Archive for April, 2011

Journal 2

Still no interviews set up on the second week of field work, a lot of work for other classes occupied me this week, more research than anything else.

Journal 1

For the first week of the WDP field work I mostly did research, I looked into the schools of WJCC to see where I could go to talk to people, and tried to find out who at William and Mary I knew who came from the WJCC school system.

Final Weeks & Wrap-up

I can (somewhat) breathe a sigh of relief. My transcription is done! Have I ever mentioned how much I dislike transcribing interviews? It’s much harder than it seems. It is difficult to type as you’re listening to someone speak. We speak incredibly fast, or so it seems. I have also found that I have a tendency to change words around as I type, which is a HUGE no-no. Anyways, I’m just glad I can move on to another facet of my project. I believe that all of my indexes, etc. are complete, so I just need to compile it all, upload the files to Discussion Board, and print hard copies.

In the end, I had a total of 5 interviews (Kimberly Hundley, elementary school teacher; Redell Atkinson, high school student; Suzanne Hart, school counselor; Kristyn Allred, parent and PTA president; Dr. Byron Bishop, middle school principal). I am satisfied with the number of oral histories collected. I also accomplished my original goal, which was to work directly with people actively within the school system. I think that the individuals I chose to interview have provided great insight from a variety of perspectives, which is always beneficial in studies such as the WDP.

Now, I must begin to focus on pulling everything together. My research, my interviews, and my experience will provide the general ‘meat & potatoes’ of the final project. It can be quite intimidating sitting down to type a 20 page report, especially when it will, in a sense, represent an entire community. However, I think (hope) that I am prepared. I look forward to our presentations and seeing what everyone else has come up with!

4/26 Journal

I totally spaced on the journal entry until I was walking to class today… I blame end-of-semester craziness.

Anyway, I was a little disappointed because Mr. Jarman didn’t respond to either of the emails I sent him, nor could I get in touch with him via phone. Although I can say I tried, I’d much rather have an interview. This week I’ve been looking for the latest articles, just to make sure I have everything, and doing some more research on issues from a few months back, such as the outside study that was commissioned and community dialogue around the hiring of the superintendent. Right now I feel as though I’m trying to just piece everything together to make a respectable project. I’ve been transcribing Mr. Andre’s interview and typed my indexes. Headnotes are next on the list. I’m a little worried about everything not being cohesive/too broad but I have a meeting set up with Professor Taylor on Thursday so hopefully she’ll be able to give me some guidance.

Quick addendum: Mr. Jarman emailed me back! He apparently didn’t get my original email, but he’s willing to be interviewed. I am so excited right now it is absurd.

Another update: I have an interview with Mr. Jarman tomorrow, and he also emailed me quite a few things pertaining to the outside compensation study that was done as well as proposals made by the budget advisory group of which he was a part. The materials are really great! I’m very excited and feeling a new rush of hope for my project.

Work Journal 6

This week I gave Sarah a deed of gift from Zach Lee’s mom. Zach is a senior at Jamestown High School but he is under 18. As such, he does not have the legal authority to give written consent.

I have begun to transcribe my interview with Arri Daniels. Much like the peer interviews, it is proving to be a long and mind numbing process.

Journal 6

This week was fairly productive for me, between trolling the last word and conducting an interview with a former Bruton High student (not WJCC, if I am correct, so I didn’t check out a kit for the interview) I also managed to set up an interview for 330 on Tuesday the 26th with Nancy Dutroe, who Addie suggested I speak to. I was assailed with illness from Thursday the 21st onward however, and i find myself scarce of words.

Research Journal, 4/25

4/19

Today Frank and I interviewed Sharmaine Grove, head of technical education programs in the WJCC school system. She is new to the position and was very hard to pin down for an interview, though perhaps that was due more to her busy schedule than an unwillingness to share what she knows. When we started telling her about the project and oral history, she seemed enthusiastic about what we were doing, and well-familiar with oral history. She has been in the position for a year, so she knows a lot about the different programs that are available within the school system, which is really helpful because most people that I’ve talked to have focused on the programs at New Horizons as the main place that students can go to get technical education classes/ certifications. Dr. Grove was also extremely positive about the school system and the wide variety of classes it offers. She focused heavily on the opportunities for higher education available within these programs, and less on students that do not plan to continue their education.

For most of this week, I was totally occupied with Living Wage activities, so I didn’t do much more Williamsburg Documentary Project work, though I did type up a few transcripts and try to get some of my documents in order that I have to turn in Thursday. But I was involved in the sit-in in President Reveley’s office, which took a huge amount of planning, all of Wednesday while I was there, and then a lot of follow-up in terms of sending out press releases, updating and strategize with allies, and dealing with the code of conduct violations that this school is charging us with. So all in all it was a crazy week, but really exciting!

Journal #6

This week I plan on transcribing my interview with head of Child Nutrition Services and SHIP’s dietician.  I am really happy with that interview and feel we touched on a lot of important points in a short period of time.  I also lined up an interview with a cafeteria manager for Wednesday and will also tour the cafeteria which will give me a great look at exactly how kids are eating these days.

In total, I will have four interviews and a lot of “informal work” from sitting in on a PE class and O’Neill  bike session to reviewing school board footage.  My portfolio will include citizen letters, grants, lunch menus and more.  Overall, I am very happy with my project and feel like I have a lot of information to draw on.

I think following the money was the best advice for my project and really the theme that runs throughout my work.  To provide healthier food for kids involves a lot of financial resources from receiving government subsidies or WHF grants to the students paying at the cafeteria register.  While there is certainly an apparent interest to improve food options, the ability to do so relies on $.  I would also to provide a sort of “meta-commentary” on my project, if you will.  I’d like to look at my role as an interviewer and see my influence on the interviews, selection of data, etc and view my entire project as a subjective narrative that I have pieced together.  I should probably get started soon…

Research Journal 25 Apr 11

I’ve been so busy with work for other classes that I haven’t spent much time working on my paper. I was trying to arrange a fifth interview, with a housekeeper in Monroe, but it didn’t work out soon enough. Too bad—she might have been a really interesting person to talk to. I wish I had known to talk to her earlier on. Oh well, I think I have plenty to work with. I’ll spend this week finishing up indexes and transcriptions, and working on the final paper. I don’t think I’ve found out exactly what I thought I would, but it’s all useful and I think writing the paper will help me think through everything. Not much left to do but get to work.

Research Journal (4/25/11)

I’m getting into the paper portion of the class, and so I’m in the process of pulling everything that I have together.  This week I transcribed the entirety of the Trisha Farinholt interview, which took me probably 6 hours on account of the length of the interview, and of how bad I am at transcribing.  On top of that, Addie and I finally got a chance to sit down with Sharmaine Grove, the current Supervisor of Career and Technical Education for all of WJCC.  It was nice to get the official stance of the WJCC school system, even though it was admittedly less exciting to take part in than some of the other interviews that I’ve performed.  She said exactly what I thought she’d say, and that was that the CTE side of WJCC is thriving and leaves not a single child behind in its monstrous wake.  So anyways, I’m trying to figure out how to transform all of this raw material that I have into a cohesive and coherent academic paper.  It’s going to be painful.

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About

The Williamsburg Documentary Project (WDP) strives to collect and preserve the rich past of Williamsburg, Virginia. By conducting oral history interviews, building physical and digital archives, and creating online exhibits, the WDP interprets Williamsburg’s recent past. The WDP works towards developing a better understanding of Williamsburg by bringing together individuals, local groups, Colonial Williamsburg, and the College of William & Mary.

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