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From DA

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

Apple Remote Desktop 3

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

The overwhelming thought I had as I attended numerous EduComm sessions at the magazine's show in Orlando last month-and walked the massive InfoComm floor-is that the future is now.

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

www.tableausoftware.com

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.

Back in the 1980s and early 1990s, boys and girls in sixth grade in Osseo Area Schools, Minn., learned the term masturbation. All fourth-graders learned about anatomy in mixed-gender classes and the definition of sexual intercourse. And junior high students learned methods to avoid the risk of HIV infection.

It was a comprehensive family life curriculum, considered a prime model of a comprehensive human sexuality and family life education, according to B.J. Anderson, then the curriculum and instruction specialist for the district.

When Philip Brody arrived at Clark County (Nev.) School District in September of 1998, he was charged with upgrading the district's computer network so schools could become competitive in the newly dawned Internet age.

Nutrition Advocates to Schools: Shape Up

Soda is out, but students are exercising less. Junk food is being scrutinized, but recess is still iffy. Childhood obesity rates are climbing and schools, say advocates, must monitor what calories students are taking in and burning up.

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