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From DA

Going wireless offers a panoply of attractive benefits to school districts. Because you don't have to run cables to every classroom, it's cheaper to deploy a wireless network than an old-fashioned wired network. Wireless makes it more convenient for administrators, teachers and students to connect.

But there's a perilous downside: A wireless network is easier for hackers to break into. Without the proper security measures, going wireless means opening a gaping hole in your computer systems' defenses.

School administrators and teachers now have a choice of smartphone operating systems from Palm, Inc. The new Palm Treo 700p smartphone includes hardware and software innovations centered around usability, connectivity, multimedia and compatibility.

More districts are offering algebra to 8th graders to spur enrollment in higher level math courses during high school. But accelerating the math curriculum represents a complex equation and success hinges on multiple variables.

You'd be hard pressed to find a school district that leaves improving test scores, budgeting for new technology or developing the curriculum to chance. But too many schools do exactly that with parental and community involvement, arguably as important to student success as any of those above activities. It takes work, though, to get past the once-a-year bake sale and some fundraising calls to local businesses.

When Dr. Jim Phares joined Marion County Schools in 2003 as superintendent, he was a bit disappointed that most of the district's administrators, principals and teachers were hardly using any technology to streamline their daily tasks.

When it comes time to divvy up the technology budget, districts have more choices than ever. So it may come as a surprise to hear how fiercely some tech experts defend something as seemingly basic as classroom audiovisual equipment.

Fourth graders in Barbara Preziosi's class at Sebastian Elementary School are so taken with their Palm Tungsten handhelds that they won't let them go. They carry them in holders around their necks, taking them from task to task, and from classroom to library.

Special education teacher Lynn Parsons had some encouragement for a mother that doubted that her high-school daughter would be interested in attending the teacher's after-school social-skills class for students with high-functioning autism or Asperger's syndrome.

Every few weeks, elementary students in Wilkes County (N.C.) Schools were getting tested on what they read. But the questions weren't all that difficult and students' reading levels weren't as high as administrators hoped they would be.

My career in education began as a high school math teacher. Anyone who has shared that experience knows frustration that arises when students arrive in class unprepared to learn the material you're teaching.