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Everything Percy A. Mack needed to know he learned in kindergarten. Well, almost: It was actually his first-grade teacher, Mrs. Harris, who helped young Mack overcome reading struggles that let him catch up to his classmates and learn the importance of perseverance.

Creating a Memorial

Eighth-grade English teacher Laurie Capponi looks forward to the end of the year for more than the obvious reason-it's when her annual Memory Matters project begins. The project, which has become a rite of passage for students at Wellwood Middle School in Fayetteville, N.Y., "is the last thing they do before moving from middle to high school," says Capponi. "If they rise to the occasion, they can do high school-quality work."

Hazard (Ky.) Independent School District officials don't boast about the good relationship they have with their local businesses. It's a quiet confidence that if they need help, they know where to turn.

Anyone who has ever had a 9-year-old understands the concept of the unanswerable question. While I've fielded my share from my son Ethan, there is one question he keeps lobbing at me that I can't even make up a good response to. "How come we keep cutting down the rainforest," he asks from the back seat of the car, when we're on a bike ride or sitting at the breakfast table.

Dear Mr. Gates:

I write with great admiration and appreciation of your remarkable philanthropic efforts on behalf of health, poverty and education. Changing the world is a spectacular goal. Congratulations on your plans to dedicate more of your time to charity and on Warren Buffett's enormous contribution to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's efforts.

Teachers Are Still The Most Important Tool

Having a highly qualified teacher, a key requirement of No Child Left Behind, can make a big difference in student performance on state standardized tests and in college preparation, particularly for minority and high-poverty students.


Apple Remote Desktop 3

Software, priced per administrator:$149 for up to 10 systems; $299 for unlimited systems (education prices)

Problem: The Nash-Rocky Mount (N.C) Public School System's network consisted of T-1s that weren't providing enough bandwidth for the district's needs and 11 MB unlicensed wireless towers that were beginning to fail and did not qualify for E-rate.

American High School Students Fall Behind Other Countries

While U.S. students in low grades are faring about average or better in mathematics and science compared with those in other countries, high schoolers are outperformed in both subjects, according to a new federal report.

Reacting to MySpace

I JUST READ [Gary Stager's] article ("Guess Why They Call It MySpace," May 2006, page 78). While I agree with him in principle, we have blocked the site and others like it at our district. Why? Because we had one student threaten to kill another student using MySpace.

The "problem" the Internet has created is that there are no more rumors. If you hear something you can quickly see if it is true or not simply by accessing the Internet and the site(s) where it originated.

Problem: When a Syracuse (N.Y.) City School District faculty member was going to be absent, he or she would call the principal and start a chain reaction. The principal would then call the superintendent's office and two office staffers would spend four hours a day finding substitutes.

Solution: Using Sub-IT software, from central xchange, the district has reduced the number of people involved in finding subs and cut in half the amount of time the office staff has to be directly involved.

Tableau Software

Tableau 2.0

Software, starts at $499/license (with 50% academic discount)

Nothing that involves dispersing money seems to come out fair-and still school systems manage to attract budget directors who gear up for the challenge on an annual basis.

WITH A PROCLAMATION by President George W. Bush and a series of visits by federal education officials, charter schools enjoyed a week of national attention in May, celebrating their supporters' claim that they can be more effective than other public schools in boosting student achievement.

In Okemos, Mich., Paula Pulter's first grade class at the Cornell Elementary School has covered units on American history, the Revolutionary War, U.S. presidents, weather and recycling. At the Thorn Apple Elementary School in Grand Rapids, Nancy Lass had led her second graders through a six-week unit reading and writing about microscopic animals.