Monday, March 31, 2014

The New Reasoning Mind Website and Blog!

Have you heard? On Pi Day of this year, March 14, 2014, the new Reasoning Mind website was launched! A new blog has now been integrated into the website and will be launching within the next month! You should check out all the updates and be on the lookout for the new blog. Stay tuned. 

Downtime: Weathering a West Virginia Winter

Unsurprisingly, winter is in full swing here in West Virginia. The polar vortex has not spared us, and we have had our share of snow, ice, and chilly temperatures (and many snow days as a result!).

There is beauty to be found in West Virginia at all times of year, and winter is no exception.

But... after so many days of this: 
(this is downtown Huntington, in case you're curious!)

You start to root for this: 

Of course, this winter is far from over, so I've found a few creative ways to stay busy and active in spite of the cold. First and foremost, I decided to put all of my independent health reading and research from the last year to good use, and enrolled in a program to become a certified health coach! The lifelong learner in me is thrilled to be back in a classroom (even though it's a virtual one), and I'm excited to start putting the wealth of information I've collected to good use helping others. Since joining the greater Huntington community last fall, I've been very disheartened at the lack of access to reliable information on nutrition here. Traveling around to schools through my role as an Implementation Coordinator, I see firsthand how seriously it is affecting kids at such a young age. I am anxious to spread the good food word!

It's also giving me a chance to expand my culinary skills and practice my food photography!

(Note: If you haven't tried carrot fries, you're missing out.)

I'm also very excited to be serving as a coach with an organization near and dear to my heart called Girls on the Run. Like Reasoning Mind, they are a non-profit seeking to create better futures for kids. They are an after-school program that fosters healthy lifestyle habits, constructive peer interactions, and positive self-esteem for girls in 3rd-5th grade. I participated as an elementary school student and had the opportunity to coach a team in San Antonio last year, so this will be my third season (and my third city!) as a member of this fantastic community of women. We had our first week of practice this week, in which we started training for our end-of-season 5K in April.

Hopefully, by then, the snow will be long gone and the weather warm and sunny again!

Monday, February 10, 2014

General Update: Winter Happenings in Dallas

Editor's note: Martha Hellman is an Implementation Coordinator in the Reasoning Mind Dallas office. As a college basketball fanatic, Martha splits her time between analyzing RM student data and basketball player stat sheets.Connect with her on LinkedIn.

During the chillier months of the year (by Texas standards, at least) I've gotten to do a lot of fun things with co-workers!  After our first two snow days of the year, there was no denying that winter was in full swing. That hasn't stopped us from having fun!
Ok, so it was more of an ice day, if we're being honest.
The past few weeks in the office have been filled with visitors from Houston and beyond! We've enjoyed getting to catch up with our Reasoning Mind team members from other offices. We don't get visitors all that often, but if we're lucky, some visitors will even bring us goodies, like these Russian candies!  We weren't always sure what we were eating, but they were all delicious!

Can someone tell me how to say 'chocolate' in Russian, please? 
If there is one thing the Dallas office loves, it is the PBS show Downton Abbey. A quick synopsis for those unfamiliar with the premise, the show takes place in post-World War I Britain, and follows the happenings of a wealthy family and their estate. As you might have guessed- suspense, drama, and excitement ensue! To further explore our love of the show, Meaghan, Tracey and I ventured to the Dallas Arts District this past weekend to enjoy a lecture on the origins of the show, given by the niece of the creator! It was an entertaining, often hilarious talk, and we learned even more about the origins of the Crawley family. 

We've all been keeping busy in the Dallas office, conducting classroom observations, meeting with administrators, and finding new ways to support our schools.  While it may be chilly, we're making the most of winter in Dallas! 

My favorite neighborhood billboard. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Employee Spotlight: Jonathan

We're very excited to welcome Jonathan to the team as an Implementation Coordinator. As a member of our remote pioneer team, Jonathan will support implementations in the Rio Grande Valley.

Here's ten facts to know about Jonathan:
  1. I was born in Seattle, Washington and raised in Eastern Washington.
  2. I grew up in a wheat farming community.
  3. I majored in Interdisciplinary Studies at Liberty University.
  4. I have lived in the Czech Republic and Mexico.
  5. I have traveled to 17 countries.
  6. I have four kids.  (Lucas-9, Caleb-7, Gabriella-3 and Micah- 1)
  7. My wife Laura and I have been married for 10 years.  We met in Europe!
  8. Last summer, my family and I drove from deep South Texas (five miles from Mexico) to Northern Wisconsin for a family vacation!
  9. I love coffee and would love to work on a coffee farm!
  10. I love European architecture, especially cathedrals and castles!!!

Employee Spotlight: Leah

Recruitment season is back in full swing and Reasoning Mind has recently welcomed several new hires! First up in our Employee Spotlight series is Leah. She recently joined the team as an Employee Services Associate and has hit the ground running! 

Jack and Leah enjoy a nice "winter" afternoon in Houston. 

Get to know more about our newest Employee Services Associate:
  1. I fell into the Human Resources field by accident eight years ago, but have since grown to love learning and talking about HR regulations, policies, and best practices.
  2. I spent the last few years hanging out with my son, Jack, who will be four in February.
  3. Thanks to point #2, I am an expert in stain removal, dinosaurs, and terrorist negotiations.
  4. I grew up in Omaha, Nebraska and lived in Dallas and Chicago, Illinois before moving to Houston last year.
  5. I majored in history at Baylor University and am particularly interested in the social history of women.
  6. I sang in choirs throughout my childhood and traveled to South Africa, Russia, the Baltics, Canada, and all over the US for tours and competitions.
  7. My favorite food is white cheddar popcorn.
  8. I have three siblings. One is a teacher, one works in communications, and the last is a Master Model Builder for LEGO.
  9. The only sport I enjoy watching is baseball. I attended the College World Series every year growing up and have visited five major league ball parks so far.
  10. Most evenings you can find me reading (non-fiction or historical fiction) or watching TV (Scandal or The Good Wife) while snuggled up on the couch with my chihuahua, Lola. 

Downtime: Soaking Up San Antonio

Editor's note: Charlie Deese is an Implementation Coordinator in the San Antonio office. She's a key part of our unique approach of partnering with schools to implement our curricula. As the "Safety Warden" of the San Antonio office, she gets the perk of having her very own Deputy! Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Since moving to San Antonio 7 months ago, I have been trying to explore the city as much as possible in my downtime.  One perfect opportunity was New Year’s Eve, when my coworker Laura and I decided to join her friends for a night out in the downtown area. After a late dinner of tasty empanadas from Beto’s, a local favorite that has been featured on the TV show “Diner’s, Drive-Ins, and Dives,” we headed south for drinks and dancing on the Riverwalk. We obviously picked the best spot, Kremlin, as they had the ceiling covered in balloons with cash- and we won 6 dollars! It was the perfect way to ring in the New Year (and to buy our next office Lotto tickets).


                                                                   [Co-Werking It]

After the excitement of NYE, I had only a few days to prepare for my next adventure- my January “staycation” with my visiting Vandy alums and prior college roommates. And when I say prepare, I mean serious planning; my friends were both impressed and mildly overwhelmed by the 3 page itinerary they received prior to landing in San Antonio. With so much to do in San Antonio and only a brief period of time, I wanted to ensure that we maximized our time on a variety of fun experiences. After a repeat trip to Beto’s on Thursday night (I can’t resist their chicken poblano empanadas), we headed to Southtown on Friday night. Southtown is one of the most vibrant and fun places to go in San Antonio, and its conveniently located just a few miles from our Reasoning Mind office downtown. 


[Not pictured: the waiter’s selfie]

We headed home a little early on Saturday (but not until we devoured some white queso with cilantro and peppers at Iron Cactus on the Riverwalk) since we had a big day planned for Saturday. Luckily for me and my food-centricity, I live right across from the Magnolia Pancake Haus in the medical center area. Our plan for the day was to pig out on a giant breakfast before trekking up to historic Fredericksburg for some wine tasting and local flavor.


[It really doesn’t- at least when it comes to waffles]

After enjoying the scenic drive to Fredericksburg, we arrived at our first winery near the historic downtown area. After sampling a variety of wines, we meandered through downtown and stopped a few art galleries and shops. My personal favorite (for obvious reasons) was the chocolate shop, which specialized in chocolates filled with cookies that are filled with wine.  We continued along the route 290 wine trail to discover a few more wineries before heading over to Cranky Frank’s BBQ just south of Fredericksburg for some real Texas food. To finish up a perfect afternoon, we returned to San Antonio for a few scoops of famous Nashville-style frozen yogurt at Sweet Cece’s.


[Perfect antidote to all crankiness]

After an evening filled with authentic Mexican fare at El Mirasol, we settled in for a competitive night of Apples to Apples with some San Antonio friends before another busy day. Early on Saturday, we loaded up the car in preparation for their afternoon flights home, and drove over to the Monte Vista area for skillet pancakes at Barbaro. I didn’t think I could top my pumpkin pie waffle on Saturday morning, but I was woefully mistaken. This deep dish pancake featured Benton’s Bacon (a Tennessee favorite), goat cheese, and molasses. Yes, please.
[Possibly the best thing I ate all weekend]

After devouring the deep dish calorie bomb, we drove over to the San Antonio Zoo to see the new Tiger cubs and to walk off the past few days of extreme gluttony.  We finished up just in time to grab some tacos on our way to the airport, and to say our goodbyes. Hopefully they enjoyed the food marathon enough to visit me again soon!

Once I got back into the regular swing of things after their departure, I accidentally stumbled upon an online post about 10 free things to do in San Antonio this week- and was especially intrigued by a showing of “The Loving Story” at the San Antonio Museum of Art.  My coworker Laura and I were both interested, and we were both so thrilled that we attended. The documentary showcased the life and history of the couple who fought successfully to remove state-level bans on interracial marriage, and it could not have been a more inspiring love story.  I would definitely recommend it if you are looking for a romantic and informative film to watch around Valentine’s Day.

With so many wonderful experiences and opportunities here, it’s no wonder that I love living in San Antonio.