Reaction to Stager's Column
Wow! I just read your column ("The Games Teachers Play," April 2008) and have no idea what teachers you hang out with, but you'd better find a new crowd. I use Accelerated Reader and Reading Renaissance for my seventh-grade literature class. Eight out of 16 students entered my class reading one to four years below grade level. I needed to raise their reading level rather than teach from a literature book.
I determine the reading level of the students by using three tests. The students' goals are set according to their level. We read 40 minutes per day, and their homework is to read 30 minutes each night. Students never have trouble fi nding books in their interest level, and I do not choose their books for them. Parents are amazed at the amount of reading their children do and often tell me they have to make their children stop reading and go to bed at night.
Our discussions in class are not formal, and I don't require a project or book report. The computer test results indicate the students have read the books. My students achieved Kansas State Standard of Excellence in reading this year. Several students have shown growth of more than two years in reading. I believe being able to read better will help them as they enter high school.
Show up to my classroom. Tell me if it looks like a dodgeball game or a bunch of seventh-graders engrossed in reading. -Anonymous
You ran an excellent article reviewing a district Web site (How Well Does This Web Site Work? April 2008). Have you consolidated your findings and tips into a single location for districts to use to improve their Web sites?
George Frazier, director of technology Phoenixville Area (Pa.) School District
Leading the Way in Technology
I always read DISTRICT ADMINISTRATION with great interest and, as it is sitting on my desk, I want to share some cool technology projects underway at Roslyn (N.Y.) Public Schools. They include implementing:
A Sony language lab, which is a state-of-the-art interactive lab that our foreign language teachers are training on. (We have purchased a lab for the middle and high schools.) It greatly increases a student's ability to speak during any given class.
A 50-gig pipe allowing for streaming solutions
A wireless middle school and high school with laptops for all secondary teachers
A copy center concept. We are moving to centralize copying for all of our staff . We expect to have building printers that will send all jobs of greater than 50 copies to a centralized location with a six-hour turnaround time. We are also exploring having teachers send their "jobs" directly from their laptops with the preloaded software.
An exploration of distance learning (including in Arabic) with other school districts
A new model using the data warehouse to help drive instruction
A districtwide initiative for 35 teachers and administrators covering differentiation with Harvard University's Graduate School of Education's online institute.
Dan Brenner, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, Roslyn (N.Y.) Public Schools
Impressed with DA Web Site
I just visited your Web site (www.DistrictAdministration.com) and was impressed with the content. It appears really accessible for educators and offers a lot of practical advice and solutions for administrators.
Daniel J. Gulchak., university supervisor, Mary Lou Fulton College of Education, Arizona State University
Book Features DA Story
I am currently involved in a book project with Prufrock Press that involves gifted kids and technology. I loved the story in DISTRICT ADMINISTRATION about the girl from New Jersey who created the multimedia production of "Apocalypse Productions" ("3D and Far Out," May 2002). I have shared this story in the book when talking about gifted kids who are tech-savvy. I am in the final revisions before publication.
Diane Witt, consultant, New Albany, Ohio