The week in review

So this week was once again fairly eventful. To begin, Mayor David Cicilline of Providence holds these little “Meet with the Mayor” events throughout the city on a regular basis. You sign up and get ten minutes with the mayor. So when I got the email that he’d be in the neighborhood on Tuesday I had to go and see him.

I talked to him about two things. The first is the cities move to consolidate departments into one building. The requirements are pretty hefty so I suggested some of the development in the Olneyville section of the city. I suggested that since RIPTA is starting to move toward streetcars, this would be a natural place to anchor city offices. The mayor thought that was a good idea.

The second thing was snow removal. According to the mayor they’ve tried gentle warnings to no avail. I explained that they had the stones to enforce the recycling regulations, and that since they privatized parking enforcement they could have them also enforce the sidewalk ordinances. I also suggested bumping the first fine to $100

The mayor mentions there are a lot of elderly but I countered that some of the biggest offenders were city and state owned properties. Put it this way, I know in my neighborhood even the elderly neighbors make god damned sure the sidewalks are down to pavement. The ones who don’t shovel their sidewalks tend to be absentee landlords or around parking lots. If they’ve got the money to live elsewhere maybe they could pay some kids $20 or $30 to clear sidewalks on their properties.

On Thursday I participated in yet another program review (Career and Technical Education or CTE) for the Rhode Island Department of Education. This time it was at the newly constructed Hanley Career and Technical school in Providence.

The facility is absolutely gorgeous! The whole group was around my age cohort and we pretty much all said that if schools looked like this when we were kids we probably wouldn’t ever want to leave.

Hanley isn’t the vocational school of yore either. Now you need to be up to the same academic levels as the rest of the city high schools in addition to your career or vocational classes. The school day runs 7:30AM to 3:30PM, a full eight hours.

They have trades and career paths such as electrical, hvac, building technologies, graphic communications, culinary, and cosmetology.

One thing that interested me is that they utilize a point system. The difference is their point system isn’t by nature punitive but motivational. You get points for attendance, for wearing a school shirt, etc. When you accumulate a certain number of points you can redeem them in a school store for bling like iPods, Sidekicks, etc.

And in the class we reviewed they use an interesting grading system for the assignments. You grade yourself, then you’re graded by peers and finally by the teacher. It turns out the kids are hardest on themselves.

This coming week has some things going on too. Tuesday I’m up in the Boston/Cambridge area for an interview. It’s an educational institution and this particular job is within a research unit. It’d be a change for me, last time I was in academia it was on the non-educational side.

Then of course we’ll have our weekly PEAC (Providence Equality Action Committee)
meeting that evening. It meets at the Bell Street Chapel (5 Bell St, Providence, RI 02909).

Wednesday it’s Providence Geeks. The featured company will be one we saw back in May that designs iPhone and Touch games. They’re coming back with more info.

Thursday Keyron and I meet with a client to discuss how to cram 10 people into about 600 square feet. He’ll handle the space planning while I’ll handle the telecom, networking and data side.

Food wise, it’s been a decidedly vegetarian streak this week. I made a big batch of salad and then I made spinach pies. Ok, the spinach pies have a half stick of pepperoni in them but I can’t do it. I can’t stop with the meat.

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