Year: 2008

01 Dec

Maureen = National Board Certified Teacher = Yay!

joe / Save the Planet / / 0 Comments


After 23 months of working and waiting Maureen has become a National Board Certified Teacher (thus making it official that she is indeed the best teacher in the world). This is a huge accomplishment and I’m very proud of her. 

Before she started this process I thought that becoming a Nationally Board certified teacher required some studying, a big test, and maybe writing a few letters.  I was very wrong. The assessment for National Board Certification consists of a multimedia teaching portfolio consisting of 4 entries that include word-limited essay and in-class videos. This portfolio is used to evaluate pedagogy (the science of teaching) and student outcomes. After one finishes all that (it takes about a year, teachers then need to successfully complete/pass a three-hour examination.

There are only 64,000 Nationally Board certified teachers (of the 4,000,000 teachers currently employed only 1.6% have this certification).

Here’s some more information from


The mission of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is to advance the quality of teaching and learning by:

1. Maintaining high and rigorous standards for what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do

2. Providing a national voluntary system certifying teachers who meet these standards, and

3. Advocating related education reforms to integrate National Board Certification in American education and to capitalize on the expertise of National Board Certified Teachers.


NBPTS was formed in response to a 1986 report issued by the Task Force on Teaching as a Profession, a group funded by the Carnegie Forum on Education. The report, entitled A Nation Prepared: Teachers for the 21st Century, called for the creation of a board to “define what teachers should know and be able to do” and to “support the creation of a rigorous, valid assessment to see that certified teachers do meet these standards.” The founding president of NBPTS was James A. Kelly, and the original chair of the board of directors was the Honorable James B. Hunt Jr., former governor of North Carolina.


NBPTS Standards are based on the Five Core Propositions — the foundation of what all accomplished teachers should know and be able to do — and provide a reference that helps educators link teaching standards to teaching practice. NBPTS publishes standards of “accomplished teaching” for 25 subject areas and developmental levels for pre-K through 12th grade. These standards were developed and validated by representative councils comprised of master teachers, disciplinary organizations and other education experts.

26 Nov

Herb and Dorothy

joe / Stories / / 0 Comments



Do you have to be a Medici or a Rockefeller to collect art?

Not according to Herbert and Dorothy Vogel. This documentary film tells the extraordinary story of Herb, a postal clerk, and Dorothy, a librarian – an ordinary couple of modest means who managed to build one of the most important contemporary art collections in history.

In the early 1960s, when very little attention was paid to Minimalist and Conceptual Art, Herb and Dorothy quietly began purchasing the works of unknown artists. Devoting all of Herb’s salary to buy art, and living on Dorothy’s paycheck alone, they continued collecting artworks guided by two rules: the piece had to be affordable, and small enough to fit in their one-bedroom Manhattan apartment. Within these limitations, they proved themselves curatorial visionaries; most of those they supported and befriended went on to become world-renowned artists. Their circle includes: Sol LeWitt, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Richard Tuttle, Chuck Close, Robert and Sylvia Mangold, Lynda Benglis, Pat Steir, Robert Barry, Lucio Pozzi and Lawrence Weiner.

Thirty years on, the Vogels had managed to accumulate over 4,000 pieces, filling every corner of their living space from the bathroom to the kitchen. “Not even a toothpick could be squeezed into the apartment,” recalls Dorothy. Their apartment was near collapse, holding way over its limit – something had to be done.

In 1992, the Vogels made headlines that shocked the art world: their entire collection was moved to the National Gallery of Art, the vast majority of it as an outright gift to the institution. Many of the works they acquired at modest prices appreciated so significantly that their collection became worth several million dollars, yet the Vogels never sold a single piece to breakdown the collection.

Herb and Dorothy still live in the same apartment today- with 19 turtles, lots of fish, one cat -once completely emptied, now refilled again with piles of artworks.

The Vogels’ discerning taste and magnanimity changed the face of contemporary art collecting. In 2007, James Stourton, the chairman of Sotheby’s UK, included the Vogels in his acclaimed book, Great Collectors of Our Time: Art Collecting Since 1945. Stourton placed Herb and Dorothy among the top art collectors in the world, alongside Getty, Rockefeller and Mellon.

While there are countless films that feature artists, there are few about art collectors. Herb and Dorothy provides a unique chronicle of the world of contemporary art from two unlikely collectors, whose shared passion and discipline defies stereotypes and redefines what it means to be a patron of the arts.

10 Nov

Sitooterie II – Light Sculpture in Essex, UK

joe / Architecture, Design / / 2 Comments

Sitooterie II / Heatherwick studio / Photo by Rick Guest

Sitooterie II / Heatherwick studio / Photo by Rick Guest

Sitooterie II / Heatherwick studio / Photo by Steve Speller

Sitooterie II / Heatherwick studio / Photo by Steve Speller

The directors of the National Malus (crab-apple) Collection invited Heatherwick Studio to develop the design of a structure called the Sitooterie for their site in Essex. Derived from the Scottish, a ‘sitooterie’ is a small building in which to literally “sit oot”.

The structure is a cube punctured by over 5000 long thin windows that project from all its surfaces and lift it off the ground. The cube, which measures 2.4 x 2.4 metres, is precision-machined from 15mm anodised aluminium and the windows are 18mm square-section aluminium tubes glazed with transparent orange acrylic.

As the long thin windows all point at the exact centre of the cube, it only takes a single light source, located at this central point, to send light through every tube, causing the windows to glow orange. A small number of them also project into the cube to form seating.

Visit: Heatherwick Studio