Welcome to AEA366 (at least for 2020)! by Sheila B Robinson

Happy Leap Day readers! I’m Sheila B Robinson, aea365 Lead Curator and sometimes Saturday contributor. Since we get an extra day in our 2020 calendar, we get an extra article on aea365…er, aea366, and this one is pretty much just for fun.

Di you know that Leap Year is the ultimate example of evaluation use (are you reading this MQP?).

Here’s a brief version of Leap Year history according toThought.co:

Julius Caesar was behind the origin of leap year in 45 BC. The early Romans had a 355-day calendar and to keep festivals occurring around the same season each year a 22 or 23 day month was created every second year. Julius Caesar decided to simplify things and added days to different months of the year to create the 365-day calendar; the actual calculations were made by Caesar’s astronomer, Sosigenes. Every fourth year following the 28th day of Februarius (February 29th) one day was to be added, making every fourth year a leap year. In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII further refined the calendar with the rule that leap day would occur in any year divisible by 4 …

So, we have a program (the calendar) and some activities (the festivals) and some goals (to keep said festivals occurring about the same time each year). The program manager (Caesar) hires an evaluator (Sosigenes) to collect some data, and then makes program changes (adding Leap days to the calendar) based on results to help the program better achieve its goals.

OK, that was definitely a stretch.

But how about this thought about Leap Day:

In recent years, especially on social media, we’ve been encouraged to identify a word for the year – kind of like a New Year’s Resolution, but choosing just one word that means something to us. Many choose words such as achievement, courage, change, peace, faith, breathe, joy or trust.

With nearly 84% of the year 2020 left, I’ve decided it’s not too late and I’m going to make my word “leap.” Leap gives me a number of possibilities for the year:

  • I can take a leap of faith.
  • I can leap into action.
  • I can look before I leap.
  • I can leap at opportunities.
  • I can try NOT to leap to conclusions or leap on bandwagons.
  • I can be mindful of what leaps to mind.
  • I can hope to surpass my goals by leaps and bounds.
  • I can leap to someone’s defense.
  • And finally, I can leap for joy.

As I reflect on these possibilities both personally and professionally, I conclude that “leap” is indeed a good word for the year.

The sense of danger must not disappear:

The way is certainly both short and steep,

However gradual it looks from here;

Look if you like, but you will have to leap.

-W.H. Auden

Rad Resource: Interested in the science behind Leap Year? Check out this article for some fun facts.

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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