from different areas of the city, and with different interest areas (bilingual, special education, alternative education, APP, etc.). Ideally, in addition to having parents as contributors, I would like to have some teachers, district staff or other community members as contributors, but I'm not sure if that is realistic right now.
If you are interested in being a contributor, you can send a message letting me know about your connection to the schools and your interests, along with a sample of your writing.
2) I changed the name of the blog --- at least the name that appears at the top of the blog --- from "Saving Seattle Public Schools" to "Seattle Public Schools" because "Saving" didn't seem to be an accurate description of what we are trying to do for Seattle Public Schools. I played around with the idea of holding a naming brainstorm on the blog, but, for now have decided that simple is better. The URL may also change in the future, but only if I can arrange for auto-forwarding or some other easy way to get people from the current URL to the new one.
3) Several people have told me that it is difficult for them to follow the comments on the blog, particularly when conversations are happening on several different posts at once. As the blog administrator, I get an e-mail every time someone posts a comment, with a link at the bottom to the actual comment on the blog, so it is easy for me to follow. How does it work for blog readers? Can you get comments e-mailed to you? And if so, how? I could dig in Blogger Help to try to find answers to these questions, but I'm hoping (expecting) that some of you already know what to do and can give advice to others on how to managing commenting.
4) I am considering writing commenting guidelines that define what is and what isn't acceptable when commenting on this blog. Does this seem like a good idea? Why or why not?
When I was talking with Brita Butler-Wall the morning of the last School Board meeting, she made a reference to "your blog community." I was struck by that phrase, and reminded of the fact that it is truly possible to create community online, and to work together for positive change.