Sites working to inspire real life change.

October 22nd, 2014 by Brenda Bassett

As Americans, we recognize the value of change; just look at the number of self-help books and websites that garner millions of devotees every year. But whether your goal is personal or a desire to change something in society, you have to begin somewhere – otherwise you may never begin at all.
It can feel daunting, even paralyzing, to tackle a major project. But the best place to start is at the beginning, and often that means making small changes. Mohandas Gandhi once said: “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” 
That philosophy is the driving force behind initiatives like A&E’s “Real Life Change.” Sponsored by FreeCreditScore.com, RealLifeChange.com is an online community where people share their inspiration and what they are doing to make changes in their own lives and the world around them. Participants commit to make a change, and A&E makes a $1 donation to the person’s charity of choice.
Here are some of the top changes website users are making:
Building better spending habits – Do you tend to overspend because you must have the latest gadget? Perhaps you have trouble controlling how many clothes you buy. Improving your spending habits can start with a commitment to yourself to get impulse spending under control. If you’ve tried and failed before, you can find plenty of information online about taking control of your finances.
Improving your personal health – Losing weight is a common goal, but don’t forget there’s much more to good health than weight. Being active, getting good rest, managing stress and avoiding risky behaviors like smoking or substance abuse are all important components of good health. To improve your personal health, start with small, manageable goals like resolving to switch from regular soda to diet soda or replacing diet soda with water.
Improving your family’s health – While you’re on a personal quest for better health, it’s a great time to bring your family along too. Look for simple changes your family can make that will help improve their overall health, like incorporating fresh vegetables into every meal and spending one day every weekend on an outdoor family activity.
Building better relationships – Whether it’s being more cooperative with co-workers or more patient with our children, almost all of us can think of times when we wish we’d acted differently. Small changes can have a big impact on our interpersonal relationships. For example, simply vowing to listen – really listen – to what others say can provide great insight into what others are thinking and feeling.
Continuing your education – Maybe getting a higher degree will advance your career opportunities, or perhaps you want the sense of personal accomplishment that a degree can bring. For whatever reason you choose to do it, going to school – or going back to school if you left a degree unfinished – can have significant positive influence on your life.
And if you need any more inspiration to begin today, consider this quote from Theodore Roosevelt:
“The best thing you can do is the right thing. The next best thing you can do is the wrong thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.”

Dining at Dadeland: Earls Kitchen + Bar

October 20th, 2014 by Hal Feldman

Next time you need a great night out for dinner or drinks, think local. Rather than driving to South Miami, Coral Gables or Brickell, you should head to Dadeland Mall instead. Yes, I said Dadeland Mall.

Among other restaurants in the mall’s new section, you’ll find an O!M!G! surprise by the name of Earls Kitchen + Bar. Started 30 years ago in Canada as a family-owned burger and beer join, Earls is now a premium casual dining restaurant with some impressive dishes. In Miami, it’s a flat out winner with its over-the-top personality and service.

From the moment you walk into the 400-seat 8500-square-foot eatery you’ll be impressed by its soaring ceilings, modern art pieces, open-air balcony and large energetic bar, but more so with the young, vibrant and incredibly friendly staff.

Restaurant Manager Andrew Goldsmith explains, “We have 61 Earls open in Canada, but only a handful in the States. We open a restaurant only when we can send the right people and continue the Earls culture.” To that end, they’ve sent a team of Canadians long-term to make sure its done right. “We want a genuine and authentic connection with people. It’s part of our core values,” boasts Goldsmith. They also cross-pollinate staff between locations so that the culture stays strong and vibrant.

From center: Emily Scott, our server Diana  and Andrew Goldsmith (and some of the chefs)
From center: Emily Scott, our server Diana  and Andrew Goldsmith (and some of the chefs)

Besides the amazing food, it is striking how the entire staff engages you. Simply put, Earls is special. Managers, chefs and other wait staff roam the floor to attend to your every need. Everyone seems genuinely happy to be working there. Earls trains everyone to be ‘partners’, not just staffers.

This happy feeling will quickly envelope you as well. Eating at Earls evokes fun and joy. “I’ve worked in other restaurants and it was awful,” expressed our server Diana, “I love Earls because we are treated right and they encourage us to interact and have fun with our guests.”

Romantic date night, birthday party or just a nice lunch break with friends, Earls forms its style and attentiveness to your event, with seating to match. Tables go from an intimate spot on the terrace to booths to group seating at a long table. Whether you are just two or twenty, Earls can accommodate.

On Thursday and Saturday nights, Earls has a DJ pump up the tunes, but not too loud. It gives a great vibe to an already vibrant and active environment. At the bar, Earls uses Vintap Wine’s distribution system to pour a variety of reds and whites from taps to ensure perfect wine-by-the-glass every time.

When it comes to the food, it’s clear Earls can satisfy the basic eater and the foodie. They still have their burgers and beer roots showing, but with inventive chicken, seafood and noodle dishes even the most discerning diner will be satisfied with the cornucopia of choice. I can attest the Earls Famous Clam Chowder is exceptional. The Slow Braised BBQ Back Ribs and burgers are also outstanding. Finicky kids can request the kitchen make off-menu items. But the core menu is what will keep you coming back with items like crispy Thai shrimp, dominical fish tacos, Atlantic salmon and a choice of grain-fed Angus steaks. The decadent desserts will also make your mouth water.

Dining Room Manager Emily Scott emotes Earls’ relentless pursuit of food excellence, “Everything is made fresh right here. I always say you can’t have too many cooks in the kitchen. We have a head chef who we call the quarterback of the kitchen and they ensure quality, consistency and perfect presentation.

Out front, we look for what we call unexpressed wishes and work hard to deliver the dining experience preferred by the guest.” When it comes to passion about where she works, Emily can’t hold back, “I love coming to work. We hire on personality and this place is a hotbed of awesomeness. Our partners (staff) are awesome and our guests are more awesome. For us, it’s all about go big or go home.”

When it comes to getting it just right, Emily continues, “If the food does not come out meeting our high standards or the guest is not happy for any reason, our standard of service dictates that we must ensure the guest gets exactly what they want. It’s the Canadian in us that makes us deliver happiness and the best customer experience possible. They’re going home full and with perfection achieved.”

Food pricing is moderate and affordable across the board, especially considering the quality, portions and overall experience. Meals range from $22 to 39, with less expensive sandwiches, burgers and noodle dishes. Desserts are $8. These Canadians really get it right and we’re lucky to have Earls in our neighborhood. I highly recommend you experience this bright and cheerful dining experience for yourself. Call 305-667-1786 or visit www.earls.ca for more information and reservations.

MiamiHal - the smart move

Fall lawn tips that keep your yard looking great year-round

October 14th, 2014 by Brenda Bassett

(BPT) – Falling temperatures and shorter days don’t mean you can retire from lawn care for the year. In fact, the fall season is a critical time to nourish lawns and care for plants so they can survive winter and emerge even more vibrant when next spring arrives.

Before you store your lawn and garden supplies, consider these fall lawn tips that keep your yard looking great year-round:

Fertilize

Your lawn may not look like it’s doing much above ground during cool months, but below ground root systems continue to grow. That’s why most lawn care professionals recommend fertilizing once or twice in the fall – grass will store and use the extra boost of nutrients throughout winter. Fertilizers high in nitrogen are ideal for fall feedings.

Sweep

Leaves and other foliage left on the ground can rot and deprive grass and other plants of moisture and sunlight. If you dread raking, a blower/vac is the ideal tool. Go eco-friendly with a rechargeable battery-powered option from Greenworks. With no cords and an easy push start, the innovative 40V Brushless Blower/ Vacuum blows up to 185 mph, plus it can vacuum four bags of leaves on a single charge.

Water

Watering during fall is important to foster root growth and give plants a healthy drink before winter arrives. If you’re not experiencing at least 1 inch of rainfall a week, supplement with a sprinkler. Continue the same eco-friendly watering strategies you used throughout summer, such as watering in the mornings to reduce evaporation.

Seed

Have a few sparse areas in your yard? Fall is a great season for grass seed to germinate due to the cool, moist weather. Plus, because most seasonal birds have left, the seed is less vulnerable to being eaten. Over-seeding now not only fills in open areas, but it increases grass density to help prevent weeds next year. Loosen and prepare the soil, choose a high quality grass seed and water the area plenty so seeds reach maturity before winter.

Trim

Fall is a good time to trim trees and shrubbery before the harsh weather of winter hits. Save money with the DIY approach. Don’t be intimidated by chainsaws – because the easy-to-use GreenWorks 40V Brushless Chain Saw uses a rechargeable battery, there’s no gas or oil to mix. No gas means no excessive heat or vibration – the saw runs up to 65 percent cooler and vibrates up to 70 percent less than comparable gas saws. In addition, the innovative brushless motor provides this saw with enough power to cut a cord of wood on a single battery charge.

Aerate

Aerating your lawn in the fall helps to open compacted soil and break down thatch that built up over the summer. The small soil plugs removed by the aerator loosen the ground so oxygen and water can better reach the grass roots. Aerators are available for rent at most rental stores and the job can typically be done in a few hours, depending on yard size.

Mow

As the weather cools, grass slowly goes dormant. Before winter hits, continue to mow as needed. When your lawn seems to have almost completely slowed its growth rate, mow one final time for the year, but set your mower at a higher height. This helps keep grass healthy until warm weather returns. Recommended mower heights for a final mow are 2 to 2.5 inches.

Rather than retreating from the crisp fall air, use the time to enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature while helping keep your yard looking its best. A few simple steps now will help your lawn look great today and into next year.

Palmetto High School’s Drive 4 UR School Event

October 13th, 2014 by Hal Feldman

Lilliam and Gus Machado show off a new Ford
Lilliam and Gus Machado show off a new Ford

Despite the odd spelling, Ford’s Drive 4 UR School campaign had a great impact on Palmetto Senior High School. On October 10, Gus Machado Ford of Kendall (15551 S Dixie Hwy.) hosted the PTSA and a ton of students, parents and community supports to take test drives of a new Ford vehicle. The program, sponsored nationally by Ford Motor Company, provided $20 to the school for each driver that got behind the wheel.

Gus and Lilliam Machado were all smiles as lines formed at their dealership. Anna Hochkammer, president of MPSH PTSA, was in constant motion making sure everything was just perfect, “I’m so excited to see that the whole community has come out to support us! We are very appreciative of Ford, Gus Machado and all of the participants for today’s event.”

Lines weaved throughout the showroom as the high school band performed, cheerleaders cheered and the panther mascots strolled the grounds. Lilliam Machado explained, “We’ve done this for about four years now and it’s our first one with Palmetto Senior High. This is the largest and most energetic one yet. We are very happy to be a part of our community and to donate to our schools.”

Gus Machado was very excited all day long. He danced on the driveway and drove a Ford convertible filled with the Palmetto Panthers and cheerleaders around. “I love that we are supporting our school and kids. We do lots of events throughout the year, but this is the most interesting and fun. Ford gives the school money for each test-drive and provides incentives to people who buy a vehicle through this program. It’s a win-win.”

Susan Rolnick is one of the hundreds of parents who did their part with a test-drive
Susan Rolnick is one of the hundreds of parents who did their part with a test-drive

Ford limits the program to 300 test-drives, but Gus Machado Ford pledged to donate $10 per driver beyond that limit.  In the end, there were 340 registered test-drives. That translates to $6400 raised. “We had an incredibly successful day,” exclaimed Hochkammer.  A check presentation is scheduled at the school on November 13.

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Rise and shine – wake up to new home decor ideas

October 8th, 2014 by Brenda Bassett



Bring a touch of nature to the room by transforming a boring headboard into a grand focal point. Simply spray paint it with Krylon’s Natural Stone Textured Finish, which goes on easy and gives you the natural beauty of stone. Available in eight designer colors, this paint features a smaller particle size for an elegant and professional-looking appearance. To complete the look, add a new comforter and accent pillows to your bed to complement your new creation.

Don’t stop there. Give outdated dressers or vanities a facelift with a fresh coat of paint. You can match the furniture to your new headboard, or paint each with a complementary color for extra visual intrigue. For the finishing touch, add new decorative knobs – or simply paint your current ones – to create additional dramatic impact.

Next, look to the accessories around the room that might need a bit of improvement or pizzazz. Lamps, frames and vases can be easily updated from bland to beautiful with a quick spray of paint to coordinate with the rest of your room’s new color scheme.

Finally, add a bit of cheer by filling your newly painted vase full of fresh cut flowers on the night stand. For an ultra-relaxing vibe, add lavender to the mix, as the scent soothes and comforts while you drift off into dreamland.

From the moment you wake in the morning to the moment you close your eyes at night, your bedroom should be your haven. By rising to the occasion and incorporating some small spray paint updates, you can kick back and enjoy – morning, noon and night.

For more product or project ideas, visit www.krylon.com.

Benson’s Lighting, A Bright Idea

October 7th, 2014 by Hal Feldman

Benson’s Lighting at the same location since 1963
Benson’s Lighting at the same location since 1963

Since 1963, Benson’s Lighting has been serving the needs of South Floridians with world-class knowledge and service. In the beginning, it was John Benson who broke away from the family business (Benson Electric) to open a mom-and-pop lighting store located in what was then the very end of Miami ‘civilization’.

In 1973, Dick and Nancy Cole bought Benson’s Lighting when it was still small and local. Through hard work and business acumen, the Coles increased business four-fold and grew Benson’s Lighting to national notoriety and respect.

After twenty wildly successful years, the Coles decided it was time to retire, but they wanted to hand things off to someone who would continue the business with as much professionalism and knowledge as they had. Thankfully, they had become friendly with Ric and Rebecca Jolie through various industry-wide events and conventions.

Rebecca and Ric Jolie amongst their showroom fixtures
Rebecca and Ric Jolie amongst their showroom fixtures

In 1994, Ric and Rebecca Jolie left their senior positions with New England’s largest electrical and lighting distributor to buy and run Benson’s. It was their goal to break away from corporate lifestyle and serve people personally in an industry they knew and loved.

From the moment you walk into their showroom, it’s obvious they love and nurture the lighting business. They, and their ten seasoned full-time staffers, greet you at the door and provide personalized service unrivaled anywhere. Rebecca Jolie remarks, “Beyond illumination, lighting creates mood and purpose for a space. When appropriate, we will go on-site to collaborate closely with the homeowner, builder, electrical contractor and designer. This integrated approach to our service assures a successful lighting solution.” It’s clear they know everything about the products they sell and can quickly align themselves to accomplish your lighting goals. Only years of industry experience can accomplish that. Case in point, employees Karen Pollard, Fred Garcia and Maria Gonzalez have been with Benson’s even longer than Ric and Rebecca. The others are all multi-year vets as well.

“Over the past few years LED lighting has been a dramatic sea change for our business and the industry as a whole,” explains Ric Jolie. “In my 35 years, I’ve never seen a technology take hold like this. LED lights bring tremendous advances and advantages for our customers, including up to 80% energy saving, drastically reduced maintenance [changing bulbs] with lamp life ranging from 50 to 100,000 hours, significant heat reduction and the size of the light source is so small that innovative, new fixture designs are now available. It is really an exciting time!”

Showroom filled with classic, modern and every style in-between
Showroom filled with classic, modern and every style in-between

The other significant change in the industry is the use of the Internet. Ric explains, “Yes, of course, we have a website with 50,000 items on it. Yes, we recognize people are buying lighting online… but we still don’t do consumer sales online.” Rebecca Jolie adds, “That’s because lighting purchases require consulting, planning and personalization. An email, phone call or better yet a face-to-face discussion allows us to understand, educate and respond to our customer on a personal level, so we advise and guide them accurately about their purchase. The best part is they still get equal or better pricing from us than they can get from any online store.”

Business is booming for this world-class store. “We’ve seen a great recovery in the Miami market and we see more ahead,” remarks Ric Jolie. “We believe we are uniquely positioned to ably help our customers.”

Business is booming for this world-class store. “We’ve seen a great recovery in the Miami market and we see more ahead,” remarks Ric Joie. “We believe we are uniquely positioned to ably help our customers.”

Benson’s Lighting already has legions of loyal fans. Ric boasts, “We now have third generations of families coming in to buy from us.” Benson’s also serves commercial enterprises and builders. While I was in the store, Hollub Homes Construction Manager Robbie Bishop stopped in for some expertise. “Our client wants to install bright white lights outside their home for security,” he stated. Rather than just hand Robbie a product and say ‘here, this is what you want’ Ric was quick to provide a full lesson about color temperature and how 4000-degree Kelvin LEDs would serve the homeowner best.

Hollub Homes Construction Manager Robbie Bishop learns about lighting form Ric Jolie
Hollub Homes Construction Manager Robbie Bishop learns about lighting form Ric Jolie

It is this level of service and their commitment to educating themselves and their customers that sets them apart. I recently had a full home renovation to do. After looking around, I chose Benson’s Lighting. I’m glad I did. They helped me plan, organize and purchase over 90 pieces of lighting. And when I had a technical issue with one manufacturer, Benson’s Lighting was there to correct it. “You are our customer. It is our obligation to ensure you are 100% happy,” states Rebecca.

So, as you head into the holidays and want to decorate with lighting or fans, I wholeheartedly recommend Benson’s. You can visit them at 12955 SW 87th Avenue, call 305-235-5841 or try www.BensonsLighting.com

MiamiHal - the smart move

Washing your car at home can do more harm than good

September 30th, 2014 by Brenda Bassett



A study by the city of Federal Way, Wash., found that residential car washing led to numerous pollutants being released each year into the city’s storm sewer system, including 190 gallons of gasoline, diesel and motor oil; 400 pounds of phosphorus and nitrogen; and 60 pounds of ammonia.

These numbers are startling for a community of just 62,000 passenger cars. With more than 300 million registered passenger vehicles in North America, the pollution is sizable. So is it possible to keep your vehicle clean and protect the environment at the same time?

You may be surprised to learn that professional car washes are typically a much greener option for washing vehicles than washing your car in the driveway at home. Washing at home with a garden hose can use more than 60 gallons in as little as five minutes, but most professional car washes treat and recycle water, virtually eliminating waste. The average homeowner uses 116 gallons of water to wash a car, according to the Mid-America Regional Council, and most commercial car washes use 60 percent less water for the entire process than a homeowner uses just to rinse the car.

WaterSavers professional car washes use only 40 gallons or less of fresh water per car wash – that’s less than the typical home washing machine uses per load. The process cleans and re-uses the water for future car washes, or it undergoes treatment prior to returning it clean to the environment. For more information and to find a certified location near you, visit WashWithWaterSavers.com.

Another question eco-conscious car owners ask is how often they should wash their vehicles. While this is a simple question, there is no easy answer. How frequently you drive, the type of environment you drive in, and what the manufacturer recommends, are all factors to consider.

As a general rule, vehicles should be washed when the paint starts looking dirty from two car lengths away, according to J.D. Power & Associates, or immediately if contaminants like bird droppings, winter salt or tar are present.

Keep in mind many professional car washes offer discount days during the week, special pricing if you’re purchasing gasoline also, or bulk packages that allow you to buy multiple washes for a highly reduced rate.

This summer, instead of grabbing a bucket and hose, take your car to a local professional car wash to help save water, protect aquatic life and preserve the environment.

How to find relief from fall allergies and hay fever

September 24th, 2014 by Brenda Bassett

For many, fall signifies the change of leaves from green to vibrant reds, oranges and yellows. But for one in five people, it’s time to control a seasonal allergy: hay fever.

Despite its ill-suited name that would lead you to believe you are allergic to hay, the allergic reaction is actually rarely triggered by hay. The myth dates back to the 1800s when British doctors discovered that people exposed to cut hay or grass resulted in sneezing and itching, producing nervousness, which was referred to as a “fever.” Thus, the term hay fever was coined.

Hay fever, also called allergic rhinitis, causes cold-like signs and symptoms such as itchiness of the nose, roof of the mouth, throat, eyes and ears, along with watery eyes, runny nose, congestion, and sneezing. But unlike a cold, hay fever isn’t caused by a virus; it is caused by an allergic response to outdoor or indoor allergens, such as mold, trees, pollen and pet dander.

Hay fever, which affects an estimated 60 million people in the United States, young and old, can really take a toll on your daily routine, and is a nuisance both personally and professionally. Whether you’re affected year-round or during a specific season, learning how to manage hay fever symptoms can be vital to restoring your comfort and quality of life.

This condition can also be expensive to manage. From 2000 to 2005, the cost of treating allergic rhinitis nearly doubled from $6.1 billion to $11.2 billion, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. More than half of that was spent on prescription and over-the-counter medications. Some experts recommend patients purchase store-brand, over-the-counter medicines as an effective means of managing both the condition and its associated costs.

“There are a number of very effective over-the-counter treatments to address the symptoms of seasonal allergies,” says Dr. William Berger, professor of allergy and immunology at the University of California, Irvine. “In fact, to help patients save money, I would recommend many of the store-brand, non-sedating antihistamines sold at leading retailers and pharmacies, such as Cetirizine or Loratadine. These products are approved by the FDA, but cost significantly less than the brand names.”

 

According to Berger, many allergy sufferers may find better relief of their symptoms by trying one of these newer, more effective treatments now available in the aisle, like Fexofenadine, which just switched from prescription to over-the-counter in 2011.

 

“Even if it isn’t the hay folks are actually allergic to, it doesn’t make ‘hay fever’ any less miserable for those dealing with it. Effective management with medicines, ideally before the symptoms start, is key,” he says.

You can find more information about the symptoms and treatments for allergic rhinitis at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (www.aaaai.org), or the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (www.acaai.org).

Strong Start for Palmetto Senior High PTSA

September 21st, 2014 by Hal Feldman

The 2014-15 school year is off to a great start and when more than 75 people showed up to the first PTSA meeting of the year PTSA President Anna Hochkammer was pleased.

Principal Dr. Allison Harley opening remarks were about how the school budget had passed, that every classroom now has smart boards and they are well received by students and teachers and that the school start up was “totally smooth, even boring.” Harley went on to talk about the change from CORE to Florida Standard testing. She also talked about how all ninth-grade students would be given the opportunity to use tablets in school.

Hochkammer then spoke. “This is a community school. We are friends, neighbors, relatives and co-workers, and we take care of our own. We take care of our kids. We get them the materials and resources they need to achieve excellence every day. We take care of our school. We provide the volunteers, time and creativity to solve problems and engage in the larger community. We take care of our parents by providing the friendship, community and know-how to help our families succeed. The school is the center of our community and we are a pillar of that community.”

PTSA President Hochkammer went on to say how important it was to communicate with one another. She reminded parents they could find everything at palmettohighptsa.org and should sign up for Twitter feeds @MPSHPTSA. There is also an e-blast that all parents need to get signed up to receive.

The PTSA does not do fundraising, but they do survive on donations. They were ahead of schedule, but still encourage everyone to make a donation.  “Whether it’s $5 or $500, every cent will go towards helping your child.”

On October 10 from 3 to 7 pm, Gus Machado Ford (15551 S Dixie Highway) will host Drive 4 UR School where every test drive of a Ford will result in a $20 donation to PTSA. There will be entertainment, food and fun for the whole family. Hochkammer likened it to “money in the street” and hoped everyone would make it out.

MiamiHal - the smart move

Palmetto Senior High Students Get Tablets

September 18th, 2014 by Hal Feldman

During the week of September 15, Palmetto Senior High Assistant Principal Karina Menendez was very popular. It was she who handed out the bulk of the new HP tablets to ninth-graders. “In conjunction with the Miami-Dade County Public School District, we offered our students the opportunity to check-out tablets for their educational use. The response has been fantastic. The kids love it,” remarked Menendez.

Assistant Principal Karina Menendez shows off the new tablets available to 9th graders
Assistant Principal Karina Menendez shows off the new tablets available to 9th graders

Since the beginning of the year, the freshmen have been using tablets that stayed in the classroom; with the plan to roll out personal-issue devices once everyone got their feet wet. Principal Dr. Allison Harley explained, “Issuing technology to hundreds of students was a fun and challenging project for us. We wanted to ensure all the right software and textbooks were installed, and that our students and teachers were able to instantly use the tablets.” To begin, students will use the tablets to replace their World History textbook. “Those books tend to be some of the heaviest.”

The school district plans to supplant additional books as time goes on, with a goal of loading all textbooks onto the tablets. This will lighten the student’s backpacks considerably. Besides shedding weight, the tablets allow students to interact with the smart boards now installed in every classroom. It should be noted that parents and students had the opportunity to continue using traditional books. Less than one-percent chose that route.

Nearly 600 tablets were distributed to 9th graders in SeptemberNearly 600 tablets were distributed to 9th graders in September

Principal Harley commented, “The students are still a bit apprehensive because they are more used to using technology in a recreational way. They are also realizing they are responsible for the care of this equipment. This is a period of adjustment for everyone, but we see it leading great places.” Assistant Principal Menendez added, “Students can use the tablets to take notes in other classes, they should also be able to do some homework assignments outside of World History.”

Dr. Harley opined, “This will change the way schools teach and teachers are excited. Everything is at the fingertip of the child. Instead of deferring a question when the answer is outside the textbook, a teacher can now have everyone in the class utilize the Internet to research an answer right then and there. They don’t have to say ‘Find that answer at home’.”

Stacked and ready tablets ready to replace books in student backpacks
Stacked and ready tablets ready to replace books in student backpacks

The tablets are not free. They are leased for the school year. Cost is $20. Parents are offered insurance for $47.70 that provides unlimited protection, including theft. Parents can learn more at: http://digital.dadeschools.net/faqs.asp

As a parent of a Panther freshman, I jumped at the chance to arm my kid with this opportunity. Besides saving her back from 50-pounds of books, I know this will lead to a more interactive education.

MiamiHal - the smart move