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September 4th Report for Peace Corps (2015.09.04)

This report reflects a summary of my work with the curriculum department during the month of August.

What I Have Done Thus Far

In addition to meeting with my Language Arts curriculum team (Richard Ligiteiwel-Satawalese, Vincenta Gurwan-Yapese, Martin Tachibelmel-Woleaian, Tino Uloia-Woleaian, and Glenda Waithog-Ulithian) in staff meetings, I’ve met with each team member individually to learn about how I might be able to help them. I’ve also met with my supervisor (Francis Gaan), Sandy Keiji (Science), and Christoper Buchun (Culture), Ginny Feninigog (Math), and Camilo Nuestro (Agriculture/Vocational Ed) to understand how the Language Arts curriculum fits into the overall curriculum.

Part of my ongoing deliberations is to also contemplate the Peace Corps goals of leaving a lasting impact here and helping Americans understand Yap. The main categories of where I see I can help is to provide assistance with English Language translation, K12 and adult education best practices, computer education, and vernacular language and culture support. The following are more detailed descriptions of projects I am working on.

Endangered Languages – The biggest surprise for me and a very promising area of work in terms of potential grants and other resources, providing purpose and inspiration for the DOE, and for making a lasting impact in preserving culture is the work that the DOE has done in Vernacular Languages and how we might leverage the documents and resources to benefit all of the people of the Yap as well as the outside world. In my research into language, I’ve discovered that Satawalese is considered an endangered language while Ulithian and Woleian are both considered threatened (Source: The Endangered Language Project, see www.endangeredlanguages.com). Currently there are few documents on the Web that will assist in the survival of these languages. Francis and I have been discussing this and are anxious to meet with the DOE Director when she returns.

Another area of assisting in the survival of the languages is to provide more tools to help all people who speak the language. We are creating computer dictionaries in Yapese, Satawalese, Ulithian and Woleian) to help with spell check for Microsoft Word and other programs. We originally were creating these tools for in-house use in the curriculum department but quickly realized how valuable these tools will be for anyone who speaks the language including students who will be writing papers in their own tongue.

 English Standards and Benchmarks Document

When I first arrived, the Language Arts team was in the middle of training with the new English Standards and Benchmarks that were aligned to the Federated States of Micronesia standards. After reading the standards, I realized that they needed to be edited for consistency so it was easier for teachers to see the progression from one grade to the next. We worked on creating a new section in the document that listed each benchmarks from grade ECE to grade 8 and highlighted what was new in each grade. The teachers also asked for a glossary so all of the team members created entries based on words the teachers highlighted and I edited and compiled them into one document. Additionally, we added a Benchmark-At-a-Glance and an index and updated the Table of Contents to reflect the additional sections. Finally, we met with the Science and Math members to make sure the books were consistent in their format. 

Language Arts Training

When I arrived, the Language Arts Team had already trained Yap and one session of the Outer Island teachers in the new standards and benchmarks document. I ran the computer for the second section of the Outer Island teachers and was able to observe the training from our team. I also observed the Science training given by Sandy Keiji and Pam Legdesog (PREL consultant) and attended a principal meeting summarizing the training for all three groups (Math was also included) and met with Lorenzo Sartilug, Stan Retrogral, and some teachers who attended the training. Finally, I reviewed the evaluations from both the Language Arts and Science presentations. According to the data, the presentations given by the Science group headed by the PREL consultant was more useful for the teachers than the Language Arts group. We’ve begun discussions on how to improve future training within our team. My goal for the end of my term here is to assist as much as possible in making the professional development provided by our department and the documents we create more “teacher friendly.”

Vernacular Standards and Benchmarks Documents

One of my concerns is doing the work and not sharing the knowledge on how to do the work with the rest of my team. Since we were in a hurry to get the English Standards and Benchmarks document done, we divided the work but didn’t share much of the process. The team has said they want to update the Vernacular Standards and Benchmarks Document with the same changes we made with the English Standards and Benchmarks. We’re hoping that I can train the staff on the work that I did so they will be able to make similar changes themselves without my help in the future.

LinkedIn Blog

Part of my strategy to get future help is to share what I’m doing here in Yap and the culture and resources they have so my connections will be more likely to help if I need assistance. I have over 1000 educational contacts on LinkedIn. While most of them don’t read my blog, I can refer to it when I do need specific assistance. My blog is available at http://www.linkedin.com/in/rickwinter1 and my goal is to have one to two posts per week. One benefit for the Peace Corps is that some connections have already expressed interest in future volunteer opportunities.

Computer Training

One of the surprises of the needs assessment was the unanimous request for my computer assistance in all areas. I think that if I can help improve the curriculum section’s skills in this area, it will go a long way in improving their productivity and morale. The work done here is very computer intensive and takes higher level computer skills than an average office because of the amount of documentation produced. I’ve held a number of one-on-one or small group training sessions and the Vernacular Standards Document session will include a significant amount of hands-on training in Microsoft Word skills.

Current Work

All of the above projects are require continual improvement. We are slated to have a meeting next week about the Vernacular Language Standards and Benchmarks document and Word custom dictionaries as well as making the existing documents more teacher-friendly. During our staff meeting this week, Francis asked for volunteers for the September 18th Outer Islands 16-day trip. I volunteered in order to learn more about Yap’s outer islands, the culture, and to meet more people. I’m also hoping to meet with the people on-board including the director, governor, and other cabinet and DOE members to gain insight on their needs.

The following are two additional projects I started this week for September.

Typhoon Maysak and Ulithi Textbooks

Just this week I was involved in a staff meeting that discussed Typhoon Maysak and the destruction of textbooks in Ulithi. I have started discussions with my school and publisher connections on how we might assist the Ulithian schools. I also visited North Faniff Community School this week and realized that the school has more textbooks than they need for their 19 students. Sandy shared with me about the unallocated compact funds and the previous application for textbooks. We’re continuing to brainstorm options for replacements.

North Fanif School Improvement Plan

During individual meetings with staff members, I asked each person on how I might be able to help. Vincenta is a community member on North Fanif’s School Improvement Committee. I told Vincenta of my previous experience with SIPs in the US and she asked for my assistance. I reviewed North Fanif’s current SIP as well as other SIPs and the FSM documentation. I made suggestions on the SIP and Vincenta asked if I could meet with the committee this Friday (September 4).








Rubric for Where I Want to Work (2015.07.07)

Rick Winter Future Organization Rubric



0 (Deal Breaker)

1 (Tolerate)

2 (Good)

3 (Great)

4 (Dream)



Same boring routine every day

Same interesting routine every day

Different interesting routines every day with some challenges

Multiple challenges require my skills and experience to solve


Multiple challenges above my abilities and have great team where our diversity is used to solve problems every day. Ideas flying around and played with.



Negative attitude care less

Ignore employees but don’t put down

Some structures in place for employee input, collaboration

Equal partner with employees in coming up with good solutions for challenges

Inspiring me and others every day



I’m there because they need any body

I’m there because they need any brain

I feel like once or twice a year I come up with something that helps the organization

I’m often using my background and experience and coming up with things that move the organization forward

All staff are often contributing amazing things for the organization


Learning and Growth


Jobs explained satisfactorily, safety training will avoid major problems

Jobs trained well including health and safety.

I can create my own learning/growth plan

Continual job improvement built into employee development.

I can create my own learning/growth plan and company provides resources.

Every employee has their own learning/growth plan and is growing and are all contributing to improvements for each other


Ideas (money saving, increase productivity, …)

Ideas ridiculed, put down, or good ones not considered. People stealing ideas or grabbing credit

Ideas not really solicited, but really good ones used

Structure and system for some employee ideas

I’m in my natural state of coming up with lots of ideas

Structure/culture causes everyone to come up with more ideas they would have than in most places



I personally feel discriminated against covert or overt (age, GLBT, race, handicap, sex…)

See others discriminated against but some actions taken

Any discrimination dealt with appropriately and effectively

Actively seeks all kinds of people to help problem solving

Diversity is key to organization’s success. Structures to optimize differences and make org better.



Living in an area that is not safe and is uncomfortable and commute not possible

Commute to an area of need even if workplace is not comfortable.

Feel safe both at home and workplace and area is full of diversity and things to learn.

Can travel at least once a year to see my family or friends in Colorado.

Can often travel to see family/friends as well as meet new ones/learn about new places.


Education Connection

Education not valued.

Education and is a high priority. Perhaps org has major donation/support for education.

Any business where education is the primary service

Any level of education turnaround, innovation

K12 turnaround, innovation, significantly impacted population



Pay significantly less than peers with same skills. Incentives actually disincentives for employees.

Pay seems OK and fair. No incentives but no disincentives.

A few nice incentives.

I feel that incentives challenge and improve me but not other employees.

Paid for all skills background have with incentives that really motivate me and all employees and are fun.


Benefits (but balance with salary)


Substantial employee contributions for basic plan >=300

Great plan with substantial employee contributions <=350

2+ Health/life balance a key focus of org

Free Health, dental, vision care for family. Gym membership or discounts.


SO+me salary, but if living expenses covered…

Have to dig into savings to survive (20K), but see next >

Downsize house etc. (40K) OR great opportunity for future jobs (learning or employability).

Keep at current standard. (60K)

Save for retirement.

Travel 1 trip/year. (80K)

SO can retire, volunteer, do whatever job s/he wants. Substantial savings each year for retirement. (100K+)





























SO = Significant others who earn/contribute to household.

1 Location: The higher the level of stress in the job, the more I would need to be able to be with my support system (both professional and family/friends) until I was able to develop a new support system. E.g.: The highest stress jobs would be fine in the Clear Creek/Denver Metro Area.

Off to India on Friday (2015.05.15)

I don't know much except that I will be helping two orphanage schools -- one is a poor village school and the other is relatively well to do. They are both in Himachal Pradesh as far as I know. I learned that Shimla, the capital was established as the summer capital of British India in 1864. Shimla is one of many "hill stations." Hill stations are high-altitude town used as a place of refuge from summer heat in Asian countries, especially by wimpy and wealthy European colonialists.

Himachal Pradesh is the state second from the top of India.

Building Windmills on a Factory Floor

I'm not allowed to show you anything but stock photos. I'm working at Vestas and we have top secret ways to make the best windmills in the world. We're second in the US and gunning for first. Watch out GE!

Courtesy of Vestas Wind Systems A/S

July through July was in China!

I'm helped set up a Eaglebridge International school in Dandong, Liaoning, China. We'll be starting with two 1st grades, a 7th grade, and a 10th grade. I was originally a consultant, then Head Principal, then the International Director of Curriculum. It was quite a year and I learned a lot about the Chinese way of education and management, but perhaps more about myself and our own way of doing things.

New school in China -- I'm interviewing for Principal position next week.Time and the Triangle Learning Academy (TLA)

I’m working on helping Dr. Dan Burke create our vision of a new “high school” (renamed the Triangle Learning Academy - TLA).

Picture all of the 9th grade in a school in Colorado on a giant treadmill trying to get to 10th grade. There's a teenager on the side in crutches who has been out for a couple weeks, another teen 2 years behind in Math and English, and yet another teen from Texas scratching his head trying to figure out where to get on. What we're trying to do is give each kid their own treadmill were the speed is adjustable.

The basic idea of TLA is that time is extremely variable because it is unusual for a teenager (any Learner) to be only in 9th grade for every subject and everyone to start and learn at the same speed as every other Learner (renamed from students). We're concentrating on maximizing instructional time at the Learner’s level, minimizing non-instructional time, and combining lessons through interdisciplinary focus, but will also extend the school day and year for Learners that need it. The high school (renamed Learning Academy) we're designing will assess Learners for 30 days on all areas -- academic, social, emotional, and physical and then set benchmarks for where they currently are compared where they should be for graduation. Then Learning Managers (renamed from teachers) would use as much of what we currently know in brain-based learning; computer facilitated learning and management; researched-based proven methods and interventions to empower each Learner to reach his or her goals.

For a great, in-depth discussion of extended and effective time, go to http://www.timeandlearning.org/caseformoretime.

Follow @RickWinterCO

A visionary leader with grit who can get things done

  • Georgetown Community School was the only public school in Colorado serving infants through sixth grade and soared to academic achievement award status during Rick's term as principal.
  • After Rick facilitated over 100 meetings, Clear Creek county voters passed a mil levy, bond, and override.
  • Rick led author teams, wrote, and edited over 50 books, many of them first to market and bestsellers in their categories.
  • Rick worked 13 years and had over 113 rejections before his first children's book was published.


  • Lori Ventimiglia I have known Rick since 2003 when he was on the Clear Creek School Board and I was submitting a charter school application to Rick and the board.  My experience ...
    Posted Dec 30, 2011, 9:28 AM by Rick Winter
  • Jim Leonard Rick Winter is one of those amazing persons who can point to the stands (a seemingly impossible goal) and then hit the ball there. He led the Georgetown Charter School ...
    Posted Dec 30, 2011, 5:39 PM by Rick Winter
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