Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The cow ate my homework.

Today I had the honor of escorting a special four year old to the mecca of his fascination -- aka the LEGO store.  Science camp ended promptly at noon, and we headed to Chick - Fil - A for lunch, as it is one of the few fast food places soy/dairy/gluten-free four year olds can dine.  Traffic was awful, and I was relieved to skirt around the place by entering on the neighborhood street instead of off the main road.

Yet the parking lot was insane.  I've never seen so many cars.  We got out, and headed in, only to realize that we were the only people there not dressed as cows.

WAIT.  WHAT?

You read correctly.  Apparently too much Netflix and not enough local television this summer had kept me out of the loop.  My plaid shorts and green t-shirt certainly stood out in a sea of people with sewn on, drawn on, stapled on, pinned on, and/or taped on black spots on white shirts and shorts.  There were a few folks with masks, many with ears and tails, and one family that sported inflated rubber hospital gloves as udders.

I felt udderly unprepared.

The place was mobbed, with nary an unoccupied table.  We opted to eat on the go, because, after all, our destination was still 60 miles away.  After nearly an hour of waiting, we were on our way, munching on chicken and still giggling about the moooving experience that we had just witnessed.

Education Connection?

Why yes, this is a blog about education.  Thanks for remembering.

As I continued east on Route 30, alternatively singing all the words to Ghostbusters, Shake it Off, and Uptown Funk, with my grandson, I got to wondering about how traditions of tomfoolery bring people together.  Certainly Spirit week, including the celebrated Green and White Day would cause strangers visiting school to want to shed their offending colors, just to blend in, much like a certain grandmother, aunt, and grandson looking for wayward spots that have fallen off of other visitors that just might have enough stick left in them to stick to our shirts.

In 1995, the National Center for Education Statistics gathered details about the importance of student engagement in extra-curricular activities in high school, which demonstrated significant correlation between academic success and involvement in high school.  Yes, I realize this was 20 years ago, and there have been additional studies since that time, continuing to support the original research.

"Indicators of successful participation in school include consistent attendance, academic achievement, and aspirations for continuing education beyond high school. Extracurricular participation(1) was positively associated with each of these success indicators among public high school seniors in 1992. During the first semester of their senior year, participants reported better attendance than their non-participating classmates--half of them had no unexcused absences from school and half had never skipped a class, compared with one-third and two-fifths of nonparticipants, respectively. Students who participated were three times as likely to perform in the top quartile on a composite math and reading assessment compared with nonparticipants. Participants were also more likely than nonparticipants to aspire to higher education: two-thirds of participants expected to complete at least a bachelor's degree while about half of nonparticipants expected to do so. It cannot be known from these data, however, whether participation leads to success, successful students are more inclined to participate, or both occur."

So, my friends, pay attention to social media, or at least pull up your intended lunch destination's website on your smartphone prior to your arrival -- especially during the summer when the world works to pick up the slack and create the fun and excitement that school districts create during the other nine months of the year.  

And maybe consider keeping a few latex gloves in your glovebox, so you won't be udderly embarrassed.