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From DA

Vision on ice is no different from vision that 21st century schools must have to survive and thrive, according to Angus King, former governor of Maine. In 2002, King used a state surplus to buy laptops for every seventh and eighth grader in Maine.

The latest estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that the percentage of children who are overweight has more than doubled since 1980. Among adolescents, the rates have more than tripled.

This trend does not bode well for the future health of today's schoolchildren. Those who are overweight are more likely to be overweight or obese as adults, increasing their risk of type II diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, some cancers and other serious medical conditions.

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.

Larry Price of Wilson County (N.C.) Schools is not so different from the other inspirational superintendents featured in this magazine, except, perhaps, for one thing: his ability to tend a farm plot. In spite of a penchant for farming due to his upbringing in rural Nash, N.C., however, Price's career took a sharp turn from planting seeds in the ground to reaping what he and his teachers sowed by way of smart students in the classroom.

Holly Herndon no longer waits for district officials to crunch the local assessment numbers before she can make decisions on instruction. Herndon, like other teachers in Florida's School District of Indian River County, can access her classroom's assessment results-24 hours after the exams are scored-using a new data management software tool.

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.

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