Somebody Should Fire This Guy?



Cardinal CSD recently made the decision to add high speed Internet on our bus fleet. My school board vetted the idea and decided that the need was there for our students. The 3 main reasons the board cited were:

  1. Many of our students ride up to 2 hours a day on the bus because of our rural bus routes.
  2. Many students do not have access to high speed Internet because of low family income or lack of Internet infrastructure in our district.
  3. Our students would have access to Internet to help with school assignments especially on long activity trips during the week.

Change Is Scary

My post is not about convincing anyone about the merits of adding Wifi on school buses. I’m sure arguments could be made for both sides of this implementation. I do want to mention the challenges we face as leaders when moving into uncharted territory. I have posted a few of the nearly 60 comments that have been posted on KCCI Facebook page since the story aired last Friday. Please note the post by AJ Lewis:


Leaders must be prepared for harsh critics who see the world differently than you. Don’t take it personally and also believe in what you are doing.


My challenge to YOU!

Leading change takes guts and perseverance to challenge the status quo. Taking risks is what moves the human race forward. Some people will “call for your head,” while others will applaud you. It is always about doing what is best for kids! This thought will always guide you and allow you to take risks.

Remember to find your champions during the “dark days” of implementation. The post below is a champion post. Remember to look for champions like Jamie. By the way, I have never met Jamie Blakely but I appreciate her!


#Oneperson Action Item

As always, I leave you with an exercise that you can do with your school staff to help remind educators why we are in the business of making the world a better place.

A Toast for Culture

Starting a new initiative or has your school worked extremely hard to improve student achievement? If so, the toast for culture might be just what you need to do as the “Lead Learner” of your district of school.


  1. Find some plastic flute glasses. They are sold at most grocery stores.
  2. Order sparking grape juice (white or purple)
  3. Keep in mind that the store may pack your bottles in wine boxes because of the weight of the bottles… don’t panic!
  4. Have the glasses on the table and make an awesome toast. Don’t forget to Tweet out a picture.
  5. This is a great activity to start or end a professional development day.




  1. Joel,
    I can’t wait to see what your “usage data” tells you! How handy for students who do not have access at home or just want a better way to use their “bus time” as they are en route to and from school.

    Heaven forbid that we try something “new” – we’d still be thinking that the earth was flat, wouldn’t we? 🙂

  2. I rarely leave comments, but I could not resist. Every one who works with you should be proud to be a colleague. Every one who works for you are blessed. Great move for the students!

  3. Joel,

    As we watched the news a couple of nights ago, I had no idea this was your school. My daughters, wife, and I all looked at each other and said “brilliant idea” as we live in a rural district as well. Sure, there’s going to be gaming and cat videos, but for those students who don’t have access, for many, this will be a great way to get just a little bit done! Thank you for showing some creativity in dealing with a problem that many in rural Iowa have! I’ll be interested in seeing how this all plays out and if the district will continue forward with this.

    Enjoy your day,


  4. Great idea! Very innovative. This could also help eliminate bullying on the bus. Cardinal is making some great gains. Keep up the good work!

  5. Joel this post is wonderful not only is your idea practical and meaningful for student learning. It’s also and creative.

    It also shows how we leaders must all stick together and support one another in the face of criticism from those who do not see the world the way we see it but instead they see it the way they remember it.


  6. Joel, I’m not sure if my last comment made it through so here goes again. I want to commend you for this excellent blog post. Your creative use of resources and your support of student learning is admirable and reflects a worldview of the present and future for students. So many of us face critics who do not see the world the way we do instead they see it the way they remember. I appreciate you’re sharing of the post of your excellent leadership and of the fact that you and many of us still face critics who do not understand that our mission is to prepare students for their worlds not for the past.
    Sincerely, Mike

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