Wizdom Education Newsletter
Wizdom Education
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 Wizdom Education Newsletter . Online Newsletter of Wizdom Education 
December 2003 
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wreathHappy Holidays !

in this issue
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  • EducationLive! Community Grows!
  • Using Things and Loving People
  • Social and emotional development
    tied to academic results
  • Tell Us Your Story
  • Piper Cub Raffle Winners

  • Using Things and Loving People
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    Goals
    "Deliver products and services which dramatically increase efficiency and effectiveness of Special Education resources and improve results and outcomes." This is the Wizdom Education corporate goal. And, when we give our many talks around the country on what we do, we always add, "Wizdom strives to reach this goal everyday." As true as our intentions may be, however, they may also seem bland, sterile or uninspiring.

    Happily, we can back our claims up with numbers - as to the problem, "According to the SEEP data, overhead cost in Special Education is three times that of Regular Education," and, to our specific experience: "The Wizdom TransPlanner! will give back at least ten working days to every Transition Coordinator in improved efficiency during the school year while improving outcomes."

    But, this is not what we are really all about.

    What if we say that Wizdom Education is really about "using things and loving people?"

    The past reality
    In the last Wizdom Educator, I talked a bit about my government and industry background. The basic idea in my other careers was to find the best practice or the best process and then clone it in a new environment. We looked worldwide for the best processes and practices. Using process modeling and analysis tools, it was easy to identify best processes and practices.

    Our challenge then became how to implement the best practice and the best process in our situation. We found that however noble the effort, it was literally impossible to simply replicate the ways of others. Furthermore, fixing one process often broke another, thus decreasing overall efficiency and effectiveness. Expecting technology to be the most important ingredient in any improvement we learned that training the people who would be using the new way of working was, at the least, equal to technology.

    Wizdom and other thought leaders have called this combination of process, technology and people, "High Tech/High Touch." To read more about this idea, you can visit the following website: http://econpapers.hhs.se/paper/hhbcbs lpf/2001_5F001.htm.

    I happen to prefer "Using things and loving people," instead of High Tech/High Touch. This is about letting machines do work that machines can do better than people.

    In manufacturing settings, machines perform dull, dirty, drudging, and dangerous tasks. This work must often be done with such precision or such speed that people cannot keep up or do safely. You probably can think of dozens of examples of work that fits at least one of these categories. Some work, such as mining coal or fabricating the latest flat screen televisions, fits every category, as a recent "Fortune Magazine" article pointed out.

    What about Special Education?
    Can we make the case for "using things and loving people" in Special Education? Can machines perform some Special Education jobs better than people can? Can computers perform some Special Education tasks, resulting in improved accuracy, and savings in time and money?

    Consider that the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) has more than 1000 pages.

    Wizdom research shows that people cannot understand and implement NCLB in a consistent and timely manner.

    IDEA is also in the "too hard for people to do" category. We argue that trying to do the planning and management of Special Education, using the same old processes and the same old tools, is the reason why Special Education overhead costs are so high. People are trying to do all parts of their jobs diligently. However, it is impossible to strive for conformance, compliance and accountability using the same process model and the same tools as regular education.

    The reason? The Special Education Process is different. The job can only be done by automating substantial parts of the process - the very parts that are dull, dirty, drudging, and dangerous. The parts that must be done with such precision or such speed that people cannot keep up. This is what "using things and loving people" is all about. It is the purpose of Wizdom Education.

    -Dennis E. Wisnosky
    Founder, Wizdom Education

    Contact Dennis Wisnosky »

    Social and emotional development
    tied to academic results
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    While human beings have been around for thousands of years, are we really just learning that the results of research show that there is some tie between the social and emotional development of children and their academic abilities? I don't think so! I think our enlightened ancestors already knew that too. But the truth is that each generation of parents and teachers need to be reminded - because this may be a fresh or new concept for them, even though they should have learned that from their own experiences when they were kids. Recently, Ph.D.s and other researchers learned that stress and anxiety in adults affect cognitive functions of the brain, such as the pressures of an over- scheduled life or lack of sleep. The results stated, "when under stress the brain releases chemicals that interfere with the learning process by reducing the ability to focus on a task and to problem solve". If this is true, then most of our adult society today is operating daily at a reduced ability due to stress and lack of sleep. Remember those 'all-nighters' you used to pull in college preparing for tests? Did you know you probably would have gotten better grades if you got some sleep? What has the medical profession learned from this? Almost all doctors in the early stage of their training are 'on-call' and get a minimal amount of sleep, sometimes for days, but are required to perform life- saving procedures in 'code red' emergencies.

    While we are constructing our modern day adult society around all of this stress and pressure, what are we expecting from our children? Imagine this, (if you're not too tired or stressed out) - imagine how a child whose brain is not developed or whose coping mechanisms are just evolving must feel under these situations, as he or she walks into a classroom, faces the moods and demands of the teacher(s) and deals with peer pressures.

    We cannot eliminate all stress in a child's life, but we can teach the skills that will help her or him to develop and manage life tasks such as learning, forming friendships, and solving everyday problems. Most children do not learn effectively when they are distracted by emotional issues. Sometimes they can't interpret their own feelings and don't even understand, nor can they reason, what may be the cause and effect syndrome. An essential part of learning must include the skills to navigate the social and emotional complexities of life. We know that developing empathy and good problem solving skills can lead to positive peer relations. And by practicing problem solving skills, working collaboratively, and developing the ability to reason through a situation at an early age, children are better prepared to handle the social and emotional situations that they will encounter now and in the future. Learning interpersonal skills in a caring, supportive and respectful environment will help them succeed in school, life and their relationships.

    Written by Leslie S. Minkus
    President and CEO KidsDadsMoms.com
    KidsDadsMoms.com

    This article is reprinted with permission from the KidsDadsMoms.com December Newsletter

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    Tell Us Your Story
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    Do you have a story that you think would be of special interest to our readers? Is there a topic that you'd like us to cover? Questions that you'd like us to answer? EMAIL US! CALL US! We'd love to hear from you.

    Contact Us »

    Piper Cub Raffle Winners
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    Wizdom Education enthusiastically donates rides in a fully restored 1946 Piper J3 Cub through silent auctions, live auctions or raffles.

    Here are the lucky winners from this Fall's events:

    Hugh Simmons - Illinois Education and Technology Conference 2003 -November 13, Springfield, IL

    Heather Folsum - ICEC 2003

    Julianne Taylor - Transition Summit - October 15, 2003

    Tina Denman - Illinois Association of Administrators of Special Education (IAASE) Fall Conference 2003

    Elliott Lenoff - IAASE Fall Conference 2003

    Andrea Pontiou - IAASE Fall Conference 2003

    Fran Kleifgen - IAASE Fall Conference 2003

    Read More about how your event can sponsor a Piper Cub Raffle! »

    EducationLive! Community Grows!
    Wizdom Education has been very busy this year, participating in Special Education Conferences throughout the Midwest and East Coast.

    We've had the pleasure of introducing first-hand the wonderful benefits of Wizdom EducationLive! , our Special Education Portal. We've signed up hundreds of Service Providers, who have discovered how easy it is to post their unique services and information online.

    Serving the entire Special Education Community
    Case Managers, Parents, and Students log on and access this information quickly and easily.

    Meeting the Real-Time Needs of Students in Transition
    Service Provider information is automatically linked to specific needs, preferences and goals of students as the Individual Transition Plan is generated by the Wizdom TransPlanner!.

    NOW SIGN UP ONLINE!
    Our newest version of Wizdom EducationLive! allows any person to easily sign up online. Just click our link below, and you can sign up to search Wizdom EducationLive! Service Provider info files and even make direct connections with their web sites!

    Find out more....

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