Jacob J. Walker's Blog

Scholarly Thoughts, Research, and Journalism for Informal Peer Review

Archive for January, 2015

News: California Charter Schools Cannot Require Volunteer Hours as a Condition of Enrollment

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Picture of I received the following Member Alert this morning from the California Charter School’s Association, that charter schools cannot require mandatory volunteer hours. I am really glad this clarification of law has been published, as I wrote in the past about why I thought requiring mandatory volunteerism of parents during work hours was wrong.  I’m also glad to see that the association was involved in helping to make this change happen, as I think this might help show detractors of charter schools that as a whole charters are working to do the right thing for students and parents:

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Written by Jacob Walker

January 29th, 2015 at 11:59 am

Posted in Charter Schools

Some Python “Best Practices”

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As I have said before, I don’t believe their are truly “best practices”, sometimes there are “best known practices”, or “best known practices for a given context”.    But, there are often times when it is clear something is a bad practice.  And through the school of hard knocks, I’ve learned from attempting some practices that I thought were good, but turned out to be bad.  So here is what I have learned.

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Written by Jacob Walker

January 24th, 2015 at 7:50 pm

Posted in Python

Python Script to Automate Refreshing an Excel Spreadsheet

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Often I run into situations where it makes sense to do analysis of a lot of database data in an Excel spreadsheet, but due to the amount of processing the spreadsheet requires when updating, it takes a long time for the spreadsheet to “Refresh All”.

One solution to this problem is to automate the spreadsheet so it refreshes every night.  The following is a small Python script that can do this using the Python for Windows Extension:

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Written by Jacob Walker

January 24th, 2015 at 9:42 am

Solution to Excel/Access/ODBC to PostgreSQL Integration Problems

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In order to do more in-depth analysis of our student data, we have recently setup ODBC access to our online SIS, which is running on PostgreSQL.  My goal was to have Access connect to the PostgreSQL data source, so I could create queries (views) in access, which I could then import into Excel.  While Excel should easily connect to Access, as they are both Microsoft products, this has NOT been the case. But now that I have been able to figure out how to get it to work, I’m posting the solution for anyone else who might run there head into the same brick wall.

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Written by Jacob Walker

January 10th, 2015 at 2:40 pm