Friday, August 14, 2009

Magna Awards

The American School Board Journal's 16th annual Magna Awards honor outstanding programs developed or supported by school boards that showcase school district leadership, creativity, and commitment to student achievement.

Magna nominations are judged according to three enrollment categories (under 5,000 enrollment; 5,000-20,000 enrollment; and over 20,000 enrollment) with one grand prize winner in each category. Maximum award: $4,000. Eligibility: local school boards. Deadline: October 31, 2009. More info

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Teach for America

Top graduates line up to teach to the poor

Teach for America is drawing graduates who want to contribute to improving society while building an impressive résumé. For a surprisingly large number of bright young people, Teach for America - which sends recent college graduates into poor rural and urban schools for two years for the same pay and benefits as other beginning teachers at those schools - has become the next step after graduation. It is the postcollege do-good program with buzz, drawing those who want to contribute to improving society while keeping their options open, building an ever-more impressive résumé and delaying long-term career decisions.

Government drops request for telcom data

The federal government has agreed to drop a request for sensitive revenue and Internet speed data from telecommunication providers. The information would have been for a program to map broadband use in U.S. homes and bring high-speed Internet service to more people.

The U.S. Commerce Department said that companies such as Verizon Communications Inc, Comcast Corp, and AT&T Inc do not have to share how much money they make from each Internet subscriber. Nor must they say how fast their Internet connections typically run.

Instead, they will provide data by the block, usually about a dozen homes depending on the size of the block. They also will share the speed of Internet service that they advertise.

Companies do not want to share the specific data because they do not want their competitors to see it.

However, critics of the Commerce Department's decision maintain that failing to make the data public allows the companies to advertise -- and charge for -- something that they often cannot deliver.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Enjoying the outdoors

I recently became engaged to a man who loves the outdoors. From the time he was a kid, DJ has been a water/boat kind of guy. One of my favorite photos of DJ shows him flashing a big smile as he relaxes in his canoe. All is right with the world when my guy is near the water.

Hiking is also in DJ's blood. He has an adventurous nature and is always up for exploring a new trail.

Right now, I'm on a mission -- easing DJ out of some of his frayed shirts and pants. He's overdue for some new sportswear. His hiking shoes are also starting to show signs of wear. An outdoorsman needs clothing that's comfortable and stands up to the elements. At the same time, I want my guy to look good.

A few days ago, I discovered the Columbia Sportswear website, and I was impressed with the extensive product line. I found shoes and clothing that are both functional and fashionable. DJ has a pale complexion, thanks to his Scandinavian roots, so I was thrilled to learn about Omni-Shade, the sun protective fabric recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation.

I'm not the outdoors fanatic that DJ is, but I still like to join him when he's off on some new adventure. There's nothing like getting outdoors to clear your head and enjoy nature's treasures.

Pondering nature

I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do.
-Willa Cather, O Pioneers

Never does nature say one thing and wisdom another.
-Juvenal, Satires

Silently one by one, in the infinite meadows of heaven,
blossomed the lovely stars, the forget-me-nots of the angels.
-Longfellow, Evangeline

The whole secret of the study of nature lies in learning how to use one's eyes.
-George Sand

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Table displays and marketing

When you work in public relations or marketing, trade show appearances go with the territory. It's important to have a user-friendly table display for your trade show booths. The right display will help you sell your organization and its services.

When selecting a display, pay attention to detail. For instance, choose table skirts will give your display a professional, eye-catching look. Depending on your company's style and budget, you may go for something simple or seek a custom look. Either way, I recommend choosing a fabric that will hold up well under frequent use.

When it comes to portable displays, take your time in selecting banner stands. They come in many styles. Pick those that allow you flexibility in choosing a variety of marketing themes.

A good pipe and drape system will offer you versatility in using your display. This is so important for nonprofit organizations and schools, which may participate in a show one week and hold a news conference the following week. When it comes to the drapery, I tend to opt for the multi-print backdrop. It allows me the opportunity to duplicate my company logo. The multi-print look is particularly useful when using your backdrop during news conferences.

Finally, look for a pipe and drape system that allows for easy set-up. If you're like me, you don't have the time or energy to use tools in setting up. I'd rather use all of my efforts in promoting my organization.

Quote of the week

We all have quotes that motivate us and keep us focused. The following is one of my favorites when it comes to marketing.

No matter what your product is, you are ultimately in the education business. Your customers need to be constantly educated about the many advantages of doing business with you, trained to use your products more effectively, and taught how to make never-ending improvement in their lives.
~ Robert G. Allen