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Kudos to Batavia Schools March 16, 2010

Posted by Janet Hughes in Uncategorized.
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Kudos to Batavia Public School District 101 for saving jobs and programs for kids in spite of funding problems.

Thanks to the Kane County Chronicle for reporting this good news!

According to the article, “Without intervention, the impact of the financial crisis would have resulted in a loss of 50 to 60 teachers,” Batavia School Superintendent Jack Barshinger said.

It’s unfortunate my presentation “The Right Solution – Kids First” has been unfairly judged by those opposed to saving jobs and saving programs for kids.

During these trying times, may Batavia be an inspiration!

Read article here…

Read “The Right Solution” here…


Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical, and expecting more than others think is possible. —Anonymous

The Right Solution February 25, 2010

Posted by Janet Hughes in Uncategorized.
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As the only Board member who voted against a property tax increase proposition on the ballot during the last election, people have wanted to know what my solution is to the serious financial crisis facing District 113A today.

During my school board meeting last night, I had that chance.

Read “The Right Solution” here…

Thank you for your support.


For further information:

Illinois School Code

Illinois School Business Services

Illinois 7-Year Financial Profile Scores

Illinois Interactive Report Card


Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical, and expecting more than others think is possible. —Anonymous

Reader’s Digest Honors Heroes January 31, 2010

Posted by Janet Hughes in People reaching the stars.
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Do you know someone who is going above and beyond the call of duty? Perhaps that person is YOU!

Tell Reader’s Digest how you or someone you know is giving back to your community, and the editors may select your story to appear in their “Make It Matter” column or on ReadersDigest.com.

Reader’s Digest will promote your cause to their community of 38 million caring readers and award a $1,500 grant to a tax-exempt organization in your name!

Check out these links on their website featuring “People making a difference:”

Submit your “Making A Difference” story here!

Thank you, Reader’s Digest, for inspiring us all to reach the stars!

Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical, and expecting more than others think is possible. —Anonymous

AAIM for Sober Driving December 21, 2009

Posted by Janet Hughes in People reaching the stars.
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No drink is worth it!

Did you know 39% of car crashes that killed people were alcohol related?

Thanks to the non-profit group Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists (AAIM), there is a great resource available to help both the victims and offenders.

Founded in 1982 by families who had lost loved ones due to drunk driving crashes, AAIM is a citizen action group dedicated to the fight against drinking and driving.  AAIM is committed to prevention by educating the public about the dangers of drinking and driving.

Consider these startling facts from AAIM’s website:

  • Alcohol is a depressant that affects the body by slowing down the central nervous system.
  • All states have .08 illegal BAC laws.  (Blood Alcohol Concentration)
  • At .08, a driver is three times more likely to be involved in a car crash than a sober driver and 11 times more likely to be killed in a single-vehicle crash.
  • More than 1.4 million drivers of all ages were arrested for DUI.
  • Alcohol is the number one drug problem for youth.
  • Drunk driving is a leading cause of death among Americans aged 5 to 28.

Highlights of AAIM’s efforts include:

AAIM also awards $100 to tipsters who report erratic driving to police that leads to drunk driving arrests. Check out AAIM’s Drunkbusters Program here.

Pat Larson, director of victim services and Charlene Chapman, executive director at the 2009 AAIM annual benefit

Thank you, AAIM, for all you do to stop needless pain and suffering.

Your courage and strength is making a difference in the lives of so many people.

May 2010 be filled with sober drivers, safe roads, and lots of success to AAIM’s great cause.

For further information, please visit the AAIM website here.

Remember:   If you drink, don’t drive.
If you drive, don’t drink!

This post is dedicated to two special people I met at the 2009 AAIM benefit:  a mother who lost her 8-year-old son to a drunk driver and a man who drove drunk with tragic results yet turned his life around anyways.  Many hugs to you for your courage, strength, and willingness to share your story.  You’re a hero…

Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical, and expecting more than others think is possible. —Anonymous

Toolbox Analogy–The nuts and bolts of what optometry knows, education needs. November 27, 2009

Posted by Janet Hughes in People reaching the stars.
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Kudos to Dr. Paul Harris for reaching the stars!

Dr. Harris uses the toolbox analogy as a way to share with others one way of viewing the relationship between the services offered by a behavioral vision care optometrist and education. He shares that analogy here to show how the services of both professions are needed in order to serve the needs of many of the children who are failing to perform in the educational system.

Toolbox Analogy–The nuts and bolts of what optometry knows, education needs. Reprinted with permission by Dr. Paul Harris

Imagine that we have delivered to a plot of land all of the necessary raw materials needed to build a house. Piles of wood, nails, screws, drywall, cinder blocks, plumbing supplies, electrical supplies, cabinets, doors, windows, roofing materials, etc. are all present in abundance.

The child brings to that work site each day their toolbox. The tools in that toolbox have been acquired over the years based on the life experiences that child has had. Some children enter the worksite with a rather complete set of tools to cover most needs, while others have only the essentials or may in fact be missing even a core or fundamental tool. Fundamental or required tools might be considered to be a hammer, a saw, a screwdriver, or a tape measure.

In general, schools assume two things. The first is that most children enter with the set of tools that will carry them through their academic career and that the fundamental set of tools that a child brings to school is fairly set or immutable.

The child is placed into a series of courses such as Carpentry 101, Plumbing 101, and Electrical Systems 101. In Carpentry 101, they may begin with the simple tasks of measuring and marking lumber to be cut to length, how to start, drive, and set a nail, and making a cross-cut saw cut safely, accurately, and square. To a child coming to the workplace with a basic framing hammer, a handheld crosscut saw, and a Stanley 25 foot tape-measure, these beginning classes may come rather easily. To a child missing one or more of these basic tools, failure to achieve basic “educational” goals may become evident rather early on.

Generally, in the education system, a child comes to the attention of their teacher before testing for a problem is initiated. To qualify for services, their performance must have fallen to a certain measurable amount.

Many resourceful and smart children, who are missing fundamental tools, may find ways to get the job done although they are not using the proper tool. They might find a rock to use as a hammer or they might use a monkey wrench to hammer in the nails. The job gets done but it takes longer, the job isn’t done as well, and there may be some wear and tear on the child that would not have been present had the child used the proper tool for the job. However, the child, due to a lack of the appropriate developmental experiences, is/was lacking the tool. This degree of compensating can often serve to mask the discovery of a missing fundamental tool for quite a while in a resourceful child.

Once the teacher realizes the child is having a problem, the school system will initiate a series of tests to identify the problems. Psychological educational testing often correctly identifies the general category of the problems, such as carpentry or plumbing, but may fail to recognize that the lack of a tool may be the source of the problem. Here is where a false assumption dooms the child to an intervention program that will actually work to embed the problem even more. How?

A hammerless child is labeled as “hammerless” or “hammer compromised.” The system then looks for special education materials that have been shown to be able to be mastered by those without hammers. The idea has been that the child who does not have a hammer should not be penalized for not having a hammer and we should not ask them to do things that require hammers. Therefore, a program has been conceived and produced in, for, and by the school, which addresses hammerless children’s needs.

A hammerless child will be given activities which will not require them to use a hammer. Either they will now use screws and screw guns for everything or they will switch to learning to assemble prefab home kits. The child will advance through the rest of their courses but a fundamental tool and basic skill necessary to nearly any home building project will be missing—the ability to use a hammer. The false assumption was that once hammerless, forever hammerless.

The education system is not in the business of tools. They are in the business of tool usage. “Missing tool? Oh well, you’ll just have to learn to accept your hammerless condition and arrange things differently so that you don’t encounter hammering demands in school life.” Real life then becomes another matter.

The key factor in optometric behavioral vision care is that our assumption is that the presence of a missing tool is only evidence of not having had the appropriate meaningful experience to have developed or acquired that tool. We are in the business of identifying the missing tools and then putting together treatment protocol. The purpose of which is to provide the child with the necessary meaningful experiences to acquire the tool.

In essence, we take the child shopping. We know that hardware stores exist. We know the fundamental classes of tools. We know the order which people generally acquire tools.

One would not start their saw collection with learning how to use a coping saw or a compound miter saw. One starts with a handheld crosscut saw and learns by cutting basic lumber to length. A rip saw may follow. Then a circular saw, jig saw, table saw, band saw, coping saw etc. with each experience being built on the prior knowledge base which all came from the handheld crosscut saw.

This process of tool acquisition and attaining fundamental competence in the use of the skill is the domain of optometric behavioral vision care.

We turn over to the school system a child who now possesses the correct array of tools to perform the tasks required of them. When the school system moves on to fundamentals of balloon framing houses or the proper method of trussing up a floor, the child will have the tools necessary to execute the demands of the class, understand the concepts, and to use the proper tools for the proper job.

Behavioral vision care optometrists do not teach carpentry, plumbing, or wiring. Behavioral vision care optometrists do not teach reading, writing, or mathematics. Behavioral vision care optometrists do identify missing tools and take the child shopping to acquire and gain competency with the new tools.

Then, and only then, will the school system find a child who is ready to be taught using conventional methods and who will achieve in a variety of educational settings by following a variety of teaching methods.

To find a behavioral vision care optometrist in your area, please visit the website College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) or the Optometric Extension Program (OEP).

For further information on children’s vision, please visit Vision First Foundation.

Reprinted with permission from Dr. Paul Harris by Vision First Foundation. Copyright © 2002 Paul Harris, OD. All rights reserved.

Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical, and expecting more than others think is possible. —Anonymous

Still Standing Strong October 21, 2009

Posted by Janet Hughes in People reaching the stars.
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Kudos to Dianne Barrett, Deborah Boyle, Liz Chaplin, Tim Millar, Scott O’Connell, and Laura Rabattini for persisting in their efforts to protect the rights of people to open access of public records.

The Chicago Tribune’s “Watchdog” series featured these board members, including me, in Tuesday’s news focus, “Your government in secret: Public officials blocked out too.”

Thanks to excellent investigative work, Chicago Tribune reporter Noreen Ahmed-Ulah exposed a serious issue affecting government today.

I also wish to thank these Tribune photographers: David Banks, Heather Charles, Lane Christiansen, and David Pierini.  Your photos in the print edition were great!

Read the full story here.

Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical, and expecting more than others think is possible. —Anonymous

Find Your Hero September 24, 2009

Posted by Janet Hughes in People reaching the stars.
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Mariah Carey HeroThere’s a hero, if you look inside your heart,
You don’t have to be afraid of what you are.
There’s an answer, if you reach into your soul,
And the sorrow that you know will melt away.

And then a hero comes along, with the strength to carry on,
And you cast your fears aside, and you know you can survive.
So when you feel like hope is gone, look inside you and be strong.
And you’ll finally see the truth, that a hero lies in you.

It’s a long road, when you face the world alone.
No one reaches out a hand, for you to hold.
You can find love, if you search within yourself
And the emptiness you felt will disappear.

And then a hero comes along, with the strength to carry on
And you cast your fears aside, and you know you can survive.
So when you feel like hope is gone, look inside you and be strong
And you’ll finally see the truth, that a hero lies in you.

Lord knows, dreams are hard to follow,
But don’t let anyone, tear them away, hey yeah
Hold on, there will be tomorrow
In time you’ll find the way.

And then a hero comes along, with the strength to carry on
And you cast your fears aside, and you know you can survive.
So when you feel like hope is gone, look inside you and be strong.
And you’ll finally see the truth, that a hero lies in you.

That a hero lies in you,
Ohhh… that a hero lies in You.

Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical, and expecting more than others think is possible. —Anonymous

Comment Crushes Controversy August 21, 2009

Posted by Janet Hughes in People reaching the stars.
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Kudos to Mark Stern for reminding us all that our primary job is not to harass and intimidate others but to help children learn.

On election day in April 2009, four newcomers challenged four incumbents and won two seats on the District 113A grade school board. A political “witchhunt” followed. Formed was a new committee to research the campaign trail rumor mill.

Thanks to Mark Stern, his public comment during June’s school board meeting crushed the controversy. No follow-up “rumor mill” meeting has been set. Congratulations, Mark, for reaching the stars and making a difference!

Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical, and expecting more than others think is possible. —Anonymous

Reach for the Stars! July 31, 2009

Posted by Janet Hughes in People reaching the stars.
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When the world leaves you feeling blue,
You can count on me, I will be there for you.

When it seems all your hopes and dreams,
Are a million miles away, I will reassure you.

We’ve got to all stick together,
Good friends are there for each other,
Never ever forget that
I’ve got you and you got me, so…

Reach for the stars,
Climb every mountain higher.
Reach for the stars,
Follow your heart’s desire,
Reach for the stars,
And when that rainbow’s shining over you,
That’s when your dreams will all come true.

Don’t believe in all that you’ve been told,
The sky’s the limit you can reach your goals.
No one knows just what the future holds,
There ain’t nothing you can’t be,
There’s a whole world at your feet.

I said reach!
Climb every mountain
Reach!
Reach for the moon,
Reach!
Follow that rainbow,
And your dreams will all come true.

Reach for the stars,
Climb every mountain higher.
Reach for the stars,
Follow your heart’s desire,
Reach for the stars,
And when that rainbow’s shining over you,
That’s when your dreams will all come true.
S Club 7

Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical, and expecting more than others think is possible. —Anonymous

For the men in our lives…Happy Father’s Day June 15, 2009

Posted by Janet Hughes in People reaching the stars.
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j0289531“Dad… your guiding hand on my shoulder will remain with me forever.”  —Anonymous

To all the fathers in our world: May you know how much you’re needed and loved. Thank you for helping your children reach the stars!

Check out this great website, too:  Mr. Dad

America’s most trusted Dad™, Armin Brott, provides parenting tips and advice for dads… and even moms! Thanks, Armin, for sharing your wisdom, strength, and greatness. Read more here…

“Never raise your hand to your kids. It leaves your groin unprotected.”   LOL
—Red Buttons

Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical, and expecting more than others think is possible. —Anonymous