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From the Mind of McGregor


October 06
Kneeling is for church.

​I know that nobody actually reads this, but it will make me feel better to get this out of my system.  The kneeling and sitting during the National Anthem is getting out of hand.  Not the actual kneeling and sitting, but the hype and controversy surrounding the issue.  And it was only made worse when the President of the United States weighed in on it.  

If we are truly a free country and we truly have the freedoms of speech and expression, then we should be able to peacefully protest for something we believe in.  And that should include sitting or kneeling during the National Anthem.  Yes, our soldiers fight and die for that flag, but they also fight and die for our rights as Americans.  And those rights include the rights to peacefully protest and question the government.  And that's what these NFL players are doing.  

Personally, I don't agree with what they are doing because I think a person should stand at attention during the National Anthem, but that is MY opinion.  I have my opinion and I'm entitled to it.  I don't believe that I have the right to dictate to others what their opinions should be.  I may not like how Colin Kaepernick protests to the government, but he is an American just like me and he has the same rights as I do.  He chooses to kneel, I choose to stand.  Let's leave it at that.

Again, I don't like what they are doing, but it's not my place to tell them what is right and what is wrong.  Kneeling or sitting during the National Anthem has not yet caused a fist fight or other physical or property damage that I know of.  It is a peaceful way to make a point.  As an American you have that right and we need to fight to keep that right alive for everyone.  Yes, NFL players make millions and may be labeled as whiny crybabies, but they have rights just like us.  

Just think of a cause you are passionate about and how you might protest or make your opinion known.  Now think of your reaction if someone told you that you shouldn't do that because it isn't respectful or because other people don't agree with you.  How would you react?  

So, Mr. President, please get back to the business of the country and stop attacking people for exercising their right to protest because you don't like it.  We need you working for the country instead of Tweeting every fifteen minutes.

September 21
Update on my Twitter habits and other random thoughts

Welcome back to another new school year!  I guess it's a little late to say welcome back, but this is my first post of the new year.  I recently went back and read all of my previous posts from the bottom, up and realized that in one of the posts I said "I would never make it on Twitter."  Well, it turns out that now I'm addicted to Twitter.  I have it on my iPad and on my iPhone and I check it everyday.  I have even sent out over 20 Tweets myself.  I only have 16 followers but it's a start.  I do more consuming of information than I do actual tweeting but it is fun and I get a lot of news by following some national and local news organizations.  I also get a lot of advice, inspirational quotes, and educational resources from some of the educators that I follow.  I'm still disappointed in the negativity that I see on there, but I guess that comes with the territory and the world we live in today.  I still don't think people need to criticize and hate on people as much as they do.  Some people even seem proud of how negative and mean they are!  Imagine that.  Anyway, that's my progress with Twitter.  I probably got into it about two years too late, but I now enjoy it and like exploring.

Well, time for some random thoughts.  I've been following the Colin Kaepernick saga like I'm sure everyone has.  As Americans, we have to recognize his right to protest in any fashion he chooses as long as he is not defacing property or harming other people.  However, I have to say that I disagree with his method in this case, which is my right as an American.  I think he can find other ways to make his point.  Just my opinion.

Ok, I guess there was just one random thought for today.  Thanks for reading.  Stay tuned for more.

December 04
When did the world become so mean?
This stream of thoughts was written back in late October on a day when the internet was down.  When I talk about Twitter in the paragraphs below it says that I don't actually Tweet, but since this was written I have actually put out two Tweets.  So some of the information is a little outdated, but the thoughts are still relevant.  


Remember when your mother said, “If you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all?”  I think that sentiment ought to apply to social media as well.  I recently joined the world of Twitter because some of my principal colleagues have been urging me to do so for a while and I finally gave in.  They sold me on the idea that there is a wealth of educational information on Twitter and plentiful resources that I could share with my teachers.  This has turned out to be true and I kind of enjoy following certain people and organizations and then sharing quotes or memes with my staff.  And, yes, I do know what memes are.  I have never Tweeted anything, I am just a consumer of information.  I enjoy following my favorite sports teams, a few politicians, and a host of principals and educators from South Dakota.  This is entertaining, educational, and a lot more fun than I thought it would be. 

However, for all the educational benefits I get from Twitter, there is just as much garbage out there as well.  Of course, I should have known this going in, but I tend to try and see the good side of things before I condemn them as bad.  For a while it didn’t bother me too much, but the other night I finally found the point where I couldn’t stand it anymore.  For those of you that follow baseball and the World Series, there is a pitcher from the Kansas City Royals whose father died shortly before his son was to pitch in Game 1 of the Series.  The pitcher’s wife asked team officials not to tell him the bad news because it would distract him from his pitching in probably the biggest game of his career.  This guy went out and pitched six innings of the game and after he came out his family was waiting for him to deliver the news.  The news had leaked out to the press and social media and this is an actual word-for-word Tweet from somebody that I saw:

“The royals are scumbags. Get 6 innings out of a pitcher then tell him his dad died. Disgusting”

Now, I understand the thought behind this Tweet if in fact the Royals just didn’t tell him because they wanted him to pitch well.  But the person who wrote this Tweet didn’t know that the guy’s wife requested that he not be told.  That didn’t stop this person from calling an entire professional sports organization a bunch of “scumbags.”  This Tweet was pretty mild compared to some of the other ones that I have read.  Some of them get downright vile and vulgar. 

So, here are my questions: Who taught us to speak like this?  Who decided that it was ok to make judgements about situations we have no knowledge of and people we don’t even know?  Why are we so brave with our right of Freedom of Speech when we are behind a computer screen?  Would people really say these things if the people they were saying them about were right in front of them?

I love the internet and use it quite regularly.  I dabble on Facebook and as you now know, I am a consumer of information on Twitter.  I send and receive about 40 text messages per month, really that’s it.  I think instant information and communication on the internet is wonderful, but in some cases we have gone too far.  People are brutal to each other through social media, both to people they know and people they have never met and never will meet.  How can people make such rash judgements and profane comments about someone they don’t even know?  I just can’t get my mind wrapped around that one. 

It seems that no matter what someone does in today’s world, it offends someone else somewhere either in our country or around the world.  We have become so sensitive these days.  And when someone is offended by a comment or action they take immediately to social media to tell the whole world what they think whether it is a simple and appropriate comment or a vile attack on somebody.  I get mad at some things that I see happening in this world and I certainly have opinions on what should be done.  However, I choose to channel my anger or disappointment into something more constructive than taking to Twitter and bashing somebody I’ve never met.  Of course I think the beatings, killings, and all the other things going bad in this country are horrible, but I refuse to resort to being a hater on social media.  Of course I have opinions about the people running for President from both parties, but I refuse to say something like this about any of them --  “I hate _____ the liar and anyone who looks like him” – actual Tweet with the candidate’s name removed.  Why would someone say that?  So everyone that physically looks like that candidate deserves your hate?  Really?  I mean, ………really?  I give up, I’m getting too worked up about this.

I guess my overall message is that if you don’t have something nice to say then stay off social media because it is a place for cowards to spew filth.  When did the world become so mean?  We should use social media for the right reasons and not to tell someone we don’t even know that they are stupid, ugly, or something even worse.  Ok, I have to stop.

P.S. – I know nobody reads these but it feels good to get these thoughts out and I always feel better after I’ve written something like this.  See kids, this is how real adults express anger and disappointment…....through civilized thoughts and discussions, not through a cowardly Twitter post that tries to be funny or make someone feel bad.  Let’s all grow up.  And by the way, I would have no trouble at all saying any of this right to anyone’s face.  I don’t type it if I wouldn’t say it out loud.  There is a lesson there I think.  

October 21
Back in my day......

I don’t feel old enough to be able to tell stories that start with, “Back in my day….”  However, I do find myself saying things like, “30 years ago I remember….”  So does that make me old?  I guess you could count my grey hairs or listen to how many bones creak or crack each time I stand up or sit down.  I’m definitely entering the middle part of my life and am starting to notice things that young people of today don’t know about from the time I was their age. 

How many of today’s teenagers know “Where’s the Beef?!”  How many of today’s teenagers put on their favorite pair of Zubaz and head down to the local arcade to play a few games of Frogger?  Have kids today ever seen Star Wars?  I mean the three original Star Wars movies, the good ones.  If anyone is totally lost on what the bold words above mean, then you are exactly the target of these thoughts.  (By the way, Zubaz were cool.)

Let’s go back to the idea of the local arcade.  When I was a kid we had two arcades in town where kids could go and get a slice of pizza and drop quarters (in some cases dimes) in a variety of arcade games and play all afternoon.  This was before X-Box, Playstation, and even before Nintendo.  Ms. Pacman and Donkey Kong were some of the favorites.  If you still have no idea what I’m talking about then I give up.

I will admit that I spent some time in these arcades when I was a kid……but ONLY on rainy days.  If there wasn’t water pouring from the sky or it wasn’t a full-out blizzard, we were outside playing.  Playing baseball, kickball, football, tag, night games (remember those all you older readers?), golfing, swimming at the pool, wading in the creek catching crawdads, whatever we could find to do with our friends, siblings, or just by ourselves.  Heck, I remember spending a lot of time in my yard hitting a wiffle ball over the neighbor’s house and counting how many “homeruns” I would hit.  (I think I only broke one window in all those years too!)  I could go on and on with things we used to do that were outdoor activities.

Now, to be fair, my sister and I did save our money and eventually bought a Nintendo system.  I’m sure we wore that thing out with the three games we had, but we still spent way more time outside.  And, in the interest of full disclosure, I did purchase a Playstation2 when I was fresh out of college and in my first teaching job.  I was living in a very small town with nothing to do outside of the school and I wanted something to do during the winter months so I bought a few games.  So, I’m not totally against video games.

My point in all this is that I think the kids of today need some more outdoor time in their lives.  There should be a healthy balance between video game time and outdoor/physical activities.  Call your friends and get a baseball or football game going at the park, hop on your bike and head down to the pool, race your sister around the block, whatever.  Just get outside and be active. 

I saw a TV show recently where a character was running from the cops and tried to jump off a roof to get away from being captured.  When he fell to the ground in pain because of a broken leg, he said he thought he could make the jump because he did it all the time in one of his video games.  Wow.

Life isn’t a video game.  Life isn’t like video games.  Video games aren’t life and they shouldn’t dominate your life.  Get off the couch and get outside for some fresh air and some real life activities.  Your thumbs shouldn’t be the most in-shape part of you. ​ 

August 21

For any students or staff that may be reading this, you heard me say this at our first assembly.  For those that are not students or staff at Scotland High School, I’m not sure which wrong button you clicked to get here, but I welcome you to my blog.  My new motto for the year is: Be Here, Be on Time, Be Respectful, Be Great!  I will be honest, I didn’t come up with this on my own.  I flat out stole it from a principal in northeastern South Dakota who shared it with us at a conference last year.  He had a bunch of good ideas and I’m sure he won’t mind if I borrow a few and put them into practice right here in Scotland.  I will get to the components of my new motto in a little while.

I should also explain the “Super-School” from the title of this post.  I stole that idea too.  Another school principal, also from the northeast part of South Dakota, used to refer to his school as the “Super-School” whenever he spoke to a group of people.  He is now retired so I thought I’d make Scotland the new Super-School in our state.  I don’t know if it will catch on, but I’m going to try.  More on this in a little while as well.

The new school year is now open and we have the opportunity to make it a great one.  We just have to decide to do it.  Sure, I would love to have two or three more weeks of summer to sleep late and play golf every day, but that just isn’t going to happen so let’s embrace the new school year and commit ourselves to make it great. 

So, back to my new motto.  Be Here – I know things come up, appointments, sickness, and family events.  Those things happen, but students really need to be here and in class as much as humanly possible.  In the classroom is where the magic of school happens and you miss things when you are gone, even for a day.  So be here, please. 

Be on Time – I truly and aggressively dislike calling kids in to tell them they have detention for being tardy too many times.  I know tardiness happens too, I’m guilty of it at times myself, but being consistently late for classes is disrespectful and creates bad habits that can plague you in other areas of your life.  So be on time, please.

Be Respectful – We are a Character Counts school and respect is one of the pillars of character.  Be respectful to your teachers, classmates, coaches, advisors, school staff members, and don’t forget about yourself.  Respect yourself; dress well, take care of your health, and get enough rest.  Respect our school as well; pick up garbage when you see it, keep the locker rooms clean, and for Heaven’s sake boys flush the toilets and don’t spit your gum into the urinals!  These are just little things we all can do to be respectful to others, the facilities, and ourselves.  So be respectful, please.

And finally, Be Great! – WHY BE ANYTHING ELSE?  We can’t all be the best at absolutely everything we do, but if we are determined and give it our best effort then we ARE great.  Attitude is everything.  If we attack life with a positive attitude and work together to solve problems rather than criticize everything and give up so easily, we can and will do great things.  So, think great, act great, and BE great, please!

Now, if we do all these things, Scotland can truly become the “Super-School” and people will notice.  We made t-shirts last year with the Scotland Superman “S” on the front.  Let’s wear those proudly and support all of the academics and activities listed on the back.  We ARE the Super-School because of the students and staff in Scotland.  In my short time here, I have come to realize that overall we have some of the most well-behaved students around.  We also have some of the most dedicated teachers I have ever met.  We have the best custodial staff around as well, just look at this beautiful building and you will see.  We ARE the Super-School, Scotland High School, and proud of it.  Let's have a great year.

August 04

I found this story in my files this morning and wanted to share it.  It is a good message about bullying and really makes you think about how important it is to choose your words carefully. ​



There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His Father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.


The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.


Finally the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.


The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, 'You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won't matter how many times you say I'm sorry, the wound is still there.


'A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one. Friends are very rare jewels, indeed. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear, they share words of praise and they always want to open their hearts to us.'


February 23
Oscars again.....and my favorite movies.

Alright, alright, I admit it.  I watched the Oscars last night.  It was boring and once again, just a bunch of rich people giving each other awards.  However, I do enjoy movies and now have a list of new films that are on my list to watch.  Movies are a great way to escape reality for a couple of hours and be entertained.  I saw two movies in the theatre a couple of weeks ago and really enjoyed them.  Here is a list of my all-time favorite movies, maybe you've heard of a few of them:

Primary Colors (I'm a government/presidential movie freak)

​Crimson Tide (submarine movie, awesome)

Unstoppable (runaway train, oh yea)

Remember the Titans (inspirational and just an awesome story)

Rudy (that guy never quit)

The Great Outdoors (anything with John Candy)

There are many more I could list, but it would take forever.  Long story, short, go out and watch a movie.  Get lost in the make believe and enjoy a couple of hours away from our everyday little frustrations.  You just might see an award winning performance!

February 09
And the Oscar goes to.......

It’s that time of year again.  Yes, yes, it’s time for Hollywood Awards Season!  Get ready folks, because your TV will be filled with awards specials like the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the Oscars, the Emmys, the Tonys, the CMAs, the ACMs, the………ugh.   Now that football is over, it seems that Hollywood season is in full swing.  In my opinion, all of these awards shows are just a bunch of rich people giving each other awards to celebrate how cool they are followed by the all-important debate over who was the best dressed and the worst dressed on the red carpet.  In this fast-food, low attention span society we live in I guess that is entertainment.  I miss Sunday night football.

Despite my disdain for Hollywood awards shows, I do make an exception for the music award shows because they are about one of my favorite things in the world, the majesty of music.  The Grammys were on last night and I sat there with a bowl of ice cream just soaking in all the performances, of which there were many more than actual awards given out.  I had never heard of most of the performers before last night.  I had no idea who Sam Smith was, or Pharrell, or Iggy Azalea.  If you asked me a week ago, I would have told you that an Ariana Grande was something you could get at Taco Johns.  But, I know who they are now, and some of their songs are kind of catchy.  I hate to admit it, but I’m seriously considering some new downloads on my iTunes account.

When I was younger I was really into rock and roll.  Kids today probably wouldn’t recognize many of the bands I listened to.  I liked bands like Def Leppard, Warrant, Bon Jovi, and Guns N Roses.  My dad made sure all his kids had an appreciation for the oldies, and to this day I can sing you some songs from the likes of the Beatles, Herman’s Hermits, the Mamas and the Papas, and Peter, Paul, and Mary if you’d like to hear them.  I always said that I would never be a country music fan, but when I got to college I discovered my all-time favorite band, Blackhawk.  In the last 15 years I have seen Blackhawk perform live more than a dozen times.  Today, my country music tastes revolve around bands like Little Big Town, the Zac Brown Band, and guys like Kenny Chesney and Jason Aldean.  I also have developed a liking to musicians like Steve Winwood, Bruce Hornsby, James Taylor, the Eagles, and Billy Joel. 

My music tastes might not be what yours are, but the beauty of music is that there are so many options and genres that there is something for everyone.  Music can be a release, a comfort, an escape, and so many more things to us.  It is a universal part of our lives.  If you pass by my office during the day you will probably hear music playing as well as me singing off key.  In the hallways I am usually whistling, snapping my fingers, and sometimes just outright singing.  My job brings a lot of stress with it, and music is something that I use to relax, refocus, and calm myself.  It also brings me a lot of enjoyment and energy.  I think all of our lives would be better if we walked around with a song in our hearts and minds. 

So, while I have to suffer through Hollywood Awards Season, it is nice to know that the Grammys, ACMs, and CMAs are there to feed my musical appetite.  But that’s it, I won’t watch any other awards shows…..but the Oscars is coming up…….maybe I’ll watch just to see what Angelina Jolie is wearing.  

January 22
Character Counts - Fairness

January is Fairness month in Scotland for Character Counts​.  Today we should ask ourselves how we practice fairness in our lives?  Do we treat everyone equally?  Do we play by the rules?  Elanor Roosevelt once said, "It is not fair to ask of others what you are unwilling to do yourself."  How do we project fairness in our daily lives, and what examples are we setting for others?  Something to think about.

Check out this video on fairness -​ 

January 22
Preparing students for success on the new Smarter Balanced assessment

This spring, South Dakota will begin using a new state assessment, called Smarter Balanced, that is based on the state’s standards in English language arts and math. This test is administered to students in grades 3-8 and 11. It will replace the Dakota STEP test in English and math. The test was developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, a group of 22 states, including South Dakota. More than 100 South Dakota educators served on Smarter Balanced work groups as the test was being developed.

The Smarter Balanced assessment was field tested in spring 2014. That practice run gave our district’s teachers and schools a chance to practice test administration procedures, and students the opportunity to experience what will be expected of them on the new assessment. Since the field test, a number of South Dakota educators have served on panels to help set achievement levels for the new test.

Delivered entirely online, the Smarter Balanced assessment offers significant improvements over multiple choice, paper-and-pencil tests of the past. Students now have the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge in a variety of ways. Writing is required at every grade level, and performance tasks ask students to demonstrate an array of research, writing and problem solving skills. This variety in test items means test results will provide a more meaningful picture of what students know and can do. The new test also offers expanded accessibility features to better meet the needs of all students.

Because the new assessment measures student mastery of new, more rigorous standards, student performance on Smarter Balanced should not be compared to performance on Dakota STEP. Any time a new test is introduced, there will be a period of adjustment as students become familiar with the new concepts being assessed. If you must compare results of the two tests, expect to see a drop in the number of students demonstrating proficiency (Levels 3 and 4). This should not be cause for alarm; it means we are challenging students and preparing them for the rigors of postsecondary education and careers in today’s world.

It is also important to remember that your child’s score on the state assessment only reflects their performance at one moment in time. Throughout the school year, your student’s teachers continually measure his or her progress through a variety of methods.

If you have questions or concerns about the new test, please contact your child’s principal or teacher. You can also try a practice test by visiting​ 

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